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SERAGLIO OR II AREM OF THE EMPEROR OF MOROCCO. 47 a pole, by which they are held under water till they are suffocated. The bastinado is likewise inflicted for small offences: and is given either to the belly, back, or soles of the feet, according to the pleasure of the cadi, who also appoints the number of strokes. These sometimes amount to 200 or 300, according to the indulgence the offender can obtain either by bribery or friends; and hence he often dies under this punishment for want of advocates sufficiently powerful. But the most horrible punishments are those inflicted upon the Jews or Christians who speak against Mahomet or bis religion; in which cases they must either turn Mahometans or be impaled a live. If they afterwards a postatize, they are burnt alive, or else thrown down from the top of the city walls, upon iron hooks, where they are caught by different parts of their body, according as they happen to fall, and sometimes expire in the greatest torments, though by accident they may be put out of their pain at once. This terrible punishment, bowever, begios now to be disused.
SERAGLIO OR HAREM OF THE EMPEROR OF Morocco. The following account of this seraglio is extracted from the interesting tour of M. Lempriere, who being a surgeon, was admitted into the barem to prescribe for some of the ladies who were indisposed, and was therefore enabled to give a full account of this female prison, and of the manners and behaviour of its inhabitants.
The harem forms a part of the palace. The apartments are very lofty, and four of them enclose a spacious square court, into which they open by means of large folding doors. In the centre of these courts, which are floored with blue and white chequered tiling, is a fountain, supplied by pipes from a large reservoir on the outside of the palace, which serves for the frequent ablutions recommended by the Mahometan religion. The whole of the harem consists of about twelve of these courts, communicating with each other by narrow passag's, which afford a free access from one part to another, and of 'which all the women are allowed to avail themselves. The apartments are ornamented on the outside with beautiful carved wood. In the inside most of the rooms are hung with rich damask of various colours: the floors are covered with beautiful carpets, and there are mattresses disposed at different distances, for the purpose of sitting and steeping The apartments are also furnished at each extremity with an elegant European mahogany bedstead, hung with damask, having on it several mattresses placed one over the other, which are covered with various coloured silks ; but these beds are merely for ornament. In all the apartments the ceiling is wood carved and painted.
The principal ornaments were large and valuable looking-glasses, hung on various parts of the walls; clocks and watches of different sizes, in glass-cases were, disposed in the same manner. The sultana Lalla Batoom, and another favourite, were indulged with a whole square to themselves; but the concubines were only each allowed a single room. Each female had a separate daily allowance from the emperor, proportioned to the estimation in which they were held by him. The late emperor's allowance was very trifling ; Lalla Douyan, the favourite
sultana, had very little more than half-a-crown English a day, and the others less. He indeed made them occasional presents of money, dress, and trinkets, but this never could be sufficient to support the expenses they must incur. Their greatest dependence therefore was on the presents they received from those Europeans and Moors who visited the court, and who employed their influence in obtaining some particular favour from the emperor. This was the most successful mode that could be adopted.
When Mr. Lempriere was at Morocco, a Jew, desirous of obtaining a very advantageous favour from the emperor, for which he had been a long time unsuccessfully soliciting, sent to all the principal ladies of the harem presents of pearls to a very large amount; the consequence was, that they all went in a body to the emperor, and immediately obtained the wished for concession. The ladies separately furnish their own rooms, hired their own domestics, and in fact do what they please in the harem, but are not permitted to go out without an express order from the emperor, who very seldom grants them that favour, except wben they are to be removed from one palace to another. In that case, a party of soldiers is despatched a little distance before them, to disperse the male passengers, and prevent their being seen. This previous step being taken, a piece of linen cloth is tied round the lower part of the face, and afterwards these miserable females cover themselves entirely with their haicks, and either mount mules, which they ride like men, or, what is more usual, are put into a square carriage or litter constructed for this purpose, which by its lattice work allows them to see without being seen. In this manner they set off, under a guard of black eunuchs. This journey, and sometimes a walk within the bounds of the palace, is the only exercise they are permitted to take. The late emperor's harem consisted of between 60 and 100 females, besides their numerous domestics and slaves. Many of the concubines were Moorish women, several were European slaves, who had either been made captives, or purchased by the emperor; though some were negroes.
In this group, the Europeans, or their descendants, had by far the greatest claim to the character of bandsome. There was one in par. ticular, who was a native of Spain, and taken into the harem at about the same age as Lalla Douyan, who was indeed a perfect beauty; and many others were almost equally handsome.
The eunuchs, who have the entire charge of the women, and who in fact live always among them, are the children of Negro slaves. They are generally either very short or fat, or else tall, deformed, and lame. Their voices have that particular tone which is observable in youths who are just arriving at manhood; and their persons together afford a disgusting image of weakness and effeminacy.
M. Lempriere gives a very curious account of the manners and ignorance of these immured females, from his own observation. Attended by an eunuch, says he, after passing the gate of the harem, which is always locked, and under the care of a guard of eunuchs, we entered a narrow and dark passage, which soon brought us to the court into which the women's chambers open. We here saw numbers of both black and white women and children, some concubines,
SERAGLIO OF THE EMPEROR OF MOROCCO. and some slaves. Upon their observing the unusual figure of an Esropean, the whole multitude in a body surrounded me, and expressed the utmost astonishment at my dress and appearance, some stood motionless, with their bands lifted up, their eyes fixed, and their mouths open, in wonder and surprise. Some burst into fits of laughter; while others, with uncommon attention, eyed me from head to foot. The parts of my dress which seemed most to attract their notice, were my buckles, buttons, and stockings; for neither men nor women in this country wear any thing of the kind. With respect to the club of my bair, they seemed utterly at a loss in what view to consider it; but the powder they conceived to be employed for destroying vermin. Most of the children, when they saw ine, ran away in consternation : and I appeared as singular an animal, and I dare say that I had the hooour of exciting as much curiosity and attention, as a lion or a man-tiger just imported from abroad, and introduced into a country town on a market-day. Every time I visited the harem, I was surrounded and laughed at by this curious mob, who, on my entering the gate, followed me close to the very chamber to which
I was proceeding, and, on my return, universally escorted me out. The greatest part of the women were uncommonly fat and unwieldy ; had black and full eyes, round faces, with small noses. They were of different complexions; some very fair, some sallow, and others again perfect negresses.
*One of my new patients being ready to receive me, I was desired to walk within her room ; where, to my great surprise, I saw nothing but a curtain drawn quite across the apartment, similar to that of a theatre, wbich separates the stage from the audience. A female domestic brought a very low stool, placed it near the curtain, and told me I was to sit down there, and feel her mistress's pulse. The lady, who had by this time summoned up courage to speak, introduced her hand from the bottom of the curtain, and desired me to inform her of all her complaints, which she conceived I might perfectly do by merely feeling the pulse. It was in vain to ask her where her pain was seated ; the only answer I could procure was, a request to feel the pulse of the other hand. I was under the necessity of informing her, in positive terms, that to understand the disease, it was absolutely necessary to see the tongue, as well as to feel the pulse ; and that without it, I could do nothing for her. My eloquence, or that of my Jewish interpreter, was, however, long exerted in vain, and she would have dismissed me without any further inquiry, had not her invention supplied her with a happy expedient. She contrived to cut a hole in the curtain, through which she extended her tongue, and thus complied with my injunction, but most effectually disappointed my curiosity. I was afterwards ordered to look at another of the prince's wives, who was affected with a scrofulous swelling in her neck. This lady was, in the same manner as the other, at first excluded from my sight; but as she was obliged to shew me her complaint, I had an opportunity of seeing her face, and observed it to be very
handsome." It is curious to observe the childish notions of persons who have been totally secluded from the world. All the ladies of the harem expected that our author should have instantly discovered their.com
plaints, upon feeling the pulse, and that he could cure every disease iostantaneously. He found them proud and vain of their persons, and extremely ignorant.
“ Among many ridiculous questions, they asked my interpreter," says M. Lempriere, “if I could read and write: upon being answered in the affirmative, they expressed the utmost surprise and admiration at the abilities of the Christians. There was not one among them who could do either ; these rudiments of learning are, indeed, only the lot of a few of their men, who on that account are nanied Talbs, or explainers of the Mahometan law.”
It is melancholy to reflect on the situation of these unfortunate women. Being considered as the mere iostruments of pleasure, no attention is paid to the improvement of their minds. They have no employment to occupy their time. Their needle-work is performed by Jewesses; their food is dressed, and their chambers taken care of, by slaves and domestics. They have no amusement but a rude and barbarous kind of melancholy music, without melody, variety, or taste ; and conversation with one another, which must indeed be very confined, uniform, and inanimate, as they never see a new object. Excluded from the enjoyment of fresh air and exercise, so necessary, for the support of health and life; deprived of all society but that of their fellow-sufferers, a society to which most of them would prefer solitude itself ; they are only to be considered as the most abject of slaves -slaves to the vices and caprice of a licentious tyrant, who exacts, even from his wives themselves, a degree of submission and respect which borders upon idolatry, and which God never meant should be paid to a mortal.
NOBILITY OF NAPLES. The number of the high and low nobility is very great. "I am assured,” says Dr. Moore, “ that the king of Naples counts among his subjects one hundred persons with the title of prince, and a still greater number with that of duke. Six or seven of these have estates which produce from ten to twelve or thirteen thousand pounds a year; a considerable number have fortunes of about half that value; and the annual revenue of many is not above one or two thousand pounds. The inferior orders of the nobility are much poorer. Many counts and marquisses have not above three or four hundred pounds a year of paternal estate; many have still less; and not a few enjoy the title withont any estate whatever. These nobles, however, are exceedingly fond of splendour and show, which is seen in the brilliancy of their equipages, the number of their attendants, the richness of their dress, and the grandness of their titles. The finest carriages are painted, gilt, varnished, and lined, in a richer or more beautiful manner ihan has become fashionable either in England or France. They are often drawn by six, and sometimes eight horses. Before the carriage, it is the mode to have two running footmen, and, behind, three or four servants in the richest liveries. The ladies and gentlemen within the coaches glitter in all the brilliancy of lace, embroidery, and jewels. This fipery is not confined to the persons within and with.