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the concession lately exacted from the Porte, of allowing converts to Islam to return unmolested to their original faith—a concession of all others most galling to the Moslem pride—was brought on the tapis, this lady remarked, " with an earnestness of manner which interested me and my friend extremely—' It is but the fulfilment of prophecy! When I was a little child, I was taught that in this year great things would commence, which would require three years for their completion!' Surely she drew a beautiful conclusion," adds Mrs Poole, "and under circumstances of painful feelings to one strictly attached to the laws of her religion." But the allusion appears to have been a belief long current in the East, that a mysterious combination was involved in the number 1260, (the year of the Hejra which has just closed,) portending " the beginning of the end " of Islam, if not of the world; and of which this infringement of Moslem supremacy appeared to be the first manifestation.*
The advantages of the English costnme were strongly evinced on Mrs Poole's presentation, by her friend Mrs Siedler,tothe haughty Nezleh Hanum, the widowed daughter of Mohammed Ali, in her apartments at the Kasred-Dubarah, a palace in the midst of Ibrahim Pasha's plantations on the banks of the Nile, which is the usual residence of the ladies of the Pasha's family. Mrs Dawson Damer has drawn a sufficiently unamiable picture of this princess, whose cruelty to her attendants she represents as emulating that displayed in his public character by her late husband, the Dcftcrdar Mohammed Bey.t But nothing but the patte dt velours was seen by the English stranger, who, thongh Nezleh Hanum was severely indisposed at the time of her visit, was, by her express command, shown into her bedroom, and received " with the sweetest smile imaginable;" while the youngest son of the Pasha, Mohammed Ali Bey, a boy nine years
old, sat on a cushion at hit* sister's feet, conversing with the visitor in French; his mother, and other ladies, sitting on MrsPoole'slefthand. Thedayhappened to be the fourth of the festival of the Great Beiram, when it was customary for those ladies who had the privilege of the entrie, to pay their respects to the princess. But to not one of those who presented themselves at this levee, did Nezleh Hanum deign to address a word in acknowledgment of their salutation, as they silently advanced, with downcast eyes, to kiss her hand or the hem of her robe, and then as silently withdrew, without once raising their eyes to her face. "This etiquette, I am informed, is not only observed during her illness, but at all times: and here I felt peculiarly the advantage of being an Englishwoman; for she kept up with me a lively conversation, and really treated me as an equal." On taking leave, a second cup of sherbet was presented—" This is always intended as a distinguishing mark of honour. Several ladies accompanied us to the door; and the treasurer followed me with an embroidered handkerchief from her highness. Do not think me egotistical, because I describe thus minutely my reception; I consider it important in a description of manners, especially as the receiving and paying visits is the everyday business of an Eastern lady."
This was not, however, the first occasion on which Mrs Poole had visited the Kasr-ed-Dubarah, as she had some months previously been present, in company with her invaluable chaperon, Mrs Sieder, at an entertainment there given by the Pasha's hareem ; when she had formed the acquaintance of the mother}: of Mohammed Ali Bey, and of another wife of the Pasha, "both young; the one a dignified and handsome person, and the other especially gentle and very lovely." At the time, she supposed that these were the only wives of his highness; but, on a subsequent visit to the harecm in the citadel, she was introduced to a third, the mother of a son named Haleem Bey—and she shrewdly conjectured that the full number of four was not incomplete. These ladies, with the daughter of Mohammed Ali, the widow of Toosoon, (a deceased son of the Pasha, whose son, Abbas, is the reputed successor to the pashalik,) and Abbas Pasha's fostermother, were the only persons at table, with the exception of the French guests—the widow of Toosoon Pasha, in virtue of her seniority, leading the way to the sallea-manger, and taking the place of honour at "a very large round silver tray, covered with small silver dishes filled with various creams, jellies, &c., and most tastefully garnished with exquisite flowers; in the centre was a forequartcr of lamb, on pilav. The lamb was succeeded by stew; the stew by vegetables; the vegetables by savoury cream, &c. ; sweet dishes, most delicately prepared, succeeded these in rapid succession; and each was removed, and its place filled, when perhaps only tasted. Ladies attended close to our divan with flywhisks; behind them about thirty formed a semicircle of gaily dressed, and in many cases beautiful women and girls; those near the door held large silver trays, on which the black slaves, who stood without, placed the dishes." During the repast, Mrs Poole frequently received morsels from the hand of Toosoon Pasha's widow—one of the highest compliments according to Eastern manners —and, before takingleave, she received an invitation to a grand marriage festival, which was shortly to take place in the hareem. The nuptials were not, however, celebrated during her stay in Egypt, the main difficulty being, as she was informed, the choice of a bridegroom!
* A belief precisely similar prevailed throughout Christendom, previous to the year 1260 of our own era: the reference being to the two mystic periods in the eleventh chapter of the Apocalypse.
t An anecdote of thin personage is given in Mr Lane's works, i. 153.
J It is baretm etiquette to address mothers by the names of their children.
Though the costume of the Pasha's ladies did not differ materially from that already described in the hareem of Habeeb Effendi, yet, as the Kasr-edDubarah may be considered as the centre of Cairo fashion, it would be uupardonable to omit some notice of Mrs Poole's observations (somewhat abridged) on this all-important subject. "The Turkish ladies wear the yelefi (long vest) considerably longer
than their height, forming a graceful train, which, in walking over a mat or carpet, they hold in front over the arm. The chemise is of silk gauze, flue muslin, or a very beautiful thin crape, with glossy stripes, which is made of raw silk in the hareems, and is cream colour: the sleeves are not confined at the wrist. The shintiyan (trousers) are extremely full, and generally of a different material from the yeleh; the former being of rich brocade, large-patterned muslin or chintz, or sometimes of plain satin or gros-de-Naplcs. The yelek, on the contrary, is made of a material with a delicate pattern, generally a small stripe, whether of satin, India silk, or muslin. Ladies of distinction always wear Cashmere shawls round the waist, generally red; and those in Kasr-ed-Dubarah had a narrow edge of gold, with gold cords and tassels at the corners." The tarboosh and diamond ornaments are worn as before described; "but the front hair is cut short, and combed towards the eyebrows, which is extremely unbecoming even to a beautiful face, except when it curls naturally. The long hair is disposed in numerous small plaits, and looped up on each side over the handkerchief. The hair of the younger ladies and white slaves, in the Turkish hareems, is often worn hanging loosely on the shoulders; but no coitTurc is so pretty as that worn by the Arab ladies, whose long hair, hanging down the back, is arrauged in many small plaits, often lengthened by silk braid, and generally adorned with hundreds of small gold ornaments, resembling oval spangles, which harmonize better with the Eastern costume than any other fashion."
The hareems of the grandees arc generally surrounded by lofty walls, as high or higher than the neighbouring houses; a vigilant boivwab or doorkeeper is stationed at the outer portal; and within this the eunuchs guard the curtains, heavy with golden embroidery, which cover the doorway leading to the interior; and woe to the intrnder who should attempt to penetrate beyond the entrance! A closed door is never permitted in the hareem; but etiquette forbids the husband to enter when clippers laid
fore the doorway denote that his wife is receiving visitors—a method of exclusion which is said to be sometimes kept in operation for many days together. The scale of precedence among the inmates is regulated on a very different system from that of European society. Mr Urquhart has correctly remarked that " the precept, 'Thou shalt leave thy father and mother, and cleave unto thy wife,' has not been transcribed from the Gospel to the Koran: the wife in the East is not the mistress of the household; she is the daughter of her husband's mother," to whom the appellation of !mnum, or chief lady, belongs of right to the end of her life: and, even if the mother be not living, the sisters of the husband take precedence of the wife, who is regarded by them as a younger sister. The first wife, however, where there is more than one, can only lose her pre-eminence of rank by the misfortune of being childless, in which case she gives place to one who has become a mother; but, among the higher classes, each wife has her separate apartments and attendants, and in some cases even inhabits a separate mansion—all, however, within the bounding walls of the harcem.
"In the great hareems, the hanum generally has four principal attendants, two of whom are elderly, and act simply as companions; the third is the treasurer, and the fourth is the sub-treasurer. The next in rank ate those who hand pipes and coffee, sherbet and sweetmeats; and each of these has her own set of subordinates. Lastly rank the cooks and house slaves, who are mostly negresses." The position of these while slaves, among whom Mrs. Poole " found the most lovely girls in theharcem, many 'if them fully justifying my preconceived ideas of the celebrated Georgian and Circassian women," may, perhaps, bo best understood by a reference to the familiar pages of the Thousand and One Nights; the hareem scenes in which are probably drawn from those of Syria and Egypt
at the period when those tales were written. "Though torn from their parents at an early age, they ffnd and acknowledge fathers and mothers in those to whom they are sold; and, ex. cepting in two cases, cheerfulness has appeared to reign among them "—and the authoress was a witness of the deep sympathy felt by the slaves of the wife of a Turkish grandee, who was confined in the state prison by order of the Pasha. Tho principal employ, ment of these fair prisoners, independent of the preparation of sherbets and other household duties, consists in embroidery, "which is extremely beautiful, as superior as it is unlike to any fancy-work practised in England: —taste of a very remarkable kind is displayed in its execution, similar in many respects to that exhibited in the most elaborate decorations of Arabian architecture." Few, even of the ladies of rank, can road or write their own language—but there are some exceptions—the accomplished family of Habeeb Effendi has already been noticed; and Mrs Poole was acquainted with another -instance, in which the daughters had learned, under the tuition of a brother who had been educated in Europe, to read and understand not only the literature of their own country, but the poets of Italy. The surveillance exercised over the young white slaves "can only be compared to that which is established in the convent. A deviation from the strictest rules of modesty is followed by severe punishment, and often by the death of the delinquent . . . but if they conduct themselves well, they are frequently married by their masters to persons of high respectability; and the ceremony of the marriage* of a slave in the high hareems is conducted with extreme magnificence. Those, however, who from their personal charms have become the favourites of their master, and particularly those who have borne him a child, are seldom or never thus dismissed, and cannot legally be sold: having in this respect the advantage of the wife, who is always liable to be divorced without oause assigned, and at a moment's notice."
* Marriages of slaves from the khalif 's hareem occur more than once in the Thousand and One Night*.
In the hareems of the middle and lower classes, the same system of strict seclusion cannot, of course, bo maintained as in the case of the "hidden jewels" (as they are called) of the grandees:—the women frequent the public baths, and are allowed to visit their neighbours without restraint; but shopping is generally prohibited, for reasons which may bo •lathered from the Thousand and One Nights: — and goods for sale arc brought to the hareems by female brokers. The system of blindfold marriages is universal; and except among the lowest class, it is scarcely possible that the bridegroom and bride should get a glimpse of each other before their espousals—and the betrothals are generally made at a ridiculonsly early age. A lady gravely asked Mrs Poole whether one of her boys, thirteen years of age, was married—and she witnessed a marriage procession in which the almost infant bride, taking the whole affair as a good joke, thought proper to walk backwards before the canopy fanning her friends, instead of submitting to be fanned. The natural consequence of these early marriages is, that "among the lower orders some husbands arc sad tyrants; they marry such little young creatures, that they are more like children than wives, and their inexperience unjustly provokes their husbands." An original sort of revenge was threatened in her hearing by a man irritated by the abusive language of a little girl, whose tongue was the plague of the neighbourhood—" When I have a little more money, I will marry you, and punish you every day." Mrs Poole indeed expresses her conviction, reluctantly forced upon her, that in the middle and lower classes,* both wives and female slaves are often treated with the utmost brutality; and she mentions two instances in
her" own neighbourhood, in which the death of women of the latter class was caused by the cruelty of their masters. In both these cases, however, the men were Copts—a people of whom (in spite of the efforts of the English Missionary Society to make them something more than nominal Christians) she was assured, by one who knew them well, "that their moral state is far worse than that of the Muslims, and that in the conduct of the latter there is much more Christianity than is exhibited in that of the former." t An aneedote, casually introduced, enables us to jndge of the education which children receive on this point. On a visit to the wife of the keeper of the tombs of Mohammed All's family, a boy just able to walk was brought in, when " the chief lady called for a stick, that puss, who was quietly crossing the carpet, might be beaten for his amusement. I interceded for the cat, when she replied mysteriously, 'I like her very much —I will not hurt her.' Accordingly she raised her arm with considerable effort, and let it fall gently. She next desired one of her slaves to kneel, which the girl did most gracefully, and bent her head with an air of mock submission to receive the kurbdj, and the 6ame farce was repeated. Though neither slave nor cat was a snfferer, the effect must have been equally bad on the mind of the child. Alas! for the slaves and cats when he is big enough to make them feel!" The children, however, occasionally fare no better than the slaves; and Mr Lane was not seldom obliged, by the screams of the sufferers, to interfere to stop the cruelty practised in his neighbourhood, when " the answer usually returned was of the most civil kind, assuring us, with many saluta~ tions, that for our takes the offender shall be forgiven." On one occasion an old woman, to punish her little grandson for a trifling theft, had employed the services of a professional beater, who had tied the child's legs and arms, and was beating him with a ponderous stick, while his grandmother cried, "again!" and only desisted on a peremptory remonstrance from Mr Lane; yet the same woman disturbed the neighbourhood with her lamentations every alternate Monday for the loss of her son, the little boy's father! It is perhaps hardly fair to cite instances of brutality like this, to which our own policeoffices afford abundance of parallels, as examples of the national manners of Egypt; and Mrs Poole does full justice to the spirit of mutual aid which prevails among the poor in all Moslem countries, and teaches them " to bear each other's burdens." The women, especially those of the higher class, are admitted to be the "most affectionate of mothers." They are so possessed, however, by terror of the "evil eye," which they firmly believe may be cast on their children by an admiring word or glance, that the smallest allusion to them is hazardous. Mrs Poole was much amused by the agitation of an Arab lady, in conversation with whom she had congratulated herself that the strength of her eldest boy's constitution had preserved him from the ill effects of the heat. "In an instant she vociferated, 'Bless the Prophet! bless the Prophet!' and coloured deeply." And it was with difficulty that Mi's Poole could calm her, or convince her that the English apprehended no danger from the expression of their satisfaction in the welfare of those they love. It is not easy for even the most experienced to avoid contretemps of this kind in the East, where even the ordinary observances of life seem to have been arranged on a system diametrically opposite to our own; and some a nnsing aneedotes are given of the gauckeries unconsciously committed by raw tourists from liurope. At the house of an Egyptian grandee, an European gentleman, on receiving the sherbet after pipes and coffee, which was handed to him first as a stranger, "looked at it for a moment, and then at the gaily-embroidered napkin hung over the arm of the slave who presented it; and following the impulse given, I conclnde, by his preconceptions of Eastern habits of cleanliness, dipped his lingers in the sweet bever
* The higher classes are not freo from this reproach, if we are to believe the story told by Mrs Damer, that Nezleh Hanum punished a female slave who had offended her by the daily amputation of a joint of one of ber fingers!
t A Spanish proverb of former days, defines " Castilian fi>i<h and Moorish works" as the ingredients of a good Christian.
age, and wiped them on the napkin!" A less pardonable breach of etiquette, as it proceeded not from ignorance but want of good-breeding, was committed by two Franks, who, arranged in a motley mixture of European and Oriental costume, made their way into the Pasha's palace at Shubra, and, after rambling from room to room without meeting any one, at length entered the bedroom of the Pasha, who was nearly undressed! "Though taken by surprise, his Turkish coolness did not forsake him; calling for his dragoman, he said, 'Ask those gentlemen where they bought their tarbooshes?' 'At Constantinople.' 'And there,' rejoined the Pasha, 'I suppose they learned their manners. Tell them so.' Jndging from this retort that their presence was not agreeable, the Franks saluted the viceroy, and withdrew."
As we profess to deal with Mrs Poole solely in her own peculiar province, as a delineator of female manners and female society in Egypt, we shall pass with brief notice her visit to the Pyramids, the account of which contains much valuable information, supplied (as she avows,) from the notes of her brother. The excursion, though at a short distance from Cairo, is not altogether unattended with danger, especially to ladies, from the attacks of the Bedawees; as appears from the remarks of some young men, the sous of a Bedawee sheykh at some distance, who had ridden over, as they admitted, in the hope of seeing the faces of the ladies of the party, and were much disappointed at finding them veiled. They had been much struck by the charms of a beautiful American whom they had seen a few weeks before; and one of them exclaimed, in speaking of her—" But the sword ! the sword! if we dared to use it, we would kill that man," allnding to the lady's companion, whether her husband or brother, "and take her for ourselves."—" 'Tis well for prettty women travelling in the East, that these lawless Arabs are kept under a degree of subjection by the present government," says Mrs Poole; and the aneedote affords an indication that, when the reins of administration are released by the death of the present Pasha, the overland route to