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Mr. Carne mentions, in his “ Recollections of the East," that having been hospitably received in the house of a Syrian family, living in a large town in Syria, and the repast being now ready, “We would fain have shared it with the fair preparers, who had so well received the houseless stranger; but they declined, and stood calmly and silently gazing at the good will with which their viands were devoured." – Recollections, p. 25.
“ When meat is served up, it is the duty of one of the guests to demand a portion for the women, by calling out · The meat for the apartment of the women ;' and a part of it is then set aside, or he is answered that this has been already done.” — BURCKHARDT'S Syria, &c., pp. 484, 485.
“ The (Arab) women eat in the harem what is left of the men's dinner ; they seldom have the good fortune to taste any meat except the head, feet, and liver of the lambs. While the men of the camp resort to the tent in which a stranger is entertained, and participate in the supper, their women steal into the harem of the hostess to beg a foot, or some other trifling portion of the animal killed for the occasion.” — BURCKHARDT'S Notes on the Bedouins, &c., vol. i. pp. 64, 65.
EASTERN HAREM. Lady Frances Egerton thus relates her visit to an Eastern harem :—“ Presently Assaad proposed to me to visit the harem, which I was glad to do, being anxious to see something of the kind. After ten minutes' whispering between the governor and one of the boys, and after divers messages seemed to have been despatched to the ladies, probably announcing my visit, and directing them to improve the appearance of the outward woman, I was directed to follow a lad, and was ushered by him upon another terrace, a flight above, there I was met by two very handsome young women, one of them gorgeously dressed in bright yellow silk, her hair
tied with a multiplicity of little gold coins, and hanging down her back, so that she jingled at every step. In addition to these, veils, and bracelets, and gold chains hung about her. The other was much more plainly dressed, in linen or coloured muslin, with no ornaments. The handsomely attired lady was probably the governor's chief wife ; what the other was I could not discover, as she put herself as forward as the first, though much her inferior in appearance. The ladies obligingly, and with smiles, took me by the hand, and led me into an inner room, fitted...with cushions and carpets to recline upon.... Then began an attempt at communication between us,... (but) after making vain attempts at comprehending each other for some little time, a black slave brought me sherbet, and a gold tissue towel to wipe my mouth withal, after which I was taken to the apartment of another lady. The same attempt at conversation, some sherbet, and gold tissue ensued. This was repeated three or four times in the chambers of the different ladies, and at length the party increased to seven or eight, some young and some elderly; the latter may have been the mother and the sisters of the governor, for he was not a very young man.
“ In the East, the mother always remains at the head of her son's house, whether he be married or single, and profound respect is paid to her ; which, considering the wholly uneducated state of the women, and that ninetynine out of a hundred cannot read, is a curious and praiseworthy feature in the customs of these people. My condition in the harem was now growing somewhat irksome, and I began to think that I had had enough of sherbet, signs, and squatting. Moreover, the sun was set, and much I knew remained for us to do before our return home ; yet I despaired of ever getting away. My signs they did not, or would not understand, and I continued to be taken from one room to another, hoping at each move I should be released. At length, to my relief, they brought me to a room which looked upon the terrace where I had left the rest of the party. I motioned the black slave to open the casement, which he did, after signing to the ladies to retire from the window. I then called out to Assaad to send for me, as otherwise my release was hopeless : this was done ; but the rumour that an attendant from the terrace was on his way to fetch me, produced so great a consternation amongst the ladies, lest they should be seen by the eye of man, that when I looked round to take leave they had all disappeared.
“ Poor things, what a miserable existence is theirs ! living like birds in a cage without apparent occupation or interest of any sort, unless it be their children. I am told that their only employments are needle-work, and the superintendence of the kitchen. I saw two children ; but could not make out to which of the women they belonged. How intensely thankful I am to Providence that my lot is cast in Europe and not in Asia !"--See Journal.
THE BATH.—Mode OF WASHING THE HANDS.-CEREMONIAL WASHINGS—WASHING THE FEET.
John xiii. 10. “ He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.”
“In the afternoon we tried the Turkish bath. The attendant first laid aside our clothes, and put one towel, wrapt like a turban, round our head, and another round our waist. Then he conducted us into an inner apartment, the atmosphere of which we could scarcely breathe at first, on account of the heat and vapour. Our feet, shod with wooden sandals, slid on the smooth marble floors. Next he laid us down on our backs upon the smooth marble divan, in the centre of the apartment, washed us with soap, and poured hot water over our heads. All this was done by an Egyptian almost naked, armed with a rough glove of camel's hair. ..... We were then led to one of the side baths, where the hot water was allowed to pour upon us. The pores being abundantly opened under the operation of so many causes, we were conducted back to the room where we had undressed, laid upon our backs, covered over with warm quilts, and shampooed, the soles of our feet being scraped with an instrument for the purpose, and every joint in our hands and feet made to crack.
« Lastly, we were offered coffee, and a glass of sherbet ; after which we were allowed to dress and come away, not a little amused, as well as refreshed. The custom of passing from the bath to the dressing-room, during which the feet might easily be soiled, reminded us of the true rendering of the words of our Lord, · He
that has been in the bath needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.”—Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews, p. 51.
“ During my residence at Burmah, I was often reminded, while sitting in their houses in the dusk of the evening, of our Saviour's remark in John xiii. 10. The men, having finished their labour, bathe and clean themselves at the river or tank ; but walking up with wet feet defiles them again, so that they cannot with propriety come and take their place on the mat or bed. Taking up some water, therefore, in a cocoa-nut dipper out of a large jar which stands at the door of every house, they easily rinse their feet, as they stand on the step, and are “clean every whit.”—Rev. H. MALCOLM's Travels.
MODE OF WASHING THE HANDS.
2 Kings iii. 11. " ... Here is Elisha, the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.”
MARK vii. 1-4. “ Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not.”
LUKE xi. 37, 38. “ And...a certain Pharisee besought (Jesus) to dine with him, and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.”
“ The oriental mode of washing is universally different to that practised in the West. Nowhere is water pre