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Turkish Wives

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Cor. Brooklyn Eaglc. A Mussulman is allowed by the Koran to liave íour vrives, though niany have as niany as they can keep in comfort. The first wife is called the hanun, and takes precedence over the others all her life. She has a right to the best rooms and to a tixecl share of her husbaiid's income, which he must not reduce to minister to the caprice of his yountjer spouses. As these points have generalij been settlcd through the imans before the wedding, a hanun's jointure is as safe as that of a French woinan who has had a contract drawn up by a notary. She visits and entertaius the hanuns of other gentlemen, but keeps aloof f rom wi ves of the sccond and other degrees. These are not equal in her sight, being generally ladies of a lower sócial status, who have not brought any dower to their husband. Time was when a pasha would take four wives of equal degree, all being daughters of other pashas or of the Sultan, :md al', richly portioned ; but manners have altered in this respect- at all events, in the European part of Turkey. The Turkish wife is not a slave. The chief tauit to niiü wiia ner is uiat &u uao kju lofty a sense of her own dignit3fc An advocate of fernaie rights would have some difficulty in persuading her that her lot was pitiab! s :_she has never envied the ernancipation of Christian woraen, whose f ree ways shock her while she has noticed that they got much less rospect from the men of their faitb than that which is invariably vouchsafed to herself. Sho veils her face -with no more regret than a western lady unveils her shoulders. Turkish women are not shut up. They go out when they please. If a husband rneets his wife in the street ho makes no sign of recognition. If he perceives her halting bef ore a draper's stull and gazing at silks dearor than he can afFord, he must possess his soul in resignation, muttering "Mash Allali " This respect for women preyails also in the home circle, and it comes naturally to the Mussulman, who has been taught f rom his boyhoodtobehave courteously to the soiter sex. Turkish girls are unaffectedly modest. Those of the lower class who are engaged as servante in the houses of Frank residente are much preferred to Greeks or Armenians for their excellent bchavior, cleanlinesg and regard for truth. Looking upon niarriage as their natural destiny, they are careful of their reputations, and when married make iirst rato housewives. No doubt a tourist who compared Turkey of to-day with that of twenty-five years ago would find some departures f rom the strict womanly reserve which used to be the universal rule.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat