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apprehended and imprisoned, till some one shall appear to claim her, and to undergo the punishment due to his negligence," — thus cutting off at a stroke the whole female population of the empire from all the rites of religion, and all the pleasures of social intercourse.
In some parts of Siberia the marriage ceremony is no sooner performed, than the wife pulls off her husband's boots, in token of submission. In other parts of the same country, the morning after a wedding, a man representing the father of the bride, delivers to the husband a whip, which, whenever the wife offends, is to be used freely. In the interior of Java the bride washes the bridegroom's feet in token of subjection. In Bambouk, Africa, she takes off her sandals, kneels before the bridegroom, pours water upon his feet, and wipes them with her mantle. In Madagascar, when a husband returns from war, his wife gives him the customary salutation of passing her tongue over his feet most respectfully. In New Holland, the slightest offence given to the husband brings down the club upon the wife, which never fails to draw forth a stream of blood and often fractures the skull. Among the Mandingoes, the terrible personage called Mumbo Jumbo, is called forth to frighten the refractory wife into submission. This demon form, assumed either by the husband himself or some one instructed by him, gives notice of his approach from the neighboring woods, near sunset, by the most frightful yells. At dark the men go out to meet him. He has a rod in his hand, a hideous mask on his head, and is fantastically decorated with the bark of trees. He is conducted to the village, where all the married women are assembled. The ceremonies commence. Songs and dances continue till a late hour. Mumbo Jumbo himself sings a song peculiar to the occasion. Then the women are required to arrange themselves in a circle. After a long pause and profound silence, Mumbo points out those that have been disobedient to their husbands, or otherwise have behaved improperly, and they are immediately seized, stripped, tied to a post, and severely beaten with Mumbo's rod, amid the shouts and deridings of the whole assembly.
And to such humiliation of woman, are boys, in some instances at least, systematically trained. The Hottentot mother, who has brought up her boy with tenderness till he has reached the period when custom demands his initiation by certain ceremonies into the society of men, is the first to feel the weight of his arm on his return home from the scene of his transition ; for, to show that he is now a man aud has the spirit of a man, he A Parsee Woman of Bombay, of high rank, in full Dress.
beats her soundly; nor does censure follow the barbarous act, but he is applauded for his contempt of the society and authority of woman. For aught I know, the mother herself applauds it,—but how deep her degradation, when prepared to submit to insult like this on maternal dignity and honor! How unlike is the spirit of Christianity, prompting the son, in the perfection of his understanding, in the plenitude of his power, and amid the self-gratulations of his independence, to submit to the mild reason of his mother,—to acknowledge her unassuming sway, and admit that though independent of all things else, he cannot do without the smiles of maternal approbation, the admonitions of maternal solicitude, and the reproofs of maternal tenderness and integrity.
Woman, in unevangelized lands, is forced to perform the most perilous and menial services of the state and the family. The three thousand wives of the king of Dahomey are enrolled in the army, formed into regiments, armed with all the accoutrements of war, and a part of them serve as the king's body-guard. These numerous queens, and the other thousands belonging to the kings of Ashantee and Yarriba, are but servants, maintained for ostentation,-to display the wealth and power of their royal masters; and when not engaged in fighting the battles or guarding the persons of their lords, they are doomed to labor in the fields and submit to all the drudgery that pertains to the wife of the meanest subject of the realm Nor is this all. At the death of an African king, his wives are slaughtered by scores and by hundreds, from an idea that their attendance will be needed in another world.
Go with me to Van Dieman's Land, and see the weaker sex charged with the whole burden of supporting their families, – husbands, children and all. Is the rough soil to be cultivated ? In their hands are the implements of labor. Is the sea to be searched for the sea-carp or the lobster? They are found plunging from the projecting rocks into the briny flood, remaining on the rocky bottom, beneath the waves, twice as long (says a naval officer) as the most expert of our divers,—filling their baskets,-returning ashore,—drying themselves a few minutes by the fire, and warming their chilled limbs, and then resuming their perilous toils, while their husbands, through the whole, are seated comfortably around the fire, feasting on the choicest of the fish, and the most delicate of the broiled fern-roots.
Nor need I carry you to the other side of the globe, to witness the unseemly toils and bitter sufferings of benighted womar.. Our own continent supplies us practical illustrations without end.
Let a fact or two suffice. Father Joseph (a missionary on the banks of the Oronoco) ventured to reprove an Indian female, for destroying her infant daughter. She replied, “O that my mother had thus prevented the manifold sufferings I have endured ! Consider, father, our deplorable condition. Our husbands go out to hunt; we are dragged along with one infant at the breast and another in a basket. Though tired with long walking, we are not allowed to sleep when we return, but must labor the whole night in grinding maize to make chica for them They get drunk and beat us; they drag us by the hair of the head and tread us under foot. And after such a slavery of twenty years, what have we to comfort us? A young wife is brought home and permitted to abuse us and our children. What kindness can we show our daughters, equal to putting them to death? Would to God my mother had put me under ground the moment I was born!”
One case more only for the sake of contrast. "Soon after my acquaintance with these Indians,” (says a missionary to the Choctaws,)“I one day saw a chief travelling on horseback, quite at his ease, followed by his poor wife, who was not only on foot, but carried his infant child, his rifle, and a quantity of provisions in a large basket at her back, supported by a strap drawn across her forehead. At a subsequent season, I met the same family again on their travels; the chief was now on foot, laden with his own arms, and he had kindly placed his wife on the saddle. The child, too, now much larger than before, was sweetly sleeping in the arms of its father, who himself seemed cheerful and happy amid the fatigues of the way.” The language of the poet to his wife he practically adopted as his own:
"On all her days let health and peace attend,
But let her husband be her highest joy."
But the widowhood of the Pagan wife and mother is, if possible, more wretched than her married life. As if Satan could not bear that the daughters of the first victim of his seduction should find peace in any condition, he first torments them as daughters in the house of their fathers, then as wives in the dwellings of their husbands, and then as widows, cast out from