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exceedingly indccorous for the husband to live with his wife, or even to visit her, except as an acquaintance. She lives with her mother, and prides herself on the number of her lovers, especially if they be Bramins or rajahs; but if any of them were her inferiors, she would be immediately expelled from her caste, which is the greatest misfortune that can befall a Hindoo. Owing to these strange customs, a Nair has much more affection for his sister's children than for those of his wife, and no one is offended at being asked who is his father. The husband is, of course, the lover of some other married dame. If he offers the lady cloth for a dress, and she accepts it, the matter is settled, until they see fit to change. Sons inherit the fortune of the maternal grandfather. The heir apparent to the throne of Travancore is not the son of the rajah's wife, but of his oldest sister, who is treated as queen. The Nairs treat their mothers with the utmost respect, and have a filial regard for maternal uncles and aunts; but they scarcely notice their fathers, and have little affection for brothers and sisters. Yet notwithstanding this allowed profligacy, these singular people are very jealous of the honor of their women. An intrigue with a European, or one of a different tribe, would be punished with death. The Bramins indeed are allowed to be the lovers of wives and daughters of the other superior castes; their proposals are deemed too great an honor to be refused. The disgusting class called fakirs likewise

their ostentatious sanctity. They often carry beautiful girls to their temples, under the pretence that the god has chosen them for wives; and this is considered an enviable distinction. The women among the Nairs go with the upper part of the person entirely uncovered; as is generally the case throughout Malabar, and even in the southern parts of the peninsula. They have their ears bored in childhood, and in order to enlarge the aperture, they put in a rolled leaf of the cocoa tree, or suspend a piece of lead; afterward they insert small round ivory cases. They wear the hair flowing loosely behind, or hanging in several tresses curiously braided. It is never cut off, except in seasons of mourning, or as a punishment. . . . The women in this part of Hindostan have a singular custom. When a young girl is betrothed, when she is married, and when a son is born, all the female relatives meet at her house, and make the event known to the neighbors by a long, loud, monotonous howl, which one would suppose was in tended to express any thing but joy. There is a caste in Hindostan, comprising all painters and gilders, in which brothers marry their sisters, and uncles their nieces. At funerals, hired female mourners tear their hair beat themselves, and utter dismal cries. The custom of widows burning themselves upon the funeral pile of their husbands is not commanded as a religious duty in any of their sacred writings; but enthusiastic devotees have been led to sanction the cruel ceremony by the following text: “The woman who dies with her husband shall enjoy life eternal with him in heaven.” * A woman who resolves upon this sacrifice, abstains from food as soon as her husband is dead, and continually repeats the name of the god he had worshipped. When the hour arrives, she adorns herself with rich clothes and jewels, and goes to the funeral pile, attended by her relations and friends, with the sound of musical instruments. The Bramins give her drinkin which opium is mixed, and sing songs in praise of heroism. It is said that before the ceremony they try to dissuade her from her project; but the resolution once taken is sacred. One of them being warned of the pain she would endure, held her finger in the fire for some time, and then burned incense on the palm of her hand, to prove her contempt of suffering. Mr. Forbes mentions a female whose husband had amply provided for her by will, and, contrary to the usual custom of the Hindoos, had made her perfectly independent of his family. “She persisted in her determination to accompany him to a better world, and suffered not the tears and supplications of an aged mother and three helpless infants to change her purpose. An immense concourse of people of all ranks assembled, and a band of music accompanied the Bramins, who superintended the ceremony. The bower of death, enwreathed with sacred flowers, was erected over a pile of sandalwood and spices, on which lay the body of the deceased. After various ceremonies, the music ceased, and the crowd in solemn silence waited the arrival of the heroine. She was attended by her mother and three lovely children, arrayed in rich attire, and wearing the hymeneal crown. After a few religious ceremonies, the attendants took off her jewels, and anointed her dishevelled hair with consecrated ghee, as also the skirts of her yellow muslin robě. She then distributed her ornaments among weeping friends, while two lisping infants clung around her knees to dissuade her from the fatal purpose ; the last pledge of conjugal love was taken from her bosom by an aged parent in speechless agony. Freed from these heart-piercing mourners, the lovely widow, with an air of solemn majesty, received a lighted torch from the Bramins, with which she walked seven times round the pyre. Stopping near the entrance of the bower, for the last time she addressed the fire, and worshipped the other deities prescribed; then setting, fire to her hair and the skirts of her robe, to render herself the only brand worthy of illuminating the sacred pile, she threw away the torch, rushed into the bower, and embracing her husband, thus communicated the flames to the surrounding branches. The musicians immediately struck up the loudest strains, to drown the cries of the victim, should her courage, have forsaken her; but several of the spectators declared that the serenity of her countenance and the dignity of her behavior surpassed all the sacrifices of a similar nature they had ever witnessed.”

Such an event is deemed very glorious to the family of the victim, and that of her husband. They are proud of her in proportion to the calmness and heroism with which she meets her fate. If the resolution of the poor creatures fail them at the last moment, they bring irretrievable disgrace on their connections. If they try to go back, they are often put to death by relatives, or expelled from their caste, and forever cut off from all intercourse with relations or friends. But notwithstanding religious enthusiasm, and the prejudices of education, they are not always resigned to their cruel fate. In 1796, the widow of a Bramin determined to be burned with the body of her husband. It was dark and rainy when the pile was lighted, and when she began to be scorched by the flames, she crept away unperceived, and hid herself in the brushwood. It wās soon discovered, and they dragged her forth. Her own son insisted that she should be thrown on the pile again, or else hang herself. She pleaded hard for life, but pleaded in vain. The son said he should be expelled from his caste, unless the sacrifice were completed, and that either he or she must die. Finding her still unwilling to destroy herself, the son and his companions bound her limbs and threw her on the funeral pile, where she quickly perished. The bones are carefully collected in vases, and thrown into some sacred river. The next day the Bramins sprinkle milk and consecrated water over the place, and sometimes erect a chapel. It not unfrequently happens that a number of wives are burned at once with the dead body of their hus

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