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couple with consecrated water, and repeat prayers. The bride's parents keep up feasting, dancing, and music for several days ; and sometimes months elapse before the young people commence housekeeping for themselves. The Siamese laws allow of several wives, but the wealthy only avail themselves of this indulgence. Superior privileges are conferred on the first wife, and upon her children. The children of the others are not allowed to use the familiar appellation of “father,” but are required to say, “Mr. father.” The first wife may be divorced, but cannot be sold, like the others. In case of divorce, she may claim the first, third, fifth child, and so on, through the odd numbers. The husband has a right to all the even numbers; of course, the mother sometimes has a larger share than the father. All the property left by a husband belongs to the first wife. She likewise inherits his authority; but she cannot sell the even-number children, who in case of division would have belonged to their father. The poorer classes work on the land, and transact business for their husbands, during the half of each year, which they are obliged to spend in the service of a despotic prince. They take great care of their children, especially of their daughters, and are generally very virtuous and modest. The Siamese, unlike their neighbors of Cochin China, are very scrupulous concerning the character of their women, with which they conceive their own honor to be intimately connected. Their laws are very severe. An unfaithful wife is exposed alive to tigers, or sold as a slave. These people have a singular religious ceremony, which reminds one of the Jewish scape-goat. An infamous woman is carried about on a barrow, accompanied with trumpets and hautboys. Every one curses her, and pelts her with dirt. She is then carried out of the town, left among bushes and thorns, and forbidden ever to return to the city. They have a superstition that this ceremony will avert all threatened evils from them to her. The Siamese priests are not allowed to marry, on pain of being burnt to death. There are female convents in Siam, but no woman is allowed to take the vow before she is fifty years old. When a man is condemned for any crime, his innocent family suffer with him; and wives and children are not unfrequently gambled away at games of chance. The women marry very young. It is a common thing to see wives and mothers of twelve years old. Like other nations in the vicinity, they smoke a good deal, and universally color their teeth black.
The Malays are a proud and revengeful people, excessively jealous of their women. The lower classes of females are, however, allowed to go about in public, and transact various kinds of business, with a hardihood that braves all manner of fatigue and exposure. The women, of course, imbibe something of the fierce character of the men. No lover can hope to find favor in their eyes, until he can produce a number of human skulls, which he has severed from the bodies. When attacked by enemies, they fight by the side of their husbands and brothers, with a fiery courage amounting to desperation. Their manner of living is almost as simple and rude as that of savages. The women are generally well shaped, with tawny complexions, oval faces, expressive eyes, large mouths with thin lips, and teeth blackened by chewing betel. They are fond of gallantry, dress, and jewels. The higher class wear a muslin garment, descending to the feet, and fastened with a girdle at the waist; and to this they add a short jacket. They frequently have ear-rings, bracelets, and gold chains, and fasten their long shining black hair at the top of the head with a gold pin. The common people of both sexes dress almost exactly alike; their clothing consisting merely of a cloth wrapped about the waist, fastened by a belt, in which they carry their daggers. The children in Malacca, and the neighboring nations, universally go without clothing.
The Chinese women have broad unmeaning faces; small, lively eyes, obliquely placed, with eyelids rounding into each other at the corners, not forming an angle, as in Europeans; their hair is black; lips rather thick'and rosy ; and their complexion is a yellowish brown; excepting some inhabitants of the northern provinces, who are fairer. They generally paint their faces so as to give a strong carnation tint to the whole surface. A foot unnaturally small is considered a great beauty. In order to attain this, the higher classes bind tight bandages round the feet of female infants, so that none but the great toe is suffered to retain its natural position. This compression is continued until the foot ceases to grow. It is then a misshapen little stump, four or five inches long, with all the smaller toes adhering firmly to the sole. The growth thus cruelly checked in its proper place, increases the ankle to such a clumsy size, that it almost entirely conceals the foot. When the ladies attempt to walk, they seem to be moving on stumps, and hobble along in the most awkward manner imaginable. Their little shoes are as fine as tinsel and embroidery can make them. According to Chinese history, this custom originated several centuries ago, when a numerous body of women combined together to overthrow the government; and to prevent the recurrence of a similar event it was ordained that female infants should wear wooden shoes, so small as to cramp their feet and render them useless. Some writers have supposed that this singular practice originated in the jealousy of Chinese husbands, who contrived this method to keep their wives at home; but this seems very improbable. The Persians, who seclude their women with much greater rigor than the Chinese, do not think it necessary to disable their feet; nor would such a precaution be a safeguard against intrigues. The reason of this, as well as other customs equally strange, may probably be found in the caprice of fashion; and while unnaturally small feet are considered by Chiuese men as a charming indication of elegant helplessness, the Chinese women will no doubt endure any degree of suffering to attain the enviable distinction. Chinese hands are exceedingly small. The ladies keep them concealed by long wide cuffs, and consider it immodest to let them appear, even in presence of male relations. Both sexes, among the wealthy, suffer the finger nails to grow to an immense length, to show that they perform no labor. Sometimes they are said to be from eight to twelve inches long. In order to preserve them from being broken, they are obliged to keep them in light bamboo cases. The ladies generally comb their hair back from the face, and pluck out their eyebrows, so as to leave only a very thin arch. They wear their robes so long as to conceal the person from the throat to the toes. The garments of the higher classes are made of the richest materials, but are clumsy and inelegant. The usual colors are red, blue, and green. Though the Chinese ladies have no opportunity to rival each other in the conquest of hearts, they are nevertheless very fond of ornaments, especially about the head. Bunches of silver or gilt flowers are always interspersed among their ringlets, in greater or less profusion; and sometimes they wear the fonghoang or Chinese phoniz, made of silver gilt, and so arranged as to move with the slightest motion of the wearer. The spreading tail forms a glitteling