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formal divorce, and give the woman permission to return to her own relations. Tartar mothers nurse their infants till they are two or three years old, and think Christian women very cruel to wean them so early. There is little variety in amusements. The men and women generally have separate dances. Those of the men are lively and martial ; but the female dances consist principally in slow motions and changing attitudes, while the face is covered by the hands. The women in general have no share in the amusements of men; because this could not be without violating Mohammedan ideas of decorum. The day when any tribe removes to fresh pastures is always a day of festivity. The women, sure of being seen by all the men, decorate themselves in their best style, and put on all their store of ornaments. The Mohammedan Tartars often make war on their neighbors, for the purpose of obtaining slaves to sell. They frequently steal children for this purpose; and if their own daughters are beautiful, or their wives give them the least offence, they do not hesitate to sell them to the Jewish slave merchants, who are always traversing the country. In former times nearly the whole of Asia was tributary to the powerful Mogul empire. Traces of ancient wealth and refinement are occasionally dug up from the ruins of edifices built by Zinghis Khan and Tamerlane. In 1720, there were found, in Calmuck Tartary, urns, lamps, ear-rings, an equestrian statue, the image of a prince wearing a diadem, and two women seated on thrones. It is said the Mogul women sometimes inherited the crown, but always issued their decrees from behind a screen. They were sometimes admitted to the apartments of men after supper, where they conversed and partook of the refreshments offered them. On such occasions they always remained veiled, and the slightest rudemess toward them would have been revenged even unto death. When present at any public entertainments, the Mogul women were screened from observation by galleries of close lattice-work.
The Amazons, so famed in history, are supposed to have lived on the borders of the Black sea. They are said to have formed a state from which men were entirely excluded, to have founded cities, and conquered nations. They are represented armed with bows, arrows, javelins, and peculiar kind of axe, called “the axe of the Amazo s.” Some ancient writers dispute the existence of this female empire; but the monuments and coins on which Amazons are represented are too numerous to admit a doubt that there was some foundation for the story. That it was a nation without men is highly improbable. The women were probably warlike, and perhaps fought battles in squadrons, separate from their husbands and brothers. Among some of the Tartar tribes of the present day, females manage a horse, hurl a javelin, hunt wild animals, and fight an enemy, as well as the TIMEI),
The women of Siberia are in a state of the most abject slavery. Brides are bought with money, cattle, or clothing, and their numbers depend on the wealth of the purchaser. The tribe called Tchuwasches offer honey and bread to the sun, and to other deities, at the time the marriage contract is settled. On the wedding day, the bride hides herself behind a screen until the guests are assembled; she then walks slowly three times round the room, preceded by young girls who carry beer, honey, and bread. The bridegroom enters, snatches off her veil, kisses her, and exchanges rings with her. She then hands refreshments to the assembled guests, who hail her as the betrothed girl. After this, she again retires behind the screen, where the married women assist her in putting on the matron's cap, which is much more ornamented than the head-dress worn by maidens. After all have partaken of a feast, the new wife pulls off her husband's boots, in token of subservience to him. The festivities continue for two days; and at parting the guests generally deposit some coin in a loaf of bread, hollowed out for the purpose.
It is considered a wife's duty to obey the most capricious and unreasonable commands of her husband, without one word of expostulation or inquiry. If her master be dissatisfied with the most trifling particular in her conduct, he tears the cap or veil from her head, and this constitutes a divorce. The complexion of these people is generally extremely pale, owing probably to their wretched fare.
The marriage ceremonies of the Tcheremisses are
almost precisely similar to those just described. The morning after a wedding, a man, who represents the father of the bride, delivers the husband a whip, which is very freely used whenever his wife offends him. They have sacred groves, where the ceremonials of pagan worship are performed. Women are not allowed to approach these places, and men must bathe before they enter. The mead, cakes, and beer, offered to their gods must be prepared by virgins. At the return of vegetation in the spring, a great sacrifice is offered to their deities, accompanied by a feast; this is the only occasion, on which the women and children are allowed to eat with their husbands and fathers.
Among the Morduans, when the stipulated price has been paid, the father of the bridegroom leads away the bride, who, closely veiled, departs from the parental roof with many tears. On reaching the bridegroom's dwelling, her future spouse, pulling his cap over his eyes, sits down with her to table. His father takes a cake three feet long, prepared for the occasion, and putting one end of it under the bride's veil, says, “Behold the light. Mayst thou be happy in bread and children s” After this ceremony, the young man is, for the first time, permitted to see the woman whom his father has chosen for him. The day is spent in dancing, singing, feasting, and drinkIng; at the close of which the bride is placed on a mat and carried to the bridegroom, to whom she is consigned with these words: “There, wolf, take thy lamb.”
The Wotyake fathers, go to the house of their sons-in-law, soon after the wedding, with a portion of the dowry they had promised; they take the bride back to the parental home, where she remains for a few months, sometimes a year. During this time, she lays aside the matron dress she had assumed, and works partly for her parents, partly for herself. When her husband comes to claim her again, she shows the same reluctance to accompany him, that she did at first. These women are very modest, virtuous, and industrious.
The Ostiaks generally make a great many visits to a girl's father, before her price is settled; and each time a strong effort is made to abate the sum, so as to get as cheap a bargain as possible. The price varies from ten to one hundred reindeer; but the bride usually brings some dowry to her husband. As soon as the young man has paid half the price they have agreed upon, he comes to the hut and takes up his abode there. If he likes the girl, who without further ceremony is considered his wife, he is bound to give her mother a reindeer; but if he has cause for dissatisfaction, she is obliged to give him one. The husband cannot take his wife to his own hut, or beat her without her father's permission, until the whole of her price is paid. On payment of the second installment, a wedding feast is given, and the company divert themselves with singing, dancing, and stories of love or war. The men and women dance together, in couples, with a variety of amorous gestures. .