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actions are supposed to be inspired. Women, from their liability to nervous disorders, are often chosen for this purpose. The parents of such debilitated girls make money by the superstitions of people who come to consult them, and to purchase little images as a protection against malignant spirits. These unfortunate beings often lead an existence full of terror, laboring under great bodily weakness, and fully believing themselves under the influence of the evil one; some of them, however, are artful, and enjoy the power which they know to be a mere mockery. They wear the horns of animals, stuffed serpents, eagles' claws, and all manner of fantastic things, to give them an awful appearance. When the Siberians remove to a new place of residence, the women sometimes walk on snow-shoes, and sometimes ride the reindeer. The Kamtschadale women travel in sledges, but are obliged to have some man with them, to guide the unruly dogs.
THE prevailing customs in Ceylon are similar to those of India. They are divided into distinct castes, from the nobleman to the weaver of mats; the children follow the same business as their fathers; and it is not allowable for one tribe to marry into another. The people in general labor hard, and subsist on a little rice and salt. One of their principal ceremonies of marriage, consists in tying the garments of the bride and bridegroom together, in token that they are bound together for life. This is solemnized in the presence of friends and relations, with such festivities as the wealth of the parties admit.
In many of the islands of the Eastern Archipelago, the condition of women is far better than it is on the continent of Asia. They are not shut up within the walls of a harem, but are allowed to eat with the men, and associate with them on terms of equality. Foreigners are freely introduced to them, and they sometimes attend the parties given by English and Dutch residents, where they uniformly behave with modesty and propriety.
Before the introduction of Mohammedanism into Java, women often held the highest offices of government ; and when the chief of a district dies, it is even now not uncommon for the widow to retain the authority that belonged to her deceased husband. Polygamy is permitted by religion and law, but the common people seldom have more than one wife. The sovereign of Java does not by custom have more than four, nor the chiefs more than two; but they generally have a greater or less number of mistresses. It is extremely easy to obtain divorces and form new connections; but during the continuance of the relation, the matrimonial vow is said in general to be faithfully observed. If a woman is dissatisfied with her husband, she can obtain divorce by paying a certain sum of money established by custom. The lower class pay about twenty dollars, and the higher pay fifty. The husband can refuse to consent, but he seldom does so, because it is considered dishonorable to live with a reluctant companion. It is not uncommon to see a woman who has divorced three or four husbands before she is
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thirty years old. Some individuals change their mates ten or twelve times. A man may at any time obtain separation by making suitable provision for his wife's support; and this is no difficult matter in a country where food is very abundant, and shelter almost unnecessary. The Javanese have very little of the Asiatic jealousy of women; but when they believe themselves wronged, they pursue the offender with the most implacable revenge. The prince of Madura, during times of political commotion, sought refuge with his family on board a Dutch ship. The captain, according to the custom of his country, greeted the princess with a kiss. She screamed, and her husband immediately stabbed him to the heart. There are three kinds of marriages in Java. The first, which is most common, is where the rank of the parties is equal, or the bridegroom superior to the bride; the second is where the wife's station is much above that of the husband; and the third is a sort of half-marriage, the offspring of which are not allowed to be upon an entire equality with the other children. In the two first kinds of marriage, the ceremonies are alike; but in the last there is no ceremony at all. The first wife is always at the head of the family; on this account, no father is willing to bestow his daughter upon a man of his own rank for a second or third wife. Girls are generally disposed of in marriage at a very early age. An unmarried woman of twenty-two years old is almost unheard of in Java.
The wedding ceremonies are similar to those in neighboring countries. The betrothment is arranged by relatives, and consists in the offering and accepting of gifts.
A price is always paid by the bridegroom, in money, jewels, clothes, buffaloes, or rice, according to his wealth. This is generally regarded as a provision for the wife; but among some tribes, the money or goods is given outright to the girl's parents. On the wedding day, the bridegroom, dressed in his richest attire, and mounted on his best steed, proceeds to the bride's dwelling, accompanied by his friends with music. When they approach, she comes out to meet them, and receives them with a low obeisance. In some districts they have a frolicsome custom of throwing bundles of betel leaves at each other, as soon as the bride appears at the door. If she receives a blow on the forehead it is considered as a sign that she will have to obey her husband; but if the reverse happens, it is supposed that she will govern him. The bridegroom conducts his bride to a seat elevated woove the rest of the company, and in token of their intention to live together, they eat siri (or betel leaves) from the same siri-box. In some places they eat rice from the same vessel. The nuptials are celebrated at the mosque, according to the Mohammedan ritual, and the young couple move through the village in gay procession; the bride in an open litter, decked with all the jewels she could buy or borrow, and the bridegroom and his friends on horseback, with as much splendor of ap