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they often commit suicide, or entreat their husbands to kill them. Females are engaged in almost every variety of occupation, according to the caste of their husbands. They cultivate the land, make baskets and mats, bring water in jars, carry manure and various other articles to market in baskets on their heads, cook food, tend children, weave cloth, reel skeins of thread, and wind cocoons. A single cocoon is divided into twenty degrees of fineness; and these silk-winders have such an exquisite sense of touch, that when the thread is running swiftly through their fingers, they break it off exactly as the assortments change. 'Cashmere shawls are sometimes woven in a manner so delicate, that they can be drawn through a wedding ring; and they manufacture muslin so transparent, that when laid on the grass it does not at all intercept the color. It has been said that there is no country in the world where so many people live in idleness. This is no doubt in a great measure to be ascribed to the enervating influence of their brilliant climate, the abundance produced by a luxuriant soil, and the slight shelter or clothing required, where the air is so uniformly mild, and the sky serene. All travellers agree that the scenery of Hindostan is beautiful, almost beyond imagination. Magnificent temples and tombs indicate the grandeur of former times, while the gorgeous edifices of more recent periods denote the wealth, if not the classic taste of her princes; innumerable rivers fertilize and adorn the land, while the air is perfumed with the lavish abundance of blossoms and fruit. The inhabitants love to repose in the cool shadow of their broad-leaved foliage ; and the women are said to be so languidly indolent, that they will hardly stretch forth their arms to save their children from being trodden to death. One of their favorite authors says: “It is better to sit still than to walk; better to sleep than to be awake; and death is the best of all.” In pictures of Hindoo women of the higher classes, I have always observed a dangling and listless position of the arms and fingers, which indicates all the writer has expressed. If any thing affects them disagreeably, they are apt to signify it by lolling out their tongues. When a father dies, the eldest son supplies his place, in protecting and providing for his mother . and younger members of the family. The widow can only claim an allowance necessary for her support; but filial piety is so highly reverenced by the Hindoos, that children often stint themselves that their parents need, not suffer. The greatest insult that can be offered a Hindoo is to speak contemptuously of his mother. The features of the Hindoos differ little from those of Europeans; but their complexion is of a deep mahogany hue. A very perceptible difference of physiognomy characterizes the various castes. Those who do not labor are less vigorous than Europeans, but more elegantly shaped. The women are said to

be extremely beautiful, with delicate, regular feaVOL. I. 7

tures, and remarkably fine dark eyes; but they lose their beauty at an early age. They are generally distinguished by a childish simplicity and modest gracefulness, which is very attractive. If the husband is dissatisfied with his wife, he parts from her and seeks another; and the wife can do the same with regard to her husband. Some reasons are required to be given, but where both parties agree in wishing for divorce it is very easily obtained. Sometimes when a man desires a separation he calls his wife mother, and after that it is considered indelicate to live with her. Sometimes an occasional visiter addresses the females of the house in this way, as a pledge of his purity. The poor seldom have more than one wife; and if she has children they rarely part from her as long as they live. The women are generally faithful and submissive to their husbands, and very fond of their families. Even the poorest of them esteem it a great misfortune to be childless. They regard it, as the Jews did of old, as a peculiar visitation of God, and spare neither prayers, alms, offerings, nor penances, to avert this calamity. They are often seen performing long journeys, with two or three little children, whom they lead by the hand or carry on their backs. Women, even of the higher classes, are forbidden to read or write; because the Hindoos think these acquirements would inevitably spoil them for domestic life, and assuredly bring some great misfortune upon them. Many stories are circulated concerning the dreadful accidents that have happened to women, who could read and write. Poetry, music, and dancing, are cultivated only by a class of women, openly and avowedly licentious. The wives of rajahs, and the numerous favorites of the Mohammedan grandees, do indeed divert their lords with dancing in the interior of the zananah, but it would be deemed highly disgraceful to indulge in this amusement before strangers. Nothing shocks an East Indian more than the European custom of ladies and gentlemen dancing with each other; they cannot believe that it does not indicate great corruption of IsläIlsler S. # From the remotest antiquity, dancing has been associated with religion in India. The devedassees are young girls devoted to the service of the temple almost from their infancy; and this is considered so great an honor, that even the rajahs are anxious to obtain it for their daughters. They must be well shaped, of pleasing features, of good constitutions, and of very tender age ; the parents are likewise required to renounce all further claim to the child. The devedassees, after bathing the novitiate in the tank belonging to the temple, dress her in new clothes and adorn her with jewels; the high priest puts into her hand an image of the deity, to whose service she devotes herself with a solemn vow ; the ... lobes of her ears are then bored, and the seal of the temple imprinted on her with red-hot iron. The great pagoda of Juggernaut contains five or six hundred of these girls. The Bramins teach them to read, write, sing, and dance. They must likewise be versed in the history of their gods; but they are forbidden to read the vedas.” They take care of the temples, light the lamps, and sing and dance before the statue of the god, on solemn festivals. Some say the devedasses are entirely subservient to the pleasures of the Bramins, who are exceedingly jealous of them; others say they are at liberty to choose any lovers, in or out of the temple, provided they be of the higher castes. The tips of their nails are stained red. The long braided hair, the neck, the naked arms, and the feet are covered with jewels; rings on the hand, rings on the feet, rings in the ears, and sometimes rings in the side of the nose; literally, according to the old nursery story, “with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.” The silver chains and bells with which they decorate the ankles and feet, make a monotonous but agreeable sound, as they dance, that mingles pleasantly with the small drums, tambourines, and silver cymbals, to which they keep time. In their hands they hold wooden castanets, which they strike in cadence. At the end of each dance they turn toward the idol, with their hands clasped before their faces. All make precisely the same movements and gestures at the same moment. When they become old, or the Bramins, for any other reason, wish to have them leave, they are dismissed from the pagoda. The temple where they serve furnishes them with food, clothing, and pay; but when they leave, they are obliged to relinquish all articles of ornament. They are ever after re

* Certam sacred books.

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