« ZurückWeiter »
DRESS OF THE MOORS.
of the better educated are, however, courteous and polite.
No bodily suffering, no calamity, can induce a Moor to complain. He is resigned in all things to the will of God, and patiently waits for an amelioration of his condition. When a Moor has passed the Desert from Timbuctoo, and the plundering Arabs have left him nothing but the clothes on his back, he says, “what remedy is there? God willed it so; and there is none but God !”
The dress of the men is a shirt which hangs over the drawers, and reaches below the knee; a coat which buttons down to the bottom, and has large open sleeves, and a red cap, with a turban. When they go out, a hayk of cotton, silk, or wool, five or six yards long, and five feet wide, is thrown carelessly over the coat. The part of the dress which should be white is seldom washed; yet they are scrupulously nice in their apartments: they leave their slippers at the door, and cannot endure the slightest degree of contamination near the place where they are seated.
The dress and ornaments of the women have been described in those of the ladies of the Sultan's horem, except that the former admits of some variety in the stuffs and in the decoration of the head. At home, when employed in their families, they often wear only the shirt, with a coarser shirt over it, and a girdle round the waist. Abroad, they appear wrapped in the hayk, which covers the head and face, and allows them to see without being seen. The old carefully hide their faces; the young and handsome are, as I have before observed, rather more indulgent. Their husbands do not know them in the street; and it is reckoned
ill-bred to look attentively at a woman as she passes. Women of rank seldom walk in the streets, it being considered as a kind of degradation. When they do, they are attended by a female slave. Women wash their faces, hands and arms, legs and feet, two or three times a day.
The Moors marry very young, many of the females not being more than twelve years
age. If we except the very opulent, they do not avail themselves of their prophet's permission to have four wives. They are in general content with one; and those who go to the extent of their allowance seldom take another till the bloom of the former be faded.
When a Moor is inclined to marry, he makes enquiries of some confidential servant respecting the person of her mistress; and if he is satisfied with the report, he sometimes obtains a sight of her through a window : he then demands the lady of her father, procures his consent, and sends his presents.
If the father be rich, he gives a dowry to his daughter, and a quantity of pearls and diamonds. These remain the property of the lady, and if the husband put her away, she takes them with her.
On the evening of the day of marriage, the bride is put into a cage about twelve feet in circumference, covered with fine white linen, or with gauzes and silks of various colours. In this, which is placed on a mule, she is paraded through the streets, attended by her relations and friends; some persons carrying lighted torches; others playing on hautboys; and others firing muskets. In this manner she is conducted to the house of her husband, who enters the room, and finds her alone,
MARRIAGES OF THE MOORS.
sitting on a silk or velvet cushion, with her hands over her eyes; two wax candles are placed on a table before her, by the light of which he sees his bride for the first time, unless he may have been favoured with a momentary sight of her through her window. It is customary for a man to remain at home eight days, and a woman eight months, after they are married.
Women frequently visit their female relations and friends. If a lady's sandals be seen at the door of a wife's apartment, the husband himself dares not enter. He retires into another room, and directs a female slave to inform him when the sandals are taken away.
If a husband curse his wife, the law obliges him to pay her, for the first offence, eight ducats; for the second, a dress of greater value; and, for the third, she may leave him. But when a jealous or discontented husband chooses to tyrannize over his wife, she has no one to assist her; for even her father cannot interfere, if informed of the ill treatment she endures. Instances have occurred of a woman's being cruelly beaten and put to death. It is true that the husband would suffer death if it were proved; but who can prove it, when no one dares enter the horem without his permission ? If a wife have male children, she has no ill treatment to fear; for a father dares not behave ill to the mother of his son.
When a boy can read, and repeat about sixty lessons from the Koran ; he is supposed to have acquired sufficient knowledge. He quits the school, and rides on horseback through the city, followed by his comrades, who sing his praises. This is, to him, a day of triumph; to them, an
incitement to learning ; to the master, a festival ; and to the parents a day of expence; for in all countries where there are processions, there are eating and drinking.
The Muselman eats nothing but what has bled, and he cuts the throat of his partridge in the name of God. The Moor receives his visitor sitting, cross-legged, on a mattrass or a mat. He does not rise; but he shakes hands with his guest, enquires after his health, and desires him to be seated. A large bowl of cuscasoe is placed on the floor, or on a low circular table, and half a dozen persons sit round it, cross-legged, on carpets or cushions. A servant goes round with a ewer and a napkin, and pours water on the hands of each ; rose-water is used for this purpose by the great. After the usual ejaculation of “ Bis’m illah,” in the name of God, each dips his hand into the bowl, and taking up a part of its contents, and converting it into a ball, throws it into his mouth, without suffering his fingers to touch his lips. Soup is eaten with wooden
emperor himself using no other. The Moors never drink till they have done eating, when a large goblet of water is passed round; they
“El Ham'd û lillah," praise be to God, and the washing is repeated.
An Arab of Marocco has said to a Christian, “ One of your entertainments is sufficient for a regiment of Muselmen; for a Muselman requires only one dish: and you give your dinners to those who do not want, while we entertain persons who are travelling on a journey.”
The inhabitants of Marocco breakfast upon thick barley gruel called el hassûa; and they relate a story of a physician who went into a distant
MANNERS OF THE MOORS.
country, and enquired what the people took for breakfast. On being answered, el hassûa, he said, “ Then peace be with you; for if you eat el hassúa in a morning, you have no need of me.”
The inhabitants of Marocco smoke the leaves and flowers of the African hemp, which for a time deprives them of reason, and gives them fascinating imaginations in its place. While under its influence, men become emperors and bashaws, and associate with beautiful women. But it is said, that this herb, while it increases the felicity of those who are happy, adds to the misery of those who are melancholy.
In fine weather, the Moors frequently spread a mat, or a carpet, before their door, and receive their friends in the street. The streets are sometimes crowded with parties of this kind, drinking tea, smoking, conversing, or playing at chess or draughts. The people of this country are so averse to standing or walking, that, if two or three persons meet, they squat down in the first clean place they can find, though they converse only a few minutes. None but the vulgar go on foot.; and, for the purpose of visiting, mules are considered as more genteel than horses. The pride of a Moor is to have mules that will walk remarkably fast, and keep his footmen, the number of whom is proportioned to his consequence, on a continued run. The people of Marocco breathe much in the open air : business is transacted in detached rooms, of which three sides are closed, and the fourth is supported by pillars.
The Moors have few amusements. They often resort to their gardens, which are planted with orange, lemon, and cedar trees, in rows, and in