Wind N W. Leverings at Meeting afternoon about home meditateing. Prices awhile so home. Yerkes I at home Evening at Doct. Cle Snowd alittle blue of [f] very Cold indeed, Seen 2 men walking over Ice at falls the 17th.
Jany 20th Wind W. Jones, G. Hause over Cast Evening. Cold day hard frost about home till one OC- up [to] the Doct. Wind E. Feby the 1st Wind S. Sup their after suping at Yerkes s Dull Sail [sale] , good Slaying. Walters Est. He bad Sent to town for doct. Febry 14th. Wind N.
W full as high as fences in many places no Passing with Carriage Jont. Bare to pay Mac Back to I. Kelley, Toush 2 of the worst we mist, they of [f] not to be found. March the 10th. Wind W. Seen the sun this morn quit snowing in Evening 6 or 7 I deep I off with doct. Evans here, Snow gone almost, the Slaying dun almost. Taylors He Better, at I. Hauses So home Cold. March 22nd Wind S by W. Hauses so home. Wind N W hard frost pon [d] froze over, G. April 1st.
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Often, too, she has to exercise her wits to tell her lord amusing stories for his entertainment as they journey by the way. One day some tourists met just such a couple on a country road. The poor woman [Pg 37] was trudging along with a big child sitting astride her shoulder while its father rode the donkey. The suggestion was made that the child might ride if its mother couldn't. To the credit of the smiling-faced peasant the suggestion was followed. Unhappy marriages are a natural result of the seclusion of women in Egypt.
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It would be highly improper for a man to see his bride until after he had married her. He has not even had the privilege of choosing her. His mother did that for him, and it goes without saying that the young man is not always suited. The story is told of a young man who at his wedding feast was sitting so glum and silent that his young friends teased him by saying, "Brother! Why so sad on this joyous occasion? She is ugly! Her short, fat, dumpy little sister is much more according to Egyptian ideas of beauty.
If you don't believe me that she is ugly, go upstairs and peep in at the Harem window and see for yourselves. Frequent divorce is a natural result of these unhappy marriages. Divorce in any land is a social evil but in Egypt it is especially so, because the divorce laws are such that in a peculiar way woman is degraded by them. It is difficult to obtain exact figures regarding the percentage of divorce, as all cases are not recorded.
There are some who say 50 per cent. An experienced missionary when asked her opinion, said, "Divorce is so common that to find a woman who lives all her life with one husband is the exception. In fact it is such an exception that it is a subject for remark, and a visitor in a house where such happy conditions exist never fails to be told about it. Many women have been divorced several times, and a woman of twenty years of age may be living with her third husband. A native Bible woman who had worked among Mohammedans for fourteen years when asked, "How many men or women of twenty-five years of age she thought likely to be living with their original partners?
This was probably an exaggeration, but it shows that divorce is very common, and that the percentage is even higher than those who love Egypt and her people like to admit.
It almost seems that the history of one's Mohammedan acquaintances in Egypt might be given in an endless stream of incidents about divorce and the intrigue and hate and jealousy attendant on this, the greatest social evil of Egypt. Many a young man has no hesitation about marrying and divorcing, keeping up the process for a year or so till he at last finds a wife to suit him.
If it didn't degrade those he has cast aside, he might be excused for doing so, as he has had no chance to choose his wife intelligently. A young man of some spirit was determined to have a wife to please him and who would be congenial to him. Seeing no other way to accomplish it, he married and divorced in rapid succession six times.
The seventh was a queenly young woman, gentle and refined in all her ways, in whom the heart of her husband might well rejoice, yet the terror daily hung over her that she might be divorced in time like the other six. It was pathetic to see how she tried to cultivate every little feminine art to please her husband, how she tried to improve her mind so as to be a companion to him, but constantly with the fear of divorce lurking in her tender and loving heart.
Among the lower classes marrying and divorcing in rapid succession is a form of dissipation. When [Pg 41] pay-day comes, instead of going off on a big drink which, to the credit of Islam, is forbidden , they use their money to defray the expenses of a season of debauchery, marrying and divorcing as many wives as possible while the money lasts.
Picture the degradation of the poor women who are the victims often unwilling victims of such orgies. It would be interesting to bring in here everything that Mohammedan law says about divorce, but the rules are many and complicated and almost too revolting to put into words. It is enough to say that the husband may divorce his wife without any misbehavior on her part or without assigning any reason.
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It is all left to the will and caprice of the man, and he has only to say, "Woman, thou art divorced," or he can even use metaphorical language which must be understood by the ever-on-the-alert wife to mean divorce, as when he says, "Thou art free! A certain man had been away for a week or so on a business trip. He came home and the first words he said to his wife, were, "I thought you had gone home to your father's house! If a man pronounce his sentence of divorce only once or twice it is revocable, but if he pronounces it three times it is irrevocable, and the divorced wife cannot be taken back by her husband till she has been [Pg 42] married to another man, has lived with him and been divorced; then her former husband can take her back.
This is the most revolting and degrading of all the divorce laws, and the prophet Mohammed instituted it thinking that the very repulsiveness of it would act as a restraint, but strange to say it only seems to give more license. A man will get into controversy with his friends perhaps.
To strengthen his statements he uses all sorts of oaths, the strongest of which is, "I divorce my wife by the triple divorce. The poor man is in great distress, for he really loves his wife. What is he to do? He must go through the process of law to get her back. He hires a servant or a strange peasant to marry her. The revolting part is that the poor woman has to live with this hired husband till he is again hired to divorce her, when she is free to go back to her former husband. This case actually happened, and many like it with varying circumstances might be related, although it can gladly be said that the irrevocable divorce is not of such frequent occurrence as the revocable.
Some incidents will illustrate the various circumstances which cause divorce or are excuses for it.