Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter CLVI
Roxana to Usbek, at Paris
 
HORROR, darkness, and terror reign in the seraglio; a dreadful affliction is upon us: at every moment a tiger vents on us all his rage. He has tortured two white eunuchs, who have only confessed their innocence; he has sold part of our slaves, and forced us to share among us the services of those which remained. Zachi and Zelis have received in their chambers, in the darkness of the night, most unworthy treatment; the wretch has not feared to lay his sacrilegious hands upon them. He keeps us shut up each in her apartment; and although we are alone there, he forces us to wear our veils. We are no longer allowed to speak; to write would be a crime: we have no liberty except to weep.  1
  A crowd of new eunuchs have entered the seraglio, and beset us night and day: our sleep is constantly interrupted by their real or feigned suspicions. What consoles me is, that all this cannot last forever, and that my troubles will end with my life. And the end is not far distant, cruel Usbek: I will not give you time to put an end to all these outrages.

  THE SERAGLIO AT ISPAHAN, the 2d of the moon of Maharram, 1720.
  2
 
 
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