Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter LXX
Zelis to Usbek, at Paris
 
SOLIMAN, whom you love, has been driven desperate by an affront which he has just received. Three months ago a young giddypate, named Suphis, sought his daughter in marriage; he seemed satisfied with the girl’s appearance from the report and description given him by the women who had been with her during her childhood; the dowry had been agreed upon, and all was going well. Yesterday, after the first ceremonies, the girl set out on horseback, accompanied by her eunuch, and veiled, according to custom, from head to foot. But when she arrived at the house of her intended husband, he caused the door to be shut in her face, and swore that he would never receive her unless her dowry were increased. Her relatives hastened from all quarters to arrange the matter; and after a deal of resistance, Soliman agreed to make a small present to his son-in-law. The marriage ceremonies were completed, and the girl conducted to her husband’s bed with sufficient violence; but, an hour after, this giddypate rose in a rage, cut her face in several places, and, declaring that she was not a virgin, sent her back to her father. No one could be more afflicted than he is by this injury. Many people maintain that the girl is innocent. Fathers are most unfortunate in being exposed to such affronts. If my daughter were to receive similar treatment, I believe I should die of grief. Farewell.

  THE SERAGLIO AT FATME, the 9th of the first moon of Gemmadi, 1714.
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