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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter LXXI
Usbek to Zelis
 
I AM sorry for Soliman, especially as his misfortune is without remedy, since his son-in-law has done no more than the law allows him. I think it a very harsh law, which exposes in this way the honor of a family to the caprice of a fool. It has been lightly said that there are sure signs whereby to know the truth: it is an old error from which we have now departed; and our physicians have supplied invincible reasons for the uncertainty of these proofs. Even among the Christians there are none who do not regard them as imaginary, although they are plainly established in their sacred writings, and although their ancient lawgiver 1 has made the innocence or condemnation of all their daughters depend upon them.  1
  I am pleased to know that you are giving great care to the education of yours. God grant that her husband may find her as lovely and as pure as Fatima; 2 may she have ten eunuchs to guard her; may she be the honor and the ornament of the seraglio to which she is destined; may she have overhead none but gilded ceilings, and under foot only the richest carpets! And, to crown these wishes, may my eyes see her in all her glory!

  PARIS, the 3d of the moon of Chalval, 1714.
  2
 
Note 1. Moses.—Deuteronomy, ch. xxii., v. 13–21. [back]
Note 2. See Letter I, note, p. 31. [back]
 
 
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