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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter XV
The first Eunuch to Jaron, the black Eunuch, at Erzeroum
 
MAY 1 Heaven restore you to this country, and deliver you from all danger!  1
  Although friendship is a bond almost unknown to me, and although I am wrapped up in myself, yet you have made me feel that I have a heart; and while I was as a bronze statue to the rest of the slaves who lived under my rule, it was with pleasure that I watched your growth from infancy.  2
  The time came when my master threw his eyes on you. Nature had not yet whispered her secrets, when the knife separated you from her forever. I will not say whether I pitied you, or whether I was glad to see you brought into my own condition. I dried your tears and stilled your cries. I imagined that I saw you born again, issuing from a state of thraldom in which you would always have had to obey, to enter into a service in which you would exercise authority. I charged myself with your education. That severity, without which instruction is impossible, kept you long in ignorance of my love. You were dear to me, however; and I assure you that I loved you as a father loves his son, if the names of father and son can be applied to such as you and I.  3
  Since you are to travel in countries inhabited by unbelieving Christians, it is impossible that you should escape defilement. How shall the prophet look on you with favor in the midst of so many millions of his enemies? I hope my master, on his return, will perform the pilgrimage to Mecca: you would be purified in that blessed place.

  THE SERAGLIO AT ISPAHAN, the 10th of the second moon of Gemmadi, 1711.
  4
 
Note 1. Letter XV. is the first of those added in the edition of 1754. [back]
 
 
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