Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter LXXX
The chief black Eunuch to Usbek, at Paris
 
YESTERDAY, some Armenians brought to the seraglio a young Circassian slave whom they wished to sell. I made her enter the secret apartments; I undressed her, I examined her with eyes of a judge; and the more I examined, the more beauties I found. A virginal shame seemed anxious to hide them from my view: I saw how much it cost her to obey: she blushed upon beholding herself naked, even before me, exempt, as I am, from the passions, which can alarm decency, and entirely delivered from the dominion of the sex—the servant of modesty in the freest actions, looking only with the chastest glance, and capable of inspiring nothing but innocence.  1
  From the moment I judged her worthy of you, I cast down my eyes, and threw over her a scarlet cloak; I placed a ring of gold upon her finger, I prostrated myself at her feet, I adored her as the queen of your heart. I paid the Armenians, and hid her from every eye. Happy Usbek! you possess more beauties than all the palaces of the east enclose. What a pleasure to find on your return whatever Persia has that is most ravishing, and to see in your seraglio all the graces reborn as fast as time and possession work their destruction!

  THE SERAGLIO AT FATME, the 1st of the first moon of Rebiab, 1715.
  2
 
 
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