Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
Letter XXII
Jaron to the first Eunuch
THE FURTHER 1 Usbek journeys from the seraglio, the more he thinks of these devoted women: he sighs, he weeps; his grief becomes embittered, and his suspicions grow stronger. He wishes to increase the number of their guardians. He intends to send me back, with all the blacks who accompany him. It is not for himself he fears, but for that which is to him a thousand times dearer.  1
  I return then to live under your laws, and to share your cares. Great God! what a world of things is necessary for one man’s happiness!  2
  Nature, which seems originally to have placed women in a state of dependence, afterward withdrew them from it, with the result that dissension arose between the sexes because of their mutual rights. The sexes now live in a new kind of unity: hatred is the link between women and us poor eunuchs; between women and men, love is the bond.  3
  My brow begins to wear a constant frown. My eyes dart forth sombre glances, and joy forsakes my lips. Outwardly I appear calm; within unrest reigns. Grief will furrow my face long before wrinkles of old age appear.  4
  I should have greatly enjoyed accompanying my master in his western journey, but my will belongs to him. He wishes me to guard his wives; I shall watch over them faithfully. I know how to behave toward that sex, which, when not allowed to be vain, turns haughty, and which it is easier to break than to bend. I prostrate myself before you.

  SMYRNA, the 12th of the moon of Zilcade, 1711.
Note 1. The second of those added in 1754. [back]

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