Imagini ale paginilor

desires to educate women, but because the religion of the country excludes male physicians from the hareems, except in unusual cases. In some of the larger towns along the river, small schools for boys are taught by Greek priests and Catholic monks. Comparatively few girls attend school; there is a deep-seated prejudice against their reading and understanding numbers, and it is considered immoral for them to sit under a roof with strange boys, though they may play with them out of doors. If the girl can read, she will not wish to bring the water, drive the buffalo to the river, grind the doorra; she will not work; she will be like the boy. These reasons were many times given ús by men and boys who were opposed to education for girls.

We were much interested in the mission schools. The American mission in its eleven schools and colleges, teaches an average attendance of 1,350 pupils, at an annual cost of $8,000; in its six girl schools, with an average attendance of 630, the cost of instruction is but $2,600, or about $4 per girl. Of the 1,400 girls enrolled, 10 study physiology, 112 Arabic, 116 geography, in French, 248 arithmetic and 278 the American language. More than 50 other independent schools scattered all over Egypt, have grown up under the encouragement of the mission and are taught by graduates of its schools. In these an average attendance of more than 2,000 scholars, 300 being girls, are taught at a yearly cost of $6,000. At Syoot our consular agent, Mr. Khayatt, an Egyptian, besides supporting a school of 200 girls and boys, gives liberally to the college and schools of the American mission. Miss Thompson, the superintendent teacher of the mission schools of Cairo for girls, has given us another evidence of womanly energy and unselfish capacity. Miss Whately has for several years carried on a girl's school and earned the encomiums of her English patrons. At the school in Luxor, we found girls in the first class reading Peter Parley; one of them recently married the native teacher. I made every effort possible to learn the comparitive condition of women and girls, and my questions to priests, consuls, town officers and teachers as to the place they assigned to my side of humanity, gave much amusement to my sons and daughters

Among those who are doing good to the people and educating the children, I make most honorable mention of Père Samuel, a Neapolitan priest who has spent more than fifty years in Upper Egypt. He has given of his time and means to the sick and needy of every class and sect, without stint or reward.

On our return voyage we

anchored at the village of Negadeh and spent an afternoon with the old man in his church and garden. We found the church clean and cool. More than forty years ago he built it, a worthy work of architecture and finish. A Belgian lady has given him a parlor organ, and he is organist and choir as well as priest. There are fine bits of old temples built into the doors and pillars, which he shows with pride. He said that women came to church and were more than half of his congregation. He led us to his school of seventy little and better-sized boys, and three little girls. The boys were writing on tin slates; some of the texts were in Coptic. The Père told us that he read the service in Latin, Arabic, and Coptic, and was teaching the Copt boys the language of their service, that they might pray intelligently. Mr. Wilbour asked if he had ever converted Muslims; he was quite radiant as he replied: “I have baptized forty-two Muslims in my fifty years of service.” He said that before the British occupation he had a school of fifty girls, but donations failed after that began ; he had to give it up with much regret, and feared that he could never re-open it. He resignedly added : “But that must always be, the girls after the boys.” One of our sailors who knew him, spoke of him as a saint who in times of epidemics, went fearlessly among the dying and dead, and did his duty by all in suffering. Grand old man, when the work falls from his willing hands, who shall take it up?

We visited Muslim schools without satisfaction, except to our curiosity. Let me tell you what I saw in one at Luxor. The school was found under a cornstalk shed, open on one side. When we entered, a lively boy ran to an elevated divan at one end of the shed, and shouted up the master, who was lying on the divan with a pillow under his head. He sat up, and looked at us with soft dreamy eyes, but did not recognize our salutation, though twice repeated. Not a ray of intelligence passed over his handsome face; we were embarassed, and eighty little faces turned toward us in sympathy. My daughter beckoned to the lively lad, who came to us, and asked that the boys might repeat a prayer from the Koran. The monitor gave the command to the school, and the slates were laid down and the recitation began in a low voice, which grew louder and louder every moment till the little half-naked brown bodies rocked to and fro as though intoxicated. When the recitation was over, we walked about and looked at the slates, at the babies crowded up into a dirty corner, made our obeisance to the statue of the sleepy god on the divan, and as we went out, he fell back upon his pillow.

In most of the Coptic and Muslim schools, children learn a little arithmetic, reading and writing, and some passages of the Scriptures or the Koran. Many slaves attend the religious and mission schools, and are often far better educated than their masters, who take great pride in their learning. Copts are as frequently sent to the mission schools as to their own, and are very clever and intelligent. At Cairo there is a boarding-school for girls, conducted by nuns, where many girls spend a year, or attend as day scholars. In the families of the rich, a foreign governess is employed, who teaches French and needle-work; but girls are seldom taught to write, as they might make an improper use of the knowledge. Teachers agree that girls do not keep up their reading after they leave school; the books loaned them are often returned with the leaves uncut. But there have been and are some well educated Muslim women in the higher classes; these are counted particularly dangerous and their example pernicious.


This division will include that which custom has legalized without enactments, as well as that found in the written code. The four sects of Mahommedans receive their code of law as well as of morals from the Koran. So strongly rooted is this faith, that even the English have found it unwise to change from the Mahommedan law in India. The framers of the code adopted for the native courts just established in Egypt, have but copied the Koran in all that relates to marriage, polygamy, divorce and concubinage. A Muslim may have at one time four wives, and the Book says : “If you cannot act equitably by them, take from those whom your right hand has acquired,” meaning slaves. This advice of the Prophet, his companions very largely honored, and left their examples recorded for the benefit of the latter-day saints. Mahommedans believe that woman is created for man's pleasure and comfort, and that though she is crafty and dangerous, she must be made to serve him with as little bother as possible during the time he desires her. She will not follow him to Paradise unless he wishes her presence, and he religiously expects to have better society. The Koran has a full recognition of slavery, and supposes it to be a perpetual institution of the country. A slave may not marry

her master, while a slave, but the mother of her master's child is usually emancipated, and the child is a legitimate heir. When a girl is old enough to marry, she can of her own free will marry any man by consenting and receiving a part of her dower ; but the consent of the girl who is not old enough to marry, is not required, her nearest male relative can dispose of her by receiving her dower. The dower among the poor is small, but there must be something paid by the husband or his father to the nearest male relative of the child.

A wife may be divorced twice and return to her husband, but if he divorce her a third time, and with a triple divorce declared, and send her away, he cannot live with her again until she has been one month married to another man. After the third divorce, the husband must pay the part of the dower which was set aside for the wife before marriage, and he must support her out of his house during the three months in which she may not marry again. If the wife be separated from the man, and not divorced, she receives a weekly allowance from him. A divorced woman may, after divorce, retain her son, under two years of age, and custom gives the child to the mother till it is seven years old; then the father must claim the When a man forfeits an engagement to marry,

the woman half her dower, and she is free to marry at once. When a wife is disobedient, the husband may beat her; if she persist in disobedience, he may take her with two witnesses, not his relations, to the court, and declare against her, and if she does not promise to be obedient thereafter, is not obliged to feed, lodge or cloth her, but need not divorce her; and if he suspects that she desires to be divorced in order to remarry, he surely will not. If she confesses her wrong, and promise obedience, he must at once divorce her, or take her home. If a wife does not wish to live with her husband, she enters a complaint against him at the court, stating that her family will support her, and makes a demand for separation. If the women of the same hareem, or of different ones, quarrel and are complained of to the court, their husbands are punished by the court; but we may be sure that their vicarious correction does not save the poor women from chastisement. The husband divorces the wife, but the wife cannot divorce the husband. If the Muslim cannot marry a wife of his own faith, or is deeply in love, he may marry a Jewess or a Christian, but the children must follow the faith of the father. A Muslim woman may not marry a man out of the faith, unless compelled by force, and a man may not live with either Jewess or Christian to whom he is not married. A master or mistress cannot marry a slave. Copts do not divorce except for unfaithfulness on the part of the wife; the woman cannot divorce the husband. If a Coptic wife commits a great crime, her husband may separate himself from her; neither can marry another, but they may remarry after the law has been satisfied.


he must pay

Slavery and the bastinado yet exist in Egypt. The existing law does not recognize primogeniture, and generally gives the woman heir half what it gives the male heir of the same relationship. After debts and legacies are paid, one-eighth belongs to the wives, if there be children; one-fourth if there be none. A husband inherits half of his wife's property if she have no children ; if she has children he inherits one-fourth. If a man has only a sister by the same father and mother, she inherits half his property, while the only brother inherits the whole of a sister's. The mother, in certain cases, inherits equally with the father. In the division of a man's property there is no difference made between the children of the legal wives and the slaves and the adopted children. The illegitimate child inherits only from the mother.

For the murder of a man under palliating circumstances, twice as much blood-money is demanded as for the murder of a woman. The killing of a robber has no penalty. A woman convicted of murder should be drowned in the Nile; the fine for wounding a woman is half that for wounding a man. The Koran commands that the unfaithful wife be put to death, and this is done secretly, in spite of the efforts to prevent the irresponsible from usurping the prerogative of the Law. A man taken for the army is deemed dead to his family. For many years, mothers have maimed their sons that they might be exempt from military service, and often when the mother failed to do this for her son, he has maimed himself. It is useless to appeal to a man's patriotism, when he must fight for the overthrow of his faith, and the spoilation of his people; no wonder that when the conscripting officers enter a village, the men flee to the tombs and holes in the rocks, to escape their fate. Starvation drives them back again; they are seized, chained neck to neck, and packed upon the transports. And it has not yet occurred to the most Christian nation which inaugurated the last philanthropic war, to change the conditions of military servitude, so as to give the Egyptian women protection against desertion, when it has haled the husband and father from home and family. The wife is left to struggle with increased taxation, fines, morgages, and ignorance. During the years of this afflictive visitation, sickening scenes are perpetual on the banks of the Nile, men forced away, women, with smeared faces, following in crowds, wailing and

« ÎnapoiContinuați »