Montesquieu
 

Supplementary letter IX

Zachi to Usbek in Paris1


Oh God, a bar­ba­rian has abu­sed me even in the very man­ner of puni­shing me ! He applied to me that chas­ti­se­ment that first alarms modesty, that chas­ti­se­ment that pla­ces one in extreme humi­lia­tion, that chas­ti­se­ment which brings one back, so to speak, to child­hood.

I imme­dia­tely fain­ted at the shame, I was regai­ning cons­cious­ness and begin­ning to grow angry when my cries resoun­ded through the vaults of my apart­ments. I was heard beg­ging for mercy from the most abject of all humans, and temp­ting his pity as he became more inexo­ra­ble.

Since that time, his inso­lent and ser­vile soul has rai­sed itself over mine. His pre­sence, his glan­ces, his words, and all man­ner of unhap­pi­ness comes to overw­helm me. When I am alone, I at least have the conso­la­tion of shed­ding tears ; but when my eyes lay hold of him, rage sei­zes me ; I find it impo­tent, and fall into des­pair.

The tiger dares to tell me that you are ins­ti­ga­tor of all these bar­ba­ri­ties. He would like to take away my love, and pro­fane the very sen­ti­ments of my heart. When he utters the name of the man I love, I can no lon­ger pro­test ; I can only die.

I have borne your absence, and I have pre­ser­ved my love by the strength of my love. Tbe nights, the days, the moments have all been for you. I was even concei­ted about my love, and yours made me res­pec­ted here. But now… No, I can no lon­ger bear the humi­lia­tion to which I have fal­len. If I am inno­cent, come back for the love of me ; come back, if I am guilty, so I may die at your feet.

The Isfahan sera­glio this 2nd day of the moon of Maharram 1720

[Supplementary Letter X of the 1758 edi­tion would be pla­ced here]

Supplementary Letter X

First published in edition D in 1758.