Letter 68

, par Stewart

Zelis to Usbek in Paris

Soliman whom you love is desolate over an affront he just received. A young idiot named Suphis had for three months been petitioning for his daughter in marriage ; he seemed satisfied with the girl’s looks based on the report and the portrait made to him by the women who had seen her in her youth ; they had agreed on the dowry, and everything had gone without incident. Yesterday, after the initial ceremonies, the girl went out on horseback accompanied by her eunuch, and covered according to custom from head to foot ; but as soon as she had arrived at the house of her groom, he had her turned away, and swore he would never let her in unless the dowry was increased. The parents on both sides came running to reconcile the matter, and after much resistance, they got Soliman to agree to make a little present to his son-in-law. Finally, the marriage ceremonies being over, the daughter was taken rather violently to the bed ; but an hour later, this idiot arose in a rage, slashed her face in several places, maintaining that she was not a virgin, and sent her home to her father. One cannot be more struck than he is by this offense ; there are some who maintain that the girl is innocent. Fathers are most unfortunate to be exposed to such affronts ; if such a treatment befell my daughter, I think I would die of grief. Adieu.

From the Fatmé seraglio this 9th day of the moon of Gemmadi I, 1714