In both many idols are worshipped.
In both there are ancient sacred books.
In both the people are deceitful, unmerciful to the poor, and in the habit of destroying their own little girls when babies.
In both it is believed that the soul after death goes into another body, and is born over and over again into this world.
Is it not mournful to think that more than half the people in the world have no bright hope to cheer a dying bed? One poor Hindoo was heard to exclaim as he was dying, “Where shall I go last of all?” He asked a wise question. He wanted to know where, after having been born ever so many times, he should be put for ever and ever. That is the great point we all want to know. But the Hindoo and the Chinaman cannot know this: they have never heard of everlasting happiness.
This is not a vast country like China, or Hindostan. It may be called a nook, it is so small compared with some great kingdoms: but it is famous on account of the beauty of the people. They are fair, like Europeans, with handsome features, and fine figures. But their beauty has done them harm, and not good; for the cruel Turks purchase many of the Circassian women, because they are beautiful, and shut them up in their houses. Perhaps you will be surprised to hear that the young Circassians think it a fine thing to go to Turkey—to live in fine palaces and gardens, instead of remaining in their own simple cottages. But I think that when they find themselves confined between high walls, they must sigh to think of their flocks and their farms at home, and more than all, of the dear relations they have left behind.
Circassia is a pleasant country, situated near the noble mountains of Caucasus. The snow on the mountains cools the air, and makes Circassia as pleasant to live in as our own England. Indeed, if you were suddenly to be transported into Circassia, you would be ready to exclaim, “Is not this England? Here are apple-trees, and pear-trees, and plum-trees, like those in my father’s garden: those sounds are like the notes of the blackbird and thrush, which sing among the hawthorns in English woods.”
But look again, you will see vines interlacing their fruitful branches among the spreading oaks. You do not see such vines in England. But hark! what do I hear? It is a sound never heard in England. It is the yell of jackals.
MANNERS OF THE PEOPLE.—There is no country in the world where the people are as kind to strangers as in Circassia. Every family, however poor, has a guest-house. There is the family-house, with its orchard, and stables, and at a little distance, another house for strangers. This is no more than a large room, with a stable at one end. The walls are made of wicker-work, plastered with clay. There is no ceiling but the rafters, and no floor