Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/16

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xiv
Notes of the Translator

What may have been the motive for these omissions? The author's silence cannot be attributed to ignorance, for in the course of his work he has given proofs of an erudition too extended and various to permit a suspicion of his knowledge.

Should we look for the cause of this gap to the contempt which the Mussulman in reality feels for woman, and owing to which he may think that it would be degrading to his dignity as a man to descend to caresses otherwise regulated than by the laws of nature? Or did the author, perhaps, avoid the mention of similar matters out of fear that he might be suspected of sharing tastes which many people look upon as depraved?

However this may be, the book contains much useful information and a large number of curious cases, and I have undertaken the translation because, as the Cheikh Nefzaoui says in his preamble: "I swear before God, certainly! the knowledge of this book is necessary. It will be only the shamefully ignorant, the enemy of all science, who does not read it, or who turns it into ridicule."