Page:Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule.djvu/155

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Abbe J. A. Dubois.

Missionary in Mysore, Extracts from letter dated Seringapatam, 15th December, 1820.

"The authority married women within their houses is chiefly exerted in preserving good order and peace, among the persons who compose their families; and a great many among them discharge this important duty with a prudence and a discretion which have scarcely a parallel in Europe. I have known families composed of between thirty and forty persons, or more, consisting of grown up sons and daughters, all married and all having children, living together under the superintendence of an old matron—their mother or mother-in-law. The latter, by good management, and by accommodating herself to the temper of the daughters-in-law, be using, according to circumstances, firmness or forbearance, succeeded in preserving peace and harmony during many years amongst so many females, who had all jarring interests, and still more jarring tempers. I ask you whether it would be possible to attain the same end, in the same circumstances, in our countries, where it is scarcely possible to make two women living under the same roof to agree together.

"In fact, there is perhaps no kind of honest employment in a civilised country in which the Hindu females have not a due share: Besides the manage-