chapter  III
Pages 18

Kedaref, which unites in itself the repulsive vices of Mohammedanism, with all the revolting pollutions of Paganism, was, at the time of our arrival, in a state of the greatest consternation in consequence of an edict from the Cadi, in which this administrator of the Moslem code enjoined that all girls above nine, and all boys above thirteen should, under a severe corporeal and pecuniary penalty, within a fortnight remove the scandal which the district had contracted, by forming at once lawful alliances. The object of this wise expounder of the Koran, it was well known, had lnore to do with the piastres than the virtue and reformation of the people; still, as no one in that lawless country dared to impugn the authority of a Cadi, who had the Kashef and his hungry troops at his beck, the hue and cry was soon hushed in the universal merriment of hymeneal festivity. A few of

the more respectable people who did not wish to be driven-to use a fashionable term-into mesalliances, applied to me for protection against this new method of extortion, but neither my health nor the character of the people allowed me to sympathize with them in their plight, This novel mode of taxation proved most successful, and the greedy Cadi, who luxuriated in the accumulation of piastres extorted by the multiplicity of marriages and an equal proportion of divorces, was already revolving in his mind some new scheme for enlarging his income, when the report of his extraordinary matrimonial mania reached Khartum, and, to the delight of the Soudanees, he was removed from office.