Mind Shadows

4/24/04

White Slavery & The Dark Continent: Lady Florence Baker, 1841-1916

White Slavery & The Dark Continent: Lady Florence Baker, 1841-1916

A European orphaned at four years old, abducted into an Ottoman harem, and raised to become a concubine, Barbara Maria Szasz stood at a white slave auction in 1859, ordered to turn so that men could look at the turn of her buttocks, the shape of her breasts, the dimple of her cheek, the depth of her eyes. Renamed Florenz, at fourteen she was a fetching prize for the highest bidder, the Pasha of Viddin. She would lead a comfortable life as a toy for his nightly visits until her breasts began to sag and her cheeks wrinkled. After that she would train other maidens to become good concubines, living and dying within the walls of the harem.

That might have happened had Sam Baker, a wealthy English adventurer, not been at the auction. Broken-nosed, bushy-bearded, he had accompanied Duleep Singh. Singh was the maharajah who so desperately wanted Queen Victoria to make him a prince that he gave up the entire Punjab region and and the marvelous Kohinoor diamond for the title. Baker, his minder, had been on a Danube hunting trip with him.

Baker caught her eye, and couldn't turn away. He wanted her, and badly. She was very beautiful and she appeared very angry. He was attracted to her but was also moved by compassion and empathy for her plight. Unwilling or unable to outbid the Pasha, he undertook a very dangerous adventure. He stole her from the auction and smuggled her out of Ottoman territory and into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their chemistry was immediate and they became intimate during the journey, deepening over the years into lasting love. More

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