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Title: Life in Morocco and Glimpses Beyond

Author: Budgett Meakin

Release date: July 6, 2006 [eBook #18764]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Michael Ciesielski, Lesley Halamek and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at




In uniform style. Demy 8vo, 15s. each.

THE MOORS: an Account of People and Customs. With 132 Illustrations.

Contents:—"The Madding Crowd"—Within the Gates—Where the Moors Live—How the Moors Dress—Moorish Courtesy and Etiquette—What the Moors Eat and Drink—Everyday Life—Slavery and Servitude—Country Life—Trade—Arts and Manufactures—Matters Medical.

Some Moorish Characteristics—The Mohammedan Year (Feasts and Fasts)—Places of Worship—Alms, Hospitality, and Pilgrimage—Education—Saints and Superstitions—Marriage—Funeral Rites.

The Morocco Berbers—The Jews of Morocco—The Jewish Year.

THE LAND OF THE MOORS: A Comprehensive Description. With a New Map and 83 Illustrations.

Contents:—Physical Features—Natural Resources—Vegetable Products—Animal Life.

Descriptions and Histories of Tangier, Tetuan, Laraiche, Salli-Rabat, Dar el Baida, Mazagan, Saffi and Mogador; Azîla, Fedála, Mehedia, Mansûrîya, Azammûr and Waladîya; Fez, Mequinez and Marrákesh; Zarhôn, Wazzán and Shesháwan; El Kasar, Sifrû, Tadla, Damnát, Táza, Dibdû and Oojda; Ceuta, Velez, Alhucemas, Melilla and the Zaffarines; Sûs, the Draa, Tafilált, Fîgîg, and Tûát.

Reminiscences of Travel—In the Guise of a Moor—To Marrákesh on a Bicycle—In Search of Miltsin.

THE MOORISH EMPIRE: A Historical Epitome. With Maps, 118 Illustrations, and a unique Chronological, Geographical, and Genealogical Chart.

Contents:—Mauretania—The Mohammedan Invasion—Foundation of Empire—Consolidation of Empire—Extension of Empire—Contraction of Empire—Stagnation of Empire—Personification of Empire—The Reigning Shareefs—The Moorish Government—Present Administration.

Europeans in the Moorish Service—The Salli Rovers—Record of the Christian Slaves—Christian Influences in Morocco—Foreign Relations—Moorish Diplomatic Usages—Foreign Rights and Privileges—Commercial Intercourse—The Fate of the Empire.

Works on Morocco reviewed (213 vols. in 11 languages)—The Place of Morocco in Fiction—Journalism in Morocco—Works Recommended—Classical Authorities on Morocco.


AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ARABIC OF MOROCCO: Vocabulary, Grammar Notes, Etc., in Roman Characters. Specially prepared for Visitors and Beginners on a new and eminently practical system.

Crown 8vo, Cloth, Round Corners for Pocket, 6s.

Also, Uniform with this, in English or Spanish, Price 4s.





By C.W. Baldwin.



Photograph by Edward Lee, Esq., Saffi.













[page v]


Which of us has yet forgotten that first day when we set foot in Barbary? Those first impressions, as the gorgeous East with all its countless sounds and colours, forms and odours, burst upon us; mingled pleasures and disgusts, all new, undreamed-of, or our wildest dreams enhanced! Those yelling, struggling crowds of boatmen, porters, donkey-boys; guides, thieves, and busy-bodies; clad in mingled finery and tatters; European, native, nondescript; a weird, incongruous medley—such as is always produced when East meets West—how they did astonish and amuse us! How we laughed (some trembling inwardly) and then, what letters we wrote home!

One-and-twenty years have passed since that experience entranced the present writer, and although he has repeated it as far as possible in practically every other oriental country, each fresh visit to Morocco brings back somewhat of the glamour of that maiden plunge, and somewhat of that youthful ardour, as the old associations are renewed. Nothing he has seen elsewhere excels Morocco in point of life and colour save Bokhára; and[page vi] only in certain parts of India or in China is it rivalled. Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli have lost much of that charm under Turkish or western rule; Egypt still more markedly so, while Palestine is of a population altogether mixed and heterogeneous. The bazaars of Damascus, even, and Constantinople, have given way to plate-glass, and nothing remains in the nearer East to rival Morocco.

Notwithstanding the disturbed condition of much of the country, nothing has occurred to interfere with the pleasure certain to be afforded by a visit to Morocco at any time, and all who can do so are strongly recommended to include it in an early holiday. The best months are from September to May, though the heat on the coast is never too great for an enjoyable trip. The simplest way of accomplishing this is by one of Messrs. Forwood's regular steamers from London, calling at most of the Morocco ports and returning by the Canaries, the tour occupying about a month, though it may be broken and resumed at any point. Tangier may be reached direct from Liverpool by the Papayanni Line, or indirectly viâ Gibraltar, subsequent movements being decided by weather and local sailings. British consular officials, missionaries, and merchants will be found at the various ports, who always welcome considerate strangers.

Comparatively few, even of the ever-increasing number of visitors who year after year bring this only remaining independent Barbary State within[page vii] the scope of their pilgrimage, are aware of the interest with which it teems for the scientist, the explorer, the historian, and students of human nature in general. One needs to dive beneath the surface, to live on the spot in touch with the people, to fathom the real Morocco, and in this it is doubtful whether any foreigners not connected by ties of creed or marriage ever completely succeed. What can be done short of this the writer attempted to do, mingling with the people as one of themselves whenever this was possible. Inspired by the example of Lane in his description of the "Modern Egyptians," he essayed to do as much for the Moors, and during eighteen years he laboured to that end.

The present volume gathers together from many quarters sketches drawn under those circumstances, supplemented by a resumé of recent events and the political outlook, together with three chapters—viii., xi., and xiv.—contributed by his wife, whose assistance throughout its preparation he has once more to acknowledge with pleasure. To many correspondents in Morocco he is also indebted for much valuable up-to-date information on current affairs, but as most for various reasons prefer to remain unmentioned, it would be invidious to name any. For most of the illustrations, too, he desires to express his hearty thanks to the gentlemen who have permitted him to reproduce their photographs.

Much of the material used has already appeared[page viii] in more fugitive form in the Times of Morocco, the London Quarterly Review, the Forum, the Westminster Review, Harper's Magazine, the Humanitarian, the Gentleman's Magazine, the Independent (New York), the Modern Church, the Jewish Chronicle, Good Health, the Medical Missionary, the Pall Mall Gazette, the Westminster Gazette, the Outlook, etc., while Chapters ix., xix., and xxv. to xxix. have been extracted from a still unpublished picture of Moorish country life, "Sons of Ishmael."



November 1905.

[page ix]










  INDEX 395
[page xi]




Note.—The system of transliterating Arabic adopted by the Author in his previous works has here been followed only so far as it is likely to be adopted by others than specialists, all signs being omitted which are not essential to approximate pronunciation.

[page 1]





"The firmament turns, and times are changing."

Moorish Proverb.

By the western gate of the Mediterranean, where the narrowed sea has so often tempted invaders, the decrepit Moorish Empire has become itself a bait for those who once feared it. Yet so far Morocco remains untouched, save where a fringe of Europeans on the coast purvey the luxuries from other lands that Moorish tastes demand, and in exchange take produce that would otherwise be hardly worth the raising. Even here the foreign influence is purely superficial, failing to affect the lives of the people; while the towns in which Europeans reside are so few in number that whatever influence they do possess is limited in area. Moreover, Morocco has never known foreign dominion, not even that of the Turks, who have left their impress on the neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia. None but the Arabs have succeeded in obtaining a foothold among its Berbers, and they, restricted to the plains, have long become part of [page 2] the nation. Thus Morocco, of all the North African kingdoms, has always maintained its independence, and in spite of changes all round, continues to live its own picturesque life.

Picturesque it certainly is, with its flowing costumes and primitive homes, both of which vary in style from district to district, but all of which seem as though they must have been unchanged for thousands of years. Without security for life or property, the mountaineers go armed, they dwell in fortresses or walled-in villages, and are at constant war with one another. On the plains, except in the vicinity of towns, the country people group their huts around the fortress of their governor, within which they can shelter themselves and their possessions in time of war. No other permanent erection is to be seen on the plains, unless it be some wayside shrine which has outlived the ruin fallen on the settlement to which it once belonged, and is respected by the conquerors as holy ground. Here and there gaunt ruins rise, vast crumbling walls of concrete which have once been fortresses, lending an air of desolation to the scene, but offering no attraction to historian or antiquary. No one even knows their names, and they contain no monuments. If ever more solid remains are encountered, they are invariably set down as the work of the Romans.


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


Yet Morocco has a history, an interesting history indeed, one linked with ours in many curious ways, as is recorded in scores of little-known volumes. It has a literature amazingly voluminous, but there were days when the relations with other lands were much closer, if less cordial, the days of the crusades and the Barbary pirates, the days of European[page 3] tribute to the Moors, and the days of Christian slavery in Morocco. Constantly appearing brochures in many tongues made Europe of those days acquainted with the horrors of that dreadful land. All these only served to augment the fear in which its people were held, and to deter the victimized nations from taking action which would speedily have put an end to it all, by demonstrating the inherent weakness of the Moorish Empire.

But for those whose study is only the Moors as they exist to-day, the story of Morocco stretches back only a thousand years, as until then its scattered tribes of Berber mountaineers had acknowledged no head, and knew no common interests; they were not a nation. War was their pastime; it is so now to a great extent. Every man for himself, every tribe for itself. Idolatry, of which abundant traces still remain, had in places been tinged with the name and some of the forms of Christianity, but to what extent it is now impossible to discover. In the Roman Church there still exist titular bishops of North Africa, one, in particular, derives his title from the district of Morocco of which Fez is now the capital, Mauretania Tingitana.

It was among these tribes that a pioneer mission of Islám penetrated in the eighth of our centuries. Arabs were then greater strangers in Barbary than we are now, but they were by no means the first strange faces seen there. Phœnicians, Romans and Vandals had preceded them, but none had stayed, none had succeeded in amalgamating with the Berbers, among whom those individuals who did remain were absorbed. These hardy clansmen,[page 4] exhibiting the characteristics of hill-folk the world round, still inhabited the uplands and retained their independence. In this they have indeed succeeded to a great extent until the present day, but between that time and this they have given of their life-blood to build up by their side a less pure nation of the plains, whose language as well as its creed is that of Arabia.

To imagine that Morocco was invaded by a Muslim host who carried all before them is a great mistake, although a common one. Mulai Idrees—"My Lord Enoch" in English—a direct descendant of Mohammed, was among the first of the Arabian missionaries to arrive, with one or two faithful adherents, exiles fleeing from the Khalîfa of Mekka. So soon as he had induced one tribe to accept his doctrines, he assisted them with his advice and prestige in their combats with hereditary enemies, to whom, however, the novel terms were offered of fraternal union with the victors, if they would accept the creed of which they had become the champions. Thus a new element was introduced into the Berber polity, the element of combination, for the lack of which they had always been weak before. Each additional ally meant an augmentation of the strength of the new party out of all proportion to the losses from occasional defeats.

In course of time the Mohammedan coalition became so strong that it was in a position to dictate terms and to impose governors upon the most obstinate of its neighbours. The effect of this was to divide the allies into two important sections, the older of which founded Fez in the days of the son[page 5] of Idrees, accounted the second ameer of that name, who there lies buried in the most important mosque of the Empire, the very approaches of which are closed to the Jew and the Nazarene. The only spot which excels it in sanctity is that at Zarhôn, a day's journey off, in which the first Idrees lies buried. There the whole town is forbidden to the foreigner, and an attempt made by the writer to gain admittance in disguise was frustrated by discovery at the very gate, though later on he visited the shrine in Fez. The dynasty thus formed, the Shurfà Idreeseeïn, is represented to-day by the Shareef of Wazzán.

In southern Morocco, with its capital at Aghmát, on the Atlas slopes, was formed what later grew to be the kingdom of Marrákesh, the city of that name being founded in the middle of the eleventh century. Towards the close of the thirteenth, the kingdoms of Fez and Marrákesh became united under one ruler, whose successor, after numerous dynastic changes, is the Sultan of Morocco now.*

But from the time that the united Berbers had become a nation, to prevent them falling out among themselves again it was necessary to find some one else to fight, to occupy the martial instinct nursed in fighting one another. So long as there were ancient scores to be wiped out at home, so long as under cover of a missionary zeal they could continue intertribal feuds, things went well for the victors; but as soon as excuses for this grew scarce, it was needful to fare afield. The pretty story—told,[page 6] by the way, of other warriors as well—of the Arab leader charging the Atlantic surf, and weeping that the world should end there, and his conquests too, may be but fiction, but it illustrates a fact. Had Europe lain further off, the very causes which had conspired to raise a central power in Morocco would have sufficed to split it up again. This, however, was not to be. In full view of the most northern strip of Morocco, from Ceuta to Cape Spartel, the north-west corner of Africa, stretches the coast of sunny Spain. Between El K'sar es-Sagheer, "The Little Castle," and Tarifa Point is only a distance of nine or ten miles, and in that southern atmosphere the glinting houses may be seen across the straits.

History has it that internal dissensions at the Court of Spain led to the Moors being actually invited over; but that inducement was hardly needed. Here was a country of infidels yet to be conquered; here was indeed a land of promise. Soon the Berbers swarmed across, and in spite of reverses, carried all before them. Spain was then almost as much divided into petty states as their land had been till the Arabs taught them better, and little by little they made their way in a country destined to be theirs for five hundred years. Córdova, Sevílle, Granáda, each in turn became their capital, and rivalled Fez across the sea.

The successes they achieved attracted from the East adventurers and merchants, while by wise administration literature and science were encouraged, till the Berber Empire of Spain and Morocco took a foremost rank among the nations of the day. Judged from the standpoint of their time, they seem to us a[page 7] prodigy; judged from our standpoint, they were but little in advance of their descendants of the twentieth century, who, after all, have by no means retrograded, as they are supposed to have done, though they certainly came to a standstill, and have suffered all the evils of four centuries of torpor and stagnation. Civilization wrought on them the effects that it too often produces, and with refinement came weakness. The sole remaining state of those which the invaders, finding independent, conquered one by one, is the little Pyrenean Republic of Andorra, still enjoying privileges granted to it for its brave defence against the Moors, which made it the high-water mark of their dominion. As peace once more split up the Berbers, the subjected Spaniards became strong by union, till at length the death-knell of Moorish rule in Europe sounded at the nuptials of the famous Ferdinand and Isabella, linking Aragon with proud Castile.

Expelled from Spain, the Moor long cherished plans for the recovery of what had been lost, preparing fleets and armies for the purpose, but in vain. Though nominally still united, his people lacked that zeal in a common cause which had carried them across the straits before, and by degrees the attempts to recover a kingdom dwindled into continued attacks upon shipping and coast towns. Thus arose that piracy which was for several centuries the scourge of Christendom. Further east a distinct race of pirates flourished, including Turks and Greeks and ruffians from every shore, but they were not Moors, of whom the Salli rover was the type. Many thousands of Europeans were carried off by Moorish corsairs into slavery, including not[page 8] a few from England. Those who renounced their own religion and nationality, accepting those of their captors, became all but free, only being prevented from leaving the country, and often rose to important positions. Those who had the courage of their convictions suffered much, being treated like cattle, or worse, but they could be ransomed when their price was forthcoming—a privilege abandoned by the renegades—so that the principal object of every European embassy in those days was the redemption of captives. Now and then escapes would be accomplished, but such strict watch was kept when foreign merchantmen were in port, or when foreign ambassadors came and went, that few attempts succeeded, though many were made.

Sympathies are stirred by pictures of the martyrdom of Englishmen and Irishmen, Franciscan missionaries to the Moors; and side by side with them the foreign mercenaries in the native service, Englishmen among them, who would fight in any cause for pay and plunder, even though their masters held their countrymen in thrall. And thrall it was, as that of Israel in Egypt, when our sailors were chained to galley seats beneath the lash of a Moor, or when they toiled beneath a broiling sun erecting the grim palace walls of concrete which still stand as witnesses of those fell days. Bought and sold in the market like cattle, Europeans were more despised than Negroes, who at least acknowledged Mohammed as their prophet, and accepted their lot without attempt to escape.

Dark days were those for the honour of Europe, when the Moors inspired terror from the Balearics to the Scilly Isles, and when their rovers swept the[page 9] seas with such effect that all the powers of Christendom were fain to pay them tribute. Large sums of money, too, collected at church doors and by the sale of indulgences, were conveyed by the hands of intrepid friars, noble men who risked all to relieve those slaves who had maintained their faith, having scorned to accept a measure of freedom as the reward of apostasy. Thousands of English and other European slaves were liberated through the assistance of friendly letters from Royal hands, as when the proud Queen Bess addressed Ahmad II., surnamed "the Golden," as "Our Brother after the Law of Crown and Sceptre," or when Queen Anne exchanged compliments with the bloodthirsty Ismáïl, who ventured to ask for the hand of a daughter of Louis XIV.

In the midst of it all, when that wonderful man, with a household exceeding Solomon's, and several hundred children, had reigned forty-three of his fifty-five years, the English, in 1684, ceded to him their possession of Tangier. For twenty-two years the "Castle in the streights' mouth," as General Monk had described it, had been the scene of as disastrous an attempt at colonization as we have ever known: misunderstanding of the circumstances and mismanagement throughout; oppression, peculation and terror within as well as without; a constant warfare with incompetent or corrupt officials within as with besieging Moors without; till at last the place had to be abandoned in disgust, and the expensive mole and fortifications were destroyed lest others might seize what we could not hold.

Such events could only lower the prestige of [page 10] Europeans, if, indeed, they possessed any, in the eyes of the Moors, and the slaves up country received worse treatment than before. Even the ambassadors and consuls of friendly powers were treated with indignities beyond belief. Some were imprisoned on the flimsiest pretexts, all had to appear before the monarch in the most abject manner, and many were constrained to bribe the favourite wives of the ameers to secure their requests. It is still the custom for the state reception to take place in an open courtyard, the ambassador standing bareheaded before the mounted Sultan under his Imperial parasol. As late as 1790 the brutal Sultan El Yazeed, who emulated Ismáïl the Bloodthirsty, did not hesitate to declare war on all Christendom except England, agreeing to terms of peace on the basis of tribute. Cooperation between the Powers was not then thought of, and one by one they struck their bargains as they are doing again to-day.

Yet even at the most violent period of Moorish misrule it is a remarkable fact that Europeans were allowed to settle and trade in the Empire, in all probability as little molested there as they would have been had they remained at home, by varying religious tests and changing governments. It is almost impossible to conceive, without a perusal of the literature of the period, the incongruity of the position. Foreign slaves would be employed in gangs outside the dwellings of free fellow-countrymen with whom they were forbidden to communicate, while every returning pirate captain added to the number of the captives, sometimes bringing friends and relatives of those who lived in[page 11] freedom as the Sultan's "guests," though he considered himself "at war" with their Governments. So little did the Moors understand the position of things abroad, that at one time they made war upon Gibraltar, while expressing the warmest friendship for England, who then possessed it. This was done by Mulai Abd Allah V., in 1756, because, he said, the Governor had helped his rebel uncle at Arzîla, so that the English, his so-called friends, did more harm than his enemies—the Portuguese and Spaniards. "My father and I believe," wrote his son, Sidi Mohammed, to Admiral Pawkers, "that the king your master has no knowledge of the behaviour towards us of the Governor of Gibraltar, ... so Gibraltar shall be excluded from the peace to which I am willing to consent between England and us, and with the aid of the Almighty God, I will know how to avenge myself as I may on the English of Gibraltar."

Previously Spain and Portugal had held the principal Moroccan seaports, the twin towns of Rabat and Salli alone remaining always Moorish, but these two in their turn set up a sort of independent republic, nourished from the Berber tribes in the mountains to the south of them. No Europeans live in Salli yet, for here the old fanaticism slumbers still. So long as a port remained in foreign hands it was completely cut off from the surrounding country, and played no part in Moorish history, save as a base for periodical incursions. One by one most of them fell again into the hands of their rightful owners, till they had recovered all their Atlantic sea-board. On the Mediterranean, Ceuta, which had belonged to Portugal, came under[page 12] the rule of Spain when those countries were united, and the Spaniards hold it still, as they do less important positions further east.

The piracy days of the Moors have long passed, but they only ceased at the last moment they could do so with grace, before the introduction of steamships. There was not, at the best of times, much of the noble or heroic in their raids, which generally took the nature of lying in wait with well-armed, many-oared vessels, for unarmed, unwieldy merchantmen which were becalmed, or were outpaced by sail and oar together.

Early in the nineteenth century Algiers was forced to abandon piracy before Lord Exmouth's guns, and soon after the Moors were given to understand that it could no longer be permitted to them either, since the Moorish "fleets"—if worthy the name—had grown so weak, and those of the Nazarenes so strong, that the tables were turned. Yet for many years more the nations of Europe continued the tribute wherewith the rapacity of the Moors was appeased, and to the United States belongs the honour of first refusing this disgraceful payment.

The manner in which the rovers of Salli and other ports were permitted to flourish so long can be explained in no other way than by the supposition that they were regarded as a sort of necessary nuisance, just a hornet's-nest by the wayside, which it would be hopeless to destroy, as they would merely swarm elsewhere. And then we must remember that the Moors were not the only pirates of those days, and that Europeans have to answer for the most terrible deeds of the[page 13] Mediterranean corsairs. News did not travel then as it does now. Though students of Morocco history are amazed at the frequent captures and the thousands of Christian slaves so imported, abroad it was only here and there that one was heard of at a time.

To-day the plunder of an Italian sailing vessel aground on their shore, or the fate of too-confident Spanish smugglers running close in with arms, is heard of the world round. And in the majority of cases there is at least a question: What were the victims doing there? Not that this in any way excuses the so-called "piracy," but it must not be forgotten in considering the question. Almost all these tribes in the troublous districts carry European arms, instead of the more picturesque native flint-lock: and as not a single gun is legally permitted to pass the customs, there must be a considerable inlet somewhere, for prices are not high.

* For a complete outline of Moorish history, see the writer's "Moorish Empire."

[page 14]



"What has passed has gone, and what is to come is distant; Thou hast only the hour in which thou art."

Moorish Proverb.

Far from being, as Hood described them, "poor rejected Moors who raised our childish fears," the people of Morocco consist of fine, open races, capable of anything, but literally rotting in one of the finest countries of the world. The Moorish remains in Spain, as well as the pages of history, testify to the manner in which they once flourished, but to-day their appearance is that of a nation asleep. Yet great strides towards reform have been made during the past century, and each decade sees steps taken more important than the last. For the present decade is promised complete transformation.

But how little do we know of this people! The very name "Moor" is a European invention, unknown in Morocco, where no more precise definition of the inhabitants can be given than that of "Westerners"—Maghribîn, while the land itself is known as "The Further West"—El Moghreb el Aksa. The name we give to the country is but a corruption of that of the southern capital, Marrákesh ("Morocco City") through the Spanish version, Marueccos.

[page 15]

The genuine Moroccans are the Berbers among whom the Arabs introduced Islám and its civilization, later bringing Negroes from their raids across the Atlas to the Sudán and Guinea. The remaining important section of the people are Jews of two classes—those settled in the country from prehistoric times, and those driven to it when expelled from Spain. With the exception of the Arabs and the Blacks, none of these pull together, and in that case it is only because the latter are either subservient to the former, or incorporated with them.

First in importance come the earliest known possessors of the land, the Berbers. These are not confined to Morocco, but still hold the rocky fastnesses which stretch from the Atlantic, opposite the Canaries, to the borders of Egypt; from the sands of the Mediterranean to those of the Sáhara, that vast extent of territory to which we have given their name, Barbary. Of these but a small proportion really amalgamated with their Muslim victors, and it is only to this mixed race which occupies the cities of Morocco that the name "Moor" is strictly applicable.

On the plains are to be found the Arabs, their tents scattered in every direction. From the Atlantic to the Atlas, from Tangier to Mogador, and then away through the fertile province of Sûs, one of the chief features of Morocco is the series of wide alluvial treeless plains, often apparently as flat as a table, but here and there cut up by winding rivers and crossed by low ridges. The fertility of these districts is remarkable; but owing to the misgovernment of the country, which renders native[page 16] property so insecure, only a small portion is cultivated. The untilled slopes which border the plains are generally selected by the Arabs for their encampments, circles or ovals of low goat-hair tents, each covering a large area in proportion to the number of its inhabitants.

The third section of the people of Morocco—by no means the least important—has still to be glanced at; these are the ubiquitous, persecuted and persecuting Jews. Everywhere that money changes hands and there is business to be done they are to be found. In the towns and among the thatched huts of the plains, even in the Berber villages on the slopes of the Atlas, they have their colonies. With the exception of a few ports wherein European rule in past centuries has destroyed the boundaries, they are obliged to live in their own restricted quarters, and in most instances are only permitted to cross the town barefooted and on foot, never to ride a horse. In the Atlas they live in separate villages adjoining or close to those belonging to the Berbers, and sometimes even larger than they. Always clad in black or dark-coloured cloaks, with hideous black skull-caps or white-spotted blue kerchiefs on their heads, they are conspicuous everywhere. They address the Moors with a villainous, cringing look which makes the sons of Ishmael savage, for they know it is only feigned. In return they are treated like dogs, and cordial hatred exists on both sides. So they live, together yet divided; the Jew despised but indispensable, bullied but thriving. He only wins at law when richer than his opponent; against a Muslim he can bear no testimony; there is scant pretence at justice. He[page 17] dares not lift his hand to strike a Moor, however ill-treated, but he finds revenge in sucking his life's blood by usury. Receiving no mercy, he shows none, and once in his clutches, his prey is fortunate to escape with his life.

The happy influence of more enlightened European Jews is, however, making itself felt in the chief towns, through excellent schools supported from London and Paris, which are turning out a class of highly respectable citizens. While the Moors fear the tide of advancing westernization, the town Jews court it, and in them centres one of the chief prospects of the country's welfare. Into their hands has already been gathered much of the trade of Morocco, and there can be little doubt that, by the end of the thirty years' grace afforded to other merchants than the French, they will have practically absorbed it all, even the Frenchmen trading through them. They have at least the intimate knowledge of the people and local conditions to which so few foreigners ever attain.

When the Moorish Empire comes to be pacifically penetrated and systematically explored, it will probably be found that little more is known of it than of China, notwithstanding its proximity, and its comparatively insignificant size. A map honestly drawn, from observations only, would astonish most people by its vast blank spaces.* It would be noted that the limit of European exploration—with the exception of the work of two or three hardy travellers in disguise—is less than two hundred miles from the coast, and that this limit[page 18] is reached at two points only—south of Fez and Marrákesh respectively,—which form the apices of two well-known triangular districts, the contiguous bases of which form part of the Atlantic coast line, under four hundred miles in length. Beyond these limits all is practically unknown, the language, customs and beliefs of the people providing abundant ground for speculation, and permitting theorists free play. So much is this the case, that a few years ago an enthusiastic "savant" was able to imagine that he had discovered a hidden race of dwarfs beyond the Atlas, and to obtain credence for his "find" among the best-informed students of Europe.

But there is also another point of view from which Morocco is unknown, that of native thought and feeling, penetrated by extremely few Europeans, even when they mingle freely with the people, and converse with them in Arabic. The real Moor is little known by foreigners, a very small number of whom mix with the better classes. Some, as officials, meet officials, but get little below the official exterior. Those who know most seldom speak, their positions or their occupations preventing the expression of their opinions. Sweeping statements about Morocco may therefore be received with reserve, and dogmatic assertions with caution. This Empire is in no worse condition now than it has been for centuries; indeed, it is much better off than ever since its palmy days, and there is no occasion whatever to fear its collapse.

Few facts are more striking in the study of Morocco than the absolute stagnation of its people, except in so far as they have been to a very limited extent affected by outside influences. Of what[page 19] European—or even oriental—land could descriptions of life and manners written in the sixteenth century apply as fully in the twentieth as do those of Morocco by Leo Africanus? Or even to come later, compare the transitions England has undergone since Höst and Jackson wrote a hundred years ago, with the changes discoverable in Morocco since that time. The people of Morocco remain the same, and their more primitive customs are those of far earlier ages, of the time when their ancestors lived upon the plain of Palestine and North Arabia, and when "in the loins of Abraham" the now unfriendly Jew and Arab were yet one. It is the position of Europeans among them which has changed.

In the time of Höst and Jackson piracy was dying hard, restrained by tribute from all the Powers of Europe. The foreign merchant was not only tolerated, but was at times supplied with capital by the Moorish sultans, to whom he was allowed to go deeply in debt for custom's dues, and half a century later the British Consul at Mogador was not permitted to embark to escape a bombardment of the town, because of his debt to the Sultan. Many of the restrictions complained of to-day are the outcome of the almost enslaved condition of the merchants of those times in consequence of such customs. Indeed, the position of the European in Morocco is still a series of anomalies, and so it is likely to continue until it passes under foreign rule.

The same old spirit of independence reigns in the Berber breast to-day as when he conquered Spain, and though he has forgotten his past and cares naught for his future, he still considers himself a superior being, and feels that no country can rival[page 20] his home. In his eyes the embassies from Europe and America come only to pay the tribute which is the price of peace with his lord, and when he sees a foreign minister in all his black and gold stand in the sun bareheaded to address the mounted Sultan beneath his parasol, he feels more proud than ever of his greatness, and is more decided to be pleasant to the stranger, but to keep him out.

Instead of increased relations between Moors and foreigners tending to friendship, the average foreign settler or tourist is far too bigoted and narrow-minded to see any good in the native, much less to acknowledge his superiority on certain points. Wherever the Sultan's authority is recognized the European is free to travel and live, though past experience has led officials not to welcome him. At the same time, he remains entirely under the jurisdiction of his own authorities, except in cases of murder or grave crime, when he must be at once handed over to the nearest consul of his country. Not only are he and his household thus protected, but also his native employees, and, to a certain extent, his commercial and agricultural agents.

Thus foreigners in Morocco enjoy within the limits of the central power the security of their own lands, and the justice of their own laws. They do not even find in Morocco that immunity from justice which some ignorant writers of fiction have supposed; for unless a foreigner abandons his own nationality and creed, and buries himself in the interior under a native name, he cannot escape the writs of foreign courts. In any case, the Moorish authorities will arrest him on demand, and hand him over to his consul to be dealt with according to law. The[page 21] colony of refugees which has been pictured by imaginative raconteurs is therefore non-existent. Instead there are growing colonies of business men, officials, missionaries, and a few retired residents, quite above the average of such colonies in the Levant, for instance.

For many years past, though the actual business done has shown a fairly steady increase, the commercial outlook in Morocco has gone from bad to worse. Yet more of its products are now exported, and there are more European articles in demand, than were thought of twenty years ago. This anomalous and almost paradoxical condition is due to the increase of competition and the increasing weakness of the Government. Men who had hope a few years ago, now struggle on because they have staked too much to be able to leave for more promising fields. This has been especially the case since the late Sultan's death. The disturbances which followed that event impoverished many tribes, and left behind a sense of uncertainty and dread. No European Bourse is more readily or lastingly affected by local political troubles than the general trade of a land like Morocco, in which men live so much from hand to mouth.

It is a noteworthy feature of Moorish diplomatic history that to the Moors' love of foreign trade we owe almost every step that has led to our present relations with the Empire. Even while their rovers were the terror of our merchantmen, as has been pointed out, foreign traders were permitted to reside in their ports, the facilities granted to them forming the basis of all subsequent negotiations. Now that concession after concession has been wrung from[page 22] their unwilling Government, and in spite of freedom of residence, travel, and trade in the most important parts of the Empire, it is disheartening to see the foreign merchant in a worse condition than ever.

The previous generation, fewer in number, enjoying far less privileges, and subjected to restrictions and indignities that would not be suffered to-day, were able to make their fortunes and retire, while their successors find it hard to hold their own. The "hundred tonners" who, in the palmy days of Mogador, were wont to boast that they shipped no smaller quantities at once, are a dream of the past. The ostrich feathers and elephants' tusks no longer find their way out by that port, and little gold now passes in or out. Merchant princes will never be seen here again; commercial travellers from Germany are found in the interior, and quality, as well as price, has been reduced to its lowest ebb.

A crowd of petty trading agents has arisen with no capital to speak of, yet claiming and abusing credit, of which a most ruinous system prevails, and that in a land in which the collection of debts is proverbially difficult, and oftentimes impossible. The native Jews, who were interpreters and brokers years ago, have now learned the business and entered the lists. These new competitors content themselves with infinitesimal profits, or none at all in cases where the desideratum is cash to lend out at so many hundreds per cent. per annum. Indeed, it is no uncommon practice for goods bought on long credit to be sold below cost price for this purpose. Against such methods who can compete?

Yet this is a rich, undeveloped land—not exactly[page 23] an El Dorado, though certainly as full of promise as any so styled has proved to be when reached—favoured physically and geographically, but politically stagnant, cursed with an effete administration, fettered by a decrepit creed. In view of this situation, it is no wonder that from time to time specious schemes appear and disappear with clockwork regularity. Now it is in England, now in France, that a gambling public is found to hazard the cost of proving the impossibility of opening the country with a rush, and the worthlessness of so-called concessions and monopolies granted by sheïkhs in the south, who, however they may chafe under existing rule which forbids them ports of their own, possess none of the powers required to treat with foreigners.

As normal trade has waned in Morocco, busy minds have not been slow in devising illicit, or at least unusual, methods of making money, even, one regrets to say, of making false money. Among the drawbacks suffered by the commerce which pines under the shade of the shareefian umbrella, one—and that far from the least—is the unsatisfactory coinage, which till a few years ago was almost entirely foreign. To have to depend in so important a matter on any mint abroad is bad enough, but for that mint to be Spanish means much. Centuries ago the Moors coined more, but with the exception of a horrible token of infinitesimal value called "floos," the products of their extinct mints are only to be found in the hands of collectors, in buried hoards, or among the jewellery displayed at home by Mooresses and Jewesses, whose fortunes, so invested, may not be seized for debt. Some[page 24] of the older issues are thin and square, with well-preserved inscriptions, and of these a fine collection—mostly gold—may be seen at the British Museum; but the majority, closely resembling those of India and Persia, are rudely stamped and unmilled, not even round, but thick, and of fairly good metal. The "floos" referred to (sing. "fils") are of three sizes, coarsely struck in zinc rendered hard and yellow by the addition of a little copper. The smallest, now rarely met with, runs about 19,500 to £1 when this is worth 32½ Spanish pesetas; the other two, still the only small change of the country, are respectively double and quadruple its value. The next coin in general circulation is worth 2d., so the inconvenience is great. A few years ago, however, Europeans resident in Tangier resolutely introduced among themselves the Spanish ten and five céntimo pieces, corresponding to our 1d. and ½d., which are now in free local use, but are not accepted up-country.

What passes as Moorish money to-day has been coined in France for many years, more recently also in Germany; the former is especially neat, but the latter lacks style. The denominations coincide with those of Spain, whose fluctuations in value they closely follow at a respectful distance. This autumn the "Hasáni" coin—that of Mulai el Hasan, the late Sultan—has fallen to fifty per cent. discount on Spanish. With the usual perversity also, the common standard "peseta," in which small bargains are struck on the coast, was omitted, the nearest coin, the quarter-dollar, being nominally worth ptas. 1.25. It was only after a decade, too, that the Government put in circulation the dollars struck in France,[page 25] which had hitherto been laid up in the treasury as a reserve. And side by side with the German issue came abundant counterfeit coins, against which Government warnings were published, to the serious disadvantage of the legal issue. Even the Spanish copper has its rival, and a Frenchman was once detected trying to bring in a nominal four hundred dollars' worth of an imitation, which he promptly threw overboard when the port guards raised objections to its quality.

The increasing need of silver currency inland, owing to its free use in the manufacture of trinkets, necessitates a constant importation, and till recently all sorts of coins, discarded elsewhere, were in circulation. This was the case especially with French, Swiss, Belgian, Italian, Greek, Roumanian, and other pieces of the value of twenty céntimos, known here by the Turkish name "gursh," which were accepted freely in Central Morocco, but not in the north. Twenty years ago Spanish Carolus, Isabella and Philippine shillings and kindred coins were in use all over the country, and when they were withdrawn from circulation in Spain they were freely shipped here, till the country was flooded with them. When the merchants and customs at last refused them, their astute importers took them back at a discount, putting them into circulation later at what they could, only to repeat the transaction. In Morocco everything a man can be induced to take is legal tender, and for bribes and religious offerings all things pass, this practice being an easier matter than at first sight appears; so in the course of a few years one saw a whole series of coins in vogue,[page 26] one after the other, the main transactions taking place on the coast with country Moors, than whom, though none more suspicious, none are more easily gulled.

A much more serious obstacle to inland trade is the periodically disturbed state of the country, not so much the local struggles and uprisings which serve to free superfluous energy, as the regular administrative expeditions of the Moorish Court, or of considerable bodies of troops. These used to take place in some direction every year, "the time when kings go forth to war" being early summer, just when agricultural operations are in full swing, and every man is needed on his fields. In one district the ranks of the workers are depleted by a form of conscription or "harka," and in another these unfortunates are employed preventing others doing what they should be doing at home. Thus all suffer, and those who are not themselves engaged in the campaign are forced to contribute cash, if only to find substitutes to take their places in the ranks.

The movement of the Moorish Court means the transportation of a numerous host at tremendous expense, which has eventually to be recouped in the shape of regular contributions, arrears of taxes and fines, collected en route, so the pace is abnormally slow. Not only is there an absolute absence of roads, and, with one or two exceptions, of bridges, but the Sultan himself, with all his army, cannot take the direct route between his most important inland cities without fighting his way. The configuration of the empire explains its previous sub-division into the kingdoms of Fez, Marrákesh,[page 27] Tafilált and Sûs, and the Reef, for between the plains of each run mountain ranges which have never known absolute "foreign" rulers.


Molinari, Photo., Tangier.


To European engineers the passes through these closed districts would offer no great obstacles in the construction of roads such as thread the Himalayas, but the Moors do not wish for the roads; for, while what the Government fears to promote thereby is combination, the actual occupants of the mountains, the native Berbers, desire not to see the Arab tax-gatherers, only tolerating their presence as long as they cannot help it, and then rising against them.

Often a tribe will be left for several years to enjoy independence, while the slip-shod army of the Sultan is engaged elsewhere. When its turn comes it holds out for terms, since it has no hope of successfully confronting such an overwhelming force as is sooner or later brought against it. The usual custom is to send small detachments of soldiers to the support of the over-grasping functionaries, and when they have been worsted, to send down an army to "eat up" the province, burning villages, deporting cattle, ill-treating the women, and often carrying home children as slaves. The men of the district probably flee and leave their homes to be ransacked. They content themselves with hiding behind crags which seem to the plainsmen inaccessible, whence they can in safety harass the troops on the march. After more or less protracted skirmishing, the country having been devastated by the troops, who care only for the booty, women will be sent into the camp to make terms, or one of the shareefs or religious nobles who accompany the army is sent out to treat with the rebels. The terms are usually[page 28] hard—so much arrears of tribute in cash and kind, so much as a fine for expenses, so many hostages. Then hostages and prisoners are driven to the capital in chains, and pickled heads are exposed on the gateways, imperial letters being read in the chief mosques throughout the country, telling of a glorious victory, and calling for rejoicings. To any other people the short spell of freedom would have been too dearly bought for the experiment to be repeated, but as soon as they begin to chafe again beneath the lawless rule of Moorish officials, the Berbers rebel once more. It has been going on thus for hundreds of years, and will continue till put an end to by France.

In Morocco each official preys upon the one below him, and on all others within his reach, till the poor oppressed and helpless villager lives in terror of them all, not daring to display signs of prosperity for fear of tempting plunder. Merit is no key to positions of trust and authority, and few have such sufficient salary attached to render them attractive to honest men. The holders are expected in most cases to make a living out of the pickings, and are allowed an unquestioned run of office till they are presumed to have amassed enough to make it worth while treating them as they have treated others, when they are called to account and relentlessly "squeezed." The only means of staving off the fatal day is by frequent presents to those above them, wrung from those below. A large proportion of Moorish officials end their days in disgrace, if not in dungeons, and some meet their end by being invited to corrosive sublimate tea, a favourite beverage in Morocco—for others. Yet there is[page 29] always a demand for office, and large prices are paid for posts affording opportunities for plunder.

The Moorish financial system is of a piece with this method. When the budget is made out, each tribe or district is assessed at the utmost it is believed capable of yielding, and the candidate for its governorship who undertakes to get most out of it probably has the task allotted to him. His first duty is to repeat on a small scale the operation of the Government, informing himself minutely as to the resources under his jurisdiction, and assessing the sub-divisions so as to bring in enough for himself, and to provide against contingencies, in addition to the sum for which he is responsible. The local sheïkhs or head-men similarly apportion their demands among the individuals entrusted to their tender mercy. A fool is said to have once presented the Sultan with a bowl of skimmed and watered milk, and on being remonstrated with, to have declared that His Majesty received no more from any one, as his wazeers and governors ate half the revenue cream each, and the sheïkhs drank half the revenue milk. The fool was right.

The richer a man is, the less proportion he will have to pay, for he can make it so agreeable—or disagreeable—for those entrusted with a little brief authority. It is the struggling poor who have to pay or go to prison, even if to pay they have to sell their means of subsistence. Three courses lie before this final victim—to obtain the protection of some influential name, native or foreign, to buy a "friend at court," or to enter Nazarene service. But native friends are uncertain and hard to find, and, above all, they may be alienated by a higher[page 30] bid from a rival or from a rapacious official. Such affairs are of common occurrence, and harrowing tales might be told of homes broken up in this way, of tortures inflicted, and of lives spent in dungeons because display has been indulged in, or because an independent position has been assumed under cover of a protection that has failed. But what can one expect with such a standard of honour?

Foreigners, on the other hand, seldom betray their protégés—although, to their shame be it mentioned, some in high places have done so,—wherefore their protection is in greater demand; besides which it is more effectual, as coming from outside, while no Moor, however well placed, is absolutely secure in his own position. Thus it is that the down-trodden natives desire and are willing to pay for protection in proportion to their means; and it is this power of dispensing protection which, though often abused, does more than anything else to raise the prestige of the foreigner, and in turn to protect him.

The claims most frequently made against Moors by foreign countries are for debt, claims which afford the greatest scope for controversy and the widest loophole for abuse. Although, unfortunately, for the greater part usurious, a fair proportion are for goods delivered, but to evade the laws even loan receipts are made out as for goods to be delivered, a form in which discrimination is extremely difficult. The condition of the country, in which every man is liable to be arrested, thrashed, imprisoned, if not tortured, to extort from him his wealth, is such as furnishes the usurer with crowding clients; and the condition of things among the Indian cultivators,[page 31] bad as it is, since they can at least turn to a fair-handed Government, is not to be compared to that of the down-trodden Moorish farmer.

The assumption by the Government of responsibility for the debts of its subjects, or at all events its undertaking to see that they pay, is part of the patriarchal system in force, by which the family is made responsible for individuals, the tribe for families, and so on. No other system would bring offenders to justice without police; but it transforms each man into his brother's keeper. This, however, does not apply only to debts the collection of which is urged upon the Government, for whom it is sufficient to produce the debtor and let him prove absolute poverty for him to be released, with the claim cancelled. This in theory: but in practice, to appease these claims, however just, innocent men are often thrown into prison, and untold horrors are suffered, in spite of all the efforts of foreign ministers to counteract the injustice.

A mere recital of tales which have come under my own observation would but harrow my readers' feelings to no purpose, and many would appear incredible. With the harpies of the Government at their heels, men borrow wildly for a month or two at cent. per cent., and as the Moorish law prohibits interest, a document is sworn to before notaries by which the borrower declares that he has that day taken in hard cash the full amount to be repaid, the value of certain crops or produce of which he undertakes delivery upon a certain date. Very seldom, indeed, does it happen that by that date the money can be repaid, and generally the[page 32] only terms offered for an extension of time for another three or six months are the addition of another fifty or one hundred per cent. to the debt, always fully secured on property, or by the bonds of property holders. Were not this thing of everyday occurrence in Morocco, and had I not examined scores of such papers, the way in which the ignorant Moors fall into such traps would seem incredible. It is usual to blame the Jews for it all, and though the business lies mostly in their hands, it must not be overlooked that many foreigners engage in it, and, though indirectly, some Moors also.

But besides such claims, there is a large proportion of just business debts which need to be enforced. It does not matter how fair a claim may be, or how legitimate, it is very rarely that trouble is not experienced in pressing it. The Moorish Courts are so venal, so degraded, that it is more often the unscrupulous usurer who wins his case and applies the screw, than the honest trader. Here lies the rub. Another class of claims is for damage done, loss suffered, or compensation for imaginary wrongs. All these together mount up, and a newly appointed minister or consul-general is aghast at the list which awaits him. He probably contents himself at first with asking for the appointment of a commission to examine and report on the legality of all these claims, and for the immediate settlement of those approved. But he asks and is promised in vain, till at last he obtains the moral support of war-ships, in view of which the Moorish Government most likely pays much more than it would have got off with at first, and then proceeds to victimize the debtors.

[page 33]

It is with expressed threats of bombardment that the ships come, but experience has taught the Moorish Government that it is well not to let things go that length, and they now invariably settle amicably. To our western notions it may seem strange that whatever questions have to be attended to should not be put out of hand without requiring such a demonstration; but while there is sleep there is hope for an Oriental, and the rulers of Morocco would hardly be Moors if they resisted the temptation to procrastinate, for who knows what may happen while they delay? And then there is always the chance of driving a bargain, so dear to the Moorish heart, for the wazeer knows full well that although the Nazarene may be prepared to bombard, as he has done from time to time, he is no more desirous than the Sultan that such an extreme measure should be necessary.

So, even when things come to the pinch, and the exasperated representative of Christendom talks hotly of withdrawing, hauling down his flag and giving hostile orders, there is time at least to make an offer, or to promise everything in words. And when all is over, claims paid, ships gone, compliments and presents passed, nothing really serious has happened, just the everyday scene on the market applied to the nation, while the Moorish Government has once more given proof of worldly wisdom, and endorsed the proverb that discretion is the better part of valour.

An illustration of the high-handed way in which things are done in Morocco has but recently been afforded by the action of France regarding an alleged Algerian subject arrested by the Moorish[page 34] authorities for conspiracy. The man, Boo Zîan Miliáni by name, was the son of one of those Algerians who, when their country was conquered by the French, preferred exile to submission, and migrated to Morocco, where they became naturalized. He was charged with supporting the so-called "pretender" in the Reef province, where he was arrested with two others early in August last. His particular offence appears to have been the reading of the "Rogi's" proclamations to the public, and inciting them to rebel against the Sultan. But when brought a prisoner to Tangier, and thence despatched to Fez, he claimed French citizenship, and the Minister of France, then at Court, demanded his release.

This being refused, a peremptory note followed, with a threat to break off diplomatic negotiations if the demand were not forthwith complied with. The usual communiqués were made to the Press, whereby a chorus was produced setting forth the insult to France, the imminence of war, and the general gravity of the situation. Many alarming head-lines were provided for the evening papers, and extra copies were doubtless sold. In Morocco, however, not only the English and Spanish papers, but also the French one, admitted that the action of France was wrong, though the ultimate issue was never in doubt, and the man's release was a foregone conclusion. Elsewhere the rights of the matter would have been sifted, and submitted at least to the law-courts, if not to arbitration.

While the infliction of this indignity was stirring up northern Morocco, the south was greatly exercised by the presence on the coast of a French[page 35] vessel, L'Aigle, officers from which proceeded ostentatiously to survey the fortifications of Mogador and its island, and then effected a landing on the latter by night. Naturally the coastguards fired at them, fortunately without causing damage, but had any been killed, Europe would have rung with the "outrage." From Mogador the vessel proceeded after a stay of a month to Agadir, the first port of Sûs, closed to Europeans.

Here its landing-party was met on the beach by some hundreds of armed men, whose commander resolutely forbade them to land, so they had to retire. Had they not done so, who would answer for the consequences? As it was, the natives, eager to attack the "invaders," were with difficulty kept in hand, and one false step would undoubtedly have led to serious bloodshed. Of course this was a dreadful rebuff for "pacific penetration," but the matter was kept quiet as a little premature, since in Europe the coast is not quite clear enough yet for retributory measures. The effect, however, on the Moors, among whom the affair grew more grave each time it was recited, was out of all proportion to the real importance of the incident, which otherwise might have passed unnoticed.

* An approximation to this is given in the writer's "Land of the Moors."

[page 36]



"He knows of every vice an ounce."

Moorish Proverb.

Though most eastern lands may be described as slip-shod, with reference both to the feet of their inhabitants and to the way in which things are done, there can be no country in the world more aptly described by that epithet than Morocco. One of the first things which strikes the visitor to this country is the universality of the slipper as foot-gear, at least, so far as the Moors are concerned. In the majority of cases the men wear the heels of their slippers folded down under the feet, only putting them up when necessity compels them to run, which they take care shall not be too often, as they much prefer a sort of ambling gait, best compared to that of their mules, or to that of an English tramp.

Nothing delights them better as a means of agreeably spending an hour or two, than squatting on their heels in the streets or on some door-stoop, gazing at the passers-by, exchanging compliments with their acquaintances. Native "swells" consequently promenade with a piece of felt under their arms on which to sit when they wish, in[page 37] addition to its doing duty as a carpet for prayer. The most public places, and usually the cool of the afternoon, are preferred for this pastime.

The ladies of their Jewish neighbours also like to sit at their doors in groups at the same hour, or in the doorways of main thoroughfares on moonlight evenings, while the gentlemen, who prefer to do their gossiping afoot, roam up and down. But this is somewhat apart from the point of the lazy tendencies of the Moors. With them—since they have no trains to catch, and disdain punctuality—all hurry is undignified, and one could as easily imagine an elegantly dressed Moorish scribe literally flying as running, even on the most urgent errand. "Why run," they ask, "when you might just as well walk? Why walk, when standing would do? Why stand, when sitting is so much less fatiguing? Why sit, when lying down gives so much more rest? And why, lying down, keep your eyes open?"

In truth, this is a country in which things are left pretty much to look after themselves. Nothing is done that can be left undone, and everything is postponed until "to-morrow." Slipper-slapper go the people, and slipper-slapper goes their policy. If you can get through a duty by only half doing it, by all means do so, is the generally accepted rule of life. In anything you have done for you by a Moor, you are almost sure to discover that he has "scamped" some part; perhaps the most important. This, of course, means doing a good deal yourself, if you like things done well, a maxim holding good everywhere, indeed, but especially here.

The Moorish Government's way of doing things—or rather, of not doing them if it can find an[page 38] excuse—is eminently slip-shod. The only point in which they show themselves astute is in seeing that their Rubicon has a safe bridge by which they may retreat, if that suits their plans after crossing it. To deceive the enemy they hide this as best they can, for the most part successfully, causing the greatest consternation in the opposite camp, which, at the moment when it thinks it has driven them into a corner, sees their ranks gradually thinning from behind, dribbling away by an outlet hitherto invisible. Thus, in accepting a Moor's promise, one must always consider the conditions or rider annexed.

This can be well illustrated by the reluctant permission to transport grain from one Moorish port to another, granted from time to time, but so hampered by restrictions as to be only available to a few, the Moorish Government itself deriving the greatest advantage from it. Then, too, there is the property clause in the Convention of Madrid, which has been described as the sop by means of which the Powers were induced to accept other less favourable stipulations. Instead of being the step in advance which it appeared to be, it was, in reality, a backward step, the conditions attached making matters worse than before.

In this way only do the Moors shine as politicians, unless prevarication and procrastination be included, Machiavellian arts in which they easily excel. Otherwise they are content to jog along in the same slip-shod manner as their fathers did centuries ago, as soon as prosperity had removed the incentive to exert the energy they once possessed. The same carelessness marks their[page 39] conduct in everything, and the same unsatisfactory results inevitably follow.

But to get at the root of the matter it is necessary to go a step further. The absolute lack of morals among the people is the real cause of the trouble. Morocco is so deeply sunk in the degradation of vice, and so given up to lust, that it is impossible to lay bare its deplorable condition. In most countries, with a fair proportion of the pure and virtuous, some attempt is made to gloss over and conceal one's failings; but in this country the only vice which public opinion seriously condemns is drunkenness, and it is only before foreigners that any sense of shame or desire for secrecy about others is observable. The Moors have not yet attained to that state of hypocritical sanctimoniousness in which modern society in civilized lands delights to parade itself.

The taste for strong drink, though still indulged comparatively in secret, is steadily increasing, the practice spreading from force of example among the Moors themselves, as a result of the strenuous efforts of foreigners to inculcate this vice. European consular reports not infrequently note with congratulation the growing imports of wines and liqueurs into Morocco, nominally for the sole use of foreigners, although manifestly far in excess of their requirements. As yet, it is chiefly among the higher and lower classes that the victims are found, the former indulging in the privacy of their own homes, and the latter at the low drinking-dens kept by the scum of foreign settlers in the open ports. Among the country people of the plains and lower hills there are hardly any who would touch[page 40] intoxicating liquor, though among the mountaineers the use of alcohol has ever been more common.

Tobacco smoking is very general on the coast, owing to contact with Europeans, but still comparatively rare in the interior, although the native preparations of hemp (keef), and also to some extent opium, have a large army of devotees, more or less victims. The latter, however, being an expensive import, is less known in the interior. Snuff-taking is fairly general among men and women, chiefly the elderly. What they take is very strong, being a composition of tobacco, walnut shells, and charcoal ash. The writer once saw a young Englishman, who thought he could stand a good pinch of snuff, fairly "knocked over" by a quarter as much as the owner of the nut from which it came took with the utmost complacency.

The feeling of the Moorish Government about smoking has long been so strong that in every treaty with Europe is inserted a clause reserving the right of prohibiting the importation of all narcotics, or articles used in their manufacture or consumption. Till a few years ago the right to deal in these was granted yearly as a monopoly; but in 1887 the late Sultan, Mulai el Hasan, and his aoláma, or councillors, decided to abolish the business altogether, so, purchasing the existing stocks at a valuation, they had the whole burned. But first the foreign officials and then private foreigners demanded the right to import whatever they needed "for their own consumption," and the abuse of this courtesy has enabled several tobacco factories to spring up in the country. The position with regard to the liquor traffic is almost the same. If the[page 41] Moors were free to legislate as they wished, they would at once prohibit the importation of intoxicants.

Of late years, however, a great change has come over the Moors of the ports, more especially so in Tangier, where the number of taverns and cafés has increased most rapidly. During many years' residence there the cases of drunkenness met with could be counted on the fingers, and were then confined to guides or servants of foreigners; on the last visit paid to the country more were observed in a month than then in years. In those days to be seen with a cigarette was almost a crime, and those who indulged in a whiff at home took care to deodorize their mouths with powdered coffee; now Moors sit with Europeans, smoking and drinking, unabashed, at tables in the streets, but not those of the better sort. Thus Morocco is becoming civilized!

However ashamed a Moor may be of drunkenness, no one thinks of making a pretence of being chaste or moral. On the contrary, no worse is thought of a man who is wholly given up to the pleasures of the flesh than of one who is addicted to the most innocent amusements. If a Moor is remonstrated with, he declares he is not half so bad as the "Nazarenes" he has come across, who, in addition to practising most of his vices, indulge in drunkenness. It is not surprising, therefore, that the diseases which come as a penalty for these vices are fearfully prevalent in Morocco. Everywhere one comes across the ravages of such plagues, and is sickened at the sight of their victims. Without going further into details, it will suffice to[page 42] mention that one out of every five patients (mostly males) who attend at the dispensary of the North Africa Mission at Tangier are direct, or indirect, sufferers from these complaints.

The Moors believe in "sowing wild oats" when young, till their energy is extinguished, leaving them incapable of accomplishing anything. Then they think the pardon of God worth invoking, if only in the vain hope of having their youth renewed as the eagle's. Yet if this could happen, they would be quite ready to commence a fresh series of follies more outrageous than before. This is a sad picture, but nevertheless true, and, far from being exaggerated, does not even hint at much that exists in Morocco to-day.

The words of the Korán about such matters are never considered, though nominally the sole guide for life. The fact that God is "the Pitying, the Pitiful, King of the Day of Judgement," is considered sufficient warrant for the devotees of Islám to lightly indulge in breaches of laws which they hold to be His, confident that if they only perform enough "vain repetitions," fast at the appointed times, and give alms, visiting Mekka, if possible, or if not, making pilgrimages to shrines of lesser note nearer home, God, in His infinite mercy, will overlook all.

An anonymous writer has aptly remarked—"Every good Mohammedan has a perpetual free pass over that line, which not only secures to him personally a safe transportation to Paradise, but provides for him upon his arrival there so luxuriously that he can leave all the cumbersome baggage of his earthly harem behind him, and begin his celestial house-keeping with an entirely new outfit."

[page 43]

Here lies the whole secret of Morocco's backward state. Her people, having outstepped even the ample limits of licentiousness laid down in the Korán, and having long ceased to be even true Mohammedans, by the time they arrive at manhood have no energy left to promote her welfare, and sink into an indolent, procrastinating race, capable of little in the way of progress till a radical change takes place in their morals.

Nothing betrays their moral condition more clearly than their unrestrained conversation, a reeking vapour arising from a mass of corruption. The foul ejaculations of an angry Moor are unreproducible, only serving to show extreme familiarity with vice of every sort. The tales to which they delight to listen, the monotonous chants rehearsed by hired musicians at public feasts or private entertainments, and the voluptuous dances they delight to have performed before them as they lie sipping forbidden liquors, are all of one class, recounting and suggesting evil deeds to hearers or observers.

The constant use made of the name of God, mostly in stock phrases uttered without a thought as to their real meaning, is counterbalanced in some measure by cursing of a most elaborate kind, and the frequent mention of the "Father of Lies," called by them "The Liar" par excellence. The term "elaborate" is the only one wherewith to describe a curse so carefully worded that, if executed, it would leave no hope of Paradise either for the unfortunate addressee or his ancestors for several generations. On the slightest provocation, or without that excuse, the Moor can roll forth the most intricate genealogical objurgations, or rap out an oath. In ordinary[page 44] cases of displeasure he is satisfied with showering expletives on the parents and grand-parents of the object of his wrath, with derogatory allusions to the morals of those worthies' "better halves." "May God have mercy on thy relatives, O my Lord," is a common way of addressing a stranger respectfully, and the contrary expression is used to produce a reverse effect.

I am often asked, "What would a Moor think of this?" Probably some great invention will be referred to, or some manifest improvement in our eyes over Moorish methods or manufactures. If it was something he could see, unless above the average, he would look at it as a cow looks at a new gate, without intelligence, realizing only the change, not the cause or effect. By this time the Moors are becoming familiar, at least by exaggerated descriptions, with most of the foreigner's freaks, and are beginning to refuse to believe that the Devil assists us, as they used to, taking it for granted that we should be more ingenious, and they more wise! The few who think are apt to pity the rush of our lives, and write us down, from what they have themselves observed in Europe as in Morocco, as grossly immoral beside even their acknowledged failings. The faults of our civilization they quickly detect, the advantages are mostly beyond their comprehension.

Some years ago a friend of mine showed two Moors some of the sights of London. When they saw St. Paul's they told of the glories of the Karûeeïn mosque at Fez; with the towers of Westminster before them they sang the praises of the Kûtûbîya at Marrákesh. Whatever they[page 45] saw had its match in Morocco. But at last, as a huge dray-horse passed along the highway with its heavy load, one grasped the other's arm convulsively, exclaiming, "M'bark Allah! Aoûd hadhá!"—"Blessed be God! That's a horse!" Here at least was something that did appeal to the heart of the Arab. For once he saw a creature he could understand, the like of which was never bred in Barbary, and his wonder knew no bounds.

An equally good story is told of an Englishman who endeavoured to convince a Moor at home of the size of these horses. With his stick he drew on the ground one of their full-sized shoes. "But we have horses beyond the mountains with shoes this size," was the ready reply, as the native drew another twice as big. Annoyed at not being able to convince him, the Englishman sent home for a specimen shoe. When he showed it to the Moor, the only remark he elicited was that a native smith could make one twice the size. Exasperated now, and not to be outdone, the Englishman sent home for a cart-horse skull. "Now you've beaten me!" at last acknowledged the Moor. "You Christians can make anything, but we can't make bones!"

Bigoted and fanatical as the Moors may show themselves at times, they are generally willing enough to be friends with those who show themselves friendly. And notwithstanding the way in which the strong oppress the weak, as a nation they are by no means treacherous or cruel; on the contrary, the average Moor is genial and hospitable, does not forget a kindness, and is a man whom one can respect. Yet it is strange how soon a little[page 46] power, and the need for satisfying the demands of his superiors, will corrupt the mildest of them; and the worst are to be found among families which have inherited office. The best officials are those chosen from among retired merchants whose palms no longer itch, and who, by intercourse with Europeans, have had their ideas of life broadened.

The greatest obstacle to progress in Morocco is the blind prejudice of ignorance. It is hard for the Moors to realize that their presumed hereditary foes can wish them well, and it is suspicion, rather than hostility, which induces them to crawl within their shell and ask to be left alone. Too often subsequent events have shown what good ground they have had for suspicion. It is a pleasure for me to be able to state that during all the years that I have lived among them, often in the closest intercourse, I have never received the least insult, but have been well repaid in my own coin. What more could be wished?

Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.


[page 47]



"Every lion in his own forest roars."

Moorish Proverb.

Few who glibly use the word "Barbarian" pause to consider whether the present meaning attached to the name is justified or not, or whether the people of Barbary are indeed the uncivilized, uncouth, incapable lot their name would seem to imply to-day. In fact, the popular ignorance regarding the nearest point of Africa is even greater than of the actually less known central portions, where the white man penetrates with every risk. To declare that the inhabitants of the four Barbary States—Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli—are not "Blackamoors" at all, but white like ourselves, is to astonish most folk at the outset.

Of course in lands where the enslavement of neighbouring negro races has been an institution for a thousand years or more, there is a goodly proportion of mulattoes; and among those whose lives have been spent for generations in field work there are many whose skins are bronzed and darkened, but they are white by nature, nevertheless, and town life soon restores the original hue. The student class of Fez, drawn from all sections of the population of Morocco, actually makes a boast of the pale[page 48] and pasty complexions attained by life amid the shaded cloisters and covered streets of the intellectual capital. Then again those who are sunburned and bronzed are more of the Arab stock than of the Berber.

These Berbers, the original Barbarians, known to the Romans and Greeks as such before the Arab was heard of outside Arabia, are at once the greatest and the most interesting nation, or rather race, of the whole of Africa. Had such a coalition as "the United States of North Africa" been possible, Europe would long ago have learned to fear and respect the title "Barbarian" too much to put it to its present use. But the weak point of the Berber race has been its lack of homogeneity; it has ever been split up into independent states and tribes, constantly indulging in internecine warfare. This is a principle which has its origin in the relations of the units whereof they are composed, of whom it may be said as of the sons of Ishmael, that every man's hand is against his neighbour. The vendetta, a result of the lex talionis of "eye for eye and tooth for tooth," flourishes still. No youth is supposed to have attained full manhood until he has slain his man, and excuses are seldom lacking. The greatest insult that can be offered to an enemy is to tell him that his father died in bed—even greater than the imputation of evil character to his maternal relatives.

Some years ago I had in my service a lad of about thirteen, one of several Reefians whom I had about me for the practice of their language. Two or three years later, on returning to Morocco, I met him one day on the market.

[page 49]

"I am so glad to see you," he said; "I want you to help me buy some guns."

"What for?"

"Well, my father's dead; may God have mercy on him!"

"How did he die?"

"God knows."

"But what has that to do with the gun?"

"You see, we must kill my three uncles, I and my two brothers, and we want three guns."

"What! Did they kill your father?"

"God knows."

"May He deliver you from such a deed. Come round to the house for some food."

"But I've got married since you saw me, and expect an heir, yet they chaff me and call me a boy because I have never yet killed a man."

I asked an old servant who had been to England, and seemed "almost a Christian," to try and dissuade him, but only to meet with an appreciative, "Well done! I always thought there was something in that lad."

So I tried a second, but with worse results, for he patted the boy on the back with an assurance that he could not dissuade him from so sacred a duty; and at last I had to do what I could myself. I extorted a promise that he would try and arrange to take blood-money, but as he left the door his eye fell on a broken walking-stick.

"Oh, do give me that! It's no use to you, and it would make such a nice prop for my gun, as I am a very bad shot, and we mean to wait outside for them in the dark."

The sequel I have never heard.

[page 50]

Up in those mountains every one lives in fortified dwellings—big men in citadels, others in wall-girt villages, all from time to time at war with one another, or with the dwellers in some neighbouring valley. Fighting is their element; as soon as "the powder speaks" there are plenty to answer, for every one carries his gun, and it is wonderful how soon upon these barren hills an armed crowd can muster. Their life is a hard fight with Nature; all they ask is to be left alone to fight it out among themselves. Even on the plains among the Arabs and the mixed tribes described as Moors, things are not much better, for there, too, vendettas and cattle lifting keep them at loggerheads, and there is nothing the clansmen like so well as a raid on the Governor's kasbah or castle. These kasbahs are great walled strongholds dotted about the country; in times of peace surrounded by groups of huts and tents, whose inhabitants take refuge inside when their neighbours appear. The high walls and towers are built of mud concrete, often red like the Alhambra, the surface of which stands the weather ill, but which, when kept in repair, lasts for centuries.

The Reefian Berbers are among the finest men in Morocco—warlike and fierce, it is true, from long habit and training; but they have many excellent qualities, in addition to stalwart frames. "If you don't want to be robbed," say they, "don't come our way. We only care to see men who can fight, with whom we may try our luck." They will come and work for Europeans, forming friendships among them, and if it were not for the suspicion of those who have not done so, who always fear political[page 51] agents and spies, they would often be willing to take Europeans through their land. I have more than once been invited to go as a Moor. But the ideas they get of Europeans in Tangier do not predispose to friendship, and they will not allow them to enter their territories if they can help it. Only those who are in subjection to the Sultan permit them to do so freely.

The men are a hardy, sturdy race, wiry and lithe, inured to toil and cold, fonder far of the gun and sword than of the ploughshare, and steady riders of an equally wiry race of mountain ponies. Their dwellings are of stone and mud, often of two floors, flat-topped, with rugged, projecting eaves, the roofs being made of poles covered with the same material as the walls, stamped and smoothed. These houses are seldom whitewashed, and present a ruinous appearance. Their ovens are domes about three feet or less in height outside; they are heated by a fire inside, then emptied, and the bread put in. Similar ovens are employed in camp to bake for the Court.

Instead of that forced seclusion and concealment of the features to which the followers of Islám elsewhere doom their women, in these mountain homes they enjoy almost as perfect liberty as their sisters in Europe. I have been greatly struck with their intelligence and generally superior appearance to such Arab women as I have by chance been able to see. Once, when supping with the son of a powerful governor from above Fez, his mother, wife, and wife's sister sat composedly to eat with us, which could never have occurred in the dwelling of a Moor. No attempt at covering their faces was[page 52] made, though male attendants were present at times, but the little daughter shrieked at the sight of a Nazarene. The grandmother, a fine, buxom dame, could read and write—which would be an astonishing accomplishment for a Moorish woman—and she could converse better than many men who would in this country pass for educated.

The Berber dress has either borrowed from or lent much to the Moor, but a few articles stamp it wherever worn. One of these is a large black cloak of goat's-hair, impervious to rain, made of one piece, with no arm-holes. At the point of the cowl hangs a black tassel, and right across the back, about the level of the knees, runs an assagai-shaped patch, often with a centre of red. It has been opined that this remarkable feature represents the All-seeing Eye, so often used as a charm, but from the scanty information I could gather from the people themselves, I believe that they have lost sight of the original idea, though some have told me that variations in the pattern mark clan distinctions. I have ridden—when in the guise of a native—for days together in one of these cloaks, during pelting rain which never penetrated it. In more remote districts, seldom visited by Europeans, the garments are ruder far, entirely of undyed wool, and unsewn, mere blankets with slits cut in the centre for the head. This is, however, in every respect, a great difference between the various districts. The turban is little used by these people, skull-caps being preferred, while their red cloth gun-cases are commonly twisted turban-wise as head-gear, though often a camel's-hair cord is deemed sufficient protection for the head.

[page 53]

Every successive ruler of North Africa has had to do with the problem of subduing the Berbers and has failed. In the wars between Rome and Carthage it was among her sturdy Berber soldiers that the southern rival of the great queen city of the world found actual sinews enough to hold the Roman legions so long at bay, and often to overcome her vaunted cohorts and carry the war across into Europe. Where else did Rome find so near a match, and what wars cost her more than did those of Africa? Carthage indeed has fallen, and from her once famed Byrsa the writer has been able to count on his fingers the local remains of her greatness, yet the people who made her what she was remain—the Berbers of Tunisia. The Phœnician settlers, though bringing with them wealth and learning and arts, could never have done alone what they did without the hardy fighting men supplied by the hills around.

When Rome herself had fallen, and the fames of Carthage and Utica were forgotten, there came across North Africa a very different race from those who had preceded them, the desert Arabs, introducing the creed of Islám. In the course of a century or two, North Africa became Mohammedan, pagan and Christian institutions being swept away before that onward wave. It is not probable that at any time Christianity had any real hold upon the Berbers themselves, and Islám itself sits lightly on their easy consciences.

The Arabs had for the moment solved the Berber problem. They were the amalgam which, by coalescing with the scattered factions of their race, had bound them up together and had formed[page 54] for once a nation of them. Thus it was that the Muslim armies obtained force to carry all before them, and thus was provided the new blood and the active temper to which alone are due the conquest of Spain, and subsequent achievements there. The popular description of the Mohammedan rulers of Spain as "Saracens"—Easterners—is as erroneous as the supposition that they were Arabs. The people who conquered Spain were Berbers, although their leaders often adopted Arabic names with an Arab religion and Arab culture. The Arabic language, although official, was by no means general, nor is it otherwise to-day. The men who fought and the men who ruled were Berbers out and out, though the latter were often the sons of Arab fathers or mothers, and the great religious chiefs were purely Arab on the father's side at least, the majority claiming descent from Mohammed himself, and as such forming a class apart of shareefs or nobles.

Though nominal Mohammedans, and in Morocco acknowledging the religious supremacy of the reigning shareefian family, the Moorish Berbers still retain a semi-independence. The mountains of the Atlas chain have always been their home and refuge, where the plainsmen find it difficult and dangerous to follow them. The history of the conquest of Algeria and Tunisia by the French has shown that they are no mean opponents even to modern weapons and modern warfare. The Kabyles,* as they are erroneously styled in those countries,[page 55] have still to be kept in check by the fear of arms, and their prowess no one disputes. These are the people the French propose to subdue by "pacific penetration." The awe with which these mountaineers have inspired the plainsmen and townsfolk is remarkable; as good an illustration of it as I know was the effect produced on a Moor by my explanation that a Highland friend to whom I had introduced him was not an Englishman, but what I might call a "British Berber." The man was absolutely awe-struck.

Separated from the Arab as well as from the European by a totally distinct, unwritten language, with numerous dialects, these people still exist as a mine of raw material, full of possibilities. In habits and style of life they may be considered uncivilized even in contrast to the mingled dwellers on the lowlands; but they are far from being savages. Their stalwart frames and sturdy independence fit them for anything, although the latter quality keeps them aloof, and has so far prevented intercourse with the outside world.

Many have their own pet theories as to the origin of the Berbers and their language, not a few believing them to have once been altogether Christians, while others, following native authors, attribute to them Canaanitish ancestors, and ethnologists dispute as to the branch of Noah's family in which to class them. It is more than probable that they are one with the ancient Egyptians, who, at least, were no barbarians, if Berbers. But all are agreed that some of the finest stocks of southern and western Europe are of kindred origin, if not[page 56] identical with them, and even if this be uncertain, enough has been said to show that they have played no unimportant part in European history, though it has ever been their lot to play behind the scenes—scene-shifters rather than actors.

* I.e. "Provincials," so misnamed from Kabîlah (pl. Kabáïl), a province.


Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.


[page 57]



"I am loving, not lustful."

Moorish Proverb.

Some strange fascination attaches itself to the simple nomad life of the Arab, in whatever country he be found, and here, in the far west of his peregrinations, he is encountered living almost in the same style as on the other side of Suez; his only roof a cloth, his country the wide world. Sometimes the tents are arranged as many as thirty or more in a circle, and at other times they are grouped hap-hazard, intermingled with round huts of thatch, and oblong ones of sun-dried bricks, thatched also; but in the latter cases the occupants are unlikely to be pure Arabs, for that race seldom so nearly approaches to settling anywhere. When the tents are arranged in a circle, the animals are generally picketed in the centre, but more often some are to be found sharing the homes of their owners.

The tent itself is of an oval shape, with a wooden ridge on two poles across the middle third of the centre, from front to back, with a couple of strong bands of the same material as the tent fixed on either side, whence cords lead to pegs in the ground, passing over two low stakes leaning outwards. A rude camel's hair canvas is stretched[page 58] over this frame, being kept up at the edges by more leaning stakes, and fastened by cords to pegs all round. The door space is left on the side which faces the centre of the encampment, and the walls or "curtains" are formed of high thistles lashed together in sheaves. Surrounding the tent is a yard, a simple bog in winter, the boundary of which is a ring formed by bundles of prickly branches, which compose a really formidable barrier, being too much for a jump, and too tenacious to one another and to visitors for penetration. The break left for an entrance is stopped at night by another bundle which makes the circle complete.

The interior of the tent is often more or less divided by the pole supporting the roof, and by a pile of household goods, such as they are. Sometimes a rude loom is fastened to the poles, and at it a woman sits working on the floor. The framework—made of canes—is kept in place by rigging to pegs in the ground. The woman's hand is her only shuttle, and she threads the wool through with her fingers, a span at a time, afterwards knocking it down tightly into place with a heavy wrought-iron comb about two inches wide, with a dozen prongs. She seems but half-dressed, and makes no effort to conceal either face or breast, as a filthy child lies feeding in her lap. Her seat is a piece of matting, but the principal covering for the floor of trodden mud is a layer of palmetto leaves. Round the "walls" are several hens with chicks nestling under their wings, and on one side a donkey is tethered, while a calf sports at large.

The furniture of this humble dwelling consists of two or three large, upright, mud-plastered,[page 59] split-cane baskets, containing corn, partially sunk in the ground, and a few dirty bags. On one side is the mill, a couple of stones about eighteen inches across, the upper one convex, with a handle at one side. Three stones above a small hole in the ground serve as a cooking-range, while the fuel is abundant in the form of sun-dried thistles and other weeds, or palmetto leaves and sticks. Fire is obtained by borrowing from one another, but should it happen that no one in the encampment had any, the laborious operation of lighting dry straw from the flash in the pan of a flint-lock would have to be performed. To light the rude lamp—merely a bit of cotton protruding from anything with olive-oil in it—it is necessary to blow some smoking straw or weed till it bursts into a flame.

Little else except the omnipresent dirt is to be found in the average Arab tent. A tin or two for cooking operations, a large earthen water-jar, and a pan or two to match, in which the butter-milk is kept, a sieve for the flour, and a few rough baskets, usually complete the list, and all are remarkable only for the prevailing grime. Making a virtue of necessity, the Arab prefers sour milk to fresh, for with this almost total lack of cleanliness, no milk would long keep sweet. Their food is of the simplest, chiefly the flour of wheat, barley, or Indian millet prepared in various ways, for the most part made up into flat, heavy cakes of bread, or as kesk'soo. Milk, from which butter is made direct by tossing it in a goat-skin turned inside out, eggs and fowls form the chief animal food, butcher's meat being but seldom indulged in. Vegetables do not enter into their diet, as they have no gardens, and beyond possessing[page 60] flocks and herds, those Arabs met with in Barbary are wretchedly poor and miserably squalid. The patriarchal display of Arabia is here unknown.

Of children and dogs there is no lack. Both abound, and wallow in the mud together. Often the latter seem to have the better time of it. Two families by one father will sometimes share one tent between them, but generally each "household" is distinct, though all sleep together in the one apartment of their abode. As one approaches a dûár, or encampment, an early warning is given by the hungry dogs, and soon the half-clad children rush out to see who comes, followed leisurely by their elders. Hospitality has ever been an Arab trait, and these poor creatures, in their humble way, sustain the best traditions of their race. A native visitor of their own class is entertained and fed by the first he comes across, while the foreign traveller or native of means with his own tent is accommodated on the rubbish in the midst of the encampment, and can purchase all he wishes—all that they have—for a trifle, though sometimes they turn disagreeable and "pile it on." A present of milk and eggs, perhaps fowls, may be brought, for which, however, a quid pro quo is expected.

Luxuries they have not. Whatever they need to do in the way of shopping, is done at the nearest market once a week, and nothing but the produce already mentioned is to be obtained from them. In the evenings they stuff themselves to repletion, if they can afford it, with a wholesome dish of prepared barley or wheat meal, sometimes crowned with beans; then, after a gossip round the crackling fire, or, on state occasions, three cups of syrupy[page 61] green tea apiece, they roll themselves in their long blankets and sleep on the ground.

The first blush of dawn sees them stirring, and soon all is life and excitement. The men go off to their various labours, as do many of the stronger women, while the remainder attend to their scanty household duties, later on basking in the sun. But the moment the stranger arrives the scene changes, and the incessant din of dogs, hags and babies commences, to which the visitor is doomed till late at night, with the addition then of neighs and brays and occasional cock-crowing.

It never seemed to me that these poor folk enjoyed life, but rather that they took things sadly. How could it be otherwise? No security of life and property tempts them to make a show of wealth; on the contrary, they bury what little they may save, if any, and lead lives of misery for fear of tempting the authorities. Their work is hard; their comforts are few. The wild wind howls through their humble dwellings, and the rain splashes in at the door. In sickness, for lack of medical skill, they lie and perish. In health their only pleasures are animal. Their women, once they are past the prime of life, which means soon after thirty with this desert race, go unveiled, and work often harder than the men, carrying burdens, binding sheaves, or even perhaps helping a donkey to haul a plough. Female features are never so jealously guarded here as in the towns.

Yet they are a jolly, good-tempered, simple folk. Often have I spent a merry evening round the fire with them, squatted on a bit of matting, telling of the wonders of "That Country," the name which[page 62] alternates in their vocabulary with "Nazarene Land," as descriptive of all the world but Morocco and such portions of North Africa or Arabia as they may have heard of. Many an honest laugh have we enjoyed over their wordy tales, or perchance some witty sally; but in my heart I have pitied these down-trodden people in their ignorance and want. Home they do not know. When the pasture in Shechem is short, they remove to Dothan; next month they may be somewhere else. But they are always ready to share their scanty portion with the wayfarer, wherever they are.

When the time comes for changing quarters these wanderers find the move but little trouble. Their few belongings are soon collected and packed, and the tent itself made ready for transportation. Their animals are got together, and ere long the cavalcade is on the road. Often one poor beast will carry a fair proportion of the family—the mother and a child or two, for instance—in addition to a load of household goods, and bundles of fowls slung by their feet. At the side men and boys drive the flocks and herds, while as often as not the elder women-folk take a full share in the porterage of their property. To meet such a caravan is to feel one's self transported to Bible times, and to fancy Jacob going home from Padan Aram.

[page 63]



"Seek the neighbour before the house, And the companion before the road."

Moorish Proverb.

Few countries afford a better insight into typical Mohammedan life, or boast a more primitive civilization, than Morocco, preserved as it has been so long from western contamination. The patriarchal system, rendered more or less familiar to us by our Bibles, still exists in the homes of its people, especially those of the country-side; but Moorish city life is no less interesting or instructive. If an Englishman's house is his castle, the Mohammedan's house is a prison—not for himself, but for his women. Here is the radical difference between their life and ours. No one who has not mixed intimately with the people as one of themselves, lodging in their houses and holding constant intercourse with them, can form an adequate idea of the lack of home feeling, even in the happiest families.

The moment you enter a town, however, the main facts are brought vividly before you on every hand. You pass along a narrow thoroughfare—maybe six, maybe sixteen feet in width—bounded by almost blank walls, in some towns whitewashed,[page 64] in others bare mud, in which are no windows, lest their inmates might see or be seen. Even above the roofs of the majority of two-storied houses (for very many in the East consist but of ground floor), the wall is continued to form a parapet round the terrace. If you meet a woman in the street, she is enveloped from head to ankle in close disguise, with only a peep-hole for one or both eyes, unless too ugly and withered for such precautions to be needful.

You arrive at the door of your friend's abode, a huge massive barrier painted brown or green—if not left entirely uncoloured—and studded all over with nails. A very prison entrance it appears, for the only other breaks in the wall above are slits for ventilation, all placed so high in the room as to be out of reach. In the warmer parts of the country you would see latticed boxes protruding from the walls—meshrabîyahs or drinking-places—shelves on which porous earthen jars may be placed to catch the slightest breeze, that the God-sent beverage to which Mohammedans are wisely restricted may be at all times cool. You are terrified, if a stranger, by the resonance of this great door, as you let the huge iron ring which serves as knocker fall on the miniature anvil beneath it. Presently your scattered thoughts are recalled by a chirping voice from within—

"Who's that?"

You recognize the tones as those of a tiny negress slave, mayhap a dozen years of age, and as you give your name you hear a patter of bare feet on the tiles within, but if you are a male, you are left standing out in the street. In a few[page 65] moments the latch of the inner door is sedately lifted, and with measured tread you hear the slippers of your friend advancing.

"Is that So-and-so?" he asks, pausing on the other side of the door.

"It is, my Lord."

"Welcome, then."

The heavy bolt is drawn, and the door swings on its hinges during a volley and counter-volley of inquiries, congratulations, and thanks to God, accompanied by the most graceful bows, the mutual touching and kissing of finger-tips, and the placing of hands on hearts. As these exercises slacken, your host advances to the inner door, and possibly disappears through it, closing it carefully behind him. You hear his stentorian voice commanding, "Amel trek!"—"Make way!"—and this is followed by a scuffle of feet which tells you he is being obeyed. Not a female form will be in sight by the time your host returns to lead you in by the hand with a thousand welcomes, entreating you to make yourself at home.

The passage is constructed with a double turn, so that you could not look, if you would, from the roadway into the courtyard which you now enter. If one of the better-class houses, the floor will be paved with marble or glazed mosaics, and in the centre will stand a bubbling fountain. Round the sides is a colonnade supporting the first-floor landing, reached by a narrow stairway in the corner. Above is the deep-blue sky, obscured, perhaps, by the grateful shade of fig or orange boughs, or a vine on a trellis, under which the people live. The walls, if not tiled, are whitewashed, and often[page 66] beautifully decorated in plaster mauresques. In the centre of three of the four sides are huge horseshoe-arched doorways, two of which will probably be closed by cotton curtains. These suffice to ensure the strictest privacy within, as no one would dream of approaching within a couple of yards of a room with the curtain down, till leave had been asked and obtained.

You are led into the remaining room, the guest-chamber, and the curtain over the entrance is lowered. You may not now venture to rise from your seat on the mattress facing the door till the women whom you hear emerging from their retreats have been admonished to withdraw again. The long, narrow apartment, some eight feet by twenty, in which you find yourself has a double bed at each end, for it is sleeping-room and sitting-room combined, as in Barbary no distinction is known between the two. However long you may remain, you see no female face but that of the cheery slave-girl, who kisses your hand so demurely as she enters with refreshments.

Thus the husband receives his friends—perforce all males unless he be "on the spree,"—in apartments from which all women-folk are banished. Likewise the ladies of the establishment hold their festive gatherings apart. Most Moors, however, are too strict to allow much visiting among their women, especially if they be wealthy and have a good complexion, when they are very closely confined, except when allowed to visit the bath at certain hours set apart for the fair sex, or on Fridays to lay myrtle branches on the tombs of saints and departed relatives. Most of the ladies'[page 67] calls are roof-to-roof visitations, and very nimble they are in getting over the low partition walls, even dragging a ladder up and down with them if there are high ones to be crossed. The reason is that the roofs, or rather terraces, are especially reserved for women-folk, and men are not even allowed to go up except to do repairs, when the neighbouring houses are duly warned; it is illegal to have a window overlooking another's roof. David's temptation doubtless arose from his exercise of a Royal exemption from this all-prevailing custom.

But for their exceedingly substantial build, the Moorish women in the streets might pass for ghosts, for with the exception of their red Morocco slippers, their costume is white—wool-white. A long and heavy blanket of coarse homespun effectually conceals all features but the eyes, which are touched up with antimony on the lids, and are sufficiently expressive. Sometimes a wide-brimmed straw hat is jauntily clapped on; but here ends the plate of Moorish out-door fashions. In-doors all is colour, light and glitter.

In matters of colour and flowing robes the men are not far behind, and they make up abroad for what they lack at home. No garment is more artistic, and no drapery more graceful, than that in which the wealthy Moor takes his daily airing, either on foot or on mule back. Beneath a gauze-like woollen toga—relic of ancient art—glimpses of luscious hue are caught—crimson and purple; deep greens and "afternoon sun colour" (the native name for a rich orange); salmons, and pale, clear blues. A dark-blue cloak, when it is cold, negligently but[page 68] gracefully thrown across the shoulders, or a blue-green prayer-carpet folded beneath the arm, helps to set off the whole.

Chez lui our friend of the flowing garments is a king, with slaves to wait upon him, wives to obey him, and servants to fear his wrath. But his everyday reception-room is the lobby of his stables, where he sits behind the door in rather shabby garments attending to business matters, unless he is a merchant or shopkeeper, when his store serves as office instead.

If all that the Teuton considers essential to home-life is really a sine quâ non, then Orientals have no home-life. That is our way of looking upon it, judging in the most natural way, by our own standards. The Eastern, from his point of view, forms an equally poor idea of the customs which familiarity has rendered most dear to us. It is as difficult for us to set aside prejudice and to consider his systems impartially, as for him to do so with regard to our peculiar style. There are but two criteria by which the various forms of civilization so far developed by man may be fairly judged. The first is the suitability of any given form to the surroundings and exterior conditions of life of the nation adopting it, and the second is the moral or social effect on the community at large.

Under the first head the unbiassed student of mankind will approve in the main of most systems adopted by peoples who have attained that artificiality which we call civilization. An exchange among Westerners of their time-honoured habits for those of the East would not be less beneficial or more incongruous than a corresponding exchange[page 69] on the part of orientals. Those who are ignorant of life towards the sunrise commonly suppose that they can confer no greater benefit upon the natives of these climes than chairs, top-hats, and so on. Hardly could they be more mistaken. The Easterner despises the man who cannot eat his dinner without a fork or other implement, and who cannot tuck his legs beneath him, infinitely more than ill-informed Westerners despise petticoated men and shrouded women. Under the second head, however, a very different issue is reached, and one which involves not only social, but religious life, and consequently the creed on which this last is based. It is in this that Moorish civilization fails.

But list! what is that weird, low sound which strikes upon our ear and interrupts our musings? It is the call to prayer. For the fifth time to-day that cry is sounding—a warning to the faithful that the hour for evening devotions has come. See! yonder Moor has heard it too, and is already spreading his felt on the ground for the performance of his nightly orisons. Standing Mekka-wards, and bowing to the ground, he goes through the set forms used throughout the Mohammedan world. The majority satisfy their consciences by working off the whole five sets at once. But that cry! I hear it still; as one voice fails another carries on the strain in ever varying cadence, each repeating it to the four quarters of the heavens.

It was yet early in the morning when the first call of the day burst on the stilly air; the sun had not then risen o'er the hill tops, nor had his first, soft rays dispelled the shadows of the night. Only[page 70] the rustling of the wind was heard as it died among the tree tops—that wind which was a gale last night. The hurried tread of the night guard going on his last—perhaps his only—round before returning home, had awakened me from dreaming slumbers, and I was about to doze away into that sweetest of sleeps, the morning nap, when the distant cry broke forth. Pitched in a high, clear key, the Muslim confession of faith was heard; "Lá iláha il' Al-lah; wa Mohammed er-rasool Al-l-a-h!" Could ever bell send thrill like that? I wot not.


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


[page 71]



"Teach not thy daughter letters; let her not live on the roof."

Moorish Proverb.

Of no country in the world can it more truly be said than of the Moorish Empire that the social condition of the people may be measured by that of its women. Holding its women in absolute subjection, the Moorish nation is itself held in subjection, morally, politically, socially. The proverb heading this chapter, implying that women should not enjoy the least education or liberty, expresses the universal treatment of the weaker sex among Mohammedans. It is the subservient position of women which strikes the visitor from Europe more than all the oriental strangeness of the local customs or the local art and colour. Advocates of the restriction of the rights of women in our own land, and of the retention of disabilities unknown to men, who fail to recognize the justice and invariability of the principle of absolute equality in rights and liberty between the sexes, should investigate the state of things existing in Morocco, where the natural results of a fallacious principle have had free course.

No welcome awaits the infant daughter, and few care to bear the evil news to the father, who will[page 72] sometimes be left uninformed as to the sex of his child till the time comes to name her. It is rarely that girls are taught to read, or even to understand the rudiments of their religious system. Here and there a father who ranks in Morocco as scholarly, takes the trouble to teach his children at home, including his daughters in the class, but this is very seldom the case. Only those women succeed in obtaining even an average education in whom a thirst for knowledge is combined with opportunities in every way exceptional. In the country considerably more liberty is permitted than in the towns, and the condition of the Berber women has already been noted.

Nevertheless, in certain circumstances, women attain a power quite abnormal under such conditions, usually the result of natural astuteness, combined—at the outset, at least—with a reasonable share of good looks, for when a woman is fairly astute she is a match for a man anywhere. A Mohammedan woman's place in life depends entirely on her personal attractions. If she lacks good looks, or is thin—which in Barbary, as in other Muslim countries, amounts to much the same thing—her future is practically hopeless. The chances being less—almost nil—of getting her easily off their hands by marriage, the parents feel they must make the best they can of her by setting her to work about the house, and she becomes a general drudge. If the home is a wealthy one, she may be relieved from this lot, and steadily ply her needle at minutely fine silk embroidery, or deck and paint herself in style, but, despised by her more fortunate sisters, she is even then hardly better off.

[page 73]

If, on the other hand, a daughter is the beauty of the family, every one pays court to her in some degree, for there is no telling to what she may arrive. Perhaps, in Morocco, she is even thought good enough for the Sultan—plump, clear-skinned, bright-eyed. Could she but get a place in the Royal hareem, it would be in the hands of God to make her the mother of the coming sultan. But good looks alone will not suffice to take her there. Influence—a word translatable in the Orient by a shorter one, cash—must be brought to bear. The interest of a wazeer or two must be secured, and finally an interview must take place with one of the "wise women" who are in charge of the Imperial ladies. She, too, must be convinced by the eloquence of dollars, that His Majesty could not find another so graceful a creature in all his dominions.

When permission is given to send her to Court, what joy there is, what bedecking, what congratulation! At last she is taken away with a palpitating heart, as she thinks of the possibilities before her, bundled up in her blanket and mounted on an ambling mule under strictest guard. On arrival at her new home her very beauty will make enemies, especially among those who have been there longest, and who feel their chances grow less as each new-comer appears. Perhaps one Friday the Sultan notices her as he walks in his grounds in the afternoon, and taking a fancy to her, decides to make her his wife. At once all jealousies are hidden, and each vies with the other to render her service, and assist the preparations for the coming event. For a while she will remain supreme—a very queen indeed—but only till[page 74] her place is taken by another. If she has sons her chances are better; but unless she maintains her influence over her husband till her offspring are old enough to find a lasting place in his affections, she will probably one day be despatched to Tafilált, beyond the Atlas by the Sáharah, whence come those luscious dates. There every other man is a direct descendant of some Moorish king, as for centuries it has served as a sort of overflow for the prolific Royal house.

As Islám knows no right of primogeniture, each sultan appoints his heir; so each wife strives to obtain this favour for her son, and often enough the story of Ishmael and Isaac repeats itself among these reputed descendants of Hagar. The usual way is for the pet son to be placed in some command, even before really able to discharge the duties of the post, which shall secure him supreme control on his father's death. The treasury and the army are the two great means to this end. Those possible rivals who have not been sent away to Tafilált are as often as not imprisoned or put to death on some slight charge, as used to be the custom in England a few hundred years ago.

This method of bequeathing rights which do not come under the strict scale for the division of property contained in the Korán is not confined to Royalty. It applies also to religious sanctity. An instance is that of the late Shareef, or Noble, of Wazzán, a feudal "saint" of great influence. His father, on his deathbed, appointed as successor to his title, his holiness, and the estates connected therewith, the son who should be found playing with a certain stick, a common toy of his favourite. But[page 75] a black woman by whom he had a son was present, and ran out to place the stick in the hands of her own child, who thus inherited his father's honours. Some of the queens of Morocco have arrived at such power through their influence over their husbands that they have virtually ruled the Empire.

Supposing, however, that the damsel who has at last found admittance to the hareem does not, after all, prove attractive to her lord, she will in all probability be sent away to make room for some one else. She will be bestowed upon some country governor when he comes to Court. Sometimes it is an especially astute one who is thus transferred, that she may thereafter serve as a spy on his actions.

Though those before whom lies such a career as has been described will be comparatively few, none who can be considered beautiful are without their chances, however poor. Many well-to-do men prefer a poor wife to a rich one, because they can divorce her when tired of her without incurring the enmity of powerful relatives. Marriage is enjoined upon every Muslim as a religious duty, and, if able to afford it, he usually takes to himself his first wife before he is out of his teens. He is relieved of the choice of a partner which troubles some of us so much, for the ladies of his family undertake this for him: if they do not happen to know of a likely individual they employ a professional go-between, a woman who follows also the callings of pedlar and scandal-monger. It is the duty of this personage, on receipt of a present from his friends, to sing his praises and those of his family in the house of some beautiful girl, whose friends are thereby induced[page 76] to give her a present to go and do likewise on their behalf in the house of so promising a youth. Personal negotiations will then probably take place between the lady friends, and all things proving satisfactory, the fathers or brothers of the might-be pair discuss the dowry and marriage-settlement from a strictly business point of view.

At this stage the bride-elect will perhaps be thought not fat enough, and will have to submit to a course of stuffing. This consists in swallowing after each full meal a few small sausage-shaped boluses of flour, honey and butter, flavoured with anise-seed or something similar. A few months of this treatment give a marvellous rotundity to the figure, thus greatly increasing her charms in the native eye. But of these the bridegroom will see nothing, if not surreptitiously, till after the wedding, when she is brought to his house.

By that time formal documents of marriage will have been drawn up, and signed by notaries before the kádi or judge, setting forth the contract—with nothing in it about love or honour,—detailing every article which the wife brings with her, including in many instances a considerable portion of the household utensils. Notwithstanding all this, she may be divorced by her husband simply saying, "I divorce thee!" and though she may claim the return of all she brought, she has no option but to go home again. He may repent and take her back a first and a second time, but after he has put her away three times he may not marry her again till after she has been wedded to some one else and divorced. Theoretically she may get a divorce from him, but practically this is a matter of great difficulty.

[page 77]

The legal expression employed for the nuptial tie is one which conveys the idea of purchasing a field, to be put to what use the owner will, according him complete control. This idea is borne out to the full, and henceforward the woman lives for her lord, with no thought of independence or self-assertion. If he is poor, all work too hard for him that is not considered unwomanly falls to her share, hewing of wood and drawing of water, grinding of corn and making of bread, weaving and washing; but, strange to us, little sewing. When decidedly passée, she saves him a donkey in carrying wood and charcoal and grass to market, often bent nearly double under a load which she cannot lift, which has to be bound on her back. Her feet are bare, but her sturdy legs are at times encased in leather to ward off the wayside thorns. No longer jealously covered, she and her unmarried daughters trudge for many weary miles at dawn, her decidedly better-off half and a son or two riding the family mule. From this it is but a short step to helping the cow or donkey draw the plough, and this step is sometimes taken.

Until a woman's good looks have quite disappeared, which generally occurs about the time they become grandmothers—say thirty,—intercourse of any sort with men other than her relatives of the first degree is strictly prohibited, and no one dare salute a woman in the street, even if her attendant or mount shows her to be a privileged relative. The slightest recognition of a man out-of-doors—or indeed anywhere—would be to proclaim herself one of that degraded outcaste class as common in Moorish towns as in Europe.

Of companionship in wedlock the Moor has no[page 78] conception, and his ideas of love are those of lust. Though matrimony is considered by the Muslim doctors as "half of Islám," its value in their eyes is purely as a legalization of license by the substitution of polygamy for polyandry. Slavishly bound to the observance of wearisome customs, immured in a windowless house with only the roof for a promenade, seldom permitted outside the door, and then most carefully wrapped in a blanket till quite unrecognizable, the life of a Moorish woman, from the time she has first been caught admiring herself in a mirror, is that of a bird encaged. Lest she might grow content with such a lot, she has before her eyes from infancy the jealousies and rivalries of her father's wives and concubines, and is early initiated into the disgusting and unutterable practices employed to gain the favour of their lord. Her one thought from childhood is man, and distance lends enchantment. A word, the interchange of a look, with a man is sought for by the Moorish maiden more than are the sighs and glances of a coy brunette by a Spaniard. Nothing short of the unexpurgated Arabian Nights' Entertainments can convey an adequate idea of what goes on within those whited sepulchres, the broad, blank walls of Moorish towns. A word with the mason who comes to repair the roof, or even a peep at the men at work on the building over the way, on whose account the roof promenade is forbidden, is eagerly related and expatiated on. In short, all the training a Moorish woman receives is sensual, a training which of itself necessitates most rigorous, though often unavailing, seclusion.

Both in town and country intrigues are common,[page 79] but intrigues which have not even the excuse of the blindness of love, whose only motive is animal passion. The husband who, on returning home, finds a pair of red slippers before the door of his wife's apartment, is bound to understand thereby that somebody else's wife or daughter is within, and he dare not approach. If he has suspicions, all he can do is to bide his time and follow the visitor home, should the route lie through the streets, or despatch a faithful slave-girl or jealous concubine on a like errand, should the way selected be over the roof-tops. In the country, under a very different set of conventionalities, much the same takes place.

In a land where woman holds the degraded position which she does under Islám, such family circles as the Briton loves can never exist. The foundation of the home system is love, which seldom links the members of these families, most seldom of all man and wife. Anything else is not to be expected when they meet for the first time on their wedding night. To begin with, no one's pleasure is studied save that of the despotic master of the house. All the inmates, from the poor imprisoned wives down to the lively slave-girl who opens the door, all are there to serve his pleasure, and woe betide those who fail.

The first wife may have a fairly happy time of it for a season, if her looks are good, and her ways pleasing, but when a second usurps her place, she is generally cast aside as a useless piece of furniture, unless set to do servile work. Although four legal wives are allowed by the Korán, it is only among the rich that so many are found, on account of the expense of their maintenance in appropriate[page 80] style. The facility of divorce renders it much cheaper to change from time to time, and slaves are more economical. To the number of such women that a man may keep no limit is set; he may have "as many as his right hand can possess." Then, too, these do the work of the house, and if they bear their master no children, they may be sold like any other chattels.

The consequence of such a system is that she reigns who for the time stands highest in her lord's favour, so that the strife and jealousies which disturb the peace of the household are continual. This rivalry is naturally inherited by the children, who side with their several mothers, which is especially the case with the boys. Very often the legal wife has no children, or only daughters, while quite a little troop of step-children play about her house. In these cases it is not uncommon for at least the best-looking of these youngsters to be taught to call her "mother," and their real parent "Dadda M'barkah," or whatever her name may be. The offspring of wives and bondwomen stand on an equal footing before the law, in which Islám is still ahead of us.

Such is the sad lot of women in Morocco. Religion itself being all but denied them in practice, whatever precept provides, it is with blank astonishment that the majority of them hear the message of those noble foreign sisters of theirs who have devoted their lives to showing them a better way. The greatest difficulty is experienced in arousing in them any sense of individuality, any feeling of personal responsibility, or any aspiration after good. They are so accustomed to be treated [page 81] as cattle, that their higher powers are altogether dormant, all possibilities of character repressed. The welfare of their souls is supposed to be assured by union with a Muslim, and few know even how to pray. Instead of religion, their minds are saturated with the grossest superstition. If this be the condition of the free woman, how much worse that of the slave!

The present socially degraded state in which the people live, and their apparent, though not real, incapacity for progress and development, is to a great extent the curse entailed by this brutalization of women. No race can ever rise above the level of its weaker sex, and till Morocco learns this lesson it will never rise. The boy may be the father of the man, but the woman is the mother of the boy, and so controls the destiny of the nation. Nothing can indeed be hoped for in this country in the way of social progress till the minds of the men have been raised, and their estimation of women entirely changed. Though Turkey was so long much in the position in which Morocco remains to-day, it is a noteworthy fact that as she steadily progresses in the way of civilization, one of the most apparent features of this progress is the growing respect for women, and the increasing liberty which is allowed them, both in public and private.

[page 82]



"Every country its customs."

Moorish Proverb.

"Calling" is not the common, every-day event in Barbary which it has grown to be in European society. The narrowed-in life of the Moorish woman of the higher classes, and the strict watch which is kept lest some other man than her husband should see her, makes a regular interchange of visits practically impossible. No doubt the Moorish woman would find them quite as great a burden as her western sister, and in this particular her ignorance may be greater bliss than her knowledge. In spite of the paucity of the "calls" she receives or pays, she is by no means ignorant of the life and character of her neighbours, thanks to certain old women (amongst them the professional match-makers) who go about as veritable gossip-mongers, and preserve their more cloistered sisters at least from dying of inanition. Thus the veriest trifles of house arrangement or management are thoroughly canvassed.

Nor is it a privilege commonly extended to European women to be received into the hareems of the high-class and wealthy Moors, although[page 83] lady missionaries have abundant opportunities for making the acquaintance of the women of the poorer classes, especially when medical knowledge and skill afford a key. But the wives of the rich are shut away to themselves, and if you are fortunate enough to be invited to call upon them, do not neglect your opportunity.

You will find that the time named for calling is not limited to the afternoon. Thus it may be when the morning air is blowing fresh from the sea, and the sun is mounting in the heavens, that you are ushered, perhaps by the master of the house, through winding passages to the quarters of the women. If there is a garden, this is frequently reserved for their use, and jealously protected from view, and as in all cases they are supposed to have the monopoly of the flat roof, the courteous male foreigner will keep his gaze from wandering thither too frequently, or resting there too long.

Do not be surprised if you are ushered into an apparently empty room, furnished after the Moorish manner with a strip of richly coloured carpet down the centre, and mattresses round the edge. If there is a musical box in the room, it will doubtless be set going as a pleasant accompaniment to conversation, and the same applies to striking or chiming clocks, for which the Moors have a strong predilection as objets d'art, rather than to mark the march of time.

Of course you will not have forgotten to remove your shoes at the door, and will be sitting cross-legged and quite at ease on one of the immaculate mattresses, when the ladies begin to arrive from their retreats. As they step forward to greet you,[page 84]you may notice their henna-stained feet, a means of decoration which is repeated on their hands, where it is sometimes used in conjunction with harkos, a black pigment with which is applied a delicate tracery giving the effect of black silk mittens. The dark eyes are made to appear more lustrous and almond-shaped by the application of antimony, and the brows are extended till they meet in a black line above the nose. The hair is arranged under a head-dress frequently composed of two bright-coloured, short-fringed silk handkerchiefs, knotted together above the ears, sometimes with the addition of an artificial flower: heavy ear-rings are worn, and from some of them there are suspended large silver hands, charms against the "evil eye." But undoubtedly the main feature of the whole costume is the kaftán or tunic of lustrous satin or silk, embroidered richly in gold and silver, of a colour showing to advantage beneath a white lace garment of similar shape.

The women themselves realize that such fine feathers must be guarded from spot or stain, for they are in many cases family heir-looms, so after they have greeted you with a slight pressure of their finger tips laid upon yours, and taken their seats, tailor fashion, you will notice that each sedulously protects her knees with a rough Turkish towel, quite possibly the worse for wear. In spite of her love for personal decoration, evidenced by the strings of pearls with which her neck is entwined, and the heavy silver armlets, the well-bred Moorish woman evinces no more curiosity than her European sister about the small adornments of her visitor, and this is the more remarkable when you remember[page 85] how destitute of higher interests is her life. She will make kindly and very interested inquiries about your relatives, and even about your life, though naturally, in spite of your explanations, it remains a sealed book to her. The average Moorish woman, however, shows herself as inquisitive as the Chinese.

It is quite possible that you may see some of the children, fascinating, dark-eyed, soft-skinned morsels of humanity, with henna-dyed hair, which may be plaited in a pig-tail, the length of which is augmented by a strange device of coloured wool with which the ends of the hair are interwoven. But children of the better class in Morocco are accustomed to keep in the background, and unless invited, do not venture farther than the door of the reception room, and then with a becoming modesty. If any of the slave-wives enter, you will have an opportunity of noticing their somewhat quaint greeting of those whom they desire to honour, a kiss bestowed on each hand, which they raise to meet their lips, and upon each shoulder, before they, too, take their seats upon the mattresses.

Probably you will not have long to wait before a slave-girl enters with the preparations for tea, orange-flower water, incense, a well-filled tray, a samovar, and two or three dishes piled high with cakes. If you are wise, you will most assuredly try the "gazelle's hoofs," so-called from their shape, for they are a most delicious compound of almond paste, with a spiciness so skilfully blended as to be almost elusive. If you have a sweet tooth, the honey cakes will be eminently satisfactory, but if your taste is plainer, you will enjoy the f'kákis,[page 86] or dry biscuit. Three cups of their most fragrant tea is the orthodox allowance, but a Moorish host or hostess is not slow to perceive any disinclination, however slight, and will sometimes of his or her own accord pave your way to a courteous refusal, by appearing not over anxious either for the last cup.

If you have already had an experience of dining in Morocco, the whole process of the tea-making will be familiar; if not, you will be interested to notice how the tea ("gunpowder") is measured in the hand, then emptied into the pot, washed, thoroughly sweetened, made with boiling water from the samovar, and flavoured with mint or verbena. If the master of the house is present, he is apt to keep the tea-making in his own hands, although he may delegate it to one of his wives, who thus becomes the hostess of the occasion.

After general inquiries as to the purpose of your visit to Morocco, you may be asked if you are a tabeebah or lady doctor, the one profession which they know, by hearsay at least, is open to women. If you can claim ever so little knowledge, you will probably be asked for a prescription to promote an increase of adipose tissue, which they consider their greatest charm; perhaps a still harder riddle may be propounded, with the hope that its satisfactory solution may secure to them the wavering affection of their lord, and prevent alienation and, perhaps, divorce. Yet all you can say is, "In shá Allah" (If God will!)

When you bid them farewell it will be with a keen realization of their narrow, cramped lives, and an appreciation of your own opportunities. Did[page 87] you but know it, they too are full of sympathy for that poor, over-strained Nazarene woman, who is obliged to leave the shelter of her four walls, and face the world unveiled, unprotected, unabashed.

And thus our proverb is proved true.

* Contributed by my wife.—B. M.

[page 88]



"Silence is at the door of consent."

Moorish Proverb.

Thursday was chosen as auspicious for the wedding, but the ceremonies commenced on the Sunday before. The first item on an extensive programme was the visit of the bride with her immediate female relatives and friends to the steam bath at the kasbah, a rarity in country villages, in this case used only by special favour. At the close of an afternoon of fun and frolic in the bath-house, Zóharah, the bride, was escorted to her home closely muffled, to keep her bed till the following day.

Next morning it was the duty of Mokhtar, the bridegroom, to send his betrothed a bullock, with oil, butter and onions; pepper, salt and spices; charcoal and wood; figs, raisins, dates and almonds; candles and henna, wherewith to prepare the marriage feast. He had already, according to the custom of the country, presented the members of her family with slippers and ornaments. As soon as the bullock arrived it was killed amid great rejoicings and plenty of "tom-tom," especially as in the villages a sheep is usually considered sufficient provision. On this day Mokhtar's male[page 89] friends enjoyed a feast in the afternoon, while in the evening the bride had to undergo the process of re-staining with henna to the accompaniment of music. The usual effect of this was somewhat counteracted, however, by the wails of those who had lost relatives during the year. On each successive night, when the drumming began, the same sad scene was repeated—a strange alloy in all the merriment of the wedding.

On the Tuesday Zóharah received her maiden friends, children attending the reception in the afternoon, till the none too roomy hut was crowded to suffocation, and the bride exhausted, although custom prescribed that she should lie all day on the bed, closely wrapped up, and seen by none of her guests, from whom she was separated by a curtain. Every visitor had brought with her some little gift, such as handkerchiefs, candles, sugar, tea, spices and dried fruits, the inspection of which, when all were gone, was her only diversion that day. Throughout that afternoon and the next the neighbouring villages rivalled one another in peaceful sport and ear-splitting ululation, as though, within the memory of man, no other state of things had ever existed between them.

Meanwhile Mokhtar had a more enlivening time with his bachelor friends, who, after feasting with him in the evening, escorted him, wrapped in a háïk or shawl, to the house of his betrothed, outside which they danced and played for three or four hours by the light of lanterns. On returning home, much fun ensued round the supper-basin on the floor, while the palms of the whole company were stained with henna. Then their exuberant spirits[page 90] found relief in dancing round with basins on their heads, till one of them dropped his basin, and snatching off Mokhtar's cloak as if for protection, was immediately chased by the others till supper was ready. After supper all lay back to sleep. For four days the bridegroom's family had thus to feast and amuse his male friends, while the ladies were entertained by that of the bride.

On Wednesday came the turn of the married women visitors, whose bulky forms crowded the hut, if possible more closely than had their children. Gossip and scandal were now retailed with a zest and minuteness of detail not permissible in England, while rival belles waged wordy war in shouts which sounded like whispers amid the din. The walls of the hut were hung with the brightest coloured garments that could be borrowed, and the gorgeous finery of the guests made up a scene of dazzling colour. Green tea and cakes were first passed round, and then a tray for offerings for the musicians, which, when collected, were placed on the floor beneath a rich silk handkerchief. Presents were also made by all to the bride's mother, on behalf of her daughter, who sat in weary state on the bed at one end of the room. As each coin was put down for the players, or for the hostess, a portly female who acted as crier announced the sum contributed, with a prayer for blessing in return, which was in due course echoed by the chief musician. At the bridegroom's house a similar entertainment was held, the party promenading the lanes at dusk with torches and lanterns, after which they received from the bridegroom the powder for next day's play.



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Thursday opened with much-needed rest for Zóharah and her mother till the time came for the final decking; but Mokhtar had to go to the bath with his bachelor friends, and on returning to his newly prepared dwelling, to present many of them with small coins, receiving in return cotton handkerchiefs and towels, big candles and matches. Then all sat down to a modest repast, for which he had provided raisins and other dried fruits, some additional fun being provided by a number of the married neighbours, who tried in vain to gain admission, and in revenge made off with other people's shoes, ultimately returning them full of dried fruits and nuts. Then Mokhtar's head was shaved to the accompaniment of music, and the barber was feasted, while the box in which the bride was to be fetched was brought in, and decked with muslin curtains, surmounted by a woman's head-gear, handkerchiefs, and a sash. The box was about two and a half feet square, and somewhat more in height, including its pointed top.

After three drummings to assemble the friends, a procession was formed about a couple of hours after sunset, lit by torches, lanterns and candles, led by the powder-players, followed by the mounted bridegroom, and behind him the bridal box lashed on the back of a horse; surrounded by more excited powder-players, and closed by the musicians. As they proceeded by a circuitous route the women shrieked, the powder spoke, till all were roused to a fitting pitch of fervour, and so reached the house of the bride. "Behold, the bridegroom cometh!"

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Presently the "litter" was deposited at the door, Mokhtar remaining a short distance off, while the huge old negress, who had officiated so far as mistress of the ceremonies, lifted Zóharah bodily off the bed, and placed her, crying, in the cage. In this a loaf of bread, a candle, some sugar and salt had been laid by way of securing good luck in her new establishment. Her valuables, packed in another box, were entrusted to the negress, who was to walk by her side, while strong arms mounted her, and lashed the "amariah" in its place. As soon as the procession had reformed, the music ceased, and a Fátihah* was solemnly recited. Then they started slowly, as they had come, Mokhtar leaving his bride as she was ushered, closely veiled, from her box into her new home, contenting himself with standing by the side and letting her pass beneath his arm in token of submission. The door was then closed, and the bridegroom took a turn with his friends while the bride should compose herself, and all things be made ready by the negress. Later on he returned, and being admitted, the newly married couple met at last.

Next day they were afforded a respite, but on Saturday the bride had once more to hold a reception, and on the succeeding Thursday came the ceremony of donning the belt, a long, stiff band of embroidered silk, folded to some six inches in width, wound many times round. Standing over a dish containing almonds, raisins, figs, dates, and a couple of eggs, in the presence of a gathering of married women, one of whom assisted in the winding, two small boys adjusted the sash with[page 93] all due state, after which a procession was formed round the house, and the actual wedding was over. Thus commenced a year's imprisonment for the bride, as it was not till she was herself a mother that she was permitted to revisit her old home.

* The beautiful opening prayer of the Korán.

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"Every monkey is a gazelle to its mother."

Moorish Proverb.

If there is one point in the character of the Moor which commends itself above others to the mind of the European it is his love for his children. But when it is observed that in too many cases this love is unequally divided, and that the father prefers his sons to his daughters, our admiration is apt to wane. Though by no means an invariable rule, this is the most common outcome of the pride felt in being the father of a son who may be a credit to the house, and the feeling that a daughter who has to be provided for is an added responsibility.

All is well when the two tiny children play together on the floor, and quarrel on equal terms, but it is another thing when little Hamed goes daily to school, and as soon as he has learned to read is brought home in triumph on a gaily dressed horse, heading a procession of shouting schoolfellows, while his pretty sister Fátimah is fast developing into a maid-of-all-work whom nobody thinks of noticing. And the distinction widens when Hamed rides in the "powder-play," or is trusted to keep shop by himself, while Fátimah is closely veiled and kept a prisoner indoors, body and mind[page 95] unexercised, distinguishable by colour and dress alone from Habîbah, the ebony slave-girl, who was sold like a calf from her mother's side. Yes, indeed, far different paths lie before the two play-mates, but while they are treated alike, let us take a peep at them in their innocent sweetness.

Their mother, Ayeshah, went out as usual one morning to glean in the fields, and in the evening returned with two bundles upon her back; the upper one was to replace crowing Hamed in his primitive cradle: it was Fátimah. Next day, as Ayeshah set off to work again, she left her son kicking up his heels on a pile of blankets, howling till he should become acquainted with his new surroundings, and a little skinny mite lay peacefully sleeping where he had hitherto lived. No mechanical bassinette ever swung more evenly, and no soft draperies made a better cot than the sheet tied up by the corners to a couple of ropes, and swung across the room like a hammock. The beauty of it was that, roll as he would, even active Hamed had been safe in it, and all his energies only served to rock him off to sleep again, for the sides almost met at the top. Yet he was by no means dull, for through a hole opposite his eye he could watch the cows and goats and sheep as they wandered about the yard, not to speak of the cocks and hens that roamed all over the place.

At last the time came when both the wee ones could toddle, and Ayeshah carried them no more to the fields astride her hips or slung over her shoulders in a towel. They were then left to disport themselves as they pleased—which, of course, meant rolling about on the ground,—their garments tied up[page 96] under their arms, leaving them bare from the waist. No wonder that sitting on cold and wet stones had threatened to shrivel up their thin legs, which looked wonderfully shaky at best.

It seems to be a maxim among the Moors that neither head, arms nor legs suffer in any way from exposure to cold or heat, and the mothers of the poorer classes think nothing of carrying their children slung across their backs with their little bare pates exposed to the sun and rain, or of allowing their lower limbs to become numbed with cold as just described. The sole recommendation of such a system is that only the fittest—in a certain sense—survive. Of the attention supposed to be bestowed in a greater or less degree upon all babes in our own land they get little. One result, however, is satisfactory, for they early give up yelling, as an amusement which does not pay, and no one is troubled to march them up and down for hours when teething. Yet it is hardly surprising that under such conditions infant mortality is very great, and, indeed, all through life in this doctorless land astonishing numbers are carried off by diseases we should hardly consider dangerous.

Beyond the much-enjoyed dandle on Father's knee, or the cuddle with Mother, delights are few in Moorish child-life, and of toys such as we have they know nothing, whatever they may find to take their place. But when a boy is old enough to amuse himself, there is no end to the mischief and fun he will contrive, and the lads of Barbary are as fond of their games as we of ours. You may see them racing about after school hours at a species of "catch-as-catch-can," or playing[page 97] football with their heels, or spinning tops, sometimes of European make. Or, dearest sport of all, racing a donkey while seated on its far hind quarters, with all the noise and enjoyment we threw into such pastimes a few years ago. To look at the merry faces of these lively youths, and to hear their cheery voices, is sufficient to convince anyone of their inherent capabilities, which might make them easily a match for English lads if they had their chances.

But what chances have they? At the age of four or five they are drafted off to school, not to be educated, but to be taught to read by rote, and to repeat long chapters of the Korán, if not the whole volume, by heart, hardly understanding what they read. Beyond this little is taught but the four great rules of arithmetic in the figures which we have borrowed from them, but worked out in the most primitive style. In "long" multiplication, for instance, they write every figure down, and "carry" nothing, so that a much more formidable addition than need be has to conclude the calculation. But they have a quaint system of learning their multiplication tables by mnemonics, in which every number is represented by a letter, and these being made up into words, are committed to memory in place of the figures.

A Moorish school is a simple affair. No forms, no desks, few books. A number of boards about the size of foolscap, painted white on both sides, on which the various lessons—from the alphabet to portions of the Korán—are plainly written in large black letters; a switch or two, a pen and ink and a book, complete the furnishings. The dominie,[page 98] squatted tailor-fashion on the ground, like his pupils, who may number from ten to thirty, repeats the lesson in a sonorous sing-song voice, and is imitated by the little urchins, who accompany their voices by a rocking to and fro, which occasionally enables them to keep time. A sharp application of the switch is wonderfully effectual in re-calling wandering attention. Lazy boys are speedily expelled.

On the admission of a pupil the parents pay some small sum, varying according to their means, and every Wednesday, which is a half-holiday, a payment is made from a farthing to twopence. New moons and feasts are made occasions for larger payments, and count as holidays, which last ten days on the occasion of the greater festivals. Thursday is a whole holiday, and no work is done on Friday morning, that being the Mohammedan Sabbath, or at least "meeting day," as it is called.

At each successive stage of the scholastic career the schoolmaster parades the pupils one by one, if at all well-to-do, in the style already alluded to, collecting gifts from the grateful parents to supplement the few coppers the boys bring to school week by week. If they intend to become notaries or judges, they go on to study at Fez, where they purchase the key of a room at one of the colleges, and read to little purpose for several years. In everything the Korán is the standard work. The chapters therein being arranged without any idea of sequence, only according to length,—with the exception of the Fátihah,—the longest at the beginning and the shortest at the end, after the first the last is learned, and so backwards to the second.

[page 99]

Most of the lads are expected to do something to earn their bread at quite an early age, in one way or another, even if not called on to assist their parents in something which requires an old head on young shoulders. Such youths being so early independent, at least in a measure, mix with older lads, who soon teach them all the vices they have not already learned, in which they speedily become as adept as their parents.

Those intended for a mercantile career are put into the shop at twelve or fourteen, and after some experience in weighing-out and bargaining by the side of a father or elder brother, they are left entirely to themselves, being supplied with goods from the main shop as they need them.

It is by this means that the multitudinous little box-shops which are a feature of the towns are enabled to pay their way, this being rendered possible by an expensive minutely retail trade. The average English tradesman is a wholesale dealer compared to these petty retailers, and very many middle-class English households take in sufficient supplies at a time to stock one of their shops. One reason for this is the hand-to-mouth manner in which the bulk of the people live, with no notion of thrift. They earn their day's wage, and if anything remains above the expense of living, it is invested in gay clothing or jimcracks. Another reason is that those who could afford it have seldom any member of their household whom they can trust as housekeeper, of which more anon.

It seems ridiculous to send for sugar, tea, etc., by the ounce or less; candles, boxes of matches, etc., one by one; needles, thread, silk, in like proportion,[page 100] even when cash is available, but such is the practice here, and there is as much haggling over the price of one candle as over that of an expensive article of clothing. Often quite little children, who elsewhere would be considered babes, are sent out to do the shopping, and these cheapen and bargain like the sharpest old folk, with what seems an inherent talent.

Very little care is taken of even the children of the rich, and they get no careful training. The little sons and daughters of quite important personages are allowed to run about as neglected and dirty as those of the very poor. Hence the practice of shaving the head cannot be too highly praised in a country where so much filth abounds, and where cutaneous diseases of the worst type are so frequent. It is, however, noteworthy that while the Moors do not seem to consider it any disgrace to be scarred and covered with disgusting sores, the result of their own sins and those of their fathers, they are greatly ashamed of any ordinary skin disease on the head. But though the shaven skulls are the distinguishing feature of the boys in the house, where their dress closely resembles that of their sisters, the girls may be recognized by their ample locks, often dyed to a fashionable red with henna; yet they, too, are often partially shaved, sometimes in a fantastic style. It may be the hair in front is cut to a fringe an inch long over the forehead, and a strip a quarter of an inch wide is shaved just where the visible part of a child's comb would come, while behind this the natural frizzy or straight hair is left, cut short, while the head is shaved again round the ears and at the back of the [page 101] neck. To perform these operations a barber is called in, who attends the family regularly. Little boys of certain tribes have long tufts left hanging behind their ears, and occasionally they also have their heads shaved in strange devices.

Since no attempt is made to bring the children up as useful members of the community at the age when they are most susceptible, they are allowed to run wild. Thus, bright and tractable as they are naturally, no sooner do the lads approach the end of their 'teens, than a marked change comes over them, a change which even the most casual observer cannot fail to notice. The hitherto agreeable youths appear washed-out and worthless. All their energy has disappeared, and from this time till a second change takes place for the worse, large numbers drag out a weary existence, victims of vices which hold them in their grip, till as if burned up by a fierce but short-lived fire, they ultimately become seared and shattered wrecks. From this time every effort is made to fan the flickering or extinguished flame, till death relieves the weary mortal of the burden of his life.

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"A good supper is known by its odour."

Moorish Proverb.

There are no more important qualifications for the diner-out in Morocco than an open mind and a teachable spirit. Then start with a determination to forget European table manners, except in so far as they are based upon consideration for the feelings of others, setting yourself to do in Morocco as the Moors do, and you cannot fail to gain profit and pleasure from your experience.

One slight difficulty arises from the fact that it is somewhat hard to be sure at any time that you have been definitely invited to partake of a Moorish meal. A request that you would call at three o'clock in the afternoon, mid-way between luncheon and dinner, would seem an unusual hour for a heavy repast, yet that is no guarantee that you may not be expected to partake freely of an elaborate feast.

If you are a member of the frail, fair sex, the absence of all other women will speedily arouse you to the fact that you are in an oriental country, for in Morocco the sons and chief servants, though they eat after the master of the house, take precedence of the wives and women-folk, who eat what remains of[page 103] the various dishes, or have specially prepared meals in their own apartments. For the same reason you need not be surprised if you are waited upon after the men of the party, though this order is sometimes reversed where the host is familiar with European etiquette with regard to women. If a man, perhaps a son will wait upon you.

The well-bred Moor is quite as great a stickler for the proprieties as the most conservative Anglo-Saxon, and you will do well if you show consideration at the outset by removing your shoes at the door of the room, turning a deaf ear to his assurance that such a proceeding is quite unnecessary on your part. A glance round the room will make it clear that your courtesy will be appreciated, for the carpet on the floor is bright and unmarked by muddy or dusty shoes (in spite of the condition of the streets outside), and the mattresses upon which you are invited to sit are immaculate in their whiteness.

Having made yourself comfortable, you will admire the arrangements for the first item upon the programme. The slave-girl appears with a handsome tray, brass or silver, upon which there are a goodly number of cups or tiny glass tumblers, frequently both, of delicate pattern and artistic colouring, a silver tea-pot, a caddy of green tea, a silver or glass bowl filled with large, uneven lumps of sugar, which have been previously broken off from the loaf, and a glass containing sprigs of mint and verbena. The brass samovar comes next, and having measured the tea in the palm of his right hand, and put it into the pot, the host proceeds to pour a small amount of boiling water upon it, which he straightway pours off, a precaution lest the Nazarenes should[page 104] have mingled some colouring matter therewith. He then adds enough sugar to ensure a semi-syrupy result, with some sprigs of peppermint, and fills the pot from the samovar. A few minutes later he pours out a little, which he tastes himself, frequently returning the remainder to the pot, although the more Europeanized consume the whole draught. If the test has been satisfactory, he proceeds to fill the cups or glasses, passing them in turn to the guests in order of distinction. To make a perceptible noise in drawing it from the glass to the mouth is esteemed a delicate token of appreciation.

The tray is then removed; the slave in attendance brings a chased brass basin and ewer of water, and before the serious portion of the meal begins you are expected to hold out your right hand just to cleanse it from any impurities which may have been contracted in coming. Orange-flower water in a silver sprinkler is then brought in, followed by a brass incense burner filled with live charcoal, on which a small quantity of sandal-wood or other incense is placed, and the result is a delicious fragrance which you are invited to waft by a circular motion of your hands into your hair, your ribbons and your laces, while your Moorish host finds the folds of his loose garments invaluable for the retention of the spicy perfume.

A circular table about eight inches high is then placed in the centre of the guests; on this is placed a tray with the first course of the dinner, frequently puffs of delicate pastry fried in butter over a charcoal fire, and containing sometimes meat, sometimes a delicious compound of almond paste and cinnamon. This, being removed, is followed by a succession of[page 105] savoury stews with rich, well-flavoured gravies, each with its own distinctive spiciness, but all excellently cooked. The host first dips a fragment of bread into the gravy, saying as he does so, "B'ísm Illah!" ("In the name of God!"), which the guests repeat, as each follows suit with a sop from the dish.

There is abundant scope for elegance of gesture in the eating of the stews, but still greater opportunity when the pièce de résistance of a Moorish dinner, the dish of kesk'soo, is brought on. This kesk'soo is a small round granule prepared from semolina, which, having been steamed, is served like rice beneath and round an excellent stew, which is heaped up in the centre of the dish. With the thumb and two first fingers of the right hand you are expected to secure some succulent morsel from the stew,—meat, raisins, onions, or vegetable marrow,—and with it a small quantity of the kesk'soo. By a skilful motion of the palm the whole is formed into a round ball, which is thrown with a graceful curve of hand and wrist into the mouth. Woe betide you if your host is possessed by the hospitable desire to make one of these boluses for you, for he is apt to measure the cubic content of your mouth by that of his own, and for a moment your feelings will be too deep for words; but this is only a brief discomfort, and you will find the dish an excellent one, for Moorish cooks never serve tough meat.

If your fingers have suffered from contact with the kesk'soo, it is permitted to you to apply your tongue to each digit in turn in the following order; fourth (or little finger), second, thumb, third, first; but a few moments later the slave appears, and after bearing away the table with the remains of the feast[page 106] gives the opportunity for a most satisfactory ablution. In this case you are expected to use soap, and to wash both hands, over which water is poured three times. If you are at all acquainted with Moorish ways, you will not fail at the same time to apply soap and water to your mouth both outwardly and inwardly, being careful to rinse it three times with plenty of noise, ejecting the water behind your hand into the basin which is held before you.

Orange-flower water and incense now again appear, and you may be required to drink three more glasses of refreshing tea, though this is sometimes omitted at the close of a repast. Of course "the feast of reason and the flow of soul" have not been lacking, and you have been repeatedly assured of your welcome, and invited to partake beyond the limit of human possibility, for the Moor believes you can pay no higher compliment to the dainties he has provided than by their consumption.

For a while you linger, reclining upon the mattress as gracefully as may be possible for a tyro, with your arm upon a pile of many-coloured cushions of embroidered leather or cloth. Then, after a thousand mutual thanks and blessings, accompanied by graceful bowings and bendings, you say farewell and step to the door, where your slippers await you, and usher yourself out, not ill-satisfied with your initiation into the art of dining-out in Barbary.

* Contributed by my wife.—B. M.


Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.


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"Manage with bread and butter till God sends the jam."

Moorish Proverb.

If the ordinary regulations of social life among the Moors differ materially from those in force among ourselves, how much more so must the minor details of the housekeeping when, to begin with, the husband does the marketing and keeps the keys! And the consequential Moor does, indeed, keep the keys, not only of the stores, but also often of the house. What would an English lady think of being coolly locked in a windowless house while her husband went for a journey, the provisions for the family being meanwhile handed in each morning through a loophole by a trusty slave left as gaoler? That no surprise whatever would be elicited in Barbary by such an arrangement speaks volumes. Woman has no voice under Mohammed's creed.

Early in the morning let us take a stroll into the market, and see how things are managed there. Round the inside of a high-walled enclosure is a row of the rudest of booths. Over portions of the pathway, stretching across to other booths in the centre—if the market is a wide one—are pieces of cloth, vines on trellis, or canes interwoven with brushwood. As the sun gains strength these afford[page 108] a most grateful shade, and during the heat of the day there is no more pleasant place for a stroll, and none more full of characteristic life. In the wider parts, on the ground, lie heaps two or three feet high of mint, verbena and lemon thyme, the much-esteemed flavourings for the national drink—green-tea syrup—exhaling a most delicious fragrance. It is early summer: the luscious oranges are not yet over, and in tempting piles they lie upon the stalls made of old packing-cases, many with still legible familiar English and French inscriptions. Apricots are selling at a halfpenny or less the pound, and plums and damsons, not to speak of greengages, keep good pace with them in price and sales. The bright tints of the lettuces and other fresh green vegetables serve to set off the rich colours of the God-made delicacies, but the prevailing hue of the scene is a restful earth-brown, an autumnal leaf-tint; the trodden ground, the sun-dried brush-wood of the booths and awnings, and the wet-stained wood-work. No glamour of paint or gleam of glass destroys the harmony of the surroundings.

But with all the feeling of cool and repose, rest there is not, or idleness, for there is not a brisker scene in an oriental town than its market-place. Thronging those narrow pathways come the rich and poor—the portly merchant in his morning cloak, a spotless white wool jelláb, with a turban and girth which bespeak easy circumstances; the labourer in just such a cloak with the hood up, but one which was always brown, and is now much mended; the slave in shirt and drawers, with a string round his shaven pate; the keen little Jew[page 109] boy pushing and bargaining as no other could; the bearded son of Israel, with piercing eyes, and his daughter with streaming hair; lastly, the widow or time-worn wife of the poor Mohammedan, who must needs market for herself. Her wrinkled face and care-worn look tell a different tale from the pompous self-content of the merchant by her side, who drives as hard a bargain as she does. In his hand he carries a palmetto-leaf basket, already half full, as with slippered feet he carefully picks his way among puddles and garbage.

"Good morning, O my master; God bless thee!" exclaims the stall-keeper as his customer comes in sight.

Sáïd el Faráji has to buy cloth of the merchant time and time again, so makes a point of pleasing one who can return a kindness.

"No ill, praise God; and thyself, O Sáïd?" comes the cheery reply; then, after five minutes' mutual inquiry after one another's household, horses and other interests, health and general welfare, friend Sáïd points out the daintiest articles on his stall, and in the most persuasive of tones names his "lowest price."

All the while he is sitting cross-legged on an old box, with his scales before him.

"What? Now, come, I'll give you so much," says the merchant, naming a price slightly less than that asked.

"Make it so much," exclaims Sáïd, even more persuasively than before, as he "splits the difference."

"Well, I'll give you so much," offering just a little less than this sum. "I can't go above that, you know."

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"All right, but you always get the better of me, you know. That is just what I paid. Anyhow, don't forget that when I want a new cloak," and he proceeds to measure out the purchases, using as weights two or three bits of old iron, a small cannon-ball, some bullets, screws, coins, etc. "Go with prosperity, my friend; and may God bless thee!"

"And may God increase thy prosperity, and grant to thee a blessing!" rejoins the successful man, as he proceeds to another stall.

By the time he reaches home his basket will contain meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and herbs, besides, perhaps, a loaf of sugar, and a quarter of a pound of tea, with supplies of spices and some candles. Bread they make at home.

The absurdly minute quantities of what we should call "stores," which a man will purchase who could well afford to lay in a supply, seem very strange to the foreigner; but it is part of his domestic economy—or lack of that quality. He will not trust his wife with more than one day's supply at a time, and to weigh things out himself each morning would be trouble not to be dreamed of; besides which it would deprive him of the pleasure of all that bargaining, not to speak of the appetite-promoting stroll, and the opportunities for gossip with acquaintances which it affords. In consequence, wives and slaves are generally kept on short allowances, if these are granted at all.

An amusing incident which came under my notice in Tangier shows how little the English idea of the community of interest of husband and wife is appreciated here. A Moorish woman who[page 111] used to furnish milk to an English family being met by the lady of the house one morning, when she had brought short measure, said, pointing to the husband in the distance, "You be my friend; take this" (slipping a few coppers worth half a farthing into her hand), "don't tell him anything about it. I'll share the profit with you!" She probably knew from experience that the veriest trifle would suffice to buy over the wife of a Moor.

Instructions having been given to his wife or wives as to what is to be prepared, and how—he probably pretends to know more of the art culinary than he does—the husband will start off to attend to his shop till lunch, which will be about noon. Then a few more hours in the shop, and before the sun sets a ride out to his garden by the river, returning in time for dinner at seven, after which come talk, prayers, and bed, completing what is more or less his daily round. His wives will probably be assisted in the house-work—or perhaps entirely relieved of it—by a slave-girl or two, and the water required will be brought in on the shoulders of a stalwart negro in skins or barrels filled from some fountain of good repute, but of certain contamination.

In cooking the Moorish women excel, as their first-rate productions afford testimony. It is the custom of some Europeans to systematically disparage native preparations, but such judges have been the victims either of their own indiscretion in eating too many rich things without the large proportion of bread or other digestible nutriment which should have accompanied them, or of the essays of their own servants, usually men without any more knowledge of how their mothers prepare the dishes they[page 112] attempt to imitate than an ordinary English working man would have of similar matters. Of course there are certain flavourings which to many are really objectionable, but none can be worse to us than any preparation of pig would be to a Moor. Prominent among such is the ancient butter which forms the basis of much of their spicings, butter made from milk, which has been preserved—usually buried a year or two—till it has acquired the taste, and somewhat the appearance, of ripe Gorgonzola. Those who commence by trying a very slight flavour of this will find the fancy grow upon them, and there is no smell so absolutely appetizing as the faintest whiff of anything being cooked in this butter, called "smin."

Another point, much misunderstood, which enables them to cook the toughest old rooster or plough-ox joint till it can be eaten readily with the fingers, is the stewing in oil or butter. When the oil itself is pure and fresh, it imparts no more taste to anything cooked in it than does the fresh butter used by the rich. Articles plunged into either at their high boiling point are immediately browned and enclosed in a kind of case, with a result which can be achieved in no other manner than by rolling in paste or clay, and cooking amid embers. Moorish pastry thus cooked in oil is excellent, flaky and light.

[page 113]



"A turban without a beard shows lack of modesty."

Moorish Proverb.

Háj Mohammed Et-Tájir, a grey-bearded worthy, who looks like a prince when he walks abroad, and dwells in a magnificent house, sits during business hours on a diminutive tick and wool mattress, on the floor of a cob-webbed room on one side of an ill-paved, uncovered, dirty court-yard. Light and air are admitted by the door in front of which he sits, while the long side behind him, the two ends, and much of the floor, are packed with valuable cloths, Manchester goods, silk, etc. Two other sides of the court-yard consist of similar stores, one occupied by a couple of Jews, and the other by another fine-looking Háj, his partner.

Enters a Moor, in common clothing, market basket in hand. He advances to the entrance of the store, and salutes the owner respectfully—"Peace be with thee, Uncle Pilgrim!"

"With thee be peace, O my master," is the reply, and the new-comer is handed a cushion, and motioned to sit on it at the door. "How doest thou?" "How fares thy house?" "How dost thou find thyself this morning?" "Is nothing wrong with thee?" These and similar inquiries[page 114] are showered by each on the other, and an equal abundance is returned of such replies as, "Nothing wrong;" "Praise be to God;" "All is well."

When both cease for lack of breath, after a brief pause the new arrival asks, "Have you any of that 'Merican?" (unbleached calico). The dealer puts on an indignant air, as if astonished at being asked such a question. "Have I? There is no counting what I have of it," and he commences to tell his beads, trying to appear indifferent as to whether his visitor buys or not. Presently the latter, also anxious not to appear too eager, exclaims, "Let's look at it." A piece is leisurely handed down, and the customer inquires in a disparaging tone, "How much?"

"Six and a half," and the speaker again appears absorbed in meditation.

"Give thee six," says the customer, rising as if to go.

"Wait, thou art very dear to us; to thee alone will I give a special price, six and a quarter."

"No, no," replies the customer, shaking his finger before his face, as though to emphasize his refusal of even such special terms.

"Al-l-láh!" piously breathes the dealer, as he gazes abstractedly out of the door, presently adding in the same devout tone, "There is no god but God! God curse the infidels!"

"Come, I'll give thee six and an okea"—of which latter six and a half go to the 'quarter' peseta or franc of which six were offered.

"No, six and five is the lowest I can take."

The might-be purchaser made his last offer in a half-rising posture, and is now nearly erect as he[page 115] says, "Then I can't buy; give it me for six and three," sitting down as though the bargain were struck.

"No, I never sell that quality for less than six and four, and it's a thing I make no profit on; you know that."

The customer doesn't look as though he did, and rising, turns to go.

"Send a man to carry it away," says the dealer.

"At six and three!"

"No, at six and four!" and the customer goes away.

"Send the man, it is thine," is hastily called after him, and in a few moments he returns with a Jewish porter, and pays his "six and three."

So our worthy trader does business all day, and seems to thrive on it. Occasionally a friend drops in to chat and not to buy, and now and then there is a beggar; here is one.

An aged crone she is, of most forbidding countenance, swathed in rags, it is a wonder she can keep together. She leans on a formidable staff, and in a piteous voice, "For the face of the Lord," and "In the name of my Lord Slave-of-the-Able" (Mulai Abd el Káder, a favourite saint), she begs something "For God." One copper suffices to induce her to call down untold blessings on the head of the donor, and she trudges away in the mud, barefooted, repeating her entreaties till they sound almost a wail, as she turns the next corner. But beggars who can be so easily disposed of at the rate of a hundred and ninety-five for a shilling can hardly be considered troublesome.

A respectable-looking man next walks in with[page 116] measured tread, and leaning towards us, says almost in a whisper—

"O Friend of the Prophet, is there anything to-day?"

"Nothing, O my master," is the courteously toned reply, for the beggar appears to be a shareef or noble, and with a "God bless thee," disappears.

A miserable wretch now turns up, and halfway across the yard begins to utter a whine which is speedily cut short by a curt "God help thee!" whereat the visitor turns on his heel and is gone.

With a confident bearing an untidy looking figure enters a moment later, and after due salaams inquires for a special kind of cloth.

"Call to-morrow morning," he is told, for he has not the air of a purchaser, and he takes his departure meekly.

A creaky voice here breaks in from round the corner—

"Hast thou not a copper for the sake of the Lord?"

"No, O my brother."

After a few minutes another female comes on the scene, exhibiting enough of her face to show that it is a mass of sores.

"Only a trifle, in the name of my lord Idrees," she cries, and turns away on being told, "God bring it!"

Then comes a policeman, a makházni, who seats himself amid a shower of salutations—

"Hast thou any more of those selháms" (hooded cloaks)?

"Come on the morrow, and thou shalt see."

The explanation of this answer given by the[page 117] "merchant" is that he sees such folk only mean to bother him for nothing.

And this appears to be the daily routine of "business," though a good bargain must surely be made some time to have enabled our friend to acquire all the property he has, but so far as an outsider can judge, it must be a slow process. Anyhow, it has heartily tired the writer, who has whiled away the morning penning this account on a cushion on one side of the shop described. Yet it is a fair specimen of what has been observed by him on many a morning in this sleepy land.

[page 118]



"Debt destroys religion."

Moorish Proverb.

If any should imagine that time is money in Morocco, let them undertake a shopping expedition in Tangier, the town on which, if anywhere in Morocco, occidental energy has set its seal. Not that one such excursion will suffice, unless, indeed, the purchaser be of the class who have more money than wit, or who are absolutely at the mercy of the guide and interpreter who pockets a commission upon every bargain he brings about. For the ordinary mortal, who wants to spread his dollars as far as it is possible for dollars to go, a tour of inspection, if not two or three, will be necessary before such a feat can be accomplished. To be sure, there is always the risk that between one visit and another some coveted article may find its way into the hands of a more reckless, or at least less thrifty, purchaser, but that risk may be safely taken.


Albert, Photo., Tunis.


There is something very attractive in the small cupboard-like shops of the main street. Their[page 119] owners sit cross-legged ready for a chat, looking wonderfully picturesque in cream-coloured jelláb, or in semi-transparent white farrajîyah, or tunic, allowing at the throat a glimpse of saffron, cerise, or green from the garment beneath. The white turban, beneath which shows a line of red Fez cap, serves as a foil to the clear olive complexion and the dark eyes and brows, while the faces are in general goodly to look upon, except where the lines have grown coarse and sensuous.

So strong is the impression of elegant leisure, that it is difficult to imagine that these men expect to make a living from their trade, but they are more than willing to display their goods, and will doubtless invite you to a seat upon the shop ledge—where your feet dangle gracefully above a rough cobble-stone pavement—and sometimes even to a cup of tea. One after another, in quick succession, carpets of different dimensions (but all oblong, for Moorish rooms are narrow in comparison with their length) are spread out in the street, and the shop-owners' satellite, by reiterated cries of "Bálak! Bálak!" (Mind out! Mind out!) accompanied by persuasive pushes, keeps off the passing donkeys. A miniature crowd of interested spectators will doubtless gather round you, making remarks upon you and your purchases. Charmed by the artistic colourings, rich but never garish, you ask the price, and if you are wise you will immediately offer just half of that named. It is quite probable that the carpets will be folded up and returned to their places upon the shelf at the back of the shop, but it is equally probable that by slow and tactful yielding upon either side, interspersed with curses upon your[page 120] ancestors and upon yourself, the bargain will be struck about halfway between the two extremes.

The same method must be adopted with every article bought, and if you purpose making many purchases in the same shop, you will be wise to obtain and write down the price quoted in each case as "the very lowest," and make your bid for the whole at once, lest, made cunning by one experience of your tactics, the shopman should put on a wider marginal profit in every other instance to circumvent you. It is also well for the purchaser to express ardent admiration in tones of calm indifference, for the Moor has quick perceptions, and though he may not understand English, when enthusiasm is apparent, he has the key to the situation, and refuses to lower his prices.

Nevertheless, it is sometimes difficult to avoid a warm expression of admiration at the handsome brass trays, the Morocco leather bags into which such charming designs of contrasting colours are skilfully introduced, or the graceful utensils of copper and brass with which a closer acquaintance was made when you were the guest at a Moorish dinner. Many and interesting are the curious trifles which may be purchased, but they will be found in the greatest profusion in the bazaars established for the convenience of Nazarene tourists, where prices will frequently be named in English money, for an English "yellow-boy" is nowhere better appreciated than in Tangier.

In the shops in the sôk, or market-place, prices are sometimes more moderate, and there you may discover some of the more distinctively Moorish articles, which are brought in from the country; [page 121] nor can there be purchased a more interesting memento than a flint-lock, a pistol, or a carved dagger, all more or less elaborately decorated, such as are carried by town or country Moor, the former satisfied with a dagger in its chased sheath, except at the time of "powder-play," when flint-locks are in evidence everywhere.

But in the market-place there are exposed for sale the more perishable things of Moorish living. Some of the small cupboards are grocers' shops, where semolina for the preparation of kesk'soo, the national dish, may be purchased, as well as candles for burning at the saints' shrines, and a multitude of small necessaries for the Moorish housewives. In the centre of the market sit the bread-sellers, for the most part women whose faces are supposed to be religiously kept veiled from the gaze of man, but who are apt to let their háïks fall back quite carelessly when only Europeans are near. An occasional glimpse may sometimes be thus obtained of a really pretty face of some lass on the verge of womanhood.

Look at that girl in front of us, stooping over the stall of a vendor of what some one has dubbed "sticky nastinesses," her háïk lightly thrown back; her bent form and the tiny hand protruding at her side show that she is not alone, her little baby brother proving almost as much as she can carry. Her teeth are pearly white; her hair and eyebrows are jet black; her nut-brown cheeks bear a pleasant smile, and as she stretches out one hand to give the "confectioner" a few coppers, with the other clutching at her escaping garment, and moves on amongst the crowd, we [page 122] come to the conclusion that if not fair, she is at least comely.

The country women seated on the ground with their wares form a nucleus for a dense crowd. They have carried in upon their backs heavy loads of grass for provender, or firewood and charcoal which they sell in wholesale quantities to the smaller shopkeepers, who purchase from other countryfolk donkey loads of ripe melons and luscious black figs.

There is a glorious inconsequence in the arrangement of the wares. Here you may see a pile of women's garments exposed for sale, and not far away are sweet-sellers with honey-cakes and other unattractive but toothsome delicacies. If you can catch a glimpse of the native brass-workers busily beating out artistic designs upon trays of different sizes and shapes, do not fail to seize the opportunity of watching them. You may form one in the ring gathered round the snake-charmer, or join the circle which listens open-mouthed and with breathless attention to that story-teller, who breaks off at a most critical juncture in his narrative to shake his tambourine, declaring that so close-fisted an audience does not deserve to hear another word, much less the conclusion of his fascinating tale.

But before you join either party, indeed before you mingle at all freely in the crowd upon a Moorish market-place, it is well to remember that the flea is a common domestic insect, impartial in the distribution of his favours to Moor, Jew and Nazarene, and is in fact not averse to "fresh fields and pastures new."

[page 123]

If you are clad in perishable garments, beware of the water-carrier with his goat-skin, his tinkling bell, his brass cup, and his strange cry. Beware, too, of the strings of donkeys with heavily laden packs, and do not scruple to give them a forcible push out of your way. If you are mounted upon a donkey yourself, so much the better; by watching the methods of your donkey-boy to ensure a clear passage for his beast, you will realize that dwellers in Barbary are not strangers to the spirit of the saying, "Each man for himself, and the de'il take the hindmost."

Yet they are a pleasant crowd to be amongst, in spite of insect-life, water-carriers, and bulky pack-saddles, and there is an exhaustless store of interest, not alone in the wares they have for sale, and in the trades they ply, but more than all in the faces, so often keen and alert, and still more often bright and smiling.

One typical example of Moorish methods of shopping, and I have done. Among those who make their money by trade, you may find a man who spends his time in bringing the would-be purchaser into intimate relations with the article he desires to obtain. He has no shop of his own, but may often be recognized as an interested spectator of some uncompleted bargain. Having discovered your dwelling-place, he proceeds to "bring the mountain to Mohammed," and you will doubtless be confronted in the court-yard of your hotel by the very article for which you have been seeking in vain. Of course he expects a good price which shall ensure him a profit of at least fifty per cent. upon his expenditure, but he too is open to a[page 124] bargain, and a little skilful pointing out of flaws in the article which he has brought for purchase, in a tone of calm and supreme indifference, is apt to ensure a very satisfactory reduction of price in favour of the shopper in Barbary.

* Contributed by my wife.—B. M.

[page 125]



"A climb with a friend is a descent."

Moorish Proverb.

One of the sights of Tangier is its market. Sundays and Thursdays, when the weather is fine, see the disused portion of the Mohammedan graveyard outside Báb el Fahs (called by the English Port St. Catherine, and now known commonly as the Sôk Gate) crowded with buyers and sellers of most quaint appearance to the foreign eye, not to mention camels, horses, mules, and donkeys, or the goods they have brought. Hither come the sellers from long distances, trudging all the way on foot, laden or not, according to means, all eager to exchange their goods for European manufacturers, or to carry home a few more dollars to be buried with their store.

Sunday is no Sabbath for the sons of Israel, so the money-changers are doing a brisk trade from baskets of filthy native bronze coin, the smallest of which go five hundred to the shilling, and the largest three hundred and thirty-three! Hard by a venerable rabbi is leisurely cutting the throats of fowls brought to him for the purpose by the servants or children of Jews, after the careful inspection enjoined by the Mosaic law. The old[page 126] gentleman has the coolest way of doing it imaginable; he might be only peeling an orange for the little girl who stands waiting. After apparently all but turning the victim inside out, he twists back its head under its wings, folding these across its breast as a handle, and with his free hand removing his razor-like knife from his mouth, nearly severs its neck and hands it to the child, who can scarcely restrain its struggles except by putting her foot on it, while he mechanically wipes his blade and prepares to despatch another.

Eggs and milk are being sold a few yards off by country women squatted on the ground, the former in baskets or heaps on the stones, the latter in uninviting red jars, with a round of prickly-pear leaf for a stopper, and a bit of palmetto rope for a handle.

By this time we are in the midst of a perfect Babel—a human maëlstrom. In a European crowd one is but crushed by human beings; here all sorts of heavily laden quadrupeds, with packs often four feet across, come jostling past, sometimes with the most unsavoury loads. We have just time to observe that more country women are selling walnuts, vegetables, and fruits, on our left, at the door of what used to be the tobacco and hemp fandak, and that native sweets, German knick-knacks and Spanish fruit are being sold on our right, as amid the din of forges on either side we find ourselves in the midst of the crush to get through the narrow gate.

Here an exciting scene ensues. Continuous streams of people and beasts of burden are pushing both ways; a drove of donkeys laden with rough[page 127] bundles of cork-wood for the ovens approaches, the projecting ends prodding the passers-by; another drove laden with stones tries to pass them, while half a dozen mules and horses vainly endeavour to pass out. A European horseman trots up and makes the people fly, but not so the beasts, till he gets wedged in the midst, and must bide his time after all. Meanwhile one is almost deafened by the noise of shouting, most of it good-humoured. "Zeed! Arrah!" vociferates the donkey-driver. "Bálak!" shouts the horseman. "Bálak! Guarda!" (pronounced warda) in a louder key comes from a man who is trying to pilot a Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary through the gate, with Her Excellency on his arm.

At last we seize a favourable opportunity and are through. Now we can breathe. In front of us, underneath an arch said to have been built to shelter the English guard two hundred years ago (which is very unlikely, since the English destroyed the fortifications of this gate), we see the native shoeing-smiths hacking at the hoofs of horses, mules, and donkeys, in a manner most extraordinary to us, and nailing on triangular plates with holes in the centre—though most keep a stock of English imported shoes and nails for the fastidious Nazarenes. Spanish and Jewish butchers are driving a roaring trade at movable stalls made of old boxes, and the din is here worse than ever.

Now we turn aside into the vegetable market, as it is called, though as we enter we are almost sickened by the sight of more butchers' stalls, and further on by putrid fish. This market is typical.[page 128] Low thatched booths of branches and canes are the only shops but those of the butchers, the arcade which surrounds the interior of the building being chiefly used for stores. Here and there a filthy rag is stretched across the crowded way to keep the sun off, and anon we have to stop to avoid some drooping branch. Fruit and vegetables of all descriptions in season are sold amid the most good-humoured haggling.

Emerging from this interesting scene by a gate leading to the outer sôk, we come to one quite different in character. A large open space is packed with country people, their beasts and their goods, and towns-people come out to purchase. Women seem to far outnumber the men, doubtless on account of their size and their conspicuous head-dress. They are almost entirely enveloped in white háïks, over the majority of which are thrown huge native sun-hats made of palmetto, with four coloured cords by way of rigging to keep the brim extended. When the sun goes down these are to be seen slung across the shoulders instead. Very many of the women have children slung on their backs, or squatting on their hips if big enough. This causes them to stoop, especially if some other burden is carried on their shoulders as well.


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


On our right are typical Moorish shops,—grocers', if you please,—in which are exposed to view an assortment of dried fruits, such as nuts, raisins, figs, etc., with olive and argan oil, candles, tea, sugar, and native soap and butter. Certainly of all the goods that butter is the least inviting; the soap, though the purest of "soft," looks a horribly repulsive mass, but the butter which, like[page 129] it, is streaked all over with finger marks, is in addition full of hairs. Similar shops are perched on our left, where old English biscuit-boxes are conspicuous.

Beyond these come slipper- and clothes-menders. The former are at work on native slippers of such age that they would long ago have been thrown away in any less poverty-stricken land, transforming them into wearable if unsightly articles, after well soaking them in earthen pans. Just here a native "medicine man" dispenses nostrums of doubtful efficacy, and in front a quantity of red Moorish pottery is exposed for sale. This consists chiefly of braziers for charcoal and kesk'soo steamers for stewing meat and vegetables as well.

A native café here attracts our attention. Under the shade of a covered way the káhwajî has a brazier on which he keeps a large kettle of water boiling. A few steps further on we light upon the sellers of native salt. This is in very large crystals, heaped in mule panniers, from which the dealers mete it out in wooden measures. It comes from along the beach near Old Tangier, where the heaps can be seen from the town, glistening in the sunlight. Ponds are dug along the shore, in which sea water is enclosed by miniature dykes, and on evaporating leaves the salt.

Pressing on with difficulty through a crowd of horses, mules and donkeys, mostly tethered by their forefeet, we reach some huts in front of which are the most gorgeous native waistcoats exposed for sale, together with Manchester goods, by fat, ugly old women of a forbidding aspect. Further on we come upon "confectioners." A remarkable[page 130] peculiarity of the tables on which the sweets are being sold in front of us is the total absence of flies, though bees abound, in spite of the lazy whisking of the sweet-seller. The sweets themselves consist of red, yellow and white sticks of what Cousin Jonathan calls "candy;" almond and gingelly rock, all frizzling in the sun. A small basin, whose contents resemble a dark plum-pudding full of seeds, contains a paste of the much-lauded hasheesh, the opiate of Morocco, which, though contraband, and strictly prohibited by Imperial decrees, is being freely purchased in small doses.

On the opposite side of the way some old Spaniards are selling a kind of coiled-up fritter by the yard, swimming in oil. Then we come to a native restaurant. Trade does not appear very brisk, so we shall not interrupt it by pausing for a few moments to watch the cooking. In a tiny lean-to of sticks and thatch two men are at work. One is cutting up liver and what would be flead if the Moors ate pigs, into pieces about the size of a filbert. These the other threads on skewers in alternate layers, three or four of each. Having rolled them in a basin of pepper and salt, they are laid across an earthen pot resembling a log scooped out, like some primæval boat. In the bottom of the hollow is a charcoal fire, which causes the khotbán, as they are called, to give forth a most appetizing odour—the only thing tempting about them after seeing them made. Half loaves of native bread lie ready to hand, and the hungry passer-by is invited to take an al fresco meal for the veriest trifle. Another sort of kabáb—for such is the name of the preparation—is being made from[page 131] a large wash-basin full of ready seasoned minced meat, small handfuls of which the jovial chef adroitly plasters on more skewers, cooking them like the others.

Squatted on the ground by the side of this "bar" is a retailer of ripened native butter, "warranted five years old." This one can readily smell without stooping; it is in an earthenware pan, and looks very dirty, but is weighed out by the ounce as very precious after being kept so long underground.

Opposite is the spot where the camels from and for the interior load and unload. Some forty of these ungainly but useful animals are here congregated in groups. At feeding-time a cloth is spread on the ground, on which a quantity of barley is poured in a heap. Each animal lies with its legs doubled up beneath it in a manner only possible to camels, with its head over the food, munching contentedly. In one of the groups we notice the driver beating his beast to make it kneel down preparatory to the removal of its pack, some two hundred-weight and a half. After sundry unpleasant sounds, and tramping backwards and forwards to find a comfortable spot, the gawky creature settles down in a stately fashion, packing up his stilt-like legs in regular order, limb after limb, till he attains the desired position. A short distance off one of them is making hideous noises by way of protest against the weight of the load being piled upon him, threatening to lose his temper, and throw a little red bladder out of his mouth, which, hanging there as he breathes excitedly, makes a most unpleasing sound.

[page 132]

Here one of the many water-carriers who have crossed our path does so again, tinkling his little bell of European manufacture, and we turn to watch him as he gives a poor lad to drink. Slung across his back is the "bottle" of the East—a goat-skin with the legs sewn up. A long metal spout is tied into the neck, and on this he holds his left thumb, which he uses as a tap by removing it to aim a long stream of water into the tin mug in his right hand. Two bright brass cups cast and engraved in Fez hang from a chain round his neck, but these are reserved for purchasers, the urchin who is now enjoying a drink receiving it as charity. Tinkle, tinkle, goes the bell again, as the weary man moves on with his ever-lightening burden, till he is confronted by another wayfarer who turns to him to quench his thirst. As these skins are filled indiscriminately from wells and tanks, and cleaned inside with pitch, the taste must not be expected to satisfy all palates; but if hunger is the best sauce for food, thirst is an equal recommendation for drink.

A few minutes' walk across a cattle-market brings us at last to the English church, a tasteful modern construction in pure Moorish style, and banishing the thoughts of our stroll, we join the approaching group of fellow-worshippers, for after all it is Sunday.

[page 133]



"According to thy shawl stretch thy leg."

Moorish Proverb.

Few of us realize to what an extent our amusements, pastimes, and recreations enter into the formation of our individual, and consequently of our national, character. It is therefore well worth our while to take a glance at the Moor at play, or as near play as he ever gets. The stately father of a family must content himself, as his years and flesh increase, with such amusements as shall not entail exertion. By way of house game, since cards and all amusements involving chance are strictly forbidden, chess reigns supreme, and even draughts—with which the denizens of the coffee-house, where he would not be seen, disport themselves—are despised by him. In Shiráz, however, the Sheïkh ul Islám, or chief religious authority, declared himself shocked when I told him how often I had played this game with Moorish theologians, whereupon ensued a warm discussion as to whether it was a game of chance. At last I brought this to a satisfactory close by remarking that as his reverence was ignorant even of the rules of the game,—and therefore no judge, since he had imagined it to be based on hazard,—he at least was manifestly innocent of it.

[page 134]

The connection between chess and Arabdom should not be forgotten, especially as the very word with which it culminates, "checkmate," is but a corruption of the Arabic "sheïkh mát"—"chief dead." The king of games is, however, rare on the whole, requiring too much concentration for a weary or lazy official, or a merchant after a busy day. Their method of playing does not materially differ from ours, but they play draughts with very much more excitement and fun. The jocular vituperation which follows a successful sally, and the almost unintelligible rapidity with which the moves are made, are as novel to the European as appreciated by the natives.

Gossip, the effervescence of an idle brain, is the prevailing pastime, and at no afternoon tea-table in Great Britain is more aimless talk indulged in than while the cup goes round among the Moors. The ladies, with a more limited scope, are not far behind their lords in this respect. Otherwise their spare time is devoted to minutely fine embroidery. This is done in silk on a piece of calico or linen tightly stretched on a frame, and is the same on both sides; in this way are ornamented curtains, pillow-cases, mattress-covers, etc. It is, nevertheless, considered so far a superfluity that few who have not abundant time to spare trouble about it, and the material decorated is seldom worth the labour bestowed thereon.

The fact is that in these southern latitudes as little time as possible is passed within doors, and for this reason we must seek the real amusements of the people outside. When at home they seem to think it sufficient to loll about all the day long if[page 135] not at work, especially if they have an enclosed flower-garden, beautifully wild and full of green and flowers, with trickling, splashing water. I exclude, of course, all feasts and times when the musicians come, but I must not omit mention of dancing. Easterns think their western friends mad to dance themselves, when they can so easily get others to do it for them, so they hire a number of women to go through all manner of quaint—too often indecent—posings and wrigglings before them, to the tune of a nasal chant, which, aided by fiddles, banjos, and tambourines, is being drawled out by the musicians. Some of these seemingly inharmonious productions are really enjoyable when one gets into the spirit of the thing.

At times the Moors are themselves full of life and vigour, especially in the enjoyment of what may be called the national sport of "powder-play," not to speak of boar-hunting, hawking, rabbit-chasing, and kindred pastimes. Just as in the days of yore their forefathers excelled in the use of the spear, brandishing and twirling it as easily as an Indian club or singlestick, so they excel to-day in the exercise of their five-foot flint-locks, performing the most dexterous feats on horseback at full gallop.

Here is such a display about to commence. It is the feast of Mohammed's birthday, and the market-place outside the gate, so changed since yesterday, is crowded with spectators; men and boys in gay, but still harmonious, colours, decked out for the day, and women shrouded in their blankets, plain wool-white. An open space is left right through the centre, up a gentle slope, and a dozen horsemen are spurring and holding in their[page 136] prancing steeds at yonder lower end. At some unnoticed signal they have started towards us. They gallop wildly, the beat of their horses' hoofs sounding as iron hail on the stony way. A cloud of dust flies upward, and before we are aware of it they are abreast of us—a waving, indistinguishable mass of flowing robes, of brandished muskets, and of straining, foaming steeds. We can just see them tossing their guns in the air, and then a rider, bolder than the rest, stands on his saddle, whirling round his firearm aloft without stopping, while another swings his long weapon underneath his horse, and seizes it upon the other side. But now they are in line again, and every gun is pointed over the right, behind the back, the butt grasped by the twisted left arm, and the lock by the right under the left armpit. In this constrained position they fire at an imaginary foe who is supposed to have appeared from ambush as they pass. Immediately the reins—which have hitherto been held in the mouth, the steed guided by the feet against his gory flanks—are pulled up tight, throwing the animal upon his haunches, and wheeling him round for a sober walk back.

This is, in truth, a practice or drill for war, for such is the method of fighting in these parts. A sortie is made to seek the hidden foe, who may start up anywhere from the ravines or boulders, and who must be aimed at instanter, before he regains his cover, while those who have observed him must as quickly as possible get beyond his range to reload and procure reinforcements.

The only other active sports of moment, apart from occasional horse races, are football and fencing,[page 137] indulged in by boys. The former is played with a stuffed leather ball some six or eight inches across, which is kicked into the air with the back of the heel, and caught in the hands, the object being to drive it as high as possible. The fencing is only remarkable for its free and easy style, and the absence of hilts and guards.

Yet there are milder pastimes in equal favour, and far more in accordance with the fancy of southerners in warm weather, such as watching a group of jugglers or snake-charmers, or listening to a story-teller. These are to be met with in the market-place towards the close of hot and busy days, when the wearied bargainers gather in groups to rest before commencing the homeward trudge. The jugglers are usually poor, the production of fire from the mouth, of water from an empty jar, and so on, forming stock items. But often fearful realities are to be seen—men who in a frenzied state catch cannon balls upon their heads, blood spurting out on every side; or, who stick skewers through their legs. These are religious devotees who live by such performances. From the public raconteur the Moor derives the excitement the European finds in his novel, or the tale "to be continued in our next," and it probably does him less harm.

[page 138]



"Gentleman without reading, dog without scent."

Moorish Proverb.

The story-teller is, par excellence, the prince of Moorish performers. Even to the stranger unacquainted with the language the sight of the Arab bard and his attentive audience on some erstwhile bustling market at the ebbing day is full of interest—to the student of human nature a continual attraction. After a long trudge from home, commenced before dawn, and a weary haggling over the most worthless of "coppers" during the heat of the day, the poor folk are quite ready for a quiet resting-time, with something to distract their minds and fill them with thoughts for the homeward way. Here have been fanned and fed the great religious and political movements which from time to time have convulsed the Empire, and here the pulse of the nation throbs. In the cities men lead a different life, and though the townsfolk appreciate tales as well as any, it is on these market-places that the wandering troubadour gathers the largest crowds.

Like public performers everywhere, a story-teller of note always goes about with regular assistants, who act as summoners to his entertainment, and as chorus to his songs. They consist[page 139] usually of a player on the native fiddle, another who keeps time on a tambourine, and a third who beats a kind of earthenware drum with his fingers. Less pretentious "professors" are content with themselves manipulating a round or square tambourine or a two-stringed fiddle, and to many this style has a peculiar charm of its own. Each pause, however slight, is marked by two or three sharp beats on the tightly stretched skin, or twangs with a palmetto leaf plectrum, loud or soft, according to the subject of the discourse at that point. The dress of this class—the one most frequently met with—is usually of the plainest, if not of the scantiest; a tattered brown jelláb (a hooded woollen cloak) and a camel's-hair cord round the tanned and shaven skull are the garments which strike the eye. Waving bare arms and sinewy legs, with a wild, keen-featured face, lit up by flashing eyes, complete the picture.

This is the man from whom to learn of love and fighting, of beautiful women and hairbreadth escapes, the whole on the model of the "Thousand Nights and a Night," of which versions more or less recognizable may now and again be heard from his lips. Commencing with plenty of tambourine, and a few suggestive hints of what is to follow, he gathers around him a motley audience, the first comers squatting in a circle, and later arrivals standing behind. Gradually their excitement is aroused, and as their interest grows, the realistic semi-acting and the earnest mien of the performer rivet every eye upon him. Suddenly his wild gesticulations cease at the entrancing point. One step more for liberty, one blow, and the charming[page 140] prize would be in the possession of her adorer. Now is the time to "cash up." With a pious reference to "our lord Mohammed—the prayer of God be on him, and peace,"—and an invocation of a local patron saint or other equally revered defunct, an appeal is made to the pockets of the Faithful "for the sake of Mulai Abd el Káder"—"Lord Slave-of-the-Able." Arousing as from a trance, the eager listeners instinctively commence to feel in their pockets for the balance from the day's bargaining; and as every blessing from the legion of saints who would fill the Mohammedan calendar if there were one is invoked on the cheerful giver, one by one throws down his hard-earned coppers—one or two—and as if realizing what he has parted with, turns away with a long-drawn breath to untether his beasts, and set off home.

But exciting as are these acknowledged fictions, specimens are so familiar to most readers from the pages of the collection referred to that much more interest will be felt in an attempt to reproduce one of a higher type, pseudo-historical, and alleged to be true. Such narratives exhibit much of native character, and shades of thought unencountered save in daily intercourse with the people. Let us, therefore, seize the opportunity of a visit from a noted raconteur and reputed poet to hear his story. Tame, indeed, would be the result of an endeavour to transfer to black and white the animated tones and gestures of the narrator, which the imagination of the reader must supply.


Photograph by A. Lennox, Esq.


The initial "voluntary" by the "orchestra" has ended; every eye is directed towards the central figure, this time arrayed in ample turban, white[page 141] jelláb and yellow slippers, with a face betokening a lucrative profession. After a moment's silence he commences the history of—

"Mulai Abd el Káder and the Monk Of Monks."

"The thrones of the Nazarenes were once in number sixty, but the star of the Prophet of God—the prayer of God be on him, and peace—was in the ascendant, and the religion of Resignation [Islám] was everywhere victorious. Many of the occupiers of those thrones had either submitted to the Lieutenant ['Caliph'] of our Lord, and become Muslimeen, or had been vanquished by force of arms. The others were terrified, and a general assembly was convoked to see what was to be done. As the rulers saw they were helpless against the decree of God, they called for their monks to advise them. The result of the conference was that it was decided to invite the Resigned Ones (Muslimeen) to a discussion on their religious differences, on the understanding that whichever was victorious should be thenceforth supreme.

"The Leader of the Faithful having summoned his wise men, their opinion was asked. 'O victorious of God,' they with one voice replied, 'since God, the High and Blessed, is our King, what have we to fear? Having on our side the truth revealed in the "Book to be Read" [the Korán] by the hand of the Messenger of God—the prayer of God be on him, and peace—we must prevail. Let us willingly accept their proposal.' An early day was accordingly fixed for the decisive contest, and each party marshalled its forces. At the appointed time they met, a great crowd on either side, and it was asked which should begin. Knowing that victory was on his side, the Lieutenant of the Prophet—the prayer [page 142] of God be on him, and peace—replied, 'Since ye have desired this meeting, open ye the discussion.'

"Then the chief of the Nazarene kings made answer, 'But we are here so many gathered together, that if we commence to dispute all round we shall not finish by the Judgement Day. Let each party therefore choose its wisest man, and let the two debate before us, the remainder judging the result.'

"'Well hast thou spoken,' said the Leader of the Faithful; 'be it even so.' Then the learned among the Resigned selected our lord Abd el Káder of Baghdad,* a man renowned the world over for piety and for the depth of his learning. Now a prayer [Fátihah] for Mulai Abd el Káder!"

Here the speaker, extending his open palms side by side before him, as if to receive a blessing thereon, is copied by the by-standers. "In the name of God, the Pitying, the Pitiful!" All draw their hands down their faces, and, if they boast beards, end by stroking them out.

"Then the polytheists likewise chose their man, one held among them in the highest esteem, well read and wise, a monk of monks. Between these two, then, the controversy commenced. As already agreed, the Nazarene was the first to question:

"'How far is it from the Earth to the first heaven?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'And thence to the second heaven?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'Thence to the third?'

[page 143]

"'Five hundred years.'

"'Thence to the fourth?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'Thence to the fifth?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'Thence to the sixth?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'Thence to the seventh?'

"'Five hundred years.'

"'And from Mekka to Jerusalem?'

"'Forty days.'

"'Add up the whole.'

"'Three thousand, five hundred years, and forty days.'

"'In his famous ride on El Borak [Lightning] where did Mohammed go?'

"'From the Sacred Temple [of Mekka] to the Further Temple [of Jerusalem], and from the Holy House [Jerusalem] to the seventh heaven, and the presence of God.'§

"'How long did this take?'

"'The tenth of one night.'

"'Did he find his bed still warm on his return?'


"'Dost thou think such a thing possible; to travel three thousand five hundred years and back, and find one's bed still warm on returning?'

"'Canst thou play chess?' then asked Mulai Abd el Káder.

"'Of course I can,' said the monk, surprised.

"'Then, wilt thou play with me?'

"'Certainly not,' replied the monk, indignantly. 'Dost thou think me a fool, to come here to discuss the science of religion, and to be put off with a game of chess?'

[page 144]

"'Then thou acknowledgest thyself beaten; thou hast said thou couldst play chess, yet thou darest not measure thy skill at it with me. Thy refusal proves thy lie.'

"'Nay, then, since thou takest it that way, I will consent to a match, but under protest.'

"So the board was brought, and the players seated themselves. Move, move, move, went the pieces; kings and queens, elephants, rooks, and knights, with the soldiers everywhere. One by one they disappeared, as the fight grew fast and furious. But Mulai Abd el Káder had another object in view than the routing of his antagonist at a game of chess. By the exercise of his superhuman power he transported the monk to 'the empty third' [of the world], while his image remained before him at the board, to all appearances still absorbed in the contest.

"Meanwhile the monk could not tell where he was, but being oppressed with a sense of severe thirst, rose from where he sat, and made for a rising ground near by, whence he hoped to be able to descry some signs of vegetation, which should denote the presence of water. Giddy and tired out, he approached the top, when what was his joy to see a city surrounded by palms but a short way off! With a cry of delight he quickened his steps and approached the gate. As he did so, a party of seven men in gorgeous apparel of wool and silk came out of the gate, each with a staff in his hand.

"On meeting him they offered him the salutation of the Faithful, but he did not return it. 'Who mayest thou be,' they asked, 'who dost not wish peace to the Resigned?' [Muslimeen]. 'My Lords,' he made answer, 'I am a monk of the Nazarenes, I merely seek water to quench my thirst.'

"'But he who comes here must resign himself [to Mohammedanism] or suffer the consequences.[page 145] Testify that 'There is no god but God, and Mohammed is His Messenger!' 'Never,' he replied; and immediately they threw him on the ground and flogged him with their staves till he cried for mercy. 'Stop!' he implored. 'I will testify.' No sooner had he done so than they ceased their blows, and raising him up gave him water to drink. Then, tearing his monkish robe to shreds, each deprived himself of a garment to dress him becomingly. Having re-entered the city they repaired to the judge.

"'My Lord,' they said, 'we bring before thee a brother Resigned, once a monk of the monks, now a follower of the Prophet, our lord—the prayer of God be on him, and peace. We pray thee to accept his testimony and record it in due form.'

"'Welcome to thee; testify!' exclaimed the kádi, turning to the convert. Then, holding up his forefinger, the quondam monk witnessed to the truth of the Unity [of God]. 'Call for a barber!' cried the kádi; and a barber was brought. Seven Believers of repute stood round while the deed was done, and the convert rose a circumcised Muslim—blessed be God.

"Then came forward a notable man of that town, pious, worthy, and rich, respected of all, who said, addressing the kádi: 'My Lord—may God bless thy days,—thou knowest, all these worthy ones know, who and what I am. In the interests of religion and to the honour of God, I ask leave to adopt this brother newly resigned. What is mine shall be his to share with my own sons, and the care I bestow on them and their education shall be bestowed equally on him. God is witness.' 'Well said; so be it,' replied the learned judge; 'henceforth he is a member of thy family.'

"So to the hospitable roof of this pious one[page 146] went the convert. A tutor was obtained for him, and he commenced to taste the riches of the wisdom of the Arab. Day after day he sat and studied, toiling faithfully, till teacher after teacher had to be procured, as he exhausted the stores of each in succession. So he read: first the Book 'To be Read' [the Korán], till he could repeat it faultlessly, then the works of the poets, Kálûn, el Mikki, el Bisri, and Sîdi Hamzah; then the 'Lesser' and 'Greater Ten.'|| Then he commenced at Sîdi íbnu Ashîr, following on through the Ajrûmiyah,# and the Alfîyah,** to the commentaries of Sîdi Khalîl, of the Sheïkh el Bokhári, and of Ibnu Asîm, till there was nothing left to learn.

"Thus he continued growing in wisdom and honour, the first year, the second year, the third year, even to the twentieth year, till no one could compete with him. Then the Judge of Judges of that country died, and a successor was sought for, but all allowed that no one's claims equalled those of the erstwhile monk. So he was summoned to fill the post, but was disqualified as unmarried. When they inquired if he was willing to do his duty in this respect, and he replied that he was, the father of the most beautiful girl in the city bestowed her on him, and that she might not be portionless, the chief men of the place vied one with another in heaping riches upon him. So he became Judge of Judges, rich, happy, revered.

"And there was born unto him one son, then a second son, and even a third son. And there was born unto him a daughter, then a second daughter, and even a third daughter. So he prospered and increased. And to his sons were born sons, one, two, three, and four, and daughters withal. And his[page 147] daughters were given in marriage to the elders of that country, and with them it was likewise.

"Now there came a day, a great feast day, when all his descendants came before him with their compliments and offerings, some small, some great, each receiving tenfold in return, garments of fine spun wool and silk, and other articles of value.

"When the ceremony was over he went outside the town to walk alone, and approached the spot whence he had first descried what had so long since been his home. As he sat again upon that well-remembered spot, and glanced back at the many years which had elapsed since last he was there, a party of the Faithful drew near. He offered the customary salute of 'Peace be on you,' but they simply stared in return. Presently one of them brusquely asked what he was doing there, and he explained who he was. But they laughed incredulously, and then he noticed that once again he was clad in robe and cowl, with a cord round his waist. They taunted him as a liar, but he re-affirmed his statements, and related his history. He counted up the years since he had resigned himself, telling of his children and children's children.

"'Wouldst thou know them if you sawst them?' asked the strangers. 'Indeed I would,' was the reply, 'but they would know me first.'

"'And you are really circumcised? We'll see!' was their next exclamation. Just then a caravan appeared, wending its way across the plain, and the travellers hailed it. As he looked up at the shout, he saw Mulai Abd el Káder still sitting opposite him at the chess-board, reminding him that it was his move. He had been recounting his experiences for the last half century to Mulai Abd el Káder himself, and to the wise ones of both creeds who surrounded them!

[page 148]

"Indeed it was too true, and he had to acknowledge that the events of a life-time had been crowded into a period undefinably minute, by the God-sent power of my lord Slave-of-the-Able [Mulai Abd el Káder].

"Now, where is the good man and true who reveres the name of this holy one? Who will say a prayer to Mulai Abd el Káder?" Here the narrator extends his palms as before, and all follow him in the motion of drawing them down his face. "In the name of the Pitying and Pitiful! Now another!" The performance is repeated.

"Who is willing to yield himself wholly and entirely to Mulai Abd el Káder? Who will dedicate himself from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head? Another prayer!" Another repetition of the performance.

"Now let those devoted men earn the effectual prayers of that holy one by offering their silver in his name. Nothing less than a peseta†† will do. That's right," as one of the bystanders throws down the coin specified.

"Now let us implore the blessing of God and Mulai Abd el Káder on the head of this liberal Believer." The palm performance is once more gone through. The earnestness with which he does it this time induces more to follow suit, and blessings on them also are besought in the same fashion.

"Now, my friends, which among you will do business with the palms of all these faithful ones? Pay a peseta and buy the prayers of them all. Now then, deal them out, and purchase happiness."

So the appeal goes wearisomely on. As no more pesetas are seen to be forthcoming, a shift[page 149] is made with reals—nominally 2½d. pieces—the story-teller asking those who cannot afford more to make up first one dollar and then another, turning naïvely to his assistant to ask if they haven't obtained enough yet, as though it were all for them. As they reply that more is needed, he redoubles his appeals and prayers, threading his way in and out among the crowd, making direct for each well-dressed individual with a confidence which renders flight or refusal a shame. Meanwhile the "orchestra" has struck up, and only pauses when the "professor" returns to the centre of the circle to call on all present to unite in prayers for the givers. A few coppers which have been tossed to his feet are distributed scornfully amongst half a dozen beggars, in various stages of filthy wretchedness and deformity, who have collected on the ground at one side.

Here a water-carrier makes his appearance, with his goat-skin "bottle" and tinkling bell—a swarthy Soudanese in most tattered garb. The players and many listeners having been duly refreshed for the veriest trifle, the performance continues. A prayer is even said for the solitary European among the crowd, on his being successfully solicited for his quota, and another for his father at the request of some of the crowd, who style him the "Friend of the Moors."

At last a resort is made to coppers, and when the story-teller condescendingly consents to receive even such trifles in return for prayers, from those who cannot afford more, quite a pattering shower falls at his feet, which is supplemented by a further hand-to-hand collection. In all, between four and[page 150] five dollars must have been received—not a bad remuneration for an hour's work! Already the ring has been thinning; now there is a general uprising, and in a few moments the scene is completely changed, the entertainer lost among the entertained, for the sun has disappeared below yon hill, and in a few moments night will fall.

* So called because buried near that city. For an account of his life, and view of his mausoleum, see "The Moors," pp. 337-339.

"The hands are raised in order to catch a blessing in them, and are afterwards drawn over the face to transfer it to every part of the body."—Hughes, "Dictionary of Islám."

A term applied by Mohammedans to Christians on account of a mistaken conception of the doctrine of the Trinity.

§ This was the occasion on which Mohammed visited the seven heavens under the care of Gabriel, riding on an ass so restive that he had to be bribed with a promise of Paradise.

|| Grammarians and commentators of the Korán.

# A preliminary work on rhetoric.

** The "Thousand Verses" of grammar.

†† About eightpence, a labourer's daily wage in Tangier.

[page 151]



"Whom a snake has bitten starts from a rope."

Moorish Proverb.

Descriptions of this art remembered in a book for boys read years before had prepared me for the most wonderful scenes, and when I first watched the performance with snakes which delights the Moors I was disappointed. Yet often as I might look on, there was nothing else to see, save in the faces and gestures of the crowd, who with child-like simplicity followed every step as though for the first time. These have for me a never-ending fascination. Thus it is that the familiar sounds of rapid and spasmodic beating on a tambourine, which tell that the charmer is collecting an audience, still prove an irresistible attraction for me as well. The ring in which I find myself is just a reproduction of that surrounding the story-teller of yester-e'en, but where his musicians sat there is a wilder group, more striking still in their appearance.

This time, also, the instruments are of another class, two or three of the plainest sheep-skin tambourines with two gut strings across the centre under the parchment, which gives them a peculiar twanging sound; and a couple of reeds, mere canes pierced with holes, each provided with a mouthpiece[page 152] made of half an inch of flattened reed. Nothing is needed to add to the discord as all three are vigorously plied with cheek and palm.

The principal actor has an appearance of studied weirdness as he gesticulates wildly and calls on God to protect him against the venom of his pets. Contrary to the general custom of the country, he has let his black hair grow till it streams over his shoulders in matted locks. His garb is of the simplest, a dirty white shirt over drawers of similar hue completing his outfit.

Selecting a convenient stone as a seat, notebook in hand, I make up my mind to see the thing through. The "music" having continued five or ten minutes with the desired result of attracting a circle of passers-by, the actual performance is now to commence. On the ground in the centre lies a spare tambourine, and on one side are the two cloth-covered bottle-shaped baskets containing the snakes.

The chief charmer now advances, commencing to step round the ring with occasional beats on his tambourine, rolling his eyes and looking demented. Presently, having reached a climax of rapid beating and pacing, he suddenly stops in the centre with an extra "bang!"

"Now, every man who believes in our lord Mohammed ben Aïsa,* say with me a Fátihah."

Each of the onlookers extending his palms side by side before his face, they repeat the prayer in a sing-song voice, and as it concludes with a loud "Ameen," the charmer gives an agonized cry, as though deeply wrought upon. "Ah Rijál el[page 153] Blád" ("Oh Saints of the Town!"), he shouts, as he recommences his tambourining, this time even with increased vigour, beating the ground with his feet, and working his body up and down in a most extraordinary manner. The two others are also playing, and the noise is deafening. The chief figure appears to be raving mad; his starting eyes, his lithe and supple figure, and his streaming hair, give him the air of one possessed. His face is a study, a combination of fierceness and madness, yet of good-nature.

At last he sinks down exhausted, but after a moment rises and advances to the centre of the circle, picking up a tambourine.

"Now, Sîdi Aïsa"—turning to one of the musicians, whom he motions to cease their din—"what do you think happens to the man who puts a coin in there? Why, the holy saint, our lord Mohammed ben Aïsa, puts a ring round him like that," drawing a ring round a stone on the ground. "Is it not so?"

"It is, Ameen," from Sidi Aïsa.

"And what happens to him in the day time?"

"He is in the hands of God, and his people too."

"And in the night time?"

"He is in the hands of God, and his people too."

"And when at home?"

"He is in the hands of God, and his people too."

"And when abroad?"

"He is in the hands of God, and his people too."

[page 154]

At this a copper coin is thrown into the ring, and the charmer replies, "Now he who is master of sea and land, my lord Abd el Káder el Jîláni, bless the giver of that coin! Now, for the love of God and of His blessed prophet, I offer a prayer for that generous one." Here the operation of passing their hands down their faces is performed by all.

"Now, there's another,"—as a coin falls—"and from a child, too! God bless thee now, my son. May my lord Ben Aïsa, my lord Abd es-Slám, and my lord Abd el Káder, protect and keep thee!"

Then, as more coppers fall, similar blessings are invoked upon the donors, interspersed with catechising of the musicians with a view to making known the advantages to be reaped by giving something. At last, as nothing more seems to be forthcoming, the performance proper is proceeded with, and the charmer commences to dance on one leg, to a terrible din from the tambourines. Then he pauses, and summons a little boy from the audience, seating him in the midst, adjuring him to behave himself, to do as he is bid, and to have faith in "our lord Ben Aïsa." Then, seating himself behind the boy, he places his lips against his skull, and blows repeatedly, coming round to the front to look at the lad, to see if he is sufficiently affected, and returning to puff again. Finally he bites off a piece of the boy's cloak, and chews it. Now he wets his finger in his mouth, and after putting it into the dust makes lines across his legs and arms, all the time calling on his patron saint; next holding the piece of cloth in his hands and walking round the ring for all to see it.

[page 155]

"Come hither," he says to a bystander; "search my mouth and see if there be anything there."

The search is conducted as a farmer would examine a horse's mouth, with the result that it is declared empty.

"Now I call on the prophet to witness that there is no deception," as he once more restores the piece of cloth to his mouth, and pokes his fingers into his neck, drawing them now up his face.


The voices of the musicians, who have for the latter part of the time been giving forth a drawling chorus, cease, but the din of the tambourines continues, while the performer dances wildly, till he stops before the lad on the ground, and takes from his mouth first one date and then another, which the lad is told to eat, and does so, the on-lookers fully convinced that they were transformed from the rag.

Now it is the turn of one of the musicians to come forward, his place being taken by the retiring performer, after he has made another collection in the manner already described.

"He who believes in God and in the power of our lord Mohammed ben Aïsa, say with me a Fátihah," cries the new man, extending his palms turned upwards before him to receive the blessings he asks, and then brings one of the snake-baskets forward, plunging his hand into its sack-like mouth, and sharply drawing it out a time or two, as if afraid of being bitten.

Finally he pulls the head of one of the reptiles through, and leaves it there, darting out its fangs, while he snatches up and wildly beats the tambourine[page 156] by his side. He now seizes the snake by the neck, and pulls it right out, the people starting back as it coils round in the ring, or uncoils and makes a plunge towards someone. Now he pulls out another, and hangs it round his neck, saying, "I take refuge with the saint who was dead and is alive, with our lord Mohammed son of Aïsa, and with the most holy Abd el Káder el Jîláni, king of land and sea. Now, let every one who believes bear witness with me and say a Fátihah!"

"Say a Fátihah!" echoes one of the still noisy musicians, by way of chorus.

"Now may our lord Abd el Káder see the man who makes a contribution with his eyes."

Chorus: "With his eyes!"

"And may his heart find rest, and our lord Abd er-Rahmán protect him!"

Chorus: "Protect him!"

"Now, I call you to witness, I bargain with our lord Abd el Káder for a forfeit!"

Chorus: "For a forfeit!"

A copper is thrown into the ring, and as he picks it up and hands it to the musician, the performer exclaims—

"Take this, see, and at the last day may the giver of it see our lord Abd el Káder before him!"

Chorus: "Before him!"

"May he ever be blessed, whether present or absent!"

Chorus: "Present or absent!"

"Who wishes to have a good conscience and a clean heart? Oh, ye beloved of the Lord! See, take from that dear one" (who has thrown down a copper).

[page 157]

The contributions now apparently sufficing for the present, the performance proceeds, but the crowd having edged a little too close, it is first necessary to increase the space in the centre by swinging one of the reptiles round by the tail, whereat all start back.

"Ah! you may well be afraid!" exclaims the charmer. "Their fangs mean death, if you only knew it, but for the mercies of my lord, the son of Aïsa."

"Ameen!" responds the chorus.

Hereupon he proceeds to direct the head of the snake to his mouth, and caressingly invites it to enter. Darting from side to side, it finally makes a plunge down his throat, whereon the strangers shudder, and the habitués look with triumphant awe. Wildly he spins on one foot that all may see, still holding the creature by the neck with one hand, and by the tail with the other. At length, having allowed the greater part of its length to disappear in this uncanny manner, he proceeds to withdraw it, the head emerging with the sound of a cork from a bottle. The sight has not been pleasant, but the audience, transfixed, gives a sigh of relief as the tambourines strike up again, and the reed chimes in deafeningly.

"Who says they are harmless? Who says their fangs are extracted?" challenges the performer. "Look here!"

The seemingly angry snake has now fastened on his arm, and is permitted to draw blood, as though in reward for its recent treatment.

"Is any incredulous here? Shall I try it on thee?"

[page 158]

The individual addressed, a poverty-stricken youth whose place was doubtless required for some more promising customer behind, flees in terror, as the gaping jaws approach him. One and another having been similarly dismissed from points of vantage, and a redistribution of front seats effected, the incredulous are once more tauntingly addressed and challenged. This time the challenge is accepted by a foreigner, who hands in a chicken held by its wings.

"So? Blessed be God! Its doom is sealed if it comes within reach of the snake. See here!"

All eagerly press forward, many rising to their feet, and it is difficult to see over their shoulders the next gruesome act. The reptile, held by the neck in the performer's right hand, is shown the chicken in the other, and annoyed by having it poked in its face, too frightened to perceive what is happening. In a moment the fangs are shot out, and a wound inflicted in the exposed part under the wing. Blood appears, and the bird is thrown down, being held in place by the performer's foot till in a few minutes its struggles cease. Then, picking the victim up, he holds it aloft by one wing to show its condition, and exultingly calls for a Fátihah.

It is enough: my patience is exhausted, and I rise to make off with stiff knees, content at last with what I have seen and heard of the "charming" of snakes in Morocco.

* For the history of this man and his snake-charming followers see "The Moors," p. 331.

The surname of the Baghdád saint.


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


[page 159]



"A little from a friend is much."

Moorish Proverb.

To the passer-by, least of all to the European, there is nothing in its external appearance to recommend old Hashmi's café. From the street, indeed, it is hardly visible, for it lies within the threshold of a caravansarai or fandak, in which beasts are tethered, goods accumulated and travellers housed, and of which the general appearance is that of a neglected farm-yard. Round an open court a colonnade supports the balcony by which rooms on the upper story are approached, a narrow staircase in the corner leading right up to the terraced roof. In the daytime the sole occupants of the rooms are women whose partners for the time being have securely locked them in before going to work.

Beside the lofty archway forming the gate of this strange hostelry, is Hashmi's stall, at which green tea or a sweet, pea-soupy preparation of coffee may be had at all hours of the day, but the café proper, gloomy by daylight, lies through the door behind. Here, of an evening, the candles lit, his regular customers gather with tiny pipes, indulging in flowing talk. Each has before him his harmless glass, as he squats or reclines on the[page 160] rush-matted floor. Nothing of importance occurs in the city but is within a little made known here with as much certainty as if the proprietor subscribed to an evening paper. Any man who has something fresh to tell, who can interest or amuse the company, and by his frequent visits give the house a name, is always welcome, and will find a glass awaiting him whenever he chooses to come.

Old Hashmi knows his business, and if the evening that I was there may be taken as a sample, he deserves success. That night he was in the best of humours. His house was full and trade brisk. Fattah, a negro, was keeping the house merry, so in view of coming demands, he brewed a fresh pot of real "Mekkan." The surroundings were grimy, and outside the rain came down in torrents: but that was a decided advantage, since it not only drove men indoors, but helped to keep them there. Mesaôd, the one-eyed, had finished an elaborate tuning of his two-stringed banjo, his ginbri—a home-made instrument—and was proceeding to arrive at a convenient pitch of voice for his song. With a strong nasal accent he commenced reciting the loves of Si Marzak and his fair Azîzah: how he addressed her in the fondest of language, and how she replied by caresses. When he came to the chorus they all chimed in, for the most part to their own tune and time, as they rocked to and fro, some clapping, some beating their thighs, and all applauding at the end.

The whole ballad would not bear translation—for English ears,—and the scanty portion which may be given has lost its rhythm and cadence by the change, for Arabic is very soft and beautiful[page 161] to those who understand it. The time has come when Azîzah, having quarrelled with Si Marzak in a fit of perhaps too well-founded jealousy, desires to "make it up again," and thus addresses her beloved—

"Oh, how I have followed thy attractiveness,

And halted between give and take!

Oh, how I'd from evil have protected thee

By my advice, hadst thou but heeded it!

Yet to-day taste, O my master,

Of the love that thou hast taught to me!

"Oh, how I have longed for the pleasure of thy visits,

And poured out bitter tears for thee;

Until at last the sad truth dawned on me

That of thy choice thou didst put me aside!

Yet to-day taste, O my master,

Of the love that thou hast taught to me!

"Thou wast sweeter than honey to me,

But thou hast become more bitter than gall.

Is it thus thou beginnest the world?

Beware lest thou make me thy foe!

Yet to-day taste, O my master,

Of the love that thou hast taught to me!

"I have hitherto been but a name to thee,

And thou took'st to thy bosom a snake,

But to-day I perceive thou'st a fancy for me:

O God, I will not be deceived!

Yes, to-day taste, O my master,

Of the love that thou hast taught to me!

"Thou know'st my complaint and my only cure:

Why, then, wilt thou heal me not?

Thou canst do so to-day, O my master,

And save me from all further woe.

Yes, to-day taste, O my master,

Of the love that thou hast taught to me!"

To which the hard-pressed swain replies—

"Of a truth thine eyes have bewitched me,

For Death itself is in fear of them:

And thine eyebrows, like two logs of wood,

Have battered me each in its turn.

So if thou sayest die, I'll die;

And for God shall my sacrifice be!

[page 162]

"I have neither yet died nor abandoned hope,

Though slumber at night I ne'er know.

With the staff of deliverance still afar off,

So that all the world knows of my woe.

And if thou sayest die, I'll die,

But for God shall my sacrifice be!"

While the singing was proceeding Sáïd and Drees had been indulging in a game of draughts, and as it ceased their voices could be heard in eager play. "Call thyself a Mallem (master). There, thy father was bewitched by a hyena; there, and there again!" shouted Sáïd, as he swept a first, a second and a third of his opponent's pieces from the board.

But Drees was equal with him in another move.

"So, verily, thou art my master! Let us, then, praise God for thy wisdom: thou art like indeed unto him who verily shot the fox, but who killed his own cow with the second shot! See, thus I teach thee to boast before thy betters: ha, I laugh at thee, I ride the donkey on thy head. I shave that beard of thine!" he ejaculated, taking one piece after another from his adversary, as the result of an incautious move. The board had the appearance of a well-kicked footstool, and the "men"—called "dogs" in Barbary—were more like baseless chess pawns. The play was as unlike that of Europeans as possible; the moves from "room" to "room" were of lightning swiftness, and accompanied by a running fire of slang ejaculations, chiefly sarcastic, but, on the whole, enlivened with a vein of playful humour not to be Englished politely. Just as the onlookers would become interested in the progress of one or the other,[page 163] a too rapid advance by either would result in an incomprehensible wholesale clearing of the board by his opponent's sleeve. Yet without a stop the pieces would be replaced in order, and a new game commenced, the vanquished too proud to acknowledge that he did not quite see how the victor had won.

Then Fattah, whose forte was mimicry, attracted the attention of the company by a representation of a fat wazeer at prayers. Amid roars of laughter he succeeded in rising to his feet with the help of those beside him, who had still to lend occasional support, as his knees threatened to give way under his apparently ponderous carcase. Before and behind, his shirt was well stuffed with cushions, and the sides were not forgotten. His cheeks were puffed out to the utmost, and his eyes rolled superbly. At last the moment came for him to go on his knees, when he had to be let gently down by those near him, but his efforts to bow his head, now top-heavy with a couple of shirts for a turban, were most ludicrous, as he fell on one side in apparently vain endeavours. The spectators roared with laughter till the tears coursed down their cheeks; but that black and solemn face remained unmoved, and at the end of the prescribed motions the pseudo-great man apparently fell into slumber as heavy as himself, and snored in a style that a prize pig might have envied.

"Áfuk! Áfuk!" the deafening bravos resounded, for Fattah had excelled himself, and was amply rewarded by the collection which followed.

A tale was next demanded from a jovial man of Fez, who, nothing loth, began at once—

[page 164]

"Evening was falling as across the plain of Háhá trudged a weary traveller. The cold wind whistled through his tattered garments. The path grew dim before his eyes. The stars came out one by one, but no star of hope shone for him. He was faint and hungry. His feet were sore. His head ached. He shivered.

"'May God have pity on me!' he muttered.

"God heard him. A few minutes later he descried an earthly star—a solitary light was twinkling on the distant hillside. Thitherward he turned his steps.

"Hope rose within him. His step grew brisk. The way seemed clear. Onward he pushed.

"Presently he could make out the huts of a village.

"'Thank God!' he cried; but still he had no supper.

"His empty stomach clamoured. His purse was empty also. The fiendish dogs of the village yelped at him. He paused discomfited. He called.

"Widow Záïdah stood before her light.

"'Who's there?'

"'A God-guest'

"'In God's name, then, welcome! Silence there, curs!'

"Abd el Hakk approached.

"'God bless thee, my mother, and repay thee a thousand-fold!'

"But Záïdah herself was poor. Her property consisted only of a hut and some fowls. She set before him eggs—two, hard-boiled,—bread also. He thanked God. He ate.

"'Yes, God will repay,' she said.

"Next day Abd el Hakk passed on to Marrákesh. There God blessed him. Years passed on; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Abd el Hakk[page 165] was rich. Melûdi the lawyer disliked him. Said he to Widow Záïdah—

"'Abd el Hakk, whom once thou succouredst, is rich. The two eggs were never yet paid for. Hadst thou not given them to him they would have become two chickens. These would each have laid hundreds. Those hundreds, when hatched, would have laid their thousands. In seven years, think to what amount Abd el Hakk is indebted to thee. Sue him.'

"Widow Záïdah listened. What is more, she acted. Abd el Hakk failed to appear to rebut the claim. He was worth no more.

"'Why is the defendant not here?' asked the judge.

"'My lord,' said his attorney, 'he is gone to sow boiled beans.'

"'Boiled beans!'

"'Boiled beans, my lord.'

"'Is he mad?'

"'He is very wise, my lord.'

"'Thou mockest.'

"'My lord, if boiled eggs can be hatched, sure boiled beans will grow!'

"'Dismissed with costs!'

"The tree that bends with every wind that blows will seldom stand upright."

A round of applause greeted the clever tale, of which the speaker's gestures had told even more than his words. But the merriment of the company only began there, for forthwith a babel of tongues was occupied in the discussion of all the points of the case, in imagining every impossible or humorous alternative, and laughter resounded on every side, as the glasses were quickly refilled with an innocent drink.

[page 166]



"Wine is a key to all evil."

Moorish Proverb.

Under the glare of an African sun, its rays, however, tempered by a fresh Atlantic breeze; no roof to his consulting-room save the sky, no walls surrounding him to keep off idle starers like ourselves; by the roadside sits a native doctor of repute. His costume is that of half the crowd around, outwardly consisting of a well-worn brown woollen cloak with a hood pulled over his head, from beneath the skirts of which protrude his muddy feet. By his side lies the basket containing his supplies and less delicate instruments; the finer ones we see him draw from a capacious wallet of leather beneath his cloak.

Though personally somewhat gaunt, he is nevertheless a jolly-looking character, totally free from that would-be professional air assumed by some of our medical students to hide lack of experience; for he, empiric though he be, has no idea of any of his own shortcomings, and greets us with an easy smile. He is seated on the ground, hugging his knees till his attention is drawn to us, when, observing our gaze at his lancets on the ground, he picks one up to show it. Both are of rude construction, merely pieces of flat steel filed to double-edged points, and[page 167] protected by two flaps slightly bigger, in the one case of bone, in the other of brass. A loose rivet holding all together at one end completes the instrument. The brass one he says was made by a Jew in Fez out of an old clock; the other by a Jew in Marrákesh. For the purpose of making scratches for cupping he has a piece of flat steel about half an inch wide, sharpened across the end chisel-fashion. Then he has a piece of an old razor-blade tied to a stick with a string. That this is sharp he soon demonstrates by skilfully shaving an old man's head, after only damping the eighth of an inch stub with which it is covered. A stone and a bit of leather, supplemented by the calves of his legs, or his biceps, serve to keep the edges in condition.

From a finger-shaped leather bag in his satchel he produces an antiquated pair of tooth extractors, a small pair of forceps for pulling out thorns, and a stiletto. The first-named article, he informs us, came from France to Tafilált, his home, viâ Tlemçen; it is of the design known as "Fox's claw," and he explains to us that the difference between the French and the English article is that the one has no spring to keep the jaws open, while the other has. A far more formidable instrument is the genuine native contrivance, a sort of exaggerated corkscrew without a point.

But here comes a patient to be treated. He troubles the doctor with no diagnosis, asking only to be bled. He is a youth of medium height, bronzed by the sun. Telling him to sit down and bare his right arm, the operator feels it well up and down, and then places the tips of the patient's fingers on the ground, bidding him not to move. Pouring out[page 168] a little water into a metal dish, he washes the arm on the inside of the elbow, drying it with his cloak. Next he ties a piece of list round the upper arm as tightly as he can, and selecting one of the lancets, makes an incision into the vein which the washing has rendered visible. A bright stream issues, squirting into the air some fifteen inches; it is soon, however, directed into a tin soup-plate holding fourteen ounces, as we ascertained by measurement. The operator washes and dries his lancet, wraps the two in a white rag, and puts them into a piece of cane which forms an excellent case. Meanwhile the plate has filled, and he turns his attention once more to the patient. One or two passers-by have stopped, like ourselves, to look on.

"I knew a man," says one, "who was being bled like that, and kept on saying, 'take a little more,' till he fell back dead in our arms."

"Yes," chimes in another, "I have heard of such cases; it is very dangerous."

Although the patient is evidently growing very nervous, our surgical friend affects supreme indifference to all this tittle-tattle, and after a while removes the bandage, bending the forearm inward, with the effect of somewhat checking the flow of blood. When he has bound up with list the cane that holds the lancets, he closes the forearm back entirely, so that the flow is stopped. Opening it again a little, he wipes a sponge over the aperture a few times, and closes it with his thumb. Then he binds a bit of filthy rag round the arm, twisting it above and below the elbow alternately, and crossing over the incision each time. When this is done, he sends the patient to throw away the blood and wash[page 169] the plate, receiving for the whole operation the sum of three half-pence.

Another patient is waiting his turn, an old man desiring to be bled behind the ears for headache. After shaving two patches for the purpose, the "bleeder," as he is justly called, makes eighteen scratches close together, about half an inch long. Over these he places a brass cup of the shape of a high Italian hat without the brim. From near the edge of this protrudes a long brass tube with a piece of leather round and over the end. This the operator sucks to create a vacuum, the moistened leather closing like a valve, which leaves the cup hanging in situ. Repeating this on the other side, he empties the first cup of the blood which has by this time accumulated in it, and so on alternately, till he has drawn off what appears to him to be sufficient. All that remains to be done is to wipe the wounds and receive the fee.

Some years ago such a worthy as this earned quite a reputation for exorcising devils in Southern Morocco. His mode of procedure was brief, but as a rule effective. The patient was laid on the ground before the wise man's tent, face downward, and after reading certain mystic and unintelligible passages, selected from one of the ponderous tomes which form a prominent part of the "doctor's" stock-in-trade, he solemnly ordered two or three men to hold the sufferer down while two more thrashed him till they were tired. If, when released, the patient showed the least sign of returning violence, or complained that the whole affair was a fraud, it was taken as a sure sign that he had not had enough, and he was forthwith seized again[page 170] and the dose repeated till he had learned that discretion was the better part of valour, and slunk off, perhaps a wiser, certainly a sadder man. It is said, and I do not doubt it—though it is more than most medical men can say of their patients—that no one was ever known to return in quest of further treatment.

All this, however, is nothing compared with the Moor's love of fire as a universal panacea. Not only for his mules and his horses, but also for himself and his family, cauterization is in high repute, especially as he estimates the value of a remedy as much by its immediate and visible action as by its ultimate effects. The "fire-doctor" is therefore even a greater character in his way than the "bleeder," whom we have just visited. His outfit includes a collection of queer-shaped irons designed to cauterize different parts of the body, a portable brazier, and bellows made from a goat-skin with a piece of board at one side wherewith to press and expel the air through a tube on the other side. He, too, sits by the roadside, and disposes of his groaning though wonderfully enduring "patients" much as did his rival of the lancet. Rohlfs, a German doctor who explored parts of Morocco in the garb of a native, exercising what he could of his profession for a livelihood, tells how he earned a considerable reputation by the introduction of "cold fire" (lunar caustic) as a rival to the original style; and Pellow, an English slave who made his escape in 1735, found cayenne pepper of great assistance in ingratiating himself with the Moors in this way, and even in delaying a pursuer suffering from ophthalmia by blowing a little into his eyes before his identity[page 171] was discovered. In extenuation of this trick, however, it must be borne in mind that cayenne pepper is an accredited Moorish remedy for ophthalmia, being placed on the eyelids, though it is only a mixture of canary seed and sugar that is blown in.

Every European traveller in Morocco is supposed to know something about medicine, and many have been my own amusing experiences in this direction. Nothing that I used gave me greater fame than a bottle of oil of cantharides, the contents of which I applied freely behind the ears or upon the temples of such victims of ophthalmia as submitted themselves to my tender mercies. Only I found that when my first patient began to dance with the joy and pain of the noble blister which shortly arose, so many people fancied they needed like treatment that I was obliged to restrict the use of so popular a cure to special cases.

One branch of Moroccan medicine consists in exorcising devils, of which a most amusing instance once came under my notice. An English gentleman gave one of his servants who complained of being troubled with these unwelcome guests two good-sized doses of tartaric acid and carbonate of soda a second apart. The immediate exit of the devil was so apparent that the fame of the prescriber as a medical man was made at once. But many of the cases which the amateur is called upon to treat are much more difficult to satisfy than this. Superstition is so strongly mingled with the native ideas of disease,—of being possessed,—that the two can hardly be separated. During an epidemic of cholera, for instance, the people keep as close as possible to[page 172] walls, and avoid sand-hills, for fear of "catching devils." All disease is indeed more or less ascribed to satanic agency, and in Morocco that practitioner is most in repute who claims to attack this cause of the malady rather than its effect.

Although the Moors have a certain rudimentary acquaintance with simple medicinal agents—and how rudimentary that acquaintance is, will better appear from what is to follow,—in all their pharmacopœia no remedy is so often recommended or so implicitly relied on as the "writing" of a man of reputed sanctity. Such a writing may consist merely of a piece of paper scribbled over with the name of God, or with some sentence from the Korán, such as, "And only God is the Healer," repeated many times, or in special cases it may contain a whole series of pious expressions and meaningless incantations. For an ordinary external complaint, such as general debility arising from the evil eye of a neighbour or a jealous wife, or as a preventative against bewitchment, or as a love philtre, it is usually considered sufficient to wear this in a leather bag around the neck or forehead; but in case of unfathomable internal disease, such as indigestion, the "writing" is prescribed to be divided into so many equal portions, and taken in a little water night and morning.

The author of these potent documents is sometimes a hereditary saint descended from Mohammed, sometimes a saint whose sanctity arises from real or assumed insanity—for to be mad in Barbary is to have one's thoughts so occupied with things of heaven as to have no time left for things of earth,—and often they are written by ordinary public[page 173] scribes, or schoolmasters, for among the Moors reading and religion are almost synonymous terms. There are, however, a few professional gentlemen who dispense these writings among their drugs. Such alone of all their quacks aspire to the title of "doctor." Most of these spend their time wandering about the country from fair to fair, setting up their tents wherever there are patients to be found in sufficient numbers.

Attired as natives, let us visit one. Arrived at the tent door, we salute the learned occupant with the prescribed "Salám oo alaïkum" ("To you be peace"), to which, on noting our superior costumes, he replies with a volley of complimentary inquiries and welcomes. These we acknowledge with dignity, and with as sedate an air as possible. We leisurely seat ourselves on the ground in orthodox style, like tailors. As it would not be good form to mention our business at once, we defer professional consultation till we have inquired successfully after his health, his travels, and the latest news at home and from abroad. In the course of conversation he gives us to understand that he is one of the Sultan's uncles, which is by no means impossible in a country where it has not been an unknown thing for an imperial father to lose count of his numerous progeny.

Feeling at last that we have broken the ice, we turn the conversation to the subject of our supposed ailments. My own complaint is a general internal disorder resulting in occasional feverishness, griping pains, and loss of sleep. After asking a number of really sensible questions, such as would seem to place him above the ordinary rank of native practitioners, he gravely announces that he has "the[page 174] very thing" in the form of a powder, which, from its high virtues, and the exceeding number of its ingredients, some of them costly, is rather expensive. We remember the deference with which our costumes were noted, and understand. But, after all, the price of a supply is announced to be only seven-pence halfpenny. The contents of some of the canisters he shows us include respectively, according to his account, from twenty to fifty drugs. For our own part, we strongly suspect that all are spices to be procured from any Moorish grocer.

Together with the prescription I receive instructions to drink the soup from a fat chicken in the morning, and to eat its flesh in the evening; to eat hot bread and drink sweet tea, and to do as little work as possible, the powder to be taken daily for a fortnight in a little honey. Whatever else he may not know, it is evident that our doctor knows full well how to humour his patients.

The next case is even more easy of treatment than mine, a "writing" only being required. On a piece of very common paper two or three inches square, the doctor writes something of which the only legible part is the first line: "In the name of God, the Pitying, the Pitiful," followed, we subsequently learn, by repetitions of "Only God is the Healer." For this the patient is to get his wife to make a felt bag sewed with coloured silk, into which the charm is to be put, along with a little salt and a few parings of garlic, after which it is to be worn round his neck for ever.

Sometimes, in wandering through Morocco, one comes across much more curious remedies than these, for the worthy we have just visited is but a[page 175] commonplace type in this country. A medical friend once met a professional brother in the interior who had a truly original method of proving his skill. By pressing his finger on the side of his nose close to his eye, he could send a jet of liquid right into his interlocutor's face, a proceeding sufficient to satisfy all doubts as to his alleged marvellous powers. On examination it was found that he had a small orifice near the corner of the eye, through which the pressure forced the lachrymal fluid, pure tears, in fact. This is just an instance of the way in which any natural defect or peculiarity is made the most of by these wandering empirics, to impose on their ignorant and credulous victims.

Even such of them as do give any variety of remedies are hardly more to be trusted. Whatever they give, their patients like big doses, and are not content without corresponding visible effects. Epsom salts, which are in great repute, are never given to a man in less quantities than two tablespoonfuls. On one occasion a poor woman came to me suffering from ague, and looking very dejected. I mixed this quantity of salts in a tumblerful of water, with a good dose of quinine, bidding her drink two-thirds of it, and give the remainder to her daughter, who evidently needed it as much as she did. Her share was soon disposed of with hardly more than a grimace, to the infinite enjoyment of a fat, black slave-girl who was standing by, and who knew from personal experience what a tumblerful meant. But to induce the child to take hers was quite another matter. "What! not drink it?" the mother cried, as she held the potion to her lips. "The devil take thee, thou cursed offspring of[page 176] an abandoned woman! May God burn thy ancestors!" But though the child, accustomed to such mild and motherly invectives, budged not, it had proved altogether too much for the jovial slave, who was by this time convulsed with laughter, and so, I may as well confess, was I. At last the woman's powers of persuasion were exhausted, and she drained the glass herself.

When in Fez some years ago, a dog I had with me needed dosing, so I got three drops of croton oil on sugar made ready for him. Mine host, a man of fifty or more, came in meanwhile, and having ascertained the action of the drug from my servant, thought it might possibly do him good, and forthwith swallowed it. Of this the first intimation I had was from the agonizing screams of the old man, who loudly proclaimed that his last hour was come, and from the terrified wails of the females of his household, who thought so too. When I saw him he was rolling on the tiles of the courtyard, his heels in the air, bellowing frantically. I need hardly dilate upon the relief I felt when at last we succeeded in alleviating his pain, and knew that he was out of danger.

Among the favourite remedies of Morocco, hyena's head powder ranks high as a purge, and the dried bones and flesh may often be seen in the native spice-shops, coated with dust as they hang. Some of the prescriptions given are too filthy to repeat, almost to be believed. As a specimen, by no means the worst, I may mention a recipe at one time in favour among the Jewesses of Mogador, according to one writer. This was to drink seven draughts from the town drain where it entered the[page 177] sea, beaten up with seven eggs. For diseases of the "heart," by which they mean the stomach and liver, and of eyes, joints, etc., a stone, which is found in an animal called the horreh, the size of a small walnut, and valued as high as twelve dollars, is ground up and swallowed, the patient thereafter remaining indoors a week. Ants, prepared in various ways, are recommended for lethargy, and lion's flesh for cowardice. Privet or mallow leaves, fresh honey, and chameleons split open alive, are considered good for wounds and sores, while the fumes from the burning of the dried body of this animal are often inhaled. Among more ordinary remedies are saraparilla, senna, and a number of other well-known herbs and roots, whose action is more or less understood. Roasted pomegranate rind in powder is found really effectual in dysentery and diarrhœa.

Men and women continually apply for philtres, and women for means to prevent their husbands from liking rival wives, or for poison to put them out of the way. As arsenic, corrosive sublimate, and other poisons are sold freely to children in every spice-shop, the number of unaccounted-for deaths is extremely large, but inquiry is seldom or never made. When it is openly averred that So-and-so died from "a cup of tea," the only mental comment seems to be that she was very foolish not to be more careful what she drank, and to see that whoever prepared it took the first sip according to custom. The highest recommendation of any particular dish or spice is that it is "heating." Great faith is also placed in certain sacred rocks, tree-stumps, etc., which are visited in the hope of obtaining relief from all sorts of ailments. Visitors [page 178] often leave rags torn from their garments by which to be remembered by the guardian of the place. Others repair to the famous sulphur springs of Zarhôn, supposed to derive their benefit from the interment close by of a certain St. Jacob—and dance in the waters, yelling without intermission, "Cold and hot, O my lord Yakoob! Cold and hot!" fearful lest any cessation of the cry might permit the temperature to be increased or diminished beyond the bearable point.

[page 179]



"Who digs a pit for his brother will fall into it."

Moorish Proverb.

The slave-market differs in no respect from any other in Morocco, save in the nature of the "goods" exposed. In most cases the same place is used for other things at other times, and the same auctioneers are employed to sell cattle. The buyers seat themselves round an open courtyard, in the closed pens of which are the slaves for sale. These are brought out singly or in lots, inspected precisely as cattle would be, and expatiated upon in much the same manner.

For instance, here comes a middle-aged man, led slowly round by the salesman, who is describing his "points" and noting bids. He has first-class muscles, although he is somewhat thin. He is made to lift a weight to prove his strength. His thighs are patted, and his lips are turned to show the gums, which at merrier moments would have been visible without such a performance. With a shame-faced, hang-dog air he trudges round, wondering what will be his lot, though a sad one it is already. At last he is knocked down for so many score of dollars, and after a good deal of further bargaining he changes hands.

[page 180]

The next brought forward are three little girls—a "job lot," maybe ten, thirteen, and sixteen years of age—two of them evidently sisters. They are declared to be already proficient in Arabic, and ready for anything. Their muscles are felt, their mouths examined, and their bodies scrutinized in general, while the little one begins to cry, and the others look as though they would like to keep her company. Round and round again they are marched, but the bids do not rise high enough to effect a sale, and they are locked up again for a future occasion. It is indeed a sad, sad sight.

The sources of supply for the slave-market are various, but the chief is direct from Guinea and the Sáhara, where the raids of the traders are too well understood to need description. Usually some inter-tribal jealousy is fostered and fanned into a flame, and the one which loses is plundered of men and goods. Able-bodied lads and young girls are in most demand, and fetch high prices when brought to the north. The unfortunate prisoners are marched with great hardship and privation to depôts over the Atlas, where they pick up Arabic and are initiated into Mohammedanism. To a missionary who once asked one of the dealers how they found their way across the desert, the terribly significant reply was, "There are many bones along the way!" After a while the survivors are either exposed for sale in the markets of Marrákesh or Fez, or hawked round from door to door in the coast towns, where public auctions are prohibited. Some have even found their way to Egypt and Constantinople, having been transported in British vessels, and landed at Gibraltar as members of the dealer's family!

[page 181]

Another source of supply is the constant series of quarrels between the tribes of Morocco itself, during which many children are carried off who are white or nearly so. In this case the victims are almost all girls, for whom good prices are to be obtained. This opens a door for illegal supplies, children born of slaves and others kidnapped being thus disposed of for hareems. For this purpose the demand for white girls is much in excess of that for black, so that great temptation is offered. I knew a man who had seventeen such in his house, and of nearly a dozen whom I saw there, none were too dark to have passed for English brunettes.

Though nothing whatever can be said in defence of this practice of tearing our fellow-men from their homes, and selling them as slaves, our natural feelings of horror abate considerably when we become acquainted with its results under the rule of Islám. Instead of the fearful state of things which occurred under English or American rule, it is a pleasure to find that, whatever may be the shortcomings of the Moors, in this case, at any rate, they have set us a good example. Even their barbarous treatment of Christian slaves till within a century was certainly no worse than our treatment of black slaves.

To begin with, Mohammedans make no distinction in civil or religious rights between a black skin and a white. So long as a man avows belief in no god but God, and in Mohammed as the prophet of God, complying with certain outward forms of his religion, he is held to be as good a Muslim as anyone else; and as the whole social and civil fabrics are built upon religion and the teachings of the Korán, the social position of every well-behaved[page 182] Mohammedan is practically equal. The possession of authority of any kind will naturally command a certain amount of respectful attention, and he who has any reason for seeking a favour from another is sure to adopt a more subservient mien; but beyond this, few such class distinctions are known as those common in Europe. The slave who, away from home, can behave as a gentleman, will be received as such, irrespective of his colour, and when freed he may aspire to any position under the Sultan. There are, indeed, many instances of black men having been ministers, governors, and even ambassadors to Europe, and such appointments are too common to excite astonishment. They have even, in the past, assisted in giving rise to the misconception that the people of Morocco were "Black-a-Moors."

In many households the slave becomes the trusted steward of his owner, and receives a sufficient allowance to live in comfort. He will possess a paper giving him his freedom on his master's death, and altogether he will have a very good time of it. The liberation of slaves is enjoined upon those who follow Mohammed as a most praiseworthy act, and as one which cannot fail to bring its own reward. But, like too many in our own land, they more often prefer to make use of what they possess till they start on that journey on which they can take nothing with them, and then affect generosity by bestowing upon others that over which they lose control.

One poor fellow whom I knew very well, who had been liberated on the death of his master, having lost his papers, was re-kidnapped and sold again to a man who was subsequently imprisoned for[page 183] fraud, when he got free and worked for some years as porter; but he was eventually denounced and put in irons in a dungeon as part of the property of his soi-disant master.

The ordinary place of the slave is much that of the average servant, but receiving only board, lodging, and scanty clothing, without pay, and being unable to change masters. Sometimes, however, they are permitted to beg or work for money to buy their own freedom, when they become, as it were, their own masters. On the whole, a jollier, harder-working, or better-tempered lot than these Negroes it would be hard to desire, and they are as light-hearted, fortunately, as true-hearted, even in the midst of cruel adversities.

The condition of a woman slave—to which, also, most of what has been said refers—is as much behind that of a man-slave as is that of a free-woman behind that of her lord. If she becomes her master's wife, the mother of a child, she is thereby freed, though she must remain in his service until his death, and she is only treated as an animal, not as a human being.

After all, there is a dark side—one sufficiently dark to need no intensifying. The fact of one man being the possessor of another, just as much as he could be of a horse or cow, places him in the same position with regard to his "chattel" as to such a four-footed animal. "The merciful man is merciful to his beast," but "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," and just as one man will ill-treat his beast, while another treats his well, so will one man persecute his slave. Instances of this are quite common enough, and here and there cases [page 184] could be brought forward of revolting brutality, as in the story which follows, but the great thing is that agricultural slavery is practically unknown, and that what exists is chiefly domestic. "Know the slave," says an Arab proverb, "and you know the master."


Freyonne, Photo., Gibraltar.


[page 185]



"After many adversities, joy."

Moorish Proverb.

Outside the walls of Mazagan an English traveller had pitched his camp. Night had fallen when one of his men, returning from the town, besought admission to the tent.

"Well, how now?"

"Sir, I have a woman here, by thy leave, yes, a woman, a slave, whom I found at the door of thy consulate, where she had taken refuge, but the police guard drove her away, so I brought her to thee for justice. Have pity on her, and God will reward thee! See, here! Rabhah!"

At this bidding there approached a truly pitiable object, a dark-skinned woman, not quite black, though of decidedly negroid appearance—whose tattered garments scarcely served to hide a half-starved form. Throwing herself on the ground before the foreigner, she begged his pity, his assistance, for the sake of the Pitiful God.

"Oh, Bashador," she pleaded, addressing him as though a foreign envoy, "I take refuge with God and with thee! I have no one else. I have fled from my master, who has cruelly used me. See my back!"

[page 186]

Suiting action to word, she slipped aside the coverings from her shoulder and revealed the weals of many a stripe, tears streaming down her face the while. Her tones were such as none but a heart of stone could ignore.

"I bore it ten days, sir, till I could do so no longer, and then I escaped. It was all to make me give false witness—from which God deliver me—for that I will never do. My present master is the Sheïkh bin Záharah, Lieutenant Kaïd of the Boo Azeezi, but I was once the slave-wife of the English agent, who sold me again, though they said that he dare not, because of his English protection. That was why I fled for justice to the English consul, and now come to thee. For God's sake, succour me!"

With a sob her head fell forward on her breast, as again she crouched at the foreigner's feet, till made to rise and told to relate her whole story quietly. When she was calmer, aided by questions, she unfolded a tale which could, alas! be often paralleled in Morocco.

"My home? How can I tell thee where that was, when I was brought away so early? All I know is that it was in the Sûdán" (i.e. Land of the Blacks), "and that I came to Mogador on my mother's back. In my country the slave-dealers lie in wait outside the villages to catch the children when they play. They put them in bags like those used for grain, with their heads left outside the necks for air. So they are carried off, and travel all the way to this country slung on mules, being set down from time to time to be fed. But I, though born free, was brought by my mother, who had been carried[page 187] off as a slave. The lines cut on my cheek show that, for every free-born child in our country is marked so by its mother. That is our sultan's order. In Mogador my mother's master sold me to a man who took me from her, and brought me to Dár el Baïda. They took away my mother first; they dragged her off crying, and I never saw or heard of her again. When she was gone I cried for her, and could not eat till they gave me sugar and sweet dates. At Dár el Baïda I was sold in the market auction to a shareefa named Lálla Moïna, wife of the mountain scribe who taught the kádi's children. With her I was very happy, for she treated me well, and when she went to Mekka on the pilgrimage she let me go out to work on my own account, promising to make me free if God brought her back safely. She was good to me, Bashador, but though she returned safely she always put off making me free; but I had laid by fifteen dollars, and had bought a boxful of clothes as well. And that was where my trouble began. For God's sake succour me!

"One day the agent saw me in the street, and eyed me so that I was frightened of him. He followed me home, and then sent a letter offering to buy me, but my mistress refused. Then the agent often came to the house, and I had to wait upon him. He told me that he wanted to buy me, and that if he did I should be better off than if I were free, but I refused to listen. When the agent was away his man Sarghîni used to come and try to buy me, but in vain; and when the agent returned he threatened to bring my mistress into trouble if she refused. At last she had to yield, and I cried[page 188] when I had to go. 'Thou art sold to that man,' she said; 'but as thou art a daughter to me, he has promised to take care of thee and bring thee back whenever I wish.'

"Sarghîni took me out by one gate with the servants of the agent, who took care to go out with a big fat Jew by another, that the English consul should not see him go out with a woman. We rode on mules, and I wore a white cloak; I had not then begun to fast" (i.e. was not yet twelve years of age). "After two days on the road the agent asked for the key of my box, in which he found my fifteen dollars, tied up in a rag, and took them, but gave me back my clothes. We were five days travelling to Marrákesh, staying each night with a kaïd who treated us very well. So I came to the agent's house.

"There I found many other slave girls, besides men slaves in the garden. These were Ruby, bought in Saffi, by whom the agent had a daughter; and Star, a white girl stolen from her home in Sûs, who had no children; Jessamine the Less, another white girl bought in Marrákesh, mother of one daughter; Jessamine the Greater, whose daughter was her father's favourite, loaded with jewels; and others who cooked or served, not having children, though one had a son who died. There were thirteen of us under an older slave who clothed and fed us.

"When the bashador came to the house the agent shut all but five or six of us in a room, the others waiting on him. I used to have to cook for the bashador, for whom they had great receptions with music and dancing-women. Next door there was a [page 189] larger house, a fandak, where the agent kept public women and boys, and men at the door took money from the Muslims and Nazarenes who went there. The missionaries who lived close by know the truth of what I say.

"A few days after I arrived I was bathed and dressed in fresh clothes, and taken to my master's room, as he used to call for one or another according to fancy. But I had no child, because he struck me, and I was sick. When one girl, named Amber, refused to go to him because she was ill, he dragged her off to another part of the house. Presently we heard the report of a pistol, and he came back to say she was dead. He had a pistol in his hand as long as my forearm. We found the girl in a pool of blood in agonies, and tried to flee, but had nowhere to go. So when she was quite dead he made us wash her. Then he brought in four men to dig a pit, in which he said he would bury butter. When they had gone we buried her there, and I can show you the spot.

"One day he took two men slaves and me on a journey. One of them ran away, the other was sold by the way. I was sold at the Tuesday market of Sîdi bin Nûr to a dealer in slaves, whom I heard promise my master to keep me close for three months, and not to sell me in that place lest the Nazarenes should get word of it. Some time after I was bought by a tax-collector, with whom I remained till he died, and then lived in the house of his son. This man sold me to my present master, who has ill-treated me as I told thee. Oh, Bashador, when I fled from him, I came to the English consul because I was told that the agent had had no right[page 190] to hold or sell me, since he had English protection. Thou knowest what has happened since. Here I am, at thy feet, imploring assistance. I beseech thee, turn me not away. I speak truth before God."

No one could hear such a tale unmoved, and after due inquiry the Englishman thus appealed to secured her liberty on depositing at the British Consulate the $140 paid for her by her owner, who claimed her or the money. Rabhah's story, taken down by independent persons at different times, was afterwards told by her without variation in a British Court of Law. Subsequently a pronouncement as to her freedom having been made by the British Legation at Tangier, the $140 was refunded, and she lives free to-day. The last time the writer saw her, in the service of a European in Morocco, he was somewhat taken aback to find her arms about his neck, and to have kisses showered on his shoulders for the unimportant part that he had played in securing her freedom.

[page 191]



"Work for the children is better than pilgrimage or holy war."

Moorish Proverb.

Year by year the month succeeding the fast of Ramadán sees a motley assemblage of pilgrims bound for Mekka, gathered at most of the North African ports from all parts of Barbary and even beyond, awaiting vessels bound for Alexandria or Jedda. This comparatively easy means of covering the distance, which includes the whole length of the Mediterranean when the pilgrims from Morocco are concerned—not to mention some two-thirds of the Red Sea,—has almost entirely superseded the original method of travelling all the way by land, in the once imposing caravans.

These historic institutions owed their importance no less to the facilities they offered for trade, than to the opportunity they afforded for accomplishing the pilgrimage which is enjoined on every follower of Mohammed. Although caravans still cross the deserts of North Africa in considerable force from west to east, as well as from south to north, to carry on the trade of the countries to the south of the Barbary States, the former are steadily dwindling down to mere local affairs, and the number of travellers who select the modern route by steamer[page 192] is yearly increasing, as its advantages become better known. For the accommodation of the large number of passengers special vessels are chartered by speculators, and are fitted up for the occasion. Only some £3 are charged for the whole journey from Tangier, a thousand pilgrims being crowded on a medium-sized merchant vessel, making the horrors of the voyage indescribable.

But the troubles of the pilgrims do not begin here. Before they could even reach the sea some of them will have travelled on foot for a month from remote parts of the interior, and at the coast they may have to endure a wearisome time of waiting for a steamer. It is while they are thus learning a lesson of patience at one of the Moorish ports that I will invite you for a stroll round their encampment on the market-place.

This consists of scores of low, makeshift tents, with here and there a better-class round one dotted amongst them. The prevailing shape of the majority is a modified edition of the dwelling of the nomad Arab, to which class doubtless belongs a fair proportion of their occupants. Across the top of two poles about five feet high, before and behind, a ridge-piece is placed, and over this is stretched to the ground on either side a long piece of palmetto or goat-hair cloth, or perhaps one of the long woollen blankets worn by men and women alike, called haïks, which will again be used for its original purpose on board the vessel. The back is formed of another piece of some sort of cloth stretched out at the bottom to form a semi-circle, and so give more room inside. Those who have a bit of rug or a light mattress, spread it on the floor,[page 193] and pile their various other belongings around its edge.

The straits to which many of these poor people are put to get a covering of any kind to shelter them from sun, rain, and wind, are often very severe, to judge from some of the specimens of tents—if they deserve the name—constructed of all sorts of odds and ends, almost anything, it would seem, that will cover a few square inches. There is one such to be seen on this busy market which deserves special attention as a remarkable example of this style of architecture. Let us examine it. The materials of which it is composed include hair-cloth, woollen-cloth, a cotton shirt, a woollen cloak, and some sacking; goat skin, sheep's fleece, straw, and palmetto cord; rush mats, a palmetto mat, split-cane baskets and wicker baskets; bits of wood, a piece of cork, bark and sticks; petroleum tins flattened out, sheet iron, zinc, and jam and other tins; an earthenware dish and a stone bottle, with bits of crockery, stones, and a cow's horn to weight some of the other items down. Now, if any one can make anything of this, which is an exact inventory of such of the materials as are visible on the outside, he must be a born architect. Yet here this extraordinary construction stands, as it has stood for several months, and its occupant looks the jolliest fellow out. Let us pay him a visit.

Stooping down to look under the flap which serves as a door, and raising it with my stick, I greet him with the customary salutation of "Peace be with you." "With you be peace," is the cheery reply, to which is added, "Welcome to thee; make[page 194] thyself at home." Although invited to enter, I feel quite enough at home on the outside of his dwelling, so reply that I have no time to stay, as I only "looked in" to have the pleasure of making his acquaintance and examining his "palace." At the last word one or two bystanders who have gathered round indulge in a little chuckle to themselves, overhearing which I turn round and make the most flattering remarks I can think of as to its beauty, elegance, comfort, and admirable system of ventilation, which sets the whole company, tenant included, into a roar of laughter. Mine host is busy cleaning fish, and now presses us to stay and share his evening meal with him, but our appetites are not quite equal to that yet, though it is beyond doubt that the morsel he would offer us would be as savoury and well cooked as could be supplied by any restaurant in Piccadilly.

Inquiries elicit the fact that our friend is hoping to leave for Mekka by the first steamer, and that meanwhile he supports himself as a water-carrier, proudly showing us his goat-skin "bottle" lying on the floor, with the leather flap he wears between it and his side to protect him from the damp. Here, too, are his chain and bell, with the bright brass and tin cups. In fact, he is quite a "swell" in his way, and, in spite of his uncouth-looking surroundings, manages to enjoy life by looking on the bright side of things.

"What will you do with your palace when you leave it?" we ask, seeing that it could not be moved unless the whole were jumbled up in a sack, when it would be impossible to reconstruct it.

[page 195]

"Oh, I'd let it to some one else."

"For how much?"

"Well, that I'd leave to God."

A glance round the interior of this strange abode shows that there are still many materials employed in its construction which might have been enumerated. One or two bundles, a box and a basket round the sides, serve to support the roof, and from the ridge-pole hangs a bundle which we are informed contains semolina. I once saw such a bundle suspended from a beam in a village mosque in which I had passed the night in the guise of a pious Muslim, and, observing its dusty condition, inquired how it came there.

"A traveller left it there about a year and a half ago, and has not yet come for it," was the reply; to judge from which it might remain till Doomsday—a fact which spoke well for the honesty of the country folk in that respect at least, although I learned that they were notorious highwaymen.

Though the roof admits daylight every few inches, the occupier remarks that it keeps the sun and rain off fairly well, and seems to think none the worse of it for its transparent faults. A sick woman lying in a native hut with a thatched roof hardly in better condition than this one, remarked when a visitor observed a big hole just above her pallet bed—

"Oh, it's so nice in the summer time; it lets the breeze in so delightfully!"

It was then the depth of winter, and she had had to shift her position once or twice to avoid the rain which came through that hole. What a lesson[page 196] in making the best of things did not that ignorant invalid teach!

Having bid the amiable water-carrier "à Dieu,"—literally as well as figuratively—we turn towards a group of tents further up, whence a white-robed form has been beckoning us. After the usual salutations have been exchanged, the eager inquiry is made, "Is there a steamer yet?"

"No; I've nothing to do with steamers—but there's sure to be one soon."

A man who evidently disbelieves me calls out, "I've got my money for the passage, and I'll hire a place with you, only bring the ship quickly."

Since their arrival in Tangier they have learnt to call a steamer, which they have never seen before,—or even the sea,—a "bábor," a corruption of the Spanish "vapor," for Arabic knows neither "v" nor "p."

Another now comes forward to know if there is an eye-doctor in the place, for there is a mist before his eyes, as he is well-advanced in the decline of life. The sound of the word "doctor" brings up a few more of the bystanders, who ask if I am one, and as I reply in the negative, they ask who can cure their ears, legs, stomachs, and what not. I explain where they may find an excellent doctor, who will be glad to do all he can for them gratis—whereat they open their eyes incredulously,—and that for God's sake, in the name of Seyïdná Aïsa ("Our Lord Jesus"), which they appreciate at once with murmurs of satisfaction, though they are not quite satisfied until they have ascertained by further questioning that he receives no support from his own or any other government. Hearing the name[page 197] of Seyïdná Aïsa, one of the group breaks out into "El hamdu l'Illah, el hamdu l'Illah" ("Praise be to God"), a snatch of a missionary hymn to a "Moody and Sankey" tune, barely recognizable as he renders it. He has only been here a fortnight, and disclaims all further knowledge of the hymn or where he heard it.

Before another tent hard by sits a native barber, bleeding a youth from a vein in the arm, for which the fee is about five farthings. As one or two come round to look on, he remarks, in an off-hand way—probably with a view to increasing his practice—that "all the pilgrims are having this done; it's good for the internals."

As we turn round to pass between two of the tents to the row beyond, our progress is stayed by a cord from the ridge of one to that of another, on which are strung strips of what appear at first sight to be leather, but on a closer inspection are found to be pieces of meat, tripe, and apparently chitterlings, hung out to dry in a sun temperature of from 90° to 100° Fahrenheit. Thus is prepared a staple article of diet for winter consumption when fresh meat is dear, or for use on journeys, and this is all the meat these pilgrims will taste till they reach Mekka, or perhaps till they return. Big jars of it, with the interstices filled up with butter, are stowed away in the tents "among the stuff." It is called "khalia," and is much esteemed for its tasty and reputed aphrodisiac qualities—two ideals in Morocco cookery,—so that it commands a relatively good price in the market.

The inmates of the next tent we look into are a woman and two men, lying down curled up asleep[page 198] in their blankets, while a couple more of the latter squat at the door. Having noticed our curious glances at their khalia, they, with the expressive motion of the closed fist which in native gesture-parlance signifies first-rate, endeavour to impress us with a sense of its excellence, which we do not feel inclined to dispute after all we have eaten on former occasions. This brings us to inquire what else these wanderers provide for the journey of thirteen or fourteen days one way. As bread is not to be obtained on board, at the door of the tent a tray-full of pieces are being converted into sun-dried rusks. Others are provided with a kind of very hard doughnut called "fikáks." These are flavoured with anise and carraway seeds, and are very acceptable to a hungry traveller when bread is scarce, though fearfully searching to hollow teeth.

Then there is a goodly supply of the national food, kesk'soo or siksoo, better known by its Spanish name of couscoussoo. This forms an appetizing and lordly dish, provocative of abundant eructations—a sign of good breeding in these parts, wound up with a long-drawn "Praise be to God"—at the close of a regular "tuck in" with Nature's spoon, the fist. A similar preparation is hand-rolled vermicelli, cooked in broth or milk, if obtainable. A bag of semolina and another of zummeetah—parched flour—which only needs enough moisture to form it into a paste to prepare it for consumption, are two other well-patronized items.

A quaint story comes to mind à propos of the latter, which formed part of our stock of provisions during a journey through the province of Dukkála when the incident in question occurred. A tin of[page 199] insect powder was also among our goods, and by an odd coincidence both were relegated to the pail hanging from one of our packs. Under a spreading fig-tree near the village of Smeerah, at lunch, some travelling companions offered us a cup of tea, and among other dainties placed at their disposal in return was the bag of zummeetah, of which one of them made a good meal. Later on in the day, as we rested again, he complained of fearful internal gripings, which were easily explained by the discovery of the fact that the lid of the "flea's zummeetah," as one of our men styled it, had been left open, and a hole in the sack of "man's zummeetah" had allowed the two to mix in the bottom of the pail in nearly equal proportions. When this had been explained, no one entered more heartily into the joke than its victim, which spoke very well for his good temper, considering how seriously he had been affected.

But this is rather a digression from our catalogue of the pilgrim's stock of provisions. Rancid butter melted down in pots, honey, dates, figs, raisins, and one or two similar items form the remainder. Water is carried in goat-skins or in pots made of the dried rind of a gourd, by far the most convenient for a journey, owing to their light weight and the absence of the prevailing taste of pitch imparted by the leather contrivances. Several of these latter are to be seen before the tents hanging on tripods. One of the Moors informs us that for the first day on board they have to provide their own water, after which it is found for them, but everything else they take with them. An ebony-hued son of Ham, seated by a neighbouring tent,[page 200] replies to our query as to what he is providing, "I take nothing," pointing heavenward to indicate his reliance on Divine providence.

And so they travel. The group before us has come from the Sáhara, a month's long journey overland, on foot! Yet their travels have only commenced. Can they have realized what it all means?


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


[page 201]



"He lengthened absence, and returned unwelcomed."

Moorish Proverb.

Evening is about to fall—for fall it does in these south latitudes, with hardly any twilight—and the setting sun has lit the sky with a refulgent glow that must be gazed at to be understood—the arc of heaven overspread with glorious colour, in its turn reflected by the heaving sea. One sound alone is heard as I wend my way along the sandy shore; it is the heavy thud and aftersplash of each gigantic wave, as it breaks on the beach, and hurls itself on its retreating predecessor, each climbing one step higher than the last.

There, in the distance, stands a motley group—men, women, children—straining wearied eyes to recognize the forms which crowd a cargo lighter slowly nearing land. Away in the direction of their looks I dimly see the outline of the pilgrim ship, a Cardiff coaler, which has brought close on a thousand Hájes from Port Saïd or Alexandria—men chiefly, but among them wives and children—who have paid that toilsome pilgrimage to Mekka.

The last rays of the sun alone remain as the boat strikes the shore, and as the darkness falls apace a score of dusky forms make a wild rush into[page 202] the surging waters, while an equal number rise up eager in the boat to greet their friends. So soon as they are near enough to be distinguished one from another, each watcher on the beach shouts the name of the friend he is awaiting, proud to affix, for the first time, the title Háj—Pilgrim—to his name. As only some twenty or thirty have yet landed from among so many hundreds, the number of disappointed ones who have to turn back and bide their time is proportionately large.

"Háj Mohammed! Háj Abd es-Slám! Háj el Arbi! Háj boo Sháïb! Ah, Háj Drees!" and many such ejaculations burst from their lips, together with inquiries as to whether So-and-so may be on board. One by one the weary travellers once more step upon the land which is their home, and with assistance from their friends unload their luggage.

Now a touching scene ensues. Strong men fall on one another's necks like girls, kissing and embracing with true joy, each uttering a perfect volley of inquiries, compliments, congratulations, or condolence. Then, with child-like simplicity, the stayer-at-home leads his welcome relative or friend by the hand to the spot where his luggage has been deposited, and seating themselves thereon they soon get deep into a conversation which renders them oblivious to all around, as the one relates the wonders of his journeyings, the other the news of home.

Poor creatures! Some months ago they started, full of hope, on an especially trying voyage of several weeks, cramped more closely than emigrants, exposed both to sun and rain, with hardly a change of clothing, and only the food they had brought with[page 203] them. Arrived at their destination, a weary march across country began, and was repeated after they had visited the various points, and performed the various rites prescribed by the Korán or custom, finally returning as they went, but not all, as the sorrow-stricken faces of some among the waiters on the beach had told, and the muttered exclamation, "It is written—Mektoob."

Meanwhile the night has come. The Creator's loving Hand has caused a myriad stars to shine forth from the darkness, in some measure to replace the light of day, while as each new boat-load is set down the same scenes are enacted, and the crowd grows greater and greater, the din of voices keeping pace therewith.

Donkey-men having appeared on the scene with their patient beasts, they clamour for employment, and those who can afford it avail themselves of their services to get their goods transported to the city. What goods they are, too! All sorts of products of the East done up in boxes of the most varied forms and colours, bundles, rolls, and bales. The owners are apparently mere bundles of rags themselves, but they seem no less happy for that.

Seated on an eminence at one side are several customs officers who have been delegated to inspect these goods; their flowing garments and generally superior attire afford a striking contrast to the state of the returning pilgrims, or even to that of the friends come to meet them. These officials have their guards marching up and down between and round about the groups, to see that nothing is carried off without inspection.

Little by little the crowd disperses; those whose[page 204] friends have landed escort them to their homes, leaving those who will have to continue their journey overland alone, making hasty preparations for their evening meal. The better class speedily have tents erected, but the majority will have to spend the night in the open air, probably in the rain, for it is beginning to spatter already. Fires are lit in all directions, throwing a lurid light upon the interesting picture, and I turn my horse's head towards home with a feeling of sadness, but at the same time one of thankfulness that my lot was not cast where theirs is.

[page 205]




"The Beheaded was abusing the Flayed:

One with her throat cut passed by, and exclaimed,

'God deliver us from such folk!'"

Moorish Proverb.

Instead of residing at the Court of the Sultan, as might be expected, the ministers accredited to the ruler of Morocco take up their abode in Tangier, where they are more in touch with Europe, and where there is greater freedom for pig-sticking. The reason for this is that the Court is not permanently settled anywhere, wintering successively at one of the three capitals, Fez, Marrákesh, or Mequinez. Every few years, when anything of note arises; when there is an accumulation of matters to be discussed with the Emperor, or when a new representative has been appointed, an embassy to Court is undertaken, usually in spring or autumn, the best times to travel in this roadless land.

What happens on these embassies has often enough been related from the point of view of the performers, but seldom from that of residents in the country who know what happens, and the following peep behind the scenes, though fortunately not typical of all, is not exaggerated. Even more might have been told under some heads. As strictly[page 206] applicable to no Power at present represented in Morocco, the record is that of an imaginary embassy from Greece some sixty or more years ago. To prevent misconception, it may be as well to add that it was written previous to the failure of the mission of Sir Charles Euan Smith.

I. The Reception

In a sloop-of-war sent all the way from the Ægean, the Ambassador and his suite sailed from Tangier to Saffi, where His Excellency was received on landing by a Royal salute from the crumbling batteries. The local governor and the Greek vice-consul awaited him on leaving the surf boat, with an escort which sadly upset the operations of women washing wool by the water-port. Outside the land-gate, beside the ancient palace, was pitched a Moorish camp awaiting his arrival, and European additions were soon erected beside it. At daybreak next morning a luncheon-party rode forward, whose duty it was to prepare the midday meal for the embassy, and to pitch the awning under which they should partake of it.

Arrived at the spot selected, Drees, the "native agent," found the village sheïkh awaiting him with ample supplies, enough for every one for a couple of days. This he carefully packed on his mules, and by the time the embassy came up, having started some time later than he, after a good breakfast, he was ready to go on again with the remainder of the muleteers and the camel-drivers to prepare the evening meal and pitch for the night a camp over which waved the flag of Greece.

Here the offerings of provisions or money were[page 207] made with equal profusion. There were bushels of kesk'soo; there were several live sheep, which were speedily despatched and put into pots to cook; there were jars of honey, of oil, and of butter; there were camel-loads of barley for the beasts of burden, and trusses of hay for their dessert; there were packets of candles by the dozen, and loaves of sugar and pounds of tea; not to speak of fowls, of charcoal, of sweet herbs, of fruits, and of minor odds and ends.

By the time the Europeans arrived, their French chef had prepared an excellent dinner, the native escort and servants squatting in groups round steaming dishes provided ready cooked by half-starved villagers. When the feasting was over, and all seemed quiet, a busy scene was in reality being enacted in the background. At a little distance from the camp, Háj Marti, the right-hand man of the agent, was holding a veritable market with the surplus mona of the day, re-selling to the miserable country folk what had been wrung from them by the authorities. The Moorish Government declared that what they paid thus in kind would be deducted from their taxes, and this was what the Minister assured his questioning wife, for though he knew better, he found it best to wink at the proceedings of his unpaid henchman.

As they proceeded inland, on the border of each local jurisdiction the escort was changed with an exhibition of "powder-play," the old one retiring as the new one advanced with the governor at its head. Thus they journeyed for about a week, till they reached the crumbling walls of palm-begirt Marrákesh.

[page 208]

The official personnel of the embassy consisted of the Minister and his secretary Nikolaki Glymenopoulos, with Ayush ben Lezrá, the interpreter. The secretary was a self-confident dandy with a head like a pumpkin and a scrawl like the footprints of a wandering hen; reputed a judge of ladies and horse-flesh; supercilious, condescending to inferiors, and the plague of his tailor. The consul, Paolo Komnenos, a man of middle age with a kindly heart, yet without force of character to withstand the evils around him, had been left in Tangier as Chargé d'Affaires, to the great satisfaction of his wife and family, who considered themselves of the crême de la crême of Tangier society, such as it was, because, however much the wife of the Minister despised the bumptiousness of Madame Komnenos, she could not omit her from her invitations, unless of the most private nature, on account of her husband's official position. Now, as Madame Mavrogordato accompanied her husband with her little son and a lady friend, the consul's wife reigned supreme.

Then there were the official attachés for the occasion, the representative of the army, a colonel of Roman nose, and eyes which required but one glass between them, a man to whom death would have been preferable to going one morning unshaved, or to failing one jot in military etiquette; and the representative of the navy, in cocked hat and gold-striped pantaloons, who found it more difficult to avoid tripping over his sword than most landsmen do to keep from stumbling over coils of rope on ship-board; beyond his costume there was little of note about him; his genial character made it easy to say "Ay, ay," to any one, but the yarns he[page 209] could spin round the camp-fire made him a general favourite. The least consequential of the party was the doctor, an army man of honest parts, who wished well to all the world. Undoubtedly he was the hardest worked of the lot, for no one else did anything but enjoy himself.

Finally there were the "officious" attachés. Every dabbler in politics abroad knows the fine distinctions between "official" and "officious" action, and how subtle are the changes which can be rung upon the two, but there was nothing of that description here. The officious attachés were simply a party of the Minister's personal friends, and two or three strangers whose influence might in after times be useful to him. One was of course a journalist, to supply the special correspondence of the Acropolis and the Hellenike Salpinx. These would afterwards be worked up into a handy illustrated volume of experiences and impressions calculated to further deceive the public with regard to Morocco and the Moors, and to secure for the Minister his patron, the longed-for promotion to a European Court. Another was necessarily the artist of the party, while the remainder engaged in sport of one kind or another.

Si Drees, the "native agent," was employed as master of horse, and superintended the native arrangements generally. With him rested every detail of camping out, and the supply of food and labour. Right and left he was the indispensable factotum, shouting himself hoarse from before dawn till after sunset, when he joined the gay blades of the Embassy in private pulls at forbidden liquors. No one worked as hard as he, and he seemed[page 210] omnipresent. The foreigners were justly thankful to have such a man, for without him all felt at sea. He appeared to know everything and to be available for every one's assistance. The only draw-back was his ignorance of Greek, or of any language but his own, yet being sharp-witted he made himself wonderfully understood by signs and a few words of the strange coast jargon, a mixture of half a dozen tongues.

The early morning was fixed for the solemn entry of the Embassy into the city, yet the road had to be lined on both sides with soldiers to keep back the thronging crowds. Amid the din of multitudes, the clashing of barbarous music, and shrill ululations of delight from native women; surrounded by an eastern blaze of sun and blended colours, rode incongruous the Envoy from Greece. His stiff, grim figure, the embodiment of officialism, in full Court dress, was supported on either hand by his secretary and interpreter, almost as resplendent as himself. Behind His Excellency rode the attachés and other officials, then the ladies; newspaper correspondents, artists, and other non-official guests, bringing up the rear. In this order the party crossed the red-flowing Tansift by its low bridge of many arches, and drew near to the gate of Marrákesh called that of the Thursday [market], Báb el Khamees.


Molinari, Photo., Tangier.


At last they commenced to thread the narrow winding streets, their bordering roofs close packed with shrouded figures only showing an eye, who greeted them after their fashion with a piercing, long-drawn, "Yoo-yoo, yoo-yoo; yoo-yoo, yoo-yoo; yoo-yoo, yoo-yoo—oo," so novel to the strangers,[page 211] and so typical. Then they crossed the wide-open space before the Kûtûbîyah on their way to the garden which had been prepared for them, the Mamûnîyah, with its handsome residence and shady walks.

Three days had to elapse from the time of their arrival before they could see the Sultan, for they were now under native etiquette, but they had much to occupy them, much to see and think about, though supposed to remain at home and rest till the audience. On the morning of the fourth day all was bustle. Each had to array himself in such official garb as he could muster, with every decoration he could borrow, for the imposing ceremony of the presentation to the Emperor. What a business it was! what a coming and going; what noise and what excitement! It was like living in the thick of a whirling pantomime.

At length they were under way, and making towards the kasbah gate in a style surpassing that of their entry, the populace still more excited at the sight of the gold lace and cocked hats which showed what great men had come to pay their homage to their lord the Sultan. On arrival at the inmost courtyard with whitewashed, battlemented walls, and green-tiled roofs beyond, they found it thickly lined with soldiers, a clear space being left for them in the centre. Here they were all ranged on foot, the presents from King Otho placed on one side, and covered with rich silk cloths. Presently a blast of trumpets silenced the hum of voices, and the soldiers made a show of "attention" in their undrilled way, for the Sultan approached.

In a moment the great doors on the other side[page 212] flew open, and a number of gaily dressed natives in peaked red caps—the Royal body-guard—emerged, followed by five prancing steeds, magnificent barbs of different colours, richly caparisoned, led by gold-worked bridles. Then came the Master of the Ceremonies in his flowing robes and monster turban, a giant in becoming dress, and—as they soon discovered—of stentorian voice. Behind him rode the Emperor himself in stately majesty, clothed in pure white, wool-white, distinct amid the mass of colours worn by those surrounding him, his ministers. The gorgeous trappings of his white steed glittered as the proud beast arched his neck and champed his gilded bit, or tried in vain to prance. Over his head was held by a slave at his side the only sign of Royalty, a huge red-silk umbrella with a fringe to match, and a golden knob on the point, while others of the household servants flicked the flies away, or held the spurs, the cushion, the carpet, and other things which might be called for by their lord.

On his appearance deafening shouts broke forth, "God bless our Lord, and give him victory!" The rows of soldiers bowed their heads and repeated the cry with still an increase of vigour, "God bless our Lord, and give him victory!" At a motion from the Master of the Ceremonies the members of the Embassy took off their hats or helmets, and the representative of modern Greece stood there bareheaded in a broiling sun before the figure-head of ancient Barbary. As the Sultan approached the place where he stood, he drew near and offered a few stereotyped words in explanation of his errand, learned by heart, to which the Emperor replied by bidding him welcome. The Minister then handed[page 213] to him an engrossed address in a silk embroided case, which an attendant was motioned to take, the Sultan acknowledging it graciously. One by one the Minister next introduced the members of his suite, their names and qualities being shouted in awful tones by the Master of the Ceremonies, and after once more bidding them welcome, but with a scowl at the sight of Drees, His Majesty turned his horse's head, leaving them to re-mount as their steeds were brought to them. Again the music struck up with a deafening din, and the state reception was over.

But this was not to be the only interview between the Ambassador and the Sultan, for several so-called private conferences followed, at which an attendant or two and the interpreter Ayush were present. Kyrios Mavrogordato's stock of polite workable Arabic had been exhausted at the public function, and for business matters he had to rely implicitly on the services of his handy Jew. Such other notions of the language as he boasted could only be addressed to inferiors, and that but to convey the most simple of crude instructions or curses.

At the first private audience there were many matters of importance to be brought before the Sultan's notice, afterwards to be relegated to the consideration of his wazeers. This time no fuss was made, and the affair again came off in the early morning, for His Majesty rose at three, and after devotions and study transacted official business from five to nine, then breakfasting and reserving the rest of the day for recreation and further religious study.

[page 214]

II. The Interview

At the appointed time an escort waited on the Ambassador* to convey him to the palace, arrived at which he was led into one of the many gardens in the interior, full of luxuriant semi-wild vegetation. In a room opening on to one side of the garden sat the Emperor, tailor-fashion, on a European sofa, elevated by a sort of daïs opposite the door. With the exception of an armchair on the lower level, to which the Ambassador was motioned after the usual formal obeisances and expressions of respect, the chamber was absolutely bare of furniture, though not lacking in beauty of decoration. The floor was of plain cut but elegant tiles, and the dado was a more intricate pattern of the same in shades of blue, green, and yellow, interspersed with black, but relieved by an abundance of greeny white. Above this, to the stalactite cornice, the walls were decorated with intricate Mauresque designs in carved white plaster, while the rich stalactite roofing of deep-red tone, just tipped with purple and gilt, made a perfect whole, and gave a feeling of repose to the design. Through the huge open horse-shoe arch of the door the light streamed between the branches of graceful creepers waving in the breeze, adding to the impression of coolness caused by the bubbling fountain outside.

"May God bless our Lord, and prolong his days!" said Ayush, bowing profoundly towards the Sultan, as the Minister concluded the repetition of his stock phrases, and seated himself.

"May it please Your Majesty," began the[page 215] Minister, in Greek, "I cannot express the honour I feel in again being commissioned to approach Your Majesty in the capacity of Ambassador from my Sovereign, King Otho of Greece."

This little speech was rendered into Arabic by Ayush to this effect—

"May God pour blessings on our Lord. The Ambassador rejoices greatly, and is honoured above measure in being sent once more by his king to approach the presence of our Lord, the high and mighty Sovereign: yes, my Lord."

"He is welcome," answered the Sultan, graciously; "we love no nation better than the Greeks. They have always been our friends."

Interpreter. "His Majesty is delighted to see Your Excellency, whom he loves from his heart, as also your mighty nation, than which none is more dear to him, and whose friendship he is ready to maintain at any cost."

Minister. "It pleases me greatly to hear Your Majesty's noble sentiments, which I, and I am sure my Government, reciprocate."

Interpreter. "The Minister is highly complimented by the gracious words of our Lord, and declares that the Greeks love no other nation on earth beside the Moors: yes, my Lord."

Sultan. "Is there anything I can do for such good friends?"

Interpreter. "His Majesty says he is ready to do anything for so good a friend as Your Excellency."

Minister. "I am deeply grateful to His Majesty. Yes, there are one or two matters which my Government would like to have settled."

[page 216]

Interpreter. "The Minister is simply overwhelmed at the thought of the consideration of our Lord, and he has some trifling matters for which perhaps he may beg our Lord's attention: yes, my Lord."

Sultan. "He has only to make them known."

Interpreter. "His Majesty will do all Your Excellency desires."

Minister. "First then, Your Majesty, there is the little affair of the Greek who was murdered last year at Azîla. I am sure that I can rely on an indemnity for his widow."

Interpreter. "The Minister speaks of the Greek who was murdered—by your leave, yes, my Lord—at Azîla last year: yes, my Lord. The Ambassador wishes him to be paid for."

Sultan. "How much does he ask?"

This being duly interpreted, the Minister replied—

"Thirty thousand dollars."

Sultan. "Half that sum would do, but we will see. What next?"

Interpreter. "His Majesty thinks that too much, but as Your Excellency says, so be it."

Minister. "I thank His Majesty, and beg to bring to his notice the imprisonment of a Greek protégé, Mesaûd bin Aûdah, at Mazagan some months ago, and to ask for his liberation and for damages. This is a most important case."

Interpreter. "The Minister wants that thief Mesaûd bin Aûdah, whom the Báshá of Mazagan has in gaol, to be let out, and he asks also for damages: yes, my Lord."

Sultan. "The man was no lawful protégé. I[page 217] can do nothing in the case. Bin Aûdah is a criminal, and cannot be protected."

Interpreter. "His Majesty fears that this is a matter in which he cannot oblige Your Excellency, much as he would like to, since the man in question is a thief. It is no use saying anything further about this."

Minister. "Then ask about that Jew Botbol, who was thrashed. Though not a protégé, His Majesty might be able to do something."

Interpreter. "His Excellency brings before our Lord a most serious matter indeed; yes, my Lord. It is absolutely necessary that redress should be granted to Maimon Botbol, the eminent merchant of Mogador whom the kaïd of that place most brutally treated last year: yes, my Lord. And this is most important, for Botbol is a great friend of His Excellency, who has taken the treatment that the poor man received very much to heart. He is sure that our Lord will not hesitate to order the payment of the damages demanded, only fifty thousand dollars."

Sultan. "In consideration of the stress the Minister lays upon this case, he shall have ten thousand dollars."

Interpreter. "His Majesty will pay Your Excellency ten thousand dollars damages."

Minister. "As that is more than I had even hoped to ask, you will duly thank His Majesty most heartily for this spontaneous generosity."

Interpreter. "The Minister says that is not sufficient from our Lord, but he will not oppose his will: yes, my Lord."

Sultan. "I cannot do more."

[page 218]

Interpreter. "His Majesty says it gives him great pleasure to pay it."

Minister. "Now there is the question of slavery. I have here a petition from a great society at Athens requesting His Majesty to consider whether he cannot abolish the system throughout his realm," handing the Sultan an elaborate Arabic scroll in Syrian characters hard to be deciphered even by the secretary to whom it is consigned for perusal; the Sultan, though an Arabic scholar, not taking sufficient interest in the matter to think of it again.

Interpreter. "There are some fanatics in the land of Greece, yes, my Lord, who want to see slavery abolished here, by thy leave, yes, my Lord, but I will explain to the Bashador that this is impossible."

Sultan. "Certainly. It is an unalterable institution. Those who think otherwise are fools. Besides, your agent Drees deals in slaves!"

Interpreter. "His Majesty will give the petition his best attention, and if possible grant it with pleasure."

Minister. "You will thank His Majesty very much. It will rejoice my fellow-countrymen to hear it. Next, a Greek firm has offered to construct the much-needed port at Tangier, if His Majesty will grant us the concession till the work be paid for by the tolls. Such a measure would tend to greatly increase the Moorish revenues."

Interpreter. "The Minister wishes to build a port at Tangier, yes, my Lord, and to hold it till the tolls have paid for it."

Sultan. "Which may not be till Doomsday.[page 219] Nevertheless, I will consent to any one making the port whom all the European representatives shall agree to appoint"—a very safe promise to make, since the Emperor knew that this agreement was not likely to be brought about till the said Domesday.

Interpreter. "Your Excellency's request is granted. You have only to obtain the approval of your colleagues."

Minister. "His Majesty is exceedingly gracious, and I am correspondingly obliged to him. Inform His Majesty that the same firm is willing to build him bridges over his rivers, and to make roads between the provinces, which would increase friendly communications, and consequently tend to reduce inter-tribal feuds."

Interpreter. "The Minister thanks our Lord, and wants also to build bridges and roads in the interior to make the tribes friendly by intercourse."

Sultan. "That would never do. The more I keep the tribes apart the better for me. If I did not shake up my rats in the sack pretty often, they would gnaw their way out. Besides, where my people could travel more easily, so could foreign invaders. No, I cannot think of such a thing. God created the world without bridges."

Interpreter. "His Majesty is full of regret that in this matter he is unable to please Your Excellency, but he thinks his country better as it is."

Minister. "Although I beg to differ from His Majesty, so be it. Next there is the question of our commerce with Morocco. This is greatly hampered by the present lack of a fixed customs tariff. There are several articles of which the[page 220] exportation is now prohibited, which it would be really very much in the interest of his people to allow us to purchase."

Interpreter. "The Minister requests of our Lord a new customs tariff, and the right to export wheat and barley."

Sultan. "The tariff he may discuss with the Wazeer of the Interior; I will give instructions. As for the cereals, the bread of the Faithful cannot be given to infidels."

Interpreter. "His Majesty accedes to your Excellency's request. You have only to make known the details to the Minister for Internal Affairs."

Minister. "Again I humbly render thanks to his Majesty. Since he is so particularly good to me, perhaps he would add one kindness more, in abandoning to me the old house and garden on the Marshan at Tangier, in which the Foreign Minister used to live. It is good for nothing, and would be useful to me."

Interpreter. "The Minister asks our Lord for a couple of houses in Tangier. Yes, my Lord, the one formerly occupied by the Foreign Minister on the Marshan at Tangier for himself; and the other adjoining the New Mosque in town, just an old tumble-down place for stores, to be bestowed upon me; yes, my Lord."

Sultan. "What sort of place is that on the Marshan?"

Interpreter. "I will not lie unto my lord. It is a fine big house in a large garden, with wells and fruit trees: yes, my Lord. But the other is a mere nothing: yes, my Lord."

[page 221]

Sultan. "I will do as he wishes—if it please God." (The latter expression showing the reverse of an intention to carry out the former.)

Interpreter. "His Majesty gives you the house."

Minister. "His Majesty is indeed too kind to me. I therefore regret exceedingly having to bring forward a number of claims which have been pending for a long time, but with the details of which I will not of course trouble His Majesty personally. I merely desire his instructions to the Treasury to discharge them on their being admitted by the competent authorities."

Interpreter. "The Minister brings before our Lord a number of claims, on the settlement of which he insists: yes, my Lord. He feels it a disgrace that they should have remained unpaid so long: yes, my Lord. And he asks for orders to be given to discharge them at once."

Sultan. "There is neither force nor power save in God, the High, the Mighty. Glory to Him! There is no telling what these Nazarenes won't demand next. I will pay all just claims, of course, but many of these are usurers' frauds, with which I will have nothing to do."

Interpreter. "His Majesty will give the necessary instructions; but the claims will have to be examined, as Your Excellency has already suggested. His Majesty makes the sign of the conclusion of our interview."

Minister. "Assure His Majesty how deeply indebted I am to him for these favours he has shown me, but allow me to in some measure acknowledge them by giving information of importance. I am entirely au courant, through private[page 222] channels, with the unworthy tactics of the British Minister, as also those of his two-faced colleagues, the representatives of France and Spain, and can disclose them to His Majesty whenever he desires."

Interpreter. "His Excellency does not know how to express his gratitude to our Lord for his undeserved and unprecedented condescension, and feels himself bound the slave of our Lord, willing to do all our Lord requires of his hands; yes, my lord. But he trusts that our Lord will not forget the houses—and the one in town is only a little one,—or the payment of the indemnity to Maimon Botbol, yes, my Lord, or the discharging of the claims. God bless our Lord, and give him victory! And also, pardon me, my Lord, the Minister says that all the other ministers are rogues, and he knows all about them that our Lord may wish to learn: yes, my Lord."

"God is omniscient. He can talk of those matters to the Foreign Minister to-morrow. In peace!"

Once more a few of his stock phrases were manœuvred by Kyrios Mavrogordato, as with the most profound of rear-steering bows the representatives of civilization retreated, and the potentate of Barbary turned with an air of relief to give instructions to his secretary.

* Strictly speaking, only "Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary."

III. The Result

A few weeks after this interview the Hellenike Salpinx, a leading journal of Athens, contained an article of which the following is a translation:—

[page 223]


" (From our Special Correspondent)

"Marrákesh, October 20.

"The success of our Embassy to Morocco is already assured, and that in a remarkable degree. The Sultan has once more shown most unequivocally his strong partiality for the Greek nation, and especially for their distinguished representative, Kyrios Dimitri Mavrogordato, whose personal tact and influence have so largely contributed to this most thankworthy result. It is very many years since such a number of requests have been granted by the Emperor of Morocco to one ambassador, and it is probable that under the most favourable circumstances no other Power could have hoped for such an exhibition of favour.

"The importance of the concessions is sufficient to mark this embassy in the history of European relations with Morocco, independently of the amount of ordinary business transacted, and the way in which the Sultan has promised to satisfy our outstanding claims. Among other favours, permission has been granted to a Greek firm to construct a port at Tangier, the chief seat of foreign trade in the Empire, which is a matter of national importance, and there is every likelihood of equally valuable concessions for the building of roads and bridges being made to the same company.

"Our merchants will be rejoiced to learn that at last the vexatious customs regulations, or rather the absence of them, will be replaced by a regular tariff, which our minister has practically only to draw up for it to be sanctioned by the Moorish Government. The question of slavery, too, is under the consideration of the Sultan with a view to its restriction, if not to its abolition, a distinct and unexpected triumph for the friends of universal freedom. There can be no question that, under its present enlightened ruler, Morocco is at last on the high-road to civilization.

"Only those who have had experience in dealing with[page 224] procrastinating politicians of the eastern school can appreciate in any degree the consummate skill and patience which is requisite to overcome the sinuosities of oriental minds, and it is only such a signal victory as has just been won for Greece and for progress in Morocco, as can enable us to realize the value to the State of such diplomatists as His Excellency, Kyrios Mavrogordato."

This article had not appeared in print before affairs on the spot wore a very different complexion. At the interview with the Minister for the Interior a most elaborate customs tariff had been presented and discussed, some trifling alterations being made, and the whole being left to be submitted to the Sultan for his final approval, with the assurance that this was only a matter of form. The Minister of Finance had promised most blandly the payment of the damages demanded for the murder of the Greek and for the thrashing of the Jew. It was true that as yet no written document had been handed to the Greek Ambassador, but then he had the word of the Ministers themselves, and promises from the Sultan's lips as well. The only fait accompli was the despatch of a courier to Tangier with orders to deliver up the keys of two specified properties to the Ambassador and his interpreter respectively, a matter which, strange to say, found no place in the messages to the Press, and in which the spontaneous present to the interpreter struck His Excellency as a most generous act on the part of the Sultan.

Quite a number of state banquets had been given, in which the members of the Embassy had obtained an insight into stylish native cooking, writing home that half the dishes were prepared[page 225] with pomatum and the other half with rancid oil and butter. The littérateur of the party had nearly completed his work on Morocco, and was seriously thinking of a second volume. The young attachés could swear right roundly in Arabic, and were becoming perfect connoisseurs of native beauty. In the palatial residence of Drees, as well as in a private residence which that worthy had placed at their disposal, they had enjoyed a selection of native female society, and had such good times under the wing of that "rare old cock," as they dubbed him, that one or two began to feel as though they had lighted among the lotus eaters, and had little desire to return.

But to Kyrios Mavrogordato and Glymenopoulos his secretary, the delay at Court began to grow irksome, and they heartily wished themselves back in Tangier. Notwithstanding the useful "tips" which he had given to the Foreign Minister regarding the base designs of his various colleagues accredited to that Court, his own affairs seemed to hang fire. He had shown how France was determined to make war upon Morocco sooner or later, with a view to adding its fair plains to those it was acquiring in Algeria, and had warned him that if the Sultan lent assistance to the Ameer Abd el Káder he would certainly bring this trouble upon himself. He had also shown how England pretended friendship because at any cost she must maintain at least the neutrality of that part of his country bordering on the Straits of Gibraltar, and that with all her professions of esteem, she really cared not a straw for the Moors. He had shown too that puny Spain held it as an article of faith that Morocco should[page 226] one day become hers in return for the rule of the Moors upon her own soil. He had, in fact, shown that Greece alone cared for the real interests of the Sultan.

IV. Diamond Cut Diamond

Yet things did not move. The treaty of commerce remained unsigned, and slaves were still bought and sold. The numerous claims which he had to enforce had only been passed in part, and the Moorish authorities seemed inclined to dispute the others stoutly. At last, at a private conference with the Wazeer el Kiddáb, the Ambassador broached a proposal to cut the Gordian knot. He would abandon all disputed claims for a lump sum paid privately to himself, and asked what the Moorish Government might feel inclined to offer.

The Wazeer el Kiddáb received this proposal with great complacency. He was accustomed to such overtures. Every day of his life that style of bargain was part of his business. But this was the first time that a European ambassador had made such a suggestion in its nakedness, and he was somewhat taken aback, though his studied indifference of manner did not allow the foreigner to suspect such a thing for a moment. The usual style had been for him to offer present after present to the ambassadors till he had reached their price, and then, when his master had overloaded them with personal favours—many of which existed but in promise—they had been unable to press too hard the claims they had come to enforce, for fear of[page 227] possible disclosures. So this was a novel proceeding, though quite comprehensible on the part of a man who had been bribed on a less extensive scale on each previous visit to Court. Once, however, such a proposition had been made, it was evident that his Government could not be much in earnest regarding demands which he could so easily afford to set aside.

As soon, therefore, as Kyrios Mavrogordato had left, the Wazeer ordered his mule, that he might wait upon His Majesty before the hours of business were over. His errand being stated as urgent and private, he was admitted without delay to his sovereign's presence.

"May God prolong the days of our Lord! I come to say that the way to rid ourselves of the importunity of this ambassador from Greece is plain. He has made it so himself by offering to abandon all disputed claims for a round sum down for his own use. What is the pleasure of my Lord?"

"God is great!" exclaimed the Sultan, "that is well. You may inform the Minister from me that a positive refusal is given to every demand not already allowed in writing. What he can afford to abandon, I can't afford to pay."

"The will of our Lord shall be done."

"But stay! I have had my eye upon that Greek ambassador this long while, and am getting tired of him. The abuses he commits are atrocious, and his man Drees is a devil. Háj Taïb el Ghassál writes that the number of his protégés is legion, and that by far the greater number of them are illegal. Inform him when you see him that henceforth the[page 228] provisions of our treaties shall be strictly adhered to, and moreover that no protection certificates shall be valid unless countersigned by our Foreign Commissioner El Ghassál. If I rule here, I will put an end to this man's doings."

"On my head and eyes be the words of my Lord."

"And remind him further that the permits for the free passage of goods at the customs are granted only for his personal use, for the necessities of his household, and that the way Háj Taïb writes he has been selling them is a disgrace. The man is a regular swindler, and the less we have to do with him the better. As for his pretended information about his colleagues, there may be a good deal of truth in it, but I have the word of the English minister, who is about as honest as any of them, that this Mavrogordato is a born villain, and that if his Government is not greedy for my country on its own account, it wants to sell me to some more powerful neighbour in exchange for its protection. Greece is only a miserable fag-end of Europe."

"Our Lord knows: may God give him victory," and the Wazeer bowed himself out to consider how best he might obey his instructions, not exactly liking the task. On returning home he despatched a messenger to the quarters of the Embassy, appointing an hour on the morrow for a conference, and when this came the Ambassador found himself in for a stormy interview. The Wazeer, with his snuff-box in constant use, sat cool and collected on his mattress on the floor, the Ambassador sitting uneasily on a chair before him. Though the language used was considerably modified in filtering through[page 229] the brain of the interpreter, the increasing violence of tone and gesture could not be concealed, and were all but sufficiently comprehensible in themselves. The Ambassador protested that if the remainder of the demands were to be refused, he was entitled to at least as much as the French representative had had to shut his mouth last time he came to Court, and affected overwhelming indignation at the treatment he had received.

"Besides," he added, "I have the promise of His Majesty the Sultan himself that certain of them should be paid in full, and I cannot abandon those. I have informed my Government of the Sultan's words."

"Dost suppose that my master is a dog of a Nazarene, that he should keep his word to thee? Nothing thou may'st say can alter his decision. The claims that have been allowed in writing shall be paid by the Customs Administrators on thy return to Tangier. Here are orders for the money."

"I absolutely refuse to accept a portion of what my Government demands. I will either receive the whole, or I will return empty-handed, and report on the treacherous way in which I have been treated. I am thoroughly sick of the procrastinating and prevaricating ways of this country—a disgrace to the age."

"And we are infinitely more sick of thy behaviour and thine abuse of the favours we have granted thee. Our lord has expressly instructed me to tell thee that in future no excess of the rights guaranteed to foreigners by treaty will be permitted on any account. Thy protection certificates to be[page 230] valid must be endorsed by our Foreign Commissioner, and the nature of the goods thou importest free of duty as for thyself shall be strictly examined, as we have the right to do, that no more defrauding of our revenue be permitted."

"Your words are an insult to my nation," exclaimed the Ambassador, rising, "and shall be duly reported to my Government. I cannot sit here and listen to vile impeachments like these; you know them to be false!"

"That is no affair of mine; I have delivered the decision of our lord, and have no more to say. The claims we refuse are all of them unjust, the demands of usurers, on whom be the curse of God; and demands for money which has never been stolen, or has already been paid; every one of them is a shameful fraud, God knows. Leeches are only fit to be trodden on when they have done their work; we want none of them."

"Your language is disgraceful, such as was never addressed to me in my life before; if I do not receive an apology by noon to-morrow, I will at once set out for Tangier, if not for Greece, and warn you of the possible consequences."

The excitement in certain circles in Athens on the receipt of the intelligence that the Embassy to Morocco had failed, after all the flourish of trumpets with which its presumed successes had been hailed, was great indeed. One might have thought that once more the brave Hellenes were thirsting for the conquest of another Sicily, to read the columns of the Palingenesia, some of the milder paragraphs of which, translated, ran thus:—

[page 231]

"A solemn duty has been imposed upon our nation by the studied indignities heaped upon our representative at the Court of Morocco. Greece has been challenged, Europe defied, and the whole civilized world insulted. The duty now before us is none other than to wipe from the earth that nest of erstwhile pirates flattered by the name of the Moorish Government....

"As though it were insufficient to have refused the just demands presented by Kyrios Mavrogordato for the payment of business debts due to Greek merchants, and for damages acknowledged to be due to others for property stolen by lawless bandits, His Excellency has been practically dismissed from the Court in a manner which has disgraced our flag in the eyes of all Morocco.

"Here are two counts which need no exaggeration. Unless the payment of just business debts is duly enforced by the Moorish Government, as it would be in any other country, and unless the native agents of our merchants are protected fully by the local authorities, it is hopeless to think of maintaining commercial relations with such a nation, so that insistence on these demands is of vital necessity to our trade, and a duty to our growing manufactories.

"The second count is of the simplest: such treatment as has been meted out to our Minister Plenipotentiary in Morocco, especially after the bland way in which he was met at first with empty promises and smiles, is worthy only of savages or of a people intent on war."

The Hellenike Salpinx was hardly less vehement in the language in which it chronicled the course of events in Morocco:—

"Notwithstanding the unprecedented manner in which the requests of His Excellency, Kyrios Dimitri Mavrogordato, our Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary at the Court of Morocco, were acceded to on the recent Embassy to Mulai Abd er-Rahmán, the Moors have shown their true colours at last by equally marked, but less astonishing, insults.

[page 232]

"The unrivalled diplomatic talents of our ambassador proved, in fact, too much for the Moorish Government, and though the discovery of the way in which a Nazarene was obtaining his desires from the Sultan may have aroused the inherent obstinacy of the wazeers, and thus produced the recoil which we have described, it is far more likely that this was brought about by the officious interference of one or two other foreign representatives at Tangier. It has been for some time notorious that the Sardinian consul-general—who at the same time represents Portugal—loses no opportunity of undermining Grecian influence in Morocco, and in this certain of his colleagues have undoubtedly not been far behind him.

"Nevertheless, whatever causes may have been at work in bringing about this crisis, it is one which cannot be tided over, but which must be fairly faced. Greece has but one course before her."

[page 233]



"Misfortune is misfortune's heir."

Moorish Proverb.

Externally the gaol of Tangier does not differ greatly in appearance from an ordinary Moorish house, and even internally it is of the plan which prevails throughout the native buildings from fandaks to palaces. A door-way in a blank wall, once whitewashed, gives access to a kind of lobby, such as might precede the entrance to some grandee's house, but instead of being neat and clean, it is filthy and dank, and an unwholesome odour pervades the air. On a low bench at the far end lie a guard or two in dirty garments, fitting ornaments for such a place. By them is the low-barred entrance to the prison, with a hole in the centre the size of such a face as often fills it, wan and hopeless. A clanking of chains, a confused din of voices, and an occasional moan are borne through the opening on the stench-laden atmosphere. "All hope abandon, ye who enter here!" could never have been written on portal more appropriate than this, unless he who entered had friends and money. Here are forgotten good and bad, the tried and the untried, just and unjust together, sunk in a night of blank despair, a living grave.

[page 234]

Around an open courtyard, protected by an iron grating at the top, is a row of dirty columns, and behind them a kind of arcade, on to which open a number of doorless chambers. Filth is apparent everywhere, and to the stifling odour of that unwashed horde is added that caused by insanitary drainage. To some of the pillars are chained poor wretches little more than skeletons, while a cable of considerable length secures others. It is locked at one end to a staple outside the door under which it passes, and is threaded through rings on the iron collars of half a dozen prisoners who have been brought in as rebels from a distant province. For thirteen days they have tramped thus, carrying that chain, holding it up by their hands to save their shoulders, and two empty rings still threaded on show that when they started they numbered eight. Since the end rings are riveted to the chain, it has been impossible to remove them, so when two fell sick by the way the drivers cut off their heads to effect the release of their bodies, and to prove, by presenting those ghastly trophies at their journey's end, that none had escaped.

Many of the prisoners are busy about the floor, where they squat in groups, plaiting baskets and satchels of palmetto leaves, while many appear too weak and disheartened even to earn a subsistence in this way. One poor fellow, who has been a courier, was employed one day twenty-five years since to carry a despatch to Court, complaining of the misdeeds of a governor. That official himself intercepted the letter, and promptly despatched the bearer to Tangier as a Sultan's prisoner. He then arrested the writer of the letter, who, on paying[page 235] a heavy fine, regained his liberty, but the courier remained unasked for. In course of time the kaïd was called to his account, and his son, who succeeded him in office, having died too, a stranger ruled in their stead. The forgotten courier had by this time lost his reason, fancying himself once more in his goat-hair tent on the southern plains, and with unconscious irony he still gives every new arrival the Arab greeting, "Welcome to thee, a thousand welcomes! Make thyself at home and comfortable. All before thee is thine, and what thou seest not, be sure we don't possess."

Some few, in better garments, hold themselves aloof from the others, and converse together with all the nonchalance of gossip in the streets, for they are well-to-do, arrested on some trivial charge which a few dollars apiece will soon dispose of, but they are exceptions. A quieter group occupies one corner, members of a party of no less than sixty-two brought in together from Fez, on claims made against them by a European Power. A sympathetic inquiry soon elicits their histories.* The first man to speak is hoary and bent with years; he was arrested several years ago, on the death of a brother who had owed some $50 to a European. The second had borrowed $900 in exchange for a bond for twice that amount; he had paid off half of this, and having been unable to do more, had been arrested eighteen months before. The third had similarly received $80 for a promise to pay $160; he had been in prison five years and three months.[page 236] Another had borrowed $100, and knew not the sum which stood yet against him. Another had been in prison five years for a debt alleged to have been contracted by an uncle long dead. Another had borrowed $50 on a bond for $100. Another had languished eighteen months in gaol on a claim for $120; the amount originally advanced to him was about $30, but the acknowledgment was for $60, which had been renewed for $120 on its falling due and being dishonoured. Another had borrowed $15 on agreeing to refund $30, which was afterwards increased to $60 and then to $105. He has been imprisoned three years. The debt of another, originally $16 for a loan of half that amount, has since been doubled twice, and now stands at $64, less $17 paid on account, while for forty-two measures of wheat delivered on account he can get no allowance, though that was three years ago, and four months afterwards he was sent to prison. Another had paid off the $50 he owed for an advance of $25, but on some claim for expenses the creditor had withheld the bond, and is now suing for the whole amount again. He has been in prison two years and six months. Another has paid twenty measures of barley on account of a bond for $100, for which he has received $50, and he was imprisoned at the same time as the last speaker, his debt being due to the same man. Another had borrowed $90 on the usual terms, and has paid the whole in cash or wheat, but cannot get back the bond. He has previously been imprisoned for a year, but two years after his release he was re-arrested, fourteen months ago. Another has been two months in gaol on a claim for $25 for a loan of $12.[page 237] The last one has a bitter tale to tell, if any could be worse than the wearisome similarity of those who have preceded him.

"Some years ago," he says, "I and my two brothers, Drees and Ali, borrowed $200 from a Jew of Mequinez, for which we gave him a notarial bond for $400. We paid him a small sum on account every month, as we could get it—a few dollars at a time—besides presents of butter, fowls, and eggs. At the end of the first year he threatened to imprison us, and made us change the bond for one for $800, and year by year he raised the debt this way till it reached $3000, even after allowing for what we had paid off. I saw no hope of ever meeting his claim, so I ran away, and my brother Drees was imprisoned for six years. He died last winter, leaving a wife and three children, the youngest, a daughter, being born a few months after her father was taken away. He never saw her. By strenuous efforts our family paid off the $3000, selling all their land, and borrowing small sums. But the Jew would not give up the bond. He died about two years ago, and we do not know who is claiming now, but we are told that the sum demanded is $560. We have nothing now left to sell, and, being in prison, we cannot work. When my brother Drees died, I and my brother Ali were seized to take his place. My kaïd was very sorry for me, and became surety that I would not escape, so that my irons were removed; but my brother remains still in fetters, as poor Drees did all through the six years. We have no hope of our friends raising any money, so we must wait for death to release us."

[page 238]

Here he covers his face with his hands, and several of his companions, in spite of their own dire troubles, have to draw their shrivelled arms across their eyes, as silence falls upon the group.

As we turn away heartsick a more horrible sight than any confronts us before the lieutenant-governor's court. A man is suspended by the arms and legs, face downwards, by a party of police, who grasp his writhing limbs. With leather thongs a stalwart policeman on either side is striking his bare back in turn. Already blood is flowing freely, but the victim does not shriek. He only winces and groans, or gives an almost involuntary cry as the cruel blows fall on some previously harrowed spot. He is already unable to move his limbs, but the blows fall thick and fast. Will they never cease?

By the side stands a young European counting them one by one, and when the strikers slow down from exhaustion he orders them to stop, that others may relieve them. The victim is by this time swooning, so the European directs that he shall be put on the ground and deluged with water till he revives. When sufficiently restored the count begins again. Presently the European stays them a second time; the man is once again insensible, yet he has only received six hundred lashes of the thousand which have been ordered.

"Well," he exclaims, "it's no use going on with him to-day. Put him in the gaol now, and I'll come and see him have the rest to-morrow."

"God bless thee, but surely he has had enough!" exclaims the lieutenant-governor, in sympathetic tones.

"Enough? He deserves double! The consul[page 239] has only ordered a thousand, and I am here to see that he has every one. We'll teach these villains to rob our houses!"

"There is neither force nor power save in God, the High, the Mighty! As thou sayest; it is written," and the powerless official turns away disgusted. "God burn these Nazarenes, their wives and families, and all their ancestors! They were never fit for aught but hell!" he may be heard muttering as he enters his house, and well may he feel as he does.

The policemen carry the victim off to the gaol hard by, depositing him on the ground, after once more restoring him with cold water.

"God burn their fathers and their grandfathers, and the whole cursed race of them!" they murmur, for their thoughts still run upon the consul and the clerk.

Leaving him sorrowfully, they return to the yard, where we still wait to obtain some information as to the cause of such treatment.

"Why, that dog of a Nazarene, the Greek consul, says that his house was robbed a month ago, though we don't believe him, for it wasn't worth it. The sinner says that a thousand dollars were stolen, and he has sent in a claim for it to the Sultan. The minister's now at court for the money, the Satan! God rid our country of them all!"

"But how does this poor fellow come in for it?"

"He! He never touched the money! Only he had some quarrel with the clerk, so they accused him of the theft, as he was the native living nearest to the house, just over the fence. He's nothing but a poor donkey-man, and an honest one at that.[page 240] The consul sent his clerk up here to say he was the thief, and that he must receive a thousand lashes. The governor refused till the man should be tried and convicted, but the Greek wouldn't hear of it, and said that if he wasn't punished at once he would send a courier to his minister at Marrákesh, and have a complaint made to the Sultan. The governor knew that if he escaped it would most likely cost him his post to fight the consul, so he gave instructions for the order to be carried out, and went indoors so as not to be present."

"God is supreme!" ejaculates a bystander.

"But these infidels of Nazarenes know nothing of Him. His curse be on them!" answers the policeman. "They made us ride the poor man round the town on a bare-backed donkey, with his face to the tail, and all the way two of us had to thrash him, crying, 'Thus shall be done to the man who robs a consul!' He was ready to faint before we got him up here. God knows we don't want to lash him again!"

Next day as we pass the gaol we stop to inquire after the prisoner, but the poor fellow is still too weak to receive the balance due, and so it is for several days. Then they tell us that he has been freed from them by God, who has summoned his spirit, though meanwhile the kindly attentions of a doctor have been secured, and everything possible under the circumstances has been done to relieve his sufferings. After all, he was "only a Moor!"

[page 241]

The Greek consul reported that the condition of the Moorish prisons was a disgrace to the age, and that he had himself known prisoners who had succumbed to their evil state after receiving a few strokes from the lash.

A statement of claim for a thousand dollars, alleged to have been robbed from his house, was forwarded by courier to his chief, then at Court, and was promptly added to the demands that it was part of His Excellency's errand to enforce.

* All these statements were taken down from the lips of the victims at the prison door, and most, if not all of them, were supported by documentary evidence.

[page 242]



"My heart burns, but my lips will not give utterance."

Moorish Proverb.

I. The Need

Crouched at the foreigner's feet lay what appeared but a bundle of rags, in reality a suppliant Moor, once a man of wealth and position. Hugging a pot of butter brought as an offering, clutching convulsively at the leg of the chair, his furrowed face bespoke past suffering and present earnestness.

"God bless thee, Bashador, and all the Christians, and give me grace in thy sight!"

"Oh, indeed, so you like the Christians?"

"Yes, Bashador, I must love the Christians; they have justice, we have none. I wish they had rule over the country."

"Then you are not a good Muslim!"

"Oh yes, I am, I am a háj (pilgrim to Mekka), and I love my own religion, certainly I do, but none of our officials follow our religion nowadays: they have no religion. They forget God and worship money; their delight is in plunder and oppression."

"You appear to have known better days. What is your trouble?"

"Trouble enough," replies the Moor, with a[page 243] sigh. "I am Hamed Zirári. I was rich once, and powerful in my tribe, but now I have only this sheep and two goats. I and my wife live alone with our children in a nuállah (hut), but after all we are happier now when they leave us alone, than when we were rich. I have plenty of land left, it is true, but we dare not for our lives cultivate more than a small patch around our nuállah, lest we should be pounced upon again."


Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.


"How did you lose your property?"

"I will tell you, Bashador, and then you will see whether I am justified in speaking of our Government as I do. It is a sad story, but I will tell you all.* A few years ago I possessed more than six hundred cows and bullocks, more than twelve hundred sheep, a hundred good camels, fifty mules, twenty horses, and twenty-four mares. I had also four wives and many slaves. I had plenty of guns and abundance of grain in my stores; in fact, I was rich and powerful among my people, by whom I was held in great honour; but alas! alas! our new kaïd is worse than the old one; he is insatiable, a pit without a bottom! There is no possibility of satisfying his greed!

"I felt that although by continually making him valuable presents I succeeded in keeping on friendly terms with him, he was always coveting my wealth. We have in our district two markets a week, and at last I had to present him with from $50 to $80 every market-day. I was nevertheless in constant dread of his eyes—they are such greedy eyes—and I saw that it would be necessary to look out for[page 244] protection. I was too loyal a subject of the Sultan then, and too good a Muslim, to think of Nazarene protection, so I applied for help to Si Mohammed boo Aálam, commander-in-chief of our lord (whom may God send victorious), and to enter the Sultan's service.

"We prepared a grand present with which to approach him, and when it was ready I started with it, accompanied by two of my cousins. We took four splendid horses, four mares with their foals, four she-camels with their young, four picked cows, two pairs of our best bullocks, four fine young male slaves, each with a silver-mounted gun, and four well-dressed female slaves, each carrying a new bucket in her hand, many jars containing fresh and salted butter and honey, beside other things, and a thousand dollars in cash. It was a fine present, was it not, Bashador?

"Well, on arrival at Si Mohammed's place, we slaughtered two bullocks at his door, and humbly begged his gracious acceptance of our offering, which we told him we regretted was not greater, but that as we were his brethren, we trusted to find favour in his sight. We said we wished to honour him, and to become his fortunate slaves, whose chief delight it would be to do his bidding. We reminded him that although he was so rich and powerful he was still our brother, and that we desired nothing better than to live in continual friendship with him.

"He received and feasted us very kindly, and gave us appointments as mounted guards to the marshal of the Sultan, as which we served happily for seven months. We were already thinking about sending for some of our family to come and relieve[page 245] us, that we might return home ourselves, when one day Si Mohammed sent for us to say that he was going away for a time, having received commands from the Sultan to visit a distant tribe with the effects of Royal displeasure. After mutual compliments and blessings he set off with his soldiers.

"Five days later a party of soldiers came to our house. To our utter astonishment and dismay, without a word of explanation, they put chains on our necks and wrists, and placing us on mules, bore us away. Remonstrance and resistance were equally vain. We were in Mequinez. It was already night, and though the gates were shut, and are never opened again except in obedience to high authority, they were silently opened for us to pass through. Once outside, our eyes were bandaged, and we were lashed to our uncomfortable seats. Thus we travelled on as rapidly as possible, in silence all night long. It was a long night, that, indeed, Bashador, a weary night, but we felt sure some worse fate awaited us; what, we could not imagine, for we had committed no crime. Finally, after three days we halted, and the bandages were removed from our eyes. We found ourselves in a market-place in Rahámna, within the jurisdiction of our cursëd kaïd. All around us were our flocks and herds, camels, and horses, all our movable property, which we soon learnt had been brought there for public sale. A great gathering was there to purchase.

"The kaïd was there, and when he saw us he exclaimed, 'There you are, are you? You can't escape from me now, you children of dogs!' Then he turned to a brutal policeman, crying, 'Put the[page 246] bastards on the ground, and give them a thousand lashes.' Those words ring in my ears still. I felt as in a dream. I was too utterly in his power to think of answering, and after a very few strokes the power of doing so was taken from me, for I lost consciousness. How many blows we received I know not, but we must have been very nearly killed. When I revived we were in a filthy matmorah, where we existed for seven months in misery, being kept alive on a scanty supply of barley loaves and water. At last I pretended to have lost my reason, as I should have done in truth had I stayed there much longer. When they told the kaïd this, he gave permission for me to be let out. I found my wife and children still living, thank God, though they had had very hard times. What has become of my cousins I do not know, and do not dare to ask, but thou couldst, O Bashador, if once I were under thy protection.

"All I know is that, after receiving our present, Si Mohammed sold us to the kaïd for twelve hundred dollars. He was a fool, Bashador, a great fool; had he demanded of us we would have given him twelve hundred dollars to save ourselves what we have had to suffer.

"Wonderest thou still, O Bashador, that I prefer the Nazarenes, and wish there were more of them in the country? I respect the dust off their shoes more than a whole nation of miscalled Muslims who could treat me as I have been treated; but God is just, and 'there is neither force nor power save in God,' yes, 'all is written.' He gives to men according to their hearts. We had bad hearts, and he gave us a Government like them."

* This story is reproduced from notes taken of the man's narrative by my father.—B. M.

[page 247]


The day was already far spent when at last Abd Allah led his animal into one of the caravansarais outside the gate of Mazagan, so, after saying his evening prayers and eating his evening meal, he lay down to rest on a heap of straw in one of the little rooms of the fandak, undisturbed either by anxious dreams, or by the multitude of lively creatures about him.

Ere the sun had risen the voice of the muédhdhin awoke him with the call to early prayer. Shrill and clear the notes rang out on the calm morning air in that perfect silence—

"G-o-d is gr-ea—t! G-o-d is gr-ea—t! G-o-d is grea—t! I witness that there is no God but God, and Mohammed is the messenger of God. Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Prayer is better than sleep! Come to prayer!"

Quickly rising, Abd Allah repaired to the water-tap, and seating himself on the stone seat before it, rapidly performed the prescribed religious ablutions, this member three times, then the other as often, and so on, all in order, right first, left to follow as less honourable, finishing up with the pious ejaculation, "God greatest!" Thence to the mosque was but a step, and in a few minutes he stood barefooted in those dimly-lighted, vaulted aisles, in which the glimmering oil lamps and the early streaks of daylight struggled for the mastery. His shoes were on the ground before him at the foot of the pillar behind which he had placed himself, and his hands were raised before his face in the attitude of prayer. Then, at the long-drawn cry of the leader,[page 248] in company with his fellow-worshippers, he bowed himself, and again with them rose once more, in a moment to kneel down and bow his forehead to the earth in humble adoration.

Having performed the usual series of prayers, he was ready for coffee and bread. This he took at the door of the fandak, seated on the ground by the coffee-stall, inquiring meanwhile the prospects of protection in Mazagan.

There was Tájir* Pépé, always ready to appoint a new agent for a consideration, but then he bore almost as bad a name for tyrannizing over his protégés as did the kaïds themselves. There was Tájir Yûsef the Jew, but then he asked such tremendous prices, because he was a vice-consul. There was Tájir Juan, but then he was not on good enough terms with his consul to protect efficiently those whom he appointed, so he could not be thought of either. But there was Tájir Vecchio, a new man from Gibraltar, fast friends with his minister, and who must therefore be strong, yet a man who did not name too high a figure. To him, therefore, Abd Allah determined to apply, and when his store was opened presented himself.

Under his cloak he carried three pots of butter in one hand, and as many of honey in the other, while a ragged urchin tramped behind with half a dozen fowls tied in a bunch by the legs, and a basket of eggs. The first thing was to get a word with the head-man at the store; so, slipping a few of the eggs into his hands, Abd Allah requested an interview with the Tájir, with whom he had come to make friends. This being promised, he[page 249] squatted on his heels by the door, where he was left to wait an hour or two, remarking to himself at intervals that God was great, till summoned by one of the servants to enter.

The merchant was seated behind his desk, and Abd Allah, having deposited his burden on the floor, was making round the table to throw himself at his feet, when he was stopped and allowed but to kiss his hand.

"Well, what dost thou want?"

"I have come to make friends, O Merchant."

"Who art thou?"

"I am Abd Allah bin Boo Shaïb es-Sálih, O Merchant, of Aïn Haloo in Rahámna. I have a family there, and cattle, and very much land. I wish to place all in thy hands, and to become thy friend," again endeavouring to throw himself at the feet of the European.

"All right, all right, that will do. I will see about it; come to me again to-morrow."

"May God bless thee, O Merchant, and fill thee with prosperity, and may He prolong thy days in peace!"

As Tájir Vecchio went on with his writing, Abd Allah made off with a hopeful heart to spend the next twenty-four anxious hours in the fandak, while his offerings were carried away to the private house by a servant.

Next morning saw him there again, when much the same scene was repeated. This time, however, they got to business.

"How can I befriend you?" asked the European, after yesterday's conversation had been practically repeated.

[page 250]

"Thou canst very greatly befriend me by making me thy agent in Aïn Haloo. I will work for thee, and bring thee of the produce of my land as others do, if I may only enjoy thy protection. May God have mercy on thee, O Merchant. I take refuge with thee."

"I can't be always appointing agents and protecting people for nothing. What can you give me?"

"Whatever is just, O Merchant, but the Lord knows that I am not rich, though He has bestowed sufficient on me to live, praise be to Him."

"Well, I should want two hundred dollars down, and something when the certificate is renewed next year, besides which you would of course report yourself each quarter, and not come empty-handed. Animals and corn I can do best with, but I don't want any of your poultry."

"God bless thee, Merchant, and make thee prosperous, but two hundred dollars is a heavy sum for me, and this last harvest has not been so plentiful as the one before, as thou knowest. Grant me this protection for one hundred and fifty dollars, and I can manage it, but do not make it an impossibility."

"I can't go any lower: there are scores of Moors who would give me that price. Do as you like. Good morning."

"Thou knowest, O Merchant, I could not give more than I have offered," replied Abd Allah as he rose and left the place.

But as no one else could be found in the town to protect him on better terms, he had at last to return, and in exchange for the sum demanded[page 251] received a paper inscribed on one side in Arabic, and on the other in English, as follows:—

"Vice-Consulate for Great Britain,     
"Mazagan, Oct. 5, 1838.

"This is to certify that Abd Allah bin Boo Shaïb es-Sálih, resident at Aïn Haloo in the province of Rahámna, has been duly appointed agent of Edward Vecchio, a British subject, residing in Mazagan: all authorities will respect him according to existing treaties, not molesting him without proper notice to this Vice-Consulate.

"Gratis seal [Signed] "JOHN SMITH.     

"H.B.M.'s Vice-Consul, Mazagan."

* "Merchant," used much as "Mr." is with us.

A genuine "patent of protection," as prescribed by treaty, supposed to be granted only to wholesale traders, whereas every beggar can obtain "certificates of partnership." The native in question has then only to appear before the notaries and state that he has in his possession so much grain, or so many oxen or cattle, belonging to a certain European, who takes them as his remuneration for presenting the notarial document at his Legation, and obtaining the desired certificate. Moreover, he receives half the produce of the property thus made over to him. This is popularly known as "farming in Morocco."

[page 252]



"Sleep on anger, and thou wilt not rise repentant."

Moorish Proverb.

The kaïd sat in his seat of office, or one might rather say reclined, for Moorish officials have a habit of lying in two ways at once when they are supposed to be doing justice. Strictly speaking, his position was a sort of halfway one, his back being raised by a pile of cushions, with his right leg drawn up before him, as he leant on his left elbow. His judgement seat was a veritable wool-sack, or rather mattress, placed across the left end of a long narrow room, some eight feet by twenty, with a big door in the centre of one side. The only other apertures in the whitewashed but dirty walls were a number of ventilating loop-holes, splayed on the inside, ten feet out of the twelve above the floor. This was of worn octagonal tiles, in parts covered with a yellow rush mat in an advanced state of consumption. Notwithstanding the fact that the ceiling was of some dark colour, hard to be defined at its present age, the audience-chamber was amply lighted from the lofty horse-shoe archway of the entrance, for sunshine is reflection in Morocco to a degree unknown in northern climes.

On the wall above the head of the kaïd hung a[page 253] couple of huge and antiquated horse-pistols, while on a small round table at his feet, some six inches high, lay a collection of cartridges and gunsmith's tools. Behind him, on a rack, were half a dozen long flint-lock muskets, and on the wall by his feet a number of Moorish daggers and swords. In his hand the governor fondled a European revolver, poking out and replacing the charges occasionally, just to show that it was loaded.

His personal attire, though rich in quality, ill became his gawky figure, and there was that about his badly folded turban which bespoke the parvenu. Like the muzzle of some wolf, his pock-marked visage glowered on a couple of prostrated litigants before him, as they fiercely strove to prove each other wrong. Near his feet was squatted his private secretary, and at the door stood policemen awaiting instructions to imprison one or both of the contending parties. The dispute was over the straying of some cattle, a paltry claim for damages. The plaintiff having presented the kaïd with a loaf of sugar and a pound of candles, was in a fair way to win his case, when a suggestive sign on the part of the defendant, comprehended by the judge as a promise of a greater bribe, somewhat upset his calculations, for he was summarily fined a couple of dollars, and ordered to pay another half dollar costs for having allowed the gate of his garden to stand open, thereby inviting his neighbour's cattle to enter. Without a word he was carried off to gaol pending payment, while the defendant settled with the judge and left the court.

Into the midst of this scene came another policeman, gripping by the arm a poor Jewish seamstress[page 254] named Mesaôdah, who had had the temerity to use insulting language to her captor when that functionary was upbraiding her for not having completed some garment when ordered, though he insisted on paying only half-price, declaring that it was for the governor. The Jewess had hardly spoken when she lay sprawling on the ground from a blow which she dare not, under any provocation, return, but her temper had so far gained the mastery over her, that as she rose she cursed her tormentor roundly. That was enough; without more ado the man had laid his powerful arm upon her, and was dragging her to his master's presence, knowing how welcome any such case would be, even though it was not one out of which he might hope to make money.

Reckless of the governor's well-known character, Mesaôdah at once opened her mouth to complain against Mahmood, pitching her voice in the terrible key of her kind.

"My Lord, may God bless thee and lengthen...."

A fierce shake from her captor interrupted the sentence, but did not keep her quiet, for immediately she continued, in pleading tones, as best she could, struggling the while to keep her mouth free from the wretch's hand.

"Protect me, I pray thee, from this cruel man; he has struck me: yes, my Lord."

"Strike her again if she doesn't stop that noise," cried the kaïd, and as the man raised his hand to threaten her she saw there was no hope, and her legs giving way beneath her, she sank to the ground in tears.

"For God's sake, yes, my Lord, have mercy on thine handmaid." It was pitiful to hear the altered[page 255] tones, and it needed the heart of a brute to reply as did the governor, unmoved, by harshly asking what she had been up to.

"She's a thief, my Lord, a liar, like all her people; God burn their religion; I gave her a waistcoat to make a week ago, and I purposed it for a present to thee, my Lord, but she has made away with the stuff, and when I went for it she abused me, and, by thy leave, thee also, my Lord; here she is to be punished."

"It's a lie, my Lord; the stuff is in my hut, and the waistcoat's half done, but I knew I should never get paid for it, so had to get some other work done to keep my children from starving, for I am a widow. Have mercy on me!"

"God curse the liar! I have spoken the truth," broke in the policeman.

"Fetch a basket for her!" ordered the kaïd, and in another moment a second attendant was assisting Mahmood to force the struggling woman to sit in a large and pliable basket of palmetto, the handles of which were quickly lashed across her stomach. She was then thrown shrieking on her back, her bare legs lifted high, and tied to a short piece of pole just in front of the ankles; one man seized each end of this, a third awaiting the governor's orders to strike the soles. In his hand he had a short-handled lash made of twisted thongs from Tafilált, well soaked in water. The efforts of the victim to attack the men on either side becoming violent, a delay was caused by having to tie her hands together, her loud shrieks rending the air the while.

"Give her a hundred," said the kaïd, beginning to count as the blows descended, giving fresh edge[page 256] to the piercing yells, interspersed with piteous cries for mercy, and ribbing the skin in long red lines, which were soon lost in one raw mass of bleeding flesh. As the arm of one wearied, another took his place, and a bucket of cold water was thrown over the victim's legs. At first her face had been ashy pale, it was now livid from the blood descending to it, as her legs grew white all but the soles, which were already turning purple under the cruel lash. Then merciful unconsciousness stepped in, and silence supervened.

"That will do," said the governor, having counted eighty-nine. "Take her away; she'll know better next time!" and he proceeded with the cases before him, fining this one, imprisoning that, and bastinadoing a third, with as little concern as an English registrar would sign an order to pay a guinea fine. Indeed, why should he do otherwise. This was his regular morning's work. It was a month before Mesaôdah could touch the ground with her feet, and more than three before she could totter along with two sticks. Her children were kept alive by her neighbours till she could sit up and "stitch, stitch, stitch," but there was no one to hear her bitter complaint, and no one to dry her tears.

One day his faithful henchman dragged before the kaïd a Jewish broker, whose crime of having bid against that functionary on the market, when purchasing supplies for his master, had to be expiated by a fine of twenty dollars, or a hundred lashes. The misguided wretch chose the latter, loving his coins too well; but after the first half-dozen had descended on his naked soles, he cried for mercy and agreed to pay.


Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.


[page 257]

Another day it was a more wealthy member of the community who was summoned on a serious charge. The kaïd produced a letter addressed to the prisoner, which he said had been intercepted, couched in the woefully corrupted Arabic of the Moorish Jews, but in the cursive Hebrew character.

"Canst read, O Moses?" asked the kaïd, in a surly tone.

"Certainly, yes, my Lord, may God protect thee, when the writing is in the sacred script."

"Read that aloud, then," handing him the missive.

Moses commenced by rapidly glancing his eye down the page, and as he did so his face grew pale, his hand shook, and he muttered something in the Hebrew tongue as the kaïd sharply ordered him to proceed.

"My Lord, yes, my Lord; it is false, it is a fraud," he stammered.

"The Devil take thee, thou son of a dog; read what is set before thee, and let us have none of thy impudence. The gaol is handy."

With a trembling voice Moses the usurer read the letter, purporting to have been written by an intimate friend in Mogador, and implying by its contents that Moses had, when in that town some years ago, embraced the faith of Islám, from which he was therefore now a pervert, and consequently under pain of death. He was already crouched upon the ground, as is the custom before a great man, but as he spelled out slowly the damnatory words, he had to stretch forth his hands to keep from falling over. He knew that there was nothing to be gained by denial, by assurances that the letter[page 258] was a forgery; the kaïd's manner indicated plainly enough that he meant to be satisfied with it, and there was no appeal.

"Moses," said the kaïd, in a mock confidential tone, as he took back the letter, "thou'rt in my power. All that thou hast is mine. With such evidence against thee as this thy very head is in my hands. If thou art wise, and wilt share thy fortune with me, all shall go well; if not, thou knowest what to expect. I am to-day in need of a hundred dollars. Now go!"

An hour had not elapsed before, with a heart still heavier than the bag he carried, Moses crossed the courtyard again, and deposited the sum required in the hands of the kaïd, with fresh assurances of his innocence, imploring the destruction of that fatal document, which was readily promised, though with no intention of complying with the request, notwithstanding that to procure another as that had been procured would cost but a trifle.

These are only instances which could be multiplied of how the Jews of Morocco suffer at the hands of brutal officials. As metal which attracts the electricity from a thunder-cloud, so they invariably suffer first when a newly appointed, conscienceless governor comes to rule.

With all his faults the previous kaïd had recognized how closely bound up with that of the Moors under his jurisdiction was the welfare of Jews similarly situated, so that, favoured by his wise administration, their numbers and their wealth had increased till, though in outward appearance beggarly, they formed an important section of the community. The new kaïd, however, saw in them[page 259] but a possible mine, a goose that laid golden eggs, so, like the fool of the story, he set about destroying it when the supply of eggs fell off, for there was of necessity a limit to the repeated offerings which, on one pretext or another, he extorted from these luckless "tributaries," as they are described in Moorish legal documents.

When he found that ordinary means of persuasion failed, he had resort to more drastic measures. He could not imagine fresh feasts and public occasions, auspicious or otherwise, on which to collect "presents" from them, so he satisfied himself by bringing specious charges against the more wealthy Jews and fining them, as well as by encouraging Moors to accuse them in various ways. Many of the payments to the governor being in small and mutilated coin, every Friday he sent to the Jews what he had received during the week, demanding a round sum in Spanish dollars, far more than their fair value. Then when he had forced upon them a considerable quantity of this depreciated stuff, he would send a crier round notifying the public that it was out of circulation and no longer legal tender, moreover giving warning that the "Jew's money" was not to be trusted, as it was known that they had counterfeit coins in their possession. It was then time to offer them half price for it, which they had no option but to accept, though some while later he would re-issue it at its full value, and having permitted its circulation, would force it upon them again.

The repairs which it was found necessary to effect in the kasbah, the equipment of troops, the contributions to the expenses of the Sultan's[page 260] expeditions, or the payment of indemnities to foreign nations, were constantly recurring pretexts for levying fresh sums from the Jews as well as from the Moors, and these were the legal ones. The illegal were too harrowing for description. Young children and old men were brutally thrashed and then imprisoned till they or their friends paid heavy ransoms, and even the women occasionally suffered in this way. On Sabbaths and fast days orders would be issued to the Jews, irrespective of age or rank, to perform heavy work for the governor, perhaps to drag some heavy load or block of stone. Those who could buy themselves off were fortunate: those who could not do so were harnessed and driven like cattle under the lashes of yard-long whips, being compelled when their work was done to pay their taskmasters. Indeed, it was Egypt over again, but there was no Moses. Men or women found with shoes on were bastinadoed and heavily fined, and on more than one occasion the sons of the best-off Israelites were arrested in school on the charge of having used disrespectful language regarding the Sultan, and thrown into prison chained head and feet, in such a manner that it was impossible to stretch their bodies. Thus they were left for days without food, all but dead, in spite of the desire of their relatives to support them, till ransoms of two hundred dollars apiece could be raised to obtain their release, in some cases three months after their incarceration.

[page 261]



"Wound of speech is worse than wound of sword."

Moorish Proverb.

Spies were already afield when the sun rose this morning, and while their return with the required information was eagerly expected, those of Asni who would be warriors took a hasty breakfast and looked to their horses and guns.

Directly intelligence as to the whereabouts of the Aït Mîzán arrived, the cavalcade set forth, perforce in Indian file, on account of the narrow single track, but wherever it was possible those behind pressed forward and passed their comrades in their eagerness to reach the scene of action. No idea of order or military display crossed their minds, and but for the skirmishers who scoured the country round as they advanced, it would have been easy for a concealed foe to have picked them off one by one. Nevertheless they made a gallant show in the morning sun, which glinted on their ornamented stirrups and their flint-locks, held like lances, with the butts upon the pummels before them. The varied colours of their trappings, though old and worn, looked gay by the side of the red cloth-covered saddles and the gun-cases of similar material used by many as turbans. But for the[page 262] serious expression on the faces of the majority, and the eager scanning of each knoll and shrub, the party might have been intent on powder-play instead of powder-business.

For a mile or two no sign of human being was seen, and the ride was already growing wearisome when a sudden report on their right was followed by the heavy fall of one of their number, his well-trained horse standing still for him to re-mount, though he would never more do so. Nothing but a puff of smoke showed whence the shot had come, some way up the face of a hill. The first impulse was to make a charge in that direction, and to fire a volley; but the experience of the leader reminded him that if there were only one man there it would not be worth while, and if there were more they might fall into an ambush. So their file passed on while the scouts rode towards the hill slope. A few moments later one of these had his horse shot under him, and then a volley was fired which took little effect on the advancing horsemen, still too far away for successful aim.

They had been carefully skirting a wooded patch which might give shelter to their foes, whom they soon discovered to be lying in trenches behind the first hill-crests. Unless they were dislodged, it would be almost impossible to proceed, so, making a rapid flank movement, the Asni party spurred their horses and galloped round to gain the hills above the hidden enemy. As they did so random shots were discharged, and when they approached the level of the trenches, they commenced a series of rushes forward, till they came within range. In doing so they followed zig-zag routes to baffle aim,[page 263] firing directly they made out the whereabouts of their assailants, and beating a hasty retreat. What success they were achieving they could not tell, but their own losses were not heavy.

Soon, as their firing increased, that from the trenches which they were gradually approaching grew less, and fresh shots from behind awoke them to the fact that the enemy was making a rear attack. By this time they were in great disorder, scattered over a wide area; the majority had gained the slight cover of the brushwood to their rear, and a wide space separated them from the new arrivals, who were performing towards them the same wild rushes that they themselves had made towards the trenches. They were therefore divided roughly into two divisions, the footmen in the shelter of the shrubs, the horsemen engaging the mounted enemy.

Among the brushwood hardly was the figure of friend or foe discernible, for all lay down behind any available shelter, crawling from point to point like so many caterpillars, but firing quickly enough when an enemy was sighted. This style of warfare has its advantages, for it greatly diminishes losses on either side. For the horsemen, deprived of such shelter, safety lay in rapid movements and unexpected evolutions, each man acting for himself, and keeping as far away from his comrades as possible. So easily were captures made that it almost seemed as if many preferred surrender and safety to the chances of war, for they knew that they were sure of honourable treatment on both sides. The prisoners were not even bound, but merely disarmed and marched to the rear, to be conveyed at night in a peaceful manner to their[page 264] captors' tents and huts, there to be treated as guests till peace should result in exchange.

By this time the combatants were scattered over a square mile or so, and though the horsemen of Asni had driven the Aït Mîzán from the foremost trenches by the bold rushes described, and their footmen had engaged them, no further advantage seemed likely to accrue, while they were terribly harassed by those who still remained under cover. The signal was therefore given for a preconcerted retreat, which at once began. Loud shouts of an expected victory now arose from the Aït Mîzán, who were gradually drawn from their hiding-places by their desire to secure nearer shots at the men of Asni as they slowly descended the hill.

At length the Aït Mîzán began to draw somewhat to one side, as they discovered that they were being led too far into the open, but this movement was outwitted by the Asni horsemen, who were now pouring down on the scene. The wildest confusion supervened; many fell on every hand. Victory was now assured to Asni, which the enemy were quick to recognize, and as the sun was by this time at blazing noon, and energy grew slack on both sides, none was loth to call a conference. This resulted in an agreement by the vanquished to return the stolen cattle which had formed the casus belli, for indeed they were no longer able to protect them from their real owners. As many more were forfeited by way of damages, and messages were despatched to the women left in charge to hand them over to a party of the victors. Prisoners were meantime exchanged, while through the medium of the local "holy man" a peace was[page 265] formally ratified, after which each party returned to its dead, who were quickly consigned to their shallow graves.

Such of the Asni men as were not mourners, now assembled in the open space of their village to be feasted by their women as victors. Basins, some two feet across, were placed on the ground filled with steaming kesk'soo. Round each of these portions sat cross-legged some eight or ten of the men, and a metal bowl of water was handed from one to the other to rinse the fingers of the right hand. They sat upon rude blankets spread on mats, the scene lit by Roman-like olive-oil lamps, and a few French candles round the board of the sheïkh and allied leaders.

A striking picture, indeed, they presented, there in the still night air, thousands of heaven-lights gleaming from the dark blue vault above, outrivalling the flicker of those simple earth-flames on their lined and sun-burnt faces. The women who waited on them, all of middle age, alone remained erect, as they glided about on their bare feet, carrying bowl and towel from man to man. From the huts and the tents around came many strange sounds of bird, beast, and baby, for the cocks were already crowing, as it was growing late,* while the dogs bayed at the shadow of the cactus and the weird shriek of the night-bird.

"B'ism Illah!" exclaimed the host at each basin ("In the Name of God!")—as he would ask a blessing—when he finished breaking bread for his circle, and plunged his first sop in the gravy. "B'ism Illah!" they all replied, and followed suit in a startlingly[page 266] sudden silence wherein naught but the stowing away of food could be heard, till one of them burnt his fingers by an injudiciously deep dive into the centre after a toothsome morsel.

In the midst of a sea of broth rose mountains of steamed and buttered kesk'soo, in the craters of which had been placed the contents of the stew-pot, the disjointed bones of chickens with onions and abundant broad beans. The gravy was eaten daintily with sops of bread, conveyed to the mouth in a masterly manner without spilling a drop, while the kesk'soo was moulded in the palm of the right hand into convenient sized balls and shot into the mouth by the thumb. The meat was divided with the thumb and fingers of the right hand alone, since the left may touch no food.

At last one by one sat back, his greasy hand outstretched, and after taking a sip of cold water from the common jug with his left, and licking his right to prevent the waste of one precious grain, each washed his hands, rinsed his mouth thrice, polished his teeth with his right forefinger, and felt ready to begin again, all agreeing that "he who is not first at the powder, should not be last at the dish."

* A way they have in Barbary.

[page 267]



"A guess of the informed is better than the assurance of the ignorant."

Moorish Proverb.

Ever since the accession of the present Sultan, Mulai Abd el Azîz IV., on his attaining the age of twenty in 1900, Morocco has been more than ever the focus of foreign designs, both public and private, which have brought about a much more disturbed condition than under his father, or even under the subsequent Wazeer Regent. The manifest friendlessness of the youth, his lack of training for so important a part, and the venality of his entourage, at once attracted birds of prey, and they have worked their will.

Since the death of El Hasan III., in 1894, the administration had been controlled by the former Lord High Chamberlain, or "Curtain" of the shareefian throne, whose rule was severe, though good, and it seemed doubtful whether he would relinquish the reins of authority. The other wazeers whom his former master had left in office had been imprisoned on various charges, and he stood supreme. He was, however, old and enfeebled by illness, so when in 1900 his end came instead of his resignation, few were surprised. What they were not quite prepared for, however, was the[page 268] clearing of the board within a week or two by the death of his two brothers and a cousin, whom he had promoted to be respectively Commander-in-chief, Chamberlain, and Master of the Ceremonies—all of them, it was declared, by influenza. Another brother had died but a short while before, and the commissioner sent to Tangier to arrange matters with the French was found dead in his room—from asphyxia caused by burning charcoal. Thus was the Cabinet dissolved, and the only remaining member resigned. There then rose suddenly to power a hitherto unheard of Arab of the South, El Menébhi, who essayed too much in acting as Ambassador to London while still Minister of War, and returned to find his position undermined; he has since emigrated to Egypt. It was freely asserted that the depletion of the Moorish exchequer was due to his peculation, resulting in his shipping a large fortune to England in specie, with the assistance of British officials who were supposed to have received a handsome "consideration" in addition to an enormous price paid for British protection. Thus, amid a typically Moorish cloud, he left the scene. From that time the Court has been the centre of kaleidoscopic intrigues, which have seriously hampered administration, but which were not in themselves sufficient to disturb the country.

What was of infinitely greater moment was the eagerness with which the young ruler, urged by his Circassian mother, sought advice and counsel from Europe, and endeavoured to act up to it. One disinterested and trusted friend at that juncture would have meant the regeneration of the Empire, provided that interference from outside were stayed.[page 269] But this was not to be. The few impartial individuals who had access to the Sultan were outnumbered by the horde of politicians, diplomats, adventurers, and schemers who surrounded him, the latter at least freely bribing wazeers to obtain their ends. In spite of an unquestionable desire to do what was best for his country, and to act upon the good among the proffered advice, wild extravagance resulted both in action and expenditure.

Thus Mulai Abd el Azîz became the laughing-stock of Europe, and the butt of his people's scorn. His heart was with the foreigners—with dancing women and photographers,—he had been seen in trousers, even on a bicycle! What might he not do next? A man so implicated with unbelievers could hardly be a faithful Muslim, said the discontented. No more efficacious text could have been found to rouse fanaticism and create dissatisfaction throughout his dominions. Black looks accompanied the mention of his name, and it was whispered that the Leader of the Faithful was selling himself and his Empire, if not to the Devil, at least to the Nazarenes, which was just as bad. Any other country would have been ripe for rebellion, as Europe supposed that Morocco was, but scattered and conflicting interests defeated all attempts to induce a general rising.

One of the wisest measures of the new reign was the attempt to reorganize finances in accordance with English advice, by the systematic levy of taxes hitherto imposed in the arbitrary fashion described in Chapter II. This was hailed with delight, and had it been maintained by a strong Government, would have worked wonders in[page 270] restoring prosperity. But foreign protégés refused to pay, and objections of all sorts were raised, till at last the "terteeb," as it was called, became impossible of collection without recourse to arms. Fearing this, the money in hand to pay the tax was expended on guns and cartridges, which the increasing demand led foreigners to smuggle in by the thousand.

It is estimated that some millions of fire-arms—a large proportion of them repeating rifles with a large supply of ammunition—are now in the hands of the people, while the Government has never been worse supplied than at present. Ship-load after ship-load has been landed on the coast in defiance of all authority, and large consignments have been introduced over the Algerian frontier, the state of which has in consequence become more than ever unsettled. In short, the benign intentions of Mulai Abd el Azîz have been interpreted as weakness, and once again the Nazarenes are accused—to quote a recent remark of an Atlas scribe—of having "spoiled the Sultan," and of being about to "spoil the country."

Active among the promoters of dissatisfaction have been throughout the Idreesi Shareefs, representatives of the original Muslim dynasty in Morocco; venerated for their ancestry and adherence to all that is retrogressive or bigoted, and on principle opposed to the reigning dynasty. These leaders of discontent find able allies in the Algerians in Morocco, some of whom settled there years ago because sharing their feelings and determined not to submit to the French; but of whom others, while expressing equal devotion to the old order,[page 271] can from personal experience recommend the advantages of French administration, to which even their exiled brethren or their descendants no longer feel equal objection.

The summary punishment inflicted a few years ago on the murderer of an Englishman in the streets of Fez was, like everything else, persistently misinterpreted through the country. In the distant provinces the story—as reported by natives therefrom—ran that the Nazarene had been shot by a saint while attempting to enter and desecrate the sacred shrine of Mulai Idrees, and that by executing him the Sultan showed himself an Unbeliever. When British engineers were employed to survey the route for a railway between Fez and Mequinez this was reported as indicating an absolute sale of the country, and the people were again stirred up, though not to actual strife.

Only in the semi-independent district of the Ghaïáta Berbers between Fez and Táza, which had never been entirely subjugated, did a flame break out. A successful writer of amulets, hitherto unknown, one Jelálli Zarhôni, who had acquired a great local reputation, began to denounce the Sultan's behaviour with religious fervour. Calling on the neighbouring tribesmen to refuse allegiance to so unworthy a monarch, he ultimately raised the standard of revolt in the name of the Sultan's imprisoned elder brother, M'hammed. Finally, the rumour ran that this prince had escaped and joined Jelálli, who, from his habitual prophet's mount, is better known throughout the country as Boo Hamára—"Father of the She-ass." According to the official statement, Jelálli Zarhôni was originally[page 272] a policeman (makházni), whose bitterness and subsequent sedition arose from ill-treatment then received. Although exalted in newspaper reports to the dignity of a "pretender," in Morocco he is best known as the "Rogi" or "Common One."

Fez clamoured to see M'hammed, that the story might be disproved, and after much delay, during which he was supposed to be conveyed from Mequinez, a veiled and guarded rider arrived, preceded by criers who proclaimed him to be the Sultan's brother. But as no one could be sure if this were the case or not, each party believed what it wished, and Jelálli's hands were strengthened. Boldly announcing the presence with him of Mulai M'hammed, in his name he sought and obtained the allegiance of tribe after tribe. Although the Sultan effected a reconciliation with his presumed brother—whose movements, however, still remain restricted—serious men believe him to be in the rebel camp, and few know the truth.

At first success attended the rebellion, but it never spread beyond the unsettled eastern provinces, and after three years it ineffectually smoulders on, the leader cooped up by the Sultan's forces near the coast, though the Sultan is not strong enough to stamp it out.

By those whose knowledge of the country is limited to newspaper news a much more serious state of affairs is supposed to exist, a "pretender" collecting his forces for a final coup, etc. Something of truth there may be in this, but the situation is grossly exaggerated. The local rising of a few tribes in eastern Morocco never affected the rest of the Empire, save by that feeling of unrest which,[page 273] in the absence of complete information, jumps at all tales. Even the so-called "rout" of an "imperial army" three years ago was only a stampede without fighting, brought about by a clever ruse, and there has never been a serious conflict throughout the affair, though the "Rogi" is well supplied with arms from Algeria, and his "forces" are led by a Frenchman, M. Delbrel. Meanwhile comparative order reigns in the disaffected district, though in the north, usually the most peaceful portion of the Empire, all is disturbed.

There a leader has arisen, Raïsûli by name, who obtained redress for the wrongs of tribes south of Tangier, and his own appointment as their kaïd, by the astute device of carrying off as hostages an American and an Englishman, so that the pressure certain to be brought to bear by their Governments would compel the Sultan to grant his demands. All turned out as he had hoped, and the condign punishment which he deserves is yet far off, though a local struggle continues between him and a small imperial force, complicated by feuds between his sometime supporters, who, however, fight half-heartedly, for fear of killing relatives pressed into service on the other side. Those who once looked to Raïsûli as a champion have found his little finger thicker than the Sultan's loins, and the country round Tangier is ruined by taxation, so that every one is discontented, and the district is unsafe, a species of civil war raging.

The full name of this redoubtable leader is Mulai Ahmad bin Mohammed bin Abd Allah er-Raïsûli, and he is a shareef of Beni Arôs, connected therefore with the Wazzán shareefs; but his prestige[page 274] as such is low, both on account of his past career, and because of his acceptance of a civil post. His mother belonged to Anjera, near Tangier, where he was born about thirty-six years ago at the village of Zeenát, being well educated, as education goes in Morocco, with the Beni M'sawah. But falling into bad company, he first took to cattle-lifting, afterwards turning highwayman, as which he was eventually caught by the Abd es-Sadok family—various members of which were kaïds from Ceuta to Azîla—and consigned to prison in Mogador. After three or four years his release was obtained by Háj Torres, the Foreign Commissioner in Tangier, but when he found that the Abd es-Sadoks had sequestrated his property, he vowed not to cut his hair till he had secured their disgrace. Hence, with locks that many a woman might envy, he has plotted and harassed till his present position has been achieved. But as this is only a means to an end, who can tell what that may be?

Raïsûli is allowed on all hands to be a peculiarly able and well-bred man, full of resource and determination. Though his foes have succeeded in kidnapping even his mother, it will certainly be a miracle if he is taken alive. Should all fail him, he is prepared to blow his brains out, or make use of a small phial of poison always to hand. It is interesting to remember that just such a character, Abd Allah Ghaïlán, held a similar position in this district when Tangier was occupied by the English, who knew him as "Guyland," and paid him tribute. The more recent imitation of Raïsûli's tactics by a native free-booter of the Ceuta frontier, in arresting two English officers as hostages wherewith to secure[page 275] the release of his brother and others from prison, has proved equally successful, but as matters stand at present, it is more than doubtful whether the Moorish Government is in a position to bring either of these offenders to book, and the outlook in the north is decidedly stormy. It is, indeed, quite in accordance with the traditions of Moorish history, throughout which these periods of local disorganization have been of constant recurrence without danger to the State.


                      Photograph by Dr. Rudduck.      THE KAÏD.


In the south things are quiet, though a spirit of unrest pervades the people, especially since it has been seen that the Sultan no longer either collects the regular taxes or maintains the regular army. There the immediate result of the failure to collect the taxes for a year or two was that the people had more to spend on cattle and other stock, which rapidly rose in price, no one needing to sell unless he wished. Within the last two years, however, the kaïds have recommenced their oppressive treatment, under the pretext of a levy to put down the rising in the eastern provinces. Men and money were several times furnished, but though now more difficult to raise, the demands continue. The wonder is that the people remain so quiet, but they are of a more peaceable nature than the Berbers of the north.

Three of the Sultan's brothers have been for some time camped in as many centres, engaged in collecting funds, but tribe after tribe has refused to pay, declaring that they have been exempted by their lord, and until he returns they will submit to no kaïd and pay no dues. It is only in certain districts that some of the funds demanded have[page 276] been forthcoming, and the kaïds have full authority, but these are officials of long standing and great repute, whose jurisdiction has been much extended in consequence. Changes among the less important kaïds have been continual of late. One man would buy the office and struggle to establish himself, only to find a new man installed over his head before he was settled, which has frequently led to local disorders, fighting and plundering. In this way the Government has quite lost prestige, and a strong hand is awaited.

The Moors would have preferred another Ismáïl the Bloodthirsty, who could compel his will, and awe all other rascals in his dominions, to the mild and well-intentioned youth now at the helm. Some would even welcome any change that would put an end to present insecurity, but only the French protégés desire to see that change effected by France, and only those under the German flag already would hail that with joy. The Jews alone would welcome any, as they have good cause to do.

Such was already the condition of things when the long-threatening clouds burst, and the Anglo-French Agreement was published in April, 1904. Rumours of negotiations for the sale of British interests in Morocco to France had for some time filled the air, but in face of official denials, and the great esteem in which England was held by the Moors, few gave credence to them. Mulai Abd el Azîz had relied especially on Great Britain, and had confidently looked to it for protection against the French; the announcement of the bargain between them broke him down.

It may have been inevitable; and since an[page 277] agreement among all the Powers concerned was so remote a possibility, an understanding between the three most interested may have been the wisest course, in view of pending internal troubles which would certainly afford excuses for interference. It was undoubtedly good policy on their part to decide who should inherit the vineyard, and on what terms, that conflict between them might be avoided. But on the unconsulted victim it came a cruel blow, unexpected and indefensible. It is important not to forget this.

But the one absorbing thought of all for nearly a year past has been the drought and consequent famine. Between November, 1904, and October, 1905, there was practically no rainfall over a large portion of the country, and agriculture being interfered with, grain rose to five times its normal price. Although relief has now come, it will be months before the cattle are in proper condition again, and not till after next year's harvest in May and June, should it prove a good one, will contentment be restored. Under such conditions, though more ready than ever to grumble, the people have had no heart to fight, which has, to some degree, assisted in keeping them quiet. The famine has, however, tried them sore, and only increased their exasperation.

Added to this, the general feeling of dissatisfaction regarding the Sultan's foreign predilections, and the slumbering fanaticism of the "learned" class, there is now a chronic lack of funds. The money which should have been raised by taxation has been borrowed abroad and ruthlessly scattered. Fortunes have been made by foreigners and natives alike, but the Sultan is all but bankrupt. Yet never was[page 278] his entourage so rich, though many who to-day hold houses and lands were a few years ago penniless.

As for the future, for many years the only answer possible to tediously frequent inquiries as to what was going to happen in Morocco has been that the future of the Shareefian Empire depended entirely on what might happen in Europe, not to any degree on its own internal condition. The only way in which this could affect the issue was by affording an excuse for outside interference, as in the present case.

Corrupt as the native administration may be, it is but the expression of a corrupt population, and no native government, even in Europe, is ever far in advance of those over whom it rules. In spite, too, of the pressure of injustice on the individual here and there, the victim of to-day becomes the oppressor of to-morrow, and such opportunities are not to be surrendered without a protest. The vast majority is, therefore, always in favour of present conditions, and would rather the chances of internecine strife than an exotic peace. No foreign ruler, however benign, would be welcome, and no "penetration," however "pacific," but will be endured and resented as a hostile wound. Even the announcement of the Anglo-French Agreement was sufficient to gravely accentuate the disorders of the country, and threaten immediate complications with Europe, by provoking attacks on Europeans who had hitherto been safe from interference save under exceptional circumstances. A good deal of the present unrest is attributable to this cause alone.

It is, therefore, a matter of deep regret that the one possible remedy—joint action of the Powers in[page 279] policing the Moors, as it were, by demanding essential reforms in return for a united guarantee of territorial integrity—was rendered impossible by the rivalries between those Powers, especially on the part of France. Great Britain's step aside has made possible the only alternative, the surrender of the coveted task to one of their number, in return for such quid pro quo as each could obtain. Had the second-class Powers been bargained with first, not only would they have secured substantial terms, which now it is no use their asking, but the leading Powers could have held out for terms yet undreamed of.

France did well to begin with Great Britain, but it was an egregious diplomatic error to overlook Germany, which was thereby promoted to the hitherto unhoped-for position of "next friend" and trusted adviser of Morocco. Up to that point Germany had played a waiting game so patiently that France fell into the trap, and gave her all she wanted. It is inconceivable how the astute politicians of the Quai d'Orsay committed such a blunder, save on the assumption that they were so carried away by the ease with which they had settled with Great Britain, that they forgot all other precautions—unless it was that they feared to jeopardize the conclusion of the main bargain by delay in discussing any subsidiary point.

When the Agreement was made known, the writer pointed out in the Westminster Review, that, "Portugal, Italy and Austria have but to acquiesce and rest assured of the 'most favoured nation' treatment, as will all the other Powers save one. That one, of course, is Germany, whose sole[page 280] interest in Morocco is the possibility of placing a drag on France. She will have to be dealt with. Having disposed of England, which had real interests at stake, in the command of the straits and the maintenance of Gibraltar, France should be able to accomplish this as well. Five and twenty years ago Germany had not even a commercial interest in Morocco. Great Britain did three-fourths of the trade, or more, France about a tenth, Spain and others dividing the crumbs between them. But an active commercial policy—by the encouragement and support of young firms in a way that made Britishers envious, and abusive of their own Foreign Office—has secured for Germany a growing share of the trade, till now she stands next to Great Britain, whose share is reduced to one-half."*

After all, the interests of Germany in Morocco[page 281] were but a trifling consideration, meaning much less to her than ours do to us, and it was evident that whatever position she might assume, however she might bluster, she, too, had her price. This not being perceived by the ill-informed Press of this country, the prey of political journalists in Paris, Cologne and Madrid—more recently even of Washington, whence the delusive reports are now re-echoed with alarming reverberations—there was heated talk of war, and everything that newspapers could do to bring it about was done. Even a private visit of the Kaiser to Tangier, the only important feature of which was the stir made about it, was utilized to fan the flame. However theatrical some of the political actions of Wilhelm II. may have been, here was a case in which, directly he perceived the capital being made of his visit, he curtailed it to express his disapprobation. It was in Tangier Bay that he received the newspaper cuttings on the subject, and although the visit was to have extended in any case but to a few hours, he at once decided not to land. It was only when it was urged upon him what disappointment this would cause to its thirty thousand inhabitants and visitors for the occasion, that he consented to pay one short visit to his Legation, abandoning the more important part of the programme, which included a climb to the citadel and an interchange of visits with a kinsman of the Sultan. Nothing more could have been done to emphasize the private nature of the visit, in reality of no greater moment than that of King Edward to Algeria almost at the same time.

Neither such a personal visit, nor any other[page 282] action should have been required to remind Great Britain and France that they and Spain alone were affected by their agreements, and that not even official notification to Morocco or the other Powers could restrict their perfect liberty of action. When, therefore, the distracted Sultan turned to Germany as the most influential Power still faithful to its undertakings, the response of Germany was perfectly correct, as was his own action. But Germany, although prepared to meet him with a smile, and not averse to receiving crumbs in the form of concessions, had no more intention of embroiling herself on his behalf than Great Britain. Extraordinary rumours, however, pervaded the country, and the idea of German intervention was hailed with delight; now general disappointment is felt, and Germany is classed with England among the traitors.

Mulai Abd el Azîz had but one resource, to propose another conference of the Powers, assured that France and Germany would never come to an understanding, and that this would at least ward off the fatal day indefinitely. Yet now that France and Germany have agreed, it is probable that this step is regretted, and that, since the two have acted in concert, the Moorish Court has been at its wits' ends; it would now regard as a God-send anything which might prevent the conference from being held, lest it should strengthen the accord among its enemies, and weaken its own position.

The diplomatic negotiations between Fez, Berlin, and Paris have been of a character normal under the circumstances; and as the bickerings and insinuations which accompanied them were foreign to Morocco, the Sultan's invitation only serving as an opportunity[page 283] for arriving at an understanding, they need not be dwelt on here. It is the French Press which has stirred up the commotion, and has misled the British Public into the belief that there has been some "Morocco Tangle." The facts are simply these: since 1880, the date of the Madrid Convention regarding the vexed question of foreign rights of protecting natives and holding property in Morocco, all nations concerned have been placed on an equal footing in their dealings with that country. The "most favoured nation" clause has secured for all the advantages gained by any in its special treaties. Nothing has since occurred to destroy this situation. In asking his "friends" to meet again in conference now, the Sultan acted wisely and within his rights. The fact that any two or three of them may have agreed to give one of their number a "free hand," should it suit her purposes to upset the status quo, does not theoretically affect the position, though it has suggested the advisability of further discussion. It is only in virtue of their combined might that the Powers in question are enabled to assume the position they do.

Spain, the only power with interests in Morocco other than commercial, had been settled with by a subsequent agreement in October, 1904, for she had been consulted in time. Special clauses dealing with her claims to consideration had even been inserted in the Anglo-French Agreement—

Art. VII. "This arrangement does not apply to the points now occupied by Spain on the Moorish shore of the Mediterranean.

Art. VIII. "The two Governments, animated by their sincerely friendly sentiments for Spain, take into particular[page 284] consideration the interests she possesses, owing to her geographical position and to her territorial possessions on the Moorish shore of the Mediterranean, in regard to which the French Government will make some arrangement with the Spanish Government ... (which) will be communicated to the Government of His Britannic Majesty."

These Articles apply to Ceuta, which Spain withheld from the Portuguese after the brief union of the crowns in the sixteenth century; to Veléz, an absolutely worthless rock, captured in 1564 by Garcia de Toledo with fifteen thousand men, the abandonment of which has more than once been seriously urged in Spain; to Alhucemas, a small island occupied in 1673; to Melilla, a huge rock peninsula captured, on his own account, by Medina Sidonia in 1497; and to the Zaffarine (or Saffron) Islands, only one of which is used, in the seizure of which the French were cleverly forestalled in 1848. All are convict stations; unless heavily fortified in a manner that at present they are not, they would not be of sufficient value to tempt even a foe of Spain. Ceuta and Melilla alone are worthy of consideration, and the former is the only one it might ever pay to fortify.

So far have matters gone. The conference asked for by Morocco—the flesh thrown to the wolves—is to form the next Act. To this conference the unfortunate Sultan would like to appeal for protection against the now "free hand" of France, but in consenting to discuss matters at all, she and her ally have, of course, stipulated that what has been done without reference to treaty shall not be treated of, if they are to take part, and as an act of courtesy to us, the United States has[page 285] followed suit. Other matters of importance which Mulai Abd el Azîz desired to discuss have also been ruled out beforehand, so that only minor questions are to be dealt with, hardly worth the trouble of meeting.

Foremost among these is the replenishing of the Moorish exchequer by further loans, which might more easily have been arranged without a conference. Indeed, there are so many money-lenders anxious to finance Morocco on satisfactory terms, that the competition among them has almost degenerated into a scramble. But all want some direct guarantee through their Governments, which introduces the political element, as in return for such guarantee each Power desires to increase its interests or privileges. Thus, while each financier holds out his gold-bags temptingly before the Sultan, elbowing aside his rival, each demands as surety the endorsement of his Government, the price of which the Sultan is hardly prepared to pay. He probably hopes that by appealing to them all in conference, he will obtain a joint guarantee on less onerous terms, without affording any one of them a foothold in his country, should he be unable to discharge his obligations. He is wise, and but for the difficulties caused by the defection of England and France from the political circle, this request for money might alone have sufficed to introduce a reformed régime under the joint auspices of all. As it is, attempts to raise funds elsewhere, even to discharge the current interest, having failed, his French creditors, who do possess the support of their Government, have obligingly added interest to capital, and with official sanction continue to roll the snowball destined one day to[page 286] overwhelm the State. In the eyes of the Moors this is nothing less than a bill-of-sale on the Empire.

A second point named by the Sultan for submission to the conference is the urgency of submitting all inhabitants of the country without distinction to the reformed taxation; a reasonable demand if the taxes were reasonable and justly assessed, but who can say at present that they are either? The exchequer is undoubtedly defrauded of large sums by the exemptions enjoyed by foreigners and their protégés, on account of the way in which these privileges are abused, while, to begin with, the system itself is unfair to the native. Here again is an excellent lever for securing reforms by co-operation. Let the Sultan understand that the sole condition on which such a privilege can be abandoned is the reform of his whole fiscal and judicial systems, and that this effected to the satisfaction of the Powers, these privileges will be abandoned. Nothing could do more to promote the internal peace and welfare of Morocco than this point rightly handled.

A third demand, the abolition of foreign postal services in his country, may appear to many curious and insignificant, but the circumstances are peculiar. Twenty years ago, when I first knew Morocco, there were no means of transmitting correspondence up country save by intermittent couriers despatched by merchants, whom one had to hunt up at the cafés in which they reposed. On arrival the bundle of letters was carried round to likely recipients for them to select their own in the most hap-hazard way. Things were hardly more formal at the ports at which eagerly awaited letters and papers arrived by sea. These[page 287] were carried free from Gibraltar, and delivered on application at the various consular offices.

At one time the Moorish Government maintained unsatisfactory courier services between two or three of the towns, but issued no stamps, the receipt for the courier's payment being of the nature of a postmark, stamped at the office, which, though little known to collectors, is the only genuine and really valuable Moorish postage stamp obtainable. All other so-called Morocco stamps were issued by private individuals, who later on ran couriers between some two Moorish towns, their income being chiefly derived from the sale of stamps to collectors. Some were either entirely bogus services, or only a few couriers were run to save appearances. Stamps of all kinds were sold at face value, postmarked or not to order, and as the issues were from time to time changed, the profits were steady and good. The case was in some ways analogous to that of the Yangtse and other treaty ports of China, where I found every consul's wife engaged in designing local issues, sometimes of not inconsiderable merit. In Morocco quite a circle of stamp-dealers sprang up, mostly sharp Jewish lads—though not a few foreign officials contracted the fever, and some time ago a stamp journal began to be issued in Tangier to promote the sale of issues which otherwise would not have been heard of.

Now all is changed; Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany maintain head postal offices in Tangier, the British being subject to that of Gibraltar, whose stamps are used. All have courier services down the coast, as well as despatching by steamer, and some maintain inland mails conveyed[page 288] by runners. The distance from Tangier to Fez, some hundred and fifty miles, is covered by one man on foot in about three days and a half, and the forty miles' run from Tangier to Tetuan is done in a night for a dollar, now less than three shillings.

But a more enlightened Sultan sees the advantage it would be to him, if not to all parties, to control the distribution of the growing correspondence of both Europeans and natives, the latter of whom prefer to register their letters, having very little faith in their despatch without a receipt. And as Mulai Abd el Azîz is willing to join the Postal Union, provided that the service is placed in efficient European hands there is no reason why it should not be united in one office, and facilities thereby increased.

France, however, in joining the conference, has quite another end in view than helping others to bolster up the present administration, and that is to obtain a formal recognition by all concerned, including Morocco, of the new position created by her agreement with Great Britain. That is to say, without permitting her action to be questioned in any way, she hopes to secure some show of right to what at present she possesses only by the might of herself and her friends. She has already agreed with Germany to recognize her special claim for permission to "police" the Morocco-Algerian frontier, and those who recall the appropriation of Tunisia will remember that it originated in "policing" the Khomaïr—known to the French as "Kroumirs"—on the Tunisian frontier of Algeria.

It is, indeed, a curious spectacle, a group of butchers around the unfortunate victim, talking[page 289] philanthropy, practising guile: two of the strongest have at last agreed between themselves which is to have the carcase, but preparations for the "pacific" death-thrust are delayed by frantic appeals for further consultation, and by the refusal of one of their number who had been ignored to recognize the bargain. Consultation is only agreed to on conditions which must defeat its object, and terms are arranged with the intervener. Everything, therefore, is clear for the operation; the tender-hearted are soothed by promises that though the "penetration" cannot but be painful, it shall at least not be hostile; while in order that the contumacious may hereafter hold their peace, the consultation is to result in a formal but carefully worded death-warrant.

Meanwhile it is worth while recalling the essential features of the Madrid Convention of 1880, mainly due to French claims for special privileges in protecting natives, or in giving them the rights of French citizens. This was summoned by Spain at the suggestion of Great Britain, with the concurrence of Morocco. Holland, Sweden and Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, the United States, Italy, Brazil, and Austria-Hungary accepted the invitation in the order named, but Brazil was ultimately unrepresented. Russia was also invited as an after-thought, but did not consider it worth while accepting. The scope of the conference was limited to the subject of foreign protection, though the question of property was by mutual consent included.

The representatives of the conferring Powers accredited to the Spanish Court were nominated as[page 290] members—the English Plenipotentiary acting for Denmark—as it was felt that those accredited to Morocco already held too decided views of the matter. The Moorish Foreign Minister attended on behalf of Morocco, and Señor Canovas, President of the Council, represented Spain. Seventeen meetings were held, under the presidency of Señor Canovas, between May 19 and July 3, the last being purely formal. The Convention then signed contained little that was new, but it re-stated clearly and harmonized with satisfactory results rights previously granted to one and another. In several particulars, however, its provisions are faulty, and experience of their working has long led to demands for revision, but conflicting interests, and fears of opening up larger issues, have caused this to be postponed.

Now that the time has arrived for a re-definition of the whole position and rights of foreigners and their Governments in Morocco, it is earnestly to be hoped that the opportunity may not be lost. The great fault of the Madrid Convention is that while it recognizes the right of foreigners to acquire land in Morocco, it stipulates for the previous consent of the native authorities, which is only to be obtained, if at all, by liberal "presents." But the most pressing need is the establishment of an international tribunal for the trial of cases involving more than one nationality, to replace the present anarchy, resulting from the conflict in one case of any of the thirteen independent jurisdictions at present in force in Morocco. Such a measure would be an outcome of more value than all possible agreements to respect the independence and integrity[page 291] of Morocco till it suited the purpose of one party or another to encroach thereon.

In lands knowing but one jurisdiction it is hard to conceive the abuses and defeats of justice which result from the confusion reigning in Morocco, or those which existed in Egypt previous to the establishment of international tribunals there. For instance, plaintiff, of nationality A., sues defendants, of nationalities B., C., and D., for the return of goods which they have forcibly carried off, on the ground that they were pledged to them by a party of nationality E., who disputes their claim, and declares the goods sold to original plaintiff. Here are five jurisdictions involved, each with a different set of laws, so that during the three separate actions necessitated, although the three defendants have all acted alike and together, the judgment in the case of each may be different, e.g. case under law B. dismissed, that under law C. won by plaintiff, while law D. might recognize the defendants' claim, but condemn his action. Needless to follow such intricacies further, though this is by no means an extreme case, for disputes are constantly occurring—to say nothing of criminal actions—involving the several consular courts, for the most part presided over by men unequipped by legal training, in which it is a practical impossibility for justice to be done to all, and time and money are needlessly wasted.

* It is curious, indeed, how little the German Empire or its component States figure in the history of diplomatic relations with Morocco. One has to go back to the time of Rudolf II., in 1604, to find an active policy in force with regard to Moroccan affairs, when that remarkable adventurer or international diplomatist, Sir Anthony Sherley, was accredited to Abd el Azîz III., the last of the Moorish rulers to bear the same name as the present one. This intrepid soldier, a man after the Kaiser's own heart, had been accredited to Germany by the great Shah of Persia, Abbás, whose confidence he had won to a marvellous degree, and he appears to have made as great an impression on Rudolf, who sent him as his envoy to Morocco. Arrived there, he astonished the natives by coolly riding into the court of audience—a privilege still reserved to the Sultan alone. But the Ameer, as he was called in those days, was too politic or too polite to raise the question, only taking care that the next time the "dog of a Christian" should find a chain stretched across the gateway. This Sir Anthony could not brook, so rode back threatening to break off negotiations, and it affords a striking lesson as to the right way of dealing with orientals, that even in those days the Moors should have yielded and imprisoned the porter, permitting Sir Anthony's entrance on horseback thereafter. The treaty he came to negotiate was concluded, and relations with the Germans were established on a right footing, but they have been little in evidence till recent years.

[page 292]



"Who stands long enough at the door is sure to enter at last."

Moorish Proverb.

In a previous work on this country, "The Land of the Moors," published in 1901, the present writer concluded with this passage: "France alone is to be feared in the Land of the Moors, which, as things trend to-day, must in time form part of her colony. There is no use disguising the fact, and, as England certainly would not be prepared to go to war with her neighbour to prevent her repeating in Morocco what she has done in Tunis, it were better not to grumble at her action. All England cares about is the mouth of the Mediterranean, and if this were secured to her, or even guaranteed neutral—were that possible—she could have no cause to object to the French extension. Our Moorish friends will not listen to our advice; they keep their country closed, as far as they can, refusing administrative reforms which would prevent excuses for annexation. Why should we trouble them? It were better far to come to an agreement with France, and acknowledge what will prove itself one day—that France is the normal heir to Morocco whenever the present Empire breaks up."

[page 293]

Unpopular as this opinion was among the British and other foreign subjects in the country, and especially among the Moors, so that it had at first no other advocate, it has since been adopted in Downing Street, and what is of more moment, acted upon. Nay more, Great Britain has, in return for the mere recognition of a fait accompli in Egypt, agreed to stand aside in Morocco, and to grant France a free hand in any attempt to create there a similar state of things. Though the principle was good, the bargain was bad, for the positions of the two contracting Powers, in Egypt and Morocco respectively, were by no means analogous. France could never have driven us out of Egypt save with her sword at our throat; England had but to unite with other Powers in blocking the way of France in Morocco to stultify all her plans. Had England stood out for terms, whether as regarding her commercial interests in Morocco, which have been disgracefully sacrificed, or in the form of concessions elsewhere, a very much more equal-handed bargain might have been secured.

The main provisions of the agreement between the two countries, concluded April 8, 1904, are—

Art. II. "The British Government recognizes that it appertains to France, more especially as being the Power in contiguity with Morocco, to control the peace of the country, and to lend its assistance in all administrative, economical, financial, and military reforms. The British Government declares that it will not interfere with the action of France in this regard, provided that this action will leave intact the rights which, in virtue of treaties, conventions, and usages, Great Britain enjoys in Morocco, including the right of coasting between the Morocco ports, of which English vessels have had the benefit since 1901."

[page 294]

Art. VII. "In order to secure the free passage of the Straits of Gibraltar, both Governments agree not to allow fortifications or any strategic works to be erected on that part of the Moorish coast between Melilla and the heights which dominate the right bank of the Sebu exclusively."

France has secured all that she wanted, or rather that her aggressive colonial party wanted, for opinions on that point are by no means identical, even in France, and the Agreement at once called forth the condemnation of the more moderate party. What appears to be permissive means much more. Now that Great Britain has drawn back—the Power to which the late Sir John Drummond Hay taught the Moors to look with an implicit confidence to champion them against all foes, as it did in the case of the wars with France and Spain, vetoing the retention of a foot of Moorish soil—Morocco lies at the feet of France. France, indeed, has become responsible for carrying out a task its eager spirits have been boiling over for a chance of undertaking. Morocco has been made the ward of the hand that gripped it, which but recently filched two outlying provinces, Figig and Tûát.

Englishmen who know and care little about Morocco are quite incapable of understanding the hold that France already had upon this land. Separated from it only by an unprotected boundary, much better defined on paper than in fact, over which there is always a "rectification" dispute in pickle, her province of Algeria affords a prospective base already furnished with lines of rail from her ports of Oran and Algiers. From Oojda, an insignificant town across the border from Lalla Maghnîa (Marnia), there runs a valley route which[page 295] lays Fez in her power, with Táza by the way to fortify and keep the mountaineers in check. At any time the frontier forays in which the tribes on both sides indulge may be fomented or exaggerated, as in the case of Tunis, to afford a like excuse for a similar occupation, which beyond a doubt would be a good thing for Morocco. Fez captured, and the seaports kept in awe or bombarded by the navy, Mequinez would fall, and an army landed in Mazagan would seize Marrákesh.

All this could be accomplished with a minimum of loss, for only the lowlands would have to be crossed, and the mountaineers have no army. But their "pacification" would be the lingering task in which lives, time, and money would be lost beyond all recompense. Against a European army that of the Sultan need not be feared; only a few battalions drilled by European officers might give trouble, but they would see former instructors among the foe, and without them they would soon become demoralized. It would be the tribal skirmishers, of whom half would fall before the others yielded to the Nazarenes, who would give the trouble.

The military mission which France has for many years imposed on the Sultan at his expense, though under her control, which follows him in his expeditions and spies out the land, has afforded a training-ground for a series of future invading leaders. Her Algerian Mohammedan agents are able to pass and repass where foreigners never go, and besides collecting topographical and other information, they have lost no opportunity of making known the privileges and advantages of French rule. In case it may be found advisable to set up a dummy[page 296] sultan under a protectorate, the French have an able and powerful man to hand in the young Idreesi Shareef of Wazzán, whom the English refused to protect, and who, with his brother, received a French education.

But while we, as a nation, have been unable to comprehend the French determination to possess Morocco, they have been unable to comprehend our calm indifference, and by the way in which they betray their suspicions of us, they betray their own methods. Protestant missionaries in Algeria and Tunisia, of whatever nationality, are supposed to be the emissaries of the British Government, and in consequence are harassed and maligned, while tourists outside the regular beat are watched. When visiting Oojda some years ago, I myself was twice arrested in Algeria, at Tlemçen and Lalla Maghnîa, because mingling with natives, and it was with difficulty that I could persuade the juges d'instruction of my peaceful motives.

Determined and successful efforts to become acquainted with the remotest provinces of Morocco, the distribution of its population, and whatever could be of use to an invading or "pacifying" force have long been made by France, but the most valuable portion of this knowledge remains pigeon-holed, or circulates only in strictly official mémoires. Many of the officials engaged here, however, have amused themselves and the public by publishing pretty books of the average class, telling little new, while one even took the trouble to write his in English, in order to put us off the scent!

If ever means could justify an end, France deserves to enjoy the fruit of her labours. No[page 297] longer need she foment strife on the Algerian frontier, or wink at arms being smuggled across it; no longer need the mis-named "pretender" be supplied with French gold, or intrigues be carried on at Court. Abd el Azîz must take the advice and "assistance" of France, whether he will or no, and curse the British to whom he formerly looked. This need not necessarily involve such drastic changes as would rouse the people to rebellion, and precipitate a costly conquest. There are many reforms urgently required in the interests of the people themselves, and these can now be gradually enforced. Such reforms had been set on foot already by the young Sultan, mainly under British advice; but to his chagrin, his advisers did not render the financial and moral support he needed to carry them out. France is now free to do this, and to strengthen his position, so that all wise reforms may be possible. These will naturally commence with civil and judicial functions, but must soon embrace the more pressing public works, such as roads, bridges, and port improvements. Railways are likely to be the first roads in most parts, and Mulai Abd el Azîz will welcome their introduction. The western ideas which he has imbibed during the last few years are scoffed at only by those who know little of him. What France will have to be prepared for is Court intrigue, and she will have to give the Moors plainly to understand that "Whatsoever king shall reign, she'll still be 'boss of the show,' sir."

As one of the first steps needed, but one requiring the co-operation of all other Powers on treaty terms with the Moors, the establishment of tribunals[page 298] to which all should be amenable, has already been touched upon. These must necessarily be presided over by specially qualified Europeans in receipt of sufficient salary to remove them from temptation. A clear distinction should then be made between a civil code administered by such tribunals and the jurisdiction of the Muslim law in matters of religion and all dependent upon it. But of even more pressing importance is the reform of the currency, and the admission of Morocco to the Latin Union. This could well be insisted on when the financial question is discussed at the Algeciras Conference, as well as the equally important establishment in competent hands of a State Bank. This and the reform of the whole fiscal system must precede every other measure, as they form the ground-work of the whole.

Whatever public works may be eventually undertaken, the first should be, as far as possible, such as the Moors themselves can execute under European direction, and as they can appreciate. Irrigation would command enthusiasm where railways would only provoke opposition, and the French could find no surer way of winning the hearts of the people than by coping at once with the agricultural water supply, in order to provide against such years of famine as the present, and worse that are well remembered. That would be a form of "pacific penetration," to which none could object.

Education, too, when attempted, should be gradually introduced as a means of personal advancement, the requirements of the public service being raised year by year, as the younger generation has had opportunities of better qualifying themselves.[page 299] Above all, every post should be in theory at least thrown open to the native, and in practice as soon as the right man turned up. Better retain or instal more of the able Moors of to-day as figureheads with European advisers, than attempt a new set to start with. But a clean sweep should be made of the foreigners at present in the Moorish service, all of whom should be adequately pensioned off, that with the new order might come new men, adequately paid and independent of "commissions." It is essential that the people learn to feel that they are not being exploited, but that their true welfare is sought. Every reform should be carried out along native lines, and in conformity with native thought.


Albert, Photo., Tunis.


The costly lesson of Algeria, where native rights and interests were overthrown, and a complete detested foreign rule set up, has taught the French the folly of such a system, however glorious it may appear on paper. They have been wiser in Tunisia, where a nominally native government is directed by Frenchmen, whom it pays, and sooner or later Morocco is almost certain to become a second Tunisia. This will not only prove the best working system, but it will enable opposition to be dealt with by Moorish forces, instead of by an invading army, which would unite the Berber tribes under the Moorish flag. This was what prolonged the conquest of Algeria for so many years, and the Berbers of Morocco are more independent and better armed than were those of Algeria seventy years ago. What France will gain by the change beyond openings for Frenchmen and the glory of an extended colonial empire, it is hard to imagine, [page 300] but empty glory seems to satisfy most countries greedy of conquest. So far the only outward evidences of the new position are the over-running of the ports, especially of Tangier, by Frenchmen of an undesirable class, and by an attempt to establish a French colony at the closed port of Mehedîya by doubtful means, to say nothing of the increased smuggling of arms.

How the welfare of the Moors will be affected by the change is a much more important question, though one often held quite unworthy of consideration, the accepted axiom being that, whether they like it or not, what is good for us is good for them. Needless to say that most of the reforms required will be objected to, and that serious obstacles will be opposed to some; the mere fact that the foreigner, contemptuously called a "Nazarene," is their author, is sufficient to prejudice them in native eyes, and the more prominent the part played by him, the more difficult to follow his advice. But if the Sultan and his new advisers will consent to a wise course of quiet co-operation, much may be effected without causing trouble. It is astonishing how readily the Moors submit to the most radical changes when unostentatiously but forcibly carried out. Never was there a greater call for the suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. Power which makes itself felt by unwavering action has always had their respect, and if the Sultan is prepared not to act till with gold in his coffers, disciplined troops at his command, and loyal officials to do his behest, he can do so with unquestioned finality, all will go well.

Then will the prosperity of the people revive—indeed, achieve a condition hitherto unknown save [page 301] in two or three reigns of the distant past, perhaps not then. The poor will not fear to sow their barren fields, or the rich to display their wealth; hidden treasure will come to light, and the groan of the oppressed will cease. Individual cases of gross injustice will doubtless arise; but they will be as nothing compared with what occurs in Morocco to-day, even with that wrought by Europeans who avail themselves of existing evils. So that if France is wise, and restrains her hot-heads, she may perform a magnificent work for the Moors, as the British have done in Egypt; at least, it is to be hoped she may do as well in Morocco as in Tunisia.

But it would be idle to ignore the deep dissatisfaction with which the Anglo-French Agreement has been received by others than the Moors.* Most British residents in Morocco, probably every tourist who has been conducted along the coast, or sniffed at the capital cities; those firms of ours who share the bulk of the Moorish trade, and others who yearned to open up possible mines, and undertake the public works so urgently needed; ay, and the concession-prospectors and company-mongers who see the prey eluding their grasp; even the would-be heroes across the straits who have dreamed in vain of great deeds to be done on those hills before them; all unite in deploring what appears to them a gross blunder. After all, this is but natural. So few of us can see beyond our own domains, so many hunger after anything—in their particular line—that belongs to a weaker neighbour, that it is well we have disinterested statesmen who take a wider view. Else had we[page 302] long since attempted to possess ourselves of the whole earth, like the conquering hordes of Asia, and in consequence we should have been dispossessed ourselves.

Even to have been driven to undertake in Morocco a task such as we were in Egypt, would have been a calamity, for our hands are too full already of similar tasks. It is all very well in these times of peace, but in the case of war, when we might be attacked by more than one antagonist, we should have all our work cut out to hold what we have. The policy of "grab," and dabbing the world with red, may be satisfactory up to a certain point, but it will be well for us as a nation when we realize that we have had enough. In Morocco, what is easy for France with her contiguous province, with her plans for trans-Sáharan traffic, and her thirst to copy our colonial expansion—though without men to spare—would have been for us costly and unremunerative. We are well quit of the temptation.

Moreover, we have freed ourselves of a possible, almost certain, cause of friction with France, of itself a most important gain. Just as France would never have acquiesced in our establishing a protectorate in Morocco without something more than words, so the rag-fed British public, always capable of being goaded to madness by the newspapers, would have bitterly objected to French action, if overt, while powerless to prevent the insidious grasp from closing on Morocco by degrees. The first war engaging at once British attention and forces was like to see France installed in Morocco without our leave. The early reverses of[page 303] the Transvaal War induced her to appropriate Tûát and Figig, and had the fortune of war been against us, Morocco would have been French already. These facts must not be overlooked in discussing what was our wisest course. We were unprepared to do what France was straining to do: we occupied the manger to no one's good—practically the position later assumed by Germany. Surely we were wiser to come to terms while we could, not as in the case of Tunisia, when too late.

But among the objecting critics one class has a right to be heard, those who have invested life and fortune in the Morocco trade; the men who have toiled for years against the discouraging odds involved, who have wondered whether Moorish corruption or British apathy were their worst foe, in whom such feeling is not only natural but excusable. Only those who have experienced it know what it means to be defrauded by complacent Orientals, and to be refused the redress they see officials of other nations obtaining for rivals. Yet now they find all capped by the instructions given to our consuls not to act without conferring with the local representatives of France, which leads to the taunt that Great Britain has not only sold her interests in Morocco to the French, but also her subjects!

The British policy has all along been to maintain the status quo in spite of individual interests, deprecating interference which might seem high-handed, or create a precedent from which retraction would be difficult. In the collection of debts, in enforcing the performance of contracts, or in securing justice of any kind where the policy is to promise all and evade all till pressure is brought to bear,[page 304] British subjects in Morocco have therefore always found themselves at a disadvantage in competition with others whose Governments openly supported them. The hope that buoyed them up was that one day the tide might turn, and that Great Britain might feel it incumbent on her to "protect" Morocco against all comers. Now hope has fled. What avails it that grace of a generation's span is allowed them, that they may not individually suffer from the change? It is the dream of years that lies shattered.

Here are the provisions for their protection:

Art. IV. "The two Governments, equally attached to the principle of commercial liberty, both in Egypt and Morocco, declare that they will not lend themselves to any inequality either in the establishment of customs rights or other taxes, or in the establishment of tariffs for transport on the railways.... This mutual agreement is valid for a period of thirty years" (subject to extensions of five years).

Art. V. secures the maintenance in their posts of British officials in the Moorish service, but while it is specially stipulated that French missionaries and schools in Egypt shall not be molested, British missionaries in Morocco are committed to the tender mercies of the French.

Thus there can be no immediate exhibition of favouritism beyond the inevitable placing of all concessions in French hands, and there is really not much ground of complaint, while there is a hope of cause for thankfulness. Released from its former bugbears, no longer open to suspicion of secret designs, our Foreign Office can afford to impart a little more backbone into its dealings with Moorish officials; a much more acceptable policy should,[page 305] therefore, be forthwith inaugurated, that the Morocco traders may see that what they have lost in possibilities they have gained in actualities. Still more! the French, now that their hands are free, are in a position to "advise" reforms which will benefit all. Thus out of the ashes of one hope another rises.

* See Appendix.

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"One does not become a horseman till one has fallen."

Moorish Proverb.

A journey through Algeria shows what a stable and enlightened Government has been able to do in a land by no means so highly favoured by Nature as Morocco, and peopled by races on the whole inferior. The far greater proportion of land there under cultivation emphasizes the backward state of Morocco, although much of it still remains untouched; while the superior quality of the produce, especially of the fruits, shows what might be accomplished in the adjoining country were its condition improved. The hillsides of Algeria are in many districts clothed with vines which prosper exceedingly, often almost superseding cereals as objects of cultivation by Europeans.

The European colonists are of all nationalities, and the proportion which is not French is astonishingly large, but every inducement is held out for naturalization as Algerians, and all legitimate obstacles are thrown in the way of those who maintain fidelity to their fatherlands. Every effort[page 308] is made to render Algeria virtually part of France, as politically it is already considered to be. It is the case of the old days of slavery revived under a new form, when the renegade was received with open arms, and the man who remained steadfast was seldom released from slavery. Of course, in these days there is nothing approaching such treatment, and it is only the natives who suffer to any extent.

These are despised, if not hated, and despise and hate in return. The conquerors have repeated in Algeria the old mistake which has brought about such dire results in other lands, of always retaining the position of conquerors, and never unbending to the conquered, or encouraging friendship with them. This attitude nullifies whatever good may result from the mixed schools in which Muslim, Jew, and European are brought in contact, in the hope of turning out a sort of social amalgam. Most of the French settlers are too conceited and too ignorant to learn Arabic, though this is by no means the fault of the Government, which provides free public classes for instruction in that language in the chief towns of Algeria and Tunisia. The result is that the natives who meet most with foreigners have, without the most ordinary facilities enjoyed by the Europeans, to pick up a jargon which often does much more credit to them than the usual light acquaintance of the foreigner with Arabic does to him. Those who make any pretence at it, usually speak it with an accent, a pronunciation and a nonchalance which show that they have taken no pains whatever to acquire it. Evidently it pays better to spend money educating natives[page 309] in French than Frenchmen in Arabic. It is an amusing fact that most of the teachers have produced their own text-books, few of which possess special merit.

As a colony Algeria has proved a failure. Foreign settlers hold most of the desirable land, and till it with native labour. The native may have safety and justice now, but he has suffered terribly in the past, as the reports of the Bureau Arabe, established for his protection, abundantly prove, and bitterly he resents his fate. No love is lost between French and natives in Tunisia, but there is actual hatred in Algeria, fostered by the foreigner far more than by the smouldering bigotry of Islám. They do not seem to intermingle even as oil and water, but to follow each a separate, independent course.

Among the foreign colonists it is a noteworthy fact that the most successful are not the French, who want too much comfort, but almost any of the nationalities settled there, chiefly Spaniards and Italians. The former are to be found principally in the neighbourhood of Óran, and the latter further east; they abound in Tunisia. Englishmen and others of more independent nature have not been made welcome in either country, and year by year their interests have dwindled. Even in Tunisia, under a different system, the same result has been achieved, and every restriction reconcilable with paper rights has been placed on other than French imports. There may be an "open door," but it is too closely guarded for us. The English houses that once existed have disappeared, and what business is done with this country has[page 310] had to take refuge with agents, for the most part Jews.

In studying the life of Algerian towns, the almost entire absence of well-to-do Arabs or Berbers is striking. I never came across one who might be judged from his appearance to be a man of means or position, unless in military or official garb, though there are doubtless many independent natives among the Berber and Arab tribes. The few whom I encountered making any pretence of dressing well were evidently of no social rank, and the complaint on every hand is that the natives are being gradually ousted from what little is left to them.

As for European law, they consider this to have no connection with justice, and think themselves very heavily taxed to support innovations with which they have no concern, and which they would rather dispense with. One can, indeed, feel for them, though there is no doubt much to be said on both sides, especially when it is the other side which boasts the power, if not the superior intelligence. The Jews, however, thrive, and in many ways have the upper hand, especially so since the wise move which accorded them the rights of French citizenship. It is remarkable, however, how much less conspicuous they are in the groups about the streets than in Morocco, notwithstanding that their dress is quite as distinctive as there, though different.

The new-comer who arrives at the fine port of Algiers finds it as greatly transformed as its name has been from the town which originally bore it, El Jazîrah. The fine appearance of the rising[page 311] tiers of houses gives an impression of a still larger city than it really is, for very little is hidden from view except the suburbs. From a short way out to sea the panorama is grand, but it cannot be as chaste as when the native city clustered in the hollow with its whitewashed houses and its many minarets, completely surrounded by green which has long since disappeared under the advancing tide of bricks and mortar. One can hardly realize that this fine French city has replaced the den of pirates of such fearful histories. Yet there is the original light-house, the depôt for European slaves, and away on the top of yonder hill are remains of the ancient citadel. It was there, indeed, that those dreadful cruelties were perpetrated, where so many Christians suffered martyrdom. Yes, this is where once stood the "famous and war-like city, El Jazîrah," which was in its time "the scourge of Christendom."

Whether the visitor be pleased or disappointed with the modern city depends entirely on what he seeks. If he seeks Europe in Africa, with perhaps just a dash of something oriental, he will be amply satisfied with Algiers, which is no longer a native city at all. It is as French as if it had risen from the soil entirely under French hands, and only the slums of the Arab town remain. The seeker after native life will therefore meet with complete disappointment, unless he comes straight from Europe, with no idea what he ought to expect. All the best parts of the town, the commercial and the residential quarters, have long since been replaced by European substitutes, leaving hardly a trace of the picturesque originals, while every day sees a further encroachment on the erstwhile African[page 312] portion, the interest of which is almost entirely removed by the presence of crowds of poor Europeans and European-dressed Jews. The visitor to Algiers would therefore do well to avoid everything native, unless he has some opportunity of also seeing something genuine elsewhere. The only specimens he meets in the towns are miserable half-caste fellows—by habit, if not by birth,—for their dress, their speech, their manners, their homes, their customs, their religion—or rather their lack of religion,—have all suffered from contact with Europeans. But even before the Frenchmen came, it is notorious how the Algerines had sunk under the bane of Turkish rule, as is well illustrated by their own saying, that where the foot of the Turk had trod, grass refused to grow. Of all the Barbary States, perhaps none has suffered more from successive outside influences than the people of Algeria.

The porter who seizes one's luggage does not know when he is using French words or Arabic, or when he introduces Italian, Turkish, or Spanish, and cannot be induced to make an attempt at Arabic to a European unless the latter absolutely refuses to reply to his jargon. Then comes a hideous corruption of his mother tongue, in which the foreign expressions are adorned with native inflexions in the most comical way. His dress is barbarous, an ancient and badly fitting pair of trousers, and stockingless feet in untidy boots, on the heels of which he stamps along the streets with a most unpleasant noise. The collection of garments which complete his attire are mostly European, though the "Fez" cap remains the distinctive feature of the Muslim's dress, and a selhám—that cloak of[page 313] cloaks, there called a "bûrnûs"—is slung across his shoulder. Some few countrymen are to be seen who still retain the more graceful native costume, with the typical camel-hair or cotton cord bound round the head-dress, but the old inhabitants are being steadily driven out of town.



The characteristic feature of Algerian costumes is the head-cord referred to, which pervades a great part of Arabdom, in Syria and Arabia being composed of two twists of black camel hair perhaps an inch thick. In Algeria it is about an eighth of an inch thick, and brown. The slippers are also characteristic, but ugly, being of black leather, excellently made, and cut very far open, till it becomes an art to keep them on, and the heels have to be worn up. The use of the white selhám is almost universal, unhemmed at the edges, as in Tunis also; and over it is loosely tied a short haïk fastened on the head by the cord.

There is, however, even in Algiers itself, one class of men who remain unaffected by their European surroundings, passive amid much change, a model for their neighbours. These are the Beni M'záb, a tribe of Mohammedan Protestants from southern Algeria, where they settled long ago, as the Puritans did in New England, that they might there worship God in freedom. They were the Abadîya, gathered from many districts, who have taken their modern name from the tribe whose country they now inhabit. They speak a dialect of Berber, and dress in a manner which is as distinctive as their short stature, small, dark, oily features, jet-black twinkling eyes, and scanty beard. They come to the towns to make money, and return home to[page 314] spend it, after a few years of busy shop-keeping. A butcher whom I met said that he and a friend had the business year and year about, so as not to be too long away from home at a time. They are very hard-working, and have a great reputation for honesty; they keep their shops open from about five in the morning till nine at night. As the Beni M'záb do not bring their wives with them, they usually live together in a large house, and have their own mosque, where they worship alone, resenting the visits of all outsiders, even of other Muslims. Admission to their mosque is therefore practically refused to Europeans, but in Moorish dress I was made welcome as some distinguished visitor from saintly Fez, and found it very plain, more like the kûbbah of a saint-house than an ordinary mosque.

There are also many Moors in Algeria, especially towards the west. These, being better workmen than the Algerines, find ready employment as labourers on the railways. Great numbers also annually visit Óran and the neighbourhood to assist at harvest time. Those Moors who live there usually disport themselves in trousers, strange to stay, and, when they can afford it, carry umbrellas. They still adhere to the turban, however, instead of adopting the head cord. At Blidah I found that all the sellers of sfinges—yeast fritters—were Moors, and those whom I came across were enthusiastic to find one who knew and liked their country. The Algerines affect to despise them and their home, which they declare is too poor to support them, thus accounting for their coming over to work.

The specimens of native architecture to be met[page 315] with in Algeria are seldom, if ever, pure in style, and are generally extremely corrupt. The country never knew prosperity as an independent kingdom, such as Morocco did, and it is only in Tlemçen, on the borders of that Empire, that real architectural wealth is found, but then this was once the capital of an independent kingdom. The palace at Constantine is not Moorish at all, except in plan, being adorned with a hap-hazard collection of odds and ends from all parts. It is worse than even the Bardo at Tunis, where there is some good plaster carving—naksh el hadeed—done by Moorish or Andalucian workmen. In the palaces of the Governor and the Archbishop of Algiers, which are also very composite, though not without taste, there is more of this work, some of it very fine, though much of it is merely modern moulded imitation.

Of more than a hundred mosques and shrines found in Algiers when it was taken by the French, only four of the former and a small number of the latter remain, the rest having been ruthlessly turned into churches. The Mosque of Hasan, built just over a century ago, is now the cathedral, though for this transformation it has been considerably distorted, and a mock-Moorish façade erected in the very worst taste. Inside things are better, having been less interfered with, but what is now a church was never a good specimen of a mosque, having been originally partly European in design, the work of renegades. The same may be said of the Mosque of the Fisheries, a couple of centuries old, built in the form of a Greek cross! One can well understand how the Dey, according to the story, had the architect put to death on discovering this anomaly.[page 316] These incongruities mar all that is supposed in Algeria to be Arabesque. The Great Mosque, nevertheless, is more ancient and in better style, more simple, more chaste, and more awe-inspiring. The Zawîah of Sîdi Abd er-Rahmán, outside the walls, is as well worth a visit as anything in Algiers, being purely and typically native. It is for the opportunities given for such peeps as this that one is glad to wander in Algeria after tasting the real thing in Morocco, where places of worship and baths are closed to Europeans. These latter I found all along North Africa to be much what they are in Morocco, excepting only the presence of the foreigners.

The tile work of Algeria is ugly, but many of the older Italian and other foreign specimens are exceptionally good, both in design and colour. Some of the Tunisian tiles are also noteworthy, but it is probable that none of any real artistic value were ever produced in what is now conveniently called Algeria. There is nothing whatever in either country to compare with the exquisite Fez work found in the Alhambra, hardly to rival the inferior productions of Tetuan. A curious custom in Algeria is to use all descriptions of patterns together "higgledy-piggledy," upside down or side-ways, as though the idea were to cover so much surface with tiling, irrespective of design. Of course this is comparatively modern, and marks a period since what art Algeria ever knew had died out. It is noticeable, too, how poor the native manufacturers are compared with those of Morocco, themselves of small account beside those of the East. The wave of civilization which swept over North Africa in the[page 317] Middle Ages failed to produce much effect till it recoiled upon itself in the far, far west, and then turned northward into Spain.

Notwithstanding all this, Algeria affords an ample field for study for the scientist, especially the mountain regions to the south, where Berber clans and desert tribes may be reached in a manner impossible yet in Morocco, but the student of oriental life should not visit them till he has learnt to distinguish true from false among the still behind-hand Moors.

[page 318]



"The slave toils, but the Lord completes."

Moorish Proverb.

Fortunately for the French, the lesson learned in Algeria was not neglected when the time came for their "pacific penetration" of Tunisia. Their first experience had been as conquerors of anything but pacific intent, and for a generation they waged war with the Berber tribes. Everywhere, even on the plains, where conquest was easy, the native was dispossessed. The land was allotted to Frenchmen or to natives who took the oath of allegiance to France, and became French subjects. Those who fought for their fatherland were driven off, the villages depopulated, and the country laid waste. In the cities the mosques were desecrated or appropriated to what the native considered idolatrous worship. They have never been restored to their owners. Those Algerines only have flourished who entered the French army or Government service, and affected manners which all but cut them off from their fellow-countrymen.

In Tunisia the French succeeded, under cover of specious assurances to the contrary, in overthrowing the Turkish beys, rehabilitating them in name as their puppets, with hardly more opposition [page 319] than the British met with in Burma. The result is a nominally native administration which takes the blame for failures, and French direction which takes the credit for successes. All that was best in Algeria has been repeated, but native rights have been respected, and the cities, with their mosques and shrines, left undisturbed as far as possible. The desecration of the sacred mosque of Kaïrwán as a stable was a notable exception.

The difference between the administration of Algeria and that of Tunisia makes itself felt at every step. In the one country it is the ruling of a conquered people for the good of the conquerors alone, and in the other it is the ruling of an unconquered people by bolstering up and improving their own institutions under the pretence of seeking their welfare. The immense advantage of the Tunisian system is apparent on all sides. The expense is less, the excuses for irregularities are greater, and the natives still remain a nominal power in the land, instead of being considered as near serfs as is permissible in this twentieth century.

The results of the French occupation were summed up to me by a Tunisian as the making of roads, the introduction of more money and much drunkenness, and the institution of laws which no native could ever hope to understand. But France has done more than that in Tunis, even for the native. He has the benefit of protection for life and property, with means of education and facilities for travel, and an outlet for his produce. He might do well—and there are many instances of commercial success—but while he is jibbing against the foreign yoke, the expatriated Jews, whom he treated so[page 320] badly when he had the upper hand, are outstripping him every day. The net result of the foreigners' presence is good for him, but it would be much better had he the sense to take advantage of his chances as the Jew does. Many of the younger generation, indeed, learn French, and enter the great army of functionaries, but they are rigidly restricted to the lowest posts, and here again the Jew stands first.

In business or agriculture there is sure to come a time when cash is needed, so that French and Jewish money-lenders flourish, and when the Tunisian cannot pay, the merciless hand of foreign law irresistibly sells him up. In the courts the complicated procedure, the intricate code, and the swarm of lawyers, bewilder him, and he sighs for the time when a bribe would have settled the question, and one did at least know beforehand which would win—the one with the longer purse. Now, who knows? But the Tunisian's principal occasions for discontent are the compulsory military service, and the multiplication and weight of the taxes. From the former only those are exempt who can pass certain examinations in French, and stiff ones at that, so that Arabic studies are elbowed out; the unremitted military duties during the Ramadán fast are regarded as a peculiar hardship. To the taxes there seems no end, and from them no way of escape. Even the milkman complains, for example, that though his goats themselves are taxed, he cannot bring their food into town from his garden without an additional charge being paid!

With the superficial differences to be accounted for by this new state of things, there still remains[page 321] much more in Tunisia to remind one of Morocco than in Algeria. What deeper distinctions there are result in both countries from Turkish influence, and Turkish blood introduced in the past, but even these do not go very deep. Beneath it all there are the foundations of race and creed common to all, and the untouched countryman of Tunisia is closely akin to his fellow of Morocco. Even in the towns the underlying likeness is strong.

The old city of Tunis is wonderfully like that of Fez; the streets, the shops, the paving, being identical; but in the former a picturesque feature is sometimes introduced, stone columns forming arcades in front of the shops, painted in spiral bands of green and red, separated by a band of white. The various trades are grouped there as further west, and the streets are named after them. The Mellah, or Jewish Quarter, has lost its boundary, as at Tangier, and the gates dividing the various wards have disappeared too. Hardly anything remains of the city walls, new ones having arisen to enclose the one European and two native suburbs. But under a modern arcade in the main street, the Avenue de France, there is between the shops the barred gate leading to a mosque behind, which does not look as if it were often opened.

Tramways run round the line of the old walls, and it is strange to see the natives jumping on and off without stopping the car, in the most approved western style. There, as in the trains, European and African sit side by side, though it is to be observed that as a rule, should another seat be free, neither gets in where the other is. As for hopes of encouraging any degree of amalgamation, these[page 322] are vain indeed. A mechanical mixture is all that can be hoped for: nothing more is possible. A few French people have embraced Islám for worldly aims, and it is popularly believed by the natives that in England thousands are accepting Mohammed.

The mosques of Tunis are less numerous than those of Fez, but do not differ greatly from them except in the inferior quality of the tile-work, and in the greater use of stone for the arches and towers. The latter are of the Moorish square shape, but some, if not all, are ascended by steps, instead of by inclined planes. The mosques, with the exception of that at Kaïrwán—the most holy, strange to say—are as strictly forbidden to Europeans and Jews as in Morocco, and screens are put up before the doors as in Tangier.

The Moors are very well known in Tunis, so many of them, passing through from Mekka on the Hajj, have been prevented from getting home by quarantine or lack of funds. Clad as a Moor myself, I was everywhere recognized as from that country, and was treated with every respect, being addressed as "Amm el Háj" ("Uncle Pilgrim"), having my shoulders and hands kissed in orthodox fashion. There are several cafés where Morocco men are to be met with by the score. One feature of this cosmopolitan city is that there are distinct cafés for almost every nation represented here except the English.

The Arabs of Morocco are looked upon as great thieves, but the Sûsis have the highest reputation for honesty. Not only are all the gate-keepers of the city from that distant province, but also those of the most important stores and houses, as well as[page 323] of the railway-stations, and many are residents in the town. The chief snake-charmers and story-tellers also hail from Sûs.

The veneration for Mulai Táïb of Wazzán, from whom the shareefs of that place are descended, is great, and the Aïsáwa, hailing from Mequinez, are to be met with all along this coast; they are especially strong at Kaïrwán. In Tunis, as also in Algeria and Tripoli, the comparative absence of any objection to having pictures taken of human beings, which is an almost insurmountable hindrance in Morocco, again allowed me to use my kodak frequently, but I found that the Jews had a strong prejudice against portraits.

The points in which the domestic usages of Tunisia differ from those of Morocco are the more striking on account of the remarkably minute resemblance, if not absolute identity, of so very many others, and as the novelty of the innovations wears off, it is hard to realize that one is not still in the "Far West."

In a native household of which I found myself temporarily a member, it was the wholesale assimilation of comparatively trivial foreign matters which struck me. Thus, for instance, as one of the sons of my host remarked—though he was dressed in a manner which to most travellers would have appeared exclusively oriental—there was not a thing upon him which was not French. Doubtless a closer examination of his costume would have shown that some of the articles only reached him through French hands, but the broad fact remained that they were all foreign. It is in this way that the more civilized countries show a strong and increasing tendency to[page 324] develop into nations of manufacturers, with their gigantic workshops forcing the more backward, nolens volens, to relapse to the more primitive condition of producers of raw material only.

There was, of course, a time when every garment such a man would have worn would have been of native manufacture, without having been in any feature less complete, less convenient, or less artistic than his present dress. In many points, indeed, there is a distinct loss in the more modern style, especially in the blending of colours, while it is certain that in no point has improvement been made. My friend, for instance, had the addition, common there, of a pair of striped merino socks, thrust into a pair of rubber-soled tennis shoes. Underneath he wore a second pair of socks, and said that in winter he added a third. Above them was not much bare leg, for the pantaloons are cut there so as often to reach right down to the ankles. This is necessitated by the custom of raising the mattresses used for seats on divans, and by sitting at table on European chairs with the legs dangling in the cold. The turban has nothing of the gracefulness of its Moorish counterpart, being often of a dirty-green silk twisted into a rope, and then bound round the head in the most inelegant fashion, sometimes showing the head between the coils; they are not folds. Heads are by no means kept so carefully shaved as in Morocco, and I have seen hair which looked as though only treated with scissors, and that rarely.

The fashion for all connected with the Government to wear European dress, supplemented by the "Fez" (fortunately not the Turkish style), brings[page 325] about most absurd anomalies. This is especially observable in the case of the many very stout individuals who waddle about like ducks in their ungainly breeches. I was glad to find on visiting the brother of the late Bey that he retained the correct costume, though the younger members of his family and all his attendants were in foreign guise. The Bey himself received me in the frock-coat with pleated skirt, favoured by his countrymen the Turks.


Albert, Photo., Tunis.


The Mohammedan women seen in the streets generally wear an elegant fine silk and wool haïk over a costume culminating in a peaked cap, the face being covered—all but the eyes—by two black handkerchiefs, awful to behold, like the mask of a stage villain. More stylish women wear a larger veil, which they stretch out on either side in front of them with their hands. They seem to think nothing of sitting in a railway carriage opposite a man and chatting gaily with him. I learn from an English lady resident in Tunis that the indoor costume of the women is much that of the Jewesses out of doors—extraordinary indeed. It is not every day that one meets ladies in the street in long white drawers, often tight, and short jackets, black or white, but this is the actual walking dress of the Jewish ladies of Tunis.

[page 326]



"Every sheep hangs by her own legs."

Moorish Proverb.

When, after an absence of twenty months, I found myself in Tripoli, although far enough from Morocco, I was still amid familiar sights and sounds which made it hard to realize that I was not in some hitherto unvisited town of that Empire. The petty differences sank to naught amid the wonderful resemblances. It was the Turkish element alone which was novel, and that seemed altogether out of place, foreign as it is to Africa. There was something quite incongruous in the sight of those ungainly figures in their badly fitting, quasi-European black coats and breeches, crowned with tall and still more ungainly red caps. The Turks are such an inferior race to the Berbers and Arabs that it is no wonder that they are despised by the natives. They appear much more out of place than do the Europeans, who remain, as in Morocco, a class by themselves. To see a Turk side by side with a white-robed native at prayer in a mosque is too ridiculous, and to see him eating like a wild man of the woods! Even the governor, a benign old gentleman, looked very undignified in his shabby European surroundings, after the important[page 327] appearance of the Moorish functionaries in their flowing robes. The sentinels at the door seemed to have been taught to imitate the wooden salute of the Germans, which removes any particle of grace which might have remained in spite of their clumsy dress. It is a strange sight to see them selling their rations of uninviting bread in the market to buy something more stimulating. They squat behind a sack on the ground as the old women do in Tangier. These are the little things reminding one that Tripoli is but a Turkish dependency.

We may complain of the Moorish customs arrangements, but from my own experience, and from what others tell me, I should say that here is worse still. Not only were our things carefully overhauled, but the books had to be examined, as a result of which process Arabic works are often confiscated, either going in or out. The confusing lack of a monetary system equals anything even in southern Morocco, between which and this place the poor despised "gursh" turns up as a familiar link, not to be met with between Casablanca and Tripoli.

Perhaps the best idea of the town for those readers acquainted with Morocco will be to call it a large edition of Casablanca. The country round is flat, the streets are on the whole fairly regular, and wider than the average in this part of the world. Indeed, carriages are possible, though not throughout the town. A great many more flying arches are thrown across the streets than we are accustomed to further west, but upper storeys are rare. The paving is of the orthodox Barbary style.

The Tripolitan mosques are of a very different[page 328] style from those of Morocco, the people belonging to a different sect—the Hánafis—Moors, Algerines and Tunisians being of the more rigorous Málikis. Instead of the open courtyard surrounded by a colonnade, here they have a perfectly closed interior roofed with little domes, and lighted by barred windows. The walls are adorned with inferior tiles, mostly European, and the floors are carpeted. Round the walls hang cheap glazed texts from the Korán, and there is a general appearance of tawdry display which is disappointing after the chaste adornment of the finer Moorish mosques, or even the rude simplicity of the poorer ones. Orders may be obtained to view these buildings, of which it is hardly necessary to say I availed myself, in one case ascending also the minaret. These minarets are much less substantial than those of Morocco, being octangular, with protruding stone balconies in something of the Florentine style, reached by winding stairs. The exteriors are whitewashed, the balconies being tiled, and the cupolas painted green. Lamps are hung out at certain feasts. As for the voice of the muédhdhin, it must be fairly faint, since during the week I was there I never heard it. In Morocco this would have been an impossibility.

The language, though differing in many minor details from that employed in Morocco, presents no difficulty to conversation, but it was sometimes necessary to try a second word to explain myself. The differences are chiefly in the names of common things in daily use, and in common adjectives. The music was identical with what we know in the "Far West." Religious strictness is much less than in[page 329] Morocco, the use of intoxicants being fairly general in the town, the hours of prayer less strictly kept, and the objection to portraits having vanished. There seemed fewer women in the streets than in Morocco, but those who did appear were for the most part less covered up; there was nothing new in the way the native women were veiled, only one eye being shown—I do not now take the foreign Turks into account.

In the streets the absence of the better-class natives is most noticeable; one sees at once that Tripoli is not an aristocratic town like Fez, Tetuan, or Rabat. The differences which exist between the costumes observed and those of Morocco are almost entirely confined to the upper classes. The poor and the country people would be undistinguishable in a Moorish crowd. Among the townsfolk stockings and European shoes are common, but there are no native slippers to equal those of Morocco, and yellow ones are rare. I saw no natives riding in the town; though in the country it must be more common. The scarcity of four-footed beasts of burden is noticeable after the crowded Moorish thoroughfares.

On the whole there is a great lack of the picturesque in the Tripoli streets, and also of noise. The street cries are poor, being chiefly those of vegetable hawkers, and one misses the striking figure of the water-seller, with his tinkling bell and his cry.

The houses and shops are much like those of Morocco, so far as exteriors go, and so are the interiors of houses occupied by Europeans. The only native house to which I was able to gain access was furnished in the worst possible mixture[page 330] of European and native styles to be found in many Jewish houses in Morocco, but from what I gleaned from others this was no exception to the rule.

Unfortunately the number of grog-shops is unduly large, with all their attendant evils. The wheeled vehicles being foreign, claim no description, though the quaintness of the public ones is great. Palmetto being unknown, the all-pervading halfah fibre takes its place for baskets, ropes, etc. The public ovens are very numerous, and do not differ greatly from the Moorish, except in being more open to the street. The bread is much less tempting; baked in small round cakes, varnished, made yellow with saffron, and sprinkled with gingelly seed. Most of the beef going alive to Malta, mutton is the staple animal food; vegetables are much the same as in Morocco.

The great drawback to Tripoli is its proximity to the desert, which, after walking through a belt of palms on the land side of the town—itself built on a peninsula—one may see rolling away to the horizon. The gardens and palm groves are watered by a peculiar system, the precious liquid being drawn up from the wells by ropes over pulleys, in huge leather funnels of which the lower orifice is slung on a level with the upper, thus forming a bag. The discharge is ingeniously accomplished automatically by a second rope over a lower pulley, the two being pulled by a bullock walking down an incline. The lower lip being drawn over the lower pulley, releases the water when the funnel reaches the top.

The weekly market, Sôk et-Thláthah, held on the sands, is much as it would be in the Gharb el[page 331] Jawáni, as Morocco is called in Tripoli. The greater number of Blacks is only natural, especially when it is noted that hard by they have a large settlement.


Photograph by G. Michell, Esq.


It would, of course, be possible to enter into a much more minute comparison, but sufficient has been said to give a general idea of Tripoli to those who know something of Morocco, without having entered upon a general description of the place. From what I saw of the country people, I have no doubt that further afield the similarity between them and the people of central and southern Morocco, to whom they are most akin, would even be increased.

[page 332]



"Every one buries his mother as he likes."

Moorish Proverb.

I. First Impressions.

Much as I had been prepared by the accounts of others to observe the prevalence of Moorish remains in the Peninsula, I was still forcibly struck at every turn by traces of their influence upon the country, especially in what was their chief home there, Andalucia. Though unconnected with these traces, an important item in strengthening this impression is the remarkable similarity between the natural features of the two countries. The general contour of the surface is the same on either side of the straits for a couple of hundred miles; the same broad plains, separated by low ranges of hills, and crossed by sluggish, winding streams, fed from distant snow-capped mountains, and subject to sudden floods. The very colours of the earth are the same in several regions, the soil being of that peculiar red which gives its name to the Blád Hamrá ("Red Country") near Marrákesh. This is especially observable in the vicinity of Jeréz, and again at Granáda, where one feels almost in[page 333] Morocco again. Even the colour of the rugged hills and rocks is the same, but more of the soil is cultivated than in any save the grain districts of Morocco.

The vegetation is strikingly similar, the aloe and the prickly pear, the olive and the myrtle abounding, while from the slight glimpses I was able to obtain of the flora, the identity seems also to be continued there. Yet all this, though interesting to the observer, is not to be wondered at. It is our habit of considering the two lands as if far apart, because belonging to separate continents, which leads us to expect a difference between countries divided only by a narrow gap of fourteen miles or less, but one from whose formation have resulted most important factors in the world's history.

The first striking reminders of the Moorish dominion are the names of Arabic origin. Some of the most noteworthy are Granáda (Gharnátah), Alcazar (El Kasar), Arjona (R'honah), Gibraltar (Gibel Tárik), Trafalgár (Tarf el Gharb, "West Point"), Medinah (Madînah, "Town"), Algeciras (El Jazîrah, "The Island"), Guadalquivir (Wád el Kebeer—so pronounced in Spain—"The Great River"), Mulahacen (Mulai el Hasan), Alhama (El Hama, "The Hot Springs"), and numberless others which might be mentioned, including almost every name beginning with "Al."

The rendering of these old Arabic words into Spanish presents a curious proof of the changes which the pronunciation of the Spanish alphabet has undergone during the last four centuries. To obtain anything like the Arabic sound it is necessary to give the letters precisely the same[page 334] value as in English, with the exception of pronouncing "x" as "sh." Thus the word "alhaja," in everyday use—though unrecognizable as heard from the lips of the modern Castilian, "aláha,"—is nothing but the Arabic "el hájah," with practically the same meaning in the plural, "things" or "goods." To cite more is unnecessary. The genuine pronunciation is still often met with among Jews of Morocco who have come little in contact with Spaniards, and retain the language of their ancestors when expelled from the Peninsula, as also in Spanish America.

The Spanish language is saturated with corrupted Arabic, at all events so far as nouns are concerned. The names of families also are frequently of Arabic origin, as, for instance, Alarcos (Er-Rakkás—"the courier"), Alhama, etc., most of which are to be met with more in the country than in the towns, while very many others, little suspected as such, are Jewish. Although when the most remarkable of nations was persecuted and finally expelled from Spain, a far larger proportion nobly sacrificed their all rather than accept the bauble religion offered them by "The Catholic Kings" (King and Queen), they also have left their mark, and many a noble family could, if it would, trace its descent from the Jews. Some of their synagogues are yet standing, notably at Toledo—whence the many Toledános,—built by Samuel Levy, who was secretary to Don Pedro the Cruel. This was in 1336, a century and a half before the Moors were even conquered, much less expelled, and if the sons of Ishmael have left their mark upon that sunny land, so have the sons of[page 335] Israel, though in a far different manner. Morocco has ever since been the home of the descendants of a large proportion of the exiles.

The Spanish physiognomy, not so much of the lower as of the upper classes, is strikingly similar to that of the mountaineers of Morocco, and these include some of the finest specimens. The Moors of to-day are of too mingled a descent to present any one distinct type of countenance, and it is the same with the Spaniards. So much of the blood of each flows in the veins of the other, that comparison is rendered more difficult. It is a well-known fact that several of the most ancient families in the kingdom can trace their descent from Mohammedans. A leading instance of this is the house of Mondéjar, lords of Granáda from the time of its conquest, as the then head of the house, Sidi Yahia, otherwise Don Pedro de Granáda, had become a Christian. In the Generalife at that town, still in the custody of the same family, is a genealogical tree tracing its origin right back to the Goths!*

Next to physiognomy come habits and customs, and of these there are many which have been borrowed, or rather retained, from the Moors, especially in the country. The ploughs, the water-mills, the water-wheels, the irrigation, the treading out of the corn, the weaving of coarse cloth, and many other daily sights, from their almost complete similarity, remind one of Morocco. The bread-shops they call "tahônas," unaware that this is the Arabic for a flour-mill; their water-wheels they still call by their Arabic name, "naôrahs," and it is[page 336] the same with their pack-saddles, "albardas" (bardah). The list might be extended indefinitely, even from such common names as these.

The salutations of the people seem literal translations of those imported from the Orient, such as I am not aware of among other Europeans. What, for instance, is "Dios guarda Vd." ("God keep you"), said at parting, but the "Allah îhannak" of Morocco, or "se lo passe bien," but "B'is-salámah" ("in peace!"). More might be cited, but to those unacquainted with Arabic they would be of little interest.

Then, again, the singing of the country-folk in southern Spain has little to distinguish it from that indulged in by most Orientals. The same sing-song drawl with numerous variations is noticeable throughout. Once a more civilized tune gets among these people for a few months, its very composer would be unlikely to recognize its prolongations and lazy twists.

The narrow, tortuous streets of the old towns once occupied by the invaders take one back across the straits, and the whole country is covered with spots which, apart from any remains of note, are associated by record or legend with anecdotes from that page of Spanish history. Here it is the "Sigh of the Moor," the spot from which the last Ameer of Andalucia gazed in sorrow on the capital that he had lost; there it is a cave (at Criptana) where the Moors found refuge when their power in Castile was broken; elsewhere are the chains (in Toledo) with which the devotees of Islám chained their Christian captives.

In addition to this, the hills of a great part[page 337] of Spain are dotted with fortresses of "tabia" (rammed earth concrete) precisely such as are occupied still by the country kaïds of Morocco; and by the wayside are traces of the skill exercised in bringing water underground from the hills beyond Marrákesh. How many church towers in Spain were built for the call of the muédhdhin, and how many houses had their foundations laid for hareems! In the south especially such are conspicuous from their design. To crown all stand the palaces and mosques of Córdova, Sevílle, and Granáda, not to mention minor specimens.

When we talk of the Moors in Spain, we often forget how nearly we were enabled to speak also of the Moors in France. Their brave attempts to pass that natural barrier, the Pyrenees, find a suitable monument in the perpetual independence of the wee republic of Andorra, whose inhabitants so successfully stemmed the tide of invasion. The story of Charles Martel, too, the "Hammer" who broke the Muslim power in that direction, is one of the most important in the history of Europe. What if the people who were already levying taxes in the districts of Narbonne and Nîmes had found as easy a victory over the vineyards of southern France, as they had over those of Spain? Where would they have stopped? Would they ever have been driven out, or would St. Paul's have been a second Kûtûbîya, and Westminster a Karûeeïn? God knows!

* Andalucia is but a corruption of Vandalucia.

[page 338]

II. Córdova

The earliest notable monument of Moorish dominion in Andalucia still existing is the famous mosque of Córdova, now deformed into a cathedral. Its erection occupied the period from 786 to 796 of the Christian era, and it is said that it stands on the site of a Gothic church erected on the ruins of a still earlier temple dedicated to Janus. Portions, however, have been added since that date, as inscriptions on the walls record, and the European additions date from 1521, when, notwithstanding the protests of the people of Córdova, the bishops obtained permission from Charles V. to rear the present quasi-Gothic structure in its central court. The disgust and anger which the lover of Moorish architecture—or art of any sort—feels for the name of "Carlos quinto," as at point after point hideous additions to the Moorish remains are ascribed to that conceited monarch, are somewhat tempered for once by the record that even he repented when he saw the result of his permission in this instance. "You have built here," he said, "what you might have built anywhere, and in doing so you have spoiled what was unique in the world!" In each of the three great centres of Moorish rule, Sevílle, Granáda and Córdova, the same hand is responsible for outrageous modern erections in the midst of hoary monuments of eastern art, carefully inscribed with their author's name, as "Cæsar the Emperor, Charles the Fifth."

The Córdova Mosque, antedated only by those of Old Cairo and Kaïrwán, is a forest of marble[page 339] pillars, with a fine court to the west, surrounded by an arcade, and planted with orange trees and palms, interspersed with fountains. Nothing in Morocco can compare with it save the Karûeeïn mosque at Fez, built a century later, but that building is too low, and the pillars are for the most part mere brick erections, too short to afford the elegance which here delights. This is grand in its simplicity; nineteen aisles of slightly tapering columns of beautiful marbles, jasper or porphyry, about nine feet in height, supporting long vistas of flying horse-shoe arches, of which the stones are now coloured alternately yellow and red, though probably intended to be all pure white. Other still more elegant scolloped arches, exquisitely decorated by carving the plaster, spring between alternate pillars, and from arch to arch, presumably more modern work.

The aisles are rather over twenty feet in width, and the thirty-three cross vaultings about half as much, while the height of the roof is from thirty to forty feet. In all, the pillars number about 500, though frequently stated to total 850 out of an original 1419, but it is difficult to say where all these can be, since the sum of 33 by 19 is only 627, and a deduction has to be made for the central court, in which stands the church or choir. Since these notes were first published, in 1890, I have seen it disputed between modern impressionist writers which of them first described the wonderful scene as a palm grove, a comparison of which I had never heard when I wrote, but the wonder to me would be if any one could attempt to picture the scene without making use of it.

[page 340]

Who but a nation of nomads, accustomed to obey the call to prayer beneath the waving branches of African and Arabian palm-groves, would have dreamed of raising such a House of God? Unless for the purpose of supporting a wide and solid roof, or of dividing the centre into the form of a cross, what other ecclesiastical architects would have conceived the idea of filling a place of worship with pillars or columns? No one who has walked in a palm-grove can fail to be struck by the resemblance to it of this remarkable mosque. The very tufted heads with their out-curving leaves are here reproduced in the interlacing arches, and with the light originally admitted by the central court and the great doors, the present somewhat gloomy area would have been bright and pleasant as a real grove, with its bubbling fountains, and the soothing sound of trickling streams. I take the present skylights to be of modern construction, as I never saw such a device in a Moorish building.

Most of the marble columns are the remains of earlier erections, chiefly Roman, like the bridge over the Guadalquivir close by, restored by the builder of the mosque. Some, indeed, came from Constantinople, and others were brought from the south of France. They are neither uniform in height nor girth—some having been pieced at the bottom, and others partly buried;—so also with the capitals, certain of which are evidently from the same source as the pillars, while the remainder are but rude imitations, mostly Corinthian in style. The original expenses of the building were furnished by a fifth of the booty taken from the Spaniards, with the subsidies raised in Catalonia and Narbonne. The[page 341] Moors supplied voluntary, and European captives forced labour.



On Fridays, when the Faithful met in thousands for the noon-day prayer, what a sight and what a melody! The deep, rich tones of the organ may add impressiveness to a service of worship, but there is nothing in the world so grand, so awe-inspiring as the human voice. When a vast body of males repeats the formulæ of praise, together, but just slightly out of time, the effect once heard is never forgotten. I have heard it often, and as I walk these aisles I hear it ringing in my ears, and can picture to myself a close-packed row of white-robed figures between each pillar, and rows from end to end between, all standing, stooping, or forehead on earth, as they follow the motions of the leader before them. A grand sight it is, whatever may be one's opinion of their religion. In the manner they sit on the matted floors of their mosques there would be room here for thirteen thousand without using the Orange Court, and there is little doubt that on days when the Court attended it used to be filled to its utmost.

To the south end of the cathedral the floor of two wide aisles is raised on arches, exactly opposite the niche which marks the direction of Mekka, and the space above is more richly decorated than any other portion of the edifice except the niche itself. This doubtless formed the spot reserved for the Ameer and his Court, screened off on three sides to prevent the curiosity of the worshippers overcoming their devotion, as is still arranged in the mosques which the Sultan of Morocco attends in his capitals. Until a few years ago this rich[page 342] work in arabesque and tiles was hidden by plaster.

The kiblah niche is a gem of its kind. It consists of a horse-shoe arch, the face of which is ornamented with gilded glass mosaic, forming the entrance to a semi-circular recess beautifully adorned with arabesques and inscriptions, the top of the dome being a large white marble slab hollowed out in the form of a pecten shell. The wall over the entrance is covered with texts from the Korán, forming an elegant design, and on either side are niches of lesser merit, but serving to set off the central one which formed the kiblah. Eleven centuries have elapsed since the hands of the workmen left it, and still it stands a witness of the pitch of art attained by the Berbers in Spain.

It is said that here was deposited a copy of the Korán written by Othmán himself, and stained with his blood, of such a size that two men could hardly lift it. When, for a brief period, the town fell into the hands of Alfonso VII., his soldiers used the mosque as a stable, and tore up this valuable manuscript. When a Moorish Embassy was sent to Madrid some years ago, the members paid a visit to this relic of the greatness of their forefathers, and to the astonishment of the custodians, having returned to the court-yard to perform the required ablutions, re-entered, slippers in hand, to go through the acts of worship as naturally as if at home. What a strange sight for a Christian cathedral! Right in front of the niche is a plain marble tomb with no sign but a plain bar dexter. Evidently supposing this to be the resting-place of some saint of their own persuasion, they made the[page 343] customary number of revolutions around it. It would be interesting to learn from their lips what their impressions were.

Of the tower which once added to the imposing appearance of the building, it is recorded that it had no rival in height known to the builders. It was of stone, and, like one still standing in Baghdád from the days of Harûn el Rasheed, had two ways to the top, winding one above the other, so that those who ascended by the one never met those descending by the other. According to custom it was crowned by three gilded balls, and it had fourteen windows. This was of considerably later date than the mosque itself, but has long been a thing of the past.

The European additions to the Córdova mosque are the choir, high altar, etc., which by themselves would make a fine church, occupying what must have been originally a charming court, paved with white marble and enlivened by fountains; the tower, built over the main entrance, opening into the Court of Oranges; and a score or two of shrines with iron railings in front round the sides, containing altars, images, and other fantastic baubles to awe the ignorant. An inscription in the tower records that it was nearly destroyed by the earth-quake of 1755, and though it is the least objectionable addition, it is a pity that it did not fall on that or some subsequent occasion. It was raised on the ruins of its Moorish predecessor in 1593. The chief entrance, like that of Sevílle, is a curious attempt to blend Roman architecture with Mauresque, having been restored in 1377, but the result is not bad. Recent "restorations" are observable[page 344] in some parts of the mosque, hideous with colour, but a few of the original beams are still visible. I am inclined to consider the greater part of the roof modern, but could not inspect it closely enough to be certain. Though vaulted inside, it is tiled in ridges in the usual Moorish style, but very few green tiles are to be seen.

From the tower the view reminds one strongly of Morocco. The hills to the north and south, with the river winding close to the town across the fertile plain, give the scene a striking resemblance to that from the tower of the Spanish consulate at Tetuan. All around are the still tortuous streets of a Moorish town, though the roofs of the houses are tiled in ridges of Moorish pattern, as those of Tangier were when occupied by the English two hundred years ago, and as those of El K'sar are now.

The otherwise Moorish-looking building at one's feet is marred by the unsightly erection in the centre, and its court-yard seems to have degenerated into a play-ground, where the neighbours saunter or fill pitchers from the fountains.

After enduring the apparently unceasing din of the bells in those erstwhile stations of the muédhdhin, one ceases to wonder that the lazy Moors have such a detestation for them, and make use instead of the stirring tones of the human voice. Rest and quiet seem impossible in their vicinity, for their jarring is simply head-splitting. And as if they were not excruciating enough, during "Holy Week" they conspire against the ear-drums of their victims by revolving a sort of infernal machine made of wood in the form of a hollow cross, with[page 345] four swinging hammers on each arm which strike against iron plates as the thing goes round. The keeper's remark that the noise was awful was superfluous.

The history of the town of Córdova has been as chequered as that of most Andalucian cities. Its foundation is shrouded in obscurity. The Romans and Vandals had in turn been its masters before the Moors wrested it from the Spaniards in the year 710 a.d. Though the Spaniards regained possession of it in 1075, it was not for long, as it soon fell into the hands of the invaders once more. The Spanish victors only left a Moorish viceroy in charge, who proved too true a Berber to serve against his countrymen, so he betrayed his trust. In 1236 it was finally recovered by the Spaniards, after five hundred and twenty-four years of Moorish rule. Since that time the traces of that epoch of its history have been gradually disappearing, till there only remain the mutilated mosque, and portions of the ancient palace, or of saint-houses (as the side-chapel of the Church of St. Miguel), and of a few dwellings. Since the first train steamed to this ancient city, in 1859, the railway has probably brought as many pilgrims to the mosque as ever visited it from other motives in its greatest days.

The industry founded here by the Moors—that of tanning—which has given its name to a trade in several countries,* seems to have gone with them to Morocco, for though many of the old tan-pits still exist by the river side, no leather of any repute is now produced here. The Moorish[page 346] water-mills are yet at work though, having been repaired and renewed on the original model. These, as at Granáda and other places, are horizontal wheels worked from a small spout above, directly under the mill-stone, such as is met with in Fez and Tetuan.

* Sp. cordován, Fr. cordonnier, Eng. cordwainer, etc.

III. Sevílle

In the Girálda tower of Sevílle I expected to find a veritable Moorish trophy in the best state of preservation, open to that minute inspection which was impossible in the only complete specimen of such a tower, the Kutûbîya, part of a mosque still in use. Imagine, then, my regret on arriving at the foot of that venerable monument, to find it "spick and span," as if just completed, looking new and tawdry by the side of the cathedral which has replaced the mosque it once adorned. Instead of the hoary antiquity to which the rich deep colour of the stone of the sister towers in Morocco bears witness in their weather-beaten glory, this one, built, above the first few stone courses, of inch pan-tiles, separated by a like thickness of mortar, has the appearance of having been newly pointed and rubbed down, while faded frescoes on the walls testify to the barbarity of the conquerors of the "barbarians."

The delicate tracery in hewn stone which adds so greatly to the beauty of the Morocco and Tlemçen examples, is almost entirely lacking, while the once tasteful horse-shoe windows are now pricked out in red and yellow, with a hideous modern balcony of white stone before each. The[page 347] quasi-Moorish belfry is the most pardonable addition, but to crown all is an exhibition of incongruity which has no excuse. The original tile-faced turret of the Moors, with its gilded balls, has actually been replaced by a structure of several storeys, the first of which is Doric, the second Ionic, and the third Corinthian. Imagine this crowning the comely severity of the solid Moorish structure without a projecting ornament! But this is not all. Swinging in gaunt uneasiness over the whole, stands a huge revolving statue, supposed to represent Faith, holding out in one hand a shield which catches the wind, and causes it to act as a weather-vane.

Such is the Girálda of the twentieth century, and the guide-books are full of praises for the restorer, who doubtless deserves great credit for his skill in repairing the tower after it had suffered severely from lightning, but who might have done more towards restoring the original design, at all events in the original portion. We read in "Raôd el Kártás" that the mosque was finished and the tower commenced in 1197, during the reign of Mulai Yakûb el Mansûr, who commenced its sisters at Marrákesh and Rabat in the same year. One architect is recorded to have designed all three—indeed, they have little uncommon in their design, and have been once almost alike. Some assert that this man was a Christian, but there is nothing in the style of building to favour such a supposition.

The plan is that of all the mosque towers of Morocco, and the only tower of a mosque in actual use which I have ascended in that country—one at Mogador—was just a miniature of this. It is, therefore, in little else than point of size that these[page 348] three are remarkable. The similarity between these and the recently fallen tower of St. Mark's at Venice is most striking, both in design and in the method of ascent by an inclined plane; while around the Italian lakes are to be seen others of less size, but strongly resembling these.

All three are square, and consist of six to eight storeys in the centre, with thick walls and vaulted roof, surrounded by an inclined plane from base to summit, at an angle which makes it easy walking, and horses have been ridden up. The unfinished Hassan Tower at Rabat having at one time become a place of evil resort, the reigning ameer ordered the way up to be destroyed, but it was found so hard that only the first round was cut away, and the door bricked up. Each ramp of the Girálda, if I remember rightly, has its window, but in the Hassan many are without light, though at least every alternate one has a window, some of these being placed at the corner to serve for two, while here they are always in the centre. The Girálda proper contains seven of these storeys, with thirty-five ramps. To the top of the eighth storey, which is the first addition, dating from the sixteenth century, now used as a belfry, the height is about 220 feet. The present total height is a little over 300 feet.

The original turret of the Girálda, similar to that at Marrákesh, was destroyed in 1396 by a hurricane. The additions were finished in 1598. An old view, still in existence, and dating from the thirteenth century, shows it in its pristine glory, and there is another—Moorish—as old as the tower itself.

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After all that I had read and heard of the palace at Sevílle, I was more disappointed than even in the case of the Girálda. Not only does it present nothing imposing in the way of Moorish architecture, but it has evidently been so much altered by subsequent occupants as to have lost much of its original charm. To begin with the outside, instead of wearing the fine crumbling appearance of the palaces of Morocco or Granáda, this also had been all newly plastered till it looks like a work of yesterday, and coloured a not unbecoming red. Even the main entrance has a Gothic inscription half way up, and though its general aspect is that of Moorish work, on a closer inspection, the lower part at least is seen to be an imitation, as in many ways the unwritten laws of that style have been widely departed from. The Gothic inscription states that Don Pedro I. built it in 1364.

Inside, the general ground plan remains much as built, but connecting doorways have been opened where Moors never put them, and with the exception of the big raised tank in the corner, there is nothing African about the garden. Even the plan has been in places destroyed to obtain rooms of a more suitable width for the conveniences of European life. The property is a portion of the Royal patrimony, and is from time to time occupied by the reigning sovereign when visiting Sevílle. A marble tablet in one of these rooms tells of a queen having been born there during the last century.

Much of the ornamentation on the walls is of course original, as well as some of the ceilings and doors, but the "restorations" effected at various[page 350] epochs have greatly altered the face of things. Gaudy colours show up both walls and ceilings, but at the same time greatly detract from their value, besides which there are coarse imitations of the genuine tile-work, made in squares, with lines in relief to represent the joints, as well as patterns painted on the plaster to fill up gaps in the designs. Then, too, the most prominent parts of the ornamentation have been disfigured by the interposition of Spanish shields and coats-of-arms on tiles. The border round the top of the dado is alternated with these all the way round some of the rooms. To crown all, certain of the fine old doors, resembling a wooden patchwork, have been "restored" with plaster-of-Paris. Some of the arabesques which now figure on these walls were actually pillaged from the Alhambra.

Many of the Arabic inscriptions have been pieced so as to render them illegible, and some have been replaced upside down, while others tell their own tale, for they ascribe glory and might to a Spanish sovereign, Don Pedro the Cruel, instead of to a "Leader of the Faithful." A reference to the history of the country tells us that this ruler "reconstructed" the palace of the Moors, while later it was repaired by Don Juan II., before Ferdinand and Isabella built their oratories within its precincts, or Charles V., with his mania for "improving" these monuments of a foreign dominion, doubled it in size. For six centuries this work, literally of spoliation, has been proceeding in the hands of successive owners; what other result than that arrived at, could be hoped for?

When this is realized, the greater portion of[page 351] the historic value of this palace vanishes, and its original character as a Moorish palace is seen to have almost disappeared. There still, however, remains the indisputable fact, apparent from what does remain of the work of its builders, that it was always a work of art and a trophy of the skill of its designers, those who have interfered with it subsequently having far from improved it.

According to Arab historians, the foundations of this palace were laid in 1171 a.d. and it was reconstructed between 1353 and 1364. In 1762 a fire did considerable damage, which was not repaired till 1805. The inscriptions are of no great historical interest. "Wa lá ghálib ílá Allah"—"there is none victorious but God"—abounds here, as at the Alhambra, and there are some very neat specimens of the Kufic character.

Of Moorish Sevílle, apart from the Girálda and the Palace—El Kasar, corrupted into Alcazar—the only remains of importance are the Torre del Oro—Borj ed-Daheb—built in 1220 at the riverside, close to where the Moors had their bridge of boats, and the towers of the churches of SS. Marcos and Marina. Others there are, built in imitation of the older erections, often by Moorish architects, as those of the churches of Omnium Sanctorum, San Nicolas, Ermita de la Virgen, and Santa Catalina. Many private houses contain arches, pillars, and other portions of Moorish buildings which have preceded them, such as are also to be found in almost every town of southern Spain. As late as 1565 the town had thirteen gates more or less of Moorish origin, but these have all long since disappeared.

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Sevílle was one of the first cities to surrender to the Moors after the battle of Guadalete, a.d. 711, and remained in their hands till taken by St. Ferdinand after fifteen months' siege in 1248, six years after its inhabitants had thrown off their allegiance to the Emperor of Morocco, and formed themselves into a sort of republic, and ten years after the Moorish Kingdom of Granáda was founded. It then became the capital of Spain till Charles V. removed the Court to Valladolid.

IV. Granáda

"O Palace Red! From distant lands I have come to see thee, believing thee to be a garden in spring, but I have found thee as a tree in autumn. I thought to see thee with my heart full of joy, but instead my eyes have filled with tears."

So wrote in the visitors' album of the Alhambra, in 1876, an Arab poet in his native tongue, and another inscription in the same volume, written by a Moor some years before, remarks, "Peace be on thee, O Granáda! We have seen thee and admired thee, and have said, 'Praised be he who constructed thee, and may they who destroyed thee receive mercy.'"

As the sentiments of members of the race of its builders, these expressions are especially interesting; but they can hardly fail to be shared to some extent by visitors from eastern lands, of whatever nationality. Although the loveliest monument of Moorish art in Spain, and a specimen of their highest architectural skill, destructions, mutilations, and restorations have[page 353] wrought so much damage to it that it now stands, indeed, "as a tree in autumn." It was not those who conquered the Moors on whom mercy was implored by the writer quoted—for they, Ferdinand and Isabella, did their best to preserve their trophy—but on such of their successors as Charles V., who actually planted a still unfinished palace right among the buildings of this venerable spot, adjoining the remains of the Alhambra, part of which it has doubtless replaced.

This unartistic Austrian styled these remains "the ugly abominations of the Moors," and forthwith proceeded to erect really ugly structures. But the most unpardonable destroyers of all that the Moors left beautiful were, perhaps, the French, who in 1810 entered Granáda with hardly a blow, and under Sebastian practically desolated the palace. They turned it into barracks and storehouses, as inscriptions on its walls still testify—notably on the sills of the "Miranda de la Reina." Ere they left in 1812, they even went so far as to blow up eight of the towers, the remainder only escaping through the negligence of an employee, and the fuses were put out by an old Spanish soldier.

The Spaniards having thus regained possession, the commissioners appointed to look after it "sold everything for themselves, and then, like good patriots, reported that the invaders had left nothing." After a brief respite in the care of an old woman, who exhibited more sense in the matter than all the generals who had perpetrated such outrages upon it, the Alhambra was again desecrated by a new Governor, who used it as a store of salt fish for the galley slaves.

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While the old woman—Washington Irving's "Tia Antonia"—was in possession, that famous writer did more than any one to restore the ancient fame of the palace by coming to stay there, and writing his well-known account of his visit. Mr. Forde, and his friend Mr. Addington, the British Ambassador, helped to remind people of its existence, and saved what was left. Subsequent civil wars have, however, afforded fresh opportunities of injury to its hoary walls, and to-day it stands a mere wreck of what it once was.

The name by which these buildings are now known is but the adjective by which the Arabs described it, "El Hamra," meaning "The Red," because of its colour outside. When occupied it was known only as either "The Palace of Granáda," or "The Red Palace." The colour of the earth here is precisely that of the plains of Dukála and Marrákesh, and the buildings, being all constructed of tabia, are naturally of that colour. In no part of Spain could one so readily imagine one's self in Morocco; indeed, it is hard to realize that one is not there till the new European streets are reached. In the palace grounds, apart from the fine carriage-drive, with its seats and lamp-posts, when out of sight of the big hotels and other modern erections, the delusion is complete. Even in the town the running water and the wayside fountains take one back to Fez; and the channels underneath the pavements with their plugs at intervals are only Moorish ones repaired. On walking the crooked streets of the part which formed the town of four centuries ago, on every hand the names are Moorish. Here is the Kaisarîya, restored after a fire in[page 355] 1843; there is the street of the grain fandaks, and beyond is a hammám, now a dwelling-house.

The site of the chief mosque is now the cathedral, in the chief chapel of which are buried the conquerors of Granáda. There lie Ferdinand and Isabella in plain iron-bound leaden coffins—far from the least interesting sights of the place—in a spot full of memories of that contest which they considered the event of their lives, and which was indeed of such vital importance to the country. The inscription on their marble tomb in the church above tells how that the Moors having been conquered and heresy stamped out (?), that worthy couple took their rest. The very atmosphere of the place seems charged with reminiscences of the Moors and their successful foes, and here the spirits of Prescott and Gayangos, the historians, seem to linger still.

On either side of the high altar are extremely interesting painted carvings. On one is figured the delivering up of the Alhambra. Ferdinand, Isabella and Mendoza ride in a line, and the latter receives the key in his gloved hand as the conquered king offers him the ring end, followed by a long row of captives. Behind the victors ride their knights and dames. On the other the Moors and Mooresses are seen being christened wholesale by the monks, their dresses being in some respects remarkably correct in detail, but with glaring defects in others, just what might be expected from one whose acquaintance with them was recent but brief.

Before these carvings kneel real likenesses of the royal couple in wood, and on the massive[page 356] square tomb in front they repose in alabaster. A fellow-tomb by their side has been raised to the memory of their immediate successors. In the sacristry are to be seen the very robes of Cardinal Mendoza, and his missal, with the sceptre and jewel-case of Isabella, and the sword of Ferdinand, while that of the conquered Bû Abd Allah is on view elsewhere. Here, too, are the standards unfurled on the day of the recapture, January 2, 1492, and a picture full of interest, recording the adieux of "Boabdil" and Ferdinand, who, after their bitter contest, have shaken hands and are here falling on each other's necks.

As a model of Moorish art, the palace of Granáda, commenced in 1248, is a monument of its latest and most refined period. The heavy and comparatively simple styles of Córdova and Sevílle are here amplified and refined, the result being the acme of elegance and oriental taste. This I say from personal acquaintance with the temples of the far East, although those present a much more gorgeous appearance, and are much more costly erections, evincing a degree of architectural ability and the possession of hoards of wealth beside which what the builders of the Alhambra could boast of was insignificant; nor do I attempt to compare these interesting relics with the equally familiar immensity of ancient masonry, or with the magnificent work of the Middle Ages still existing in Europe. These monuments hold a place of their own, unique and unassailable. They are the mementoes of an era in the history of Europe, not only of the Peninsula, and the interest which attaches itself to them even on this score alone[page 357] is very great. As relics on a foreign soil, they have stood the storms of five centuries under the most trying circumstances, and the simplicity of their components lends an additional charm to the fabric. They are to a great extent composed of what are apparently the weakest materials—mud, gypsum, and wood; the marble and tiles are but adornments.

From without the appearance of the palace has been well described as that of "reddish cork models rising out of a girdle of trees." On a closer inspection the "cork" appears like red sandstone, and one wonders how it has stood even one good storm. There is none of that facing of stone which gives most other styles of architecture an appearance of durability, and whatever facing of plaster it may once have possessed has long since disappeared. But inside all is different. Instead of crumbling red walls, the courts and apartments are highly ornamented with what we now call plaster-of-Paris, but which the Moors have long prepared by roasting the gypsum in rude kilns, calling it "gibs."

A full description of each room or court-yard would better become a guide-book, and to those who have the opportunity of visiting the spot, I would recommend Ford's incomparable "Handbook to Spain," published by Murray, the older the edition the better. To those who can read Spanish, the "Estudio descriptivo de los Monumentos arabes," by the late Sr. Contreras (Government restorer of the Moorish remains in Spain), to be obtained in Granáda, is well worth reading. Such information as a visitor would need to correct the mistaken impressions of these and other writers[page 358] ignorant of Moorish usages as to the original purpose of the various apartments, I have embodied in Macmillan's "Guide to the Western Mediterranean."

Certain points, however, either for their architectural merit or historic interest, cannot be passed over. Such is the Court of the Lions, of part of which a model disfigured by garish painting may be seen at the Crystal Palace. In some points it is resembled by the chief court of the mosque of the Karûeeïn at Fez. In the centre is that strange departure from the injunctions of the Korán which has given its name to the spot, the alabaster fountain resting on the loins of twelve beasts, called, by courtesy, "lions." They remind one rather of cats. "Their faces barbecued, and their manes cut like the scales of a griffin, and the legs like bed-posts; a water-pipe stuck in their mouths does not add to their dignity." In the inscription round the basin above, among flowery phrases belauding the fountain, and suggesting that the work is so fine that it is difficult to distinguish the water from the alabaster, the spectator is comforted with the assurance that they cannot bite!

The court is surrounded by the usual tiled verandah, supported by one hundred and twenty-two light and elegant white marble pillars, the arches between which show some eleven different forms. At each end is a portico jutting out from the verandahs, and four cupolas add to the appearance of the roofs. The length of the court is twice its width, which is sixty feet, and on each side lies a beautiful decorated apartment with the unusual additions of jets of water from the floor in the[page 359] centre of each, as also before each of the three doors apiece of the long narrow Moorish rooms, and under the two porticoes. The overflows, instead of being hidden pipes, are channels in the marble pavement, for the Moors were too great lovers of rippling water to lose the opportunity as we cold-blooded northerners would.

To fully realize the delights of such a place one must imagine it carpeted with the products of Rabat, surrounded by soft mattresses piled with cushions, and with its walls hung with a dado of dark-coloured felt cloths of various colours, interworked to represent pillars and arches such as surround the gallery, and showing up the beautiful white of the marble by contrast. Thus furnished—in true Moorish style—the place should be visited on a hot summer's day, after a wearisome toil up the hill from the town. Then, lolling among the cushions, and listening to the splashing water, if strong sympathy is not felt with the builders of the palace, who thought it a paradise, the visitor ought never to have left his armchair by the fire-side at home.

If, instead of wasting money on re-plastering the walls until they look ready for papering, and then scratching geometrical designs upon them in a style no Moor ever dreamed of, the Spanish Government would entrust a Moor of taste to decorate it in his own native style, without the modern European additions, they would do far better and spend less. One step further, and the introduction of Moorish guides and caretakers who spoke Spanish—easy to obtain—would add fifty per cent. to the interest of the place. Then fancy the Christian and Muslim knights meeting in single combat on the plains beneath those[page 360] walls. People once more the knolls and pastures with the turban and the helm, fill in the colours of robe and plume; oh, what a picture it would make!

Doubtless similar apartments for the hareem exist in the recesses of the palaces of Fez, Mequinez, Marrákesh and Rabat. Some very fine work is to be seen in the comparatively public parts, in many respects equalling this, and certainly better than that of the palace of Sevílle. Various alterations and "restorations" have been effected from time to time in this as in other parts of the palace, notably in the fountain, the top part of which is modern. It is probable that originally there was only one basin, resting immediately on the "lions" below. Its date is given as 1477 a.d.

The room known for disputed reasons as the Hall of the Two Sisters was originally a bedroom. The entrance is one of the most elaborate in the palace, and its wooden ceiling, pieced to resemble stalactites, is a charming piece of work, as also are those of the other important rooms of the palace.

Another apartment opening out of the Court of Lions, known as the Hall of Justice—most likely in error—contains one of the most curious remains in the palace, another departure from the precepts of the religion professed by its builders. This is no less than a series of pictures painted on skins sewn together, glued and fastened to the wooden dome with tinned tacks, and covered with a fine coating of gypsum, the gilt parts being in relief. Though the date of their execution must have been in the fourteenth century, the colours are still clear and fresh. The picture in the centre of the three domes[page 361] is supposed by some to represent ten Moorish kings of Granáda, though it is more likely meant for ten wise men in council. On the other two ceilings are pictures, one of a lady holding a chained lion, on the point of being delivered from a man in skins by a European, who is afterwards slain by a mounted Moor. The other is of a boar-hunt and people drinking at a fountain, with a man up a tree in a dress which looks remarkably like that of the eighteenth century in England, wig and all. This work must have been that of some Christian renegade, though considerable discussion has taken place over the authorship. It is most likely that the lions are of similar origin, sculptured by some one who had but a remote idea of the king of the forest.

After the group of apartments surrounding the Court of the Lions, the most valuable specimen of Moorish architecture is that known as the Hall of the Ambassadors, probably once devoted to official interviews, as its name denotes. This is the largest room in the palace, occupying the upper floor in one of the massive towers which defended the citadel, overlooking the Vega and the remains of the camp-town of Santa Fé, built during the siege by the "Catholic Kings." The thickness of its walls is therefore immense, and the windows look like little tunnels; under it are dungeons. The hall is thirty-seven feet square, and no less than seventy-five feet high in the centre of the roof, which is not the original one. Some of the finest stucco wall decoration in the place is to be seen here, with elegant Arabic inscriptions, in the ancient style of ornamental writing known as Kufic, most of the instances of the latter meaning, "O God, to Thee be endless praise,[page 362] and thanks ascending." Over the windows are lines in cursive Arabic, ascribing victory and glory to the "leader of the resigned, our lord the father of the pilgrims" (Yûsef I.), with a prayer for his welfare, while everywhere is to be seen here, as in other parts, the motto, "and there is none victorious but God."

Between the two blocks already described lie the baths, the undressing-room of which has been very creditably restored by the late Sr. Contreras, and looks splendid. It is, in fact, a covered patio with the gallery of the next floor running round, and as no cloth hangings or carpets could be used here, the walls and floor are fully decorated with stucco and tiles. The inner rooms are now in fair condition, and are fitted with marble, though the boiler and pipes were sold long ago by a former "keeper" of the palace. The general arrangement is just the same as that of the baths in Morocco.

One room of the palace was fitted up by Ferdinand and Isabella as a chapel, the gilt ornaments of which look very gaudy by the side of the original Moorish work. Opening out of this is a little gem of a mosque, doubtless intended for the royal devotions alone, as it is too small for a company.

Surrounding the palace proper are several other buildings forming part of the Alhambra, which must not be overlooked. Among them are the two towers of the Princesses and the Captives, both of which have been ably repaired. In the latter are to be seen tiles of a peculiar rosy tint, not met with elsewhere. In the Dar Aïshah ("Gabinete de Lindaraxa"—"x" pronounced as "sh") are excellent specimens of those with a metallic hue, resembling[page 363] the colours on the surface of tar-water. Ford points out that it was only in these tiles that the Moors employed any but the primary colours, with gold for yellow. This is evident, and holds good to the present day. Both these towers give a perfect idea of a Moorish house of the better class in miniature. Outside the walls are of the rough red of the mud concrete, while inside they are nearly all white, and beautifully decorated. The thickness of the walls keeps them delightfully cool, and the crooked passages render the courts in the centre quite private.

Of the other towers and gates, the only notable one is that of Justice, a genuine Moorish erection with a turning under it to stay the onrush of an enemy, and render it easier of defence. The hand carved on the outer arch and the key on the inner one have given rise to many explanations, but their only significance was probably that this gate was the key of the castle, while the hand was to protect the key from the effects of the evil eye. This superstition is still popular, and its practice is to be seen to-day on thousands of doors in Morocco, in rudely painted hands on the doorposts.

The Watch Tower (de la Vela) is chiefly noteworthy as one of the points from which the Spanish flag was unfurled on the memorable day of the entry into Granáda. The anniversary of that date, January 2nd, is a high time for the young ladies, who flock here to toll the bell in the hopes of being provided with a husband during the new-begun year.

At a short distance from the Alhambra itself is a group known as the Torres Bermejas (Vermilion[page 364] Towers), probably the most ancient of the Moorish reign, if part did not exist before their settlement here, but they present no remarkable architectural features.

Across a little valley is the Generalife, a charming summer residence built about 1320, styled by its builder the "Paradise of the Wise,"—Jinah el Arîf—which the Spaniards have corrupted to its present designation, pronouncing it Kheneraliffy. Truly this is a spot after the Moor's own heart: a luxuriant garden with plenty of dark greens against white walls and pale-blue trellis-work, harmonious at every turn with the rippling and splashing of nature's choicest liquid. Of architectural beauty the buildings in this garden have but little, yet as specimens of Moorish style—though they have suffered with the rest—they form a complement to the Alhambra. That is the typical fortress-palace, the abode of a martial Court; this is the pleasant resting-place, the cool retreat for love and luxury. Nature is here predominant, and Art has but a secondary place, for once retaining her true position as great Nature's handmaid. Light arched porticoes and rooms behind serve but as shelter from the noonday glare, while roomy turrets treat the occupier to delightful views. Superfluous ornament within is not allowed to interfere with the contemplation of beauty without.

Between the lower and upper terrace is a remarkable arrangement of steps, a Moorish ideal, for at equal distances from top to bottom, between each flight, are fountains playing in the centre, round which one must walk, while a stream runs down the top of each side wall in a channel made of tiles.[page 365] What a pleasant sight and sound to those to whom stair climbing in a broiling sun is too much exercise! The cypresses in the garden are very fine, but they give none too much shade. The present owner's agent has Bû Abd Allah's sword on view at his house in the town, and this is a gem worth asking to see when a ticket is obtained for the Generalife. It is of a totally different pattern and style of ornament from the modern Moorish weapons, being inlaid in a very clever and tasteful manner.

To the antiquary the most interesting part of Granáda is the Albaycin, the quarter lying highest up the valley of the Darro, originally peopled by refugees from the town of Baeza—away to the north, beyond Jaen—the Baïseeïn. As the last stronghold of Moorish rule in the Peninsula, when one by one the other cities, once its rivals, fell into the hands of the Christians again, Granáda became a centre of refuge from all parts, and to this owed much of its ultimate importance.

Unfortunately no attempt has been made to preserve the many relics of that time which still exist in this quarter, probably the worst in the town. Many owners of property in the neighbourhood can still display the original Arabic title deeds, their estates having been purchased by Spanish grandees from the expelled Moors, or later from the expelled Jews. A morning's tour will reveal much of interest in back alleys and ruined courts. One visitor alone is hardly safe among the wild half-gipsy lot who dwell there now, but a few copper coins are all the keys needed to gain admission to some fine old patios with marble columns, crumbling fandaks, and ruined baths. By the[page 366] roadside may be seen the identical style of water-mill still used in Morocco, and the presence of the Spaniard seems a dream.

V. Hither and Thither

Having now made pilgrimages to the more famous homes of the Moor in Europe, let us in fancy take an aërial flight over sunny Spain, and glance here and there at the scattered traces of Muslim rule in less noted quarters. Everything we cannot hope to spy, but we may still surprise ourselves and others by the number of our finds. Even this task accomplished, a volume on the subject might well be written by a second Borrow or a Ford, whose residence among the modern Moors had sharpened his scent for relics of that ilk.* Let not the reader think that with these wayside jottings all has been disclosed, for the Moor yet lives in Spain, and there is far more truth in the saying that "Barbary begins at the Pyrenees" than is generally imagined.

We will start from Tarifa, perhaps the most ancient town of Andalucia. The Moors named this ancient Punic city after T'arîf ibn Málek ("The Wise, son of King"), a Berber chief. They beleaguered it about 1292, and it is still enclosed by Moorish walls. The citadel, a genuine Moorish castle, lies just within these walls, and was not so long ago the abode of galley-slaves. Close to Sevílle, where the river Guadalquivir branches off,[page 367] it forms two islands—Islas Mayor y Menor. The former was the Kaptal of the Moors. At Coria the river winds under the Moorish "Castle of the Cleft" (El Faraj), now called St. Juan de Alfarache, and passes near the Torre del Oro, a monument of the invader already referred to. Old Xeres, of sherry fame, is a straggling, ill-built, ill-drained Moorish city. It was taken from the Moors in 1264. Part of the original walls and gates remain in the old town. The Moorish citadel is well preserved, and offers a good specimen of those turreted and walled palatial fortresses.

But it is not till we reach Sevílle that we come to a museum of Moorish antiquities. Here we see Arabesque ceilings, marqueterie woodwork, stucco panelling, and the elegant horse-shoe arches. There are beautiful specimens in the citadel, in Calle Pajaritos No. 15, in the Casa Prieto and elsewhere. The Moors possessed the city for five hundred years, during which time they entirely rebuilt it, using the Roman buildings as materials. Many Moorish houses still exist, the windows of which are barricaded with iron gratings. On each side of the patios, or courts, are corridors supported by marble pillars, whilst a fountain plays in the centre. These houses are rich in Moorish porcelain tilings, called azulejos—from the Arabic ez-zulaïj—but the best of these are in the patio of the citadel. Carmona is not far off, with its oriental walls and castle, famous as ever for its grateful springs. The tower of San Pedro transports us again to Tangier, as do the massy walls and arched gate.

Some eight leagues on the way to Badajos from Sevílle rises a Moorish tower, giving to the adjoining[page 368] village the name of Castillo de las Guardias. Five leagues beyond are the mines of the "Inky River"—Rio Tinto—a name sufficiently expressive and appropriate, for it issues from the mountain-side impregnated with copper, and is consequently corrosive. The Moors seem to have followed the Romans in their workings on the north side of the hill. Further on are more mines, still proclaiming the use the Moors made of them by their present name Almádin—"the Mine"—a name which has almost become Spanish; it is still so generally used. Five leagues from Rio Tinto, at Aracena, is another Moorish castle, commanding a fine panorama, and the belfry of the church hard by is Arabesque.

Many more of these ruined kasbahs are to be seen upon the heights of Andalucia, and even much further north; but the majority must go unmentioned. One, in an equally fine position, is to be seen eleven leagues along the road from Sevílle to Badajos, above Santa Olalla—a name essentially Moorish, denoting the resting-place of some female Mohammedan saint, whose name has been lost sight of. (Lallah, or "Lady," is the term always prefixed to the names of canonized ladies in Morocco.) Three leagues from Sevílle on the Granáda road, at Gandul, lies another of these castles, picturesquely situated amid palms and orange groves; four leagues beyond, the name Arahal (er-rahálah—"the day's journey") reminds the Arabicist that it is time to encamp; a dozen leagues further on the name of Roda recalls its origin, raôdah, "the cemetery." Riding into Jaen on the top of the diligence from Granáda, I was struck with the familiar appearance of two brown tabia fortresses above the[page 369] town, giving the hillside the appearance of one of the lower slopes of the Atlas. This was a place after the Moors' own heart, for abundant springs gush everywhere from the rocks. In their days it was for a time the capital of an independent kingdom.

At Ronda, a town originally built by the Moors—for Old Ronda is two leagues away to the north,—their once extensive remains have been all but destroyed. Its tortuous streets and small houses, however, testify as to its origin, and its Moorish castle still appears to guard the narrow ascent by which alone it can be reached from the land, for it crowns a river-girt rock. Down below, this river, the Guadalvin, still turns the same rude class of corn-mills that we have seen at Fez and Granáda. Other remnants are another Moorish tower in the Calle del Puente Viejo, and the "House of the Moorish King" in Calle San Pedro, dating from about 1042. Descending to the river's edge by a flight of stairs cut in the solid rock, there is a grotto dug by Christian slaves three centuries later. Some five leagues on the road thence to Granáda are the remains of the ancient Teba, at the siege of which in 1328, when it was taken from the Moors, Lord James Douglas fought in obedience to the dying wish of the Bruce his master, whose heart he wore in a silver case hung from his neck, throwing it among the enemy as he rushed in and fell.

On the way from Ronda to Gibraltar are a number of villages whose Arab names are startling even in this land of Ishmaelitish memories. Among these are Atajate, Gaucin, Benahali, Benarraba,[page 370] Benadalid, Benalaurin. At Gaucin an excellent view of Gibraltar and Jibel Mûsa is obtainable from its Moorish citadel. This brings us to old "Gib," whose relics of Tárîk and his successors are much better known to travellers than most of those minor remains. An inscription over the gate of the castle, now a prison, tells of its erection over eleven centuries ago, for this was naturally one of the early captures of the invaders. Yet the mud-concrete walls stand firm and sound, though scarred by many a shot. Algeciras—El Jazîrah—"the Island" has passed through too many vicissitudes to have much more than the name left.

Malaga, though seldom heard of in connection with the history of Mohammedan rule in the Peninsula, played a considerable part in that drama. It and Cadiz date far back to the time of the Carthaginians, so that, after all, their origin is African. If its name is not of an earlier origin, it may be from Málekah, "the Queen." Every year on August 18, at 3 p.m. the great bell of the cathedral is struck thrice, for that is the anniversary of its recovery from the Aliens in 1487. The flag of Ferdinand then hoisted is (or was recently) still to be seen, together with a Moorish one, probably that of the vanquished city, over the tomb of the Conde de Buena Vista in the convent of La Victoria. Though odd bits of Moorish architecture may still be met with in places, the only remains of note are the castle, built in 1279, with its fine horse-shoe gate—sadly disfigured by modern barbarism—and what was the dockyard of the Moors, now left high and dry by the receding sea.

The name Alhama, met with in several parts of[page 371] Spain, merely denotes "the hot," alluding to springs of that character which are in most instances still active. This is the case at the Alhama between Malaga and Granáda, where the baths are worth a visit. The Moorish bath is called the strong one, being nearer the spring.

At Antequera the castle is Moorish, though built on Roman foundations, and it is only of recent years that the mosque has disappeared under the "protection" of an impecunious governor.

Leaving the much-sung Andalûs, the first name striking us in Murcia is that of Guadíx (pronounced Wadish), a corruption of Wád Aïsh, "River of Life." Its Moorish castle still stands. Some ten leagues further on, at Cullar de Baza is another Moorish ruin, and the next of note, a fine specimen, is fifteen leagues away at Lorca, whose streets are in the genuine intricate style. The city of Murcia, though founded by the Moors, contains little calling them to remembrance. In the post-office and prison, however, and in the public granary, mementoes are to be found.

Orihuela, on the road from Carthagena to Alicante, still looks oriental with its palm-trees, square towers and domes, and Elche is just another such, with flat roofs and the orthodox kasbah, now a prison. The enormous number of palms which surround the town recall Marrákesh, but they are sadly neglected. Monte Alegre is a small place with a ruined Moorish castle, about fifteen leagues from Elche on the road to Madrid. Between Alicante and Xativa is the Moorish castle of Tibi, close to a large reservoir, and there is a square Moorish tower at Concentaina. Xativa has a[page 372] hermitage, San Felin, adorned with horse-shoe arches, having a Moorish cistern hard by.

Valencia the Moors considered a Paradise, and their skill in irrigation has been retained, so that of the Guadalaviar (Wad el Abîad—"River of the Whites") the fullest use is made in agriculture, and the familiar water-wheels and conduits go by the corruptions of their Arabic names, naôrahs and sakkáïahs. The city itself is very Moorish in appearance, with its narrow tortuous streets and gloomy buildings, but I know of no remarkable legacy of the Moors there. There are the remains of a Moorish aqueduct at Chestalgár—a very Arabic sounding name, of which the last two syllables are corrupted from El Ghárb ("the West") as in the case of Trafalgár (Terf el Ghárb—"West Point"). All this district was inhabited by the Moriscos or Christianized Moors as late as the beginning of the seventeenth century, and there must their descendants live still, although no longer distinguished from true sons of the soil.

Whatever may remain of the ancient Saguntum, what is visible is mostly Moorish, as, for instance, cisterns on the site of a Roman temple. Not far from Valencia is Burjasot, where are yet to be seen specimens of matmôrahs or underground granaries. Morella is a scrambling town with Moorish walls and towers, coroneted by a castle.

Entering Catalonia, Tortosa, at the mouth of the Ebro, is reached, once a stronghold of the Moors, and a nest of pirates till recovered by Templars, Pisans and Genoese together. It was only withheld from the Moors next year by the valour of the women besieged. The tower of the[page 373] cathedral still bears the title of Almudena, a reminder of the muédhdhin who once summoned Muslims to prayer from its summit. Here, too, are sundry remnants of Moorish masonry, and some ancient matmôrahs.

Tarragona and Barcelona, if containing no Moorish ruins of note, have all, in common with other neighbouring places, retained the Arabic name Rambla (rimlah, "sand") for the quondam sandy river beds which of late years have been transformed into fashionable promenades. In the cathedral of Tarragona an elegant Moorish arch is noticeable, with a Kufic inscription giving the date as 960 a.d. For four centuries after this city was destroyed by Tarîf it remained unoccupied, so that much cannot be expected to call to mind his dynasty. Of a bridge at Martorell over the Llobregat, Ford says it is "attributed to Hannibal by the learned, and to the devil, as usual, by the vulgar. The pointed centre arch, which is very steep and narrow to pass, is 133 feet wide in the span, and is unquestionably a work of the Moors." Not far away is a place whose name, Mequineza, is strongly suggestive of Moorish origin, but I know nothing further about it.

Now let us retrace our flight, and wing our way once more to the north of Sevílle, to the inland province of Estremadura. Here we start from Mérida, where the Roman-Moorish "alcazar" towers proudly yet. The Moors repaired the old Roman bridge over the Guadiana, and the gateway near the river has a marble tablet with an Arabic inscription. The Muslims observed towards the people of this place good faith such as was never[page 374] shown to them in return, inasmuch as they allowed them to retain their temples, creed, and bishops. They built the citadel in 835, and the city dates its decline from the time that Alonzo el Sabio took it from them in 1229. Zámora is another ancient place. It was taken from the Moors in 939, when 40,000 of them are said to have been killed. The Moorish designs in the remarkable circular arches of La Magdalena are worthy of note.

In Toledo the church of Santo Tomé has a brick tower of Moorish character; near it is the Moorish bridge of San Martin, and in the neighbourhood, by a stream leading to the Tagus, Moorish mills and the ruins of a villa with Moorish arches, now a farm hovel, may still be seen. The ceiling of the chapel of the church of San Juan de la Penetencia is in the Moorish style, much dilapidated (1511 a.d.). The Toledan Moors were first-rate hydraulists. One of their kings had a lake in his palace, and in the middle a kiosk, whence water descended on each side, thus enclosing him in the coolest of summer-houses. It was in Toledo that Ez-Zarkal made water-clocks for astronomical calculations, but now this city obtains its water only by the primitive machinery of donkeys, which are driven up and down by water-carriers as in Barbary itself. The citadel was once the kasbah of the Moors.

The Cathedral of Toledo is one of the most remarkable in Spain. The arches of the transept are semi-Moorish, Xamete, who wrought it in Arcos stone in 1546-50, having been a Moor. The very ancient manufactory of arms for which Toledo has a world-wide fame dates from the time[page 375] of the Goths; into this the Moors introduced their Damascene system of ornamenting and tempering, and as early as 852 this identical "fabrica" was at work under Abd er-Rahman ibn El Hákim. The Moors treasured and named their swords like children. These were the weapons which Othello, the Moor, "kept in his chamber."


Cavilla, Photo., Tangier.


At Alcazar de San Juan, in La Mancha, I found a few remnants of the Moorish town, as in the church tower, but the name is now almost the only Moorish thing about it. Hence we pass to Alarcon, a truly Moorish city, built like a miniature Toledo, on a craggy peninsula hemmed in by the river Jucar. The land approach is still guarded by Moorish towers and citadel.

In Zocodovar—which takes its name from the word sôk, "market-place"—we find a very Moorish "plaza," with its irregular windows and balconies, and in San Eugenio are some remains of an old mosque with Kufic inscriptions, as well as an arch and tomb of elaborate design. In the Calle de las Tornarías there used to be a dilapidated Moorish house with one still handsome room, but it is doubtful whether this now survives the wreck of time. It was called El Taller del Moro, because Ambron, the Moorish governor of Huesca, is said to have invited four hundred of the refractory chiefs of Toledo to dine here, and to have cut off the head of each as he arrived. There is a curious mosque in the Calle del Cristo de la Luz, the roof is supported by four low square pillars, each having a different capital, from which spring double arches like those at Córdova. The ceiling is divided into nine compartments with domes.

[page 376]

Madrid has passed through such various fortunes, and has been so much re-built, that it now contains few traces of the Moors. The only relic which I saw in 1890 was a large piece of tabia, forming a substantial wall near to the new cathedral, which might have belonged to the city wall or only to a fortress. The Museum of the Capital contains a good collection of Moorish coins. In the Armoury are Moorish guns, swords, saddles, and leather shields, the last named made of two hides cemented with a mortar composed of herbs and camel-hair.

In Old Castile the footprints grow rare and faint, although the name of Valladolid—Blád Walîd, "Town of Walîd," a Moorish ameer—sufficiently proclaims its origin, but I am not aware of any Moorish remains there. In Burgos one old gate near the triumphal arch, erected by Philip II., still retains its Moorish opening, and on the opposite hill stands the castle in which was celebrated the bridal of our Edward I. with Eleanor of Castile. It was then a true Moorish kasar, but part has since been destroyed by fire. On the road from Burgos to Vittoria we pass between the mountains of Oca and the Pyrenean spurs, in which narrow defile the old Spaniards defied the advancing Moors. Moorish caverns or cisterns are still to be seen.

Turning southward again, we come to Medinaceli, or "the city of Selim," once the strong frontier hold of a Moor of that name, the scene of many conflicts among the Moors themselves, and against the Christians. Here, on August 7, 1002, died the celebrated El Mansûr—"The Victorious"—the "Cid" (Seyyid) of the Moors, and the most terrible enemy of the Christians.[page 377] He was born in 938 near Algeciras, and by a series of intrigues, treacheries and murders, rose in importance till he became in reality master of the puppet ameer. He proclaimed a holy crusade against the Christians each year, and was buried in the dust of fifty campaigns, for after every battle he used to shake off the soil from his garments into a chest which he carried about with him for that purpose.

In Aragon the situation of Daroca, in the fertile basin of the Jiloca, is very picturesque. The little town lies in a hill-girt valley around which rise eminences defended by Moorish walls and towers, which, following the irregular declivities, command charming views from above. The palace of the Mendozas at Guadalajara, in the same district, boasts of an elegant row of Moorish windows, though these appear to have been constructed after Guadalajara was reconquered from the Moors by the Spaniards. Near this place is a Moorish brick building, turned into a battery by the invaders, and afterwards used as a prison. Before leaving this town it will be worth while to visit San Miguel, once a mosque, with its colonnaded entrance, horse-shoe arches, machiolations, and herring-bone patterns under the roof.

Calatayud, the second town of Aragon, is of Moorish origin. Its Moorish name means the "Castle of Ayûb"—or Job—the nephew of Mûsa, who used the ancient Bilbilis as a quarry whence to obtain stones for its construction. The Dominican convent of Calatayud has a glorious patio with three galleries rising one above another, and a portion of the exterior is enriched with pseudo-Moorish work like the prisons at Guadalajara.

[page 378]

Saragossa gave me more the impression of Moorish origin than any town I saw in Spain, except Sevílle and Córdova. The streets of the original settlement are just those of Mequinez on a small scale. The only object of genuinely Moorish origin that I could find, however, was the Aljaferia, once a palace-citadel, now a barrack, so named after Jáfer, a Muslim king of this province. Since his times Ferdinand and Isabella used it, and then handed it over to the Inquisition. Some of the rooms still retain Moorish decorations, but most of the latter are of the period of their conquerors. On one ceiling is pointed out the first gold brought from the New World. The only genuine Moorish remnant is the private mosque, with beautiful inscriptions. The building has been incorporated in a huge fort-like modern brick structure, which would lead no one to seek inside for Arab traces.

Passing from Saragossa northwards, we arrive at Jaca, the railway terminus, which to this day quarters on her shield the heads of four sheïkhs who were left behind when their fellow-countrymen fled from the city in 795, after a desperate battle in which the Spanish women fought like men. The site of the battle, called Las Tiendas, is still visited on the first Friday in May, when the daughters of these Amazons go gloriously "a-shopping." The municipal charter of Jaca dates from the Moorish expulsion, and is reckoned among the earliest in Spain.

Gerona, almost within sight of France, played an important part, too, in those days, siding alternately with that country and with Spain when in the possession of the Moors. The Ameer Sulaïmán,[page 379] in 759 a.d., entered into an alliance with Pepin, and in 785 Charlemagne took the town, which the Moors re-captured ten years later. It became their headquarters for raids upon Narbonne and Nîsmes. Castellon de Ampurias, once on the coast, which has receded, was strong enough to resist the Moors for a time, but after they had dismantled it, the Normans appeared and finally destroyed it. Now it is but a hamlet.

We are now in the extreme north-west of the Peninsula, where the relics we seek grow scanty, and, in consequence, of more importance. Instead of buildings in stone or concrete, we find here a monument of independence, perhaps more interesting in its way than any other. When the Pyrenees and their hardy mountaineers checked the onward rush of Islám, several independent states arose, recognized by both France and Spain on account of their bravery in opposing a common foe. The only one of these retaining a semi-independence is the republic of Andorra, a name corrupted from the Arabic el (al) darra, "a plenteous rainfall," showing how the Moors appreciated this feature of so well wooded and hilly a district after the arid plains of the south. The old Moorish castle of the chief town bears the name of Carol, derived from that of Charlemagne, who granted it the privileges it still enjoys, so that it is a memento of the meeting of Arab and Teuton. At Planes is a church said to be of Moorish origin, and earlier than Charlemagne; it certainly dates from no later than the tenth century. These "foot-prints" show that the Moor got a fairly good footing here, before he was driven back, and his progress stayed.

* To the latter I am indebted for particulars regarding the many places mentioned in this final survey which it was impossible for me to visit.

[page 381]



"A lie is not worth the lying, nor is truth worth repeating."

Moorish Proverb.

So unanimous have been the uninformed reiteration of the Press in contravention of much that has been stated in the foregoing pages, that it will not be out of place to quote a few extracts from men on the spot who do know the facts. The first three are from leaders in Al-moghreb Al-aksa, the present English paper in Morocco, which accurately voices the opinion of the British Colony in that country, opinions shared by most disinterested residents of other nationalities.

"However we look upon the situation as it stands to-day, and wherever our sympathies may lie, it is impossible to over-estimate the danger attending the unfortunate Anglo-French Agreement. We have always—as our readers will acknowledge—advocated the simple doctrine of the status quo, and in this have received the support of every disinterested person in and out of Morocco. Our policy has at times thrown us into antagonism with the exponents of the French colonial schemes; but we at least have the satisfaction of knowing that, however we may have fallen short of our duty, it[page 382] has been one which we have persevered in, prompted by earnest conviction, by love of the country and its people, and by admiration for its Sultan. The simplicity of our aim has helped us in our uphill fight, and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future.

"Needless to say we look forward with no little anxiety to the result of the conference. This needs no explanation. In the discussion of such a question it is absolutely imperative that the individual members of the conference should be selected from those who know their Morocco, and who are acquainted with the causes which led up to the present dead-lock. Only the keenest, shrewdest men should be selected, for it must be borne in mind that France will spare no pains to uphold the recent Anglo-French Convention. Her most astute diplomats will figure largely, for her dignity is at stake. Indeed, her very position, diplomatic and political, is in effect challenged. Taking this into consideration, it is more than necessary to see that the representatives of Great Britain are not chosen for their family influence or for the perfection they may have attained in the French language.

"The task is hard and perilous. England is waking to the fact that she has blundered, and, as usual, she is unwilling to admit the fact. Circumstances, however, will sooner or later force her to modify her terms. Germany, Spain, the United States, and other nations, to say nothing of Morocco, must point out the absurdity of the situation. If the agreement is inoperative with regard to Morocco, it may as well be openly admitted to be useless. This is not all. Should English statesmanship direct that this injudicious arrangement be adhered to, France and Great Britain will stand as self-confessed violators of the Convention of Madrid.

[page 383]

"Fortunately the Moorish cause has some excellent champions. For many years she has been dumb. Now, however, that she is assailed, we find a small but influential band of writers coming forward with their pens to do battle for her.

"This is the great consolation we have. Moorish interests will no longer be the sport of European political expediency. These men will, no doubt, protest against the land-grabbing propensities of the French colonial party, and they may find time to point out that after a thousand years of not ignoble independence, the Moorish race deserves a little more consideration than has hitherto been granted.

"Even those people who are responsible for this deplorable state of affairs must now stand more or less amazed at their handiwork. No diplomatic subterfuge can efface the humiliation that underlies the situation; and no one can possibly exaggerate the danger that lies ahead of us."

"Two centuries ago Great Britain abandoned Tangier, and it is only the present generation that has realized the huge mistake. A maudlin sentimentalism, to avoid displeasing the French King, prevented us from handing the city back to Portugal; an act which would have been wise, either strategically, commercially, or with a view to the suppression of the famous Salee rovers, who were for long a scourge to ships entering the Straits. A Commission of experts was appointed to consider the question of the abandonment, one of them being Mr. Pepys....

"Whatever the opinion may have been of the experts consulted by the Government on the present agreement with France, we are strongly disposed to believe that if they have been endowed with greater sense than those of 1683, there is probably more, as we must hope there is, in favour of British[page 384] interests, than appears to the public eye. Time alone will tell what reservation, mental or otherwise, may be locked up in the British Foreign Office. It is difficult to believe that any British statesman would wantonly give away any national interest, but too lofty a policy has often been wanting in practical sense which, had that policy descended from principles to facts, would have saved the nation thousands of lives, millions of money, and sacrifices of its best interests."

"The events that have been fully before the eyes of British subjects in Morocco in the abnormal condition of the country during the past two years, seem to have been ignored by our Foreign Office. In short, it fully appears that our Foreign Office policy has been designed to lead the Sultan to political destruction, and to sacrifice every British interest.

"About two years ago our Foreign Office began well in starting the Sultan on the path of progress: in carrying out its aims it has done nothing but blunders. Had it but acted with a little firmness, the opening up of this country would have already begun, and there would have been no 'Declaration' which will assuredly give future Foreign Secretaries matter for some anxiety. The declaration is only a display of political fireworks that will dazzle the eyes of the British public for a while, delighting our Little Englanders, but only making the future hazy and possibly more dangerous to deal with. It seems only a way of putting off the real settlement, which may not wait for thirty years to be dealt with, on the points still at issue, and for which a splendid opportunity has been thrown away at Downing Street, and could have been availed of to maintain British interests, prestige, and influence in this country. Briefly, we fear that the attainment[page 385] of the end in view may yet cost millions to the British nation.

"That Morocco will progress under French guidance there can be no question, and France may be congratulated on her superior diplomacy and the working of her Foreign Office system."

With regard to the Moorish position, a contributor observes in a later issue—

"The attitude of the Sultan and his Cabinet may be summed up in a few words. 'You nations have made your agreements about our country without consulting us. We owe you nothing that we are unable to pay on the conditions arranged between us. We did not ask your subjects to reside and trade on Moorish soil. In fact, we have invariably discouraged their so doing. Troubles exist in Morocco, it is true, but we are far greater sufferers than you—our unbidden guests. And but for the wholesale smuggling of repeating rifles by your people, our tribes would not be able to cause the disorders of which you complain. As to your intention to intervene in our affairs, we agree to no interference. If you are resolved to try force, we believe that the Faith of the Prophet will conquer. We still believe there is a God stronger than man. And should the fight go against us, we believe that it is better to earn Paradise in a holy war for the defence of our soil, than to submit tamely to Christian rule.'

"The position, however lamentable, is intelligible; but on the other hand it is incredible that France—her mind made up long ago that she is to inherit the Promised Land of Sunset—will sit down meekly and allow herself to be flouted by the monarch and people of a crumbling power like Morocco. And this is what she has to face. Not[page 386] indeed a nation, as we understand the term, but a gathering of units differing widely in character and race—Arabs, Berbers, mulattoes, and negroes—unable to agree together on any subject under the sun but one, and that one the defence of Islám from foreign intervention. Under the standard of the invincible Prophet they will join shoulder to shoulder. And hopeless and pathetic as it may seem, they will defy the disciplined ranks and magazine guns of Europe. Thus, wherever our sympathies may lie, the possibilities of a peaceful settlement of the Morocco question appear to be dwindling day by day. The anarchy paramount in three-quarters of the sultanate is not only an ever-increasing peril to European lives and property, but a direct encouragement to intervention. Of one thing we in Morocco have no kind of doubt. The landing of foreign troops, even for protective service, in any one part of the coast would infallibly be the signal for a general rising in every part of the Empire. No sea-port would be safe for foreigners or for friendly natives until protected by a strong European force. And, once begun, the task of 'pacifying' the interior must entail an expenditure of lives and treasure which will amply satisfy French demands for colonial extension for many a year to come."

One more quotation from an editorial—

"And so it would appear, that, with the smiling approval of the world's Press, the wolf is to take over the affairs of the lamb. We use the phrase advisedly. We have never hesitated to criticize the action, and to condemn the errors, of the Makhzen where such a course has been needful in the public interest. We can, therefore, with all the more justice, call attention to the real issues of the compact[page 387] embodied in the Morocco clauses of the Anglo-French Agreement of April, 1904. How long the leading journals of England may continue to ignore the facts of the case it is impossible to say; but that there will come a startling awakening seems inevitable. Every merely casual observer on this side of the Mediterranean knows only too well that the most trifling pretext may be at any hour seized for the next move in the development of French intervention. Evidence is piling up to show that the forward party in France, and still more in Algeria, is burning to strike while yet the frantic enthusiasm of the Entente lasts, and while they can rely upon the support—we had almost written, the moral support—of Great Britain. Can we shut our eyes to the deliberate provocations they are giving the Makhzen in almost every part of the sultanate?

"These things are not reported to Europe, naturally. In spite of all our comfortable cant about justice to less powerful races, who in England cares about justice to Morocco and her Sultan? We owe it to Germany that the thing was not rushed through a few months ago. Who has heard, who wants to hear, the Moorish side of the question? Morocco is mute. The Sultan pulls no journalistic wires. He has no advocate in the Press, or in Parliament, or in Society. Hardly a public man opens his mouth in England to refer to Morocco, without talking absolute twaddle. The only member of either House of Parliament who has shown a real grasp of the tremendous issues of the question is Lord Rosebery, in the memorable words—

"'No more one-sided agreement was ever concluded between two Powers at peace with each other. I hope and trust, but I hope and trust rather than believe, that the Power which holds Gibraltar may never have cause to regret having handed Morocco over to a great military Power.'

[page 388]

"Had that true statesman, and true Englishman, been in power eighteen months ago, England would never have been pledged to sacrifice her commercial interests in Morocco, to abandon her wholesome, traditional policy in the Mediterranean, and to revoke her solemn engagement to uphold the integrity of the Sultan's dominions."

An excellent idea of the discrepancies between the alarmist reports with which the Press is from time to time deluged, and the facts as known on the spot, is afforded by the following extracts from Al-moghreb Al-aksa of January 7, 1905, when the London papers had been almost daily victimized by their correspondents regarding Morocco:—

"The dismissal of the military attachés at the Moorish Court threatened to raise a terrible conflagration in Europe, and great indignation among foreign residents in this country—according to certain Press reports. This fiery disposition of some offered a remarkable contrast with the coolness of the others. For instance, the British took almost no interest in the matter, for the simple reason that there has never been any British official military mission in the Moorish Court. It is true there are a few British subjects in Moorish military service, but they are privately employed by the Sultan's Government, and their service is simply voluntary. Even personally, they actually show no great concern in remaining here or not.

"The Italian military mission is composed of very few persons. The chief, Col. Ferrara, is on leave in Italy, and the Mission is now represented by Captain Campini, who lives at Fez with his family. They report having received all kind attentions from the Sultan quite recently, and that they[page 389] know nothing about the dismissal which has so noisily sounded in Europe. According to the same Press reports, great fears were entertained of a general rising against the foreign residents in Fez and other places in the interior, and while it is reported that the military attachés, consular officers and residents of all nations were notified to leave Fez and come to Tangier or the coast ports as a matter of precaution, we find that nobody moves from the Court, because, they say, they have seen nothing to induce them to leave that residence. And what has Mulai Abd El Azîz replied to French complaints and demands respecting the now historical dismissal of the military attachés? A very simple thing—that H.S.M. did not think that the dismissal could resent any of the civilized nations, because it was decided as an economic measure, there being no money to pay even other more pressing liabilities. However, the Sultan, wishing to be on friendly terms with France and all other nations, immediately withdrew the dismissal and promised to pay the attachés as long as it is possible to do so. The missions, consuls, etc., have now no need to leave Fez, and everything remains stationary as before. The only thing steadily progressing is the insecurity of life and property in the outskirts and district of Tangier, where murders and robberies proceed unabated, and this state of affairs has caused the British and German residents in this town to send petitions to their respective Governments, through their legations, soliciting that some measure may be adopted to do away with the present state of insecurity which has already paralysed all overland traffic between this city and the neighbouring towns.

"The contrasts of the situation are as remarkable as they are comic, and while the whole country is perfectly quiet, those places more in contact with[page 390] the civilized world, like Tangier and the Algerian frontier, are the only spots which are seriously troubled with disturbances."

So much for northern Morocco. The same issue contains the following report from its Mogador correspondent regarding the "disturbed state" of southern Morocco.

"It would puzzle even the trained imagination of certain journalists we wot of to evolve anything alarmist out of the condition of the great tribes between Mogador and the Atlas. During the recent tribal differences not one single highway robbery, even of a native, was, I believe, committed. The roads are open everywhere; the rival chieftains have, figuratively, exchanged the kiss of peace, and the tribes have confessed that it was a mistake to leave their farms and farm-work simply to please an ambitious and utterly thankless governor.

"As for Europeans, they have been rambling all over the country with their wonted freedom from interference. A Frenchman, travelling almost alone, has just returned from Imintanoot. Another has twice crossed the Atlas. Needless to say the route to Marrákesh is almost as devoid of other than pleasurable novelty as a stroll on the Embankment or down the shady side of Pall Mall. When, indeed, will folks at home grasp the fact that the Berber clans of southern Morocco belong to a race differing utterly in character and largely in customs from the ruffians infesting the northern half of the sultanate?

"'Nothing but the unpleasant prospect of being held up by brigands,' writes a friend, 'prevents me from revisiting your beautiful country.' How convince such people that brigandage is an art unknown south of the Oom Rabya? That the prayer of the[page 391] Shluh, when a Nazarene visits their land, is that nothing may happen to bring trouble on the clan? They may inwardly hate the Rûmi, or they may regard him merely as an uncouth blot on the scenery; but should actual unpleasantness arise, he will, in almost every case, have himself to thank for it. (London papers please copy!)"

This letter was dated two days after the Paris correspondent of the Times had telegraphed—

"Events would seem likely to be coming to a head in consequence of the anarchy prevailing in the Shereefian Empire. The Pretender is just now concentrating his troops in the plain of Angad, and is preparing to take an energetic offensive against Ujda. The camp of the Pretender is imposing in its warlike display. All the caids and the sons of Bu Amema surround Mulai Mahomed. The men are armed with French chassepots, and are well dressed in new uniforms supplied by an Oran firm. All the war material was embarked on board the French yacht Zut, which landed it last month on the shores of Rastenga between Cape Eau and Melilla under the direction of the Pretender's troops."

Towards Christmas, 1902, circumstantial reports began to appear in the newspapers of an overwhelming defeat of the imperial army by rebels who were marching on Fez, who had besieged it, and had cut off the aqueduct bringing its water, the Sultan retreating to the palace, Europeans being ordered to the coast, etc., etc. These statements I promptly and categorically denied in an interview for the London Echo; there was no real "pretender," only a religious fanatic supported by two disaffected[page 392] tribes, the imperial army had not been defeated, as only a small body had been despatched to quell the disturbance; the "rebels" were not besieging Fez, as they had no army, and only the guns captured by the clever midnight surprise of sleeping troops, of which the "battle"—really a panic—consisted; they had not cut the "aqueduct," as Fez is built on the banks of a river from which it drinks; the Sultan's palace was his normal abode; the Europeans had not fled, seeing no danger, but that on account of the alarming telegrams from Europe, their Ministers in Tangier had advised them to withdraw, much against their will.

So sweeping a contradiction of statements receiving daily confirmation from Tangier, heightened colour from Oran, and intensification from Madrid, must have been regarded as the ravings of a madman, for the interview was held over for a week for confirmation. Had not thirty-four correspondents descended on Tangier alone, each with expenses to meet? Something had to be said, though the correspondent nearest to the scene, in Fez, was two days' journey from it, and six from Tangier, the nearest telegraph station. It is true that some years ago an American boldly did the journey "From Fez to Fleet Street in Eight Days," by forgetting most of the journey to Tangier, but this was quite out-done now. Meanwhile every rumour was remodelled in Oran or Madrid, and served up afresh with confirmatory sauce piquante, à la française or à l'espagnol, as the case might be. It was not till Reuter had obtained an independent, common-sense report, that the interview was published, my statements having been all confirmed, but by that time[page 393] interest had flagged, and the British public still believes that a tremendous upheaval took place in Morocco just then.

Yet, notwithstanding the detailed accounts of battles and reverses—a collation of which shows the "Father of the She-ass" fighting in several places at once, captured or slain to-day and fighting to-morrow, and so on—the Government of Morocco was never in real danger from the "Rogi's" rising, and the ultimate issue was never in doubt. The late Sultan, El Hasan, more than once suffered in person at the hands of the same tribes, defeats more serious than those experienced by the inadequate forces sent by his son.

The moral of all this is that any news from Morocco, save that concerning Europeans or events on the coast, must be received with caution, and confirmation awaited. The most reliable accounts at present available are those of the Times correspondent at Tangier, while the Manchester Guardian is well informed from Mogador. Whatever emanates from Paris or Algeria, not referring directly to frontier events; or from Madrid, not referring to events near the Spanish "presidios," should be refused altogether, as at best it is second-hand, more often fabricated. How the London Press can seriously publish telegrams about Morocco from New York and Washington passes comprehension. The low ebb reached by American journals with one or two notable exceptions in their competitive sensationalism would of itself suffice to discredit much that appears, even were the countries in touch with each other.

The fact is that very few men in Morocco itself[page 394] are in a position to form adequate judgements on current affairs, or even to collect reliable news from all parts. So few have direct relations with the authorities, native and foreign; so many can only rely on and amplify rumour or information from interested sources. So many, too, of the latter must make money somehow! The soundest judgements are to be formed by those who, being well-informed as to the conditions and persons concerned, and Moorish affairs in general, are best acquainted with the origin of the reports collected by others, and can therefore rightly appraise them.

[page 395]

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Transcriber's Note:

Page 6: Missing accent added to Seville (Sevílle).
Page 36: corrected mis-matched quotes.
Page 104: 'whch' corrected to 'which'.
Page 128: 'beats' changed to 'beasts', to fit context.
Page 130: 'flead' [sic]
Page 153: corrected mis-matched quotes. ("And when at home? ')
Page 185: 'Rabhah' is spelled 'Rabbah' in previous illustration.
Page 198: sic: carraway/caraway]
Page 263: changed comma for period at sentence end. (sighted, This)
Page 273: 'through' changed to 'though', to fit context.
Page 274: 'accetpance' changed to 'acceptance'.
Page 284: 'territoral' changed to 'territorial'.
Page 289: carcase/carcass, both are correct: Oxford Dictionary.
Page 299: sic: instal/install.
Page 346: added missing accent to III Seville (Sevílle), for conformity. (II Córdova is accented).
Page 349: added missing accent to Giralda (Girálda), for conformity.
Page 353: corrected 'architectual' to 'architectural'.
Page 372: comma corrected to period. (a Moorish cistern hard by.)
Page 296: colon corrected to semicolon. (Moorish worshippers in, 342; )
Page 296: added comma (Debts in Morocco, how settled, 30-34)
Page 377: added closing quote to "Castle of Ayûb.
Page 395: 'Bobadil' changed to 'Boabdil'.
Page 395: removed extraneous '378' reference for Charlemagne.
Page 397: removed extraneous entry (368) for 'kufic inscriptions'; changed '575' to '375'.
Pages 398, 399: Missing accent added to Seville (Sevílle).
Page 399: '198' changed to '199' for reference to 'Smeerah'.
Page 399: missing accent added to Cordova (Córdova).
Page 399: comma added after 'remains' (other Moorish towns, villages, castles, and remains, 366-379;).
Page 399: Changed '373' to '374' for reference to "Toledo'.
Page 400: comma added after 'occupations' (Women of Morocco, occupations, 58, 62, 77, 111, 134;).