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Title: In the Land of Mosques & Minarets
Author: Mansfield, M. F. (Milburg Francisco)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        In the Land of Mosques
                             and Minarets



_Rambles on the Riviera_                        $2.50

_Rambles in Normandy_                            2.50

_Rambles in Brittany_                            2.50

_The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine_       2.50

_The Cathedrals of Northern France_              2.50

_The Cathedrals of Southern France_              2.50

_In the Land of Mosques and Minarets_            3.00

_Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and
the Loire Country_                               3.00

_Castles and Chateaux of Old Navarre and
the Basque Provinces_                            3.00

_Castles and Palaces of Italy_                   3.00

_The Automobilist Abroad_                  _net_ 3.00

                                       _Postage Extra_


          _L. C. PAGE & COMPANY_

   _New England Building_, _Boston, Mass._


The Caïd
of the

Blanche McManus


                            In the Land of
                          Mosques & Minarets

                          BY FRANCIS MILTOUN

                     _Officier du Nicham Iftikhar_

     Author of "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine," "Rambles in
           Normandy," "Rambles in Brittany," "Rambles on the
            Riviera," "Castles and Chateaux of Old Navarre
                    and the Basque Provinces," etc.

                          _With Illustrations
                   from drawings and paintings done_

                          BY BLANCHE MCMANUS

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                         L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

                           _Copyright, 1908_
                        BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY


                         _All rights reserved_

                     First Impression, April, 1908

                           _COLONIAL PRESS_
           _Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co._
                          _Boston, U. S. A._

CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. GOING AND COMING                                                    1

II. THE REAL NORTH AFRICA                                             16

III. ALGERIA OF TO-DAY                                                42

IV. THE RÉGENCE OF TUNISIA AND THE TUNISIANS                          57

V. THE RELIGION OF THE MUSSULMAN                                      74

VI. ARCHITECTURE OF THE MOSQUES                                       97

VII. POETRY, MUSIC, AND DANCING                                      113

VIII. ARABS, TURKS, AND JEWS                                         129

IX. SOME THINGS THAT MATTER--TO THE ARAB                             146

X. "THE ARAB SHOD WITH FIRE"                                         169



XIII. FROM ORAN TO THE MOROCCO FRONTIER                              209

XIV. THE MITIDJA AND THE SAHEL                                       227

XV. THE GREAT WHITE CITY--ALGIERS                                    245

XVI. ALGIERS AND BEYOND                                              259

XVII. KABYLIE AND THE KABYLES                                        273

XVIII. CONSTANTINE AND THE GORGE DU RUMMEL                           291

XIX. BETWEEN THE DESERT AND THE SOWN                                 309

XX. BISKRA AND THE DESERT BEYOND                                     320

XXI. IN THE WAKE OF THE ROMAN                                        336

XXII.  TUNIS AND THE SOUKS                                           356

XXIII. IN SHADOW OF THE MOSQUE                                       371

XXIV. THE GLORY THAT ONCE WAS CARTHAGE                               389

XXV. THE BARBARY COAST                                               402

XXVI. THE OASIS OF TOZEUR                                            414

INDEX                                                                431

List of Illustrations


THE CAÏD OF THE MSAÂBA                                     _Frontispiece_

THE APPROACH BY SEA (Map)                                              8

THE EDGE OF THE DESERT                                       _facing_ 12

"CIREUR"                                                              27

THE FLIGHT OF THE MOORS (Map)                                         29

ALGERIA AND ITS PROVINCES (Map)                              _facing_ 42

TOUGGOURT                                                    _facing_ 44

FARMING, OLD STYLE                                                    50

BATNA                                                        _facing_ 52

TUNISIA (Map)                                                _facing_ 56

AN OLD SEAL OF THE BEY OF TUNIS                                       58

THE OLIVES WE EAT                                                     68

THE WORLD OF ISLAM                                           _facing_ 74


THE MUEZZIN'S CALL TO PRAYER                                 _facing_ 84

A MARABOUT                                                   _facing_ 90

IN AN ARAB CEMETERY                                          _facing_ 96

GROUND PLAN OF A MOSQUE                                              100

A WINDOW IN AN ARAB HOUSE                                            105

KOUBA OF SIDI-BRAHIM                                        _facing_ 106

AN ARABIAN MUSICIAN                                         _facing_ 120

A FLUTE SELLER                                              _facing_ 122

"SOUVENIR D'ALGÉRIE" (Music)                                         123

TYPES OF ARABS                                                       131

JEWISH WOMEN OF TUNIS                                       _facing_ 142

A DAUGHTER OF THE "GREAT TENTS"                             _facing_ 152

THE LIFE OF THE "GREAT TENTS"                               _facing_ 156

AN ARAB AND HIS HORSE IN GALA ATTIRE                        _facing_ 172

THE _MEHARI_ OF THE DESERT                                  _facing_ 180

A DESERT CARAVAN                                            _facing_ 186

THE ILLIMITABLE DESERT                                               191

THE SAND DUNES OF THE DESERT                                _facing_ 192

A CAPTAIN OF SPAHIS                                         _facing_ 202

SOME NATIVE SOLDIERY                                                 204

A GOUM                                                      _facing_ 206

ARAB MOSQUE AT BENI-OUNIF                                   _facing_ 220

A _KIF_ SHOP                                                _facing_ 222

LAGHOUAT                                                    _facing_ 224

HOTEL AT FIGUIG                                                      225

MARKET, BOUFARIK                                                     228

TOMB OF SIDI-YACOUB                                         _facing_ 232

A MAURESQUE OF BLIDA                                        _facing_ 234

FRIEZE AT THE RUISSEAU DES SINGES                                    243

ALGIERS AND ITS ENVIRONS (Map)                              _facing_ 244

A CEMETERY GATE                                             _facing_ 256

A BOU-SAADA TYPE                                            _facing_ 268

THINGS SEEN IN KABYLIE                                               285

A MINARET AT CONSTANTINE                                             294

A CONSTANTINE MOSQUE                                        _facing_ 294

THE GORGE DU RUMMEL                                         _facing_ 298

A MUSSULMAN FUNERAL                                                  302

THE VILLAGE AND THE GORGE OF EL KANTARA                     _facing_ 316

BISKRA AND ITS ARAB VILLAGES (Map)                                   321

THE COURTYARD OF THE HÔTEL DES ZIBAN, BISKRA                _facing_ 322

SIDI-OKBA                                                   _facing_ 330

THE _KASBA_, BONA                                           _facing_ 338

SO-CALLED TOMB OF CONSTANTINE (Diagram)                              342

TOMB OF MÉDRACEN                                                     343

LAMBESSA AND ITS RUINS                                      _facing_ 346

LAMBESSA (Map)                                                       347

TIMGAD (Map)                                                         349

TEBESSA (Diagram)                                                    353

MORSOTT (Diagram)                                                    355

IN THE BAZAARS, TUNIS                                       _facing_ 360

A STREET OF MOSQUES, TUNIS                                  _facing_ 366

DANCING GIRLS OF TUNIS                                               369

HABIB'S VISITING CARD                                                380

THE PORTS OF CARTHAGE                                       _facing_ 390

CARTHAGE (Map)                                                       395

ANCIENT UTICA (Diagram)                                              398

THE _SUD-TUNISIEN_ (Map)                                             404

IN A KAIROUAN MOSQUE                                        _facing_ 410

AMPHITHEATRE AT EL DJEM                                              413

EL OUED                                                     _facing_ 416

A STREET IN TOZEUR                                          _facing_ 420

In the Land of Mosques and Minarets



     "Say, dear friend, wouldst thou go to the land where pass the
     caravans beneath the shadow of the palm trees of the Oasis; where
     even in mid-winter all is in flower as in spring-time
     elsewhere."--VILLIERS DE L'ISLE ADAM.

The taste for travel is an acquired accomplishment. Not every one likes
to rough it. Some demand home comforts; others luxurious appointments;
but you don't get either of these in North Africa, save in the palace
hotels of Algiers, Biskra and Tunis, and even there these things are
less complete than many would wish.

We knew all this when we started out. We had become habituated as it
were, for we had been there before. The railways of North Africa are
poor, uncomfortable things, and excruciatingly slow; the steamships
between Marseilles or Genoa and the African littoral are either
uncomfortably crowded, or wobbly, slow-going tubs; and there are many
discomforts of travel--not forgetting fleas--which considerably mitigate
the joys of the conventional traveller who affects floating hotels and
Pullman car luxuries.

The wonderful African-Mediterranean setting is a patent attraction and
is very lovely. Every one thinks that; but it is best always to take
ways and means into consideration when journeying, and if the game is
not worth the candle, let it alone.

This book is not written in commendation only of the good things of life
which one meets with in North Africa, but is a personal record of things
seen and heard by the artist and the author. As such it may be accepted
as a faithful transcript of sights and scenes--and many correlative
things that matter--which will prove to be the portion of others who
follow after. These things have been seen by many who have gone before
who, however, have not had the courage to paint or describe them as they
found them.

Victor Hugo discovered the Rhine, Théophile Gautier Italy, De Nerval the
Orient, and Merimée Spain; but they did not blush over the dark side
and include only the more charming. For this reason the French
descriptive writer has often given a more faithful picture of strange
lands than that limned by Anglo-Saxon writers who have mostly praised
them in an ignorant, sentimental fashion, or reviled them because they
had left their own damp sheets and stogy food behind, and really did not
enjoy travel--or even life--without them. There is a happy mean for the
travellers' mood which must be cultivated, if one is not born with it,
else all hope of pleasurable travel is lost for ever.

The comparison holds good with regard to North Africa and its Arab
population. Sir Richard Burton certainly wrote a masterful work in his
"Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina," and set forth the Arab character as no
one else has done; but he said some things, and did some things, too,
that his fellow countrymen did not like, and so they were loth to accept
his great work at its face value.

The African Mediterranean littoral, the mountains and the desert beyond,
and all that lies between, have found their only true exponents in Mme.
Myriam Harry, MM. Louis Bertrand, Arnaud and Maryval, André Gide and
Isabelle Eberhardt, and Victor Barrucaud. These and some others
mentioned further on are the latter-day authorities on the Arab life of
Africa, though the makers of English books on Algeria and Tunisia seem
never to have heard of them, much less profited by their
next-to-the-soil knowledge. Instead they have preferred to weave their
romances and novels on "home-country" lines, using a Mediterranean or
Saharan setting for characters which are not of Africa and which have no
place therein.

This book is a record of various journeyings in that domain of North
Africa where French influence is paramount; and is confidently offered
as the result of much absorption of first-hand experiences and
observations, coupled with authenticated facts of history and romance.
All the elements have been found _sur place_ and have been woven into
the pages which follow in order that nothing desirable of local colour
should be lost by allowing too great an expanse of sea and land to

The story of Algeria and Tunisia has so often been told by the French,
and its moods have so often been painted by _les "gens d'esprit et de
talent,"_ that a foreigner has a considerable task laid out for him in
his effort to do the subject justice. Think of trying to catch the fire
and spirit of Fromentin, of Loti, of the Maupassants or Masqueray, or
the local colour of the canvases of Dinet, Armand Point, Potter,
Besnard, Constant, Cabannes, Guillaumet, or Ziem! Then go and try to
paint the picture as it looks to you. Yet why not? We live to learn;
and, as all the phases of this subtropical land have not been exploited,
why should we--the author and artist--not have a hand in it?

So we started out. The mistral had begun to blow at Martigues (la Venise
Provençal known by artist folk of all nationalities, but unknown--as
yet--to the world of tourists), where we had made our Mediterranean
headquarters for some years, but the sirocco was still blowing
contrariwise from the south on the African coast, and it was for that
reason that the author, the artist and another--the agreeable travelling
companion, a rara avis by the way--made a hurried start.

We were tired of the grime and grind of cities of convention; and were
minded, after another round of travel, to repose a bit in some
half-dormant, half-progressive little town of the Barbary coast, or some
desert oasis where one might, if he would, still dream the dreams of the
Arabian nights and days, regardless of a certain reflected glamour of
vulgar modernity which filters through to the utmost Saharan outposts
from the great ports of the coast.

By a fortunate chance weather and circumstances favoured this last
journey, and thus the making of this book became a most enjoyable

We left Marseilles for the land of the sun at six of an early autumn
evening, the "_heure verte_" of the Marseillais, when the whole
Cannebière smells of absinthe, alcohol, and anise, and all the world is
at ease after a bustling, rustling day of busy affairs. These men of the
Midi, though they seemingly take things easy are a very industrious
race. There is no such virile movement in Paris, even on the boulevards,
as one may witness on Marseilles' famous Cannebière at the seducing hour
of the Frenchman's _apéritif_. Marseilles is a ceaseless turmoil of busy
workaday affairs as well. From the ever-present gaiety of the Cannebière
cafés it is but a step to the great _quais_ and their creaking capstans
and shouting longshoremen.

From the _quais_ of La Joliette all the world and his wife come and go
in an interminable and constant tide of travel, to Africa, to Corsica
and Sardinia; to Jaffa and Constantinople; to Port Said and the East,
India, Australia, China and Japan; and westward, through Gibraltar's
Strait to the Mexican Gulf and the Argentine. The like of Marseilles
exists nowhere on earth; it is the most brilliant and lively of all the
ports of the world. It is the principal seaport of the Mediterranean and
the third city of France.

Our small, tubby steamer slipped slowly and silently out between the
Joliette _quais_ and past the towering Notre Dame de la Garde and the
great Byzantine Cathedral of Sainte Marie Majeur, leaving the twinkling
lights of the Vieux Port and the Pharo soon far behind. Past Château
d'If, the Point des Catalans, Ratonneau and Pomègue we steamed, all
reminiscent of Dumas and that masterpiece of his gallant portrait
gallery,--"The Count of Monte Cristo."

The great Planier light flashed its rays in our way for thirty odd miles
seaward, keeping us company long after we had eaten a good dinner, a
very good dinner indeed, with _café-cognac_--or _chartreuse_, real
_chartreuse_, not the base imitation, mark you, _tout compris_, to top
off with. The boat was a poor, wallowing thing of eight hundred tons or
so, but the dinner was much better than many an Atlantic liner gives. It
had character, and was served

[Illustration: _The_ APPROACH _By_ SEA]

in a tiny saloon on deck, with doors and ports all open, and a gentle,
sighing Mediterranean _brise_ wafting about our heads.

We were six passengers all told, and we were very, very comfortably
installed on the _Isly_ of the Compagnie Touache, in spite of the fact
that the craft owned to twenty-seven years and made only ten knots. The
Compagnie Générale Transatlantique has boats of the comparatively
youthful age of twelve and seventeen, but they are so crowded that one
is infinitely less comfortable, though they make the voyage at a gait of
fifteen or sixteen knots. Then again the food is by no means so good or
well served as that we had on the _Isly_. We have tried them both, and,
as we asked no favours of price or accommodation in either case, the
opinion may be set down as frank, truthful and personal. What others may
think all depends on themselves and circumstance.

In Algeria, at any rate, one doesn't find trippers, and there are
surprisingly few of what the French call "_Anglaises sans-gêne_" and
"_Allemands grotesques_."

The traveller in Algeria should by all means eliminate his countrymen
and study the native races and the French _colons_, if he wishes to know
something of the country. Otherwise he will know nothing, and might as
well have gone to a magic-lantern show at home.

It is a delightfully soft, exotic land which the geographers know as
Mediterranean Africa, and which is fast becoming known to the world of
modern travellers as the newest winter playground. The tide of
pleasure-seeking travel has turned towards Algeria and Tunisia, but the
plea is herein made to those who follow after for the better knowing of
the places off the beaten track, Bou-Saada, Kairouan, the Oasis of
Gabès, Oued-Souf or Tlemcen, for instance, something besides Mustapha,
Biskra and Tunis.

Darkest Africa is no more darkest Africa. That idea was exploded when
Stanley uttered his famous words: "Doctor Livingstone, I presume." And
since that day the late Cecil Rhodes launched his Cape to Cairo scheme,
and Africa has been given over to diamond-mine exploiters, rubber
collectors and semi-invalids, who, hearing wonderful tales of the
climatic conditions of Assouan and Biskra, have foregathered in these
places, to the joy of the native and the profit of the hotel
director--usually a Swiss.

Occasionally one has heard of an adventurous tourist who has hunted the
wild gazelle in the Atlas or the mountains of Kabylie, the gentlest
man-fearing creature God ever made, or who has "camped-out" in a tent
furnished by Cook, and has come home and told of his exploits which in
truth were more Tartarinesque than daring.

The trail of the traveller is over all to-day; but he follows as a rule
only the well-worn _pistes_. In addition to those strangers who live in
Algiers or Tunis and have made of those cities weak imitations of
European capitals and their suburbs as characterless as those of Paris,
London or Chicago, they have also imported such conventions as "bars"
and "tea-rooms" to Biskra and Hammam-R'hira.

Tlemcen and its mosques, however; Figuig and its fortress-looking Grand
Hôtel du Sahara at Beni-Ounif; Touggourt and its market and its military
posts; and Bou-Saada and Tozeur with their oases are as yet
comparatively unknown ground to all except artists who have the passion
of going everywhere and anywhere in search of the unspoiled.

When it comes to Oued-Souf with its one "_Maison française_," which, by
the way, is inhabited by the Frenchified Sheik of the Msaâba to whom a
chapter is devoted in this book later on; or Ghardaïa, the Holy City of
the Sud-Constantinois, the case were still more different. This is
still virgin ground for the stranger, and can only be reached by
diligence or caravan.

The railway with a fairly good equipment runs all the length of Algeria
and Tunisia, from the Moroccan frontier at Tlemcen to Gabès and beyond,
almost to the boundary of Tripoli in Barbary. An automobile would be
much quicker, and in some parts even a donkey, but the railway serves as
well as it ever does in a new-old country where it has recently been

If one enters by Algiers or Oran and leaves by Tunis or even Sfax or
Gabès he has done the round; but if opportunity offers, he should go
south from Tlemcen into the real desert at Figuig; from Biskra to
Touggourt; or from Gabès to Tozeur. Otherwise he will have so kept "in
touch" with things that he can, for the asking, have oatmeal for
breakfast and marmalade for tea, which is not what one comes, or should
come, to Africa for. One takes his departure from French Mediterranean
Africa from Tunis or Bizerte.

Leaving Tunis and its domes and minarets behind, his ship makes its way
gingerly out through the straight-cut canal, a matter of six

[Illustration: _The Edge of the Desert_]

or eight miles to La Goulette, a veritable Italian fishing village in
Africa which the Italian population themselves call La Goletta. Here the
pilot is sent ashore,--he was a useless personage anyway, but he touches
a hundred and fifty francs for standing on the bridge and doing
nothing,--the ship turns a sharp right angle and sets its course
northward for Marseilles, leaving Korbus and the great double-horned
mountain far in the distance to starboard.

Carthage and its cathedral, and Sidi-bou-Saïd and its minarets are to
port, the red soil forming a rich frame for the scintillating white
walls scattered here and there over the landscape. La Marsa and the
Bey's summer palace loom next in view, Cap Carthage and Cap Bon, and
then the open sea.

Midway between Tunis and Marseilles, one sees the red porphyry rocks of
Sardinia. Offshore are the little isles which terminate the greater
island, the "Taureau," the "Vache" and the "Veau." They are only
interesting as landmarks, and look like the outcroppings of other
Mediterranean islands. In bad weather the mariners give them a wide

The sight of Sardinia makes no impression on the French passengers. They
stare at it, and remark it not. The profound contempt of the Frenchman
of the Midi for all things Italian is to be remarked. Corsica is left to
starboard, still farther away, in fact not visible, but the Frenchman
apparently does not regret this either, even though it has become a
French Département. "_Peuh: la Corse_," he says, "_un vilain pays_,"
where men pass their existence killing each other off. Such is the
outcome of traditional, racial rancour, and yet the most patriotic
Frenchman the writer has ever known was a Corsican.

"_Voilà! le Cap Sicié!_" said the commandant the second morning at ten
o'clock, as he stood on the bridge straining his eyes for a sight of
land. We didn't see it, but we took his word for it. A quarter of an
hour later it came into view, the great landmark promontory, which juts
out into the Mediterranean just west of Toulon.

Just then with a swish and a swirl, and with as icy a breath as ever
blew south from the snow-clad Alps, down came the mistral upon us, and
we all went below and passed the most uncomfortable five hours
imaginable, anchored off the Estaque, in full view of Marseilles, and
yet not able to enter harbour. The Gulf of Lyons and the mistral form
an irresistible combination of forces once they get together.

At last in port; the _douanier_ keeps a sharp lookout for cigars and
cigarettes (which in Algeria and Tunisia sell for about a quarter of
what they do in France), and in a quarter of an hour we are installed in
that remarkably equipped "Touring Hotel" of Marseilles' Cours Belzunce.
_Art nouveau_ furniture, no heavy rugs or draperies, metallic bedsteads,
and hot and cold running water in every room. This is a good deal to
find on this side of the Atlantic. The house should be made note of by
all coming this way. Not in the palace hotels of Algiers, Biskra or
Tunis can you find such a combination.



    "_Africque apporte tousjours quelque chose de nouveau._"

Algeria and Tunisia are already the vogue, and Biskra, Hammam-R'hira and
Mustapha are already names as familiar as Cairo, Amalfi or Teneriffe,
even though the throng of "_colis vivants expédiés par Cook_," as the
French call them, have not as yet overrun the land. For the most part
the travellers in these delightful lands, be they Americans, English or
Germans (and the Germans are almost as numerous as the others), are
strictly unlabelled, and each goes about his own affairs, one to Tlemcen
to paint the Moorish architecture of its mosques, another to Biskra for
his health, and another to Tunis merely to while away his time amid
exotic surroundings.

This describes well enough the majority of travellers here, but the
other categories are increasing every day, and occasionally a
"tourist-steamship" drops down three or four hundred at one fell swoop
on the _quais_ of Algiers or Tunis, and then those cities become as the
Place de l'Opéra, or Piccadilly Circus. These tourists only skirt the
fringe of this interesting land, and after thirty-six hours or so go
their ways.

One does not become acquainted with the real North Africa in any such

The picturesque is everywhere in Algeria and Tunisia, and the incoming
manners and customs of _outre-mer_ only make the contrast more
remarkable. It is not the extraordinary thing that astonishes us to-day,
for there is no more virgin land to exploit as a touring-ground. It is
the rubbing of shoulders with the dwellers in foreign lands who, after
all, are human, and have relatively the same desires as ourselves, which
they often satisfy in a different manner, that makes travel enjoyable.

What Nubian and Arab Africa will become later, when European races have
still further blended the centuries-old tropical and subtropical blood
in a gentle assimilated adaptation of men and things, no one can
predict. The Arab has become a very good engineer, the Berber can be
trained to become a respectable herder of cattle, as the Egyptian
_fellah_ has been made into a good farmer, or a motorman on the
electric railway from Cairo to the Pyramids.

What the French call the "Empire Européen" is bound to envelop Africa
some day, and France will be in for the chief part in the division
without question. The French seem to understand the situation
thoroughly; and, with the storehouse of food products (Algeria and
Tunisia, and perhaps by the time these lines are printed, Morocco) at
her very door, she is more than fortunately placed with regard to the
development of this part of Africa. The individual German may come and
do a little trading on his own account, but it is France as a nation
that is going to prosper out of Africa. This is the one paramount aspect
of the real North Africa of to-day as it has been for some generations
past, a fact which the Foreign Offices of many powers have overlooked.

It is a pity that the whole gamut of the current affairs of North Africa
is summed up in many minds by the memory of the palpably false sentiment
of the school of fictionists which began with Ouida. Let us hope it has
ended, for the picturing of the local colour of Mediterranean and
Saharan Africa is really beyond the romancer who writes love-stories for
the young ladies of the boarding-schools, and the new women of the _art
nouveau_ boudoirs. The lithe, dreamy young Arab of fiction, who falls in
love with lonesome young women _en voyage_ alone to some tourist centre,
is purely a myth. There is not a real thing about him, not even his
clothes, much less his sentiments; and he and his picturesque natural
surroundings jar horribly against each other at best.

The Cigarette of "Under Two Flags" was not even a classically
conventional figure, but simply a passionate, tumultuous creature,
lovable only for her inconsistencies, which in reality were nothing
African in act or sentiment, though that was her environment.

The English lord who became a "Chasseur d'Afrique" was even more
unreal--he wasn't a "Chasseur d'Afrique," anyway, he was simply a member
of the "Légion Étrangère;" but doubtless Ouida cared less for minutely
precise detail than she did to exploit her unconventional convictions.
The best novels of to-day are something our parents never dreamed of!
Exclamations and exhortations of the characters of "Under Two Flags,"
"Mon Amour," "Ma Patrie," "Les Enfants," are not African. They belong to
the parasite faubourgs of Paris' fortifications. Let no one make the
mistake, then, of taking this crop of North African novels for their
guide and mentor. Much better go with Cook and be done with it, if one
lacks the initiative to launch out for himself, and make the itinerary
by railway, _diligence_ and caravan. If he will, one can travel by
_diligence_ all over Mediterranean Africa, and by such a means of
locomotion he will best see and know the country.

The _diligence_ of the plain and mountain roads of Algeria and Tunisia
is as remarkable a structure as still rolls on wheels. Its counterpart
does not exist to-day in France, Switzerland or Italy. It is generally
driven by a portly Arab, with three wheelers and four leaders, seven
horses in all. It is made up of many compartments and stories. There is
a _rez-de-chaussée_, a _mezzanine_ floor and a roof garden, with prices
varying accordingly as comfort increases or decreases. A fifty or a
hundred kilometre journey therein, or thereon, is an experience one does
not readily forget. To begin with, one usually starts at an hour varying
from four to seven in the morning, an hour which, even in Algeria, in
winter, is dark and chill.

The stage-driver of the "Far West" is a fearsome, capable individual,
but the Arab conductor of a "_voiture publique_," with a rope-wound
turban on his head, a flowing, entangling burnous, and a five-yard whip,
can take more chances in getting around corners or down a sharp incline
than any other coach-driver that ever handled the ribbons. Sometimes he
has an assistant who handles a shorter whip, and belabours it over the
backs of the wheelers, when additional risks accrue. Sometimes, even,
this is not enough and the man-at-the-wheel jumps down and runs
alongside, slashing viciously at the flying heels of the seven horse
power, after which he crawls up aloft and dozes awhile.

Under the hood of the _impériale_ is stowed away as miscellaneous a lot
of baggage as one can imagine, including perhaps a dozen fowls, a sheep
or two, or even a calf. Amidst all this, three or four cross-legged
natives wobble and lurch as the equipage makes its perilsome way.

Down below everything is full, too; so that, with its human freight of
fifteen or sixteen persons, and the unweighed kilos of merchandise on
the roof, the journey may well be described as being fraught with
possibilities of disaster. There is treasure aboard, too,--a strong-box
bolted to the floor beneath the drivers' feet; and at the rear a
weather-proof cast-iron letter-box, padlocked tight and only opened at
wayside post-offices. The sequestered colonist, living far from the rail
or post, has his only communication with the outside world through the
medium of this mobile _bureau de poste_.

The roads of Algeria and Tunisia are marvellously good--where they
exist. The Arab roads and routes of old were simple trails, trod down in
the herb-grown, sandy soil by the bare feet of men, or camels, or the
hoofs of horses and mules. So narrow were these trails that two caravans
could not pass each other, so there were two trails, like the steamship
"lanes" of the Atlantic.

Tradition still prompts the Kabyles to march in single file on the
sixteen meter wide high-roads, which now cross and recross their
country, the results of a beneficent French administration. Morocco some
day will come in line.

In Tunisia, the roads are as good as they are in Algeria, and they are
many and being added to yearly.

There are still to be seen, in the interior, little pyramids of stones,
perhaps made up of tens of thousands, or a hundred thousand even, of
desert pebbles, each unit placed by some devoted traveller who has
recalled that on that spot occurred the death, or perhaps murder, of
some pioneer. The Arabs call these monuments Nza, and would not think
for a moment of passing one by without making their offering. It is a
delicate, natural expression of sentiment, and one that might well be

There is no more danger to the tourist travelling through Algeria and
Tunisia by road than there would be in France or Italy--and considerably
less than might be met with in Spain. There are some brigands and
robbers left hiding in the mountains, perhaps, but their raids are on
flocks and herds, and not for the mere dross of the gold of tourists, or
the gasolene of automobilists. The desert lion is a myth of
Tartarinesque poets and artists, and one is not likely to meet anything
more savage than a rabbit or a hedgehog all the fifteen hundred or two
thousand kilometres from Tlemcen to Gabès.

The African lion is a dweller only in the forest-grown mountains; and
the popular belief that it can track for weeks across the desert,
drinking only air, and eating only sand, is pure folly of the romantic
brand perpetuated by the painter Gérome.

During the last ten years, in all Algeria there were killed only:--

  Lions and lionesses and cubs       181
  Panthers                           988
  Hyenas                           1,485
  Jackals                         22,619

It may be taken for granted, then, that there are no great dangers to be
experienced on the well-worn roads and _pistes_ of Tunisia and Algeria.
The hyenas and lions are hidden away in the great mountain fastnesses,
and the jackals themselves are harmless enough so far as human beings
are concerned. The _sanglier_, or wild boar, is savage enough if
attacked when met with, otherwise it is he who flees, whilst the
jack-rabbits and the gazelles make up the majority of the "savage life"
seen contiguous to the main travelled roads away from the railways.

Scorpions and horned vipers are everywhere--if one looks for them,
otherwise one scarcely ever sees one or the other. The greatest enemy of
mankind hereabouts is the flea; and, as the remedy is an obvious and
personal one, no more need be said. Another plague is the cricket,
grasshopper or _sauterelle_. The _sauterelle_, says the Arab, is the
wonder among nature's living things. It has the face of a horse, the
eyes of an elephant, the neck of a bull, the horns of a deer, the breast
of a lion, the stomach of a scorpion, the legs of an ostrich, the tail
of a snake, and is more to be feared than any of the before enumerated
menagerie. It all but devastated the chief wheat-growing lands of the
plateaux of the provinces of Alger and Constantine a generation or more
ago, and brought great misery in its wake.

The scorpion and the gazelle are the two chief novelties among living
things (after the camel) with which the stranger makes acquaintance
here. The former is unlovely but not dangerous. "_Il pique, mais ne mord
pas_," say the French; but no one likes to find them in his shoes in the
morning all the same. The gazelle is more likable, a gentle, endearing
creature, with great liquid eyes, such as poets attribute to their most
lovely feminine creations.

The gazelle is an attribute of all fountain courtyards. It lives and
thrives in captivity, can be tamed to follow you like a dog, and is as
affectionate as a caressing kitten. It will eat condensed milk, dates,
cabbage and cigarettes; but it balks at Pear's soap.

In the open country the nomad Arab or even the house-dweller that one
meets by the roadside is an agreeable, willing person, and when he
understands French (as he frequently does), he is quite as "useful" as
would be his European prototype under similar conditions. The country
Arab is courteous, for courtesy's sake, moreover, and not for profit.
This is not apt to be the case in the cities and towns.

The Arab speech of the ports and railway cities and towns is of the
solicitous kind. One can't learn anything here of phraseology that will
be useful to him in the least and it's bad French. "_Sidi mousi! Moi
porter! Moi forsa besef!_" is nothing at all, though it is eloquent, and
probably means that the gamin, old or young, wants to carry your baggage
or call a cab. And for this you pay in Algiers and Tunis as you pay in
London or Paris, but you are not blackmailed as you are in Alexandria or

One may not rest two minutes on the terrace of any café in a large
Algerian town without having an Arab, a Kabyle, or a Jewish ragamuffin
come up and bawl at one incessantly, "_Ciri, ciri, ciri!_" If you have
just left your hotel, your boots brilliant as jet from the best Algerian
substitute for "Day & Martin's Best," it doesn't matter in the least;
they still cry, "_Ciri, ciri, ciri, m'siou!_" Sometimes it is, "_Ciri
bien, m'siou!_" and sometimes "_Ciri, kif, kif la glace de Paris!_" But
the object of their plaint is always the same. Finally, if you won't let
them dull the polish of your _shine_, they will cire their faces and
demand "_quat' sous_" from you because you witnessed the operation. Very
businesslike are the shoeblacks of Algiers; they don't mind what they
_cire_ as long as they _cire_ something.

[Illustration: "Cireur"]

The Café d'Apollon in Algiers is the rendezvous of the "high-life Arab."
Here Sheiks from the deserts' great tents, Caïds from the settlements,
and others of the vast army of great and small Arab officialdom assemble
to take an afternoon _bock_ or _apéritif_; for in spite of his religion
the Mussulman will sometimes drink beer and white wine. Some, too, are
"decorated," and some wear even the _ruban_ or _bouton_ of the Legion of
Honour on their chests where that otherwise useless buttonhole of the
coat of civilization would be. Grim, taciturn figures are these, whose
only exclamation is a mechanical clacking of the lips or a cynical,
gurgling chuckle coming from deep down, expressive of much or little,
according as much or little is meant.

The foreign population in Algeria and Tunisia is very mixed; and though
all nationalities mingle in trade the foreigners will not become
naturalized to any great extent. Out of forty-one naturalized foreigners
in Tunis in 1891, 27 were Italians, 2 Alsatians, 2 Luxembourgeois, 2
Maltese, 1 German, 1 Belgian, 1 Moroccan, and 5 individuals of
undetermined nationality.

Civilization and progress has marked North Africa for exploitation, but
it will never overturn Mohammedanism. The trail of Islam is a long one
and plainly marked. From the Moghreb to the Levant and beyond extends

[Illustration: THE FLIGHT _of the_ MOORS]

memory and tradition of Moorish civilization of days long gone by. The
field is unlimited, and ranges from the Giralda of Andalusia to the
Ottoman mosques of the Dardanelles, though we may regret, with all the
Arab poets and historians, the decadence of Granada more than all else.
The Arab-Moorish overrunning of North Africa defined an epoch full of
the incident of romance, whatever may have been the cruelties of the
barbarians. This period endured until finally the sombre cities of the
corsairs became the commercial capitals of to-day, just as glorious
Carthage became a residential suburb of Tunis. The hand of time has left
its mark plainly imprinted on all Mediterranean Africa, and not even the
desire for up-to-dateness on the part of its exploiters will ever efface
these memories, nor further desecrate the monuments which still remain.

The French African possessions include more than a third of the
continent, an area considerably more extensive than the United States,
Alaska, Porto Rico, and the Philippines combined. One hears a lot about
the development of the British sphere of influence in Africa; but not
much concerning that of the French which, since the unhappy affair of
Fashoda, has been more active than ever. The French are not the
garrulous nation one sometimes thinks them. They have a way of doing
things, and saying nothing, which is often fraught with surprises for
the outside world. Perhaps Morocco and Tripoli de Barbarie may come into
the fold some day; and, then, with the French holding the railways of
Egypt and the Suez Canal, as at present, they will certainly be the
dominant Mediterranean and African power, if they may not be reckoned so

The Saharan desert is French down to its last grain of sand and the last
oasis palm-tree, and it alone has an area half the size of the United

Of Mediterranean French Africa, Tunisia is a protectorate, but almost as
absolutely governed by the French as if it were a part of the Ile de
France. Algérie is a part of France, a Department across the seas like
Corse. It holds its own elections and has three senators and six
deputies at Paris. Its governor-general is a Frenchman (usually promoted
from the Préfecture of some mainland Département) and most of the
officialdom and bureaucracy are French.

Trade between Algeria and France, mostly in wines and food stuffs on one
side, and manufactured products on the other, approximates three hundred
millions of francs in each direction. Algeria, "la belle Algérie" as the
French fondly call it, is not a mere strip of mountain land and desert.
It is one of the richest agricultural lands on earth, running eastward
from the Moroccan frontier well over into Tunisia; and, for ages, it has
been known as the granary of Europe. The Carthaginians and the
Phoenicians built colonies and empires here, and Rome was nourished
from its wheat-fields and olive-groves.

The wheat of Africa was revered by the Romans of the capital above all
others. One of the pro-consuls sent Augustus a little packet of four
hundred grains, all grown from one sole seed, whereupon great national
granaries were built and the commerce in the wheat of Africa took on
forthwith almost the complexion of a monopoly. The sowing and the
harvest were most primitive. "I have seen," wrote Pliny (H. N. XVIII,
21), "the sowing and the reaping accomplished here by the aid of a
primitive plough, an old woman and a tiny donkey." The visitor may see
the same to-day!

At the moment of the first autumn rains the Arab or Berber cultivator
works over his soil, or sets his wives on the job, and sows his winter
wheat. The planting finished, the small Arab farmer seeks the sunny side
of a wall and basks there, watching things grow, smoking much tobacco
and drinking much coffee, each of these narcotics very black and strong.
Four months later his ample, or meagre, crop comes by chance. Then he
flays it, not by means of a flail swung by hand, but by borrowing a
little donkey from some neighbour,--if he hasn't one of his own,--and
letting the donkey's hoofs trample it out. Now he takes it--or most
likely sends it--to market, and his year's work is done. He rolls over
to the shady side of his _gourbi_ (the sunny side is getting too warm)
and loafs along until another autumn. He might grow maize in the
interval, but he doesn't.

The Barbary fig, or prickly-pear cactus, is everywhere in Algeria and
Tunisia. It grows wild by the roadside, in great fields, and as a
barrier transplanted to the top of the universal mud walls. Frost is its
only enemy. Everything and everybody else flees before it except the
native who eats its spiny, juicy bulbs and finds them good. The rest of
us only find the spines, and throw the fruit away in disgust when we
attempt to taste it. The Barbary fig is the Arab's sole food supply when
crops fail, the only thing which stands between him and
starvation--unless he steals dates or figs from some richer man's
plantation. The Arab's wants are not great, and with fifty francs and
some ingenuity he can live a year.

The palm-trees of Africa number scores of varieties, but those of the
Mediterranean states and provinces, the date-bearing palm, come within
three well-defined classes: the _Phoenix-dactylifera_, the
_chamaerops-humilis_ and the _cucifera-thebaica_.

Even the smallest Arab proprietor of land or sheep or goats pays taxes.
The French leave its collection to the local Caïds or Sheiks, but it
gets into the official coffers ultimately,--or most of it does.

In Algeria there are four principal taxes, or _impôts_:

The _Achour_ on cereals; the _Zekai_, on sheep and cattle to-day, but
originally a tax collected for the general good, as prescribed by the
Koran; the _Hokar_ (in Constantine), a tax on land; the _Lezma_, the
generic term for various contributions, such as the right to carry
firearms (the only tax levied in Kabylie), and the tax on date-palms in
the Sud-Algérie and Sud-Oranais. The Arab carries a gun only after he
gets a permit, which he must show every time he buys powder or shot.

In Tunisia the taxes are much the same; but there is a specific tax on
olive-trees as well as date-palms, and on the markets and the products
sold there.

The wines of Algeria and Tunisia are the product of foreign vines whose
roots were transplanted here but little more than half a century ago.
These vines came from all parts, from France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy,
Malta and America; and now the "_vin d'Algérie_" goes out to the ends of
the earth,--usually under the name of a _cru_ more famous. It is very
good wine nevertheless, this rich, hybrid juice of the grape; and,
though the Provençal of Chateauneuf, the sons of the Aude, the Garde and
the Hérault, or the men of Roussillon do not recognize Algerian wine as
a worthy competitor of their own vintages, it is such all the same. And
the Peroximen, supposed to be a product only of Andalusia, and the
Muscatel of Alexandria, are very nearly as good grown on Algerian soil
as when gathered in the place of their birth.

The "_vin rosé_" of Kolea, the really superb wines of Médea, and the
"_vin blanc de Carthage_," should carry the fame of these North African
vintages to all who are, or think they are, judges of good wine.

With such a rich larder at their very doors, the mediæval Mediterranean
nations were in a constant quarrel over its possession. Vandals and
Greeks fought for the right to populate it after the Romans, but the
Moorish wave was too strong; the Arab crowded the Berber to the wall and
made him a Mussulman instead of a Christian, a religious faith which
the French have held inviolate so far as proselytizing goes. It is this
one fundamental principle which has done much to make the French rule in
Algeria the success that it is. Britain should leave religion out of her
colonizing schemes if she would avoid the unrest which is continually
cropping up in various parts of the empire; and the United States should
leave the friars of the Philippines alone, and let them grow fat if they
will, and develop the country on business lines. We are apt to think
that the French are slow in business matters, but they get results
sometimes in an astonishingly successful manner, and by methods which
they copy from no one.

The ports of Algeria and Tunisia are of great antiquity. The Romans, not
content with the natural advantages offered as harbours, frequently cut
them out of the soft rock itself, or built out jetties or _quais_, as
have all dock engineers since when occasion demanded. There are vestiges
of these old Roman _quais_ at Bougie, at Collo, at Cherchell, at Stora
and at Bona. These Roman works, destroyed or abandoned at the Vandal
invasion, were never rebuilt; and the great oversea traders of the
Italian Republics, of France and of Spain, merely hung around offshore
and transacted their business, as do the tourist steamers at Jaffa
to-day, while their personally conducted hordes descend upon Jerusalem
and the Jordan.

The Barbary pirates had little inlets and outlets which they alone knew,
and flitted in and out of on their nefarious projects; but only at
Algiers, until in comparatively recent times, were there any ports or
harbours, legitimately so called, in either Algeria or Tunisia, though
the Spaniards, when in occupation of Oran in the eighteenth century,
made some inefficient attempts towards waterside improvements of a
permanent character.

In thinking of North Africa it is well to recall that it is not a
tropical belt, nor even a subtropical one. It is very like the climate
of the latitude of Washington, though perhaps with less rain in winter.
It is not for a moment to be compared with California or Bermuda.

The temperature on the Algerian coast is normally as follows:--

  Winter, 11°-12° centigrade      Summer, 25° centigrade
  Spring, 15°-16° centigrade      Autumn, 19°-20° centigrade
            Average yearly, 17°-18° centigrade

As compared with the temperature of the French Riviera, taking Nice as
an example, the balance swings in favour of Algeria in winter, and a
trifle against it for summer, as the following figures show:--

  Winter, 9° centigrade      Summer, 23° centigrade
  Spring, 17° centigrade     Autumn, 18° centigrade
            Yearly average, 16° centigrade

One pertinent observation on North Africa is that regarding the influx
of outside civilizing influences. The American invasion of manufactured
products is here something considerable; but as yet it has achieved
nothing like its possibilities, save perhaps in electrical tramway
installation, sewing machines and five-gallon tins of kerosene. The
French have _got_ North Africa, mostly; the Germans the trade in
cutlery; the English (or the Scotch) that in whiskey and marmalade; but
the American shipments of "Singers" and "Standards" must in total
figures swamp any of the other single "foreign imports" in value. One
does not speak of course of imports from France. As the argument of the
dealers, who push the sewing-machine into the desert _gourbis_ of the
nomads and the mountain dwellings of the Kabyles, has it, the civilizing
influences of Algeria have been railways, public schools and "Singers."
What progressive Arab could be expected to resist such an argument for
progress, with easy-payment terms of a franc a week as the chief
inducement? The only objection seems to be that his delicately
fashioned, creamy, woollen burnous of old is fast becoming a ready-made
"lock-stitch" affair, which lacks the loving marks of the real hand-made
article. Other things from America are agricultural machinery, ice-cream
freezers, oil-stoves, corn meal, corned beef, salmon from Seattle, and
pickles from Bunker Hill. As yet the trade in these "staples" is
infinitesimal when compared with what it might be if "pushed," which it
is not because all these things come mostly through London warehouse
men, who "push" something else when they can.

A few things America will not be able to sell in North Africa are boots
and shoes, the Arab wears his neatly folded down at the heel, and ours
are not that kind; nor socks, nor stockings, the Arab buys a gaudy
"near-silk," made in the Vosges, when he buys any, and the women don't
wear them; nor hats, though a Stetson, No. 7, would please them
mightily, all but the price. There is no demand for folding-beds or
elastic bookcases. The Arab sleeps on the floor, and the only book he
possesses, if he can read, is a copy of the Koran, which he tucks away
inside his burnous and carries about with him everywhere. Chairs he has
no need for; when the Arab doesn't lie or huddle on the ground, he sits
dangle-legged or cross-legged on a bench, which is a home-made affair.
The women mostly squat on their heels, which looks uncomfortable, but
which they seem to enjoy.

Besides the American invasion, there is the German occupation to reckon
with--in a trade sense.

"Those terrible Germans," is a newspaper phrase of recent coinage which
is applicable to almost any reference to the German trade invasion of
every country under the sun, save perhaps the United States and Canada.
In South America, in Russia, and in the African Mediterranean States and
Provinces, the Teuton has pushed his trading instincts to the utmost. He
may be no sort of a colonizer himself, but he knows how to sell goods.
In North Africa, in the coast towns, over a thousand German firms have
established themselves within the last ten years, all the way from
Tangier to Port Saïd. This may mean little or nothing to the offhand
thinker; but when one recalls that the blackamoor and the Arab have
learned to use matches and folding pocket-knives, and have even been
known to invest in talking machines, it is also well to recall that the
German can produce these things, "machine-made," and market them cheaper
than any other nation. For this reason he floods the market, where the
taste is not too critical, and the cry is here for cheapness above all
things. This is the Arab's point of view, hence the increasing hordes of
German traders.

To show the German is indefatigable, and that he knows North Africa to
its depths, the case of the late German consul at Cairo, Paul Gerhard,
who wrote a monumental work on the butterflies of North Africa, is worth



    "Le coq Gaulois est le coq de la gloire.
     Il chante bien fort quand il gagne une victoire
     Et encore plus fort quand il est battu."

Algeria is by no means savage Africa, even though its population is
mostly _indigène_. It forms a "_circonscription académique_" of France.
It has a national observatory, a branch of that at Paris, founded in
1858; a school of medicine and pharmacy; a school of law; a faculty of
letters and sciences, and three endowed chairs of Arabic, at Algiers
(founded in 1836); Oran (1850) and Constantine (1858).

Algeria has a great future in store, although it has cost France
8,593,000,000 francs since its occupation seventy years ago, and has
only produced a revenue of 2,330,000,000 francs, which represents the
loss of a sum greater than the war indemnity of 1870. The Algerian
budget balanced for the first time in 1901 without subsidies from home.

The entire population of Algeria is 4,124,732, of which 3,524,000 are
Arabs, Kabyles or

[Illustration: Algeria and its Provinces]

[Illustration: Algeria and its Provinces]

Berbers, and the subdivided races hereafter mentioned, leaving in the
neighbourhood of 600,000 Europeans, whose numbers are largely increasing
each year.

The rate of increase of the European population, from 1836, when the
French first occupied the country, has been notable. In 1836 there were
14,561 Europeans in the colony; in 1881, 423,881, of which 233,937 were
French, 112,047 Spanish, and 31,865 Italians, and to-day the figure is
over 600,000.

The Arab and Berber population, too, are notably increasing; they are
not disappearing like the red man. From 2,320,000, in 1851, they have
increased, in 1891, to 3,524,000.

In addition to the Arab and Berber population of Algeria, and the
"foreigners" and Europeans, there are the following:

Moors--(90,500), the mixed issue of the Berbers and all the races
inhabiting Algeria.

Koulouglis--(20,000), born of Turks and Moorish women.

Jews--(47,667), who by the decree of 1870 were made French. (This does
not include unnaturalized Jews.)

Negroes--(5,000), the former slaves who were freed in 1848.

The French colonist in Algeria, the man on the spot, understands the
Arab question better than the minister and officials of the Colonial
Office of the Pavilion Sully, though the French have succeeded in making
of Algeria what they have never accomplished with their other
colonies--a paying proposition at last. Still France governs Algeria
under a sort of "up-the-state," "Raines-law" rule, and treats the
_indigène_ of Laghouat or Touggourt as they would a boatman of Pontoise
or a farm labourer of Étampes. The French colonial howls against all the
mistakes and indiscretions of a "Boulevard Government" for the Sahara,
and even revile the Governor General, whom he calls a civilian dressed
up in military garb and no governor at all. _Que diable!_ This savours
of partisanship and politics, but it is an echo of what one hears as
"café talk" any time he opens his ears in Algiers.

All is peace and concord within, however, in spite of the small talk of
the cafés; and the Arab and European live side by side, each enjoying
practically the same rights and protection that they would if they lived
in suburban Paris.

The Caïd or Sheik or head man of a tribe is the go-between in all that
concerns the affairs of the native with the French government.

[Illustration: _Touggourt_]

The name Caïd was formerly given to the governors of the provinces of
the Barbary States, but to-day that individual has absolutely
disappeared, though he still remains as an administrator of French law,
under the surveillance of the military government. In reality the Caïd
still remains the official head of his tribe, and in this position is
sustained by the French authorities.

The Arab has adopted the new order of things very graciously, but he
can't get over his ancient desire to hoard gold; and, for that reason,
no Algerian gold coin exists, and there is no gold in circulation to
speak of. The Arab, when he gets it, buries it, forgets where, or dies
and forgets to tell any one where, which is the same thing, and thus a
certain very considerable amount is lost to circulation.

Paper money, in values of twenty and fifty francs, takes the place of
gold; the Arab thinks that it is something that is perishable, and
accordingly spends it and keeps the country prosperous. The French
understand the Arab and his foibles; there is no doubt about that. They
solved the question of a circulating currency in Algeria. New York and
Washington representatives of _haute finance_ might take a few lessons

With regard to the money question, the stranger in Algeria must beware
of false and non-current coin. Anything that's a coin looks good to an
Arab, and for that reason a large amount of spurious stuff is in
circulation. It was originally made by counterfeiters to gull the
native, but to-day the stranger gets his share, or more than his share.

To replace the gold "_louis_" of France, the Banque d'Algérie issues
"shin-plasters" of twenty francs. They are convenient, but one must get
rid of them before leaving the country or else sell them to a money
changer at a discount. These Algerian bank-notes now pass current in
Tunisia, a branch of the parent bank having recently been opened there.

The commercial possibilities of Algeria have hardly, as yet, begun to be
exploited, though the wine and wheat-growing lands are highly developed;
and, since their opening, have suffered no lack of prosperity, save for
a plague of _phylloxera_ which set back the vines on one occasion, and a
plague of locusts which one day devastated almost the entire region of
the wheat-growing plateaux. It was then the Arabs became locust-eaters,
though indeed they are not become a cult as in Japan. With the Arab it
was a case of eating locusts or nothing, for there was no grain.

This plague of locusts fell upon the province of Constantine in 1885,
and from Laghouat to Bou-Saada, and from Kenchela to Aumale they were
brought in myriads by the sirocco of the desert from no one knows where.

For two years these great cereal-growing areas were cleared of their
crops as though a wild-fire had passed over them, until finally the
government by strenuous efforts, and the employment of many thousands of
labourers, was able to control and arrest the march of the plague.

During this period many of the new colonists saw their utmost resources
disappear; but gallantly they took up their task anew, and for the past
dozen years only occasional slight recurrences of the pest have been
noted, and they, fortunately, have been suppressed as they appeared.

Besides wheat and wine, tobacco is an almost equal source of profit to
Algeria. In France no one may grow a tobacco plant, even as an
embellishment to his garden-plot, without first informing the excise
authorities, who, afterwards, will come around periodically and count
the leaves. In Africa the tobacco crop is something that brings peace
and plenty to any who will cultivate it judiciously, for the consumption
of the weed is great.

Manufactured tobacco is cheap in Algeria. Neither cigars, cigarettes nor
pipe mixtures, nor snuff either, pay any excise duties; and even foreign
tobaccos, which mostly come from Hungary and the Turkish provinces, pay
very little.

Two-thirds of the Algerian manufactured product is made from home-grown
tobacco, and a very large quantity of the same is sent to France to be
sold as "Maryland;" though, indeed, if the original plants ever came
from the other side of the water, it was by a very roundabout route.
Certainly the broom-corn tobacco of France does not resemble that of
Maryland in the least. The hope of France and her colonies is to grow
all the tobacco consumed within her frontiers, whether it is labelled
"Maryland," "Turkish" or "Scaferlati." The French government puts out
some awful stuff it calls tobacco and sells under fancy names.

The tobacco tax in Algeria is _nil_, and that on wine is nearly so. Four
sous a _hectolitre_ (100 _litres_) is not a heavy tax to pay, though
when it was first applied (in 1907) it was the excuse for the retail
wine dealer (who in Algeria is but human, when he seeks to make what
profit he can) to add two sous to the price of his wine _per litre_.
There is a law in France against unfair trading, and the same applies to
Algeria. It has been a dead law in many places for many years, but when
a tax of four sous a _hectolitre_, originally paid to the state, by the
dealer, finally came out of the consumer's pocket as ten francs, an
increase of 5,000 per cent., popular clamour and threats of the law
caused the dealer to drop back to his original price. This is the way
Algeria protects its growing wine industry. Publicists and economists
elsewhere should study the system.

The African landscape is very simple and very expressive, severe but not
sad, lively but not gay. The great level horizon bars the way south
towards the wastes of the Sahara, and the mountains of the Atlas are
ever present nearer at hand. The desert of romance, _le vrai désert_, is
still a long way off; and, though there is now a macadamized road to
Bou-Saada and Biskra, and a railway to Figuig and beyond, civilization
is still only at the vestibule of the Sahara. The real development and
exploitation of North Africa and its peoples and riches is yet to come.

[Illustration: FARMING _OLD STYLE_]

As for the climate, that of California is undoubtedly superior to that
of Algeria, but the topographical and agricultural characteristics are
much the same. The greatest difference which will be remarked by an
American crossing Algeria from Oran to Souk-Ahras will be the distinct
"foreign note" of the installation of its farming communities. Haystacks
are plastered over with mud; carts are drawn by mules or horses hitched
tandemwise, three, four or five on end, and the carts are mostly
two-wheeled at that. There are no fences and no great barns for stocking
fodder or sheltering cattle; the farmhouses are all of stone, bare or
stucco-covered, and range in colour from sky-blue to pale pink and vivid
yellow. There is some American farming machinery in use, but the Arab
son of the soil still largely works with the implements of Biblical

The winter of Algeria is the winter of Syria, of Japan, and reminiscent
to some extent of California; perhaps not so mild on the whole, but
still something of an approach thereto. Another contrast favourable to
California is that in Algeria there is a lack of certain refinements of
modern travel which are to be had in the "land of sunshine." Winter,
properly speaking, does not come to Algeria except on the high plateaux
of the provinces of Oran, Alger and Constantine, and on the mountain
peaks of the Atlas, and in Kabylie.

South of Algiers stretches the great plain of the Mitidja, which is like
no other part of the earth's surface so much as it is like Normandy with
respect to its prairies, "la Beauce" for its wheat-fields and its
grazing-grounds, and the Bordelais for its vineyards.

At the western extremity of the Mitidja commence the orange-groves of
Blida, the forests of olive-trees, and the eucalyptus of La Trappe. The
scene is immensely varied and suggestive of untold wealth and prosperity
at every kilometre.

Suburban Algiers is thickly built with villas, more or less after the
Moorish style, but owned by Europeans. Recently the wealthy Arab has
taken to building his "country house" on similar gracious lines; and,
when he does, he keeps pretty near to accepted Moorish elements and
details, whereas the European, the _colon_, or the _commerçant_ grown
rich, carries out his idea on the Meudon or St. Cloud plan. The Moorish
part is all there, but the thing often doesn't hang together.

To the eastward back of the mountains of Kabylie lies the great plateau
region of the Tell.

The Tell is a region vastly different in manners and customs from either
the desert or the Algerian littoral. The manners of the nomad of the
Sahara here blend into those of the farming peasant; but, by the time
Batna is reached, they become tainted with the commercialism of the
outside world. At Constantine there is much European influence at work,
and at the seacoast towns of Bona or Philippeville the Oriental perfume
of the date-palm is lost in that of the smells and cosmopolitanism


associated with great seaports. These four distinct characteristics mark
four distinct regions of the Numidia of the ancients, to-day the
wheat-growing region of the Tell.

The principal mountain peaks in Algeria rise to no great heights.
Touabet, near Tlemcen, is 1,620 metres in height; the highest peak of
the Grand Kabylie Range, in the province of Alger, is 2,308 metres; and
Chelia, in Constantine, 2,328 metres. They are not bold, rugged
mountains, but rolling, rounded crests, often destitute of verdure to
the point of desolation.

The development of the regions forming the _hinterland_--practically one
may so call the Sahara--is of constant and assiduous care to the
authorities. They have done much and are doing much more as statistics

In the valley of the Oued-Righ and the Ziban, one of the most favoured
of these borderlands, the government statistics of springs and oases are
as follows (1880-90):--

  Oases,                      38
  Springs,                   434
  Palms,                 518,000
  Other fruit-trees,      90,000
  Value of crops,      5,500,500 fcs.
  Inhabitants,            12,827

And as the population increases and fruit-growing areas are further
developed, the military engineers come along and dig more wells.

The following average temperatures and rainfall show the contrast
between various regions:--

                              January        August         Rainfall
                            (Centigrade)   (Centigrade)   (Millimetres)
            {Tlemcen            9.2           26              524
  Mountains {Fort Nationale    10.1           27              982
            {Constantine        8.5           26              408

            {Géryville          7.2           25.3            126
  Plateaux  {Djeefa             7.2           27.6            176
            {Tebessa            8.1           27.7            251

It will be noted that, normally, there is very little difference in
temperature, and a very considerable difference in rainfall.

The extreme recorded winter temperatures are as follows:--

  1906    Aumale        8° centigrade
          Laghouat     45°     "
  1905    Laghouat      7°     "
          Biskra       47°     "
  1904    Aumale        3°     "
          Tunis        14°     "

Algeria has something like 3,100 kilometres of standard gauge railway,
and various light railways, or narrow gauge roads, of from ten to fifty
kilometres in length, aggregating perhaps five hundred kilometres more.
Railway building and development is going on constantly, but they don't
yet know what an express train is, and the sleeping and dining car
services are almost as bad as they are in England. The real up-to-date
sleeping-car has electric lights and hot and cold water as well as steam
heat. They have dreamed of none of these things yet in England or

The railway is the chief civilizing developer of a country. The railway
receipts in Algeria in 1870 were 2,500,000 francs. In 1900 they were
26,000,000 francs. That's an increase of a thousand per cent., and it
all came out of the country.

The "Routes Nationales" of Algeria (not counting by-roads, etc.), the
real arteries of the life-blood of the country, at the same periods
numbered almost an equal extent, and they are still being built. Give a
new country good roads and good railways and it is bound to prosper.

Four millions of the total population of Algeria (including something
over two hundred thousand Europeans) are dependent upon agriculture for
their livelihood. Wheat, wine and tobacco rank in importance in the
order named.

The growth of the wine industry has been most remarkable.

  In 1872    4,994,000 gallons were produced
  "  1880    9,504,000    "      "      "
  "  1888   60,742,000    "      "      "
  "  1898  100,194,600    "      "      "

None of it is sold as Bordeaux or Burgundy, at least not by the Algerian
grower or dealer. It is quite good enough to sell on its own merits. Let
Australia, then, fabricate so-called "Burgundy" and Germany
"Champagne"--Algeria has no need for any of these wiles.

Grapes, figs and plums are seemingly better in Algeria than elsewhere.
Not better, perhaps, but they are so abundant that one eats only of the
best. The rest are exported to England and Germany. The little
_mandarin_ oranges from Blida and about there, are one of the stand-bys
of Algerian trade. So are olives and dates.

[Illustration: _Tunisia_]



For twenty years France has been putting forth her best efforts and
energies into the development of Tunisia, to make it a worthy and
helpful sister to Algeria. From a French population of seven hundred at
the time of the occupation in 1882, the number has risen to fifty

Tunisia of to-day was the Lybia of the ancients; but whether it was
peopled originally from Spain, from Egypt or from peoples from the
south, history is silent, or at least is not convincingly loud-voiced.

Lybian, Punic, Roman, Vandal and Byzantine, the country became in turn,
then Mussulman; for the native Tunisian has not yet become French. The
Bey still reigns, though with a shorn fragment of his former powers. The
Bey is still the titular head of his Régence, but the French Résident
Général is really the _premier fonctionnaire_, as also he is the Bey's
Ministère des Affaires Étrangères.

The ancient governmental organization of the Bey has been retained with
respect to interior affairs. The Caïds are the local governors or
administrators of the territorial divisions and are appointed by the Bey
himself. They are charged with the policing of their districts, the
collecting of taxes, and are vested with a certain military authority
with which to impress their tribes. Associated with the Caïds, as
seconds in command, are a class called Khalifas, and as tax collectors,
mere civil authorities, there are finally the Sheiks.

[Illustration: _An Old Seal of the Bey of Tunis_]

It was a bitter pill for Italy when France took the ascendancy in Tunis.
The population of the city of Tunis to-day still figures 30,000 Italians
and Maltese as against 10,000 French,--and ever have the French
anti-expansionists called it a "_chinoiserie_." Call it what you will,
Tunis, in spite of its preponderant Italian influence, is fast becoming
French. It is also becoming prosperous, which is the chief end of man's
existence. This proves France's intervention to have been a good thing,
in spite of the fact that it accounts for seventy-five per cent. of the
Italian's animosity towards his Gallic sister.

The death of S. A. Saddok-Bey in 1882, by which the Tunisian sovereign
became subservient to the French Resident, was an event which caused
some apprehension in France.

The new ruler, Si-Ali-Bey, embraced gladly the French suzerainty in his
land that his sons might see the institutions of the Régence prosper
under the benign guidance of a world power. Ali-Bey resisted nothing
French,--even as a Prince,--and when he came to the Beylicale throne in
1882 he gave no thought whatever to the ultimate political independence
of his country. He was ever, until his death, the faithful, liberal
coöperator with the succession of Résidents Généreaux who superseded him
in the control of the real destinies of Tunisia.

As a sovereign he formerly stood as the absolute ruler of a million
souls, not only their political ruler, but their religious head as well.
The latter title still belongs to the Bey. (The present ruler,
Mohammed-en-Nacer-Bey, came into power upon the death of his
predecessor, Mohammed-el-Hadi-Bey in 1906.)

French political administration has robbed the power of the Bey of many
of its picturesque and romantic accessories; but the usages of Islam are
tolerated not only in the entourage of the Bey, but in all his subjects
as well. This toleration even grants them the sanctity of their mosques,
and does not allow the hordes of Christian tourists, who now make a
playground of Mediterranean Africa from Cairo to Fez, to desecrate them
by writing their names in Mohammedan sacred places. In other words,
Europeans are forbidden to enter any of the Tunisian mosques save those
at Kairouan.

It was Ali-Bey who achieved the task of making the masses understand
that their duty was to obey the new régime; that it was a law common to
them all that would assure the prosperity of the nation; and that it was
he, the Bey, who was still the titular head of their religion, which,
after all, is the Mussulman's chief concern in life.

Might makes right, often enough in a maladroit fashion, but sometimes it
comes as a real blessing. This was the case with the coming of the
French to Tunisia. A highly organized army was a necessity for Tunisia,
and within the last quarter of a century she has got it. The French were
far-seeing enough to anticipate the probable eventuality which might
grow out of England's side-long glances towards Bizerte, and the Italian
sphere of influence in Tripoli. Now those fears, not by any means
imaginary ones at the time, are dead. England must be content with
Gibraltar, and Italy with Sardinia. There are no more Mediterranean
worlds to conquer, or there will not be after France absorbs Tripoli in
Barbary, and Morocco, and the mortgages are maturing fast.

To-day the Tunisians are taxed less than they ever were before, and are
better policed, protected and cared for in every way. Their millennium
seems to have arrived. France, with the coöperation of the Bey,
dispenses the law and the prophets after the patriarchal manner which
Saint Louis inaugurated at Carthage in the thirteenth century.

The justice of Ali-Bey and Mohammed-el-Hadi-Bey was an improvement over
that of their predecessors, which was tyrannical to an extreme. The
Spartan or Druidical under-the-oak justice, and worse, gave way to a
formal recognized code of laws which the French authorities evolved from
the heritage of the Koran, and very well indeed it has worked.

The Bey had become a veritable father of his people, and was accessible
to all who had business with him, meriting and receiving the true
veneration of all the Tunisian population of Turks, Jews and Arabs. He
interpreted the laws of Mahomet with liberality to all, and from his
palace of La Marsa dispensed an incalculable charity.

The present Bey is not an old and tried law-maker or soldier like his
predecessors, and beyond a few simple phrases is not even conversant
with the French language. He is a Mussulman _in toto_, but his régime
seems to run smoothly, and day by day the country of his forefathers
prospers and its people grow fat. Some day an even greater prosperity is
due to come to Tunisia, and then the Beylicale incumbent will be covered
with further glories, if not further powers. This will come when the
great trade-route from the Mediterranean to the heart of Africa, to Lake
Tchad, is opened through the Sud-Tunisien and Tripoli, which will be
long before the African interior railway dreamed of by the late Cecil
Rhodes comes into being.

French influence in Africa will then receive a commercial expansion that
is its due, and another Islamic land will come unconsciously under the
sway of Christian civilization.

The obsequies of the late Bey of Tunis were an impressive and unusual
ceremony. The eve before, the prince who was to reign henceforth
received the proclamation of his powers at the Bardo, when he was
invested with the Beylicale honours by the authorities of France and

The funeral of the dead Bey was more pompous than any other of his
predecessors. He died at his palace at La Marsa and lay in state for a
time in his own particular "Holy City," Kassar-Saïd, on the route to
Bizerte, where were present all his immediate family. Prince
Mohammed-en-Nacer, the Bey to be, was so overcome with a crisis of
nerves that he fell swooning at the ceremony, with difficulty pulling
himself together sufficiently to proceed.

The progress of the cortége towards Tunis, the capital, was through the
lined-up ranks of fifty thousand Mussulmans lying prostrate on the
ground. Entrance to the city was by the Sidi-Abdallah Gate, and thence
to the Kasba. The Mussulman population crowded the roof-tops and towers
of the entire city. The military guard of the Zouaves, the Chasseurs
d'Afrique, and the Beylicale cavalry formed a contrasting lively note to
the solemnity of the religious proceedings, though nothing could drown
the fervent wails and shouts of "_La illah allah, Mohammed Rassone
Allah! Sidi Ali-Bey!_" the Arabic substitute for "The King is dead! Long
live the King!"

Before the Grande Mosquée the Unans-Muftis and the Bach-Muftis recited
their special prayers, and all the dignitaries of the new court came to
kiss the hand of the reigning prince, who, at the Gate of Dar-el-Bey,
was saluted by the Résident Général of France.

The Tomb of the Beys, the Tourbet et Bey, is the sepulchre of all the
princes of the house, each being buried in a separate marble
sarcophagus, but practically in a common grave.

A fanatical expression which was not countenanced, but which frequently
came to pass nevertheless, was the crawling beneath the litter on which
reposed the remains of the defunct Bey by numerous Mussulman devotees.
The necromancy of it all is to the effect that he who should pass
beneath the body of a dead Mussulman ruler would attain pardon for any
faults ever afterwards committed. Seemingly it occurred to the
authorities that it was putting a premium on crime, and so it was
suppressed, and rightly enough.

The political status of the native of Tunisia to-day is similar to that
of his brother of Algeria. It is incontestable that the Tunisian's
status under Beylicale rule was not wholly comfortable, for the
_indigènes_ were ruled in a manner little short of tyrannical; but the
Arab lived always in expectation of bettering his position, in spite of
being either a serf or a ground-down menial. To-day he has only the
state of the ordinary French citizen to look forward to, and has no hope
of becoming a tyrant himself. This is his chief grievance as seen by an
outsider, though indeed when you discuss the matter with him he has a
long line of complaints to enumerate.

Things have greatly improved in Tunisia since the French came into
control. Formerly the native, or the outlander, had no appeal from the
Beylicale rule short of being hanged if he didn't like his original
sentence. To-day, with a mixed tribunal of Tunisian and French
officials, he has a far easier time of it even though he be a
delinquent. He gets his deserts, but no vituperative punishments.

One thing the Tunisian Arab may not do under French rule. He may not
leave the Régence, even though he objects to living there. The French
forbid this. They keep the _indigènes_ at home for their country's good,
instead of sending them away. It keeps a good balance of things anyway,
and the law of the Koran as interpreted by the powers of Tunis is as
good for the control of a subject people as that of the Code Napoleon.

The Tunisians, the common people of Tunis, are protégés of France, and
France is doing her best to protect them and lead them to prosperity,
assisted of course by the good-will and influence of the ruling Bey,
whom she keeps in luxury and quasi-power.

Formerly when the native ruler did not care to be bothered with any
particular class of subjects, whether they were Turks or Jews, he
banished them, but the French officials consider this a superfluous
prodigality, and keep all ranks at home and as contented as possible in
their work of developing their country.

The one thing that the French will not have is a wholesale immigration
of the Arab population of either Algeria or Tunisia. To benefit by a
change of air, the _indigène_ of whatever rank must have a special
permission from the government before he will be allowed to embark on
board ship, or he will have to become a stowaway. Very many get this
special permission, for one reason or another, but to many it is
refused, and for good and sufficient reasons. To the merchant who would
develop a commerce in the wheat of the plateau-lands, the barley of the
Sahel, or the dates of the oasis, permission is granted readily enough;
and to the young student who would study law or medicine at Aix,
Montpellier or Paris; but not to the able-bodied cultivator of the
fields. He is wanted at home to grow up with the country.

Tunis _la ville_ and Tunisia _le pays_ are more mediæval and more
Oriental than Algiers or Algeria. In Tunis, as in every Arab town, as in
Constantinople or Cairo, you may yet walk the streets feeling all the
oppression of that silence which "follows you still," and of a patient,
lack-lustre stare, still regarding you as "an unaccountable,
uncomfortable work of God, that may have been sent for some good
purpose--to be revealed hereafter."

The morality and the methods of the traders of the bazars and _souks_
remain as Kinglake and Burton described them in their day, something not
yet understood by the ordinary Occidental.

This sort of thing is at its best at Tunis. Wine, olives, dates and
phosphates are each contributing to the prosperity of Tunis to a
remarkable degree, and the development of each industry is increasing as
nowhere else, not even in Algeria. In 1900 the vineyards of Tunisia
increased over two thousand hectares, and in all numbered nearly twelve
thousand hectares, of which one-quarter at least were native owned.

[Illustration: THE OLIVES WE EAT


The wine crop in 1900 was 225,000 hectolitres, an increase of nearly
thirty per cent, over the season before, and it is still increasing. The
olive brings an enormous profit to its exploiters, and the Tunisian
olive and Tunisian olive oil rank high in the markets of the world.
Originally ancient Lybia was one of the first countries known to produce
olive oil on a commercial scale. All varieties of olive are grown on
Tunisian soil. The illustration herewith marks the species.

The art of making olive oil goes back to the god Mercury. In the time of
Moses and of Job the culture of the olive was greatly in repute. The
exotics of the East and of Greece took the olive-leaf for a symbol, but
the fighting, quarrelsome Romans would have none of it; the bay leaf
and the palm of victory were all-sufficient for them.

They soon came to know its value, however, when they overran North
Africa, and they exploited the olive-groves as they did the plateau
wheat belt. Cæsar even nourished his armies on such other local products
as figs and dates and found them strength-giving and sinew-making. North
Africa has ever been a _garde-manger_ of nations.

What Tunisia needs is capital, and everybody knows it. The date-palm and
the olive give the greatest return of all the agricultural exploitations
of the country, and after them the vine, and finally the orange-tree,
the lemon-tree, the fig and the almond. Each and every one of these
fruits requires a different condition of soil and climate. Fortunately
all are here, and that is why Tunisia is going some day to be a gold
mine for all who invest their capital in the exploitation of its soil.

The date requires a warmth and dryness of atmosphere which is found
nowhere so suitable as in the Djerid and the Nefzaoua in the south. Here
the soil is of just the right sandy composition, and rain is
comparatively unknown. For this reason the date here flourishes better
than the olive, which accommodates itself readily to the Sahel and the
mountains of the north. Of the vast production of dates in this region,
by far the greater part is consumed at home, the exportation of a
million francs' worth per annum being but a small proportion of the

Almost every newly exploited tourist ground has an individual brand of
pottery which collectors rave over, though it may be the ordinary
variety of cooking utensils which are common to the region. This is true
of Tunis and the potteries of Nabeul.

Besides mere utilitarian articles for domestic use, the shapes and forms
which these Arab pottery-workers give to their vases and jugs make them
really characteristic and beautiful _objets d'art_; and they are not
expensive. The loving marks of the potter's thumb are over all, and his
crude ideas of form and colour are something which more highly trained
craftsmen often miss when they come to manufacturing "art-pottery," as
the name is known to collectors.

A _cruchon_ decorated with a band of angular camels and queer zigzag
rows of green or red has more of that quality called "character" than
the finest _lustre_ of the Golfe de Jouan or the faïence of Rouen. For
five francs one may buy three very imposing examples of jugs, vases or
water-bottles, and make his friends at home as happy as if he brought
them a string of coral (made of celluloid, which is mostly what one gets
in Italy to-day), or a carved ivory elephant of the Indies (made in
Belgium of zylonite). The real art sense often expresses itself in the
common, ordinary products of a country, though not every tourist seems
to know this. Let the collector who wants a new fad collect "peasant
pottery," and never pay over half a dollar for any one piece.

Closely allied with the pottery of Nabeul is a more commercially grand
enterprise which has recently been undertaken in the Sahel south of
Tunis. Not all the wealth of the vastly productive though undeveloped
countryside lies in cereals, phosphates or olive-trees. There is a
species of clay which is suitable, apparently, to all forms of ceramic

In one of the most picturesque corners of the littoral, just south of
Monastir, is a factory which turns out the most beautiful glazed brick
and tiles that one ever cast his eye upon. The red-tiled roof of
convention may now be expected to give way to one of iridescent,
dazzling green, if the industry goes on prospering; and no more will the
brick-yards of Marseilles sell their dull, conventional product
throughout Tunisia; and no more will the steamship companies grow
wealthy off this dead-weight freight. The Italian or Maltese
_balancelle_ will deliver these magnificent coloured bricks and tiles of
Monastir all over the Mediterranean shores; and a variety of colour will
come into the landscape of the fishermen's huts and the farmhouses which
the artists of a former generation knew not of.

Tunis is undergoing a great commercial development, and if the gold of
Ophir is not some day found beneath its soil, many who have predicted
its undeveloped riches will be surprised and disappointed.

The railways of Tunisia are not at all adequate to the needs of the
country, but they are growing rapidly. When the line is finally built
linking Sousse and Sfax (the service is now performed by automobile by
travellers, or on camel-back; or by Italian or Arab _barques_ by water,
for merchandise), there will be approximately 1,700 kilometres of
single-track road. Algeria with an area four times as great has but
3,100 kilometres of railway.

The railway exploitation of Tunisia has not as yet brought any great
profit to its founders. The net profit after the cost of exploitation,
in 1904, was but half a million francs; but it has a bright future.

Great efforts are being made by the government authorities, and the
railway officials as well, towards colonizing the Régence with _French
citizens_. A million and a half of francs have already been spent by the
government, in addition to free grants of land, towards this
colonization, and in 1904 alone land to the value of a million and a
half was sold to _French_ immigrants.

If one wants to travel into the interior of Tunisia, off the beaten
track, say to Médenine, beyond Gabès; or to Tozeur, he should find some
way of fitting himself out with an authorization and recommendation from
the French "civil control." This recommendation will be written in
Arabic, and one will not be able to read it, nor will half the officials
to whom it is shown _en route_; but one and all will be impressed by the
official seal, the parchment, the heading "Praise to Allah the only
God," and the date at the bottom,--which will read something as follows:
22 Djoumada 2d, 1307,--this being the date of the Hegira. Any document
as mysterious and formal as this will accomplish much anywhere, so far
as its powers as an open sesame are concerned.



No one unless he be a Mohammedan can hope to experience the sentiments
and emotions born of the Mussulman religion, or explain the fundamental
principles of the Koran. It is a thing apart from all other religions,
and though we may recognize many of its principles as being good and
worthy, only one of the faithful can really absorb them as a part of his
daily life.

The one underlying tenet which we all recognize as being something
understood of all people, be they fanatics or not, is that of the
purification by water. No Mussulman commences his devotions without
first washing himself; he may take a conventional bath; he may wash his
feet, face and hands; or he may go through a mere perfunctory
sprinkling; but the form or ceremony has been complied with, and then,
and then only, may he invoke Allah and his Prophet.

From the Atlantic to the Malay seas, from Turkestan to the Congo, more
than two

[Illustration: The World of Islam]

hundred millions of men proclaim that there is no God but Allah and that
Mohammed is his Prophet. Besides these well-defined geographical limits,
the Mohammedans are everywhere. You find them in China, in Japan, in
India, in the Philippines, and scattered throughout Continental Europe.
The strength of Islam is everywhere in evidence. And whether it is mere
tribal warfare that brings it to our notice, or a "Holy War" against the
infidels of Christians, as is really the case in Morocco at the present
time, it is to be reckoned with as a power, as much so as the "yellow
plague" of the Chinese and Japanese.

In all Islamic lands religion stands first. The Sultans--those of
Constantinople and Fez--are religious heads even before they are
accounted as chiefs of the state. And through its sub-heads and
brotherhoods and secret societies, Islamism is spreading with a rapidity
which most of the supposedly worldly-wise have hitherto ignored

In the African possessions of France alone there are in the
neighbourhood of a hundred head-centres of Islamism which, until a very
recent time, preached obstruction to the foreigner--and perhaps still
does so in secret. France came to know and realize this very soon, and
when she took over the civil and military charge of Algeria and Tunisia,
she recognized the only successful policy as being one of coöperation
and not of coercion. Three hundred organizations, then,--more religious
sects or communities than political divisions of a people--were kept
intact in most instances, and the Sheiks who formerly got obedience from
their people as the sub-religious heads of this vast organization became
practically mayors, councillors and justices of the peace. It was the
only thing to do, and how well it has worked is best shown by the fact
that Algeria has become the most flourishing and loyal of all French

These Sheiks of Algeria and Tunisia, to whom France has granted so much
complimentary power, contributed in cash, in 1890, the sum of sixteen
millions of francs which they had collected of their fellow Mussulmans.
A gigantic sum when it is realized that it may originally have been paid
to the Sheik in kind, a quintal of wheat, a half dozen sheep, or a few
hundred kilos of dates. The Sheik doubtless makes something for himself
as all this commodity passes through his hands, but what would you,
official sinning is not confined to Mohammedans.

In return for his services the Arab Sheik, the emissary of the French
civil control, gets a more modest salary than would his Gallic
substitute, and he does his work more efficiently. His powers, with the
backing of France, have been largely increased, even with his own
people, and he is a part of a great political machine. He may even be a
very learned person, an expert linguist in French, and the bearer of
many decorations, even the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. Is it
any wonder that his country is peaceful and everybody satisfied! He
breaks out once and again with some childish, petulant protest and
compromises the whole thing; but then some French official at
headquarters makes him a present of a gross of wax candles, a bird-cage
or a phonograph, and again everything runs smoothly for a space.

Before the time of Mohammed the Arabs professed diverse religions; some
were Christians; some were Jews; some were fire-worshippers; and some
mere idol-worshippers. Among this latter were a sect who made great
idols of dough which in time became baked or very nearly petrified, and
thus served the tribe of the Beni Hafa as food in time of famine. A very
practical religion this!

[Illustration: [Arabic]

    "There is no God but Allah
     And Mohammed is his prophet."

The faith of Islam is an obscure thing. It is supposedly a compound of
the Christian and Hebrew religions--with variations. The sects of Islam
are many, the two chief being the Shiites and the Sunnites. The former
recognized Ali, the cousin of Mohammed, as the true successor of the
Prophet, and collectively they form the major part of the Mussulman
faith of India and Persia.

The orthodox followers of the Prophet, the faithful of Turkey, Arabia,
Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, have added to the precepts of the
Koran the books of traditional sayings and maxims of the Prophet (a sort
of Apocrypha, it would seem), and recognize as his successors the first
four Kalifs--those of Bagdad, Cairo, Constantinople and Fez--as the
legitimate successors of Mohammed.

This chief orthodox sect is further subdivided into Hanefites,
Malikites, Shafiites and Hanabites,--foundations of various relations of
the Prophet. They vary somewhat in their interpretations of the Koran
and certain conclusions with regard to the "law" of the Prophet, but
they are as one with regard to the precepts of purification, prayer,
fasting, pilgrimage and charity towards their fellow men, and against
the outside world of infidels.

The Arabs and _Berbères Arabisés_ of North Africa are mostly Hanefites
and Malikites.

Five times a day the Mussulman prays: (i) at _fedjeur_ (daybreak--before
sunrise); (ii) at _eulam_ (after meridian); (iii) at _dohar_ (midway
between noon and nightfall); (iv) at _aseur_ (just after sunset, when
his day of labour is finished); and (v) at _mogreb_ (when night actually
falls). There is sometimes a sixth prayer at _eucha_ (supper-time).

Not all professing Mussulmans pray five times a day. There are
backsliders in the Mussulman religion as in other religions; but both in
the cities and the countryside the truly devout, singly, or even in
groups of a score or a hundred at a time, make their "sunset devotions"
with regularity and impressiveness. The devout Arab will dismount from
his horse, mule or camel, will come out of his tent or house, and will
even alight from a railway train or diligence if opportunity offers,
and say his sunset prayer in the open air. The Mussulman does not
invariably need the stimulus of a temple to express himself towards his
God. In that respect he is certainly far ahead of some of the other
sects found throughout the world.

The spectacle of the Mussulman's sunset prayer in the desert--standing
barefooted on his little rug or carpet and facing the east and Mecca--is
impressive beyond words; and not even the most skeptical would deny to
the simple faith of Islam the virtues granted to many religions more
ceremoniously complicated. The ceremonies in the mosques are less
impressive than those in the open air.

The following résumé of the symbolism of the eight positions of the
Mussulmans' prayer explains the attitudes and postures that one remarks
everywhere in the world of Islam.

I. Standing. "I offer my God, with sincere heart and with my face
towards Mecca, two _rakôh_ (prayers).

II. Still standing, but with open palms raised to each side of the face,
the thumbs touching the ears--"God is Great!"

III. Still standing; with the right hand crossing the left over the
chest, he repeats, "Holiness to Thee, oh, God! Praise be to

[Illustration: _The Eight Positions of the Praying Mussulman_]

Thee! Great is Thy name!"--and other prayers from the Koran.

IV. Still standing; the body inclined forward and the hands, with
fingers separated, placed upon the knees. "I extol the Sanctity of the
Great God!"

V. Falling upon the knees--"God is Great!"

VI. Still on the knees he makes a bow (three times repeated), the
forehead and nose touching the ground, "I extol the Sanctity of my God,
the Most High!"

This practically finishes one _rakôh_, but there are usually added
certain recitations from the first chapter of the Koran, with perhaps a
repetition of the postures.

VII. Before finally leaving the place of prayer the act of witness,
_Tashabhud_, is given. He raises the forefinger of his right hand and
repeats: "I affirm that there is no God but God and that Mohammed is the
Apostle of God."

VIII. The last position is the _Munjat_, or supplication, when are
repeated certain suitable verses of the Koran.

Christ enters into the Mussulman religion as one of the Prophets of God.
They believe that Christ was, before the coming of Mohammed, the
greatest of all Prophets.

All good Mussulmans recite the prayers of their beads, just as all good
Catholics say their chaplets. The Mussulman has a string of ninety-nine
beads, each standing for one of the ninety-nine perfections of Allah.
This rosary is often elaborate and costly, interspersed here and there
with jewels; but more often than not, even with wealthy Mussulmans, it
is a string of crude wooden beads. The faith of Islam is a simple one,
not a showy one.

The Friday prayer at the mosques is one of the events to see in a
Mussulman country. Public prayer is a social event with Mohammedans, as
it is with many Christians. Soon after the sun has marked high noon, and
while the siesta is still the chief blessing with many, the throng
follows the first _zoual_ or call of the _muezzin_.

Everything is burning and brilliant under an ardent southern sun, and a
scintillating, dazzling reflection comes from each whitewashed wall
until one is almost blinded. After this the cool shadows of the mosque
are most refreshing. Barefooted the Mussulman throng threads its way
among the myriad pillars of the court and enters the sanctuary where
daylight filters dimly through a sieve of iron-latticed windows.

Praying men are everywhere,--men of the town, and nomad Arabs from the
desert whose business has brought them thither. The women are all at the
cemetery talking scandal, for except on special occasions, the Mussulman
women are not admitted to the Holy Day (Friday) prayers in the mosques.
This is in accordance to the law of the Prophet. Under a great dome a
ruddier, more brilliant light showers down on the students and
professors who psalm the verses of the Koran in a monotonous wail; while
still farther to the rear is the infants' school, whose pupils repeat
their lessons in crackling singsong voices all day long to a pair of
bearded, turbaned elders. Here and there, backed up against a pillar, a
_taleb_ recites his litany to the Prophet. All these voices blend in a
murmur undistinguishable from any other conglomerate sound, except that
it is manifestly human.

Suddenly, from high above, on the gallery of the minaret, rings out the
_muezzin's_ second call to prayer, and like the reverberant light, it
seems to filter down from the unknown.

With face towards Mecca the _imam_ reads

[Illustration: _The Muezzin's Call to Prayer_]

the Khotba, a long, dreary prayer of exhortation, but no more monotonous
than the cut and dried sermon which one mostly gets in Christian
churches. The _imam_ is not a priest as is known of Christendom; the
religion of Islam has no regular clergy; he is simply the wisest elder
among the personnel of the mosque.

All through the service, as indeed at all times, a great calm reigns
throughout every Mohammedan mosque. At the end of the last exhorting
couplet issuing from between the lips of the _imam_ a naïve joy, as of a
relief from a great oppression, spreads over the assembled faithful and
all rush for the open, as do congregations of other faiths. One religion
is not so very different from another after all. It is only a matter of
belief, not of the mode of expressing one's adherence to that belief.

"_May peace be thine, O Mohammed, Prophet of God. Ruler of Mecca and
Medina and Lord of all Mussulmans now and always._"

This finishes the service of the mosque.

From the opaque obscurity of the maze of the mosque's interior one comes
suddenly again into the light of day. To a burning African landscape
from the humidity of a cloister.

Woman's position in Islam is peculiar. It is not according to our
notions of what is right and proper, and there is no looked-for or
hoped-for emancipation to be thought of. The question is both a social
and a religious one. Those few Europeans who have really studied the
harem as an institution have found, however, that its establishment and
continuance is a plan that works well, and that the majority of these
supposedly unhappy wives really love their husbands, and their destiny.
If this is so, what business is it of ours to criticize the conduct of
the _ménage_ of the Arab or the Turk. The Prophet himself said that
woman was the jewel and the perfume of this world.

Theoretically the Mussulman idea is that man is the superior creature
physically, and that it is his business alone to mingle and rub
shoulders with the world, leaving his wives, members of the fragile sex,
to raise his family, embellish his life and console him in time of
grief. All other things apart, surely these are good enough principles
for anybody to found domestic bliss upon. And these are the principal
tenets of the domestic creed of the Moslem. He is often not the villain
he is painted. To continue the words of the Prophet--Mohammed said one
day to his companions: "Would you know the most valuable possession of
man? It is, then, an honest woman. She charms the eye, and is obedient,
and guards his reputation intact during his absence from home." Really
the Islamic faith goes a bit farther, for it counsels man to "cloister
his wife as a prevention of jealousy and doubt, the mortal poisons, the
terrible unpitying destroyers of conjugal quietude." This, too, seems
good advice, like many other of the precepts of the Koran.

Many of these Arab women were born within the harem's walls, and know
not any other modes of life as preferable to their own. They regard the
daily round of liberty of the European woman as an unreal, undesirable
state. The harem has been the theatre of their joys since infancy, and
they have become so habituated to it that their life of seclusion
becomes a second nature. They would not flee the sill of the great
doorway into the outer world if they could, and their only change of
_locale_ is to pass from the harem of the husband of their mother to
that of their spouse. In the harem the Arab woman is cared for with an
unthought-of luxury. All the goods and chattels that their husband
values most go to enrich the harem walls and floors. The harem is a
sumptuous, glorious apartment compared to the simplicity with which the
master of the house surrounds himself in his own quarters.

It is the opinion of that indefatigable traveller and student of exotic
things, Edmond de Amicis, that the Arab concedes nothing to the European
in his chivalrous treatment of woman. "No Arab dares lift an offending
hand against a woman in public." "No Arab soldier, even in the tumult of
attack, would think of maltreating even the most insolent of womenkind."
And yet Europeans of most nationalities have been known to do both these

In her cloister, or to be more exact, in her boudoir, the Arab woman,
and particularly the mother, receives the most respectful homage and
solicitude from all the household. According to the Koran the children
are admonished to respect the persons of those who bore them, and a
verbal declaration of the Prophet is set down as: "A child may gain
Paradise only by following in the footsteps of its mother."

The educated and advanced Arabs of the towns have done much to disabuse
the public of any false preconceived ideas concerning Arab womenfolk.
Contrary to common belief the Arab woman is often the intellectual and
social equal of her spouse. It was only the absurd jealousy of the
old-school Mussulmans that annihilated for ever the faculties of their

The portrait gallery of celebrated Mussulman women is not large, but one
does not forget Zobeïdah, who inspired and aided the illustrious
Haroun-Al-Rachid. Islam is not in its decadence, but its sponsors are
awakening to the fact that they must keep abreast of the times.

The Friday promenade of the Mussulman woman of the towns to the cemetery
is her only outing, the only day off allowed her. She makes as much of
it as possible, but it is a sad proceeding at best.

The Arab tomb is, generally speaking, a thing of simplicity, a simple
slab bearing the Arab words for the sentiment "_Hic jacet_." The
exception is in the _marabout_ tombs or _koubas_, which are often
monumental, though of comparatively small dimensions, well built,
symmetrical, and surmounted by a dome or cupola.

The word _marabout_ signifies first of all a holy man of the Mohammedan
sect, a _réligieux_ in fact, one whose vows, life and service is devoted
to his God. Furthermore the same word is applied to the tiny
mosque-like tombs distributed throughout the Arab peopled lands, which
are served by a _marabout_. The two entities have become somehow
indistinguishable as to name.

The _mosque-marabout_ is practically a tiny house of worship, its four
box-like walls surmounted by one great dome or others smaller, with
never, never a minaret, the invariable adjunct of a full-grown mosque.
The quaint, kindly welcome of the marabout of Algeria and Tunisia will
long remain in the memory of those who have come under its influence, as
did the author in the course of some months' sojourn in a little desert
oasis, peopled only by _indigènes_ and the small garrison of a French
military post. An excursion to visit the marabout in his humble
dwelling, some kilometres away under another little clump of palm-trees,
was an almost weekly occurrence. Conversation was difficult, but we all
sat and looked at each other and made signs, and nodded, and clasped
hands, and again nodded a farewell, the white-clad marabout's kindly,
bearded face lighting up meanwhile as if in appreciation of the glimmer
of light from the outside world which had filtered through to his
tranquil abode. Nothing ever more belied the words

[Illustration: _A Marabout_]

of a proverb than a marabout. The French have a remark in which he is
made out an ugly, uncouth man: "_Affreux comme un marabout_." The
illustration herewith belies these words.

If you are a clergyman of the Christian church, and there are many
"conducted tourists" of that order in Algeria to-day, you need have no
hesitancy in making your profession of faith known to the marabout. Say
simply that you are a "_marabout d'Aïssa_." He will recognize and
respect your religion, which is more than the Confucian or Buddhist
will, who simply rolls his tongue in his cheek and smiles blandly. The
Mohammedan's religion is a very plausible and a very well-working one.
He has no false gods or idols. That's a good thing of itself. And
superstition plays a very small part therein. That's another good thing.
The marabout is not a Mussulman priest, but a member, merely, of a
religious order,--a monk virtually, and, as there are communities of
monkish orders elsewhere, there are also whole tribes in Africa composed
entirely of marabouts. They are looked up to by the Mussulman faithful
as shepherds of the flock in the absence of a specially credentialled
priest or father.

The marabouts are most numerous in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, though
their vocation properly belongs to the entire Mussulman religion.

A whole tribe of the sect of marabouts, under the pretext of wishing to
be free to practise their rites away from worldly contaminating
influences, voluntarily exiled themselves centuries ago in the Atlas
range bordering the northern limits of the Sahara. This was in 1050.
From this procedure these religionists grew to such power and influence
that they became virtually political rulers as well. They conquered the
kingdoms of Fez and Morocco, and even sought to conquer Spain,
emigrating to the southern peninsula in vast numbers, only to be chased
from there to seek a refuge in Majorca, which they were able to do
because of the bounty of the Mussulman King of Cordova, to whom the
suzerainty belonged. Here they were known under the name of
_Almoravides_, and to them was due the invention of the Spanish money
known as _maravédis_.

The marabout is caricatured a little, too, in the name given to a
fat-bellied copper coffee-pot frequently met with in the Mediterranean
countries. Balzac describes the _batterie de cuisine_ of one of his
characters as consisting of _un chaudron, un gril, une casserole et
trois marabouts_.

One of the greatest Mussulman saints, and the one who is the most
frequently invoked, was Sidi-el-Hadji-Abd-el-Kader-el-Djilali. His tomb
is at Bagdad, but all Algeria is strewn with _koubas_ in his honour. He
is particularly the patron saint of the blind, but the lame and the halt
invoke his aid as well, for he has the reputation of being the most
potent and efficacious of all Mussulman saints. A marabout is generally
in charge of these _koubas_, as he is with the proper tombs of other
holy men. The marabout tombs, the _koubas_ and the mosques are all
Mussulman shrines of the same rank so far as their being holy,
sanctified places is concerned.

The pilgrimage to Mecca from all Mohammedan lands is the event of their
lives for the faithful who participate therein. The pilgrims going from
Algeria and Tunisia are yearly becoming greater in numbers. It is as
queer a composite caravan as one has ever seen which lines up at the
wharves of Bona or Sfax, there to take ship for the East. By this time
it has ceased to be a caravan, and has become a personally conducted
excursion. The return is quite as impressive as the departure. It is
then that a sort of cantata is sung or chanted, running something like
the following:--

First the waiting folk on shore shout out,--

    "O pilgrims from the house of God
     Hast thou seen the Prophet of God."

Then the pilgrims reply:--

    "We have seen! We have seen!
     And we have left him in the House of God:
     There he makes his devotions,
     There he reads his holy books."

The marabouts then endorse it all,--

    "Our Seigneur Abraham is the beloved of God,
     Our Seigneur Moses is the mouthpiece of God,
     Our Seigneur Aïssa[1] is the spirit of God,
     But our Seigneur Mohammed is the Prophet of God."

      [1] The name the Arabs give Jesus Christ.

The memory of a Mussulman who has departed this life is not put lightly
aside with the rising of the next day's sun, but a real devotion, if a
silent one, goes out towards the departed for many months, and perhaps
years, after his corpse is first laid out on its mat of straw in the
courtyard of his domicile or before his tent.

At this moment the vague, rigid form compels the devotion of all who
were near and dear to him in life. In soft cadence they bewail his
death, and prayers of the utmost fervour are sent upward on his behalf.
All is calm, solemn, and well-ordered, there is no hysterical
excitement, no wailing clamour, and no jealous quarrellings among the

Above all others one voice cries out a sad voluminous chant. It is the
"_Borda_," the funeral elegy of a departed soul.

An Arab funeral is a solemn affair, though not necessarily imposing. A
little group of indeterminate numbers lead off, then four others
carrying a litter, covered with a flowing white cloth, on their
shoulders. All this is usually in the first hour after sunrise. On a
little plateau of desert sand, just above the deep-dug grave, the corpse
is finally placed, the company ranged about in a semicircle for one
last, long, lingering prayer. The face of the corpse is turned always
towards the holy city, Mecca, and when the body has been lowered into
its eternal sandy cradle, and covered with a layer of sun-baked clay,
and then more sand, three tiny palms are planted above. They soon wither
and die, or they live, accordingly as chance favours or not, but the
thing is that they be planted.

This is the end; nothing remains but for the women to come along after a
decent interval and weep, never by any chance missing a Friday.

[Illustration: _In an Arab Cemetery_]



Gothic architecture is expressive of much that a mixed or transitory
style lacks, but again the Roman, or Lombard, or the later architecture
of the Renaissance, have their own particular cachet quite as
recognizable and quite as well defined.

Mohammedan architecture, so different in motif and treatment, is quite
as expressive and, in many ways, quite as civilized as the architectural
forms of Europe, and possesses in addition a certain feeling which baked
clay and plaster suggests better than all other materials. A feeling
which is often entirely wanting in cut stone when used to reproduce
animal and plant forms.

Saracenic, Assyrian, Persian and Byzantine architectural details are all
of them beautiful, if bizarre, but the Mohammedan architecture of the
Moors outranks them all for sheer appeal, fantastic and less consistent
though it be. Fantastic it is, but often in a simple, suggestive way,
depending upon design and proportion rather than profuse decoration.
This is why the mosques of Kairouan in Tunisia, or those of Tlemcen in
Algeria are even more interesting than the great Mosque of Saint Sophia,
or the palace corridors of the Alhambra itself, which are, in fact, but
a mixture of several styles. Terra-cotta and baked clay are all right in
their way, but their way is the Mohammedan builders' way, not that of
the modern school architects who simulate cut stone in the same plastic
products, and build up Turkish baths in palatial twenty-story Broadway
hotels with the pagan decorations of ancient Rome, when what they had in
mind all the time was the fountained courtyard of a Mohammedan
mosque--not by any means a symbolism of paganism. Our new-school
architects of the Western world sadly muddle things at times. Moorish
arabesques do not mingle well with the palmer's shells of the Italian
Renaissance and the English fan-lights of the brothers Adam.

The word mosque comes properly from the word _mesgid_, signifying place
of adoration. The Italians make of the word, _moscheta_; the Spaniards,
_meschita_; and the French, _mosquée_. All these variations are met with
in North Africa. It is well to recognize them, for both Algeria and
Tunisia are more "mixed" in their language and institutions than any
other lands yet become affected of twentieth-century tourists. The
mixture is perhaps the more likable because of its catholicity. It is
certainly more interesting; but school-board and self-taught linguists
will need all their wits about them to make the most of the soft, sweet
tongue of a desert Arab who lisps first in French, then in Spanish and
then in Italian, with perhaps an "_Oh, yes!_" or an "_All right!_" here
and there. He modestly reserves his own Arabic for an exclusive harangue
among his intimates.

The conventional type of mosque is undoubtedly reminiscent of the Greek
basilica, but in every way more amply disposed. The plan herewith is the
accepted conventional type of great mosque before it got crowded up in
the cities. To-day in most large towns and cities the mosque has been
shorn of many of its attributes, leaving only the inner sanctuaries

The plainness of the exterior of the mosques of North Africa is no
indication of the gorgeousness of their interiors. An imposing sobriety
of exterior, of all the mosques of Islam

[Illustration: _Ground Plan of a Mosque_

A Outer Court. B Inner Court or Sahn. C Pulpits on which the Koran is
placed. D Fountain. E Tribune from which the Muezzin calls to prayer. F
Three praying-niches. G Horses and camels. H Strangers. I Bath. J
Drinking-fountain. K Well.]

in the Moghreb, from Tlemcen to Kairouan, invariably clothes dentelled
sculpture and mouldings, fine rugs and hangings, and a labyrinth of
architectural fantasies possessed by no other class of civil or
religious edifices extant.

The architecture of the mosques of Algeria and Tunisia, as of those of
Constantinople and Cairo, is the apotheosis of a mysterious symbolism,
at which the infidel can but wonder and speculate. He will never
understand it, at least he will never feel it as does the Mussulman
himself. It is unfortunate that we outsiders are thought of as
unbelievers, but so it is. One does not forget that even
twentieth-century Arab gamins at Suez and Port Saïd revile the Christian
with their guttural:

    "_Ya Nasrani
     Kalb awani!_"

This venerable abuse means nothing more or less than:

    "O Nazarene
     O dog obscene!"

This comes down from tradition, for the same thing is recounted in
Percy's "Reliques." There, in a certain anecdote, a knight calls his
Mussulman opponent "_unchristian hound_," to which the retort courteous
was given as, "christen dogge."

Of all the dainty features of a Moorish mosque none appeals to the
artist as does the minaret. Minaret is the Arab name for a chandelier,
lantern, signal fire, and finally the slim, graceful tower of purely
Arab origin. Properly speaking it is in the application to the Mussulman
place of worship, the mosque, that we know the minaret in its most
poetic form. In its architectural sense, however, it is that slim,
graceful, arrow-like tower which is so frequently a component part of a
Moorish or Byzantine structure.

The Hebrews had a similar word for a tower which performed similar
functions--_menorah_; and the Chaldeans the word _menora_; while,
finally, the Syrians adopted _menortho_. Of the exotic origin of the
word there is no doubt, but a minaret is first of all something more
than a mere tower. It must be of special proportions, and it must be an
adjunct to a more pretentious structure. Never is a minaret a thing

For a comparison between the Byzantine minaret and that born of the
ingenuity of the Moorish builder, the words of Théophile Gautier must be
accepted as final: "The minarets of Saint Sophia (Constantinople) have
not the elegance nor _sveltesse_ of those of the Moor."

The minaret of the mosque of the Sultan Kalaûn at Cairo is perhaps the
most splendid of all contemporary works. Its height approximates two
hundred feet, and though the mosque itself is ruined, its firm, square
minaret, brilliant with all the fantasy of the best of Mussulman art, is
to-day quite the most splendid example of its class above ground.

The minaret of El Bardenei, also at Cairo, runs the former a close

The square, dazzling white and more severe, though none less beautiful,
minarets of Tunis and Algiers seem almost as if they were another
species from the Cairene type. In reality they are not. They are one and
the same thing, differing in no essential constructive element, but only
in detail of decoration.

The Arabs, seemingly, have a horror of symmetry. No two structures in
one street are on the same building line or at the same angle, and the
sky-lines of even the Frenchified cities of Algiers and Tunis are as
bizarre as that of lower New York, though not as elevated.

The Arab's idea of a street building line is most rudimentary, but
French engineers are helping him out, and boulevards, avenues and
streets are being laid out, and roads and alleys straightened as
opportunity offers. The Arab looks on stolidly and doesn't in the least
seem to object, though it answered him well enough previously that the
doorway of his favourite mosque should be half-hidden and almost
obstructed by the jutting veranda of a Moorish café, a sheep butcher's,
a silversmith's, or a red and yellow awninged bath-house, and these, be
it noted, were all set at varying angles and inclinations.

A _moucharabia_ is a component of every Arab, Moorish or Turkish
structure of any pretence. Its name sounds as though it might have some
relation to a fly-screen, and in a certain sense it is that, though not
an impenetrable one. It is more like the choir-screen of a Renaissance

In reality the _moucharabia_ is a lattice or _grille_ of wood or even
iron, sometimes ornate and finely carved, and sometimes merely a barred
gate or door.

When these fine latticed _grilles_ are taken away by the housebreaker,
and offered the dealer in curios, they take on an exalted value that
the original owners never knew. It is difficult to buy old-time woodwork
anywhere, whether one is searching out Chippendale chairs in Yorkshire,
_panétiers_ in Provence, or _moucharabias_ in the Mitidja; but the Arab
curio dealer can give the Christian or Hebrew antique dealer of other
lands a good fair start and then beat him as to the profits he can draw
from the inexperienced tourist collector. One thing you may be sure of,
Arab or Moorish antiques are seldom imitations, and though the "asking
price" of a _moucharabia_ may (at first) be excessive, and the "talking
points" of dubious value, the article in question is probably authentic,
and actually could not be duplicated by the workmen of to-day for a
similar price.


The native dealer of Tunis or Algiers will ask two or three hundred
francs for a fine example of a _moucharabia_, all green and red and
gold, but he will probably take seventy-five if you will spend the day
with him arguing it out.

The little temples or shrines called _koubas_ scattered all over Algeria
are not unlike the pagan temples of the Greeks in their general
proportions. Literally the word in Arabic means a square house, though
indeed it was the patriarch Abraham who supposedly set the conventional
design upon which all others have since been built. Two workmen, one a
Greek and another a Copt, built the first _kouba_ at Mecca, and it was
out of this that the typical Arab mosque grew, as distinct from the
frequently more splendid mosques of the Byzants.

The Arabs had no religious art previous to their adoption of the faith
of Mahomet. The true Mussulman thinks that the form and style of the
mosque and all its dependencies was preconceived in the heavens, before
even the creation of man, and that that poor mortal was only formed in
the image of God when everything was ready and in place. With what
success man has made use of his opportunities each must judge for

The _mosque-marabout_ is often a monument which marks a holy place, the
tomb, for instance, of a celebrated marabout or holy man. That erected
at Algiers, above the remains of the Marabout Sidi-Brahim, famous
because of


his defence of a French captain and his soldiers in the Algerian warfare
of 1845, is as admirable and worthy a sepulchral monument as one will
find in any land.

The religious architecture of Islam, as far as its symbolism is
concerned, is a thing that will never be understood by the Christian. A
mosque to most people is simply a public monument, a thing of domes and
minarets and many columns. The winter bird of passage at Cairo thinks it
a great inconvenience that he should be made to put on a pair of
_babouches_ over his shoes in order to enter, forgetting that it is a
Holy Place and that one of the tenets of the Mussulman religion forbids
walking rough-shod over the rugs and carpets of a place of worship. In
Algeria the practice is similar, except that the "infidel" simply
removes his shoes and enters stocking-footed. In Tunisia, with the
exception of the mosques at Kairouan, none but the Mussulman may pass
their thresholds.

The fine Moorish architecture which radiated from Granada in the golden
days of its best epoch has in our day sadly degenerated. The primitive
Arab of Africa intermingled with the Moors and absorbed to a certain
degree the pure fundamental principles of Moorish architecture. The
town-dwelling Arab built his mosques and his houses, during the last two
centuries, less luxuriously perhaps than his predecessors (and often
with the aid of Italian workmen), but he did not debase the Moorish
formulæ. What he kept of constructive elements was pure, the debasement
has only come in later years with the additions and reconstructions
incident to keeping pace with the times. This is where the Arab
architect beats the European at the same game.

The religious edifices of Islam, whether the simple _kouba_ of a saint,
or the elaborate mosque of the city, possess always a certain infallible
form. The fundamental principles are the same, whether one takes an
example from the Holy Land, or from one within sight of Gibraltar.

In Arabia, in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria this Arab expression of
the architecture of the Moors predominates, but in Persia, Turkestan and
in the Ottoman Empire there is a certain specious Byzantine cachet,
which, if not actually a debasement, is a qualifying note which
differentiates the two varieties. The Arab variety has always been,
however, the pattern-mould from which has sprung forth the Islamic
religious architecture of to-day.

Before the birth of Islamism, Arabia, properly called, had no great
artistic monuments. The first mosque of magnificent proportions was
erected in the year 20 of the Hegira (642 A.D.) under the Khalifat of
Omar--this was the mosque of Hmrou at Cairo.

On this model many others were afterwards constructed, with variations
of little importance. These comprise for the most part the mosques of
the Arabian peninsula, of Egypt, of Africa, and of Andalusia. The most
famous of this class are those at Mecca and Medina; that of Iba Touloum
at Cairo; that of Djama Ez-Zitouna at Tunis; those at Mahdia and Gafsa;
of Okba Ibm Maffî at Kairouan; and El Mansourah at Tlemcen. Besides
these most of the mosques of Morocco are in the same style, as is also
the grand mosque of Cordova in Spain.

Omar's great mosque at Jerusalem was built at the inspiration of that
Kalif. He said to the Patriarch of Jerusalem after one of the periodical
religious quarrels of the time: "Show me a place, then, where I may
build a mosque, where Mussulmans may henceforth assemble for their
prayers without coming into contact with those of the Christian cult."
Then finally grew up the mosque of Omar, the Khalif himself working
with the common labourers. Thus came into being the mosque commonly
reputed to be the most beautiful in existence to-day.

We know that the minarets of the mosques were primarily instituted that
the _muezzins_ might make their call to prayer in full view and hearing
of the faithful. It is to the honour of the Khalif el-Walid that the
first of these svelt, sky-piercing towers was raised, and its name
derived from the Arab _menora_.

The minaret plays a preponderant role in all Arab art, and is the
distinguishing characteristic between Arab and Moorish architecture. In
the Moghreb (that is the Barbary States and Spain, bordering on the
western Mediterranean) the form of the minaret is nearly always
quadrangular, and the tiny terrace or platform high above supports,
invariably, a smaller pavilion whose roof is usually composed of four
sloping sides which, in turn, is surmounted by the conventional three
balls and crescent of copper, silver or even gold. The four sides
forming the base of this square tower are sometimes of carved stone, or
faïence, or of rough-hewn stone covered with plaster, which is
afterwards carved or gilded.

Amongst the most beautiful of these minarets of the Moghreb there is an
exquisite delicacy of design, a remarkable warmth of colour and an
elegant, piquant suggestion of daintiness as they rise up into the
unalterable azure of the African skies. Of this class are those of
Ez-Zitouna and the Kasba at Tunis; of Sidi-bou-Medine and Mansourah at
Tlemcen; those at Tangier and Fez; and of course that of the Giralda at
Seville. The Giralda is assuredly one of the most beautiful types of
Arabic-Andalusian architecture, and was built in the twelfth century
during the reign of the Sultan Yacoub-el-Nansourd.

In Egypt, quaint and mysterious as the roof-tops and minarets are to the
untrained eye, they possess no systematic regularity of form or feature.
They are of all dimensions and proportions. The gamut runs from the
square to the hexagon, to the octagon, and to the circle even, with
always numerous openings too small to be called windows, and above all a
plethora of finely chiselled stone.

This résumé outlines the brilliant art of the builder of the Arab
mosque, beginning with the twelfth century in Spain, the thirteenth in
the Moghreb, and finally the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth in
Egypt and Syria.

Beyond the pale of these perfect types are the Perso-Byzantine varieties
of the Ottoman Empire; and still farther east, types which are quite
beyond the scope of these pages.



The Arab is not wholly a silent, morose individual. He has his joys and
sorrows, and his own proper means of expressing them like the rest of
us. Here in Mediterranean Africa he has kept his traditions alight, and
the darkness of the historic past is only relative, even though the Arab
does belong to the unprogressive school.

The Arab countries, as the French, the only real masters the Arab has
ever had, know them, are a broad belt bordering upon the eastern and
southern shores of the Mediterranean, from the Dardanelles to the
Straits of Gibraltar; and comprise Arabia proper, the Holy Land, Egypt,
Tripoli, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Throughout this region the
influence is wholly French, whatever may be the destinies of the various
political divisions. Turkey holds the custom-house arrangements, but the
language spoken with the outsider is French. Egypt is garrisoned by the
English, and its prosperity of to-day was, it is true, born of Lord
Cromer's English administration, but for all that the whole complexion
is French, the great Suez Canal, the railways and the hotels. Tripoli in
Barbary is Turkish, but the trading steamships, the hotels and most of
the merchants, are French. Tunisia and Algeria are French through and
through, and Morocco may yet become French.

All these Arab lands are peopled with natives of the same tongue, speech
and sentiments, though they belong to widely differing tribes.

First of all, be it understood that the Arab of North Africa is no wild,
savage, untamed manner of man, but virtually a highly civilized one, so
far as tradition goes, whether he be Berber, Kabyle or Nomad. The Arabs'
popular literature, their tales, their legends, their proverbs and their
songs, are known to be many and great by all who have studied the
folk-lore of the ancients. Furthermore they occupy a field which has
been but slightly explored save in the "Thousand and One Nights" and
certain other works more speculative than popular.

It was Solomon who said that speech was a passing wind, and that to
harness it one must know how to write. The Arab writes from right to
left, and uses no capitals nor punctuation. The Arab knows two forms of
writing: _neskhi_, that belonging to the common people; and the
_diouani_, of officialdom. The Arabs and Moors of Spain of other days
wrote with a beauty and elegance which to-day has sadly degenerated
among all the tribes.

A good handwriting is greatly in honour among the Arabs. "Fine writing
augments one's reputation for truth," says Qalqachandi. The Arab writes
with a sort of bamboo or rose-tree switch, which he cuts into a point,
and he has never yet heard of a steel or gold pen, nor suspected that a
goose-quill would answer. For ink he burns sheep's wool, adds gum-water
to the cinders, and makes a concoction which, for his purpose, answers
well enough. We who are rather particular about such things will not
care for its colour or quality.

The Arab, as a matter of fact, writes but little, and composes his
letters after traditional types and forms. Formalities have a prominent
place. He "begs to intimate" and "has the honour to be" all through the
list, until one doubts if he ever can get the kernel out of the nut, and
the subject-matter is treated in cyclopædic form.

If the Arab who writes is "classy," and if he occupies a sufficiently
high social position, he seals his letter with a cachet, as did
our own forefathers, and he also imprints a mark or cipher for a
signature; otherwise he signs himself "Ali-Ben something or other,
the poor-devil-of-a-sheep-herder-in-the-mountains-of-the
far-away-never-never-land." According to the briefness of the signature
you are thus enabled to judge of the importance of a letter without
reading it through.

This doesn't matter to the Arab, for he has a very poor idea of the
value of time or even of the passing of time. His notions with regard to
many things may only be described as vague. If he is ill, he goes to a
doctor, perhaps even a French one, if he lives near the towns, but
immediately the practitioner begins interrogating him he asks: "Why is
it, you, who are a savant, do not know what is the matter with me
without asking all these questions?" Many of us have thought the same
about our own doctors!

The Arabs have a sort of "Jo Miller Joke Book," or "Old Farmer's
Almanac," containing many antiquated sayings. Here is an example:

A man asked confidingly of another, "Will you lend me fifty piastres?"

"But I don't know you," was the reply.

"It is for that reason that I ask," said the seeker after unearned

Pretty bad, even in the translation; but our own comic almanacs and
Sunday supplements do considerably worse sometimes.

The Arab's proverbs, or sayings, have become classic, and he has
perverted or perhaps simplified many of the sayings of other tongues:

"All is not water that flows down-hill."

"Not every roof is a heaven."

"Not every house is a House of God."

The sentiments expressed by the above are not possible of being
misunderstood, and our own similar sayings are not improvements. Chief
among Arab tales and proverbs are those concerning horses and mules.
"The fortresses of the Arabs are their horses and guns."

The folk-lore and tales, current mostly by word of mouth, of the Arab of
the Sahara is apparently very abundant. Each tribe, nay, each
encampment, one meets on the march has its Tusitala or teller of tales,
as do the South Sea Island communities. Tales, legends, traditions,
fables and even accounts of travel make up the repertory of the Arab
story-teller; besides which there are songs and chants, religious and
profane, many of them perhaps dating back before the days of Mohammed.

The mule has ever been the butt of Arab proverb and legend. There is a
story of a wood-cutter of the forests of Kabylie who, having left his
mule tied to a tree in a half-hidden spot, found it gone when he went to
look for it after finishing his day's work. Two robbers--just plain
horse-thieves--had come up previously, and one had made away with the
mule, leaving its bridle and saddle harnessed on the other fellow who
remained behind.

"Who are you?" asked the wood-chopper, "and where is my mule?" as he
came up.

"I was your mule, good master; years ago I insulted my parents and God
turned me into a mule."

The wood-chopper, astonished, knew not what to say or do.

"But I will stay with you always," said the thieving rascal, merely to
gain time.

"Well, I don't want you; you are free," the woodman replied generously.

Three days later, in the public market-place, he saw and recognized his
mule in the hands of a trader. He did not dare claim him, or rather he
could not make his claim good, so he tweaked the mule's ears and shouted
at him: "So you've been insulting your parents again, have you? Well, to
serve you right, may you find a harsher master than I."

Another favourite subject of Arab story and proverb makers is that of
the farmer and his crops. The following is a fair sample:--

Satan appeared one day before an Arab sowing his fields, introduced
himself and said that half the world belonged to him, and that he
claimed half the coming crop.

"Very well," said the labourer, "which half? That which is above ground
or that which is below?"

The Devil was no agriculturist, he could not tell pumpkin seeds from
turnip seeds, so he said simply that he wouldn't be put off with the
roots. That what he wanted was that which grew above ground. On the day
of the harvest the Devil came around for his share--and got it, turnip
tops, good for greens, if boiled, but otherwise food for cattle.

The next sowing time he came again. This time he claimed that which was
below ground--and got it. The Arab had sown buckwheat, of which all
Arabs are very fond.

Furious and speechless with anger, the Devil took flight and vowed he
would have no more to do with the race. This tale bears some resemblance
to the European legend of St. Crepin and the Devil, which the peasant of
Mid-France tells regularly to his family twice each year, once at the
sowing and once at the reaping. It is a classic. Query: Did the Arab
steal his tale from the Auvergnat, or did the latter appropriate it from
the former?

The native music of all African tribes is of slight importance. It never
reaches a great height. It is simply a piercing, dismal wail, and since
it is invariably produced by instruments which look as if they could
produce nothing else, this is not to be wondered at.

There is method in the native musician's effort, however, whether he
hails from Kabylie, the Soudan or the Congo.

Chiefly their instruments are of the appearance and value of penny
whistles, toy drums and home-made fiddles.

It may be true that the soul of a people manifests itself in musical
expression, but if so the African's soul is a very minor thing in his

The vibrating chant of the Bedouin Arab, accompanied by the music of his

[Illustration: _An Arabian Musician_]

instruments, reminds one of Théophile Gautier's phrase: "The making of
music was a troublesome, noisy amusement." Coming out from beneath one
of the "Great Tents" of an encampment, or from behind a sand-dune of the
desert, it is suggestive of an exotic mystery. But when one comes
actually to face "La musique Arabe," one calls it simply idiotic, and
nothing else. This even though the stolid Berber affirms that it _is_ an
expression of his very soul. Musical intuition is one thing and musical
education quite another.

The real king of an Arab orchestra is the _bendir_ player. His is the
most violent exercises of all the players. The _bendir_ is a drum, a
sort of a cross between a tambourine and a flour-sieve. There may be a
whole battery of accompanying musical instruments, or there may be only
a supporting pipe or flute. The pipe may be played alone, but the
_bendir_ never. These two instruments are the invariable accompaniment
of the serpent charmer and the man who eats scorpions for the
delectation of tourists, at a franc a time. He doesn't really eat
them--but that is another story.

Seriously, those who have delved into the subject pretend to have
discovered method in the music of the Arab; but the "Hymne Khédivial,"
which charms Mediterranean tourists on the terrace of Shepheard's Hotel
at Cairo is nothing Arab at all. On the other hand, the "Marche
Hamidiè," which one hears at Tangier, is banal enough to be pure Arab,
and "La Musique Beylicale" at Tunis sounds more like the blows of a
pick-axe on a water-pipe than anything else.

When it comes to the street music of the big towns, that of the dancers,
and of the followers of marriage and funeral processions, there is a
repetition of the same dreary wail; a mild imitation of the Scotch
pibroch or the _binou_ one hears in Brittany.

Arab music possesses, however, we learn, a certain formal notation which
is seemingly too complicated to admit of setting forth here.

The composition of an Arab orchestra is not always the same; there are
divers combinations. There is always a _bendir_, and there are
_tabellas_ and _chekacheks_ or pipes; and again more pipes or flutes,
smaller in size; and a _gambri_ and perhaps a _mejoued_, the latter
practically imitations of European mandolines and violas. With these
crazily mixed elements are given the concerts that one hears so often in
the open air or in the Moorish cafés. The music, if music it is, rises
and falls in erratic

[Illustration: _A Flute Seller_]

[Illustration: SOUVENIR D'ALGÉRIE]

cadences, sometimes brutal and sometimes soft; but never melodious and
always shrill and brassy.

Whether or no Arab music is great music is no part of the writer of this
book to attempt to explain. The following anecdote of the late Bey of
Tunis, who died in 1906, has some bearing on the question of native
taste in that line.

About fifty years ago, before the legions of France invaded the country,
the Mussulman sovereigns of the period regularly bought European slaves,
brought to them by pirate ships cruising in the Mediterranean. One of
these unfortunate captives, brought before the Bey of Tunis and
questioned as to his capabilities, admitted in a rash moment that he was
the leader of an orchestra.

"Just what I want," said the Bey. "I always wished to have a band."

The prisoner began to feel uncomfortable. He saw the grave danger which
menaced him. There were no instruments, and to his Majesty he explained
that he must have a big drum, several little ones, large and small
flutes, violins and violoncellos, trombones and cymbals.

"I have more than enough to pay for all you want," was the answer of
the Bey. And he gave an order to buy the instruments.

"But the musicians?" queried the prisoner in alarm.

"Musicians! I will give you fifty negroes."

"But," asked the orchestra leader, in despair, "do the negroes know

"That," answered the Bey, "is your affair, and if in a month they cannot
play an air before me, you will be impaled, that's all."

The captive turned away, feeling that he had only one more month to
live. But he thought he would see what the negroes could do. So he began
to teach them, and for fourteen hours a day he made them practise on
their instruments, giving them--as he was a Frenchman--a simple air,
"_Maman, les p'tits bateaux--qui vont sur l'eau--ont-ils des jambes?_"
But his efforts only plunged him in a deeper despair. One of the
flute-players managed to repeat more or less accurately four or five
measures, but the violinists could never get more than one note from
their instruments. The trombones produced a series of most melancholy
sounds. Only the big drum rose to the height of the occasion. When the
fatal date arrived, the Bey summoned the leader of the orchestra before

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"Your Majesty--" began the trembling musician.

"Then play!" was the imperative command.

The fifty negroes commenced to tune up their instruments. But no two of
them ever got the same key, and the discord they made was indescribable.
However, when they seemed to have reached some semblance of unison, the
leader gave the signal to commence, and the dusky orchestra attacked
"_Les p'tits bateaux_." The result was heartrending, and as the
ear-splitting torture proceeded the leader said to himself: "In another
ten minutes I shall be impaled."

The concert finally came to an end unexpectedly with a solo on the big
drum. The Bey kept silence for a minute, while the leader's knees quaked
against each other.

"It is not bad," said his Majesty, slowly, "but I liked the first air

The first air was the discordant attempt made by the negroes to tune
their instruments. The leader of the orchestra began to breathe again.
And from that time he gave concerts every day, and grew old and wealthy
in the service of the court of the Bey of Tunis.

If one had only ears with which to hear, and no eyes with which to see,
this music could readily be likened to that which accompanied the
dancers of the King of Cambodia. This, at any rate, is the impression
given the writer; he has heard both kinds, and there is no choice
between them.

Dancing among the Arabs is a profession abandoned to the lower classes
of women, and to slaves. There are two schools, as one might say: those
who go around to the houses of the rich and dance for the edification of
their employers and their guests, like the entertainers, the
"lady-whistlers" and unsuccessful opera stars of other lands; and a less
recherché class who are to all intents and purposes mere street dancers
of a morality several shades removed from Esmeralda.

These latter, the "_anâlem publiques_," as they are designated in the
Frenchified towns of the littoral, are known otherwise as _ghaouâzy_,
and by supposedly blasé travellers as _almas_, which indeed they are
not, any more than are they houris. A musician of questionable talent
usually accompanies these street dancers, and picks out a monotonous
minor twang to which the "dancers" jerk and twist and shrug, and then
come around for a collection if they don't "dance" themselves into a
state of coma--in which case they take up the collection first.

The _danseuses_ of Biskra, Tunis and Constantine are daring, dusky
beauties whose lives at any rate are more wholesome than those lived by
the same class in the dance halls of Europe. There is a savagery about
them and their dress that makes for a suggestion of another world; and
if they are immoral it is because the strangers who have come among them
have made them so. "It wasn't so before the white man came," is the
plaint of many an exotic race. The Gringo complains of the American and
his innovations, the Hindu wails loudly against the Englishman, and the
Arab protests against the Latin and the Turk.



Throughout North Africa, from Oran to Tunis, one encounters everywhere,
in the town as in the country, the distinct traits which mark the seven
races which make up the native population: the Moors, the Berbers, the
Arabs, the Negroes, the Jews, the Turks and the Koulouglis. One may see
all these types, living their own distinct and characteristic lives, all
within a radius of a half a dozen leagues of Algiers' port and _quais_.

The Moors and the Berbers are the oldest inhabitants of the region,
descended, Sallust says, "from a mingling of the soldiers of the army of
Hercules, campaigning in Spain and Africa, with the Lybians and Gétules
of the region."

The _indigène_ Mussulman population of Algeria and Tunisia is divided
into many groups, the chief of which are the following:--

Moors, called by the Arabs the Hadars; not a race apart, but the result
of a crossing to infinity of all the diverse races of North Africa.

Koulouglis, descendants of Turks and Arab women.

Kabyles, the pure Berber race, speaking still their primitive language

Arabs, descendants of the pure Arab of east of the Red Sea, but in
reality "Berber-Arabs," as the French know them, who still preserve in
all its purity the Arab tongue, manners, and retain its ancient dress.

The Moors and the Koulouglis tend more and more to lose their
individuality; the Kabyle is practically stationary; whilst the
Berber-Arab is increasing in numbers at his traditional rate,--and here
and there becoming so highly civilized that he wears store clothes and
carries a revolver instead of a gun. He has also learned to drink
absinthe and beer, in the towns, at least those of him who have become
less orthodox.

There are two distinct classes of Arabs, those of the cities and those
of the "Great Tents." The former, by rubbing up with civilization, have
become contaminated, whilst the real nomads of the interior still retain
all their pristine force of character. The Arab hides with jealousy all
particulars of his domestic life, and is a very taciturn individual, as
taciturn almost as that classic type that one meets in south-eastern
railway trains in England, fortified behind a copy of "The Thunderer."

[Illustration: ARAB _of the_ TELL ARAB _of_ ORAN BERBER-ARAB]

The docile, contemplative nature of the Arab permits him to pass long
hours in a state of mental abstraction that would drive a man of affairs
of the western world crazy. The Arab, however, is not hostile to
activity, or even amusement, and will gamble for hours at some silly
little game.

The Arab of the town apparently spends a good part of his time in a
café. He drinks the subtle infusion, grounds and all, in innumerable
potions, and plays at chess, cards or checkers.

For further amusement the Arab is quite content to gaze drowsily at the
singing and dancing girls, the _er rnaïa_ and _ech chtahat_, who make
music, of a kind, and gyrate with considerably more fervour than grace.
All the time his ear is soothed by as howling a discord as one will hear
out of the practice hall of a village band in America or of "La Musique
des Sapeurs-Pompiers" of the small town in France. Two guitars of sorts,
and of most bizarre shape, a two-stringed fiddle (called a _rbab_) and a
half a dozen Arab flutes (_jouaks_), each being played independently,
cannot be expected to make harmony.

The Arab has his story-teller, too, a species of ballad singer or
reciter who, for a price, tells stories, fables, and legends.

Among this class of professional story-tellers are the _gouals_, the
improvisers, and the _médahs_, who are more like revivalists than
mountebanks, and about as fanatical as the shrieking sisters of a
"down-south" camp-meeting.

The Arab himself regards all stolidly, smokes and drink away, and
doesn't leave the café sometimes for days. It's an orgie, if you like,
but less reprehensible than the bridge-playing, drinking bouts of
civilization, which last too often from Saturday until Monday morning.

The Arab of the desert, or the Bedouin, shows to advantage when compared
with the town-dwelling Arab of the coast settlements, and whether he be
Sheik of a tribe or Cadi of a community, is a hospitable, kindly person
with even--at times--a sense of humour, and a guile which is rare in
these days of artfulness. The town Arab, the "dweller within the walls,"
is not primarily wicked or unreliable, but he has mixed with the sordid
ways of commercialism, and his favours--extended always with a
smile--are apt to bear a distinct relation to what he hopes to get out
of you. If he is simply an ordinary individual, or a gamin who points
out your road, his _quid pro quo_ is not likely to be more than a
cigarette, but the merchant of a bazaar who offers you coffee--and makes
you take it, too--charges for it in the bill, if even your purchase of a
"_fatmah_" charm, or a pair of "_babouches_" amounts to no more than two
francs in value,--bargained down, of course, from his original demand of
a hundred sous.

Like the Chinaman, the Arab can smile blandly when he wants to put you
off the track. A smile that begins at the corners of the mouth and
extends so that it makes a wrinkle at the nape of the neck is
disconcerting to all but the smiler. That's the Arab kind of a smile.

With all his faults and virtues the Arab of to-day is not a great
offender; he is only an obstructionist. Indolent, insouciant and
apathetic, the Arab lives to-day as in the past, indifferent to all
progress. If you show him your typewriter, your fountain-pen or your
kodak, he shrugs his shoulders and says simply, "_Maboule! Maboule! You
are fools! You are fools! Why try to kill time!_"

At Msaken, a frontier post in Tunisia, which was established only
fifteen or a score of years ago, and has already attained a population
of ten thousand souls, a protest was actually presented to the
government by the Arab population, asking that the great trading-route
into the desert be not laid down through their city, but that they, the
_indigènes_, be left to peace and tranquillity.

To sum the Arab up in a few words is difficult. He is a frequenter of
that path which lies between the straight way of virtue and the quagmire
of deceit. He is not alone in his profession, but it is well to define
his position exactly. Like the Indian and the Chinaman, the Arab is
deceitful, but scrupulously honest as far as appropriating anything that
may rightly belong to you is concerned, when it comes to actual business
transactions. A bargain once made with an Arab is inviolate. "_Ils ne
sont pas mauvais ces gens, mais ils sont voleurs quand même_," says
every Frenchman of the Arab, unjustly in many cases, no doubt, but true
enough in the general run. You must make your bargain first.

The real Arab--meaning literally a tent-dweller, for, in a certain
sense, the town-dweller is no Arab--loves first and above all his horse.
Next he loves his firearm, which poetically ought to be a six-foot,
gold-inlaid, muzzle-loading matchlock, which would kick any man but an
Arab flat on his back at every shot; actually in Algeria or Tunis the
Arab is the possessor of a modern breech-loader. Next to his gun he
loves his eldest son. Last comes his wife--or wives. Daughters don't
even count; he doesn't even know how many he has. Until some neighbour
comes along and proposes to marry one of them, a daughter is only a
chattel, a soulless thing, though often a pretty, amiable, helpful
being. The Arab of the settlements may be a lover of horse-flesh, too,
but he only professes it; any old hack is good enough for him to ride.
He will descant to you all the livelong day on the beauties and
qualities of some rare specimen of the equine race which he has at the
home of his father, back in the "Great Tents;" but meanwhile he drives,
or rides, a sorry spavined nag fit only for the bone-yard.

North Africa is not only the Land of Sunshine; it is also the land of
the burnous. This soft, floating drapery which clothes the Arab so
majestically, whatever may be his social rank,--miserable _meskine_ or
opulent Caïd,--is a thing fearfully and wonderfully made.

There are burnouses and burnouses, as there are cheeses and cheeses.
This ideal garment of the Mussulman Arab differs at times in form and
colour and quality, but it is always a simple burnous. The Sheik of a
tribe or the Caïd of a village wraps himself in a rich red robe, and the
poor vagabond Arab of the hills and desert makes the best showing he can
with his sordid pieced-up rag of a mantle.

The classic burnous is woven of a creamy white lamb's wool, or that of a
baby camel, though often its immaculateness is of but a brief duration.
The Caïd and the Sheik rise above this, and the nomad often descends to
a gunny-sack, from which exhales an odour _sui generis_; but one and
all carry it off with grace and éclat, as does the Arlésienne the fichu,
and the Madrillienne the mantilla. It is the garment that is worn by the
Arab of the towns, by the lone sheep-herder of the plains, and by the
nomad of the desert.

An Arab shepherd is a happy mortal if he can gain twenty francs a month,
a little _pap_ for breakfast, a dish of couscous for dinner, and a new
burnous once a year. He will spend all his income (for he, apparently,
as all his tribe, has acquired a taste for strong drink, though even he
will not partake of it when it is red) on absinthe, of a kind, and
tobacco, of a considerably better kind, every time he comes to town. How
he clothes himself had best not be inquired into too closely, for
excepting the burnous, he is mostly clothed in rags. The burnous is as
effectual a covering as charity.

The Arab officials, the Sheik of a tribe, the Caïd, and the Cadi even,
are all "decorated" as a sort of supernumerary reward for their services
on behalf of the established government.

One day _en voyage_--in a _compartiment_ of that slow-going express
train which runs daily from Algiers to El Guerrah, and takes fourteen
hours to do what it ought to, and will accomplish, in six, when they
get some American locomotives to take the place of the old crocks now in
service,--we met a young Caïd of a tribe of the Tell who had been
summoned to Algiers to get the collaret of the Legion bestowed upon his
manly breast. He was decorated already, for he was the son of the "Great
Tents" and a powerful man in his community, but he was ready enough to
make a place for another _étoile_. He said in his queer jargon French:
"_Li gouvernement y vian di me donni l'Itoile di Ligien. Ji suis content
d'avoir._" We sympathized with him, were glad for him, and we parted,
each on our respective ways, and by this time he is home waiting and
hoping for the next. What won't a man do for a _bout de ruban_ or a
silver star?

The Arab's French is much like our own--queer at times, but it is
expressive. The following beauties of judicial eloquence, from the bench
of an Arab justice of the peace will explain the situation better than
any further comment. With the Arab the Irish "_bull_" becomes a French

"_On peut entrer dans un cabaret sans être l'amant de quelqu'n._"

This is good enough French, though the sentiment is of doubtful

"_Le plaignant a lancé, alors, un coup de sifflet de désespoir._"

A "_sifflet de désespoir_" is presumably something akin to a wail.

"_Le plaignant s'est adressé à la police parce qu'il désirait rentrer
dans ses bouteilles._"

"_Dans ses bouteilles_," may be Arab-French for "in his cups"--or it may

"_Il portera de deuil aussi longtemps que sa femme sera morte._"

She will be dead a long time, no doubt, once having taken the fatal

"_Je dirai encore deux mots, mais je serai très brief._"

Two words! That is very brief.

"_Il n'a laissé que des descendants en ligne collatérale._"

What is a collateral descendant?

The Arabs' struggles with French should give the rest of the world, who
are not French, courage. They seem to care little for tenses or numbers,
but they make their way nevertheless. A Zou Zou, in calling your
attention to something, says simply, "_Regarde_," but you understand,
and so does he when you say "_Regardez_," so what matter!

The Arab nourishes himself well, as well as circumstances will allow,
though it must be remembered that the tenets of his religion call for
abstemiousness. He differs from the Greek of old in that he believes in
a good dinner and a light supper. "_Eh bien!_" said the traveller
Montmaur, "_I will dine with the Arab and sup with the Greeks_."

The Arab is a connoisseur in tea and coffee, and an adept at cigarette

Couscous is the _plat du jour_ with the Arab. It is his national dish.
Mutton or lamb (_kebeh_ or _kherouf_) is almost the only meat, and most
frequently the Arab roasts the carcass whole, spitted on a branch. He
roasts it before, or over, an open fire, and accordingly it is all the
better for that. In America we bake our meats, which is barbaric; and in
England they boil them, which is worse. The Arab knows better.

The Arab eats his meat _à la main,_ gnaws it with his teeth, and pulls
it apart with his fingers; the delicate morsel, the titbit, is the
kidney, and he is a lucky Arab who grabs it first, though if you are a
guest in his tent he reserves it for you. Beef is seldom, if ever,
eaten, but camel is in high esteem, the hump (_hadba_) being the best
"_cut_." Pork (_el hallouf_) is abhorred by the true Mussulman. He has
reason! Dried meat or smoked meat, like the jerked beef of the Far
West, is often carried on long desert journeys, when fresh meat is as
scarce a commodity as it was on an Indiaman a hundred days out from
Bombay a century ago.

The Arab eats soup, when he takes the trouble to make it, and he knows
well its concocting. For pastry, too, the Arab has a sweet tooth, and it
also frequently comes into the menu, with honey and dates predominating
in its make-up.

The Arab smokes _kif_ also, a concoction whose iniquitous effects are
only equalled by those of the state-protected opium of Bengal.

These voluptuous epicurean Arabs smoke _kif,_ not surreptitiously, but
guiltily. Carefully they wipe their pipes and cook the little ball of
drug, and offer it to you first with all the grace and seductiveness of
a houri. You don't accept, and they smoke it themselves, and in a short
space drop off into a semi-intoxicated condition, forgetful of the world
in the stupefying smoke which haloes about their heads. Like opium with
the Chinaman, _kif_ is the curse of the Arab.

After the Arabs and the Berbers, the Jews are the most striking race one
meets on the African coast, or even in the interior, where they herd to
themselves in some dingy quarter of an Arab village and ply their
trades of jewellers, leather workers, embroiderers and, of course, as
money changers. They talk Hebrew among themselves and Arabic with
natives, and they are as clannish as Scotchmen.

The Berber and the Jew and the Arab are necessary to each other, whether
they are town dwellers, village inhabitants or nomads. They make
business, each of them, and they don't live by taking in each other's
washing--as does the indigenous population of the Scilly Islands, or by
exploiting tourists--as do the Swiss. Altogether the social system as
worked out by the mixed races of North Africa seems to be a success.

One curses the Jews in Algeria and Tunisia, but then one curses them
everywhere for the same attributes. The Hebrew of Algeria is in no way
different from those of his brethren in other Mediterranean countries,
and here he has a craftsman's mission to fill and he fills it very well.
Catch a Jew and make him into a tailor, a jeweller or a banker, and he
is more adept at these professions than men of any other race on earth.

Are the Jews and Mussulmans men like other sons of Adam? This is a
question which has been asked and reasked since the earliest times

[Illustration: _Jewish Women of Tunis_]

of history, and no one yet seems to have decided the question. When the
Papal See was transferred to Avignon in the Comtat Venaissin (it was for
seventy years rooted in France), the position of the Jews seems to have
been defined, and they were put on a par with orthodox religionists. But
before and since, their status has been less readily defined. Froissart
put it in non-contradictory words when he said that except in the lands
of the church (in the Comtat), these aliens were everywhere chased and

This reference to the church and the Jews recalls the fact that many
Arab slaves of Barbary were owned by the Papal powers in the days when
the traffic was a profitable one for Turkish _pachas_.

The slaves of Barbary were known all through the Mediterranean. Civita
Vecchia in the eighteenth century, directly under Papal patronage, held
a number of them of which the following is a description from an old

  Arab Names  Names in the Galleys  Nationality  Age  Health
   Papass        Papass               Tunis       45   Good
   Acmet         Buffalotto           Tripoli     40     "
   Mamchet       Marzocco             Alger       45     "
   Mesaud        Piantaceci             "         35     "
   Machmet       Mezza Luna             "         30     "
   Aamor         Bella Camiscia       Alger       30   Good
   Machmet       Il Gabbiano            "         30     "
   Ali           Nettuno              Tunis       40  Mediocre
   Aamor         Carbone              Tripoli     30   Good

These men in fact were for service in the Pontifical galley.

They were a fine race of servants, evidently!

The Jews are much less numerous in Algeria than in Morocco and Tunisia,
but they take on a very considerable commercial importance in the
picturesque conglomerate ensemble of peoples in the cities like Algiers,
Oran or Tunis; they gather the small savings of the nomad races in a way
that is the marvel of all who know their trade. Furthermore, as French
citizens, they play no small part in political affairs. What they lack
in numbers they make up in power, and the money-lending trade, while
seemingly in disrepute, is quite a necessary one in commercial

The Jews lend money to Christians the world over, men and nations alike,
and in Africa they do the same to the improvident Arab. Clearly the Jew
has a mission in life; he has found it out, and he sticks to it, and has
ever since that historic hour in the Temple.

Of all the mixed races with which one rubs shoulders in Northern Africa,
it is the Arab who interests us most. It is his country that we are in.
It is the Arab who must be our guide, philosopher and friend. "Ask an
Arab anything you like," say the French, "but ask nothing of a Maltese
or an Italian." Why, they do not tell you, but simply shrug their
shoulders in the expressive Frenchman's way.



There are three kinds of _noblesse_ among the Arabs: there is the
aristocrat class, the _noblesse de race_, descended, so they think, from
Fatma, the daughter of the Prophet; the _noblesse militaire_,
descendants of the Arab conquerors, of which Mohammed and his family are
also descended; and finally the _noblesse réligieuse_, a hereditary
_noblesse_ like the preceding, but a distinction that can only be
acquired by meritorious performance of a religious duty.

The tribes each have a head known as a _Caïd_, and each tribe is divided
into smaller tribes and factions who obey implicitly the sub-head or
_Cheikh_ (sheik). The head of a _douar_,--a group of tents,--if the
collection is not great enough to have a presiding Sheik, is a sort of
committee, like the bodies of selectmen of a New England village.

Over and above all _indigène_ control, the French administration is the
real head of the Arabs in Algeria, and the Tunisian French
_fonctionnaires_ hold the same powers in Tunisia.

The Arab or Kabyle chiefs in Algeria are merely the agents for the
execution of the government's laws, civil or military, and in Tunisia
the laws for each province (_outhan_) are made known to the _Caïd_ by
the authorities, and it is he who is held responsible for their
observance. As for punishment for a crime committed,--for they are not
all plaster saints,--the Arabs would much prefer the old Turkish
_bastinado_ to a sentence behind prison walls or a fine in money, sheep
or goats. Does civilization civilize?

The Arabs are full of wise saws mostly adopted from the Koran, or from
the Apocryphal books of the Prophet. They have a saying which might well
be put into a motto suitable for the creed of any man:--

"_El-Khams_, _El-Miter_, _El-Ansab_ and _El-Aglane_ are the inventions
of the devil."

_El-Khams_ is worry; _El-Miter_ is gambling; _El-Ansab_ are the stones
or thorns in one's road; and _El-Aglane_ is the argument by sword
instead of by reason. The following might well be printed in Gothic
script and hung in our own "dens" and boudoirs along with Stevenson's

"_When a woman says to her husband, I have never received a single
benefit from you, all the good acts she may have done lose their

"_God detests those who show pride before their companions._"

"_Go a mile to visit a sick man, two miles to reconcile a pair of
quarrellers and three miles to see a holy man._"

"_When you think of the faults of your neighbours, think also of your

"_He who salutes thee first is free from pride._"

"_God hates dirtiness and disorder._"

With respect to this last, the Arab performs his ablutions with great
regularity and devotion, but by contrast, curiously enough, enshrouds
himself frequently in dirty, verminous rags.

The most detested sequence of events that can happen to an Arab are
ranked as follows:--

I. The drunkenness which makes a fool of a man.

II. The sleep which dissipates the drunkenness.

III. And the chagrin which destroys the sleep.

The emotion has been felt by others, who cannot slip on and off the
_peau de chagrin_ as did Balzac's hero.

The Arabs explain their abstention from wine by an act of the Prophet
forbidding its use.

One day the Prophet saw, in passing, a group of young men who were
making free and drinking of wine. He blessed them, saying, "Drink at
your ease, you have the benediction of God." At the end of a brief
interval the Prophet, passing that way again, saw them disputing among
themselves, and learned that one had been killed. Thereupon he vowed
upon their heads that "wine was a curse upon them, and that not one who
was given to it should hope to enter Heaven."

Among the Arab _indigènes_ to-day, one remarks an almost total
abstention from the "wine when it is red." Contrariwise they may
frequently be seen drinking white wine, and indeed they have a great
fondness for champagne,--but they are not particular about the brand,
the label on the bottle means nothing to them, so long as it is a gaudy
one, and so, like many Americans, they drink something which they think
is champagne, and is just as "heady."

Arab hospitality is famous, their very manner of life, even to-day, as
in olden times, makes it a sort of compulsory tenet of their creed.

    "Ida andek ktir, ati men mulek.
     Ida andek glil, ati men galbeck."

    "If you have much, give of your best.
    `If you have little, give from the heart."

Never ask an Arab his age; you will be disappointed if you do. The Arabs
have no civil register and generally ignore their exact age, frequently
reckoning only by some great event which may have happened within their
memories, like the "Uncle Toms" and "Old Mammies" of "way down Souf."
With such a rule-of-thumb reckoning, you are likely to remain as much in
the dark as before.

It is a belief among the Arabs that they can carry on a conversation
with animals. Not all amongst them are thus accomplished, but the speech
of animals, they say, can be learned, and many of their head men know
it. They share this belief with other Orientals; but there is no proof
that they have learned their lessons as well as did Garner in his
attempts to acquire "monkey talk." The Arabs, too, are superstitious.
They believe in the evil eye, and they object most decidedly and
vociferously if you point your finger at them; also, they wear charms
and amulets against disease and disaster.

They used to object to the camera man and the artist, but to-day, since
they have come to learn that you carry away with you no actual part of
themselves, only an impression, their attitude has changed.

The Arab warrior must have ten qualities, or he is _déclassé_ in the
favour of all other Arabs.

  I. The courage of a cock.
  II. The painstaking of a chicken.
  III. The heart of a lion.
  IV. The brusqueness of a wild boar.
  V. The tricks of a fox.
  VI. The prudence of a hedgehog.
  VII. The swiftness of a wolf.
  VIII. The resignation of a dog.
  IX. The hand always open.
  X. The sword always drawn, and one sole speech for friend or foe.

The Arab warrior, save as he now serves France, has disappeared, but his
precepts were good ones for a soldier.

The Arabs' regard for womankind has often been misunderstood and
misstated. Not all Mussulmans have the same noble regard for womankind.
The Turk and the Persian is notably a tyrant in his home; and, among the
Arabs, the Bedouin is frequently a brute towards his wives and
daughters; but the conventional _Arab-Berberisé_ is quite compassionate
and liberal in his views and treatment of the female members of his

"_Auprès de Dieu, le maître du monde, une fille vaut un garçon._"

Thus say the Arabs, but in practice it's all the other way. The boy
stays with the family and adds his strength and talents to his father's
tribe; but the daughter, arriving at the marrying age, which comes early
with the Arabs, leaves not only her family, but the ancestral _douar_ or
community, perhaps even the tribe, and goes where her new master

In a word, the boy is another sword or brain for his family's interests,
whilst the daughter goes to augment those who may, perhaps, at some
future time, be enemies of her parents.

From this one judges that with the Arabs, as with many other exotic
nations, the birth of a son brings real joy to the parental roof-tree;
but that of a girl merely a lukewarm expression of gratification, or
perhaps nothing


more than a disappointed resignation. If it is a boy that is new-born,
the parents are congratulated with: "God has made you a good gift!" If
it is a girl: "May you be as happy as possible!" is considered as all
that is needful, a sort of commiserating congratulation this, and the
father perforce responds ordinarily: "_Zaddat di nââla!_" ("It is my

Once the child is born, the sex determined, the "rejoicings," properly
called, do not differ in one case from the other, for the Arab believes
profoundly in Mohammed's diction--"These are the innocents and the _Fête
des Anges_ must be the same in each case."

Seven days after the birth, the baby daughter's _Fête de Naîssance_
takes place in presence of the Caïd, the marabout, parents and friends.
The women cry and sob joyfully, and dance with the abandon of a dervish,
and the screech and roll of the _guellal_ and the flute make things
hideous for one who has no special responsibility bound up in the event.
The men, too, give themselves over to the dance quite as vigorously and
quite as gracefully as do the women, and a feast--all birth and wedding
celebrations end with a feast--terminates the great event so far as a
general participation goes. The eternal _couscous_ is the _pièce de
résistance_, with dates, raisins, figs, honey, butter and milk in

For a choice of names for their little daughter, the Arab parents,
almost without exception, choose one of the following:--

  Aicha (the life)
  Djohar (the pearl)
  Fatima (diminutive)
  Halima (the gentle)
  Kreira (the best)
  Kadra (the blossom)
  Meryem (Marie)
  Nedjma (the star)
  Sofia (the pure)
  Yamina (the prosperous)
  Zina (the belle)
  Zohra (the flower)

Sometimes the child is given the name of some female friend of the
family, who agrees to act as godmother through the early years of its
life, and is obliged to spend a relatively large sum of money in
supplying a baptismal present, as do godmothers the world over. The boy
under the same circumstances would probably have been named Mohammed or
Achmed and have done with it.

After the actual naming ceremony the great bracelet talismans are put on
the girl-child's arms, and a little later a similar decoration will be
given her for her neck. If the parents are rich their children are often
rudely sent away to be nourished and given strength beneath the shade of
some Saharan oasis, not too far away but that they can be visited once a
year. The nurse who guards the children in their desert home is called
the second mother, but she is a nurse pure and simple and bears no
relation to the godmother.

The child is carried pick-a-back by day, by one or another of its
mothers, clumsily swathed in a none too clean-looking woollen cloth
during the first few months, and at night is securely stowed away in a
fig-leaf basket which is hung from the tent poles, a cradle which is
soft, flexible and cheap.

In time light foods, such as the milk of goats, cows, or camels is given
the child, and as early as possible it is told or shown how to take a
bath--and made to take it whenever the idea enters the parents' heads.

For dress, the girl is clothed as becomes the station and wealth of her
parents; her ears are pierced in two or three places, but as no jewelry
is worn by infants the holes are kept open by silk cords.

The home life of these early years is very much _en famille_ among the
Arabs of the countryside, with horses, oxen, and cows as dwellers under
the same roof.

As soon as possible the child is taught to pray according to the
religion of its parents. Each prayer is preceded by an ablution. Truly
the Mohammedan religion is a cleanly and purifying one!

The practical education of an Arab girl commences when she is shown how
to cut and fit a burnous (nothing of the tailor-made or Paris mode about
this to make it difficult; any one who can handle a pair of scissors can
do the thing), to sew a tent-covering together, and the thousand and one
domestic accomplishments of women everywhere, not forgetting spinning
and weaving.

In the poorer families, those who live in mean, ragged tents, not the
"Great Tents," the child is most likely first set to doing the cooking.
At the age of fourteen or fifteen, she begins to "take notice" of the
youth of the other sex, meanwhile partaking of the fare of the family
board only when there are no strangers present. During visits to friends
and neighbours, or to the marabouts, or at fêtes given in her honour,
the young Arab girl of whatever social rank is closely chaperoned,
always accompanied by her mother. The

[Illustration: _The Life of the "Great Tents"_]

daughters of the "Great Tents" are veiled from their tenth year onwards,
only the poor remain with their visage uncovered. Music is a part of the
early education of the Arab girl. She learns to dance, _yatagan_ in
hand; and to play the _bendir_, a sort of Spanish _tambourin_, and the
_touiba_, a similar instrument, somewhat smaller and less sonorous.

At an early age, too, she learns the rudiments of the arts of coquetry.
She puts rouge (_zerkoun_) on her face, and blacks her eyelids with
_koheul_; and, finally, colours the tips of her toes and fingers a
coppery red with henna. She has her wrists and ankles tattooed in bands
or bracelets; and paints beauty spots, a star or a crude imitation of a
fly, on her cheeks or forehead. By this time she is thought to be a
ravishing beauty.

Even the poorest of Arab families guard their daughter's honour with the
greatest circumspection, never a doubtful word or phrase is uttered in
her presence. She is brought up in the greatest purity of atmosphere.
Should there be any doubts as to this, her spouse, even on the marriage
day, will send her back to her parents dressed in a white burnous--with
no thanks. Dishonour can be punished by death. The Cadi is the referee
in all matters of dispute or doubt of this nature, and his word is

Among the wealthiest tribes the daughters are often promised in marriage
at the age of four or five, and frequently they marry between ten and
fifteen. Indeed they must marry at an early age or people say unkind
things about them. In the Sahara the rich marry three or four wives, the
poor one, rarely two. One may not marry but one wife in any one year.

The Arab proverbs concerning women are many and mostly complimentary.

"_The quarrelsome wife is for her spouse a heavy burden, but a happy
wife is as a crown of gold._"

The Arab poet says of his chosen type of female beauty:--

  _Hair black as the feathers of the ostrich._
  _Forehead wide and eyebrows thick and arched._
  _Eyes black like a gazelle's._
  _Nose straight and finely modelled._
  _Cheeks like bouquets of roses._
  _Mouth small and round._
  _Teeth like pearls set in coral._
  _Lips small and coloured like vermilion._
  _Neck white and long._
  _Shoulders broad._
  _Hands and feet small._
  _Manners agreeable._
  _Laughter delicate._

"She must laugh soberly, must not gad about nor dispute with her husband
or neighbours, have a well-governed tongue, may rouge slightly, guard
well the house, and ever give good counsel."

The formula might well be any man's ideal; though the Arabs say when you
meet this paragon of a woman, you become crazy, and if she leaves you,
you will die. All of which may be true also! The ideal is one made up of
an appalling array of virtues.

An Arab tale tells of a warrior horseman, El Faad-ben-Mohammed, rich in
this world's goods and lands, who met a certain Oumya-bent-Abdallah, and
would marry her, so beautiful was she. He sent his emissary to her to
plead his cause, for he was timid in love, if brave in war.

The young girl asked what might be her wooer's position in life,
whereupon his friend replied: "He is a warrior; when the fight is at its
thickest, it is he who cleaves a passage through the ranks of the foe.
He is taciturn and sober and knows well how to take adversity." This
seems a good enough send-off for a proxy to give, but the maid would
have none of it. She said simply: "Go back to your friend. It is a lion
that you tell me of. He wants a lioness, not a woman. I would not suit."

The suitor for a young girl's hand among the Arabs often does make his
demand of her parents by proxy; and much bargaining and giving and
taking of concessions goes on, all without embarrassment to the swain.
It's not a bad plan! A contract follows, and finally legal sanction.
Every Mussulman marriage must have the consideration of the _dot_ as a
part of the legal agreement. The _dot_ may vary with the fortunes of the
girl's family, or with the condition of the suitor; and, in case of
divorce, this _dot_ must be returned to the unfortunate lady's parents,
not to her, whatever may be the cause.

The wedding trousseau of the young wife, that which she brings in the
way of clothes and jewelry, must comport with her former station in
life; but her _dot_, which may be in kind, not necessarily in money, may
be as great as the prospective husband can worm out of the girl's
parents. A rich Arab of the "Great Tents" whom we heard of at Jouggourt
gave up the following: Three camels, fifty sheep, eighteen skins, three
bolts of cotton cloth (made in Manchester--the "Manchester goods" of
commerce as it is known in the near and far East); a gun (a Remington
so-called, most likely made in Belgium), with brass and silver inlaid in
the stock; two pairs of silver rings for ankles and wrists; two buckles
for the _haïk_, a silken burnous, a silk sash, a string of coral beads
(made of celluloid at Birmingham), earrings, a mirror (of course) and a
red _haïk_, and a _melhafa_ or _haïk_ of cotton.

Among the desert tribes the women of all classes of society frequently
have their faces unveiled; but, as they approach the great trade-routes
and the cities, they closely enwrap the face so that only a pair of
glittering black eyes peep out. Without regard to class distinctions or
age all Arab women are passionately fond of jewelry of all kinds,
finger-rings, anklets, bracelets, chains, and brooches.

Repudiation, or divorce, is legal among the Arabs if accomplished in a
legal way, and is simply and expeditiously brought about. The following
is an account reported recently in an Algerian journal:--

El Batah had presented himself before the Cadi for the purpose of
"repudiating" his wife, "_une femme grande et forte, d'une éclatante
beauté_." "Well, what is it?" said the Cadi, scenting in the affair a
big fee, at least big for him. The Cadi was very much smitten by the
lady, it appears, though he did not know it, or at any rate admit it, at
the time.

"I come to complain of my wife, who has beaten me and nearly broken in
my head," said the poor man.

"It is true," echoed the woman, "but I did not mean to do it, I am
sorry; I ought not to be punished." (This doesn't seem logical, does

"Well, I shall '_repudiate_' her" said the man; "I will have none of

"Return her _dot_, then, to her family," said the Cadi.

"Great Allah! It is impossible, it is four thousand _dirhems_, how can I
pay it?"

By this time the Cadi saw his fat fee vanishing, and his ardour for the
lady of the _striking_ beauty rising. He had just lost his fourth wife,
the Cadi, and there was a place in the ranks for another.

"If I will give you the sum," said he, "will you '_repudiate_' this

"Yes, willingly," said the fellow.

"Well, here's your money," said the accommodating official.

No consideration of the women of North Africa ought to terminate without
a reference to the Mauresque, that gracious type found all through
Northwestern Africa, a product of the mixture of the races, an outcome
of civilization and the growth of the great cities of the seaboard. They
are usually named Fathma, Zohra, Aicha, Houria, Mami, Mimi, Roza,
Ourida, Kheira, etc.; and they leave the bed and board of their parents
usually between the ages of twelve and fourteen to be married, or for
other reasons. Practically all the world looks upon the Mauresques as
social outcasts. The class had become so numerous about the middle of
the nineteenth century that the hand of philanthropy was held out to
them to enable them to better their condition in life. They were given a
rudimentary book education, and were taught the art of Oriental
embroidery with all its extravagance of capricious arabesques and
threads of gold.

As for the other class of Mauresques, the _rikats_, those who have
become contaminated,--for not all are saved, nor ever will be,--one
recognizes them plainly as of the world worldly whenever they take their
walks abroad. The sad amusement of visiting mosques and cemeteries is
not _their_ sole pleasure, as it is that of the legitimate Arab wife, or
Mauresque, even though her spouse be wealthy.

The Mauresque _partner de convenance_ of a wealthy _indigène_ or
European may have her own horses and carriages, perhaps by this time
even her own automobile; and rolls off the kilometres in her daily
promenades on the fine suburban roads of Algiers, in company with the
_haute société_ of the city, and the thronging American, English and
German tourists from Mustapha. She even dines at the _cabarets_ of Saint
Eugène, Pointe Pescade or the Jardin d'Essai, and no one does more than
look askance at her. Algiers is very _mondaine_, and its morals as
varied as its population.

Even though the _rikat_ dresses after the European mode, there is no
mistaking her origin. Her great, snappy black eyes, livened and set off
by dashes of _koheul_, are fine to look upon; and her figure, as she
sits in her cabriolet or opera-box, is so well hidden that one does not
realize its cumbersomeness. At home she wears the seraglio "pantalon" of
the Arabian Nights, ankles bare and feet stuffed into _babouches_--which
an Indian or a plainsman would call moccasins. Over all is the _r'lila_,
a sort of cloak of gold-embroidered, silken stuff, very light and wavy.
It's not so graceful as the _kimona_ of the Japanese, but it's far more
picturesque and useful than the most ravishing tea-gown ever donned in
Fifth Avenue or Mayfair.

The Mussulman calendar is simple, and, except in the nomenclature of its
divisions, is not greatly different from our own. The Arab year has
twelve lunar months, making in all three hundred and fifty-four or three
hundred and fifty-five days.

  Moharem                30 days
  Safer                  29  "
  Rbia el ouel           30  "
  Rbia el tani           29  "
  Djoumad el ouela       30  "
  Djoumad et tania       29  "
  Rdjab                  30  "
  Châban                 29  "
  Ramdan                 30  "
  Choual                 29  "
  Dzou el Kada           30  "
  Dzou el Hadja          29 or 30
                        354 or 355


  Spring      El rbia
  Summer      Es Saïf
  Autumn      El Kherif
  Winter      Ech Chta

The principal fêtes of the Arab are those of the Mussulman religion, the
same one observes in Bombay, Constantinople and Cairo.

  Ras el âm                 1 Moharem (first day of year)

  El âchoura               10 Moharem (anniversary of the death of the
                              son of Sidi Ali bou Thâleb)

  El Mouloud               12 Rbia el ouel (anniversary of the
                              birth of the Prophet)

  Çiam                      1 Ramdan

  Aïd es srir
      (or little Beïram)    1 Choual

  Aïd el kbir
      (or great Beïram)    10 Dzou el haja (in commemoration
                              of sacrifice of Abraham)

The following glossary of commonly met with Arab words is curious and

  Allah                    Dieu--God

  Bab                      Porte or passage, gateway (as Bab Souika at Tunis)

  Burnous                  A woollen cloak

  Cadi                     A judge or notary

  Caïd                     Sheik, chief

  Calif or Khalif          Chief, commander

  Cheikh                   (Sheik) Chief of a community or douar

  Coran                    (Koran) The Book of Islam

  Couscous or Couscoussu   (Kouskouss)

  Derviche                 (Dervish) A member of a certain
                              sect of religious dancers

  Divan                    The council-chamber of a Sultan or Bey

  Djebel                   Mountain

  Djinn                    Evil spirits, demon

  Dof                      A square drum

  Douar                    Group of tents, a community

  Effendi                  Title of quality

  Fakir                    A mendicant monk

  Fellah                   Egyptian peasant

  Ganoun (or Kanoun)       Harp of 75 strings (seen at Alexandria and Tunis)

  Goule                    Vampire

  Goum                     Native soldiery from the South

  Gourbi                   Hut or cabin

  Hadji                    Pilgrim who has been to Mecca

  Hammam                   Moorish or Turkish baths

  Harem                    The place reserved for Mussulman women

  Henne                    Henna for staining hair or body

  Houri                    Celestial Virgin of Paradise

  Imam                     The prayer leader

  Islam                    The religion of the Prophet

  Kabyles                  Berber mountaineers between Algiers and Tunis

  Khalifa                  Chief of a religious community

  Kheloua                  Cave, grotto

  Kouba                    Chapel above the tomb of a saint

  Lella                    Madame

  Marabout                 A holy person or his tomb (mark the distinction;
                              one word for two entities)

  Mehari                   A "high speed" dromedary

  Moghreb                  Occident

  Moghrabin                Man of the Occident

  Mosque                   Mussulman place of worship (in French Mosquée)

  Narghileh                Arab or Turkish pipe

  Ouali                    Marabout

  Oukil                    Guardian

  Raïa                     Flag

  Raïs                     Captain

  Roumi                    Christians

  Scheriff (or Cheriff)    Descendants of the Prophet

  Sidi                     Monsieur, sir

  Simoun (Sirocco)         The South wind of the Sahara

  Spahi                    Native warrior horseman

  Sultan                   Virtually King or Emperor

  Sultani                  Gold money

  Tarr or Tar              Tabor drum

  Teboul                   Tambourine

  Zaouia                   Hermitage, chapel, school

  Zerma                    Clarionet



(_Horses, Donkeys, and Mules_)

As a Kentucky colonel once said, the pure-bred Arabian horse is a fine
thing in his native land; but there is more good horse-flesh, per head
of population, in the United States than the first home of the ancestor
of the blooded horse ever possessed. Everything points to the fact that
the gentleman knew what he was talking about, as fine specimens of
Arabian horse-flesh are rare to-day, even in Arabia and North Africa.
They exist, of course, but the majority of horses one sees in Algeria
and Tunisia are sorry-looking hacks.

In the desert the case is somewhat different. There the beautiful
Arabian horses of which romance and history tell are more numerous than
the diminutive bronchos of the coast plains and mountains. The
descendants of the Anazeh mares, the parent branch of royal Arabian
blood, are not many; but an Arab of good lineage may still be had by one
who knows how to pick him out, or gets some friendly Sheik to give him

No one seems to know where the original Arabian horse was bred, though
it was known in the Mauritania of the Romans, in the environs of
Carthage, long before that little affair of Romulus and Remus startled
an astonished world. In all probability he was a descendant of the same
horses which made up the Numidian cavalry which overran Rome during the
Punic wars, and that's a pretty ancient pedigree.

To-day all through North Africa, in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Tripoli,
Egypt, and in Arabia across the Red Sea, the type is recognizable in all
variations of purity and debasement.

The "Arab shod with fire" of the Bedouin love-song may not be all that
sentiment has pictured, but he is an exceedingly high-bred animal

Here are his fine points:--

  Four    { The forehead
  "Wide"  { The portrail (chest)
  Points  { Loins
          { Membres (shoulders)

  Four    { Encolure (neck)
  "Long"  { Rayons supérieurs (upper fore and hind leg)
  Points  { Body
          { Hind quarter

  Four "Short" Points {Reins (flank)
                      {Paturons (pasterns)

  Coat brilliant and dark coloured

This is the formulæ upon which the French remount officers choose their
Arabian horses, and for hard work they take always a "_traineur avec sa
queue_," a horse of seven years or more.

Each chief of an Arab family possesses one or more of the blooded
Arabians of classic renown. It is his friend in joy and sorrow, and his
constant companion when he is away from his family. If the Arab chief
has many horses he always keeps one, the favourite, as a war-charger. If
there are no wars or rumours of war in sight, he only rides this
favourite on gala or parade occasions; but at all times he gives it more
care and attention than many heads of families, in more conventionally
civilized lands, give their wives. The Arab knows the ancestors of his
horse as well as he knows his own; and he has its pedigree writ on
parchment, which is more trouble than he has taken to perpetuate the
memory of his own remote parents. The Algerian Arab horse has been
called a "mixed-_pur sang_," whatever that may mean, but certainly it
will take somebody more expert than a mere "horsey" person (the kind
that go around talking about their "mounts" and how "fit and saucy" was
the one they rode that morning) to mark the distinction between the best
of the Algerian variety and those of Egypt, Syria or Arabia.

The Arab trains his horses for his own personal use, to pace, canter, or
gallop, never to trot, a gait which is only fit for the European who is
afraid to sit on, or behind, a horse with a quick-moving pace. This is
the Arab version of it, and an Arab horse owner will hobble his beast
with a rope if he shows the least inclination to trot or single foot. If
this won't break him, why he sells him to some one who will stand for
it--at the best price he can get. The Arab horse owner thinks with the
late A. T. Stewart: "If you have got a loss to meet, meet it at once and
get your capital working on something else."

The writer recently met an Italian trying to bargain with an Arab for a
saddle-horse. The Arab was with difficulty convinced that the gentleman
was not an Englishman who would buy only a "trotting saddle-horse."
_Quel horreur!_ "Allah be praised!" said Ali-something-or-other, the
trader, all Europeans

[Illustration: _An Arab and His Horse in Gala Attire_]

are not imitators of the English taste in saddle-horses. Once in awhile
an Italian or a Spaniard or a Frenchman wants a horse for a _carrousel_
and not for an amble in the Bois, which is his idea of doing as they do
in London.

The reputation of the blooded Arabian horse, whether it is found in
Arabia, Algeria or Morocco, is classic, and the mule, too, seems here to
take on qualities not its birthright elsewhere. With the donkey, the
_petit âne_ with a cross down its back and a silver _museau_, the same
thing holds good. North Africa is the donkey's paradise. Here, if he
finds herbage scant once and again, he thrives as nowhere else, and
attains often an age of thirty-five years. The donkey in Africa is
worked hard, but is neither unduly maltreated nor misunderstood. Perhaps
that is why he lives long, though if the present race of donkey boys,
who have been trained at the Paris and Chicago exhibitions, go on their
unruly ways now they have got back to their homes at Cairo, Tunis or
Algiers, even the patient, sad little donkeys may take on moods that
hitherto they have never known.

The horses and donkeys of the big towns may well become spoiled by
vanity, for they are often the subjects of an assiduous and inexplicable
care on the parts of their owners, who comb their locks, and braid
them, and _cosmétique_ them and put rouge on their foreheads, and even
stain them with henna until they are a regular "Zaza" tint. Darkest
Africa is not so backward as one might think!

All classes of native riders, whether on the camel, _mehari_, horse,
mule, or donkey, beat the ribs of the creature with a heel-tap tattoo in
what must be an annoying manner for the beast. From the way the native,
rich or poor, sits on his horse, spurs would be of no use to him, and
only the Spahi, or native cavalry, has adopted them.

Donkey riding is the same dubious rocheting proceeding in all
Mediterranean countries. It is no worse here than in Greece or on the
Riviera. "The donkey's a disgrace," says the Arab; and he runs along
behind, beating his onery little beast and calling it a _fille de
chacal_, a _graine de calamité_ or a _chienne_. This need awaken no
sentiments of pity whatever--for the donkey. They are as much terms of
endearment as the occasion calls for. The most common four-footed beast
of burden in Algeria is undoubtedly the despised donkey of tradition.
Every one does seem to despise the donkey, except the Mexican "greaser,"
who asks as affectionately after his neighbour's _burro_ as he does his
wife or children. Here the _bourriquet_ or _h'mar_ is quite a secondary
consideration in the Arab's domestic _entourage_.

The _bourriquet_ is an economical little beast, costing only from ten
francs upward. He usually feeds himself, browsing as he goes, and trots
twenty or thirty kilometres a day, encouraged by the whacks and
expletives of his driver who may often be found perched on top of the
donkey's load of a hundred and fifty pounds or more.

To us it all savours of cruelty, and perhaps some real cruelty does take
place; but much of the "coaxing" of a donkey into his gait is necessary,
unless one is disposed to let him stand still for hours at a time, too
lazy to do anything but swish and kick the flies away. Æsop's ass prayed
to Jove for a less cruel master, but that deity replied that he could
not change human nature nor that of donkeys, so things were left to
stand as before.

The Arabs often slit the nostrils of their donkeys, on the supposition
that the Maker did not fashion them amply enough to allow them to
breathe readily. The more readily the donkey breathes, the more capable
he is to carry heavy burdens long distances. Logical, this! And the
procedure, too, improves the tonal quality of the donkey's bray. Well,
perhaps, though most of us are not devotees of that sort of music.
Compared to Italy or Spain, there are considerably fewer suffering
sore-backed donkeys in Algeria or Tunisia.

There is no question but that for economical service the donkey will
kill any horse or mule; and it is clear that, weight for weight and load
for load, he daily outdoes the camel. The latter, weighing fifteen
hundred pounds, carries perhaps a weight of three to five hundred. The
ass weighs two hundred and fifty to four hundred pounds, and, carrying
one hundred and fifty to two hundred, outpaces the camel by a mile an

The donkey is guided by the voice, a stick, or a rope halter, which lies
on the left side, and is pulled to turn him to the left, or borne across
his neck to turn him to the right. The stick serves the double purpose
of striking and guiding, and the stick must needs come into play only
too often.

The donkey here in the Mediterranean countries is often very small, not
thirty-two inches in many cases, no bigger than a St. Bernard. When one
hires a donkey to carry him over an _étape_ on some mountain road, it
is often a beast from whose back one's toes touch the ground, though one
is seated on a pad, not a saddle, and measures only five feet seven.



A camel may be a cumbersome, ungainly and unlovely creature, and may be
destined to be succeeded by the automobile, to which he seems to have
taken a violent dislike; but there is no underrating the great and
valuable part which he has played in the development of the African
provinces and protectorates of France. He has borne most of their
burdens, literally; has ploughed their fields, pumped their water, and
even exploited the tourists, to say nothing of having been the companion
of the Mussulman faithful on their pilgrimages.

The camel caravans which set out across the desert from Tlemcen, Tunis,
and Constantine (there are no camels nearer Algiers than Arba) are in
charge of a very exalted personage,--or he thinks he is. His official
title is _gellâby_. Each and every beast of burden is loaded to the
limit, and pads his way with his great nubbly hoofs across untold
leagues of sand or brush-covered soil without complaint. At every stop,
however, and every time a start is made, he always gives vent to shrieks
and groans; but as this procedure takes place at each end of a day's
journey as well, it is probably pure bluff, as the camel-sheik claims.
To one unused to it the noise seems like the wails which are supposed to
come up out of the inferno.

The camel of Africa, so-called, is really not a camel, _he is a
dromedary_; the camel has two humps, the dromedary but one, _but camel
is the word commonly used_. The two-humped quadruped, then, is a
camel,--the direct descendant of the camel of Asia, whilst that of the
single hump is the dromedary of Africa. The distinction must be
remembered by all who talk or write on the subject, with the same
precision that one differentiates between African and Indian elephants.

The camel has by no means the rude health and strength which has so
often been attributed to him, indeed he is a very delicate beast and
demands a climate dry and hot. Cold and snow and persistent rains are
death to a camel. A camel must be well nourished, and with a certain
regularity, or he soon becomes ill and dies. He is easily frightened and
can spread a panic among his fellows with the rapidity of wild-fire.

For the most part the camel is kindly and temperate, but he can get in a
rage and can be very dangerous to all who approach him on foot.

The camel of the south cannot live in the north and vice versa. They are
not acclimated to the varying conditions. One judges a good camel
(dromedary) by his hump; firm and hard, it is a sure sign of a
good-natured, hard-working, friendly sort of a camel; if flabby and
mangy, then beware.

A camel eats normally thirty or forty kilos of fodder a day, and must be
allowed four hours to do it in. As to drink, once in two or three days
in summer is enough, but in winter he can go perhaps ten days, and his
food bill is increased nothing thereby.

He can carry 150-160 kilos, a parcel hung over each side in saddle-bag
fashion. The _mehari_, or long-distance, fast-gaited camel of the
Sahara, is to the ordinary dromedary what a blooded Arabian is to a
Percheron. He can better stand hunger and thirst, and on an average
needs drink only once in five days; furthermore is not as liable to
fright as is the _djemel_, as the Arab calls the camel, and is more

[Illustration: _The Mehari of the Desert_]

patient and more courageous. Less rapid than a race-horse for short
distances, the _mehari_, well-trained and well-driven, can make his
hundred kilometres a day, day in and day out.

The saddle is called a _rahala_ and has a concave seat, a large, high
back, and an elevated pommel. The rider sits in the bowl-like saddle,
his legs crossed on the beast's neck. The _mehari_ is driven through a
ring in its nose, to which is attached a rope of camel's hair. The beast
is somewhat difficult to drive, more so than the _djemel_, and only its
master can get good results. To mount, the beast kneels as do ordinary

_En route_ the _mehari_ does not graze, but waits for a decent interval
and takes its meal comfortably. A _mehari_, not accustomed to the sight
of a horse, is often put into a terrible fright thereby. The education
of a _mehari_ is very difficult; it takes a year to break one.

The policing of the great Saharan tracts would not be possible without
troops mounted on _mehara_,--the plural of the word _mehari_,--and
France owes much of the development of her African provinces to the
_mehari_ and the slower-going camel.

The dromedary, or camel, as it is referred to in common speech, was an
importation into Algeria away back in some unrecalled epoch, at any
rate anterior to the Arab invasion of the eleventh century.

The _mehari_ was a warlike beast as far back into antiquity as the days
of Herodotus, Tacitus, and Pliny. Herodotus, recounting the battle of
Sardes, said, according to Pliny: "_Camelos inter jumeuta pascit Oriens,
quorum duo genera Bactriani et Arabici...._"

If an Arab is owner of a thousand camels, he wards off any evil that may
befall them by leading out the oldest and blinding it with a rod of
white hot iron.

A camel that has fallen ill may be cured, many superstitious Arabs
believe, by allowing it to witness the operation of searing the hoofs of
another, tied and thrown upon the ground. This is auto-suggestion
surely, though where the curative powers come in it is hard to see.

When a _bayra_, a female camel, has given birth to five camels, the last
being a male, her ears are bored and she is sent out to pasture, never
more to be put to the rough work of caravaning. Like putting an old
horse to pasture in perpetuity, it seems a humane act, and it solves the
race question in the camel world, or would if the camels only knew the
why and the wherefore.

The camel's feet are admirably made for the sands of the desert; they
form by nature a sort of adapted _ski_ or snow-shoe. The hoof (though
really it is no hoof) is bifurcated and has no horny substance, merely a
short, crooked claw, or nail, at the rear of each bifurcation, a sort of
elastic sole--the predecessor of rubber heels, no doubt--covering the
base. The camel travels well in sand, but with difficulty over stony
ground, where frequently the Arabs envelop his feet with cloths or
leather wrappings.

The camel possesses further four other callosities, one on each knee,
and he uses them all four every time he gets up or lies down. These
callous places are something the beast is born with; they get ragged and
mangy-looking with time, but they are there from birth.

The boss, or hump, of the camel-dromedary is mere gristle; it contains
no bone, and is more or less abundant according to the health of the

A well-fed and happy camel, starting out on a long march, regards his
well-rounded hump with pride. Excessive travel and forced marches
diminish its shape and size and the beast seemingly becomes ashamed and
literally feels sore about it. But, like the conquered general on a
battle-field who loses his sword, he ultimately gets it all back again,
and a little rest, a change of diet, and a good, long drink--"a camel's
neck," you might call it--makes a difference with the camel and his hump
in the course of a very few days.

A camel gets unruly and cries out at times, and often becomes
unmanageable, but an application of a sticky gob of tar or pitch on his
forehead usually quiets him down.

The baby camels usually come into the world one at a time; and can stand
up on their four legs the first day, and run around like their elders at
the end of a week.

At the age of four years the young camel is put to work, and carries a
rider, two barrels of wine or two gunny-sacks filled with crockery or
ironware indiscriminately. His average life is twenty years, and, as
with the horse, one reckons his age by his teeth.

The Arab gets an astonishing amount of work out of an apparently
unwilling camel. He encourages him with punches, and beatings and oaths
and songs. Yes, the Arab camel-driver even sings to his camel to induce
him to get along faster, and plays a screechy air on the _galoubet_; and
the curious thing is that the flagging energies of a camel will revive
immediately his driver begins to drone. It is a custom which has come
down from antiquity, and soon one may expect every caravan to carry its
own phonograph and megaphone.

The chief of these airs, rendered into French for us by a lisping,
blue-eyed Arab, was, as near as may be:--

    "Battez pour nous,
     Battez pour nous,
        O Chameaux!
     Battez pour nous,
     Battez pour nous,
        Chameaux, pour vos maîtres!"

No very great rhyme or rhythm there, but it suits the camel's taste in

To "vagabond" with a camel caravan would be the very ideal of a simple
life. The life of a caravan to-day is as it was in Bible times, except
that one carries a "Smith and Wesson" or a "Colt" instead of a spear.

The following essential facts apply to all the camel caravans making
their respective ways from the coast towns of the northern provinces
down into the Soudan and the Sahara. The caravan usually makes its day's
journey between wells, or at least plans to stop at a source of water at
night rather than push on; this in case one has not been previously
passed by, and every one become refreshed a short time before.

A dozen to thirty kilometres or so a day is the average commercial
caravan journey,--for a part of the outfit walks, it must be
remembered,--and an eight or ten weeks' itinerary is the duration of the
average journey. Such food as is carried is generally of pounded dates
and figs in the form of a paste, which the dry climate more or less

The Arab trader, the chief of the trading caravan, and the city merchant
_en voyage_, be he Arab. Turk, or Jew, is a man of position, the others
are mere helpers, employés or perhaps slaves.

At each important halting-place of a caravan the Sheik's great tent is
unstrapped from its camel bearer and set up on a _pied de terre_ in as
likely a spot as may be found. The Arab tent is no haphazard shack or
shelter; it is a thing of convention, and has its shape and size laid
down by tradition.

The great central post or pillar has a height of two and a half metres,
and the _perches_, or entrance posts, have a height of two metres, and a
considerable inclination, whereas the central one is perpendicular.

The tent proper, the covering, is invariably of

[Illustration: _A Desert Caravan_]

alternate black and brown or brown and white woollen bands, sewn
together with a stout thread of camel's-hair. These bands are called
_felidj_ and have a width usually of seventy-five centimetres.

Within there is no furniture properly called, simply the provision for a
nomad life, sacks of grain, dates, figs or olives, a few pots and pans,
harness, etc., and a few smaller sacks or bags, _cachettes_, where the
womenfolk hide their earrings, corals, and brooches. These last are
usually used as pillows at night. It is a law of somebody--perhaps the
Prophet--that none of the Arabs' tent accessories must be of wood or
iron, save the tent poles, which are of both, being made of wood and
shod with iron; thus all utensils and other furnishings are of skins or
mats, and dishes of woven grass, and all cords are of spun camel's-hair.
A few copper pots and pans there are of necessity, and a few rude
crockery bowls.

The desert caravans form to-day the same classic pictures as of yore as
they thread the trails and paths, obscure and involved enough to the
stranger, but plain sailing to the chief or guide of a caravan who
precedes the following "squadrons" as a Malay pilot precedes his ship.

    "At the head of his dusty caravan,
     Laden with treasures from realms afar

           *       *       *       *       *

     Through the clouds of dust by the caravan raised
     Came the flash of harness and jewelled sheath."

The chief of a tribe, or even a caravan, is a very grand personage among
his fellows, and when he is _en route_ rides apart and sleeps in a
palanquin or _attouch_, an _attouch_ being no other thing than a cabin
on a ship; here a cabin on the ship of the desert.

The _attouch_, to be _à la mode_, must have a tall, chimney-like
ventilator rising in the middle and tipped with ostrich plumes.
Generally this retreat is large enough to shelter two persons,--always
persons of importance in an ostrich-feather-tipped _attouch_, a sheik
and his favourite wife, for example.

The caravans of to-day vary in size from a dozen to fifty camels to a
train of four, five, or seven hundred (in Tripoli). Under certain
conditions, after a long journey, the camel carriers--the
freighters--are usually allowed to rest a matter of days, weeks, or even
months, according to the lack of necessitous conditions for pushing on
and for recuperation. One of the chief trading towns of the Tripoli
caravans to-day in Africa is Kano, a place ruled by a native chief and
inhabited by a black population. The chief, for a consideration, affords
shelter and protection, and the Arabs of the caravan open up shop and do
business in the real county-fair style that they knew before county
fairs were even thought of. Native products are bought or traded for in
return, and such currency as passes is a sort of wampum made of shells
and a few Maria Theresa dollars. Barter, or mere swapping, with a bonus
on one side or the other, is the usual caravan Arabs' idea of
merchandizing, and the European can as often get a native-made woollen
burnous or a camel's-hair blanket by the exchange of a "dollar watch" or
a "Seth Thomas clock," as he can by giving up two or three gold _louis_.

The proper benediction to cast down on the head of any Sheik who may
have shown you a courtesy _en route_ is to say in simple
French:--"_Merci, noble Sheik, de ta générosité. Que la bénédiction
d'Allah descende sur toi, sur tes femmes, tes enfants, tes troupeaux et
ta tribu._" If you can give him a slab of milk chocolate or a piece of
"pepsin" chewing gum, he will appreciate that, too.

The negroes and negresses accompanying the caravans walk, but the Arab
either rides camel-back or horseback, like the veritable king of his
own little kingdom, which, virtually, every Arab is when he is on the
open plain.

The Touaregs, south of Touggourt, one of the real, genuine, Simon-pure
tribes of desert Arabs, are not given to the trafficking and
merchandizing of those who live down on the coast. Their chief, and in
many cases, sole occupation consists in catering for the migratory
caravan outfits, selling them dates and mutton and water, for if a
Touareg can discover anywhere an unworked oasis with a spring, he has
got something which to him is very nearly as good as a gold mine.

Among the Touaregs there are blacks and whites; the whites dress like
the conventional Arabs, but the blacks after a fashion more like that of
the savage blacks further south. The three superimposed blouses are
never too great a weight or thickness for the genuine Arab, even in the
blazing furnace of the Sahara. They ward off heat and cold alike.

One of Napoleon's famous sayings, forgotten almost in favour of others
still more famous, was: "Of all obstacles which oppose an army on the
march, the greatest, the most difficult to remove, is the desert."

One imagines the desert as a great, flat,


sandy plain with illimitable horizons, like the flat bed of a dried-out
ocean. This is a misconception of our youth, brought about by too
diligent an application to the precepts of the copy-book and the school
geography. All things are possible in the _vrai désert_. The oasis is
not the only interpolation in the monotonous landscape. There are great
_chotts_ or marsh tracts, even depressions where a murky alkaline water,
unfit for man or beast, is always to be found, vast stretches of rocky
plateau, great dunes of sand and even jutting peaks of bare and
wind-swept rock, with surfaces as smooth as if washed by the waves of
the ocean. These are the common desert characteristics throughout the
Sahara, from the Gulf of Gabès to the Moroccan frontier and beyond.
Occasionally there are the palpable evidences of new-made volcanic soil,
and even granite and sandstone eminences half buried in some engulfing
wave of sand swept up by the last sirocco that passed that way.

Over all, however, is an evident and almost impenetrable haze. At a
certain moment of one's progress in the desert, he sees nothing of
distinction before or behind or right or left, and at the next finds
himself close to a pyramid of rock fifty feet high. Really the desert is
very bewildering and enigmatic, and the Arab who navigates it with his
caravan is like the sailor on the deep sea. He has to take his bearings
every once and again or he is lost and perhaps engulfed.

It is the fashion to write and speak of the mystery of the desert, but
in truth there is no mystery about it, albeit its moods are varied and
inexplicable at times. To the solitary traveller there is an interest in
the desert unknown to seas, or mountains, or even to rolling

[Illustration: _The Sand Dunes of the Desert_]

prairies. Above is a sky of stainless beauty, and the splendour of a
pitiless, blinding glare; the sirocco caresses you like a lion with
flaming breath; all round lie drifted sand-heaps, where the wind leaves
its trace in solid waves. Flayed rocks are here, skeletons of mountains,
and hard, unbroken, sun-dried plains, over which he who rides is spurred
by the idea that the bursting of a water-skin, or the pricking of a
camel's hoof, would be a certain lingering death of torture. The springs
seem to cry the warning words, "Drink and away!" There is nothing
mysterious or dull about such a land, indeed it is very real and
exciting, and man has as much opportunity here as anywhere of measuring
his forces with Nature's, and of emerging, if possible, triumphant from
the trial. This explains the Arab's proverb: "Voyaging is victory." In
the desert, even more than upon the ocean, there is present death;
hardship is there, and piracy, and ship-wreck.

Newcomers to Algeria and Tunisia talk of the monotonous calm of the sand
dunes of the desert; but those who know its silences best find nothing
monotonous about them. It is as the automobilist expresses it with
regard to the great tree-lined "Routes Nationales" of France--"there is
sameness, but not monotony." One does not become ennuied in the desert.
He may be alone within a circle of many miles radius, but each glint and
glimmer of sunlight, each leaping gazelle and Saharan hare--really a
jack-rabbit--keeps him company, and when a camel caravan or a patrol of
Spahis rises on the horizon, he feels as "crowded" as he would in a
"bridge crush" in New York, or on the Boulevard des Italiens on a

Here at one side is a shepherd's striped tent, surrounded by bleating
sheep and goats and tended by a lean, lonesome Arab who is apparently
bored stiff with lonesomeness. His is a lonesome life indeed, like that
of a shepherd anywhere, and when night comes--often drear and chill even
in the Sahara--he slips under his tent flap, pulls his burnous up around
his ears and trusts to luck that no jackal will make away with a kid or
lamb while he sleeps. He is not paid to sleep by the owner of the flock
(a franc and a quarter a day, out of which he feeds himself), but still,
sleep he must. Fatigue comes even to a lazy Arab sheep-herder, and he'd
rather fall sound asleep beside a brazier inside his tent than doze
intermittently before a fire of brushwood in the open. Who would not,
at a franc and a quarter a day; particularly as the day includes the
night! There is no eight-hour day in the desert.

Before he sleeps, he munches a "_pain Arab_" and pulls his _matoui_ from
his belt, from which he fills his pipe with _kif_ and soon smokes
himself into insensibility. Poor sheep and goats, what may not happen to
them whilst their guardian is in his paradise of burnt hemp!

In the little oasis settlements where there are natural springs, and not
at the _Bordjs_ or government posts of relays, one's sight is gladdened
with flowering fig and almond blooms or fruits and bizarre spiny cacti
with pink laurel and palms in all the subtropical profusion of a happy
sunlight land. The chief characteristics of an oasis are the superb
giant palm-trees, their _aigrettes_ reaching skywards almost to
infinity, the azure blue cut into fantastic, fairy shapes, which no
artist can paint and no kodakist snap in all their fleeting grace.

Here dwell a few score of sheep, goat, horse, or camel owning Arabs, who
mysteriously live off of nothing at all, except when they sell a kid or
a baby camel to a passing caravan. It is the simple life with a
vengeance! And the children play about in the shadow of the tents naked
as worms, and, as they grow up, marry, and adopt by instinct the same
idle life. They know no ideas of progress, and perhaps are the happier
for it.

The colour effects in the desert are things to make an artist rave. The
dunes change colour with each hour of the day, and the silver light of
the sunrise and the streaky blood-red and orange of the sunsets are
marvels to be seen nowhere else on earth.

The temperature in the desert frequently changes with a suddenness that
would be remarked in Paris, the place par excellence in Europe where the
changes in temperature are most trying; or in Marseilles, where, from a
subtropical summer sun, one can be transplanted on the breath of the
_mistral_ into the midst of an Alpine winter in the twinkling of an eye.
Fifty degrees centigrade at high noon in the desert may be followed by
ten degrees at midnight. That's a change of seventy-two degrees
Fahrenheit, and that's something.



Algeria is guarded by an army of 60,000 men. But they keep the peace
only, for there is no warfare in Algeria or Tunisia to-day. In the days
of the Roman legions less than half that number of men fought for and
held all North Africa. France recognizes that the development of a new
country depends more upon the military than all else. The Spahis, the
_Chasseurs d'Afrique_, and the _Légionnaires_ have won most of France's
battles in Algeria; and for this reason these great colonial corps are
given a high place in the military establishment.

When they have fought they have fought well, and when they have died
they have died gloriously. The last "little affair" was in 1903, when a
hundred Spahis and horsemen of the Legion were attacked at El-Moungar,
near the Moroccan frontier. They fought like lions until reinforcements
arrived, and but thirty odd remained alive. Among the _Légionnaires_ who
died were a Spanish captain and a German lieutenant, for the _Légion
Étrangère_ demands nothing of any who would enlist in its ranks but his
name and an affirmative to the question--"Will you fight?" The survivors
of this engagement all received the _Médaille Coloniale_ and the Saharan

Now a more important move in the military game is being played across
the frontier in Morocco itself, and 12,000 of Algeria's native soldiery
is cast for the chief rôle. The soldiers of the Foreign Legion are of
all nationalities under the sun. Some of them are scoundrels, no doubt,
or were until military discipline made them brace up, but others are as
refined as the gentleman and officer of convention.

We met many Italians, Swiss, Germans, and Irishmen, and the Germans were
not Alsatians, either, but real _Platt-deutsch_, from Bremen. In more
than one instance they had been drummed out of their own regiment for
some disgrace and enlisted anew in France's _Légion Étrangère_ that they
might begin life over again. The real soldier of fortune exists nowhere
in so large a proportion as in this corps.

Certain of the French troops in Africa are not usually the flower of
the army, often they are _disciplinaires_ sent out from home. At any
rate when you see one of them robbing a poor peanut merchant who
solicited him to buy _dis nois poeur uné sous_, you are quite ready to
believe he needs disciplining. The Arab under such circumstances gives
the _tou-tou_ a tongue-lashing, which for invective could hardly be
equalled: "_Infamous belly of a snake_," "_Canaille_," "_Sale yondi,
where is your politeness_," "_Ouf, I'll ram another handful down your
camel throat and charge you nothing, either--salop de cochon!_" The Arab
is fast becoming Frenchified, as the above will indicate.

The next minute the seller of _cacaoettes_--which is a prettier name for
peanuts than we have--turns to you calmly and says humbly: "_Pardon,
Sidi, will you buy some nuts?_" And you buy them, ten sous worth, which
is enough money in hand to keep him for twenty-four hours, just because
he is so good an actor.

The sixty odd thousand regular soldiery in Algeria are virtually
military police and civil engineers. The Arab-Berber population are no
more likely to revolt, though they did it successfully enough in 1871,
when France thought she had them subdued; and so, as a sort of police
precaution, France keeps a very active army on the spot. If a nation
possesses a vast territory, it must be policed somehow, and this is the
French idea of doing it, for in the above number are counted the
_gendarmerie_ or national police.

One romantic character stands out plainly in the history of Algeria in
these later years, and that is Yusuf, the name of the ideal native
soldier who was a prodigious figure of the early nineteenth century. His
personality was most strange. Bearer of an Arab name, he was the
personification of a chivalrous military heroism consecrated to a
country not his own; and France, contrary to her usual procedure, has
seemingly neglected his fame and that of his descendants.

It was to Yusuf, in effect, that was due the security of the environs of
Algiers from the conquest of 1833 to the extinction of the revolt of
1871. From the first landing of General Bourmont, the deliverer of
Algeria, Yusuf was employed in every possible capacity; and the ancient
slave of the Turkish ruler and the favourite of the Bey of Tunis became
the symbol of law and progress. His _sabre_ was henceforth to be used
for Christianity, and not on behalf of paganism and rapine. Yusuf at the
head of his Spahis is a noble and imposing figure of the African
portrait gallery. He is almost invariably young, splendid of form and
fastidious and luxurious in his dress; a superb romantic dream of the
Orient, but adaptable and capable of absorbing European ideas.

Authors, artists, and princes have attempted to idealize Yusuf, but the
task was futile. Louis-Philippe, Louis Bonaparte, Alexandre Dumas,
Gautier, Horace Vernet, Delacroix, and Bugeaud have sung his praises
afar; but he remains to-day the unspoiled, faithful servant of a
government and faith as foreign to his own as the red Indian is to the

Homage! Frenchmen and Algerians, and all others who know and love the
land which smiles so bravely under the African sun, to Yusuf the
warrior, the diplomat, and _chien fidèle_!

The Spahis, or native soldiery, made up from the Yusufs of all Algeria,
are in great repute with their European officers, whatever the
bureaucrats of the Boulevard Saint Germain may think. To the former he

    "La main toujours ouverte,
     Le sabre toujours tiré,
     Une seule parole,"

and he is obedient to his superiors. This is a good formula upon which
to mould a soldier.

The Spahis and Turcos of Algeria fought for France, too, on the
mainland, in that unhappy and unnecessary "woman's war" with Germany in
1871. The Germans protested against the employment of these "savages;"
but the precept was England's when she enlisted the red man against the
North American colonist in 1776, and then, too, she hired Hessians for
the job (who were Germans) and according to the traditionary tales
concerning those mercenaries, they came about as near being "savages" as
anything which ever walked on two feet.

The "Chanson du Spahi" is a classic in the land. It recounts in dulcet
French phrase the whole life of one of these noble native soldiery
enlisted in the ranks of the French army organization.

It is a veritable Odyssey, commencing with:--

    "J'e'tais jeune, le cadet dans la tente de mon père.
     Le cadet de ses fils beaux comme des lions,"

and ending with:--

    "Qui pleurera sur la tombe du soldat orphelin."

The Spahi's costume is fearfully and wonderfully made. It is gorgeous
beyond that of

[Illustration: A Capitan of Spahi]

any other soldiery; and yet it is most suitable for campaigning after
the Spahi fashion. The waving burnous, the _haïk_, the broidered vest,
the turban wound with camel's-hair, red boots, and much gold braid make
the Spahi dazzling to behold.

When it comes to the accoutrements of his horse the same thing is true.
His saddle is a veritable seat, not a mere pad, and weighs ten times as
much as a European saddle, his stirrups alone weighing as much. Instead
of a single blanket, the Spahi trooper has a half a dozen variegated
saddle-cloths, very spectacular, if not useful.

The barracks of the native soldiers in Algeria are bare, but with
European fitments of iron bedsteads, etc. The religion of the Mussulman
does not demand, nor indeed permit pictures or images of his God; and
so, any substitute for the _ikons_ of the Russian, and the crucifixes of
the French soldier are absent.

In Algeria, besides the Spahis and the _tirailleurs_, each so
picturesque whenever grouped with the North African landscape, there is
a special field force of men from the south, pure Arab types, men of the
desert, and scouts of the very first rank. All these military types are
what is defined as native voluntary soldiery, the _indigène_ not being
subject to military conscription. Perhaps they are the better soldiers
for this, since they adopt it voluntarily as a profession, but a
discussion of the subject is not one of sufficient moment to take space


Each tribe of the south--whose civil administration, be it recalled, is
in the hands of the native Sheik and the Cadi--is bound to furnish, at
the need of the French government, whether for service within the limits
of Algeria or out of it, a group of a certain proportionate size of
able-bodied fighting men. These voluntary fighters of the open country,
known as _goums_, are versed in many of the wiles of warfare of which
the garrison-trained soldier is ignorant; and, upon a simple
requisition, the chief of a tribe is bound to furnish his quota of these
plainsmen. It is a duty owed to the French government for the protection
and lawful status which it gives each individual tribe and its members;
and this soldiery is not only voluntary, but serves, without salary,
drawing only munitions of war and nourishment from the public war-chest,
and furnishing even its own horses and guns.

The _goum_ is a picturesque and original type of soldier. He rides a
stocky Arabian horse, gaily caparisoned with a gaudy parti-coloured
harness and saddle-cloth, and sits in a high-backed saddle, as if on a
throne. His costume is fascinating, if crude, in the flowing lines of
his burnous, his boots of bright red or yellow leather, and his great
high-crowned straw hat, like no other form of head-gear on earth except
the Mexican's _sombrero_. He is proud of his occupation, and would
rather fight than eat, at least one judges that this is the case in
that he fights for France without pay.

The _goums_ are a sort of savage soldiery, if you like to think of them
as such, but they are not _guerillas_. Their efficacy in various little
wars has been tried and tried again; and, recently, in Morocco, the
first successful raids into the open country of the fanatical Moroccans
were only made possible by the lances of a column of _goums_ which only
the day before had landed at Casablanca from the steamer from Oran.
Regular soldiery has to get acclimated when fighting in a new and
untried country, but the _goum_ of the Sud-Algerien got down to business
immediately in Morocco and gave the French a firm grasp on things,
whilst the regular troops, also imported from the plains of Algeria,
were getting used to the mountains, and the garrison troops of
Tizi-Ouzou were trying to adapt themselves to the mode of life necessary
for good health in a seaport town. The ways of most War Departments in
moving troops about from one strategic point to another have ever been
erratic, and that of the French is no exception. The _goum_ of Algeria
saved the day for France in Algeria, and perhaps by the time these lines
are printed will

[Illustration: A Goum]

have added another gem to the colonial diadem of France. If not so soon,
why later on.

There is a current story in military circles in Algeria concerning the
gift of an Arab chief to a French general commanding a division. It was
not gold or jewels or goods of any kind, but a simple, secret
admonition: "_Never trust an Arab--not even me._" With variations this
may be true enough, but the average traveller among these now loyal
French citizens will have no cause to regret any little confidences he
may commit to a friendly Arab or Berber; though, of the two, the latter
being certainly the more faithful.

The railway, the telegraph, and the military have developed Algeria to
what it is to-day. The Arab originally did not love the French, indeed
he had no cause to, for they came and overran his country and put down
abuses which he did not wish to have put down; but he has become
philosophical, and has recognized that the iron horse forms a better
means of transport than his mules and camels for the stuffs and goods of
his trade and barter. He is commercial enough to want to do more
business and make more money, so he tolerates the French; and, since his
first experiences with the new order of things, he has prospered beyond
his wildest dreams. That has civilized and subdued the Arab in French
Africa. It would subdue any savage.

The _fantasia_ is the classic diversion and showing-off pace of
Algeria's Spahi cavalry. No great function, local or otherwise, is
complete without a _fantasia_, and here the Spahi is at his uncontrolled
best. He rides dashingly around the field of the manoeuvres, slashing
with his sword at a leathern dummy of a man or a wooden ball on the top
of a post, or with his stocky carbine shoots from the saddle, leaps
hurdles, or throws his firearm high in the air and catches it again on
its fall. All the time his charger is rushing about wildly and without
method. The whole is a veritable military orgie of target-shooting,
steeplechasing, marching and countermarching, and all with as
picturesque a personnel and costuming as a circus.

It is mimic savage warfare uncontrolled, and far more real and warlike
than the goose-step evolutions of European armies. The fantasia is a
spontaneous, every-man-on-his-own sort of an affair. The smell of
gunpowder is in the air, and no Wild West or Cossack horseman ever gave
half so vivid an example of agility as does a Spahi or a _goum_ on his
African _jour de fête_.



The western gateway to French Africa is through Oran, which, with its
88,000 inhabitants, is the second city of Algeria. Its chief attraction
for the tourist who has seen, or is about to see, the rest of the
country is its magnificent site and the recollection of the momentous
history of its past.

The most striking characteristic of its life and manners is the manifest
Spanish influence which is over all, a relic of days gone by. Even the
chief city gate, the Porte d'Espagne, still bears the ornamental
escutcheons of the old Madrillenian governors; and, three kilometres
distant from the centre of the town, are the celebrated "_Bains de la
Reine_," a remembrance of the epoch when Jeanne, "La Folle," daughter of
Ferdinand the Catholic and Isabella, the mother of Charles V, took the
baths there in state, "in company with a brilliant cortège of knights
and ladies." Bathing was more of a public ceremony then than now,

One aspect of the life at Oran which one does not remark elsewhere is
the numbers of Moroccans who slowly amble up and down, doing nothing,
and living apparently in some mysterious fashion. The Moroccan of to-day
is the typical Berber of our imagination, swarthy, lithe, and
scraggy-bearded. He is not lovely to look upon, but he is picturesque.

One of the chief sights to be noted in the markets of Oran is the fruit
market; and the principal article of commerce is the grenadine, a
historic and classic fruit, and the one the most in favour with the Arab
or Berber of simple tastes. It is not without reason that he chooses
this delicious fruit; for it is food and drink in one. D'Annunzio called
the grenadine an "_écrin en cuir vermeil, surmonté de la couronne d'un
roi donateur_," and the description is faithful and poetic enough for
any man. The Arab _toubibs_, or doctors, believe it to be an efficacious
remedy for all ills, and that its seed originally descended from the
skies, a gift from Heaven to struggling humanity. It is certainly very
beneficent as a remedy for tropical fevers.

One will strain his eyes trying to hunt out more than a few of the
vestiges of the old Oran of the Spaniards. The French have very nearly
wiped them out. It was a great port in the days of the Romans, and
between that time and the Spanish occupation it had a long history. The
Mohammedans founded a town here a thousand years ago; and, about the
time Columbus was sailing around the West Indian island trying to find a
new way to the Orient, a Spanish author wrote that Oran had six thousand
houses, a hundred and forty mosques, and schools and colleges equal to
those of Cordova, Granada and Seville. It was sometime after this that
Oran became Spanish, and in turn it reverted to the banished Moors, to
become French in 1831.

Oran's evolution from Spanish to French is interesting. It was once a
penal colony of Spain, where from seven to ten thousand wicked
unfortunates sweltered under an African sun, laying the foundations of
the present fortifications. The memory of this Spanish occupation is
everywhere, but it is a memory only and is continually growing more
vague. The soldiers of Islam captured Costechica from the Spaniards, and
the French came in turn and took it and called it Oran.

Oran, like the rest of the North African coast cities and towns, is
polyglot in its people and its architecture. The Orient rubs shoulders
with the Far West, and the mingling is more astonishing and picturesque
than delightful. A red fez, an alpaca coat, and white duck trousers is a
bizarre effect, so is a bowler hat and a burnous. Joseph's coat of many
colours was not more gaudy than that of many a Berber or Arab one sees
to-day in Oran. The Sultans of other days have given way to an army
Commandant, who, if he is a more practical person, is usually a less
artistic one, and his influence is reflected in all his surroundings.

The two religious monuments of Oran are celebrated throughout all
Algeria. The cathedral of St. Louis is a stronghold of the Christian
church and an imposing, if not a very elegant, structure; whilst the
Grande Mosquée, with the most remarkable and quaint octagonal minaret in
all Algeria, was built by a former _pacha_ of Algiers with the money
coming from the sale of Christian slaves. These two edifices well
illustrate two opposing points of view, but they are both religious

If you can stand a mountain climb from Oran, go up the slope of Mount
Mourdjadja, and have what a German authority has discovered to be the
most impressive view in the world. The distance is but a few kilometres
and the means of communication is shanks' mare. Majorca and Almeria on
the coast of Spain may, it is said, be seen on a fine day. We have our
doubts! The climb is the classic, conventional thing to do, however, if
time permits.

Oran, like Algiers, Bona, and Philippeville, has become Europeanized,
Frenchified. Four-fifths of its population is native, but ask a
Frenchman and he will tell you: "_Il n'y a rien d'exotique, c'est
Paris._" This shows that the Frenchman frequents the French part of the
town, and knows little of the hidden charm which exists on the fringe.
He knows the Arab as an inferior menial, or a possible customer for his
goods, but he knows nothing of his life, and cares less.

The chief reason for coming to Oran at all is that it is the most
convenient starting-point for Tlemcen. Tlemcen, lying well over to the
Moroccan frontier, but linked with Oran by railway, is, in its plan and
manner of life, the most original city in North Africa, the most
captivating, and the least spoiled by modern innovations. It was the
Pomaria of the Romans and enjoys to-day the same admirable belt of
wooded shade that it did in those far-off days.

Tlemcen under Arab rule was sovereign of all the Moghreb, one of the
great capitals of the Khalifs, the rival of Granada, Kairouan, Damascus,
Cairo, and Bagdad.

Above its rocky-red substructure the walls and minarets of Tlemcen still
pierce the azure sky, but no longer do the Sultans rule its people. A
wild, untamed, savage soldiery has given place to French civil and
military rule, and everybody is the more happy therefore. The Méchouar,
the ancient palace of the Sultans, is an abandoned ruin, and the
_caserne_ of the Spahis and the _Chasseurs d'Afrique_ now stand for a
superior variety of law and order. The architecture of the Moors is at
its very best at Tlemcen, even the fragmentary dilapidated remains in
hidden-away corners are often the rival of the gems of the Alhambra

Tlemcen is the most splendid and gracious artists' paradise in Algeria.
A roving Frenchman whom we met at Algiers, and who painted better than
he versified, wrote the following for us on the back of his card which
he gave us as an introduction to the patron of the Hotel de France at

    "Il n'est pas une cité
     Qui dispute, sans folie,
     A Tlemcen la jolie
     La pomme de la beauté
     Et qui gracieuse étale
     Plus de pompe orientale
     Sous un ciel plus enchanté."

To-day at Tlemcen, more than in any other place in Algeria, one sees
vestiges of the Moorish art and civilization of the days before the
conquest, sculpturings in wall and gate, and tiny cupolas and minarets
of a period greatly anterior to most others of their class. The
fragmentary remains of Tlemcen's sixty mosques existing in the sixteenth
century spring into view here and there, at each turning, in bewildering
fashion. Tlemcen is in its decadence however, for from a city of 125,000
souls it has dried up to one of 30,000, of which perhaps a tenth part
are European.

Tlemcen has many mosques, of which three must be noted as having been
"viewed and remarked," as the antiquarians put it. The Grande Mosquée is
the least grand, but it has a fine tower; the smallest mosque, that of
Djama l'Hassen, is the most beautiful, and the best example of genuine
Moorish architecture and decoration; the Mosque of El Haloui is the most
daintily ornamented and most charming. The others dwindle down to ruined
nothingness. Out of fifty-seven other minor mosques, most have been
converted into cafés, shops, dwellings and sheep-folds, some are in
ruins and some have disappeared entirely, but it is these unexpected
fragments of a one-time splendour that makes the charm and value of
Tlemcen for the artist.

The native life of Tlemcen is another great feature for the stranger,
and a caravan of savage-looking creatures from Morocco is no unusual
sight on a market day. How the late "disturbances" in Morocco are going
to affect the interstate traffic remains to be seen. Probably the
interstate part of it will be wiped out, and France will absorb it all,
as she ought to do, whatever England and Germany may think. France has
made a success in governing Mohammedans; the others have not. Jews,
Ethiopians, and Arabs all people Tlemcen. That is what makes it so
interesting to-day, and the types seem to be purer than elsewhere.

In the third century Tlemcen underwent a formidable siege at the hand of
a Soudanese and his followers. The assailants were as tenacious as the
defenders, and many times were obliged to retreat. It was one of the
remarkable sieges of history. The would-be invaders built houses to
replace their tents which were no protection against the rude climate
they were forced to undergo for a protracted period, as did the
Spaniards of Santa Fé under the walls of Granada. Less fortunate than
Ferdinand and Isabella, the enemies of the Khalifas of Tlemcen were
obliged to retreat, abandoning their fortifications on the height, which
the besieged, however, disdained to occupy. It is thus that the
fortifications of Mansourah have remained unoccupied for six hundred
years, an ignoble monument to a campaign that failed.

The countryside roundabout is fresh and thickly grown with a subtropical
African flora, but the snows of a rigorous winter--which occasionally
rest on the hillsides for weeks at a time--give a weird, contrasting
effect hard to reconcile with the topographical and architectural
features of the landscape. The sight of Mansourah under a snowy blanket
is one of the surprises which one, who twenty-four hours before left the
vine-clad hillsides of Médea and the plains of orange groves
neighbouring upon Blida, will never forget.

The legend of the Mosque of Mansourah is a classic among the Arabs who
inhabit the mountain city of Tlemcen. A negro king of the Soudan, who
himself as well as his followers were Mussulmans, invaded the region
beyond the Atlas and laid siege to Tlemcen. So long and well-sustained
was the siege that the invading army sought to build a mosque in their
midst. A sort of competition was held, and the winners were a Jew and an
Arab. The Soudanese king was at first embarrassed, and then enlightened
by a happy idea which church-building committees might well adopt. He
commissioned the Arab to proceed with the construction of the interior
of the mosque, the Jew to be responsible for the exterior. A wonderful
struggle took place, in which all the arts and ingenuities of the two
races were brought to play, and which resulted in one of the most
splendid of all Arab mosques.

The warrior king was highly pleased, and, calling the builders before
him, said, frankly, that he had no words to express his satisfaction,
nor ideas as to how they might be recompensed. The thing dragged for a
time, as payment of architects' bills has ever done; and partisanship so
got the influence of the better instincts of the king that, while he
gave the faithful Mussulman builder many purses filled with gold, he
condemned the "dog of an infidel Jew" to be imprisoned in the upper
gallery of the minaret, for having dared to even penetrate the holy
edifice. It never occurred to the dusky monarch that the procedure was
defiling the shrine still more.

"Escape if you can," the Jew was told, as he was conducted to his
prison. He did escape, after a fashion, so says the legend; for he made
himself a pair of wings out of reeds and silks and cords; and, just as
the blood-red sun plumped down behind the mountains of the Atlas, he
launched himself in air. Like most flying-machine experimenters before
and since, however, the daring innovator came forthwith to grief,
falling precipitately at the base of the structure and smashing his

He died almost instantly, but before he expired he uttered a final
imprecation; the earth trembled, the thunder rolled, and the lightning
blasted the minaret, which fell, as it may be seen to-day, lying almost
_en bloc_, at full length, on the ground.

The same legend has its counterpart, with variations, in other lands,
but it is as likely to be true of the Mosque of Mansourah as of the
Cathedral of Orgis in Roumania, or at Cologne, in Crete or in
Scandinavia. Legend was spread broadcast, even in the dark ages, by a
system of "wireless" which has not yet been improved upon.

Beyond Tlemcen the nearest Algerian settlement of size to the Moroccan
frontier is Lalla-Marnia, twenty-four kilometres only from the centre of
the late insurrection at Oudjda, now occupied by the French. The name of
this advanced post comes from that of a sainted woman buried in a tiny
_kouba_ near the military camp. The place was always a strategic point,
and formed the military frontier post of a band of Syrian invaders, who
gave it originally the name of _Numerus Syrorum_.

Lalla-Marnia and Oudjda, one on Algerian soil and the other in Moroccan
territory, separated by twenty-five kilometres of sandy roadway, bear
each other a sisterly resemblance. The fêtes of Lalla-Marnia, with
_fantasias_ and horse-races and a savage feasting of the natives, are
followed by their counterpart at Oudjda a week later. Needless to say
the fêtes are as yet unspoiled by non-contemporary interpolations.

North from Lalla-Marnia is the little townlet of Nédroma, whose clannish
inhabitants are one and all descended from the Moors of Andalusia. The
type here is the purest in North

[Illustration: _Arab Mosque of Beni-Ounif_]

Africa, and the custom which binds them together, presumably as a
_totem_ or prevention against marrying with outsiders, is most curious.
Each head of a family guards preciously the key of the paternal house in
Spain, the same with which his ancestors locked their doors when they
fled at the time of the expulsion of their race from the peninsula.
Every one of the Moors of Nédroma expects some day, when the great bell
sounds the tocsin of revenge, to return and take up life anew in

Away to the south of Tlemcen, or from Perrégaux, if one follows the
railway, runs the road to far Sahara of the Sud-Oranais. Ain-Séfra,
Beni-Ounif and Figuig are not even names known to the average outsider,
albeit they have already achieved a certain prominence among
geographers. Here the _habitants_, their manner of living, and their
architecture take on a complexion quite different from anything known
among the tribes of the north. All is blended with a savage crudeness
which is alike exotic and picturesque. The Moorish mosques of the north
give way to a severe Arab manner of building which is formidable and
massive in outline and grim throughout. Mud, baked mud of a dingy red,
packed together with straw and propped and bolstered here and there
with the trunks of the palm-tree, are the chief characteristics of the
Saharan Arab's place of worship and of his dwelling as well. The
contrasting descent from the beauties of the Mauresque variety is

Throughout the Sud-Oranais civilization of the European brand is fast
spreading; the railway and the telegraph have reached Figuig and beyond,
and absinthe--of a particularly forceful brew--can be had in the cafés,
also Swedish matches (made in Belgium) and clay pipes (from Holland).
Not long since all was a desert waste, but the "_Légionnaires_," that
mixed crew of nation-builders propagated by the French military
authorities, went down into the interior and traced roads and built
fortifications until this anonymous work came to be succeeded by that of
merchants and traders of all creeds.

One finds the "_kif_" shops at every little village _en route_, often
where he will not even find a "_café maure_." Frequently in the towns
these dens are relegated to a site without the walls, but they huddle as
closely to the centre of affairs as the authorities will allow.

Architecturally and artistically they are but vile, unlovely holes,
lighted usually by a single

[Illustration: _A Kif Shop_]

_oeil_ hanging from the middle rafters. Most likely this _oeil_ is a
fifty-cent barn lantern, made after the real Connecticut pattern,
probably in Belgium or Germany. The oil that it burns is not even
American; the "_Standard_" here in the Mediterranean is often
Russian--put up in American tins. However, now that King Leopold of
Belgium has gone into partnership with "_Standard_" representatives in
the rubber business of the Congo, it's only fair to suppose there may be
a Rockefeller interest in the Russian oil trade.

These _fumeries de kif_ are to all intents and purposes low-class cafés,
peopled with all the nomad riffraff of the Mediterranean from Mogador to
Crete. Seemingly no one is proprietor, but each shuffles around for
himself regardless of any apparent reckoning to come. It is a
picturesque setting indeed for a theatre of crime.

For furnishings, a straw mat covers a part of the floor, and a few
cushions of grimy embroidered, or embossed, leather are backed up
against the wall here and there. A great carven coffer, presumably a
strong box containing the stock, ends the catalogue, if one excepts the
now smoke-dimmed arabesques and horseshoe arched decorations of the
walls themselves.

In one we saw tied a bald-headed vulture, a dirty fowl, and an itinerant
blind musician with a tanned skin, twanging out minor chords on a
_gambri_, or Arab guitar with two strings, and those not even catgut,
but a poor Arab substitute therefor.

Figuig is the end of the railway line into the Sud-Oranais, and, though
it and its Grand Hotel du Sahara are of little interest to the tourist,
the surrounding environment is as far removed from civilization as one
could hope to get and yet find himself fairly comfortable between the
four walls of a hotel of imposing proportions.

Figuig is the virtual end of encroaching civilization; eight hundred odd
kilometres from the coast straight south into the desert. The railway is
not intended to stop at Figuig; and, by this time, it may have reached
Colomb-Béchar, a hundred kilometres further on, to which point it was
projected when these lines were written. Fifteen miles an hour is the
ordinary speed of this toy railway, and the journey takes from
twenty-four to thirty hours of uncomfortable and dusty travelling, which
costs, however, only a matter of a hundred francs or so, coming and

Going east from Figuig, four hundred

[Illustration: _Laghouat_]

kilometres, the only communication being by the caravan trail, is
Laghouat, another outpost of civilization on the desert's edge.

Laghouat, like most desert towns, like Touggourt, like Tozeur, like
Biskra even, is an oasis. In its markets one may see the traffickings of
all the desert types of the Sahara, from the M'zab--the Auvergnats of
Algeria--to the wandering nomads of the south,--the tramps of the
desert, not omitting the picturesque _Ouled-Naïls_ and the terrible
Touaregs, with their still more terrible-looking guns and their heads
swathed in black veils.

[Illustration: _Hotel at Figuig_]

At Laghouat and Figuig one gets the truest perspective of the life of
the desert that one can have short of Oued-Souf in the Sud-Constantinois.
Biskra is in the class of "exploited tourist points," whilst these
desert towns are practically inaccessible to all but the hardiest of
travellers,--the real genuine travel-lover, not those who are averse to
riding in creaky diligences with dusky Arabs for companions, or on mule,
donkey, or camel back, for all these means of locomotion come into the
desert itinerary.



The whole region just west of Algiers is very properly accounted the
garden of North Africa. Wheat, the vine, the orange, and all the range
of _primeurs_ which go to grace the _tables d'hôte_ at Paris are grown
here to the profit of all and sundry, native and colonist alike, who
possess a garden plot of virgin soil.

Boufarik, in the midst of the great plain of the Mitidja, is a garden
city if there ever was one. It is beautifully and geometrically laid
out, like Philadelphia, though it doesn't resemble the Quaker City in
the least; it is more lively.

The great day at Boufarik is the market day, when a great cattle and
sheep market is held (every Monday week). To-day this great market is a
survival of one which has been held for ages.

The coming of the French made for the increased prosperity of Boufarik,
and its former reputation of being a pest-hole has been entirely
overridden by a series of civic improvements which not only resulted in
cleaning up the town but made it really beautiful as well.

[Illustration: _Market, Boufarik_]

The Monday market at Boufarik is one of the things to come out from
Algiers to see. For once put carriage or automobile behind and travel
out by train or diligence, and mingle with the people and see what the
real native life of Algeria is like, so far as it can be seen,
uncontaminated by foreign influence. Better yet, go out the night before
and sleep at the Hotel Benoit. It is unlovely enough as an inn, but the
dishes served at dinner and breakfast are very good; reminiscent of
North Africa, but bountiful and excellent. There is nothing offensive or
unclean about the hotel, if it is crude; but the colour one gathers on
the palette of his memory is very local.

From the afternoon of Sunday, on all the roads leading into Boufarik,
from Cherchell and the Sahel, from Miliana, from Blida and Algiers,
throng the thousands that will make up the personnel of to-morrow's
market. They come on camel-back, on horses, mules, and donkeys, on foot,
by diligence, and by rail, herded in flat unroofed cars like cattle.
Some are the pure Arab type of the sandy dunes and plains of the waste
Sahara, others Berber-Kabyles, and others Jews, Maltese, Spaniards,
French, Italians and--tell it not in Gath--Germans. The contrast of the
types is as great as the contrast between their modes of conveyance, the
contrast between the plodding little donkeys and the great, tall, lumpy
camels. The comings and goings of the great native market of Boufarik
are a perpetual migration, and there is nothing the Arab likes more than
to participate in such an affair. It is his great passion and diversion,
and the fact that he stands to gain a little money is not so much an
object with him as to kill a little time.

From daybreak, the vast quadrangle on the Route de Blida, outside
Boufarik's rectangular fortifications, is given over to tents, shops,
and booths. Here and there is a corral of donkeys or mules, or a pen
full of sheep. Braying donkeys and bleating sheep are everywhere. The
great avenues of plane-trees form a grove, and wherever they cross some
more powerful or wily trader has squatted on the ground, to the
discomfort of his less fortunate competitor, who, perforce, has to
content himself with the shady side of a camel. Leading up to this
unique market-place is a splendid avenue of orange-trees.

A superb disorder of trumpery brummagem cutlery, stuffs, firearms and
pots and pans clutter the ground in every direction. Water-sellers and
milk-sellers are threading everywhere, each loaded down with his _peau
de bouc_, and fruit and bread sellers with their wicker baskets.
Saddlery, horseshoes, ropes of hemp, jute, and camel hair all mingle in
a picturesque chaos. There are even hand sewing-machines, of the little
doll-house variety that the native populations of India, Japan,
Patagonia affect as their sole intercourse with modernity.

A few women mingle among the groups, but mostly the crowd is made up of
men. Rarely are these market women beautiful except in a savage way.
They possess most of the male characteristics of manner, and but few of
the wiles and little of the coquettishness of woman. Their visages are
tanned to copper colour and sowed with ridges and folds. Many indeed are
out and out negresses.

Here beside a stall sits a Soudan negress of fat, flabby visage and
large round eyes, as amiable as some greasy animal in captivity--and
about as intelligent. She is only a watcher or caretaker; the real owner
of the stall, with its melons, its skins, and its baskets, is over
yonder in a Moorish café playing dominoes.

From her head and shoulders hang great chains of silver, and in the
lobes of her ears are pendants which may be gold or not. She is a
barbaric savage, splendid in her savagery and indifferent, apparently,
to everything and everybody. But she is part of the setting
nevertheless, and she is good to see.

The coast plain west of Algiers, the Sahel properly called, is in strong
contrast with the cultivated plain of the Mitidja. The whole journey
from Algiers out to Cherchell and back, via Miliana, Blida, and
Boufarik, gives one as good an idea of the ancient and modern
civilization of North Africa as one could possibly have.

Blida sits calmly in its fertile plain at the foot of the imposing hills
which, grouped together, form the mountains of the Beni-Salah. All round
about are orange groves and olive-trees of the very first splendour and
production. The _Bois Sacré_, Blida's chief sight, is as picturesque and
romantic a woodland as the sentiment of a poet or an artist ever
conjured up.

Blida dates from the sixteenth century, when a number of Andalusian
families settled here because of the suitability of the region for the
cultivation of the orange,--and the commerce has been growing ever
since. In the olden times Blida was known as Ouarda, _the little rose_;
but afterwards when the Turks and Corsairs held their orgy there, it
came to be called Khaaba, _the prostitute_. Since that day it has got
back its good name and is one of the liveliest, daintiest, and
altogether attractive small cities of Algeria. The native and the French
alike know it is _la voluptueuse_ or _la parfumée_.

Within Blida's _Bois Sacré_ is the venerated marabout of
Sidi-Yacoub-ech-Chérif, one of the

[Illustration: _Tomb of Sidi-Yacoub_]

celebrated _kouba_ shrines of Islam. No reproduction of it can do its
cool, leafy surroundings justice. It is the very ideal of a holy man's
retreat and one of the most appealing of shrines to those possessed of
the artist's eye. Fragonard or Corot might have spent a lifetime
painting the forest interiors of the unspoiled wild-wood of Blida's
_Bois Sacré_. The writer is not sure that the author of "Mignon" ever
saw or heard of Blida, but his verses were most apropos:

    "Connais-tu le pays où fleurit l'oranger,
     Le pays des fruits d'or et des roses vermeilles?

           *       *       *       *       *

     Où rayonne et sourit comme un bienfait de Dieu,
     Un éternel printemps sous un ciel toujours bleu.

           *       *       *       *       *

        C'est là que je voudrais vivre,
        Aimer et mourir.... C'est là!..."

In connection with Blida it is worthy of record that the celebrated and
venerable _bach-agha_ Sid Ben Gannah, of Biskra, Grand-Chef of the
Sud-Constantinois, recently underwent a "cure" at the military hospital
at Blida. His malady had become a chronic one, and his complete
restoration to health through the aid of the capable doctors of the
hospital and the mild soft air of Blida has done more than anything
else to allay the fanatical superstition of the native against the
efficacy of the proper professional treatment of the sick.

The "cure" experienced by their favourite _bach-agha_, the friend of the
King of England and bearer of a hundred personal decorations, the "grand
old man" of the country, has been heralded wide amongst the natives,
from Constantine to Beni-Souf, and Ouardja to El Oued, and has struck
the death-knell of the voodooism of the _indigène_ "_toubibs_" and

For many years yet, it is to be hoped, the native may continue to demand
the benedictions of Mohammed for their respected chief:

"_Ou sela Allah ala on moulano on ala hebel daro ou ala sahabou ou

A peculiarity of the Mauresques of Blida is that they veil themselves in
a most strange manner. Instead of covering their faces, leaving only two
glittering black eyes peeping out, they cover all but one eye. A woman
who veils after that manner looks suspicious. Beware!

At the Mediterranean extremity of the great plain in which lies Blida--a
veritable Garden of Eden, with oranges, figs, grapes, pomegranates and
even the apples of Eve--is the little hill-town of Kolea.

Kolea is extraordinary from every point of

[Illustration: _A Mauresque of Blida_]

view. Kolea is a military town; the Zouaves are everywhere, and in their
train have come a following of Greeks, Turks, and Maltese. But the
little garden-town with its _Jardin des Zouaves_, its two mosques, its
turreted fountain and its modern Renaissance Mairie is attractive
throughout, albeit it is not the least Oriental.

The Hôtel de France, partly Moorish (the good part), and partly French
(the ugly part), is one of those French inns that are indescribably
excellent. There is a sure-to-be Gabrielle who presides at the cook
stove and another who serves at table and orders up the _vin rosé_ from
the cellar when the red or the white wine is too strong (16 degrees) for
one's taste. They are wonderfully good, those wines of the Sahel.

It is a remarkably brilliant strip of coast-line extending west from
Algiers, and it should be covered in its entirety as far as Cherchell if
one would realize the varied beauties and attractions of the Algerian
littoral. From Saint-Eugène and Point Pescade, suburbs of Algiers, a
fine road extends all the way to Cherchell, a matter of nearly a hundred
kilometres, the turquoise Mediterranean always to the right.

At Sidi-Ferruch the French troops first landed when on their conquest of
Algeria. At Staouëli-la-Trappe is an abbey where there are a hundred
and fifty lay brothers who grow oranges and fine fruits, and while their
dull lives away comfortably under the brilliant skies of Africa.

Going still further along the coast, we come to Castiglione, sheltering
itself behind a sand-dune, from whence it is but a few kilometres to the
"Tombeau de la Chrétienne," as imposing and extraordinary a monument as
any of the pyramids of Ghizeh. Architecturally, if not beautiful, it is
imposing, and mysterious, in that it is constructed on a most original
plan. It is a great mound of superimposed cut stone, entered by a
pillared portico, now somewhat ruined. This funeral monument has an
appeal for the archæologist and the merely curious alike far beyond many
a more conventional monument of its class. The gigantic monument is
still supposed to contain many and wonderful treasures, unless they were
removed and lost in the forgotten past, for as yet none have been
brought to light. Tradition has the following tale to tell of this
monumental sepulchre.

One day a Christian woman, fleeing from a rabble of unholy men and
women, took refuge in this commemorative shrine, built by some holy
person whose name is forgotten. Her pursuers, coming upon her in her
retreat, would have fallen upon her and done her injury, even as she was
at her prayers, when suddenly a myriad of flies, mosquitoes, and wasps
put the invaders to flight. The frightened woman lived a hermit's life
here in her stronghold, and at the end of her span came to die within
the impenetrable walls. Ever afterward the cone-like mound was known as
the Tombeau de la Chrétienne.

The Arabs call this bizarre tomb Kaber-Roumia. In 1866 it was explored
by a band of archæologists, who decided that it was the tomb of the
Kings of Mauretania, built by Jubal II in the reign of the great

The reader may take his choice of the reasons for the existence of this
remarkable monument. One is about as well authenticated as the other. It
existed already in 1555, for the records tell that a _Pacha_ of Algiers,
Salah Raïs, tried, but without success, to destroy the edifice by firing
stone cannon-balls at the mass. Nothing happened; the monument was not
despoiled of its outlines even. This fact speaks badly either for the
old Turkish ammunition or for the skill of the gunners who fired it.

Tipaza, the _chef lieu_ of a _commune_ with a population of between two
or three thousand, is a little coast town and comes next on the
itinerary from Algiers to Cherchell.

At Tipaza are still more Roman ruins, covering an area over two thousand
metres square. Tipaza was one of the cities of Mauretania where the
Christian religion was practised with the utmost fervour. The patron
saint of the place was one Salsa, a young girl, who, according to
tradition, was put to death at the beginning of the fourth century for
having destroyed a pagan idol. Such was religious partisanship of the
time. A century later the Vandal king Hunéric, in order to subdue
Christianity, caused all those professing it to have their right hands
cut off and their tongues cut out. This was the extreme of cruelty and
its effect on Christendom is historic.

The Roman monuments still existing at Tipaza include a theatre, which is
in a poor state of preservation. This has been restored in recent years
to the extent that commemorative dramatic performances have been held
here in the open air, as at Carthage, and at Orange in Provence. The
outlines of a great basilica of nine naves, where Sainte Salsa was
buried, are still well preserved, and there are also something more than
fragments of the baths and water-works, which supplied the drinking
water for the surrounding country.

From Tipaza to Cherchell is thirty kilometres by road, which is the only
means of reaching the latter place unless one goes from Algiers by
steamer along the coast, a voyage not to be recommended for various

Cherchell possesses the best-preserved outlines of an historic
occupation of the past of any of the old Roman settlements of the
"Département d'Alger." First as the Phoenician colony of Iol, and
later, under Jubal II, as Cesarea, the capital of Mauretania. Cherchell
came under the sway of the Roman Empire in the year 40 of the Christian
era. The province of Mauretania extended from the Moulouia to the Setif
of the present day. In the middle ages Cesarea lay dormant for three
centuries; but before this, and again afterwards, its activities were
such that the part it played in the history and development of the
country was most momentous.

As late as the early years of the past century, the city and port was
the refuge of a band of pirates which pillaged throughout all the
western waters of the Mediterranean.

The ancient port of Cherchell was the scene of the comings and goings of
a vast commerce in Phoenician and Roman times; and the present state
of the preservation of the moles and jetties of this old harbour of
refuge stamps Cherchell as worthy of comparison with Carthage.

The Roman ruins at Cherchell are stupendous, though fragmentary, and not
overnumerous. In the inefficiently installed "Musée" are many of the
finest gems of antique sculptures and statuary yet found in Africa.
There is a catalogue of these numerous discoveries, compiled by M.
Wierzejski, which can be had at the book-shops of Algiers, and which
will prove invaluable to those interested in the subject in detail.

The chief Roman monuments remaining in place above ground are
the Western Baths and the Central Baths: the Cisterns, the
Amphitheatre,--where was martyred Sainte Marciane,--the Circus, and the
extensive ramparts sweeping around to the south of the town from one
part of the coast-line to another.

Cherchell has a population of nine thousand souls to-day, of which
perhaps a third are Europeans. In Roman times it must have had a vast
population judging from the area within the ramparts.

The ancient Grande Mosquée of the Arab occupation is now a military
hospital. This has had added to it numerous beautifully proportioned
columns, with elaborately carved capitals, taken from the ruins of the
Central Baths.

South from Cherchell, back from the coast towards the mountains of the
"Petit Atlas," fifty kilometres or more by a not very direct road, and
connected by a service of public diligences, is Miliana. One will not
repent a "stop-over" at this unspoiled little African city. The country
reminds one of what the French would call a "_petite Suisse Africaine_."
The valleys and plains have a remarkable freshness of atmosphere that
one does not associate with a semi-tropical sun.

Miliana itself sits high on the flank of the Zaccar-Gharbi, and is the
lineal descendant of the Zucchabar of the Romans. Actually, it was
founded in the tenth century. At the time of the French occupation of
Algeria Abd-el-Kader here installed Ali-ben-Embarek (who afterwards
became the Agha of the Mitidja under the French). But with the
occupation of Médea, in 1840, the stronghold fell and the Arab power was
broken for ever in these parts.

Miliana is a walled town to-day, as it was in the days of the Romans and
Berbers. On the north is the Porte du Zaccar, and on the south the
Porte du Chélif. This snug little hill-town, with only a quarter part of
its population European, not counting half as many more Israelites, has
a character which places it at once in a class by itself. It has an
attractive little commercial hotel, where one eats and drinks the best
of the countryside and pays comparatively little for it.

A wide terrace, or esplanade, runs around one side of the town
overlooking the walls, and a wide-spread panorama stretches away on the
east and west and north and south into infinity, with the imposing mass
of the Ouarsenis, called "_l'oeil du monde_," as the dominant
landscape feature. The terrace is called locally the "_coin des
blagueurs_." Why, no one pretends to answer, except that all the world
foregathers here to stroll and gossip as they do on the "_cours_" of a
Provençal town.

Miliana's mosque is a simple but elegant structure, graceful but
not ornate, imposing but not majestic. It is dedicated to
Sidi-Ahmed-ben-Youssef, a venerated marabout who lived all his life
hereabouts. He had as bitter and satirical a tongue as Dean Swift when
speaking of the men and manners of those about him.

Turning eastward again from Miliana towards Algiers, one passes the
entrance to the Gorges de Chiffa, the road to Médea, and finally Blida,
the centre of the little yellow, thin-skinned orange traffic.

From Blida a classic excursion is to be made to the Gorges de Chiffa,
where, at the Ruisseau des Singes, formerly lived a colony of hundreds,
perhaps thousands of monkeys in their wild native state. Nowadays the
only monkeys one sees are on the frieze in the _salle-à-manger_ of a
most excellently appointed little wayside hotel.

[Illustration: At the Ruisseau des Singes B. Mcm '01]

Hamman-R'hira, on the road between Miliana and Blida, is an incipient
watering-place, where one can get tea and American drinks, and play

Its mineral springs--much like those of Contrexeville in France--have
been famous for centuries, and the old Moorish baths are still used by
the Moors and Arabs round about. For the Europeans who, throughout the
spring and winter season, throng to the great hotel, now managed by a
limited company, there are other baths more luxuriously installed.

Hamman-R'hira is an attractive enough place of itself, and would be more
so were it not filled with rheumatics and anæmics. The frequenters of
the Moorish baths are more interesting than the European clientèle for
the investigator of men and manners.

[Illustration: Algiers & its Environs]



The first view of Algiers from the ship, as one enters the port, is a
dream of fairyland, "_Alger la Blanche!_" "_El Djesair la molle!_" If it
is in the morning, all is white and dazzling; if in the evening, a rosy
violet haze is over all, with the background of the "Petit Atlas" and
the Djurjura shutting off the littoral from the wide Sahara to the
south. At twilight a thousand twinkling lights break out, from the Kasba
on the height, from Mustapha, from the terrace boulevard which flanks
the port and from the ships in the harbour. A stronger ray flashes from
the headland lighthouse at Cap Matifou, and still others from war-ships
in the great open gulf. Algiers is truly fairy-like from any point of

The Algiers of to-day is a great and populous city. It is the Icosium of
the Romans doubled, tripled, and quadrupled. Three towns in
juxtaposition stretch from Saint-Eugène on the west to Mustapha on the
east, while Algiers proper has for its heart the "Place du
Gouvernement" and the "Grande Mosquée."

The Place du Gouvernement is a vast square, a sort of modern forum,
flanked on one side by the Mosque of Djema-el-Djedid, the Grande
Mosquée, and on the others by shops, cafés, and hotels. From it stretch
the four great thoroughfares of the city, Bab-el-Oued, La Marine, La
Kasba, and Bab-Azoum. All the animation and the tumult of the city
centres here, and the passing throng of Arabs, soldiers, Jews,
Mauresques, and the French and foreign elements, forms an ethnological
exhibit as varied as it is unusual.

Algiers has a special atmosphere all its own. It lacks those little
graces which we identify as thoroughly French, in spite of the fact that
the city itself has become so largely Frenchified; and it lacks to a
very great extent--from almost every view-point--that Oriental flavour
which one finds at Cairo and Tunis. But for all that, Algiers is the
most wonderful exotic and conventional blend of things Arab and European
on top of earth.

The environs of Algiers are rugged and full of character, opening out
here and there into charming distant vistas, and wide panoramas of land
and sea and sky. All is large, immense, and yet as finely focussed as a
miniature. One must not, however, attempt to take in too great an angle
at a single glance, else the effect will be blurred, or perhaps lost

The impulsive ones, who like the romance of Touraine and the daintiness
of valley of the Indre and the Cher, will find little to their liking
around Algiers. All is of a ruggedness, if not a savageness, that the
more highly developed civilization of the "Midi" has quite wiped out.
Here the ragged eucalyptus takes the place of the poplar, and the
_platane_ is more common than the aspen or the birch. The palm-trees are
everywhere, but just here they are of the cultivated or transplanted
variety and generally of the feather-duster species, decorative and
pleasing to look upon, but givers neither of dates nor of shade.

Algiers and its life, and that of its immediate environs, whether the
imported gaieties of Mustapha or the native fêtes of Bouzarea, and the
periodical functions for ever taking place in the city itself, give
about as lively an exposition of cosmopolitanism as one may observe

The historical monuments of Algiers are not as many as might at first be
supposed, for most of its memories of historic times deals with places
rather than things; and, indeed, this is true of the whole surrounding
country, from Tizi-Ouzou in Kabylie to Cherchell and Tipaza in the
Sahel, to the west.

The chief of Algiers' architectural charms--aside from that varied
collection of crazy walls and crooked streets which make up the Arab
town--are the Archbishop's Palace,--a fine old Arab house of a former
Dey of Algiers; the Peñon and the Amirauté, or what is left of it, on
the mole below the Palais Consulaire; its three principal mosques; the
cathedral,--the mosque of other days transformed; the Palais d'Eté of
the Governor-General, in part dating from the seventeenth century, and
the Kasba fortress, high up above the new and old town.

These are all guide-books sights, and the only comments herewith are a
few hazarded personal opinions.

High above, up through the streets of stairs, scarce the width of two
people side by side, and still up by whitewashed walls, great
iron-studded doors and grilled windows, sits the Kasba, the great
fortress defence of Algiers since the days when Turkish rule gave it the
most unenviable reputation in all the world. There is a continual
passing and repassing of all Algiers' population, apparently, from the
lower town to the height above, Europeans, Arabs, Moors and Jews. The
scene is ever changing and kaleidoscopic. A white wraith toddles along
before one, and, as you draw near, resolves into a swaddled Mauresque
who, half afraid, giggles at you through the opening of her veil and
suddenly disappears through some dim-lighted doorway, her place only to
be taken by another form as shapeless and mysterious.

This is the Arab town day or night; and but for the steep slope one
might readily lose himself in the maze of streets and alleys. As it is
all one has to do is to keep moving, not minding the gigglings and
gibings of the natives. One enters the _ville Arabe_ by any one of a
hundred streets or alleys. At its outmost height you are at the Kasba;
when you reach the bottom you are in the European town. To the right or
left you reach a sort of encircling boulevard which in turn brings you
to the same objectives. It is not so difficult as it looks, and one need
fear nothing, night or day, until he reaches the European town and
civilization, where thievery and murderings are nightly occurrences.

Here in the old Arab town one is in another world; here are the _maisons
à terrasse_, the mosques, the narrow _ruelles_ with their overhung
porches and only occasional glimpses of the starry sky overhead. Verily
it is as if one had left the electric-lighted "Place," the _cafés
chantants_, the tramway, and the shipping behind in another world,
though in reality a hundred steps, practically, in any direction will
bring them all within sight and sound and smell again.

After all, the quaint streets of the hillside town are Algiers' chief
sights, after the magnificent panorama of the bay and that wonderful
first view as seen from the ship as one enters the port.

Algiers' native quarter has been somewhat spoiled by the cutting through
of new streets, and the demolishing and refurbishing of old buildings;
but, nevertheless, there are little corners and stretches here and there
where the daily life of the native men and women goes on to-day as it
did when they lived under Turkish rule. Here are the shopkeepers of all
ranks: a butcher dozing behind his _moucharabia_, looking like the
portraits of Abd-el-Kader; a date-seller, the image of the Khedive of
Egypt; a baker with a Jewish cast of figure; and next door a
_café-maure_ with all the leisure population of the neighbourhood
stretched out on the _nattes_ and benches,

[Illustration: _A Cemetery Gate_]

smoking and talking and drinking. It is not fairyland, nor anything like
it; it is not even Oriental; but it is strange to Anglo-Saxon, or even
European, eyes that such things should be when we ourselves are
wallowing in an over-abundance of labour-saving, comfort-giving luxuries
which the Arab has never dreamed of. We chase our flies away with an
electric fan, whilst he idly waves a _chasse-mouches_ of antique
pattern, and does the thing quite as effectively, and with very little
more effort.

They are very grave, magnificently tranquil, these turbaned Turks and
Jews and Arabs, sitting majestic and silent before some café door, clad
in all the rainbow colours of civilization and savagery. Their peace of
mind is something we might all acquire with advantage, instead of
strenuously "going the pace" and trying to keep up with, or a little
ahead of, the next.

In spite of its strangeness, Algiers is not at all Oriental. The Arabs
of Algiers themselves lack almost totally the aspect of Orientalism. The
Turk and Jew have made the North African Arab what he is, and his
Orientalism is simply the Orientalism of the East blended and browned
with the subtropical rays of the African sun. It is undeniably
picturesque and exotic, but it is not the pure Eastern or Byzantine
variety which we at first think it. To realize this to the full, one has
only to make the comparison between Algiers and Cairo and Tunis.

It is the cosmopolitan blend of the new and the old, of the savage with
the civilized, that makes cosmopolitan Algiers what it is. This mixture
of many foreign elements of men and manners is greatly to be remarked,
and nowhere more than in Algiers' cafés, where French, English,
Americans, and Arabs meet in equality over their _café-cognac_, though
the Arab omits the cognac. The cosmopolitanism of Marseilles is lively
and varied, that of Port Saïd ragged and picturesque, but that of
Algiers is brilliantly complicated.

Algiers is the best kept, most highly improved, and, by far, the most
progressive city on the shores of the great Mediterranean Lake, and this
in spite of its contrast of the old and new civilizations. San Francisco
could take a lesson from Algiers in many things civic, and the
street-cleaners of London and Paris are notably behind their brothers of
this African metropolis.

The _marchand de cacaoettes_ is the king of Algiers' Place du
Gouvernement; or, if he isn't, the bootblack with his "_Cire,
m'ssieu!_" holds the title. Anyway, the peanut-seller is the aristocrat.
He sits in the sun with a white or green umbrella over his head, and is
content if he sells fifty centimes worth of peanuts a day. His possible
purchasers are many, but his clients are few, and at a sou for a
fair-sized bag full, he doesn't gather a fortune very quickly. Still he
is content, and that's the main thing. The bootblack is more difficult
to satisfy. He will want to give your shoes a "_glace de Paris_," even
if another of his compatriots has just given them a first coating of the
same thing. The bootblacks of Algiers are obstinate, importunate, and

From a document of 1621 one learns that Algiers had a population of
100,000 in 1553, a half a century later 150,000, and in 1621 200,000.
Then came the decadence; and, at the coming of the French in 1832,
Algiers was but a city of 34,000, Moors, Turks, Jews, Negroes, and Arabs
all counted.

They were divided as follows:

  Mussulmans               17,858
  Negroes                   1,380
  Jews                      5,758
  Floating population       9,888

By 1847 a European population had crowded in which brought the figures
up to 103,610 and gave Algiers a rank of fifth among French cities.

Algiers' busy port is picturesque and lively in every aspect, with the
hourly comings and goings of great steamships from all the length and
breadth of the Mediterranean, and from the seven seas as well. Over all
is the great boundless blue of a subtropical, cloudless sky; beneath the
restless lapping of the waves of the still bluer Mediterranean; and
everywhere the indescribable odour of _bitume_, of sea salt, and of
oranges. The background is the dazzling walls of the arcaded terraces of
the town, and the still higher turrets and towers of a modern and
ancient civilization. Still farther away are the rolling, olive-clad
hills and mountains of the Sahel. Sunrise or sunset on Algiers' port are
alike beautiful; one should miss neither.

The best-remembered historical and romantic figures of Algiers are Pedro
Navarro, who built the Peñon; the brothers Barberousse, Corsairs from
the Dardanelles, whom the Algerians called in to help them fight their
battles against Christianity; and Cervantes, the author of "Don
Quixote," who was imprisoned here, and who left an imperishable account
of the city of his captivity, ever useful to later historians.

Charles V and Louis XIV both had a go at Algiers, but it fell not to
their attack; and it was only with later times, incident upon an insult
offered the French ambassador by Hussein Dey, the Turkish ruler of the
El-Djezair of the ancients, that Algiers first capitulated to outside

Old Algiers was not impregnable, perhaps, but such weapons of warfare as
were used against the Turks were inefficient against its thick walls,
its outposts, and its fortified gates.

The historic Peñon underwent many a mediæval siege, but was finally
captured from its Spanish defender, De Vegas, and his little band of
twenty-five survivors, who were summarily put to death. Khair Ed Din
pulled down, in part, the fortifications and joined the remainder by a
jetty to the mainland, the same break-water which to-day shelters the
port on the north. A fragment of one of the original signal towers was
built up into the present lighthouse, and a system of defences, the most
formidable on the North African coast, was begun. The fortifications of
Algiers were barriers which separated the growing civilization of Europe
from the barbarian nether world, and they fell only with the coming of
the French in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Such is the
story of the entering wedge of progressive civilization in Algeria.

Algiers' veiled women are one of the city's chief and most curious
sights for the stranger within her walls. On Friday, the _jour des
morts_ of the Arab women, they go to the cemetery to weep or to make
gay, according as the mood is on. For the recluse Arab women it is more
apt to be a fête-day than a day of sorrow. They dress in their finest,
their newest, and their cleanest, and load themselves down with jangling
jewelry to the limit of their possessions. By twos and threes, seldom
alone, they go to make their devotions at the _Kouba_ of Didi-Mohammed
Abd-er-Rahman Bou Kobrin.

Poor prisoner women; six days a week they do not put foot outside their
doors; and on the seventh they take a day's outing _in the cemetery_.
"_Pas gai!_" says the Frenchwoman, and no wonder.

When the sun commences to lower, they quit the cemetery of Bou-Kobrin
and file in couples and trios and quartettes back to their homes in the
narrow shut-in streets which huddle about the grim walls of the hilltop
Kasba. They toddle and crawl and almost creep, as if they feared
entering their homes again; they have none of that proud, elastic,
jaunty step of the Kabyle women or of the Bedouins of the "Great Tents;"
they are only poor unfortunate "Arab women of the walls."

One after another these white-veiled pyramids of femininity disappear,
burrowing down through some low-hung doorway, until finally their weekly
outing is at an end and they are all encloistered until another seventh
day rolls around.

That these Mauresque women of Algiers are beautiful there is no doubt,
but their beauty is of the qualified kind. The chief attribute to the
beauty of the Mauresque woman is _kohl_ or _kohol_ or _koheul_, a
marvellous preparation of sulphur, of antimony of copper and of
alum--and perhaps other things too numerous to mention, all of which is
made into a paste and dotted about all over the face as beauty-spots.
Sometimes, too, they kalsomine the face with an enamel, like that on a
mediæval vase. Those of the social whirl elsewhere use a similar
concoction under another name which is sold by high-class chemists and
perfumers, but they don't let you know what it is made of, or at any
rate, don't take you into their confidence--neither the chemists nor the

When a Mauresque dyes herself to the eyes with _kohl_, and dips her
finger-tips in henna until they are juicy red, then she thinks she is
about as ravishing as she can be in the eyes of God, her lover, and
herself. She has to do this, she thinks, to keep her favour with him,
because others might perchance put it on a little thicker and so
displace her charms, and his affection.

It is a belief among Mussulman women that Mahomet prescribed the usage
of _kohl_, but this idea is probably born of the desire. Certainly no
inspiration of God, nor the words of his prophet, ever suggested such a



To get into the interior back of Algiers, you make your start from
Maison Carrée. Here one gets his first glimpse of the real countryside
of Algeria. These visions of the Arab life of olden times are quite the
most interesting features of the country. Civilization has crept in and
rubbed shoulders very hard here and there; but still the Arab trader,
workman, and shopkeeper conducts his affairs much as he did before he
carried a dollar watch and lighted his cigarettes with safety matches.

The kaleidoscopic life of the market at Maison Carrée is one of the
sights of suburban Algiers. Here on a vast, dusty down, packed
everywhere with donkeys, mules and blooded Arabians, and there in a
great enclosure containing three or five thousand sheep, is carried on
as lively a bit of trading as one will observe anywhere outside a Norman
horse-fair or a land sale on some newly opened reservation in the Far

Horses, donkeys, mules, and sheep cry out in all the varied accents of
their groans and bleatings, the sheep and their lambs, lying with their
four feet tied together, complaining the loudest. Hundreds of Arabs,
Kabyles, Turks, Jews, and Europeans bustle and rustle about in
picturesque disorder, doing nothing apparently, but vociferating and
grimacing. All sorts of footwear and head-gear are here, turbans, fezes,
_haiks_, sandals, sabots, and _espadrilles_. Gay broidered vestments and
dirty rent burnouses jostle each other at every step.

Mutton is up or down to-day, a sheep may sell for eight francs or it may
sell for twenty, and the buyer or seller is glad or sorry, he laughs, or
he weeps,--but he smokes and drinks coffee at all times nevertheless.

In a snug corner are corralled some Arab steers and cows, a rare sight
even in the markets of Algiers. One eats mutton all the time and
everywhere, but seldom beef. The butchers of Algiers corner it for the
_milords_ and millionaires of the Mustapha hotel, who demand "underdone"
beefsteaks and "blood-running" roasts of beef for breakfast, dinner, and

An Arabian horse, so-called, but not a blooded beast, sells here for
from eighty to two hundred francs. High-priced stock is rare here,
hence there is little horse-trading of the swindling variety, and no
horse thieving. The Arab _maquignons_, dressed in half European and half
desert fashion, bowler hats and a burnous, sandals and bright blue socks
with red clocks on them, are, however, more insistent, if possible, than
their brothers of Brittany.

"You want to buy a horse, _un chiv'l_?" says a greasy-looking
blackamoor. "_Moi, z'en connaiz-un, 130 francs, mais z'i peux ti l'avoir
pour 95._" You don't want to buy a horse, of course, but you ask its
age. "_Moi, s'i te sure, neuf ou dix ans peut-être--douze ans, mais ze,
ze le connais, il trotte comme la gazelle._" It's all very vague,
including the French, and you get away as soon as you can, glad at any
rate that you have lost neither time nor money.

All the trading of the Arab market is, as the French say, pushed to the
limit. Merchandizing describes the process, and describes it well. A
hundred sous, a _pièce_ only, refused or offered, will make or break a
bargain almost on the eve of being concluded.

An Arab trader in--well, everything--has just sold half a ton of coal to
a farmer living a dozen kilometres out in the country. The farmer bought
it "delivered," and the Arab coal merchant of the moment bargains with
a Camel Sheik for fifty sous to deliver the sooty charge by means of
three camels. Three camels, twenty-four kilometres (a day's journey out
and back), and a driver costs fifty sous, two francs and a half, a half
a dollar. It's a better bargain than you could make, and you marvel at

A troop of little donkeys comes trotting up the hillside to the market,
loaded with grain, dates, peanuts, and some skinny fowls and ducks. They
have "dog-trotted" in from Rovigo, thirty kilometres distant, and they
will trot back again as lively after breakfast, their owner beating them
over the flanks all the way. Poor, patient, clever little beasts,
docile, but not willing! Yes, not willing; a donkey is never willing,
whatever land he may live in.

Booths and tents line the sides of the great square, filled with the
gimcrack novelties of England, France, Germany, and America,--and the
more exotic folderols of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Jews sell
calico, and Turks and Greeks sell fraudulent gold and silver jewelry and
coral beads made of glass melted in a crucible. Merchandise of all sorts
and of all values is spread on the bare ground. A pair of boxing gloves,
an automobile horn, a sword with a broken blade, and all kinds of
trumpery rubbish cast off from another world are here; and before night
somebody will be found to buy even the boxing-gloves.

Europeans, too, are stall-holders in this great rag-fair. Spaniards and
Maltese are in the greatest proportions, and the only Frenchmen one sees
are the strolling gendarmes poking about everywhere.

Noon comes, and everybody with a soul above trade repairs to a
restaurant of the middle class near by, a great marble hall fitted with
marble top tables. Here every one lunches with a great deal of
gesticulation and clamour. It is very primitive, this Algerian
quick-lunch, but it is cleanly and the food is good. For twenty-five
sous you may have a _bouillabaisse_, a dish of _petits pois_, two
_oeufs à la coque_, goat's-milk cheese, some biscuits and fruit for
dessert, a half-bottle of wine and _café et kirsch_. Not so bad, is it?

"The better one knows Algeria," says the brigadier of gendarmes, or the
lieutenant in some army bivouac, "the less one knows the Arab." The
point of view is traditional. The serenity and taciturn manner of the
Arab is only to be likened to that of the Celestial Wong Hop or Ah Sin.
What the Arab thinks about, and what he is likely to do next no one
knows, or can even conjecture with any degree of certainty. All one can
do is to jump at conclusions and see what happens--to himself or the

When the Duc d'Aumale conquered Biskra, the Arabs promptly retook it,
practically, if not officially, and gave themselves up to such abandoned
orgies that not even the military authorities could make them tractable.
The authorities at Paris were at their wits' ends how to win the hearts
of the Arabs, and conquer them morally as well as physically.
Louis-Philippe made a shrewd guess and sent Robert Houdin, the
prestidigitateur, down into the desert. From that time on the Arab of
Algeria has been the tractable servant of the French.

Straight south from Maison Carrée, across the Mitidja, eighteen
kilometres more or less, lies Arba, the beginning of the real open
country. A steam-tram goes on ten kilometres farther, to Rovigo. At
Arba, however, the "Route Nationale" to the desert's edge branches off
via Aumale to Bou-Saada and beyond, where the real desert opens out into
the infinite mirage.

The nearest the camel caravans of the desert ever get to Algiers is at
this little market town of Arba. Here on a market day (Wednesday) may
be seen a few stray, mangy specimens of the type loaded with grapes,
figs, or dates, though usually the _bourriquet_, or donkey, is the beast
of burden. The Arab never carries his burdens himself, as do other
peasants. It is beneath his dignity; for no matter how ragged or rusty
he is, his burnous is sacred from all wear and tear possible to be

Except for its great market back of its modern ugly mosque, there is not
much to see in Arba. Here is even a more heterogeneous native riffraff
than one sees at Maison Carrée, Blida, or Boufarik. And indeed it is all
"native," for the Turks and Jews of the coast towns are absent. The
trading is all done in produce. And if the native merchant, in his
little shop or stall where he sells foreign-made clothes and gimcracks,
cannot sell for cash, he is willing to barter for a sack of grain or a
few sheep or some goat skins. The Jew trader will not bother with this
kind of traffic. He wants to deal for cash, either as buyer or seller,
he doesn't care which.

Here a native shoemaker, or rather maker of _babouches_, sits beneath a
rude shelter and fashions fat, tubby slippers out of dingy skins and
sole leather with the fur left on. On another side is a sweetmeat
seller, a baker of honey cakes, and a vegetable dealer, and even a
butcher, who tries to lead his Mussulman brother astray and get him to
become a carnivorous animal like us Christians. He doesn't succeed very
well, because the Arab eats very little meat.

In a tent, beneath a great palm, sits the physician and dentist of the
tribe, with all his paraphernalia of philters and potions and
tooth-pulling appliances. Like the rest of us, the Arab suffers from
toothache sometimes; and he wastes no time but goes and "has it out" at
the first opportunity. The procedure of the Arab tooth-puller is no more
barbaric than our own, and the possessor of the refractory molar has an
equally hard time. All these things and more one sees at Arba's weekly
market. It is all very strange and amusing.

Aumale is nearly a hundred kilometres beyond Arba, with nothing between
except occasional settlements of a few score of Europeans and a few
hundreds of Arabs. Communication with Algiers from Aumale is by a crazy,
rocking seven-horse diligence which covers the ground, by night as often
as by day, in nine or ten hours, at a gait of six or seven miles an
hour, and at a cost of as many francs.

Aumale is nothing but the administrative centre of a _commune_ blessed
with two good enough inns and a long, straight main street running from
end to end. As the Auzia of the Romans, it was formerly occupied by a
strong garrison. The Turks in turn built a fortress on the same site,
and the French occupied it as a military post in 1846, giving it a
second baptism in the name of the Duc d'Aumale, the son of

From Aumale on to Bou-Saada is another hundred and twenty-four
kilometres over a new-made "Route Nationale." It is a good enough road
for a diligence, which makes the journey in sixteen or eighteen hours,
including stops. There is no accommodation _en route_ save that
furnished by the government _bordjs_, the _caravanserai_ and the

Here, at last, one is launched into the desert itself. The journey is
one of strange, impressive novelty, though nothing very venturesome. In
case of a prolonged breakdown, there is nothing to do but to drink the
water of the _redir_ (a sort of a natural pool reservoir hollowed out of
the rock), and be thankful indeed if your curled-up Arab travelling
companion will share his crust with you. To him white bread, if only
soaked in water, is a great luxury; to you it will seem pretty slim; but
then we are overfed as a rule and an Arab dietary for a time will
probably prove beneficial. The life of the nomad Arab is a very full
one, but it is not a very active nor luxurious one.

Through wonderful ocean-like mirages and clouds of dust whirled up by
the sirocco, a veritable "_tourbillon de poussière_," as Madame de
Sévigné would have called it, we rolled off the last kilometres of our
tiresome journey, just as the last rays of the blood-red sun were paling
before the coming night. We arrived at Bou-Saada's Hotel Bailly just as
the last remnants of the _table d'hôte_ were being cleared away, which,
in this little border town, half civilized and half savage, means thrown
into the streets to furnish food for chickens. How the inhabitant of the
Algerian small town ever separates his own fowls from those of his
neighbours is a great question, since they all run loose in the common
feeding-ground of the open street.

Bou-Saada is even of less importance than Aumale to the average person.
But for the artist it is a paradise. It is not Tlemcen, it has no grand
mosques; it is not Tunis, it has no great _souks_ and bazaars; but it is
quaintly native in every crooked street huddled around the military post
and the hotels. The life of


the leather and silver workers, and of the butcher, the baker and the
seller of blankets and foodstuffs is, as yet, unspoiled and
uncontaminated with anything more worldly than oil-lamps. The conducted
tourist has not yet reached Bou-Saada, and consequently the native life
of the place is all the more real.

Here is an account of a café acquaintance made at Bou-Saada.
Zorah-ben-Mohammed was a pretty girl, according to the standards of her
people, with a laugh like an _houri_. She confessed to eighteen years,
and it is probable that she owned no more. The rice powder and the
_maquillage_ were thick on her cheek, whilst the rest of her face was
frankly ochre. For all that she was a pretty girl and came perilously
near convincing us of it, though hers was a beauty far removed from our
own preconceived standards.

Great black eyes and a massive _coiffe_ of raven-black hair topped off
her charms. Below she was clad in a corsage of gold-embroidered velvet
and an ample silk _pantalon_ that might indeed have been a skirt, so
large and thick were its folds. Bijoux she had galore. They may have
been of gold and silver and precious stones, or they may not; but they
were precious to her and added not a little to her graces. Bracelets
bound her wrists and her ankles, and her finger-tips were dyed red with

Zora or Zorah Fatma, or in Arab, Fetouma, are the girlish names which
most please their bearer, and our friend Zorah was a queen in her class.
Zorah served the coffee in the little Moorish café in Bou-Saada's
market-place, into which we had tumbled to escape a sudden sandstorm
blown in from the desert. Her powers of conversation were not great; she
did not know many French words and we still fewer Arab ones, so our
respective vocabularies were soon exhausted. We admired her and made
remarks upon her,--which was what she wanted, and, though the charge for
the coffee was only two sous a cup, she was artful enough to worm a
_pourboire_ of fifty centimes apiece out of us for the privilege of
being served by her.

As we left, Zorah, with her professional little laugh on her lips, cried
out, "_redoua, redoua!_" (to-morrow, to-morrow!) "Well--perhaps!" we
answered. "_Peut-être que oui! Peut-être que non!_"

A visit to the marabout at El Hamel, fifteen kilometres from Bou-Saada,
is one of the things to do. We descended upon him in his hermit shrine,
and found him seated on a great carpet of brilliant colouring and
reclining on an enormous cushion of embroidered silk,--not the kind the
Tunisian workers try to sell steamship-cruising tourists during their
day on shore, but the real gold-embroidered, silky stuff, such, as
dressed the characters of the Arabian nights.

Hung about the marabout's neck was his chaplet of little ebony beads,
and behind his head hung an embroidered silken square, its gold olive
branches and fruit glittering with sun's rays like an aureole.

Grouped about the marabout in a squatting semicircle and listening to
his holy words were a half-dozen or more faithful Mussulmans. One of
them was very old, with a visage ridged like a melon rind, and a fringe
of beard that once was probably black, but was now a scant gray
collaret. His face was the colour of brown earth, but he was manifestly
a pure blooded Arab; there was not even the telltale pearly-blue tint in
the eyes which always marks the half-bred Berber-Arab type. Another,
rolled snug in an old burnous, was by his side, his eyes quite closed
and his head and body rocking as though he was asleep. He probably was.
A third was younger, of perhaps three and thirty, but he was quite as
devout as his elders, though he was more wide-awake, and looked
curiously and interestedly upon us as we stood in the doorway of the
little white temple of a sanctuary awaiting the time when the marabout
should be free of his religious duties.

Our visit was appreciated. We had brought the holy man a few simple
gifts of chocolate, matches, and a couple of candles, and donated twenty
copper sous to his future support. After the adieux of convention were
exchanged, we jogged our little donkeys back to the town by a short cut
through the bed of the Oued Bou-Saada.



Kabylie is a wild, strange land known to few and peopled by many, though
indeed the population is mostly native. Colonization has not made great
inroads into the mountains of Grande and Petite Kabylie. And though the
tract is contiguous to Algiers itself, few stranger tourists know it as
anything more than a name. Still less do they know its savage and
undeveloped beauties.

The Algerian government has pushed a great "Route Nationale" through the
heart of the mountains, and Tizi-Ouzou and Fort National have grown up
into more or less important centres of European civilization; but in the
main the aspect is as much Kabyle to-day as it was when this pure Berber
race--the purest left in North Africa--first began to make its influence
felt among the many tribes of the Mediterranean coast and the Sahara.

The mountain villages of Kabylie are not mere nests of huddled shacks,
nor groups of tents, nor "lean-tos," nor mud huts. They are of
well-built houses, with sloping or flat stone roofs, and look like the
little hamlets of the Pyrenees or the Cevennes in France, where the rude
winters have taught men to build after a certain fashion in order to
live comfortably. The Kabyles early learned the same way of doing
things; for, in spite of the fact that the brilliant African sun
sometimes burns, even in midwinter, with a fervour unknown elsewhere,
the mountain-tops are snow-covered for three or four months of the year;
and the roads over which the daily antediluvian mail-coach and diligence
pass--with occasionally an intrepid automobilist--are often impassable
for a week.

The railway does not penetrate this mountain fastness beyond Tizi-Ouzou,
and though it skirts the sunny southern side of the woods, the snows of
winter blocked it last year for forty-eight hours. And this in Africa!
If the exterior of the Kabyle mountain villages do resemble those of
other lands, their interiors have a style of furnishing and decoration
all their own. Purely Kabyle, it is wonderfully decorative, simple, and
effective. It is the artist's ideal interior, as the illustration
herewith shows. The decorative scheme is its all in all. There is
little furniture, almost no _bibelots_, if one omits goat-skin rugs,
blankets, and the homely pottery and copper domestic utensils.

From Fort National the route leads down to meet the trunk line at
Beni-Mançour, and _en route_ takes on even a wilder aspect than that by
which one ascended from the seaboard plain around Algiers. The journey
can be made readily in a day by hired carriage, or, better yet, in a few
hours by automobile.

From either side extend mountain valleys and ravines, each of them
giving place to a road of sorts, practicable to the mountain mule, but
to nothing else, save a human being on foot. If one would do some real
exploring, let him spend ten days in Kabylie. He will think he is in the
"Forbidden Land" of Tibet so far as intercourse with the outside world
is concerned.

Footprints of the naked feet of men and women, and of the cloven hoofs
of animals, will be the only signs of life visible for hours at a time.
Yet in spite of the fact that the land is so wild and dreary, it is the
most thickly populated region of Northern Africa. The braying of
donkeys, the voices of women, the cries of children, and the gutturals
of the men give, if not a melody, at least a quaint and charming sound
as one draws up on some hilltop Kabyle village. A flock of sheep bars
the way, but an old woman with a stick pounds them hither and thither
with head-cracking blows, and at last you arrive before the open door of
a native café and bargain with a soft-faced brown Kabyle youth for a
_bourriquet_ to take you twenty kilometres farther on, where you may
find a lodging for the night.

You must bargain, wherever you are, and for whatever you want, in
Africa; even with the Kabyle. Once your bargain made,--three francs for
a little donkey for a day, or five, including his owner for a
guide,--you need have no fear. The Kabyle will hold to it like grim
death. The Kabyle is a savage if you like, but his virtues are many.

The Kabyle villages abound in dogs. They may not be vicious dogs, but
you don't know whether they are or not, and accordingly are wary. The
Kabyle dogs have all shades of pitch and gamut in their voices. There
are tenors, baritones, and even sopranos, and an occasional bass. If a
solitary example is met with on a by-road he is readily made to retreat
with a shower of stones; but as he is liable to catch up with you later,
accompanied by reinforcements, as you draw up on the village, you must
ever be on the _qui vive_. No one ever heard of anybody but a
sheep-stealer having been bitten by a Kabyle dog (which, by the way,
looks like any other mongrel cur): but discretion here, as in many other
tight corners, is the chief part of valour. "_De l'audace, encore de
l'audace et toujours de l'audace!_" is a stimulating French slogan, but
one is in doubt about putting it into practice with a grinning,
long-fanged mongrel before him on a lone mountain road.

The Kabyles are one division of that great race of Berbers, the most
ancient dwellers on African soil. They have kept the type comparatively
pure by inhabiting this restricted area closely bordering upon the Atlas
Mountains a dozen or twenty leagues from the sea. "They are," says M.
Jules Duval, "the principal types of the Berber race, and those who have
best conserved their ancestral characteristics, and are perhaps the
Numidians of old." That is a pedigree worth owning up to. Brave and
industrious, the Kabyles can fight as well as bargain, and they value
patriotism and ancestral tradition above everything else.

Of all the Mussulman races, the Kabyles treat their women with the
greatest deference, and even allow them to frequent public fêtes, faces
uncovered, and to dance with the men, _yatagan_ or gun in hand.

The Kabyle is successful in whatever occupation he follows, more so than
any of his Mussulman brothers. As herders, farmers, armourers,
blacksmiths, and masons,--at everything in fact that requires an
aptitude and deftness of hand,--they excel.

When in straits the Kabyle will sell all his worldly goods, save his
gun, without the slightest trace of emotion. Perhaps this is because his
gun is the only thing on which he pays taxes and accordingly he knows
its value.

It is said of the Kabyles that they eat their daughters. "_Le père mange
sa fille._" This comes from the custom which some of the Kabyle tribes
have of bartering off the hand of their daughter to the most willing
suitor at a price ranging from two hundred to a thousand francs. There's
nothing very wrong about this, seemingly, not according to African

The Kabyle and his relatives in their little square house live the life
of a truly happy family. He and his relatives and his live stock--except
his camels, the odour from which is a little too strong for even Kabyle
nostrils--all living together under the same roof. There is no more
squalor about it, however, than one may see in the human and
pig-inhabited huts of Connemara.

The Kabyle comes of a comparatively wealthy class, but his house
furnishings are very meagre. Besides the animals before mentioned, he
possesses only his _batterie de cuisine_, some great oil jars and
earthenware pots for the storing away of olives, butter and honey. He
also has a storehouse for grain, where he keeps his wheat or maize
flour, which he or the members of his family have themselves ground
between the traditional upper and nether millstones, which in this case
are portable ones.

Such is a brief inventory of the dwellings and the round of life of the
Kabyles of the mountain villages, founded by their ancestors hundreds
and perhaps thousands of years ago. Some of their race have got the
wandering foot, and live in the pastoral black and brown striped tent
like the real nomads; but these are comparatively few in number. The
real, Simon-pure Kabyle is a house-dweller.

The Kabyle mountain settlements are often mere hamlets called _dehera_,
and in these the village schoolmaster, besides having his own duties,
also performs the functions of priest of the temple. He is literally the
_imam_ of the mosque, and carries out according to his faith the
monotonous repetition of the words of the Koran when not otherwise
engaged. Every Kabyle village has its temples of knowledge and of
religion, just as sure as it has a headsman or Sheik. The mosque is
naturally the most notable edifice of the settlement; but is seldom
splendid or pretentious, and often it serves as a hostelry as well as a
place of worship. But only for the faithful--not for dogs of infidels.

Though the Kabyles in general are not tent-dwellers, but live in houses
of stone or brick construction, these edifices exhibit no particular
architectural characteristics; but are as much like the dwellings of the
Pueblos as they are like those of the Thibetans. To all intents and
purposes the towns and settlements and, in a measure, all Kabyle houses,
are fortresses. This is an effect which is heightened by the almost
universal employment of substitutes for the crenelated battlement and
_meurtrières_ or loopholes, cut in the walls in place of windows, so
distinctive of European feudal architecture.

Just by way of contrast to the virtues of the Kabyles, it is bound to be
recorded that they are the dirtiest lot that one finds in Africa; and
inasmuch as this is contrary to the tenets of the Mussulman religion it
is the more to be remarked. Up to within a few years, according to the
head of a French mission which surveyed the Kabyle country, there was
but one public bath establishment to be found in all their native towns
and villages. The result is that hereditary affections are transmitted
from generation to generation, and were it not for the efficacy of the
open-air cure the Kabyles would be a considerably less long-lived race
than they are.

The Kabyles live well at all events, and their couscous is renowned
throughout all Algeria. Their preserved figs and ripe and unripe olives
are of the first quality and bring the highest prices in the markets of
Algiers, Bougie or Beni-Mançour. The Kabyle is no longer a savage,
though he does stick closely to many traditions, and eats his couscous
out of a great dish of beechwood fashioned by hand from a cross-section
cut from a tree-trunk. The mere fact that he eats it from a plate at
all, instead of from a pot, indicates, however, an approaching degree of

The Kabyle is primarily a tiller of the soil and a herder of goats and
sheep. And when education was thrust upon him, or rather upon his
children, by a progressive French government, he resented it. He had
cut out an illiterate career for his progeny; he didn't care if they
weren't educated, nor did they.

He explained it all to the writer in a Moorish café one afternoon, in a
_patois_ something like the following,--it's a queer thing, Arab-French,
but it's as good as that of most foreigners nevertheless.

"_Si li Beylick fasir, fic toutes lis enfants dis mitres d'icole,
qu'ist-ce qui travaljar la tirre ... qu'ist-ce qui gardi lis chèvres,
lis motons, lis vaches?_" Who indeed will guard his goats and sheep if
the children all go to school! The old man probably will have to work

The new generation is changing, but the old-school Kabyle is as
conservative as a "down-east farmer," a "Yorkshireman," or a "_bon

The Kabyles are the Piedmontese or Auvergnats of Algeria. An indigenous
race which has resisted better than any other the march of progress.
They have, too, certain other foreign characteristics. One wonders how
they got them. They practise the vendetta, like the Corsican; they have
the _landesgemeinde_, as in certain of the Swiss cantons; and they have
cock-fights like the Spaniards. They are a very curious race of people,
but they are becoming enlightened, and rank among the most loyal
towards the new French government of all the tribes of Algeria.

The Kabyle has fought for France, and fought well. The first zouaves
were Kabyles,--the name comes from Zouaoua, a Kabyle tribe. General
Clauzel enrolled a company of them in 1831, and taught them what, he was
pleased at the time to think, was civilized warfare. Doubtless it was,
as civilized as any warfare, which is not saying much for it. This new
type of soldier, the zouave, has endured to this day in France and
elsewhere, and a very practical, businesslike soldier he has proved.

The Kabyle women jingle with bijoux and scintillate with yards of
ribbons and flying draperies, and a strong scented perfume emanates from
them with an odour of sanctity, almost, so strange and exotic is it.
They know the difficult art of elegance--these mountain women of
Kabylie--better than their more fashionable sisters. Not all the science
of the _couturière_ or the _modiste_ can give a tithe of the grace borne
naturally by these half-savage Kabyle beauties. The Jewesses of Algiers
and Tunis have a certain, if crude, voluptuous elegance, which is an
adulteration of civilization and savagery; but the Kabyle woman,
beneath her draperies and her bijoux, expresses something quite
different. Cleopatra might well have been one of them. Their natural
graces and their bijoux are the details which set off their charms so
splendidly. The cross-breeding of the Berber with the Arab has no doubt
debased the race somewhat. This is mostly among the men and the women
who dwell in the towns.

Apparently these Kabyle women are not coquettes, though they smile,
always, with their pearly teeth, rouge-red lips, and flashing eyes,
bespeaking the sensuality of a land and its customs entirely foreign to
European civilization. Of beauty they have little according to other
standards, although their features are not crude or unlovely. Rather is
theirs the beauty of a high-bred animal, or the sculptured bronze ideal
replica of a race. They are types of a species and are delightful to
look upon, alike in face and figure.

The Kabyle jewelry is something to be coveted by every woman. It can be
bought--even in the bazaars and _souks_ of Algiers and Tunis--at its
weight for old silver. But the buying of it is an art, and one must
beware of not getting dross or something made in Birmingham or Solingen.
The genuine old stone or

[Illustration: _Things Seen in Kabylie_]

coral-set enamelled Kabyle bracelets and necklaces are becoming rarer,
and the imitation ones more and more common. Still, in any aspect, the
designs are beautiful, and far and away ahead of the aberrations of mind
which produce the _art-nouveau_ jewelery of Bond Street or of the Rue
de la Paix. Sometimes instead of silver a substitute of dull,
unburnished white metal,--pewter most probably,--is used in the settings
of these bizarre ornaments, and even then the effect is charming.

The Kabyles have ever been fond of coral, which, from the earliest
times, they gathered from the sea, cutting and polishing the fragments
as if they were precious stones. Coral is fast disappearing from the
African coast, as elsewhere in the Mediterranean, wherever the Italians
have exploited the commerce, and the rosy, translucent branches of old
are now more often replaced with the inferior dead coral of a yellowish
white or even reddish brown colour. Unless indeed celluloid imitations
are not used instead.

Sea shells, too, enter into the make-up of the adornments of the Kabyle

The metal work, be it gold, silver, or pewter and antimony, is
invariably hand-forged, with the loving marks of the hammer still
visible. This rough crudity is its charm, for the intrinsic value as a
rule is not great. It looks high at fifty francs (a collaret of three or
four bands strung together on a silver wire, with a clasp the size of a
half-dollar), but when, by the classic process of Arab or Berber
bargaining, you get the same thing for ten francs, it is really _très
bon marché_.

Grande and Petite Kabylie, the Kabylie du Djurjura and the Kabylie des
Babors, is not thickly strewn with Frenchified towns and cities. On the
coast there are Dellys, an incipient seaport. Bougie, the ancient
Saldae, where a colony of veterans was established by the great
Augustus, but now a growing seaport with half of its fifteen thousand
population French. Djidjelli, a hundred kilometres east of Bougie by a
wonderful coast road, was the ancient colony of Igilgili of Augustus.
Collo is an Italianized fishing village; Beni-Mançour, a flourishing
small town to-day, but formerly a simple _bordj_ or halting-place on the
main caravan route from east to west; and Setif, the _chef lieu_,
contains a mixed population of 15,000, of which a quarter part are
Europeans and 1,600 Jews.

These commercial centres, and a half a dozen smaller places, are the
only points where the traveller by road or rail will find any approach
to European comforts in all Kabylie, excepting at Tizi-Ouzou and Fort
National on the branch road from Beni-Mançour to Bougie.

Tizi-Ouzou is the centre of a Kabyle population which figures out a
hundred and ten souls to the square kilometre. Its name signifies "Col
des Genets," and it occupies the site of an old _bordj_ or rest-house of
former days.

Four hours of diligence--which costs four francs--carries one from
Tizi-Ouzou to Fort National, at any time of the year between April and
December; at other times the pass of Tirourda may be snow-covered, and
you may become stalled for hours or even days. Fort National, in the
heart of Grande Kabylie, is a grim, modern fortress, perched on the
highest peak of the Algerian mountain range paralleling the coast. It is
only interesting from a grim picturesque point of view. The citadel
crowns a height a thousand metres above sea-level, and from its terrace
unfolds a remarkable panorama of mountain-tops and valleys: "Incipient
mountain chains stretching out in all directions like the arms of an
octopus," a Frenchman described these topographical features, and if you
know what an octopus looks like you will be struck by the simile. Fort
National is the best centre from which to make excursions into Kabylie,
but you must come here in the spring or autumn for the purpose, not in
winter or summer.

Bougie is off the beaten track. To get there one must break his journey
going from Algiers to Biskra, Constantine or Tunis at Beni-Mançour.
Bougie is a coast town, and one of the terminals of the steamship lines
from Marseilles. Because tourists go and come via Algiers, or via
Algiers and Tunis or vice versa, Bougie is not known of all travellers
in North Africa. This is where they make a mistake. Bougie is the most
splendidly situated of all the African Mediterranean ports. Its points
of view and panoramas are ready-made for the artists to jot them down in
crude paint on dull canvas--if they can. The most one can do is to try.
And Bougie, its glistening white-walled houses, its shore-line, its
sky-line, and its background of cliff are motifs which will fascinate
all who view it, whether for the first or last time.

All the same Bougie has little enough of interest for the conventional
tourist. The native quarter is not remarkable, the mosque is a modern
affair, though on good old lines, and the native market, if curious,
does not equal those of Blida, Boufarik, or Constantine.

It is the site of Bougie, and its environs, that make its charms. If its
hotels were not poor patterns of those of the pompous prefectures in
France it would really be a delightful seaside resort.

There are some Roman ruins of the days of Augustus still remaining, some
fragmentary fortifications, and some great cistern vaults. Bougie's past
was historic, for it was one day the capital of an independent state.
The Spaniards came and destroyed its independence through the wiles of
Pedro Navarro, who built Algiers' Peñon. Charles V sojourned here for a
time, basking under African skies, in 1541. That is all of Bougie's



Constantine is one of the natural citadels of the world. Hitherto we had
only known it by name, and that chiefly by the contemplation of Vernet's
"Siége de Constantine," in that artistic graveyard, the Musée de

The bizarre splendour of the site now occupied by the bustling Algerian
metropolis of Constantine struck us very forcibly as we rolled over its
great gorge just at sundown on a ruddy autumn evening. It is all grandly
theatrical, but it is very real nevertheless. A great deal more real
than one would believe as he viewed that hodge-podge painting of

The town sits high on a ravine-surrounded peak of bare rock, and were it
to undergo a siege to-day, not even modern war-engines could reduce it
till the dwellers had been starved out.

The original settlement was very ancient long before the Romans of the
time of Scipio, who gave it its present name. Romans, Arabs, Vandals,
and Turks all held it in turn until General Valée came in 1836 and drove
the latter out by strategy. Not by siege, as the painter has tried to
make us believe.

The great rock of Constantine is only attached to the surrounding
country by a slim neck of land. Below lies the Rummel, still cutting its
bed deeper and deeper each year, until now a very cañon is gouged out of
the city's rock foundation. The only communication between the city and
the surrounding plateau is by the Bridge of El Kantara, spectacularly
picturesque, though not artistically beautiful, the successor of an old
Roman bridge on the same site.

Any who have marvelled at the Bridge of Ronda in Spain, and at the
natural rock-bound fortress to which it leads, will observe its
similarity to Constantine. Its rocky walls are impregnable, though not
untakable. Nothing but a continuous dynamite performance could blow up
Constantine; to accomplish it would be to blow up a mountain.
Nevertheless, the French captured the Mohammedan fortress at the time of
the occupation--albeit at a great expenditure of time and loss of men.

Centuries earlier than this, in Roman days, Sallust, governor of the
province under Cæsar, was a property owner here, and fortified the city
that it might best protect his interests. With what success is seen by
the fact that, though the fortress was besieged and taken eighty times,
its garrison was always starved out; it was never blown up or battered

The first glimpse of Constantine is confusing. It is difficult to
separate its component parts; its historic picturesqueness from its
matter-of-fact hurly-burly of commercial affairs. The houses seen from
the railway appear commonplace and uninteresting, only saved from sheer
ugliness by their remarkable situation. The great gorge of the Rummel
flows beneath the ugly iron bridge,--the successor of that more splendid
work of the Romans,--and ugly trams, omnibuses, and carts rumble along
where one pictures troops of camels and parti-coloured Arabs. Arabs
there are at Constantine, of all shades, and Turks and Jews, of all
sects, and when one is actually settled down in his hotel and starts out
on a wandering, with the intention of focussing all these things into
some definite impression, they begin to grow upon him, and Constantine
begins to take rank with the liveliest of his imaginings and memories.
Constantine is a wonder, there is no doubt about that; but one must
become acquainted with it intimately in order to love it. Constantine's
streets are running rivers of as mixed a crew of humanity as one may see
out of Cairo, Constantinople, or Port Saïd. Tunis is its nearest
approach in the Moghreb.

[Illustration: A Minaret at Constantine]

The main artery of the Arab town is the Rue Perrégaux. Here are the
Moorish cafés, the mosques, the shops of the sweetmeat sellers, the
vegetable dealers, the embroiderers, and the jewellers. The Cirta of
Jugurtha has become the Constantine of to-day, but its mediævalism still
lives in spite of the contrast of a gaudy opera house, a bank, and an
"hôtel-de-ville." The native quarter keeps well to itself, however; and
modern improvements do not

[Illustration: _A Constantine Mosque_]

encroach upon its picturesque primitiveness as they do at Algiers.

Beside its site and its bridge, Constantine's monuments are not many or
great. The chief one is the Mosque of Salah Bey, with its marble
decorations chiselled out by the hand of the slave of an olden time. The
cathedral of to-day is built up out of a transformed mosque, but shows,
undefiled, its ancient Mauresque arcades and faïences. On the broidered
_mihrab_, with inscriptions from the Koran woven in the woof, some
well-meaning Christian has added a bleeding heart. Is this treating the
original Mussulman owner right? It seems enough to make a Christian
church out of a Mohammedan mosque, without trying to incorporate two
opposing religious symbols in a mural decoration.

The ancient palace of the Bey,--the last Bey of Constantine,
Hadj-Ahmed,--though comparatively modern, is a very interesting
building. This terrible Turk, the Bey, was a very terrible potentate
indeed. He massacred and pillaged his own subjects. He would nail the
hands and feet of a fancied offender to a tree, leaving him to die, and
would sew up the mouths and manacle the hands of those who spoke ill of
him. He held a big club always uplifted, and many other murderous
implements besides were ever in the air ready to fall. This palace of
the Bey's was in course of construction at the time the Turkish
domination fell. It had been built of porphyry and marble columns, and
fine old tiles and sculptured balustrades, brought by rich merchants as
presents to the Bey, under pain of imprisonment should they default. It
is a miniature Alhambra of courts within courts, and is really
extraordinarily beautiful. It covers an area of over five thousand
square metres. Under the guidance of a zouave with baggy red trousers
and a fez dangling on the back of his head, we walked and
circumnavigated all of the paved and orange-planted quadrangles, and
quite believed we were living in the days gone by, in spite of the fact
that tram-cars were passing by the door, and inconsiderate,
_un-churchly_ chimes were ringing out ribald airs from the neighbouring
cathedral tower.

On the whole the old Beylical palace of Constantine is far more
elaborate and interesting than the Dar-el-Bey at Tunis--or the Bardo,
usually reckoned the chief tourist sights of their class. It all depends
on the mood, of course, but then we had the mood.

Some of the frescoes of this palace of Turkish dominion are most
curious. One of them, painted in the most crude and infantile manner, is
inexplicable except for the following legend.

A "dog of a Christian slave"--as his Turkish master called him--was set
at the task. He knew nothing of art, but that did not matter to the
domineering Turk, who said that "all Frenchmen were born artists." The
frieze was completed, as it may be seen to-day, and the artist (?) stood
before his workmanship in fear and trembling, dreading his master's
wrath. The wrath was not forthcoming. His Beyship liked the frieze of
birds as big as houses, of ships and frogs all of a size, of cows the
size of mosques, and all the other fantasies of an untrained hand and
brain. "I told you," said the Bey, "all these dogs of Frenchmen know how
to paint;" and with that he set him free. All potentates have their
vagaries. Hadj-Ahmed's were no greater and no worse than the present
German Emperor's, which have permitted, if not commanded, political
portraits to be sculptured on the portals of a Christian church.

Constantine is unique. It is a city as live and bustling as any of its
size on earth. It is undergoing a great development. Everybody is
prosperous and contented. And, above all, it is historic, and its
native quarter unspoiled in spite of the city's great attempts to become
a commercial metropolis.

Constantine is the gateway to a vast and wealthy grain-growing region,
and it sits high and proud on the great central plateau of Algeria
between the desert and the sea. Practically it is the sole gateway or
means of communication through which passes a great proportion of all
the life and movement of the great province of which it is the capital.
Contrastingly Constantine's magnificently theatrical site gives entirely
another view-point for the stranger within its gates. The great gorge of
the Rummel cuts the city entirely off from the surrounding plateau by a
thousand foot chasm, where the gathered waters of the plain roll and
thunder with such regularity and force that the steep sides are cut
sheer as if by the quarryman's drill. Constantine's Arab town, too, is
entirely a unique thing. It is complete, unspoiled, and genuine. It sits
off at one side of the European town, sloping down towards the steep
brink of the gorge, and is entirely uncontaminated with the contemporary
life of the French. Its colouring is marvellous; and the comings and
goings, and the daily affairs, of its Arab merchants and traders lend a


of antiquity which not even the realization of the fact that we are
living in the twentieth century can wholly spoil. The Kabyle with his
skins of oil, the Berber with his wool and leathers, and the town-bred
Arab--half Turk, half Jew--occupying himself with all sorts of trading,
give a local colour rich and unmixed, such as one finds nowhere else in
the East,--either at Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, or Constantinople. What is
lacking is mere size and grandeur,--the rest is all there. And the
Moorish cafés and the sweetmeat and pastry sellers' shops of
Constantine's Arab town, visited on the eve of Ramadan, give such a
variety of surprises that no one who has once seen them can ever forget

To return to the great scenic charm of Constantine; it must be seen and
familiarized. As a mere gorge it is no more wonderful than dozens of
others,--in the Rockies in America; in the Tarn, or the Gorges du Loup,
in the Maures. What the Gorge du Rummel stands for is that it is, and
has been for ages, the chief defence of the great city of Constantine,
and for that reason it appeals more strongly than any other of its kind.

Before entering the narrow chasm which renders the position of
Constantine, "_la ville aérienne_," well-nigh impregnable, the Rummel,
or Rivière des Sables, has joined forces with the Boumezou, the river
which fertilizes.

The change is sudden from the sunny valley to the dark Passage des
Roches. The torrent, suddenly narrowed, passes close to a hot spring
spurting forth from a cleft in the rock, then flowing through the arch
of the Devil's Bridge and tumbling in cascades through the winding chasm
or ravine.

From the edge of the abyss one cannot see the stream which is hidden by
the curves of the ravine; the projecting strata of rock furrowed at
frequent intervals by vertical water-worn clefts even prevent one from
seeing the bottom.

Just below the rock bridge of El Kantara (that of to-day being a
reconstruction of the Roman work), the Rummel disappears beneath a vault
of rock. The ravine here is only a narrow trench, torn and pierced by
underground passages, from the bottom of which rises the sound of
rushing waters. Three hundred metres beyond, the torrent emerges from
these dark galleries and on both sides the cliffs rise vertically. A
single isolated arch, naturally ogival and singularly regular in form,
still uniting the two walls of rock.

Here the irregularities and rents in the earth's surface are the most
imposing; the walls of variously coloured rock here and there overhang
and rise to a height of over 200 metres, giving a perilous foothold to
the buildings of the town above. At this apex of the island city above
is the Kef Cnecora or Rocher du Lac, from which an old-time _pacha_
threw down his recalcitrant wives sewn up in sacks, quite after the
conventional manner of the day, one thinks. Yes, but here they had an
awful drop, and fell not always on the soft watery bed of the river, but
on the pointed, jagged rocks of the rapids. Theirs must have been an
awful death!

Years ago access to the ravine was entirely impracticable; but since an
intrepid engineer with a ninety-nine year concession has built rock
ladders and bridges along its whole length--and charges two francs to
cross them--the experience of making this semisubterranean tour of
Constantine is within reach of everybody.

One day at Constantine a discordant rumbling of voices in the street
below attracted us to the windows of our hotel. A strange, conglomerate
procession of Mussulman faithful was marching by. Hundreds of brown
Arab folk, Kabyles, Moors, and nomads from the south, were marching
hand in hand, each with a flower behind his right ear, and all shouting
at the top of their voices. A funeral procession had passed but a few
moments before, and we thought it a part of the same ceremony, though
indeed, as we learned later, it was something quite different.


The few straggling hundreds of the head of the procession soon grew into
thousands, all chanting verses of the Koran. Following close came the
gaily coloured green, white, and red flag of the Prophet.

We followed in the wake of the procession and at the end of the town
came to the Mussulman cemetery. There is no remarkable sadness or
sentiment about the Arab cemetery at Constantine, at least not such as
one associates with a Christian burial-place. It sits on the sunny slope
of a hill, with a silhouette of mountains for a background, and a
foreground strewn, helter-skelter, with little tombs and _koubas_ in
crazy building-block fashion. There is no symmetry about anything, and
tiny headstones crop up here and there through a tangle of weeds and
wild flowers. Frequently there is a more imposing slab, and occasionally
a tomb or _kouba_ tinted blue or pink, with perhaps its dome gilded. The
whole impression, however, is of an indiscriminate mixture of things
that just "happened in place," and were not set out on any preconceived

One imposing domed _kouba_ has a bit of shade from an overgrowing tree
and is surrounded by a little level grass-plot which gives it a certain
distinction of dignity such as a religious shrine should have.

Beyond the cemetery was a great open plot upon which was to be held the
Mussulman fête, which was the real objective of the fast-growing
procession, and which by this time had gathered into its fold all of
Constantine's available Mussulman population,--some twenty-five thousand
souls who habitually say their prayers to Allah.

Here at the fête the thousands of Arabs, their yellow, red, or green
burnouses flowing in the breeze like flags and pennants, grouped
themselves first of all around the _khaouadji_, or open-air cafés, the
drinking of coffee being the preliminary to every social function with
the Arab.

At the further end of the open ground were set up the tents of the great
chiefs,--the Caïds and Cadis of the surrounding tribes, and along one
side were grouped cook-shops and fruit-sellers. There were no
"hurdy-gurdies," "Aunt Sallies," or "shooting galleries." The Arab takes
his pleasures and makes his rejoicings less violently, preferring to
squat on his heels, or lie on a straw mat, and drink coffee, smoke
cigarettes, or munch a handful of dates or a honey-cake boiled in oil.

One general cook-shop occupied a prominent place. Here were great copper
cauldrons where the couscous was being prepared. This indigenous
Algerian dish is about the only one containing meat which the temperate
Arab eats. Even then he eats mostly of the _semoule_ and bread and
gravy, leaving the fragments of mutton or lamb, or chicken (if by chance
one wandered aimlessly into the pot) to be boiled down again for another

The Arab eats his couscous out of a great wooden platter, and disdains
knife or fork or spoon. A dozen Arabs sit around this shallow bowl of
wood and dip their fingers into it, each in his proper turn. It is a
sort of game of grab. One may get a choice morsel, or he may not. If not
as cleanly a method of eating as that of the Chinaman's chopsticks, at
any rate one's appetite is sooner satisfied. The Arab has the true
spirit of _camaraderie_ in his eating and drinking. The most cultivated
and fastidious will mingle with the hoi-polloi, and eat from the same
dish and drink from the same _merdjil_ as the most miserable one among
the crowd.

The fête, for such it was, seemed to have little religious significance,
beyond the marching in procession and chanting, and the fact that it was
being held in proximity to holy ground. After the feast there was
something like a demonstration, when two score or more Arabs did a sort
of a fanatical dance or swirl, which reminded one of the combination of
an Indian war-dance and the gyrations of the dervishes of Cairo. Shrill
cries and dislocating leaps and bounds brought some of the participants,
in time, to a state of inanimation and convulsions; but still the others
kept on. One by one a dancer would drop out, this evidently being the
way the game was played. When we finally came away, half of them were
still bounding about in a frenzy of delirium.

We learned later they were a sect of Islam, called the Aïssaouas, whose
principal tenet of faith is the mortification of the flesh. There are
various ways of doing this: the hair shirt, flagellation, and crawling
about on the hands and knees; but the way of the Aïssaouas is certainly
the most violent. Some of them even go so far as to pierce the cheeks
and nose with great pins and needles; but if one can swirl and gyrate
himself into an epileptic state, his chances of grace and entrance into
that Paradise of Houris promised by Mahomet are just as good.

The fête finally came to an end sometime during the night. Then the
cook-shops and _khaouadjis_ piled up their belongings in a donkey cart,
or on camel-back, and the Arabs folded their tents and silently stole
away after the manner set forth in the fable.

The marabout in whose honour all this came about was then left in peace
to sleep his long sleep undisturbed until the same orgie should be
repeated the following year.

The environs of Constantine are marvellously beautiful. Northward
towards Philippeville by road or rail one rises to the Col des Oliviers
by zigzags and sharp turns, to descend eventually--a matter of a couple
of thousand feet or more--to the brilliant blue Mediterranean. Nearer at
hand, rising high above Constantine itself, are the hills of Mansourah
and Sidi-M'cid, and to the west the fertile valley of the Hamma.

Philippeville is interesting only because of its site, which lies on the
beautiful Gulf of Stora, an ancient port of the Romans. The monuments of
Philippeville are nearly nil. There are some few fragments of the
arcades of an old amphitheatre, and the modern mosque, though in no way
an ambitious monument, is picturesquely perched above the town. The
great square, or _place_, opposite the port is a modern improvement
which is commendable enough, but not in the least in keeping with
Africa. It is more like a cheap imitation of Monte Carlo's terrace.

The Italian influence is strong in all these parts. The village of
Stora, about four kilometres from Philippeville, is practically peopled
by Italians. And one hears as much Italian as he does French in the
streets of Philippeville. The little house-corner shrines to be found
all over the older part of the town are also frankly reminiscent of

In the bay, too, the little lateen-rigged, clipper-prowed fishing-boats
are Italian in design, and are manned by Italians. Right here one
recalls that the "sunny Italian" in a foreign land is almost invariably
a "digger of dirt," a worker on a railway or canal cutting, or a

Philippeville has a decided colour of its own, but it is not Arab, and
the French is so blended with the Italian that its colouring is
decidedly mixed.



South from Constantine to Biskra at the desert's edge is two hundred
kilometres as the crow flies. As the humble apology of an
_express_-train goes, the distance is covered in eight hours, and that's
almost fifteen miles an hour. Delightful, isn't it? At the same time
this snail's-pace gives one a chance to observe things as he goes along,
and there is much to observe.

The high plateau on which sits Constantine, surrounded by its grain
fields and its grazing-grounds, is a vastly productive region, and
prosperity for the European and the _indigène_ comes easily enough. The
conditions of life here are more comfortable than elsewhere in the
Algerian countryside, save perhaps in the Mitidja around Blida.

This great plateau of the Tell, the granary of Africa and one of the
finest wheat-growing belts of the old world, knows well the rigours of
winter; but the summer is long and hot, and crops push out from the
ground with an abundance known nowhere else in these parts.

The mountains of "Grande Kabylie" bound it on the west and north, and
the Aures on the east and south. Beyond is the desert and its oases. The
contrast of topography and climate between the desert and the "sown" is
remarkable. All changes in the twinkling of an eye as one passes through
the rocky gorge of El Kantara,--one of those mythological marvels
accomplished by the hand or heel of Hercules. At any rate, the cleft in
the rock wall is there, and in a hundred yards one leaves the winds and
chilly atmosphere of a late autumn or early winter's day behind, and
plunges into the still, burning atmosphere of the desert, with palm-tree
oases scattered here and there. The same phenomenon may be observed
elsewhere, but not in so forcible a fashion. At Batna in winter you may
see an occasional bear-skin coat, with the "fur side out," and at
Biskra, sixty odd miles away, you will find a temperature of say 30
degrees centigrade--86 degrees Fahrenheit.

_En route_ from Constantine by railway no towns or cities of note are
passed until the great military post of Batna is reached. Here one may
break his journey and get an aspect of the mingling life of the desert
and the town Arab, which is astonishing in its complexity. The town Arab
lives much as we do ourselves,--at least some of his species do,--wears,
sometimes, a Norfolk jacket and shoes, which he calls "_forme
Américaine_," and travels first-class on the railway when he takes his
promenades abroad. The other still clings to his burnous and takes off
his shoes at every opportunity, travelling by camel caravan, as did his
ancestors of a thousand years ago.

Batna itself possesses no monuments of note. It is, however, the
starting-point for Lambessa and Timgad, the finest ancient Roman ruined
cities left standing above ground to-day,--not excepting Pompeii. A
résumé of the delights of these fascinating Roman relics is given in
another chapter of this book.

Batna possesses a remarkably well-kept commercial hotel, the "Hôtel des
Étrangers et Continentals." It is not a tourist hotel, which is all the
better for it. Moreover it has electric lights in the bedrooms, and a
very distinctive and excellent menu on the table. What more could one
want--in what people are wont to think of as savage Africa?

We took a likely looking Arab for a guide at Batna, though indeed there
was nothing special in the immediate neighbourhood for him to guide us
to. He wore a "Touring Club de France" badge in his turban, and read
religiously each month the T. C. F. "_Revue_," and accordingly he
appropriated every stranger as his right, whether one would or no. He
was useful, however, in keeping off other importunate Arabs in the great
market as we strolled between the stalls.

Batna's negro village is curiously interesting, though squalid and in
ill repute among the authorities.

"_Ici le village nègre_;" says your Arab guide after you have trudged a
couple of kilometres over a real desert trail. There are only a few of
these "black blocks" in North Africa, the negroes usually mingling with
the Arabs.

At night, in Batna's _village nègre_, one might think he was in some
head-centre of voodooism, so quaint and discordant are the sights and
sounds. Negroes are much the same the world over, whenever they herd
together, whether they come from the Soudan, Guinea, or Alabama.

Here in Algeria the negro café is a coffee-shop only a shade more murky
than the other coffee-shops. And the faces of those squatting round
about, though they glisten in the smoky atmosphere,--ineffectually
penetrated by a dim light radiating from a swinging lamp in the
centre,--are more dusky.

A tumultuous, raucous chant breaks out above a murmur now and then,
though most of the time the sound is a mysterious crooning wail, the
genuine negro wail, which is not at all like the banshee's, but quite as

It might be a prison cell or the hold of a slave-ship, this negro café,
for all one can distinguish of its appointments. There is nothing
luxurious here; it is not classy or exclusive in the least. A _sou_ a
cup is the price the negro pays for his coffee. And since he hasn't the
Arabs' prejudices against strong drink, he can get beet-root and
turnip-top _cognac_ and chemically made absinthe at cut-rate prices,
which appeal largely to his pocket, if not his taste.

This symphony in dusk, and in thin, shrill so-called music, is
impressive. There are negro musicians, negro dancing-women, and a negro
proprietor. It's the real, unadulterated "coontown" drama, where the
players are the real thing, and not the coffee-coloured "In-Dahomey"

One touch of white only was to be seen in Batna's negro café. This was
an Arab of the Hauts-Plateaux, with a long, aquiline profile and a
flowing burnous and _haïk_, most probably the lover of one of the trio
of dancing-women. His emotions were passive. He might have been at home
under his own vine and fig-tree. Still he was out of place, and looked
it. The most he would do was to give a sickly smile at some rude
pleasantry of his black companions,--and we did that ourselves.

What of this negro company were not drinking thick, muddy coffee or
"caravan" tea were smoking _kif_. The odour of opium, mint, and kerosene
was abominable. A negro of the Soudan might stand it, but not a white
man; at least none whiter than the lone Arab. So we passed on our way,
the dancing-women shrieking, the shrill trumpet or _chalumeau_
squealing, the tambourine jangling, and the oil-lamp smoking. It was not

Batna has a very excellent French school for Arab children, and it is
there that the young idea learns how to "_parler Français_." The French
schools are doing good work, no doubt, but they are spoiling the
simplicity of the native.

At Batna we saw a school "prize-giving," which was conducted as

"Premier prix d'application," called out a black-coated preceptor,
"Abdurhaman-ben-Mohammed, Arachin-el-Oumach." "Boum! Boum!" shouted the
rest of the class.

Second prize, third prize, and so on; and all the little rag-tag brown
and black population came up in a long file,--they all got prizes
apparently,--and the whole thing wound up, as all French functions do,
even if they are in the heart of Africa, with the singing of the

The next objective point, going south from Batna, is El Kantara and its

If ever Longfellow's poetic lines were applicable, they are here.

    "Suddenly the pathway ends,
     Sheer the precipice descends,
        Loud the torrent roars unseen;
     Thirty feet from side to side,
     Yawns the chasm; on air must ride
        He who crosses this ravine."

El Kantara is easily the most remarkable "sight" of all Algeria. Its
Hotel Bertrand is a most excellently verandaed establishment,--almost
the only house in the place,--and one may sit on its gallery and watch a
continual stream of camels, horses, mules, and donkeys going by its
dooryard all the livelong day. The trail of other days has now become a
"Route Nationale," and is the only means of highway communication, for a
hundred miles east or west, between the plateau lands of the north and
the desert of the south. Here all roads and tracks coming from a wide
area in the north converge to a narrow thread of a road which squeezes
itself between the uprights of the rocky walls of the Gorge of El

The Romans knew this cleft in the rocky wall, and built a fine old Roman
bridge to clear the rushing torrent below. The bridge is still there, an
enduring monument to the Roman builder, but a new road and a railway
bridge now overhang it; so it remains simply as a milestone in the march
of progress.

The red curtain-rocks of the mountain chain at El Kantara form the
dividing-line between the north and the south. Suddenly, as one clears
the threshold, he comes upon a smiling oasis of a hundred thousand
date-palms, where a kilometre back was a sterile, pebbly plateau-plain.
Three little baked-mud villages, the "_Village Rouge_," the "_Village
Blanc_," and the "_Village Noir_," huddle about the banks of the Oued
Kantara with waving palms overhead and a rushing, gurgling torrent at
their feet.

[Illustration: _The Village and the Gorge of El Kantara_]

There are mouflons and gazelles in the mountains on either side, and
"the chase" is one of the inducements held out by the hotel and
Messaoud-ben-Ghebana to prolong your stay. They don't guarantee you
either a mouflon (which is the "Barbary sheep" the novelists write
about) or a gazelle; but Messaoud-ben-Ghebana will find them if any one
can, and charge you only five francs a day for his services,--including
a donkey to carry the traps.

There are three classic excursions to be made at El Kantara,--always, of
course, with Messaoud as guide. To the Gorges de Tilatou, to the Gorges
de Maafa, and to Beni-Ferah. You may get a gazelle on the way, or you
may not, but you will experience mountain exploration in all its
primitiveness. If you like it, you can keep it up for a week or a month,
for El Kantara is a much finer centre for making excursions from, or
indeed for spending the winter in, than Biskra and its overrated
attractions of great hotels, afternoon tea, Quaker Oats, Huntley &
Palmer's, and "Dundee,"--what the French call orange marmalade,--with
which the grocers fill their shop-windows to catch visitors from across
the seas.

El Kantara is an artist's paradise; the mountains, the desert, the palms
of the oasis, and the native villages are all close at hand, and there,
a short stroll away, is the ocean of sand itself.

The Artist set up shop _en plein désert_ one day, and turned her back
for a moment only, when the outfit, white umbrella, paint-box, and
camp-stool all disappeared as if buried in the dunes of sand. Not a
trace of them was to be seen, nor of any living thing or person either,
only a dim, shadowy low-spread tent, which had mysteriously sprung up
beneath a neighbouring date-palm while her attention had been called
away. From its cavernous door slowly emerged a real desert Arab and a
train of followers, consisting of two or three women and a numerous
progeny. Perhaps they knew something of a white umbrella, etc. No, they
didn't. At least the father of the family didn't; but suddenly he spied
under a corner of the tent flap something strange and hitherto

The umbrella was all right, also the stool, but the paint-box had been
turned out, and the tubes looked, half of them, thin and twisted, as
though they had been emptied; as indeed they had,--sucked dry by some of
that numerous progeny like enough, though no ill effects were apparent.
All was taken in at a glance, and the afore-mentioned father of the
family turned on his offspring and called them "_putains de juif du
Mellah_," "_rénégads_," "_voleurs_," "_racines amères_" and much more
vituperation of the same kind. Apologies were profuse, but after all was
said and done, we felt quite grateful for the exhibition of righteous
wrath. The desert Arab is a stern father if a good one.

The Arab makes you angry sometimes, but in this case it was the children
who had caused the trouble, and ragamuffins the world over lack
responsibility, so that can't be laid to the Arab.



_Biskra, tout le monde descend! ouf!_ It might be Jersey City or
Chicago; one experiences at last that sense of having reached a
journey's end. At least it will seem so to most who come to the desert's
edge by train from Constantine or Algiers, after two days of as rocky,
uncomfortable railway travelling as one can imagine in these progressive

Biskra is commonly reputed the ideal of a desert oasis, but indeed as an
oasis it is no more delightful than that at El Kantara. Not every one
will find his "Garden of Allah" at Biskra. Biskra is by no means all
things to all men. Leaving out the silly sentiment, which has been
propagated by a school of writers who take themselves too seriously,
there is nothing at Biskra which is not better elsewhere.

It is truly, though, a typical desert oasis, and the town which has
grown up around it is but the natural outcome of trade following the
flag, for Biskra is the commercial and military gateway to the

[Illustration: BISKRA

_Its Arab Villages_]

Biskra is not without its distinctive character. Its native life, its
market, and its Moorish coffee-house, are all typical; but in a way they
have become contaminated with the influx from the outside world and much
of their colour has paled.

One of the curses Biskra bestows upon the stranger within her gates is
that of an innumerable and importunate crew of guides,--of all colours
and shades, of all grades of intelligence, and of all degrees of
proficiency in French. The guides of Biskra wear turbans, coifs, and
fezes. They look as though they belonged to every Mohammedan tribe of
the universe. Those who wear bowler hats are harder to place; one rather
suspects that they are Jews.

"Get a guide to keep off the other guides," is the best advice one can
give the stranger to Biskra. What makes this state of affairs? Too much
exploitation, and too many lavish and foolish English and Americans. In
this respect Biskra is not as bad as Cairo, but it is getting that way.

Biskra's attractions for the visitor are many of them artificial. There
are the great hotels, with their "halls," "smoking-rooms,"
"reading-rooms," and "bars," and the incipient

[Illustration: _The Courtyard of the Hôtel des Ziban, Biskra_]

Casino with its music and "distractions;" and there is the Café Glacier
with its cool drinks at Paris prices. Everything at Biskra is good in
quality, but lacking character. One hotel stands out above all others
for excellence and distinctive features. It is the Hôtel des Ziban. It
has a distinctive clientèle, made up largely of personages such as the
officers of the garrison, a great Sheik or Caïd of a southern tribe, a
grim, taciturn individual with a dozen decorations on his breast, a
government official, a minister, perhaps, and so on. And of course
tourists as well, for tourists are everywhere at Biskra, even in the Rue
Sainte, where they ought not to be,--at least not after dark.

Biskra's chief tourist "sights," after the palm-tree oases of old Biskra
and the Jardin Landon, are the Moorish cafés, and the _naylettes_, or
Ouled-Naïl dancers, of the Rue Sainte. One need not affect this sort of
thing if he doesn't want to; but, aside from playing bridge in the hotel
parlours, or drinking beer in the Café Glacier and listing to "la
musique" of "les artistes Parisiennes," there is not much else to do at
night except doze in the hotel smoking-room or _salon_, with scores of
other fat old ladies and gentlemen.

The _café maure_ or Moorish coffee-shop of North Africa has no distinct
form of architecture. It may be a transformed shop in the European
quarter; the vestibule of a Moorish habitation, or of a mosque; a stone
or mud hut by the roadside overhung by a great waving banana plant or
palm; or it may be a striped lean-to tent. The interior fittings vary
also. In the towns the oven is built up of blue and yellow tiles, and
the pots and cups are kept on a great slab of marble or tile. By the
roadside there are the cups and a tin or copper pot; but the supplies
are invariably kept in an unsoldered five-gallon kerosene can. These
come out from Philadelphia by the hundreds of thousands, and find their
way to all the corners of the earth. The Japanese and the Chinese use
them to roof their huts with; the Singapore boatmen to carry their
water-supply; and the Arab as cooking utensils, and very useful they
are. They are a by-product and cost nothing, except to the Standard Oil
Company, the original shippers.

The Moorish cafés of Biskra are as typical of their class as any seen in
the towns, even though they are tourist "sights."

The whole establishment is gaudy and crude, with its plastered walls,
its rough, unpainted furnishings, its seats and benches all
smoke-coloured, as if they were centuries old,--though probably they are
not. In the rear, always in plain view, is the _oudjak_, the vaulted
oven or heater, where the thick, syrupy coffee is brewed and kept hot.
The chief notes of colour are the little wine-glasses, the cups, the
water-bottles, the tiled backgrounds, and the head-gear of the habitués,
and the parrot--always a parrot, in his crudely built cage. The
establishments of Biskra are typical _cafés maures_, and might well be
on the edge or middle of the desert itself, instead of in a very
Frenchified Algerian city of eight thousand inhabitants.

Here are congregated all that queer _mélange_ of North African peoples:
nomads and Arabs of the desert; half-bred, blue-eyed men of the coast;
the delicately featured Kabyles; Moroccans; some Spahis; a negro or two,
black as night; and even Makhazni from the interior, who are at home
wherever their horse and saddle may be. All these and more--the whole
gamut of the cosmopolitan population of the Mediterranean--are here.

In the Moorish cafés and the "Black Tents" alike, Makhazni and Spahis
play the Spanish "ronda" or dominoes with all the devotion of lovers of
sedentary amusements elsewhere.

The Spahi and the negro will play together all day and half the night,
shuffling the cards and juggling the dominoes, and only a savage grunt,
or cry, periodically breaks their silence. Their emotions are mostly
expressed by indeterminable, leery grins.

Night falls, and one street alone in Biskra retains the activities and
life of the daytime. It is the street of cafés, where, behind closed
doors, dance the Ouleds-Naïls for the delectation of the Arab, the
profit of the patron, and for the curious from overseas to speculate

The performance of the Moorish cafés of Biskra, Constantine, and Tunis
are amusing and instructive, if not edifying, no doubt. But those who
expect the conventional "musical evening" will be disappointed. Painted
sequin-bedecked women depend more upon their physical charms to appeal
to the Arab _bourgeoisie_ and the Zouaves, Spahis and Turcos, who mostly
make up their audiences, than to the rhythm of the accompanying
orchestra, which many a time is drowned out by the free and easy

The music of the _indigènes_ may be soothing, but one must be an
_indigène_ to feel that way about it. There is nothing very soothing to
the Anglo-Saxon about the incessant beating of a tambourine, or the
prolonged shrill squeak of a reed pipe, the combination made hideous by
the persistent whining of the renegade desert Arab who "bosses the job,"
the only occupation at which he can work while sitting down and drinking
coffee for twenty-two hours out of the twenty-four. His profits must all
go for coffee. A hundred cups a day and as many more in a night does not
seem to jaundice his eye or dull his energies, such as they are. Coffee
and tobacco--of any old kind--will keep an Arab musician going, whereas
a Spaniard with a guitar, an Italian with a mandolin, or a German with a
trombone, would want some solid food and alcoholic refreshment as well.
From this one gathers that the Arab is temperate; and he is in most
things, except coffee, cigarettes, and music.

If one is a serious, thorough, vagabond traveller, and would study the
Ouled-Naïls and their histories, all well and good; there's something in
it. But if one goes to prowling around Biskra's Rue Sainte merely for
adventure, he is liable to get it, and of a costly kind, and he will
learn nothing about the Ouled-Naïls from an ethnological point of view.
The sentimental writers have drawn altogether too sentimental a picture
of this plague-spot. In truth the Ouled-Naïls are a race of girls and
women quite apart from those other Algerian tribes. They come to Biskra,
to Constantine, and to Algiers, and live the lives of other
free-and-easy women of the world. They dance in the Moorish cafés for
the delectation of Arabs, Turks, and strangers, and they carry on a
considerably less moral traffic as well, gaining _sous_, _francs_, and
_louis_ meanwhile. When she has enough golden sequins to link together
in a kind of a _cuirasse_, which hangs from her velvet brown neck down
over her chest in an amulet half a yard square, the Ouled-Naïl
_danseuse_ retires from business. She goes back to her tribe in the
southwest, becomes virtuous, makes some Arab sheep-herder or
camel-trader happy, and raises a family, the girls of which in time go
through the same proceedings. The game is an hereditary one, and it is
played desperately and, apparently, with less ill effects than one would
suppose. For the women are accredited as living moral lives ever
after,--once they get back to their homes. It is the contact with
civilization, or semicivilization, which does them harm.

The Casino at Biskra offers as one of its attractions the sight of these
dancing women of the Ouled-Naïls without the necessity of contaminating
oneself by going down into their quarter and seeing the real thing. The
contamination is just as great in the gilded halls of the Casino as in
some dingy, smoky _café maure_, but the local colour is wanting.

The excursions to be made from Biskra are not as many, nor so enjoyable,
as those from El Kantara. The round of Old Biskra and its villages is
readily made on foot or by carriages; and one may even continue farther
afield to the sandy, wavy dunes of the desert, and to the "Fontaine
Chaude," or to the Shrine of Sidi-Okba, twenty kilometres out over the
camel trail of the open desert. This excursion to Sidi-Okba is classic.

Sidi-Okba sits in the midst of a fine oasis of some seventy thousand
date-growing palms. It is a miserable, unlovely enough little village,
but the memory of the Arab conqueror, Okba-ben-Nofi, has made it famous.

"You will find nothing to eat at Sidi-Okba," say the guide-books. "You
must carry your provisions." It all depends on what you want to eat. If
it is simple refreshment only, you will find it here at Sidi-Okba--the
tomb of the founder of Kairouan--in a veritable _guinguette_ such as one
sees in suburban Paris, with arbours, trellised vines, and glittering
coloured balls of glass suspended from the trees. It is a little bit of
transplanted France, dull, tawdry, and uninteresting enough. But still,
there it is,--a café-restaurant sitting tight in a little Arab village,
before the tomb of the great Sidi-Okba, which attracts pilgrims all
through the year from among the Mussulman population of all North
Africa. The mosque, where repose the sainted man's remains, is the most
ancient monument of Islam in Algeria.

The tomb, the mosque, the Medersa, or Arab school, and the
afore-mentioned _guinguette_, are all there are at Sidi-Okba; but it
should be omitted from no man's, or woman's, itinerary in these parts.

Back again over the same route one gains Biskra after a hard day's round
_en voiture_, or on the back of a donkey, or a mulet, as he chooses. The
only things you see _en route_ are an occasional solitary _gourbi_; a
mud hut or two; or perhaps a simple tomb or _kouba_ rising away in the
distance,--a white silhouette against a background of yellow sand and
blue sky.

These little punctuating notes dot the landscape all through Tunisia and
Algeria. Frequently you will find scattered about the _kouba_ numerous
detached tombs, still distinguishable, though half buried in the sand.
These detached shrines and cemeteries, often half submerged in great
waves of sand, are met with on the outskirts of nearly all Algerian
towns and cities; and one is no more surprised at coming upon one beside
the road than he is at the sight of a kilometre stone.

Southwest from Biskra is the region of the Ziban, a zone of steppes,
planted here and there with verdant oases.

Topographically the features of the Ziban are mountainous, though ranges
of the Zab slope and taper off imperceptibly into the dunes of the

The inhabitants of the Ziban are of a race differing considerably from
the Kabyle and the Arab, favouring the former more than the latter. The
plaited hair of the women, their general barbaric love of jewelry and
personal adornment, their complexion, their chains, bracelets, and
collarettes all point to the fact that they are an immigrant race, the
development of a stock originally brought from afar, and not descended
from the desert nomad.

Throughout Algeria the nomad Arab is he who comes from the Sahara and
its closer confines during the summer, returning with his herds in the
winter to the desert, or to the great tents of his father's tribe. The
Arab peasant, or labourer, is a native of the Tell region, and is
manifestly not of the same purity of type as the desert Arab who speaks
the pure idiom of the Koran. The Kabyle is another race apart. The
distinctive characteristics of the three peoples are easily recognized
when you are once familiar with them.

Bordering upon the Monts du Zab (the Ziban) are the Monts des
Ouled-Naïls, the home of the curiously distinct tribe before mentioned,
who are more like degenerate Kabyles than they are like the desert Arab

Still farther in the southwest is a sad, gloomy land, half desert and
half mountain, not wholly Saharan, and yet not wholly Algerian, either
in topographical characteristics or in the characteristics of its
people. It is the region of the M'zabs, wild savage children of
an uncivilized land, fanatically religious and veritable
_débauchés_,--which the Berber tribes are not. Their houses are poor,
but their purses are well lined, and, since France has taken over
Algeria, they are also French, though they might be Martians for all
they resemble the French.

"It takes five Arabs to get the best of an Algerian Jew," says a proverb
of the Sud, "and five Jews to master a M'zabite." In origin the people
are supposed to be a mixture of the ancient Phoenicians and Numidians.
Members of the tribe swarm all over Algeria, and are found even in
Marseilles, as ambulant merchants, but they invariably return to their
native land, for, it seems, it is a tenet of their religion not to
remain away more than two years.

Among them are four orthodox sects of Mussulmans, and still another
peculiar to themselves, whose chief characteristic seems to consist of
interminable praying; whereas the conventional Mohammedan is contented
with exhorting his God five times a day.

Their towns rank as veritable holy cities in their creed, with Ghardaïa
as the capital. The satellite _villes saintes_ are Melika, Ben-Izguen,
Bou Noura, El Ateuf, Beryan, and Guerrara. In all their population
numbers between thirty and forty thousand.

The general aspect of the land is one of melancholy, because of the
numbers of their burial-grounds, three or four surrounding each town.
The cemeteries are "places of prayer" with the M'zabites, and their
population of weeping, wailing, praying faithful is always numerically
greater than the dead. When the M'zabite is not selling something he is

Quite the most varied ethnographic and topographic changes to be
observed in North Africa are those south of Biskra, within the limits of
El Kantara on the north and Oued-Souf in the south.

The religious tribes and sects are numerous, each having its own
supplementary creeds and customs; the Ziban differing from those of the
Ramaya, the Zogga, the Sidi-Okba, and the Oued B'hir. Still other oases
passed _en route_ have their _zaouyas_ or brotherhoods of professing
coreligionists, not differing greatly from each other in general
principles, but still possessed of variants as wide apart as the
Methodists and Universalists of the Christian world.

Throughout all this region the marabouts, or holy men, are most
hospitable, and are as appreciative of little attentions--gifts of
chocolate, of candles, or even matches--as could possibly be imagined.
In many cases they are veritable hermits, whose only intercourse with
the outside world is with passing strangers,--who are few.



The path of the Roman through North Africa was widely strewn with civic
and military monuments as grand as any of the same class elsewhere in
the Western Empire.

One comes to associate the ancient Roman with Gaul, and is no longer
surprised when he contemplates the wonderful arenas of Arles and Nîmes
or the arch and the theatre at Orange. Pompeii and Herculaneum are
classic memories of our school-time days, and we think it nothing
strange that their ruins exist to-day. When, however, we view the vast
expanse of vertical marbles at Timgad in Algeria's plateau of the Tell,
the Prætorium at Lambessa, the great Roman Arch at Tebessa, the
amphitheatre at Djemel, or the ruined portal of Dougga, it all comes so
suddenly upon us that we wonder what nature of a hodge-podge dream we
are living in.

The effect is further heightened when one sees a caravan of camels,
horses, and donkeys, and its accompanying men and women of the desert,
camped beside some noble Roman arch or tomb standing alone above the
desert plain. It is not alone, of course. There are other neighbouring
remains buried round about, or there are still fragments that serve some
neighbouring settlement as a quarry from which to draw blocks of stone
to build anew, as did the builders of certain Italian cathedrals draw
some of their finest marbles from the ruins of old Carthage.

All North Africa is very rich in Roman ruins, and the Arabs are as
interested in these antique remains as are the whitest, longest-bearded
archæologists that ever lived. It is not their love of antiquity that
accounts for this, but the possibility of getting information which will
lead to treasure. Most of these North African Roman ruins were despoiled
of all articles of value by the ancestors of the present Arabs long
before the antiquarians took it into their heads to exploit them; but
the traditional game still goes on.

The Arab of Algeria to-day still looks forward to the time when he may
yet discover a vast buried treasure. Perhaps he may! Who knows?
Tradition and legend all but definitely locate many buried hoards which
have not yet been touched, and any grotto or cavern miraculously or
accidentally discovered may prove a veritable gold mine. The Arab thinks
that this is as sure to happen to him as for the clock to strike twelve
on the eve of the Jour des Rameaux. And that he will tumble on all fours
into the midst of a cavern paved and walled with gold, pearls, and
precious stones.

From Tlemcen on the west (the ancient Pomaria of the Romans, and an
important Roman camp) to Tozeur in the Sud-Tunisien (the site of the
still more ancient Thusuros) is one long, though more or less loosely
connected, chain of relics of the Roman occupation.

At Cherchell are vestiges of an antique Roman port; at Tipaza various
civic monuments; and not far distant the enigmatic "Tombeau de la
Chrétienne." On the coast, to the east of Algiers, is Stora, a port of
antiquity, and Bona (the ancient Hippo-Regius), where the tourist to-day
divides his attentions between the commonplace basilica erected to Saint
Augustin, who was bishop of Hippo-Regius in the fourth century, and the
tomb of the Marabout Sidi-Brahmin, with the balance of appeal in favour
of the latter simple shrine. Modern Christian architecture often
descends to base, unfeeling garishness, whereas the savage

[Illustration: _The Kasba, Bona_]

simplicity of the exotic races often produces something on similar
lines, but in a great deal better taste. Here is where the onyx and
marble basilica at Bona, albeit one of Christendom's great shrines,
loses by comparison with the simple _kouba_ of the Mohammedan holy man.

On the route from Bona to Hippo-Regius (to-day Hippone) is a restored
Roman bridge, so restored indeed that it has lost all semblance of
antiquity, but still it is there to marvel at.

"_Bône la belle!_" the French fondly call the antique city. Bona of
to-day is beautiful as modern cities go, but it is so modern with its
_quais_, its promenades, its esplanade, and its pompous Hôtel de
l'Orient, that one loves it for nothing but its past. The _Kasba_, the
military headquarters on the edge of the town by the shore, piles up
skyward in imposing fortress-fashion and is the chief architecturally
interesting monument of the town itself.

Eastward from Bona, eighty kilometres or so along the coast, is La
Calle, another port of antiquity, the Tunizia of the Romans, and one of
the old French trading-posts on the Barbary coast. There are few ancient
remains at La Calle to-day, but it is one of the most interesting of all
the Algerian coast towns all the same.

La Calle would be worthy of exploitation as a tourist resort if one
could only get to it comfortably as it lies half hidden just to the
westward of the Bastion de France and hemmed in on the south by the
Khoumir region. The road from Bona to La Calle is the worst in Algeria,
and the light railway is very poor. La Calle has become the centre of
the world's coral fishery since the Italians have worked out their own
beds. Out of about 5,000 Europeans, La Calle has quite half of its
population made up of sunny Neapolitans and Sicilians, whose chief
delight is to dive into deep water and bring up coral, or dig a cutting
for a canal or railway. Wherever there is a job of this kind on hand,
the Italian is the man to do it.

The town is very ancient, and its name is derived from the word meaning
dock, or _cale_, hence it is not difficult to trace its origin back to a
great seaport of history. Its commerce has been exploited since 1560 by
Marseillais merchants; but in spite of this it is to-day more Italian
than French.

The coral industry is still great, but here, too, the supply is on the
wane. It has been fashionable for too long a time, in spite of the
traffic in pink celluloid and porcelain, which furnishes most of the
"coral" to kitchen maids and _midinettes_.

With the falling off of the coral industry, the sardine fishery has
developed, and now the little fishes boiled in oil, the universally
popular _hors d'oeuvre_, are as likely to have come from the harbour
of La Calle as the Bay of Douarnenez. They are not so good as the latter
variety (though as a fact the sardine is a Mediterranean fish, only
caught in northern waters because it migrates there in summer), but they
are a good deal better than the Nova Scotia or Norway sardines of
commerce, which are not sardines at all.

From the coast down into the interior Constantine, the Cirta of the
ancients, looms large in the roll-call of antiquity. After the Numidian
kings came Sittius with the backing of Cæsar, and the whole neighbouring
region blossomed forth with prosperous and growing cities, Mileum
(Mila), Chellu (Collo), and Rusicade (Philippeville). Among Cirta's
famous men was Fronton, the preceptor of Marcus Aurelius. In the latter
days of the Empire and under Byzantine domination, Cirta became the
capital of a province, as is the Constantine of to-day.

Constantine's Roman remains are not many to-day. Those of the great
bridge across the Gorge of the Rummel are the principal ones. Various
antique constructive elements are readily traced, but the present bridge
swings out boldly away from the old stone piers, leaving the Roman
bridge an actual ruin and nothing more. Its keystone did not fall until
1858, though probably the actual arch of that time only dated from the
century before, as great works of restoration, perhaps indeed of entire
reconstruction, were then undertaken by Salah-Bey.


Near Constantine, on the road to Kroubs, is the absurdly named Tomb of
Constantine, absurdly named because this Græco-Punic monument could
never have been the tomb of Constantine from its very constructive
details, which so plainly mark its epoch. It is nevertheless a very
beautiful structure,--what there is left of it. Moreover it is a
mausoleum of some sort, though the natives call it simply _souma_ or


Its ground-plan and its silhouette are alike passing strange, though
plain and simple to a degree.

Another tomb in this province which is one of the relics of antiquity
(over which archæologists have raved and disputed since they got into
competition by expressing their views and printing books about them) is
the tomb of Médracen or Madghasen, on the road from Constantine to

It is a great cone of wooden-looking blocks of stone, a sort of
pyramidal cone, with a broad, flat base. At a distance it looks like a
combination of Fingal's Cave and the Pyramid of Cheops.

Supposedly this was a royal mausoleum, the burial-place of Médracen. The
entrance to this really remarkable monument was discovered in 1850, but
only recently has its ground-plan been made public by those secretive
antiquarians who sometimes do not choose to give their information

El Bekri, the Arab writer of the eleventh century, wrote something about
this monument which, being rediscovered in later centuries, led to
investigations which unearthed a monument according to the above plan.

In the interior of the Constantinois, between Constantine and Biskra, in
the midst of that wonderfully fertile plateau of the Tell, are three
magnificently interesting Roman cities, Lambessa, Timgad, and Tebessa.
They are only to be reached from Batna by diligence, by hired carriage,
or by automobile,--if one has one, and cares to take chances on getting
through, for of course there are no supplies to be had _en route_. The
distance from Batna to Tebessa--where one is again in touch with the
railway, a branch leading to the Bona-Guelma line at Souk-Ahras--is
about a hundred and eighty kilometres.

A placid contemplation of one or all of the cities making up this
magnificent collection of Roman ruins in the heart of Africa will give
one emotions that hitherto he knew naught of.

Batna itself is not a tourist point, though an interesting enough place
to observe the native as he mingles with the military and the European
civilization. "Batna-la-bivouac" the city is called, because of the
great military post here. It is not a dead city, but a sleeping one. At
its very gates rises the conical tomb of the Numidian king, Massinissa.
Just before Batna is reached by the railway, coming from El Guerrah, is
Seriana, so known to the Arabs, though the French have recently renamed
it Pasteur, after the illustrious chemist. The site is that of the
ancient Lamiggiga. A dozen kilometres or more out into the plateau lands
to the northwest is Zana, the ancient city of Diana. Here still exist
two great triumphal arches, one of a single bay and the other of three,
the latter constructed by the Emperor Macrin in 217 A.D. A temple to
Diana formerly here has disappeared, but before its emplacement is a
great monumental gateway still in a very good state of preservation.
There are also vestiges of a Byzantine fortress.

From Batna to Lambessa, on the road to Timgad, is a dozen kilometres.
The ruins of the Lambæsis of the Romans are of enormous extent, even
those so far uncovered to view, and much more remains to be excavated.

The Third Legion of Augustus, charged with the defence of North Africa,
here made their camp in the beginning of the second century of our era,
and the outlines of this camp are to-day well defined.

Of the monumental remains, the Prætorium is a vast quadrangular
structure in rosy-red stone most imposingly beautiful. The forum is
plainly marked, and near by are the baths, with their heating-furnaces
yet visible; and the ruined arcades of an amphitheatre crop up through
the thin soil in a surprising manner. The eastern and western gateways
of this vast military camp are still more than fragmentary in silhouette
and outline.

[Illustration: _Lambessa and Its Ruins_]

[Illustration: LAMBESE]

Farther on is a great three-bayed arch built under Septimus Severus and
a pagan temple to Esculapius. The Capitol, in its ground-plan, and with
respect to a great part of its walls, stands proud and magnificent as of
yore. It was dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. The ruins of a
Roman aqueduct lie to the south of the Capitol.

To the north, a matter of four kilometres or so, is a pyramidal tomb to
Flavius Maximus, Prefect of the Third Augustan Legion.

Close beside all this buried treasure is the great government
penitentiary. Two thousand Turk, Jew, and Arab thieves and murderers are
there shut up; when they want exercise, they are given a pick and shovel
and set to work as one of the "outside contingent," digging away the
débris of ages from these magnificent Roman ruins. This is the sort of
criminal labour which doesn't affect competition. The _forçats_ of
Algeria accomplish some good in life after all.

Timgad is twenty-five kilometres beyond Lambessa, and, though only the
site of a ruined Roman city, founded under the Emperor Trajan, has hotel
accommodation of a very acceptable, if not luxurious, kind (Hotel

One should take a guide, once arrived at Timgad, to save time, otherwise
he may worry it all out with the map herewith.

Sidi Hassin, our guide at Timgad, was a man of medium size, young, thin
and muscular, with an incipient scraggy beard. He was dressed modestly
and even becomingly, for he

[Illustration: TIMGAD]

had not mingled Manchester goods with his _haïk_ and burnous woven in
some Kabyle village. On his head was a little round turban, and his
sandals were laced with leather thongs. He was decidedly a home-made
product. His compressed visage bespoke energy and intelligence, and a
little mocking laugh, a sort of audible smile, was ever on his lips, in
strong contrast to the melancholic indifference of the average Arab.

Sidi Hassin seemed the right sort of a philosopher and friend for our
journey around Timgad, so we took him as soon as he offered his
services. His recommendation for the job was, in his own words, as

"_Tu es sous le doigt de Dieu et sous le mien! Je réponds de toi. Tu
reviendras sain et sauf._"

Thamugadi was founded by Trajan in the year 100 A.D., the actual labour
being the work of the soldiers of the Third Legion, then encamped at
Lambessa. Thamugadi, a _foyer_ of Roman civilization in a still
barbarous land, was of great importance and wealth. It lived in security
and prosperity until the early part of the sixth century, when it was
destroyed by the Berbers.

More luxuriously disposed even than Lambessa, Timgad presents the very
ideal of a ruined Roman city. It had not, perhaps, the wealth of
Pompeii, and it had not Pompeii's wonderful background of Vesuvius and
the Bay of Naples, but it was more ample and more splendid in its
arrangements than any other ruined Roman city left for tourists to
marvel at to-day.

The French "Service des Monuments Historiques" began excavating Timgad's
ruins in 1881, and now one is able to locate with accuracy the various
civic and military structures. These cover such a large territory that
the city must ever take rank as one of the most interesting ruins
unearthed to this date.

The ground-plan here given explains it all precisely, and the reader is
referred to the "Guide Illustré de Timgad," on sale at the Hotel Meille,
for detailed descriptions which cannot be elaborated here.

A Byzantine fortress, built under Justinian in the sixth century, is
also here. It was an outpost or defence which guarded the pass through
the rock wall of the Aures, from the high plateau of Numidia to the
Lybian Desert to the south. Its thick walls, two metres or more, are
still flanked by eight towers.

From Timgad to Kenchela is some seventy kilometres, and is covered by
diligence once a day, the journey taking twelve hours and costs ten
francs. You pass several _foums_, or springs, and cross several _oueds_
or river-beds on the way, and finally, after a steep climb, you reach
Kenchela, built upon the site of the ancient Mascula, one of the
contemporaries of Lambæsis and Thamugadi.

To-day Kenchela has nothing for the tourist but its Hôtel de France, and
its Monday market, which like other _indigène_ markets is full of
iridescent local colour and life. Near by, on the flank of the
mountains, were Roman baths, known as the Aquæ Flavianæ, passed by on
the road from Timgad. Two huge pools, one round and the other square,
are all that remain to-day.

To reach Tebessa from Kenchela one may take the railway to Ain-Beïda,--a
matter of fifty kilometres. There are no ruins _en route_ except at
Ksar-Baghai, a great Byzantine fortress built by Justinian. Its square
donjon and round towers look like those of the feudal strongholds of
Europe. They are not the least African.

From Ain-Beïda to Tebessa is another eighty-eight kilometres of
well-laid modern roadway. It is covered by a daily diligence in ten
hours, at a cost of fifteen francs.

Tebessa is a worthy rival of Lambessa and Timgad. Its ruins are many
to-day. The most notable ones are Caracalla's Arch of Triumph, a temple
of the same epoch (the beginning of the third century of our era), and
innumerable finds preserved in the local museum. The great arch is a
stupendous and very beautiful work, and the temple worthy to rank with
the Maison Carrée at Nîmes, the svelt proportions and marble Corinthian
columns of which are its chief features.

[Illustration: TEBESSA]

The present city of Tebessa sits in the midst of a vast expanse
scattered with Roman ruins and surrounded by the still existing
Byzantine walls built by one Salomon, a general of the Legion of

These walls have stood for thirteen centuries, restored from time to
time, until now, with the coming of the French, the aspect of the modern
walled city has the disposition given above. Fourteen rectangular
towers, including the massive fortress-gate of Caracalla, add
considerably to the value of the defences.

Not only at Tebessa, but all around for a radius of twenty-five
kilometres, the ground is strewn with old Roman and Byzantine relics;
notably at Morsott, where has recently been unearthed the site of the
ancient Theverte of the Romans. It is entirely a new discovery, and what
great finds may ultimately be brought to light, no one as yet can

Two basilicas have already been brought to the surface, two isolated
mausoleums, a vast monumental gateway, a drinking-fountain of
astonishing proportions, baths, and many beautiful and practically
undefiled mosaics.

These ruins are scattered over an area of seven thousand square metres,
and, almost without exception, their preservation is in such a condition
that, so far as outlines are concerned, one is able to construct anew
what must have been a very important centre of Roman civilization. This
group of neighbouring Roman towns and cities of the past, beginning with
Tebessa and ending with Lambessa, form perhaps the most curious and
extensive area of Roman ruins to be found to-day within a like radius.

[Illustration: MORSOTT]

The first exploration of the ruins of Morsott was through the means of
the "Société Archéologique" of Constantine, but the French government
has stepped in and claimed them for its own and classed them as
"Monuments Historiques," which means that no more will strangers be able
to lug away with them as excess baggage a Roman capital, to be used as a
garden seat at home. This is right and proper, the most passionate
collector will admit.



    "A travers la douceur de tes jeunes jardins
     Je m'avance vers toi, Tunis, ville étrangère.
     Je te vois du haut des gradins
     De ta colline d'herbe et de palmes légères."

By sea one approaches Tunis through the canal which runs from La
Goulette to the _quais_ and docks in the new town of Tunis; and one pays
the company which exploits the harbour works four francs for the
privilege. It's progress if you like, but it's about the most expensive
half a dozen miles of travel by water that exists in all the known

By land one arrives by railway, and is mulcted a similar amount by some
red-fezzed, nut-brown Arab for pointing out the way to your hotel. The
_porteurs_, _portefaix_, and _faccini_ who carry your luggage at Tunis
are most importunate. If they happen to tumble your trunk overboard,
they still strike you for their pay. You say: "_Pourquoi vous
donnerais-je?_" And the answer is: "_Parceque c'est moi qui a perdu
votre malle._" Moral, travel light. You take your choice, it's only four
francs either way. And truly it is worth it, for there is nothing, short
of Constantinople or Cairo, as Oriental as old Tunis, the Tunis of the
_souks_, of the mosques, and minarets. The other Tunis, that one down by
the docks, and the new-made land lying before the Arab quarter, is as
conventionally twentieth-century as Paris or New York. It is very up to
date (a sign of prosperity and progress), and that's what the French and
native government officials are working for. Tunis is the coming land of
exploitation, a little corner of the globe as rich in the products of
nature, mines and fruits and vegetables, as any other wherever found.

The Lake of Tunis is no longer seething with the variegated commerce of
old; things are more prosaic with steam than with sail, but to pass
through her sea-gate is to be surrounded by the people of the Bible, the
Arabian Nights, and the Alhambra of the days of the Moors. Tunis is the
veritable gate of Eastern life, of the life of Haroun-Al-Rachid. The
European city by the harbour is of to-day. The walled native city is
almost unconscious of the existence of modern Europe. It is the most
interesting tourist resort of North Africa, more so than Algiers by far,
with its _souks_, its proximity to Carthage, and its Orientalism.

Tunis is a city of consulates. Not all of them have business to
transact, but still they are there, the consulates of all nations under
the sun. "Do you have many of your country people to look after?" the
writer interrogated of one accredited from a South American government,
a German, by the way, whom he met in a Tunis café. He replied: "But
there are none of my government's people here; they neither live here,
trade here, nor pass through as tourists, as do the English and
Americans." "What then do you do?" he was asked. "I correspond with my
government." "Well, why not be frank about it, that is what most consuls
and consulates do!" The expatriate who wants help or even information
from his government's representative is usually met by some underling,
who at once begins edging him toward the door and says guilelessly:
"This office has no information on that subject," or, "I really don't
know myself; you'll have to see the consul, but just at present...."

These receptions are stupefying in their asininity, but they come to
pass in most consulates, and those at Tunis are no exception.

Tunis' Arab town is less spoilt by the encroachment of outside
influences than that of Algiers. Day or night, it is a wonderful chapter
from the "Arabian Nights" that one lives, as he strolls aimlessly up one
narrow, twisting _ruelle_ and down another. Here is a great towering
minaret of a mosque which seemingly does business at all hours, and
there is a synagogue which has Saturday for a busy day. The
perfume-sellers of the Souk des Parfums are Mohammedans, and intersperse
religion with business; the saddle-makers, jewellers, and
leather-workers are often Jews, and attend strictly to business for six
days in the week and shut up shop on Saturday, make their necessary
devotions quickly and stand around on their door-sills the rest of the
day dressed in their holiday clothes. All castes and creeds are here,
from the Italian chestnut-vendor to the Jew old-clo' dealer, and from
the desert nomad horse-dealer to the town-bred Arab who wears a silk
burnous and carries a cane.

The _souks_ or bazaars of Tunis are the chief delight of the stranger,
and certainly no such "shopping" can be done elsewhere as here; no, not
even at Cairo, for, after all, Tunis is "less spoiled" than Cairo,
though even here the stranger is a fair mark for the Arab trader, who
augments his price a hundred per cent. You must bargain with the
Oriental, be he Arab, Turk, Jew, Hindu, Chinaman, or Japanese, and the
further east you go, the more the necessity for bargaining.

One of the pleasantest features of travel for many, no doubt, is
visiting the shops. Travellers should, however, exercise judgment and
discrimination, and should take a little trouble to ascertain what are
the genuine specialties of the place. "_Articles de touriste_" should at
all times be avoided; nine cases out of ten they are made to sell. At
Tunis, as at Cairo or Constantinople, one is painfully at the mercy of
his guide, who, if he can, takes him to the large shops, which, as a
rule, deal mainly in pseudo-curios, or articles manufactured solely for
strangers. These are invariably the shops where the enterprising
shopkeepers pay the guides the largest commission. No doubt the farce of
solemnly presenting coffee to the purchaser, a custom which the tourist
has been told by his guide-book to expect, is effective "playing-up,"
but the innocent stranger may rest assured that while he is thus
literally imbibing the Oriental atmosphere, he will pay for it as well
in the bill. He may not notice it, but it is there.

[Illustration: _In the Bazaars, Tunis_]

The most characteristic finds to be had in Tunis to-day are the fine old
mirrors, made at Genoa and Florence for wealthy Turks and Arabs of a
hundred or two years ago; _moucharabias_, stolen from some Moorish
house; the thousand and one decorations of tile and baked clay which are
unmistakable as to their genuineness; and good Kabyle silver jewelry.
There are one or two shops in the European quarter where one can be
confident he is getting the real thing, and where they sell it by
weight, at two hundred francs a kilo.

In another category, more or less tawdry to be sure, but ever
fascinating to the stranger, are such things as stuffed lizards,
gazelles' horns and skins, panther and jackal skins, curious engraved
boxes covered with camel-skin, negro tom-toms, castanets, amulets, and
pottery, Arab knives, daggers and muskets, Morocco slippers, saddle-bags
and purses, Touareg weapons and leather goods, ostrich eggs and
feathers, copper bowls and ornaments.

Perhaps the above suggestions will seem prosaic and matter-of-fact to
the sentimental traveller, to whom the very word bazaar offers a
suggestion of romantic adventure, to say nothing of the possibility of
real "discoveries." But in places of tourist resort bargaining is no
longer conducted after the stately fashion of the "Arabian Nights," when
the purchase of a brass tray or an embroidered saddle-cloth was a solemn
treaty, and the bargain for a lamp a diplomatic event, not to be lightly
undertaken or hurriedly concluded. To-day it is simply a businesslike
transaction in which the golden rule plays a no more prominent part than
it does in Chicago's wheat-pit. There is the coffee-drinking left, to be
sure, but that is only part of the game.

The foreign element has made astonishing inroads into the trade of
Tunis, and the Italian, the Greek, the Maltese, and the Jew are
everywhere working at everything. The Jew, more than any other race, has
made the greatest progress, as the following tale, or legend, if it be
not entirely a veracious tale, will show.

A Jew of Tunis a couple of centuries ago commissioned a French merchant
to order for him a cargo of black hats, green shawls and red silk
stockings. When, however, the goods arrived, the Jew repudiated the
order. Haled before the Bey, who in those days administered justice
himself, the Jew denied not only the order, but also all knowledge of
the French merchant. "Where are your witnesses?" asked the Bey of the
Frenchman. "I have none, Sire," he replied, "not even a line of
writing. The order was given me verbally by the Jew." "Then," decided
the Bey, "as it is only oath against oath, I cannot pronounce judgment
in your favour." The Frenchman walked sadly away, knowing that this
meant to him absolute ruin. Hardly had he reached his home, when he was
amazed and alarmed by a great tumult in the streets. Hurrying out to
ascertain its cause, he found a vast crowd, mostly Jews, following one
of the Beylical _entourage_, who was making the following proclamation:
"Every Jew who, within twenty-four hours after the issue of this
proclamation, shall be found in any street of Tunis without a black
beaver hat on his head, a green shawl round his shoulders, and silk
stockings on his legs, shall be forthwith seized and conveyed to the
first court of our palace, where he will be publicly flogged to death."
Within an hour the French merchant's shop was besieged by Jews eager to
pay him any price he chose to ask for his derelict cargo of black hats,
green shawls and red silk stockings.

If the foregoing tale proves anything, it proves hatred of the Jews and
love for the French, and if that state of affairs does not exist to its
fullest extent in Tunis to-day, every competent observer can but remark
that the Tunisian, be he Jew or Berber, under combined French and
Beylical rule is very well cared for indeed.

The life of Tunis is, as might be supposed, very mixed. A Tunisian Arab
will sometimes marry a European, though not often; but never a Jewess.
There is a tale of a certain Arab shopkeeper of the Souk d'Etoffes who
married a stranger from overseas. How the tryst was carried on is not
stated, but married they were, and of course everybody was shocked; not
because it was everybody's business, but because it was nobody's

"Does she really love him?" asked the ladies around the tea-tables at
the Tunisia Palace Hotel when the tale was recounted.

"Well, they look happy," said the discoverer of the _ménage_, "and joy
lasts seven days, or seven years, they say."

"It makes me just sick," said a new-made bride, doing her honeymoon in
the Mediterranean.

"How long has she been married?" asked another; this time a spinster.

"Oh, about two years, and they tell me she gets thinner and thinner each
year. It's the case of oil and water,--the East and the West,--they
can't mix."

This was only gossip, of course, but it was a sign of the times.

The population of Tunis is the most interesting of all nations under the
sun, particularly of a spring or autumn evening as it sits on the broad
terrace of one of the boulevard cafés, well dressed and gay, and the
Arab the gayest of them all. The Arab of Tunis, when he arrives to a
certain distinction, dresses in robes of silk, and silk stockings, too,
which he holds up over his bare calves with a "Boston garter," or a very
good imitation thereof. Certainly an Arab whose burnous, _haïk_,
_gandurah_, _caftan_, socks, and garters are silk must be a "personage."

A curious thing to be remarked in the cafés of Tunis is the avidity with
which the exiled French population devours the Paris papers upon the
arrival of the mail-boat. Another curious thing is the fact that the
newsboys sell them in twos and threes; there not being a mail every day,
they arrive in bunches of two, three, and sometimes four. One glances at
the last one first, but reads it last, at least most people do it that
way. It's human nature.

Throughout Tunis' Arab quarter the wide-spread hand of Fatmah as a sign
of good luck is seen everywhere. It may be stencilled on some shop
window, painted over the chimney in a Moorish café, or even stained upon
the flank of a horse or donkey. The _main de Fatmah_ is the "good-luck"
charm of the Arab, and, as a souvenir to be carried away by the
stranger, in the form of a bangle or watch-charm, is about the most
satisfactory and characteristic thing that can be had.

After the _souks_, the palaces and mosques are of chief interest to the
traveller. One may not enter the mosques--the French authorities hold
the temple of the Mussulman's God inviolate; but the Dar el Bey and the
Bardo, the chief administrative buildings of the native government, may
be checked off the indefatigable tourist's list of "things to see;" as
have been Bunker Hill Monument, the Paris Morgue, and Ellen Terry's
cottage at Winchelsea, for presumably these have been "done" first. Such
is the craze for seeing sights without knowing what they all mean. "Is
it old?" "Does the King, Prince, Bey, or Sultan really live there?" "And
are the blood-spots real?" are fair representatives of


the class of information which most conventional tourists demand.

The great gates of the inner Arab city of Tunis are most fascinating,
with their swarming hordes of passers-by and their grim battlemented
walls and towers. The new boulevarded streets circle the old town, and
an electric tramway runs in either direction from the Port de France
back again to the Port de France. Outside, all is twentieth-century;
within, all is a couple of hundred years behind the times at least.

High up above all, behind the Dar el Bey and overlooking the roof-tops
of the _souks_ and the town below, is the Kasba and the quaintly
decorated minaret of its mosque, the oldest in Tunis, and quite the
finest of all the decorative minarets of the world of Islam.

Other mosque minarets at Tunis are svelt and beautiful, dainty and more
or less ornate, but they lack the massive luxuriance of that of the
Kasba, which was the work, be it recalled, of Italian infidels, not of
Mussulman faithful.

Within the charmed circle of the outer boulevards Tunis' Arab town has
an appearance as archaic as one may expect to find in these progressive
days. Veiled women are everywhere, and turbaned; high-coiffed, fat,
wobbly Jewesses, and Sicilians and Maltese with poignards in their
belts. It's a mixed crew indeed that makes up the life and movement of
Tunis. This impression is heightened still further when you see the Bey
drive by in state in a dingy carriage drawn by six black,
silver-harnessed mules, the outriders yelling, "_Arri! Arri! Arri!_"
like the donkey-boys of the more plebeian world. This sight is followed
in the twinkling of an eye by a caravan of camels and nomads of the
desert; then perhaps a couple of gaily painted Sicilian carts; an
automobile of a very early vintage; another more modern (the _dernier
cri_, in fact), and finally a troop of little _bourriquets_,
grain-laden, making their way westward into the open country. This
moving panorama, or another as varied, will pass you inside half an hour
as you sit on the terrace of the café opposite the Residency.

At Bab Souika, just without the Arab town, and passed by the tram _en
route_ for the Kasba, is the centre of the popular animation of native
life. In the Halfaouine quarter are the Moorish cafés, at Bab Djedid
still another aspect of Arab loafing and idling, and all of it
picturesque to the extreme.

The Jewish dancers of the cafés of the Place Sidi-Baian are recommended
as "sights to be seen" by Baedeker and Jouanne. These dancers have eyes
like _merlans frits_, and the _ventre doré_, and are of the same variety
that one has become accustomed to on the "Midway" and the "Pike," and in
the "Streets of Cairo," which have made the rounds of recent
expositions. They are no better nor no worse. The only difference is
that here at Biskra, at Constantine, and at Tunis one sees things on
their native heath.

[Illustration: DANCING GIRLS _At_ TUNIS B. McM. 1907]

Everything in the way of a ceremonial at Tunis centres around the Bey
and the Resident-General. The Bey gives a function at the Bardo or at
his palace at La Marsa, and the Governor-General attends. The
Resident-General has a reception at the Residency, and the Bey drives up
behind his six black mules, and, with the first interpreter of his
palace, goes in and pays his respects to the representative of
Republican France, the real ruler of the "Régence." "Bon jour"--"Au
revoir," is about the extent of the conversation expected at such
functions, and with these simple words said, the ceremony is over. But
it is impressive while it lasts, with much gold lace, much bowing and
scraping, much music and much helter-skeltering of the entourage here,
there, and everywhere.

Republican France still holds out for ceremony, and the President's
"Chasse Nationale" each year at Rambouillet is still reminiscent of "La
Chasse Royale" of other days. Not so our bear-hunts in Louisiana
cane-breaks. The Bey of Tunis is still the titular head of his people
and their religion, but the hand that rules the destiny of his Régence
is that of the representative of the French Republic.



Old Tunis fortunately remains old Tunis. It has not been spoiled, as has
Algiers, in a way. Its crooked streets and culs-de-sac are still as they
were when pachas kept their harems well filled as a matter of right, and
not by the toleration of the French government.

Surrounding the vast spider's web of narrow streets of old Tunis is a
circling line of tramway, within which is as Oriental an aspect as that
of old (save the electric lights and the American sewing-machines, which
are everywhere). Without this magic circle, all bustles with the
cosmopolitan clamour which we fondly designate twentieth-century
progress and profess to like: automobiles, phonographs, type-writing
machines, railway trains, great hotels, cafés and restaurants, always
the same wherever found.

There is quite as much life and movement in the _souks_ of the old town
of Tunis as on the boulevards of the European quarter, and it is quite
as feverish, but with a difference. The perfume-makers of the Souk des
Parfums still pound their leaves and blossoms by hand in a mortar, and
the saddle and shoe makers still stitch and embroider by hand the
gold-threaded arabesques of their ancestors. You can get all the
products of the _souks_, of the made-in-Belgium variety, which look
quite like the real thing, but in fact are but base "Dutch metal,"
unworthy of Arab, Turk, or Jew, and only fit for strangers. Here in the
_souks_ you must know how to "shop." In Tunis, more than in any other
city along the Mediterranean, one must know how to sift the dross from
the fine metal, and only too frequently the dealer himself will not give
you the frank counsel that you need.

Just off the _Souk des Grains_ is the "Street of the Pearls." In this
romantically named thoroughfare, and huddled close beneath the squat,
mushroom domes of the Mosque of Sidi-Mahrez is a great brass-studded and
bolted doorway, closing an entrance between two svelt marble columns,
stolen from Carthage long ago by some unscrupulous Turk or Arab. Above
is a great Moorish horseshoe arch. This is the sole entrance to a
magnificent, typical Oriental establishment, built three hundred years
since by some Turkish pacha fled from Constantinople for political
reasons and his country's good.

Not long since the proprietor of this fine old house was "sold out." He
wasn't exactly a "poor miserable," but the establishment he was keeping
up was not in keeping with the lining of his purse. He was not as his
forefathers, who, if they toiled not nor yet did spin, had the good luck
to gather riches by some means or other while they lived. Whilst he, on
a scant patrimony to which nothing was being added, was going the pace a
little too fast.

His creditors called in the bailiff, and the bailiff called in the
auctioneer, and the "_bel immeuble_," a "_vaste bâtiment 30 mètres
carrés, avec cour, fontaine et plusieures pièces au rez-de-chaussée, et
balcon_," was put up at auction.

There were no takers, it appeared,--at the price. The "knock-down" was
thirty thousand francs, and it was worth it, the finest house in the
Oriental quarter of Tunis, high and dry and built of marble and tile,
and safe-guarded by the _pigeons de bonheur_, which lodged on the great
central dome of the mosque which overhung the roof-top terrace.

French and Italians, and strangers of all nationalities (including some
affected Mussulmans as well), were piling themselves story upon story in
great apartment houses in the flat, monotonous new town below, laid out
on what a quarter of a century ago was a reedy marsh.

Not one of them would consider for a moment the question of taking on
this fine establishment for a dwelling all his own. They all had their
summer-houses out at Carthage, where they were spoiling the landscape,
as well as that magnificent historic site, by erecting villas of
questionable taste. For their town dwellings these ambitious folk were
one and all bent on living in a flat.

It was in this manner that this fine example of Oriental domicile fell
to our friend, the attaché of the Embassy. He, at least, knew a good
thing when he saw it, and, though he was a bachelor (and never for a
moment thought of setting up a harem in the vast _zenana_ at the rear),
he relished with good will the delights of dwelling in marble halls of
his own,--particularly such splendid ones.

It was a problem as to what our friend should do, on account of the
great size of the many apartments of this Moorish-Arab house; but like
the Japanese and the Moors themselves, he did not make the mistake of
filling them with trumpery bric-à-brac and saddle-bag furniture.

It was more or less a great undertaking for a young man to whom
housekeeping had hitherto been an unknown accomplishment,--this taking
of a great house to live in all alone. For days and weeks, as occasion
offered, he stalked its marble halls and pictured the "Arabian Nights"
over again, and hazarded many soft and sentimental imaginings as to the
personalities of the veiled beauties who once made it their home.

Our friend's first possession was a servant, of the indefinable species
called simply a "man servant;" he at any rate could keep the marbles
white and the tiles burnished, and the dust from out the crevices of the
carved stone vaultings, if there was nothing else to do.

The serving man was readily enough found. He bore the name of Habib, the
Algerian, at least that was the translation that he gave in French of
its queer Arab characters, though his explanation as to how he came to
descend from parents who were born in Kairouan, the Holy City of
Tunisia, and still have the suffix of "_the Algerian_" tacked on at the
end, was not very lucid.

Habib was gentle and faithful, but vain and superstitious. To begin
with, he was perfectly willing to become a part and parcel of the
_ménage_; but he must take rank as a body-servant (whatever his duties
might be), and would not be a mere caretaker or a concierge. For that
M'sieu René must have a Moroccan, the _chiens fidèles_ of North African
concierges, or he must go without. Sleep in the house Habib would not;
the spirits of past dwellers--some of them perhaps wraiths of folk who
had been murdered--would rise up in the dark hours and prevent that; of
that he was sure. Stranger infidels might not believe in spooks and
spirits, but it was a part of Habib's faith that he should not put
himself in a position where they might destroy his rest. Nothing of the
kind had ever happened to him up to now, but the fear was always
present, and he was minded to take all possible precautions.

Habib ultimately capitulated, and came to "sleeping in." He made his
plans stealthily for taking up his residence under the shadow of the
mosque. Though Habib's belongings were few, his preparations for moving
in were elaborate and lengthy.

Habib had not much more than the clothes on his back,--and a
silver-headed cane, without which he never walked the streets of the
European quarter, day or night. "In the Arab town you were safe," he
said, "but '_là-bas_,' with all the civilized and cosmopolitan riffraff
of a great Mediterranean seaport, one's life was not worth a piastre
without a weapon of defence."

You must have a license to carry a revolver in Tunis, a permission which
the authorities do not readily grant to an Arab; and anyway Habib was
afraid of firearms (he was afraid of most everything, as it appeared
later, even work), so he resorted to a cane.

With Habib's clothes on his back, and his cane, arrived a little plush
pillow about the size of a pincushion. This was to be his protection
against the real, or fancied, evil spirits which he still believed were
lurking away between the walls, as indeed they probably had been for
centuries. This little plush cushion had been deftly fashioned for him,
doubtless, by some veiled Fatmah or Zorah. It may have honestly been
thought by its maker, and of course by Habib, to be an effective
antidote for the wiles of roving spirits, but certainly no one would
ever attribute to it the least virtues as a pillow. The Japanese wooden
head-rest were preferable to Habib's spirit-charmer for wooing

Habib at last had taken the fatal step, he had become a part and parcel
of the establishment. To be sure he had not much to do; the new patron,
being alone, had furnished only a part of the chambers, apartments, and
salons in semi-European fashion, and Habib's chief duties consisted only
in "turning them out" in succession, on consecutive days, and putting
them in order again. There is not a great quantity of grime and dirt
that ever penetrates beyond the courtyard of an Arab house, and the
actual labour of keeping it clean would please the indolent mind of the
laziest "maid of all work" that ever lived.

Habib handled the situation as well as might be expected--for a time.
Afterwards he fell off a bit. He was faithful, obliging, smiling and
sentimental, but he still slept bad o' nights, or said he did. The
powers of his pincushion pillow were evidently negative or neutral so
far as the particular spirits which lodged here were concerned.

With his new station in life Habib came to an increased importance, and
from a loose white cotton robe or burnous, he came to be the proud
possessor of a flowing creation in crimson silk which was the envy of
all his acquaintances. Beneath it he wore a yellow embroidered vest, red
silk stockings, and yellow boots of Morocco leather, not really boots,
nor yet shoes, but a sort of a cross between a shoe and a moccasin,
which cost him the extravagant sum of twenty francs, half a month's pay.

On his head was perched the conventional red Tunisian fez, with an
inordinately long tassel dangling down behind, as effective a
_chasse-mouches_ as one would want. This was not all. A dollar watch,
with a silver-gilt chain and fob of quaint Kabyle workmanship,--worth
probably twenty times the value of the watch,--completed his personal

As an accessory, Habib became the proud possessor of a visiting-card,
which, more than all else, was successful in impressing his confrères
and the neighbouring shopkeepers with his importance.

They imagined him, doubtless, a sort of seneschal or majordomo of some
kingdom in little.

Habib bore his honours lightly and gaily. There was not much fault to be
found with him, simply from the fact that he had so little to do that he
would be a numskull indeed if he could not, or would not, perform it
well. He did perform his duties well, ordinarily, but the first time a
good round day's work fell to his share, such as cleaning down the walls
and mopping up the whole area of marbled floor, he rendered an account
for the services of "_quatre juifs, quarante sous_." Forty cents for the
services of four house-cleaners for a day is not dear, and Habib was not
even of the same faith as his workmen, so the _châtelain_ paid it
gracefully in the next week's account which Habib rendered.

[Illustration: _Habib's Visiting Card_]

Habib's bookkeeping was as original as himself. His accounts for the
house-cleaning week read as follows:

  Quatre juifs               2 fcs.

  Lait en boite
  (pour le matou)            1

  Gâteau de miel
  (pour la gazelle)                  60 centimes

  (tortue, etc.)             1       20
  Totaux à payer de suite    4 fcs.  80 centimes

How he made both ends meet with the sum total of his modest budget was
ever a problem with our friend.

The city-bred Arab has the reputation of being unreliable in money
matters, but certainly the hidden graft lying dormant in four francs
eighty centimes can not be very great after paying two francs for four
Jews, a franc for condensed milk for the cat, sixty centimes for
honey-cakes for the gazelle, and a franc twenty centimes for sundry and
diverse odds and ends like soap, metal-polish, barley for the turtle,
etc. Habib was certainly a good thing!

Habib's chief pride in the house and its belongings was for the cat, the
gazelle, and the turtle, each of them gifts from the same amiable youth.
Perhaps he had no place to keep them himself, and in this he saw an
opportunity of getting them housed and fed free. Habib may have been
wiser than he looked, but at any rate here the menagerie came to be
installed as proper and picturesque occupants of this marble palace of
other days.

The cat is a useful and even necessary animal in any home, and its
virtues have often been praised. A gazelle is purely decorative, but as
agreeable and affectionate a little beast as ever lived. The turtle
catches flies and lives in a pool of the fountain, and is also useful in
keeping down microbes which might otherwise be disseminated. This array
of live stock ought to be an adjunct of every house with a fountain
courtyard, and if it can be had on the terms as supplied by the faithful
Habib, not forgetting the small cost of the animals' keep, why so much
the better.

The particular quarter where our friend's house was situated was indeed
the most quaintly variegated one in all Tunis. At Bab-Souika one turned
sharply and entered a veritable labyrinth of narrow, twisting streets,
never arriving at the great gate of the house by the same itinerary.
Sometimes you arrived directly, and sometimes you circled and tacked
like a ship at sea.

From the Place Bab-Souika itself, whence radiated a burning fever of the
Arab life of all the ten tribes, it was but the proverbial stone's
throw, by a bird's-eye view from the roof-top terrace, though by the
twisting lanes and alleys it was perhaps a kilometre. There was an
occultism and Orientalism here that was to be seen nowhere else in North
Africa, and for "mystery" it beat that of the desert, over which poets
and novelists rave, all to pieces. No one but an Arab and a Mussulman
could ever be a part of that wonderful kaleidoscopic chapter of life. We
poor dogs of infidels can only stand by and wonder.

All night long the Place Bab-Souika was as animated as in the day. It
was fringed with many Moorish cafés, interspersed with the _échoppes_ of
the Tunisian Jews, who push in everywhere, and make a living off of
pickings that others think too trivial for their talents. A few
boulevard-like trees flank a group of transformed and remodelled Arab
houses and give a suspicion of modernity, but the general aspect
throughout is Oriental and mediæval. A regular ant-hill of hiving
humanity: Moors, Arabs, Turks, Jews, Soudanese, and Touaregs, all with
costumes as varied as their origins. Here a creamy-white burnous jostles
with a baggy blue _pantalon_, and the cowled nodding head of a Bedouin
rests on the shoulder of an equally somnolent red-fezzed soldier of the
Bey. The more wide-awake members of the hangers-on of the cafés enliven
the scene with singing and even dancing, perhaps with some Tunisian
dancing-girl as a partner. All is gay and scintillating as if it were
the most gorgeous café of the Boulevard des Italiens. One and all of the
merrymakers are richly costumed, with broidered vests and flowing robes
of silk, and clattering silver ornaments and bouquets of flowers,--or a
single flower stuck behind the ear, like the Spaniard's cigarette. All
blends into a wonderful fanfare of colour, and it was through this
stage-setting our friend had to pass every night as he made his way from
the European town below to his Arab house on the height.

The Oriental, when he is making merry at a café, is wholly indifferent
to the affairs of the workaday world, if he ever did occupy himself
therewith. His point of view is peculiarly his own; we outsiders will
never appreciate it, study the question as we may.

Besides the Moorish cafés, the fruit and sweetmeat sellers seem also to
do as large a midnight traffic as that of the day. The after-theatre
supper of the Arab, if he were given to that sort of thing, would not be
difficult of consummation here.

The Arab old-clo' dealer is another habitué of the neighbourhood.
"_T'meniach! ra sourdis! T'meniach 'ra T'meniach!_" This is the Arab's
old clothes cry. And for a hundred sous, paid over on the Place
Bab-Souika, you can be transformed into a Bedouin from head to
heel,--with a ragged burnous full of holes and a pair of
very-much-down-at-the-heel _babouches_ which have already trod off
untold kilometres on the Tunisian highway and are good for many more.

There is another class of ambulant merchant who is a frequenter of this
most animated of Tunis' native quarter. He deals in a better line of
goods, in that his wares are new and not second-hand, though tawdry
enough, many of them. If you wish you may buy--after appropriate and not
to be avoided bargaining, at which you will probably come off second
best--a collaret of false sequins, an Arab blanket, or a Turkish
ink-pot, which may not be old in spite of its looks. All these things
are made to order to-day, after the ancient models and styles, like the
cotton goods of India with palm-leaf designs, which are mostly made in

"_Veux-tu un foulard, Sidi, un beau foulard de Tounis? Vois achète-moi
ce poignard Kabyle! Tiens, veux-tu ce bracelet pour madame?_" You want
none of these things, but you make out as if you did and accordingly you
buy "something" before you are through, guiltily thinking you have taken
advantage of the poor fellow in that you beat him down from fifteen
francs to five for a foulard which cost him, probably, not more than
thirty sous of some Israelite "_fournisseur_" in the _souks_.

One day Habib the Algerian would work no more. He had succumbed to a bad
case of the wandering foot, though what brought it about, save the ennui
of his position,--not enough work to do--our friend René never knew. It
was doubtful if Habib knew himself. It was as if the termination of
Habib's name had set him to thinking. Habib the Algerian! Why should he
not travel a bit, as did these dogs of Christians who were overrunning
his beloved land, to Algeria even, he who bore the name of the Algerian,
though he had lived since his infancy beneath the shadow of Tunis'

"_Où vas-tu?_" asked his employer, as Habib's bag and baggage were on
the door-sill, a parcel of worldly goods now grown to some proportions,
including a nickel alarm-clock, a phonograph, and an oil-stove. American
products all of them.

"_Moi? En Algérie!_" answered Habib in jerky, limpid French.

"_Et pourquoi?_"

"_Pourquoi? Pour rien. Pour aller. Chimin-di-fi andar plus vite que
chevil. Hou! Hou! Hou!_" he continued, attempting to imitate the wheezy
locomotives of the Bôna-Guelma line, which link Tunisia with Algeria,
his eyes meanwhile expressing the joy of an infant.

The travel fever was on with Habib; it had struck in, even as it had
before now with some of the rest of us.

That was the last that was seen or heard of Habib the Algerian, except
that we caught a glimpse of him at the railway station as he was pushing
insistently into a third-class carriage already full to overflowing with
other wandering, huddling Arabs, who, too, thought with Habib that the
"_chimin-di-fi andar plus vite que li chivil. Hou! Hou! Hou!_"

This was probably but the beginning of another chapter of Habib's
history; but now that he was gone he had passed from mind. But he had
left the gazelle, the cat, the goldfish and the turtle behind. It was as
if a part of the old house itself had been wrenched away. Habib had
become a part and parcel of the whole machine, and in spite of his
shortcomings he fitted in with things in a marvellously competent
manner. No other soft-footed Arab could quite take his place, and many
were tried. The cat ate the goldfish, the turtle mysteriously
disappeared up or down a spout, and the gazelle died of a broken heart,
or because of the irregularity of the supply of honey-cakes.

With such sad memories our friend René had to desert his "_maison
arabe_," where he had lived so comfortably, and go and live in a flat in
the new town below, where the view from the windows was comprised
principally of a _kiosque_ of the Paris boulevard variety, a row of
taximètre cabs, and the seven-story façade of another apartment house on
the other side of the street.

There is a fine old Arab house at Tunis, midway between the "Residency"
and the Kasba, still for rent, if any there be who think they would care
to undertake the struggle of keeping it running in proper order. It has
many things in its favour, and some which are manifestly against it, the
chief of these last being the difficulty of solving the servant
question. It is the same question which ruffles householders the world
over, in Tunis as in Toledo, in Kairouan as in Kalamazoo.



Carthage, redolent of the memories of Dido, of Æneas, of Hannibal, of
Cato, of Scipio, and a thousand other classic souvenirs of history, is
the chief sight for tourists in the neighbourhood of Tunis. All we have
learned to expect is there, deformed ruins and relics of a grandeur long
since past. The aqueduct which plays so grand a rôle in the opera of
"Salambo" is there, but it is manifestly Roman and not Punic. Thus did
Flaubert nod, as indeed did Homer before him.

Carthage, as Carthage is to-day, is not much. It is but a vast,
conglomerate mass of fragmentary ruins, a circus whose outlines can
scarcely be traced, a very much ruined amphitheatre, various
ground-plans of great villas of other days, the cisterns of the Romans,
some Punic tombs, and the two ports of Carthage around which history,
romance and legend have woven many tales. The rest is modern, the great
basilica of St. Louis, the palaces of the Bey, and the princes of his
family, the villas of the foreign consuls, the seminary of the White
Fathers and a hotel or two. That is Carthage to-day.

Thus the history and romance of a past day must supply the motive for
the visitors' emotions, for there is little else save the magnificent
site and the knowledge that one is treading historic ground. The tract
might well have been made a sort of national park, and kept inviolate;
but it has been given over to the land exploiter like Tottenham Park and
South New York, and the overflow from Tunis is already preëmpting choice

Through the gates of the Venice of Antiquity, all the wealth of the East
was brought to be stored in the warehouses of the ports of Carthage, but
to-day all this is only an historic memory. The palaces and warehouses
have disappeared, and the two mud-puddle "ports" have silted up into
circular pools which glisten in the African sunlight like mirrors of
antiquity,--which is exactly what they are.

Carthage, or what is left of it, is a dozen or fifteen kilometres from
Tunis, by a puffing little steam-tram (to be supplanted some day by an
electric railway, which will be even less in keeping).

[Illustration: _The Ports of Carthage_]

One gets off at La Malga, and, in a round of half a dozen kilometres
"does" Carthage, Sidi-bou-Saïd, and La Marsa in the conventional manner
in half a day. If he, or she, is an artist or an archæologist, he, or
she, spends a day, a week, or a month, and then will have cause to
return if opportunity offers.

According to tradition the Tyrians founded Carthage in 813 B.C., being
conducted thither by Elissa, a progressive young woman, the sister of
Pygmalion. _Cart-hadchat_ was its original name, which the Romans
evolved into _Carthago_, signifying "the new city," that is to say,
probably, the "_New Tyre_." Owing to its proximity to Sicily, to all the
vast wealth of Africa, and the undeveloped and unexplored shores of the
Western Mediterranean, Carthage was bound to prosper. As Tyre fell into
decadence, and the Greeks menaced the Phoenicians in the East,
Carthage came to its own very rapidly, not by a mushroom growth, as with
new-made cities of to-day, but still rapidly for its epoch.

The riches of the people of Carthage became immense, every one
prospered, and its merchants trafficked with the Soudan and sailed the
seas to Britain, while Hanno, the Carthaginian admiral, first discovered
and explored the full extent of the West African Atlantic coast.

In the first Punic war Carthage disputed the ownership of Sicily with
Rome, but without success; though indeed she was able to hold the
gateway of the Western Mediterranean, and thus remain mistress of the
trade with the outside world.

With the second Punic war Carthage lost further prestige, and her
military and maritime strength was reduced to such an extent that her
hitherto vast African Empire was restricted to the city itself and a
closely bounding suburban area.

Even then Carthage ranked as the richest city in the world, with a
population of 700,000 souls. In the year 146 B.C. the Romans rose again
and gave Carthage a sweeping knock-out blow so far as its independence

Cæsar and Augustus came, and the city, peopled anew, was restored to
something resembling its former magnificent lines and made the capital
of the Roman African Province. A commercial city, wealthy, luxurious,
gay, and cultivated, it became, next to Rome, the first Latin city of
the Occident.

Christianity was introduced in the early centuries, and through the
gateway of Carthage was spread over all North Africa. Religious
partisanship was as rife and violent here as elsewhere, and Tertullian
tells how, in the great circus amphitheatre, whose scantly outlined
ruins are still to be seen as one leaves the railway at La Malga, Saint
Perpétua and her companions were put to death by ferocious beasts, and
how, in 258 A.D., Saint Cyprien, who was bishop at the time, was

The Vandals captured the city in 439 A.D., and the Byzantine powers
under Justinian's general, Belisarius, got it all back again in 533
A.D., though they held it but a hundred and sixty years. The city
finally succumbed, in the seventh century, to Hassan-ben-Nomane, who
destroyed it completely. How completely this destruction was one may
judge by a contemplation of the ruins to-day. The Tunisians and the
Italians have used the site as a quarry for centuries, and Pisa's
cathedral was constructed in no small part from marbles and stone from
glorious Carthage.

Dido, Hannibal, and Salambo have passed away, and with them the glory of
Carthage. To-day tourists come and go, the "White Fathers" exploit
their vineyards, and the promoters sell land in this new subdivision to
the profit, the great profit--of some one.

The Punic remains at Carthage, the tombs and other minor constructions,
are of course few (the Musée Lavigerie on the height now guarding all
the discoveries of value). But the fragments of the great civic
buildings of the Romans are everywhere scattered about.

These ruins cannot even be detailed here, and the plan herewith will
serve as a much better guide than a mere perfunctory catalogue.

Various erudite historical accounts and guide-books have been written
concerning this historic ground; shorter works, of more interest to the
tourist, can be had in the Tunis book-shops.

The discoveries of the last ten years on the site of the ancient
Carthage have been many and momentous. They are of intense interest,
revealing a people who possessed a far higher development than had been
supposed, and who were, contrary to the general belief in modern times,
something more than mere traffickers and merchants, and who evolved an
art of their own, a unique and fascinating blend of the ideals of the
Semitic and the Greek.

Our knowledge of the Phoenicians is still

[Illustration: CARTHAGE]

shadowy and fragmentary; but the work conducted by the "White Fathers"
of Carthage, under the direction of Père Delattre, has provided at least
a foundation for further researches and comparisons, which no doubt will
soon be undertaken.

The recent discoveries of Carthage may well be described as fascinating.
Take for example the sarcophagus of a Phoenician priestess unearthed
in 1902. It is believed that she lived in the third century B.C. The
coloured marble sarcophagus is of the best period of Greek workmanship.
A Greek carved this tomb, no doubt, but in the representation of the
priestess we have a figure of a type unlike any Greek art known,--a type
of beauty delightfully strange, a countenance of a noble loveliness and

A sympathetic French _archéologue_ puts it in the following words:

"The brilliancy of colour and strangeness of attire, far from detracting
from the dignity of her presence, seem to enhance the noble simplicity
and reserve suggested by the figure. A rare and lovely personality seems
to have been the inspiration of the sculptor. She was not a Greek, nor
an Egyptian, and the Semitic features are hardly recognizable. The dove
in the figure's right hand may well be taken as a symbol of her own
gentle beauty and sweetness. Surely this is a pure type of Phoenician
womanhood. That majestic calm which is the outward and visible sign of
the highest courage within comports well with the reputation of the
women of Carthage, and their bearing in that terrible siege which tried
them unto death."

This is the sort of sentiment which still hovers over Carthage; but to
sense it to the full, one must know the city's history in detail, and
not merely by a hurried half a day round, out from Tunis and back
between breakfast and dinner. Another recent find is the unearthed Roman
palace built up over an old Punic burial-place. Luxurious, though of
diminutive proportions, this palace, or villa, possesses a pavement in
mosaic worthy to rank with that classic example of the Villa Hadrian at
Tivoli. It may be seen to-day at the Musée, and is one of the things to
be noted down by even the hurried traveller.

_En route_ from Tunis to Bizerta, thirty-five kilometres from the former
city and about the same from Carthage, is the ancient Utica, founded by
the Phoenicians centuries before the beginning of the Christian era,
and which, after the destruction of Carthage, became the first city of

[Illustration: _ANCIENT UTICA_]

To-day the domain of Bou-Chateur, belonging to a M. Chabannes, contains
all that remains above ground of this vassal city of Carthage. Once a
seaport of importance, like Carthage, it gradually succumbed to a sort
of dry rot and is no more.

The remains existing to-day are extensive, but very fragmentary. Only
bare outlines are here and there visible; but from them some one has
been able to construct a plan of the city on something approaching its
former lines.

Immediately neighbouring upon Carthage is Sidi-bou-Saïd, easily the most
picturesque village around Tunis, if one excepts the low-lying fishing
village of La Goulette, better known by its Italian name of La Goletta.
La Goulette itself played an important rôle in the sixteenth century.
Charles V occupied it in 1535, and it became a fortified stronghold of
the Spanish; but in spite of the fact that it was further fortified by
Don Juan of Austria, after the battle of Lepanto, it was captured by the
Turks under Sinan-Pacha the following year after a memorable siege. For
the devout, La Goulette is of great interest from the fact that Saint
Vincent de Paul was a captive here in the seventeenth century.

The little _indigène_ village of Sidi-bou-Saïd sits on the promontory
called Cap Carthage and has a local colour all its own. It is purely
"native," the land agent not yet having marked it for his own. The
panorama of the snow-white walls and domes and turrets of the little
town, the red-rock base on which it sits, the blue sea offshore, and the
blue sky overhead, is a wonderful sight to the person of artistic
tastes. Certainly its like is not in Africa, if elsewhere along the
shores of the Mediterranean.

Beyond Sidi-bou-Saïd is La Marsa, without character or history, save
that the Bey's summer palace and the country residences of the foreign
consuls are here. The site is delightful and looks seaward in most
winning fashion. On the hillsides round about is grown the grape from
which is made the celebrated "_vin blanc de Carthage_," as much an
accompaniment of the shrimps of the Lac de Tunis as is the "vin de
Cassis" of _bouillabaisse_, or Chablis of oysters. In the neighbourhood
are numerous caves, forming the ancient Jewish necropolis of Carthage
under Roman domination.

Due north from Tunis a matter of nearly a hundred kilometres is Bizerta,
now a French Mediterranean naval base as formidable, or at any rate as
useful, as Gibraltar. It was the Hippo-Diarrhytus of the ancients, whose
inhabitants were at continual warfare with those of Carthage. Under the
Empire it was a Roman colony, and in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries became one of the refuges of the Moors expelled from Spain.

The French occupation has made of Bizerta and its lake a highly active
and prosperous neighbourhood, where formerly a scant population of the
mixed Mediterranean races gave it only the dignity of a fishing village.
It is very picturesque, its waterside, its canals, and its _quais_, but
the primitiveness of other days is giving way before the moves in the
game of peace and war, until everywhere one hears the bustle and groan
of ships and shipping, and sees clouds of smoke piling up into the
cloudless sky from the gaping chimneys of machine-shops on shore and
torpedo boats and battle-ships on the water. It is old Bizerta rubbing
shoulders with new Bizerta at every step.

Bizerta is now the most important strategic point in the Mediterranean.
Gibraltar is covered by the Spanish fortifications at Algeçiras and
Ceuta, and Malta is merely a rock-bound fortress that could be starved
out in a month. The Mediterranean is French,--a French lake if you
will,--as it always has been, and as it always will be. Tripoli in
Barbary and Morocco, when they come under the French flag, as they are
bound to do, will only accentuate the fact.



The real Barbary coast of the romantic days of the corsairs was the
whole North African littoral. Here the pirates and corsairs had their
lairs, their inlet harbours known only to themselves and their
_confrères_, who as often pillaged and murdered among themselves as they
did among strangers.

To-day all this is changed. It was the government of the United States
and Decatur, as much as any other outside power, who drove the Barbary
pirates from the seas.

Under the reign of Louis XIV Duquesne was charged to suppress the
piracies of the Tripolitan coasts. The celebrated admiral--it was he who
also gave the original name to the site of the present city of
Pittsburgh on the Monongahela--got down to business once the orders were
given, sighted eight of the Barbary feluccas and gave them chase. They
took refuge in the Sultan's own port of Chio, but, with the French close
on their heels, they were captured forthwith, and the Pacha of Tripoli
was forced without more ado to make a treaty containing many onerous
conditions. The corsairs gave back a ship which they had taken, and all
the French who had fallen prisoners in their hands and who were
virtually held in slavery. The admirals of those days had a way of doing

After the French came the English. Blake, the British admiral, who never
trod the deck of a vessel until he was fifty, did his part to sweep
these fierce Mediterranean pirates of Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli from
the seas. The United States Navy did the rest. This is history; let
those who are further interested look it up.

The North African coast-line from Tunis to Tangier has the aspect of
much of the rest of the Mediterranean littoral, but that strip sweeping
around from Cap Carthage to Tripoli in Barbary, the shores of the great
Tripolitan gulf, may still furnish the setting for as fierce a piratical
tale as can be conceived,--only the pirates are wanting.

This low-lying ground south of Tunis is not a tourist-beaten ground; it
is almost unknown and unexplored to the majority of winter travellers,
who include only Algiers, Biskra, and Tunis in their African itinerary.

South from Tunis, the first place of importance is Hammamet, an
embryotic watering-place for the Tunisians, called by the natives "the
city of pigeons."

[Illustration: _The Sud-Tunisien_]

This up-and-coming station on the route which binds "Numidia" with
"Africa" is possessed of a remarkable source of fresh-water supply. The
Romans in ancient times exploited this same source, and built a
monumental arcade on the site. All vestiges of this architectural work
have however disappeared.

At Nabeul, a few kilometres away, one gets a curious glimpse of native
life interspersed with that of the Jews. Mosques, _souks_, and
synagogues give an Oriental blend as lively in colouring and variety as
will satisfy the most insistent. Nabeul's industry consists chiefly in
the fabrication of pottery,--a fragile, crude, but lovely pottery, which
travellers carry afar, and which is the marvel of all who contemplate
it. The enterprise is of French origin, but the labour which produces
these quaint jugs, vases, and platters (which are not dear in price) is
purely native. The potter's thumb marks are over all. The pieces have
not been rubbed and burnished down, and accordingly the collector knows
he has got the real thing, and not a German or Belgian clay-thrower's

Nabeul was the ancient Neapolis, which was destroyed by the Romans at
the same time that Carthage came under the domination of Augustus.

South again from Nabeul, by road or rail, for the railroad still
continues another hundred kilometres, and one is at Sousse. Change cars
for Kairouan, the Holy City of Tunisia!

Sousse is an important and still growing port with as mixed a
population as one will see in any Mediterranean town of twenty-five
thousand inhabitants. The French number perhaps twelve hundred, the
Italians three or four thousand, and the Maltese as many as the French.
The rest are Arabs; you might call them seafaring Arabs rather than
desert Arabs, for they are as often on the sea as off it.

The _souks_ of Sousse are famous. There is no longer a great Berber or
Byzantine city closed in with walls with a gate on each cardinal face;
all this has disappeared in the march of progress; but the Arab town,
everywhere in Algeria and Tunisia, is a feature of the life of the
times, even though it has been encroached upon by European civilization.
The _souks_, or markets, are here more bizarre and further removed from
our twentieth-century ideas of how business is, and should be, done than
in any other mixed European-Mussulman centre of population.

In the Souk des Herbages are sold roots and herbs of all sorts, pimento
peppers, henna, garance, dried peas, and other vegetables. The Souk des
Arabes holds the rug and carpet sellers, the armourers, the weavers of
the cloth of the burnous, tailors, etc. In the Souk des Juifs, a dark,
ill-smelling, tiny nest of narrow corridors, are found the jewelry
makers and the broiderers.

This and more of the same kind is Sousse. In addition there are the
brilliant variegated sails of the Italian and Maltese fishing-boats, the
_dhows_ of the Arabs, and all the miscellaneous riffraff which
associates itself mysteriously with a great seaport. Sousse is an
artist's paradise, and its hotels are excellent,--if one cares for sea
food and eternal mutton and lamb.

The Kasba of Sousse sits high on the hillside overlooking the Arab town
and the _souks_. A long swing around the boulevards brings one to the
same culminating point.

A Phoenician acropolis stood here before the eleventh century, and the
remains of a pagan temple to-day bear witness to the strong contrast of
the manners of yesterday and to-day. The great signal-tower of the
citadel is a reconstruction of a pharo called Khalef-el-Feta, which
stood here in 1068. Whatever may have been the value of this
fortification in days gone by, it looks defective enough to-day with its
hybrid mass of nondescript structures. At all times, and from all points
of view, it is imposing and spectacular, and is the dominant note of
every landscape round about. Its angularities are not beautiful, nor
even solid-looking, and the whole thing is stagy; but for all that it
is imposing and above all grim and suggestive of unspeakable Turkish
atrocities that may have been carried on in its immediate neighbourhood.

Monastir is a near neighbour of Sousse, twenty odd kilometres away, over
as fine a roadway as one may see anywhere. Automobilists take notice!
The Hôtel de Paris at Monastir has a "sight" in its dining-hall, which
alone is worth coming to see, aside from the excellent breakfast which
you get for fifty sous. This apartment was formerly the great
reception-hall of the Arab governors of the province, and as such
becomes at once an historic shrine and a novelty.

Not a town in Algeria or Tunisia has so quaint a vista as that looking
down Monastir's "Grande Rue." It's not very ancient, nor squalidly
picturesque, but somehow it is characteristically quaint. And it
"composes" wonderfully well, for either the artist's canvas or the
kodaker's film. Sousse and Monastir should be omitted from no artist's
itinerary which is supposed to include unspoiled sketching grounds.

Kairouan, the Mohammedan Holy City of Tunisia, lies sixty kilometres
southwest from Sousse.

Kairouan dates only from the Mussulman conquest, having been founded by
the propagator of Islam in Africa, Okba-ben-Nafi (50 Heg. 671 A.D.).
Kairouan became the capital of what is now Tunisia in the ninth century,
and Tunis itself was its servitor. Up to this day Kairouan has guarded
its religious supremacy as the Holy City of the Eastern Moghreb, and
accordingly is a place of pilgrimage for the faithful of all North

The French occupied the city in 1881 without resistance on the part of
the inhabitants. And to-day it is a live, wide-awake important centre of
affairs, besides being a Mohammedan shrine of the very first rank.

The native city is entirely free from French innovations and remains
almost as it was centuries ago. The mosques and the native city are
all-in-all for the stranger within the gates, particularly the mosques,
for here, of all places in Tunisia, their doors are opened to the "dogs
of infidels" of overseas. But you must remove your shoes as you enter,
or put on _babouches_ over your "demi-Americain" boots, which you bought
in Marseilles before leaving France (poor things, by the way; one
suspects they were made in England, not in America at all).

Of first importance are the mosques of Sidi-Okba, the "Grande Mosquée;"
and of Sidi-Sahab, the "Mosquée du Barbier." The Djama Sidi-Okba, or
"Grande Mosquée," is a grandly imposing structure with a massive square
minaret of the regulation Tunisian variety. Within it is of the classic
type, with seventeen aisles and eight great thoroughfares crossing at
right angles. It is a cosmopolitan edifice in all its parts, having been
variously rebuilt and added to with the march of time, the earliest
constructive details being of the third century of the Hegira, the ninth
of our era.

The _minbar_, or pulpit, the _faïences_, the ceilings and the best of
Hispano-Arabic details are here all of a superlative luxuriance and
mystery. The "Mosquée du Barbier" ("Sidi-Sahab") is built over the
sepulchre of one of the companions of the Prophet himself. Legend says
that he always carried with him three hairs of the beard of the Prophet.
These were buried with him, of course, but whether that was his sole
recommendation for immortality the writer does not know. Less imposing

[Illustration: _In a Kairouan Mosque_]

the "Grande Mosquée," this latter is quite as elaborately beautiful in
all its parts. The carved wooden ceiling, the rugs and carpets of rare
weaves, the stuccos and the _faïences_, are all very effective and
seemingly genuine, though here and there (as in the tomb of Sidi-Sahab)
one sees the hand of the Renaissance Italian workman instead of that of
the Moor.

Kairouan has a special variety of _cafés chantants_ and _cafés
dansants_, which is much more the genuine thing than those at Biskra or

Still south from Tunis, further south even than Sousse, Kairouan, and
Sfax, lies a wonderful, undeveloped and little known country of oases
and _chotts_, the latter being great expanses of marshy land sometime
doubtless arms of the sea itself. The oases of Gabès and Tozeur are
called the _pays des dattes_, for here flourish the finest date-palms
known to the botanical world; while the oases themselves take rank as
the most populous and beautiful of all those of the great African

The _chotts_ are great depressions in the soil and abound in the region
lying between Touggourt and Biskra in Algeria, and Gabès in Tunisia. The
_chotts_ are undoubtedly dried-out beds of some long disappeared river,
lake or bay, and their crystallized surfaces are to-day veritable
death-traps to the stranger who wanders away from the beaten caravan
tracks which cross them.

The _chotts_ are very ancient, and an account of a caravan which was
lost in one of them was published by a Spanish historian of the ninth
century. Herodotus, too, makes mention of a Lake Triton, probably the
Chott-Nefzaoua of to-day, which communicated with the Syrte, now the
Gulf of Gabès.

The "Sud-Tunisien," as all this vast region is known, is all but an
unknown land to the tourist. Sousse and Sfax are populous, busy maritime
cities, largely Europeanized, but still retaining an imprint quite their
own. Kairouan, just westward from Sousse, where the railway ends, is the
chief tourist shrine of Tunis outside Tunis itself and Carthage. But
beyond, except for an occasional stranger who would hunt the gazelle,
the moufflon, or the wild boar, none ever penetrate, save those who are
engaged in the development of the country, and the military, who are

Between Sousse and Sfax is El Djem, the Thysdrus of the time of Cæsar,
and afterwards one of the richest cities of North Africa. Gordian, the
proconsul, was proclaimed emperor of the colony in 238 A.D., and the
present grand old ruin of an amphitheatre, a great oval like the
Colosseum at Rome, served many times as a fortification against Berber
and Vandal hordes, besides performing its conventional functions. El
Djem and its marvellous arena, nearly five hundred feet in length and
four hundred in width, is one of the surprises of the Tunisian


From Sfax, which is linked with Sousse by a service of public
automobiles, another apologetic loose end of railway takes birth and
runs west to Gafsa, a military post of importance and not much else; a
favourite spot for the French army board to exile refractory soldiers.
They leave them here to broil under a summer sun and work at road-making
in the heat of the day. After that they are less refractory, if indeed
they are not dead of the fever.



One arrives at Tozeur via Sfax and Gafsa and the light narrow-gauge
railway belonging to the company exploiting the phosphate mines. Beyond
Gafsa the line runs to Metlaoui, peopled only by six hundred phosphate
workers of the mines, a mixed crew of Arabs, Sicilians, and Maltese,
speaking a veritable _jargon des ours_, which nobody but themselves can
understand. It is strange, this little industrial city of the desert,
but it is unlovely, consisting only of little whitewashed cubes of
houses, a school-house, a miniature church and mosque, and a few
miserable little shops.

Gafsa is the chief metropolis of the region of the _chotts_. It is
called by the Arabs the pearl of the Djérid, and is a military post, and
the _bled_, or market town, for untold thousands of desert nomads. The
same word _bled_, when used by the city dweller, means the desert. Such
are the inconsistencies of Arab nomenclature. They almost equal our

Tozeur is reached from Gafsa by any one of a half dozen means. On foot,
on bicycle,--if you will, by automobile,--if you have the courage, by
diligence, _calèche_, or on horse, donkey, or camel back. If by either
of the latter means, you will of course be accompanied by a grinning
blackamoor who will respond to the name of Mohammed, and be thoroughly
useless except to prod the animal now and then. You and he will
understand each other by sign language, or by what might be called
phonetic French, and you will get on very well. Tozeur is eighty odd
kilometres from Gafsa over a "_route carrossable_," as the French
describe a carriage road,--sandy and rutty in places; but still a road
which ranks considerably higher than most of those of Ohio or Indiana.
There are no means of obtaining provisions, or even water, _en route_,
so the journey must be made either in a day, or arrangements made for
camping out overnight. With a good guide the journey might preferably be
made at night, for a nocturnal ramble in the desert is likely to awaken
emotions in the sentimentally inclined which will be something unique
among their previous experiences.

An Arab horse or mule will think nothing of doing sixty kilometres
between sunrise and sunset, but if a _calèche_ is to be one's mode of
conveyance, thirty-six hours is none too long to allow for the journey
from Gafsa to Tozeur.

The high-class Arab professes a contempt for the donkey or the mule,
though this indeed is no part of his creed, for we must not ignore that
it was a donkey that the Prophet most loved among beasts.

For the masses who have passed the _bourriquet_ stage, the mule is the
beast of burden par excellence. The Bey of Tunis, when he takes his
promenades abroad, has a team of six mules attached to his band-wagon
coach, and superb and distinguished-looking beasts they are; but the
desert Sheik will have nothing but an Arabian horse, not the "charger
shod with fire" of the drawing-room song, but a sound, sturdy, agile
beast, a good goer and handsome to look upon.

The _indigène's_ mule will amble along over a desert track fourteen or
sixteen hours out of the twenty-four, carrying his human burden in the
characteristic Arab saddle known as a _borda_, and scarcely seeming to
feel the weight.

The Arab is habitually kind to his beast of burden, at least he is no
more cruel to him than most lighter coloured humanity, and not nearly as
much so as the Sicilian and the Spaniard.

[Illustration: _El Oued_]

The little donkey to which the Prophet showed compassion was doubtless a
contrary little beast at times; but, since he is reputed to have been
able to go leagues and leagues without either eating or drinking, loaded
with burdens at which a full-grown mule and horse had balked, the
_bourriquet_ of the desert Arab must have had (and has) some undeniable
virtues. Not often is his lot an unhappy one, and the strangling curb
and bit and the resounding whacks from a spade or shovel, with which the
sunny-faced Italian usually regales his four-footed friends, are seldom
to be noted in North Africa. The Arab is voluntarily just towards all
living things, and if he sometimes forgets himself, and gives his camel
or his donkey a vicious prod, he, perhaps, has had provocation, for both
are contrary beasts at times.

_En route_ one passes many caravans, fifty or a hundred camels in a
bunch, half as many horses and mules, a score of donkeys, and a troop of
women, children, and dogs bringing up the rear. Most of them are making
for Kairouan or Gabès, coming from Algeria through the gateways of El
Oued and Ourgala. The camels march in Indian file, loaded down with
bales and barrels, a hundred, a hundred and fifty and more kilos to
each. No other means of transportation is so practicable for the
commerce of the desert, nor will be until some one invents a broad-tired
automobile that won't sink in the sand. The camel's foot, by the way,
doesn't sink in the sand, and that is why he is more of a success in the
desert than any other carrier. When the ideal automobile for the desert
comes, the ship of the desert will disappear, as the horse is
disappearing from the cities and towns of Europe and America.

Intermingled with the caravans are occasional flocks of sheep,
black-faced sheep and rams, with two, three, and even four horns apiece,
and fat, wobbly tails of extraordinary size, the characteristic, it
seems, of the sheep of the Sud-Tunisien. Like the hump and the six
stomachs of the camel, this fat caudal appendage of the Tunisian sheep
is a sort of reserve supply of energy, and when it is dry picking along
the route, they live on their fat. Other animals often starve under like

Long before Tozeur is reached one wonders if the guide has not lost his
bearings. Probably he hasn't, but it is all like the trackless ocean to
the man in the saddle, and the mule or donkey or camel doesn't seem to
care in the least which way his head is turned so long as he is not made
to push forward at full speed.

If one encounters a native, the guide being momentarily hidden behind a
sand-dune, most likely a _bonjour_ or a _salut_ will be forthcoming; but
that is all. The native's French vocabulary is often small, and in these
parts he is quite as likely to know as much of Italian, Maltese or
Hebrew. One that we encountered looked particularly intelligent, so
after the formal courtesies of convention, we risked:

"Tozeur? loin?"


"Combien de temps?"

"Il en faut."

"Quelle distance?"

"Au bout."

Our interrogatory was not a success. Another time we should trust to our
guide and bury suspicion. The Arab has some admirable traits, but he
often does not carry things to a finish, not even for his own benefit,
and his acquaintance with French is apt to be limited and his
conversation laconic. The Oriental proverb on the life of the nomad
suits the Arab to-day as well as it ever did.

    _Mieux vaut être assis que debout,_
            _Couché qu' assis,_
            _Mort que couché._

Finally a blue line of haze appears on the horizon, something a little
more tangible than anything seen before, unless indeed it prove to be a
mirage. If not a mirage, most likely it is Tozeur, or rather the palms
surrounding that sad, but interesting centre of civilization.

"Tozeur?" you ask again, of Mohammed this time, and that faithful Arab
with a curt assent breathes the words "_C'est bien ça_." Mohammed is
learned, has mingled with the world, and is suspicious that your
confidence in his powers is not all that he would have wished. "Well,
here we are," he thinks, "now what have you got to say?" "_C'est bien
ça: Tozeur! Oui! oui! Je n'ai trompé pas jamais, moi, Mohammed._" By
this time he has thought it all out and is really mad, but his mood soon
passes and he becomes as before, taciturn, faithful and willing. The
Arab doesn't bear malice for trivial things.

By contrast with the houses of Kairouan, Sousse and Sfax, which cut the
blue of the sky with a dazzling line of white, Tozeur is but a low,
rambling mud-coloured town of native-made bricks called _tobs_. The
impression from

[Illustration: _A Street in Tozeur_]

afar is one singularly sad and gloomy, for the architectural scheme of
the builders of Tozeur is more akin to that of the Soudanese than to
that of the Berber or Arab. In its detailed aspect the architecture of
Tozeur is remarkably appealing, quaint, decorative, and founded on
principles which the Roman builders of old spread to all corners of the
known world of their day. This may be the evolution of the architecture
of Tozeur or it may not, but certainly the flat-brick construction is
wonderfully like that of the baths and cisterns of the Romans.

Tozeur itself is melancholy, but its situation is charming and
contrastingly interesting to all who hitherto have known only the
Arabe-Mauresque architecture of the cities of the littoral, or the Roman
ruins of the dead cities of Lambessa, Timgad and Tebessa. The little
garrison which the French planted here some years ago has gone, and only
a few European functionaries remain, those in control of the _impôt_, a
doctor and an innkeeper, who doubtless means well, but who has a most
inadequate establishment. And this in spite of the fact that Tozeur is
the capital of the Djérid.

The Djérid itself is a great expansive region between the plateau
steppes and the desert proper. The natives are Berbers who have become
what the French call _Arabisé_, though many of their traditions seem to
be paganly Roman rather than Mussulman.

The hotel accommodations of Tozeur are endurable, but as before said
they are inadequate. Travellers are rare in this desert oasis, and two
or three sleeping-rooms scantily furnished--a bed, a chair and a
wash-basin--are the extent of the resources of Mme. Besson's apologetic
little hotel.

Tozeur's market is a mere alley of inverted V-shaped huts of reed,
wherein are sold--after much solemn bargaining and drinking of
coffee--all the small wants of the desert Arab, such as a morsel of
town-baked bread, hobnails for his shoes, a piece of tanned
leather--with the fur on--with which to make a new sole, a hank of
thread, a tin pot or pan, or a bandanna handkerchief--which however must
have stamped upon its border some precept from the Koran. The Arab's
personal wants are not great, and as he almost invariably carries his
worldly goods about with him they are accordingly not bulky.

Our only diversion at Tozeur was watching an hysterical fête or
pilgrimage to the neighbouring tomb of a marabout who died in recent
years richly endowed with sanctity. The history of this holy man was
told us as follows:

This man, Alfaoui, had lived all his life in Algeria, practising the
virtues of the Koran so assiduously that he was reckoned by his friends
and neighbours as one of the good and great. Having taken too active a
part in the insurrection of 1871, when the whole country--except
Kabylie--was ablaze with sedition, he fled precipitately from Algeria
and settled with his goods and chattels at Tamerza in Tunisia, one of
the oasis villages of Tozeur, arriving in time to great repute and
respect among the people.

Alfaoui's compact with Allah was not however so intimate but that he
occasionally conspired against the French, who, in the eighties, came to
occupy Tunisia, as they had Algeria fifty years before. His conspiracies
were in a way harmless enough, and consisted principally in "doing" the
French officials at every opportunity. He refused to pay his taxes, and
advised his followers to do the same; he smuggled tobacco, firearms and
matches, and trafficked in them among the natives, to the loss of a
certain revenue to the fiscal authorities, who, when they finally ran
him to earth _en flagrant délit_, found only some thousands of empty
match boxes with English labels,--but made in Belgium nevertheless,--the
kind of matches where you scratch three before you get one to burn, or
as the French say of their own abominable _allumettes_, it takes a match
to light a match.

Alfaoui was tried and condemned by the French tribunal, and it was this
ready-made "martyrdom by infidels" that caused the faithful roundabout
to elevate the meddlesome Alfaoui the Algerian to the distinction of a
marabout, and a house or _kouba_ was built for him entirely of brick
taken from the sepulchres of a neighbouring cemetery. Thus are holy
reputations made to order in the fanatical faith of the Mussulman.
Alfaoui's followers to-day are many, and without knowing why they
venerate him, thousands make the pilgrimage to his shrine, and wail and
chant and weep and have a good time generally. The government says
nothing. It fears nothing to-day, and since the Mussulman must have many
and convenient shrines for the excesses of his devotion to the
principles of the Koran, why that of a _contrebandier_ and agitator
serves as well as any other and no harm done.

The great date-palm plantations of Tozeur are watered by a complicated
system of irrigating canals whose flood-gates are opened every morning
by the authorities. A very deep spring gives an abundant supply of
sweet, limpid water which runs in miniature rivulets around and through
the tentacle-like roots of the Djérid's million palm-trees, bringing the
means of livelihood and prosperity to a conglomerate population of
thirty thousand souls. Thirty millions of kilogrammes of dates bring a
considerable profit to the cultivator, even if a goodly share does go to
the exploiter, the transportation company and the middleman. Four
hundred thousand frances in taxes and duties are collected yearly, from
this most fertile of all African date-growing regions.

All this is something to think about and marvel at when one is threading
his way slowly through the palisaded trunks of a grove of a million
palm-trees. The Arab knows the value of dates as a food product, but it
needed the European to exploit the industry profitably.

The Arab's veneration for the date-palm is great, and he affectionately
refers to it as "the tree which grows with its feet in the water and its
head in the fire of the sky."

There is another product of the palm-tree less beneficial to man, and
that is a sort of wine or sap which is gathered much as the Mexican
gathers _pulque_, or as the resin is sapped from the pine-tree. It's a
soft, pleasant, somewhat sticky liquid, seemingly innocuous, but its
after effects may be safely guaranteed as being of the "stone-fence"
variety. The Arab, by tradition, is a temperate person in food and
drink, but the European has taught him to drink white wine and he
himself has copied the French and taken (in small numbers fortunately)
to absinthe, and now he has got a ready-made distillery of _lagmi_ in
every palm-tree. The government proposes some sort of control of this
"moonshining," but the wheels of the law, like those of God, move
slowly, and the seed of dissolution may yet be sown among the Arabs of
Tozeur before the fiscal authorities find a way to levy a tax on

No one who ever saw the _indigène_ villages attached to a fertile
Saharan oasis will fail to remark that in spite of the proximity of the
cool, welcome shadow of the thick-growing palm-trees, the _adobé_
(_tob_) huts are invariably huddled together upon some blazing, baked
spot of ground with not so much shelter from the sun's rays as is given
by a flagpole. Why indeed is it so? The Arab may be like the Neapolitan
in his contempt for those who walk or live in the shade, but certainly
the sun-baked existence which most dwellers in Arab mud houses live for
twelve months out of the twelve must be enervating and discouraging, or
would be if the Arab ever felt the effects of heat and cold, which
apparently he does not. Perhaps this is the explanation of the motive
which prompts him to select his town sites where he does. The case is
not so hopeless though; the palm-tree grows quickly; and a dozen years
would transform the most dreary, monotonous Arab town of sun-cured mud
walls and roofs into a garden city which would rival Paradise. Perhaps
some day the "movement"--as we call the latest vogue in America and
England--will strike North Africa, and then we shall have graded
streets, lamp-posts on every corner and artificial lakes with goldfish
in them. And then where will be the rude picturesqueness of the Arab
town which charms us to-day?

Tozeur is not a lovely town, even as African towns go, but it is
interesting, comfortable, and accessible, after you have once got to
Sfax and Gafsa. It is altogether a little bit of mediævalism which even
the life of the Arab of to-day cannot change. And there is scarcely any
evidence plainly visible to indicate that Tozeur is not living three
centuries back in the past.

The environs of Tozeur offer views of ravishing beauty to the artist or
the more sentimentally inclined. From the height of the minaret of
Ouled-Medjed one commands a view of the entire oasis of Degach, with
here and there a clump of dismantled ruined habitations and on the
horizon the illimitable, miraculous desert mirage.

To the direct south is the great _chott_, so shallow that the trail to
Gabès can cross it at its widest part. To the four cardinal points one
frames his views of that marvellous African landscape; seen only at its
best from within a horseshoe-arched window, the invariable ogive
accompaniment of the true Arab replica of Moorish architecture.

The view from the height of Tozeur's mosque is a replica of that of
which Richepin sang. It is not Kipling, but it is good sentiment,

    "Loin, loin, toujours plus loin, la mer morte des sables
     S'étalait sans limite, et rien ne remuait
     Sur l'immobilité des flots infranchissables,
     Sur l'immobilité de l'air lourd et muet."

Coming down to earth, and making our way gropingly back to Mme. Besson's
humble rest house, a storm broke over our heads. It came with the
suddenness of night; and sticks and stones and much sand, and
hailstones as big as plover's eggs, fell through a suffocating stillness
with blinding force. It was all over in a moment. It came and went like
the characters of the stage, without announcement and without adieu, and
Tozeur settled down again to its wonted calm.

The _muezzin_ calls to prayer at sundown and night falls brusquely on
the silent desert air as if an inky wave had engulfed all before it.

                               THE END.


_Abd-el-Kader_, 241, 250

_Adam, de l'Isle, Villiers_, 1

_Adam, the brothers_, 98

_Aeneas_, 389

Africa, the granary of, 309
  The palm-trees of, 33
  The wheat of, 32

Ain-Beïda, 352
  Diligence from, to Tebessa, 352
  Railway from Kenchela, to, 352

Ain-Séfra, 221

_Alfaoui, the Algerian_, 339, 340

Alger, "La Blanche," 245
  Highest peak in, province of, 53
  Province of, 25, 51, 53

Algeria, 9, 22, 23, 36, 37, 38, 42, 44,
   56, 57, 64, 65, 67, 68, 76, 78, 91, 93,
   98, 99, 107, 113, 135, 144, 147, 170, 173,
   174, 176, 197, 198, 200, 201, 203, 205, 207,
   209, 212, 213, 214, 215, 228, 232, 235, 241,
   256, 262, 263, 264, 281, 283, 315, 330, 333,
   403, 408, 411, 417, 423

Algeria, Agriculture in, 55, 56
  Arab of the, 264, 337
  Arab chiefs in, 147
  Arab and Berber, population of, 43
  Climate of, 50-51, 54
  Commercial possibilities in, 46
  Currency in, 45-46
  Forçats of, the, 347
  Glimpse of real countryside of, 259
  Goum of, the, 206
  Hebrew of, the, 142
  Kabyles, the Auvergnats of, 282
  Koubas of, 106
  Native Arab soldiery, 203-208
  Nomad Arab, 332
  Negro café in, the, 312-314
  Of to-day, 42-56
  One of the richest agricultural lands, 31
  Population of, 42-44
  Railways of, 54-55, 72
  Regular soldiery in, the, 199
  Revenues of, 42
  Romantic character in history of, 200
  Routes Nationales of, 55
  Spahis and Turcos of, 202
  Taxes in, 34
  Tax on wine, in, 48
  Tobacco, a source of profit in, 47-48
  Trade between, and France, 31
  Wild beasts killed in, list of, 24
  Wine industry of, 55-56
  Winter in, 51

Algeria and Tunisia, 4, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 37
  Arab town in, the, 406
  Architecture of mosques in, 101
  Barbary fig in, 33
  Diligence of, 20-22
  Divisions of native Mussulman population, 129
  Foreign population in, 28
  French policy in, 76
  Horses seen in, 169
  Immigration of Arab population of, 66
  Jews in, 142-144
  Marabout of, the, 90-91
  Marabouts in, 92
  Newcomers to, 193
  Pilgrims from, 93
  Ports of, 36
  Roads of, 22
  Sheiks of, 76
  Story of, the, 4
  Wines of, 34

Algerian, Arab horse, the, 171
  Budget, the, 42
  Coast, temperature on, 37-38
  Gold coin, 45
  Journal, account of divorce in, 161-163
  Mountains, 288
  Quick-lunch, 263
  Wine, 35

Algiers, 1, 11, 12, 15, 17, 26, 37, 42, 44, 51, 67,
   103, 105, 137, 138, 144, 164, 173, 178, 200, 212,
   214, 228, 229, 231, 235, 238, 239, 240, 242, 252,
   260, 264, 266, 273, 275, 281, 284, 288, 289, 290,
   295, 299, 320, 328, 338, 359, 403
  And beyond, 259-272
  And its life, 247
  Arabs of, the, 251
  Arab town of, the, 249-250
  Architectural charms, 248
  Café d'Apollon in, 27
  Environs of, 246
  Grande Mosquée of, 246
  Great White City, 245-258
  Historical and romantic figures of, 254
  Icosium of the Romans, the, 245
  Jewesses of, 283
  Kasba at, the, 245, 248, 249
  Minarets of, 103
  Mosque Marabout of Sidi-Brahim, at, 106
  Pacha of, a (see _Salah Raïs_)
  Place du Gouvernement at, 246
  Population of, 253
  Port of, 254
  Shoeblacks of, 27
  Streets of, 246
  Suburban, 52
  Veiled women of, 256-258

_Ali-ben-Embarek_, 241

_Ali-Bey_ (see _Si-Ali-Bey_)

Andalusia, 29, 35, 109, 220, 221

Arba, 178, 264, 265, 266

_Arnaud_, 3

Atlas Mts., the, 11, 49, 51, 92, 277

_Augustus_, 32, 237, 287, 392
  Third legion of, 346, 348

Aumale, 47, 264, 266, 267, 268
  Auzia, the, of the Romans, 267
  Diligence from Algiers to, 266
  Route Nationale from, to
  Bou-Saada, 267
  Temperatures at, 54

Aures, the, 310, 351

Auzia (see Aumale)

Bagdad, Kalif of, 78
 Tomb of Sidi-el-Hadji-Abd-el-Kader-el-Djilali at, 93

_Balzac_, 92, 149

Barbary, Coast, the, 5, 339, 402, 413
  Slaves of, 143-144
  States, form of minarets in, 110

_Barberousse_, the brothers, 254

_Barrucaud, Victor_, 3

Bastion de France, 340

Batna, 52, 310, 315, 344, 345, 346
  Guide at, 311-312
  Hôtel des Etrangers et Continentals at, 311
  La-bivouac, 345
  Negro village at, 312-314
  School for Arab children, 314-315
  Tomb of Massinissa, 345

_Belisarius_, 393

Ben-Izguen, 333

Beni-Ferah, 317

Beni-Mançour, 275, 281, 287, 289

Beni-Ounif, 11, 221

Beni-Salah, Mts. of, 232

Beni-Souf, 234

_Bertrand, Louis_, 3

Beryan, 333

_Besnard_, 5

_Besson, Mme._, 422, 428

Biskra, 1, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 49, 225, 233,
   289, 310, 317, 320-329, 334, 344, 369, 403, 411
  And the desert beyond, 320-335
  Café Glacier at, 323
  Casino, the, at, 322, 329
  Conquered by the Duc d'Aumale, 264
  Danseuses of, 128
  Excursions from, 329
  From Constantine to, 309
  Guides at, 322
  Hôtel des Ziban, 323
  The Moorish cafés of, 324-326
  The Ouled Naïl dancers of, 323, 326-329
  Plan of, 321
  Rue Sainte of, 323, 327
  Temperatures at, 54

Bizerta, 12, 61, 63, 400-401
  Hippo Diarrhytus of the ancients, 400

Bizerte (see Bizerta)

_Blake_, 403

Blida, 51, 56, 217, 229, 231, 232-234, 243, 265, 289, 309
  Bois Sacré of, 232
  Excursions from, 243
  Known as Khaaba, 232
  Known as Ouarda, 232
  Marabout of Sidi-Yacoub-ech-Chérif at, 232
  Mauresques of, 234
  Route de, 230

Bona, 52, 93, 213, 338-339
  Basilica of St. Augustin at, 338
  Hôtel de l'Orient at, 339
  Kasba, the, at, 339
  Road from, to La Calle, 340
  Roman quais at, 36
  The ancient Hippo Regius, 338
  Tomb of Sidi-Brahmin at, 338

Bona-Guelma railway, 345

Bone (see Bona)

Bou-Chateur, domain of, 398

Bou-Noura, 333

Bou-Saada, 10, 11, 47, 49, 267-270
  El Hamel 15 kilometres from, 270
  From Aumale to, 267
  Hôtel Bailly at, 268
  Route Nationale to, 264

Boufarik, 227-231, 265, 289
  Hôtel Benoit at, 228
  Its market, 228, 230

Bougie, 281, 287-290
  Off the beaten track, 288
  Roman ruins at, 290
  Saldae of the ancients, 287
  Roman quais at, 36

Boumezou, the, 300

_Bourmont, General_, 200

_Bugeaud_, 201

_Burton, Sir Richard_, 3, 67

_Cabannes_, 5

_Cæsar_, 69, 293, 341, 392, 412

_Caïd of the Tell, the_, anecdote of, 138

Cairo, 16, 18, 26, 41, 60, 67, 101, 107,
   122, 166, 173, 246, 252, 294, 299, 306, 322, 359, 360
  Cape to, 10
  Kalif of, 78
  Minaret of Mosque of El Bardenei, 103
  Minaret of Mosque of Kalaun, 103
 Mosque of Hmrou at, 109
  Mosque of Iba Touloum at, 109

Cap Bon, 13

Cap Carthage, 13, 339, 402

Cap Matifou, 245

_Caracalla_, Arch of Triumph of, 353, 354

Cart-hadchat (see Carthage)

Carthage, 13, 30, 61, 170, 238, 240, 337,
   372, 374, 389-397, 398, 400, 405, 412
  Basilica of St. Louis at, 389
  Musée Lavigerie at, 394
  Plan of, 395
  Recent discoveries at, 396-397
  Steam tram from Tunis to, 390
  The glory that once was, 389-401
  Vin blanc de, 35, 400

Carthago (see Carthage)

Casablanca, 206

Castiglione, 236
  Tombeau de la Chrétienne, near, 236-237

_Cato_, 389

_Cervantes_, 254

Cesarea, capital of Mauretania, 239

_Chabannes, M._, 398

_Charles V_, 209, 255, 290, 399

Chelia, Mt., 53

Chellu (see Collo)

Cherchell, 229, 231, 235, 238, 239, 240, 241, 248, 338
  Ancient port of, 239
  From Tipazato, by road, 239
  Grande Mosquée of, 240
  Population of, 240
  Road to, 235
  Roman ruins at, 240
  Roman quais at, 36, 240

Chiffa, Gorges de, (see Gorges de Chiffa)

Chio, 402

Chott Nefzaoua, 412

Chotts, the, 411-412, 414

Cirta (see Constantine)

_Clauzel, General_, 283

_Cleopatra_, 284

Col des Genets, 288

Col des Oliviers, 307

Collo, 287
  Chellu of the ancients, 341
  Roman quais at, 36

Colomb-Béchar, 224

_Columbus_, 211

_Constant_, 5

Constantine, 34, 42, 52, 234, 289, 309, 310, 320, 326, 328, 341, 344, 369
  And the Gorge du Rummel, 291-308
  Arab cemetery at, 303
  Arab town of, the, 298, 299
  Camel caravan from, 178
  Cirta of the  ancients, 294, 341
  Danseuses of, 128
  Environs of, 307
  First glimpse of, 293
  Monuments of, 295
  Mosque of Salah Bey at, 295
  Mussulman festival at, 301-306
  Palace of Bey at, 295-296
  Plague of locusts in, 47
  Plan of tomb of Médracen, 343
  Province of, 25, 51, 53
  Railway from, to Biskra, 309
  Rock of, 292
  Roman remains at, 341
  "Siège de," by Vernet, 291
  Société Archéologique of, 355
  Streets of, 294
  Tomb of Constantine, near, 342
  Tomb of Médracen on road from, to Batna, 344
  Temperature, and rainfall at, 54

_Constantine_, tomb of, 342, 343

Constantinople, 6, 67, 101, 103, 166, 294, 299, 359, 373
  Kalif of, 78
  Minarets of St. Sophia at, 103
  Sultans of, are religious heads, 75

_Cook_, 11, 16

Cordova, 92, 109

_Corot_, 233

Costechica, 211

_D'Annunzio_, 210

_De Amicis, Edmond_, 88

_De Nerval_, 2

_De Vegas_, 255

_Decatur_, 402

Degach, Oasis of, 428

_Delacroix_, 201

_Delattre, Père_, 396

Dellys, 287

Diana, Temple of, 346

Diana (see Zana)

_Dido_, 389, 393

_Dinet_, 5

Djeefa, temperature and rainfall at, 54

Djemel (see El-Djem)

Djerid, the, 69, 414, 421
  Date-palms of the, 425
  The "pearl" of the, 414
  Tozeur, the capital of, 421

Djidjelli, ancient colony of Igilgili, 287

Djurjura, the, 245
  Kabylie du, 287

_Don Juan of Austria_, 399

Dougga, ruined portal at, 336

_Duc d'Aumale_, 264, 267

_Dumas_, 7

_Duquesne_, 402

_Duval, M. Jules_, 277

_Eberhardt, Isabelle_, 3

Egypt, 30, 57, 78, 109, 111, 112, 113, 170, 172

El Ateuf, 333

_El Bekri_, 344

El Djem, 412-413
  Amphitheatre at, 413
  Thysdrus of the ancients, 412

El Guerrah, 137, 345

El Hamel, visit to Marabout of, 270-272

El Kantara, 315-319, 320, 329, 334
  An artist's paradise, 317
  Bridge of, 292, 300
  Excursions from, 317
  Gorge of, 310, 316
  Hôtel Bertrand at, 315

El-Moungar, 197

El Oued, 234, 417

_Elissa_, 391

_Esculapius_, temple to, 347

_Fatmah_, sign of the hand of, 366

_Ferdinand_, 209

Fez, 60, 92, 111
  Kalif of, 78
  Kingdom of, 92
  Sultan of, 75

Figuig, 12, 49, 221, 222, 224, 225
  Grand Hôtel du Sahara, at, 11, 224
  To Laghouat by caravan, 225

_Flaubert_, 389

_Flavius Maximus, Prefect_, 348

Fort National, 273, 275, 287, 288
  Temperature and rainfall, 54

_Fragonard_, 233

_Fromentin_, 4

_Fronton_, 341

Gabès, 12, 23, 73, 192, 411, 417
  Gulf of, the ancient Syrte, 412
  Oases of, and Tozeur, 10, 411
  Railway from Tlemcen to, 12
  Trail to, 428

Gafsa, 109, 414, 415, 416, 427
  Journey from, to Tozeur, 415-420
  Railway to, 413

_Garner_, 150

_Gautier, Théophile_, 2, 102, 121, 201

_Gerhard, Paul_, work on butterflies of North Africa, 41

_Gérome_, 23

Géryville, temperature and rainfall at, 54

Ghardaïa, 11, 333

Gibraltar, 108, 400, 401
  Strait of, 7, 113

_Gide, André_, 3

Goletta, La (see La Goletta)

_Gordian, Proconsul_, 412

Gorges de Chiffa, the, 243

Gorges de Maafa, 317

Gorges de Tilatou, 317

Goulette, La (see La Goletta)

Granada, 29,  107

Guerrara, 333

_Guillaumet_, 5

_Habib, the Algerian_, anecdote, 375-388

_Hadj-Ahmed_, last Bey of Constantine, 295, 297

Hamma, Valley of, 307

Hammam-Rm'hira, 11, 16, 243, 244
  Its mineral springs, 243

Hammamet,  404

_Hannibal_, 389, 393

_Hanno_, 391

_Haroun-Al-Rachid_, 89, 357

_Harry, Myriam, Mme._, 3

_Hassan-ben-Nomane_, 394

_Herodotus_, 182, 412

Hippo-Diarrhytus (see Bizerta)

Hippone, 338

Hippo Regius, 338

_Houdin, Robert_, sent to Algeria, 264

_Hugo, Victor_, 2

_Hunéric_, the Vandal king, 238

_Hussein Dey_, 255

Icosium (see Algiers)

Igilgili (see Djidjelli)

Iol, Phoenician colony of, 239
  (see Cherchell)

_Isabella_, 209

Jaffa, 6, 37

_Jeanne, "La Folle,"_ 209

Jerusalem, 37
  Mosque of Omar, at, 109

_Jouanne_, 369

Jouggourt, incident at, 160

_Jubal II_, 237, 239

_Jugurtha_, 294

_Juno_, 347

_Jupiter_, 347

_Justinian_, 351, 352, 354

Kabylie, 11, 34, 51, 120, 248, 273, 275, 287, 288
  And the Kabyles, 273-290
  Des Babors, 287
  Du Djurdjura, 287
  Grande, 287-288
  Mountain villages of, 273
  Mountain women of, 283
  Mountains of, 11, 52
  Mountains of Grande, 53, 273, 310
  Mountains of Petite, 273
  Petite, 287
  Story of wood-cutter of, 118-120

Kairouan, 10, 60, 101, 107, 330, 405, 408-411, 412, 417, 420
  Cafés of, 411
  Mosque of Okba Ibm Maffi at, 109
  Mosque of Sidi-Okba, 410
  Mosque of Sidi-Sahab, 410-411
  Mosques of, 98

Kantara, El (see El Kantara)
  The Oued, 316

Kano, 188

Kassar-Saïd, 63

Kef Cnecora, 301

Kenchela, 47, 352
  Diligence from Timgad to, 351
  Hôtel de France at, 352
  Railway from, to Ain Beida, 352
  Site of ancient Mascula, 352

Khaaba (see Blida)

_Khair Ed Din_, 255

Khoumir region, the, 340

_Kinglake_, 67

_Kings of Mauretania_, 237

_Kipling_, 428

Kolea, 234-235
  Hôtel de France at, 235
  "Vin Rosé" of, 35, 235

Korbus, 13

Kroubs, 342
  Plan of tomb of Constantine, 342
  Tomb of Constantine on road to, 343

Ksar-Baghai, Byzantine fortress at, 352

La Calle, 339-341
  Coral fisheries of, 340
  Sardine fisheries of, 341
  The Tunizia of the Romans, 339

La Goletta, 13, 399
  Canal to Tunis from, 356

La Malga, 391

La Marsa, 13, 62, 63, 391, 399-400

La Trappe, 51 (see Staouëli-La-Trappe)

Laghouat, 44, 47, 225
  From Figuig by caravan, to, 225
  Temperatures at, 54

Lake Tchad, 62

Lake Triton, 412

Lake of Tunis, 357

Lalla Marnia, 220
  Fêtes of, 220
  Numerus Syrorum of the Syrians, 220

Lambæsis (see Lambessa)

Lambese (see Lambessa)

Lambessa, 311, 336, 344, 346-348, 352, 355, 421
  Aqueduct at, 348
  Arch of Septimus Severus at, 347
  Baths at, 347
  Capitol at, 347
  Forum at, 347
  From Batna to, 346
  Government penitentiary, 348
  Lambæsis of the Romans, 346, 352
  Plan of, 347
  Prætorium at, 336, 346
  Roman ruins at, 346
  Third Legion at, 346, 350
  Tomb of Flavius Maximus, 348

Lamiggiga, 345

_Livingstone, Dr._, 10

_Longfellow_, 315

_Lord Cromer_, 114

_Loti_, 4

_Louis XIV_, 255, 402

_Louis Philippe_, 201, 264

Lybia, 57, 68

Maafa, Gorges de (see Gorges de Maafa)

_Macrin, the Emperor_, 346

_Madghasen_ (see _Médracen_)

Mahdia, 109

_Mahomet_ (see _Mohammed_)

Maison Carrée, 259, 264, 265
  Market of, 259-263

Majorca, 213

Mansourah, 217
  Hills of,  307

_Marcus Aurelius_, 341

Marseilles, 1, 2, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 71, 196, 289, 409

_Maryval_, 3

Mascula (see Kenchela)

_Masqueray_, 5

_Massinissa_, 345

_Maupassants, the_, 5

Mauretania, 238
  Province of, 239
  Tomb of Kings of, 237

Mecca, 3, 80, 84, 95, 109
  First Kouba at, 106
  Pilgrimage to, 93

Médea, 217
  Occupation of in 1840, 241
  Road to, 243
  Wines of, 35

Médenine, 73

Medina, 3,  109

_Médracen, tomb of_, 344

Melika, 333

_Merimée_, 2

_Messaoud-ben-Ghebana_, 317

Metlaoui, 414

Mila, 341

Mileum (see Mila)

Miliana, 229, 231, 241-242, 243
  Mosque of Sidi-Ahmed-ben-Youssef at, 242
  Zucchabar of the Romans, 241

_Minerva_, 347

Mitidja, the, 51, 227, 231, 264, 309
  Agha of, 241
  And the Sahel, 227-244
  Moucharabias in the, 105

Mogador, 223

_Mohammed_, 77, 86, 306

_Mohammed-el-Hadi-Bey_, 59, 61

_Mohammed-en-Nacer-Bey_, 59, 63

Monastir, 71, 408
  Bricks and tiles of, 72
  Hôtel de Paris at, 408

_Montmaur_, 140

Monts des Ouled-Naïls, 332

Monts du Zab (see Ziban)

Morocco, 18, 22, 30, 61, 78, 109, 114, 170, 198, 206, 216, 262, 401
  Jews in, 144
  Kingdom of, 92
  Marabouts in, 91

Morsott, 354-355
  Plan of, 355
  Ruins at, 354
  Site of the ancient Theverte, 354

Moulouia, The, 339

Mount Chelia, 53

Mount Mourdjadja, 212

Mountains of Algeria, 53
  Beni-Salah, 232
  Grande Kabylie, 53, 273, 310
  Kabylie, 11, 52
  Petite Kabylie, 273
  The Aures, 310
  The Petit Atlas, 241, 245

Msaaba, Sheik of the, 11

Msaken, 134

Mustapha, 10, 16, 164, 245, 247

M'zabs, region of the, 332
  Towns of the, 333

Nabeul, 405
  Potteries of, 70, 405
  Pottery of, 71
  The ancient Neapolis, 405

_Napoleon_, Saying of, 190

Neapolis (see Nabeul)

Nédroma, 220, 221

Nefzaoua, The, 69

North Africa, 1, 2, 3, 4, 18, 28, 29, 50, 69,
   170, 197, 220, 221, 229, 232, 273, 289, 312,
   330, 334, 337, 346, 382, 409, 412, 417, 427
  Arab of, the, 114
  Arabian horse-flesh, rare in, 169
  Arabs and Berbères Arabisés of, 79
  Climate of, 37-38
  Germans in, 40-41
  Possibilities of trade with America and, 38-39
  Races met with in, 129
  Railways of, 1
  Social  system  of races  of, 142
  Tlemcen, the  most original city in, 213
  Arab of most interest in, 144-145
  Donkey's paradise, 173
  Garden of, 227
  Land of the burnous, 136
  Mauresques of, 163-165
  Moorish coffee shops of, 323-324
  Path of the Roman through, 336
North African Arab, The, 251

Numerus Syrorum, (see Lalla Marnia)

Numidia, 53 (see Tell, The)

_Numidian Kings_, 341

Oasis of Degach, 428

Oasis of Gabès, 10

_Okba-ben-Nafi_, 329

_Okba-ben-Nofi_, 409

_Omar, The Khalif_, 109, 110

Oran, 12, 37, 42, 50, 129, 144, 206, 209-213
  Cathedral of St. Louis at, 212
  From, to the Morocco frontier, 209-226
  Grande Mosquée at, 212
  Markets of, 210
  Population of, 209
  Province of, 51

Ouarda (see Blida)

Ouardja, 234

Ouarsenis, The, 242

Oudjda, 220
  Fêtes of, 220

Oued Bou-Saada, The, 272

Oued Kantara, The, 316

Oued-Righ, valley of the, 53

Oued-Souf, 10, 225, 334
  Maison Française at, 11

_Ouida_, 18, 19

Ourgala, 417

Paris, 6, 11, 31, 42, 173, 196, 227

Passage des Roches, 300

Pasteur, 345
  Site of the ancient Lamiggiga, 345

_Pedro Navarro_, 254, 290

_Percy's Reliques_, (anecdote), 101

Perrégaux, railway from, south, 221

Petit Atlas, The, 245
  Mountains of, 241

Philippeville, 52, 213, 307-308
  Rusicade of the ancients, 341

_Pliny_, 32, 182

_Point, Armand_, 5

Pointe Pescade, 164, 235

Pomaria (see Tlemcen)

Port Saïd, 6, 40, 101, 294

_Potter_, 5

_Pygmalion_, 391

_Rabelais_, 16

_Rhodes, Cecil_, 10, 62

_Richepin_, 428

Rovigo, steam-tram to, 264

Rivière des Sables, 300

Rocher du Lac, 301

Ruisseau des Singes, 243
  Hôtel at the, 243

Rummel, The, 292, 300

Rummel, The Gorge of The, 293, 298, 299-301
  Ruins of bridge across, 342

Rusicade (see Philippeville)

_St. Augustin_, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 338

_St. Cyprien_, 393

_St. Perpétua_, 393

_St. Vincent de Paul_, 399

_Saddok-Bey_, 59

Sahel, The, 67, 70, 71, 229, 231, 248, 254
  The Mitidja, and The, 227-244

Saint Eugène, 164, 235, 245

_Salah Raïs_, Pacha of Algiers in 1555, 237

_Salah Bey_, Mosque of, 295, 342

_Salambo_, 393
  Opera of, 389

Saldae (see Bougie)

_Salomon_, 354

_Sallust_, 293

_Salsa_, patron saint of Tipaza, 238

_Scipio_, 389

_Septimus Severus_, arch built under, 347

Seriana (see Pasteur)

Setif, 239, 289
  Population of, 287

Seville, minaret of the Giralda, at, 111

Sfax, 12, 72, 93, 411, 412, 420, 427
  Railway from, to Gafsa, 413
  Railway  from,  to  Tozeur, 414

_Si-Ali-Bey_, 59, 60, 61

_Sid Ben Gannah_, Grand chef of the Sud-Constantinois, 233

_Sidi-Ahmed-ben-Youssef_, the marabout, 242

Sidi-bou-Saïd, 13, 391, 398-399

_Sidi-Brahim_, the marabout, 106
  Tomb of, 338

_Sidi-el-Hadji-Abd-el-Kader-el-Djilali_, 93

Sidi-Ferruch, 235

_Sidi Hassin_, 348-350

Sidi-M'cid, hills of, 307

Sidi-Okba, 329-330
  Arab school at, 330
  Café restaurant at, 329
  Mosque at, 330
  Shrine of, 329
  Tomb of, at, 330

_Sinan Pacha_, 399

_Sittius_, 341

Souk-Ahras, 50, 345

Sousse, 72, 405-408, 409, 411, 412, 413, 420
  By rail or road from Nabeul to, 405
  Citadel of, 407
  Kasba of, 407
  Population of, 406
  Souks of, 406

Spain, 2, 23, 35-36, 57, 92, 110, 112, 129, 176, 213, 292, 400
  Arabs and Moors of, 115
  Oran, a penal colony of, 211

_Stanley_, 10

Staouëli-la-Trappe, 236
  Abbey at, 236

Stora, 307
  A port of antiquity, 338
  Gulf of, 307
  Roman quais at, 36

Sud-Algérie, 34

Sud-Algerien, The goum of the, 206

Sud-Constantinois, 12, 225, 321

Sud-Oranais, 34, 221, 224
  Spread of civilization in, 222

Sud-Tunisien, 62, 338, 412
  Sheep of the, 418

Syrte, The (see Gulf of Gabès)

_Tacitus_, 182

Tamerza, 423

Tangier, 40, 111, 403

Tebessa, 336, 344, 345, 352-354, 355, 421
  Arch of Triumph at, 336, 353
  Byzantine walls, 353-354
  Plan of, 353
  To, from Ain-Beïda, 352
  Temperature and rainfall at, 54

Tell, The, 52, 309, 336
  A Caïd of the, 138
  Roman cities of, 344
  The Numidia of the ancients, 53

_Tertullian_, 393

Theverte (see Morsott)

Thamugadi (see Timgad)

Thusuras (see Tozeur)

Thysdrus (see El-Djem)

Tilatou, Gorges de (see Gorges de Tilatou)

Timgad, 311, 336, 344, 348-351, 352, 421
  Byzantine fortress at, 351
  Diligence from, to Kenchela, 351
  Guide, 348-350
  "Guide Illustré de," 351
  Hôtel Meille at, 348
  Plan of, 349
  Thamugadi of the ancients, 350, 352

Tipaza, 237, 238, 248, 338
  Population of, 238
  Roman ruins at, 238
  To Cherchell, 239

Tirourda, The pass of, 288

Tizi-Ouzou, 248, 273, 287
  Diligence from, to Fort National, 288
  Railway not beyond, 274
  Troops of, 206

Tlemcen, 10, 11, 12, 16, 23, 53, 101, 213-220, 221, 268, 338
  Camel Caravans from, 178
  Legend of Mosque of Mansourah, 217-219
  Minaret of El Mansourah at, 111
  Minaret of Sidi-bou-Medine, 111
  Mosque of Djama l'Hassen at, 215
  Mosque of El Haloui, 216
  Mosque of El Mansourah at, 109
  Mosques in, 98
  Pomaria of the Romans, 213, 338
  Population of, 215
  Railway from Oran to, 213
  Siege of, in 3d century, 216
  Temperature and rainfall in, 54

Touabet, Mt., 53

Touggourt, 11, 12, 44, 225, 411
  The Touaregs south of, 190

Tozeur, 11, 12, 73, 225, 338, 420-429
  Architecture of, 421
  Hotel at, 422, 428
  Journey from Gafsa to, 415-420
  Market at, 422
  Oases of Gabès and, 411, 414
  Oasis of, 414-429
  Thusuros of the ancients, 338
  View from Minaret of Ouled-Medjed at, 428

_Trajan_, 350

Tripoli, 61, 62, 113, 170
  Caravans in, 188
  De Barbarie, 30
  In Barbary, 12, 61, 114, 401, 403
  Pacha of, 402
  Pirates of, 403

Tunis, 1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 26,
   30, 54, 58, 67, 70, 71, 72, 105, 129,
   135, 144, 173, 246, 252, 268, 284, 289,
   294, 299, 326, 411, 412
  A city of consulates, 358
  A Jew of (anecdote),  362-363
  And The Souks, 356-370
  Arab town of, the, 359, 367, 368
  Bardo, 367
  Bey of (anecdote), 124-126
  Camel caravans from, 178
  Danseuses of, 128
  Dar El-Bey at, 296, 366, 367
  En route from, to Bizerta, 397
  Foreigners in, 28
  Gates of Arab city of, 367
  Jewesses of, 283
  Jewish dancers of, 369
  Kasba, 367
  La Musique Beylicale at, 122
  La ville, 67
  Lake of, 357
  Life of, 364
  Minarets of, 103
  Minaret of Ez-Zitouna at, 111
  Minaret of the Kasba, 111
  Moorish cafés, 368
  Mosque of Djama Ez-Zitouna at, 109
  Mosque of Sidi-Mahrez, 372
  Old, 371
  Population of, 365
  Prosperity of, 67
  Souks of the old town of, 371-372
  Souks or bazaars of, 359-362, 398, 400, 403, 404, 409, 411, 412
  Steam-tram from, to Carthage, 390

Tunisia, 22, 31, 46, 59, 63, 69, 78, 98, 99, 107, 113,
   144, 147, 170, 176, 197, 262, 403, 408, 409, 411, 423
  Army a necessity for, 60
  Authorization for travel into interior of, 73
  Efforts at colonizing the Régence of, 73
  Greater prosperity to come to, 62
  Kairouan, The Holy City of, 405, 408
  Lybia of the ancients, 57, 68
  Need of capital in, 69
  Political status of native of, 64, 65, 66
  Railways of, 72
  Régence of, and the Tunisians, 57-73
  Taxes in, 34
  Vineyards of, in 1900, 68

Tunisia and Algeria,  24,  108, 114
  Koubas in, 331

Tunizia (see La Calle)

Utica, 397
  Plan of ancient, 398
  Ruins at, 398

_Valée, General_, 292

_Vernet, Horace_, 201, 291

_Yacoub-el-Nansourd, The Sultan_, 111

_Yusuf_, 200

Zana, 345-346
  Byzantine fortress at, 346
  Diana of the ancients, 345
  Temple of Diana at, 346
  Triumphal arches at, 346

Zaccar-Gharbi, The, 241

Ziban, The, 53, 331, 332
  Inhabitants of, 331

_Ziem_, 5

_Zorah-ben-Mohammed_, incident of, 269, 270

Zucchabar (see Miliana)

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Sud-Algerie=> Sud-Algérie {pg 34}

compared wih California or Bermuda=> compared with California or Bermuda
{pg 37}

Kassar-Said=> Kassar-Saïd {pg 63}

Berberes Arabisés=> Berbères Arabisés {pg 79}

no eyes with which to sea=> no eyes with which to see {pg 127}

arcades and faiences=> arcades and faïences {pg 295}

Hamam-Rm'hira=> Hammam-Rm'hira {pg 436}

_Haroun-Al-Raschid_, 89, 357=> _Haroun-Al-Rachid_, 89, 357 {pg 436}

Sidi-bou-Said, 13, 391, 398-399=> Sidi-bou-Said, 13, 391, 398-399 {pg

_Alfaoui, the Algerian_, 923, 924=> _Alfaoui, the Algerian_, 339, 340
{pg 431}

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