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Title: The Passing of Morocco
Author: Moore, Frederick F. (Frederick Ferdinand)
Language: English
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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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  [Illustration:  _Frontispiece._








For several years I had been watching Morocco as a man who follows
the profession of ‘Special Correspondent’ always watches a place that
promises exciting ‘copy.’ For many years trouble had been brewing
there. On the Algerian frontier tribes were almost constantly at odds
with the French; in the towns the Moors would now and then assault
and sometimes kill a European; round about Tangier a brigand named
Raisuli repeatedly captured Englishmen and other foreigners for the
sake of ransom; and among the Moors themselves hardly a tribe was not
at war with some other tribe or with the Sultan. It was not, however,
till July of last year that events assumed sufficient importance to
make it worth the while of a correspondent to go to Morocco. Then, as
fortune would have it, when the news came that several Frenchmen had
been killed at Casablanca and a few days later that the town had been
bombarded by French cruisers, I was far away in my own country. It was
ill-luck not to be in London, five days nearer the trouble, for it
was evident that this, at last, was the beginning of a long, tedious,
sometimes unclean business, that would end eventually--if German
interest could be worn out--in the French domination of all North
Africa west of Tripoli.

Sailing by the first fast steamer out of New York I came to London, and
though late obtained a commission from the _Westminster Gazette_. From
here I went first to Tangier, _viâ_ Gibraltar; then on to Casablanca,
where I saw the destruction of an Arab camp and also witnessed the
shooting of a party of prisoners; I visited Laraiche against my will
in a little ‘Scorpion’ steamer that put in there; and finally spent
some weeks at Rabat, the war capital, after Abdul Aziz with his
extraordinary following had come there from Fez.

Of these brief travels, covering all told a period of but three months,
and of events that are passing in the Moorish Empire this little book
is a record.

       *       *       *       *       *

Six letters to the _Westminster Gazette_ (forming parts of Chapters I.,
IV., VI., XIV., XV., and XVI.) are reprinted with the kind permission
of the Editor.

I have to thank Messrs. Forwood Bros., the Mersey Steamship Company,
for permission to reproduce the picture which appears on the cover.

  _March 15, 1908._


  CHAPTER                                      PAGE

        INTRODUCTION                         vii-ix

     I. OUT OF GIBRALTAR                          1

    II. NIGHTS ON A ROOF                         12

   III. DEAD MEN AND DOGS                        30

    IV. WITH THE FOREIGN LEGION                  38

     V. NO QUARTER                               52

    VI. THE HOLY WAR                             59

   VII. FORCED MARCHES                           71

  VIII. TANGIER                                  79


     X. DOWN THE COAST                          102

    XI. AT RABAT                                111

   XII. THE PIRATE CITY OF SALLI                129

  XIII. MANY WIVES                              139

   XIV. GOD SAVE THE SULTAN!                    147

    XV. MANY SULTANS                            157

   XVI. THE BRITISH IN MOROCCO                  173


  A SAINT HOUSE                                           _Frontispiece_

  TANGIER THROUGH THE KASBAH GATE                      _To face page_ 10

  THE FRENCH WAR BALLOON }                                    ”       38

  ARAB PRISONERS WITH A WHITE FLAG  }                         ”       60

  ON THE CITADEL, TANGIER                                     ”       80

  A RIFF TRIBESMAN  }                                         ”       96

  THE CASTLE AT LARAICHE                                      ”      104

  A CAMP OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF RABAT                           ”      126

  SHAWIA TRIBESMEN                                            ”      136

  A FEW OF THE SULTAN’S WIVES                                 ”      144

  ABDUL AZIZ ENTERING HIS PALACE                       }

  A PRINCELY KAID }                                           ”      162

  MAP OF MOROCCO                                              ”      188




It was in August, 1907, one Tuesday morning, that I landed from a P. &
O. steamer at Gibraltar. I had not been there before but I knew what
to expect. From a distance of many miles we had seen the Rock towering
above the town and dwarfing the big, smoking men-of-war that lay at
anchor at its base. Ashore was to be seen ‘Tommy Atkins,’ just as one
sees him in England, walking round with a little cane or standing
stiff with bayonet fixed before a tall kennel, beside him, as if for
protection, a ‘Bobbie.’ The Englishman is everywhere in evidence,
always to be recognised, if not otherwise, by his stride--which no one
native to these parts could imitate. The Spaniard of the Rock (whom the
British calls contemptuously ‘Scorpion’) is inclined to be polite and
even gracious, though he struggles against his nature in an attempt
to appear ‘like English.’ Moors from over the strait pass through the
town and leisurely observe, without envying, the _Nasrani_ power, then
pass on again, seeming always to say: ‘No, this is not my country; I
am Moslem.’ Gibraltar is thoroughly British. Even the Jews, sometimes
in long black gaberdines, seem foreign to the place. And though on the
plastered walls of Spanish houses are often to be seen announcements of
bull fights at Cordova and Seville, the big advertisements everywhere
are of such well-known British goods as ‘Tatcho’ and ‘Dewar’s.’

I have had some wonderful views of the Rock of Gibraltar while crossing
on clear days from Tangier, and these I shall never forget, but I
think I should not like the town. No one associates with the Spaniards,
I am told, and the other Europeans, I imagine, are like fish out of
water. They seem to be of but two minds: those longing to get back to
England, and those who never expect to live at home again. Most of
the latter live and trade down the Moorish coast, and come to ‘Gib’
on holidays once or twice a year, to buy some clothes, to see a play,
to have a ‘spree.’ Of course they are not ‘received’ by the others,
those who long for England, who are ‘exclusive’ and deign to meet with
only folk who come from home. In the old days, when the Europeans in
Morocco were very few, it was not unusual for the lonesome exile to
take down the coast with him from ‘Gib’ a woman who was ‘not of the
marrying brand.’ She kept his house and sometimes bore him children.
Usually after a while he married her, but in some instances not till
the children had grown and the sons in turn began to go to Gibraltar.

My first stop at the Rock was for only an hour, for I was anxious to
get on to Tangier, and the little ‘Scorpion’ steamer that plied between
the ports, the _Gibel Dursa_, sailed that Tuesday morning at eleven
o’clock. I seemed to be the only cabin passenger, but on the deck
were many Oriental folk and low-caste Spaniards, not uninteresting
fellow-travellers. Though the characters of the North African and the
South Spaniard are said to be alike, in appearance there could be no
greater contrast, the one lean and long-faced, the other round-headed
and anxious always to be fat. Neither are they at all alike in style
of dress, and I had occasion to observe a peculiar difference in their
code of manners. I had brought aboard a quantity of fresh figs and
pears, more than I could eat, and I offered some to a hungry-looking
Spaniard, who watched me longingly; but he declined. On the other hand
a miserable Arab to whom I passed them at once accepted and salaamed,
though he told me by signs that he was not accustomed to the sea and
had eaten nothing since he left Algiers. As I moved away, leaving some
figs behind, I kept an eye over my shoulder, and saw the Spaniard
pounce upon them.

The conductor, or, as he would like to be dignified, the purser, of
the ship, necessarily a linguist, was a long, thin creature, sprung
at the knees and sunk at the stomach. He was of some outcast breed of
Moslem. Pock-marked and disfigured with several scars, his appearance
would have been repulsive were it not grotesque. None of his features
seemed to fit. His lips were plainly negro, his nose Arabian, his
ears like those of an elephant; I could not see his eyes, covered
with huge goggles, black enough to pale his yellow face. Nor was this
creature dressed in the costume of any particular race. In place of the
covering Moorish _jeleba_ he wore a white duck coat with many pockets.
Stockings covered his calves, leaving only his knees, like those of
a Scot, visible below full bloomers of dark-green calico. On his feet
were boots instead of slippers. Of course this man was noisy; no such
mongrel could be quiet. He argued with the Arabs and fussed with the
Spaniards, speaking to each in their own language. On spying me he
came across the ship at a jump, grabbed my hand and shook it warmly.
He was past-master at the art of identification. Though all my clothes
including my hat and shoes had come from England--and I had not spoken
a word--he said at once, ‘You ’Merican man,’ adding, ‘No many ’Merican
come Tangier now; ’fraid _Jehad_’--religious war.

‘Ah, you speak English,’ I said.

‘Yes, me speak Englis’ vera well: been ’Merica long time--Chicago,
New’leans, San ’Frisco, Balt’more, N’York’ (he pronounced this last
like a native). ‘Me been Barnum’s Circus.’

‘Were you the menagerie?’

The fellow was insulted. ‘No,’ he replied indignantly, ‘me was freak.’

Later when I had made my peace with him by means of a sixpence I asked
to be allowed to take his picture, at which he was much flattered and
put himself to the trouble of donning a clean coat; though, in order
that no other Mohammedan should see and vilify him, he would consent to
pose only on the upper-deck.

Sailing from under the cloud about Gibraltar the skies cleared rapidly,
and in less than half-an-hour the yellow hills of the shore across
the strait shone brilliantly against a clear blue sky. There was no
mistaking this bit of the Orient. For an hour we coasted through the
deep green waters. Before another had passed a bleak stretch of sand,
as from the Sahara, came down to the sea; and there beyond, where the
yellow hills began again, was the city of Tangier, the outpost of the
East. A mass of square, almost windowless houses, blue and white,
climbing in irregular steps, much like the ‘Giant’s Causeway,’ to the
walls of the ancient _Kasbah_, with here and there a square green
minaret or a towering palm.

We dropped anchor between a Spanish gunboat and the six-funnelled
cruiser _Jeanne d’Arc_, amid a throng of small boats rowed by Moors
in coloured bloomers, their legs and faces black and white and shades
between. While careful to keep company with my luggage, I managed at
the same time to embark in the first boat, along with the mongrel in
the goggles and a veiled woman with three children, as well as others.
Standing to row and pushing their oars, the bare-legged boatmen took us
rapidly towards the landing--then to stop within a yard of the pier and
for a quarter of an hour haggle over fares. Three reals Moorish was all
they could extort from the Spaniards, and this was the proper tariff;
but from me two pesetas, three times as much, was exacted. I protested,
and got the explanation, through the man of many tongues, that this
was the regulation charge for ‘landing’ Americans. In this country, he
added from his own full knowledge, the rich are required to pay double
where the poor cannot. While the Spaniards, the freak and I climbed up
the steps to the pier, several boatmen, summoned from the quay, came
wading out and took the woman and her children on their backs, landing
them beyond the gate where pier-charges of a real are paid.

At the head of the pier a rickety shed of present-day construction,
supported by an ancient, crumbling wall, is the custom-house. Not in
anticipation of difficulty here, but as a matter of precaution, I had
stuffed into my pockets (knowing that my person could not be searched)
my revolver and a few books; and to hide these I wore a great-coat and
sweltered in it. Perhaps from my appearance the cloaked Moors, instead
of realising the true reason, only considered me less mad than the
average of my kind. At any rate they ‘passed’ me bag and baggage with
a most superficial examination and not the suggestion that _backsheesh_
would be acceptable.

But on another day I had a curious experience at this same
custom-house. A new kodak having followed me from London was held
for duty, which should be, according to treaty, ten per cent. _ad
valorem_. It was in no good humour that after an hour’s wrangling I was
finally led into a room with a long rough table at the back and four
spectacled, grey-bearded Moors in white _kaftans_ and turbans seated

‘How much?’ I asked and a Frenchman translated.

‘Four dollars,’ came the reply.

‘The thing is only worth four pounds twenty dollars; I’ll give you one

‘Make it three--three dollars, Hassani.’

‘No, one.’

‘Make it two--two dollars Spanish.’

This being the right tax, I paid. But I was not to get my goods yet;
what was my name?



‘No, _your_ name.’

‘I presented my card.’

‘Moore!’ A laugh went down the turbaned line.

A writer on the East has said of the Moors that they are the Puritans
of Islam, and the first glimpse of Morocco will attest the truth of
this. Not a Moor has laid aside the _jeleba_ and the corresponding
headgear, turban or fez. In the streets of Tangier--of all Moorish
towns the most ‘contaminated’ with Christians--there is not a tramway
or a hackney cab. Not a railway penetrates the country anywhere, not a
telegraph, nor is there a postal service. Except for the discredited
Sultan (whose ways have precipitated the disruption of the Empire) not
a Moor has tried the improvements of Europe. It seems extraordinary
that such a country should be the ‘Farthest West of Islam’ and should
face the Rock of Gibraltar.



I did not stop long on this occasion at Tangier, because, from a
newspaper point of view, Casablanca was a place of more immediate
interest. The night before I sailed there arrived an old Harvard friend
travelling for pleasure, and he proposed to accompany me. Johnny Weare
was a young man to all appearances accustomed to good living, and
friends of an evening--easy to acquire at Tangier--advised him to take
a supply of food. But I unwisely protested and dissuaded John, and we
went down laden with little unnecessary luggage, travelling by a French
torpedo-boat conveying despatches.

Here I must break my story in order to make it complete, and anticipate
our arrival at Casablanca with an account of how the French army
happened to be lodged in this Moorish town. In 1906 a French company
obtained a contract from the Moorish Government to construct a harbour
at Casablanca; and beginning work they found it expedient, in order to
bring up the necessary stone and gravel, to lay a narrow-gauge railway
to a quarry a few miles down the coast. In those Mohammedan countries
where the dead are protected from ‘Infidel’ tread the fact that the
tracks bordered close on a cemetery, in fact passed over several
graves, would have been cause perhaps for a conflict; but this--though
enemies of France have tried to proclaim it--was not a serious matter
in Morocco, where the Moslems are done with their dead when they bury
them and anyone may walk on the graves. The French were opposed solely
because they were Christian invaders to whom the Sultan had ‘sold
out.’ They had bought the High Shereef with their machines and their
money, but the tribes did not intend to tolerate them.

After many threats the Arabs of the country came to town one market-day
prepared for war. Gathering the local Moors, including those labouring
on the railway, they surrounded and killed in brutal fashion, with
sticks and knives and the butts of guns, the engineer of the locomotive
and eight other French and Italian workmen. The French cruiser
_Galilée_ was despatched to the scene, and arriving two days later
lay in harbour apparently awaiting instructions from home. By this
delay the Moors, though quiet, were encouraged, hourly becoming more
convinced that if the French could land they would have done so. They
were thoroughly confident, as their resistance demonstrated, when,
after three days, a hundred marines were put ashore. As the marines
passed through the ‘Water Port’ they were fired upon by a single Moor,
and thereupon they shot at every cloaked man that showed his head on
their march of half-a-mile to the French consulate. At the sound of
rifles the _Galilée_ began bombarding the Moslem quarters of the town;
and the stupid Moorish garrison, with guns perhaps brought out of
Spain, essayed to reply, and lasted for about ten minutes.

But the landing force of the French was altogether too small to do more
than protect the French consulate and neighbouring European houses.
Town Moors and Arabs turned out to kill and rape and loot, as they do
whenever opportunity offers, and for three days they plundered the
places of Europeans and Jews and at last fought among themselves for
the spoils until driven from the town by reinforcements of French and
Spanish troops.

The fighting and the shells from French ships had laid many bodies in
the streets and had wrecked many houses and some mosques. Certain
Moors, less ignorant of the French power, had asked the French to spare
the mosques and the ‘Saint Houses,’ domed tombs of dead shereefs, and
when the fighting began the Arabs, seeing these places were untouched,
concluded, of course, that the protection came from Allah, until they
entered them and drew the French fire.

Casablanca, or, as the Arabs call it, _Dar el Baida_, ‘White House,’
was a desolate-looking place when we arrived three weeks after the
bombardment. Hardly a male Moor was to be seen. The whole Moslem
population, with the exception of a few men of wealth who enjoy
European protection, and some servants of consulates, had deserted
the town and had not yet begun to return. Jews in black caps and
baggy trousers were the only labourers, and they worked with a will
recovering damaged property at good pay, and grinning at their good
fortune. In the attack the Moors had driven them to the boats, but now
the Moors themselves had had to go. Native Spaniards did the lighter

A Spaniard and a Jewish boy took our luggage to an hotel, of which
all the rooms were already occupied, even to the bathroom and the
wine closet, as the long zinc tub in the courtyard, filled with
bottles, testified. The proprietor told us that for ten francs a day
we might have the dining-room to sleep in, but on investigation we
decided to hunt further. Speaking Spanish with a grand manner, for he
was a cavalier fellow, the hotel-keeper then informed us through an
interpreter that he wanted to do what he could for us because he too
was an American. The explanation (for which we asked) was that in New
York he had a brother whom he had once visited for a few months, and
that at that time, ‘to favour an American gentleman,’ he had taken out
naturalisation papers and voted for the mayor.

But this man’s breach of the law in New York was his mildest sin, as
we came later to hear. He had many robberies to his credit and a murder
or two. For his latest crime he was now wanted by the French consul
and military authorities, but being an American citizen they could not
lay hold of him except with the consent of the American consul, who
happened to be a German, and, disliking the French, would let them do
nothing that he could help. Rodrigues (this was the name of the Spanish
_caballero_) had defended his place against the Arab attack with the
aid only of his servants. The little arsenal which he kept (he was a
fancier of good guns and pistols) had been of splendid service. It is
said that when the fight was over forty dead Moors lay before the hotel
door, half-a-dozen horses were in Rodrigues’s stable, and bundles of
plunder in his yard. It was a case of looting the looters. On tinned
foods taken from the shops of other Europeans (whom he had plundered
when the Arabs were gone from the town) he was now feeding the host
of newspaper correspondents who crowded his establishment. But we were
not to be looted likewise by this genial fellow-countryman, and our
salvation lay at hand as we bade him _au revoir_.

Leaving the Hôtel Américain we turned into the main street, and
proceeding towards the Hôtel Continental came upon a party of French
officers, who had just hailed and were shaking hands with a man
unmistakably either English or American. Beside him, even in their
military uniforms the Frenchmen were insignificant. The other man was
tall and splendid and brave, as the writer of Western fiction would
say. He wore a khaki jacket, white duck riding trousers, English
leggings, and a cowboy hat; and over one shoulder were slung a rifle, a
kodak, and a water-bottle. To lend reality to the figure--he was dusty,
and his collar was undone; and as we passed the group we heard him tell
the Frenchmen he had just returned from the ‘outer lines.’ How often
had we seen the picture of this man, the war correspondent of fiction
and of kodak advertisements!

Both Weare and I were glad to meet the old familiar friend in the
flesh and wanted to speak to him, but we refrained for fear he might
be English and might resent American effrontery. As we passed him,
however, we noticed his name across the flat side of the water-bottle.
In big, bold letters was the inscription: ‘Captain Squall, Special
War Correspondent of “The Morning Press.”’ This was characteristic of
Squall, as we came to know; neither ‘special correspondent’ nor ‘war
correspondent’ was a sufficient title for him; he must be ‘special war

We had heard of Squall at Tangier and thought we could stop and speak
to him, and accordingly waited a moment till he had left the Frenchmen.
‘How-do-you-do, Captain?’ I said. ‘I have an introduction to you in my
bag from the correspondent of your paper at Tangier.’

‘You’re an American,’ was the Captain’s first remark, not a very novel
observation; ‘I’ve been in America a good deal myself.’ He adjusted
a monocle and explained with customary originality that he had one
bad eye. ‘What do you think of my “stuff” in the Press?’ was his next

‘A little personal, isn’t it? I read that despatch about your being
unable to get any washing done at the hotel because of scarcity of
water, and your leaving it for that reason.’

‘Yes, that’s what the British public like to read, personal touches,
don’t you think?’

‘Where are you living now? We have to find a place.’

‘Come with me. You know the Americans were always very hospitable to
me, and I like to have a chance to do them a good turn. I’m living on a
roof and getting my own grub. You know I’m an old campaigner--I mean to
say, I’ve been in South Africa, and on the Canadian border, and I got
my chest smashed in by a Russian in the Japanese war,--I mean a hand to
hand conflict, you know, using the butts of our guns.’

‘Were you a correspondent out there?’

‘No, I was fighting for the Japs; I’m a soldier of fortune, you know.’

‘But the Japanese Government did not allow Europeans to enlist.’

‘I was the only one they would enlist; I mean to say, my father had
some influence with the Japanese minister in London.’

‘But you’re very young; how old are you?’

‘Well, I don’t like to say; I mean there’s a reason I can’t tell my
age,--I mean, I went to South Africa when I was sixteen; you see that’s
under age for military service in the British Army.’ The Captain waited
a moment, then started off again. ‘I’ve got medals from five campaigns.’

‘I’d like to see them.’

Indifferently he opened his jacket.

‘There are six,’ I remarked.

‘Oh, that’s not a campaign medal; that’s a medal of the Legion of
Frontiersmen. I mean to say, I was one of the organisers of that.’

Weare and I recognised the type. There are many of them abroad and
some wear little American flags. But, of course, to us they are more
grotesque when they affect the monocle. We knew Squall would not be
insulted if we turned the conversation to the matter of most interest
to us at that moment.

‘For my part,’ said Weare, ‘I could do well with something to eat just
now. One doesn’t eat much on a torpedo-boat.’

With the prospects of our companionship--for Squall was boycotted by
most of the correspondents--he led us away to his roof to get us a
meal; and, for what the town provided, a good meal he served us. He
did his own cooking, but he did it because he liked to cook,--he meant
to say, he had money coming to him from the sale of a motor-car in
London, and he had just lost fifteen or twenty thousand pounds--the
exact amount did not matter either to us or to him.

For a fortnight, till an old American resident of Casablanca invited
us to his house, we suffered Squall. We three slept on the roof while
a decrepit, dirty Spaniard, the owner of the place, slept below. It
was a modest, one-storey house, built in Moorish style. There were
rooms on four sides of a paved courtyard, under a slab in the centre of
which was the customary well. Overhead a covering of glass, now much
broken, was intended to keep out the rain. The place had been looted
by the Moors, who took away the few things of any value and destroyed
the rest, leaving the room littered with torn clothes and bedding and
broken furniture, if I might dignify the stuff by these names; nor had
the old man (whose family had escaped to Tangier) cleared out any place
but the kitchen and the courtyard.

There was a little slave boy whose master had been killed, and who now
served a ‘Mister Peto’ and came to us for water every day. As our old
Spaniard would not keep the place clean and saved all the food that
we left from meals (which filled the place with flies) we hired the
boy for a peseta, about a franc, a day to keep it clean. He was to get
nothing at all if he allowed in more than twenty-five flies, and for
one day he worked well and got the money. But the reason of his success
was the presence all that day of one or the other of us engaged at
writing, protecting him from the wrath of the old man, who resented
being deprived of both stench and flies. The next day when we returned
from the French camp there was no more black boy, and we never saw him
again, nor could we ascertain from the old man what had happened to
him. Thereafter we never drew a bucket of drinking water from the well
without the fear of bringing up a piece of poor ‘Sandy.’

As candles were scarce and bad we went to bed early. Weare and I
generally retiring first. We climbed the rickety, ladder-like stairs
and walked round the glass square over the courtyard to the side of the
roof where cooling breezes blew from the Atlantic. There undressing, we
rolled our clothes in tight bundles and put them under our heads for
pillows. To lie on we had only sacking, for our rain-coats had to be
used as covering to keep off the heavy dews of the early morning. Only
Squall had a hammock.

Before retiring every evening Squall had the task of examining and
testing his weapons, of which he had enough for us all. A ‘Webley’ and
‘Colt’ were not sufficient, he must also bring to the roof his rifle,
on the butt of which were fourteen notches, one for each Moor he had
shot. He clanked up the steps like Long John, the pirate, coming from
‘below,’ in ‘Treasure Island.’ When he had got into the hammock, lying
comfortably on revolvers and cartridge belts, his gun within reach
against the wall, he would begin to talk. ‘You chaps think I bring all
these “shooting-irons” up here because I’m afraid of something. Only
look at what I’ve been through. I’ve got over being afraid. The reason
I bring them all up with me is that I don’t want them stolen,--I mean
to say there isn’t any lock on the door, you know.’

‘Go to sleep, Squall.’

‘I mean you chaps haven’t got any business talking about me being

‘Can’t you tell us about it at breakfast, Squall?’

One night Squall wanted to borrow a knife; his, he said, was not very
sharp. He had been out ‘on the lines’ that day, and he wanted it, he
explained, to put another notch in his gun.

Sometimes a patrol would pass in the night, and we would hear the three
pistols and the gun click. Once the gun went off.

At daybreak we would rouse old Squall to go and make coffee, and while
he was thus employed we were entertained by the occupants of a ‘kraal’
(I can think of no better description) next door. In a little, low
hut, built of reeds and brush, directly under our roof, lived a dusky
mother and her daughter. The one (I imagine) was a widow, the other
an unmarried though mature maid. They were among the score of Moors
who had not fled, and there being no men of their own race about they
were not afraid to show their faces to us. The mother was a hag, but
the younger woman was splendid, big and broad-shouldered, with a deep
chest. Her colour was that of an Eastern gipsy, bronze as if sunburned,
with a slight red in her cheeks; she was black-haired, and she always
wore a flower. From her lower lip to her chin was a double line
tattooed in blue, and about her ankles and arms, likewise tattooed,
were broad blue bangles, one above her elbow. The clothes that she
wore, though of common cotton, were brilliant in colour, generally
bright green or blue or orange-yellow, sometimes a combination; they
were not made into garments but rather draped about her, as is the way
in Morocco, and held together with gaudy metal ornaments. Two bare
feet, slippered in red, and one bare arm and shoulder were always
visible. While this younger woman cooked in the open yard, and the old
crone lean and haggard watched, they would look up from their kettle
from time to time and speak to us in language we could not understand.
We threw them small coins and they offered us tea. But we did not visit
the ladies, to run the risk, perhaps, of dissipating an illusion.

‘Coffee, you chaps,’ sounded from below, and we went down to breakfast
with good old ‘Blood-stained Bill.’



Though at times unpleasant, it is always interesting to come upon the
scene of a recent battle. Casablanca had been a battlefield of unusual
order. The fight that had taken place was not large or momentous, but
it had peculiarities of its own, and it left some curious wreckage.
Windowless Moorish houses with low arched doors now lay open, the
corners knocked off or vast holes rent in the side, and any man might
enter. Several ‘Saint Houses’ were also shattered, and a mosque near
the Water Port had been deserted to the ‘infidels.’ The French guns
had done great damage, but how could they have missed their mark at a
range of less than a mile! A section of the town had taken fire and
burned. One cluster of dry brush kraals had gone up like so much paper
and was now a heap of fine ash rising like desert sand to every breeze.
Another quarter of a considerable area was untouched by fire, though
not by the hand of the Arab; and what he had left of pots and pans
and other poor utensils the Spaniard and Jew had gathered after his
departure. At the time that we came poking through the quarter only a
tom-tom, and that of inferior clay with a broken drum, was to be found.
Hut after hut we entered through mazes of twisting alleys, the gates
down everywhere or wide ajar; and we found in every case a heap of rags
picked over half-a-dozen times, a heap of earthenware broken to bits by
the Moors in order that no one else might profit. So silent was this
quarter, once the living place of half the Moorish population, that the
shimmering of the sun upon the roofs seemed almost audible. Twice we
came upon Algerians of the French army, in one case two men, in the
other a single stalwart ‘Tirailleur.’ We came to a street of wooden
huts a little higher than the kraals, the _sok_ or market-place of the
neighbourhood. Invariably the doors had been barricaded, and invariably
holes hacked with axes had been made to let in the arm, or, if the
shop was more than four feet square, the body of the looter. In front
of the holes were little heaps of things discarded and smashed. What
fiends these Moors and Arabs are, in all their mad haste to have taken
the time to destroy what they did not want or what they could not carry
off! They had hurried about the streets robbing each others’ bodies and
dressing themselves, hot as the season was, in all the clothes they
could crowd on, shedding ragged garments when they came to newer ones,
always taking the trouble to destroy the old. And I have heard that in
collecting women they acted much in the same way, leaving one woman for
another, ‘going partners,’ one man guarding while the other gathered,
driving the women off at last like cattle, for women among Mohammedans
have a definite market value.

Though the bodies were now removed from the streets it was evident
from the stench that some still lay amongst the wreckage. Flies, great
blue things, buzzed everywhere, rising in swarms as we passed, to
settle again on the wasted sugar or the filthy rubbish and the clots of
blood. Emaciated cats and swollen dogs roused from sleep and slunk away
noiselessly at our approach. One dog, as we entered a house through
a hole torn by a shell, rose and gave one loud bark, but, seeming to
frighten himself, he then backed before us, viciously showing his
teeth, though growling almost inaudibly. Evidently he belonged to the
house. At the fall of night these dogs--I often watched them--would
pass in packs, silently like jackals, out to the fields beyond the
French and Spanish camps, where the bigger battles had taken place and
where a dead Moor or a French artillery horse dried by the sun lay here
and there unburied.

The return of the Moors to the wrecks of their homes began about
the time of our arrival. At first there came in only two or three
wretched-looking creatures, bare-footed and bare-headed, clad usually
in a single shirt which dragged about their dirty legs, robbed of
everything, in some cases even their wives gone. As the Arabs of the
country sought in every way, even to the extent of shooting them, to
prevent their surrender, they were compelled to run the gauntlet at
night; and often at night the flashes of the Arabs’ guns could be seen
from the camp of the French. The miserable Moors who got away lay most
of the night in little groups outside the wire entanglements till their
white flag, generally the tail of a shirt, was seen by the soldiers
at daybreak. The Moors who thus surrendered, after being searched for
weapons, were taken for examination to the office of the general’s
staff, a square brush hut in the centre of the French camp, where,
under a row of fig trees, they awaited their turns. Some Jews among
them, refugees from the troubled villages round about, were careful
in even this their day to keep a distance from the elect of Mohammed,
remaining out in the blinding sun till a soldier of ‘the Legion’ told
them also to get into the shade. The Jews were given bread by their
sympathisers, and they went in first to be questioned because their
examination was not so rigorous as that through which the Moors were
put--humble pie this for the Moors!

When a Moor entered the commander’s office he prostrated himself, as
he would do usually only to his Sultan or some holy man of his creed;
however, he was ordered to rise and go squat in a corner. An officer
who spoke Arabic--and sometimes carried a riding-crop--drew up a chair,
sat over him and put him through an inquisition; and if he showed the
slightest insolence a blow or two across the head soon quelled his
spirit. When the examination was over, however, and the Moor had been
sufficiently humiliated, the French were lenient enough. The man’s
name was recorded and he was then permitted to return to his home and
to resume his trade in peace. He received sometimes a pass, and, if
he could do so in the teeth of his watchful countrymen outside the
barriers, he went back into the interior to fetch such of his women
folk as were safe. But every idle Moor was taken from the streets and
made to work as it is not in his belief that he should--though he was
fed and paid a pittance for his labour. Medical attention was to be
had, though the Mohammedan would not ordinarily avail himself of the
Nazarene remedies.

I should say the French were just, even kindly, to the Moors who
surrendered without arms but to those taken in battle they showed no
mercy. The French army returning from an engagement never brought in
prisoners, and neither men nor officers kept the fact a secret that
those they took they slaughtered.

The French spread terror in the districts round about, and after they
began to penetrate the country and leave in their wake a trail of death
and desolation, the leaders of several tribes near to Casablanca came
in to sue for peace. These were picturesque men with bushed black hair
sticking out sometimes six inches in front of their ears. The older of
them and those less poorly off came on mules, the youth on horses. They
saw General Drude and the French consul, and went away again to discuss
with the other tribesmen the terms that could be had: no arms within
ten miles of Casablanca and protection of caravans bound hither. But
soon it came to be known that the sorties of the French were limited to
a zone apparently of fifteen kilomètres, and the spirit of the Arabs
rose and they became again defiant.



It was to see the war balloon go up that I planned with a youthful
wag of a Scot to rise at five o’clock one morning and walk out to the
French lines before breakfast. He came to the roof and got me up,
and we passed through the ruined streets, over the fallen bricks and
mortar, to the outer gate, the _Bab-el-Sok_. Arriving in the open, the
balloon appeared to us already, to our surprise, high in the air; and
on the straight road that divided the French camp we noticed a thick,
lifting cloud of brown dust. Lengthening our stride we pushed on as
fast as the heavy sand would allow, passing the camp and overtaking
the trail of dust just as the last cavalry troop of the picturesque
French army turned out through an opening in the wire entanglements
which guarded the town. General Drude did not inform correspondents
when he proposed an attack.


[Illustration: AN ALGERIAN SPAHI.]

Spread out in front of us on the bare, rolling country was a moving
body of men forming a more or less regular rectangle, of which the
front and rear were the short ends, about half as long as the sides.
The outer lines were marked by companies of infantry, bloomered
Tirailleurs and the Foreign Legion, marching in open order, often
single file, with parallel lines at the front and vital points. Within
the rectangle travelled the field artillery, three sections of two
guns each; a mountain battery, carried dismantled on mules; a troop
of Algerian cavalry; the general and his staff; and a brigade of the
Red Cross. Outside the main body, flung a mile to the front and far
off either wing, scattered detachments of _Goumiers_, in flowing
robes, served as scouts. Already three of them on the sky-line, by the
position of their horses, signalled that the way was clear.

This little army, counting in its ranks Germans, Arabs, and negroes, as
well as native Frenchmen, numbered all told less than three thousand
men. It had got into fighting formation under shelter of a battery and
two short flanking lines of infantry lodged on the first ridge; and
passing through the wire entanglements the various detachments had
found their positions without a halt. The force, even though small, was
well handled, and the men were keen for the advance. Of course they
were thoroughly confident; they might have been recklessly so but for
the controlling hand of the cautious general.

Finding ourselves at a rear corner of the block we set our speed at
about double that of the columns of the troops and took a general
direction diagonally towards a section of the artillery, now kicking
up a pretty dust as it dragged through the ploughed fields. Overtaking
the guns we slogged on with them for a mile or more, advising the
officers not to waste their camera films, as they seemed inclined to
do, before the morning clouds disappeared.

The helmets of the artillerymen and _Légionnaires_ hid their faces and
made them look like British soldiers; and this was disappointing, to
find that the only French troops in the army had left behind in camp
the little red caps that give them the appearance of belonging to the
time of the French Revolution.

Though inside us we carried no breakfast, neither were we laden with
doughy bread and heavy water-bottles, to say nothing of rifles; and
after a short breathing spell and a ride on the guns we were soon
able to say _au revoir_ to the battery and to press on ahead. Our
eagerness to ascertain the object of the movement led us towards the
general’s staff; but we did not get there. The little man with the
big moustache spied us at some distance and sent an officer to say
that correspondents should keep back with the hospital corps. Thinking
perhaps it would be best not to argue this point, we thanked the
officer, sent our compliments to Monsieur le Général Drude, and dropped
back till the artillery hid us from his view, grateful that he had not
sent an orderly with us.

It was only four miles out from Casablanca, as the front line came
to the crest of the second rise, that the firing began. About half a
mile ahead of us we saw the forward guns go galloping up the slope and
swing into position; and a minute later two screeching shells went
flying into the distance. A battery to the left was going rapidly to
the front, and, keeping an eye on the general, we made over to it and
passed to the far side, to be out of his view. It happened that by so
doing we also took the shelter of the battery from a feeble Moorish
fire, and our apparent anxiety brought down upon us the chaff of the
soldiers. But we did not offer to explain. With this battery we went
forward to the firing line; and as soon as the guns were in action,
the Scot, forgetting the fight in the interest of his own mission,
began dodging in and out among the busy artillerists, snapping pictures
of them in action. Though the men kept to their work, several of the
officers had time to pose for a picture, and one smart-looking young
fellow on horseback rode over from the other battery to draw up before
the camera. All went well till the general, stealing a march on us,
came up behind on foot. I do not know exactly what he said, as I do
not catch French shouted rapidly, but I shall not forget the picture
he made. Standing with his legs apart, his arms shaking in the air,
his cap on the back of his head, the little man in khaki not only
frightened us with his rage but made liars of his officers. The same
men who had posed for us now turned upon us in a most outrageous
manner. Some of them, I am sure, used ‘cuss’ words, which fortunately
not understanding we did not have to resent; several called us
imbeciles, and one threatened to put us under arrest.

‘There,’ said the Scot as the general turned his wrath upon his
officers, ‘that will make a splendid picture, “A Critical Moment on the
Battlefield; General Drude foaming at his Staff.” Won’t you ask them to
pose a minute?’

We moved back a hundred yards, taking the shelter of a battered Saint
House, and began to barter with some soldiers for something to eat.
For three cigarettes apiece four of them were willing to part with a
two-inch cube of stringy meat and a slab of soggy brown bread, with
a cupful of water. As we sat at breakfast with these fellows their
officers got out kodaks and photographed the group, perhaps desiring to
show the contrast of civilians in Panama hats beside their bloomered,
fezzed Algerians. With still a hunk of bread to be masticated we had
to rise and go forward. All of the army ahead of us moved off and the
reserves took up a position on the ridge the cannon had just occupied.
As soon as the general took his departure we began to look about for
some protecting line of men or mules, but there were none following
him. The rectangle had divided into two squares, and we were with the
second, which would remain where it was. The object of this manœuvre
was to entice the Moors into the breach, they thinking to cut off the
first square and to be caught between the two. But the Moors had had
their lesson at this game three weeks before.

Realising soon that we were with the passive force we resolved to
overtake the Foreign Legion, now actively engaged, and accordingly set
out across the valley after them for a two-mile chase. A caravan track
led down through gullies and trailed in and out, round earth mounds
and ‘Saint Houses,’ often cutting us off from the view of both forces
at the same time, and once hiding from us even the balloon. Crossing a
trodden grain-field to shorten our distance we came upon three Arabs,
dead or dying, a dead horse, and the scatterings of a shell. A lean
old brown man, with a thin white beard and a shaven head, lay naked,
with eyes and mouth wide open to the sun, arms and legs flung apart,
a gash in his stomach, and a bullet wound with a powder stain between
the eyes. His companions, still wearing their long cotton shirts and
resting on their arms, might have been feigning sleep; so, as a matter
of precaution we walked round them at a distance. It came to me that
this was fool business to have started after the general and I said so.
‘Human nature,’ replied the Scot; ‘we have been trying to avoid the
general all morning, now we wished we had him.’ We talked of going back
but came to the conclusion that it was as far back as it was forward,
and went on to a knoll, where four guns had taken up a position and
were blazing away as fast as their gunners could load them.

Of course our independence of General Drude revived as we got to a
place of more or less security, and we swung away from him towards the
right flank. Choosing a good point from which to watch the engagement,
we saluted the captain of a line of Algerians and lay down among
the men. Below us, in plain view, not a quarter of a mile away, was
the camp of the Moors, about four hundred tents, ragged and black
with dirt, some of them old circular army tents, but mostly patched
coverings of sacking such as are to be seen all over Morocco. It was
to destroy this camp, discovered by the balloon, that the French army
had come out, and we had managed to come over the knoll at the moment
that the first flames were applied to it. Just beyond the camp the
squalid village of Taddert, beneath a cluster of holy tombs, a place
of pilgrimage, was already afire.

The Moors at Taddert had evidently been taken by surprise. They left
most of their possessions behind in the camp, getting away with only
their horses and their guns. A soldier of the Foreign Legion came back
driving three undersized donkeys, and carrying several short, pot-like
Moorish drums. We spoke to him and he told us that they had taken seven
prisoners and had shot them.

The Arabs hung about the hills, keeping constantly on the move to avoid
shells. Organisation among them seemed totally lacking and ammunition
was evidently scarce. Once in a while a horseman or a group of two
or three would come furiously charging down to within a mile of the
guns and, turning to retire again, would send a wild shot or two in
our direction. Wherever a group of more than three appeared, a shell
burst over their heads and scattered their frightened horses, sometimes
riderless. The fight was entirely one-sided, yet the French general
seemed unwilling to risk a close engagement that might cost the lives
of many of his men.

After an hour my companion, though under fire for the first time,
became, as he put it, ‘exceedingly bored,’ and lying down on the ground
as if for a nap, asked me to wake him ‘if the Moors should come within
photographing distance.’ I suggested that he might have a look at
them with a pair of glasses and that he might borrow those of a young
officer who had just come up.

‘Monsoor,’ he said, rising and saluting the officer, ‘_Permettez moi à
user votre binoculaires, s’il vous plaît?_’

‘You want to look through my glasses?--certainly,’ came the reply.
‘There, you see that shot; it is meant for those Moroccans converging
on the sky-line. There, it explodes. It got four of them. It was well
aimed. These are splendid guns we have. No other country has such guns.
I should say many of the Moors are killed to-day. Not less than three
hundred. What is that? Give me my things! Pardon, it is only _les
Goumiers_. They look like Moroccans but of course we must not shoot

The energetic Scot interrupted. ‘I should like to see your men fire
a volley so that I might get a picture; my paper wants scenes of the
fighting about Casablanca.’

‘Perhaps I can do so in a few minutes, if you stay by me.’

The general passed within a few yards, and, ignoring us, went back to
the ambulance brigade to see a wounded man of the Foreign Legion. We
followed him and took his photograph as he shook hands with the trooper
on the litter.

‘Good picture,’ I said.

‘Rotten,’ said the Scot. ‘They’ll think in London that I got Drude
to pose; the wounded chap hadn’t a bloodstain on him and he smoked a

We had not long to wait, however, before an example of real misery
came to our view. A Goumier covered with blood, riding a staggering
wounded horse, brought in a Moor without a stitch of clothes, tied by a
red sash to his saddle. Captor, captive, and horse fell to the ground
almost together. The Goumier had been shot in the chest, and expired
while his fellow horsemen relieved him of his purple cloak and his
turban and gave him water. The Moor (who had been taken in the fire at
Taddert) was a mass of burns from head to foot. On one hand nothing
remained but stumps of fingers, and loose charred flesh hung down from
his legs. Well might the French have shot this creature; but they bound
up his wounds.

At one o’clock the Arab camp was a mass of smouldering rags, while
Taddert blazed from every corner. The day’s work was done. Long
parallel lines of men marching single file in open order trailed over
the stony ground back towards the white walled city.



On the next excursion with the French I happened to see the shooting
of six prisoners. We set out from camp as usual at early morning and
moved up the coast for a distance of eight miles, with the object of
examining a well which in former dry seasons supplied Casablanca with
water and was now no doubt supplying the Arabs round about. By marching
in close formation and keeping always down in the slopes between hills
we managed to get to the well and to swing a troop of Goumiers round it
without being noticed by a party of thirteen Moors, of whom only three
were properly mounted.

The unlucky thirteen had no earthly chance. The Goumiers swept down
upon them, killing seven, and taking prisoners the remaining six. As
I was marching with the artillery at the time, I missed this little
engagement, and my first knowledge of it was when the prisoners trailed
by me on foot: six tall, gaunt, brown men, bare-legged, and three of
them bare-headed, none clad in more than a dirty cotton shirt that
dragged to his knees. They moved in quick, frightened steps, keeping
close to one another and obeying their captors implicitly. Allah had
deserted them and their souls were as water. The Goumiers, fellow
Mohammedans and devout--I have seen them pray--followed on tight-reined
ponies, riding erect in high desert saddles, their coloured kaftans
thrown back from their sword-arms--brown men these too, with small
black eyes and huge noses. French soldiers of the Foreign Legion
drove three undersized asses, carrying immense pack-saddles of straw
and sacking meant to pad their skinny backs and to keep a rider’s
feet from trailing ground. They were too small to be worth halter or
bridle, and the soldiers prodded them on with short, pointed sticks,
that brought to my mind Stevenson’s ‘Travels with a Donkey.’ One of
the Frenchmen brought along a gun, a long-barrelled Arab flintlock, an
antiquated thing safer to face than to fire. Besides this, I was told,
one of the prisoners had carried a bayonet fastened with a hemp string
to the end of a stick; the others seem to have been unarmed. They were
indeed a poor bag.

Without the least idea that such prisoners would be shot, I did not
follow to their summary trial, but moved, instead, over to a spring,
where some artillerists were watering their horses, while a dozen
sporting tortoises stirred the mud. The gunners had bread and water,
while I had none. Bread and water are heavy on campaign, and a few
cigarettes I had found were good barter. My cigarettes were distributed
and we were just beginning our breakfast, when a man standing up
called our attention to the Goumiers coming our way again with the
Moors. They were walking in the same order, the prisoners first in a
close group, moving quickly on foot, not venturing to look back, the
Goumiers, probably twenty, riding steady on hard bits.

‘_Pour les tuer_,’ said a soldier, smiling; ‘_Pour les tuer_,’ repeated
the others, looking at me to see if I smiled.

I shook my head in pity, for the doomed men were ignorant, pitiable

A hundred yards beyond us were a clump of dwarfed trees and some
patches of dry grass, like an oasis among the rolling, almost barren,
hills; and for this spot the Moors were headed. Mechanically I went
on eating, undecided whether to follow, for I did not want to see the
thing at close range. I thought the Moors would be lined up in the
usual fashion, their sentence delivered, and a moment given them for
prayer. But suddenly, while their backs were turned, just as they set
foot upon the dry grass, quickly a dozen shots rang out almost in a
volley, then came a straggling fire of single shots. The single shots
were from a pistol, as an officer passed among the dying men and put a
bullet into the brain of each.

A young Englishman, the Reuter correspondent, rode over to me from the
other side and asked what I thought. It seemed to me, I said, rather
brutal that they were not told they were to die.

‘I don’t know,’ said the Englishman. ‘I should say that was
considerate. But the thing isn’t nice; it isn’t necessary.’

The Goumiers set fire to the grass about the bodies, and soon the smoke
and smell, brought over on a light Atlantic breeze, caused us to move

Across the dusty, shimmering plains signal fires began to send up
columns of smoke, warning the Arabs beyond of our approach. But we were
going no further.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no censorship of news in England, but the English press
often decides what is good for the public to know and what it should
suppress. In my opinion the above affair, reported to the London papers
by their own correspondents, who were witnesses, should have been
published. But the papers either did not publish the despatches, or
else, as in the case of the _Times_ and the _Telegraph_, which I saw,
they gave the incident only the briefest notice, and placed it in a
more or less obscure position in the paper. This, on the part of the
London editors, was no doubt in deference to the British _entente_
with France. The question arises in my mind, however, whether a paper
purporting to supply the news has any right to suppress important news
that is legitimate.

The shooting of prisoners continued until I left Morocco; and I am of
the opinion that it goes on still. The French did not hide the fact;
as I have said, any of the officers would tell you that they took
no prisoners in arms. The Arabs opposing them, they pointed out,
were murderers who had looted Casablanca, attempted to slaughter the
European residents, and failing, had turned upon each other to fight
not only for plunder but for wives. What would have happened to the
European women, the Frenchmen asked, had the consulates not sustained
the siege? What happens to French soldiers who are captured? They
argued also that drastic methods brought submission more quickly.



When the Shawia tribesmen made their first attacks upon the French at
Casablanca they were thoroughly confident of their own prowess and
of the protection of Allah. They had often, before the coming of the
French, called the attention of Europeans to the fact that salutes of
foreign men-of-war entering port were not nearly so loud as the replies
from their own antiquated guns--always charged with a double load of
powder for the sake of making noise. But they have come to realise now
that Christian ships and Christian armies have bigger guns than those
with which they salute, and the news that Allah, whatever may be His
reason, is not on the side of the noisy guns has spread over a good
part of Morocco.

The Arabs now seldom try close quarters with the French, except
when surrounded or when the French force is very small and they are
numerous; and as I have indicated before, their defence is most
ineffective. One morning on a march towards Mediuna I sat for an hour
with the Algerians, under the war balloon, watching quietly an absurd
attack of the tribesmen. From the crest of a hill, behind which they
were lodged, they would ride down furiously to within half a mile of
us, and turning to go back at the same mad pace, discharge a gun,
without taking aim, at the balloon, their special irritation. It was
all picturesque, but like the gallant charge of the brave Bulgarian
in ‘Arms and the Man,’ entirely ridiculous. If the Algerians had been
firing at the time, not one of them would have got back over their hill.



The reports in the London papers of serious resistance on the part
of the Moors are seldom borne out by facts. Most of the despatches,
passing through excitable Paris, begin with startling adjectives and
end with ‘Six men wounded.’ Here, for instance, are the first and the
last paragraphs of the Paris despatch describing the first taking of
Settat, which is over forty miles inland and among the homes of the
Shawia tribesmen. It is headed:

  ‘_A Sixteen-Hour Fight._

  ‘At eight a.m. yesterday the French columns opened battle in the
  Settat Pass. The enemy offered a stubborn resistance, but was finally
  repulsed, after a fight lasting until midnight. Settat was occupied
  and Muley Rechid’s camp destroyed.

  ‘There were several casualties on the French side.... The enemy’s
  losses were very heavy. The fight has produced a great impression
  among the tribes.’

The Arab losses under the fire of the French 75-millimètre guns and
the fusillade of the Foreign Legion and the Algerians, many of them
sharpshooters, are usually heavy where the Arabs attempt a serious
resistance. I should say it would average a loss on the part of the
Moors of fifty dead to one French soldier wounded. Moreover, when a
Moor is badly wounded he dies, for the Moors know nothing of medicine,
and the only remedies of which they will avail themselves are bits of
paper with prayers upon them, written by shereefs; these they swallow
or tie about a wound while praying at the shrine of some departed
saint. It has seemed to me a wanton slaughter of these ignorant
creatures, but if the French did not mow them down, the fools would say
they could not, and would thank some saint for their salvation.

The arms of the Arabs are often of the most ineffective sort, many of
them, indeed, made by hand in Morocco. While I was with the French army
on one occasion we found on a dead Moor (and it is no wonder he was
dead) a modern rifle, of which the barrel had been cut off, evidently
with a cold chisel, to the length of a carbine. The muzzle, being bent
out of shape and twisted, naturally threw the first charge back into
the face of the Moor who fired it. I have seen bayonets tied on sticks,
and other equally absurd weapons.

There are in Morocco many Winchester and other modern rifles, apart
from those with which the Sultan’s army is equipped. Gun-running has
long been a profitable occupation amongst unscrupulous Europeans of the
coast towns, the very people for whose protection the French invasion
is inspired. A man of my own nationality told me that for years he got
for Winchesters that cost him 3_l._ as much as 6_l._ and 8_l._ The
authorities, suspecting him on one occasion, put a Jew to ascertain
how he got the rifles in. Suspecting the Jew, the American informed
him confidentially, ‘as a friend,’ that he brought in the guns in
barrels of oil. In a few weeks five barrels of oil and sixteen boxes of
provisions arrived at ---- in one steamer. The American went down to
the custom-house, grinned graciously, and asked for his oil, which the
Moors proceeded to examine.

‘No, no,’ said the American.

The Moors insisted.

The American asked them to wait till the afternoon, which they
consented to do; and after a superficial examination of one of the
provision boxes, a load of forty rifles, the butts and barrels in
separate boxes, covered with cans of sardines, tea, sugar, etc., went
up to the store of the American.

It was more profitable to run in guns that would bring 8_l._, perhaps
more, than to run in 8_l._ worth of cartridges, and after the Moors
had secured modern rifles they found great difficulty in obtaining
ammunition, which for its scarcity became very dear. For that reason
many of them have given up the European gun and have gone back to the
old flintlock, made in Morocco, cheaper and more easily provided with
powder and ball.

Ammunition is too expensive for the poverty-stricken Moor to waste
much of it on target practice, and when he does indulge in this vain
amusement it is always before spectators, servants and men too poor to
possess guns; and in order to make an impression on the underlings--for
a Moor is vain--he places the target close enough to hit. The Moor
seldom shoots at a target more than twenty yards off.

Even the Sultan is economical with ammunition. It is never supplied to
the Imperial Army--for the reason that soldiers would sell it--except
just prior to a fight. It is told in Morocco that when Kaid Maclean
began to organise the army of Abdul Aziz he was informed that he might
dress the soldiers as he pleased--up to his time they were a rabble
crew without uniforms--but that he need not teach them to shoot. Nor
have they since been taught to shoot.

I am of opinion that the French army under General d’Amade, soon
to number 12,000 or 13,000 men, could penetrate to any corner of
Morocco with facility, maintaining at the same time unassailable
communication with their base. A body of the Foreign Legion three
hundred strong could cut their way across Morocco. With 60,000 men
the French can occupy, hold, and effectively police--as policing goes
in North Africa--the entire petty empire. Such an army in time could
make the roads safe for Arabs and Berbers as well as for Europeans,
punishing severely, as the French have learned to do, any tribe that
dares continue its marauding practices and any brigand who essays to
capture Europeans; and as for the rest, the safety of life and property
within the towns and among members of the same tribes, the instinct of
self-preservation among the Moors themselves is sufficient. There is
no danger for the French in Morocco.

Nevertheless, their task is not an easy one. Conservatism at home
and fear of some foreign protest has kept them from penetrating the
country, as they must, in order to subdue it. So far they have made
their power felt but locally, and though they have slain wantonly
thousands of Moors, their position to-day is to all practical purposes
the same as it was after the first engagements about Casablanca. For
four months General Drude held Casablanca, with tribes defeated but
unconquered all about him. With the new year General Drude retired and
General d’Amade took his place, and the district of operations was
extended inland for a distance of fifty miles. But beyond that there
are again many untaught tribes ranging over a vast territory.

If the French, from fear of Germany, do not intend to occupy all
Morocco I can see for them no alternative but to recognise Mulai el
Hafid, who as Sultan of the interior is inspiring the tribesmen to war.
Hafid’s position, though criminal from our point of view, is undeniably

On proclaiming himself sultan, he sought to win the support of the
country by promising a Government like that of former sultans, one
that cut off heads, quelled rebellions, and kept the tribes united
and effective against the Christians. This was the message that his
criers spread throughout the land; and the people, told that the French
had come as conquerors, gave their allegiance to him who promised to
save them. Hafid’s attitude towards the European Powers was by no
means so defiant as he professed to his people. Emissaries were sent
from Marakesh to London and Berlin to plead for recognition, but were
received officially at neither capital. He then tried threats, and at
last, in January, declared the _Jehad_, or Holy War. But that he really
contemplated provoking a serious anti-Christian, or even anti-French,
uprising could hardly be conceived of so intelligent a man; and hard
after the news of this came an assuring message--unsolicited, of
course--to the Legations at Tangier that his object was only to unite
the people in his cause against his brother. Later, when one of his
_m’hallas_ took part in a battle against the French he sent apologies
to them.

The Moors, the country over, have heard of the disasters to the Shawia
tribes, at any rate, of the fighting. Knowing the hopelessness of
combating the French successfully, the towns of the coast are willing
to leave their future in the diplomatic hands of Abdul Aziz, in spite
of their distaste for him and his submission to the Christians. Those
of the interior, however, many of whom have never seen a European, have
a horror of the French such as we should have of Turks, and they will
probably fight an invasion with all their feeble force.

Because of the harsh yet feeble policy of the French, the trouble in
Morocco, picturesque and having many comic opera elements, will drag on
its bloody course yet many months.



The French Army is an interesting institution at this moment, when it
is known that the Navy of France ranks only as that of a second-class
Power and it is thought her military organisation is little better.
I am not in a position to make comparisons, knowing little of the
great armies of Europe, nor is the detachment of troops in Morocco,
numbering at this writing hardly 8,000 men, a sufficient proportion of
the army of France to allow one to form much of an opinion. But some
observations that were of interest to me may also interest others.

The French forces in Morocco represent the best that the colonies
of France produce in the way of fighting men. European as well as
African troops are from the stations of Algeria, a colony near enough
to France to partake of her civilisation yet sufficiently far away to
escape conservatism and the so-called modern movements with which the
home country is afflicted. If there are weaklings, socialists, and
anarchists among the troops they are in the Foreign Legion, absorbed
and suppressed by the ‘gentlemen rankers.’ The Army is made up of
many elements. Besides ordinary Algerians, it includes Arabs from the
Sahara and negroes who came originally perhaps as slaves from the
Soudan; besides Frenchmen, there are in the famous Foreign Legion--that
corps that asks no questions--Germans, Bulgarians, Italians, Russians,
and even a few Englishmen. The main body of the Army is composed of
Algerians proper, Mohammedans, who speak, or at least understand,
French. They are officered by Frenchmen, who wear the same uniforms
as their men: the red fezzes and the baggy white bloomers in the case
of infantry, the red Zouave uniform and boots in the cavalry. These
Algerians, of course, are regular soldiers, subjected to ordinary
military discipline, but there are too the _Goumiers_, or _Goums_,
of the desert, employed in irregular corps for scout duty and as
cavalry, and they, I understand, are exempt from camp regulations and
restrictions except such as are imposed by their own leaders. And in
the last month similar troops have been organised from the tribesmen of
the conquered Shawia districts near to Casablanca.

Algerians and Goumiers, Europeans and Africans, camp all together in
the same ground, their respective cantonments separated only by company
‘streets.’ The various commands march side by side and co-operate as if
they were all of one nationality, a thing which to me, as an American,
knowing that such conditions could not obtain in an American army,
speaks wonders for the French democracy.

A good deal of small gambling goes on in the French camps, or rather
just outside them; but this seems to be the army’s only considerable
vice. Drunkenness and disorder seem to be exceedingly rare. I cannot
imagine a more abstemious body of men. Of course conditions in the
campaign in which the French are now engaged are all favourable to
discipline; there is the stimulus of an active enemy, and yet the men
are never overworked, except on occasional long marches, when they are
inspired and encouraged to test their endurance.

The marching power of the French infantryman is extraordinary. Carrying
two days’ rations and a portion of a ‘dog tent’ (which fits to a
companion’s portion), he will ‘slog’ nearly fifty miles in a day and a
night. I remember one tremendous march. The army left camp one morning
at three o’clock, cavalry, artillery, a hospital staff, _Tirailleurs_
and _Légionnaires_, about 3,000 men, and marched out fifteen miles to
a _m’halla_, or Moorish camp, beyond Mediuna. For more than two hours
they fought the Arabs, finally destroying the camp; and then returned,
reaching Casablanca shortly before five o’clock in the afternoon. I did
not accompany the army on this occasion, but went out to meet it coming
back, curious to see how the men would appear. The Algerians showed
distress the least, hardly a dozen of them taking the assistance of
their comrades, and many, though covered with dust, so little affected
by fatigue that they could jest with me about my fresh appearance. When
their officers, about a mile out, gave orders to halt, then to form in
fours to march into camp in order, they were equal to the part. But
the Foreign Legion obeyed only the first command, that to halt, and it
was a significant look they returned for the command of the youthful
officer who passed down the line on a strong horse.

A still longer march was made by a larger force of this same army in
January, after General d’Amade had taken command. Pushing into the
interior from Casablanca to Settat, they covered forty-eight miles
in twenty-five hours, marching almost entirely through rough country
without roads, or at best by roads that were little more than camel
tracks. Proceeding at three miles an hour, the infantry must have done
sixteen hours’ actual walking. Moreover, on arriving at Settat the army
immediately engaged the _m’halla_ of Mulai Rachid. Good marching is a
prized tradition with the French, and in this one thing, if in nothing
else, the army of France excels.

It has been stated by men who have some knowledge of Moslems, that the
French in Morocco are liable to start that long-threatened avalanche,
the general rising of Pan-Islam. The first Mohammedans to join the
Moors in the Holy War, it is said, will be the Algerians. But my own
knowledge of Moslem countries leads me to argue otherwise. Since the
French have been in Morocco, now more than six months, there have been
less than a hundred desertions from the ranks of the Algerians; while
a significant fact on the other side is the enlistment in the French
ranks, in the manner of Goumiers, of Shawia tribesmen who have been
defeated by them.

It has been from the Foreign Legion that desertions are frequent.
Taking their leave overnight, the deserters, generally three or four
together, make their way straight into the Arab country, usually to
the north, with a view to reaching Rabat. In almost every case the
deserters are Germans, and the Moors permit them to pass, for they
understand that German _Nasrani_ and French _Nasrani_ hate each other
as cordially as do Arab Moslems and Berber Moslems. Nevertheless, even
though the deserters are Germans, it is asking too much of the Moor to
spare them their packs as well as their lives. I have seen one man
come into Rabat dressed only in a shirt, another, followed by many Arab
boys, wearing a loin-cloth and a helmet.

The French consul at Rabat makes no effort to apprehend these men; but
they are usually taken into custody by the German consul and sent back
to their own country in German ships, to serve unexpired terms in the
army they deserted in the first place.



To see Morocco from another side--for we had looked upon the country so
far only from behind French guns--we started up the coast on a little
‘Scorpion’ steamer, billed to stop at Rabat. But this unfriendly city
is not to be approached every day in the year, even by so small a
craft as ours, with its captain from Gibraltar knowing all the Moorish
ports. A heavy sea, threatening to roll on against the shores for many
days, decided the skipper to postpone his stop and to push on north to
Tangier; and we, though sleeping on the open deck, agreed to the change
of destination, for we had seen all too little of ‘the Eye of Morocco.’

Tangier is a city outside, so to speak, of this mediæval country. It
seems like a show place left for the tourist, always persistent though
satisfied with a glimpse. Men from within the country come out to this
fair to trade, and others, while following still their ancient dress
and customs, are content to reside here; yet it is no longer, they will
tell you, truly Morocco. There is no _mella_ where the Jews must keep
themselves; Spaniards and outcasts from other Mediterranean countries
have come to stay here permanently and may quarter where they please,
and there is a great hotel by the water, with little houses in front
where Christians, men and women, go to take off their strange headgear
and some of their clothes, then to rush into the waves. Truly Tangier
is defiled. Franciscan monks clang noisy bells, drowning the voice of
the _muezzin_ on the Grand Mosque; the hated telegraph runs into the
city from under the sea; an infidel--a Frenchman, of them all--sits
the day long in the custom-house and takes one-half the money; and
no true Moslem may say anything to all of this.

[Illustration: ON THE CITADEL. TANGIER.]

Still there are compensations. The Christian may build big ships and
guns that shoot straighter than do Moslem guns, but he is not so wise.
He works all day like an animal, and when he gets much money he comes
to Tangier with it, and true believers, who live in cool gardens and
smoke _hasheesh_, make him pay five times for everything he buys. He is
mad, the Nazarene.

Seated at a modern French or Spanish table at a café on the Soko
Chico, the Christian is beset by youthful bootblacks and donkey
drivers; and older Moors in better dress come up to tell in whispers
of the charms of a Moorish dance--‘genuine Moroccan, a Moorish lady,
a beautiful Moorish lady’--that can be seen at a quiet place for ten
pesetas Spanish. One of them, confident of catching us, presents a
testimonial; and with difficulty we reserve our smile at its contents:

‘Mohammed Ben Tarah, worthy descendant of the Prophet, is a first-class
guide to shops which pay him a commission on what you buy. He will
take you also to see a Moorish dance, thoroughly indecent, well
imitated, for all I know, by a fat Jewish woman. He has an exaggerated
idea of his superficial knowledge of the English language, and as a
prevaricator of the truth he worthily upholds the reputation of his
race.’ (Signed.)

The Soko Chico of Tangier, though an unwholesome place, is thoroughly
interesting. About the width of the Strand and half the length of
Downing Street--that is, in American, half a block long-it is large
enough, as spaces go in Morocco, to be called a market and to be used
as such. From early morn until midnight the ‘Little Sok’ is crowded
with petty merchants, whose stock of edibles, brought on platters or
in little handcarts, could be bought for a Spanish dollar. Mightily
they shout their wares, five hundred ‘hawkers’ in a space of half as
many feet. The noise is terrific. The cry of horsemen for passage, the
brawl of endless arguments, the clatter of small coins in the hands
of money-changers, and the strains of the band at the ‘Grand Café,’
struggling to make audible selections from an opera; all these together
create an infernal din. The Soko Chico, where the post-offices of the
Powers alternate with European cafés, is, of all Morocco, the place
where East and West come into closest touch. The Arab woman, veiled,
sits cross-legged in the centre of the road, selling to Moslems bread
of semolina, and the foreign consul, seated at a café table, sips his
glass of absinthe. Occasionally a horseman with long, bushed hair,
goes by towards the _kasbah_, followed a moment later by the English
colonel, who lives on the _Marshan_ and wears a helmet. A score of
tourists gather at the café tables in the afternoon, and as many
couriers, with brown, knotty, big-veined legs, always bare, squat
against the walls of the various foreign post-offices, resting till the
last moment before beginning their long, perilous, all-night runs. Jews
who dress in gaberdines listen to Jews in European clothes, telling
them about America.

But there is another Sok, the Outer Sok, beyond the walls, where the
camels and the story-tellers come, and this is no hybrid place, but
‘real Morocco,’ and as fine a Sok as any town but Fez or Marakesh can
show. Here, across a great open space that rises gradually from the
outer walls, are stretched rows upon rows of ragged tents as high as
one’s shoulder, and before them sit their keepers: Arab barbers ready
to shave a head from ear to ear or leave a tuft of hair; unveiled
Berber women, generally tattooed, selling grapes and prickly pears,
or as they call them, Christian figs; Soudanese, sometimes freemen,
trading or holding ponies for hire; women from the Soudan, generally
pock-marked and mostly slaves, squatting among their masters’
vegetables; Riff men who have come perhaps from forty miles away to
sell a load of charcoal worth two francs; pretty little half-veiled
girls, with one earring, selling bread broken into half and quarter
loaves; soldiers feeling the weight of each small piece and asking
for half a dozen seeds of pomegranate as an extra inducement to buy;
minstrels and snake-charmers and bards; water-carriers tinkling
bells; blind beggars with their doleful chants--‘Allah, Allah-la’;
camel-drivers; saints. At dark the big Sok goes to bed with the camels
and the donkeys and the sheep; man and beast bed down together; and it
is an eerie place to pick one’s way through when the night is dark.
From choice we lived, when in Tangier, across the big Sok, at the Hôtel
Cavilla, and sometimes of an evening, after dinner, would descend the
slope, passing through the gates, down the narrow, cobbled streets, to
the Soko Chico, with its flaring cafés, to sit perhaps and watch a
Moorish kaid pit his skill at chess against a German champion. It was
the business of Kaid Driss, commander of artillery, to be in readiness
at this central square to go to any gate which Raisuli or another
hostile leader might suddenly attack; and so this splendid Moor, a
well-liked gentleman, spent the weary hours until midnight at this, the
Moors’ favourite game. Around the corners, under dank arches, slept his
troops, covered even to their noses, their guns, too, underneath their
white jelebas. Except the Kaid himself there seemed to be no other
Moorish soldier stirring after nine, or at the latest, ten o’clock, and
if we should delay our stay within the walls beyond this hour, nothing
but a Spanish or other coin more valuable than a Moorish piece would
quiet the complaining brave who pulled himself together to unbar the
gates for us to pass.

It is not only, however, when the sun is down that the Moor sleeps; he
sleeps by day, as he tells you his religion teaches, and rolled in
woollen cloth lies anywhere that slumber overtakes him, in the sands
upon the beach, on the roadway under gates--what difference does it
make, the earth is sweet and a hard bed is best! Why work like the
Christian to spend like a fool?

One day I saw a fisherman without a turban, sitting on a rock, beside
him a sleeping bundle of homespun _haik_. They were a pretty pair, and
with my kodak I proceeded out to where they were, going cautiously,
intending to get a picture, from behind, of the shaved head and its
single trailing scalp-lock. But the fisherman discovered me and
hurriedly lifted the hood of his jeleba, muttering something. The sound
waked the sleeping bundle, which moved itself a moment, then poked
out a likewise shaven head and a youthful face thinly covered with
sprouting beard. ‘You English man?’ said the head.

‘No, ’Merican,’ I replied.

‘Dat’s better; more richer. Open you mouth and show dis chap you got
gold teeth.’

I did as he bade and disappointed him.

‘Me woman,’ he continued.

‘A bearded woman,’ I suggested; at which he laughed and explained
(still lying on his back) that he had been to Earl’s Court once, in a
show, that he had had no beard then, being but sixteen, and because he
wore what seemed to Londoners to be a feminine attire they all thought
he was a woman.

The Arab quarter of Tangier is entirely Moorish. The _kasbah_ or
citadel, high above the water of the Straits, has its own walls, as is
customary, and within these, though the architecture may not be so fine
as that at Fez, there is yet no Christian and no Christian way; it is
thoroughly Moorish. The tourist may enter without a guide and poke his
way through the heavy arches and the stair-like streets. He may go into
the square where the Basha governing the district, like the Sultan at
the capital, receives delegations and hears the messages of tribesmen
in trouble; but the infidel, even though he be a foreign minister, may
not enter mosque or fort or arsenal, or any other place except the
residence of the kaid who is in command.

He may look in, however, at the door of the prison and even talk to
victims crowded within, but there is much grumbling and no doubt some
cursing if he goes away forgetting to distribute francs among the dozen
jailers whose ‘graft’--to use an expressive American term--is to make a
living in this way from Europeans. There is one man in prison here who
speaks a little English and tells you that he has been in jail for more
than ten long years and will be there for ever, for he has no money and
his friends are far up country. He was imprisoned, so he says, because
a rival told the Basha that he had smuggled arms from Spain. Now
smuggling arms is a trade that meets, in ports where consuls do not
interfere, with speedy execution. Not many years ago this punishment
was meted out to some offenders even in Tangier. There is a graphic
story of one such killing told in a book by an Italian, De Amicis,
published many years ago:

‘An Englishman, Mr. Drummond Hay, coming out one morning at one of
the gates of Tangier, saw a company of soldiers dragging along two
prisoners with their arms bound to their sides. One was a mountain man
from the Riff, formerly a gardener to a European resident at Tangier;
the other, a young fellow, tall, and with an open and attractive
countenance. The Englishman asked the officer in command what crime
these two unfortunate men had committed.

‘“The Sultan,” was the answer--“may God prolong his life!--has ordered
their heads to be cut off, because they have been engaged in contraband
trade on the coast of the Riff with infidel Spaniards.”

‘“It is very severe punishment for such a fault,” observed the
Englishman; “and if it is to serve as a warning and example to the
inhabitants of Tangier, why are they not allowed to witness the
execution?” (The gates of the city had been closed, and Mr. Drummond
Hay had caused one to be opened for him by giving money to the guard.)

‘“Do not argue with me, Nazarene,” responded the officer; “I have
received an order and must obey.”

‘The decapitation was to take place in the Hebrew slaughterhouse. A
Moor of vulgar and hideous aspect was there awaiting the condemned. He
had in his hand a small knife about six inches long. He was a stranger
in the city, and had offered himself as executioner because the
Mohammedan butchers of Tangier, who usually fill that office, had all
taken refuge in a mosque.

‘An altercation now broke out between the soldiers and the executioner
about the reward promised for the decapitation of the two poor
creatures, who stood by and listened to the dispute over the
blood-money. The executioner insisted, declaring that he had been
promised twenty francs a head, and must have forty for the two. The
officer at last agreed, but with a very ill grace. Then the butcher
seized one of the condemned men, already half dead with terror, threw
him on the ground, kneeled on his chest, and put the knife into his
throat. The Englishman turned away his face. He heard the sounds of the
violent struggle. The executioner cried out: “Give me another knife;
mine does not cut!” Another knife was brought, and the head separated
from the body. The soldiers cried in a faint voice: “God prolong the
life of our lord and master!” but many of them were stupefied.

‘Then came the other victim, the handsome and amiable-looking young
man. Again they wrangled over his blood. The officer, denying his
promise, declared that he would give but twenty francs for both heads.
The butcher was forced to yield. The condemned man asked that his hands
might be unbound. Being loosed, he took his cloak and gave it to the
soldier who had unbound him, saying: “Accept this; we shall meet in a
better world.” He threw his turban to another, who had been looking at
him with compassion; and stepping to the place where lay the bloody
corpse of his companion, he said in a clear, firm voice: “There is no
God but God, and Mohammed is His prophet!” Then, taking off his belt,
he gave it to the executioner, saying: “Take it; but for the love
of God cut my head off more quickly than you did my brother’s.” He
stretched himself upon the earth, in the blood, and the executioner
kneeled upon his chest....

‘A few minutes after, two bleeding heads were held up by the soldiers.
Then the gates of the city were opened and there came forth a crowd of
boys who pursued the executioner with stones for three miles, when he
fell fainting to the ground covered with wounds. The next day it was
known that he had been shot by a relation of one of the victims....
The authorities of Tangier apparently did not trouble themselves about
the matter, since the assassin came back into the city and remained
unmolested. After having been exposed three days the heads were sent
to the Sultan, in order that his Imperial Majesty might recognise the
promptitude with which his orders had been fulfilled.’

Since this incident of thirty years ago Tangier has changed. No longer
may a man be flogged in public in the Sok; no longer may the slave be
sold at auction; no longer may the heads of the Sultan’s enemies hang
upon the gates; for the place is dominated now by foreign ministers.
Though still in name within the empire of the Sultan, it is defiled for
ever, gone over to the Christian.



Two years ago Tangier and the surrounding districts were governed by
one Mulai Hamid ben Raisul, better known as Raisuli, a villainous
blackguard who was finally deposed through the interference of the
foreign legations. To-day this same Raisuli enjoys the interest on
£15,000 (£5,000 having been given him in cash) and the protection
ordinarily accorded to a British subject; and these favours are his
because he deprived of liberty for seven months Kaid Sir Harry Maclean,
a British subject in the employ of the Sultan Abdul Aziz. According to
the terms of the ransom, which permit Raisuli, if he conducts himself
in honourable fashion, to receive the sum invested for him at the end
of three years, it is probable that the world will hear no more of him
in his popular rôle; and, therefore, it might be interesting--also
because of the light the story will throw on the ways of the Moorish
Government and of diplomacy at Tangier--to sum up the exploits of this
notorious brigand.

[Illustration: A RIFF TRIBESMAN.]

[Illustration: A MAGHZEN SOLDIER.]

Raisuli, as his title _Mulai_ implies, is a Shereef or descendant of
the Prophet, and partly for that distinction, aside from personal
power, he holds a certain influence over the K’mass and other tribes
about Tangier. Being a shrewder villain than the others of his race
who aspire to govern districts, he adopted early in his career other
methods than that which is the custom--of purchasing positions from the
Maghzen. The system of buying a governorship, to hold it only till some
other Moor bought it over the head of the first and sent him to prison,
did not appeal to Raisuli. The mountains of the Riff were impregnable
against the feeble forces of the Sultan, and for a rifle and a
little not-too-dangerous fighting all his tribesfolk could be got to
serve him as their leader. So Raisuli started out for power--a thing
the Moor loves--in a manner new to Morocco.

It was in 1903 that he captured his first European, the _Times_
correspondent, W. B. Harris, who, speaking Arabic, negotiated his own
surrender, and within three weeks left the mountains of the Riff on
the release of a number of Raisuli’s men from Moorish prisons. For a
year thereafter there prevailed intense fear in the suburbs, outside
the walls of Tangier, where the better class of Europeans live. Raisuli
had many followers, and the Maghzen was powerless against him, while
raids about Tangier and robberies were of almost nightly occurrence.
Yet some of the Europeans, those who felt a sentimental interest in
the independence of Morocco and wanted to see the good old Moorish
ways survive, seemed ready to welcome ‘the really strong man who
was coming to the fore.’ It fell to the lot of an American of Greek
descent, a Mr. Perdicaris, to receive the next pressing invitation to
the interior. Raisuli and a band of followers entered the Perdicaris
home one evening, and after breaking up many things, packing off
others, and maltreating his wife, they escorted the American himself to
their mountain fastnesses. As is the usual way of Western governments
in these matters--I do not intend to suggest another method--the
State Department at Washington demanded from the Sultan the release
of the captive, pressing the demand with the visit of a warship. The
Maghzen, seeing no other way, met Raisuli’s terms, again releasing many
tribesmen, and paying the brigand £11,000, besides establishing him as
governor of Tangier.

Of course in this capacity the ‘strong man’ superseded the European
Legations in control of the town. The old order of things began to
revive. Moors were beaten on the market-place; Moslems again insulted
Europeans and jostled them in the streets; and soon, the Legations
feared, heads would hang again upon the city gates. So an appeal went
up to the Sultan that Raisuli be displaced, and Abdul Aziz, though he
had evidently pledged himself to Raisuli, readily agreed to the demands
of the European representatives. But the wary governor, getting wind
of a plot, escaped to the mountains before the arrival of the Sultan’s
emissaries; and though troops followed him, burned and pillaged his
home and carried off his women, the fugitive himself escaped to renew
armed hostilities against the Maghzen soldiers.

Unable to defeat the brigand at arms, after many months Abdul Aziz
decided to employ diplomacy, and Kaid Maclean, old and wise in the
ways of the Moors and trusted by those who knew him, undertook for the
Sultan to convey new pledges to Raisuli and to guarantee them with the
word of a Britisher. But the brigand wanted something more substantial,
and though he had given his word of honour--his _ïamen_--that he
would not molest the Kaid, the old Scotsman was made prisoner when he
arrived; for Kaid Maclean went to meet Raisuli with only half-a-dozen
men, hoping to inspire him with trust and to win his confidence.

After demanding, I am told, £120,000 (together with the release from
prison of many tribesmen and the return of his women), the brigand
finally agreed to accept the sum of £20,000 and the protection of
a British subject. This last, which was proposed by the British
Government, brings Raisuli of course under the jurisdiction of the
Consular Court, and, to fetch him from the mountains in case he should
be wanted, £15,000 of the £20,000 ransom is deposited to his credit
in a bank, subject to his good behaviour. But I am not sure that the
British Government did an all-wise thing. Foreign protection is
greatly sought after by the Moors. In the case of others who enjoy it
the power is used to plunder their fellows, and Raisuli may be expected
to employ his strength and his new position in some cunning way. The
Moorish authorities, always anxious to avoid encounters with the
consulates and legations, generally allow protected subjects to do what
they please. Raisuli may now exploit his fellow-countrymen with certain
safety, or he may direct the profitable business of gun-running--at
which he has already had considerable experience, like many other
_protégés_ and foreign residents--and no one is likely to protest.

At any rate it seems hardly fair to protect a villain in this manner.



Luck with me seems to run in spells. Once on a campaign in the
Balkans I had the good fortune to be on hand at everything; massacre,
assassination, nor dynamite attack could escape me; I was always
on the spot or just at a safe distance off. In Morocco things went
consistently the other way. Beginning with the Casablanca affair when
I was in America, everything of a newspaper value happened while I was
somewhere else. The day the Sultan entered Rabat after his long march
from the interior, I sailed past the town unable to land. Now I was to
be taken to Laraiche, when a month before I had failed to get there to
meet the two score European refugees coming down from Fez.

We took passage--Weare and I--on the same little steamer by which we
had come to Tangier, bound now down the Atlantic coast, again intending
to stop at Rabat, ‘weather permitting.’ There was not a breath of air;
the sea was ‘like a painted ocean’; every prospect favoured. But our
captain, the Scorpion villain, hugged the coast with a purpose, and as
might have been expected the ship was signalled at Laraiche. We had to
stop and pick up freight, which proved to be some forty crates of eggs
billed for England. Old memories of unhappy breakfasts revived, and,
our sympathies going out to fellow Christians back in London, we argued
with the captain that it was not fair to take aboard these perishable
edibles till he should return from Mogador. But the captain smiled,
putting a stubby finger to his twisted nose, and explained that though
eggs were eggs, the wind might be blowing from the west when the ship
passed back. But though my ill-fortune in Morocco was enough to ruin
the reputation of a Bennet Burleigh, there were always compensations,
and on this occasion we were recompensed with a sight of the most
fascinating port along the Moorish coast.

As the ship moves into the river cautiously, to avoid the bar, you ride
beneath the walls and many domes of a great white castle, silent, to
all appearances deserted, and overgrown with cactus bushes. Below--for
the castle stands high upon a rock--is an ancient fortress, also
white, which the ship passes so close that it is possible, even in
the twilight, to make out upon the muzzles of the one-time Spanish
guns designs of snakes and wreaths of flowers; and looking over the
parapet you may see the old-time mortars made in shapes like squatting
gnomes. From the ship that night we watched the moon rise and the
phosphorescence play upon the water, and the splendid Oriental castle
took on a fairy-like enchantment.


In the morning the little city appeared unlike other Moorish towns;
where they are mostly grey or white, with here and there a green-tiled
mosque, Laraiche affects all manner of colour. Among the white and
blue houses there may be green or orange, yellow or brown or red, and
likewise the inhabitants, curiously, go in for gaily coloured cloaks.
On one side of the river this brilliant city rose from the ancient
walls; on the other a cluster of sand dunes sloped back to the hills
a mile or more away, and behind them, far in the distance, towered
the Red Mountain, which Raisuli has made famous. Great lighters,
things like Noah’s arks, rowed by fifteen, sometimes twenty, turbaned
men, pushed off from the little quay to bring our cargo, and smaller
craft began to cross the river to ferry over country people and their
animals, along with one or two poor, fagged-out letter carriers, who
had come afoot from Tangier, forty miles, overnight. By one of the
smaller boats which came alongside we went ashore, to remain three
days awaiting a further belated shipment of grain that came by camel
train from the interior. We went to the only hotel, kept of course by
a Spaniard, though designed specially to attract the British tourists
of the Forwood line. The walls of the tiny, wood-partitioned rooms
(spacious Moorish halls cut to cubicles) are papered like children’s
playrooms, with pictures from old _Graphics_ and other London weeklies,
planned no doubt to amuse the visitor when it rains, for on such
occasions the streets of Laraiche are veritable rapids. The room which
I occupied hung over the city walls and looked down on the banks of the
river, dry at low tide. Being waked early one morning by some hideous
sounds and muffled voices, we peered cautiously out of the window and
in the dim light discerned a crowd of black-gowned Jews not twenty feet
below, killing a cow. This bank at low tide is the slaughterhouse,
where a dead beast of some kind lay continually. Fortunately the
rising waters carried off the few remains that Jews and Moslems left;
and fortunately, too, the place was not used also as the boneyard,
where animals that have died of natural causes are dragged and heaped
uncovered. Such a spot there is outside the walls of every Moorish town.

Laraiche is off the great trade routes, and the district round about
is unproductive. For these reasons its poor inhabitants, unable to
own guns and riding horses, are peaceable and submissive. The town as
well as the surrounding country is safe for any Christian, and even
insults for him are few. We went with our ragged old guide, who bore
the fitting name of Sidi Mohammed, up through the Kasbah, as fine a
ruin of Moorish architecture as I have seen, and out through a long
tunnel to the quaint old market-place, broad and white, flanked on
each side by long, low rows of colonnades, the ends, through which the
trains of camels come, sustained by several arches, none the same,
opening in various directions. Certainly the Moors who built this town
were architects and artists too. But the poverty and the degradation
of the place! The houses, dark and wretched; the tea-shops foul and
small and crowded much like opium dens; the people lean and miserable
and cramped with hungry stomachs, dirty and diseased. Though clad in
rags of brightest colours, the average human being is marked over with
pox or something worse, and his head is scaly, the hair growing only
in blotches. Children follow you, with paper patches, the prayers of
some mad saint, tied about their running, bloodshot eyes; old men
hobble by, one lean leg covered with sores, the other swollen huge with
elephantiasis, both bare and horrible. Laraiche is beautiful and awful.

We saw a funeral here, and I thought we Christians could learn
something from these Moors. In this sad country a man is hardly dead
before they bury him. As soon as the grave can be dug the corpse is
taken on the shoulders of friends, and quickly, to the music of a
weird chant, borne to the grave. Without a flood of agony and an
aftermath of long-extended mourning, the body is consigned to earth,
and the soul that has departed, to the tender mercy of almighty God. An
unmarked sandstone is erected; and if a relative wore a cloak of green
or red before the parting, green or red is his colour still.

The day we left Laraiche a heavy breeze blew from the sea, white-capped
rollers broke upon the shore, and we knew that Rabat was not to be
reached. We passed on to Casablanca, where, the harbour being better,
we were able to land. Now after all these disappointments we were
resolved to get to Rabat at any cost. If it were necessary, we would
go by land and run the gauntlet of the Shawia tribes, professing to be
Germans deserting from the Foreign Legion; but the French consul saved
us this. From him we obtained permission to go back by torpedo-boat
and to be transhipped, so to speak, to the cruiser _Gueydon_, where
we might stay as long as was necessary, as the ship was permanently
anchored off Rabat. In two days after boarding the _Gueydon_ the
Atlantic calmed, and we left, bidding adieu to our French hosts, to
cross the bar of the Bu Regreg in a twenty-oared Moorish boat.



At the time that the Krupp Company were mounting heavy-calibre guns
at Rabat other German contractors proposed to cut the bar of the Bu
Regreg and open the port to foreign trade. But the people of both Rabat
and Sali protested, saying that this would let in more _Nasrani_ and
that the half-dozen already there, who bought their rugs and sold them
goods from Manchester and Hamburg, were quite enough. Up to the time
the French gunboats appeared--preceded by the news of their effective
work at Casablanca--the arrival of twenty Europeans at Rabat would have
given rise to much murmuring and no doubt to a good many threats.
Now, however, more than double that number of Frenchmen alone had come
to the town. From Tangier had come the Minister of France and all
his staff, accompanied by a score of soldiers and marines; and from
Casablanca had followed a troop of correspondents, French and English.
Yet the hapless Moors, stirred as they had never been before, were
required to give them right of way.

‘Balak! Balak!’ went the cry of the Maghzen soldier, leading the
Christians through the crowded, narrow streets, and meekly, usually
without a protest, the natives stood aside. Most of the people did
not understand. Had not the Prophet said that they should hate the
Christians? Yet now their lord, Mulai Abdul Aziz, Slave of the Beloved,
sat upon his terrace--so rumour vowed--sat with some Frenchmen and
listened towards Ziada to the cannon of some other Frenchmen as they
slaughtered faithful Moslems! At Rabat, besides the townsfolk,
there were refugees from Casablanca; there were tribesmen still in
arms; there were saints who had followed the Sultan from Fez; there
were madmen who are sacred, and impostors who pretended to be mad;
there were soldiers trained to every crime; in short, there were men
from every corner of the variegated empire, any one of whom would
gladly have laid down his life to slay a Christian had the Sultan so
commanded. Yet months have passed and they have kept the peace, though
Frenchmen still slay Moors within the sound of Rabat’s walls.

A Shawia tribesman who spoke a little English, a tall young man with
dark skin, and an ear torn by an earring at the lobe, met us at the
landing and extended his hand. He took upon himself to help us with
our luggage, and we let him show us the way to the French hotel
lately opened. Of course this man was anxious to serve us as guide
and interpreter, and we were glad to have him. Driss Wult el Kaid
was his name, Driss, son of the Kaid. He had worked for Englishmen
at Casablanca, and from his accent we could tell they had been
‘gentlemen.’ No ‘h’s’ did he shift from place to place, while his
pronunciation of such words as ‘here’ and ‘there’ were always drawled
out ‘hyar’ and ‘thar.’ ‘Now, now,’ he would say with a twisting
inflection, for all the world like an Oxford man wishing to express
the ordinary negative ‘no.’ It was humorous. English of this sort, to
the mind of a mere American, associates itself with aristocracy, while
the face of a mulatto goes only with the under-race of the States. It
was difficult, in consequence, to reconcile the two. But Driss soon
demonstrated that he was worthy to speak the language of the upper
man. The manners and the dignity of a ruling race were his heritage;
and proud he was, though his bearing towards the poorest beggar never
appeared condescending. A gentleman was Driss. ‘Me fader,’ he told us
in fantastic Moro-English, ‘me fader he was one-time gov’nor Ziada.’

‘Is he dead?’

‘Now, now; he in prison.’

‘What for?’ we asked.

‘Me fader,’ Driss explained, looking sorrowful, ‘he paid ten thousan’
dollar Hassani for (to be) gov’nor; two year more late ’nother man
pay ten thousan’ dollar more, and he ’come gov’nor; me fader got no
more money, so go prison.’ This was the old story, the same wherever
Mohammedans govern; one man buys the right to rule and rob a province;
over his head another buys it, to be succeeded by a third, and so on.

We told Driss that this could not happen if the French ruled the
country; it could not happen, we said, in Algeria.

‘I know, I know,’ said Driss. ‘Me fader he write (wrote) in a book
about Algeria, and he teach me to read. Tell me, Mr. Moore, is it true
a man can give his money to ’nother man and get a piece of paper, then
go back long time after and get his money back?’

I told Driss that there were such institutions as banks, which even the
Sultan could not rob; and he believed, but seemed to wonder all the
more what manner of men Christians were. ‘It is fiendish; no wonder
they defeat us; they work together inhumanly,’ he seemed to say;
‘indeed you cannot know our God!’

Good old Driss; both Weare and I became very fond of him. In a day he
spoke of himself as our friend, and I believe we could have trusted
him in hard emergencies. He was brave and not unduly cautious, though
occasionally, when we would stop in a road and gather a crowd, he would
say imperatively: ‘Come away, Mr. Weare and Mr. Moore; some fanatic may
be in that crowd and stick you with his dagger. Come on, come on!--I’m
your friend; I don’t want see you dead.’

Driss had vanities. He told us his age, twenty-three, and told us in
the same breath that few Moors knew exactly how old they were. He said
his wife--who was only twenty--could read and write a little, informing
us at the same time that very few women could read. He told us that his
wife was almost white. Driss was ashamed of his own colour, and when
a French correspondent asked in his presence if he was a slave, the
poor boy coloured and dropped his head. He had certainly been born of a

Still there was nothing humble about Driss. Among his people he was
exceptional and he enjoyed the distinction. He was a Ziada man; he
could read and write; he could make more money than his fellows--and
he hoped some day to acquire European protection; he was fine-looking,
tall, strong, and without disease.

Driss was a thoroughly clean fellow. He never touched bread without
washing his hands, a custom prevailing among some Moslems but not
general with the Moors. This with him seemed only a matter of habit
and desire of decency, for he was not particularly devout in his

‘But you think,’ we said, ‘that all _Nasrani_ are unclean.’ At first
Driss denied this, out of consideration for us, but on being pressed he
admitted that it was the feeling of the ignorant of his race that, like
pigs, all Christians were filthy in person as well as soul.

We discussed with him the great moral vice of Mohammedan countries,
and he admitted that it was prevalent in Morocco no less than, as we
told him, it prevailed farther east, and that it affected all classes.
He told me that it was the custom of the wealthy father of the better
class of Moors, in order to protect his sons, to make them each a
present of a slave girl as they attain the age of fifteen or sixteen.
Of course, from the Mohammedan point of view, there is nothing immoral
in this; indeed the mothers of sons often advocate it.

It was the fasting month of Ramadan at the time of our sojourn at
Rabat, and no one could eat except at night. Every evening at six
o’clock a white-cloaked gunner came out of the Kasbah walls and rammed
into his antique cannon a load of powder sufficient, it would seem,
to raise the dead of the cemetery in which it was discharged. For
two reasons--that it was the cemetery and that the Ramadan gun was
here--this was the gathering-place of all Moslems. Often we, too, went
up to see the crowd and to watch with the gunner and the other Moors
for the signal. All eyes were turned, not towards the Atlantic to see
old Sol set, but inland, towards the town, where towered above the low
houses a great white minaret, whence the Muezzin watched the sun and
signalled with a banner of white. At the blast of the cannon a great
shout went up from the hundred small boys gathered about; and, with the
slope of the hill to lend them speed, everybody went hurrying into
the town, the skirts of those who ran fluttering a yard behind them.
In a minute came the boom from the gun of the _m’halla_, the city of
tents, on the hills visible beyond the town walls. When we passed down
the streets to our supper five minutes later, everybody was swallowing
great gulps of _hererah_, Ramadan soup, breaking the long day’s fast.
The little cafés, dingy and deserted during the day, were now brilliant
and crowded, the keeper himself eating with one hand while he served
with the other; and the roadway was studded with little groups of men
who had squatted where they stood half-an-hour before the setting of
the sun, and, spoon in hand, waited for the gun to boom.

Christians and Mohammedans treat their religions with a curious
difference: where the one is generally ashamed of reverence and never
flaunts his faith, the other is afraid not to make a considerable
show of his. Not a Moor would dare to eat or even touch a drop of
water in the sight of another during Ramadan; though under our window
overlooking the river it was the custom of an old beggar to come daily
at noon, to roll himself into a ball on the ground as if sleeping, and
under the cover of his ragged _jeleba_ make his lunch. Had he been
caught at this he would probably have been stoned out of town.

One day during Ramadan we were taken by a Jewish merchant, a British
subject, to the house of a wealthy Moor with whom he traded in goods
from Manchester. The house was down a turning off the street of arches,
and the turning came to an end at the Moor’s door, a massive oaken
door with the heads of huge rivets showing every six or seven inches.
It was the width of the narrow street, about six feet, and the height
of one’s shoulder. We approached quietly and knocked lightly, for our
friend told us that the Moor did not care for his neighbours to see
us entering his house. The entrance, which was at one corner of the
square house, led into the courtyard, of which the ornate walls were
spotlessly white-washed, the floor was of green tiles, and the roof,
as is usual, of glass. The reception room, the length of one side of
the house, though but twelve feet wide, had low divans all round the
walls, leaving but a long, narrow aisle the length of the room, to the
right and to the left of the arched entrance. Rising in tiers at each
end were broader divans, to appear as beds one beyond another, though
their luxurious and expensive upholstering, covered with the richest of
native silks, were evidently never displaced by use. About the room,
in cases above the divans, were many little ornaments, noticeably tall
silver sprinklers filled with rose-water and other perfumes; but most
curious to us were the innumerable clocks, most of them cheap things,
all set at different hours in order that their bells should not drown
each other’s melodious clangs.

Two little slave girls, who giggled at us all the while, brought in
a samovar much after the Russian pattern, and silver boxes of broken
cone sugar and of European biscuits. Our host made tea in the native
fashion, brewed with quantities of sugar and flavoured heavily with
mint; green tea, of course. He filled our cups again and again, though
he would take nothing, till we too wished we respected Ramadan, for
we were told by our Jewish friend that it would be impolite to drink
less than five or six cups. Along with this refreshment the silver
sprinklers were passed us by the giggling little blacks, that we might
sprinkle our clothes, and no doubt they thought we needed perfuming,
though they did not hold their noses, as other Europeans have told
me they often do when close to Nazarenes. Perhaps their master had
instructed them in good behaviour, for he was indeed a gentleman, and
he had travelled on one occasion to London and to Paris. It was at this
point, when the Moor, with immaculate fingers, sprinkled his own long
white robes, that one could appreciate their feeling that we are filthy
people. We wear the same outer garments for months, and they are never
washed; indeed, we wear dark colours that the dirt may not show; here
we had entered upon this gentleman’s precious carpets with our muddy
boots, where a sockless Moor would shift his slippers. And they have
habits too which make for bodily cleanliness, habits which they know we
have not, as, for instance, that of shaving the hair from every part of
the body but the face. Our conversation was chiefly on comparisons of
customs, our host noticing that we shaved our faces, the Moors their
heads, and we remarking--for he was too polite--that we kept on our
shoes when we entered a house, whereas the Moors wore their fezzes or
their turbans. He said that he had beheld in London the extraordinary
sight of a pair of ordinary Moorish slippers set upon a table as an
ornament; and he had seen also the woman sultan, Queen Victoria.

At Ramadan there are generally continual street festivities during
the eating hours of the night; but the gloom cast over the country by
the presence of the French kept these now to a minimum. There was not
even, in spite of the Sultan’s presence any powder play, a thing which
I was particularly anxious to witness, to learn for myself to what
degree the Moors are hard upon their animals. I know that Moslems are
seldom deliberately cruel; but I know, too, that the vanity of the Moor
makes him ride with a cruel bit and a pointed spur that could reach
the vitals of a horse, and both of these, I have heard, they employ
in a vicious manner in their famous, dashing powder play. But most of
their cruelty is only from neglect, laziness, and ignorance. Camels
wear their shoulders and their necks through to the bone--the sight is
a common one--because their masters do not trouble to pad their packs
properly; two men will ride an undersized donkey already overloaded
with a pack; and, as is the way among all Moslems, an animal when it
comes to die may suffer for weeks or months, yet will not be killed
because ‘Allah gave life, and Allah alone may take it away.’ Still
there is the Moorish sect of _Aisawa_, that in a mad stampede tears a
sheep to pieces in the streets and eats it still palpitating.


There were some interesting Englishmen at Rabat, notably the _Times_
correspondent, W. B. Harris, who has travelled with several Sultans
of Morocco, and lived some time as a Moor in order that he might
learn their ways and penetrate to the farthest reaches of the country
forbidden to the Christian. There was also Mr. Allan Maclean, likewise
an authority on Morocco, now busy with the Maghzen to arrange for the
release of certain prisoners, which Raisuli exacted as one of the
stipulations of Kaid Maclean’s release. There was then the British
Consul, George Neroutsos, an old friend of the Sultan and a man whom
he often consults on matters of European policy.

With some of the Englishmen we took long rides around the town, passing
several times through the _m’halla_, where we were never welcome;
the camp of Abdul Aziz was in sympathy with Mulai Hafid. We saw the
soldiers who were sent to fight Hafid and joined his ranks with all
their arms. Gradually we saw the army dwindle away until there could
have been no more than four thousand men between the discredited Sultan
and his hostile brother, whose following of tribesmen was reported to
number variously from twenty to sixty thousand men. Had the army of the
French not stood between them and fought the Hafid _m’hallas_, Rabat
would surely have fallen and Abdul Aziz would now be a royal prisoner
safe in the keeping of his brother. For want of money to pay the troops
Abdul Aziz was forced to pawn his jewels; and at last, by a royal
decree, he made good ‘a hundred sacks’ of silver coins that had been
confiscated as counterfeit. It was because of a threatened revolt of
the troops for want of pay that the Spaniards in February occupied the
port of Mar Chica.



Across the river from Rabat and across a stretch of sand half-a-mile
wide, a low line of white battlements, showing but a single gate,
keeps the famous city of Salli, the headquarters of the Moroccan
pirates, who in their day made themselves feared as far as the shores
of England. Every one remembers that it was to Salli Robinson Crusoe
was taken and held in slavery for many months, finally escaping in a
small boat belonging to his Moorish master. For years the corsairs
were the scourge of Christian merchantmen, and up to two centuries ago
they plied their trade, which was deemed honourable among the Moors
and carried with it the title ‘Amir-el-Bahr,’ Lord of the Sea, from
which has come the English word Admiral. It has been but a few years
since Salli could be visited by Europeans, and the inhabitants boast
to-day that not a Christian lives within their sacred walls. They do
not know that the _Times_ correspondent--of whom I have spoken often
already--once stayed amongst them for some time; they remember only
a thin, studious, devout Moslem, who knew the Koran and the history
of Islam as they did not, and had travelled to all the holy places.
Harris told me that greater hospitality and truer courtesy could have
been shown him nowhere than among the descendants of the Salli Rovers.
But the deference, I may add, was to the Moorish garb he wore; to the
man who wears the clothes of an infidel, and, reversing their custom,
shaves his face and lets the hair grow on his head, there is little
common decency accorded.

Our man would not go with us alone to Salli, though since leaving
Casablanca he and his wife had taken refuge there with the lady’s
parents. To obtain an escort he took us down to the custom-house where
the Basha of Salli came every day to watch the imports. We arrived at
the landing just as the Basha got out of his ferry, a soldier following
him and also a servant carrying his dinner in a plate slung in a
napkin. The governor was a stately Moor of middle age, pock-marked of
course, but clean and intelligent-looking, and we addressed him as a
gentleman, to have our bow but slightly acknowledged. To Driss, who
spoke to him, he intimated that because of the feeling of the people
at this moment he would rather not be seen talking with Europeans. The
Basha then entered the custom-house, and by means of Driss as messenger
conducted negotiations with us, still standing on the landing-place.
The negotiations were extensive of course, and after half-an-hour,
receiving and replying to various unimportant questions--Were we
anxious to see Salli to-day? Would not to-morrow do as well? Had we
any reason for going there?--each of which was delivered singly, at
last a soldier came and said that he would go with us but we must wait
till he went and fetched another. This is the way when one is not

Finally permitted to cross the river, we ploughed through the sands
and passed the boneyard outside the walls to the narrow gate, where we
waited again till yet another soldier came; and in this order, one man
in front and two behind us, we entered upon the sacred cobbled streets,
now not too crowded, for it was Ramadan, when folk are active most
at evening and before the sun is high. In the quarter of good homes,
through which we passed first, only little children in the care of
youthful slave girls seemed to be abroad; and it is hard to say which
we most alarmed. There was in every instance first a surprised start,
then a quiet flurry. Little girls in long dresses, wearing but one
long earring and distinguishable from boys only by having two patches
of hair on their otherwise shaven heads, would shift their slippers,
grab them up in their hands, and go tearing off, their cloaks flying,
to disappear into a broad, low, arched doorway, and down the steps
behind. The black girls, older, snatched the babies they were tending,
covered their faces, and shuffled off to call the women. As we passed,
the single uncovered eye of many women, white and black, lined the door
held an inch ajar, and once, at our glance, one of the women growing
modest slammed the heavy thing and--we judged from the yell--caught
the nose of one of her sisters. Sometimes they came and peered over
from their low-walled roofs, pointing us out to their children, the
first infidels perhaps many of them had seen; and on these occasions we
always watched, for the streets were sometimes but a yard wide and we
were easy marks had any of them spat.

There can be no mistake about the records of history, which state that
thousands of Christian slaves, many of them British, were sold on the
great white market at Salli. The faces of many of the people to-day
are distinctly European. Here there seemed to me to be less mixture of
black blood than in the other towns, many of the people being as white
as Europeans. We saw among the children a boy of five or six years who
would not have looked unnatural in Ireland, and later, in the _mella_
we came across a little girl with golden hair. At this last we puzzled
our brains--for our inquiries brought no explanation--finally surmising
that some rich Jew, a hundred years ago, had bought her ancestor.

In the centre of the town is a cone-shaped hill crowded with white,
square houses of the best class, which range themselves round a mosque
and minaret upon the summit. The massive tower, inlaid with tiles of
many colours, once served as beacon for the pirates, though now, like
all the Moorish coast, it sheds no light for Christian ships. When we
asked to see the great mosque, our soldiers made excuses and would have
led us another way, but we adopted the method of turning at the corners
that we chose, leaving the man in the lead to double back from the way
he would set. Of course he always protested, but from experience with
other escorts we knew that to see what is to be seen in Mohammedan
countries one must lead the way oneself, and the greater the protest of
the guard the more one can be certain that one is on the proper track.
The soldiers were anxious to take us promptly to the _mella_, where we
might stay, they said, as long as we pleased; but first we searched out
the mosque and later the market-place. The Sok here is in itself by no
means so imposing as at Laraiche or even at Rabat, and there are to be
seen no characters that are not also at the open ports; but here there
gather Moors and Arabs and Berbers of an intenser religious ardour,
who follow closer the customs of the ages past and whose very faces
show their greater hatred of the Nazarene.

The people of Salli--largely for their intolerance of Christians and
their glorious rover ancestry--hold a social position second only to
that of the people of Fez and the holy city of Ouzzan, and they are
wealthier as a rule than the inhabitants of other towns; and these are
reasons that holy men and maimed creatures flock here to beg. But at
the time of our visit the presence of the Sultan at Rabat had drawn all
wanderers, beggars, saints, minstrels, and itinerant tradesmen, across
the river, and on the Sok of Salli there was but one poor bard to stop
his story at sight of our unholy apparition. He stopped and refused to
go on, and the people murmuring began to move off, while our soldiers
urged us to pass on with them.

[Illustration: SHAWIA TRIBESMEN.]

The walls of the _mella_ were but a few hundred yards away, and there
we repaired at last, where crowds who followed us were beaten back
only to prevent annoyance. We could stop and speak with the Jews and
enter their synagogues and even their houses, and they would pose for
photographs, though many of them now saw a camera for the first time.
Having taken refuge here from the Spanish Inquisition of the fifteenth
century the Jews of Morocco might be expected to harbour prejudices
against the Christian world, but, strangely, nowhere, not in the heart
of the closed country, are they at all fanatic.

A drove of boys and men, with women trailing on behind, followed us as
we left their walled reservation, and would have come beyond but for
the Moorish keeper of their gate, who raised his stick and shouting
drove them back. It is the law at night that all Jews must be inside
the _mella_ when the gates are closed at seven or eight o’clock; and
this good rule is for their safety, that they may not suffer robbery
and abuse. The Jews of Morocco, oppressed and often robbed, pay the
country’s fighting men for their protection; in Moorish towns they
pay the basha, in the country they pay the kaid or other chief of the
strongest neighbouring tribe. They are protected too by the Government,
because they are thrifty and can be made to pay, under pressure, heavy



We were up on the Kasbah, the high rocky citadel that rises nearly two
hundred feet straight above the notorious bar of the Bu Regreg, taking
in a splendid view of the river’s winding course together with the
city of Salli. When a caravan of unusual size twisted out of Salli’s
double gate and came across the sands to the water’s edge, where a
score of ferry boats nosed the bank, their owners began jumping about
like madmen, frantic for the promised trade that could not escape
them. On market days at Rabat there are always camel trains and pack
trains of mules and horses crossing these sands of Salli to and from
the barges that ferry them over the river for a farthing a man and
two farthings a camel, but they seldom come in trains of more than
twenty. This winding white company, detached in groups of sometimes
four, sometimes forty, stretched from the wall to the water’s edge, a
distance of half a mile; it spread out on the shore, and still kept
coming from the gate. Neither Weare nor I had heard that the Sultan’s
harem would arrive this day, and we had to reproach our faithful Driss
Wult el Kaid, to whom we had given standing orders to move round among
his countrymen and let us know when things of interest were happening.

‘Plenty time, Mr. Moore,’ said Driss, holding up his brown hands and
chuckling. ‘There are many, many; more ’an three hundred, and many
soldiers, and many Soudanese,’ by which last Driss meant slaves. There
was indeed plenty of time; it took the company all that day and part
of the next to cross by the slow, heavy barges, carrying twenty people
and half-a-dozen animals at each load, and rowed generally by two men,
sometimes by only one.

We descended from the Kasbah and made our way down the street of shops,
the Sok or market street, as it is called, and out through the Water
Port to the rock-studded sands upon which the caravan was landing. It
was an extraordinary sight. The tide was out, and the water, which at
high tide laps the greenish walls, now left a sloping shore of twenty
yards. The boats when loaded would push up the river close to the other
shore, then taking the current off a prominent point, swing over in an
arc to the Rabat side. Empty, they would go back the same way by an
inner arc. On our side they ran aground generally between two rocks,
when the black, bare-legged eunuchs, dropping their slippers, would
elevate their skirts by taking up a reef at the belts, and jump into
the water to take the women to dry land on their stalwart backs. Only
in rare instances did much of the woman’s face show--and then she was
a pretty woman and young; those old or pock-marked were always careful
to cover, even to the extent of hiding one eye. Nevertheless the wives
of the Sultan as they got upon the backs of his slaves gathered their
_sulhams_ up about their knees, displaying part of a leg, in almost
every case unstockinged, and always dangling a heelless slipper of red
native leather. In Morocco, as I have indicated before, the costumes
of men and those of women are practically the same except for fullness
and, in the case of nether-garments, colour. The short trousers of a
man, for instance, are generally brown and his slippers never anything
(when new) but yellow.

The Sultan’s wives with few exceptions were covered in white _sulhams_;
round their heads were bands of blue ribbon knotted at the back, fixing
their hoods and veils for riding. While the slaves brought up the
luggage, working with a will like men conducting their own business,
the women held the mules and horses, covered with wads of blanket,
all of Ottoman red, and mounted with high red Arab saddles. The women
were usually subdued and to all appearances modest, though all of them
would let their black eyes look upon the infidels longer than would the
modest maid of a race that goes unveiled. But of course we were a sight
to them not of every day. Now and then a lady whose robe was of better
quality than most, seemed distressed about some jewel case or special
piece of luggage, and worried her servant, who argued back in a manner
of authority. It was evident the slaves had charge each of a particular
lady for whom he was responsible.

As soon as these blacks had gathered their party and belongings all
together, they loaded the tents and trunks two to a mule, and lifted
the women into the high red saddles, always ridden astride; then,
picking up their guns, they started on to the palace, leading the
animals through the ancient gate and across the crowded town, shouting
‘Balak! Balak!’ Make way, make way! Once they had begun to move, the
eunuchs paid no attention to any man, not deigning even to reply to the
dog of a boatman who often followed them some hundred paces cursing
them for having paid too little, sometimes nothing at all, when much
was expected for ferrying the _Lai-ell_ of the Sultan.

The caravan had been a long time on the road from Fez. Travelling only
part of the day and camping early, it had taken a fortnight to come a
distance little more than 150 miles. The Sultan had brought with him
twenty of his favourites, trailing them across country rapidly, when he
had hurried to this strategic place at the news that Mulai Hafid had
been proclaimed Sultan at his southern capital and would probably race
him to Rabat.

[Illustration: A FEW OF THE SULTAN’S WIVES.]

But why Abdul Aziz brought with him any of his wives is a question.
Perhaps they had more to do with it than had he; and perhaps it
was for political reasons. At any rate (I have it from the Englishman
quoted before) his harem bores him; to the songs and dances of all his
beauties he much prefers the conversation of a single European who can
tell him how a field gun works, what it is that makes the French--or
any other--war balloon rise, and explain to him the pictures in the
French and English weeklies to which he subscribes. He has here a
motor-boat, which he keeps high and dry in a room in the palace,
and the German engineer who makes its wheel go round is a frequent

It is said in Morocco that while other Sultans visited their wives
all in turn, showing favouritism to none, the present youthful High
Shereef has cut off all but half a score, and never sees the mass of
them except _en masse_. And it is said, too--among the many current
stories regarding his European tendencies--that for these ten ladies he
has spent thousands of pounds on Paris gowns and Paris hats to dress
them in and see what European women look like. It naturally suggests
itself that the poor fellow is hopelessly puzzled, and on a point that
would of course catch his scientific mind: while the women of Paris are
apparently built in two parts and pivoted together, those of his own
dominions are constructed the other way. According to the ideas of the
Orient the waist should be the place of largest circumference.



The principal cause of the Moorish revolution, which threatens to
terminate the reign of Abdul Aziz, was his tendency--up to a few months
ago--to defy the religious prejudices which a long line of terrible
predecessors had carefully nurtured in his people. The incident of
the mosque of Mulai Idris at Fez was his culminating offence. To the
uttermost corners of the Empire went the news that the young Sultan
had defiled the most holy tomb of the country through causing to be
taken by force from its sacred protection and murdered one of the
Faithful who had slain a Christian dog. To the punishing wrath of the
dishonoured saint and of the Almighty has been put down every calamity
that has since befallen either the Sultan or the Empire; and the Moors
will tell you that by this act has come the ruin of Morocco. It was in
dramatic fashion that the feeling Driss, our man, stopped abruptly in
the street when I mentioned the affair. We were nearing a picturesque
little mosque with a leaning palm towering above it, and good old Driss
was urging me to turn away and not to pass it--because he was a friend
of mine and did not want me stoned. ‘Driss,’ said I, ‘they would not
dare; the Sultan is here and they know that even a mosque won’t save
them if they harm a European now.’ Driss stopped short and turned upon
me. ‘You know that, Mr. Moore,’ he said with emphasis, ‘that about the
Mulai Idris! That was the finish of Morocco!’

While with such breaches of the Moslem law Abdul Aziz has roused among
the people a superstitious fear of consequences, he has also, by
lesser defiances of recognised Moorish customs, sorely aggravated them.
His many European toys--the billiard table, the costly photographic
apparatus, the several bicycles, and the extravagant displays of
fireworks--while harmless enough, were regarded by the Moors with no
good grace. But worst of all these trivial things was, to the Moors,
the young man’s evident lack of dignity. At times he would ride out
alone and with Christians (who were his favourite companions), whereas
the Sultans before him were hardly known to appear in public without
the shade of the authoritative red umbrella.

An Englishman who knows Abdul Aziz and has for years advised him, tells
me of a ride they took together accompanied only by their private
servants, when the Court was formerly at Rabat, five years ago. The
Sultan left the palace grounds with the hood of his _jeleba_ drawn well
down over his face, his servant likewise thoroughly covered in the
garment that levels all Moors, men and women, to the same ghost-like
appearance. Sultan and man met the Englishman outside the town walls at
the ruins of Shella, a secluded place grown over with cactus bushes,
and rode with him on into the country fifteen miles or more. On the way
back they encountered a storm of rain, and drenched to the skin, their
horses floundering in the slipping clay, they drew up at the back walls
of the palace and tried to get an entrance by a gate always barred.

‘What shall we do?’ asked the Sultan.

‘Get your servant to climb the wall,’ said the Englishman.

‘No; you get yours,’ said Abdul Aziz, always contrary.

So the Englishman’s servant climbed the wall, dropped on the other
side, and made his way to the palace, where he was promptly arrested
and flogged for a lying thief, no one taking the trouble to go to see
if his tale was true. After the Sultan and the Englishman had waited
for some time, they rode round to another gate and entered. Then
the unfortunate servant of the Christian was set free and given five
dollars Hassani to heal his welted skin.

But things have changed. On the present visit of the Sultan to Rabat
he no longer rides out except in great State; and this he does (on the
advice partly of that particular Englishman of the wall adventure)
every Friday regularly.

In September, while Abdul Aziz was on the road from Fez, hastening to
anticipate his brother in getting to this, the war capital of Morocco
(where, as the Moors say, the Sultan might listen with both ears, to
the North and to the South), public criers from the rival camp of Mulai
Hafid declared that Abdul Aziz was coming to the coast to be baptized
a Christian under the guns of the infidel men-of-war. But this lie was
easy to refute without the humiliation of a deliberate contradiction.
Though at Fez it has always been the custom of the Sultan to worship
at a private mosque within the grounds of his palace, it is likewise
the custom for him at Rabat to go with a great fanfare and all his
household and the Maghzen through lines of troops as long as he can
muster, to a great public mosque in the open fields between the town’s
outer and inner walls.

It was with a party of Europeans, mostly English correspondents, that
I went to see the first Selamlik here. In the party there was W. B.
Harris of the _Times_, and Wm. Maxwell of the _Mail_, as well as Allan
Maclean, the brother of the Kaid. We had as an escort two soldiers
from the British Consulate, without whom we could not have moved. The
soldiers led the way shouting ‘Balak! balak!’ as we rode through the
narrow crowded streets. But in all the throng no other Europeans were
to be seen, until some way out we met at a cross-road and mingled for
a moment with the delegation of French officials and correspondents,
bound also for the great show.

Passing the _Bab-el-Had_, the Gate of Heads (fortunately not decorated
at this time), the road led through grassy fields to a height from
which is visible the whole palace enclosure. We could see, over the
high white walls, the two lines of stacked muskets sweeping away in
a long, opening arc from the narrow gate beside the mosque to the
numerous doors of the low white-washed palace. Behind the guns the
soldiers sat, generally in groups on the grass, only a few having life
enough to play at any game. Considerably in the background were groups
of women, garbed consistently in white, and heavily veiled.

Our soldiers, always glad to spur a horse, climbed through a break in
the cactus that lined the road and led a hard canter down the slight,
grassy slope, straight for one of the smaller gates. Two sentries
seated on either side, perceiving us, rose nervously, retired and swung
the doors in our faces, the rusty bars grating into place as we drew
up. Our soldiers shouted, but got no answer, and we rode round to the
_Bab_ by the mosque, which could not be closed. As we drew up here
a sentinel with arbitrary power let in two negro boys, clad each in
a ragged shirt, riding together on a single dwarfed donkey not tall
enough to keep their long, black, dangling legs out of the dust. But we
could not pass--no; there was no use arguing, we could not pass. Slaves
went in and beggars; the man was anxious, and shoved them in--but no;
we, we were not French!

While our soldiers argued, the Frenchmen came up and passed in; then
the guard, seeing we looked much like them, changed his mind and
permitted us, too, to enter.



For some distance we passed between the lines of stacked guns,
attracting the curious gaze of everybody, especially the women, who
rose and came nearer the soldiers. One youth, a mulatto, got up and
took a gun from a stack, and pretending to shove a cartridge
into it, aimed directly at my head. The incident was, as one of the
Englishmen suggested, somewhat boring.

Within a hundred yards of the palace we got behind the line and took
up our stand. We had not long to wait. Shortly after the sun began to
decline a twanging blast from a brassy cornet brought the field to its

There was no hurry or scurry--there seldom is in Mohammedan countries.
The soldiers took their guns, not with any order but without clashing;
the women and children came up close; tribesmen, mounted, drew up
behind. The Sultan’s band, in white, belted dresses, with knee
skirts, bare legs, yellow slippers, and red fezzes, began to play a
slow, impressive march--‘God save the King!’ with strange Oriental
variations. It would not have been well if the Moors had known, and our
soldier, for one, was amazed when we told him, that the band played the
Christian Sultan’s hymn.

The mongrel soldiers, black and brown and white, slaves and freemen,
presented arms uncertainly, as best they knew how; the white-robed
women ‘coo-eed’ loud and shrill. A line of spear-bearers, all old men,
passed at a short jog-trot; following them came six Arab horses, not
very fine, but exceedingly fat, and richly caparisoned, led by skirted
grooms; then the Sultan, immediately preceded and followed by private
servants, likewise in white, except for their chief, a coal-black negro
dressed in richest red. Beside the Sultan, who was robed in white and
rode a white horse, walked on one side the bearer of the red parasol,
and on the other a tall dark Arab who flicked a long scarf to keep
flies off his Imperial Majesty. In and out of the ranks, disturbing
whom he chose, ran a mad man, bellowing hideously, foaming at the
mouth. This, on the part of Abdul Aziz, was indeed humouring the
prejudices of the people.



It is generally put down to the weakness of Abdul Aziz that Morocco has
come to its present pass, and there is no doubt that had the youthful
Sultan possessed a little more of firmness he would not have come
now to be a mere dependent of the French. But Morocco has long been
doomed. Even in the days of the former Sultan, who ruled the Moors as
they understood and gave them a government the likes of which they say
they wish they had to-day, the tribes were constantly at war with one
another and with him. Continual rebellions in Morocco proper left Mulai
Hassan no time to subdue the Berber tribes to the south, nominally his
subjects; and when in his age he set upon a long-projected pilgrimage
to the birthplace of his dynasty, Tafilet, he could venture across the
Atlas mountains only after emissaries had begged or bought from the
Berbers the right of way.

The tragic death of Mulai Hassan while on the march, and the manner
in which the throne was saved to Abdul Aziz, his favourite son, made
graphic reading in the summer of 1894; and they will serve to-day to
illustrate the sad, chaotic state of the whole poor Moorish empire.
The old Sultan was not well when he returned from Tafilet, but serious
disorders throughout the country allowed him to rest at Marakesh, his
southern capital, only a few months. Proposing to move on to Rabat,
thence to Fez, punishing lawless and rebellious tribes that had risen
while he was away, he set out from Marakesh with an army composed of
many hostile elements, conscripts kept together largely by their awe of
him and hope of loot. They came to but the first rebellious district,
that of the Tedla tribes, when Mulai Hassan fell seriously ill and was
unable to go on. But after several days the news was spread one morning
that he had sufficiently recovered and would proceed. Only the viziers
and a few slaves--who held their tongues to save their heads--knew that
Mulai Hassan was dead.

For a day the body, seated within the royal palanquin, was borne along
in state, preceded as usual by many banners, the line of spear-bearers,
and the six led horses, and flanked by the bearer of the parasol and
the black who flicks the silken scarf. Though speed was imperative the
usual halts were made that no suspicion should arise. In the morning
at ten o’clock, the Sultan’s usual breakfast time, the army stopped,
a tent was pitched, and into it the palanquin was carried. Food was
cooked and green tea brewed and taken in, to be brought out again as
if they had been tasted. At night the royal band played before the
Sultan’s vast enclosure. But the secret was not to be kept long in a
climate like that of Morocco in summer; and lest the corpse should tell
its own tale, at the end of a long day’s march, as the army pitched its
camp in the evening, the news went out, spreading like a wave through
the company, that the Sultan was dead, and that Abdul Aziz was the
Sultan, having been the choice of his father.

In an hour the camp split up into a hundred parties, each distrustful
of some other. There was not a tribe but had some blood feud with
another, and now the reason for the truce that had held hitherto was
gone. Men of the same tribe banded together for defence and marched
together at some distance from the others; conscripts from the
neighbouring districts, or districts to the south, took their leave;
private interests actuated now where awe and fear had held before.
Soon the news got to the country, and the tribes through which the
_m’halla_ passed began to cut off stragglers, to plunder where they
could and drive off animals that strayed.

By forced marches the army at last arrived at Rabat, and those of the
tribesmen who cared to halt pitched their camp on the hills outside
the walls. Promptly that night the Sultan’s body, accompanied by a
single shereef and surrounded by a small contingent of foot-soldiers,
was passed into the town through a hole in the wall--a dead man, it
is said, never going in through the gates--and was entombed, as is
the custom with Sultans, in a mosque. In the morning, when the people
bestirred themselves to see the entry of the dead Hassan, they saw
instead the new Sultan, then sixteen years of age, led forth on his
father’s great white horse, and, shading him, the crimson parasol
marking his authority.

The secrecy that had been maintained was not intended only to keep the
_m’halla_ intact; primarily the object was to ensure the succession
of the youth then at Rabat, the nearest capital. Had the Maghzen been
in the proximity of Fez or Marakesh, in spite of the Moorish law that
passes on the succession to the Shereef of the dead man’s choice,
Abdul Aziz might not have been the Sultan of Morocco. Uncles and rival
brothers he had many, and high pretenders of other shereefian families
might soon have risen. It was therefore important for the viziers
themselves that the succession should come as a _coup d’état_, and that
they should be on hand to support it with as much of the army as they
could hold together.

[Illustration: A PRINCELY KAID.]

[Illustration: THE ROYAL BAND.]

There were, of course, many heads to be cut off, both politically and
physically. Mulai Omar (a son of Hassan by a negro slave and therefore
half-brother of Abdul Aziz) secured the acknowledgment of Aziz in the
great mosques at Fez, where he held the authority of Khalif, but later
behaved in a most suspicious manner. A black boy whom he sent to stop
the bands from celebrating the accession, being defied, drove his
knife into a drum; and for this the hand that did the work was flayed
and salted and the fingers bound together closed, until they grew fast
to the palm and left the hand for ever a useless stump. Mulai Omar
himself was made a royal prisoner, as was his brother Mulai Mohammed,
Khalif of the southern capital (who has been released only within the
past few weeks in order, it is reported, that he might take command
of the army against Hafid, the trusted brother who became Khalif of
Marakesh and governed there for many years, until recently, after the
affair at Casablanca, when he essayed to become Sultan himself).

In the ranks of the viziers there was also trouble; Sid Akhmed ben
Musa, the _Hajib_ or Chamberlain, trusted of Hassan and also of the
young Sultan’s mother, who possessed unusual power, became protector
of Abdul Aziz; whereupon, for the safety of his own position if not
from jealousy, Sid Akhmed caused to be removed from office most of his
fellow viziers, filling their places with his own brothers and men who
would do his bidding. The dismissal of the fallen viziers was followed
by their prompt arrest, and all their property was confiscated, not
excepting their concubines and slaves. From a palace second only to
that of the Sultan, the Grand Vizier, Haj Amaati (who had plundered the
country in the most barbarous fashion and put his money in property,
there being no banks), went to prison in a single shirt, and a mongrel
beggar swapped caps with him as he was dragged bound through the

Sid Akhmed ruled as dictator, suppressing wayward tribes by vigorous
means, as well, probably, as anyone not a Sultan could, until the
year 1900, when he died. The young Sultan, then being twenty-two,
assumed alone the power of his office, to rule the country in a feeble,
half-hearted way, his object, it would seem, more to entertain himself
than to improve the condition of his passing empire. Morocco needs a
tyrant, for tyranny is the only law it knows; yet Abdul Aziz, raised
to believe himself enlightened, and having no taste for brutality, has
endeavoured to govern easily.

He was brought up by his mother, a Circassian of evident taste and
refinement, much in the manner of a European child. Kept within her
sight and shielded from immorality, he grew up pure and most unlike his
many brothers. In all Morocco there was no company for him. In mind
there was nothing in common between him and any of his household. Even
his women, brought as presents from the corners of the country, some
from Constantinople, had for him only temporary charm. It was natural
that a young man of his temperament and education, trained to abhor
the vices and the crimes to which the Moors are given over, should
become more interested in Western things, and should seek to reform
his country. But Abdul Aziz had been weakened as well as preserved
by his training, and when he came to authority it was without the
determination and without the courage of his youth and of his race. In
no sympathy with his Court or with his countrymen, it was natural for
him to surround himself with men with whom he could be intimate, and
the retinue that he acquired were Europeans, mostly Englishmen.

European things, which were to him as toys, began to fascinate him,
and his purchase of them soon became a scandal in Morocco. Bicycles,
motor-cars, cameras, phonographs, wireless telegraphs, and Western
animals for his zoo, were ordered by the Sultan on hearing of them.
An English billiard table was brought from the coast on a primitive
wooden truck built specially, for it was too heavy to bring camel-back
and there are no carts in Morocco. The Sultan could not go to Europe,
but Europe could come to the Sultan. He heard of fireworks and gave
a lavish order, engaging also a ‘master of fireworks’ to conduct
displays in his gardens. He bought a camera made of gold and engaged a
photographer. Of course the Sultan’s extravagant purchases attracted to
Fez many Europeans bent only on exploiting him. Hundreds of thousands
he spent on jewels, which when deposited in the Bank of England
brought for him a loan of about a tenth the original cost. He bought a
motor-boat and kept it high and dry in his palace, though he employed
a German engineer to run it. From the Krupp company, at a cost of many
millions, he bought two heavy-calibre guns, as unmanageable to the
Moors as white elephants to monkeys. Any agent for European arms could
get an order from him, and his arsenal became a museum of European guns.

It was easy to swindle the Sultan. An American came to Fez to persuade
him to send ‘a Moorish village’ to the Exposition at St Louis. Being
unaccredited, the man could get no proper introduction from the
American Minister at Tangier, but by a clever ruse he saw the Sultan
nevertheless. The American brought with him to Fez a bulldog with false
teeth. Through some of his European _entourage_ the Sultan heard of
the dog and ordered it to be brought to him; but the dog could not
go without its master, who obtained from the Sultan some 40,000_l._,
spending, I am told, perhaps 2,000_l._ on the Moorish village.

While spending money in this fashion--which might in itself have made
Morocco bankrupt--Abdul Aziz took no trouble to collect his taxes.
To bring to order a tribe careless about paying them, it is often
necessary for the Sultan to lead his forces in person. But Abdul Aziz
after one or two campaigns left his army to the command of Ministers;
and gradually his troops dwindled away, and, his moral force weakening,
gradually, tribe by tribe, almost the entire country discontinued to
pay taxes. At last only the garrison towns could be depended on for

News of his European tendencies spread throughout the land. The
influence of Kaid Maclean in the army was known and resented.
Photographs of the Sultan had been seen by many of the Faithful.
Finally, it was reported that he had become a Christian.

In 1902 a pretender, Bu Hamara, proclaimed himself Sultan, and
established his claim to divine appointment by feats of legerdemain.
According to a story current among Europeans, one of his ‘tricks,’ in
gruesome keeping with the country’s cruelty, was the burying of a live
slave with a reed for him to speak and breathe through. Bu Hamara by
this means called a voice from the grave, and after he had called it,
placed his foot upon the tube. When the grave was opened the slave was
found really to be dead.

Bu Hamara came near to capturing Fez.

Raisuli rose to power and successfully defied the Maghzen forces.

With Abdul Aziz things went from bad to worse, till, hopelessly
bankrupt, with a following of perhaps ten thousand men, mostly
volunteers, he came to Rabat in September of last year, roused to this
move when his brother Hafid was proclaimed at Marakesh. Since then
Fez has also proclaimed Hafid, and the army that came with Aziz has
dwindled away, until it numbers now hardly four thousand men. Besides
these he has but the petty garrisons, who find it convenient to remain
in the barracks of coast towns.

Abdul Aziz, now thirty years of age, is a pale-faced quadroon with a
black, immature beard and a thin moustache. He is above medium height
and well built, of a healthy though not athletic appearance. His manner
in the presence of official visitors is seldom easy; his words are
few and constrained. With private guests whom he knows, however, he
is gay and often familiar. He speaks gently and slowly, I am told,
occasionally placing his hand on one’s shoulder, and all who know
him like him. He seems anxious that things shall go well, but he is
more a student than a man of action. He is vain of his enlightenment,
of which he has a somewhat exalted opinion; and he is jealous of his
prerogatives. He tells Europeans who visit him that his brother Hafid
(who is almost black), was of course brought up differently from
himself, that while possessing some good qualities, he is of course a
man of little education, and that his head has been turned to declare
himself Sultan. Abdul Aziz says he will not punish Hafid--when the
rebellion is put down and he is captured--except to imprison him in
some princely palace.

       *       *       *       *       *

The historic empire of Morocco has to all intents come to an end.
Whether the French or a combination of European Powers control
hereafter, it remains that the once great empire has passed as an
independent State. In name perhaps its independence will survive for
many years; the Sultan Abdul Aziz may return to Fez and gain again,
with the aid of the French, the loyalty of the interior that is lost
to him; and he may--he will, no doubt, he or another Sultan--continue
to conduct negotiations with foreign countries. But his control of
his own land will be hereafter as of a man on an allowance from the
revenues that will go to his creditors, chiefly to France and Spain,
and his dealings with other Powers must be for the future in obedience
to dictation from those creditors.

As an empire with vassal States, Morocco has passed indeed these
many years; as an independent country, it is to-day little more than
an unproductive territory peopled sparsely with disunited tribes,
acclaiming several Sultans, supporting none, warring hopelessly against
invaders. Like Turkey-in-Europe, this backward State on the borders of
civilisation has long been doomed. Abdul Aziz made some feeble attempts
to graft upon it Western institutions; but the change can be wrought by
Western forces only and with modern arms.



Not very many of the European residents of Morocco are fond of the
French invaders. Even, in many instances, Frenchmen hate them. They
condemn consistently the disorders that the armies of France--the
Spanish are not very active--have brought to Morocco; and still more
they lament the influx of other Europeans, generally, as they point
out, of the worst sort; dishonest speculators, adventurers and ‘dive’
keepers, unfortunately the usual vanguard of Western civilisation.
Frenchmen of the old days are wont to sentimentalise about the ‘Moghreb
defiled’; Germans have no love for the soldiers of France; Englishmen
resent the subordinate position, which for three years they have been
required to take.

In Eastern countries where Europeans are few, there is always intense
rivalry and much bitter feeling between the races. In Morocco the
great jealousy, until the signing of the Anglo-French agreement, was
between the British and the French. For many years the agents of France
and those of England, consuls as well as diplomatists, merchants, and
even simple residents, had struggled against each other for trade, for
social prestige, and for greater influence with the Sultan and the
Moorish government. When the British Minister would go to Fez, the
Frenchman was always prompt on his heels; nor did the former--though
perhaps with more show of modesty--ever allow the Minister of France to
get to his credit an extra visit or a larger present.

The intimacy between Kaid Maclean and the Sultan grievously annoyed
the French, and they accused the Kaid of exploiting Abdul Aziz. On
the other hand, though the Kaid was in the employ of the Sultan,
he was engaged also to act as agent of the British government at
the Maghzen. In loans and contracts the conflict was generally more
between the Germans and the French; and on these occasions scandals
of rival bribery and of diplomatic influence being brought to bear
in the interests of the rival bankers or contractors, as the case
might be, were always rife. British Ministers do not often aid the
subjects of the King in gathering private contracts, and British
interest in Morocco has always been primarily political. British trade
with Morocco, actual or potential, was never of any considerable
importance--except to the British traders in the towns of the coast, to
whom the rivalry of course extended, growing often more acute.

In 1904 all this was changed by a stroke of the pen. England and France
came to an understanding, the one waiving claims in Egypt, the other
withdrawing politically from Morocco. The following year the German
Emperor, who had not been consulted, volunteered an objection to the
French scheme for policing certain coast cities and border towns and
organising a Morocco State Bank. Intimidating the French--though
Great Britain ‘agreed to support them in any attitude they should
take,’ which meant, I am convinced, even to the extent of war with
Germany--the Kaiser brought about a conference of the Powers, which
came to be known by the name of the Spanish town at which it was held.
The Algeciras Conference, after deliberating for months, finally in
compromise decreed that France should be accompanied by Spain in her
scheme, which was definitely limited.

The accord between France and England was a blow to British residents
in Morocco. As long as they had been in the land they had held, in the
fear and the regard of the Moors, the paramount position, and now that
position was handed over to their foremost rivals. They felt that
they as Englishmen could not consistently change their attitude at the
dictation of their Government at home--nor did they change except for
the worse.

Their jealousy has now turned to enmity, which is often intense. In the
smaller towns French and British consular agents are not on speaking
terms and avoid each other in the streets. Englishmen are friendly with
the Germans, upholding the anti-French policy of the German Government
and decrying the ‘weakness’ of their own, all the while sympathising
with the unfortunate Moor and his disintegrating empire. To the large
towns new consuls have been sent out, generally from both France and
England, and new Ministers have gone to Tangier, and this makes things
easier in diplomatic circles, where the French policy is supported
consistently. Otherwise the same old merchants and residents are there,
both French and English, with the same old hates.

How the Englishman rails against his Government! How he storms at the
English Press! How he writes, in passionate language, in his _Moghreb
al Aksa_, the little weekly English paper! I have in mind a thin, wiry
little man, past middle age, who wears a helmet and dresses in a brown
suit of tweeds. Having plenty of leisure he puts in much of his time
writing for London papers; but they will have none of his spirited
essays. So he prints them in the _Moghreb_. They are headed, ‘How
Long Will England Close Her Eyes?’ ‘How Long Will the English Press
Refuse to Print the Truth?’ ‘How Long Will the Patient Moor Refrain
from Massacre?’--and such like. I suggested to him one evening as we
sat with several other Europeans at a table at a new French café (it
was not thoroughly consistent for the little man to patronise the
place) that in all Morocco there were hardly enough Europeans to make
a massacre, as massacres go in the East; were there fifty bonâ-fide
Britishers in the land?

Fifty or a million, he replied vehemently, they had been sold by the
Government at home. What an absurd thing to do, to hold the high hand
in Morocco and pass it over to the French for relinquishing some paper
claim on Egypt! But what could be expected from a man like the Earl
of Lansdowne, himself half French? It was no use pointing out that
the British Government on this occasion had sacrificed a few British
subjects for what appeared to be the good of the many; that British
exports to Morocco had never amounted to more than two millions a year;
that the potential value of the country is not promising; that the
French are treaty-bound to keep the open door; that the cost to France
in money, to say nothing of blood, may never be repaid with revenues or
even with trade.

That the French will ever withdraw from Morocco is exceedingly
doubtful, and this is a sore grievance to British residents, who long
hoped that one day England might control the country. Only a European
war, or the serious danger of one that would defeat France, would
cause her now to take leave. It is the custom of European Governments,
when invading conquerable territory coveted by others, to protest the
temporary character of their ‘mission’; and if other proof were needed
of the intentions of France the very constant repetitions of the French
Government that it will adhere to the Act of Algeciras would tend to
rouse suspicion.

But there is reason for the French, indeed necessity for them, to
control Morocco. Europe is too near Morocco for the country to be left
to anarchy and ignorance and their consequences. Some European Power
or Powers must represent Europe there, while the establishment of one
other than France would be a constant menace to Algeria and would throw
upon France the obligation of devoting to the expense of her colony
a greater outlay than it would cost to conquer the Moorish Empire.
France must remain in Morocco; and the French--those soldiers and
diplomatists whom I have seen and talked with, at any rate--welcome
the opportunity that the Shawia tribes have given them, and make the
most of it. The assurances of the French Government are of course only
diplomatic. Assurances of a temporary occupation were vouchsafed when
Tunis was invaded. Nor is it only France that follows this diplomacy.

It is for the reason that events threaten to make permanent a certain
French occupation that a few Britishers would like to create a
difference between France and Great Britain, to annul the Anglo-French
agreement. For, should France be stopped--as she is likely to be
without British support--it will mean that no country shall regulate
Morocco and that another situation like that of the Turk in Europe will
be established, to run on an untold term of years. This is what these
partisans would like to bring about, because their hostility to the
French, beginning in trade and political rivalry, has become now one
of sentimental sympathy with the Moors.

The case for Morocco is put by the Sultan Mulai Hafid himself in an
appeal to the Powers of Europe presented to their Ministers at Tangier
in February (1908). The argument has the Eastern fault of waiving
rather than undermining the case for France, as, in one instance, where
it speaks of peace with Europeans in provinces and cities where there
are no foreign troops, a peace that obtains in the interior because the
few European residents have left, and in the coast towns because of the
lesson of Casablanca. In a ‘free rendering’ of the Arabic original, the
correspondent of the _Morning Post_, R. L. N. Johnson, an authority
on Morocco and the author of several literary books pertaining to the
country, interprets this picturesque document as follows:--

  ‘In the name of the Most Merciful God, save from whom is neither
  device nor might. (Here follow the royal seal, the name of the
  Foreign Minister addressed, and the customary salutations.)

  ‘On behalf of the people of Morocco, one and all, many of whom are
  actual sufferers from what has befallen their dwellings, their
  brethren, and their families, I lay before you my plaint.

  ‘What has been done to them is an offence against Treaties and common
  justice. He who demands his right has no pretext for needless,
  inhuman violence and brutality, nor is such action compatible with
  dealings between the nations. Nor is there wrong to any (Power) in
  our nation deposing its Monarch on reasonable grounds. He has proved
  his incapacity, he has neglected every interest of the State, and
  he has followed a line of conduct which would not be tolerated by
  the believers of any faith. I call your attention to the terrible
  calamity which has afflicted the people of Morocco, relying upon your
  well-known frank recognition of the truth. Thus you can hardly keep
  silence on what has happened and is happening in this country. From
  time immemorial your folk have lived among us, for trade and other
  purposes, without any object of filching our land, exactly as they
  would live in other friendly countries, and in the manner laid down
  in the Madrid Convention, which was framed upon a knowledge of the
  conditions of life in Morocco.

  ‘It may be you have heard rumours of a declaration of war (_Jehad_).
  That declaration was made solely with the object of calming the
  exasperation of my people at the wholly unjust invasion of their
  land and the occupation of their soil. These invaders are to-day
  preventing our people from carrying on their everyday affairs
  according to our time-honoured customs. I was desirous of appointing
  Governors in Shawia who should be responsible to myself for the
  preservation of order, but obstacles [the French army--F.M.] were
  placed in my way, and to avoid a conflict which would have led
  to terrible bloodshed I abstained. My one desire is to restore
  tranquillity among my people, so as to bring back general welfare.

  ‘As to the army now occupying the Casablanca district on the pretext
  of pacifying it and protecting foreigners, this is my duty towards
  the whole of Morocco--that is to say, to protect both Moslems and
  Europeans in their lives and property. I ask nothing better than
  to follow the path of justice, that these troops may evacuate that
  land and leave it to its lawful owners. They have but to depart and
  no further trouble need be feared. But assuredly so long as they
  remain peace is impossible. You have watched this going on for six
  months. Have you also watched the conditions of the other provinces
  and cities where no other intervention has taken place? Are not the
  people, yours and mine, living in peace and harmony? Absolutely
  nothing has occurred to hurt any person or place, nor, thank God,
  has any European been molested, despite all that our brethren have
  suffered. The wiser among the French nation recognise this, without
  being able to remedy the mischief done. As to those of lesser
  understanding who declare us to be anti-European, they speak falsely
  and without a shadow of reason. Our acts speak for themselves, and
  disprove the lies which have been thrown broadcast over the world.
  The wise know this, and that the authors of such calumnies are
  monsters rather than human.

  ‘As for the dethronement of Mulai Abdul Aziz, this was not only the
  will of the nation, but was done by the decision of the lawful court
  of Ulema, who judged him. Surely there is no crime in deposing a
  Sultan on the just ground that he is unfit to govern. It was done not
  long ago in Turkey. It has happened among the other Powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ‘I now ask you to give me a faithful answer, and I will abide by the
  truth. On what principle of international law can there be armed
  intervention between a nation and the monarch it has deposed? I wait
  for your reply in the firm belief that, on careful review of the
  situation, your answer cannot fail to reflect a bright lustre upon
  your judgment and justice.

  ‘In peace. This 24th Haeja, 1325.’

Europeans in Morocco are mostly sympathisers with Mulai Hafid; and
their hopes for the success of his Holy War lead them often--no doubt
unconsciously--to exaggerate the difficulties of the French and to
enlarge upon the numbers of the tribesmen opposing them. Though Hafid
declared that his purpose in proclaiming the _Jehad_ was only to unite
the tribes in support of him, he has been drawn by this proclamation
into war with the French. The forces that have been recruited by his
deception have either pressed him or have taken upon themselves to
combat the French invasion; and their opposition would seem to make it
impossible for the French to recognise Hafid as Sultan. For this would
be tantamount to a defeat of the French in the minds of the ignorant
Moors. On the other hand Hafid’s position is now exceedingly difficult;
for him it is either to fight or to surrender to his brother.

       *       *       *       *       *

In leaving Morocco it would be picturesque to say with Pierre Loti:
‘Farewell, dark Moghreb, Empire of the Moors, mayst thou remain yet
many years immured, impenetrable to the things that are new! Turn thy
back upon Europe! Let thy sleep be the sleep of centuries, and so
continue thine ancient dream! May Allah preserve to the Sultan his
unsubdued territories and his waste places carpeted with flowers, there
to do battle as did the Paladins in the old times, there to gather in
his rebel heads! May Allah preserve to the Arab race its mystic dreams,
its immutability scornful of all things, and its grey rags; may He
preserve to the Moorish ruins their shrouds of whitewash, and to the
mosques inviolable mystery!’

But for my part there is no sentimental feeling for Morocco. That a
government is old is no reason, for me, that it should be maintained.
Because the Moors have always ridden horses, I see no reason why they
should not ride in carriages or even in trains. In fact, I sympathise
with the unfortunate beasts of burden and with the suffering Moors
themselves. I was not affected, like the great French writer, more
by the beauty and the romance of the country than by the horror and
distress; and, instead of his fair sentiment, I say: Let in the French!
For the Moghreb I should like to see a little less of crime, a little
less of base corruption, a little less of ignorance and needless
suffering, a little less of cruelty, a little less of bestial vice. The
French can do some little for Morocco, and no other Power can go in. I
say, Let in the French!

[Illustration: MAP OF MOROCCO]

Yet a last word, to the French: You boast your knowledge of
Mohammedans; do you know that the Moors dread you for what they have
heard from their fathers you did in the early days in Algeria? Nor have
your methods about Casablanca reassured them. You have slain wantonly,
even under General Drude. General d’Amade has penetrated the country
time after time and accomplished ‘enormous slaughter.’ But for what
purpose? This is all unnecessary. It would seem that your object has
been to provoke further hostility, that you may have excuse to continue
your occupation and to extend it. This is undoubtedly good politics;
but rather unfair to the ignorant Moors, don’t you think? And is it
good for your soldiers, Algerians or Europeans, to use them in this



  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Superscripted text is preceded by a carat character: Geog^l.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

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