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Full text of "Actual Africa; or, The coming continent; a tour of exploration"



BOSTON UNIVERSITY 




College of Liberal Arts 
Library 

GRADUATE SCHOOL 
AFRICAN STUDIES 



xx\xxx\x\. 



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A 






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R. M. the King of the Belgians. 



L^e^r-a 



ACTUAL AFRICA 



OR, THE COMING CONTINENT 



A TOUR OF EXPLORATION 



BY 

FRANK VINCENT 

AUTHOR OF 

'THE LAN)) OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT."" "THROUGH AND THROUGH THE TROPICS, 

"NORSK, LAPP. AND FINN,"' "AROUND AND ABOUT SOUTH AMERICA, 

"IX AXD OUT OF CENTRAL AMERICA.''' 

JOINT AUTHOR OF "THE LADY OF CAWNPORE," ETC. 



WITH MAP AND OVER ONE HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS 



NEW YORK 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

1895 

BOSTON UNWRSmr 



Copyright, 1895, 
By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY. 



Grh ac\ iua"t e 

M o v e ) i . b 

Ad ^r 1 



D / 

/ / 



DEDICATED, BY SPECIAL PERMISSION, TO 

HIS MAJESTY LEOPOLD II 

KING OF THE BELGIANS 
AND FOUNDER AND SOVEREIGN OF THE CONGO FREE STATE 



PREFACE. 



When, some years ago, Victor Hugo said that in the twentieth 
century Africa would be the cynosure of every eye, and when, 
more recently, Lord Salisbury, apropos of the European situation, 
remarked that foreign politics meant African politics, each state- 
ment was an index to the immense resources of that great and 
crowded continent in which the Twilight is now succeeding to the 
Dark. 

Africa contains about one-quarter of the land of the globe. 
This area is more than thrice Europe's, or nearly as much as North 
and South America's combined. This wonderful triangular con- 
tinent, whose general configuration is not unlike that of South 
America, is inhabited by one-eleventh of the human race, almost 
equalling the population of the Western Hemisphere. One-fifth 
of her surface is occupied by rich savannas, and one-half by tilled 
fields, valuable forests, and fairly fertile soil as yet uncultivated. 
Her variety and profusion of animal life are without a rival, and 
her output of gold and diamonds is unparalleled in the history of 
the world. 

What Europe thinks of the natural advantages and early pos- 
sibilities of Africa may be inferred from the latter's political par- 
tition. Out of a total area of 12,000,000 square miles Europe has 
left unappropriated only about 1,000,000, and these are confined to 
the sandy seas of the Libyan Desert, and the inaccessible and 
powerful States of the Central and Eastern Soudan. The number 
of Europeans, and of persons of their descent, throughout the 
continent is estimated at 1,500,000 — facts that make more than 
plausible Lord Salisbury's dictum. 

The Powers represented in Africa are, moreover, strenuously 
seeking, and with considerable success, to develop the resources 
of their respective possessions. The general salubrity tempts civil- 



vi PREFACE. 

isation. Only the tropical coastal belt and a few of the river val- 
leys are in the main unhealthy. Elsewhere — as far, at least, as 
climate is concerned — the foreign settler may live with impunity, 
and speedily reap a plenteous reward. Settlement, therefore, is cer- 
tain to expand, with peace and commerce following in its train. 

Attracted by these circumstances, which promised to this strange 
continent so near and prosperous a future, and encouraged by the 
success attending one of my previous works, "Around and About 
South America" (that enjoyed five editions here and three in 
England), I wished to closely examine a division of the earth so 
little known to the general public, and spent two years in accom- 
plishing the task. Within that period not only was Africa com- 
pletely circled, but many deep dips were also taken into her vast 
and mysterious interior. Nearly all the capitals and important 
towns (native and foreign) of the seaboard territories, were in- 
spected ; the great island of Madagascar was traversed ; several of 
the western archipelagoes were visited ; the peak of Teneriffe was 
scaled in mid-winter; a long excursion was made through the 
centre of the Boer Republics and British Colonies ; the Nile, 
Quanza, Congo, Kassai, Sankuru and Kuilu rivers were ascended — 
the latter for the first time by a white man ; and in the very core 
of Africa's heart a most interesting point was reached — the curious 
capital of the famous Basongo chieftain, Pania Mutembo. In 
short, my attention was equally divided between native States, with 
their tributary provinces, on the one hand, and European posses- 
sions, protectorates and spheres of influence, on the other. 

The present volume, then, like the one on South America, is 
the result of personal observation. It is the kinetoscope of the 
actual as revealed to me by my senses. Some special studies in 
geography and ethnology are reserved for future publication as 
monographs. My object now is simply to give, in a popular 
manner, and as succinctly as possible, accurate general informa- 
tion concerning certain imperfectly known regions — both savage 
and settled — of the Africa of the present day. 

F. V. 

New York, March, 1895. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



Preface 

CHAPTER I. 



Tangier . 



Crossing from Gibraltar— Tangier from the sea— Customs officials— Hotels- 
Celebrating the Birthday of the Prophet— Tangier a cosmopolitan city— The 
Kasbah, or Castle— The Pasha's residence, treasury, and prison— Mosques- 
Mixed population— The soko, or market-Newspapers—" Moorish cafes chan- 
tant "-Music of the cafes— Hasheesh— The Sultan of MoroccoHCollects his 
taxes with the aid of his army— Not a cruel man— A rickety government— The 
Sultan dominated by the despotic Koran. 



CHAPTER II. 
Into the Land of the Moors . 



A start into the interior— Equipage and attendants— Prices of beasts of burden 
in Morocco— Camp cooking— On the road— A night in camp— Fall of tempera- 
ture after sun-down— Fondaks. or caravansaries to be avoided— A better piece 
of country— Moorish guns and shooting— Villages of tents— Arzilla— Visit from 
its governor— Panniers balanced with stones— A ride along the sea-shore— La- 
rache and its harbor— Trade of the town— The muezzin's call— On to El Kasr— 
Camp in an orchard— An olive mill and a water-wheel— Partridges— Mosquitoes. 



CHAPTER III. 

Town and Track 1 ' 

In El Kasr— Costumes of Moors and Jews— Shops— European goods predomi- 
nate in the bazaar— The prison— Visit to a fondak— A glimpse into the mosques 
—Entertained at lunch in a Jewish house— Curiosity of the natives— A pres- 
ent of kous-koussou-Muck-heaps around the city— Native mode of washing 
clothes— A treeless country— The dragoman appealed to— Hedges of prickly- 
pear— A camp between two villages— Presents from the headmen of both— 
Dogs but no mosquitoes— Palms and camels— A suggestion of the simoom- 
Crossing the Seboo river— Women at work, men at play— Guarding against 
robbers— Rains— More dogs— Camp near Muley Edris— Berbers, Arabs, Moors, 
and Jews— Languages of the country— Preventives of sleep— Ruins of the Ro- 
man Volubilis— View of the "holy city," Muley Edris. 



vm 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 
Mequinez v ~' 

Situation of Mequinez— A Moorish gateway— Lodged in a native house— Shops 
and manufactures of Mequinez— Europeans a rare sight>-Beggars— The Grand 
Gateway— The Jewish quarter— In the house of a rich Jew— Trading in the f on- 
daks— Appearance of the people— Slaves— Water-supply— The soko— The city 
walls— Native laundry work— Departure for Fez— View of snow-covered moun- 
tains. 



CHAPTER V. 

Sights and Scenes in Fez 

Various sorts of travellers— Soldiers not readily distinguishable— Extending the 
walls of Fez— Upper-class Moors— The bazaar in Fez— Breakfast in the house of 
a Moor— Wives and concubines— Interior of a Moorish house— A " flat " over a 
stable— The Sultan and his European officers— Fez divided into districts by 
doors across the streets— Spare time in the bazaar— The mosque of El Karoubin 
and its library— Schools and the university— Visit to an English general in the 
army of the Sultan— An exhibition of rebels' heads— The Sultan's soldiers— A 
snake-charmer in the soko— Fez viewed from the citadel— Visit to a Jew- 
Treatment of Jews by the Sultan— A breakfast— A ride over the hills— The gate 
entered by Muley Edris forbidden to Christians— Public baths. 

CHAPTER VI. 
A Holy City 

A start in the rain— Arab shepherds and villages- Farming in Morocco— Begin- 
ning of the rainy season—" Salaam aleikoom "—Ferried across a river— Prayers 
of Mussulmans in camp— Approaching Wezzan— A house obtained in the town— 
The Shereef of Wezzan— A present of green tea from the Shereef— The near-by 
hill tribes great robbers— Origin of the Moors and of the Jews— Drunken sport 
of a robber— Boar hunting— Douars, or villages, of Arab farmers and shepherds 
—Native dogs— The women's work— Back in Tangier. 

CHAPTER VII. 
Morocco to Algeria 

A visit to Gibraltar— Malaga and its products-A rough sea-The first seaport 
in Algeria-Oran-Alf a fibre and Algerian wine-The French forts and barracks 
-Source of the Numidian marble of the Romans-Vehicles— Character of the 
population of Oran-Strategical importance of the place-Les Bains de la Reine 
—The Roman Pomaria. 



36 



CHAPTER VIII. 



The African Granada 



4G 



60 



A French colonial railway-Three natural divisions of Algeria-Appearance of 
the country between Oran and Tlemcen-The town of Sidi-Bel-Abbas-Cascades 
of El-Ourit-Tlemcen-Care of its streets under the French-Its manufactures- 
Arab baths-Mosque and tomb of Sidi Abraham-Mosque of Sidi Ahmed Bel 
Hassan-el-Ghomari-Its interior decorations a beautiful specimen of Moor.sh 
art-Arcba>ological museum in the City Hall-Mosques of Djamaa-el-Keb^ and 
Sidi-el-Halawi-Their onyx columns and decorations— An ancient chandelier- 
Concrete in wall construction-A beautiful mosque tower-Mosque and tomb of 
Sidi Bou Meddin-An Arabic college— The teacher's hint for his fee. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTEXTS. 



IX 



CHAPTER IX. 
The '"White City" 68 

Level country between Oran and Algiers- Jarrages, or dams, for irrigation- 
Entering Algiers — Situation — " A diamond set in an emerald frame " — The old 
town and the new — The harbor— Boulevard de la Republique — The Municipal 
Theatre— Population, newspapers, fortifications— Steamer communication- 
Mixture of nationalities in the streets— Costumes of Moorish women and Jew- 
esses—Streets of the native town— Its houses— Roofs of the houses forbidden to 
male Christians — The shops, restaurants, and cafes — Interior of the mosques- 
Usual staff of a mosque— An Assaoui performance— "La danse du ventre" — 
Decorations and treasures in the public buildings— A drive to Mustapha Sup6- 
rieur — The Jardin d'Essai— An Arab cemetery— Water for the birds —Another 
drive in the suburbs— Church of Notre Dame d'Afrique. 

CHAPTER X. 

The Gorge of the Chabet 81 

By rail to Bougie — Algerian vineyards— Entering Kabylia — Good roads built by 
the French— Interesting works of Nature and of man— Hamlets of the Kabyles 
— Mountains and forests-HCandle-wax a chief product of Bougie — The name of 
the town taken as the French word for candle — The hotel and its Arab guests — 
By carriage to Setif — More Kabyles — Views of Bougie — Through the marvellous 
Chabet Pass— Geological features-^Minerals— Farming among the hills— A fer- 
ruginous spring— Arrival in Setif. 

CnAPTER XI. 
Constantine .90 

An early start on a frosty morning— Constantine, the third city in Algeria-J-Its 
corn-market and manufactures— First view of the city— Its peculiarly pictur- 
esque situation — Its French and its Arab quarter — Public buildings — Old palace 
of Ahmed Bey— Roman remains in the vicinity— Defences of the city— Warm 
baths of Sidi Me(;id — Remains of a Roman aqueduct — The ancient Cirta — 
Through arid lands— The gorge at El Kantara— Crossing an oasis— An embank- 
ment carried away — Approaching the Sahara — Biskra, the terminus of the rail- 
road—A notice to amateur photographers. 

CHAPTER XII. 

Biskra — Queen of the Desert 97 

The oasis of Biskra— Dates and date-palms— The town and its suburbs— The 
Jardin Publique— Camels and their value— Watch towers— The caul's falcons — 
A negro village^Eye-diseases among the natives— Chateau and gardens of 
Count Landon— Arab cafes— Dancing girls— Their dress and adornments— Les 
FrSres Armes du Sahara— Instructions of Cardinal Lavigerie, the founder of 
the order— Work and rules of the brothers— A drive to Sidi Okbar— A view of 
the desert — Arabs of the Sahara— Mosque of Sidi Okbar, the most ancient monu- 
ment of Islamism in Africa— The deeds and death of Sidi Okbar— Sunset on the 
desert — Healthy life of the Bedouins— Climate of Biskra, " Queen of the Desert." 

CHAPTER XIII. 

An Algerian Pompeii 107 

Batna, a French town in Africa— Its electric lights, illuminated clock, and hy- 
drants—Roman ruins at Lambessa and Timegad (Thaumugas) — The Prgetorium 
of Lambessa — Many architectural remains excavated at Timegad— The forum, 
fortress, triumphal arch, and baths— Signs of the French department of public 



x ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

instruction— Views from the hills Djebel Mes^id and Mansoura— French control 
in Algeria— From Constantine to Tunis— Curious cars— Boiling springs of Ham- 
mam Muskoutine— A ; ' petrified rapid "—Saline, ferruginous, and sulphurous 
springs— Views of woods and hills— Gorge of the Medjerda River— Nature of the 
country in Tunisia— Through a gap in the aqueduct of Carthage. 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Tunis and Carthage 114 

View of Tunis from its ancient Kasbah— The harbor— The Goletta, the port of 
Tunis— Both towns built from the materials of ancient Carthage— Streets and 
bazaars of the city— Maltese inhabitants— Manufactures— Ways of the native 
merchants — Exquisite fabrics and inlaid work — Corpulent Jewesses— Costumes 
of the Arabs— Restaurants and fondaks— Christians not allowed in the mosques 
— The old slave market— Old stone palace of the Bey — Its lace-like arabesques — 
The college and primary schools — One of the baths— Population— A visit to the 
Bardo— The Tunisian army— Sentries knitting stockings— The Court of Lions— 
The Hall of Glass— The Hall of the Pasha— A collection of clocks— An interest- 
ing museum— Its mosaics— Palace where the French treaty was signed— The 
ruins of Carthage— Cathedral built by Cardinal Lavigerie— Tombs of the Cardi- 
nal and of Consul-General de Lesseps— Museum of Carthaginian relics— Cisterns 
of the great aqueduct. 

CHAPTER XV. 
Roundabout the Regency 125 

A visit to the Bey of Tunis— The Bey's retainers— Audience with His Highness 
— More gilt clocks — The palace and its garden— Tunis under the Sultan of Tur- 
key — As a French regency— Character of the reigning Bey— Obstacles to civilis- 
ing the Arabs— By steamer to Tripoli— Cape Bon, the Hermean promontory— 
Kerouan— Susa— A mosque tower used for a lighthouse— Character of the Mal- 
tese inhabitants— Monastir— Mahadia— The Kerkena islands— A dangerous bit of 
coast— Sfax— fPound-nets for tunny fish— The fine suburb of Sfax — Great res- 
ervoir of the town-v-Exports— Only tides of the Mediterranean — Gabes — Houses 
built of stone from Roman ruins— Scheme for an inland sea— Benefits of arte- 
sian wells— Djerba— The "Island of the Lotophagi"— What was the Homeric 
food ?— Roman and Greek remains— Sponge fisheries— What the French have 
accomplished in their Barbary colonies. 

CHAPTER XVT. 
Tripoli 137 

The city of Tripoli— Feeble Turkish men-of-war in the harbor— Government of 
Tripoli by the Sultan of Turkey— Nature of the country— Streets and houses in 
the capital— A quadrifrontal Roman arch— The finest of the three now in exist- 
ence—Base uses of the interior— The Great Mosque and the mosque of Djamaa 
Goorjee— Ivory and ostrich feathers— The Pasha and his residences-Large and 
interesting weekly market— Poor quality of the Turkish troops— A curious little 
cart — On the edge of the genuine desert-lCommerce of Tripoli— Four hundred 
miles of coast without a village or tree— Across to Malta— To Brindisi, thence to 
Port Said— In the Suez Canal— Ismailia. 

CHAPTER XVII. 
The Metropolis of Africa 145 

In Cairo— The Ghizeh Museum— Funeral of Tewfik, Khedive of Egypt— Charac- 
ter of Abbas Pasha II.— The road to Ghizeh— Location of the pyramids of Ghizeh 
—Contrast between the hotel and its surroundings— The Sphinx— The " great " 
pyramid— Mode of ascending and descending— Its interior— Pyramid of Che- 
phren— Egyptian history re-entombed by the Mohammedans. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. xj 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Afloat upon the Nile 152 

Navigation of the river— A Nile steamer— Drinking-water from the river— Da- 
habeahs— Rhoda and its Nilometer— Quarries that yielded the stone for the 
pyramids — The Nile's belt of verdure— Comical donkey-boys— Size and decora- 
tions of the donkeys — " Backsheesh " — Ruins and colossal statue at Memphis — 
Pyramids of Sakhara— The " step " pyramid— Fraudulent antiquities— The Se- 
rapeum — Its sarcophagi — Decorations of the tombs at Sakhara — The baths at 
Helouan— Difference between temperatures of day and night — High and low 
■water in the Nile — Changes in its channel— A diversified country— Pigeon-towers 
—Sights along the river— The Fayoum-^Sugar factory at Maghaghah— No croco- 
diles below Assouan — Miles upon miles of sugar-cane— Convent of the Pulley — 
Minieh and its picturesque buildings-tRum from the sugar factories— Rock 
tombs of Beui Hassan — A tax on tourists— An artist domiciled in a tomb. 

CHAPTER XIX. 
The Capital of Upper Egypt 163 

Hills of Gebel-Aboufaydah— Dog, cat, and crocodile mummies— Channel of the 
Nile generally close to the eastern bank— Most of the fertile valley on the west 
side of the river— Picturesque Assiout— Landing at its port, El Hamra— Its red 
pottery and other manufactures— Railways of Egypt— A donkey ride to the 
town— Ancient rock-hewn tombs— " Service de Conservation des Antiquites" — 
View from the mountain near Assiout— Native boats— More pigeons— Appliances 
for raising water from the river-|-Farming operations— Egypt the gift of the 
Nile— Inhabitants of the country— Birds and fish of the Nile. 

CHAPTER XX. 
The Temple of Denderah 172 

Scarabs for sale— Condition of the temple when discovered — Its beautiful col- 
umns and decorations— The sanctuary and adjoining chambers— Vandalism of 
the early Christians— Sculptured portraits of Cleopatra and Caesarion— The 
Typhoni temple— Arrival at Luxor— A mingling of Occident and Orient— The 
temple of Koorneh— Tombs of the kings— Archaeological work of Belzoni, Bruce, 
Mariette, and Wilkinson -Tomb of Seti I.— Discovery of the royal mummies. 

CHAPTER XXI. 
Karnak: and Luxor 181 

A choice between camels and donkeys— General appearance of the temple of 
Karnak— Avenues of sphinxes— Nearly three thousand years in building— The 
propylon— Importunate sellers of antiquities— The Hypostyle Hall— Obelisks cov- 
ered with hieroglyphics— The Hall and Tablet of Ancestors— Great dilapidation 
of the remains— The temple of Luxor— Gigantic granite statues— An exhibition 
by dancing-girls— The Rameseum, or Memnonium— A nine-hundred-ton granite 
statue— The temple of Medinet-Haboo— Its grand architecture and gorgeous 
decorations— Battle scenes from the wars of Rameses HI.— The sitting Colossi- 
Musical statue of Memnon— At the races in Upper Egypk+Luxor as a health- 
resort— Ophthalmia. 

CHAPTER XXII. 

The First Cataract 191 

(Geological features of Egypt— Esneh and its temple— The temple of Edfou— The 
sacred hawk-/Ancient sandstone quarries— Double temple at Kom Ombo— As- 
souan and the island of Elephantine— Favorable impression made by the Nu- 



xii ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

bians— Rock tombs of the rulers of Elephantine— By rail to Shellah— Philas, the 
most beautiful spot on the Nile— The great temple of Isis and "Pharaoh's 
Bed "—Shooting the cataract-!- A quarry of red granite. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
In Lower Nubia 200 

A steamer of the upper Nile-^The country grows less fertile and more pictur- 
esque—A remarkable gorge— The temple at Kalabshah, the largest in Nubia- 
Henna and castor-oil for the toilet— Disturbed condition of the country— Why 
the sakiahs are allowed to creak— Singular forms of the rocks— Scene of the 
battle of Toski in the Soudan war— Crocodiles scarce— The rock-hewn temple of 
Aboo Simbel, the finest in the world— Colossal statues outside the temple— An 
immense battle-picture— Garrison at Wadi Haifa— By special train, with mili- 
tary escort, to Sarras— The Second Cataract— The farthest point to which trav- 
ellers may go— A very small donkey — "View of the cataract from the rock of 
Aboosir— Back to PhilaB— View from the peak of A wes-el-Guarany— Temple of 
Seti I. at Abydos— The famous Tablet of Abydos— Down the river to Cairo. 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
Mauritius and Madagascar 214 

Through the Red Sea — Port Louis— Natural features and productions of Mau- 
ritius — Its population, government, etc. — Hurricanes— The observatory and gar- 
dens of Pamplemousses — Description of Reunion— First view of Madagascar — 
Jolly negro boys— Tamatave — The filanzana, the universal carriage of Madagas- 
car— Hovas and Betsimisarakas— Native method of fighting fire. 

CHAPTER XXV. 
Down the Coast 222 

Equipment for a journey to the capital— " Cut money "—Learning Malagasy — 
Filanzana travelling— Sights of the road — Many-syllabled native names— Cross- 
ing a river in a forty-foot dug-out — Song of the boatmen— Provisions— Enormous 
appetites of natives— Malagasy villages— Clever construction of native huts- 
Pouring from a bamboo water-jar— Flies and other pests — The town of Ado- 
voranty. 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
Over the Mountain Terraces 230 

A five hours' canoe ride— In a hillocky region— Kept awake by singing and chat- 
tering — Troops of coolies — A local dude— Scarcity of fire-wood — A load for twelve 
men— Native music— The peoples of Madagascar— Un-martial soldiers— A slip- 
pery trail — A two-room house, lined with straw matting— Natives bring a pres- 
ent of oranges— Speech by the schoolmaster— A return gift of Liebig's Meat Ex- 
tract and cigars — Education, missionary work, publications— Native costumes 
and hair-dressing— Malay characteristics of the Hovas— How they manage their 
long words— First views of Antananarivo— Entering the city. 

CHAPTER XXVII. 
Antananarivo 241 

Situation of the capital on an isolated hill— Rough streets— Police regulations- 
Sights of the city — The great palace — Figures of the national bird — The corona- 
tion stone — In the weekly market-/Great variety of goods, native and imported — 
Butchers' shops without roofs — Slaves — The French Resident General — A call on 
His Excellency, the Prime Minister — An exchange of photographs — The Queen 
not much seen in public — The Prime Minister's summer palace — A very large 
and vicious ostrich — Native tombs. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. x {\[ 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Journey to the West Coast 251 

The country to be traversed— Bad repute of the Sakalavas— Hiring bearers 
and coolies— Long names of the men— Scenes on the road-f Occupations of old 
women— Chilly mornings and evenings— A lodging over a [pig-sty— Native chil- 
dren at their studies— Alarm of the fowls— A reed used as fuel— Animal and 
insect fellow-lodgers-A series of military stations— A night in a clean house- 
Jollity of the filanzana bearers— Less rain on the western side of the island than 
on the eastern— Sakalava cattle-stealers— Picturesque cascades— Underground 
passages— Manner of closing the gates of a village. 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

A Visit to a Gold Mine 261 

Debatable land-M stop at a gold-washing— Antanimbarindratsoutsoraka— A 
native woman gives her husband a bath— Characteristics of the Sakalavas— The 
skull of a robber on a pole— Camping in " the open "—Arrival at Suberbieville 
— " An excellent site for a city "—Mining concessions granted by the Malagasy 
government— Mode of impressing laborers— Convicts at work in chains— Meth- 
ods of mining— Features of the mining village— Embarking in canoes— Down 
the Ikopa and Betsiboka rivers— Shots at crocodiles— The guards on the look- 
out for pirates— A mutiny quelled by vigorous measures— Mine crocodiles— A 
night voyage with mutinous rowers— The steamer reached at last— Mojauga, a 
village of tinder-boxes. 

CHAPTER XXX. 
Madagascar to Zanzibar 271 

By steamer up the west coast— The island of Nosy Be-^Fruits and vegetables 
—A visit to the sanatorium on Nosy Komba— The steamer for Zanzibar— A call 
at the island of Mayotta— Comoro island in the distance— The island of Zanzi- 
bar—Native craft and foreign men-of-war in the harbor— Terrible heat in the 
streets of the city— Abdallah has a good word for Stanley— Mixed population of 
the island^rThe retail traders mostly Banians— Slaves and convicts— The Sul- 
tan's army of 1,200 meu.-^Fnrei^n trade of Zanzibar— Government -Attacked 
with Malagasy fever— Drives upanddown the island— Baobab trees — A palace of 
the Sultan — Coney Island aspect of the grounds— Another palace— Concert of 
the military band— The Sultan's well-guarded harem— Received by the Sultan 
—The audience-room— Dress and bearing of His Highness— A walk through the 
palace— Decorated with the Star of Zanzibar— A present of a painting from the 
Sultan— A call on Tippoo Tib. 

CHAPTER XXXT. 
German East Africa 283 

Zanzibar dhows — A sail to the mainland of Zanzibar— The town of Bagamoyo 
— Dr. Emin Pasha's accident— An undignified landing-^Goods of the interior- 
Copper wire and beads as money — A drive in the only carriage in town— The 
French Catholic Mission — The Caravansary — Natives from the neighborhood of 
Lake Tanganyika-AIvory in the rough— By German steamer to Port Natal— A 
stop at Lindi— Mozambique town and island— Productions of the territory on 
the mainland— Dr. Livingstone's servant, Chuma. 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

Mozambique and Lorenzo Marquez 291 

Clean and lighted streets with name signs — A call on the Portuguese governor 
—Fort St. Sebastian— The machilla, a kind of palanquin— Native beer— A cannon 



xiv ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

salute to a fellow-passenger— Down the coast to Delagoa Bay— European aspect 
of the town of Lorenzo Marquez— A conspicuous powder magazine— A railway 
excursion into the Transvaal— Feathers for use, not for ornament— Native cos- 
tumes with European additions— Women smoking at their work— Horns and 
skins of animals for sale— Outside the bar at Cape Natal. 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Natal . 298 

In a thorough-going British colony— A first-class hotel of one story— A drive out 
on the Berea— Durban, its streets, buildings, swimming bath, conveyances, na- 
tive police, etc.— Off for the gold-fields by rail— Sleeping accommodations on the 
train — Kaffir kraals — A Concord coach from New Hampshire — A tremendous 
whip expertly used— Coaching in the Transvaal— Boer ox-teams— Bad meals en 
route — First view of the gold hills. 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 
Johannesburg — the City of Gold 307 

A young city of fifty thousand inhabitants in the centre of the steppe— The gold- 
fields and their history — California and Australia outdone — American machinery 
in use— All sorts of products at auction — Trading in mining shares on the Stock 
Exchange — Dust storms and thunder storms— A coach trip to Pretoria — The 
Government House and the government — Dear living in the gold region— The 
rail journey to Kimberley— Through the veldt— The capital of the Orange Free 
State— The Karroo, or undulating plain — Flocks of sheep, goats, and ostriches. 

CHAPTER XXXV. 
The Diamond District 315 

Kimberley— Its Botanical Garden devoured by locusts^The diamond mines— A 
vast hole in the ground— Fifteen tons of diamonds !— Geology of the depos- 
its—Some famous gems— Processes of mining— Prevention of theft— A "com- 
pound " of native diggers— The valuing-rooms— The South African and Interna- 
tional Exhibition— By rail to Cape Town— Ostrich farming— Bad provender at 
the railway stations— The picturesque Hex River Mountains— Feats of railway 
engineering— Inland towns of the Cape colony— Arrival in Cape Town. 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 
Cape Town 323 

Table Mountain and its " table cloth "—Streets and houses of Cape Town— The 
old Dutch Castle— The people of the city and colony— Public buildings— Gov- 
ernor Van der Stell's oaks— Marble statue of Queen Victoria— The Houses of 
Parliament- The Public Library— The South African Museum— The Botanic 
Garden— The Town Hall— Suburbs of the city— The Cape of Good Hope and its 
lighthouse— Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point of Africa— Simon's Bay 
and Sea Point— The Royal Observatory— The healthiest foreign military sta- 
tion in the British possessions-/Van Riebeek's great farm— The Government 
Wine Farm— Chief summer resort of the people of Cape Town— A pleasant 
drive in a " Cape cart "—Climate at the Cape— A very roundabout journey— The 
voyage to Madeira— The old beacon of Robbin Island— Infirmary for lepers and 
lunatics— Through the tropics— A view of Cape Verd— Passing Teneriffe. 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 
A Detour by Madeira 333 

View of Funchal from the roadstead— Boats full of native products— A strange 
vehicle — Glorious singing of cage-birds— An uncomfortable pavement — Climate 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTEXTS. 



xv 



PAGE 

of the Madeira islands— Three means of conveyance — A bullock drive up the 
hills— The Mount Church — Down hill by " running sledge "—The Fish and Fruit 
Markets— Christmas celebrated with fireworks— A visit to the Grand Curral— 
Characteristics of the peasants— Wonderful vegetation— Dragon tree — The De- 
sertas— The Canary Islands — Santa Cruz de Palma— O'Daly Street — View of 
Teneriffe. 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 
A Mid-winter Ascent of Teneriffe 343 

Approaching the island— By carriage to Puerta Orotava — " Humboldt's Corner " 
— Preparations for ascending the peak — The road up the mountain — Vestiges of 
volcanic action — The cabin for tourists on the cone — Cold and mountain sick- 
ness — At the summit— A view never to be forgotten— The descent. 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

Peeps at Portuguese Islands 351 

Convict fellow-passengers— The Cape Verd Islands— The harbor of St. Vincent — 
At Praia on Santiago— In the " doldrums " — Phosphorescence of the sea— Fer- 
tile Prince's Island— The town of St. Antonio— St. Thomas— Sharks abundant — 
Natives unloading cargo to the music of tom-toms — A call on the governor — 
Hammocks as conveyances— Dahomeyan bearers in the service of the govern- 
ment — Dress and habits of the natives — Burdens carried on the head — Palm- 
wine and sugar-cane rum — Arrival at Monte Koffee — A tropical plantation — 
At Cabinda— The " factories "—San Antonio — The mouth of the Congo. 

CHAPTER XL. 
The Province of Angola 363 

Ambriz— Hospitality of the governor— St. Paul de Loanda— The hotel and its 
live creatures — Extent and population of Angola— Loanda formerly a seat of 
the slave trade— Convicts— Products of the country— Scarcity of labor— The 
bank, currency, w T ater-supply— Customs and language of the natives— The har- 
bor—Railway into the interior— Both windows and doors of the houses num- 
bered—Markets—Dress of the natives— Public buildings— Fort San Miguel— The 
native town— Amusements of the Portuguese residents— Novo Redondo— Ben- 
guela— A terminus of exploring journeys— Native caravans. 

CHAPTER XLI. 

Mossamedes 373 

Travel along the coast — In Little Fish Bay— Mossamedes— The colony of Boers 
at Humpata— Railways needed— A railway trip from Benguela to Catumbella— 
Native caravans— Fondness of the men for silk hats— A company of contract 
laborers— Portuguese colonial officials— Products of the Benguela district — Car- 
nival at Loanda. 

CHAPTER XL1I. 

Into the Interior 380 

The beginnings of the Royal Railway Across Africa — Salt production — Baobabs 
and euphorbias— The trading-station of Cunga— An African river steamer — The 
voyage up the Quanza river— Crocodiles and hippopotami — Mosquitoes— Dug- 
out canoes — Curiosity of the negroes — At Dondo — Native mode of washing 
clothes— India-rubber and coffee— Caravans from the interior— Practices of the 
carriers— Travelling in a tipoya— Hammock-bearers at dinner — A night in the 



xvi ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

open air — Native mode of carrying burdens — The Cazengo district— The planta- 
tion of Monte Bello— Grass twelve feet high— Extension of the railway — Oeiras 
— Back to Loanda by rail. 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

Portugal vs. England 393 

Value of the colony of Angola— Encroachments by England upon the posses- 
sions of Portugal in Africa— English buccaneering in other regions— Recent 
great extension of British possessions in Africa— Portuguese exploration along 
the African coasts, and in Asia. — Validity of papal grants— The claims of power- 
ful France better respected than those of weak Portugal— At the mouth of the 
Congo— The Hotel de Banana— Former importance of the town of Banana. 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

Boma, the Capital 400 

Up the Congo— A splendid stream— Boma— The Boma Hotel— Congo boys as 
servants— Great heat and tremendous thunder-storms— The little railway of 
Boma— Soldiers of the Free State— The Boma police— Belgian Catholic Mission. 

CHAPTER XLV. 

The Congo Free State 405 

Result of Stanley's first journey across Africa— Extent of the Free State— Stan- 
ley commissioned to make the region accessible — The African International As- 
sociation — The Congo Free State formed and recognised — King Leopold of 
Belgium its sovereign — Rights of Belgium in the State — Local government — 
The eleven administrative districts — Mode of obtaining land — Exports and im- 
ports—Postal arrangements — Currency— Cannibals as soldiers — The Congo peo- 
ple are Bantus, not negroes— Characteristics of the Bantu family of languages 
— The Balolos, or "iron people" — Cannibalism — Customs dues of the river 
tribes— Course of the great river — " Tuckey's farthest " — Animal life along the 
river — River steamers — Mission stations — Building a railway around the cata- 
racts — The greatest difficulties already surmounted. 

CHAPTER XLVI. 
The Lower River 416 

In a government steam-launch to Matadi— First sight of a hippopotamus— Fac- 
tories and missions along the river — Matadi — The Belgian Commercial Com- 
pany of the Upper Congo (Ltd. 1— Courtesies extended by its Managing Director, 
Major W. G. Parminter— Trade with the natives— The start for a caravan jour- 
ney — Dress and adornments of the porters — Fourteen miles by train — Difficul- 
ties of travel— State stations for travellers— The " long rains'" — Ways of the 
porters— Pleasures of the trip— Ivory and rubber caravans. 

CHAPTER XLVII. 
On the Caravan Road 424 

Ferried across the Kuilu— Through grass twenty feet high— A suspension bridge 
over the Lukungu — At Manyanga — Congo boats and boatmen— Difficulty of get- 
ting porters in the wet season— Manyanga North and the near-by factories— The 
road beyond Manyanga — Crossing swollen streams — A native market — Dress 
and habits of the natives — The men fond of palm-wine — Across the Inkissi — 
Leopoldville— Kinchassa the principal post of the Belgian Commercial Com- 
pany—Stanley Pool— A change of plan— Prices of steamer passage and freight 
carriage between Kinchassa and Lusambo. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTEXTS. XY [[ 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

Towards the Heart op Africa 432 

The steamer Arehiduchesse Stephanie— Tattooing of the natives— Nightly stop 
of the steamer— Mode of procuring wood for the boiler— Steaming through 
Stanley Pool— The Congo above the Pool— Taking soundings— A stop at Kwa- 
mouth— Up the Kwa River— Herds of hippopotami— Water-fowl— Troublesome 
insects— Native villages— A score of the crew flogged— A poor village — Hostile 
natives along the Kassai River— Barter with natives in boats— Wissmann Pool 
and Mount Pogge. 

CHAPTER XLIX. 
Condition of the Natives 439 

Appearance of the Basungo-Menos— Suspicious inhabitants of Mangay — Found- 
ing a factory— Noisy tree-toads— Physical, mental, and moral traits of the Ba- 
kongos— Temporary and permanent marriages— Little feeling for each other 
—Cruel, apathetic, and dishonest — Style of houses— Domestic life— Arts and for- 
est craft — Religious ideas — Doubtful success of the missionaries. 



CHAPTER L. 
From the Lulua to the Sankuru 447 

A wounded crocodile escapes— Passing the mouth of the Loange— A landing in 
spite of forbidding signals— More hostile demonstrations— The forest along the 
river- banks— Aground on a sandbank— Cowries as currency— Up the Lulua 
River— The factory at Luebo— Vegetables and fruit trees planted here— The re- 
turn to Bena Lindi— Women pounding manioc— The shop of an African black- 
smith—Native battle-axes, spear-heads, knives, etc.— "Hippo " and fish traps— 
The Catholic missionary, PSre De Deken— Modes of getting off from sand- 
banks—Preparations for exploring the Loange— Sandbanks at the river's mouth 
compel the abandonment of the plan— Into the Sankuru— The river and its 
tributaries— Canoes of all sizes.— Palm wine at a cent a gallon— Too freely 
used by the natives— Rubber-making— Customs of the Bakubas— Habits of 
"crocs" and " hippos "—Terrific thunder and lightning— Timid natives— The 
factory at Inkongo— Fluctuations in the value of beads— Native customs— A 
woman potter— More tree-toads. 



CHAPTER LI. 

At Home with a Native King 460 

The State post at Lusambo— Established as a defence against the Arabs— A pic- 
turesque part of the river— A call from M. Paul le Marinel, State Inspector- 
King Pania Mutembo and his town— Location of Wolf Falls— Curiosity of the 
natives— Strange adornments— Costume of King Pania Mutembo— Market prices 
of provisions— A visit to the King— Native houses— The King's dwelling— Wives 
as property— Bleached skulls— Fetishes— The King gets a gay sunshade— A 
cloud of locusts. 

CHAPTER LII. 

Big-Game Shooting _ 470 

Arrows thrown upon the steamer— An amusing chief— Small-pox in a native 
village— Establishing factories on the Sankuru— Trouble with sandbanks- 
Shooting an elephant^Elephant soup and steaks— A feast for the crew— Up the 
Kuilu River— Timidity of the natives— More elephants— Shooting " hippos "—In 
an unexplored region. 



xviii ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER LIII. 

Exploration of the Kuilu River 477 

A bustling market— Fear of the steamer's whistle— Much astonished natives- 
Running over a swimming elephant — He escapes— The Kuilu a splendid river — 
It runs through a promising region for trade— Low prices for food— The Kwenge 
River— Excitement of the natives— A Roman helmet style of hair-cut— Further 
up the Kuilu— Above the falls by canoe— Wonderful hair-dressing— Picturesque- 
ness of the Kuilu— Archduchess Stephanie Fall. 



CHAPTER LIV. 
Back to Stanley Pool 485 

Establishing a station on the Kwenge— A " walking-stick " insect— Crowds of 
natives and plenty of goods for barter— Mode of obtaining palm juice— Fearless- 
ness of the elephants along the river— A young one killed— Back at Kinchassa— 
A visit to Brazzaville— The French Catholic Mission— Extent and products of 
French Congo— Explorations of M. de Brazza— Du Chaillu's discovery of the 
gorilla— The Anglo-American Mission at Stanley Pool— Major Parnrinter's re- 
turn to Belgium and death. 

CHAPTER LV. 
Descending the Congo by Boat 494 

Dinner with the State officials at Kinchassa — Appearance of the country in the 
dry season — A quick journey to Manyanga — Down the Congo by boat— Singing 
of the native rowers — A finely kept State station — Rapids at Isanghila — Two 
roads to Matadi— Embarking for the Gulf of Guinea— Progress of the Congo 
Free State— Negro colonists from the United States needed. 



CHAPTER LVI. 

In Cameroons and the Niger Territory 501 

The German Protectorate of Cameroons — The town of Cameroons— Luxuriant 
vegetation — Cameroons River and Mountains — Victoria Peak — At Old Calabar 
—Palm oil and palm kernels— Trade of the region— The Oil Rivers District and 
the Niger Territories — Fernando Po, a place of exile for Spanish political 
offenders— Bonny Town — Former cannibalism in this region— Course of the 
Niger River — Navigation and trade on this great stream — The river towns— Ad- 
ministration of the Royal Niger Company— The great empire of Sokoto, the 
largest in the Soudan— The importation of rifles and spirits into the Niger Terri- 
tories prohibited — The Guinea Coast, comprising the Slave, Gold, Ivory, and 
Grain Coasts. 

CHAPTER LVII. 

On and off the Guinea Coast . 511 

The colony of Lagos— Its great towns — The Gold Coast — Important towns of 
the colony — Exports, climate, and government — Accra, the capital— Surfboats 
— At Axim — Loading logs of mahogany — Phosphorescence on the water— Vari- 
ous stops along the coast — Intelligence and usefulness of the Kroomen — Cape 
Palmas — Liberian productions — Establishment and present condition of Liberia 
— The hills of Sierra Leone — Picturesque and thrifty Freetown — Sierra Leone 
established as an asylum for destitute negroes in England— Its unwholesome 
climate— The British colony of Gambier— Extension and consolidation of the 
French possessions in Africa— Senegambia and its capital, St. Louis. 



ANALYTICAL TABLE OF CONTENTS. x { x 

PAGE 

CHAPTER LVIII. 

At Las Palmas 522 

Coast of the Sahara— Puerto de la Luz— The island of Grand Canary— Features 
of its chief town, Las Palmas— From the Canaries to Marseilles — The Atlas 
Mountains from the ocean — The mistral — Across to Algiers — Homeward bound 
—End of a systematic tour of the globe extending over a quarter century. 

Subject-Index 529 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PACING PAGE 

H. M. the King of the Belgians Frontispiece. 

Tangier 2 

A Moor 17 

Genera] View of Fez 36 

A Moorish Soldier 50 

Dwelling of a rich Arab, Algiers 74 

Arab Dancing Girl 77 

View in the Chabet el Akhra . .86 

The Ravine of the Rouimnel, Constantine 91 

The Gorge of El Kantara 95 

A Camp in the Desert 97 

Ouled Nail Girl, Biskra 101 

Tonaregs, Southern Algeria ■ 105 

General View of Timegad 109 

Tunisian Street Costume 114 

A Tunisian Jewess 117 

Plaster Sculptures in the Bardo 121 

H. H. the Bey of Tunis 125 

A Lady of the Harem 127 

General View of Susa 129 

A Typical Tripolitan 137 

View in the Oasis of Tripoli 140 

A Soudan Negro , 143 

H. H. the Khedive of Egypt 145 

Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Denderah 173 

Head of Rameses the Great, from the Mummy in the Ghizeh Museum . 180 

At Thebes " 186 

A Nubian 194 

Isis Colonnade, Island of Philae 197 

The Rock Temple of Aboo Simbel 205 

General View of the Second Cataract 210 

The Summit of Peter Botte 215 

Chanarel Falls, Mauritius 217 

The Governor of Tamatave and his Family 220 

xxi 



xxii ILLUSTRATIONS. 

FACING PAGE 

On the Road in Filanzana 223 

Native Canoes at Ivondrona 225 

Madagascar Cattle 227 

The Traveller's Palm 231 

Some Styles of Hair- Dressing , . 238 

The Great Palace, Antananarivo 243 

The Zoma Market 245 

Native Soldiers 247 

H. B. the Prime Minister of Madagascar 250 

Forest Scenery on the West Coast 2G9 

A Clove Plantation, Zanzibar 276 

H. H. the late Sultan of Zanzibar 279 

Tippoo Tib 282 

Ivory at Bagamoyo 287 

The Governor General's Palace, Mozambique 291 

Gathering Cocoanuts, Lorenzo Marquez 296 

The Principal Street of Durban 298 

A Zulu Venus 300 

A Kaffir Kraal 302 

Kaffirs taking Snuff 305 

Commissioner Street, Johannesburg 307 

Market Square, Johannesburg 309 

General View of Pretoria 311 

H. E. the President of the Transvaal 313 

Kimberley Mine, 1873 316 

Kimberley Mine, 1888 318 

A Depositing Floor - . . 320 

Diamond-Washing Machines 322 

Typical Diamond Diggers 324 

An Ostrich Farm, Cape Colony 326 

General View of Cape Town and Table Mountain 328 

A Funchal " Carriage " 333 

A Hammock, Funchal 335 

The Grand Curral, Madeira 337 

Types of La Palma Islanders 339 

Carting Wheat, Teneriffe 341 

A Dragon Tree, Teneriffe 343 

In a Ravine, Teneriffe 345 

The Great Peak from Orotava 347 

Above the Clouds, Peak of Teneriffe 350 

Blu-Blu Waterfall, St. Thomas 358 

A View of St. Paul de Loanda 365 

Angola Types 371 

A Boer Ox- Wagon 374 

A Caravan, Catumbella 377 

The Quanza River 383 

A Coffee and Sugar Plantation, Cazengo 388 



IL I USTRA TIONS. xx iii 

FACING PAGE 

Entrance to an Estate 391 

The Flower of the Baobab Tree 405 

A State Station on the Caravan Road 421 

A Market on the Caravan Road 427 

Kinchassa — Principal Post of the Belgian Commercial Company . . 430 

Congo River Steamers 433 

Bangala Types 437 

Studies in Male Hair-Dressing 442 

Women preparing Manioc for Food 451 

The Palisades of the Sankuru 461 

Sankuru" Corps de Ballet"! 463 

Huts in Pania Mutembo's Capital 466 

Worshipping Fetishes 470 

View on the Kuilu River • 477 

A Village on the Kuilu River 480 

Natives on the Banks of the Kuilu 484 

Climbing for Palm Wine 488 

A Hippopotamus Hunt 494 

Coffins of Native Chiefs 500 

The Fort and Town of Axim 511 

A Twenty-Ton Log, Axim 514 

General View of Freetown, Sierra Leone 517 

A Street in Freetown 521 

Map of Africa, with Routes of the Author 528 



ACTUAL AFRICA. 



CHAPTER I. 

TANGIER. 

An" opportunity to cross from Europe to Africa, by way of 
Gibraltar and Tangier, is daily afforded by means of little iron 
paddle-wheel or screw steamers which usually make the trip of 
thirty-eight miles across the straits, in about three hours and a 
half. You will find on board a most heterogeneous representation 
of man and nature, of arts and manufactures, of lands and seas 
and their productions, animate and inanimate. There will of 
course be a " babel of sounds," and owing to the varied dress of 
the people the scene will be "picturesque, backed as it is by the 
bright blue sea, the yellow Gibraltar or the distant sombre and 
savage chains of African mountains. On leaving the circular 
roadstead the little steamer usually heads for the southern point 
of Spain and hugs the shore until the walled-town of Tarifa is 
reached, then it turns directly across the straits and you are 
treated to grand views of both continents — of the lion-like rock of 
Gibraltar, of the bare brown hills and rugged coasts of Andalusia 
behind you and of the great triple-massed bare summit of Apes' 
Hill before you, and of other rough ridges gradually sloping away 
past the region of Tangier and ending in the comparatively low 
promontory of Cape Spartel. Besides the animation on board our 
passage was further enlivened by the company of vast schools of 
leaping and turning porpoises that covered the sea as far as one 
could look. There were thousands of them, and as they rushed 
tumultuously around and under the little vessel, the clearness of 
the water enabled us to readily appreciate their beautiful outlines, 
so admirably adapted for speed and endurance. 

Tangier is situated on the southern side of a large semi-circular 
bay. You do not begin to distinguish the city until some time 

1 



2 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

after passing — on a low hill at the northeastern extremity of the 
bay — an old stone tower and a small fort mounting what appear 
to be 12-pounder cannon. There is no flag nor any sign of a 
garrison. As you draw in toward the shore the white houses of 
the town, sloping up the sides of a steep but low range of hills, 
beo-in to outline themselves. To the left are rows of barren sand 
dunes, to the right ridges covered with scrub and scant vegeta- 
tion. The roadstead is protected somewhat by a short reef which 
at low tide just appears above the surface of the water. An enor- 
mously wide but gently inclining beach extends around the greater 
part of the bay. At the right of the town, close to the water, is 
an old citadel (Tangier is a walled-city) and near it a fort, peep- 
ing from which you see several rows of curious long, slender 
bronze cannon. The traveller is not disappointed at his first dis- 
tant view of Tangier from the sea. The diversified lines of the 
white, blue and yellow houses, massed together, rising one behind 
the other, varied by the occasional green-tiled tower of a mosque, 
or the presence of a splendid date-palm, the turreted and notched 
walls, the background, on the one hand, of green hills dotted 
with little dwellings of rich Moors or of some of the foreigners 
engaged here in business, and of glossy brown sand hills on the 
other, all glinting and glowing under the strong African sun, 
make a novel and charming picture. It is not however necessary 
to add that most of the charm is rudely dispelled upon landing, 
owing to the dirt and odors with which this and all other oriental 
towns abound. 

A pier extends a short distance into the sea and to this the 
small boats carry cargo and passengers at high tide, at low they 
approach as near as possible and then both men and chattels are 
carried ashore on the backs of lusty Moors. At the gate of the 
citadel sat two grave, bearded patriarchs, clothed in white. They 
constituted in their proper persons the entire paraphernalia of the 
Custom-house, at least so far as simple travellers were concerned, 
and the examination of baggage was brief and perfunctory. A 
short clamber through roughly-paved and very crooked streets, ten 
feet or less in width, between houses one or two stories in height 
with small doors and smaller grated windows, disputing our pas- 
sage with trains of laden donkeys and shouting Arab drivers, and 
we enter a very modern and comfortable hotel, from whose windows 
there is a good view of the bay and of a part of the city. Tangier 
is much frequented by the people of Gibraltar who wish a change 




Tangier. 



TANGIER. 3 

of air and scene and an opportunity to employ a few holidays in 
sight-seeing or in hunting trips in the neighborhood. The city 
therefore contains several good hotels. In that at which I stopped 
I found a richly furnished parlor, a white marble staircase and 
tiled floors in the halls, a reading-room supplied with papers in 
many languages, a fair general library and a selection of the best 
modern Avorks upon Morocco, a billiard-room, and a table d'hote 
with a French bill-of-fare announcing ten courses. At sunset I 
heard the sonorous voice of the muezzin calling the Faithful to 
prayers from the minaret of the nearest mosque. At night I was 
lulled to gentle slumber by the roll and splash of the surf upon the 
great smooth beach. I dreamed that my baggage was being dis- 
membered by the fighting, cursing horde of boatmen who boarded 
our steamer the preceding afternoon and just as I was myself 
about to enter the lists as a somewhat active combatant, I awoke 
and found the rays of a great golden sun streaming in my window. 
I had supposed the cannon in the citadel were more for ornament 
than use but was disabused of this idea when a salvo was fired 
almost directly under the hotel windows. This was to usher in 
the festival of the Birthday of the Prophet, which continues for a 
week. The salute was followed all over the city by the discharge 
of firearms and by music from bands of flutes, guitars and tom- 
toms, which continued for the space of an hour. At nine o'clock 
there was another salvo of a dozen guns. 

The first thing that strikes the stranger upon arriving in Tan- 
gier is its strong cosmopolitan aspect and flavor. If you peram- 
bulate the chief street — that running nearly east and west and 
called the Siaguin — you are astonished at the variety of nationali- 
ties and national costumes, and at the nonchalant manner of the 
people, since no one seems to especially notice any one else but 
each pursues his way quite unconcerned. The Kasbah or Castle, 
divided from the rest of the city by a wall which is in part ancient 
and in part dilapidated, will claim early attention from the visitor. 
It is situated upon the northern and more elevated portion of the 
slope of hill upon which lies the city. From a battery on the 
northern side mounting two old and apparently useless 20-ton 
Armstrong guns, a magnificent view is to be had of the straits, 
the distant mainland of Spain, with Cape Trafalgar in the north- 
west, the town of Tarifa in the centre, and Gibraltar towards the 
northeast. Further around to the east you see the tops of the 
range of mountains at whose base lies (though in Morocco) the 



4 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Spanish town of Ceuta, and nearer to the eastward, are the hills 
bordering the semi-circular bay of Tangier. The blue waters of 
the straits dance before one, dotted here and there with a sail, a 
fishing-boat, or a huge passing steamer. On another side of the 
Kasbah, facing the south, you have a distinct survey of the houses 
of the city lying at your feet. It gives one a capital idea of the 
arrangement of the exterior of the Moorish dwellings and streets, 
or rather of the former only, for the streets are too narrow for you 
to specially notice their dividing lines. In the Kasbah is the 
Pasha's residence, with the fine arches and columns of its interior 
court, and the beautiful mosaic- work of its floor and walls and the 
stucco and carved wood ornamentation of its upper walls and ceil- 
ings. All these are largely of modern fabrication and well worth 
seeing. They are in the well-known style and execution of the 
Moorish remains in Spain. Also within the Kasbah walls is the 
Treasury, a small room behind an entrance of graceful arches and 
columns, guarded by an enormous open-work door fastened by 
many old locks and bolts. Peering through its bars you notice 
piles of boxes, said to be filled with coins, and huge padlocked 
chests, supposed to be more or less full of the same. A few sol- 
diers are lolling about, but no objection is made to the foreign- 
er's presence. Near the Treasury is the Prison, a great vaulted 
chamber in which you may peep through a small hole bored 
through the wall, and see the prisoners, several of them wearing 
heavy chains, and all engaged in making articles of use or orna- 
ment out of straw or rushes. Some of these goods will be brought 
to the orifice to be sold to you. 

There are of course several mosques in Tangier as well as a 
Jewish Synagogue and a Eoman Catholic church and convent. 
No Christian or Jew is permitted to enter the mosques and though 
the synagogue and church may be visited, you find nothing to 
especially repay your trouble. Of the mosque you observe the 
square minaret or tower, ornamented mostly in varied patterns 
with green tiles— though some have them of lozenge shape and in 
yellow and black— its windows and little topping steeple. You 
also notice the long green-tiled peaked roofs which cover the great 
corridors where the Faithful bow and kneel and prostrate themselves 
upon the matted floor in their low monotonous prayers. The en- 
trance on the street, with its graceful arch, will cause you to pause 
and you will probably try to see something of the mysteries within, 
but will not be able to do so on account of a guarding screen. 



TANGIER. 5 

The best shops of Tangier lie in the street called Siaguin, and 
are kept by Spaniards, Englishmen, Germans, Italians, Moors and 
Jews. The Jews in other Moroccan towns are walled in by them- 
selves in a special quarter, but in a cosmopolitan city like Tangier, 
which is greatly dominated by European influence, there is no 
such division and you find Moors and Jews and Christians and 
infidels all mingled together. There are about as many Spaniards 
as Jews in Tangier; they consist almost entirely of the lowest 
classes and are mostly emigrants from the province of Andalusia 
in southern Spain. The population of Tangier is estimated at 
20,000. The soko or market, just outside the town, on the south- 
ern side, is well worth a visit on market-days — Sundays and 
Thursdays. Here a large open space is quite crowded with 
thousands of men, women and children coming from the neigh- 
boring villages to sell provisions and animals, and to purchase 
groceries and manufactured goods. The scene is exceedingly ani- 
mated and a stranger will find it a capital place to study native 
character and characteristics. You will see dervishes, beggars, the 
representatives of various tribes, religious processions, the story- 
tellers of the original " Thousand and One Nights " style, snake- 
charmers, slaves, horses, mules, donkeys, dogs, all in one grand 
heterogeneous mass through which it is with difficulty you can 
make your way. There is a small daily newspaper published in 
Spanish and a weekly in English in Tangier. When a railway is 
built from here to Fez, as will undoubtedly be done at no dis- 
tant day, Tangier from its fair harbor, which might with little 
effort be made a very good one, its lying directly on one of the 
greatest highways of commerce in the world, aud its mild and 
agreeable climate, is sure to grow to be a place of considerable 
commercial and political importance. 

There is a popular institution in Tangier which deserves pass- 
ing reference in order to correct an erroneous impression which 
strangers are likely to form concerning it. I refer to what is lo- 
cally styled a " Moorish cafe-chantant," or music-hall. These are, 
it is true, owned and managed by Moors, but they are no special 
characteristic of that nation. They are not to be found in any of 
the large interior cities, such as Fez, Mequinez, or Marakash (Mo- 
rocco city), but have sprung up in Tangier merely to supply a sort 
of foreign-resident and tourist demand. It is the same with the 
dancing girls, whose entertainment is not however, like the other, 
public, and to be seen every night, but private, and only given by 



6 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

special arrangement. The dancing is of the ordinary oriental type 
— say Egyptian or Indian — and consists mostly of posturing and 
sentiment and passion as evidenced by rather too suggestive mo- 
tions, gestures and looks. There are two or three of the better class 
of cafes-chantant in Tangier. Some are located on the ground- 
floor and others upon the second. Exteriorly they present no 
attractions, in fact, the contrary. Interiorly, you have two or three 
small connecting-rooms, or one room divided by pillars, the floor 
covered with matting, the walls with tiles below and tawdry pic- 
tures and brackets and clocks above. The ceilings are of carved 
wood painted red. You pass a mass of slippers near the doorway, 
wondering, as they are all of the same color, pattern and appar- 
ently size, how each man ever finds his own, and see before you in 
one of the rooms a circle of perhaps a dozen men sitting cross- 
legged, and producing both from voice and instrument the most 
extraordinary music you have ever heard. The instruments are 
ordinarily two violins, two small mandolins, a curious sort of na- 
tive viol, two eight-stringed guitars, two tambourines, a tom-tom 
and a triangle. Most of the musicians also sing and clap their 
hands in a lively sort of fandango cadence. The music thus evolved 
may perhaps better be imagined than described. It is wild and 
barbarous, chanting and monotonous, plaintive and sentimental by 
turns, rarely however is it sweet or melodious. The words that 
are sung are generally descriptive of love or war and oftentimes are 
quite humorous. The key is pitched very high, so high in fact, 
that occasionally a halt becomes necessary and a less aspiring start 
is made. The men sit and sing and laugh like a lot of school 
children just released from their tasks. Whatever may be the sen- 
sations of the listeners at least the performers thoroughly enjoy 
themselves. There does not appear to be any special beginning or 
ending to the tune other than such as a necessity for rest compels 
the performers to take. During these intervals they smoke little 
pipes of hemp (hasheesh) mixed with tobacco and drink small cups 
of strong black coffee. The hasheesh has the usual effect of at 
first exciting and afterwards quieting the nerves. The coffee is 
served also to the foreign visitors, for whom stools and benches are 
provided. If you see natives there, they will generally be engaged 
in playing cards — a Spanish playing card being used — to determine 
who of their number must pay for the coffee they drink. 

The (late) Sultan of Morocco was described to me as a man of 
considerable intellectual power, and amiably disposed towards for- 



TANGIER. 7 

eigners, but he was tied " hand and foot " by the stem tenets of 
his religion. Were he to have gone contrary to these, he could 
not have kept his throne a day. He had a number of ministers 
but paid comparatively little attention to them, except in such 
cases as might please him. He was said not to be a cruel man 
though a despot, but he had such a turbulent lot of tribes to gov- 
ern that much had to be done by threats if not by actual use of his 
troops. He divided the year usually between his three capitals 
of Marakash, Fez and Mequinez, and when he travelled he was 
generally accompanied by the greater part of his army — this how- 
ever chiefly in order to collect his taxes. The alliances of the 
wild mountain clans seem to extend no further than each to their 
own chiefs — the old patriarchal system. The Sultan is reported 
to have said that he did not wish to keep at war all the time with 
his subjects, but they left him little alternative. Of course, as 
might be expected, the whole government is quite rotten. The 
ministers owe their positions to favor or to the money they furnish 
the Sultan, and the officers under the ministers gain their places 
through what they bring or do for their superiors. It seems a very 
rickety unstable condition of affairs, and without the help of the 
army could not long endure. As it is the Sultan is continually in 
dread of assassination. In strictly upholding the Koran and its 
tenets he has the strongest hold upon his savage and fanatical peo- 
ple. He is, as I have said, a despot, but he has a despot above 
and higher than himself, viz., the Koran, that wonderful explica- 
tion of "the whole duty of Mohammedan man." 



CHAPTER II. 

INTO THE LAND OF THE MOOES. 

A few days later (on October 17, 1891) I left Tangier for a 
journey into the interior of Morocco, to Fez, Mequinez, Marakash 
and Wezzan. My dragoman was Mr. E. P. Carleton, a young Eng- 
lishman resident in Tangier, who had travelled all over the country, 
and who spoke seven languages, including two dialects of Arabic. 
Our outfit consisted of four horses for riding and six pack-mules 
for our tents, mattresses and blankets, table and stools, provisions, 
cooking utensils, guns and ammunition. We wore light but strong 
suits, with leather leggings and cork helmets. We were furnished 
by the government with a Moorish soldier as escort — without one 
no foreigners are permitted to enter the interior — who was respon- 
sible for our personal safety and for that of our effects. He was 
armed with a Moorish sword and matchlock, the latter being 
about seven feet long, a weapon reported to be nearly as dangerous 
at the breech as at the muzzle. He was dressed in white, with red 
tarboosh, white turban and yellow slippers, and was mounted 
upon one of the prancing steeds of which all have read in many 
travellers' books. His saddle was a sort of cross between the Mexi- 
can and an arm-chair, an enormously large and thick leather affair 
which seemed to nearly roof over his animal. His stirrups were 
huge iron plates admitting readily the entire foot. The custom is 
to use very short stirrups and to almost stand when proceeding at 
a gallop. His bridle was most elaborately tasseled and fringed 
over the eyes of the animal, more for ornament I fancy than to 
protect from the sun or flies. Our baggage was borne either 
by the pack-mules in large boxes or in palmetto plaited panniers. 
The pack-saddles were huge thick cushions. The horses were tall, 
thin and wiry but could hardly be called fine-proportioned. The 
mules were of good size and strength, and seemed as lazy as their 
family generally are the world over. A good Arab horse costs here 



INTO THE LAND OF TEE MOORS. 9 

about 1100. — a mule $50.— a donkey 120. — a camel $60. Often a 
very fine mule is dearer than a horse. The soldier escort is not paid 
by the government and is not obliged to assist in any caravan work, 
though in our case he received a dollar a day to drive one of the 
pack-mules. We had besides four Arabs, one serving as cook and 
the others as muleteers and general help. The names of our ser- 
vants were : Selim, the cook ; Hadj Gilali el Dowdi, the soldier ; 
Hammed, Mohammed and Sidi el Arby, the muleteers. The sol- 
dier, as might be learned from his title, had performed the hadj or 
pilgrimage to Mecca, and was therefore a person of some standing 
among his own people. They were all swarthy, bearded young 
men, dressed in flowing robes once white, with red tarboosh and 
white turban, and great yellow slippers, heelless, with the back 
counter almost invariably turned down and inwards. They were 
good-natured, obliging fellows, though, like most of their class 
disinclined to exertion. Expecting to get some good shooting — 
partridges, grouse, hares, bustards, pigeons, quail,- snipe, rabbits, 
ducks, etc. — we were well supplied with shot guns and cartridges. 
As defensive weapons we had also repeating rifles, revolvers and 
bowie-knives. I was moreover " armed " with a snap-shot camera. 
The camp equipage was despatched a couple of hours in ad- 
vance and when we arrived at the end of our half day's ride — for 
we did not start till midday — we found the tents all pitched 
and a good dinner nearly ready. Charcoal was carried for cooking- 
fires. A little trench is dug in the tent and the charcoal, ignited 
by straw or any dry litter, is soon fanned into a hot glow by means 
of a hand-bellows carried for the purpose. Our provisions con- 
sisted of potatoes, bread and tins of condensed meat, vegetables 
and fruits. Fowls, eggs, beef, mutton and milk are readily pur- 
chased on the road. We crawled through the crooked, uneven 
and filthy streets of Tangier, our saddle-bags almost scraping the 
houses, passed through an old ruined gate in the southern wall of 
the city and entered upon a wide road of deep sand fenced by 
cactus and aloe. Many caravans of donkeys bearing poultry and 
vegetable produce for town consumption, and of camels loaded 
with great bags of grain or bundles of skins for export passed us. 
We marched slowly along under a burning sun but through a 
crystal, bracing atmosphere and over a roughly undulating coun- 
try utterly bare of trees, but giving evidence of former rich fields 
of maize and millet. Here and there were small villages of grass- 
thatched huts fenced about by hedges of the coarse prickly pear. 
3 



10 



ACTUAL AFRICA. 



Much of the surface seemed covered with nothing but jagged 
stones and clumps of rank grass and dwarf palmetto palms. We 
gradually ascended until we reached a ridge from whence we had 
a fine view of a small part of Tangier and its hay on the one side 
and of the broad Atlantic on the other. We then descended into 
a great plain which had been flooded in the rainy season but was 
then as dry as sand and of a dark yellowish color. We saw many 
herds of cattle, sheep and goats. There was a range of great 
hills before us to the south which seemed covered with scrubby 
vegetation and dwarfed trees. The vista could not in any sense 
be called picturesque. Our camp was formed near a little Arab 
village called El Mediar. We had advanced on our road about 
twelve miles. My special tent was a sort of Moorish pavilion of 
elliptical shape and made of stout red and blue cloth in alternate 
stripes within and of white canvas covered with arabesque figures 
without. My mattress was placed upon a canvas frame raised 
a few inches above the ground upon which a rubber blanket and 
a thick mat were first spread. The tent was about 14 feet long, 
8 feet wide, and 8 feet high. Soon after arrival our animals were 
tethered by attaching the hobbled forelegs of each to a long 
rope pegged close to the ground, care being taken to have 
them at considerable distances apart, for being all stud-horses 
they fight fiercely with each other at every opportunity. The 
instant the sun disappears there is a sudden fall of tempera- 
ture, which is most acutely felt by new arrivals in the country, 
and before morning two heavy blankets are very comfortable. 
Notwithstanding the great change from midday to midnight 
foreigners soon become acclimated and do not find it unhealthy. 
About dark the headman of the village visited us and brought a 
present of some excellent milk. The animals being fed with a 
peculiar edible straw soon became quiet, but the monotonous 
chanting of our neighbors in the village and the howling made by 
hundreds— some of us thought thousands — of curs prowling about 
our tents and neighborhood prevented sleep until a late hour. 
Before this a beautiful full moon rose above a sharply-outlined 
hill and then indeed our camp might have served an artist for 
an admirable picture illustrative of nomad life in Morocco. There 
are in most of the towns and villages of the interior houses set 
apart for native travellers, and also general fondaks, caravansaries 
or corrals similar to those one finds in India and Persia, where 
the foreigner may stay, but they are so filthy that the usual cus- 



INTO THE LAND OF THE MOORS. U 

torn is to avoid for the most part the towns and encamp in suitable 
locations near the main roads. The latter are merely rouo-h 
tracks, from two to six or eight of them side by side, sometimes 
deeply worn by much travel and not always following the most 
direct routes. So far the country had been very thinly settled and 
all but bare of vegetation other than the remnants of crops which 
had been already gathered. 

The following day we rose early, breakfasted, packed and loaded 
the mules and were off about half-past seven, a crowd of Arabs 
from the neighboring village looking curiously on, the men and 
boys from quite near, the women from a distance. At first the 
road led over a very rough stony district, supporting little more 
than palmettos, ferns and grassy scrub. Then we entered upon a 
more pleasing region, passing fields in which many larks were sing- 
ing, and enjoying occasional views of the neighboring Atlantic. 
The road, too, began to be more enlivened. There were fat but 
not old men riding on donkeys and poor women and children toil- 
ing along on foot. Occasionally appeared a woman on a donkey 
and clothed all in white, her eyes only being uncovered. Two 
postmen bearing letters in straw baskets upon their heads passed 
by. Most of the men carried the long flint matchlocks, which are 
manufactured in Tetuan, a town east of Tangier, and with which 
all my readers are familiar through pictures and photographs of 
this country. The Moors are fond of shooting and are fair marks- 
men at game upon the ground but they do not succeed well with 
that upon the wing. 

Besides the small villages of stone or mud houses, were others 
of tents, the lower part of reeds and the cover of dark cloth made 
of camels' hair and Palmyra-palm roots. They are not above six 
feet in height at the apex and bear a most funereal aspect. We 
passed orchards of fig-trees inclosed by hedges of the prickly pear 
— an impenetrable fence — and bearing a not unsavory fruit. Cross- 
ing two small streams, the largest perhaps three hundred feet wide, 
and at this the dry season of the year, not more than two feet in 
depth, we soon after arrived upon a ridge from which we had a 
good view of the town of Arzilla, situated on a point of land jut- 
ting into the ocean. It is a walled town built originally by the Por- 
tuguese, but has fallen into great decay. We gradually descended 
to the shores of the ocean, upon which was beating a thunderous 
■surf of much grandeur and beauty, and found our camp estab- 
lished near a well on sloping ground back of the town. While we 



12 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

had halted at a spring by the roadside for a little rest and refresh- 
ment our men had continued on with the equipment and formed 
the camp. Soon after arriving we visited Arzilla, whose situation 
and old walls are rather picturesque and interesting, but that is 
about all to be said in its favor. It is small, dirty and dilapidated. 
There are no Christians living there — only Jews and Moors — so we 
found ourselves objects of some considerable interest to the citi- 
zens. It being Sunday the flags of several European countries 
were flying from the house-top of a prominent Jew, who is com- 
mercial agent for each of them. The great metal-covered gates 
of Arzilla are closed at night, though entrance may usually be ob- 
tained by such a signal as firing off a rifle or revolver. From Ar- 
zilla the point of Cape Spartel is plainly visible by day and its 
light by night. We returned soon to camp and received a visit 
from the governor, a young man richly clad and mounted upon a 
splendid horse, which was sumptuously caparisoned with saddle 
covered with bright-colored shawls, stirrups with gold inlaying, 
bridle of fine leather gold-embroidered, and with silver-inlaid 
bosses and buckles. A little tired by our walk and ride of twenty- 
four miles, we were composed to sleep by the monotonous roar of 
the neighboring surf, which sounded like a tremendous procession 
of express-trains passing through a tunnel. 

In loading the mules in the morning I noticed that the pan- 
niers were carelessly filled and then the proper equipoise obtained 
by placing small or large stones, as might be necessary, in the 
lighter basket. The country which is now so dry and barren and 
brown is in the spring, they told me, covered with green crops 
and fine meadows of rich grass interspersed with vast quantities of 
beautiful flowers. The surface is then especially lovely but even 
at the end of summer, before the rains set in, the contrasts of 
color produce a certain quiet beauty. We saw several flourishing 
groves of olives, and had all the morning a grand range of moun- 
tains to the eastward. We gradually ascended and followed along 
a ridge of barren, sandy hills which gave very extensive views over 
the plain. We then descended a narrow gorge to the coast, which 
we followed nearly all the way to the town of Larache. It was a 
charming ride along a very wide, smooth and gently-sloping beach 
of the finest yellow sand, upon which huge combing waves curled 
high and dashed themselves continuously in six or eight rollers of 
whitest foam. The cliffs disclosed many interesting geological 
features — curiously contorted oblique and vertical strata, stains of 



INTO TEE LAND OF TEE MOORS. 13 

various minerals, rock worn into honeycomb caverns, and also 
giant pudding-stones. 

We saw several white buildings with low domes, the tombs of 
various marabouts or saints, above which float one or two flags, 
and to which pilgrimages are constantly being made by the super- 
stitious peasantry. At one point the cliffs decline abruptly to the 
sea and so we had to make a long detour to reach Larache, which 
is situated on a hill-side upon the southern bank of the river Kus 
where it enters the ocean. This river opens into quite a little bay 
in which lay a very small French steamer and three or four feluc- 
cas, small coasting-vessels with two masts inclining towards either 
extremity of the boat and a huge triangular sail upon the forward 
one. The town, like Arzilla, was built originally by the Portu- 
guese. It is surrounded by a notched wall of stone and small 
brick, with a large towered fort on the ocean side and the gov- 
ernor's palace behind the centre of the town. The mouth of the 
river is not more than one hundred feet in width and is very 
shallow, so that only the smallest vessels can enter, and even for 
them it is very dangerous in squally weather. Sailing craft are 
towed through the narrow channel and far out to sea by means of 
a rope attached to a distant kedge. The pilot-boat is manned by 
sixteen rowers, a steersman and a captain. We and our animals 
and baggage were transported across in huge flat-bottomed scows, 
and then we slowly filed through dirty, narrow, crooked and ill- 
paved streets, between very dilapidated houses and through the 
soko or market-place — with its colonnade of little arches contain- 
ing all sorts of shops, and with a few dealers about, offering fish, 
vegetables and fruits — and then on through a huge gate out upon 
the bluff, near the edge of which we camped. 

There is a considerable export as well as import trade at Larache, 
and vast heaps of sugar were awaiting transport into the interior, 
while equally as large ones of various grains were piled ready for 
shipment. The wharf and streets were full of people — Moors, 
Arabs, Jews, Spaniards, Syrians, Negroes, etc. One beheld every 
shade of complexion and many picturesque styles of dress. There 
is an immense ditch about the walls, which are pierced for muskets 
and surmounted by long and slim bronze cannon. Two batteries 
of heavy, but very rusty and apparently useless, cannon, lie at the 
foot of the bluff without the walls. Not far from our camp were 
several others of natives who had brought bags of grain from the 
interior and whose droves of camels and donkeys would soon be 



!4 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

toiling back with all sorts of foreign manufactured goods. Larache 
is more than double the size of Arzilla— it has a population of per- 
haps 5,000 — but is not so picturesque. The distance between 
these two places is about twenty miles. The surf roared loudly 
all the night, and the change of temperature from midday to mid- 
night was felt as keenly as ever. 

We were awakened at sunrise by the muezzin monotonously 
chanting the morning hymn and invitation to prayers from the 
top of the minaret or square tower of the mosque : " Allah akbar, 
ill 'ullah Mohammed rasoul ellah. Heyya alfalla, heyya alsaluto, 
Allah akbar." (God is great and Mohammed is his prophet. In 
the name of God and the prophet I call the people to prayers. 
God is great, God is great and Mohammed is his prophet). This 
was done in a very clear and loud tone of voice which was not 
unmusical. It was continued at intervals in different key and 
time for fully a quarter of an hour. I could hear not only the 
men of our party occasionally uttering fervid " Aniens," but the 
people also over the wall in the town. Then the strumming of 
the tom-toms and the plaintive wailing of the flutes began in con- 
nection with much singing — the feast of the Birthday of the 
Prophet being in full force everywhere. 

We started on at eight o'clock and travelled southeast and east, 
about twenty miles, to the town of El Kasr. We marched first 
over a great sandy plain covered only with scrub, and having a 
large cork forest to our right and a distant range of mountains 
before us and to the left. Numbers of muleteers passed, some 
with loaded camels, others with donkeys. The sun became ex- 
ceedingly hot though tempered by a gentle breeze. We lunched 
under a great cork tree, and then passed through several small 
valleys, whose green grass and running streams were in pleasing 
contrast to the surrounding district, easily proving that water 
alone is sufficient to change the most arid desert into a garden. 
We next entered upon a great plain as smooth as the floor of a 
house and covered everywhere with the remains of crops of grain. 
We crossed this to the river Kus, here about two hundred feet in 
width, and followed its banks until it became shallow enough to 
ford. There were now beautiful ranges of mountains around us 
in every direction, and above a great grove of cedar and olive 
trees appeared here and there some of the white walls and minarets 
of the mosques of the town of El Kasr. We soon entered one gate 
and passed along the streets of the town, through the open market- 



INTO THE LAND OF THE MOOES. 15 

place, and out another gate at the south side where we pitched our 
camp in a beautiful orchard of peach, orange, pomegranate, mul- 
berry, olive and wild fig. The pinkish red of the pomegranates 
and the golden hue of the oranges contrasted prettily with the 
glossy green of the foliage. The soil was very rich, being carefully 
manured, and I found growing in luxuriance, potatoes, tomatoes, 
pumpkins, grapes, egg-plants, turnips, radishes, lettuces, parsley, 
peppers and cucumbers. The garden is the property of a rich 
Jewish merchant, a friend of my dragoman, who placed it at our 
disposal. In one corner were an olive mill and a screw-press, both 
most rude and primitive machines. To crush the fruit a huge 
stone wheel was turned — by mule or donkey power— in a basin 
made of stone masonry. The press consisted only of a large bowl 
of very hard wood, with an emptying trough at the bottom, upon 
which a plank was brought down with the necessary degree of 
force by means of two large wooden screws standing at either side. 
Near the gate was a water-wheel, very like the sakiah of Egypt. 
It was a very crude affair looking as if it had been made with the 
stone axes of prehistoric times. There was a circular flat mound 
about six feet in height, the exterior of which was built of bricks. 
The object of this mound was to give the water sufficient impetus 
for flowing all over the garden. The well was oblong in sbape 
(perhaps 10 by 4 feet), stoned up rudely, and about forty feet 
deep. It was divided in the centre by a stone wall. There were 
two wheels, the large vertical one, five feet in diameter and two 
feet in width, was placed at the orifice, and its rough wooden axle 
turned in wooden sockets. Pegs two feet in length were stuck 
through its circumference at right-angles, and upon these wound a 
long chain of small conical earthenware jars (a foot long and six 
inches in diameter), each holding perhaps two quarts. The chain 
was woven from stout brush, and the jars were fastened to this and 
almost touched each other. As they turned they emptied them- 
selves into a trough, whence the w r ater entered a plastered brick 
reservoir, twenty-five feet square and three feet in depth, and was 
next conveyed in little canals all over the orchard and then passed 
on the surface from tree to tree. The horizontal wheel was four 
feet in diameter with two faces a couple of feet apart and joined by 
sticks which caught upon pegs three inches in length upon the 
face of the larger wheel. A mule, blindfolded to prevent dizzi- 
ness, being attached by a pole to the axle of this — behold the mo- 
tive power for raising the water, which we found cool and pala- 



16 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

table. The not unmusical droning of these wheels is heard day 
and night in every direction, and seems to agree very well in char- 
acter with the easy-going habits of the people. In walking care- 
lessly about I raised a covey of at least twenty partridges from the 
scrubby cover, but they were, of course, beyond reach before I 
could bring my gun to bear. We had, however, already shot many, 
and expected to find more as we penetrated the interior. It rained 
heavily during the night — the mosquitoes swarmed and bit fiercely 
— and the water-wheel creaked and groaned, but tired travellers 
must sleep, and they did. 




A Moor. 



CHAPTER III. 

TOWN A XI) TRACK. 

The following morning we took a long walk through El Kasr, 
which from a distance is as usual with these towns, very pic- 
turesque with its seven or eight mosque towers, its solitary and 
occasional clumps of date-palms, and its tiled roofs, giving more 
variety than the usual flat ones. As we threaded the streets I 
observed houses of two stories built of small burnt brick, with 
little iron-barred windows, and doors carved and studded with 
iron bosses and furnished with great hinges and locks. The 
streets were full of Moors and Jews. The men of the former race 
were clothed in their graceful white burnooses, either with tur- 
bans or a sort of hood attached to the burnoose ; the women were 
completely covered in white, excepting the eyes, and looked like 
little bundles of blankets, being nearly as broad as long. All wore 
yellow slippers. The Jews are distinguished by their long gowns 
of dark cloth and their little skull-caps, their socks and shoes, the 
wearing of their hair in large tufts upon the front and sides of 
the head, the remainder being cropped close, and their faces fre- 
quently ornamented only with moustache, whereas the Moors al- 
ways wear a beard when able to grow one. We passed through a 
bazaar like those at Cairo and Damascus on a small scale, the 
shops being arranged in narrow streets which were badly paved 
and surface-drained or rather surface-undrained. For shade these 
were roughly roofed with coarse mats of straw and rushes. The 
shops are merely little boxes — holes in the wall — five or six feet 
square, about three feet from the ground, with no doors at back 
or side, and in which place sits cross-legged the Moorish or Jewish 
merchant, his goods disposed about him on shelves or in front of 
him on a low narrow bench. Dealers in similar kinds of products 
are generally grouped together. The shop-keepers sit in apathetic 
manner, staring into the street, or perhaps they are curled up 



18 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

sound asleep. Here one is seen writing with a reed pen in his 
account-book, another may be reading a book of Arabic tales, 
while others are driving bargains with noisy hagglers. One finds 
in these shops the most extraordinary mixture of Manchester, 
Sheffield and Birmingham goods, and a comparatively small pro- 
portion of native manufactures. The general provision market 
was held in an open square, though you see a few stalls in the 
bazaar. There was a good collection of meats, fish, vegetables 
and fruits. Throughout the bazaar and in fact in all the streets 
one has often to step into a doorway to allow a loaded donkey to 
pass. We visited the prison, a large vaulted room with a small 
door through which provisions are delivered and a narrow slit in 
the thick brick walls through which the prisoners can speak with 
their friends. In the roof of this chamber is a small grated open- 
ing which allows some ventilation and also discloses to us the 
terribly foul condition of the interior. There are some hundreds 
of prisoners, some incarcerated for murder, more for theft, and a 
few innocent victims, who are being " squeezed " by some power- 
ful citizen. They are generally imprisoned for long terms. From 
the roof we looked down upon them busily engaged in plaiting 
baskets from the wild sugar-cane, for thus they have to earn their 
food. They were a very villainous-looking set of men, many of 
them wearing huge manacles and a few being chained by great 
links to the pillars. 

As a pleasant change we then visited a fondak, or native cara- 
vansary, where we were served with thick and very hot coffee in 
little tumblers. Here the American consular agent, Sidi Tami 
el Shawi, a fine-looking and very amiable Moor joined us, and 
afterwards visited our camp. El Kasr has about 15,000 inhab- 
itants, but contains no special sights other than those common 
to all Moroccan towns, and nothing at least of great impor- 
tance to a traveller intending to see Fez and Mequinez. I got a 
glimpse of the interior of some of the mosques with their grace- 
fully arched corridors, suspended lamps, matted floors, but into 
them no Christian is allowed to enter, not even on removing his 
shoes as in Egypt, Turkey and India. The mosques of El Kasr 
are not imposing or beautiful from without. They have single 
square towers, with little central projections, and are perhaps 
seventy-five feet in height. These Moroccan mosques have not 
the graceful domes and minars of India, nor their Saracenic 
honeycomb-work and stalactite ornamentation supporting the 



TOWN AND TRACK. 19 

galleries of the minarets — as the towers here are by courtesy 
styled. 

A Jewish friend of my dragoman, Shao Bendayan, invited us 
to lunch with him. We found him established in a huge house in 
the centre of the town, the lower story of which was used for 
shops and the upper as a dwelling. It was in the usual oriental 
style of rooms surrounding an open court. We were ushered up- 
stairs and presented to his wife and several relatives, male and 
female, and to his five small children. The latter and the women 
were all dressed in white or light-colored robes, with gay silk 
caftans and turbans with ends falling low down the back. They 
all wore large circular gold ear-rings and many finger-rings and 
bracelets. The table was set in a corner of the corridor, through 
which chickens were freely promenading, though not especially 
invited. Everything was served in European fashion. The bill- 
of-fare however was peculiar. We began with radishes, olives, 
sweet pickles and bread, drinking a strong but pure liquor re- 
sembling absinthe, made from figs by our host. Next followed a 
sort of broiled hashed beef which was very delicately spiced and 
seasoned with peppers and served piping hot, packed upon iron 
skewers. This was removed from the skewer and eaten with a 
fork, the metal pin being returned for replenishment. A great 
quantity of this was brought in, until we all cried " Enough and 
more than enough." Then came broiled pigeons, accompanied 
by a salad made of green peppers and a good white wine made 
from the grapes of the country. To these succeeded roast fowls 
and more wine. We had Moorish bread with all the courses. 
The flour is dark and coarse but the bread, baked in flat loaves, 
is tasteful and wholesome. A sort of plum-pudding — made of 
almonds, eggs, cream and flour, and served with ground cinnamon 
and sugar — and^ a very dainty and nutty red wine was the first 
dessert and was followed by melon, pomegranates and luscious 
white and black grapes. Coffee and cigarettes terminated what 
was very modestly termed " lunch." There was a great profusion 
of food and drink, and our hosts pressed us to partake until it 
really became difficult to decline good-naturedly. Delicate com- 
pliments were the handing to you of a skewer of meat so hot 
it almost brought the tears to your eyes to hold it, and the lifting 
and presenting to you of your own wineglass, already full, and 
clicking glasses and drinking your health and the prosperity of 
your fatherland. I took side glances into several of the rooms, 



20 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and found them furnished quite in European fashion, though 
with a profusion of lace and embroidery about the beds and of 
beautiful plushy carpets upon the floor. After lunch we went 
upon the flat roof and talked for a long time in Spanish — most of 
the educated Jews speaking Spanish and some of them French as 
well as Arabic. We then returned to our camp. We found the 
people in the streets and shops very curious but not impertinent. 
As there are no Europeans living in El Kasr we were naturally 
something of a curiosity. In the evening, as we sat at dinner in 
one of our tents, the servant of our late host, Shao Bendayan, ar- 
rived, bearing the present of a huge bowl of kous-koussou. This 
is one of the most popular of native dishes. It consists of boiled 
chicken and a preparation of steamed maize, of which the grains 
are of the size of the head of a pin. The chicken is covered with 
sliced onions, butter, cinnamon and sugar. These occupy the 
centre of the dish and are surrounded by the maize. They are 
cooked in combination. The maize rests in a perforated earthen- 
ware jar over the tin vessel in which the fowl is boiled, and so is 
cooked by steam. 

As we broke camp and started south the next morning we re- 
marked particularly the huge muck-heaps (household garbage) 
which rose fifty feet high and almost circumvallated the city. 
Eoads extend through these ramparts of offal to the gates of the 
town. The filth thus lies directly at every one's door, and if it 
were not for the fine physical outfit of the Moors and their frugal 
and largely open-air life, there certainly would be an epidemic of 
some malignant fever. On leaving El Kasr we passed along an 
old Eoman road of cobble-stone, and for a long distance through 
the gardens and orchards of the citizens of that town. Then we 
crossed the Kus river again, noticing many people busy washing 
clothes. One method of doing this is to place a quantity of wet 
garments in a sack and then to dance and tramp around upon it, 
keeping time to a sort of sing-song music. The entire day was 
consumed in marching along broad tracts through one plain and 
over a ridge of round smooth hills into another. These plains 
showed extremely fertile land for grain and rich meadows for 
cattle. Occasionally we would cross a green valley with a small 
stream flowing through its midst. The contrast between this rich 
green — often it came from a grove of the soft, velvety orange trees 
— and the surrounding brown aridness was very striking. The 
one great and prominent feature of the country thus far has been 



TOWN AND TRACK. 21 

its treelessness. One occasionally sees here, but at long distances 
only, small groups or groves of olive or cork trees or possibly a 
planted and cultivated orchard. We passed many people upon the 
road and many loaded camels, horses and donkeys. The men 
were frequently bareheaded under the blazing sun ; sometimes two 
men rode one diminutive donkey; none offered to salute us, but all 
wore a queer grin as of utter scorn and contempt for the ridiculous 
foreigners. After lunching under a huge cactus hedge, we pressed 
on, there being smooth and dome-shaped hills in every direction. 
The country, too, seemed very thinly peopled. At one point in 
the road two natives rushed up to my dragoman, kissed his hand, 
and threw themselves down at full length, striking the ground 
with their foreheads, and begging him to help them, as they had 
been terribly abused by the caid or governor, who had taken all 
their sheep. The dragoman told them to put their grievance in 
Avriting before a notary, and bring it to Tangier upon his return, 
and he would endeavor to obtain some justice for them. It is thus 
all over Morocco — it is a general " squeeze " and robbery all the 
way from the highest down to the lowest. As we wound slowly 
along we saw and heard in the distance a religious sect who were 
proceeding on some pilgrimage with flags and music. The few 
villages we encountered were surrounded by enormous fences of 
the prickly-pear cactus — an impenetrable mass twenty feet in 
height and as much in breadth. They were covered with thousands 
of the purplish edible fruit, which made a pretty contrast to the 
great, fleshy, spiny leaves. The villages were very dilapidated and 
wretchedly poor, and one would see in them women, with babies 
strapped to their backs, attending to various household duties, 
while long rows of lazy men would be sitting and talking or sleep- 
ing in the shade of some mud wall. We had now left the province 
of Tanja and entered that of El Gharb. After making about 
thirty miles we camped on a sloping hillside between two small 
and wretched villages, in which we saw black slaves from the 
Soudan at various kinds of work. Soon after we were settled the 
headmen of each village came to us with presents of poultry, eggs, 
milk and kous-koussou. These were friends of the dragoman and 
expected no return, but generally when presents are given to 
strangers a return, immediate or prospective, is expected. Hun- 
dreds of wretched curs prowled about our camp, and howled and 
fought through half the night. If we had the annoyance of the 
dogs at least we had a respite from the mosquitoes, with which 



22 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

pest we were not visited. As yet the date-palm seems a very rare 
tree. We only find about half a dozen in each large town. 
These palms and the camels — representatives of the tropic vege- 
table and animal kingdom — are of infinite and everlasting inter- 
est. After years of familiarity one does not tire of them. We 
saw frequently through the day large herds of cattle and camels 
and flocks of sheep and goats — all had a rough and tough appear- 
ance. With these and the abundant grain, vegetables and fruits 
which the country affords, it is only laziness which prevents these 
natives being well-fed. The young and middle-aged people have 
a stout if not fat build and seem very well preserved. 

We started on at our usual hour of 8 a. m., soon entering upon 
an enormous plain, now of rich fertile land and again of sandy 
barrenness. It was perfectly level and was bounded on nearly 
half of the circle, that toward the west, by the horizon ; on the 
east was a low range of smoothly rounded mountains. The num- 
ber of Arab douars or villages increased, though their size dimin- 
ished. By the middle of the day the wind, which generally had 
been very agreeable and tonic, increased to a gale and the swirling 
columns of hot sand gave us an idea of what the dreaded simoom 
was like. We lunched in a grove of wild fig trees and continued 
on until we reached the Seboo river, one of the largest in the 
north of the Empire, here perhaps two hundred yards wide, and 
running in a vertical-sided channel fifty feet below the level of 
the plain. Its course is very tortuous. We were obliged to dis- 
mount and unload our mules in order to cross in a huge flat- 
bottomed scow, with our baggage and camp equipage, the animals 
swimming. Native horsemen on arriving at the bank, remove 
their saddles and most of their clothes, which they carry in their 
arms while sitting their swimming animals. Our boat was towed 
across by a man thus mounted. The ferrying was quite lively, 
there being many people there. On one hand you saw two men 
astride a swimming donkey or mule ; on another an animal alone 
that had been driven from one bank and was striving for the 
opposite. As we land, several Arab women come down to fill their 
great earthenware jars with water. All of them have babies or 
small children suspended in sheets and half resting upon, half 
secured to, their backs, their little legs stretched around their 
mothers, and their heads just peering forth from the sheets. On 
returning with full jars placed upon their backs the small chil- 
dren were changed to their shoulders and heads. It was a curious 



TOWN AND TRACK. 23 

sight to behold on the one hand the women staggering up the 
steep hill, occupied with the severest toil, while on the other one 
saw the men — it being the last day of the festival — gayly capari- 
soned and riding at full gallop over the plain, and amusing them- 
selves by frequently firing their guns in odd and awkward positions 

here styled " powder-play." We pitched our camp for the night 

near the ambitious mud-walled gate of a rather larger village than 
we usually encountered. The headman came forth and begged us 
to go inside the walls, but we preferred the extra cleanliness of our 
chosen site and declined to move notwithstanding we were informed 
that, being now south of the Seboo river, the country was ravaged 
by a robber tribe named Beni Hassan, and that only a few nights 
previously an Arab had been shot and his donkey stolen exactly 
where we proposed to camp. As a sort of compromise we agreed 
to corral our animals within the walls, sending one of our own 
men to guard them, and took three men of the town to protect 
our camp during the night. Native thieves are accustomed to 
rush in and seize an animal, or anything loose in a tent, and gallop 
off, so it is almost impossible to catch them. As something of a 
protection against them all the villages are first surrounded with a 
ditch, next by a mud wall covered with cactus, and next by a 
great barrier of thorny bushes which are collected and fastened in 
bundles. About five o'clock a rain storm came on, which contin- 
ued all night. 

We started on at nine o'clock in the morning, still traversing 
the vast plain of the day before. The wind blew strongly and it 
was exceedingly cold ; there were also frequent showers. The 
villages seemed to occur oftener and to be larger, though of the 
same general character. Some of them were very picturesque 
with their barriers of red thorn, their brown straw huts and blue 
camels' hair tents, their great domed ricks of yellow straw or hay, 
their green cactus and agave hedges. We followed along the 
course of a small river, a branch of the Seboo. In the middle of 
the afternoon we approached a range of hills, beyond which are 
situated the cities of both Mequinez and Fez, and it beginning to 
rain hard we camped as usual near one of the villages, from 
which later on we took two guards. If anything happened to us, 
the village to which these men belonged would be responsible to 
the Sultan for our safety. During the night a horse was stolen 
from some one near our camp, but nothing occurred to our party. 
Always while we are either pitching or breaking camp there are 



24 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

parties of natives sitting at a distance of a hundred feet, never 
nearer, and carefully observing all we do, criticising everything 
and often making remarks not at all to our advantage. It rained 
very heavily and continuously all the night and blew a gale of 
wind. The hundreds of dogs in the village made night very 
decidedly hideous by their constant howling, fighting, yelping 
and snarling. They never ceased until eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing, when we proceeded on our journey. We marched at first 
tli rough a very rough region, mostly of pasture land, and then 
surmounting a rocky crest passed along a rolling country to the 
base of the mountains, encountering on the way the tomb of a 
great native saint named Sidi Kassam, its green tiled roof and the 
neighboring mosque standing forth very prominently. Beyond 
was a square-walled town and next this a beautiful oasis-like belt 
whose rich green was everywhere sharply outlined against the 
surrounding brown of the desert. There were here many fine 
orchards of olives, the trees being thickly covered with the dark 
fruit. Leaving here we passed through a vast expanse of coun- 
try covered with low scrub, in which we raised coveys of par- 
tridges and bustards. We crossed two or three small streams, their 
banks being bordered with groves of flowering oleanders for miles 
upon miles. We saw many Arab tent-villages, some arranged in 
quadrangles, some in large circles. We had seen before us for a 
long time the town called Muley Edris, where a very holy man is 
buried and into which no Christian is allowed to enter. It is 
the Moroccan Mecca. We approached as near as advisable — for 
foreigners have been stoned for getting too near to suit the very 
sensitive native soul — and camped in a fine orchard of figs, olives 
and grapes. We were now in the mountains, the region of the 
Berbers, fierce and warlike men, who hate all foreigners. So the 
chief of the nearest village sent us six well-armed men to guard 
our camp during the night. There seem to be several distinct 
classes of people in Morocco, whose different localities may be 
pretty clearly defined. Thus there are the Berbers in the moun- 
tains, the Arabs in the plains, the Moors in the seaports and towns 
along the coast and the three capitals (Mequinez, Fez and Mara- 
kash), the Jews in the towns and the negroes, and a number of 
mixed races everywhere. There are three great distinct languages : 
Arabic, Sluh, and Guennaoui. Of the Arabic there are differ- 
ing dialects or patois as spoken by the Berbers, Arabs and Moors. 
The Sluh is spoken by the tribes inhabiting the Atlas; the 



TOWN AND TRACK. 25 

Guennaoui by the negroes. I may add that the total population 
of Morocco as well as its area, the southern border not being well 
defined, are both rather problematical. The former is estimated 
at about 6,500,000 ; the area at 300,000 square miles. The popu- 
lation of Morocco is double that of Algeria, three times that of 
Tunisia, and five times that of Tripoli. 

The headman all night long kept calling to the others sent to 
our camp to see that all were awake, so that sleep was hardly pos- 
sible to us, though it always seemed to be possible to the natives, 
for they take their sleep by snatches, so to speak, that is, they 
sleep for half an hour, wake up, talk, sing and laugh, or chant 
passages from the Koran for another half hour, and so on. It 
rained and blew by turns exceedingly hard during the night. 
Unfortunately for the proposed extension of my journey to Mo- 
rocco city it would seem that the rainy season had now set in, 
during which travel in the interior is very uncomfortable and in 
places quite impossible. The roads are so bad that but few miles 
a day can be made, the rivers have to be swum, and camp has to 
be formed and raised in heavy storms of rain and wind. 

In the afternoon we took a walk to the old ruined Roman city 
of Volubilis, a half a mile distant from our camp. It occupied 
the whole of a smooth, oval hill, perhaps three hundred feet high, 
a mile long, and half a mile wide. All the surface is strewn with 
ruins, blocks of stone which have been for the most part broken 
into small fragments. There are only three sections of wall stand- 
ing, two of them belonging to what was once possibly a fine tem- 
ple a hundred feet long and seventy-five wide. In the walls of 
this are great round arches. The blocks of stone are large, nicely 
cut, but not ornamented. Broken pillars smooth and round, capi- 
tals of a sort of Corinthian order, bases, portions of pediments, 
etc., are scattered about. The designs though simple are in good 
taste, but the carving is rather coarse aud rude. The situation of 
this city on a low hill at the extremity of the plain showed the 
usual sound judgment of the Romans in the selection of sites for 
their cities. There is, however, considerable mystery connected 
with Volubilis. Several Frenchmen have in recent years dug 
trenches in every direction in search of anything throwing light 
upon the age of this city and its history, but though they have 
found some coins and inscriptions, no clew to its age has rewarded 
their labors. Many of the ruins and the best of the pillars and 
ornamental portions have been removed by the Arabs to Mequinez, 
4 



26 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Muley Edris, and other towns, and used as building material. 
From the hill of Volubilis one has a fine view of the walled town 
of Muley Edris to the east, backed by its striking ranges of dark 
mountains. The city slopes up the hill like that of Algiers from 
the sea, and seems to exactly fit into its walls. The saint who is 
buried here is the father of the Sultan who founded Fez and who 
is buried in the mosque named after him there, the most famous 
mosque in the country, though the one here is sufficiently impor- 
tant to render the city " holy." It had cleared off at noon cold 
and windy, but rained again all night. A thief attempted to 
steal one of our horses and was fired at but missed by one of the 
guard. It being clear in the morning we started on, taking the 
direct road south to Mequinez. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MEQUIXEZ. 

We passed the ruins of Volubilis and then took our last view 
of the picturesque town of Muley Edris, with its rich orchards and 
gardens and imposing background of savage mountains, and then 
arriving gradually at the summit of a crest of rugged rock we had 
our first look at the city of Mequinez, lying away in the centre of 
an enormous, roughly-undulating plain, on the southern border 
of which extended east and west a fine range of evenly-disposed 
hills. As we went on the road began to broaden until near 
Mequinez it had reached a breadth of two hundred feet, and the 
travellers had also begun to increase in number. As we wound 
down the steep hillside we saw three small towns perched in almost 
inacessible positions to our left. The country was rich but wholly 
treeless, excepting such occasional orchards of olives, pomegranates 
and figs as had been planted and tended by the people. The 
road was in terrible condition after the rains and the streams 
were almost dangerous to cross, but we plodded on and after five 
hours of travel reached the rich gardens by which Mequinez is 
surrounded. This city, which is by the road that we followed 
about twenty-two miles distant from Volubilis, is the most 
southerly point to which our journey extended, being in about 
latitude 34° north and longitude 6° west. It is about 1,600 
feet above sea-level. It stands south of the Ordom river, a small 
branch of the Seboo, which we crossed on a large brick and stone 
bridge of a single arch and long, paved approaches. This bridge 
was made by one of the former Sultans and is the first work of 
the kind we have seen in the country. It is a very clumsy, crude 
structure and its walls, which have half tumbled down, have been 
left exactly as they fell. As we neared the gates our noses told us 
we were in the neighborhood of a Moorish city and, sure enough, 
the ranges of hills of garbage extended in every direction higher 



28 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

than the walls and produced an intolerable stench, but apparently 
this was only remarked by the foreign visitors. The population of 
Mequinez is estimated at 60,000. There are no Europeans living 

here. 

The city appears to lie upon the sloping top of a low hill. Its 
appearance is not striking to one approaching from the north. 
The uniform level of the houses is broken only by a half dozen of 
the square minarets of the mosques. Mequinez is surrounded by a 
wall sometimes of brick, sometimes of concrete, and often thirty 
feet high. We entered by a large and imposing gateway — a high 
Moorish arch, surrounded with colored tiles in inlaid work, a green 
tint predominating, the arch being flanked by two large, square 
towers. The archway could be closed by two enormous copper- 
plated doors. We passed on into a filthy courtyard and under 
other arches, flanked right and left by caravansaries, in which ani- 
mals and men seemed equally at home, by entrances surmounted 
by beautiful carved wood pediments, and through long streets of 
shops in which artisans were busy making all sorts of articles for 
war, husbandry and domestic use. My dragoman had ridden on 
in advance, interviewed the Pasha or Governor, and obtained from 
him the use of a house during our stay. Our entry, therefore, 
with a soldier on foot, and a private orderly sent by the Pasha, 
was not only imposing but a great treat apparently to the people, 
who filled the shops and streets and stared and grinned at what 
they thought the odd-looking heretics. There were in fact a few 
muttered cries of " Infidels " and " Dogs of Christians," but we 
pursued our way with the utmost sangfroid. The house in which 
we were installed was situated near the centre of the city. It was of 
the regular pattern, an open court surrounded by numerous small 
rooms. The court had some carved and colored wood-work, 
several feet deep, around its top, which was tipped with tiles. 
There were also some carved wood- work arches, some diminutive 
wooden windows, and a gayly-tiled floor laid out in pretty patterns. 
The rooms extended upward to the roof, which was made of tiles 
laid upon rafters. The walls were plainly whitewashed. Of 
course none of the rooms contained furniture, but we did not re- 
quire any, having our own with us. Niches were left in the walls 
in which to put anything. We entered this house from a street 
about six feet wide through a doorway, under which we had to 
stoop, and a narrow and low hallway. The street door was covered 
with huge iron bosses, and an old-fashioned iron latch might be 



ME QU INEZ. 29 

secured with a key. The rooms were lighted and ventilated only 
from the court. Tall and slender Moorish arches covered with 
great wooden doors led into the rooms. We installed our cook in 
one of the rooms, and sent to the bazaar for a couple of cooking- 
stoves, very thick earthenware pots with small holes bored in them 
near the top through which a draught is produced by the bellows. 
Charcoal is employed as fuel. A very narrow staircase with high 
steps and sharp turns, leads up to the roof, passing two diminu- 
tive rooms or closets which are apparently used for the storing of 
food and clothes. The roof is flat and surrounded with a high 
wall, so that you may neither see nor be seen — two essentials in 
Moorish towns. In a hidden corner of the courtyard is a small 
well. We enjoyed a night of undisturbed sleep, there being no 
guards, dogs, fowls, cattle, or singing and talking of our own men 
to disturb our repose. 

In the early morning, accompanied by our soldier as escort, we 
took a stroll through the city. There are, however, such a myriad 
of objects to distract one's attention, and such crowds of natives, 
that one feels at first quite bewildered and does not know what to 
specially notice. The bazaar of the artisans, for instance, would 
afford an interesting study for a week ; the people in the streets, 
market-places and caravansaries for another. In the small shops 
of the former one sees every sort of manufacture in progress, often 
aided by very rude and primitive machinery, though some of it, 
notably that of the silk weavers, evidences considerable ingenuity. 
The shops and fondaks are generally closed during the greatest 
heat of the day, say from 11 a. m. to 3 p. m., when the merchant 
goes home for food, rest, or diversion. There is usually but one 
opening to the box dignified by the name of shop, namely, that 
upon the street, which is closed by a door of boards opening hori- 
zontally in the middle and locked. Half of the door is let down 
and the upper being elevated a little serves as an admirable sun- 
shade. The shops are exteriorly mean and squalid structures of 
brick which border certain streets and are separated from each 
other by only about one foot. Certain business is in the hands of 
Moors, certain in that of Jews. It is impossible to particularise 
the various shops, as I have said, a week might readily be devoted 
to them. I may just mention, however, that these people excel in 
manufacturing rugs, cloths, silk cords and embroidery, leather 
work, and silver-ware and jewelry. As you walk through the city 
there is a strong pervading odor of olive oil, which is much used in 



30 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

cooking. It is of a similar character, though not so disagreeable 
as the ghee or melted butter one everywhere smells in the bazaars 
of Hindostan. But of the other odors and stenches and the ex- 
treme filthiness of the streets, and even of the houses, in Mequinez, 
it would be too repugnant to go into detail ; nor even to speak at 
length of the squalor and disgusting appearance of many of the 
people. You see every condition in life and every shade of color 
from the lightest Moor to the darkest Soudanese. You pass fierce- 
looking Berbers on horseback, who glare savagely at you. The 
Moors stare, the Jews leer, the negroes grin and everywhere, as 
you walk, you are followed by a crowd of a score of laughing, jok- 
ing boys. The women, of whose persons you see only the eyes — for 
they are so enveloped in their coarse white garments, you get no 
idea of their figures — stare quite as sharply as the men. In short, 
in Mequinez, where, as I have said, no Europeans reside, you find 
yourself even more of a curiosity to the people than they are to 
you. 

From the shops we went to the large gateway which leads from 
the city to the Sultan's palace, which is justly regarded as one of 
the best sights in Mequinez. On the road we passed a black, whose 
eyes had been destroyed by a hot iron for some crime, sitting and 
begging piteously. There were many other beggars, all calling 
upon the passers-by, in the name of Allah, or of some of their 
Saints, for alms. The Bab Mansour el Halj, or Grand Gateway of 
Mequinez, is very large, flanked by towers and marble columns with 
a beautiful Corinthian style of capitals and bases which have prob- 
ably been taken from the ruins of Volubilis. It is covered with 
tiles of mosaic-work in beautiful ornamental patterns, a green color 
predominating. Along the upper edge are passages from the Koran 
in Arabic characters, these being in themselves very decorative. 
The lower third part of this superb arch has unfortunately been 
restored in white plaster, which, naturally, very much injures the 
general appearance. Near this arch is another which is quite as 
remarkable for its symmetry and beauty. Having passed through 
the great gate you see the rough walls of the Sultan's palace and a 
few minarets and small domes and towers just appearing above 
them, but you are not permitted to enter. At this gate every 
morning early the Pasha comes in state, with a guard of soldiers, 
and sits as a judge to dispense justice, after the conventional Bib- 
lical fashion. 

Next we walked to the Jewish quarter, which is walled off by 



MEQUINEZ. 3! 

itself in the southwestern part of the city. The street which we 
followed was a foot deep in miry muck, and the stench was ter- 
rible, but we pursued our way to the house of a rich Jew, enter- 
ing through a door not five feet high and passing along a narrow 
hall of like height into a most beautiful court, guarded by an iron 
grating above and surrounded by the customary small oblong 
rooms. The floors and half of the walls were covered with very 
pretty tile mosaic-work, the doors were of intricately carved and 
colored wood, and the arches of the most graceful patterns and 
enriched with plaster arabesques and scrolls, quite after the style 
of the famous Moorish palace of Granada — the Alhambra. The 
ceilings of the rooms were domed and of intricately carved and 
colored woods. The women of the household were engaged in 
various domestic duties and yet were clothed in heavy gold-em- 
broidered dresses and gay silk bandannas, as if prepared for a fete. 
A baby lay in a cradle in one room, and about a dozen children 
all as richly dressed as the mother, were lolling around in another. 
The chambers, up-stairs, were quite as lavishly decorated as those 
below. We went upon the roof, where from a little belvedere, we 
looked out upon the city, its walls, and those of the Sultan's 
Palace. The city and walls have a very rough-and-tumble appear- 
ance from without as from within : apparently nothing is ever re- 
paired in Morocco. The male members of the Jew's family were 
clothed in long dark gowns and black skull-caps. They also wore 
great locks of hair extending outward above the ears like a pair of 
horns. They were very amiable people and treated us to aguar- 
diente and almonds. From the belvedere we looked down upon 
the Jewish cemetery not far distant. The graves are in the usual 
Hebrew style, simple outlines of head and foot stone and low 
sides joining the two. 

We returned to our house through the bazaars. Here horsemen 
and loaded camels and donkeys are frequently passing and at cer- 
tain hours of the day, with the haggling and fighting buyers, form 
an exceedingly animated scene. We visited one fondak that was 
crowded with itinerant dealers in second-hand dry goods and 
clothes of all sorts. The buyers, men and women, were sitting 
about near the walls and the sellers were walking around crying 
out the character, quantity and price of their goods. Judging 
from the specimens we saw, the filthy habits and surroundings of 
the people have resulted in many horrid diseases such as leprosy 
and ophthalmia. We noticed also great crowds of beggars, most 



32 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

of them crippled or greatly disfigured by various disorders. There 
was one fondak in which nothing but Manchester goods were sold 
and many shops contain European nicknacks of every sort, but the 
stocks are so small that an American buyer would probably take 
the entire lot and even carry it home with him. In conclusion, I 
may remark that the great variety of manufactures and the gen- 
eral good quality of the workmanship, considering the inferiority 
of their tools or lack of knowledge of their best application, seem 
very remarkable. We peeped into the best mosque, and were sur- 
prised at its great size. It was of course the conventional quad- 
rangle with three rows of arched corridors like those of the famous 
mosque of Cordova in Spain, the floor covered with matting and 
the ceiling hung with lamps. The entrance was a fine specimen 
of a Moorish arch, with fretted and carved plaster and wood-work 
above it. The minaret was covered with green tiles and the top 
was surmounted by three gilded copper balls and a low flag-staff 
with a cross-bar, from which the small flags announcing worship 
are suspended. Many of the Moors are large, handsome men ; 
the same can, however, hardly be said of the Jews, while the 
majority of the mixed races and of the Soudanese are, to say the 
least, exceedingly ill-favored people. One sees many Berbers in 
Mequinez — wild, barbarous, alert and wiry-looking men. Their 
stare at us was always cold and scornful. Occasionally a Moorish 
woman in hastily attempting to cover her face would expose 
enough of it to give one an opportunity to judge of her features. 
I thus saw several shapely, straight noses and several pairs of pen- 
etrating, jet-black eyes, but certainly no visage that would by us 
be termed beautiful. Besides, most of them were very corpulent. 
The Jewish women do not of course cover their features, and 
some of them might be called pretty, though their beauty is of a 
decidedly sensual character. Both Moorish and Jewish women 
marry and have children at twelve years of age, but they fade 
rapidly and at thirty are as withered and sickly as occidental 
women at seventy. Many of the negroes one sees in Mequinez 
are slaves — for the slave-trade in Morocco is as active as ever. 
Every rich Moor is apt to own one or more of them. The supply 
is drawn from the Soudan and the west coast of Africa. They 
are sold on Fridays in the public markets of the interior but 
never publicly at any of the seaports owing to adverse European 
influence. There is a large traffic in Fez but Morocco city is the 
greatest mart for them, where one may frequently see fifty men, 



MEQUINEZ. 33 

women and children sold at one time. The slave merchants find 
the females more profitable from ten to fifteen years of age. Dur- 
ing the time of my visit the Moorish caids gave the Sultan and 
his son a present of two hundred male and female slaves, to cele- 
brate the event of the marriage of the heir to the Moorish throne. 
There are in Mequinez some three or four hundred soldiers be- 
longing to the Pasha, numbers of strange races from the Soudan, 
many dervishes or religious fanatics, and, thanks for our comfort 
at night, comparatively few dogs. Though, as with us, there are 
often wells in the courtyards of the houses, water also is brought 
to Mequinez from the mountains in an aqueduct many miles long 
and is received in a reservoir and then distributed about the city 
in brick canals. These generally are tapped in the arched niches 
of a wall which is covered with pretty tile-work and through 
which a spout conducts the water into a large stone tub. 

The next day we took a long ride on horseback and visited 
first the soko or general market, which is held just without the 
walls. I was much surprised at its great size and vast number of 
little booths. These run in streets; some of them are of brick 
and some simply of bamboo. The open spaces are filled with the 
venders of vegetables and fruits, of animals, grain, skins, etc. 
The market was full of "all sorts and conditions" of oriental 
man, and the hubbub could be heard for at least a quarter of a 
mile. Then we rode through one of the city gates and along the 
exterior of the walls. Under the great door of the gate was a fine 
marble column, lying half sunk in the dirt as a sill. I after- 
wards noticed several other columns similarly employed. The 
walls of the city average from twenty to fifty feet in height and 
from three to six feet in width. They seem mostly to be built of 
a sort of concrete which is hardened in sections in wooden frames. 
The wall is frequently pierced for musketry. It has towers at 
short intervals and huge bastions, quite fifty feet in height, at the 
corners. These have large embrasures for cannon but I only 
noticed two or three small " pieces." I should say that an ordi- 
nary 12-pounder would speedily demolish any walls in the city. 
The embrasures are lined with small brick, and the walls seem 
occasionally composed of these, but never of cut stone. There is 
no moat before the wall. Mequinez is not uniformly surrounded 
by one single wall but there are walls within walls and outlying 
walls, so that at times it is difficult to tell whether you are riding 
within or without the city. We went to the extreme southeast- 



34 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ern corner where the reservoir, a great tank about 1,500 by 1,000 
feet in extent, is situated. This was full of weeds, frogs and 
aquatic birds, and a number of washerwomen were busy plying 
their vocation at one side. It seemed to me it was well that 
Moorish garments are made without buttons, for they certainly 
would not retain them long under the fierce and rapid blows 
of great sticks wielded by strong women. The water entered at 
one corner in great volume through a brick arched aqueduct per- 
haps three feet wide and six high. Leaving the reservoir we 
then passed through another gate and out upon the plain to a 
walled town or suburb, in great decay and only inhabited by a few 
Arabs, but containing a huge mosque, unused at present, and 
styled the Sultan's mosque. Keturning to the city we passed the 
prison — a great gloomy building with heavy walls and small win- 
dows. Before the gate at which we entered, with the customary 
vast ridges of decaying offal extending right and left, was an open 
space in which were the corpses or skeletons of a score of horses, 
camels, mules and donkeys. The flies buzzing hereabouts almost 
darkened the sun. 

We left for Fez, forty-five miles distant, on the morning of 
October 30th, passing through the bazaar and the city and out of 
a gate on the northeastern side. Here in a sort of pond were as 
many as fifty men and women busily engaged in washing clothes, 
the men dancing upon great bundles of them in the most comical 
manner. With fine views of the gently-sloping city of white- 
walled houses, the green minarets of mosques, and brown walls of 
the fortifications, we soon got out of sight of Mequinez, and pro- 
ceeded through great orchards of olive trees planted in straight 
lines. Leaving the region of gardens and orchards we entered 
upon a vast undulating plain covered with palmettos and mimosa 
scrub and coarse grass. To the north was sharply limned the 
range of mountains we had crossed to reach Mequinez, with its 
scattered villages; to the south were long, low ranges of dark 
hills. But the plain made a green sea of verdure bounded in 
many parts only by the horizon. We crossed several small streams, 
some of them on Moorish bridges built of concrete and paved with 
small brick and cobble-stones. One of these of five arches, with 
its sides delicately colored and ornamented, and a solitary date 
palm standing at one end formed one of the most picturesque 
sights we had yet seen. We lunched under a spreading olive, 
drank good water from a neighboring brook, and bought a couple 



MEQUINEZ. 35 

of pounds of warm roast mutton from a native vender who had pur- 
posely located himself there in order to supply passing travellers. 

Besides the coarse scrub of the prairie there were great 
patches of a beautiful purple flower, which curiously enough 
sprang directly out of the soil without the usual branches and 
leaves. As we went on we had splendid views of a large moun- 
tain on the left hand streaked on top with a little snow and upon 
the right hand away to the southeast, was the grand ridge of 
Djebel Ait Youssi or Mount of the Sons of Joseph, covered far 
down with great white sheets of snow. This mountain is situated 
in one of the branches of the Atlas, and I believe is somewhat 
less than two miles in height. The low points to which the snow 
descends are therefore the more surprising. During the day we 
crossed a sort of ridge between two great plains, and from this 
caught a very distant glimpse of the city of Fez. There were 
several Arab villages upon these plains, but we passed very few 
caravans or even single travellers. At about five in the afternoon 
we camped near a douar for the night, having made about thirty 
miles during the day. "We were also near the banks of a little 
river and were gently put to sleep by the murmuring of its water 
over a pebbly bed. 



CHAPTER V. 

SIGHTS AND SCENES IN" FEZ. 

We broke camp at 8.30 A. m., and again took our way to the 
east and over the same kind of scrubby plain as on the previous 
day. The two ridges of hills were upon our left, comparatively 
near, and mountains upon our right, and distant, ran parallel to 
our course. Many soldiers passed us on their way to Mequinez. 
They were hardly to be distinguished from ordinary travellers, not 
having any special dress, and their guns not classifying as espe- 
cially military, for in Morocco every one, save those of the lowest 
and poorest classes, travels always with a flint-lock musket. We 
gradually moved from the sterile country into one of meadows and 
fields and had interesting views of Fez, directly ahead. Many 
people besides the soldiers were now met. The women often rode 
astride behind the men, to whose bodies or arms they clung. The 
men were generally mounted upon fine, fiery horses or sometimes 
sturdy mules. Occasionally you would see a man sitting sidewise 
on a donkey little larger than a St. Bernard dog. When this hap- 
pened to be a grave, turbaned, white-headed old Arab, the sight 
was very ludicrous. We also met caravans of laden camels and 
donkeys, the jolly muleteers passing us either singing, or playing 
upon rude flutes. Nearing the city, I noticed that it was pleasantly 
situated in a sloping valley, was heavily walled and with its white 
houses, occasional green-tiled roofs and minarets, presented a simi- 
lar appearance to Mequinez, though I must qualify this assertion 
by mentioning that Fez is divided by the little river Mufrassin into 
two sections, that south of the river being styled Old Fez and 
that to the north New Fez. The part of the city which we were 
approaching was the latter, and one remarked a much less decayed 
and tumble-down appearance than at Mequinez. We passed three 
camps of tents. These were occupied by caids and their followers 
selected from each of the mountain tribes, who accompany the 

30 



SIGHTS AND SCENES IN FEZ. 37 

Sultan when he marches through the country to collect his taxes, 
which, as I have written, he generally has to do by force, and the 
use of his army as well as these faithful adherents. Some exten- 
sions of the walls were in progress on this side of the city, Fez hav- 
ing outgrown its old limits. These walls are built of a concrete of 
mud, chalk, cobble-stones, and, in jiarts, of small bricks, have many 
towers and bastions, and seem to be from thirty to fifty feet in 
height. Therefore but little of the city appears above them. As 
we neared the gate a grand old patriarchal chief, clad all in white, 
with an escort in dark blue, passed us at full gallop. We next 
rode through a corner of the new part of the city and crossed over 
to the old, passing on the left a large cemetery and upon the right 
mountains of offal and scores of dead animals in every stage of de- 
composition. Soon after entering Old Fez, several of the wealthy 
upper-class of Moors rode by, the fineness of their linen and the 
general richness of their attire, and their very light and soft com- 
plexion indicating more exalted strains of blood and more refine- 
ment of life than ordinary, though, be it added, even these gen- 
tlemen do not use knives and forks and chairs, but sit cross-legged 
upon the ground around a table about a foot high and all thrust 
their hands into the same dish, pull a fowl apart with their fingers, 
and throw the bones to ever-expectant dogs close beside them. 

We entered the bazaar, an ill-paved, dirty, narrow street: — eight 
feet wide, and one of the widest in Fez — covered with matting 
above and lined with little shops of infinite variety. The great 
crowd of people of every color, and style of oriental dress, the 
strange uproar of bargaining and wrangling, the uncouth cries of 
the street venders, the slowly passing pack-trains and horsemen, 
the flashing black eyes and white robes of women, the laughing 
.and frolicking boys, made up a most romantic and picturesque yet 
quite bewildering scene. All work ceased and all eyes were won- 
deringly bent upon the odd strangers as they slipped and turned 
and ducked and cried out, " Balak, balak," (Clear the way, clear 
the way). Now we would be in the rancid butter and soft-soap 
section, as our nostrils plainly informed us, though next they 
would be gratefully saluted by odors of all sorts of drugs, perfumes 
and delightful spices. So wound we slowly along gradually de- 
scending until in some places the street became almost like a stone 
staircase and finally, after quite half a mile, squeezed along lanes 
just the width of our horses — positively another could not have 
passed, but would have been obliged to return — we reached the 



38 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

house of Omar Barrada, a Moorish friend of my dragoman, and 
obtained from him an adjoining floor for our use, with the privi- 
lege of taking two of our meals at his table. Our animals were 
sent to a neighboring fondak, as at Mequinez. 

Soon after our arrival breakfast was served upon a large table 
in the open court. In rainy weather a piece of canvas is spread in 
a peaked fashion above the courts of the native houses. At the 
top is an iron grating where many birds make their homes under 
the inner tiles of the roof, so you seem to be sitting in a great 
aviary. We were waited upon by female slaves and by one of the 
concubines of the host. It may be explained that Mussulmans are 
by their religion allowed only four wives, though they may have as 
many concubines as they are able to support. The latter live in 
the same house as the wife or wives, and make a sort of menagerial 
" happy family," though frequently there are rivalries, jealousies 
and quarrels, as might naturally be expected. Everything here is 
exactly prescribed by the Koran for the Moors, as for Mussulmans 
everywhere. It is the same from Fez to Calcutta. The cut of the 
clothes, the style of wearing the hair and beard, the daily habits 
and usages are always inflexibly the same. The wife of our host 
we did not see nor were likely to see ; she remained hidden up- 
stairs and all covered save the eyes. The concubines and slaves 
are uncovered in the house but covered in the street. The china- 
closet of our host was exceedingly limited, though he was a rich 
man. There were no two glasses of the same size or shape, nor 
hardly any two plates or dishes. Towels served for napkins. First 
came mutton soup, then a mixture of delicate bits of beef from 
the head of the animal, with tomatoes, pumpkins and peppers ; 
next roast beef-tongue and fried sweet potatoes. A good native 
white wine was lavishly served with all these and great slabs of 
the dark, rich Moorish bread were added. Afterwards followed" 
bunches of white grapes the size of one's head, little red apples the 
size of one's thumb, and red-ripe pomegranates. Cups of stroug 
black coffee concluded the meal. 

The salient points of a Moorish house are all in the interior ; 
the exterior shows only whitewashed walls, which are often dingy, 
dirty and dilapidated. But having crawled through the low 
door and narrow hall, you step at once into the courtyard, with 
its surrounding rooms and usually another suite above. You 
always find rich and elaborate ornamental tile-work, either of 
glazed bricks or of marble and stucco. There will be a high 



SIGHTS AND SCENES IN FEZ. 39 

wainscot of these in all the rooms. The doors will be high, 
double, carved and painted. A great colored glass lantern will be 
suspended over the centre of the court. The staircases will be 
very steep and with exceedingly high steps. The rooms will con- 
tain raised floors at the ends for beds and possibly a low elevation 
along the side for ottomans, but you will probably find neither 
tables nor chairs. The floors are often covered with rich rugs. 
Above the doors is generally an elaborate filigree or perforated 
ornamentation, often in colors in imitation of screens and exactly 
like those with which the Alhambra abounds and which have 
been made familiar to those who have not had the satisfaction 
of seeing the originals, by many books and pictures. Horse-shoe 
arches and columns, cornices and niches in the interior walls are 
also specialties in Moorish houses. Soon after we were settled in 
our " flat " the rain began to fall heavily, and so continued for the 
remainder of the day. Although we were over a stable at least 
we congratulated ourselves we were under a roof and not camping 
in the open. 

The Sultan being in Fez at present and having a very large 
following with him — it is " the season " whenever His Highness is 
in town — it is extremely difficult to get a good house, and many 
visitors are obliged to camp outside the walls. There are no Euro- 
peans living in Fez excepting such as may come and go with the 
Sultan and who hold official positions in the army. There are 
thus engaged two Englishmen, two Frenchmen, three Italians, a 
German and several Spaniards. It is understood at least by the 
foreigners resident in Tangier, that these officers, under the guise 
of being instructors of the Sultan's troops, are simply sent on pri- 
vate missions to keep their respective governments posted as to 
the condition and prospects of political and commercial affairs in 
the Empire. The population of Fez, which is the principal city 
in the country, is put at 100,000 : of these, 75,000 are Moors and 
Arabs, 10,000 Berbers, Jews 10,000, and negroes 5,000. 

Whenever we had any spare time we usually spent it in the 
bazaars, which we found of unfailing curiosity and interest. For 
greater safety the city is portioned into many districts, the streets 
of which are divided from each other by means of great wooden 
doors. It is no trouble of course thus to close a street barely six 
feet in width. Fez is quite unlighted at night. The gates of the 
city and of the inner barriers are closed about 9 p. m., when the 
people are generally all at home. If they have occasion to go 



40 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

abroad after that hour they generally light their steps with a lan- 
tern. The water which one sees running everywhere in fountains, 
in open trenches, and in basins near the entrances of the mosques, 
comes either from the river which courses through the heart of 
the city or else from an aqueduct which brings it from springs in 
distant hills. Now we passed a school and heard the boys (the 
girls never go to school) conning in unison their lessons in the 
Koran and its commentators, possibly also in alchemy and astrol- 
ogy ; next we peered into an enormous mosque filled with worship- 
pers, some prone upon the floor, others sitting and mumbling in 
solemn assembly their long-drawn-out prayers. Then we smelt 
and saw the shops of ready-cooked and cooking meat, the savory 
kefta, hashed spiced meat broiling upon iron skewers ; afterward 
we wondered at the splendid display of ripe fruit in another stall 
or of dried fruit in still another. The variety of shops was im- 
mense, the crowds of people enormous. It was a wonderful, an 
odd, almost weird panorama, but one of which having had a 
hasty, general impression, a mere look and taste, one would wish 
to observe the curious detail in sections and at leisure. The mat- 
ting over the streets of the bazaar is frequently utilized as a grape- 
trellis, and you often halt in wonder at the sight of a vine quite 
six inches in diameter. This street covering keeps out most of 
the sun and part of the rain, but it also shuts off much of the 
light. The widest and longest street — the business street, par ex- 
cellence — is styled the Kaisaria, which means literally the Grand 
Bazaar. There are very many crooked branches connected with 
this, often an entire alley being devoted to a single manufacture. 
The general bazaar is very large, there being a great commerce be- 
tween Fez and interior provinces, her manufactures being famous 
throughout the Empire. The Moors are natural-born shopkeepers. 
They generally at first demand about double the prices they are 
willing eventually to take, and it requires considerable patience 
and some tact to effect a satisfactory bargain. At many of the 
street corners we noticed basins of drinking water ; at others 
coffee-sellers would be squatting at the side of the road — a large 
tin pot resting upon an earthenware dish of live coals, and a few 
cups constituting their entire outfit. Business hours in Fez are 
short and when negotiations are not in progress, you often see 
the shopkeepers curled up asleep in their little booths. Some- 
times there are two men together — one of whom is asleep, the 
other serving customers. You must not however regard the 



SIGHTS AND SCENES IN FEZ. 41 

former as a " sleeping partner," for each man owns his own stock 
and is in business for himself alone. 

In passing from our house to and from the bazaar, we always 
glanced in at the many gates of the great mosque of El Karoubin, 
the most important place of worship in Fez. It appeared to be 
about four hundred feet square, had very many beautiful gates, 
fountains, pavilions and 365 pillars. Its minaret however is sur- 
passed in height by that of the mosque of Muley Edris, already 
referred to as the founder of Fez. The mosque of El Karoubin 
is the correct place for women to pray, and, in fact, they are not 
allowed in any other. There is a library of ancient books con- 
nected with El Karoubin, from which several valuable Eoman 
classics have already come, and more are believed to exist there, 
but it is of course impossible for any Christian to obtain permis- 
sion to search for them. Opposite the mosque is a boys' school. 
There are many of these in Fez, and also a university, where 
grammar, logic and metaphysics are taught. Fez was once famous 
as a seat of learning, and students flocked to it from many distant 
lands. 

One afternoon, accompanied by our host and his nephew gayly 
dressed and mounted upon fiery chargers, we paid a visit to an 
Englishman named John H. MacLean, a general of the Sultan's 
army, in which he has now served sixteen years as an instructor and 
commander. We rode slowly through the filthy streets of the city, 
grazing our shins against the houses, or drawing up so that all other 
horsemen might squeeze past. We finally crossed by a concrete 
bridge the rushing river that bisects Fez — its force being utilised 
by numerous mills lining its banks — and then passed on between 
walls twice our height, mounted as we were, until in a short time 
we halted at a gate and entered a beautiful orchard of peaches, 
oranges and pomegranates, filled with flowers, singing birds and 
canals of clear running water. As we approached a simple native 
house, General MacLean came forth to greet us, a short, thick-set 
gentleman about fifty years of age, and dressed in Moorish costume, 
a dark blue suit, with a much-braided and many-buttoned jacket, 
a flowing white cloak, brown leather riding boots and steel spurs, 
a red tarboosh and white turban. With his brown skin, beard 
worn in native fashion, and fluent Arabic talk, he might readily 
have been mistaken for a native. He said he had but a few days 
before returned with a part of the army from a raid which the 
Sultan had made upon some of his utterly lawless, non-taxpaying 
5 



42 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

subjects, that they had as usual been victorious, and that as 
proof of their prowess twenty-seven heads of the slain had been 
suspended for several days above a gate in Mequinez, then in Fez, 
and now had just been sent to Morocco city. This grisly spectacle 
was intended as a warning and timely suggestion to intending 
rebels. The general told me the Sultan had thirty thousand regu- 
lar troops — cavalry, infantry and a few battalions of light moun- 
tain-artillery. About half the army are negroes and there are also 
many Bedouins. The troops are armed mostly with the Martini- 
Henry rifle, and a few with the Winchester. He described the 
best of the troops as fairly well organized and disciplined. The 
Moors are born horsemen and they are very plucky and brave. 
Being fatalists, believing that all things happen by inevitable ne- 
cessity, that when a man is born the day of his death is registered, 
and that " cowardice will save no one from his fate," in a certain 
sense they have nothing to lose and hence fight with the greatest 
gallantry and determination. As the troops, after their recent 
service had been granted a furlough I did not have an opportunity 
to witness any manoeuvres or parades, or even to observe them in 
camp or garrison. 

It being Sunday, we next visited the soko or open-air market, 
which is held along and about a road running out from the western 
part of the city or New Fez. This market is held on Sundays and 
Thursdays as at Tangier. We found a crowd of several thousand 
people engaged in selling produce and animals. The story-tellers 
and snake-charmers were also present and were the centre of ad- 
miring circles, which at pauses in their entertainments, when the 
flutes and tom-toms played, showered copper coins into their midst. 
The snake-charmer performed with two hideous grayish serpents 
said to be very poisonous. They were about three feet long and as 
much as four inches in diameter. His entertainment consisted of 
little more than holding and handling the reptiles and of talking 
and singing to them. They appeared to me to be in a very dor- 
mant condition, as if drugged or stupefied by some means. We 
were accompanied by our soldier as upon all our excursions, and 
whenever we halted to look at anything were at once made the 
centre of astonished crowds and through the bazaars were always 
followed by a rabble, mostly of boys, though occasionally also of 
men. Leaving the soko, with its very extraordinary concourse of 
people, we rode to the old Kasbah or Citadel, occupying a hill to the 
north of the city. From here a splendid view of Old Fez and of 



SIGHTS AND SCENES IN FEZ. 43 

most of New Fez and the adjacent valley and surrounding hills, may 
be had. The city seems crowded in the bottom of a valley extending 
in an easterly and westerly direction, with a very decided slope, the 
Mufrassin river running from west to east through this valley and 
joining the Seboo, which may be plainly seen, to the eastward. 
The easterly and westerly sections of the town are connected by 
great expanses of green orchards, the appearance of the two parts 
of the town at each end reminding one of the shape of an hour- 
glass. On nearly every side also the city is surrounded by gardens 
and orchards. On a rough hill on the opposite side of the town 
was a similar citadel to that near where we stood and a large Moor- 
ish cemetery, with its graves simply outlined by low ridges of 
stones, with an occasional headstone and with several low, domed 
towers, the special burial places of marabouts, saints or holy men. 
The flat-roofed houses of the eastern part of the city had a terrace- 
like effect owing to the steep pitch of the land. In the opposite 
end appeared the many huge walls of the Sultan's palace, the 
green-tiled minaret of his special mosque and the roofs of several 
tombs. A dozen spires of mosques rose above the city, a few grace- 
ful date-palms peeped forth, a heavy arched gateway caught the 
eye for a moment, which next found rest in a velvety grove of olive 
trees, or the distant green meadow land. It was altogether an ex- 
ceedingly fascinating prospect, with an interest quite strange and 
romantic. From its situation Fez ought to be well drained, and 
from the great quantity of water everywhere at hand in the river 
and the reservoirs, and the fountains so widely distributed, it ought 
and might be made clean, but it is probably the filthiest city in the 
world. The stench in the Jews' quarter, which we afterward vis- 
ited, was so great that we felt quite unable to wait in the street for 
a gentleman, upon whom we called, and for whom some of his 
family had gone in quest. There are a number of curious caves in 
the hill whence our view was taken. The pudding-stone formation 
of these is filled with petrified bones, probably of old Moors, pos- 
sibly of prehistoric men. 

As we entered the Jews' quarter, in the southwestern part of 
Fez, we passed the very ostentatious entrance to the new cartridge 
factory, which some Italian officers are having constructed for the 
Sultan. I had a letter of introduction to a rich Jew named Moses 
Ben Amor Benazuli, by whom we were received with great cor- 
diality. His house was situated near the entrance to the Sultan's 
palace enclosure. In fact, it is so near to some extensions that the 



44 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Sultan had been recently making, that this despot had built solid 
walls against those of the Jew's house, thus closing all his win- 
dows, for fear he might perchance look upon some of the women 
of the harem, or perhaps learn a little of what was going on in 
court circles. The lighting of the rooms and their ventilation 
are thus ruined. Several other Jews in the immediate neighbor- 
hood have been similarly treated. So it seems is this unfortunate 
race persecuted and harassed the world over. Mr. Benazuli's is 
one of the finest of the distinctly Moorish style of house I have 
seen. It is one mass of color in the interior. Everywhere you see 
rich and pretty tile mosaics, fretted stucco-work and carved and 
painted wood-work. Floor, wall and ceiling produce different 
effects in spots of mixed colors. In the tiles, blue and white seem 
to preponderate; in the stucco white, gold and vermillion; in 
the carved wood red, brown and yellow. Behind some of the ex- 
quisite perforated windows or screens the light streams in through 
beautiful stained glass. The tile-work is continuous from base- 
ment and street-door to staircases and roof. Mr. Benazuli's family 
were busy attending to various household duties, all the women 
being gayly and richly dressed in red brocaded skirts, gold-braided 
jackets, and horn-shaped turbans made of bright-colored silk hand- 
kerchiefs. Great gold circlets were worn in their ears, and their 
naked feet were thrust into yellow-leather slippers. The women 
were fat, dumpy, little creatures. The girls were very pretty, with 
their soft, olive-tinted skin, heavy dark hair, large lustrous eyes 
and shining white teeth. The male members of the family were 
dressed in dark gowns and skull-caps, and affected shoes and stock- 
ings. All wore the customary tufts of long hair projecting over 
the ears. Mr. Benazuli detained us to breakfast, which was served 
in a little alcove of the court, around which a wooden bench had 
been built. Our host alone sat at table with us. Small glasses of 
aguardiente were first taken as appetizers. The leading course 
was a delicious fish, caught in the Seboo river and resembling the 
sea-mullet, served with garlic and a side-dish of radishes. Then 
came a stew of mutton, with onions and quinces, accompanied by 
a cucumber salad. A fine, home-made, red wine, resembling sherry, 
escorted this course and was retained to the end of the meal. 
Next followed a chicken soup and to this succeeded a boiled fowl. 
Dessert began with a large plate of pomegranates, flavored with 
rose-water, in which three spoons were placed and from which 
the host and his two guests similarly ate. Walnuts and dates came 



SIGHTS AND SCENES IN FEZ. 45 

next and then candied lemon-peel. Tea flavored with mint, and 
cigarettes closed a meal whose quality was to one at least more 
grateful than its quantity. A short time after breakfast Mr. Bena- 
zuli ordered his mule saddled, and accompanied us upon a long 
ride on the northern hills, from the western to the eastern extrem- 
ity of the city. We reached once again the locality of the cave, 
passed through the old Moorish cemetery, and then between rich 
orchards fenced in on either hand by thorn barriers backed by high 
cane hedges. The orchards were full of singing birds, whose music 
added to the general charm of the place. On the way back we 
passed the mosque of Muley Edris, the founder of Fez, who is 
venerated as a saint and whose remains are deposited here. This 
mosque is the most sacred in the country and is said to be a sanc- 
tuary for the most atrocious criminals. Its minaret is the loftiest 
and handsomest in Fez. In returning we were obliged to make 
a long detour in order to enter a special gate, that nearest to us 
being the one by which the revered prophet, Muley Edris, entered 
the city and no Christian being on this account permitted to pass 
through it. 

There are no specially fine edifices in Fez architecturally con- 
sidered. There are of course what might be styled public build- 
ings, such as the hospital for lunatics, which is richly endowed ; 
the baths, containing water from the river ; the university, once 
so famous ; and the caravansaries, of which there are said to be as 
many as two hundred distributed about the city. There are many 
public baths in which steam is used. The price is two cents each 
for a native. Frequently a Moor will hire one of them for himself 
and friends in the evening, and thus enjoy the privacy of home. 
The Sultan's palace is the best in Morocco, and is his favorite resi- 
dence. We crossed an old stone bridge of a single arch thrown 
across the torrent Mufrassin, and soon thereafter entered once 
again the city and reached our temporary home. 



CHAPTEE VI. 

A HOLY CITY. 

At three o'clock in the afternoon of November 4th, in a pour- 
ing rain, we left Fez for the town of Wezzan, camping for the 
night near a little hamlet about six miles from the capital. The 
next morning we were off in good season, though the rain was 
falling heavily. The road was in a terrible condition, in parts a 
perfect morass. We soon left the great plain, at the eastern ex- 
tremity of which Fez is situated, and travelled in a westerly and 
northwesterly direction through a very rough hilly country, part 
in palmetto scrub and coarse grass but the greater part in culti- 
vated fields, now fallow, but from which crops had recently been 
reaped. The Arab villages were scattered far apart, but there 
seemed the usual number of flocks of sheep and goats attended 
each by two or three shepherds, but no dogs. The miserable curs 
of the country are probably too stupid to learn the care of sheep. 
Towards night we crossed a ridge and then saw away before us 
Djebel Tselfa, the sharp peak which was in sight for several days 
when on our way to Mequinez. "We had upon our left during 
most of the day a fine ridge of hills thickly dotted with beautiful 
large groves of olives and a few villages, and one walled town 
situated in a seemingly impregnable position. Passing on we 
noticed among the hills upon the left an amphitheatre, near each 
extremity of which was situated a small town. The semicircle 
from these points sloped evenly away to the lower hills. It was a 
natural formation that had been taken advantage of by the natives 
in a very remarkable manner. The towns looked as if the very 
smallest of landslips would send both down into the plain. We 
camped near a small village and near us were two caravans, one 
of camels, the other of mules, and both carrying general Euro- 
pean merchandise to Fez. We made about thirty miles this day. 
In the morning we journeyed on through a hilly region, the 

46 



A HOLY CITY. 47 

greater part of it being extremely fertile land used for crops of 
corn, millet, barley and wheat. Just then the fields were white 
with thistles, but the farmers were beginning to plough them, as 
is customary as soon as the rainy season begins. All day long we 
saw these men with their wooden ploughs, little more than crooked 
sticks shod with iron, which do not turn the soil for a depth of 
more than three or four inches. But this is enough, for the soil 
is very fertile. They use, indiscriminately, teams of donkeys, 
mules, or oxen, and often one animal will be double the size of 
the other. Frequently an ox and a mule are harnessed together 
and occasionally a camel and a donkey. The last is an enter- 
taining misfit. The plough is drawn by a cross-bar attached to its 
tongue and passing under the belly of the animal behind the fore- 
legs. It is drawn by an ordinary collar, but the appearance of the 
cross-bar is very striking. There is but one handle to the plough. 
After the ploughing, a man follows with a basket and scatters the 
seed broadcast, or sometimes the seed is spread first and then 
ploughed in. The farmers do not use any sort of fertiliser in these 
fields. We passed a few villages but no towns. The effect of the 
recent heavy rains was everywhere perceptible. Two weeks before 
everything was brown and sand-like. Now the hills were half- 
green, the bottoms of the valleys wholly so, and grass was spring- 
ing up even in the road. The streams were naturally very much 
swollen, and it was with some difficulty we were able to ford the 
Seboo river, here and then about three hundred feet wide. If 
the rains continued a few days it could only be passed by swim- 
ming, and this with considerable danger, owing to the force of the 
current. In several of the fields women, many of them with babies 
strapped to their backs, were collecting thistles for fuel, and sing- 
ing merrily the while. During the afternoon we experienced an 
exceedingly heavy shower, which in ten minutes turned the road 
into a quagmire. The farmers simply turned their backs to the 
storm and squatted down by their ploughs until it passed, when they 
threw off their outer wet garments and resumed their work. The 
appearance and dress of many of the people in Morocco and the 
occupations and professions both of those in town and country 
strongly recall the Biblical history and the scenes to be witnessed 
to-day in Syria. Travellers often saluted us with " Salaam alei- 
koom," peace be with you, to which we gravely replied " Aleikoom 
salaam," with you be peace. We camped for the night on a 
ridge commanding a beautiful and extensive view of the fertile 



48 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

plain and the tortuous Seboo to the west, and of encircling hills 
to the other sides. The chief of the village near our camp sent us 
a present of fowls and eggs, and of barley for our animals. 

Towards noon the next day we reached the Werga river, a short 
distance above its junction with the Seboo. It was so high from 
the recent rains and its current was running so swiftly we found 
it necessary to cross in a scow, which had to make three ferriages 
in order to carry all our baggage and animals. This necessitated 
a delay of two hours. Then we pressed on, passing several Arab 
villages and finally camping near one, with the mountain on which 
was Wezzan plainly visible directly ahead to the north. As we 
were pitching our camp a characteristic picture of Moorish life 
presented itself. The muezzin in the neighboring village gave the 
conventional call to prayers, when several men sitting near us in 
the open plain, immediately removed their slippers, faced the 
mosque, and gravely began their prayers, bowing, kneeling, and 
touching the earth with their foreheads in perfect unison. The 
chief of the village sent us two enormous bowls of kous-koussou, 
which, having already dined plentifully upon partridge and snipe, 
we were obliged to bestow upon our men. 

We made an early start the following day. After noon the 
scene became more picturesque, the country being hillocky. To 
the eastward were many distant ranges of mountains, one or two 
bearing streaks of snow. We crossed a small river and followed its 
winding, oleander-fringed banks for many miles. At about three 
o'clock the density of the olive and fig orchards, and the partial 
pavement and railing of the road told us we were nearing a town, 
and soon thereafter we spied through the trees the houses of Wez- 
zan, built upon a steep hill facing towards the east and reaching 
down into a very fertile valley. The son of the Shereef, a friend 
of my dragoman, gave us the use of a little house near the centre 
of the town. In the courtyard was a spouting fountain, the basin 
of which was full of gold-fish, and at one side a great tank into 
which cool, clean water was continually running, the gently mur- 
muring sound of which was calculated to favor somnolence both 
by night and day. The court was full of flowers in beds and pots 
and pretty vines, nestling in which were many sweetly-singing 
birds. Around this agreeable square were our rooms, and one 
which we allotted to our cook and kitchen. Wezzan is a resort of 
pious pilgrims on account of its being the residence of an old 
gentleman styled the Shereef of Wezzan, who being, it is said, 



A HOLT CITY. 49 

directly descended from the great Moslem Prophet, is regarded 
and worshipped as a living saint. Generally saints only attain their 
degree of sanctity after death, but here is a live specimen of the 
customary supernatural species. Wezzan is therefore regarded as 
a holy city, but unlike the town of Muley Edris, Christians and 
Jews are allowed to enter it. Still it evidently is not very often 
thus visited, for we found ourselves the objects of the very liveliest 
curiosity, and as we dismounted to enter our house the street was 
nearly blocked with citizens. Soon after our arrival the Shereef 
sent us a tea-tray, nicely furnished with colored china and brittania- 
metal tea-pot, a caddy of green tea — the Moors do not like black 
tea — and a box of sugar. Accompanying the tray was a copper 
stand containing a pot of live charcoal, upon which stood an urn 
of boiling water. The water used in Wezzan comes from the hills 
through an aqueduct. Owing to the sloping situation of the town, 
it is conducted in little canals through the courtyards of the better 
class of houses. One of the wives of the Shereef was an English- 
woman to whom he had been married sixteen years and by whom 
he had had two or three children. We had expected to see the 
Shereef, but as he was very ill at the time of our visit, we were 
not able to gratify our curiosity, not even his own children being 
allowed to visit him at this time. 

The hill tribes hereabouts are very fierce and arrogant. They 
acknowledge no dependence upon the Sultan, and fight him 
wdienever he comes near them. As they have a considerable ad- 
vantage in their mountain fastnesses, the Sultan generally leaves 
them alone and does not attempt to collect revenue from them 
as from other tribes. They are great robbers and make no diffi- 
culty about despatching a man who resists their demands. The 
people of Wezzan never travel through this section of country 
without being heavily armed. A very amiable and peaceable- 
looking old gentleman who called upon us — the conversation turn- 
ing upon these refractory hill tribes — somewhat surprised us by 
lifting his burnoose and disclosing a huge revolver of well-known 
American manufacture. And he informed us that nearly every 
one went similarly protected. Though there are many tribes I 
may say that the people of Morocco are roughly and broadly 
divided into two great classes — Moors and Jews. The remote 
ancestors of the former are believed to have come originally from 
the east, from Egypt probably. One continually remarks a simi- 
larity in very many things between the Moslems here and in 



50 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Egypt. The Jews are the descendants of the Spanish Jews who 
were driven from Spain a few centuries ago. These two great 
classes thoroughly despise each other, and the Jews are nearly 
always obliged to live apart by themselves in a separately walled 
part of the towns. But the Jew here has the recognized charac- 
teristics of his race the world over. He seems always thrifty and 
well-to-do, and often richly independent. He trades and bar- 
gains and acts as usurer and always gets on, in a worldly sense. 
He is humble and servile, unctuous and specious. The Moor on 
the other hand is proud and haughty, fierce and domineering. 
His every look and movement betokens the master. 

Leaving Wezzan at nine in the morning, we travelled all day 
through a beautiful hilly region. It was in fact the finest scenery 
we had yet enjoyed in Morocco. We crossed the Lucus river, the 
same that enters the ocean at Larache ; here we easily forded its 
muddy current. We saw numbers of Arab villages, of shepherds 
tending large flocks of sheep and singing merrily the while, of 
herds of sleek cattle, and of a few travellers by the road. Dur- 
ing the afternoon we met some of the mountain tribes who are at 
present in revolt against the Sultan, and who could not enter any 
of the towns without risk of arrest. A number of these, all armed 
with the long-barreled guns of the country, were quite drunk, and 
one jokingly remarked to his friends as we passed, " Here is one 
for each of us," and pointed his gun at me, but the sudden click 
of a " Winchester " put at full-cock caused him to quickly change 
his mind and continue on his way with his hilarious comrades, 
cracking jokes at the expense of the foreign travellers. We marched 
slowly on over hill and through valley, up and down and down 
and up, until at 7 p. m. we reached the outskirts of El Kasr once 
more and encamped on the east side near the walls, receiving a 
night-watch in due course from the city. We made this day and 
the following about seventy miles on the direct route to Tangier. 
The rain and wind were heavy. We had to wait on the bank of 
one little river for the tide to ebb before we could cross. We next 
passed several large lakes and marshes, which at certain seasons 
are much resorted to by hunters for the sport of pig-sticking — 
killing wild boar, which are plenteous, with spears. In winter 
and early spring boar hunts are organized at Tangier, and the 
sportsmen proceed to the lakes, where they camp. Notice of the 
spot where the boar hounds meet is given at the hotels in Tangier 
and Gibraltar. The boars found are larger and blacker than those 




A Moorish Soldier. 



A HOLY CITY. 51 

met with elsewhere in the mountains and hills, being a cross be- 
tween the latter and some Spanish boars introduced by a former 
British Minister to Morocco. They are not generally shot, but 
preserved for spearing. There is also good snipe-shooting at the 
lakes in the season. 

Here I should like to add something further concerning the 
douars or villages of the Arab farmers and shepherds, which are 
scattered all over the Empire. There does not seem to be any 
especially favorite situation for them. You see them in the plains, 
on the steep sides of the hills, on their ridges, and often on their 
seemingly inaccessible tops. There are several sorts of these vil- 
lages. Some consist wholly of low tents, others of straw and cane 
huts, others of mud and unburned brick, occasionally you will 
notice in the larger ones many houses of uncut stone, with tiled 
roofs, and frequently you find all these styles included in one 
hamlet. In size these villages extend from three or four houses 
to, say, a hundred ; above that, we should probably have the walled 
town. Sometimes you observe a village of tents arranged in a 
large circle, again in a great quadrangle, the interior being open 
and vacant, or used for the safe-keeping of cattle at night. All of 
these villages are more or less protected from thieves or intruders 
and from straying cattle or prowling wild animals by narrow, shal- 
low, waterless ditches and by massive hedges of the prickly-pear 
cactus or of the agave, or of the acacia nettles and thistles of the 
plains, matted together in great barriers through which no man 
or animal could possibly pass. Sometimes these ramparts will 
surround the entire village ; often each hut will have its own. 
Generally just beyond the dwellings, and surrounded by a cactus 
or other fence, will be some gardens filled with vegetables or or- 
chards of olives, figs, oranges and pomegranates. There appears to 
be no fear that any produce of this sort will be stolen by the not 
small part of the population who live by thieving, for the only 
care seems to be taken to guard their domestic animals. The 
great packs of ugly, ill-favored mongrel curs which so much dis- 
turb the traveller's rest, are no doubt a great protection to the vil- 
lagers. Even a native finds it almost impossible to enter in the 
daytime a village where he does not dwell, for the dogs rush at 
him and grab at his naked shins in most discouraging fashion, 
while for a stranger of other visage and dress, it is absolutely 
necessary first to get the people to " call off their dogs " before 
attempting to penetrate the town. I found that the natives did 



BOSTON UNfVStfSITY 
T)lLfQF Of i iocdii A1 



52 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

not generally like to have me enter their villages or huts, and this 
was always, so far as I could learn, because they did not wish me to 
see their women. They never made any objection to our camping 
next their hedges, in fact the chiefs would always come to welcome 
us, to point out the best locations, and bring us food for ourselves 
and animals. But the complaisant and mildly persistent traveller 
can accomplish much. He would find the mud-walled and straw- 
thatched houses of oblong shape ; possibly many of the straw ones 
in form like candle extinguishers, and reminding one of scenes in 
the centre of the continent ; the tents would all be of the same 
pattern, low, flat and almost square, with a little ridge in the 
centre of the roof to shed the rain. He would find the dwellings 
all mixed up, so to speak, with narrow and crooked lanes running 
between them. Possibly the little house of the chief might have 
two stories, but that would probably be the only one to reach 
such unusual height. If the village was of any importance there 
would undoubtedly be some sort of a mosque or a substitute for 
one. Most of the men — the farmers and shepherds — are away in 
the fields all day. Many of the women are also absen\ during 
more or less of the day, drawing water from the wells, washing 
clothes at a river's bank, gathering fire-wood, or thorns for the 
village chevaux-de-frise, but never working in the fields with the 
men or tending cattle with or without them. The men are far 
too jealous to permit this. But you may find the women when at 
home engaged in many household duties, such as weaving, baking 
bread, washing clothes, etc. 

We reached Tangier on the afternoon of the 13th, having been 
absent in the interior just one month, during which we travelled 
about five hundred miles. Had it been earlier in the season I 
should have also visited Morocco city, but, as I have said, the 
heavy rains and prospect of more, caused me to abandon the idea. 
For a similar reason we changed our plan of returning from 
Wezzan to Tangier by the way of Tetuan — where I wished to see 
some palaces similar in architecture to the Alcazar of Seville and 
the Alhambra of Granada — and took the more direct road. Other- 
wise we would have been compelled to take a route through the 
mountains, where the rains would have been heavier and their 
effects more disagreeable and dangerous than upon the plains and 
more open country. 



CHAPTER VII. 

MOROCCO TO ALGERIA. 

On the 17th I took passage in a little steamer of the French 
Compagnie Generate Transatlantique for Oran in Algeria, touch- 
ing on the way at the ports of Gibraltar, Malaga, Melilla and 
Nemours. Our vessel was of about 1,200 tons burden, clean and 
comfortable, and furnishing a good table, with white and red wine 
and cognac included in the fixed price. The passengers were few 
in number but diverse in nationality. We had a pleasant sail of 
about three hours across to Gibraltar. The great "Rock "shone 
resplendent in the afternoon sun. It is hard to believe that the 
town contains so many as 20,000 people, or, including the British 
garrison, nearly 25,000 ; but the houses are of many stories each, 
and very compactly placed. It is of course a " garrison town " and 
not a colony, being under martial law, and the gates closing at 
8 p. m. Permission to reside must be obtained from the governor. 
Near the landing-place we were given tickets by an English officer 
on which was printed, " Permit until first evening gunfire." This 
means that with this ticket in your possession you will be allowed 
to leave the town and return on board your steamer not later than 
5.30 p. M. After that hour it will be necessary to exchange this 
ticket for another, extending the time. I paid my second visit to 
the Queen's Gallery, cut inside the " Rock " at its northern end. 
It was not just then permitted to visit St. George's Hall, nor the 
other galleries, which are several miles in extent, as the British 
authorities were engaged in building new batteries all along the 
crest. Nor might you then visit the Signal Tower, 1,300 feet, from 
which there is such an extensive view. I may here refresh the 
memories of my readers by stating that the famous Rock of Gibral- 
tar is about two-and-one-half miles long from north to south by 
three-fourths of a mile broad. Its highest point is a little less than 
1,500 feet. Its wonderful resemblance in outline to a lion, lying 

53 



54: ACTUAL AFRICA. 

outstretched with his head upon his paws, as you see in any well- 
stocked menagerie, has been often remarked. The best point from 
which to realize this effect is found in approaching from the straits 
and the Atlantic. 

Gibraltar, the ancient Calpe, the European " Pillar of Her- 
cules," is about fifteen miles distant across the straits from Ceuta, 
the ancient Abyla, the African " Pillar of Hercules." Of course 
no gun of the thousand mounted in the fortifications has so great 
a range as this. The furthest reach of any here placed is about 
six miles, so that a hostile fleet could easily pass, especially as there 
is deep water and no obstruction to navigation, quite up to the 
barren rocks of Apes' Hill. But although the " Eock " does not 
in this sense command the straits, yet in conjunction with a strong 
British fleet, it could readily do so. Moreover Gibraltar in the 
event of war would be of the greatest service to England as an 
outfitting, refitting, provisioning and coaling station. The fortifi- 
cations began with the Moorish castle of Tarik, the conqueror of 
Spain in A. d. 711, and were continued by the Spanish kings. But 
they were first greatly strengthened and improved when the Eng- 
lish took possession in 1704, and more especially since the great siege 
of 1779-'83. Now again owing to the rapid improvements and 
changes in modern fortifications and war methods, it has been found 
necessary to make new batteries, mounting heavier and other styles of 
guns, and hence the restriction of travellers to which I have alluded. 

During the night we proceeded to Malaga, where we arrived 
with the daylight. Upon going on deck we found ourselves anch- 
ored in a little harbor, a basin formed by two projecting moles. 
Here were half a dozen small steamers and many trading vessels 
and fishing-boats. The city lay in a circular form around us, but 
owing to its comparatively low position in a plain, showed but a 
mere fringe. Bough and ragged hills extended in each direction. 
Upon a mound towards the right was an old Moorish castle with 
its extending walls. Below this and down nearly to a level with 
the sea was one of the ever-present bull-rings. The central part 
of the town disclosed neat-looking, much-balconied houses, four 
and five stories in height, among which were especially accentuated 
the large yellow building of the Custom-house and the splendid 
massive cathedral. Away to the left were many smoking chim- 
neys, and buildings resembling factories. In fact, such they were, 
for in Malaga are many sugar and cotton mills, and iron and barrel 
works. The population of Malaga is 135,000. The sights of the 



MOROCCO TO ALGERIA. 55 

city are not many nor great ; but there is a really grand and im- 
posing cathedral built of a hard brown stone, which takes a good 
polish, and ornamented and faced in parts with different colored 
marbles. Only one of the towers has been completed, and from its 
summit a splendid view may be had of the city, the surrounding 
hills and distant mountains, the harbor and the shipping. The 
architecture of this church is of various schools ; there are many 
and prominent Corinthian columns without and huge pillars bor- 
dering the nave within. The ceiling is beautifully carved in many 
concave domes like those pertaining to Norman architecture. The 
wood-carving in the choir is also good. There are some excel- 
lent paintings. This vast and massive cathedral was begun by 
Philip II. (1527). The neighboring Episcopal Palace has a fine 
marble facade above and about its doorway. The Alameda fur- 
nishes about the only shade of the city, has a curious marble 
fountain, and forms a very agreeable promenade, though the beg- 
gars — hideous cripples and diseased people — are most annoyingly 
importunate here and elsewhere throughout the city. The market 
I found especially well supplied with fish and vegetables, and with 
fruits — Muscatel raisins, figs, almonds, chirimoyos (or custard-ap- 
ples), olives, pomegranates, lemons, oranges, loquats (or Japanese 
and Chinese medlars, which were brought over by the Moors more 
than four hundred years ago). A tramway built and owned by 
an English company runs from the railway station through the 
town to a suburb called Caleta, where most of the rich merchants 
and the consuls reside. I got a very good breakfast with mountain 
wine (Valdepeflas) at a fine large hotel near the Alameda. Around 
the courtyard, with its pretty marble fountain in the centre, were 
comfortable lounges and tables for refreshments, both wet and dry. 
The hills about Malaga are all vine-clad. The trade of the 
place consists principally of wine, olive oil, raisins and the well- 
known grapes. Malaga is besides famous for its mild and even 
climate, there being here none of the sudden and violent changes 
so frequent in the Kiviera. It is consequently much resorted to 
by invalids in winter. At eight in the evening our steamer left 
for Melilla, like Tetuan a Spanish town, though in Morocco. 
From Malaga our cargo consisted largely of wine and raisins. 
We experienced a very bad cross-sea, and had a terribly rough 
night of it, nearly everybody being sea-sick. In the morning 
early I went on deck and saw a range of rugged and bare moun- 
tains similar to Apes' Hill, opposite Gibraltar. The sea was still 



56 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

so high that the captain decided to pass Melilla — where the landing 
is at all times more or less difficult — and go on to Nemours, which 
is a little more sheltered, though here also in heavy weather ves- 
sels must run for cover to the Zaffarin islands or the harbor of 
Benie Saf to the eastward. We passed then the Cape of Tres 
Forcas, Melilla and the small Zaffarin islands, all looking rocky, 
steep and bare of vegetation. The islands belong to Spain. "We 
reached Nemours about noon. This is the first seaport within 
the limits of Algeria to one coming from the west. The boun- 
dary between Algeria and Morocco is but twenty miles dis- 
tant. We dropped anchor in an open roadstead perhaps half a 
mile from shore. Before us, facing a fine semi-circular beach 
at the base of a range of rough, rocky hills, stretched the little 
village, which numbers only about 2,500 inhabitants. To the 
right were? some richly-cultivated fields covering the steeply-slop- 
ing ridge, and at the water's edge a low stone fort mounting a few 
cannon. Among the houses of the village one noticed especially 
only some barracks, the Custom-house, a church and a sign which 
read : " Cafe du Nord." On the steep, rocky cavernous hill to the 
eastward lie the ruins of an old Arab town. On the ojtposite 
headland is a lighthouse, off which in the bay stand two curious 
upright rocks, much worn by the ocean, which are quite pictur- 
esque and which are known by the title — as good as any — of 
" Les deux Freres." From Nemours a diligence runs daily to 
the old Moorish capital of Tlemcen in about eleven hours. From 
Tlemcen you may take the rail to Oran, or on to Algiers, if you 
like. A great swell rolls into the roadstead of Nemours and there 
being no pier, landing is difficult even in what is termed good 
weather. The cargo is shipped in great flat-bottomed lighters. 
On the eastern corner one sees the beginnings of a breakwater, be- 
hind which the boats get a little protection from the swell. We 
remained about three hours, engaged in loading sacks of wheat. 
To the eastward extended a range of precipitous cliffs, all battered 
and worn at their base into deep caverns, arches and bastions. 
We left for Oran at five in the afternoon and arrived there about 
two o'clock the next morning. 

Upon going on deck I found we were lying at the stone quay 
of a commodious harbor formed by a long jetty extending from the 
western shore towards the east. Near us were several steamers and 
a number of small trading- vessels. The quay was covered with 
large casks of wine, and bales of Alfa fibre or Esparto grass. 



MOROCCO TO ALGERIA. 57 

There is considerable trade in these, and in wheat and marble, 
with England. This Alfa fibre is said to be almost the sole vege- 
table produce of the vast high plateaux of the interior. It is used 
in the manufacture of paper, and for making mats, baskets, etc. 
As to the wine, of which there are both red and white varieties, 
the quality is said to be as good as the quantity is considerable. 
It is universally used in Algeria, where at the hotels you may pur- 
chase it for two francs a bottle. It is also very largely exported to 
Bordeaux, where it is " manipulated " and afterwards exported as 
the celebrated vintage of that country. The wine which is sold in 
Paris as Algerian wine is too often only that largely mixed with a 
wine manufactured from dry raisins. So that it was without won- 
der I learned that the most promising culture in which the Alge- 
rian colonist generally engaged was that of the vine. But I must 
speak of the general appearance of Oran as viewed from the har- 
bor. The city was close at hand rising on a steep slope of moun- 
tain in a sort of triangular form. On the summit of a high and 
precipitous hill to the right was the Fort of Santa Cruz, below 
which was a little chapel with a tower surmounted by a colossal 
statue of the Virgin, said to have been erected to commemorate 
the cholera year of 1849. The fort contains several 85-ton guns, 
which were mounted only with the greatest difficulty, the hill 
being above a thousand feet in height. To the eastward of the 
city are other cliffs quite as high. On every knoll and advan- 
tageous point are French forts. The fortifications were formerly 
confined to the wall of the city, which still stands, but they are 
now mostly at a distance. It was in the immediate neighborhood 
of Oran that the French had so long a continued war with the 
fierce hill tribes commanded by the famous Abd-el-Kader. Seen 
from the harbor there scarcely seems a level square foot of land in 
Oran. The city is entirely French in character. You observe to 
the right a great hospital, which is capable of accommodating four 
hundred soldiers. Beyond this is the Kasbah, the old Citadel, the 
lower part of which is used as a barrack. Further to the left on 
a prominent knoll stands the Chateau Neuf, a part of which is 
used by the general commanding the division, and the remainder 
as a barrack. Then again, still further around to the left, you 
have the large Civil Hospital, holding some six hundred patients. 
But to see the old portions of the city, built in the ravines and 
under the hills, you must leave the steamer. You will find these, 
many of them, connected with the nearer quarters on the breezy 



58 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

heights, by great stone staircases occupying the width of the 
streets. You will remark the almost entire absence of trees and 
the difficulty with which anything more than date-palms, fig- 
trees or oleanders are made to flourish. You will also notice 
everywhere the copying of names familiar in Paris, as the Boule- 
vard Malakoff, Rue Arago, etc. 

The Custom-house examination is brief and superficial, and 
entering a barouche drawn by the thin, wiry horses of the colony, 
you ride up a good road, cut more or less from a cliff, to the eastern 
and highest part of the town, to the Place d'Armes, a small square 
with a garden in the centre, and surrounded by stores of two or 
three stories. On one side stands the finest building in Oran, the 
Mairie or City Hall, built in the modern Parisian stucco style, and 
containing in the interior a very fine staircase of marble and onyx, 
which are obtained in the province. You are shown the mountain 
to the eastward of Oran whence comes the marble, which is be- 
lieved to be none other than the celebrated Marmor Numidium 
obtained by the ancient Komans, and which is said for beauty and 
variety to be the finest that the world contains. The colors are 
quite extraordinary : thus we have a creamy white, a pure ivory 
tint, a distinct rose and a lovely yellow. Frequently you have a 
combination of many of these, giving the appearance of peacocks' 
plumage. These marbles moreover admit of being easily worked 
either in large masses or in the most delicate ornamentation, and 
it is said that trinkets may be made of the rose-colored variety to 
so closely resemble coral as to quite deceive the casual observer. 
There is a company of 'buses in Oran, but the place is far too 
steep to admit of a tramway. Cabs are however always available. 
For long rides into the suburbs three horses harnessed abreast are 
used. A noticeable characteristic of the streets is the enormous two- 
wheeled drays, drawn by " string " teams of four, five or six great 
mules and bearing sometimes as many as ten huge casks of wine. 
The drivers of these drays are always Spaniards. The mules come 
also from Spain. The collar of their harness is ornamented by a 
curious leather horn projection, which is covered with rows of 
bells. Carts with diminutive donkeys are an important street fea- 
ture, as are also the gay uniforms of the French soldiers and the 
prancing horses of the officers. For the rest Oran has much the 
appearance of a small town in the south of France. The shops are 
well supplied and attractive, many of the best of them being kept 
by Jews. Of course you everywhere find large cafes, with their 



MOROCCO TO ALGERIA. 59 

many rows of chairs facing the streets and covering the sidewalks. 
The leading hotel, situated on the Place d'Armes, is large and 
comfortable, with its great courtyard, its Moorish parlor and its 
long dining-room having a pleasant outlook towards the port and 
gulf. Arabs you behold here and there, but must visit their spe- 
cial quarter to see many of them. The population of Oran is 
given as 00,000, about equally divided into three parts, as follows : 
one third French ; one third Spanish ; and one third miscellaneous, 
as Jews, Mohammedans and others. These numbers of course in- 
clude a large French garrison here and in the immediate neighbor- 
hood. Oran is about 220 miles east of Gibraltar and 600 southwest 
of Marseilles. It is the capital of one of the three great political 
divisions of the province of Algeria. It is a place of strong strate- 
gical importance to the French, who have now occupied it sixty 
years and who have quite recently supplied all its forts with the 
most modern guns and other war implements. Next to its mili- 
tary character and value comes its commercial importance. But 
other than from these standpoints it contains little of interest for 
the traveller. If he have time, however, he may pass a pleasant 
day in visiting the cathedral of St. Louis, the Grand Mosque, the 
Theatre or Circus, and the environs. One of the most interesting 
rides from Oran is that along the coast to the westward, to the 
point of Mers el Kebir, where there are a village, fort, docks, etc. 
The road is cut out of the solid rock for a great part of its length, 
in one place even passing through a tunnel. You have a fine 
view of the sea all along and pass Les Bains de la Reine, a warm 
spring containing large quantities of salt and magnesia. These 
baths are much resorted to for the cure of rheumatism. There are 
several swell cafe-restaurants along the road. The fort occupies 
the site of one built by the Romans and has undergone many vicis- 
situdes. The French have built another fort above Mers el Kebir, 
which is armed with two 14-ton guns. There is a subterranean 
communication between these forts. The jutting out of the point 
forms a secure and excellent harbor, with deep water. Here the 
foreign men-of-war are accustomed to lie. But the most interest- 
ing excursion from Oran is to Tlemcen, the Pomaria of the Ro- 
mans, a city contemporaneous with and not less illustrious than 
Granada, with a population of 150,000, the seat equally with the 
Moorish cities in Spain, of civilization, commerce, trade, and the 
capital of a powerful nation. It is reached by rail and lies to the 
southwest of Oran about one hundred miles. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE AFRICAN GRANADA. 

I left Oran at five in the morning for the town of Tlemcen. 
At the station was a long train of mixed classes and of goods vans. 
The carriages were very small, though the road was of a fair gauge. 
They were not entered from the side but from the ends, though 
iron transverse railings prevented a continuous walk through the 
train. In the first and second class were three compartments to 
each car — one first and two second, the latter being all open. The 
third class was also open and confined to a single car. The loco- 
motives were large and powerful. But the speed attained was very 
slow, not over fifteen miles an hour, and the stops at stations were 
frequent and often long. The railway system of Algeria and Tunis 
is very extensive, it being the intention of the government to have 
a continuous line from the city of Tunis to the borders of Morocco, 
with frequent branches connecting with the seaports and the dis- 
tant towns of the interior. The stations are neat edifices of stone, 
either cut or rubble, and the whole business of transportation seems 
as well arranged and executed as it would be in France. There 
were many passengers of the second and third classes travelling in 
our train but almost none in the first. The road to Tlemcen runs 
south and then west, the city itself being distant only about thirty- 
five miles from the Mediterranean. The country from Oran ap- 
pears to be a general though irregular slope upwards to Tlemcen. 
I might premise by saying that the natural, like the political, 
divisions of Algeria, are three in number. You have first a region 
of undulating cultivated land extending from the shores of the 
Mediterranean from fifty to one hundred miles into the interior — 
this is styled the Tell ; next you come to the High Plateaux, vast 
plains separated by parallel ranges of mountains, increasing in 
height from the Tell, and then decreasing towards the Sahara — 
this is mostly the pasture land; lastly you come to the Sahara, 

60 



TEE AFRICAN GRANADA. 61 

which is of two characters — (1) plateaux of low sandy soil and (2) 
rocky steppes, with depressions filled with sand. The city of 
Tlemcen is situated in the first-mentioned division but is nearly 
surrounded by distant mountains which might properly be classed 
in the second. We soon left the suburbs of Oran and its environ- 
ing orchards of olives and other fruits, skirted a great sebkha or 
salt lake, lying east and west upon the left hand, and reached a 
town called St. Barbe de Kelat where we changed cars, as the 
Oran train pursues the main road eastwardly to Algiers. As we 
progressed I observed that the land was rich though not very well 
cultivated. A great deal of it seemed covered with nothing more 
than Alfa grass (used in paper making), and artemisia herb. There 
seemed to be only villages on the road, and though the region was 
dotted here and there with farms and dwellings, much of it pre- 
sented a scene of desolation. The produce and export of this dis- 
trict consists almost altogether of Alfa fibre, wheat and tan bark. 
There are Konian ruins scattered at intervals along the route, but 
nothing of any very special interest until you reach Tlerncen. 
The first town of any great importance is called Sidi-Bel- Abbas, 
the country around which is very fertile, producing fine wheat and 
a very good quality of tobacco. The town, which has a population 
of 18,000, is surrounded by a wall, with four gates. It has a very 
important strategic position, and quite one-half of it is occupied 
by the military, there being accommodations for 0,000 men. It is 
also the centre of the alfa trade. At the little village of la Tabia 
we turn off directly to the west for Tlemcen, the other road con- 
tinuing on south for about fifty miles to the town of llas-el-Ma. 
The line was built in this direction with the hope of getting some 
of the traffic from the neighboring Empire of Morocco. From la 
Tabia onwards to Tlemcen the road passes through a hilly and pic- 
turesque region of rugged and rocky mountains, which are quite 
treeless, as indeed is very much of the colony. Nearing Tlemcen 
there is a fine piece of engineering to be witnessed in the winding 
of the road for a considerable distance into, around and out of the 
cul-de-sac of a great valley strewn with rocks of calcareous tufa 
and stratified cliffs a couple of thousand feet in depth. At the 
extreme end of this valley are the cascades of El-Ourit, which form 
an object of interesting pilgrimage to the citizens of Tlemcen. 
There are quite a number of these cascades, which are small as to 
volume of water, while some of them appear to be over one hun- 
dred feet in height. But still they form altogether a pretty pic- 



62 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ture, with their surroundings of precipitous rock and huge cliffs of 
tufa hollowed and honeycombed in fantastic caverns and recesses, 
with the wild cherry trees which line their banks, and the pellucid 
pools into which they fall, and with the adjoining background of 
dark, rocky, barren hills. We go on through carefully irrigated 
and cultivated fields, and pass many rich orchards of apple, pear, 
peach, almond, fig, orange and olive trees, and then reach the city 
of Tlemcen. This is pleasantly situated on the northern slope of 
a low range of mountains, about 2,500 feet above sea-level. It was 
once the capital of Abd-el-Kader. From the time of the Romans 
and the Vandal invasion it has passed through extraordinary politi- 
cal vicissitudes. Its chief interest at present to the traveller lies 
in its Roman and Moorish architectural remains ; otherwise it is 
the ordinary native town, modernized and semi-civilised by the 
French. Its population, like that of Sidi-Bel-Abbas, is put at 
18,000. While its situation is very beautiful, its climate cannot be 
highly commended, for it is very unequal, the changes are sud- 
den and frequent, the heat is very great in summer and snow occa- 
sionally lies upon the ground for as much as two weeks in winter. 
An omnibus of a sort of Noah's ark pattern, and with three horses 
pulling abreast, conducts one from the railway station to the hotel. 
Arrived here you are surprised at the enormous bunches of white 
grapes which the vines covering the courtyard bear. You find a 
plain but fairly comfortable hotel, setting a good-enough table. 

Obtaining the services of a capable Arab guide, named Miloud 
Koujabak, I started forth to view the sights of the city. The 
Arabs do not seem like the Moors of Morocco for the reason that 
they are more civilised, nor does Tlemcen seem at all like a Moor- 
ish town, because its streets have been straightened, broadened, 
macadamised and lighted (by kerosene burners) by the French. 
Moreover the natives are obliged to daily clean and sweep the 
streets, under immediate and severe penalties. These remarks ap- 
ply especially to the Arab and Jewish quarter. In the European 
part you do not seem to be at all in the vicinity of an Arab town. 
For besides the large number of French troops stationed here, 
there is a large civic following, and the shops and cafes and dwell- 
ings again recall to you those of a small town in the south of 
France. My guide first took me to the shops of the weavers, 
some of the special manufactures of Tlemcen being gay-colored 
blankets and red shawls. Leathern articles and carpets are also 
specialties of export. From these shops, where we saw the men at 



THE AFRICAN GRANADA. 63 

work with most primitive looms, we went to the Arab baths. 
These are hot-air baths, similar to those known as " Turkish." 
You enter through a long narrow hall a corridored court upon 
the floor of which are spread thin mattresses, and here you ob- 
serve many men, some sleeping, others talking ; some taking 
coffee, others dressing. In a neighboring corridor is the sweating- 
room. I found this very dark and partly filled with natives going 
through the well-known processes of this luxurious bath. The 
floor was of stone and the walls of tiles. The temperature was not 
very high. The natives pay for these baths, according to the qual- 
ity and quantity of attention received, all the way from five sous 
to two francs. Taking cups of fragrant coffee we departed, going 
next to the mosque of Sidi Abraham or Lord Abraham, that is 
not of so great interest as the neighboring tomb of this saint, 
which contains a small courtyard of old pillars and several tomb- 
stones. About and around the horse-shoe entrance to the tomb 
proper are some very old tiles, mostly of yellow and green colors. 
The interior contains the tomb of the saint and of an assistant 
saint which are surrounded by many banners and rows of gayly 
ornamented candles, the gifts of pious pilgrims. Very singular 
indeed it seemed to a traveller just from Morocco, where the giaour 
is not even allowed to enter a street leading to the tomb of a mara- 
bout or holy man, to enter this tomb ami walk about and examine 
everything at leisure, shod in the conventional European fashion. 
From here we went to the Place d'Alger, one of the best squares 
of the city, where a large open-air market was being held. The 
great variety of vegetables, fruits and nuts especially attracted my 
attention, though hardly less so than the cosmopolitan character 
of the buyers. In this square is shown you the mosque of Sidi 
Ahmed Bel Hassan el-Ghomari, which is small, and now utilized as 
a school where the Arabs are taught the French language and 
rudiments of knowledge. The exterior has been restored and not 
in chronological or even good taste, but in the interior is one of 
the most beautiful productions of Moorish art I have anywhere 
seen. It is the plaster arabesques around the mihreb or niche in 
which the Koran is usually deposited, whose artistic perforations 
produce the exact effect of a lace handkerchief. They also contain 
traces of their original coloring. In variety, richness and refine- 
ment this arch and its facade is by a competent authority said to 
be probably nowhere surpassed. The date of this work is inscribed 
upon the centre of one of the arches — 696 a. h., or 1318 a. d. 



64 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

The mosque is supported by six columns of Algerian onyx and 
nearly all the walls and arches have been covered with the plaster 
arabesque decoration which still remains in good condition. On 
another side of this mosque stands the City Hall, not a strikingly 
imposing building but the lower rooms of which contain a sort of 
archaeological museum of Eoman and Moorish remains. Here you 
find many old Arabic tombstones, tile mosaics, pillars of Algerian 
onyx, slabs bearing tumulary inscriptions, and several rough- 
hewn round stones — some weighing as much as 250 pounds — cata- 
pult balls, believed to have been used during the great sieges to 
which Tlemcen was subjected by the Moroccans during the 14th 
century. These relics were all obtained from Tlemcen and its 
immediate neighborhood. 

Perhaps the sight which most interested me within the walls 
of Tlemcen was its chief mosque the Djamaa-el-Kebir, which oc- 
cupies an entire large block on one side of the Place d'Alger. 
Its exterior presents no attractive features, other than great walls, 
many-peaked roofs and a not extraordinary tiled minaret. But 
entering one of its seven gates, and putting on the clumsy pattens 
which are furnished you, you walk slowly around and through its 
many long corridors. You are surprised at its large number of 
seventy-two columns — all of them square, save two round ones of 
onyx — which are for the most part disposed in four or five rows 
joined by arches which are round and plain, save a few which are 
pointed or fluted, while a number are decorated on their inner 
sides by plaster arabesques. The carpeting is of gay-colored alfa 
mats, the ceiling of plain cedar wood, painted red. The corridors 
are hung with many-colored lanterns and with simple oil lamps. 
These are of modern manufacture, but in nearly the centre of the 
corridors hangs an immense bronze and iron chandelier, which 
would hold hundreds of candles. This is suspended by a great chain 
and is very old. The mihreb is finely ornamented with arabesques 
and has a very graceful arch. On it is the Moorish date 530, cor- 
responding to our 1152. In the courtyard, with its bubbling 
fountain and its trees full of singing birds, are many paving slabs 
of onyx. A great incongruity it seemed for me to be walking 
about this mosque with clumsy pattens while I still wore my hat 
and carried my umbrella. But the pious adherents of many 
religions, occidental as well as oriental, are not seldom incon- 
sistent. There is a small but interesting mosque immediately out- 
side the walls to the northeast of the town. It is known by the 



THE AFRICAN GRANADA. 65 

name of Sidi-el-Halawi, the Sweetmeat-maker. The mosaics on 
its minarets are especially fine. But the chief interest is in its 
eight low columns of onyx, with the Moorish capitals which sus- 
tain its arches on the mihreb-side of the court. Its carved ceil- 
ing is also of interest. Around and about this little mosque is a 
small collection of mud huts inhabited by negroes. 

The most interesting excursion that can be made in the imme- 
diate neighborhood of Tlemcen is that to Mansourah, about one 
and a half miles to the west. On your way to this place you pass 
the remains of two of the three lines of fortifications by which the 
city was originally defended. The third line is all gone but the 
French walls are said to follow its general course. Such of the 
walls and towers as are still standing seem built of a sort of con- 
crete of mud and stones, sun-dried and almost as durable as burnt 
brick or stone. Leaving Tlemcen by the Fez gate you pass first 
near the road a large reservoir, built with walls of concrete and 
strengthened with buttresses. Further on you pass what was once 
probably a very beautiful gateway in one of the old series of walls, 
but which has been restored in so free and careless a manner as to 
have nearly lost the great charm it once possessed. You soon 
after reach on a hill to the left the ruins of what was once a very 
large mosque. The walls still standing are made of concrete but 
the mosque tower is made of cut stone. Only one side and parts of 
two others now remain, and these have been restored and strength- 
ened by the French in a very incongruous style, one wholly like 
that of a modern Gothic or Episcopal church. But the part of 
the original that still stands — without its full height — easily per- 
mits it to be called the most beautiful architectural monument of 
Moorish times in Algeria. The proportions of this tower are per- 
fect, and the decorations rich and original. The upper part is 
ornamented with blue and green tiles, and a few r of many onyx 
columns yet remain in their proper situation. About a mile and 
a quarter to the southeast of Tlemcen, on the slope of a hill, is a 
small Arab village which contains the famous mosque of Sidi Bou 
Medin. The road nasses through an enormous Arab cemetery 
and you notice everywhere about you the customary low head and 
foot stones. In ascending the hill on which the mosque is situ- 
ated I paused several times to enjoy the magnificent prospect of 
town and plain and distant mountains there presented. The 
scenery much resembled that of Central Italy. The plain seemed 
exceedingly fertile, and was besprinkled with beautiful dark olive 



66 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

groves. The white dust of the French macadamised roads could 
be clearly traced for a long distance in several directions. It is 
even said the sea may be beheld on a clear day. I was reminded 
of the famous Vega of Granada. A Moorish porch of painted 
woodwork gives access to the mosque. But first you enter the 
koubba or dome of the tomb of Sidi Bou Meddin, who was the 
patron saint of Tlemcen. This good man was born at Seville in 
1126 A. d., and after travelling all over Spain and Algeria, and 
reaching as far east as Baghdad, eventually died and Avas buried 
at Tlemcen, in his seventy-fifth year. The interior of the tomb is 
covered with fine old arabesque work and contains besides the 
tomb of the saint that of a friend and disciple and many silk ban- 
ners, votive candles, ostrich eggs, chandeliers and e\en a French 
clock. The cenotaphs are covered with rich brocades, and the 
walls are hung with pictures of Mohammed's birth-place at Me- 
dina and his burial-place at Mecca in Arabia. In the courtyard 
is a deep well, the marble coping of which has been nearly worn 
away by the chains fastened to the bucket. You have a low stair- 
case to mount to reach the adjoining mosque whose doorway is 
surrounded by very beautiful mosaics of glazed tiles, said to have 
come from Fez, in Morocco. The roof of the portico is formed of 
the honeycombed pendatives so frequently occurring and so much 
admired in the Alhambra. The original colors are gone and 
have been replaced by a coating of whitewash, but the effect is 
hardly less curious and beautiful. I was at once reminded of the 
criticism of a traveller at Granada, that the domed ceilings seemed 
formed of snow-balls which had been thrown and remained fixed 
there. The large double doors were partly covered with fine 
bronze plates, the design being a geometric laced pattern. The 
huge knockers are especially noticeable. The roof and walls are 
all decorated with plaster work of the most delicate curves and 
sharpest angles. The painted wooden pulpit was the gift of Abd- 
el-Kader. Next the mosque on the western side is the medresseh 
or college, with more fine arabesques and a domed roof of open 
wood- work. The place was full of small boys sitting in a circle 
and conning loudly a few lines from the Koran which were written 
upon pieces of pasteboard. Their teacher, an old man, was en- 
gaged in walking about among them, and in vigorously applying 
a stout stick he held in his hand. These bits of pasteboard are 
changed from day to day and so continuing the boys learn much 
of that part of the Koran which contains the duties, laws and 



THE AFRICAN GRANADA. 57 

etiquette of everyday life. But such a babble as they made ! It 
was difficult to see how anything could be committed to memory 
even in a poll-parrot fashion, in such a manner. The old teacher 
followed me to the door and by tapping sharply on the side of a 
column called to my mind the fact that he feared I was about to 
forget a parting ceremony always interesting to him — viz., the 
bestowal of a small fee. I returned in the late afternoon to Oran, 
having greatly enjoyed my brief visit to the African Granada. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE "WHITE CITY." 

Ojst November 24th, at ten o'clock in the morning, I left by 
rail for Algiers, a ride of twelve hours, as we were not due until 
ten at night. The distance is 263 miles, and this is the first rail- 
way constructed in Algeria. In this comparatively short distance 
we were to make fifty stops, most of them but a couple of minutes 
in duration, though a number were of five and one even of twenty. 
So that you may easily discern that the speed is slow, and the 
journey on the whole a tiresome one, for the scenery is not espe- 
cially striking and in fact is quite monotonous, except at one point 
where you get views of a high mountain to the south. The chief 
impression that you receive of the country between Oran and Al- 
giers is that of smoothness both in the plain through which for 
the most part the line runs, and in the neighboring low hills. The 
railroad could not have been very costly, for there are no deep 
cuttings or high fillings, no great bridges or steep grades. You 
simply roll along the plains, with ranges of hills following parallel 
on either side, twenty to thirty miles distant from the Mediterra- 
nean. You do not notice any trees to speak of, other than culti- 
vated ones, that is, there are no woods or forests. The whole face 
of the country is bare and brown, but after the rains it would cer- 
tainly seem like another region. It appeared to be devoted mostly 
to vineyards and fields of grain. The Arabs were ploughing every- 
where, as in Morocco. The stations were the merest hamlets and 
villages. The largest town upon the road is Blidah, of about 9,000 
inhabitants, which is only thirty miles from Algiers. Orleansville, 
about half way, which is down upon the maps in large type, has a 
population of but 2,500. Scattered about the country you see occa- 
sionally farm-houses of French origin, and, rarely, a small Arab 
village of mud-walled and grass-thatched huts, surrounded with 
hedges of thorns as in Morocco. Attached to our train was a 



THE " WHITE CITY:' gg 

dining-car, in which a good breakfast and dinner were served dur- 
ing the day. At other times, the car was utilized as a cafe by the 
colonists and army officers who were en voyage. The third-class 
cars were full of Arab passengers. At the stations great efforts 
seemed to have been made to secure some shade by planting the 
eucalyptus, pine, fig, and other trees. The first town of any im- 
portance which we passed was called St. Denis du Sig. It has 
about 7,000 inhabitants and is the second in size on the road. 
The country hereabouts was very fertile, owing however almost all 
its fertility to careful irrigation. This is effected by obstructing 
a neighboring river, the usual course resorted to in Algeria. The 
French call the method a barrage or dam. That constructed near 
the town of which 1 am speaking contains 18,000,000 cubic metres 
of water. The next important stop was at Perregaux, where the 
line from Arjeu on the Saida, and on into the desert 250 miles, 
crosses the main line. A few miles from Perregaux there is a 
great barrage, forming an immense lake capable of containing 
38,000,000 cubic metres of water. Occasionally these vast dams 
have given way under the pressure of exceptionally high floods, sub- 
merging the whole district, drowning hundreds of people, and 
destroying farms, gardens, bridges and roads. The country is of 
course watered by canals extending from these great barrages or 
artificial lakes in every direction. As we went on to the east I 
noticed especially the great numbers of koubbas of local marabouts 
as in Morocco. From the principal stations upon the road omni- 
busses and diligences run to other towns in the interior. At Reli- 
zane another road, from Mostagnem on the sea, crosses the main 
line and runs to Tiaret towards the southeast. There are Roman 
ruins distributed over this section and near Orleansville, but noth- 
ing that need detain the general tourist. Ten or twelve miles 
beyond Orleansville we had very fine views to the southward of one 
of the highest peaks in Algeria, Kef Sidi Omar, 6,500 feet above 
the sea. At Adelia the line passes through a tunnel over a mile in 
length, and reaches its highest elevation, about 1,500 feet. Blidah, 
the largest station on the road, is beautifully situated on the slopes 
of the Atlas mountains, and surrounded by luxuriant orange 
groves. It is a thoroughly French town, with barracks for 3,000 
troops. Reaching Algiers at its southern extremity, I was attracted 
first by the colored lights of the lighthouses in the harbor, the 
scattered lights upon the steamers in port, and the long line of gas- 
lights upon the Boulevard de la Republique facing the quays, in 



70 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the station of which we soon drew up and, for a wonder, on time. 
Soon thereafter I entered the omnibus of one of the leading hotels, 
which soon deposited me at a doorway faced by a fountain, a flower 
market, clumps of bamboos and rows of date-palms and other 
tropical trees. 

Viewed from almost any point of the compass Algiers is an ex- 
ceedingly picturesque and attractive city, though its situation is 
such as to prevent a grand prospect of the whole from a single 
spot. The city, situated on the western shore of a large semi-cir- 
cular bay of the same name, has the general form of an irregular 
triangle, of which one side is formed by the seacoast and the other 
two run up a steep hill which faces the north and northeast. The 
houses rise gradually behind each other so that each has a view of 
the sea from its roof or terrace. The buildings are all white ; it is 
said they are whitewashed six times a year. In fact, so very white 
is the prevailing tone of the city that from a distance it resembles 
a chalk cliff. The Arabs poetically compare it to a diamond set 
in an emerald frame. Hence also its appropriate sobriquet of 
" White City." The shores of the bay on either side of the city are 
covered with rich and luxuriant gardens in the midst of which 
stand many handsome French and Spanish villas and Moorish pal- 
aces, and on the hill lying to the south, called Mustapha Superieur, 
many fine large hotels, and the summer palace of the governor- 
general. The most striking view of Algiers is naturally from the 
sea but there are other views nearly as good, as from the Kasbah 
on the north and from the hills to the south. The survey from 
the Citadel is over the town and port and away across the circling 
bay of Algiers to a splendid range of hills and over and beyond 
these to the snow-capped mountains of Djurjura, a branch of the 
great Atlas range. The city is divided into two great sections, the 
old town and the new. The former is peopled with Arabs, Jews, 
Spaniards and negroes, the latter with French. This quarter 
occupies the lower and more level parts of the city along the harbor 
front. The native section extends from this up to the Citadel which 
crowns the hill, and is about five hundred feet above the sea-level. 
The modern French town is regularly laid out with elegant public 
buildings, squares, shops, hotels, boulevards and six-story dwellings. 
The streets are generally macadamised, though sometimes paved 
with wood. Many of the sidewalks pass under the buildings in 
the form of arcades. The best shops are located in a street of this 
kind, which is also the fashionable promenade. 



THE "WHITE CITY." fl 

The harbor is artificially formed by two long jetties of huge 
concrete blocks which extend from the shore and leave an open- 
ing of about a thousand feet. They enclose some 225 acres, with 
an average depth of forty feet. Within this ample area ships and 
steamers are moored quite near the quays, which are very large and 
perfectly flat, with room for the Custom-house, steamer offices and 
warehouses, the railway station, and great quantities of merchan- 
dise. From here two inclined roads lead up a low cliff to what is 
the finest street in Algiers, the Boulevard de la Republique, a wide 
avenue lined with five and six story houses, used as hotels, or 
dwellings above, and offices, shops, and cafes facing the arcades 
below. The street has been built on a series of great arches all 
along the front of the city. These are forty feet in height and 
contain two series of vaults, forming about 350 warehouses, stables, 
wine vaults, shops and dwelling-houses. This great work was con- 
structed by Sir Morton Peto during six years and at a cost of 
$1,500,000. He obtained the concession from the city for ninety- 
nine years, and it is still the property of an English company. 
These great arches and the large, handsome buildings of this boule- 
vard, extending for nearly a mile, constitute a very incongruous 
facade for a city of such a thoroughly oriental cast. It presents a 
strong contrast between the work of an enlightened and that of 
a semi-barbaric race ; for in leaving here you are in two minutes 
among another people and as it were in another land, where you 
find no regularity of houses or streets and behold veiled women 
and turbaned men, instead of silk hats and modes Parisiennes. 
Overlooking the bay, harbor and shipping this boulevard is a favor- 
ite promenade and lounging-place : here at any time of day you 
may witness the detail of business in a bustling commercial port. 
Steamers are coming and going and frequently men-of-war, or the 
yachts of some rich English or American pleasure seekers making 
the delightful cruise of the Mediterranean. It is said that the 
harbor, quays, the inclined road and the boulevard have cost the 
city of Algiers a total of $40,000,000. The French town is bril- 
liantly illuminated at night. In one of the squares which is sur- 
rounded by a double row of plane-trees and contains an equestrian 
bronze statue of a former governor-general, the brass band of one 
of the Zouave regiments performs on Sunday and Thursday after- 
noons from four to five o'clock. This square is completely flagged, 
but another opening on one side into the Boulevard de la Repub- 
lique is filled with dwarf date-palms and bamboos and with many 



72 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

trees and plants not only of Algeria but of the Far East. On this 
square stands the Municipal Theatre, a large and not inelegant 
building supplied with visiting troupes, and being in turn devoted 
to grand, comic or bouffe opera, to drama or to comedy. This 
Opera House has four galleries and is handsomely decorated in 
bronze and old gold. Up-stairs is a foyer with large and rather 
" risky " paintings at either end. There is also a very common- 
place bar and a small, dingy smoking-room. Between the acts 
nearly the entire audience temporarily leave the auditorium. The 
prices of admission are very reasonable. 

Algiers is the seat of a French governor-general, of an arch- 
bishop, of high courts, councils and tribunals, the headquarters of 
an admiral and of a general commanding a corps cVarmee. Its 
population is put at 70,000, of which number 30,000 are French, 
20,000 Mohammedans, 5,000 Jews, and 15,000 Europeans of various 
origin. There are published in Algiers twelve daily newspapers, 
seven weekly, four magazines, and two illustrated periodicals. 
There is one journal published in Arabic, which is the official 
organ of the French government, printing the laws and regulations 
concerning the Arabs. 

Besides the various ancient fortifications surrounding the city 
or located in the immediate neighborhood — built by various Beys 
since the year 1516 — there are modern French works consisting of 
solid masonry rampart, earthen parapet and ditch, strengthened 
by bastions, and with huge gates prefaced by drawbridges. Several 
old forts round and about the harbor have also been restored and 
improved. There are moreover several isolated batteries which 
have been constructed on the heights to the south of the town, 
which are all armed with improved modern artillery — so that now, 
with its thousands of troops and a few iron-clads in port, it may 
justly be termed " a fortified place of the first-class." Algiers has 
frequent steam communication with Spain, France and Italy. 
There are daily departures, save Mondays and Fridays, from Al- 
giers to Marseilles and vice versa, and the passage by the fastest 
vessels of the Coinpagnie Generate Transatlantique occupies only 
twenty-eight hours. So that adding the railway journey by the 
" train rapide," you may go from Paris to Algiers in forty hours 
or from London in forty-eight hours. 

One of the first things which strikes the visitor to Algiers is 
the diversity of nationalities and the great variety and picturesque- 
ness of the costumes which you see in the streets — and more espe- 



THE "WHITE CITY:' 73 

cially in those of the French town, for here with the modern sur- 
roundings the contrasts seem the greater, the mingling of the 
Orient and Occident the more extraordinary. To begin with you 
have a Parisian sort of omnibus plying in every direction, in which 
soldiers, civilians and Arab men and women elbow each other ; 
then you see the huge Spanish two-wheeled drays with their 
" string " teams of five or six great mules ; next pass some dandy 
French officers; then a swell barouche with French ladies and 
gentlemen and an Arab driver. Then on foot you notice Zouaves 
and Turcos and Spahis; Jews with their dark-colored turban, 
braided jacket, sash and long gown, with blue stockings and 
" congress " gaiters ; handsome Moors in dress of many colors, neat 
and spruce; Arabs wrapped in white haik and burnoose; ugly 
negroes from the Soudan ; dark, coarse Spaniards and Maltese, all 
jostling one another in the crowded streets, yet (as in the main 
thoroughfare of Tangier) no one seeming to take any special notice 
of any one else. But most striking of all are the costumes of the 
Moorish women, clothed all in white, with enormous baggy trou- 
sers, slippers, generally without stockings, the haik being drawn 
over the forehead to the eyes and the lower part of the face bound 
with a handkerchief up to the level of the eyes. The next most 
remarkable are the Jewesses, with bare olive-tinted face, and with 
silk robes stiff with gold embroidery and extending from the neck 
to the slippered feet. Then imagine what a contrast to these is 
presented by the French woman in her latest mode — a mode that 
she terms " a dream " — as she jauntily threads the mazes of the 
arcades. Yet when one who has become somewhat accustomed 
to this strange scene walks through the old native town it becomes 
of great, and in my case of very great, and never ceasing interest 
and delight. Of course the native is in every respect the very 
opposite of the French town just sketched. Here the streets are 
very narrow and very irregular, and so steep as to be wholly inac- 
cessible for carriages. In fact so narrow are some of them that 
it is about all that two pedestrians can do to pass each other. And 
so steep are they, they have to be descended by staircases and one 
of them, the longest leading up to the citadel, is ascended in part 
by some four hundred steps. Their very narrowness however 
makes them shady and cool, while naturally excluding some air 
and the best ventilation. Many of the projecting balconies all 
but touch each other and frequently houses are joined above the 
streets by arched passage-ways. The streets are roughly paved 
7 



74 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and have a central surface drainage. They have been everywhere 
lighted with gas and in many cases named by the French. Still 
even now the houses are so much alike that about the only differ- 
ence the stranger detects is in the brass-work of the doors or the 
carvings surrounding them. 

The Arab houses are, like those generally in Mohammedan 
lands, built with an open square court inside, which is surrounded 
on the four sides by a gallery of arcades, with pillars which sup- 
port the roof or an upper gallery, where there is one, as there usu- 
ally is in the large towns and cities. The rooms of this lower 
court have more or less of a public character, such as kitchens, 
storerooms and baths. The private apartments are similarly situ- 
ated on the floor above. One wonders that these rooms are always 
so narrow while being disproportionately long. They are seldom 
more than twelve feet wide. It is said that the rafters by which 
the roofs are upheld are made either of kharoub-wood or pine or 
cedar and that it was the scantling of these, in times when the 
communication with other countries was less easy than it is at 
present, that regulated the width of all Arab rooms. All the 
houses are flat-roofed, and the tops are used as terraces for drying 
clothes, for seasoning grain, and especially for the private exercise 
of the women. Years ago, under the Turkish government, these 
roofs were in fact reserved for the women alone, no male Christian 
being permitted to go on a terrace — not even his own — during the 
daytime. 

The shops in the native town are small and dark, though much 
larger than those in Fez. They are however, like the latter, 
merely recesses in the walls of the houses, the customer generally 
standing outside and buying from the street. The cafes and 
restaurants, of which there are many, are of course an exception 
to this rule. In the shops you find all sorts and kinds of indus- 
tries and many mechanical arts in actual process. Here may be 
seen an embroiderer at work with his gold and silver threads ; next 
the shoemaker with his kid slippers of every color and variety ; 
then a jeweller hammering out his bangles and great circular ear- 
rings ; next the seller of the rich and valuable attar of roses and 
jasmine scents ; now you are before the stall of a potter or of a 
worker in brass ; next you pass a barber shop and see a man sitting 
cross-legged on a bench and having his head shaved ; then you 
hear a great babble of children's voices and peering in at a little 
window, behold a pedagogue with a circle of young Arabs squatting 




Dwelling of a rich Arab, Algiers. 



THE "WHITE CITY:' 75 

about him and conning their tasks aloud ; while beyond is a cafe 
with a row of Arabs drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and play- 
ing draughts. As you progress the scene is ever changing and 
always of interest, for the Arabs do most of the things in public 
that we do in private, and it is easy to see from the street very 
many odd domestic manners and customs. With us the exterior 
of our houses is apt to be rich and lavishly ornamented, but in 
Northern Africa the exterior is exceedingly rough, plain and often 
dirty and dilapidated, while the interior will be gay and elegant. 
But the West and East are at extremes in nearly everything for 
that matter. The Arab restaurants differ from those in Europe 
and America and agree with those in China in that it is the 
kitchen which is exposed to public view, while the dining-room 
is hidden — by a mat suspended from a bamboo pole. Here you 
will always see the popular dish kouskous, or kous-koussou, the 
meat and farinaceous dish used also in Morocco, together with 
many sorts of cakes and sweetmeats. The national drink of the 
Arabs is supposed to be water, as that and that alone is what the 
Koran ordains, but the town Arabs are becoming civilised (!) and 
now often indulge in absinthe, anise-seed and other alcoholic 
beverages. You will frequently see them thus engaged sitting in 
the fashionable cafes of the French quarter. 

The Arab cafes of Algiers are similar to those of Tangier, 
without the music, though they are occasionally favored by stroll- 
ing players. They are simple, long, narrow rooms containing 
benches and mats, a few small tables, and a cooking-stove in one 
corner round which small coffee pots and cups are hung. On 
some neighboring brackets are small hasheesh pipes, awaiting the 
smokers of a preparation of hemp and tobacco. The walls are dec- 
orated with poor chromos and Koran maxims in flowery arabesques 
and cheap frames. There are pretty certain to be several tiny 
mirrors and one or more birds in cages. Each of the cafes possesses 
its own clientele. One is patronized solely by Moors from Morocco, 
another by water-carriers, another by fishermen, and another by 
soldiers from the corps of Spahis or Turcos. In short, the native 
streets seem curious rendezvous for Old Testament patriarchs and 
the actors in the Arabian Nights. Nothing in them calls up the 
European town of Algiers so near at hand. All is mysterious, 
dreamy, poetic, romantic. 

There are now only four mosques in Algiers that are regularly 
used. They are all accessible to Christians, either by removing 



76 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the shoes or by placing pattens under them. The largest and 
oldest one is situated in the French quarter near the harbor. Ex- 
teriorly it is marked by its minaret and by a row of beautiful 
white marble pillars, each about two feet in diameter, joined by 
graceful dented Moorish arches. In the centre of this arcade is a 
handsome marble fountain. The interior is a large rectangular 
hall divided into aisles by columns united by semi-circular arches. 
The floor is covered by straw matting, which is also wrapped 
around the columns to a height of four or five feet. The mosque 
is said to cover an area of 2,000 square metres. Its appearance 
is rather bare, the only furnishing being the carved mimbar or 
wooden pulpit for the Imam or leader of prayers, and the chan- 
deliers and hanging lamps. At one end is the usual highly 
ornamented mihreb. At the entrance is a building which serves 
as a court of justice, where ordinary cases are heard by the cadi. 
What is called the New Mosque is situated on the Place du Gou- 
vernement. It is surmounted by a large white dome and four 
small cupolas. Its graceful square minaret now contains an illu- 
minated clock and very incongruous it looks. This mosque is 
kept scrupulously whitewashed, and is a very prominent object. 
The fountain at the entrance is used by the Mohammedans for 
their ablutions. The composition of the staff of a mosque is gen- 
erally as follows : An Oukil, or manager of the funds and dona- 
tions, a sort of collector and paymaster. A Chaouch, or assistant 
Oukil. An Imam or chaplain for the daily common prayers, which 
are five in number. A Khetib, who recites the prayer for the chief 
of the government on Friday (the Moslem Sunday) of each week. 
An Aoun, who carries the sceptre of the Khetib. Two Mueddins (or 
more properly Muddenin, which is the Arabic plural for Mueddin), 
who call the Faithful to prayer from the top of the minarets. Two 
Hezzabin, readers of the Koran. Two Tolbas (plural for Taleb), 
readers of litanies and religious commentaries, and a Mufti, an 
expounder of the law. Leaving the bustling streets of the modern 
town you turn out of the bright sunshine into the solemn gloom of a 
mosque, where the only sound is the monotonous nasal chant of the 
reader and the plashing of the fountain in the courtyard. Grave 
men are noiselessly coming and going; some are washing their 
hands and feet at the fountain, others are passing through their 
genuflexions or lying prone upon the matting. These are all busi- 
ness men praying during working hours, and quite as earnest as if 
their occupation was a commercial transaction of vital importance. 





/'^Si& t I 



Arab Dancing Girl. 



THE "WHITE GITY." 77 

And this they do five times every day. There is a roseate op- 
portunity here to make some invidious comparisons with other 
religious sects who dwell far to the north and west of Barbary — 
but I will not be so unkind. 

One evening I paid a visit to a native Assaoui or religious per- 
formance, and an Arab dance. The Assaoui are the fanatic mem- 
bers of a religious confraternity who claim to be exempt from 
pain through the intervention of their saint Sidi Mohammed Bin 
Aissa. These religious performances are occasionally given in the 
native town for the benefit of Europeans, who pay each ten francs 
as entrance money and are expected also to give individual fees 
during the progress of the entertainment. I was ushered up 
several long, steep and narrow staircases and entered a small 
pillared court or rather room, for it was roofed. Here next the 
walls on two sides, the European audience was crowded, and upon 
the others were the native performers and musicians. Doors led 
from the court into several small rooms, one of them being fitted 
up as a parlor. Here the directress of the entertainment greeted 
us. She was a middle-aged woman, short and very fat, her face 
being wholly bare. Her dress was stiff with gold embroidery, and 
jewelry seemed to shine and glisten from every part of her person. 
Around her neck were circlets of great gold coins, and across her 
forehead rows of smaller ones. It was the style of dress made 
familiar to us in Egyptian and Turkish pictures. Three or four 
dancing girls were hardly less richly dressed. One or two had 
some pretension to a certain style of beauty, though lacking in 
expression and vivacity. The musical instruments consisted of 
violins, mandolins and tambourines, and a number of different 
styles of drums, the strumming upon which gave the time for the 
dancers. The music produced was quite barbaric — noise seemed 
its most prominent characteristic. The centre of the little court or 
pavilion was reserved for the performers. The dances were simply 
a series of postures and revolutions, the upper part of the body, 
the neck and the head being held stiff and erect and the motion 
being altogether from the waist downwards — in short, it was what 
has been vulgarly called " la danse du ventre," which is so popular 
in the Levant. The girls dance with bare feet upon a rug, but 
their costumes being very long and baggy, their steps cannot be 
seen. It is a very monotonous performance and the noisy music' 
soon becomes tiresome. In addition to their loud playing all the 
musicians sing at the top of their voices, so that an awful row is 



78 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

produced. The hostess herself favored us with one dance. Next 
came the Assaoui, one of whom, supposed to be inspired, rushes 
in, wags his head and distorts his body furiously over a fire, 
upon which incense is frequently thrown, and then with a yell 
begins a frantic dance, his body bending forwards and backwards 
and rotating with great violence. He is soon joined by others 
who continue the mad dance until they fall exhausted or are 
stopped by the headman of the order. They next proceed to go 
through a variety of bodily tortures which appear to be genuine 
and to be performed under the influence of fanatical mania, the 
men seeming to be, as they claim, quite insensible to pain. They 
force out their eyes with iron spikes, they sear themselves with red 
hot iron, and they eat live scorpions and serpents, chew broken 
glass and the leaves of the prickly pear cactus. In these eating 
tricks they make noises like ravenous wild animals, calling loudly 
for " more, more." It is a curious exhibition, which you do not 
regret having once witnessed, but would not care to see again. 

There are a number of public buildings in Algiers which ought 
to be visited for the beauty of their architecture and the interest of 
their contents. Among these are the Cathedral, the Archbishop's 
Palace, the Library and Museum, and the Palace of the Governor- 
general. The Cathedral is built on the site of an old mosque and is a 
curious combination of Moorish and Christian architecture. It con- 
tains much delicate plaster-work, many beautiful marble columns, 
stained-glass windows, and clever carvings in wood. Adjoining 
the cathedral is the palace of the Governor-general, which was 
formerly the abode of one of the old Beys and has been left as 
nearly as possible in its original condition. The ancient tile work is 
especially noteworthy. The courtyard is ornamented with plaster 
busts of the famous Frenchmen — mostly generals — who have helped 
to make Algeria the fine province she is to-day. The larger draw- 
ing-rooms and the dining-rooms are decorated in a very ornate 
Moorish style. These remarks would apply equally as well to the 
palace of the Archbishop, which is situated in the same street and 
nearly opposite. The library and museum are in the immediate 
neighborhood in another fine old palace. The museum is on the 
ground floor and the library above. There are some 20,000 vol- 
umes and 1,000 Arab manuscripts. In the museum are many 
fragments of ancient sculpture, sarcophagi, mosaics, etc. 

While at Algiers I took two long carriage drives in the neigh- 
borhood of the metropolis — one to the southeastward, the other to 



THE "WHITE CITY:' 79 

the northwestward. The first soon brought me to Mustapha Su- 
perieur, about two miles from the city and the favorite residence 
of the winter visitors to Algeria. Being at a considerable eleva- 
tion above the sea, it is said to be healthier there than in town. 
We pass the Governor-general's summer palace on the left, with 
its beautiful gardens, and have charming views of the Mediterra- 
nean and of the country about and city behind us. Turning into 
the interior we perceive that very much of the land is covered 
with vineyards. The road is good and we continue through nu- 
merous pretty little villages, but finally we turn back and pass 
through a long narrow ravine, in order to see some curious old 
rock carvings and caves, apparently of mediaeval Christian work. 
"We pass on until we at last emerge near the shore of the bay. 
Here turning again to the north and towards Algiers, we soon halt 
and alight in order to visit the celebrated Jardin d'Essai — a splen- 
did, large botanical garden, full of plants from all parts of the 
world. The garden is about fifty acres in extent, supplied with 
excellent walks and carriage drives, with greenhouses, ponds, 
fountains, a bandstand and cafe. It was formerly in the hands 
of the government, but now belongs to a private company. It is 
consequently largely of a commercial character, that is to say, 
here ornamental plants are cultivated in great quantities and ex- 
ported to the principal cities of Europe. One of the handsomest 
streets is called the Avenue des Platanas — plane-trees. The great 
variety of palms, magnolias, bamboos and other Asiatic plants is 
especially noticeable as are also the plants from Australia, the 
eucalypti, araucarias and acacias. There is also a pretty wood of 
Canary pines. 

Leaving the Jardin d'Essai we pass next upon the left a large 
Arab cemetery, surrounded by a high wall. A sign at the en- 
trance, in French and English, notifies the visitor that the ceme- 
tery is closed to men on Fridays between sunrise and sunset. 
This is because on that day — the Mohammedan Sunday — the 
cemetery is visited by great numbers of Moorish women. The 
Arab graves bore little head and foot stones and were outlined by 
low slabs of marble or sandstone. The headstones were covered 
with long Arabic inscriptions. At either end of the graves of 
rich and poor alike were little receptacles of the same stone, in 
which water is kept for the use of birds. This is a peculiar act of 
charity, which the Arab believes will be highly recompensed in 
the next life and will tend to bring his family good luck in this. 



80 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

It is a universal custom. Further on to the right of the road, is 
the Champ de Manoeuvres, which contains a race-course as well as 
a drill-ground for the troops. 

The other drive which I took was to the west and then to the 
north and east and hack to the city. I found the country very 
fertile and given up to grain and the vine. The road returns by 
the seacoast, where it is occasionally cut from the hills or built out 
upon the rocks of the shore. Along this route there were fre- 
quently little cafes and hotels for people coming from Algiers for 
fishing, bathing and general picnicking. We next pass the large 
suburb of St. Eugene, where is the general French cemetery and 
where very many Jews reside. There are here also many pretty 
French and Spanish villas, and up upon the hill in a conspicuous 
place is the Church of Notre Dame d'Afrique. This is built in a 
Byzantine style of architecture and is very gay in appearance. 
Within the church above the altar is a black Virgin and around 
the apse the inscription, " Notre Dame d'Afrique prie pour nous 
et pour les Mussulmans." Going on we notice several seminaries 
and Cardinal Lavigerie's former country residence. Omnibuses 
run out here as also in several other directions from the city and 
at frequent intervals. 



CHAPTEK X. 

THE GORGE OF THE CHABET. 

From Algiers I went by rail to the town of Bougie on the sea- 
coast, intending to proceed thence by carriage through the famous 
Chabet Pass, and so return to the railway at the town of Setif, and 
then go on to the city of Constantine. The distance from Algiers 
to Bougie is 102 miles and the actual time taken in accomplishing 
this by the fastest train is eleven hours, or fifteen miles an hour, 
including stops. On leaving the metropolis we followed the coast 
precisely to the eastward. It was the direct line to Constantine, 
with a change of train at about two-thirds the distance to Bougie. 
Our train was composed of freight, baggage, post, and three classes 
of passenger cars, drawn by a huge locomotive, which certainly 
seemed capable of making a greater speed than, say, twelve miles 
an hour, especially as it burned, as do all the locomotives in Al- 
geria, the prepared coal — coal in the shape of bricks and mixed 
with tar. This comes, I believe, from Cardiff, Wales. Our Arab 
passengers were confined to the second and third class cars, though 
there is no law specified or understood to prevent their entering 
the first-class carriages provided only they are willing to pay. In 
general, I may say of the day's journey that while it was in a 
sense tedious on account of the slow speed and long and frequent 
stops, it was a most interesting one as regards the remarkable en- 
gineering of the road, and the really splendid scenery. However 
the speed (or lack of it) had undoubtedly its good element, for 
railroad accidents are never known in Algeria, although so frequent 
in Europe where " trains rapides " abound. "We started from the 
great broad quay facing the harbor and, as I have said, for some dis- 
tance skirted the beautiful bay of Algiers, affording us splendid 
views of the hill of Mustapha, with its many fine hotels and villas 
standing boldly out with their white walls against the masses of 
soft green verdure. We rounded the beautiful Jardin d'Essai, and 

81 



82 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

I had my last look at its fine avenue of plane-trees. Then we 
turned into the interior and passed plains of richly cultivated land, 
the market gardens of the capital, and to these succeeded great 
fields of grain. Next we entered a more hilly region and here the 
vineyards predominated, the steepest hills seeming to be monopo- 
lised by the luscious fruit, some of which is used naturally for the 
table, but more for the making of the very palatable and wholesome 
wines of the country. Algeria may yet prove to be one of the 
great vineyards of the world. Huge tracks of ground are broken 
up with the steam-plow and planted with the vine. The province 
even now supplies more than one-tenth as much wine as the whole 
of France, about 1,500,000 hogsheads, and has over 300,000 acres in 
vineyards, including young plantations. In France and Spain the 
ravages of the phylloxera — the insect that infests the leaves and 
roots of the vine and through its innumerable puncturings quickly 
destroys the plant — have assisted in rendering the culture of the 
vine in Algeria most profitable. Fruits and flowers are strictly 
prohibited at the Custom-houses of Algeria in order to protect the 
cultivation of the vine from the introduction of the phylloxera. 
As a rule, the wine is more suitable for blending with French 
wines than any other. The province of Algiers is said to supply 
the finest quality and the wine most suited to drinking at table. 
Oran, as I have mentioned, produces wine much valued for blend- 
ing, and taking the place of Spanish wines. Those of Constan- 
tine are not generally so good, but a considerable quantity is pro- 
duced. Tunis has also lately entered the field and has attracted 
large capital to be invested in vineyards. All these wines not only 
possess good body and exquisite bouquet, but are very delicate and 
pleasant, resembling in no respect the rough and unpalatable prod- 
ucts of Hungary and Australia. The white wines have hitherto 
not succeeded so well as the red. This is to be attributed to the 
fact that the fabrication of them is more difficult and far more 
costly, and consequently they are put on the European market at 
a price which militates against their competition with small Ger- 
man and Moselle wines. Of the " champagne " made in Algeria 
the less said the better, and the same remark will apply to all sorts 
of liqueurs. 

At Menersville, about thirty-five miles from Algiers, we may 
be said to have fairly entered the district called Kabylia, inhabited 
by the Kabyles, the fierce mountain tribes which were so hard at 
first to subdue by the French and which have since so often re- 



THE GORGE OF TEE CHABET. 83 

volted. In entering this district we for the most part left behind 
the direct evidences of French occupation, otherwise than as 
manifested by the railway and its European style of stations, and 
a splendid macadamised highway which all day ran nearly parallel 
to the track. I may say here that one of the first things that 
strikes the traveller in Algeria is the number and excellence of the 
common roads, which are as skilfully made as those of the ancient 
Romans. They are always macadamised and as smooth and hard 
as those of a park, provided with capital stone and iron bridges, 
stone drains, barriers, tunnels, etc. They were a prime military 
and strategical necessity for the French, and the best means of 
opening up and connecting the different parts of the country until 
they could be followed by the railway, and even then their useful- 
ness was by no means at an end. Though the natives seem gen- 
erally to take kindly to railway travel, of course that by the roads 
and especially by cross-roads between the different lines must be 
greater and must continue. 

As we journeyed on through a hilly region the soil seemed very 
fertile, and fig and olive trees and vineyards disputed the surface 
between them. Everywhere quantities of the Australian eucalyptus 
and other trees have been introduced on a large scale with a view 
to increase the rain supply. We soon reached and followed the 
course of a small river — the Isser — shallow now at this season, but 
its great, bare, rocky bed showed what it was in times of heavy 
rains and floods. We passed through a grand and beautiful gorge, 
with this stream at the bottom. The cliffs on each side were very 
steep and rocky, and approached each other at one place to within 
about three hundred feet. The railway was cut and built up along 
one side and the highway upon the other. Both passed through 
tunnels, the railway many of them, and over fine stone and iron 
bridges, both arched and columnar. The great gray rocks, the 
brawling stream, grottoes above it, little Kabyle villages of stone 
huts, with grass roofs, crowded together and perched aloft in the 
shallow valleys, occasionally luxuriant vegetation, with the constant 
winding of the gorge, gave to this section of the railroad very great 
interest, both from the work presented by nature and by man. 

As we proceeded there were less frequent evidences of cultiva- 
tion and of habitation, other than the scattered hamlets of the 
Kabyles. All the workmen upon the railway were of this class, a 
wild, hardy looking set of men clothed in rags and very dirty. 
We also saw them trudging on foot and on donkeys upon the road 



84 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and loitering about the stations. On leaving the gorge of the 
Isser the line passes around the eul-de-sac of a great valley in 
horse-shoe form and running through many tunnels makes a 
considerable ascent in a comparatively short distance. Then upon 
the left we had for several hours a fine view of the splendid Djur- 
djura range, its steep, rocky summits and serrated edges appearing 
very clearly in the bright blue atmosphere. The contrast between 
the bare gray precipitous rocks and the brown, dotted with green, 
of the sub-hills and plains was as pleasing as picturesque. From 
now on to Bougie we were gliding through a mountainous and 
very diversified country, as different as possible from the all but 
universal j)lains crossed in coming from Oran to Algiers. Occa- 
sionally the very white tomb of some dead-and-gone Mussulman 
saint would give a zest to a too prosaic landscape. We passed 
through several so-called forests — we would call them simply woods 
— composed of wild olives and cork or other kind of oak tree, or 
otherwise the country would be covered with scrubby bushes of 
various sorts, capital cover for partridge, bustard and such like 
game. There was much good pasturage, though I saw no other 
animals than goats. At about 7 p. m. we reached Bougie. 

One of the chief products of the neighborhood is wax, which 
is made into candles. It is even said that this town gave its name 
to the French word for a candle. I had regarded this as interest- 
ing but probably false, until I learned it was according to the best 
authorities. I was driven along a winding way from the sea to a 
small hotel placed in a hole dug from the steep hill-side, and saw 
in a semi-circle around me the lights of the town, and a dark range 
of mountains encompassing a bay. I mounted stony flights of 
stairs to a small but comfortable room. I afterwards returned to 
the first-floor and broke my fast in a large salle-a-manger, in which 
Arabs were sitting in their native costumes and speaking their 
uncouth tongue, but using knives and forks, and drinking claret 
and sipping coffee and cognac just like their civilized conquerors 
about them. Verily I said, this is a shaking hands of the Orient 
and Occident. And then I went to bed with so many droll fan- 
tasies in my head that it is a wonder no green toads or yellow 
hobgoblins disturbed my needed rest. 

The next was indeed to me a red-letter day, for on it I saw 
the famous Chabet Pass — the Chabet-el-Akhra, signifying the 
River of Death — one of the finest gorges in the world, and con- 
taining some of the most splendid scenery I have ever beheld. 



TEE GORGE OF TEE CEABET. 35 

The region is truly marvellous and recalls the grandest and loveli- 
est spots of Switzerland. At nine o'clock in the morning I left 
Bougie in a barouche, drawn by two small but sturdy Algerian 
horses, for the drive through the Chabet Pass to Setif, a distance 
of seventy miles, intending to devote two days to the excursion, 
remaining over night in a little village about half way and just 
beyond the gorge proper. A diligence covers the ground every 
day in about fourteen hours, but as it starts at 3.30 A. M., you lose 
much of the fine scenery, to say nothing of being cooped so long 
in a most uncomfortable vehicle, and often in too close contact 
with very objectionable native passengers. I therefore decided to 
take ;i private carriage and make the journey in two days as stated. 
We rattled down the narrow, tortuous streets and wound around 
the bay, keeping to the southeast and passing many little country- 
houses and vegetable and fruit gardens. The road was full of 
ragged and dirty Kabyles coming into town, and most of them 
bringing some sort of provision. I soon had fine views of the 
little town of Bougie, which is built on the slope of a steep hill in 
the form of amphitheatre peculiar to Algiers. Its little port and 
bay also remind one of those of the capital. But Bougie, unlike 
Algiers, is backed by a grand spur of mountains, the highest point 
of which is G,450 feet above the sea, and is topped by a koubba. 
It is a French rather than an Arab town, and is surrounded by a 
modern wall, and parts also of Roman and Arab walls are to be 
seen. A large Saracenic archway stands by itself near the harbor. 
To the left extend a series of gradually decreasing promontories 
which end abruptly in the sea in the red perpendicular cliffs of 
Cape Carbon. The site of Bougie is therefore most picturesque 
and beautiful. The great circular bay is backed continuously by 
a fine range of hills, which we skirted for several hours, the road 
follbwing the curve of the bay, and in parts being hewn out of the 
cliffs and built up with solid masonry on the sea side. Previous to 
reaching these points however the road was lined with vineyards 
for many miles. The neighboring hills were very pretty in their 
diversified outlines ; their lower parts seemed cultivated and the 
upper were covered with either trees or pasture. I noticed many 
cork trees and passed a great yard filled with stacks of the bark in 
pieces four or five feet long and one or two broad. Kabyles were 
engaged here and there in planing the rough exterior, making a 
uniform thickness of about two inches. The farm houses were 
neat little structures of stone and stucco, shaded as well as might 



86 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

be by eucalyptus trees and surrounded by orchards of oranges and 
pomegranates. But we soon left these behind, and rose to a height 
of more than a hundred feet above the sea, the road having been 
burrowed out of the great rocky cliffs, which descended sheer to 
the water. We passed through a cut in a bold promontory styled 
Cape Aokus, and soon after halted at a small inn — called " Rendez- 
vous de Chasse " — for breakfast. Goiug on still to the eastward 
we traversed a plain overgrown mostly with scrub, though with 
many fine clumps of cork, ash and lime trees. The hills were now 
covered with pines and cedars. Soon we made a distinct turn 
from the bay to the south and followed the banks of a small river 
called the Oued Agrioum. Next we came to the beginning of the 
gorge proper, where there was an inscription carved upon the face 
of a cliff, a few feet above the road, which read : " Ponts et Chaus- 
sees, Setif, Chabet-el-Akhra, Travaux Executes, 1863-70." Near 
this the driver called my particular attention to a sort of cavern in 
the rock which contained a small, but very life-like figure of the 
Virgin. At a distance the resemblance was most striking. 

Now we were actually in the gorge, and I feel that only a true 
artist or poet, not a prosaic and somewhat sated traveller, could do 
justice to its grandeur and beauty. The enormous gray rocky 
cliffs towered almost perpendicularly on either side, and seemingly 
not more than two or three hundred feet apart. The river, just 
filling the bottom of the ravine, roared and echoed. There was no 
evidence of any human life but there were great flocks of pigeons, 
a few solitary eagles and, further on — and most singular they 
looked among such savage surroundings — troops of great monkeys 
scampering from rock to rock. In several places I easily succeeded 
in throwing stones entirely across the ravine. There were many 
lateral valleys, some of which bore down beautiful silver ribbons of 
water. But so steep were the mountains that it required no stretch 
of imagination to readily believe that before the road was built not 
even an Arab could pass on foot. This roadway excites one's won- 
derment nearly if not quite as much as the gorge itself, for it is a 
masterpiece. It is not only everywhere hewn from the rock and 
built up with walls of solid masonry, but frequently the cliffs over- 
hang it to its outer edge and in one place it is actually tunneled. 
To prevent the friable land in some places from giving way thick 
rows of trees have been planted. The road runs from one hun- 
dred to four hundred feet above the torrent, from whose bed 
many of the mountains rise to a height of 6,000 feet. I was at 




View in the Chabet el Akkra. 



THE GORGE OF TEE CEABET. 37 

times strikingly reminded of scenes in the fiords of Norway, again 
of our own splendid Yosemite. The defile is nearly four and one- 
half miles in length. The road keeps upon the right bank for 
nearly half this distance and then crosses, by a fine curved bridge 
of seven arches, to the left side, where it continues to the end. 
Somewhere about the middle a great stone slab, which has fallen 
from one of the cliffs, lies in a slanting position by the side of the 
river. This has been inscribed as follows: " Les premiers soldats 
qui passerent sur ces rives furent des Tirailleurs, command es par 
M. le Commandant Desmaisons, 7 Avril, 1864." There is very 
little vegetation anywhere to be seen other than of shrubs and 
coarse grass, save along the edge of the stream, where are occa- 
sional thickets of oleanders. So tortuous is the gorge that you 
hardly ever can see more than a thousand feet at a time, and an 
exit in either direction seems an impossibility. The formation of 
the mountains would delight a geologist. You see enormous cliffs 
of very thin strata standing vertically. Many mountains are com- 
posed of huge laminae not only reared upright, but in vast flutings, 
that at a distance appear like giant pillars. Some of these cliffs 
are 1,500 feet in height. So narrow is the gorge and so high the 
cliffs and mountains that only a vertical sun can reach the bottom, 
and frequently so much do the rocks overhang the road that even 
at midday it seems quite dark. This road, as the tablet already 
quoted states, was seven years in building, and I was informed cost 
2,000,000 francs. Nearly 200,000 cubic metres of rock were blown 
up to cut through the granite cliffs of the pass. The breast walls, 
built of solid masonry, represent 16,000 cubic metres of construc- 
tion. More than 100,000 kilos, of powder were consumed in the 
works. There were altogether 12,000 laborers. The road was 
originally planned in order to shorten the route between Setif, a 
town of 6,000 inhabitants, and the sea, and to traverse regions less 
likely to be impeded by snow in winter. It is about sixty miles 
shorter than any other route. The road was traced by the French 
military engineers and subsequently built by the Administration 
of Bridges and Roads, as stated. So much for the practical facts 
of the gorge as utilized for a highway. As to its sublimity I doubt 
if it is surpassed anywhere in the wide world except in the Caucasus 
or possibly in Corsica. The scenery is certainly grand enough in 
itself to well repay a visit to Algeria, and makes more than am- 
ple amends for the monotony and dulness of the long railway 
journey from Oran to Algiers. We had been gradually ascending 



88 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

from the shores of the Bay of Bougie until at Kharata, near the 
southern mouth of the gorge, we had reached 1,300 feet. At this 
little village it is always cool and comfortable in the hottest days 
of summer as the gorge acts as a sort of wind-sail or funnel 
through which fresh breezes are always blowing from the sea. 
Kharata contains a comfortable little hotel, which I reached at 
five o'clock in the afternoon, much invigorated by the strong air, 
and my mind filled with visions and with a rich experience which 
will endure as long as life. 

At nine the following morning I left Kharata for Setif. We 
followed for many miles a most extraordinarily broken valley in 
which ran a small stream, bordered with oleanders. We soon 
crossed this on a well-made bridge. The hills continued most 
varied in outline and mixed in position. All their lower parts 
were carefully cultivated by the Arabs and it was curious to see 
on what precipitous slopes the farmers were ploughing, and how 
close to the edge of great precipices they would fearlessly go. 
The geological formation continued interesting. Strata of vary- 
ing thickness, though mostly in thin laminae and of varying 
colors, were not only lying at various angles but often vertically 
and in semi-circles. What mighty forces of nature must have 
been brought to bear here ! Many mountains were so strongly 
marked that you might easily have fancied the great flutings to 
be waves of the sea, and the vast heaps looked very like great 
sandbanks, with the marks of the billows which had washed them 
into position. Much of the rock was a hard sort of slate, some 
was gneiss, and more sandstone. There was evidence of great 
rain-washing and the denuded parts of hills showed the presence 
of many minerals. In fact, mines of iron, copper and argentif- 
erous lead ore have been discovered in this region, but have not 
been much developed or worked. We had splendid views behind 
us of the range through which the gorge of the Chabet makes 
its way and of Mount Babor, which is about G,500 feet above the 
level of the sea. I did not observe any large Arab villages but 
here and there a few scattered hamlets, wretched huts of stone, 
with straw roofs. The fields were mostly devoted to barley. The 
hills were treeless and entirely covered with scrub. The road 
continued a splendid sample of engineering skill, long detours up 
side valleys having frequently to be made in order to get on, and 
much excavation and abutment being necessary. We stopped for 
breakfast at a little village called Col de Ta Kitount. Shortly 



THE GORGE OF THE CHABET. 89 

before reaching this I saw on the summit of a hill the walls 
and buildings of a French fort, which resisted all the attempts 
of the Kabyles to capture it in 1871, during the great insurrection. 
It is 3,500 feet above the sea and must command a very extensive 
view. Just beyond the place at which I breakfasted there is a 
spring of ferruginous aerated water, which is bottled and sent all 
over the province. Going on, the Kabyle villages became more 
frequent. The fields increased in size and seemed very fertile. 
But the picturesqueness of the scenery gradually died away into 
smoothly-rounded hills of pasture or of grain. Several flocks of 
sheep and goats were seen during the day, but no herds of cattle. 
During the last five miles of our journey hundreds of Kabyles 
passed us. They were coming from a weekly market which is 
held at Setif and nearly every one of them bore either some sort 
of provision or merchandise. This market is said to be one of the 
most important in Algeria, and is a rendezvous where not only 
the Kabyle from the mountains and the Arabs from the plains, 
but even tribes from the Sahara meet to exchange their products. 
Sometimes this market is attended by as many as 10,000 people. 
At last we approached Setif and passing a large parade ground 
entered the modern walls through a handsome gateway, and for 
some distance drove by great barracks, storehouses, hospitals and 
officers' quarters. The citadel is walled off by itself to the north 
of the town proper. There are accommodations for some 3,000 
men. Passing these we entered the town, which seemed very 
modern, with its wide, tree-lined streets bordered with good 
houses, there being several arcades in which were many well- 
furnished stores and of course many cafes. The hotel I found 
fair, but the night very cold. A large fire was made in a porce- 
lain stove in the dining-room, and I observed fires also in many 
of the private rooms. Setif is 3,573 feet above sea-level and the 
change from the temperature of Bougie is felt most acutely. As 
I am now about to go on eastward to Constantine, I shall leave be- 
hind me the mountains and hills inhabited by the Kabyles and 
again enter the regions occupied by the Arabs. The latter 
generally keep to the plains, and from the district of Setif to 
Tebessa, a distance of about two hundred miles, there extend 
plains similar to those from Oran to Algiers, though at an 
average level of 3,000 feet above the sea. 



CHAPTER XI. 

CONSTANTINE. 

The following day I was obliged to rise at the nerve- depress- 
ing hour of 4 A. m., in order to take the train for Constantine, 
about one hundred miles distant. I was glad to find in the car- 
riage copper cylinders, about four feet long, filled with hot water. 
These are refilled from time to time during the journey and not 
only serve for warming the feet but the compartment. The route 
was through a great plain with ranges of mountains in view on 
either hand. So cold had it been during the night that the 
fields were white with frost and it was nearly eleven o'clock before 
a fierce sun in a cloudless sky could clear away the banks of fog 
which veiled us about. The country seemed equally divided be- 
tween scrubby pasture land and very fertile fields of grain. The 
Arabs were busily turning the soil with their crooked wooden 
ploughs. The one especially noticeable feature of the country 
was the entire absence of trees and even of shrubs of any sort of 
size. When there were any trees it was about the courses of the 
brooks and around the farm-houses and villages. These had all 
been planted, and were generally eucalypti, poplars and willows. 
At El Guerah we passed the junction of the line which runs 
south to the desert and Biskra, and a little further on, at 
Khroubs, we passed the junction of the main line proceeding to 
Tunis. At half-past eleven we reached Constantine. This is the 
third city in Algeria as to size and the importance of its trade — 
Algiers and Oran being the others. It has a population of about 
35,000. It is the great commercial centre of the interior of the 
province, having the most important corn market in Algeria. Its 
special manufactures are leather goods and woolen fabrics. The 
former consist chiefly of shoes, saddles, harness and various 
articles of embroidered leather; the latter of the ordinary gar- 
ments of the natives — haiks and burnooses — over 100,000 of 

90 



GONSTANTINE. 91 

which are said to be yearly woven here. The cloth used for the 
native tents is also extensively made. The chief exterior com- 
merce is said to be in various cereals and in wool. 

As we were going toward the north and nearing the railway 
station I got my first view of the city — a compact mass of small 
Arab huts backed by large several-storied French houses and 
these by great barracks and hospitals sloping sharply upwards 
in the distance. A few minarets with candle-extinguisher style 
of tops lent an oriental air, which, however, the great barracks 
rather emphatically counteracted. Leaving the station we crossed 
a deep chasm, with a fierce torrent at its bottom, upon a fine 
iron bridge of a single span with several arches of masonry at 
either end. We then followed an ordinary French street called 
Rue Rationale, and soon found a good hotel, facing a little square 
on which were also the market and theatre. I spent the remain- 
der of the day in walks about and around the city and in a drive 
in the suburbs. 

Constantine is one of the most picturesque cities in the 
world. It stands some 1,800 feet above sea level. Not only has 
it been made a fortress of the first order, but it would seem to 
have been originally indicated by Dame Nature herself for such a 
purpose. In short the grandeur and peculiarity of its site are 
nowhere else equalled. It is situated on an isolated ledge of 
rock, about a mile in length, by three quarters in greatest breadth, 
encircled on all sides by a ravine from 150 to 250 feet deep, and 
with a width varying from 15 to 400 feet. It is quadrilateral in 
shape and extends north and south, the northern end being the 
most elevated. It is connected with the surrounding land in only 
one place, on the western side, by a narrow isthmus, that is, ex- 
cepting by three low natural arches, which are not used as bridges, 
upon the eastern side. The rocky plateau which holds the city 
looks like a great island or a peninsula. I was at one point 
strongly reminded of Monaco, at another of the Yosemite, and at 
another of the grand canon of the Colorado. The splendid 
modern iron bridge by which I crossed covers the position and 
remains of several old Roman and Arab ones. The river Roum- 
mel surrounds it on the east and north, and its sides rise per- 
pendicularly nearly a thousand feet from the bed of this stream, 
which varies in depth from a few feet in the dry, to twenty or 
more in the wet, season. It is on the northwest, however, that the 
precipices are highest. Here are situated the barracks, hospitals 



92 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and arsenal, built close to the edge of a giant wall of gray rock 
which has a sheer descent of one thousand feet. This huge 
perpendicular cliff vividly recalls that termed El Capitan in the 
Yosemite. It is called Sidi Rached. From the summit you have 
a magnificent view of the fertile plains and valleys, called El 
Hamma, toward the distant mountains and the north. You may 
descend by a winding road outside the city to the bed of the 
stream, and then look up at the vast walls of smooth rock, appar- 
ently rearing themselves quite over you. Here also the river 
tumbles in its rocky bed in three beautiful falls, and just above 
them you behold one of the giant natural arches. Across the 
stream the rocky walls rise quite as precipitately, and out of their 
face a road has recently been cut and tunneled, which is to extend 
out over the plain, and which is appropriately styled the Corniche 
road. From it splendid views are obtained of the opposite city, 
of the deep and dark ravine, of the enormous cliffs, with their 
huge and massive strata, and out between, to the north, over 
the great plains and away to ridges of great mountains. It is a 
truly grand and superb scene. Above this road, on a slope of 
the mountains, stands a very large hospital, a prominent feature in 
almost every general view of the city. The rocks of the chasm 
are honeycombed in great niches and caverns, the home of myriads 
of crows, storks, jackdaws, hawks and occasionally of eagles. 
While passing through this ravine the river is very much nar- 
rowed and deepened, but both before and after it widens and 
shallows out over a great pebbly bed. The remarkable position of 
Constantine has pointed it out from the earliest times as a ready- 
made fortress, for it is really only accessible at the point of the 
isthmus, to which reference has been made. But while this is 
quite true and its history has been most romantic, yet it is the 
grandeur and picturesqueness of its appearance and environment 
that will chiefly attract the traveller. 

As to the city itself, it is divided into a French and an Arab 
quarter. The latter is quite as curious as that at Algiers, with 
its narrow streets in which the buildings nearly meet overhead, 
its many shops and natives seen at work with a great number of 
trades. The French quarter has its boulevards, its streets of 
necessary shops, its hotels, numerous cafes, and theatre. The 
barracks are capable of holding 3,000 men, and a strong garrison 
is always maintained here. The Place du Palais is the chief 
centre. Here is the cathedral, the old Palace of Ahmed Bey, 



CONSTANTINE. 93 

now the residence of the general-commanding, and several govern- 
ment offices and of course cafes. Near here is the Prefecture, 
the finest modern building in Constantine. The cathedral was 
formerly a mosque, and contains some fine tiles and stucco work, 
and a beautiful carved cedar pulpit. The old palace of the Bey 
is an excellent and a very curious example of Arab architecture. 
It is a large structure with three gardens, enclosed in three quad- 
rangles. Around these gardens, which are filled with palms and 
orange and citron trees and have pretty fountains loftily playing, 
are galleries of beautiful marble pillars. The walls are covered 
with splendid old tiles below, and curious frescoes above. All 
the doors are of carved and inlaid oak and cedar, and are real 
gems of Arab art. As many of the principal houses of Con- 
stantine were despoiled of their treasures of art by the Bey who 
reared this palace, you may imagine the incongruity of styles which 
has ensued. It is especially noticeable in the pillars surrounding 
the courts, scarcely two of which are alike, some being round, 
others square, octagonal or fluted, and many being spiral. There 
is the same diversity in capital and base, from the simple and 
severe Doric to the flowery and ornate Corinthian. Everywhere 
one notices quaint little closets or seats let into the wall or bal- 
conies for musical performers. The arches also, and the darkly- 
painted wooden ceilings, will excite admiration. There are many 
Roman remains scattered in and around Constantine — bridges, 
arches, walls, all built in the careful, substantial style for which 
this great nation was noted. The grand mosque is reared on the 
ruins of an old Roman temple. Another one however is more 
worthy of a visit. This contains marble steps, columns, and 
paved court. The pulpit is ornamented with marble, onyx, agate 
and other kinds of stone. 

Of course with its great natural ramparts and fosse Constan- 
tine is not circumvallated except in such parts as a sort of sustain- 
ing wall seemed necessary. In these cases you will notice frag- 
ments of old Roman and Arab walls built into the more modern 
French. The houses stand directly out upon the edges of the 
cliffs, seemingly in most perilous position, and especially is this 
true of the Arab dwellings. On each of the four sides boulevards 
have been built from which splendid views of the neighborhood 
may be obtained. On the southwest is a hill topped by a fort, 
and on all sides of the bases of this are suburbs of many-storied 
French houses. Toward the southeast is another height called 



94 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Mansourah, covered by great barracks, from which a remarkable 
view may be obtained. To the northeast the heights of Sidi 
Metjid command the city. Near the path which conducts you to 
the bottom of the great rocky cliff of Sidi Rached and the bed of 
the Eoummel is another which in a few minutes brings you to 
the warm baths of Sidi Mecicl. The water is of a sulphurous 
character with a temperature of 86° Fahrenheit, and is distributed 
through several private bathing-houses and two open ponds, the 
one for men, the other for women. They are surrounded by 
beautiful gardens and are much frequented by both French and 
Arabs. There is also in the neighborhood of the same path a 
flume which starting above from the Roummel is carried through 
tunnels in the rock and constitutes the water-power of several 
large flour and oil mills near the falls. One of the drives which I 
took carried me out of the city by the Porte Valee, or isthmus of 
land previously mentioned, between two squares planted with trees, 
and so on out to the remains of a Eoman aqueduct which once 
spanned the valley here. But five arches now remain. They are 
some sixty feet high and are built of huge blocks of limestone 
without mortar. They are in the usual grand style of the Ro- 
mans, and have been partially restored by the French. I re- 
turned by a great rock, from which it is said the Turks used to 
throw suspected or faithless wives. An inscription stands upon 
this rock, which is protected by a modern iron fence. From here 
a passage has been made by tunnel, a bridge and a path cut from 
the cliff around the southern extremity of the city. From the 
bridge you have an interesting glimpse of the ravine, whose walls 
here approach each other as near as fifteen feet, showing its great 
height and many turns and excavations. The historical interest 
of Constantine is as great as its topographical. It was the 
ancient Cirta, the seat of the Massessylian kings. It was the 
scene of the Jugurthine war, so graphically depicted by the his- 
torian Sallust. In fact, Sallust had here a magnificent summer 
palace and estate, where he was wont to come in his hours of 
leisure to combine the charms of philosophy with the more 
material pleasures of his life. Cirta was also celebrated in eccle- 
siastical as well as profane history. St. Cyprian was exiled here. 
Sylvain, primate of Africa, had a council here, at which the cele- 
brated St. Augustine assisted. But I am not writing history ! 

I left Constantine at 7.35 A. m. for Biskra, where we arrived at 
6.15 p. M. The distance being about 150 miles, the average speed 



CONSTANTIXE. 



95 



was less than fifteen miles an hour. We first went south past the 
two junctions of Khroubs and El Guerah, and then our course 
was southwest to Batna and to Biskra, the furthest point reached 
in this direction by railway. Leaving El Guerah we soon passed 
between two large but shallow salt lakes or marshes, covered with 
long grass and filled with wild fowl of many species, both geese 
and flamingoes being among them. We rolled on all day through 
a treeless, barren sort of region, some of the land being sown with 
barley but more of it devoted to pasture. I saw- many flocks of 
sheep and goats, tended always by one or two native boys. There 
were many small and scattered villages of the Arab farmers, 
most of them being simply low tents of very shabby and primi- 
tive appearance. We saw also all day many natives at work 
ploughing in the fields or travelling upon the highway, which 
the railway generally follows. There was at least one very fertile 
valley which we passed before reaching Batna : it was being culti- 
vated by French colonists. But the greater part of the journey 
was over a very arid plateau. Although we travelled in a plain 
more or less broken, w r e had ranges of mountains in view all day. 
At Batna we reached an elevation of 3,350 feet above the sea, and 
then continually descended until when we reached Biskra we 
were but 3G0. At about twenty-five miles from Batna we entered 
the valley of a small stream called Oued Fedala, which plainly 
indicated by its great dry bed that it was many times as large in 
the rainy season. Some of the hills hereabouts were covered with 
cedars. We followed along the stream for many miles through an 
exceedingly rough and sterile country. At El Kantara both the 
railroad and the highway pass through a very extraordinary gorge. 
The bare mountains of vertical strata, like the folds of a lady's 
dress, are here abruptly parted for a distance of about 1,000 feet 
and with a width of only 150 feet in the narrowest part. The 
river roars at the bottom. The railway passes largely in tunnels. 
The hills curiously enough dip towards each other on either side 
of the gorge, and this for many miles. Their color is reddish. 
They are of limestone partially filled with gypsum and quartz. 
The cliffs are broken into pinnacles and pillars and are strikingly 
desolate and wild in character, but as you pass out of the defile at 
its southern end a very great contrast meets the eye — a vast green 
sea of waving date palms. It is the oasis of El Kantara that 
forms this striking picture. Here is a forest of some 30,000 
date palms, interspersed with orange, mulberry, apricot and 



96 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

apple trees. There are three Arab villages in this oasis, one on 
the right bank and two on the left. Their total population is 
about 2,500. As to the palms they seem to form a dense glossy 
mass, and are everywhere surrounded by mud and stone walls. 
The line between sterile stony plain and green fertile oasis is 
very sharply drawn. A few miles from the end of this oasis we 
came to a fine iron bridge crossing the river just indicated and 
had here to leave our train and walk nearly half a mile to take 
another, as the track embankment had been carried away for 
the distance of over a thousand feet by a recent rise of the river. 
The rains are exceedingly heavy and the utmost precautions have 
to be taken for both the highway and the railway, but this 
spreading of the river over many hundred feet had never been 
imagined. Going rapidly on we noticed that cultivation became 
scanty and tufts of grass increased. The ground was everywhere 
covered with small rough stones. The hills shone and glistened 
in the setting sun. The limestone ranges became lower and 
lower, the bare hills of sand increased, the plain stretched away 
to the horizon with no special elevations. We saw many herds of 
grazing camels, many caravans upon the road and many encamp- 
ments of rough, wild and unkempt Arabs. I knew we were ap- 
proaching the borders of the great Sahara. At Biskra, the ter- 
minus, a big crowd had come to the station to greet their friends. 
Here were three omnibuses for the three hotels. I entered one 
and soon reached a large and comfortable two-story house built in 
a quadrangle, with windows looking outward and doors opening 
upon the court. Everything showed preparation for many guests, 
but the season had not begun, and I met not a dozen people at 
the rather formal table d'hote. I had heard that the amateur 
photographer had already spread himself pretty widely over the 
world, but I was rather unprepared to find indications of his 
presence on the borders of the Sahara, as evidenced by the follow- 
ing notice posted in my room : " Tourists having any photograph 
apparatus with them are begged not to use the towels for cleaning 
the objects of the apparatus. Towels soiled in this manner will 
be charged to the account of the Tourist." 



CHAPTER XII. 

BISKRA — QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 

I started forth early in the morning to view the sights of 
Biskra. From a small ledge of rocks near the hotel one can ob- 
tain a good general view of the town, the oasis, the desert and the 
mountains to the north. The latter which are steep, bare, and 
yellow and gray in color are called the Aures ; they correspond 
to the Audon of Ptolemy. These form a barrier to the north of 
the town, while to the south, the horizon of more than a semi- 
circle is broken only by the palms of one or two oases. The 
houses of the French are in the northwestern part of Biskra and 
near at hand ; the lower dwellings of the Arabs are almost hid- 
den by the palms. But a perfect prospect is had of the oasis 
generally, which is about three miles long and from 350 feet to 
half a mile wide. It is about two hundred miles distant from the 
Mediterranean. It is fed by springs. In the whole Algerian 
Sahara are about four hundred of these oases. The importance 
of each is as a rule measured by the number of its date palms. 
Biskra is one of the largest and has about 100,000. It has also 
6,000 olive trees, besides many fig, orange, lemon, citron, pome- 
granate, apricot and olive trees. The population of Biskra em- 
braces 7,000 natives, 1,000 French troops and about 1,200 Euro- 
peans, mostly French and Italians. Dates are the great staple 
commodity of Biskra, which is the emporium of the Sahara for 
the trade in this fruit. As many as 5,000 tons are annually sold 
in her market. Occasionally caravans of three hundred camels 
and fifty men arrive bearing little more than this nutritive and 
luscious product from the oases of the Sahara. The palms stand 
in such dense masses that at a considerable distance they resemble 
woods. Besides a general environment of mud walls the oasis is 
all divided up according to the several owners. Most of the date 
groves are in small holdings. A man who owns 10,000 trees is 

97 



98 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

here regarded as a rich man. The palms are very carefully irri- 
gated. Each tree is taxed by the government. The great 
bunches of dates are cut down in the months of October and 
November. Early in the year when the trees show signs of 
flowering they are cleaned and trimmed of dead leaves and wood. 
In March they are climbed by the Arabs who rub the male flower 
upon the great white buds to insure greater fructification. The 
tree is reproduced by slips. A good palm is said to yield on an 
average 120 pounds of dates, and an acre of palms should yield 
about three tons. There are a hundred sorts of dates but they 
may all be divided into two principal sections : the soft glutinous 
and the dry kind. Nine-tenths of the palms of Biskra bear the 
latter sort. The best kind are called deglatnour, which are large, 
soft, transparent and have a sweet musky flavor. The date as 
eaten here is of course not at all like the dried and pressed dates 
of commerce. It is a large, plump, tender and juicy fruit, one of 
that sort of which, like walnuts, one feels inclined always to take 
" just one more." 

The oasis of Biskra extends along the banks of a wide river, 
the Oued Biskra (now dry). On the opposite side of this are two 
smaller oases, which are considered as belonging to Biskra. 
Though connected with the French town is an Arab quarter and 
at a little distance a negro one, these do not form the whole town, 
which may be said to consist of five villages which are scattered 
through the oases. Biskra proper is surrounded by a wall and a 
ditch. The suburbs are without walls and are a vast garden of 
vegetables and grains. The town is laid out at right angles, with 
good macadamised streets and narrow sidewalks, well-drained and 
lighted, and this is true of the Arab as well as the French 
quarter. In the fort about five hundred troops are garrisoned. 
In front of the entrance to the fort is the Jardin Publique, a 
fairly good park of palms, acacias, mimosas, etc., which are kept 
alive by weekly fioodings, the surface being all covered with little 
embankments and canals of water. In a private garden near here 
is the very rare curiosity of a palm tree having six heads and be- 
ing in healthy condition. The market is held in and around a 
modern building erected in the middle of a square by the French. 
It was crowded with Arabs all dressed in white or what were once 
white, burnooses. I was surprised at the generally large stature 
of these men. They were swarthy, with scant beards, and amiable 
expression. The market contained a variety of provisions, in 



BISKRA— QUE EX OF THE DESERT. 99 

which dates, oats, barley, and vegetables and fruits seemed to pre- 
dominate. I saw many of the caravans coming and going, the 
camels with their curious movement and look of the head and 
neck like that of a turtle protruding from its shell. They bring 
chiefly dates in bags which they barter for European manufactures 
and provisions, money being of no use in the Sahara. In a fon- 
dak in the town I saw a large white camel, a very unusual color. 
It was employed only for riding and was valued at $100. Some 
of the best of the riding camels, which will cover one hundred 
miles a day, are worth double this sum. A saddle-camel in 
Biskra may be hired at from five to ten francs a day. The bag- 
gage or transport camel will carry two hundred pounds and costs 
about $50. The riding camels differ from these as much as a 
thoroughbred from a draught horse. They are very carefully 
bred, trained and managed by the Arabs. One of this kind once 
made the distance of 227 miles between Biskra and Ouargla, 
a town to the southwest, in thirty-six hours. Camels ordinarily 
eat grass and every sort of herb and shrub, but the better class 
are sometimes fed on dates. In winter they do not drink as a 
rule unless the weather is very hot. Their flesh is eaten by the 
Arabs and the tid-bit is the hump. 

Of course I visited the Arab quarter, and peeped into the 
always interesting shops. The houses are hereof one story with 
a terrace. The wood-work of the doors and roofs is of palm. 
There are usually no openings upon the streets save the doors. 
The people are a very amiable, industrious race. The women are 
generally seen unveiled. You notice large square towers scattered 
throughout the oasis. These are occupied by watchers to guard 
the dates when ripe. There are also on the sides of Biskra, as of 
Batna, towers of solid masonry, loopholed for muskets and with 
doors of iron half way up their walls. These have been built by 
the French to be used as outposts in the event of war. The fort 
at Biskra is however sufficiently large to shelter the civil popula- 
tion and to resist any attacks made upon it by the Arabs. The 
caid of Biskra has a very valuable collection of falcons which are 
used for hawking in the desert. I next visited the Negro village 
which is a little south of the Arab quarter. It is inhabited by 
Soudanese who were formerly slaves. The houses are of sun- 
dried brick and of most primitive character. I found all the 
little doors locked and not more than a dozen of the population at 
home. These people are very poor, and go out to work at about 



100 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

five o'clock in the morning, not returning before that hour in the 
afternoon. The few whom I saw were jet-black in color, and 
the women were loaded with, gold rings, earrings, bracelets and 
anklets, and dressed generally in gay colors. I need hardly add 
that both men and women were exceedingly dirty. 

I might here speak of the great prevalence of blindness in 
one or both eyes and of eye-diseases among the Arabs and the 
negroes. It is the same in Egypt and doubtless for similar 
reasons. My guide who, by the way, had only one serviceable eye 
himself, could not give me a satisfactory explanation. He attrib- 
uted it to the glare from the whitish soil, the blowing of the 
sand, and the great swarm of flies which continually hover about 
the face, and so persistently that the natives seem to become in a 
manner resigned, for you occasionally see distinct fringes of them 
clinging to their eyelids, and left quite unmolested. 

One of the sights of Biskra is the chateau and gardens of 
Count Landon, a French gentleman of fortune and education, 
who usually passes his winters in this delightful climate. The 
gardens cover fifteen acres and are laid out at great cost and 
maintained at an annual expense of 25,000 francs. Here the 
Count has acclimatised plants and fruit trees from all over the 
world. Paths lead everywhere through these gardens, which are 
surrounded by high walls made of sun-dried bricks. Count Lan- 
don, besides his good taste, interest in botany and liberality to 
the public, who are freely admitted to his beautiful and interest- 
ing place, has, it seems, his eccentricities, at least one is very evi- 
dent here. All the rooms of his establishment are in detached 
and separate houses. Thus as you enter the gate you see a build- 
ing containing nothing but bed-rooms and of these no two are 
connected. Quite a distance off you enter the grand salon or 
parlor, a large room in Arab fashion, with rugs, ottomans, arches, 
arms, ornaments, etc., and importations in the shape of Indian 
punkahs, furniture, and Chinese decorations. On many of the 
tables are seen works of all kinds on Algeria and Tunis and the 
Sahara. It is a very large, handsome room. Far from this in an- 
other building is the dining-room, and far from that the kitchen, 
the dishes being kept warm in transit by means of charcoal 
pans or dishes. Walking on through the dense mass of foliage 
above and flowers below, you enter a pretty little Arab smoking 
pavilion, with open arches at the sides, and arranged within upon 
a raised platform with ottomans and cushions for the smokers. 




Ouled Nail Girl, Biskra. 



BISKRA— QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 101 

In the centre upon a pretty octagonal table rests a large brass tray 
for holding a service of tea or coffee. The gardens are so ar- 
ranged as to be capable of being flooded when necessary. 

I paid several visits while at Biskra to the Arab cafes and es- 
pecially to those where the famous Almees or dancing girls are to 
be seen. The cafes were ordinary rooms, with tables and chairs, 
a small bar of spirits, coffee and tobacco, and a raised stand of 
masonry in which an Arab band performed the regular wild, mo- 
notonous, cadenced and jingly music peculiar to all North Africa. 
The instruments consisted of violin, mandolin, guitar, flute, tam- 
bourine and drum. The performers were of both sexes. The 
cafes were crowded with Arabs, who were chiefly engaged in 
drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, though I noticed that not 
a few had evoluted from harmless sherbets to the subtle and 
deadly absinthe. In each cafe there were half a dozen girls who 
from time to time went through their dance — the danse du centre 
— the upper part of the body above the waist being held perfectly 
rigid, the arms only being waved, with or without holding scarves. 
These girls belong to a particular tribe — that of Ouled Nail. 
They seem very young and some of them are quite pretty, at least 
from an oriental standpoint, though perhaps too corpulent to 
please a European taste. They are of reddish-brown complexion, 
which is made still darker by the use of tar and saffron. They 
mix horse-hair with their own black locks, which are elaborately 
arranged, with two enormous braids over the ears, and made 
almost solid with grease. Like the Japanese they keep their hair 
dressed for a week at a time. They are often disfigured by tattoo- 
ing on face and arms. They stain their fingers and hands red- 
dish-yellow with henna. They are unveiled and extremely dirt v. 
Their loose dresses are of very gaudy colored, gauzy stuff which 
veils but does not conceal. Upon their heads are gay silk turbans 
fringed with small gold and silver coins and old gold ornaments. 
Many necklaces of coins and corals are also worn, as well as great 
gold earrings, circlets three or four inches in diameter. Their 
fingers are covered with rings and their wrists and ankles with 
great silver bangles. In short, they often carry about with them, 
what in their country is a small fortune in jewelry. They wear 
tiny, red, leather slippers. The dancing girls are, as might be im- 
agined, cocottes, and are said after years of carnival at Biskra, to 
return to their native oases and marry. As in Morocco the musi- 
cians sing at the time of playing upon their instruments. The 



102 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Arabs seem very fond of this dancing, though I was told it was 
furnished quite as much for the entertainment of foreign visitors 
and residents. 

I paid a visit while at Biskra to the monastery or headquarters 
of " Les Freres Armes du Sahara," a religious order of armed 
brothers, instituted by Cardinal Lavigerie, and which had occa- 
sioned much criticism in European journals. At a distance of 
about a mile from the French quarter of Biskra, on the direct 
road to Touggurt and Ouargla in the Sahara, I found a long cor- 
ridored building, the quarters of the brothers. This was opened 
in February 1891 and contained thirty-one members. I was 
shown through the small chapel and the two large dormitories 
where the members sleep in summer upon mats and in winter 
upon mattresses on a raised platform of masonry surrounding each 
room. Their meals are taken upon mats on the floor in the centre 
of each room, sitting cross-legged in Arabic fashion. Surrounding 
the building are several hectares of rich land which is sown with 
grains and vegetables and cultivated by the brothers. I was also 
shown the armoury, which contains the repeating rifles (with 
sword bayonets) of the fraternity and the brass instruments of the 
band. A pamphlet was given me containing a letter of the Car- 
dinal to all those intending to join the association and presenting 
a general idea of their life and duties and of the scope of the 
organization. Shorn of the superfluous rhetoric in which it 
abounds, it really seems as if there was an opportunity for such 
an association — but whether it will be successful or not time 
alone can tell. There is an advanced station of six members at 
Ouargla, about two hundred miles to the southwest of Biskra. 
The work of these brothers is described as both patriotic and hu- 
manitarian. The chief object is the suppression of slavery. The 
brothers are instructed by the Cardinal to carry out their work by 
the force of arms, by introducing French industries and com- 
merce, and by the power of devotion, which is to operate through 
personal sanctification, through cooperation, through the care of 
the sick, and through manual labor, principally in agriculture and 
other works necessary for the creation of centres in the Sahara. 
The rules of the Brotherhood are not especially strict : they vol- 
unteer for five years' service, which may be three times renewed. 
They form a religious society but without vows. They dress all 
in white, tunic and trousers, with a red cross upon the breast, 
and a red fez upon the head. As to food they are required to live 



BISKRA— QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 103 

as nearly as possible like the natives of the desert — fruit being 
forbidden. They are placed under the government of one of 
the " White Fathers " of Algiers, with a chief and under-chief 
chosen directly by the Apostolic Vicar of the Sahara. They are 
to learn Arabic and to assist the natives by sympathy and actual 
contact in all ways possible. To further this they are all drilled 
as soldiers. And this is one of the points that has occasioned so 
much adverse criticism, that a body of Catholic monks, for such 
in truth they are, should undertake their work as soldiers, first 
and last. A conspicuous sign-board just within the gate informs 
the stranger, in French and English, that no women are allowed 
to enter the buildings. As I have said trial alone can tell what 
good the Brotherhood may do — the circular of the Cardinal is far 
too sentimental — the practical and material arts of civilization 
must a long way precede any intellectual or moral changes among 
such wild people as those dwelling in the Sahara. 

One afternoon I drove in a victoria over a fairly good road to 
the famous oasis of Sidi Okbar, about fourteen miles southwest 
from Biskra. Leaving the walls of the town, and passing the 
dry and stony bed of the Oued Biskra, here a quarter of a mile in 
width, I passed through very extensive fields of barley, and alter 
following the walls of the date-palm groves to their southern ex- 
tremity, turned directly out into the desert, a vast plain of little 
hummocks, stones, sand and saltpetre. There was no herbage but 
the hummocks were covered with a plant between a grass and a 
bush — a species of terebinth which is the principal food of the 
camel and is said to be greatly relished by them. The distant 
view is like that of the ocean only there were variations in color 
in the surface of the desert, the eye had a better standard of com- 
parison than with the monotonous sea, and the distance to the 
horizon therefore seemed at least three times as great as it does 
from a steamer's deck in the ocean. Taking great stretches of 
the plain into view it seems almost a " dead " level, but in actual 
fact it has a gentle smoothly-undulating surface. Scattered pretty 
freely about the desert were encampments of the wandering or 
Bedouin Arabs, with their low tents of dark camels' hair cloth 
and their herds of camels, goats and sheep. Caravans were fre- 
quently passing us. At the foot of the yellowish-red Aures 
mountains to the left of the point at which we started forth were 
a series of small oases, but when we reached the village of Sidi 
Okbar we were away out in the desert, with no oases, large or 



104 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

small, in view towards the southern horizon. Sidi Okbar is a 
genuine Arab village, with low single-story houses of sun-dried 
brick and mud, and narrow crooked streets. I passed near the 
entrance to the oasis a large Arab cemetery, the graves almost 
touching each other and consisting only of mud mounds with 
low mud head and foot slabs. Passing into the town I walked 
through the chief street of shops — curious quaint little " holes in 
the wall," filled with French nicknacks and dry-goods, and along 
into the market, which was full of vegetables and fruits. The 
streets were crowded with Arabs, and a rabble of boys followed 
me from this time forth and begged incessantly for backsheesh or 
a present of money. The natives impressed me as a rough wild set, 
and gave me a good general notion of what travellers exj^erience 
who penetrate far to the south in Algeria. As to the town I 
fancy it is a good type of those in the oases of the Sahara, and 
in parts of the Soudan. The casual peeps I got into the huts 
revealed scarcely any furniture other than a few mats, cooking 
utensils and a scanty supply of provisions. The women I ob- 
served were as usual loaded with jewelry and wore gay but very 
dirty clothes. Those of the men were also not only very dirty 
but ragged as well. The object of chief interest in Sidi Okbar is 
however the mosque, which is said to be the most ancient monu- 
ment of Islam ism in Africa. 

I was enabled to inspect this mosque without taking off my 
shoes, the straw matting on the floor being first removed for my 
sacrilegious passage. It is a very plain building without, about 
one hundred feet square, with horse-shoe arches and a flat wooden 
roof. The mimbar and mihreb are very richly colored and above 
them are some beautiful perforated windows. In one corner is the 
koubba or shrine of Sidi Okbar in a sort of chancel. The tomb 
is like those in general of marabouts or holy men, hung round 
with silk and filled with offerings of banners, candles, ostrich 
eggs, mirrors, etc. At one side of the koubba on one of the pil- 
lars is carved in early Cufic characters, the oldest Arabic inscrip- 
tion in Algeria. It says : " This is the tomb of Okbar, son of 
Nafa. May Allah have mercy upon him." The minaret should 
be ascended for a remarkably fine view over the town and the sur- 
rounding desert. On the eastern side of the mosque is a curiously 
carved wooden door of very old Arab work. Sidi Okbar is the re- 
ligious, as Biskra is the political, capital of the Ziban, a territory 
of about 11,000,000 hectares and 100,000 inhabitants. It is a 




^ 



BISKRA— QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 105 

great place of pilgrimage. Every year thousands of Mohamme- 
dans from all parts of Northern Africa undertake the journey to 
the tomb of the famous saint, who is worshipped probably next to 
Mohammed. Sidi Okbar was the famous warrior who in the six- 
teenth year of the Hegira conquered the whole of Northern Africa 
from Egypt to Morocco, and who spurred his horse into the At- 
lantic, declaring that only this barrier would prevent him from 
forcing every nation beyond it, who knew not Allah and his 
Prophet to worship him only or die. Many revolts took place be- 
fore his power was consolidated, and in one of them, at an oasis 
about half a mile from that of Sidi Okbar he, with about three 
hundred of his followers, was massacred by a certain Berber chief, 
whom he had subjected to great indignity. When later the Arabs 
had reconquered the country in which Biskra stands, they buried 
their leader at the place which now bears his name. 

As I drove back to Biskra across the desolate desert the de- 
scending sun lit with a ruddy hue the rugged flanks of the Aures, 
and falling still lower formed a beautiful orange-colored back- 
ground on which the great forests of palms were superbly limned, 
their fronds delicately showing, and beyond were the dark hard 
outlines of mountains backed by a naming sea of gold. It was a 
gorgeous picture and riveted my attention until the sun was gone 
and a splendid full moon endeavored to counterfeit its light. No 
sooner however had the "great luminary of day " taken his de- 
parture than the peculiar desert chill fell upon the air, and by the 
time I reached the hotel I was thoroughly cold. The day had 
been a magnificent one, clear as crystal, without a cloud, with a 
fierce sun throwing a blaze of pure light. There was an exhilara- 
tion, a tonic in the air, and I could realize how the Bedouins keep 
their health and great strength ami endurance in the wilds of the 
desert. They have the purest of atmospheres to breathe, a suffi- 
ciency of exercise and rest, and a diet consisting of dates, mutton 
and camels' milk, three of the most wholesome and nutritious of 
known foods. 

Biskra is called by the Arabs the " Queen of the Desert," a 
name to which its magnificent forest of dark glossy palms justly 
entitles it. Its climate is delightful during six months of the year, 
being practically rainless, and the sole drawback is the prevalence 
of high winds. When Nice, Mentone and the chief winter re- 
sorts of Italy experience the severest of frosts and most inclement 
weather, Biskra has a clear sky and a most genial climate. While 



106 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Rome, Cadiz and Malaga have recorded averages of 50° to 60° 
Fahrenheit, Biskra rarely registers less than 70° in the shade. In 
summer however the heat is intense, the thermometer frequently 
standing at 110 Fahrenheit in the shade, and as high as 124° 
having been observed. At this time you will very likely have a 
temperature of 90° during the night. , 



CHAPTER XIII. 

AN ALGERIAN POMPEII. 

Ox December loth I left Biskra at 7 a. m. for Batna, duly 
arriving at 1 P. M. The town of Batna presents no special interest 
to the traveller, but very great interest however rests in the neigh- 
boring Roman ruins of Lambessa and Timegad (Thaumugas). 
The former is celebrated for the remaing of its military colony and 
the camp of the famous Third Legion of the Emperor Augustus, 
and the Praetorium ; the latter for its Triumphal Arch, and Tem- 
ple to Jupiter Capitolinus. Though there are many other archaeo- 
logical remains of the Roman period — forums, baths, theatres, 
temples, markets — these just mentioned are in the best state of 
preservation. Batna lies in a plain some 3,400 feet above sea 
level and contains about 2,500 inhabitants. It is an ordinary 
French town surrounded by a square wall, with a gate on each 
side. It is laid out with wide streets and sidewalks, and contains 
some large barracks capable <>f holding 4,000 men, it being the 
headquarters of a military subdivision. The buildings are of one 
and two stories, stuccoed and painted yellow. There are a church 
and a mosque, and without the walls a dilapidated negro village, 
made of mud bricks. The town is lighted by electricity, has a 
clock, illuminated at night, which strikes the quarters and hours, 
and its hydrants have running water ! 

The following day I visited the ruins of Lambessa and Timegad, 
leaving the hotel in a barouche drawn by a pair of sturdy native 
horses, at half-past seven. The morning broke clear, bright and 
cold. As we left the walls of the town the fields were white with 
frost and such water as we happened to see was covered with a thin 
sheet of ice. Our general direction was southeast, over a good 
macadamised road, which however after leaving Lambessa was ex- 
ceedingly crooked in order to preserve a good average level. We 
wound all day from one valley to another, with low mountain 

lor 



108 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ranges on either hand. There were no trees in sight but the fields 
of barley and other grains seemed especially rich. There were a 
few camps of Bedouin Arabs, and a few French farmhouses but 
the country was anything but settled. The ruins of Lambessa are 
only about six miles from Batna. Near them is a large French 
prison and just beyond, a small French village. The prison, a 
huge four story building, is simply a convict establishment for na- 
tives and Europeans alike. Lambessa was, as I ha,ve said, a mili- 
tary town, the headquarters of the Third Augustan Legion. It 
however grew at one time to be a city of some 60,000 inhabitants. 
It was built about 150 a. d. At the intersection of the two main 
streets of the camp stands the principal ruin — the Prastorium. 
This is a large quadrangular edifice which has been partially re- 
stored by the French. It is about 100 feet long, 60 wide and 50 
high. It is in two stories exteriorly, with five round arches. All 
is built of large blocks of stone and the columns, with a sort of 
Corinthian capital, are very handsome. Between the large arch- 
way and the smaller ones are niches intended to hold statuary. 
The keystone of the lower central arch contains the remains of a 
sculptured eagle, that of the arch above it a hand holding a wreath. 
The interior however is but of one story with large attached or 
" engaged " columns. In parts the building is very much weath- 
ered, in others in surprising good condition when one reflects upon 
its great age. The interior has been fenced and now contains 
a museum of statues, columns and capitals, and inscribed slabs 
which have been found here or in the vicinity, but it is said the 
finest remaius have been sent to the Louvre in Paris. The mate- 
rial of the Prgetorium seems to be the ordinary lime-stone of the 
country, though many of the statues are of white marble. Every- 
thing is in the most solid and careful style customary with the 
Romans. In the neighborhood are many detached ruins — arches, 
amphitheatres, tombs, palaces. There is a large garden adjoining 
the Prastorium which contains in a small shed, a very fine mosaic 
pavement, left exactly as it was found, and also a detached one, 
both in very good preservation and of excellent workmanship. 

But the chief interest of the Roman remains centres in Time- 
gad, which is about twenty-two miles from Batna by the same road 
as that by which Lambessa is reached. I drove on to these 
through fertile valleys, passing many Arabs at work ploughing 
their fields, turning from the main road about a mile from where 
there was an old column sunk in the ground and bearing this in- 



' 




AN ALGERIAN POMPEII. 109 

scription : " Ministere de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux Arts. 
Monuments Historique. Ville Komaine de Thaumugas." We 
went directly to the south and crossed the cultivated fields by 
a rough road to a semi-circular ridge of low smooth hills upon 
which stood the old city. The location was most admirable, backed 
by mountains on two sides and with an extended view over the 
valley in two others. The city of Timegad was built in the first 
century of the Christian era and devastated by the Moors in the 
sixth, its destruction being completed by successive shocks of earth- 
quake. Built upon one of the spurs of the Aures mountains, it 
was a place of fashionable resort like Pompeii and like the Italian 
city, it has preserved the pavement of its streets, with ruts made 
by the chariot wheels, a forum with a number of ornamental 
statues, a basilica, a tribunal of commerce, several temples and 
public halls, a theatre with seats for the spectators, galleries, and 
entrance places for the public and the actors, fountains, baths, and 
a covered market with granite tables still in their places. To the 
southwest of the towu upon a hill designated by the name of Capi- 
tol rises a temple of colossal dimensions, surrounded by spacious 
porticoes. This building, dedicated to Jupiter, is now being ex- 
cavated, and ornamental friezes, balustrades, and heads of columns 
are already clear of earth, while the fragments of a gigantic statue 
have also been brought to light. There is a broad paved road, 
quite intact, traversing the city from east to west, with several 
triumphal arches spanning it, one of which, built by Trajan and 
having three gateways through it, is but little injured and has 
been partially restored by the French. Above the gateways are 
niches for statues, one of them being in place. The well preserved 
columns are of the beautiful Corinthian order of architecture. 
They are entirely of white marble, though the remainder of the 
monument is of sandstone. This triumphal way was the road from 
Lambessa to Tebessa, a city about one hundred miles to the east- 
ward, which possesses the first Christian monastery in the world, 
built at the close of the fourth century by the disciples of St. 
Augustine and recently excavated by the French Administration 
of Public Monuments. There is also in Timegad the Byzantine 
fort or citadel, built in haste by the troops of Solomon, the suc- 
cessor of Belisarius in Africa, out of the debris of the southern 
part of the city, several Christian basilicas, and various other con- 
structions which will in due course be excavated. The ruins ex- 
tend over a very large space of ground and consist of columns, .capi- 



110 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

tals, bases and walls in every stage of decay and breakage. The sur- 
face is covered with stone debris, bricks and broken earthenware. 
Pompeii was destroyed by a volcano and Timegad by a fire, to 
which, as already mentioned, have been added several earthquake 
shocks, so that now you will hardly find any relics entire. The 
principal ruins may be said to consist of a fortress, forum, tri- 
umphal arch and baths. The theatre was cut in the abrupt side 
of a hill. The forum has all been cleared and contains many 
columns, pedestals and inscriptions. Some of the columns are of 
a very beautiful pink marble. A street on one side is paved with 
huge blocks placed diagonally and much worn by cart-wheels. 
This leads between diminutive shops and rows of broken columns, 
to the triumphal arch, which is said to be the finest monument in 
Algeria. A small rest-house for travellers has been built in the 
centre of the ruins. It is of solid masonry, in and around which 
many of the most interesting of the remains have been placed. 
Near here are also several tents of Arabs who have charge of the 
ruins, and signs are everywhere displayed that it is against the 
law for any one to disturb or carry away any portions of the " his- 
torical monuments." Timegad, or Thaumugas, is well-known to 
history and the many slabs of inscriptions have been easily read. 
Undoubtedly further excavations will bring much of great interest 
to light. Here, as at Pompeii, the life of the people may be readily 
studied. And the finds so far have been similar to those at Pom- 
peii : statues, urns, coins, jewels, household furniture and utensils. 
Let us hope that the rich results of this and previous excavations 
will encourage the French government to undertake others. 

I returned to Constantine in the morning and in the afternoon 
took a drive to the summits of the two neighboring hills for pano- 
ramic views. One hill was situated to the north of the city and 
was called Djebel Mescid ; the other styled Mansoura, was to the 
east and considerably lower, but commanding a fine view of the 
sloping city and its environing gorge. A good road winds about 
Djebel Mescid to the summit, where there is a modern French 
fort. Upon the edge of the cliff a summer-house has been erected 
and from here the view is very grand and beautiful. One sees 
before him a long and fertile valley through which winds the 
Ptoummel, and gets a fine view of the houses of Constantine fur- 
ther around to the left. The cliff is very steep and seems to de- 
scend 1,500 feet almost abruptly to the railway at its base which 
goes to Philippeville. On the summit of Mansoura are some 



AN ALGERIAN POMPEII. m 

large cavalry barracks which are occupied by about 1,000 of the 
chasseurs d'Afrique. 

The police system in Algeria is on the whole most excellent. 
Though the country is peopled with diverse races and towns in the 
interior are often far apart, travel is quite safe, and there are no- 
where any brigands. The French I may add are in the main 
kindly conquerors towards an inferior race, and their rule in 
Algeria is on the whole beneficial. Though it was all France 
could do to keep hold of her colony in the terrible uprising of the 
Arabs in 1871, that rebellion was so sternly repressed, and the 
paternal form of government which has since followed has been 
so judiciously administered that there is no probability of further 
discontent and trouble. Of course, as with the English in India, 
the occupation depends largely upon a military support. But 
Algiers, it should be remembered, is but twenty-eight hours steam- 
ing from Marseilles and not like England, three weeks from her 
Indian possessions. 

I left Constantine at the uncanny hour of 5 a. m. direct for 
Tunis, a distance of 230 miles, which we succeeded in covering in 
twenty hours. The average speed thus achieved was eleven and a 
half miles an hour ! At Khroubs, eleven miles from Constantine, 
we changed cars and turned directly to the east. The carriages 
of the train were of a curious construction for which I was at a 
loss to recognize any advantage. A gallery extended along one 
side half the length of the car and crossing through the middle — 
where there were lavatories, though kept locked— ended at the 
other extremity. Into this gallery the small compartments of the 
first- and second-class passengers opened. You entered by platforms 
at each end, and a passage was arranged from car to car, though for 
some reasons not used, being fenced across. One of the carriages 
had a coupe compartment, and this I selected for the greater light 
and broader views. The scenery however was of no special merit 
until we reached the station of Hammam Muskoutine. Previous 
to this we passed a number of villages and the road was carried by 
able engineering along the gorge of a small river for many miles. 
Its massive stone bridges as well as those of the adjacent road 
always commanded attention and praise. Hammam Muskoutine 
is famous for its boiling springs, which can plainly be seen steam- 
ing away near the railway line. The temperature of the water is 
203° Fahrenheit, which taking into consideration the altitude of 
the place is just about the heat of boiling-water, and is only sur- 



112 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

passed by the Geysers in Iceland and Las Trincheras in South 
America, the former of which rises at 208° and the latter at 200° 
temperature. These Algerian springs are similar in character to 
those in the Yellowstone Park, though on a very much smaller 
scale. There are here also cones of exhausted springs like those 
in the above mentioned Park, the largest of them being thirty- 
five feet in height and forty in circumference. The surface of the 
rock where the springs rise is thickly encrusted with carbonate of 
lime. They fall in little series of cascades into a prettily wooded 
glen, and then turn away in a small stream to join the larger one 
which the railway has been following so long. Many date palms 
bordered this stream, receiving from it their necessary heat and 
moisture, and in the lower part of it were many natives cooking 
their food, and washing their clothes. The scenery in the neigh- 
borhood — wooded hills and fertile fields — is very pretty. And 
this is the background you have for this interesting natural curi- 
osity, which has been happily termed a " petrified rapid." These 
springs however differ from those in the Yellowstone Park in 
being more efficacious in the cure of rheumatism and skin dis- 
eases. The Romans knew their value and some of their baths, cut 
out of the rock, are still used by the patients of a hospital which, 
in addition to a good hotel, is now located here. A little over half 
a mile from the hospital are some springs, of a temperature of 
170° Fahrenheit, which are ferruginous and sulphurous. The 
convenience of being able thus to use both saline and ferreous 
springs placed so near together will undoubtedly make Hammam 
Muskoutine an important and popular watering-place, to which the 
beauty of its surrounding scenery will add a very great attraction, 
as does in the case of so many of the most celebrated spas and 
baths of France and Germany. 

For a long time after leaving Hammam Muskoutine the coun- 
try is very charming. There are great woods of olive and cork 
trees, with much cultivated and pasture land. In the neighbor- 
hood of Guelma, a modern French town of some 4,000 inhabitants, 
we entered the valley of the Seybouse river and followed it to the 
village of Duvivier, where we breakfasted and again changed cars, 
our former train going on to the city of Bone, on the sea-coast. 
At some eighteen or twenty miles from Duvivier, we ascended and 
crossed a range of densely wooded hills by a very long series of 
windings. Hereabouts the views of distant hills, mountains and 
plains were really superb. We passed through very many tunnels, 



AN ALGERIAN POMPEII. 113 

one of them being half a mile in length. The woods were espe- 
cially pleasing to me after having become accustomed to the ordi- 
nary barrenness, grayness and brownness of this part of Africa at 
this season. The principal trees were cork and olive, though there 
were many others and of varying tints of green, together witli a 
dense underbrush of heath, thorn and broom. Souk-Ahras was 
the next town of any importance, though it only numbers some 
2,500 inhabitants. After leaving Souk-Ahras we reached the val- 
ley, or more properly gorge, of the Medjerda river, which flows into 
the gulf of Tunis, and which we did not leave until in the neigh- 
borhood of that city. The gorge of rough rocks and well-rounded 
hills is very picturesque. In a distance of forty miles the railway 
crosses the Medjerda river a dozen or more times. At a small 
place by the name of Ghardimaon we passed the frontier between 
Algeria and Tunis, and had to submit to a mild Custom-house 
examination. We here took a hurried dinner. It was now dusk 
and so I could see nothing of the appearance of the country, but 
I was told that Tunis or Tunisia, as it is now called by many — 
and this is a good idea, for it serves to distinguish the name of the 
country from that of the capital — differed from Algeria in having 
more plains than hills, in being less wooded, and in having less 
rain. Throughout a great part of Tunisia the soil is so sterile 
that it will only produce harvests when irrigated or supplied with 
more than the usual amount of rain. In the extreme north there 
is the most water and here are also the largest forests, then towards 
the south comes a region like the Tell or elevated plateau of Alge- 
ria; next might be distinguished the Sahel or coast regions, great 
plains productive only after rains or when irrigated, the remainder 
being a desert — first what is called the " little Sahara " which is 
covered with weeds and " camels' food," and then the vast, arid, 
sandy, rocky and hilly Sahara proper. About six miles from 
Tunis we passed through a portion of the great aqueduct of Car- 
thage, for which it seems two piers and three arches have been 
destroyed, when this might easily have been avoided by making a 
slight detour either to right or left. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

TUNIS AND CARTHAGE. 

We did not reach Tunis until half-past twelve at night, when 
we alighted at a fine, large station, and riding through a wide boule- 
vard, with double rows of trees in the centre, reached a commodi- 
ous hotel, with marble staircases and tiled floors. The next day 
was spent in the bazaar and in walks round and about the city. 
From the ancient Kasbah in the northern part an extensive view 
is had of Tunis, its environment, and the distant sea. It appears 
that the city is situated on a sort of isthmus between two large and 
shallow salt lakes. The inner communicates with the outer and 
that again with the sea through a narrow artificial cut. The city 
is built on a plain with a gentle slope towards the east and the 
larger salt lake, which is called the Little Sea by the natives. The 
shipping is obliged to lie without this lake in an open roadstead in 
the lower part of the gulf of Tunis. The " little sea " is about 
seven miles across and from the artificial opening just men- 
tioned, a ship canal was being excavated, which was to be 150 
feet wide and 25 feet deep. This will allow the greater part 
of the steamers to come directly to the edge of the city. This 
canal was finished early in 1894. At the opening connecting with 
the sea was, at the time of my visit, the port of Tunis — called the 
Goletta — in the northern part of which were the town and fort, 
and in the southern an old summer palace and seraglio of the 
Bey, the arsenal and Custom-house. The Goletta, like Tunis, has 
been almost wholly constructed with the materials of ancient Car- 
thage, but a few kilometres distant. The Goletta and Tunis are 
connected by a railway about twelve miles in length, upon which 
half a dozen trains run each way daily. As to the general appear- 
ance of Tunis viewed from the Goletta, the dull uniformity of the 
houses is in the native quarter only broken by the minarets, domes 
and cupolas of a few mosques. The city covers a large expanse 




Tunisian Street Costume. 



TUNIS AND CARTHAGE. 115 

of ground extending north and south, and is surrounded by a 
bastioned wall on all sides except that towards the east and the 
laro-e lake. This wall has a number of gates. The city has four 
avenues broad enough to be used by carriages, the remainder being 
narrow and very crooked, though well-paved and well-lighted by 
gas. The drainage is open and in the centre of each street. By 
strict enactment the French have all the streets regularly cleaned, 
and for an oriental city it must be called quite free from dirt and 
foulness. The French quarter is in the northeastern part, next 
comes the Maltese and then that of the Jews, while the Arabs 
keep to themselves the western and higher parts of the city. The 
French town is comparatively new, but already contains many line 
streets running at right angles, and lined with handsome public 
buildings, hotels, shops, churches, markets, etc. A small public 
garden has been laid out east of the station — that of the railway 
connecting with Algeria. It is not necessary to give any further 
details of the French town, which is rapidly extending itself north 
and south and towards the lake. The Resident-General of France 
has a fine palace in the midst of a beautiful garden in this quarter, 
while the Bey lives for the most part in a pretty village to the 
northeast and about ten miles distant. There are several lines 
of tramway that skirt the city. The plant is Belgian. Tunis 
is surrounded by low ranges of hills and by very fertile vege- 
table gardens. There arc also old Arab and Spanish forts on 
nearly every side. These have been restored and are now garri- 
soned by the French, who keep some 5,000 troops in the immedi- 
ate vicinity ; and there are 5,000 more scattered over the country. 
You notice in the Arab quarter a slight difference from the streets 
of Algiers in that they are not nearly so steep and are wider, with 
a generally better class of buildings bordering them. They pass 
through many arches, above which one often sees dainty little 
oriel windows and balconies, and most of those in the bazaar are 
either roofed by planks or matting, or run through corridors of 
brick. The chief interest of Tunis may be said to consist in the 
many and varied attractions of its bazaars. The Arabs and Mal- 
tese — there are 8,000 of the latter — are very interesting, sober and 
ingenious people. The Maltese especially form a valuable class in 
the community as they work hard and live abstemiously. 

Tunis is noted for its manufacture of silk and woolen stuffs, its 
shawls and carpets, its burnooses and fez caps, its saddlery and 
leather embroidery, its jasmine and attar of roses. The different 



116 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

manufactures and trades generally keep together, so that a 
purchaser has the advantage of comparing the various articles of 
the same sort in one place. Thus there is the street or market of 
the perfumers, that of the bed, carpet and mattress makers, that 
of the saddlers, that of the armourers, that of the embroiderers of 
table-cloths, portieres, caftans, etc. In passing through the bazaar 
you will be frequently invited into a shop, the door locked, pre- 
sumably to avoid interruption, and the proprietor will politely in- 
form you that after having taken a cup of coffee with him, he 
will have the honor of showing you some of the best of his goods, 
which you may purchase or not at discretion. After that every- 
thing that you admire will be placed aside as if you had already 
decided to take it and only waited for an agreement as to the 
price. The merchants, as in Cairo, Damascus and Stamboul, are 
great cheats and will at first demand three times what they will 
eventually accept. You will be confidentially informed that all 
the elegant embroideries in gold and colored silk upon rich, gay- 
tinted velvets have been worked by the ladies of the Bey's harem, 
and bear His Highness's special monogram. You will be as- 
sured with great gravity and suavity that to any one else the price 
would be so and so, but to you it would be a half or a third less. 
And you will be importuned and pressed until you feel like break- 
ing down the locked door and escaping, but you are not free 
even when the door has been opened, for the merchant will fol- 
low you through the streets and even invade your hotel. This is 
all very annoying but in palliation it may be added that the 
products in silk of the native looms are really exquisite, as are the 
rugs and carpets. The old gold and silver inlaid arms are also 
very interesting and attractive. But knowing the trickery of the 
dealers one is always afraid to buy. In the Jewish quarter you 
are greatly surprised, as well as amused, at the universal corpu- 
lency of the women. This abnormal fat seems to pertain chiefly 
to the bust, and is displayed to a greater extent by contrast with 
their extraordinary costume of almost skin-tight white trousers 
and richly embroidered vests. They are always overloaded with 
jewelry and of course do not cover their olive-colored faces. Oc- 
casionally you see a very young girl who might be called pretty, 
but the others have very sensual expressions, wholly devoid of 
character or vivacity. To a male Jew however this corpulence is 
supposed to constitute their special attractiveness. I went into 
several Jewish houses and always found very large families, with 







^Jjfe ^sr* 



^4 Tunisian Jewess. 



TUNIS AND CARTHAGE. 117 

the women at work in various household duties or weaving the 
silk fabrics so lavishly exposed in the bazaars. You are not per- 
mitted to enter any of the Arab houses, but you frequently see 
the women in the street clothed all in white save only the hand- 
kerchief which covers the forehead and lower part of the face 
and which here is always black in color, producing a remarkable 
effect, and one not nearly so pleasing as that of the delicate white 
gauze worn in Fez, Algiers and Cairo. As to the male popula- 
tion, while dressed generally in a similar fashion to that of Mo- 
rocco and Algeria, you observe that stockings are more frequently 
worn and a sort of red-topped boot. The fez cap also appears 
oftener. The Tunisians are generally a large and fine-looking 
people, amiable and courteous. Restaurants and cafes especially 
abound. The natives sit cross-legged upon high mat-covered 
benches, drink cups of very thick and hot coffee, smoke cigarettes 
and play at games like our draughts and cards. The fondaks 
are very dirty : they contain cattle below, people above. The 
houses are generally of one and two stories, and over all the city, 
built into the mosques, bazaars, houses and gateways, you observe 
the old weather-worn remains of Carthage. 

There are many mosques in Tunis, but you are not permitted 
to enter any of them, not even upon removing your shoes. This 
is singular since in the old holy city of Kerouan, about two days' 
travel to the south, a place that until the French occupation 
was surpassed in fanatical exclusiveness by only El Medina and 
Mecca, where formerly no Christian could enter without a special 
order from the Bey, and a Jew did not dare even approach — 
you may now freely enter any of the mosques. The largest place 
of worship in Tunis is called the " Mosque of the Olive Tree." 
It has exteriorly a double row of arches supported by pillars 
taken from old Carthage. In the northern part of the city is 
another large mosque, which is always a conspicuous object in any 
view that may be had of Tunis. It has a large central doorway 
surrounded by four smaller ones, and all white- washed the whitest 
of white. Another one has green-tiled domes and is decorated ex- 
teriorly by rose-colored marble columns, inlaid marbles, and in- 
scriptions from the Koran. Near the bazaar the old slave market 
is shown you. The courtyard is surrounded by arcades the pillars 
of which are all of old Roman fabrication. Around this court are 
the little chambers or cells in which the slaves were kept, the men 
below, the women in the storv above. 



118 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

In front of the Kasbah is a square containing a small garden, 
and faced on two sides with government offices. One side con- 
tains the Dar-el-Bey or old stone palace of the Bey. This is the 
great show-sight of Tunis. It covers a large extent of ground 
and is two and three stories in height. The lower rooms are oc- 
cupied as offices and courts, and a large chemical assay depart- 
ment. Externally it is not a prepossessing building — Arab build- 
ings seldom are — but interiorly there are many remarkably fine 
gems of Arabic architecture. This palace was built more than a 
century ago. It contains the Bey's private apartments and offices, 
the Grand Vizier's Room, the Judgment Room, the Audience 
Chamber, dining saloon etc., decorated with splendid old glazed 
faience, delicate arabesques of raised and perforated plaster, inlaid 
marbles and onyx, red granite, and carved wooden ceilings blazing 
with gold and vermilion ; together with a long series of more 
modern state rooms painted in tawdry fashion, and filled with 
equally tawdry Louis XVI. furniture. Some of the delicate and 
intricate arabesque plaster work, an art for which Tunis was once 
so celebrated and which has now become almost extinct, equals any- 
thing in the Alhambra. You can compare it with nothing better 
than specimens of the best Brussels lace. Most of the rooms are 
very small, with low doors and many crooked connecting halls and 
passages. The tiles extend quite the entire height of the walls 
and the ceilings are lofty domes or oblong vaults covered with 
arabesque tracery of beautifully patterned and gay-colored wood. 
Marble columns, slabs and pavements from Carthage everywhere 
abound and many of these show their great age by the weathering 
they have undergone. It is an extremely interesting building, 
but I fear to fatigue the reader by giving more minute detail. 

In the southwestern part of the city is a large high school or 
college founded by the present Bey, for the original purpose of 
educating a class of teachers capable of spreading the French lan- 
guage and influence in the interior of the country. Another ob- 
ject is to educate Arab youth for administrative functions. The 
teachers are either French or Arabs, and the pupils, of whom 
there are nearly two hundred, average about seventeen years of 
age. They are taught the Arabic language and literature, French 
and Italian, mathematics, physics, history and geography. I was 
very courteously shown through the establishment by the Director. 
There were rooms for sleeping and eating, a library, a room for 
physical apparatus, a hospital and many class-rooms, in some of 



TUyiS AND CARTHAGE. 119 

which the boys were squatting upon the floor conning aloud their 
lessons from wooden tablets, and in others sitting upon benches 
and studying silently from yellow-leaved books. There are also 
some fifty or so primary schools in Tunis, which are attended by 
upwards of 8,000 pupils, of whom it is said nearly one-third are 
girls. 

There are a number of so-called " Turkish " or hot-air baths 
in the city, which are much resorted to by the Arabs. Three of 
them are available for Christians. I examined the largest and 
best. The entrance from the street was through a barber-shop, 
in which hundreds of razors of all shapes and sizes were displayed 
upon the walls for sale. Xext came a covered court with arcades 
having stone pillars, a handsome marble fountain being in the 
centre. Around the court were raised platforms, to recline upon 
after the bath. Two or three connecting rooms were used for the 
same purpose. A row of niches under the edge of these platforms 
furnished receptacles for slippers. On one side was a small stove 
for making coffee. Leaving this chamber the bather passed through 
a series of vaults, each hotter than the other, and divided by double 
wooden doors. In each were little rooms for applying water in 
various fashions and all contained tanks of water, and large stone 
slabs on which to shampoo the customers. The place was full of 
men and fairly recked with noisome odors. My desire to essay a 
bath was suddenly chilled notwithstanding the temperature. A 
bath of this character costs about twenty-five cents. 

The population of Tunis is stated as 190,000, considerably more 
than double that of Algiers, but it is only an estimate, for no regu- 
lar census has ever been taken. Of the total, 145,000 are believed 
to be Mohammedans, 25,000 Jews and 20,000 Europeans. There 
are also Moors and negroes who are included in this rating. In 
the entire Regency, with an area of about 70,000 square miles, there 
are believed to be about 2,000,000 people. The Italians outnumber 
the French and the Maltese nearly equal them. 

The most interesting sight in the -more immediate neighborhood 
of Tunis is the Bardo, a large palace and citadel of the old Beys. 
It lies about a mile and a quarter northwest of the city. The rail- 
way from Algeria passes close by and another road leads to it from 
Tunis, but the latter is only used on state occasions by the reign- 
ing Bey himself. Leaving the city you pass through many fertile 
gardens and soon come to the old Spanish aqueduct. This is about 
fifty feet in height, raised upon piers and arches, and extends across 



120 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the plains for several miles. It is of a similar style to the great 
aqueduct of Carthage, previously mentioned, \tfhich is about six 
miles distant from the city, but it is very inferior in construction 
to that great work. Few, if any, people of ancient times equalled 
the Komans in the high general quality of their masonry work. 
You soon arrive at the Bardo, which has the appearance of a small 
walled town, rapidly going to decay. The palace buildings loom 
up some three stories or so in height, but can hardly be called im- 
pressive. Besides the palace proper, there are many edifices which 
were used by the court and the officials, and the village of depend- 
ants and servants which would naturally spring up around them. 
Loitering about were several native soldiers, wearing a European 
style of uniform, with the addition of a fez cap. They are armed 
with the Chassepot rifle. The Tunisian army has been reduced to 
a single battalion mostly used as a guard of honor for the Bey, 
though you occasionally see soldiers employed as servants about 
the public buildings. They are said to be well-drilled and also in 
every way properly equipped. Formerly they were frequently to 
be seen bare-footed and while mounting guard to be engaged in 
the very unmartial occupation of knitting stockings ! Entering a 
huge gateway, with great copper-covered doors we follow a street 
of what once were small shops and enter a spacious paved court, 
surrounded by several lofty buildings, with irregularly placed win- 
dows, and curious little balconies projecting oddly above your head. 
Here is the entrance to an interesting museum of Roman antiqui- 
ties and Tunisian arts, of which I shall soon speak. You leave 
your carriage here and enter a second and smaller court surrounded 
by arcades supported by marble pillars. On the side opposite the 
entrance is a marble staircase guarded by marble lions, three on 
each side and several of them most admirable counterfeits of the 
king of beasts. This therefore is naturally termed the " Court of 
Lions." The staircase gives access to the " Hall of Glass," a large, 
oblong room whose walls are of vari-colored marbles, tiles and 
arabesque plaster-work. The concave roof is very curious, being 
composed of interlaced wood and plaster gayly-colored and mounted 
upon mirrors. The Bey formerly gave audience here every Satur- 
day, but now it is only used on the occasion of the two great an- 
nual Mohammedan festivals. I should state that a part only of 
the palace is at present occupied, and by the family of the late 
Bey. The reigning Bey lives at the little village of La Marsa, 
near the coast, about ten miles from the city. Many parts of the 



J Urn 
















•■' 






Plaster Sculptures in the Bardo. 



TUNIS AND CARTHAGE. 121 

palace have fallen into so ruinous and dilapidated a condition that 
they have had to be pulled down, and others have actually fallen. 
These are now being very gradually reconstructed as they formerly 
existed. 

Ou the same floor as the Hall of Glass is the Hall of the Pasha, 
the finest room in the palace. It is built in the shape of a cross, 
though without any special significance attached to this form. 
The walls are all of inlaid marbles, stone mosaic and ancient 
tiles. The furniture is not very handsome and gilt clocks are 
too numerous. In fact, there is not a room in the palace which 
has not from four to twelve clocks in it ; some of these however are 
old and curious, and as big as sentry-boxes. There are altogether 
quite enough clocks in the palace to* set a watchmaker up in busi- 
ness. The Hall of the Pasha contains some large and interest- 
ing historical pictures illustrating Tunisian history. The Hall of 
Justice, near by, is also a fine room, with its row of columns down 
the centre and its tiles. It contains a great chair of state in 
which the Bey himself periodically administers Moslem justice to 
his subjects, quite in the old patriarchal style. This therefore 
may be called the Supreme Court, the highest tribunal. In the 
upper story is a large state apartment or Throne Room, which is 
now being reconstructed. Its ceiling is painted in a very tawd re- 
fashion. The pictures that it formerly contained I saw in another 
room. They were mostly of large size, portraits of many Euro- 
pean sovereigns and princes, presented by themselves, of deceased 
Beys and of living magnates. The private living apartments of 
the Beys are also shown. They are generally small rooms, not 
richly or even comfortably furnished with huge beds in recesses 
and many ottomans or divans. There is also a Salle de Musique, 
with galleries at either end. A hall with a magnificent arabesque 
plastered dome contains four separate rooms, the quarters of the 
four wives of former Beys. 

A society for the collection, study and preservation of his- 
torical monuments — antiquities and works of art — throughout the 
Regency, has been formed in Tunis. The same French scholar 
who organized this society, M. Rene de la Blanchere, is the di- 
rector of the museum ' at is established in the outer court of the 
Bardo, where it occup.: 1 the quarters of the old Harem. It is 
called the Musee Alaoue, was opened in 1888, and is free to 
the public. A catalogue is in preparation and soon to be pub- 
lished. There are two great halls which contain this very inter- 
10 



122 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

esting collection : one is a lofty pillared court, which has been 
roofed over, the other is a very large and lofty chamber. The 
walls of both are covered with superb tiles and the ceilings or- 
nately painted and gilded. The former contains a great number 
of inscribed stones, and many fragments of sculptures and other 
antiquities. The latter, called the Grand Salle, is sixty-five feet 
long and fifty broad, with a ceiling quite fifty feet above. Nearly 
the whole of the floor is occupied by the famous mosaic pave- 
ment found in Susa — a town on the east coast— which is un- 
doubtedly one of the largest and finest in the world. It repre- 
sents Neptune in his chariot surrounded with fifty-six medallions 
of gods and goddesses, each set in a beautiful garland of foliage. 
The walls are covered with other mosaics, all framed and many of 
them large and excellent. There are also many Christian tumu- 
lary inscriptions, and several fragments of valuable sculpture. 
Around the lower walls are cases containing lamps, glass, terra- 
cottas, bronzes, votive stones, tear bottles, and pottery of every 
kind. No visitor to Tunis should miss seeing the mosaics of this 
museum which constitute its chief attraction. 

I drove from the Bardo to another palace near at hand, be- 
longing to the late Bey, but at present unoccupied. It contains 
some elegant rooms decorated by Arabic and Italian and Spanish 
workmen, but derives its chief interest from the fact that here 
the French treaty, officially absorbing Tunis into French terri- 
tory, i. e. placing it under the protectorate of France, was signed 
in 1881. The palace is called Kasr-es-Saeed. It is almost com- 
pletely surrounded by a beautiful orange grove, and at the time of 
my visit the trees were actually bent to the earth with the thick 
clusters of large golden fruit they bore. There is also attached 
to this palace a great garden of fruits, vegetables and flowers 
through which gracefully wind pretty hedge-bordered paths. 

One afternoon I visited the site of the ruins of Carthage, driv- 
ing out to it the distance of twelve miles from Tunis. The road 
followed the northern shore of the great lake of Tunis nearly all the 
way. We passed over a very level and fertile plain which extends 
towards the north to another large and shallow lake, this one of 
fresh water. I enjoyed fine views in every direction and especially 
of the hills or mountains which stand to the southeast of Tunis. 
The views of the city from a distance are disappointing, at least 
on this side. It is too fiat and too little diversified but its 
minarets and domes give it under a strong sunlight a thoroughly 



TUNIS AND CARTHAGE. 123 

oriental appearance. Its situation alone prevents its being quite 
as picturesque as Algiers or Tangier. At the southeastern corner 
of the lake is the small village of Redas and a little beyond and 
bordering on the gulf the village of Hammam-el-Enf, which con- 
tains several thermal springs. To the left as we approached the 
site of Carthage was the village of La Marsa, which besides the 
palace of the Bey contains those of many rich Tunisians and of 
the late Cardinal Lavigerie. To the right was an extensive pros- 
pect of the town of Goletta, and of the distant shipping in the 
roadstead of the gulf of Tunis. Several small villages dotted the 
country in both northerly and southerly directions. The situation 
of Carthage was superb, being built upon a low range next the sea 
and extending over a large space of country. Nothing however 
now remains of the once famous city except some cisterns and 
great shapeless masses of masonry. All that there is valuable 
and interesting has been carried off to build the city of Tunis 
and the town of Goletta, and to enrich the various museums of 
Europe — all at least excepting an important collection which is 
preserved in a seminary on the spot. Near the coast the ancient 
ports of the city, filled with water, still remain. A fine modern 
cathedral now occupies what may be termed the crest of the 
hill. This was erected a number of years ago by Cardinal Lavi- 
gerie and contains his tomb. The cathedral has from a distance, 
owing to its many small and narrow windows, more the appear- 
ance of a penitentiary than a church, but inside it is very beau- 
tiful, being wholly in the Moorish style as regards arches and 
columns and windows, though the latter are filled with stained- 
glass. There is a splendid ceiling of interlaced wood-work, highly 
colored, and covering the walls in every direction are tablets con- 
taining the names and family crests and coats-of-arms of those 
who have contributed to the cost of the building. There is so 
much white in the large structure that the amount of gay-color- 
ing and ornamentation strikes the beholder very agreeably. Ad- 
joining the church is the " Seminaire," a college for priests, wdio 
wear the Arab burnoose. Back of this is the chapel of St. Louis, 
erected in honor of Louis IX. Within this chapel have been in- 
terred the remains of a former Consul-General, de Lesseps, father 
of the celebrated Count Ferdinand de Lesseps. In the lower 
story of the Seminary is a waiting-room on the walls of which 
are large paintings representing scenes in the Prince's life and 
death at Tunis. The portrait of the Pope's Legate throughout 



124 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the series is that of Cardinal Lavigerie. The paintings are very 
well executed, especially that representing a battle with the Arabs. 
Within this building is the interesting museum, above mentioned, 
which was formed by the present chaplain of St. Louis, the Rev. 
Pere Delattre, who has been occupied in exploring the site of 
Carthage for many years under the auspices of the late Cardinal 
Lavigerie. It is contained in a large hall on the ground -floor 
and embraces many terra-cotta vases, lamps, iron and bronze im- 
plements, glass vessels, coins, fragments of sculptures and many 
valuable inscriptions and beautiful mosaics of the Punic period, 
both pagan and Christian. The garden contains very many 
columns and statues too large to enter the hall and a great num- 
ber of fragments of sculptured stones, statues, tombstones and in- 
scriptions which have been built into the inner face of its walls. 
Of the Punic inscriptions nearly all are votive tablets. The 
hills are still being explored in different directions, and I saw 
many fine columns, slabs and so forth recently unearthed. But 
most of the surface, though bestrewn with broken bits of earthen- 
ware, bricks and small stones used in the massive rubble foun- 
dations, is cultivated and covered with fine crops of beans and 
barley. Outside the ramparts of the ancient city are the remains 
of a very large basilica, divided into naves and transepts, with 
an apse and baptistry. The great solid foundations of the pil- 
lars and the walls are about all to be seen now, excepting many 
fragments of beautiful columns of marble, granite, slate and 
sandstone. In the place where once were the great cisterns of 
the aqueduct which came from Zaghouan, to the south of Tunis, 
the French have recently built large reservoirs which supply 
Goletta wholly and Tunis in part. A large number of cisterns on 
the opposite side of the old city have been utilized by the Arabs 
as dwellings for themselves and their domestic animals. Car- 
thage presents but little interest to the traveller now other than 
indicating to him its unrivalled situation on the coast of the Medi- 
terranean, and giving his imagination some idea of what the city 
must have been in the days of Augustus. 




H. H. the Bey of Tunis. 



CHAPTER XV. 

ROUNDABOUT THE REGENCY. 

One morning, by special invitation, I paid a visit to His High- 
ness Sidi Ali, the Bey of Tunis, at his palace in the village of La 
Marsa, about ten miles northeast of the city, which is his perma- 
nent place of residence, though he has a number of other palaces 
in the capital and its environs. The journey is accomplished by 
the Italian railway which runs to Goletta, with a branch line con- 
necting with La Marsa. I was obliged to leave at the early hour 
of 7.30 a. m., and met at the station Gen. Valensi, the first in- 
terpreter of the Bey, who speaks no French. The General was 
dressed in the Tunisian uniform, a dark blue coat covered with 
embroidery, red trousers and a fez cap. Three silver stars on his 
sleeve indicated his rank. In a button-hole he wore the ribbon of 
the Legion of Honor. At the station of La Marsa one of the 
Beylical carriages was in waiting. It was a dark-blue close car- 
riage, with the arms of the Bey upon the door. An Arab in a 
gold-laced uniform was the driver of the team of handsome mules. 
The palace covers a considerable extent of ground and the build- 
ings are in better condition than those usually seen in Tunisia. We 
entered a large square, having on one side the guard room full 
of native troops, and on two others stood a battery of light field 
guns. On the third was the entrance proper to the palace and 
here we alighted, and passed into another square surrounded 
by large two-story buildings. Walking through the guard room, 
in which was a motley assembly of Tunisian officers and soldiers, 
and great, tall, grinning, jet-black eunuchs, six feet and upwards 
in height, and clothed in long, dark gowns and red fez caps, we 
entered a small sitting-room and awaited command to enter the 
Presence. This soon came and we crossed the corner of the 
court, mounted a marble staircase, halted in an antechamber full 
of officials and servants, and then entered a long, narrow apart- 

125 



126 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ment, from one side of which His Highness the Bey and his 
First Minister arose and advanced to meet me. He was an old 
gentleman of very amiable expression, rather short, and clothed 
in undress uniform, without any display of finery or any decora- 
tions. The minister was still more plainly attired ; both wore the 
national red caps. After bows, handshaking and taking seats the 
interpreter translated my French into Arabic for the benefit of 
His Highness, who addressed me in a similar roundabout fashion. 
The reception-room was quite ordinary in its appearance and 
furnishings. I noticed however that it contained a number of 
framed texts from the Koran, also several gilt clocks and many 
small pictures. 

After the audience I was courteously shown through a part of 
the palace and the gardens. The Throne Eoom is a long and nar- 
row apartment of no special artistic merit, but contains some good 
portraits of former Beys and of the present one — and six clocks. 
Behind the palace is a remarkably fine large garden, in one cor- 
ner of which is a menagerie of large and small animals, birds and 
fishes. Among the large animals are some interesting lions and 
panthers. In the gardens are several pretty summer-houses, one 
being on an island in the centre of a pond and approached by a 
drawbridge. At every doorway of the palace there loitered crowds 
of soldiers, officers, servants and eunuchs. Though the palace is 
large it does not contain any grand or beautiful rooms ; these must 
be sought at the Bardo and the Dar-el-Bey, or town palace. The 
present Bey of Tunis is seventy-five years old. He succeeded his 
brother in 1882. The reigning family has given occupants to the 
throne for two hundred years past. Until 1881 the government 
was a hereditary Beylick. The old Beys acknowledged the suze- 
rainty of the Sultan of Turkey and paid tribute until 1871, when 
the reigning Bey obtained an imperial firman, which liberated 
him from the payment of tribute, but clearly established his posi- 
tion as a vassal of the Sublime Porte. Tunisia is now styled a 
" Regency " and France is said to have over her a protector- 
ate. In other words a Minister-Resident of France, backed 
by a corps of occupation of 10,000 troops, is now the virtual 
ruler of the country — the Bey reigns but does not govern. By 
the treaty of May 12, 1881, already alluded to as having been 
signed in the palace of Kasr-es-Saeed, the occupation is to cease 
when the French and Tunisian authorities recognize by common 
accord that the local government is capable of sustaining order. 




A Lady of the Harem. 



ROUNDABOUT THE REGENCY. 127 

France therefore administers the country and collects the taxes in 
the name of the Bey, who is granted a civil list of $200,000. The 
princes, of whom there are many, receive a total of $150,000 per 
year. The French Representative governs the country under the 
direction of the French Foreign Office, which has a special " Bu- 
reau des Affaires Tunisiennes." The cost of maintaining the army 
is borne by the French government. The present Bey was de- 
scribed to me as an intelligent, kindly man, benevolent and liberal, 
who is greatly devoted to the welfare of his people. He is much 
liked both by Arabs and Jews, Maltese and French. He is espe- 
cially desirous of spreading the French language and literature, 
and thoroughly believes in the benefit of their influence, both ma- 
terial and intellectual. I heard however on the other hand that it 
is impossible to civilize the Arabs to an appreciable extent. Their 
religion, to which they are bound by bands of iron, prescribes their 
daily life in minutest detail, as set forth by the Koran, and is an 
impassable barrier to the great bulk of the population. Still cer- 
tainly their physical condition in the cities and towns has been 
improved, and it would seem that the constant contact and influ- 
ence of the French must gradually, even if indirectly, work some 
change. The chief exports of the country in order of value now 
are : wheat, esparto grass, olive oil, tan, wool and woolen goods, bar- 
ley, sponges and wine. The imports, which are at present nearly 
double the value of the exports, are, half of them, from France. 

From Tunis I went to Tripoli in a steamer of the Compagnie 
Generate Transatlantique, visiting the ports on the east coast of 
the Regency by the way. We went by rail to Goletta and then 
took a steam-launch to the " Ville de Rome," a fine vessel of 1,900 
tons, with a saloon lined with white marble, a cabin cle luxe, smok- 
ing room, etc. "We steamed out of the artificial passage which 
connects the lake with the gulf of Tunis and bisects the town of 
Goletta. The Ville de Rome carried a great quantity of merchan- 
dise, chiefly of European manufacture. There were a goodly num- 
ber of third-class passengers, less of the second and but three 
of the first, including myself. We sailed at half-past five in the 
afternoon and at six the next morning had reached the important 
town of Susa, where we intended to stop twenty-four hours. At 
all the calls of these steamers they remain from four to twenty-four 
hours — excepting at the island of Djerba, which cannot be ap- 
proached nearer than four miles, and where there is no steam- 
launch — so that the traveller has ample time to go on shore and 



128 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

see everything of interest. In leaving the gulf of Tunis we headed 
towards the northeast and passed between the island of Zembra 
and Cape Bon — the Hermean promontory, beyond which the Car- 
thaginians so often stipulated that no Eoman ships should pass. 
Susa is the seaport of the city of Kerouan, and is connected with 
it by a horse tramway which makes the journey in about six hours. 
Kerouan is the holy city, the Kome, of Tunisia. Next to Mecca 
and Medina it is the most sacred in the eyes of western Moham- 
medans. It possesses one of the most elegant mosques in North 
Africa. The appearance of Susa from the sea is very picturesque. 
It lies upon the flank of a low range of hills, somewhat after the 
style of Algiers, and descends quite to the border of the sea. It is 
oblong in shape, extending north and south, and is surrounded by 
a lofty crenelated wall having towers and bastions at frequent in- 
tervals. At the summit is the old Kasbah which has been turned 
into barracks by the French and is the residence of the general 
commanding the post. A mosque tower here has been secularized 
as a lighthouse. The French quarter lies mostly without the walls 
to the north ; to the south are several large manufactories of olive 
oil, the oil trade of Susa being very important. Pretty villages 
nestling in bosky gardens are also seen scattered along the shore 
in either direction. Many date palms appear. There are four 
gates to the town, two being upon the sea side. All of them are 
curiously painted in distemper. We anchored about half a mile 
from shore in an open roadstead. The old Eoman harbor was 
slightly protected by a curve in the coast, and by a breakwater 
whose remains may still be seen. The population of Susa is about 
15,000, of whom 2,000 are Jews and 5,000 Europeans. It is an 
important military station, a large French camp being located just 
beyond the citadel, without the walls. Susa contains many shops 
and warehouses. There is also a good hotel. But it is in general 
so similar to the greater part of Tunis as to hardly merit a special 
description. The view from the terrace of the Kasbah is very fine. 
A considerable part of the trade of Susa is in the hands of the 
Maltese, of whom there are about a thousand in the city. These 
people are industrious, frugal and law-abiding. As with the Span- 
iards in Oran and Algiers, who quite monopolize the carrying 
trade with their huge two-wheeled drays and string-teams, so with 
the Maltese here with their light carts and single horse or mule. 

Early on the morning of the 26th we left Susa for Monastir. 
This is a little town situated about a mile from the shore with 



ROUNDABOUT THE REGENCY. 129 

which, and the quay and Custom-house and a pier built by the 
French, it is connected by a good carriage road. The town is of 
the usual Tunisian type, with a wall and citadel. North of the 
landing-place is an old Arab fort and scattered along the coast are 
a number of pretty country-houses. The whole shore seems cov- 
ered with olive groves, interspersed with date palms. Monastir is 
only twelve miles from Susa, and the next stop is at Mahadia, 
thirty-one miles from here. The trade of Monastir is chiefly in 
olive oil. The town is situated on a promontory, near the ex- 
tremity of which stands its very picturesque Kasbah with a lofty 
round tower at one angle of its buttressed walls. We were about 
four hours in reaching Mahadia. This also is a picturesque but 
very dilapidated town situated on a narrow promontory. On the 
point of the Cape is a lighthouse ; next a large space is occupied 
by an Arab cemetery ; and then comes an old Spanish citadel 
which has been thoroughly restored and repaired by the French, 
and contains quarters for the commandant. Under its walls are 
the ruins of an ancient Phoenician harbor. The country hereabouts 
is low, and covered with olive and date trees. In going on to the 
south in the evening we passed between the Kerkena islands and 
the mainland, from which they were distant twenty-five miles, 
though such extensive sandbanks surrounded them that the navi- 
gable channel is not more than a mile wide. It is regarded as so 
dangerous a part of the coast that the channel has been marked 
out by a series of luminous buoys. The two principal islands, 
which are low and covered with olive and date trees, have a popu- 
lation of about three thousand. These live on the produce of the 
sea, and cereals which grow well in the less sandy parts. The peo- 
ple also export mats and baskets made from the alfa grass, which 
grows abundantly. 

Sfax is 150 miles from Mahadia. It is the second town of 
Tunisia in population and general importance. It has a valuable 
trade in alfa, and is also one of the centres of the sponge trade. 
The inhabitants number 42,000, of whom 1,200 are Maltese and 
800 of various European nationalities. We arrived at the anchor- 
age early the following morning. The low-lying Kerkena islands 
may be readily seen with a marine-glass. We were about two 
miles distant from the city, which lies upon low ground and con- 
sequently does not present a handsome appearance from the sea. 
The coast in either direction was extremely low but as usual cov- 
ered with olive and date trees. Near us a couple of small mer- 



130 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

chant brigs were anchored. On the horizon was a large fleet of 
fishing-smacks, while coming out to us from the city were several 
large lighters — boats sharp at each end, having two masts, each with 
a broad triangular sail. Some of these were sailing, others being 
towed to us by a little steam-launch. Along the shore were many 
great fish-pounds. These are the " tonnara," which abound so 
much in this sea. They are intended for the capture of tunny 
fish, which is like the Spanish mackerel though much larger and 
highly esteemed along the Mediterranean as food. They make an 
annual migration from the ocean to the Grecian Archipelago and 
Black Sea, and following either the southern or northern shores of 
the Mediterranean in all their windings are caught in great num- 
bers by these barriers of nets. For so strong are the migratory 
instincts of these fish that they never retrace their course, but 
always endeavor to find a way to the east. Thus they pass from 
one enclosure of nets to another until as many as a thousand fish 
are sometimes secured in a single catch. The tunny fish — called 
" scabeccio " — is preserved in oil, and largely used in the countries 
bordering on the Mediterranean. Oil also* is extracted from the 
heads and refuse of the fish which is much used by curriers and 
tanners. 

Sfax I found to consist of three portions. The European town 
is to the south, along the seashore, where roads and piers are being 
built and where there are two ordinary hotels. Next this quarter, 
towards the north, comes the Arab town which is surrounded by 
a high wall flanked by towers, some of which are round, others 
square. Beyond this is the French military camp. The distinc- 
tive feature however of Sfax, and one which you notice best from 
the deck of your steamer, is its great suburb extending along the 
low hills to the north for four or five miles. Here all the rich 
families of the city have orchards and gardens in which are villas 
where the owner passes always the summer and frequently the en- 
tire year, riding to town and out again every day from his work. 
The general appearance of Sfax is so like that of other Tunisian 
towns already described that I will only add that probably its most 
curious sight is the great reservoir for collecting rain-water, a series 
of several hundred bottle-shaped cisterns, within a walled enclosure 
almost as large as the Arab town itself. 

We remained all day at Sfax, both embarking and disembark- 
ing much freight. The staple products of this place besides alfa 
and sponges, are dates from the southern plains of Tunisia, the 



ROUNDABOUT TEE REGENCY. 131 

so-called Belad-el-Jerid or " laud of the date " ; woolen cloth from 
the oasis of Gafsa; olive oil from the rich country inland; and 
the rose and jasmine oil, so highly prized in Tunis and Con- 
stantinople, from the gardens of the town itself. Leaving 
Sfax at midnight we went on across the gulf of Gabes — the 
ancient Syrtis Minor — to our next halting-place, the town, or 
more properly the assemblage of villages, styled Gabes. This 
corner of the Mediterranean is about the only part which has 
any tide. At Sfax there is a rise and fall of five feet and at 
Gabes of seven. 

We reached Gabes early the next morning. In the roadstead 
were two little merchant vessels. We anchored about half a mile 
from a pier which projects out into the sea some seven or eight 
hundred feet. But little of the town was in sight and that had a 
very dilapidated air. In the south a great number of single-story 
barracks appeared, since Gabes is an important military station, 
containing a large number of troops intended to protect the south- 
ern parts of the Regency. The coast in sight was undulating and 
very sandy, and utterly bare of trees save in the large oases of date 
palms in which Gabes is situated. Beyond, in the interior, were 
ranges of low, smooth hills. You notice many groves of palms 
thriving vigorously in the clear white sand. They make a splen- 
did appearance from the sea, nor are you disappointed at a nearer 
view upon landing. Then you perceive that Gabes is not a single 
town, but consists of many villages scattered through large oases, 
just as with the villages that constitute Biskra, as hereinbefore 
described. In two of these villages you will be surprised to find 
most of the houses constructed of cut stone and broken columns. 
These came from the ruins of an old Roman town in the neigh- 
borhood. The number of date palms in this and the neighboring 
oases is estimated at 400,000. The population of all the villages 
is put at 16,000 — of whom some 500 are Europeans, including 200 
Maltese. The trade, like that of all the seaports of eastern Tunisia, 
is in oil, dates and alfa grass. 

A number of years ago, before the French occupation and pro- 
tectorate, a scheme was mooted in France for the cutting of a 
canal near Gabes, and flooding large portions of the upper Sahara, 
thus making a great inland lake and reclaiming vast tracts of arid 
land and introducing fertility, commerce, and life into the desert. 
It seems there is a vast depression 235 miles long extending from 
the gulf of Gabes to a point about fifty miles south of Biskra in 



132 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Algeria, with an extreme width of twenty-five miles and occupied 
by three chotts or salt lakes, simply low-lying marshes, which are 
separated from each other and from the Mediterranean in no place 
by more than ten miles. While the lakes are all below the level 
of the sea the isthmuses are on the other hand considerably above 
it. These marshes have been examined by several French and 
Italian scientific commissioners and especially by Commandant 
Roudaire for the French government. The most easterly of the 
chotts is called " el Fedjij," which means " dread," since its quick- 
sands are likely to engulf any caravans deviating from the regular 
tracks. The spot where it was proposed to connect this chott by 
a canal with the Mediterranean is about nine miles north of Gabes, 
at a place where the work would be facilitated by another small 
chott and by the depression through which a small river enters 
the sea. The most westerly of the marshes is called " Melrir," 
and its level is about fifty feet below that of the Mediterranean. 
The river on which Biskra is situated, as well as many others, flows 
into this lake. M. Eoudaire proposed first to cut through the 
narrowest portion of the inland isthmus, thus leaving the three 
basins prepared to receive the waters of the Mediterranean. The 
quantity of water that he estimated would be necessary to flood 
this depressed area would be about two hundred milliards of cubic 
metres. The admission of so much water would undoubtedly by 
affording a large evaporating surface tend to give a permanent 
moisture supply and restore fertility to the lands round its bor- 
ders. The practicability of thus inundating a comparatively small 
district in Tunisia and Algeria has been generally conceded ; not 
so however that of a wild scheme projected some years ago in 
England for the inundation of the whole western Sahara, the 
greater part of which has been found to be above sea level. The 
French commission however did not make a favorable report. 
They thought that the advantages likely to accrue from the sub- 
merging of these chotts would not be proportioned to the large 
cost involved in its execution. Even if ships should be able to 
circulate in the interior, the region possesses nothing save dates. 
Though the French government declined to undertake this daring 
work, a private company, under the auspices of M. de Lesseps, was 
some time afterwards organized and received important concessions 
from the Tunisian authorities. It has however so far done little 
more than sink a number of artesian wells, and has been so suc- 
cessful in producing verdure and fertility in this manner that it 



ROUNDABOUT TEE REGENCY. 133 

is extremely doubtful if any more attention will be given to the 
formation of an inland sea, which after all appeals much stronger 
to the imagination and sentiment than it does to the support and 
endorsement of hard scientific facts. This somewhat sensational 
scheme may therefore be considered as definitely abandoned. To 
give an idea of the importance and value of these artesian 
wells, it is only necessary to say there is one near Gabes which 
throws a column of water into the air equal to 10,000 tons a 
day, a quantity sufficient to redeem 1,500 acres of land from 
sterility and irrigate 60,000 palm trees ! In this simple man- 
ner then can the desert gradually be redeemed with infi- 
nitely les3 labor and cost than with any colossal project of 
inundation. 

We left Gabes at noon and heading to the east across the gulf 
of Gabes, reached the island of Djerba in three hours, the distance 
being but thirty-six miles. Owing to the shallowness of the sea 
we could not approach nearer the town than four miles, a point 
where there is anchored a light-ship belonging to the Compagnie 
GenSrale Transatlantique. From here the island seemed very 
large, low and smooth, and covered thickly with olive and date 
trees. Though Djerba possesses but little water it is said to be 
very fertile. Besides dates and a fine quality of olive oil it exports 
a great quantity of alfa. We could plainly see the capital, stretch- 
ing for a great distance along the shore though not directly upon 
it. Close to the sea, however, at about the centre of the town, is a 
large walled fortress, which has been the scene of many sanguinary 
struggles between Christians and Mohammedans. A pier has been 
built at the landing-place and a good road leads to the capital, 
which is called Houmt-es-Souk. Two or three sailing boats came 
off to us. 

Djerba is mentioned by many ancient writers — by Ilomer, He- 
rodotus, Strabo and Pliny. It was immortalized by Homer as the 
" Island of the Lotophagi." Who does not remember reading in 
his Odyssey : " Now whoever did eat the honey-sweet fruit of the 
lotus had no more wish to bring tidings nor to come back, but 
there he chose to abide with the lotus-eating men, ever feeding on 
the lotus, and forgetful of his homeward way " ? There has been 
some controversy as to what this honey-sweet fruit could be. Sev- 
eral writers have identified it as the Ziziphus lotus of botanists, 
a fruit that not only is hardly eatable, but which does not exist 
upon the island. But there is a honey-sweet fruit with which the 



134: ACTUAL AFRICA. 

island is covered, and which was undoubtedly the Homeric food — 
I refer of course to the date, the most nourishing fruit in the world. 
The population of Djerba is estimated at 35,000, of whom only 
300 are Maltese and 60 of other nationalities. The Arabs who 
manned the boats were very dark, clothed in coarse brown bur- 
nooses, but barefoot. The Mohammedans are to a great extent 
of Berber origin. There is a large Jewish community who in- 
habit two separate towns. There are a number of villages on the 
island and the ruins on the southern side of what must have been 
at one time a magnificent city. It is situated about the middle of 
the strait which though accessible to the trading vessels of ancient 
times was still sufficiently shallow to admit of a causeway being 
built to the westward of it which joined the island with the main- 
land. Here there was a great bight or inland sea about ten miles 
long and eight broad. This connected with the gulf of Gabes on 
the west by a strait only one and one-half miles wide, and on the 
east by one a little longer and broader. These channels are said 
to be narrow and intricate but perfectly navigable for vessels of 
about two hundred tons burden. Roman ruins are scattered all 
over this region, indicating that the island was at one time a place 
of considerable importance and a haven of safety. The remains 
found at El Kantara, about the middle of the larger strait, are all 
of Greek origin. They consist of richly-colored marbles — capitals, 
shafts, vases, broken sarcophagi, sculptured stones of immense size, 
etc. The highest point of the island is only about one hundred feet. 
A considerable trade is done in sponges by Maltese and Greeks. 
They are fished for chiefly in the winter months, and are either 
obtained by spearing with a trident or iron grains, by dredging, or 
by descending in divers' dress. Sponges are found along the whole 
length of the coast of Tunisia, but are not of the finest quality. 
There are large local manufactures of burnooses and colored 
blankets, which are much prized throughout north Africa. We 
left Djerba at seven in the evening for Tripoli. The boundary 
line is drawn near a small village called Zarzis, not many miles to 
the eastward of Djerba, and which is little frequented except by 
the sponge-fishers. Beyond this point it is said the coast consists 
only of sandy downs, stretching as far as the eye can reach, an 
absolute desert. What few inhabitants are scattered about this 
region live principally by robbery and brigandage on a large 
scale. 

It has been the habit of late years in certain quarters to sneer 



ROUNDABOUT THE REGENCY. 135 

at the work of Frenchmen as colonists, and to contrast their efforts 
disadvantageous^ with those of England and Germany. To any 
one of such an opinion I would recommend a journey through the 
province of Algeria to see what France has done in fifty years ; for 
during the first ten or fifteen years of occupation nothing was 
effected towards civilization. Also let the disparager learn some- 
thing of what has been done in the Regency of Tunis in a brief 
ten years — in the way of remodelling native towns, of building new 
ones and of making French quarters in old ones, of railways and 
telegraphs introduced and of common country roads and bridges 
constructed. Colonisation is now proceeding rapidly in Tunisia. 
But it is rather of Algeria that I wish at present to speak. Here 
French colonisation and its concomitants are certainly a splendid 
work. To begin with the pirates have everywhere been ousted 
from a large extent of seacoast, and law and order have been given 
to the vast interior where before naught but anarchy reigned. Cul- 
tivation and fruitfulness have succeeded barrenness and infertility. 
The low marshes of the seacoast have been carefully drained, the 
great plains of the interior have been covered with barrages, arte- 
sian wells and other works of irrigation, and trees have been 
planted which have tended to decrease the temperature and in- 
crease moisture. In short colonisation and culture have long since 
begun to restore this country to its old condition when it was the 
granary of southern Europe. Kail ways and good macadamised 
roads and fine substantial bridges have everywhere connected and 
opened out these regions. For many years the French government 
has borne the cost of establishing agricultural colonies here and of 
making various improvements, building public edifices, and more- 
over for those arriving without means of any kind lands have been 
freely conceded, houses, implements and seed given, and the means 
of living comfortably until after the first harvest. The govern- 
ment has also always liberally assisted those having some small 
means. Vast numbers of the Australian eucalyptus have been in- 
troduced. This has not only a tendency to gradually change the 
climate of dry regions, but of malarious ones, since this quick- 
growing tree has also the property of absorbing miasma. The 
greater part of the European vegetables and fruits have been in- 
troduced, the soil and climate producing them in great perfection. 
The most promising culture is, "as I have before said, believed to 
be that of the vine, which seems to prosper everywhere. Great 
quantities of wheat, barley and rye are grown. The wheat is much 



136 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

sought for in Europe for the manufacture of macaroni and vermi- 
celli. A very important production is the natural one — alfa fibre, 
or esparto grass, of which it is calculated there exists an area of 
some 20,000,000 acres. There are now about 250,000 French in 
Algeria, in addition to the army of 60,000 men. 




A Typical Tripolitan. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

TRIPOLI. 

Early on the morning after leaving Djerba we were at anchor 
in the roadstead of Tripoli. The entire line of coast hereabouts is 
flat and uninteresting. The harbor is formed by a long reef run- 
ning out into the sea to the northeast, and the city lies upon the 
western side of a semi-circular bay, and is but a very few feet 
above the sea-level. There is a rocky projection to the northwards 
similar to that at Algiers and on this stands an old Spanish fort. 
The city is built upon a sort of peninsula and though mostly flat 
is very picturesque when seen from the harbor. It is surrounded 
by a huge wall with many bastions. The houses are of the ordi- 
nary type, square with flat roofs, but several round and octagonal 
minarets break the otherwise hard Hues and with their pretty little 
galleries, frequently tile-inlaid, and their green copper-plated cones, 
lend the expected oriental glamour, which is enhanced by the 
large Kasbah close at the water's edge and the large straggling 
suburbs, half concealed by date palms, which extend away to the 
south. The houses are mostly white, though several gayer colors 
are seen. The suburbs are many times larger than the city within 
the walls. Following these around to the south and east you come 
upon rich gardens of vegetables, olives and dates and other fruits 
which end in a low bluff at the sea's edge. In the roadstead lay 
two or three old Turkish men-of-war, their top-masts " sent down " 
and their funnels capped. They showed a few small guns, but 
none of them seemed capable of going many miles from land, not 
at least in bad weather. There were also at anchor a dozen or so 
small merchantmen of various nationalities and many fishing boats 
with their huge lateen sails. The Kasbah displayed a large, high 
square building with rows of windows closed by green Venetian- 
blinds. This is the residence of the Turkish governor-general. I 
might here recall to the reader's mind that Tripoli is a province or 

11 137 



138 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. It has an area of 400,000 square 
miles and a population estimated at 1,000,000. It is a country 
without rivers, perhaps the only one in the world. It is under the 
rule of a governor-general who is appointed by the Sultan. Here- 
tofore these governors have been very frequently changed, but the 
present one has proved so satisfactory that he has been retained 
for the past ten years. He is very popular with both natives and 
foreigners and under his rule, supported by a force — an " army of 
occupation " — of about 10,000 Turkish troops, who are kept in 
great barracks and in a large camp to the south of the city, the 
country has enjoyed peace and progress. The population of the 
capital is now 35,000 — of which about 2,000 are Maltese. There 
are but few Jews and not many citizens of other nationalities. 
The province of Tripoli is about eight hundred miles in length 
and four hundred in width, though of course its southern bound- 
ary is not very well defined. Along the coast, and it is said for a 
distance of from fifty to eighty miles inland, there are fertile tracts, 
that is, tracts which become fertile by the free use of water in irri- 
gation, but beyond these limits it is mostly desert — the desert of 
Sahara — with oases few and far between. The whole country, 
with the exception of regions near the coast, may be said to be 
treeless, or treeless excepting only the date palm, which seems 
capable of growing directly in the sand, but which will only pro- 
duce the best fruit and in large quantities when freely watered. 
In the southern part is the rich oasis of Fezzan, in which the sur- 
face is undulating and there are ranges of hills. The capital of 
Fezzan is Mourzuk, which is on the direct caravan route to the 
Soudan — to the powerful Negro states of Bournu, Haussa and 
Wadai. Tripoli is the fourth of the old Barbary States, as they 
were called, which included all to the north of the great desert 
proper and as far east as Egypt. 

Soon after our anchor was down I went on shore and spent the 
day. There are two small hotels, kept by Maltese, and which are 
dirty and uncomfortable, but you can find a sort of apology for 
a meal, and reflect that you would fare even worse on a visit to 
Mourzuk. I succeeded in getting a very good Arab guide, who 
could speak Italian. The city has four gates. The streets are 
broader than in Tunis, are macadamised and sufficiently illumined 
at night by petroleum lamps. There is no special quarter for for- 
eigners. The houses are mostly but one story in height and all 
seem more or less crude in construction and dilapidated in condi- 



TRIPOLI. 139 

tion. There are resident consuls of several European countries, 
but the United States has no representative. Tripoli was origi- 
nally founded by the Phoenicians, but when Carthage was destroyed 
it became a Eoman province, and with the neighboring cities 
of Leptis and Sabrata constituted a sort of federal union. You 
frequently see old columns and other remains used in the modern 
buildings. These were brought mostly from Leptis. When the 
Mohammedans overran all north Africa Tripoli fell in the general 
wreck. The finest relic of the ancient city, and the object to 
which you are first taken, is a Roman Triumphal Arch, a quadri- 
frontal arch of white marble — that is, a gateway with a carriage 
road in both directions. There are only two others of a similar 
character in the world. One is at Tebessa, in Algeria — that of 
Caracalla — about eighty miles south of Souk-Ahras, near the fron- 
tier of Tunisia, and reached by a branch line of railway from that 
which runs between Constantine and Tunis. The other of the 
two arches is that of Janus Quadrifrons, at Rome. But the Tripoli 
arch is the finest of the three. It is buried up to the spring of 
the arches in sand and rubbish, and is situated on one of the main 
streets in the heart of the old town. The remainder of the arches 
have been stoned and bricked up and the interior has been utilized, 
but much profaned, as a Maltese wine cellar in the centre and by 
a butcher's shop facing on the street ! " To what base uses," etc. 
But the traveller can see evidence of magnificent work, though 
now all is terribly broken and weather- worn. The arch is of pure 
white marble and completely covered with the richest sculpture 
and ornamentation. The general order of architecture is Corinth- 
ian. It bears an inscription which records that it was erected 
in the reign of Antoninus Pius, and subsequently dedicated to his 
successors, Marcus Aurelius and L. Aurelius Verus. 

There are several handsome mosques in Tripoli, which, after 
obtaining permission from the cadi Christians may enter upon 
removing their shoes. The largest of them is styled, par excellence, 
the Great Mosque. This has exteriorly a beautiful colonnade of 
sixteen Doric marble columns, and within contains the tombs of 
several of the old Pashas. The mosque however is remarkable in- 
teriorly chiefly for its size. Not so however the mosque styled 
Djamaa Goorjee, which is most beautifully and tastefully orna- 
mented within. Here the doorway leading to the street is sur- 
rounded by exquisite tiles, and has above it a marble slab carved 
with a raised Arabic inscription. Entering the courtyard you 



140 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

have the mosque directly before you and surrounded by a colon- 
nade. The walls are covered with artistic tiles. You leave your 
shoes at the door and enter the rather dark interior, but the per- 
forated windows filled with stained-glass show you walls of white 
marble inlaid with many colored stones, fine old tiles and delicate 
frescoes extending to the tops of the domes. The mimbar is a 
splendid work of inlaid marbles, the mihreb is also richly orna- 
mented in marble tiles. The floor is spread with soft and rich 
Turkish carpets. Huge bronze and crystal chandeliers depend 
from the half-dozen smaller domes. There are galleries on three 
sides with finely carved and painted balustrades. It is therefore 
altogether a very pretty and attractive little mosque. The minaret 
is especially graceful, being octagonal in form, with two galleries 
ornamented with variously colored tiles, and a sharp cone of green 
copper to cover the top. I ascended this minaret by a winding 
stone staircase and enjoyed an extensive view of the city, the sub- 
urbs, harbor, neighboring palm groves and distant desert. The 
interior of this tower was covered with little glass lamps in wooden 
boxes. These are fastened about the building as illuminations on 
the many fetes, and especially on those immediately following the 
long and rigid fast of Eamadan or the Mohammedan Lent, when 
during thirty days the good Mussulman is forbidden to eat, drink 
or smoke, from sunrise to sunset. 

Within the walls of the city there are several bazaars — the 
Turkish and the Arab being the most interesting. They are not 
however of sufficiently distinctive character from those already 
described to merit special reference. I visited the store of a Turk- 
ish merchant who dealt in ivory and ostrich feathers. The latter 
came from the oases in the desert and beyond in the Soudan. 
They arrive in Tripoli, indiscriminately packed in great leather 
bags and are then carefully sorted into three or four sizes. The 
smallest feathers and the least valuable are but a few inches in 
length, while the most expensive are often two feet long. The color 
of the short is apt to be black, that of the long, white. I was shown 
some elephant tusks six feet in length, and as much in weight 
as a man could comfortably carry. These were worth about $200. 
each. I next visited several fondaks, which were like those in 
other Barbary states, great quadrangular buildings, used by travel- 
lers and merchants, the animals and merchandise below, while the 
people occupied the rooms of the upper story. The Pasha's castle 
and palace presented little of interest. The walls and buildings 




K2tm. l 



TRIPOLI. 141 

are all in a half ruinous condition. The palace contains no fine 
halls or rooms, and such as there are are not shown to visitors. 
His Excellency however has some very extensive gardens a few 
miles south of Tripoli, where he has a very pretty little summer 
residence in which he lives during the hottest part of the year. I 
afterwards met the governor riding in a barouche followed by a 
small mounted escort. He was plainly dressed in black, save his 
bright red fez. Within the castle are the large prisons, which my 
guide told me were generally full, the chief crimes being murder 
and theft. Formerly the law was decapitation for murder, but 
now it is only imprisonment for fifteen years. The guide gave 
the troops rather a bad character in the perpetration of various 
crimes, notably robbery. 

Beyond the walls of the city to the south is a large sandy 
plain, adjoining the sea beach, and here I saw altogether a most 
interesting sight — a great weekly market to which came thou- 
sands of natives from all the neighboring district and occasionally 
from a distance of many days' travel. Near this market is a little 
park, struggling hard for existence on account of infertile soil 
and lack of water. Here a military band plays on one afternoon 
of the week. The large Turkish camp adjoins this and here I 
saw many of the troops — Arabs and negroes besides the Turks — 
armed with Martini- Henry rifles, and going through the custom- 
ary military manoeuvres, not in very good style, it must be con- 
fessed. Further out in the country there are large garrisons of 
cavalry and light artillery. The various harbor forts seemed 
mostly to contain small, old, useless guns. The great market was 
a most extraordinary sight. It must have been attended by at 
least five thousand people. You saw every shade of color and 
every quality and style of dress. In one part was the camel 
market, in another the horse, in another the donkey, in another 
the ox, and there were several thousand animals. Many cattle 
and camels were killed, skinned and cut up on the spot. There 
were long streets of dealers in olive oil contained in huge earthen- 
ware jars ; there were great areas covered with bales of alfa and 
straw ; there was every sort of food the country produced. There 
were long lines of little coarse brown cloth tents, each just large 
enough to hold a man squatting upon the ground, his display of na- 
tive or European manufactures before him. There were itinerant 
merchants passing through the great crowd and loudly proclaim- 
ing the quality and cheapness of their wares. There were migra- 



142 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

tory restaurateurs, with pots aud pans filled with food simmering 
over charcoal fires. Here you might see gathered together the 
types of most of the inhabitants of the desert and the Soudan, as 
well as the Tripolitans ; you might observe the chief products and 
manufactures of many lands ; and you might study the varied 
costumes and many of the habits and usages of native peoples. 
It was by far the largest and most interesting market I have ever 
seen in any part of the world. It began at daylight and at sun- 
set not a native was to be seen anywhere upon the plain. 

Late in the afternoon I took a drive through the suburbs out 
to the borders of the desert. Every road I traversed was filled 
with natives bearing something purchased at the great market 
or driving animals heavily laden with the same. I rode in a 
curious little cart, a small box upon two wheels which almost 
touched the horse. The Arab driver sat upon the shafts. We 
passed over roads of fine sand and between high mud walls 
topped with prickly cacti. These walls surrounded rich gardens 
which extended more or less along the shore for many miles. 
Water was raised by the endless rope of jars and an animal work- 
ing in a circle. The houses or rather mud huts were few in 
number. In twenty minutes after leaving the city we had 
reached the edge of the desert — a vast smoothly-undulating sur- 
face of fine sand and small stones. This was indeed the genuine 
desert of our school-boy geographies. There was not even a weed 
in sight. The track stretched away to the south, to Fezzan, and 
branched to Lake Chad and Timbuctoo. Caravans, large and 
small, were descried upon this track, the brown of the camels and 
the dirty white of their drivers being difficult to distinguish save 
by their motion. The date-palms stood forth sharply upon the 
horizon. It was an extraordinary contrast. This patch of desert 
however is said to continue but for a distance covered in four or 
five hours, when you come again to a hilly and fertile country. 
But after this you arrive at the vast wastes of the great Sahara 
which are, as everybody knows, only broken at long intervals by 
fertile oases. 

Here I must briefly refer to the commerce of Tripoli, the most 
important item of which is alfa. The collection and preparation of 
this valuable fibre afford occupation to the greater part of the in- 
habitants. Ostrich feathers and gold dust are also large elements 
of export. Cereals are exported in seasons when the rains are 
profuse ; at others, not enough is grown for the use of the in- 








<*■ 



A Soudan Negro. 



TRIPOLI. 143 

habitants. An article of considerable native manufacture is a sort 
of warm over-cloak. The total exports in 1891 were valued at 
12,300,000. 

I had wished to continue my journey to Alexandria and Egypt 
across the Syrtis Magna and calling at the various towns in 
the great promontory of Barca, the ancient Cyrenaica, but there 
is here a break in the steam-communication, which otherwise 
nearly encircles the great continent of Africa. Much of this 
region however is a desert and uninhabited, and it is even said 
that for a distance of as much as four hundred miles along the 
shores of the gulf of Sidra there is not only not a single village, but 
not a single tree. So it was with comparatively little disappoint- 
ment that I arranged to go to Port Said and Cairo by the way of 
Malta and Brindisi. I continued in my French steamer on to 
Malta, where I not only attended the grand opera but the New 
Year's Day levee at the palace of the governor-general, and 
visited the British ironclad " Victoria," little dreaming of the sad 
fate that awaited her. From Malta I went in a large steamer of 
the Peninsular and Oriental Company to Brindisi, being favored 
with charming views of snow-capped Etna en route, and then 
skirted the islands off the west coast of Greece — Corfu, Cephalo- 
nia and Zante being distinctly visible with their steep hills and 
widely spread-out towns. AVe also enjoyed fine views of the 
mountains of Crete, their topmost ridge covered with snow. We 
halted at Port Said only long enough to coal. This town has 
grown to 16,000 people and is now a very bustling place. The 
Suez Canal, too, has greatly improved in every way. It is now a 
quarter of a century since it was opened and nearly twenty years 
since the British government purchased 820,000,000 worth of 
shares. A convention was signed in 1888 by which the canal 
was exempted from blockade, and vessels of all nations, whether 
armed or not, are to be allowed to pass through it in peace or war. 
The traffic is now ten times what it was during the first year. 
In 1891 4,206 vessels of 8,699,020 net tons passed through. The 
traffic receipts for that year were 83,421,504 francs. The canal 
is now in so prosperous a condition that there is talk of widening 
it, or even of building a parallel one. Of the total number of 
vessels more than two-thirds were English and then came German 
(one-thirteenth), Dutch (one-nineteenth), French, Austrian, Ital- 
ian, Norwegian, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Portuguese, Egyptian, 
Belgian, with about 250 of other nationalities. They carried over 



144 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

200,000 passengers, 80,000 of whom were soldiers. The average 
duration of transit is now only twenty hours. All vessels pro- 
vided with electric light are permitted to navigate the canal by 
night. Our engines are put at " dead slow." We pass the village 
Ras-el Esh, on the south side of Lake Menzaleh, next part of a 
dried-up lake and then the Kantara siding, 1,300 feet long, a 
spot where the sands drift heavily in east winds. This is on the 
old road and telegraph route to Syria. There is a small cafe 
here. Next we are in the old Ballah lakes and pass through clay 
swamp and low hills. We see the villages of El Ferdane and El 
Gruisr, the latter with its mosque and floating bridge. We have a 
cutting between banks seventy to eighty feet in height. Then 
we enter Lake Timsah, pass the Viceroy's chalet and see the town 
of Ismailia on the western side of the lake. A steam-launch 
comes off to us and we are soon landed in Ismailia. At this 
place, twenty-two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting M. de 
Lesseps in his pretty Swiss cottage, but I should hardly recognize 
the locality in the handsome town of the present day. It is 
named after the former Viceroy, whose old palace is here, and 
forms the central office of the Canal Company. It has a popula- 
tion of 3,000, and has been built with great taste, with pretty 
squares and long shaded boulevards, capital macadamised roads, a 
Catholic church, two hotels, and a railway-station. Here is the 
Sweet or Fresh Water Canal, by which and the railway there is 
communication with Cairo. I took the express train for the 
capital, passed through the Land of Goshen, halted for a little at 
the great cotton mart of Zagazig, and arrived at my destination in 
about three hours' time. 




H. H. the Khedive of Egypt. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE METROPOLIS OF AFRICA. 

Though I had thoroughly explored Cairo many years pre- 
viously I did not now neglect to refresh myself with further visits 
to the chief objects of interest and to any new ones that had arisen 
in this splendid oriental city. First and foremost came the Ghizeh 
Museum, the richest in the world in portraits, statues of private 
individuals, in funeral tablets, and in amulets and personal relics 
of the ancient Egyptians. The mummies, too, of the Pharaohs dis- 
covered in 1871, the celebrated statues of Prince Rahotep and his 
wife, Princess Nefert, the " wooden man," G,000 years old, are all 
of superlative interest. The jewels and gems of Queen Aoh-hotep 
are finer than those from Pompeii preserved in the Naples mu- 
seum. 

While I was in Cairo, Tewfik, father of the present Khedive, 
suddenly died of influenza and pneumonia at his Helouan palace, 
on the Nile, and was buried with great ceremony and displav in 
the Khedivial mausoleum at Imam Chaffee on the outskirts of 
the city. The body was brought by rail to the Abdin Palace, 
whence the funeral procession marched through Cairo to the 
cemetery. The remains were enclosed in a plain Arab coffin, cov- 
ered with a shawl of rich material and embroidered with golden 
flowers. On it lay the Khedive's sword. At the head of the 
coffin, upright on a short staff, was the Khedive's fez, and below 
this his ribbons and decorations of the Imtiaz, Osmanieh and 
Medjidieh orders. The coffin was borne by seamen of the Khe- 
dive's yacht. Immense crowds thronged the whole route of the 
procession, which was also lined by police and detachments of 
British and Egyptian troops. Immediately after the coffin came 
groups of native women, weeping and wailing and throwing sand 
on their heads. The procession was headed by mounted police, 
and camels laden with gifts to be distributed among the crowd. 

145 



146 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

All the British and Egyptian officers and officials of state were 
present. There was a regiment of Egyptian infantry with its 
English officers ; a squadron of British cavalry ; a body of Sheiks 
of different degrees intermingled with dervishes ; Ulemas — imams 
or ministers of religion, muftis or doctors of law, and cadis or 
judges ; pupils from the government schools ; and the members of 
the Diplomatic Corps in full uniform. At the mausoleum the 
mollahs or priests recited prayers while the coffin was being low- 
ered into the vault where the ancestors of the deceased Khedive 
repose. The obsequies were simple but imposing. The sorrow 
felt at the death of the Khedive was sincere and universal. He 
was very popular and his death was regarded as a national ca- 
lamity. 

The present Khedive, Abbas Pasha II., whom I frequently saw 
riding through the streets of Cairo, is a young man of medium 
height and powerful build. He was educated in Vienna, where 
he was a most assiduous pupil, being jmrticularly fond of exercises 
in law and in military and political science. He is a brilliant 
linguist and an admirable horseman. He is frank, dignified and 
considerate, and in the few years he has been Khedive has shown 
himself well qualified to preside over the destinies of his country, 
to attend to the onerous and often delicate duties that have de- 
volved upon him. 

I propose now to describe a visit to the Great Pyramids and 
afterwards a journey up the Nile, in accordance with the plan of 
my book to touch upon as great a variety as possible of the inter- 
esting parts of Africa which I inspected. I am aware that I shall 
here be upon well-trodden ground, but do not know that any recent 
work gives a general view of the present actual appearance and 
condition of these world-famed antiquities ; and besides I have some 
special experiences to recount. I am able, moreover, to present 
the reader with some interesting illustrations made from recent 
photographs ; and so with this brief explanation will speak first of 
a day spent at Grhizeh. 

As every one knows, the " great " pyramids are situated upon 
the edge of the desert, on the west bank of the Nile, about eight 
miles from Cairo. You may reach them by carriage in about an 
hour and a quarter. The route leads through the new or Euro- 
pean town to and across the great iron bridge called Kasr-el-Nil, 
then along the Nile to the south through the suburbs of Boulak 
and Ghizeh, where it takes a sharp turn to the west and leads 



THE METROPOLIS OF AFRICA. 147 

directly to the base of the pyramid of Cheops. In crossing the 
river yon pass several palaces of government officials, large three- 
story buildings, more remarkable exteriorly for their size than 
any special architectural merit, each standing in a great garden 
and being surrounded by high walls entered by iron gates. The 
great museum of Ghizeh especially arrests your gaze, knowing full 
well the priceless and fascinating treasures it contains. Across 
the river are other palaces, with gaylv-painted walls, with glimpses 
of old Cairo, and the buildings of the citadel and the domes and 
slender minarets of the mosque of Mehemet Ali. The road 
stretches away wide, macadamised and shaded by rows of splendid 
large acacias. As I ride along it is full of camels, donkeys, car- 
riages, equestrians and pedestrians, oriental and occidental, a very 
motley of nation and costume. Now I am opposite the island of 
Ehoda, and soon I turn away from the river towards the western 
desert. The road here takes the form of a high and broad cause- 
way or embankment, built some eight or ten feet above the level 
plain and its rows of trees form a beautiful arch as far as the eye 
can see. This road was built especially for the use of the Prince 
of Wales and his party in 18G8. Formerly these pyramids could 
only be reached by a long donkey route, which was rendered diffi- 
cult by the collection of water from the annual inundations. 
These shallow lakes now lie on each side of the road and extend 
nearly all the way to the pyramids. The plain is covered with 
rich verdure — wheat, barley and beans being the food plants most 
frequently observed. Before us, a little to the left, appear the 
three pyramids of Ghizeh, the Sphinx being in too low a situation 
to be seen. As we draw near I notice several small villages in 
different directions, a large modern hotel at the right of the road, 
opposite the " great " pyramid, and at its corner a building erected 
by the Khedive Ismail to entertain some of his distinguished guests 
at the opening of the Suez Canal. The pyramids stand upon the 
very edge of the Libyan desert on a slightly elevated ridge — here 
perhaps fifty feet above the plain — which is twenty-five miles in 
length and which contains the remains in better or worse condi- 
tion of some seventy pyramids. These though so much scattered are 
built always in groups. A few some six miles to the north are be- 
lieved to be older than those of Ghizeh. The point has been much 
disputed but it would seem that the weight of evidence for believ- 
ing them all to be tombs was in greatest favor, since they are only 
found in cemeteries. All about the pyramids of Ghizeh are 



148 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

old tombs. From here you see very plainly the pyramids of Sak- 
hara — including the famous " step " pyramid — away to the south. 
Owing to the absence of objects for comparison and the tone of 
color of the pyramids, so much attuned to that of the desert land- 
scape, they appear no larger when you are near them than when at 
a distance. It is only when you stand at their very base — say at 
the centre of one of the sides — and look up and out, that their 
immensity is brought home to you. 

We draw up in front of the hotel, which is very near and di- 
rectly facing the pyramid of Cheops. The incongruity and ex- 
travagance of the scene are most striking. The hotel — before 
which stand stylish broughams and landaus, and camels and don- 
keys — is built of stone and will accommodate 150 people, with 
charges the same as at the most fashionable hotels in Cairo. Its 
parlor and reading-room are decorated in ancient Egyptian style, 
while the dining-room is modelled after the interior of a mosque. 
In the afternoon a string orchestra upon the piazza play selections 
from the French and Italian operas, which are partly drowned by 
the clash of billiard-balls upon one side and the shouting of a 
lawn-tennis party upon the other. Before us stands in majesty 
the masterpiece of Cheops, around is the desert and the fertile cul- 
tivated land and the fellaheen at work with primitive method and 
material. Two days in the week an English four-in-hand coach, 
including the conventional guard and horn, plies between Cairo 
and this hotel. By all the mummies of Egypt, was there ever such 
a violent contrast ! After lunching, in the great mosque afore- 
mentioned, on pate de foix gras, pigeon, gruyere and Margaux, I 
proceeded to inspect the pyramids and the Sphinx, walking all 
around them and then ascending the " great " pyramid and enter- 
ing it. The pyramids stand upon a plateau of limestone, of which 
rock also these and all the other pyramids — save the sandstone one 
at Philae — are built. The limestone for the Ghizeh pyramids was 
brought from the quarries of Toora and Mokattam on the opposite 
side of the Nile. After taking good general views of the pyramids 
from many different points and angles I approached the colossal 
Sphinx, that great mystery called by the Arabs the " Father of 
Immensity." Though its features are greatly mutilated, still vari- 
ous strong expressions can be noted — at one angle an exceedingly 
pleasant and amiable one, at another a much firmer and more 
forceful one, and at still another a peculiar mystic look not as if 
across the valley and at Cairo (towards which it faces), but as if for- 



THE METROPOLIS OE AFRICA. 149 

ward into the vistas of time, into endless futurity. I may remind 
the reader that this celebrated statue is hewn out of the living 
rock, with a few additions of masonry where necessary. The face 
was once most brilliantly colored and even now bears traces of paint. 
The length of the body of the Sphinx is about 150 feet. The head 
is thirty feet long and the face fourteen feet wide. From the top 
of the head to the base of the figure the distance is about seventy 
feet. The paws are fifty feet in length. These are the actual 
measurements, but you find yourself quite unable to appreciate the 
enormous proportions which they indicate. The Sphinx is a very 
common figure among the monuments of Egypt. It is an emblem 
of sovereign power, of intellect joined with strength. This Sphinx 
— par excellence the Sphinx — is regarded as of immense antiquity, 
having been in existence when Cheops reared the " great" pyramid. 
Between its paws sacrifices were offered to the divinity it was sup- 
posed to represent. Within the last few years many excavations 
have been made around it, but the sands of the desert seem to blow 
in about as fast as they are dug out. A little to the southeast is a 
large granite and limestone temple, which was excavated by M. 
Mariette in 1853. Round about are the ruins of many tombs. 
They are those of high officials and others connected with the serv- 
ices carried on in honor of the kings who built the pyramids. 

From the inspection of the Sphinx I returned to that of the 
" great " pyramid. The four sides measure about 755 feet each, 
though the length of each was originally about twenty feet more. 
The present height is 451 feet but the former was 481 feet. The 
apex is now wanting and the flat space at the top is about thirty 
feet square. To ascend to this point a payment of two shillings 
has to be made to a native official styled the Sheikh of the Pyra- 
mids, and a like charge is made to visit the interior. This entitles 
you to two or three guides or helpers. If there are three, two pull 
you in front and one pushes from behind. Every one knows that 
the courses of stone are very high, often three and occasionally 
four feet in height, and that therefore the ascent is very laborious, 
as is also of course the descent. You go down face outwards, two 
guides leading as before, and one behind holding you by his sash 
previously secured about your body. I halted twice but reached 
the top in sixteen minutes — very good time, they told me. On the 
summit is a flagstaff. Here you obtain a very extensive view over 
the Nile valley and to Cairo, but the range of rocky sand hills does 
not permit a wide prospect towards the west. The second pyramid 



150 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

appears very near and seems, as it really is, nearly as large as that 
upon which you stand. The third pyramid looks especially small 
and obscure, in comparison scarcely worth one's notice. A good 
conception of the enormous size and massiveness of the " great " 
pyramid is obtained from its top. Herodotus has told us long ago 
how this pyramid was built, how it took ten years to make even 
the causeway to bring the stone from its quarries, how twenty years 
more were consumed in its erection, 100,000 men being employed, 
and being relieved at intervals of three months. Authorities dif- 
fer regarding its age, which however may be set down as probably 
about 6,000 years. Having descended, I next proceeded to visit 
the interior. The entrance is at about the centre of the northern 
side, some forty or fifty feet from the present base. The opening 
is quite small and slopes sharply down, the floor being as smooth 
as glass. Steps have been cut in the pavement, otherwise it would 
be quite impossible to enter or certainly to return. The guides 
bring candles and magnesium wire. The passage-way is 347 feet 
long, 3^ feet high and 4 feet wide and is almost choked with sand 
and rubbish. It leads to a subterranean chamber about 50 X 30 
feet and 10 feet in height, which M. Mariette believed the build- 
ers of the pyramid intended should be mistaken for its principal 
chamber, and so serve to conceal the real resting-place of the royal 
mummy. He thought also that the Queen's Chamber was built 
with a similar misleading object. At about seventy feet from the 
entrance an upward passage, once carefully closed by an immense 
block of stone, leads towards the centre of the pyramid and opens 
first into a hall having a ceiling 28 feet high. Just here is a hori- 
zontal passage leading directly to the centre of the pyramid and 
opening into what is known as the Queen's Chamber, 18 X 17 feet 
and 20 feet high, with a painted ceiling. The large passage-way 
continues on to the King's Chamber, the chief room of the pyra- 
mid, about 34 feet in length, 17 feet broad, and 19 feet high. At 
one side stand the remains of a coverless sarcophagus of red gran- 
ite. This chamber is built of enormous smooth slabs of granite, 
has a flat ceiling, and two air shafts leading to the outer casing of 
the pyramid. It is 140 feet above the base of the pyramid. Above 
this chamber are a number of smaller rooms, one over the other, 
and apparently constructed to lessen the immense weight of the 
upper part of the pyramid. The heat of the interior was very 
great, and the dust raised by our scrambling nearly stifled us. The 
odor of bats was moreover extremely pungent. The " great " pyra- 



THE METROPOLIS OF AFRICA. 151 

mid was forced open more than one thousand years ago by the 
Caliph El-Mamoon, a son of the famous Haroun-al-Kaschid. He 
was of course incited only by the hope of finding treasure. 

The second pyramid — that of Chephren — is of nearly the same 
size as that styled " great." It has a base line of 690 feet and is 
447 feet in height. Towards the top the ancient polished casing 
still exists. This makes the ascent of this pyramid too difficult 
for the traveller, but if he cares to see the feat performed, an Arab 
will run down from the top of Cheops, across to the second, and 
scramble to its summit, all in less than ten minutes, and for a 
couple of shillings. It contains but one chamber, into which there 
are two openings, on the north side, one at the base and the other 
about fifty feet above it. The chamber once held a granite sar- 
cophagus in which Chephren was buried. Both the first and sec- 
ond pyramid stand upon solid rock foundations. The fact that 
the second rests upon a higher level makes it appear nearly the 
size of the first. The second pyramid was first explored by Belzoni 
in 181G. The third pyramid though 215 feet in height and with 
a base line of 350 feet, seems, as I have said, quite a pygmy beside 
the other two. It contains two chambers, in one of which a splen- 
did sarcophagus was found, but was afterwards lost through the 
wreck of the ship in which it was sent to England. The cause- 
ways that were built to bring the material for this pyramid, as 
well as that of the first, still exist, though in diminished propor- 
tions ; that leading to the " great " pyramid is 85 feet in height 
and 32 feet broad. It is well known that the outer casings of 
these grand monuments have been removed by the Caliphs and 
Sultans in order to erect their palaces and mosques at Cairo and 
elsewhere. These blocks were covered with sculptures and hiero- 
glyphics which the fanatic Mohammedans turned to the interior 
in their walls, so that vast amounts of ancient Egyptian history 
are thus re-entombed. The Citadel and the mosque of Sultan 
Hassan in Cairo are altogether built of stone taken from the pyra- 
mids of Ghizeh. I drove back to the capital in the evening, the 
three pyramids in profile, one a little behind the other, making a 
splendid picture in the mellow rays of the setting-sun and its 
gorgeous afterglow. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

AFLOAT UPON THE NILE. 

On January 12, 1892, I left Cairo for a voyage up the Nile to 
the second cataract, having taken passage in a steamer belonging 
to Cook's Nile Flotilla. There are now many ways of ascending 
the Nile. Formerly — say fifteen years ago — the only method was 
by a sailing-vessel called a dahabeah, which would make the jour- 
ney in six weeks, or possibly it might be in three months. But 
now there are two lines of steamers regularly running once a 
week during the season, which extends from about the middle of 
November to the middle of March. These go to the first cataract, 
and a branch connected with one of these companies goes on still 
further to the second cataract. Here passengers must now stop. 
There is a railway built around the second cataract, some thirty- 
six miles, but it is only used for military purposes. And the 
country is too unsettled to allow the traveller at present to pro- 
ceed further south. Besides these two lines of steamers there are 
flotillas of small steam dahabeahs, and of steam-launches which tow 
dahabeah s, and also of large dahabeahs with steel hulls. There 
are also still many craft of the old type. There are over a hun- 
dred of these dahabeahs upon the river, owned by half a dozen 
different companies. All these latter methods of travel are neces- 
sarily very expensive and require parties of ten or more in order 
to share the cost. The dahabeah remains the pleasantest convey- 
ance for a long voyage — for passing the greater part of the winter 
in Upper Egypt — but for the ordinary tourist the regular weekly, 
or one of the extra steamers during the busiest part of the season, 
will prove the most convenient. 

I found the steamer on which I had taken passage lying against 
a landing-stage on the bank of the river just above the Kasr-el-Nil 
bridge. This steamer being typical of a Nile boat deserves a special 
description. I was surprised at its size and comfortable accom- 

152 



AFLOAT UPON THE KILE. 153 

modations. It was the largest vessel in the flotilla, and was very 
happily named " Rameses the Great." About 225 feet long and 
thirty broad and drawing but three feet when loaded with coal suffi- 
cient for a round voyage to the first cataract and back, it carried 
a total list of seventy-five passengers. The indicated horse-power 
was 500, and I afterwards discovered that we made an average 
speed of seven miles an hour up the river, against the current, and 
twelve to fourteen miles when coming down. The steering was 
done by steam. It was an iron paddle-wheel steamer with three 
decks and fitted throughout with electric light and electric bells. 
The cabins were arranged some of them for two and many for but 
one passenger. All were large and comfortably furnished. For- 
ward on the upper-deck was the dining-saloon. Next there was 
a large open space, extending over the paddle-wheels, where the 
easy chairs furnished by the steamer were placed, and where also 
there was a piano. Next to this was a reading-room, well supplied 
with guide-books and writing material, with small tables for games 
of various kinds, which were also provided. Then came a number 
of single berth cabins extending to the stern, where were tables 
and chairs for an open-air, yet protected, smoking-room. The 
main deck contained the galley, the Manager's office, the baths 
and many cabins, mostly with two berths each. On the lower 
deck were rooms for the officers, the doctor, the crew, the stores, 
several large cabins and in the stern two cabins fitted especially 
for invalids or others willing to pay an advance of $50. on the 
regular fare, which, by the way, is from Cairo to the first cataract 
and back, first-class throughout, $250., or to the second cataract 
and back, $355. The table was very good, meals being served at : 
8.30 a. m., breakfast; hot lunch 1 p. m., afternoon tea at 4.30 r. m., 
and dinner at 7 p. m. We were constantly supplied with machine- 
made ice. The water drunk aboard is taken from the river and 
twice filtered through great porous jars. It is not only wholesome 
but has a clean, clear and pleasant taste. The lime-rock which so 
much abounds seems to counteract the vegetable matter which 
it must contain in greater or less solution. In short, the steamer 
was well adapted to supply all necessary creature comforts, while 
making the most interesting single journey to be found on earth. 
The steamer of which I am speaking and the others of the same 
company are only for first-class tourists. But there is also a Nile 
Mail Service which takes native as well as foreign passengers. "We 
carried a full list — Americans, English, Germans and French. 
12 



154 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

The river where we lay seemed to be about a thousand feet in 
width. It was of a dark, coffee color, full of sediment, and ran 
with a swift current. Near us were some smaller steamers of the 
same company. On the opposite bank were a number of the 
dahabeahs, with their huge fore-sail and their after-one, smaller 
but of the same shape, like the wing of a bird. These dahabeahs 
have great cabins that are built up from the deck, along which 
they extend nearly the entire length of the vessel. The crew 
seem to be crowded into a very small space forwards. 

We lost no time in storing our trunks and small baggage under 
our berths, and started promptly at the advertised hour of 10 A. m. 
on our voyage of two weeks to Assouan. We soon were gliding 
past old Cairo and many large palaces lining the banks, the river 
being generally retained in its bed by great stone walls. Beyond 
we could catch glimpses of the city, and always had in view the 
Citadel and the dome and graceful minarets of the mosque of 
Mehemet Ali and, further off, the barren, yellow, rocky bluffs 
extending far north and south. We passed the island of Ehoda, 
with its pretty gardens and groves. The celebrated Nilometer is 
on the south end of the island. This consists of a simple grad- 
uated column marking the gradual rise and fall of the Nile as the 
annual inundation comes and goes. What is styled a " good 
Nile" consists of a rise from eighteen to twenty-five feet — a 
greater height would do much mischief. At Ehoda it is tradi- 
tionally asserted that Moses was found amongst the bulrushes by 
Pharaoh's daughter. Proceeding, we pass on the west bank the 
village of Ghizeh, and see on each side of the town great quantities 
of mimosa, and many sycamores and date palms. Above these 
appear the summits of the giant pyramids of Ghizeh — the blunt- 
topped Cheops and the sharp-apexed Chephrenes. On the east 
bank Toora and Mokattam are passed. Here are the immense 
quarries from which were taken the stone for the pyramids. These 
quarries have supplied stone for building purposes for six thousand 
years. The builders of the pyramids made their workmen tunnel 
into the mountains for hundreds of yards until they found a vein 
or bed of stone suitable for their work. Every one knows that 
there is a broad belt of verdure which follows the course of the 
Nile through Egypt and Nubia. This belt is sometimes ten miles 
in width and sometimes but one or two. Frequently the fertility 
will extend on one bank seven or eight miles, and the desert will 
begin almost directly at the other. Situated then all along the 



AFLOAT UPON THE NILE. 155 

river, at varying distances, are the grand remains of antiquity — 
the ruins of ancient cities, the temples, pyramids and monuments. 
A railway follows the left bank of the river as far as Assiout, or 
250 miles from Cairo. The steamer halts at the main points of 
interest and the travellers mounting donkeys in waiting ride to 
them and then return to the steamer, which at once proceeds to 
the next port of call. It runs only during the day so that tourists 
can see all of the banks. At night the steamer simply drops 
anchor in the stream or else runs in to shore and ties up at one of 
the landing-stages. 

Our first stop was at Bedrashayn, fifteen miles from Cairo, 
which is a railway station also, and the place of departure for the 
neighboring ruins of Memphis. As we drew in to the west bank 
we saw awaiting us over a hundred saddled donkeys with their boy 
drivers. There were native saddles — long narrow affairs, with 
huge leather pommels like those used in Morocco — for the men, 
and English side-saddles for the women. Below us were a number 
of ordinary native boats, which are engaged in transporting cattle 
and provisions from point to point on the river. But what a hub- 
bub the donkey boys made ! As we landed they surrounded us, and 
each one pressed forward to recommend his special beast, and the 
few words they used were very comical. For instance, they called 
their tough little animals " Telegraph," " Telephone," " Flying 
Dutchman," " Mrs. Langtry," etc. They furthermore appealed to 
our supposed preference by telling us " Cook very good, Gaze no 
good " — these being the names of the two tourist agencies upon 
the river. Having at last mounted our chosen donkeys — most of 
them the size of Newfoundland dogs — with the hide of their hips 
and legs trimmed in fancy circles, and wearing upon their necks 
many chains of copper coins or beads, which made a great jingling, 
we started into the interior, passing through a date grove, across the 
railway track, and through a large native mud village. Our drago- 
mans or guides and interpreters — each steamer carries several of 
these — who spoke passable English — accompanied us. We found 
the village of single-story huts, made of sun-dried bricks, very di- 
lapidated and wretched-looking. Men and women half clothed in 
coarse blue gowns stared at us as we passed. Children of both 
sexes rushed upon us demanding in loud tones " backsheesh," a 
gift — the cry so universally heard in the land of Egypt. It is 
not necessary that anyone should have done anything for you to 
demand a present, to see you is sufficient to make a general rush 



156 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and outcry. Leaving this village we passed through fertile fields 
and several groves of beautiful date palms, until we reached the 
site of ancient Memphis, the modern Sakhara. The circuit of the 
old city was about thirteen miles. Nothing now remains of this, 
once the great capital of Egypt, save mounds of bricks, broken 
earthernware and rubbish. In one building, though, there is shel- 
tered a colossal statue of Rameses II. It was presented by Me- 
hemet Ali to the British Museum a number of years ago, but 
owing to its great weight and to lack of necessary funds, it was 
never removed to London. The statue lies upon its back and is 
about forty-two feet in length. It is cut from hard limestone, and 
though the legs are badly fractured, the face is admirably preserved 
and bears the well-known amiable smile so frequently noticed in 
the Egyptian monuments. We next rode across a wide stretch of 
fields covered with barley, maize, sugar-cane, tobacco, and towards 
the pyramids of Sakhara, one of which, called the " step " pyramid, 
is built in six terraces seven feet in width on top and decreasing 
in height from thirty-eight feet at the bottom to twenty-nine at the 
top. The total height of this pyramid is about 200 feet. It is 
thought to be the oldest in the world — 700 years older than Cheops, 
or nearly 7,000 years ! These pyramids — there are eleven of them 
— were in sight all the afternoon. Leaving however the cultivated 
fields, where we followed the low lines of soil used to retain the 
water in times of irrigation, we entered upon an enormous dyke of 
earth built to restrain the waters of the Nile itself and to protect 
the positions of the native towns and villages. The dykes are 
always used as the roads of the country. Natives were everywhere 
at work in the fields, some with their crooked wooden ploughs, 
others with clumsy hoes. Files of laden camels and grave Arabs 
on diminutive donkeys passed us. And as we neared the edge of 
the cultivated land and proceeded to ascend the sandy hillocks of 
the great necropolises "of Memphis, native after native met us with 
various antiquities — jars, beads, idols, skulls — most of them fraud- 
ulent — to sell. They offered many of these articles for ten cents 
each, which naturally made all of us too suspicious to purchase. 

In the centre of these ruins stands the old mud-walled house 
which was the headquarters of the famous French savant, M. Ma- 
riette, where he and his staff lived during several years while en- 
gaged in making excavations hereabouts. Near this house is the 
entrance to the great Serapeum or Apis Mausoleum. It is all 
underground and the entrance contains a wooden door, which the 



AFLOAT UPON THE NILE. 157 

guardian Arab unlocked for our party. You enter through a 
steep incline of soft sand, and find many long corridors, hewn 
from the solid rock, in which the heat is oppressive. Candles are 
placed at intervals, and the guides furthermore occasionally burn 
magnesium wires. Eight and left of the arched corridor are the 
chapels containing huge stone sarcophagi in which the sacred 
bulls of ancient Egypt were buried. The sarcophagi are of blu- 
ish granite, and many of them are covered with hieroglyphics 
which have been found of the greatest historical importance. 
There are twenty-four of these sarcophagi and each measures 
about 13 X 8 X 11 feet. All of them have been rifled (it is said 
by Canibyses) in search of treasure. You observe that all the huge 
lids have been moved from their proper place far euough to allow 
the entrance of a man's body. The sarcophagi consisted of only 
two enormous blocks of stone, the lower part being hollowed out 
for the reception of the mummy and the upper serving as lid. 
These sarcophagi are believed to have belonged to different pe- 
riods, and the oldest is thought to be about 3,500 years old. The 
Serapeum, which is described by Strabo, the Greek geographer, 
once had pylons or gateways to which an avenue of sphinxes led 
and was surrounded by a wall. The tombs of the necropolis of 
Sakhara range from 1500 B. C. to about 50 B. C. We visited two 
of the best preserved of them. These were the tombs of Thi and 
Plitah-hotep, both belonging to the ancient empire or those built 
during the first eleven dynasties. Thi was a royal councillor, a 
confidant of the king. His tomb is nearly covered with sand, but 
a steep and narrow incline leads to a door, and a narrow passage 
conducts to several chambers containing some very beautiful 
sculptures in low relief, many of them being delicately colored. 
Thi was a rich man having large agricultural estates, and the 
scenes on the walls of his tomb, from bottom to top, represent all 
the operations connected with a large farm, also with hunting and 
fishing and a country life. And I may say that the subjects of 
the paintings and sculptures of the tombs generally are illustrative 
of the daily life of the deceased. Directly under the chamber that 
we entered was that for the mummy. On certain anniversary oc- 
casions the relatives met in the upper chamber. What surprised 
me in the carvings were the sharp lines after so many centuries, 
and the often bright colors which adorned many of them. Here 
might one study not only the features of the builders of these 
tombs, but their costumes (there was not however much of this, 



158 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

only a kilt of cloth generally), their habits and usages, etc. Op- 
posite Bedrashayn is the large town of Helouan, and not far dis- 
tant, and reached by a railway from Cairo, are the baths of Helouan 
— sulphur springs much resorted to by the citizens of the capital, 
both native and foreign. The late Khedive had a palace here, and 
it was here that he died, as hereinbefore mentioned. Helouan has 
a good hotel and is rapidly becoming a fashionable watering-place. 
At five P. M. we started on up the river, but anchored in midstream 
at dusk, near the village of Ayat, which is thirty-six miles from 
Cairo. 

At daybreak we were under weigh. The night had been very 
cold. Awnings were dropped all around the steamer and all the 
port-holes were closed. The difference in temperature between 
midday and midnight is very great and is keenly felt, though it 
does not prove unwholesome — colds and so forth being almost un- 
known. The river, as with all shallow rivers, was very tortuous, 
with a swift current and averaging perhaps half a mile in width. 
At this season — January — the flood is at about half its height. Of 
course when at full height the river often extends in each direction 
as far as the eye can see, while in midsummer it dwindles to a 
mere thread quite unnavigable even by the lightest draught steam- 
ers. The channel changes year by year from bank to bank, and 
the pilots depend upon local reports and upon the constant sound- 
ings with marked poles of two men stationed in the bow for this 
purpose. Should the steamer run upon a bank her engines, as- 
sisted by the long poles of the crew, are usually sufficient to get 
her off. In extreme cases it might be necessary to employ a small 
kedge to warp the vessel free. We went steadily on all day, there 
being nothing of very special interest to visit on shore. The coun- 
try was extremely diversified. Much of it lay in immense level 
and very fertile plains. Then again rocky and sandy hills would 
approach quite down to the bank, or great stretches of undulating 
plain would be too high above the river to admit of irrigation and 
hence would be utterly barren or with only fringes of date-palms 
or occasionally groves of these beautiful trees. Villages, some upon 
the banks, some inland, were frequent. Most of them were of 
one type — primitive, mud-walled, flat-roofed huts, with possibly a 
few of two stories, and the slender spire of a mosque appearing 
above all. The groves of palm trees seemed to be the favorite 
locations for these villages. In all of them you would notice the 
curious round towers, with sticks protruding in every direction, 



AFLOAT UPON THE NILE. 159 

used as the abode of pigeons, which are much raised for their 
manure and less as an article of diet. The little turreted tops of 
these pigeon-houses made them look at a distance like Indian tem- 
ples and many of them being colored white heightened the illu- 
sion. Great flocks of pigeons were always flying about the native 
villages. There was also much movement of life along the banks. 
Natives were travelling with loaded camels and donkeys, boats 
were loading or unloading, men were at work in the fields, or tend- 
ing the water-wheels which raise water from the river, women 
were filling the huge water-jars which they poise so gracefully 
upon their heads, children were playing and old people sitting 
and looking at the passing steamer or watching their own clam- 
oring countrymen bargaining for produce with the boatmen. At 
a long distance from the west bank could be seen all day the 
low smooth chain of the Libyan Mountains, and upon the eastern 
bank much nearer the river, the strangely rough and rugged lime 
rock of the Arabian Hills. "We overtook a great many dahabeahs, 
all bound up stream, and politely exchanged salutes with each. 
There were also a great many native boats, slowly working their 
way with oars up the river or sailing rapidly downwards. The 
sails of the latter, turned to either side, like the wings of a bird, 
were very pretty. They often added the necessary picturesque 
element to the long, smooth, lines of shore, plain or hill. "We would 
frequently pass large sugar factories, their chimneys being in sight 
for many miles. All these belong to the Egyptian government. 
During the day we passed a town called Wasta, whence a branch 
line of railway connects with that fertile spot called the Fayoum, 
and a large town called Medinet-el-Fayoum. The district, which 
has an area of 850 square miles, is watered by a branch of the Nile. 
Seventy-three miles from Cairo we passed, on the west bank, the 
large town of Benisouf, the capital of one of the most productive 
provinces of Egypt. It is governed by a Mudir. At dark we 
reached the town of Maghaghah, where we spent the night — 106 
miles from Cairo, on the west bank. Maghaghah is in what is 
styled Upper Egypt. One of the largest sugar factories is here, 
and we paid a visit to it. It was a very large establishment, with 
machinery of the most modern make, French mostly, and with a 
branch railway for bringing the sugar-cane into town. The great 
buildings are lighted by gas, and all the different processes of the 
manufacture seemed to be under the manipulation of natives, over 
two thousand of whom are employed. During the day we saw 



160 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

great quantities of aquatic birds and of many species, but as yet 
no crocodiles. The latter are not now to be found, I learned, 
below Assouan. After dinner each day the head dragoman entered 
the dining-saloon and briefly informed the passengers of the pro- 
gramme of sight-seeing proposed for the morrow, an admirable 
custom, since it gives ample time for those not well read up to 
prepare. 

The following day we started at daylight, and noticed many 
islands in the river, which at high water are doubtless wholly cov- 
ered. Many native boats were seen carrying miscellaneous cargoes. 
Others were engaged in ferrying passengers across the river. Upon 
the banks were miles upon miles of sugar-cane. This is ripe now 
and sugar making is at its height at all the factories. We pass 
on the eastern shore a range of limestone cliffs, several hundred 
feet in height, called Gebel-el-Tayr, on one part of which is an old 
Coptic convent called the Convent of the Pulley, from the fact 
that there is a hole or fissure in the rocks from which the convent 
may be reached from the water's edge by means of a rope and a 
pulley. The convent is simply a church surrounded by a small 
village of priests and their families, all walled in for protection 
from the Bedouins. Continuing our journey we pass on the west 
bank the town of Minieh, which is 156 miles from Cairo. This 
is the capital of an extensive province, and presents a very pictur- 
esque appearance from the river. There are many fine two-storied 
buildings with arched windows, gardens, spires of mosques octag- 
onal below and with tops like sharpened lead-pencils, with two 
iron-railed galleries, and among them all the modern chimneys of 
large sugar factories. Some of these factories, in spite of Moham- 
medan law, annually produce several thousand gallons of rum. 
The late Khedive had a fine palace here. 

About two o'clock in the afternoon we reached the village of 
Beni Hassan, on the east bank. This place is remarkable for the 
interesting and valuable rock tombs, which are situated at a dis- 
tance of about half a mile, in the range of limestone hills, some 
hundreds of feet above the river. We land and mount donkeys 
to visit them, passing first through the native village, nearly every 
member of which seems to have turned out and to be busy beg- 
ging us for backsheesh. At least half of these poor people are 
suffering from eye disease or are already blind of one or both eyes. 
The children of both sexes are quite nude and their elders at least 
half. The tombs extend for a long distance along the cliffs, on 



AFLOAT UPON TEE NILE. 161 

about the same level, and are all cut from the solid rock. We first 
however visited what is called the Speos Artemidos, a cavern about 
twenty feet square, whose walls outside are covered with hiero- 
glyphics. There is a small niche in one side of this chamber in- 
tended to hold a statue of the lion-goddess Sechet. There are 
about fifteen rock tombs at Beni Hassan. Leaving the village 
with its mud walls and overshadowing palm groves and crossing 
a narrow flat of fruitful gardens you reach the desert, and ascend 
a yellow range of hills until you arrive at the tombs. From their 
openings you have a splendid view over the valley of the Nile, a 
brief fringe of green near you, then the meandering river and 
then a wider expanse of fertility, until your eyes reach the dis- 
tant Libyan Mountains. The tombs, which are nearly five thou- 
sand years old, are very simple in their architecture. You have 
generally an entrance door between two outer columns forming a 
portico like the Doric. The chamber into which you enter has a 
double row of pillars with either lotus-bud capitals or those of the 
plain Doric type. In one corner is a shaft which leads down to a 
corridor ending in a chamber which contained the sarcophagus 
and mummy. Some of the tombs have .smaller chambers contain- 
ing statues of the dead who were buried beneath. The pillars like 
the chambers are all hewn out of the solid rock. The walls are 
completely covered with pictures representing in general the pri- 
vate life of the old Egyptians, and in particular of the occupant 
of each tomb. The daily occupations and amusements are por- 
trayed with such wonderful fidelity that you need no descriptions 
to comprehend all. Of ancient Egypt are shown pictures of the 
gods, animals, plants, manufactures, domestic work of the women, 
foreign visitors, soldiers, priests, vessels, hunting-scenes, agriculture, 
etc. The walls were first covered with a thin layer of plaster upon 
which the paintings were made. A few of the colors are as bright 
as if laid on but yesterday, though most are considerably faded. 
Below these paintings long inscriptions, with ornamental borders 
extending all around the chamber, have been cut in the rock. The 
ceilings are vaulted and gayly painted. The columns which have 
lotus capitals have four fluted or rounded sides, those of the Doric 
style sixteen sides. Some of the latter are twenty feet in height 
and the chambers are as much as forty feet square. The tombs 
are those of generals and officers of various Egyptian sovereigns, 
but two of the finest of them are of old feudal lords and governors 
of provinces. These latter have been protected with iron gates by 



162 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the authorities and it is necessary to show our tickets — purchased 
from the Egyptian government for $5.12 each, and granting us 
permission to visit all the monuments of Upper Egypt, " fermes 
ou enclos " — to the native guardian before entering. This tax is 
devoted to the maintenance and preservation of the monuments, 
and judging by the depredations — the wanton mutilation and in- 
jury — of tourists, Arabs and dealers in antiquities, is a check and 
protection greatly needed. In one of the smaller tombs we found 
a young English artist had temporarily taken up his abode while 
copying the scenes upon the walls. He was employed by the 
" British Archaeological Survey of Egypt," aud the " Egypt Ex- 
ploration Fund " of which the learned lady Egyptologist, the late 
Amelia B. Edwards was Vice-President and Honorary Secretary. 
We returned to the steamer and went on to the village of Ehoda, 
on the west bank, where there is a large sugar factory employing 
several hundred hands. We anchored for the night in mid-stream 
opposite this village. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE CAPITAL OF UPPER EGYPT. 

On at daylight the next morning, passing a range of great 
rocks on the eastern bank which was some ten or twelve miles in 
length and in some places descended perpendicularly into the river. 
It was mostly of stratified limestone and the valleys were filled with 
winding rivers or glaciers of the finest yellow sand. The colors of 
the hills were brown, yellow and gray — rock, sand and lime. The 
terraces of the cliffs where they descended to the river were full of 
tombs with square entrances like those at Beni Hassan, and cav- 
erns where once dwelt the celebrated ascetics of Upper Egypt. 
There were also to be seen many pretty natural grottoes and many 
holes, the abodes of numerous wild fowl. The range of hills is 
called Gebel-Aboufaydah, and towards the southern end of it are 
the famous crocodile mummy pits. These reptiles were found 
here in thousands. Many dog and cat mummies were also discov- 
ered in this neighborhood. And cat mummies carefully rolled and 
still having a distinct natural odor were offered for sale to us at 
Beni Hassan. The Nile was only about a quarter of a mile wide 
at the cliffs and is quite deep here. The opposite shore presented 
a great level plain but little above the surface of the river, and the 
cultivated fields approached to the very edge of the water. The 
fields bore mostly maize and beans. The channel seems to prefer 
one or the other bank, so far the eastern ; it does not generally run 
in the centre, as might be supposed. "We next passed on the west- 
ern bank the very picturesque village of Manfaloot, with its domes 
and minarets, its gardens and the Theban or doum palm which 
now began to mingle with the date. The houses of many of the 
villages are no more than the height of an Arab. Some are made 
solely of coarse straw, bundles of which are set on end for the 
walls. Occasionally we see the tomb of a marabout standing out 
in the desert quite by itself. As far as Assiout (250 miles from 

163 



164 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Cairo), the fertile valley of the Nile lies mostly upon the western 
side, never is there over a mile of it on the eastern bank, where the 
desert is generally seen but a few hundred yards back and fre- 
quently it comes directly to the water's edge. Not so however 
upon the western bank, where the plains are so vast that the des- 
ert chain of the Libyan hills is generally but faintly discernible. 

We saw the town of Assiout several hours before reaching it, 
the river here taking some very long curves. The city is a mile 
from the river bank, lies upon sloping ground and with its several- 
storied houses with white and light-colored walls, a dozen octago- 
nal minarets with three and four galleries each and smooth cone 
apexes, very many large and small domes, and interspersed gardens, 
palms and acacias it makes a very picturesque appearance, backed 
as it is by a range of steep bare yellow mountains. The port of 
Assiout is El Hamra and here we moored to a barge secured to the 
bank and near several other steamers of the same line, a half a 
dozen dahabeahs, and a small fleet of trading-boats. The usual 
crowd of native merchants and donkey boys lined the bank to re- 
ceive us and our surplus cash. From here an excellent road raised 
a few feet above the plain (on account of the annual inundation) 
leads to the city. The latter stands actually on an island formed 
by a branch of the river which is crossed by an arched stone bridge. 
Assiout has a population of about 25,000. It is the capital of Upper 
Egypt and the seat of an Inspector- General. It is more like Cairo 
than any town we have seen — has spacious bazaars, handsome 
mosques, luxurious baths. It is famous for its market held once 
a week, to which wares are brought from as great a distance as 
Arabia, to say nothing of far parts of Egypt. It is also celebrated 
for its red pottery, in which there is a considerable trade as well as 
in linen and woolen cloth, opium and pipe bowls. The present 
terminus of the railway from Cairo is at Assiout, but at a not very 
distant day this road will probably be extended to Assouan and the 
First Cataract. It is already completed thirty miles beyond Assi- 
out. All the Egyptian railways belong to the government. Lower 
Egypt is covered with a perfect network of them. The first rail- 
way opened was that between Cairo and Alexandria, 131 miles, in 
1855. The total number of miles now in operation is about one 
thousand. 

We were called early for a visit on shore, so that the voyage 
up stream might be continued at noon. We found the donkeys 
and their saddles of a much better quality than any previously 



THE CAPITAL OF UPPER EGYPT. 165 

employed. A branch line connects the river port with the railway 
at Assiout and this we followed to the town, passing through the 
usual rich gardens and groves of palm trees. Near the station 
were several handsome large houses of wealthy residents, the con- 
sulates of several nationalities, the prison and some barracks. We 
rode through a corner of the town and then followed a great dyke 
up to the base of the mountains, crossing a substantial bridge of cut 
stone over a wide canal, near which were the ruins of an old bridge. 
A fine new canal runs from Assiout to below Cairo. We crossed this 
in visiting the ruins of Memphis. It is navigable for native boats 
and for steam-launches. The yellow limestone range back of Assi- 
out is full of old Egyptian tombs similar to those at Beni Hassan, 
only that here there are very many more of them and they extend 
in horizontal rows from the bottom to the top of the ridge. They 
were afterwards tenanted by Christian monks and hermits, and 
many have been destroyed for the sake of the limestone forming 
the walls. We visited first the tomb of the " sacred wolf." Assi- 
out in ancient times was called the " wolf city " probably because 
the jackal-headed Anubis was worshipped there. The tomb con- 
sisted of a large number of chambers, opening into each other, all 
hewn from the solid rock. The mountain was pierced in this 
manner for a distance of perhaps two hundred feet and a width 
of fifty. Some of the chambers were thirty or forty feet in height. 
They were all half choked with debris and before them were great 
heaps of broken bricks, earthenware, mummies of animals, etc. 
Two sides of the largest chamber were crowded with carved hiero- 
glyphics, showing traces of much coloring, with a frieze above. 
The ceiling had been covered with ornamental designs in blue and 
pink. In other of the chambers were figures of kings, divinities, 
and pictorial scenes too dim to make them comprehensible. A 
few minutes' walk up the steep hill brought us to the large tomb 
of Merikara, a king of the XHIth dynasty, (about 4,000 years old), 
which contained some well-preserved hieroglyphics and the king's 
royal cartouche. All these tombs held also many small niches for 
the mummies of sacred wolves. In fact the whole surface of the 
hill seemed honeycombed, one opening led to another and there 
were several tiers of them. The best of these tombs were secured 
with high iron fences and gates, to which our "Monuments' 
Tickets" procured us ingress. Inside all these tombs was a 
printed notice headed " Service de Conservation des Antiquites de 
l'Egypte," and which in three languages— French, English and 



166 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Arabic — begged visitors most earnestly not to cut or write tbeir 
names upon any of the monuments. A few of us on leaving these 
tombs climbed to the top of the mountain, where we enjoyed a 
very magnificent and extended view of the Nile valley. At our 
feet on the edge of the desert lay a large Arab cemetery, its white 
walls and little domes, packed closely together, looking very oddly. 
Further off was a capital prospect of the city of Assiout, with its 
low brown houses, interspersed with a few white ones of several 
stories, the domes and beautiful minarets of its mosques producing 
a fine effect. The octagonal many-galleried minarets with rounded 
tops reminded me strongly of those in India in their style of archi- 
tecture. Nearing them afterwards I saw that they were delicately 
sculptured and that the pretty railings of their balconies were of 
carved wood. Beyond and all around were the rich green plains 
of the valley of the Nile. The line between the verdure of the 
valley and the sterility of the desert was most acutely drawn. The 
glistening river and its neighboring canal wound away in the dim 
distance. The crystal air and bright morning sun heightened all 
the effect and produced a picture of extraordinary beauty — a plain 
of emerald, a river of silver and two deserts of gold. 

We descended to the town and visited the bazaar and the 
weekly open-air market. The latter was held in a large square 
which was packed with blue-robed natives buying and selling 
camels, bullocks, sheep, goats, chickens, vegetables and fruits. We 
had noticed the river full of boats and the roads full of animals 
bringing supplies to this weekly market. The bazaar consisted 
mostly of one long street of roofed shops. It was about ten feet 
wide and was a perfect mass of yelling, gesticulating and scram- 
bling natives, loaded camels and donkeys and small hand-carts. 
The crowd of men, women and children was however extremely 
amiable and good-natured as our donkey boys shouted for passage 
and pushed us eagerly along. The shops stood partition to parti- 
tion, mere boxes, as usual in Mohammedan towns, but they were 
filled with a marvellous variety of foreign goods and nicknacks, 
in addition to local manufactures and conventional assortments of 
cloths, embroideries, slippers, jewelry, etc. But there is no need 
of a special characterisation for it was like all oriental bazaars, of 
which so many have been already described in these pages. We 
returned to the steamer, which soon threw off its moorings and 
headed away up the swiftly flowing river. In a few hours we 
passed the town of Abootizh on the western bank, a mud village, 



TEE CAPITAL OF UPPER EGYPT. 167 

with a mosque having two most beautiful minarets. As we 
steamed near the bank we saw that a market, attended by a great 
crowd, was in progress. Surrounding the town were several large 
walled gardens containing orange, pomegranate, olive, date, fig 
and banana trees and grape vines. Along the bank were many 
native boats in course of construction. The average size of these 
is thirty feet long by ten wide. They usually have two low masts, 
one near each end, with the enormously long yards made so famil- 
iar to all through pictures. The boats being " pitched both within 
and without " have a dull dark appearance. We have seen many 
ferry-boats passing from bank to bank and always crowded with 
passengers. The appearance of a crowd of blue-gowned natives 
quite filling the interior of a boat suggested the amusing reference 
to the theatrical announcement dear to all managerial hearts of 
"standing-room only." We continued on by the light of a beau- 
tiful moon until 10 p. m., when we anchored in the river op- 
posite the village of Gow-el-Gharbeeyah, about 285 miles from 
Cairo. 

" Up anchor and on at daylight " seems to be our formula for 
beginning each succeeding day. We pass this morning several 
villages on either bank, the characteristics of all being the same — 
low, brown, mud-walled houses, here and there graceful minarets, 
many square turrets of pigeon houses, with their chevaux-de-frise of 
roosting perches and rows of earthenware pots fringing the tops, 
lines of boats tied to the banks, women coming and going with 
great water-jars, men building boats, hundreds of children shout- 
ing at us, strings of camels and donkeys or women with baskets of 
provisions upon their heads entering town, farmers at work in the 
fields, sometimes ploughing, a camel and a buffalo being incon- 
gruously yoked together — it is always an entertaining scene of life 
and activity. Before noon we passed the town of Bellianeh on the 
west bank. This is the starting point for the beautiful temple of 
Abydos, reached by a six mile donkey ride across the plain to the 
edge of the desert. But for the more convenient division of our 
journey, the visit to Abydos is deferred until the return voyage. 
We went steadily on all day, the scenery being very varied and 
interesting. There were rougher, higher and steeper hills on both 
banks. The absolute sterility of these hills made a very decided 
contrast with the fertile green plains. At many of the villages 
the pigeon business seemed conducted on a great scale ; there were 
mud towers occupied by these birds which seemed in number often 



168 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

to vie with the houses of the villagers. About the latter were 
always thick growths of date and doum palms and acacias. The 
fields bore much maize, beans and sugar-cane. The Libyan hills, 
which we have been following along from the neighborhood of 
Sakhara, vanish as the Nile takes a decided turn to the eastward. 
We anchor for the night in the river opposite the village of Dish- 
neh, 387 miles from Cairo. 

I was always interested in watching the various mechanical 
appliances and methods used in raising water from the river for 
the purpose of irrigating the fields. What is called the shadoof 
seems to be the most popular arrangement. This consists simply 
of a long pole, made heavy at one end, generally by simply sticking 
a huge ball of mud upon it, and resting on a pivot. To a short 
pole attached to the opposite end is a water-tight basket or goat- 
skin bucket, which is pulled down to the water and filled, and as 
the heavy end of the pole descends, the water is raised and emptied 
into a little gutter whence it flows to a basin where another man 
is stationed and afterwards to a third— it generally requiring at 
this season of the year (mid-winter) three, and occasionally four, 
lifts to get the water from the surface of the river to a level with 
that of the plain. This apparatus is an imitation of the old-fash- 
ioned well-sweep once so prevalent throughout the New England 
States — or rather that is probably an imitation of this. Another 
style in vogue was the sakiah or water-wheel of cogged wheels 
turned by a buffalo, camel or yoke of oxen generally blindfolded, 
each revolution of the wheel working up a series — an endless 
chain — of earthenware jars, which in turning empty themselves 
into a trough leading into a pool. A girl or boy often rides upon 
the shafts of the sakiah to drive the animals. This is the water- 
mill encountered throughout all North Africa. It stands near the 
bank and the water is let fall into the wells by a canal or tun- 
nel from the river. But the most primitive method of all — and 
one without the intervention of any mechanical contrivance — is 
that in which two men, standing in the river or canal, hold a 
water-proof basket between them, which they swing into and out 
of the water with clock-like regularity, and throw the water into a 
pool upon the banks. Little canals distribute the water over the 
fields, upon which are low mud retaining-walls. The natives work 
the water along from the river bank into these sections, always 
using their feet for the purpose. The shadoofs line the steep side 
of the river — there is generally but one abrupt bank at one part 



THE CAPITAL OF UPPER EGYPT. 169 

— every thousand feet or less, and occur in groups. The most of 
them were in steady operation. 

In the level plains of rich loam covered with emerald verdure I 
have been constantly reminded of the great herbage-covered steppes 
of Holland and of the curiously contrasted facts that here the con- 
stant effort is to get water upon the land while there it is to get it 
off. In addition to produce already mentioned I have noticed 
here lusty crops of barley, wheat, lentils, vetches, peas, tobacco, 
flax, hemp, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, water-melons and lupins, 
a coarse kind of clover. The coating of mud from the inundation 
renders the use of manure generally unnecessary, though that of 
pigeons is frequently used on bad land or in order to force crops. 
Often no ploughing is attempted, the seed being simply scattered 
and trampled in by oxen, sheep or goats let loose upon it. Arti- 
ficial irrigation is however kept up at intervals between the inun- 
dations, and is especially necessary for the crops which are raised 
in the summer season — millet, sugar-cane, coffee and cotton. The 
chief article of export, I may add, is cotton, and the next in impor- 
tance is sugar. The forest scenery of Egypt consists mostly of the 
palm groves which are found everywhere in the Delta and through- 
out the valley of the Nile. One notices however many other 
plants, such as sycamores, tamarisks, mimosas, acacias and plane 
trees. The lotus, that famous water-lily of the Nile, which was 
considered sacred by the old Egyptians, is frequently seen in the 
Delta but not in Upper Egypt. It is used nowadays for making 
a kind of bread. The papyrus plant, from whose delicate white 
stem the ancients made paper, has become extinct. There is prose 
as well as poetry in saying that Egypt is the gift of the Nile. 
The country actually consists only of its valley, for the rest is 
desert with a few scattered oases. Egypt owes its existence and 
fertility alone to this river. And to the same is also due its grad- 
ual increase of productive territory. For as the river bed rises 
higher, the amount of land covered by the inundation of course 
grows more and more. The alluvial soil of the valley of the Nile 
varies from twenty to forty feet in depth. The rich mud which 
the river carries down increases the level of the land on each side 
Of its course at the rate of about six inches in a century. The 
land around Thebes has been raised about nine feet in 1,700 years. 
This is known partly by the depth to which the Colossi are em- 
bedded in a stratum of alluvium which has been deposited about 

their base. The annual inundation, it may not generally be re- 
13 



170 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

memberecl, reaches its greatest height about the 1st of October, 
remains for two or three weeks at an average of about twenty-five 
feet above low-water level, and then gradually subsides. The 
usual rise in various parts of the river varies greatly. Thus when 
it is twenty-five feet at Cairo, it will be thirty-eight at Thebes and 
forty-one at Assouan. A few feet of water more or less is always 
accompanied with disastrous results. A rise of less than eighteen 
feet is apt to result in famine in many parts. There are now culti- 
vated about 12,000 square miles of Egypt out of a total of 500,000 
available for cultivation — about half of this is in the Delta and 
half in the oasis of Fayoum and in the Nile valley. 

Having spoken of the land of Egypt let me add a few words as 
to her people. The present population is generally put at 7,000,000, 
though it is next to impossible to obtain an accurate census in a 
country where an increase in population always means an increase 
in taxation. The great majority of the inhabitants — about four- 
fifths, it is said — are the fellahs or fellaheen, peasant-tillers of the 
soil, who are the descendants of those who adopted the Moslem 
faith of the conquerors and intermingled with them. These people 
greatly resemble the ancient Egyptians as depicted on the monu- 
ments. The whole of the cultivation of Egypt is in the hands of 
this race. Next there are the Copts, some 400,000 of them. They 
embraced Christianity during the Byzantine period of Egyptian 
history — about 400-650 a. d. — and did not intermingle much with 
the Arab conquerors. The clerks in government and commercial 
establishments, the goldsmiths and cloth-workers in the bazaars, 
are largely recruited from this class. The nomad Bedouin or des- 
ert tribes of to-day are the descendants of some of the Arab in- 
vaders who held themselves aloof from the conquered race of origi- 
nal inhabitants. Then there are Berbers from Nubia, negroes from 
the Soudan provinces, and Turks. The latter are believed to num- 
ber about 15,000, and have mixed but little with the natives. The 
European population is estimated at 100,000 — Greeks (40,000), 
Italians (20,000), French (15,000), Austrians, English, Germans. 
There are also many Syrians, Armenians and Jews. The latter, in 
fact, count some 10,000, and as is usual with this race the world 
over, include bankers, merchants, money-changers, and bric-a-brac 
venders. 

Ever since leaving Cairo we have seen great quantities of birds 
on and about the river — standing in flocks upon its sandbanks or 
flying about its shores. There have been herons, hawks, kites, 



THE CAPITAL OF UPPER EGYPT. 171 

ibises, crows, pelicans, cranes, flamingoes, snipe, plover, larks, 
sparrows, linnets, eagles and vultures. Some of the latter are enor- 
mous, said to be as much as fourteen feet across the wings. There 
are also many kinds of fish in the Nile which while they make rather 
unpalatable eating for foreigners, being thin and soft, are much used 
by the natives, whom we have frequently seen fishing with poles 
and nets. Among several to me unknown species exposed for sale 
in the town-markets I have noticed barbel, perch, and a sort of 
minnow. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH. 

About eight o'clock on the morning of the 18th we were made 
fast to the western bank nearly opposite the grand temple of Den- 
derah. On the other side of the river was the town of Keneh, be- 
tween which and the seaport of Kosseir on the Eed Sea, about 
eighty miles distant, there is a caravan road which is usually trav- 
ersed in three days. Kosseir carries on a considerable trade with 
the Arabian peninsula. We intend to visit Keneh on our return 
voyage. We found donkeys and drivers awaiting us, and follow- 
ing the river bank for a little started inland northwestwardly to 
the famous temple. An Egyptian officer and two or three soldiers 
accompanied us. Our route was lined by natives vociferously cry- 
ing for backsheesh and offering coins, statuettes, scarabs, etc., for 
sale. The scarabs or scarabaeus, it will be remembered, is the figure 
of a beetle, plain or inscribed with characters, which was habitu- 
ally worn by the ancient Egyptians as an amulet. Its use and 
meaning as a sacred symbol are unknown. We passed several 
sakiahs to which water is conducted in tunnels or the wells are 
filled by infiltration from the Nile. Both the eastern and western 
banks of the river were bordered in the distance by picturesque 
limestone hills, some of them table-topped and others with sharp 
ridges. Their steep gray sides were often covered with great 
mounds of sand. Tamarisks and acacias, date-palms, and doum 
palms singular in their bifurcated forms and fruit the size of an 
orange, appeared on every hand. Larks chirped in the great fields 
of barley. We soon saw before us on a low ridge of rubbish the 
ruins of Denderah, pylons or gateways, the great temple and sev- 
eral smaller ones. After half an hour's ride we reached the grand 
entrance, dismounted, and showing our " Monuments' Tickets " to 
the official guardian, were allowed to proceed. This splendid tem- 
ple was begun under Ptolemy XII. and completed under Tiberius 




Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Denderah. 



THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH. H3 

and Nero. It cannot therefore be older than the beginning of our 
era. Moreover it shows a considerable admixture of Greek and 
Roman with Egyptian ideas. We halted at the detached pylon in 
front of the main entrance. Huge mounds of rubbish surrounded 
us on every side. In fact when discovered by M. Mariette, the 
temple was not only nearly buried among the rubbish which cen- 
turies had accumulated about it, but a whole village of mud huts 
actually stood upon the roof ! The pylon consists of little more 
than jambs and lintels but clearly indicates what it must have 
originally been. Two enormous blocks remain in position above 
the opening. The sides and top are completely covered with beau- 
tiful bas-reliefs and inscriptions, and faded colors can be easily 
traced. The avenue of sphinxes — the dromos — which led from 
here to the entrance, 250 feet, have been replaced by brick walls. 
The appearance of the temple from without is very imposing. The 
walls and columns are massive yet simple. The edifice is oblong in 
shape, with a flat roof. Its material is a hard yellow limestone. 

To enter you descend through an unlocked door a long wooden 
staircase to the portico or " Hypostyle Hall," Hall of Columns, 
which is open in front. It is 140 feet broad, 80 feet deep, and 50 
high, and contains twenty-four columns arranged in six rows! 
As exalted as had been our imaginings we found ourselves over- 
whelmed with the actuality. Everything is greater, grander and 
more gorgeous than we had expected. The temple is most won- 
derfully preserved. Every part of it both without and within is 
covered with high or low reliefs and inscriptions, and everywhere 
are traces of the beautiful colors which once ornamented it. The 
figures are many of them of life size and are disposed in large 
tablets or frames made of hieroglyphics. Friezes of lotus stalks 
and flowers border the ceilings, all of which are sculptured in a 
design of little stars. The capitals of the huge columns have four 
heads of the goddess Hathor surmounted by miniature temples. 
The round smooth surfaces of the columns are completely covered 
with figures and writing. Generally the pictures represent one 
subject — the royal founder adoring the divinities of the temple, 
and the various ceremonies observed by the king in connection 
with this adoration. The ceiling of the noble portico has in sev- 
eral places a representation of the Zodiac. The floor is formed of 
great stone slabs. There is sufficient light from without to see 
everything here to advantage, but for the inner chambers and 
crypts we were provided with candles, and in specially interesting 



174 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

spots our dragomans burned magnesium wire which, as is well 
known, affords a very brilliant illumination. 

Leaving the portico by a doorway facing the entrance you enter 
a second hall, having six huge columns, and three small chambers 
on each side. Proceeding, two smaller chambers on the right and 
left are passed and then you enter an oblong room which was the 
sanctuary. Behind this, but reached by outside passages, is a small 
chamber in which the emblem of the goddess worshipped in the 
temple was placed. There was a decided slope upwards from the 
entrance to this room. A staircase on either side leads to the roof. 
The walls of these are covered with large figures of the grand pro- 
cessions which on the occasion of festivals wound through the tem- 
ple, mounted to the terraces and descended to perform their rites 
in exterior enclosures. On each side of the sanctuary are smaller 
chambers. These were employed for the assembling of the priests, 
the consecrations of the offerings, the guardianship of the sacred 
emblems, the preparations of holy oils and essences, and the preser- 
vation of the vestments. In the walls of the temple were two con- 
cealed crypts, wherein the most valuable gold statues and other 
sacred treasures were kept. We had literally to crawl into these 
upon hands and knees, but once within, found long halls perhaps 
seven feet in height and four feet in width, whose walls were 
covered with admirably preserved low-relief pictures of gods, and 
carved hieroglyphics. Many of the colors here were in capital 
preservation. A few of the chambers above, on the ground-floor, 
were consecrated to other divinities, such as Isis, Osiris, Pasht and 
Horus. Throughout this magnificent temple the heads and figures 
of the gods and goddesses had been chiselled away by the fanatic 
hands of the early Christians, who proved themselves in this re- 
spect quite equal to the Moslems here and elsewhere. On the roof 
were several smaller temples — one symbolizing the death of Osiris, 
another his resurrection. From the top of the walls I had a splen- 
did view of the temple, its surrounding mounds of rubbish, which 
to the east are higher than the edifice itself, the neighboring fer- 
tile plain and villages, and distant Nile, desert and mountains. The 
interior chambers and the crypts were full of bats and the exterior 
walls were covered with the cells of bees whose humming sounded 
strangely in one's ears. The outer smooth yellow walls are cov- 
ered from top to bottom with sculptures which look as if they 
might have been cut but yesterday. The temple exactly faces the 
north. On the south wall, among the great sculptures of the chief 



THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH. 175 

gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon, you find the famous 
portraits of Cleopatra and Caesarion, her son. Both have been 
much damaged by the chisel of the bigoted Christian. The pro- 
file of Cleopatra however still bears physiognomical evidence of the 
extraordinary qualities which history has ascribed to her. Near by 
on this side stands a small temple dedicated to Isis. It consists of 
three chambers and a corridor whose walls are covered with carved 
pictures. On the north side of the great temple is a small one, 
called the Typhoni, about 120 X 60 feet, which has not been all 
excavated. It has a peristyle of twenty-two columns, many of 
them with most beautiful fluted exterior and massive yet graceful 
lotus capitals. The ceiling of the first chamber bore a famous 
Zodiac, which was cut out, with the permission of Mehemet 
Ali, in 1821, and is now preserved in the Louvre at Paris. The 
temple of Denderah was dedicated to Hathor or Venus, who is 
represented as a woman, wearing a headdress in the shape of a 
vulture, and above it a disk and horns. She is sometimes 
represented with the head of a cow. The edifice seems from 
its completeness and from its wonderful preservation to give 
a good idea of the general arrangements of the great temples 
of ancient Egypt. We had voyaged up the Nile for nearly a 
week and had as yet seen nothing of startling grandeur or 
beauty, but in the visit to Denderah we all felt more than re- 
paid for our trouble, and were delighted at our good fortune. 
We returned to the steamer and soon started on up the river 
for Luxor. 

Leaving Keneh we turned once again to the south. The Libyan 
Mountains approached nearer the river and became higher, steeper 
and more picturesque. There were huge table-topped hills, sharp 
serrated ridges, vast walls of stratified rocks and winding-sheets of 
finest yellow sand. Late in the afternoon the ruins of the temple 
of Koorneh — dedicated to the memory of Seti I., the father of 
Rameses the Great — and others appeared on the edge of the desert 
upon the western bank, and soon afterward the village of Luxor 
was seen almost directly ahead on the eastern bank, some twenty 
or thirty feet above the river. The plain opened out on each side 
of the Nile and was backed by peaked mountains in the distance. 
Then as we steamed rapidly on I caught a glimpse through and 
over the thick groves of tamarisk, acacia, date and doum palms, 
of the vast ruins of Karnak — the massive main propylon and tem- 
ple walls, the huge pylons, the lofty obelisk and the giant columns. 



176 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Luxor just beyond and 450 miles from Cairo, is a town of only a 
few thousand inhabitants which owes its importance solely to the 
fact that it is situated close to these ruins and to other grand ruins 
across the river. Ancient Thebes occupied the whole plain on 
each side of the Nile, a space sufficiently large to contain the city 
of Paris. The chief portion of the city was situated on the east 
bank, while the western was devoted to the temples, palaces and 
tombs. Our arrival at Luxor seemed almost as great an event for 
that town as it did for ourselves. The flags of four or five con- 
sulates were flying and the Egyptian standard was also liberally 
displayed. Guns were fired on shore and our steamer's whistle 
was kept in continual action. The appearance of Luxor was very 
strange and incongruous. First upon the bank, thirty feet above 
the river, came the long single-storied, brown-colored " Grand 
Hotel," then the smaller white-colored " Karnak Hotel," next the 
two- and three-storied and pink-walled houses of the consuls, then 
several great mud towers set apart for the pigeons, behind these 
appeared the mud-walled native town, the white tower of a mosque, 
and the splendid great columns of the grand temple of Luxor, 
which is built quite at the edge of the river, then a Franciscan 
chapel and mission, and finally the " Luxor Hotel " situated in a 
pretty garden, and the whole backed by and interspersed with the 
ever-strange and beautiful date palm. In the river were a dozen 
native boats, two or three steamers, and the landing-stage, to which 
we were soon made fast. On the bank above, awaiting our arrival, 
were several hundred Copts, Arabs and fellahs, together with a 
score of temporary foreign residents, gentlemen in tennis "blazers" 
and ladies with racquets in their hands. It was altogether an ex- 
traordinary scene, this mingling of the ancient and modern, the 
Occident and Orient, one only equalled by that already described 
as witnessed at the Great Pyramids. We went early to rest, in ex- 
cited expectation of visiting the principal monuments of Thebes, 
on the western bank, in the morning. 

We started at half-past eight and crossed a part of the Nile in 
boats to the large, low, sandy island opposite Karnak, where we 
took donkeys, crossed this island, and then were ferried over the 
other branch of the river, ourselves in one style of boat, the don- 
keys in another. Then we again mounted our diminutive beasts 
and proceeded along the bank of a large empty canal and across 
vast fields of wheat and barley. In the latter were farmers en- 
gaged in winnowing grain by simply throwing it in the air from 



THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH. 177 

trays and letting the wind carry away the chaff. In the distance 
to the west along the edge of the desert were first the ruined tem- 
ple and palace, Medinet-Haboo, and next the Rameseum or Mem- 
nonium of Kameses II. Between the two and some distance out 
in the green plain were the sitting Colossi, which, being backed 
by the great range of gray and brown rocks and sand, looked rather 
small by comparison. To the east across the river were the walls 
of the temple of Karnak, the propylons and obelisk, and behind 
us the great temple of Luxor, all appearing above the thick groves 
of palm trees. After half an hour's ride we reached the temple 
of Koorneh, surrounded by great heaps of rubbish and backed by 
a precipitous range in which we could see the openings of many 
rock tombs. The temple of Koorneh was built by Seti I., in 
memory of his father Rameses I., the remainder was added by 
Rameses II., who rededicated it to the memory of his father Seti I. 
It is therefore about 3,000 years old. It is situated facing the east 
and the Nile, at the entrance of a gorge called Bab-el-Molook, which 
leads to the famous Tombs of the Kings. It is built of yellowish- 
brown sandstone. The architecture is simple and massive. In 
the central hall are six great columns. The roof is formed of slabs 
of stone 20 X 3 X 2 feet. It is carved without and within by rather 
large figures and hieroglyphics, some raised in low relief and then 
engraved. Many of them bear traces of coloring. The ceiling is 
also carved in places. The interior is divided into many small 
chambers, in one of which is a finely sculptured head of Seti, 
showing a very amiable but tibt very strong individuality. The 
sculptures on the walls represent Rameses II. making offerings to 
the gods, among whom appear the faces of Rameses I. and Seti I. 
This temple is in a very dilapidated condition. From a part of 
its roof I got a fine view of the surrounding plain with its various 
ruins, which could be easily differentiated, and of the remarkable 
Libyan Mountains to the west, with their many precipices of yellow 
rock and their tombs, and the mud villages scarcely to be distin- 
guished from the tawny hills on which they stood. AVe did not 
tarry but mounted our donkeys for another ride of half an hour 
to the Tombs of the Kings. These are approached through a 
narrow, rocky ravine which is an awful picture of utter barren- 
ness, and yet which from its contrasting forms and colors is never- 
theless quite picturesque. In many of the conglomerate pillars I 
was strongly reminded of the " Garden of the Gods " in Colo- 
rado. Here however there is much limestone rock and the 



178 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

surface is covered with coarse gravel, large pebbles, flint stone 
and sand. 

The tombs are hewn out of the living rock in the upper part 
of the desolate valley, which is situated some three or four miles 
from the Nile. It is a hard, milk-white, fine-grained stone, called 
"marble limestone." It takes a polish like flint. Twenty-five 
tombs have been opened. The most of them contained the mum- 
mies of the kings of the XlXth and XXth dynasties^say from about 
1400 b. c. to 1100 b. c. All these tombs are of about one pattern, 
consisting of long, narrow inclined planes, leading to a large cham- 
ber in which was the sarcophagus and to several smaller ones, some 
of these extending into the mountain a distance of five hundred 
feet horizontally, and with a depth, measured perpendicularly from 
the end of the entrance, of eighty feet. These tombs were so built 
up and covered over as to afford no trace of the spot where the 
royal mummy was deposited. But Belzoni, Bruce and Mariette 
have been instrumental in bringing many to light and in excavat- 
ing their wholly sand-choked halls and chambers. We entered 
several of the most interesting, amply provided as usual with can- 
dles, and our dragomans with magnesium wire. All were full of 
more or less beautiful wall sculptures and paintings from hall to 
crypt, and in several were huge granite sarcophagi. The tombs 
have all been numbered by the famous Egyptologist Sir John Gard- 
ner Wilkinson. The first which we entered was No. 2, the tomb 
of Barneses IV., containing a huge granite sarcophagus, the lid of 
which had been nearly demolished in getting at the mummy. The 
fine dust raised by our footsteps nearly choked us and greatly irri- 
tated our eyes. The tomb of Barneses IX. (No. 6) contains many, 
pictures representing the idea of resurrection after death and of 
immortality. Tomb No. 9 — that of Barneses VI. — is remarkable 
for the astronomical designs on the ceiling. The granite sarcopha- 
gus of the king lies at the bottom of this tomb. It is much broken. 
The tomb of Barneses III. is curiously called Bruce's tomb, be- 
cause it was discovered by that celebrated traveller. It is some- 
times also called the " Tomb of the Harper," because in one cham- 
ber near the middle of the tomb are represented some men playing 
harps. In other rooms interesting warlike, domestic and agricul- 
tural scenes and objects are depicted. Tbere was once a sarcopha- 
gus of red granite in the principal chamber of this tomb which 
contained the mummy of the king. But the latter and the parts 
of the former are now widely separated. The mummy is in the 



THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH. 179 

Egyptian Museum at G-hizeh. The body of the sarcophagus is in 
the Louvre, while its lid is in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cam- 
bridge, England. 

We reserved the most splendid tomb for the last visit. It was 
that of Seti I., No. 17, commonly called Belzoni's tomb, because it 
was discovered by that great antiquarian, in the early part of this 
century. When found by him it had already been rifled, but the 
beautiful alabaster sarcophagus, which may be seen in the Sir John 
Sloane Museum in London, was still lying in its chamber at the bot- 
tom of the long inclined plane. The mummy of Seti I. is preserved 
in the Ghizeh Museum. This tomb is entered by an inclined way 
and by several steep staircases. From the long hall you enter a 
small chamber about twelve feet square, beyond which is a hall 
perhaps twenty-five feet square, having four pillars, and to the left 
are some passages and small chambers leading to a grand six pil- 
lared hall, about thirty feet square, and on to a vaulted chamber 
in which once stood the sarcophagus. The whole tomb is adorned 
with artistic and beautiful paintings, sculptures and inscriptions. 
They are said to form parts of the " Book of being in the under 
world " and to refer to the life of the King in the lower world. 
The walls are covered with strange gods, serpents and uncouth 
monsters. The judgment of the soul and its admission to happi- 
ness are tersely pictured forth, while the many inscriptions run- 
ning along the wall, the dragoman said, were hymns to the divini- 
ties supposed to be uttered by the spirit of the dead. The pictures 
in one of the chambers had never been finished, but the designs 
had all been marked out — first sketched in outline in red, and then 
when approved, more firmly in black by the master artist. We 
took lunch in the entrance hall of a neighboring tomb and then 
walked and rode by turns, according to the steepness of the path, 
over the mountain chain to the plain back of the Eameseum. 
From the eastern side we had a remarkably beautiful prospect — 
said by many to be the finest in Egypt — of the Nile, its valley, and 
of the various ruins of Thebes, including Karnak and Luxor. It 
was a bird's-eye view of the general plan of Thebes which was 
most instructive, while as to the ensemble of scenery it certainly 
was the most picturesque and grand of any I had hitherto seen in 
Egypt. About half way down we stopped at the temple of Queen 
Hatasou, who ruled for a brief time about 1500 b. c. It is built 
of marble-limestone in stages, at different levels up the mountain 
side, which are connected by inclined planes. The chambers con- 



180 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

tain some excellent sculptures. Not ten minutes' walk from this 
temple is the entrance to the shaft which leads to the tomb where 
the royal mummies were discovered in 1881. This was the most 
remarkable and important " find " recorded in the history of Egyp- 
tian exploration and excavation. A pit 40 feet deep led, by irregu- 
lar passages 220 feet long, to a nearly rectangular chamber 35 feet 
long, which was found literally filled with coffins, mummies, jars, 
vases, scarabs and papyri. Among the thirty or so mummies of 
kings and queens and royal personages, priests and scribes were 
those of the royal mummies of two of the Thothmes, of Seti I., 
and of two of the Rameses. The discovery of this tomb was made 
by an Arab, a native of the neighboring village of Koorneh. The 
royal mummies were removed here by one of the kings in order to 
prevent their being destroyed by thieves, who were sufficiently 
numerous and powerful to defy the government of the day. We 
passed through the aisles of the great Rameseum, skirted the im- 
posing Colossi, crossed the plain and the two branches of the river, 
and reached the steamer late in the afternoon after a day of ab- 
sorbing interest, but one which we believed would be altogether 
surpassed on the morrow, when we were to visit the remains of 
the world-famed Karnak. 




Head of Ravieses the (treat, from the Mummy in the (•'Itizeh Museum. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

KARNAK AND LUXOR. 

Our donkey boys were waiting for us at 8.30 a. m., and a 
choice of a few camels was also offered. These were furnished 
with large leather covers, half arm-chair, half saddle, and were 
preferred by a few on account of the novelty of locomotion. Hav- 
ing had considerable experience of these, however, I concluded to 
retain the services of my donkey of the previous excursion. We 
filed through the narrow streets of the town and along the top of 
a huge dyke until we reached an avenue of ram-headed or, now, 
no-headed, sphinxes, which led to a splendid great pylon of sand- 
stone built by Ptolemy Euergetes II. about 180 years B. c. This 
gateway is carved with striking figures, and surmounted by the 
winged globe and serpents. Passing through it a smaller avenue 
of broken sphinxes leads to the temple of Rameses III. This is 
covered with deeply-cut figures and hieroglyphics and also with 
many low-relief sculptures. It is composed of enormous blocks of 
stone and contains many beautiful papyrus-headed pillars. This 
however, like the neighboring temple of Mut, is only an annex of 
the great temple. All about are mutilated statues and fragments 
of all sorts bestrewing the ground. The whole of the buildings 
occupy an area nearly two miles in circumference, and from the 
top of the great propylon, about one hundred feet in height, you 
can have an extensive view of the plan of Karnak, its surrounding 
rubbish-heaps and native villages, and of the green fields coming 
close up to it on every side. The temples of Karnak and Luxor 
were formerly united by an avenue over a mile in length and eighty 
feet wide, lined by great stone sphinxes, only a few of which how- 
ever now remain, and these are greatly mutilated. Though the 
great temple at Karnak is on the whole regarded as the most won- 
derful of any in Egypt I confess that I was not impressed by it as 
much as I expected to be. This was explained by several facts : 

181 



182 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

having just seen the noble temple of Denderah, I had looked for 
too much, and did not dream the remains were in such a very 
dilapidated condition, and it was difficult at a first visit to appre- 
ciate the enormous scale on which some parts of it are built. 
Karnak was nearly three thousand years in building— begun by 
Osirtasen I. 3000 b. c, greatly added to by Thothmes III. 1600 B. c, 
and succeeding kings to about 100 b. C. These kings vied with 
each other in adding to its many and great attractions, so that as 
we now behold it Karnak is a dozen times its original size. It 
was dedicated in the first instance to Amen-Ra, one of the mem- 
bers of the Theban trinity, the others being Mut and Chonsu, to 
both of whom fine temples are reared. 

We remount our animals and ride around to the main entrance 
of the temple, which fronts the west and the Nile. Here a small 
avenue of mutilated ram-headed sphinxes leads up to the great 
gateway, the propylon. Natives are engaged carrying away the 
mouldy dust as a fertiliser for their fields. The propylon before 
us is most impressive on account of its massive size, being made 
of nicely-joined dressed blocks of sandstone. It is 370 feet in 
breadth and one of its towers, not the original height, is now 140 
feet high. We dismount here and, passing through the opening 
of the propylon, enter a great open court surrounded by pillared 
corridors and having down its centre a double .row of pillars. 
Unfortunately only one splendid calyx-capitaled pillar is still stand- 
ing. The sellers of antiquities, more or less counterfeit, and the 
local guides now became a great nuisance in their numbers and 
importunities. " No ! " was an unappreciated term ; to drive 
them off was to have them return in a moment. The only re- 
course seemed to be to hire two or three to keep the others 
away, so that we could inspect the temple at leisure. Opposite 
the entrance were the remains of a second pylon, covered with 
large sculptured figures, all the faces of which had been chiselled 
away by the fanatical early Christians. On one side of this stood 
a much mutilated red granite statue of Rameses II. Its com- 
panion on the opposite side had altogether disappeared. Passing 
through this pylon you enter the grand Hypostyle Hall. Here 
are twelve columns, forming a double row in the centre, which are 
each 69 feet high and 35 feet in circumference. The other col- 
umns, 122 in number, are 40 feet high and 27 feet in circumfer- 
ence. There is now no roof. Light formerly entered by the 
grilled upper windows, some of which still remain. Many col- 



KARNAK AND LUXOR. 183 

umns are toppling over or already lie prostrate. They have papy- 
rus-bud capitals and are covered with sculptures. A few have 
been restored in order to preserve them in position. The walls 
of this part of the temple, mostly thrown down, were originally 
80 feet high and 25 feet thick at the base. So closely are these 
columns placed, however, and so enormous is their size — as large 
as Trajan's column at Rome — that the proper effect is lost. It 
would perhaps be better were half of them removed. The Hall 
is 338 feet broad and 170 feet deep, an area sufficiently great to 
accommodate the entire church of Notre Dame at Paris. A smaller 
propylon next conducts us to a court surrounded by pillars bearing 
the figure of Osiris. Here stands an imposing red granite obelisk 
covered with beautifully-preserved hieroglyphics. Its pyramid- 
shaped top is quite sharp. It is said to be the largest known, being 
92 feet in height and 8 feet square. A few obelisks lie prostrate, 
broken into several huge pieces. Beyond this court comes a ruined 
sanctuary, with some splendid carvings in red granite which are 
very brilliantly and delicately colored, another obelisk, the columns 
of Osirtasen I., 3000 b. c, the oldest portion of the edifice, the 
columnar hall of Thothmes III., and the Hall of Ancestors, and 
then to the east you see a pylon, another to the north, and the two 
approaches on south and west of which I have just spoken. In 
the Hall of Ancestors was found the famous Tablet of Ancestors, 
now in the Louvre, a record of the greatest value to Egyptian 
history since it contains the names of sixty-one of the ancestors of 
Thothmes III. On the south side of the great temple is a small 
lake which is filled by infiltration from the Nile. Its waters were 
originally used in the services of the temple. There are very in- 
teresting bas-reliefs on the exterior wall of the " great hall." On 
the north side are some striking scenes from the battles of Seti I. 
against the Assyrians and Armenians. The king is represented as 
having conquered all these people, and returned to Thebes laden 
with much spoil and many captives. In one extraordinary pic- 
ture he is shown with numerous arms seizing his enemies by the 
hair and proceeding to slay them before the god of Thebes. On 
the south wall are sculptures exhibiting King Shishak smiting a 
group of kneeling prisoners. The god of the temple Amen-Ra, in 
the form of a woman, stands by and presents him with weapons of 
war. Near here you come to a projecting wall on which there are 
hieroglyphics of the famous poem of Pen-ta-urt, celebrating the 
victory of Rameses II. over the Khetas in northern Syria. A 



184 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

treaty of peace between the great king and the prince of the Khe- 
tas may also be seen here. The great dilapidation of these re- 
mains seemed to astonish all our party. And unless steps of res- 
toration and reparation are soon undertaken, these marvellous 
relics must all be thrown down. A huge column not only ruins 
itself in falling but destroys all about it. It would seem as if the 
government tax gathered from each tourist ought of itself to create 
a fund sufficient for such a purpose. The wonders of Karnak are 
so many and of such varied interest that one visit, even of half a 
day, serves only to give the traveller a very general and hasty if 
not mixed impression. The temple is worthy of many visits and 
of much collateral reading of history and of the commentaries of 
learned Egyptologists. 

In the afternoon we inspected the great temple and the bazaars 
and town of Luxor. The temple which, as already stated, comes 
directly to the edge of the Nile, and which has been built upon an 
irregular plan in order to follow the course of the river, has been 
largely excavated by the Egyptian government during recent years. 
It was half buried by rubbish and a native village was over and 
about it and even now an Arab mosque is quite within its walls. 
Luxor was founded in the XVIIIth dynasty in the reign of Amu- 
nophis III., 1500 b. c, and was added to by various suceeeding 
kings. It consists of a large court surrounded by a double row of 
columns, of a huge pylon, of chambers, obelisks, colonnades and 
giant granite statues. About forty of the latter have been un- 
earthed, one of them being a very perfect one of Rameses II., with 
his wife carved in miniature standing beside him and scarcely ex- 
tending to his knee. This juxtaposition indicates the superior posi- 
tion in the social scale of the women of those days. The features of 
this noble statue are said to exactly resemble those of the royal 
mummy (of Rameses II.) which is preserved in the museum of 
Ghizeh. In one spot are two granite Colossi and near them is an 
obelisk, a companion of that now in the Place de la Concorde, 
Paris, and which is justly regarded as one of the finest specimens 
of sculpture known. It stands 82 feet high, with several feet 
below the surface, and is covered with very deeply and sharply cut 
hieroglyphics, which look as if they were carved but yesterday. 
The large court is nearly 200 feet square. Certain parts of this 
great temple have been used as a Coptic church, as evidenced by 
the columns of mixed architecture, and the walls of ancient sculp- 
ture plastered over and painted with figures of Christian saints. 



KARNAK AND LUXOR. 185 

The huge granite figures, of which so many abound, are all, save 
one, terribly mutilated and defaced, but the temple on the whole, 
while not equal to Karnak, yet with its great rows of papyrus- 
headed pillars and its halls of lotus-topped columns, is not with- 
out great majesty and beauty. Further excavations will undoubt- 
edly reveal other interesting remains. 

In the evening we were invited to the house of the American 
Consular Agent to witness a dance of the ghawazee or native dancing 
girls, which proved to be only a modification of the " danse du ven- 
tre." The " band," which produced very shrill and plaintive music, 
squatted in the corner and consisted of two violins, a flageolet and 
two tom-toms. There were four dancing girls, who were dressed in 
white linen gowns and wore heavy gold ear-rings and finger-rings, 
and many necklaces of gold coins. Their black hair was gathered 
into little gold-fringed white turbans, and they wore silver anklets 
next their daintily slippered feet. None of the girls possessed any 
beauty. Snapping little brass castanets they moved about the room 
with bodies stiff above the waist and wriggling and twisted below 
it. Their movements were certainly graceful, if too suggestive, 
and as the music quickened they showed less reserve and threw 
more passion into their gyrations. After a brief pause one of the 
girls placed a bottle, full of water and containing a lighted candle, 
upon her head, and nicely poised it during a long dance of both 
slow and rapid movements, including lying down and turning over 
and over upon the floor. The dance was a wholly conventional 
one, but there are others vaguely hinted at in Luxor in which pas- 
sion is much more vividly portrayed and the " nude in art " is lav- 
ishly exemplified. It is a singular fact that in this country among 
such a variety of ruins, there are none found of any Egyptian 
theatre. Perhaps amusements here in olden times were similar to 
those of the present day — almehs or singing girls, ghawazees or 
female daucers, jugglers, serpent-charmers, magicians, fortune- 
tellers, and wandering comedians who act rude farces. 

The following day we rose early and took boats and donkeys 
for the Eameseum, or Memnonium as it is also called, built by 
Rameses II., in honor of the god Amen-Ra. We crossed the main 
branch of the river, the flat sandy island, the minor branch, and 
the plain to the edge of the desert, as we did when visiting the 
temple of Koorneh, a little further to the north. This fine temple 
faces the Nile in a nearly east direction. It is in great ruin and at 
least one-half of it has been carried off, probably for building ma- 
14 



186 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

terial. Still we see evidence of two pylons, one of them in fair 
condition and representing battle-scenes from the various cam- 
paigns of Eameses. The second court had a double row of round 
columns and a row of pilasters to which large figures of Eameses 
II., under the form of Osiris, are attached — " engaged " is the cor- 
rect architectural term. Just without this court lie the fragments 
of a colossal red granite representation of Eameses II., the most 
gigantic statue ever carved in Egypt from a single block of stone. 
It measured sixty feet high and is calculated to have weighed nearly 
nine hundred tons. Tradition relates that it was thrown down by 
Cambyses. But just how so enormous a block of hard granite could 
have been so broken without the use of drills and gunpowder is a 
mystery to us modern travellers. Near here are the fragments of 
a huge gray granite sitting statue, of which the head, lacking a 
part of the nose, shows considerable character in its expression. 
The Eameseum is, like all the Egyptian temples, oblong in shape. 
The grand hall contains twelve huge columns with open lotus 
flower capitals and thirty-six smaller ones with bud or closed lotus 
flower capitals. The former are arranged in two rows, the latter 
in six. Numerous scenes from the wars of Eameses II. are sculp- 
tured on the walls of this temple — chiefly battles with the Khetas 
on the banks of the Orontes, in Syria. There are also reliefs rep- 
resenting the king making offerings to the gods of Thebes. On 
the ceiling of one of the chambers is an astronomical picture of 
some interest, on which the Egyptian months are mentioned. 

We next mounted and took a ride of ten minutes towards the 
south, to the great temple of Medinet-Haboo, situated on and sur- 
rounded by a huge mound of rubbish and ruined dwellings. This 
temple actually consists of two, one of Thothmes III. and another 
of Eameses III. The former is very old and dilapidated and calls for 
no special mention. The latter is perhaps the most remarkable and 
the most impressive monument we have yet seen in Egypt. It 
cannot be called second to Karnak — on account of the grandeur 
of its architecture and the gorgeousness of its decoration. It is 
an immense labyrinth of great courts, innumerable pillars and 
superb colonnades. The view from the entrance gate through the 
various courts to the western extremity of the temple is very strik- 
ing. The distance must be 1,500 feet, and right and left as you 
progress you see the huge mounds of rubbish and of houses on each 
side and even upon the roof of the temple. It is only recently that 
the western portion of the building was freed from Coptic ruins. 




***r • taw 



At Thebes. 



EARNAK AND LUXOR. 187 

All about these ruins, which surround the temple to nearly the 
height of its gateway and to much above its walls and roof, natives 
were at work as at Karnak collecting dry dusty soil in baskets to 
be transported on donkeys as fertilisers for the adjacent fields. 
Passing through the first pylon, which is sculptured with battle 
scenes from the wars of Rameses III. against the people of Arabia 
and Phoenicia, we approach the second, where the domestic life of 
the king is portrayed. In one place he is seen playing at draughts, 
and in another he is caressing a favorite. Continuing we enter 
a great court 135 X 110 feet, with a corridor running round its 
four walls. This corridor is supported on two sides by eight Osiris 
columns — bearing the king himself, with the attributes of Osiris. 
On the other sides are five circular columns, with lotus capitals. 
The surrounding walls contain sculptures commemorating the vari- 
ous warlike achievements of the king. We pass from this court 
into another measuring 123 X 133 feet and 40 feet in height. 
This, like the former, has corridors covered with brilliantly colored 
sculptures. The lower range of these sculptures chiefly consist of 
battle-scenes, while the upper series are for the most part represen- 
tations of the ceremonies attendant on the dedication of the 
temple. The color of the ceilings of these impressive corridors is 
of the brightest blue. On the north exterior wall of this grand 
temple are ten historical scenes of the greatest interest. They 
represent the expedition of Rameses against the Libyans in the 
ninth year of his reign. The following are the subjects : 1. The 
king and his army setting out to war. 2. Grand victory, with 
fearful carnage, the king fighting in person. 3. Slaughter of the 
enemy by thousands, and the prisoners led before the king. 4. 
The king addresses his victorious army, and an inventory is made 
of the spoil captured. 5. Troops defiling to renew the war. En- 
comiums on the king, and thanksgiving to the gods, in hieroglyph- 
ics. 6. Second encounter and defeat of the enemy ; their camp 
is captured, and women and children flee away in all directions. 
7. March through a country infested by lions. One slain and 
another wounded by the king. 8. Naval battle-scene. The fight 
takes place near the sea-shore, and Rameses and his archers distress 
the enemy by shooting at them from the shore. [This is the only 
known Egyptian representation of a naval combat]. 9. Halt on 
the march towards Egypt. Hands of the slain counted. Pris- 
oners defile. The king harangues his generals. 10. Return to 
Thebes. The king presents his prisoners to the gods Amen-Ra, 



188 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Mut and Chonsu. Speech of the prisoners who beg the king to 
allow them to live that they may proclaim his power and glory. 

From this grand and interesting temple we recrossed the plains 
and river to the steamer, passing by the famous Colossi. These 
gigantic sitting statues represent the same monarch Amenophis 
III., and once stood before the pylon of the temple of that king, 
which has now entirely disappeared. The Colossi are quite a dis- 
tance from the edge of the desert, and have their foundations 
marked by the " high " Nile which covers all the plain. They 
once stood sixty feet high, but now appear somewhat lower, owing 
to the deposition of vegetable soil around their base. Originally 
each was monolithic but that on the north, having been thrown 
down by an earthquake, was restored as to the head and shoulders 
by five layers of stone. This is the famous vocal Memnon, whence 
musical sounds were said to issue when the first rays of the morn- 
ing sun fell on the statue. These sounds, the reader will remem- 
ber, were said to be produced either by a priest hidden in the 
Colossus or by the expansion of fissured portions under the influ- 
ence of the sun's rays. Though many celebrated persons of an- 
tiquity — such as Strabo, Aelius Gallus and Hadrian — testified as to 
hearing this peculiar music, its particular character and cause 
have never been satisfactorily explained. The features and whole 
front of the Colossi have been destroyed and the statues are now 
in such a mutilated condition as to make considerable imagination 
and their gigantic proportions necessary to arouse much interest 
in them. 

In the afternoon we attended the races of the " Luxor Sporting 
Club," organised by the managers of the Luxor Hotel and sup- 
ported by the guests of all the hotels and by the tourists of visiting 
steamers. The races were held on a smooth, hard, thickly-grassed 
plain just south of the town. There was here a straightway course 
of half a mile outlined with flags. At one part was an enclosure 
surrounded by ropes in which rows of old fruit crates and chairs 
did duty as a grand-stand — admittance to these was five piastres or 
twenty-five cents. A tent here contained a bar, which was most 
liberally patronised during the entertainment. Several hundred 
foreigners were present, having come on donkey, horse or camel- 
back, or upon foot. Opposite the foreign section were at least a 
thousand natives, lining the track for a long distance. It was evi- 
dently a field-day for modern Luxor. All the world was on hand, 
with field-glasses, and enthusiasm and excitement ran high, not- 



KARNAK AND LUXOR. 189 

withstanding the very great heat and wholly unprotected location. 
None but natives took part in the nine " events " which were neat- 
ly printed on a programme that was handed to each visitor. These 
were : 1. Foot race for small boys. 2. Donkey-boys' Eace, facing 
tail of Donkey. This was very amusing, for the donkeys had no 
bridles and could only be guided by occasional slaps upon the neck, 
and the boys were kept too busy in remaining seated to look 
around much. 3. was a Camel Race in which several very tall, 
long-legged and long-necked animals made great speed with their 
sprawling strides. 4. was a race between little water-girls, bearing 
full goolahs or earthenware jars of water upon their heads. 5. was 
set down as a Buffalo Eace, but for some reason or other this did 
not occur. G. was a foot-race between six natives of the Bisharee 
tribe. These are Nubians whose home is in that part of Nubia 
lying between the Nile and the Eed Sea and the 19th and 23rd 
degrees of south latitude. They are slight thin men, scantily 
dressed, and wearing their hair in a very extraordinary coiffure — a 
huge mop upon the crown, and a great bunch of little braids hang- 
ing down all around. Neither their speed nor their ambition to 
excel seemed great. 7. was a horse-race and the piece de resistance. 
About half a dozen horses were ridden without saddles by as many 
little boys clothed only in shirts. This race was run in great style 
and dash and with considerable speed. Next (8) came some wrest- 
ling on donkeys, several couples of boys engaging in this feature 
of the programme. The donkeys had neither saddle nor bridle 
and the boys having locked their legs each under his animal en- 
deavored to pull the other to the ground, the one succeeding win- 
ning a prize. The prizes were all small amounts of money for 
which the entrance fees of the foreigners amply sufficed. The 
wrestling of the donkey boys afforded a great deal of amusement. 
The last event (9) was a " tug of war " between six natives of the 
town aud six waiters of the " Luxor Hotel." After an exciting 
contest this was won by the hotel employes. 

During our visit to Luxor — in January and February — the 
three hotels were all nearly full of foreigners, some spending the 
winter and others visitors preferring a longer stop than the itinera- 
ries of the steamers permitted. Luxor is in fact rapidly becoming 
a popular winter health-resort. I can testify to its magnificent, 
crystal-clear atmosphere, the heavens all day without a cloud and 
flooded with the brightest of sunlight, a tonic in the dry smooth, 
balmy air that is a stimulant like champagne without its succeed- 



190 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ing depression, and cool, comfortable nights in which one rested 
peacefully under three blankets. Though hot in the day from 
eleven o'clock to four, it was never a depressing or suffocating 
heat— one liked to bask in the sun, to drink in the pure whole- 
some air. Here you live out-of-doors all the day, and as the com- 
plexion of my fellow-travellers darkened with the sun, I could see 
their eyes brighten with the life-giving atmosphere and their faces 
become rounder and fuller with the generous diet of steamer or 
hotel. The average temperature of this part of Egypt in winter is 
between 60° and 70° Fahrenheit. Eain almost never falls, and the 
prevailing wind is from the north. It is said that the health also 
of the native inhabitants of Upper Egypt is exceedingly good not- 
withstanding the great filth of their habitations and their persons 
—this being counteracted by the wonderful climate, by proper 
food and by sufficient agricultural work. Lung diseases are ex- 
ceedingly rare. The ophthalmia which is so very prevalent in 
Egypt— so that quite half the population seem to have some dis- 
ease of the eyes or to be blind of one or both of them— has been 
attributed to various causes : the glare of the sun, the fine dust- 
sand wafted from the surrounding deserts and which, when a 
strong wind blows, quite fills the atmosphere, and damp night air 
in a climate so dry by day. It is however most common during 
the floods of the Nile and in places where the effluvium is offen- 
sive. Ophthalmia is moreover often hereditary. The swarm of 
biting flies also tend to increase this complaint, and you frequently 
see babies and children and even grown people whose sore eyelids 
are fringed with these irritating insect pests. The natives never 
seem to take the trouble to brush them away. Then again the 
flies serve to transport the virus from afflicted to well people. 
Foreigners who have trouble with their eyes are advised to wash 
them frequently with Nile water and to wear eye glasses or spec- 
tacles of a neutral tint. Should these methods not suffice resort 
must be had to a zinc lotion or a weak solution of nitrate of silver. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE FIRST CATARACT. 

We left Luxor the next morning at daylight for the town of 
Esneh, on the west bank and about thirty-five miles distant. "We 
were to remain there only about an hour in which to visit a famous 
temple. It is interesting to note that, with the exception of the 
ruins of Karnak and Luxor, the rock-tombs of Beni Hassan and 
the obelisks, all the great and remarkable ruined cities, temples 
and tombs of Egypt are situated upon the western side of the 
river. Perhaps this is to be accounted for from the fact, that 
from Cairo to the second cataract by far the greater parts of the 
Nile's fertile and level valley is upon this bank of the river. It is 
interesting to remark also the geological features of Egypt with 
reference particularly to her grand architectural remains. The 
valley of the Nile is enclosed by limestone ranges as far as Esneh, 
nearly five hundred miles from Cairo ; from Esneh to Assouan or 
the first cataract, about one hundred miles, the mountains are of 
sandstone ; and above Assouan, for a distance of nearly one hun- 
dred and fifty miles, comes a region of granite. These three were 
the chief building stones of the ancient Egyptians. The pyramids 
of Ghizeh are built of limestone, Thebes of sandstone, the obelisks, 
sarcophagi and colossal statues of granite. 

Esneh I found to be a town of some 7,000 inhabitants, built 
upon the bank twenty or thirty feet above the river and extend- 
ing back in terraces of picturesque, though dilapidated mud walls. 
Acacias and palms abounded, as did native boats along the bank, 
which in several places was faced with old Roman walls. We land 
and walk through a well-stocked bazaar, to the temple, which is 
situated near the centre of the town. It was formerly all but cov- 
ered by the rubbish heaps of the ancient city and by modern dwell- 
ings, but the old Viceroy Mehemet Ali staying here, some half 
century ago, had a part of it — the portico — cleared ; the remainder 

191 



192 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

has not yet been explored, but was probably a large oblong temple 
like the others. We descend by a long staircase from near the 
level of the roof to the floor of the portico. This grand hall is 
similar to that at Denderah. It contains twenty-four huge col- 
umns, sixty-five feet high and nineteen feet in circumference, 
nearly all the capitals being dissimilar and representing the doum 
palm, papyrus, lotus and composite orders of fruits and flowers. 
The walls and columns are completely covered with sculptures and 
hieroglyphics. The temple is built of brown sandstone and dates 
only from just before our own era. The sculptures as usual repre- 
sent kings and princes making offerings to the deities. The col- 
umns and capitals are remarkably handsome. Greek grace and 
ornament seem in them to have been added to Egyptian simplicity 
and seriousness. On one part of the ceiling are carved several of 
the signs of the Zodiac. I noticed some cartouches of Eoman 
emperors — of Domitian, Commodus and Caracalla. 

Not long after leaving Esneh we find a considerable change in 
the scenery of the river. The region of sandstone, of which I have 
just spoken, is entered and great masses of it are seen lining the 
banks. The fertile valley becomes narrower. At about three 
o'clock in the afternoon we reached the landing-stage of Edfou 
on the west bank, the town being a quarter of a mile back from 
the river. For an hour before reaching this point the great propy- 
lon of the famous temple had been in sight. Edfou is 515 miles 
from Cairo and in itself contains nothing of special interest for the 
traveller, since the temple is a little to the west of the town. We 
mounted donkeys, rode across the fields and past the low mud- 
walled houses to the sacred edifice, which we found considerably 
below the level of the town proper. It was excavated some thirty 
years ago by M. Mariette, who found the rubbish outside reaching 
to the top of its walls, and certain parts of the roof covered over 
with dwellings and stables. The temple of Edfou was begun by 
Ptolemy Euergetes I. B. c. 237 and was finished b. c. 57. It was 
therefore 180 years in course of construction. In general plan 
and arrangement this temple resembles that at Denderah, but it 
is more complete than the former, and is even said by some critics 
to be the most perfect specimen of an Egyptian temple extant. 
The space enclosed by the walls measures 450 X 120 feet. The 
propylon is gigantic, being 250 feet in width and 115 feet in height. 
The outer walls are carved in intaglio relievato — a peculiar kind 
of engraving in which the highest parts of the figure are on a level 



THE FIRST CATARACT. 193 

with the original surface of the stone — with enormous figures of 
gods and goddesses, and kings and queens of the usual religious 
character. The pylons are covered with battle-scenes, the figures 
being of huge proportions. Passing through the doorway you find 
yourself in a court about 140 X 150 feet. The temple is oblong in 
shape and built of brown sandstone. The gallery of the court is 
supported on three sides by thirty-two dissimilar columns. Before 
going further I ascended one of the towers of the propylon by an 
interior staircase of 252 steps and was rewarded for the toil by a 
very interesting view of the building, of the town of Edfou and 
of the Nile Valley. To the north was a modern cemetery, to the 
west the gray Libyan hills. Descending I went from the court to 
a hall full of immense columns covered with well-preserved hiero- 
glyphics. Next came the adytum — the " holy of holies " — with its 
twelve bulbous columns, and then at the extreme end came the 
Naos or sanctuary where stands a huge gray granite monolith 
which was the depositary of the sacred hawk, emblem of Horus, 
son of Osiris and Isis, to whom the temple was dedicated. On the 
frieze of this was a beautiful colored sculpture of Horus, with his 
customary hawk's head. The walls of this temple are completely 
covered with choice sculptures and neat inscriptions. The sub- 
jects are about equally divided between war and religion. We 
returned to the steamer, the majority of us while not wishing to 
detract from the glories of Edfou yet not thinking it on the whole 
equal to that of Denderah. 

At eight o'clock the following morning we passed a portion of 
the river only a thousand feet broad, called Gebel Silsileh, with 
hills on either bank. On both sides are the great quarries from 
which the ancient kings procured the sandstone for many of the 
proud Nile cities. The stone immediately on the bank of the river 
being porous passes were cut directly through this right into the 
heart of the mountain chain. Several of these avenues are sixty 
feet wide, eighty deep and nearly half a mile in length. As we 
proceeded the previous narrow strip of cultivated land in many 
places vanished altogether and the desert on either hand came 
directly to the water. "We seemed also to pass a greater number 
of islands, most of which would be covered at " high " Nile. At 
about eleven o'clock we reached a place called Kom Ombo where 
on the eastern bank is the small remnant, as now partially un- 
earthed, of what must have been a very splendid temple. We 
halted a half an hour to visit it. It is situated upon a high mound 



194 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

of sand, rubbish and gravel, or rather in it, for it is still more than 
half buried. The river sweeps against the bank and is gradually 
undermining the temple, the ruins of which have fallen down into 
the river in great heaps. It was a sort of double temple, that is 
it was dedicated to Horus, the principle of light, and to Sebek, the 
principle of darkness. Sebek was the crocodile god, Horus the 
morning sun. The temples were reared by Greek princes, suc- 
cessors of Alexander, and bear tbe names of various of the Ptole- 
mies. They are believed to measure about 200 X 100 feet, and 
are enclosed by a brick wall. A great tower sculptured all over, 
and a little out of the perpendicular, stands on the very edge of 
the river, into which it is destined undoubtedly to tumble. The 
portico was supported by fifteen splendid great pillars, only a few 
of which are now standing. The hall adjoining this contained 
ten. All the walls and columns are covered with fine pictures and 
hieroglyphics, many of which still betray traces of bright coloring. 
The cornice which extends around the portico is very graceful. 
In short, it is an admirable little bit of ancient architecture, and 
would seem to deserve complete excavation. Standing on top of 
its knoll of rubbish the view of this temple, as we steamed away 
up the Nile, was especially effective. Great quantities of the castor- 
oil plant seemed now to be grown, and so dry was the cultivated 
land that the shadoofs almost touched beams. Sandbanks barely 
above water-level also increased. On the sides of the hills were 
huge banks and ridges of the softest, smoothest, tawny sand, and 
the strong north wind blew this in great clouds which caused the 
face to smart and hurt the eyes exceedingly. The hills were very 
diversified and picturesque. The telegraph line which has followed 
us on the western bank from the pyramids of Ghizeh is always in 
strong contrast with the works of both nature and man here. We 
pass many beautiful date-palms, some in clumps and some in long 
stretches, backed by the yellow desert and making a very pretty 
picture. The fertile land is often but a few feet in width and 
extends thus for long distances on either bank. Even this little 
fertility has to be wrestled for by the poor inhabitants. Notwith- 
standing we are now near the 24th degree of north latitude we 
find the nights cool — we still require three blankets as covering — 
the middle portions of the days are of course very warm, especially 
in the direct rays of the sun. At about 2 p. m. the hills around 
Assouan, crowned with forts and tombs of marabouts, become clear 
to sight, and a little later we see the white barracks and houses of 




A Xubian. 



THE FIRST CATARACT 195 

the town, on the east bank of the river, in the midst of many date 
palms. At the right lay the green fields and trees of the north 
end of the island of Elephantine. 

Assouan is at the southern limit of Egypt, 585 miles from Cairo, 
and contains but 4,000 inhabitants. It is one of the three British 
garrisons, the other two being Cairo and Alexandria. It lies in 
terraces twenty or thirty feet above the river. Along the bank 
are two-story white-walled houses, back of them a shelf of brown 
mud-brick walls, a white mosque tower, and then the station of 
the railway around the cataract to Shellah or Pbilaj and the 
smoothly-worn rocks of the river below it. To the bank of the 
island of Elephantine opposite were moored a long string of daha- 
beahs, steam and sail, and the Khedive's yacht. Along the shore 
of the town were many native boats. Soon we ourselves were 
properly moored, and then we all took ferriage to Elephantine, 
landing near the remains of a massive Roman quay. The upper 
end of this island seems to consist of no more than great mounds 
of ruins and rubbish, and a part of the gateway of an old temple 
once dedicated to Alexander III. The entire barren half of the 
island is covered by a native cemetery. From the highest point 
an extensive prospect is had of the two branches of the Nile, and 
their rocky shores and islands and of the extremely barren and 
desolate hills. Nearly opposite Assouan is an old Nilometer, a 
narrow stone-lined passage descending by a flight of stone steps 
to the level of the river, whose waters, high or low, are marked by 
lines cut in its stone sides. Upon the island of Elephantine the 
natives nearly pestered us to death by offering for sale various 
arms and bead-work clocks and necklaces, to say nothing of all 
sorts of so-called antiquities. The great heaps of ruins on Ele- 
phantine will corroborate its history in having been magnificent 
under Pharaohs, Persians, Greeks and Romans — but now, alas, all 
is gone. Here we saw many Nubians, tall and slender persons, 
very black, but with a bright amiable expression. They all had 
the curious arrangement of the hair already described of the 
Bisharees seen at Luxor. They dress in a long piece of cotton 
cloth which is never too white. Assouan is a very cosmopolitan 
place. One meets here Egyptians, Turks, Bisharees, negroes and 
British soldiers. On the island of Elephantine one sees none but 
Nubians or Berbers. These are the aboriginal inhabitants of this 
part of Africa. They are a bold and frank race, and impress one 
more favorably generally than the natives of the Egyptian portion 



196 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

of the Nile valley. Nubia may be said to extend from the First 
Cataract to Khartoum and, more specifically, Lower Nubia is be- 
tween the first two cataracts and Upper above the Second Cataract. 

The following morning a few of us rose at six and after a cup 
of coffee and rolls visited some interesting rock-tombs on the side 
of the hills opposite Assouan. These were opened and excavated 
a few years ago by Gen. Sir F. W. G-renfell of the Egyptian army. 
We were rowed in large dahabeahs past the island of Elephantine, 
with its pretty hospital buildings with verandahs covered with 
vines, and over to the western shore, where we had to ascend the 
steep hillside to the rock tombs, which lie in terraces. The best of 
these tombs were made for the rulers of Elephantine who lived be- 
tween the Vllth and Xllth dynasties. These are mostly small and 
rather rude and simple in their carving and sculptures, but some 
of them contain paintings whose colors might for aught you could 
tell have been laid on yesterday. From the entrance of these 
temples we had a splendid view of the island of Elephantine, the 
upper river choked with islands and rocks, and of Assouan and 
its picturesque surrounding hills. After breakfast we took the 
train for Shellah and the island of Philse, about six miles distant, 
the time required being half an hour and the price six piastres or 
thirty cents. It is called the Assouan-Shellah Railway, and is under 
military control, which despatches one train each way four days 
in the week. There are arrangements for three classes of passen- 
gers, the third having to stand in open carriages, and the first being 
accommodated in carriages with side seats covered with leather. 
The line runs through the desert, and shows nothing more of in- 
terest than great heaps of smooth black, glistening rocks, and 
great expanses of sand. Shellah we found to be a long, straggling 
mud- walled village, with a few field-pieces and barracks for the 
troops. In the river were a dozen small steamers, many of them 
rickety affairs intended for the transport of troops, and a few 
being the tourist steamers of the upper river, i. e. running between 
the first and the second cataract. Most of them were "stern- 
wheelers." Round about were fine umbrageous sycamore trees 
and groves of date- interspersed with a few doum-palms. In the 
middle of the river was the little island of Philae, upon whose sur- 
face — thirty or forty feet high — were many large temples. We 
were soon ferried over and gave a long inspection to the splendid 
relics of Egyptian civilization. 

Phila3 consists of a great granite rock about 1,300 feet long by 



THE FIRST CATARACT. 197 

750 broad. Its sides have been scarped and have had firm solid 
walls built on them, several of which exist at this day. The sur- 
face is nearly covered with interesting remains and with the ruins 
and rubbish of a small town. I ascend immediately the propylon 
of the great temple, about sixty feet high, to obtain a general view 
of the island, river and environs. Philse has been styled the most 
beautiful spot on the Nile, and so far as its picturesque location is 
concerned seems to well merit this praise — at least it is the centre 
of the most interesting bit of scenery we have so far found on the 
Nile. On the neighboring island of Biggeh we notice some pretty 
columns and a portal. On some great rocks upon the opposite shore 
are several inscriptions of former royal visitors and of those on 
their way to and from Nubia. The Nile to the north is full of 
black masses of rocky islands and to the south the hills come close 
to either bank. The lines are everywhere broken and variegated : 
it is wholly different from the uniformly smooth and level scenes 
of the Nile between here and Cairo. The monuments on Philae 
belong to a comparatively recent date, but none have been found 
later than the time of Nectanebus, the last native king of Egypt, 
358 b. c. Philae was dedicated to three gods — Osiris, Isis and 
Horus. It was said to be the last stronghold of the ancient faith. 
The worship of these gods flourished here until a. d. 453, i. e. 
seventy years after the famous edict of Theodosius against the re- 
ligion of Egypt. The principal ruins on the island are those of 
the great temple of Isis, which was founded by Ptolemy II. On 
each side of the path which led to it is a corridor — the line of col- 
umns following the curves of the shore — that in the west having 
thirty-two columns and that on the east sixteen. Many of the 
columns were never completed, their capitals being still uncarved 
and of those carved scarcely any two are of the same design. 
Passing mounds of ruins and a mutilated stone lion, the massive 
propylon is reached. Its face is sculptured with very natural and 
lively figures and scenes representing Ptolemy VII. triumphing 
over his enemies. These are reliefs en creux, or projections in a 
hollow. Through the propylon you enter a court and proceed 
through a pylon into a portico with ten columns. This is the gem 
of the temple and is really of great beauty. The colors are mar- 
vellously fresh, the capitals being of vivid blue and green, with 
delicate mixtures of red, crimson and orange. The ceiling is light 
blue with bright stars set upon it. Round and about are many 
small chambers, all covered with excellent sculptures — some rep- 



198 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

resenting the king slaying hostile nations, others describing the 
death and resurrection of Osiris, and still others covered with 
mythological hieroglyphics. In the courtyard is a great block of 
red granite giving the famous Eosetta Stone inscription, though 
unfortunately without the Greek text. Very many of the sculp- 
tures have been defaced with hammers by the early Christians. 
In 577 a. d. the interior of this temple became, under Bishop 
Theodoras, the church of St. Stephen, and at a later period, a Cop- 
tic church was built from the ruins. On the southeastern corner 
of the island stands the beautiful little temple called the Kiosque 
of Philae or " Pharaoh's Bed," dedicated to Isis. This is a most 
elegant example of the lighter architecture of the Ptolemaic era, 
and in its situation and general appearance — its beautiful columns 
and entablatures — reminded me at once of the Greek remains upon 
the Acropolis at Athens. A little to the north of this is a small 
and attractive temple built by Ptolemy IX. There are several 
other ruins and a Nilometer upon the island. The latter is like 
that at Elephantine, a sort of staircase whose sides are marked 
with measured lines, leading down to the water. Phila? is an ex- 
ceedingly beautiful, picturesque and interesting place. We visited 
it again on our return voyage. 

At Philae we took boat — a sailing craft about thirty feet long 
and eight broad — and proceeded to pass down or " shoot " the 
cataracts or rapids to Assouan. There were eight rowers to the 
boat and two men at the rudder, our sail being furled. The first 
cataract begins just below the island of Philae and ends a little 
before reaching Assouan. There are said to be eight cataracts 
reckoned on the Nile, or six before reaching Khartoum, which are 
about two hundred miles apart, but the first cataract is that most 
generally known. It is not a cataract in the sense of being a 
waterfall, but is rather a series of rapids, the river dashing through 
a wild profusion of rocks, though in no part dangerous to a careful 
steersman. The river here flows between two mountain ranges of 
granite which descend quite abruptly to its banks. The so-called 
cataracts are about five miles in length, but only at two points is 
there any very great commotion. There are some twenty " cata- 
ract islands," half a dozen of them being large. They are covered 
with, or consist of, smoothly rounded granite rocks, which are 
glazed like dark enamel or hard coal. The scenery of this part of 
the river is exceedingly wild. Many of the rocks are of spherical 
shape. This is due to the attrition of detritus washed down 



THE FIRST CATARACT. 199 

the stream. The dark color is said to penetrate but a little dis- 
tance and is believed to be caused by the protoxide of iron precipi- 
tated over the stones by the Nile water. In starting from Philas 
we had near views of several of the rocks inscribed with the names 
of kings who reigned during the Middle Empire. Eeddish-brown 
rocks and stones were piled up on the islands and banks about us 
in the wildest disorder. Near the surface where these rocks are 
washed by the river they become black and glistening. At the vil- 
lage of Mahatah on the east bank the real passage begins. Here 
the crew of Nubian sailors commence the cries, shouts and chants 
which they continue until we reach Assouan. The large rocks of 
the cataract are also covered with hieroglyphic names of princes or 
generals commemorating their expeditions, and with sculptures 
adoring the gods of the cataract. As we threaded the rocky islands 
the channel was occasionally not more than one hundred feet wide. 
Here the crew who had lately been amusing themselves with a 
quiet solo song and chorus, broke out into the greatest excitement. 
They would call upon all the saints of their calendar, especially upon 
Said, the rescuer from sudden dangers. Keeping time to their 
oars one would cry " ya Mohammed," or Allah is gracious, while 
the others responded in chorus "ya Said " (0 Said). We passed a 
small village on the east bank called Biban-esh-Shellah, gates of 
the cataract, and then a headland known as Bab-el-Kebir or great 
gate. We were an hour and a quarter in making the run from 
Philae to Assouan, the men rowing all of the way and the wind 
blowing strongly from the north — the prevailing winter wind. 

In the afternoon I took a donkey ride through the bazaars, 
which are large and well-furnished with local manufactures and 
goods brought from the Soudan ; through a Bisharee village in the 
desert to the eastward of the town, in which were their diminu- 
tive and wretched straw-matting tents ; and to the quarry — the 
famous red granite quarry — whence all the obelisks and most of 
the great statues and sarcophagi of Egypt have come, and where 
may still be seen an obelisk, partly detached and still lying in the 
quarries, a monolith ninety-two feet in length. There were marks 
of wedges upon many surrounding rocks, showing how the ancient 
Egyptians split off evenly the immense masses used in their pon- 
derous works of art. Near here I passed through great Arab 
cemeteries and by many ruined mosques and tombs of marabouts. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

IN LOWER NUBIA. 

The next morning I left Assouan for Shellah and the steamer 
to go on to the second or " great " cataract. I took a donkey and 
proceeded upon what is styled the desert route, a track over the 
sand at least a hundred feet in width. The scene is similar to 
that obtained from the railway, the road being a little nearer the 
river. There were the same sandy waste and the same heaps and 
ridges of smoothly rounded dark rocks, scenery of an extraor- 
dinary wildness, the rocks looking like lava hurled from a volcano. 
Arrived at Shellah we went on board a little stern-wheel steamer 
which was to take us to Wadi Haifa and the second cataract. 
There are only two of these tourist steamers at present plyiug be- 
tween the first and second cataracts. They were originally built 
for the transport of troops, and were then of course without 
cabins. There were sufficient passengers to fill the two, each 
having a maximum limit of fourteen persons. I found myself 
on a vessel about eighty feet long by twenty broad, and drawing, 
with its cargo of coal for a week's voyage, but thirty inches. It 
was a flat-bottomed iron boat, with two decks, the lower being but 
a few inches above the water. Here, forward, was the boiler and 
aft, the engine, they being so arranged to secure a good balance. 
Between them the deck was reserved for the necessary table pro- 
visions and live stock, the cabins of the engineer and chief 
steward. On the deck above were, forward, the kitchen and room 
of the manager, next came our cabins, and near the wheel, the 
dining-room and bath-room. Upon the roof of this deck was the 
wheel-house and the awning-cOvered sitting-room of the pas- 
sengers, where were a table and several easy chairs. We started 
promptly on time, at 10 A. m., the other steamer following. Our 
fellow passengers from Cairo were to spend the day at Philae, and 

returning to Assouan, depart on the morrow for Luxor on the re- 

200 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 201 

turn voyage to Cairo. We soon left behind the lovely Philse, and 
entered a very different Nile region from that traversed during 
the past two weeks. The river was more tortuous and had high 
ridges of dark, low, rocky hills, half buried in yellow sand, border- 
ing it. On these granite hills tombs of saints or marabouts were 
frequent. There was only a very narrow cultivated strip on each 
side, which frequently covered no more than the steep low bank, 
and even this had to be wrested from the desert, as was evidenced 
by the frequent sakiahs, which the new dragoman informs me are 
obliged to run during the night as well as the day. The annual 
deposit between Phike and Wadi Haifa — 210 miles — averages 
only from six to sixty yards ! We make about six miles an hour. 
There are narrow fringes of date- and doum-palms, tamarisks, aca- 
cias, and the henna shrub, the powdered leaves of which, made 
into a paste, are used for dyeing the finger-nails of a reddish- 
brown hue. The country is thinly peopled ; the villages being 
simply single strings of mud-huts. We pass old ruined temples 
of little importance, but the scenery becomes increasingly interest- 
ing, the mountains being very diversified and affording strong 
contrasts between their granite rocks, the verdant shores and the 
huge mounds of yellow sand out of which the peaks rise like Alps 
from their snowfields. 

In the early afternoon we passed the elegant brown sandstone 
columns of a temple at a place called Kardash. This unlike 
most Egyptian temples stands out boldly on the sloping hills, and 
is accordingly very effective to a passer by steamer. There is a 
quarry near at hand containing many inscriptions, mostly of the 
times of the Roman emperors. Gazelles are occasionally met with 
in the ravines of the desert of the neighborhood. The panorama 
continues wholly different from the greater part of that below the 
first cataract — that is low, level strata of alluvium — this is largely 
mountain broken, peaked and steep-cliffed. Soon after passing 
Kardash we enter a very remarkable gorge where the river, about 
a thousand feet in width, is confined between great cliffs of black 
and smooth rocks. This grand and savage scenery continues 
about four miles and the river is here a hundred feet in depth. 
On leaving we reach on the west bank the village of Kalabshah 
and two interesting temples, one the largest in Nubia, the other a 
small rock temple. Kalabshah is 629 miles from Cairo, and 
enjoys the distinction of standing directly upon the Tropic of 
Cancer. The large temple is in very great ruin. The propylon is 
15 



202 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

112 feet long, 60 feet high and 20 feet broad. This temple dates 
from the time of Augustus, and has had additions by Caligula, 
Trajan and Severus. The portico had twelve columns, with 
capitals of palm and vine leaves. The sculptures are many but 
not very good. Several of the chambers have been plastered over 
and used for chapels by early Christians. A short distance from 
here on the mountain side is the rock-hewn temple which com- 
memorates the victories of Rameses II. over the Ethiopians. On 
the walls of the court leading into the small hall are some excel- 
lent sculptures representing Ethiopians bringing before the king 
gifts of wild and tame animals and quantities of articles of value. 
The sculptures are full of life, motion and spirit. There are here 
representations of various animals from the interior of Africa, 
conducted by Ethiopians of the negro type. The country re- 
mained wild, bare and varied, with several small rocky islands in 
the stream, which in one place seemed to have rapids almost as 
large as those in the first cataract ; these we passed at dusk, fre- 
quently turning from side to side of the river, until at about eight 
o'clock we drew in to the bank at Dendour and made fast for 
the night. Being now in the Tropics we beheld for the first 
time the glorious constellation of the Southern Cross. There 
were ruins of small temples at various points along this part of 
the river, but nothing of special interest — at least to one who 
has recently beheld the splendors of Thebes and of Denderah. 

We started on at four o'clock in the morning and about eight 
halted at Dakkeh on the west bank in order to visit a Greek tem- 
ple here. The pylon is in an almost perfect state of preservation 
but the remainder is all but destroyed. Still you can make out 
that the paintings and sculptures must have been very good. On 
the opposite side of the river is Kuban, where are some old Egyp- 
tian fortifications. The river continued all day from half a mile 
to three-quarters in width, was tortuous as usual, and had in the 
distance back from either bank many picturesque hills and ranges 
of mountains. There were also many striking peaks, seemingly of 
volcanic origin. Several of these, on account of the discoloration 
of their rocks, looked as if covered with trees or shrubs, and their 
hard dark color made a strong contrast to the soft yellow desert. 
Small villages were at intervals strung along the banks, generally 
lying quite in the sands, as fertile land is here too precious to 
build upon. The date palm predominated, and henna was much 
cultivated. It seems to be regarded as quite necessary that fertile 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 203 

laud, though very scarce, should be set apart for this shrub, as well 
as for the castor oil plant, from which the oil is obtained with 
which the people soak their hair and smear their bodies. Every 
time we go on shore we are pestered to buy all sorts of " antiqui- 
ties," mostly of a suspicious character as to their origin and habi- 
tat. We are also followed and jostled by crowds of jabbering, 
chaffering, laughing boys and girls, to whom the arrival of a 
steamer is as good as a holiday. So far we have seen very few 
native sail boats and no dahabeahs upon this section of the river. 
Formerly, before the war with the Mahdists and the abandonment 
of the Soudan, in 1885, the dahabeahs were here the same as below 
the first cataract, but now in the disturbed condition of the country 
they do not come above the first cataract. The natives never molest 
the steamers but would the dahabeahs, which, being without steam 
power, would be more at their mercy. The people hereabouts are 
poor and there is little or no exchange of commodities. In the 
great fields of tawny sand and in the valleys and slopes of the 
dark, rocky mountains we were continually reminded of the snow- 
fields, glaciers and bare peaks of Switzerland. All the afternoon 
we saw many beautiful date palms bordering the banks. In some 
clumps I noticed as many as ten trees springing apparently from a 
large general root-stem. The sunset was very splendid, the rocky 
hills turning purple and the glossy palm tufts standing strongly 
out from the yellow saud-fields. At about seven in the evening 
we reached the village of Korosko, a considerable point of traffic 
on the high eastern bank, to which we moored for the night. 
There is a small oasis here. The inhabitants know only Nubian ; 
Arabic here ceases to be spoken. Korosko is a starting-point for 
Abu llamed, across the Nubian desert on another part of the Nile, 
which here makes a great circle to the westward. The caravan 
route is two hundred miles in length. It is said to be a very bad 
one, not at present feasible for foreigners, water being procurable 
only at one stopping-place, and the wild Bedouins being very trou- 
blesome. When the caravan route arrives at Abu Hamed, the 
river is followed to Khartoum, in the Soudan, about two hundred 
miles further. 

We reached Amada early the next morning. Here in the des- 
ert near the river, and half buried in the sand, is a very small but 
interesting temple, which was founded by Usertsen II. about 2500 
b. c, and repaired by some other king a thousand years later. It 
is greatly worn by the sand and weather and much dilapidated but 



204 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

contains some beautiful sculptures of a spirited and life-like design, 
which still betray much of their original vivid coloring. The 
hieroglyphics are also well executed. Standing upon the roof of 
this little temple we had a fine view of the surrounding desert 
and the river, and listened to the droning music of a dozen sakiahs, 
while a solitary Nubian warrior went through a pantomime of at- 
tacking his foe with his long and slender assegai. One wonders 
that some sort of grease or oil is not used to stop the creaking of 
the water-wheels, but the people do not wish this, believing that 
the peculiar sound encourages the oxen in their work, in the same 
manner that the natives in the interior of Brazil regard the creak- 
ing of their great block-wheeled carts. We did not tarry at Ama- 
da but went on slowly against the strong current, passing on the 
east bank the village of Derr, which straggles for a long distance 
along the river and is half hidden in a large and very dense oasis 
of date palms. The dates of this neighborhood have the reputa- 
tion of being the best in Egypt. Derr is the capital of Lower 
Nubia, but contains only some three hundred inhabitants, and 
with the exception of having a mosque and a large house for the 
Sheik is in no particular different from other mud-walled and 
straw-covered Nile villages. As we proceed the rocks become 
bolder and sharper and assume very singular forms — one is fanci- 
fully thought to resemble the pyramid of Cheops and another has 
been compared to the Sphinx. During the afternoon we pass 
Toski, on the west bank, which was the furthest point north 
reached by the dervishes (the Mahdists), and where a decisive bat- 
tle was fought in the late war, in which the British troops won a 
great victory. From Toski to Aboo Simbel the scenery is wholly 
of the desert type. Ibreen, the ruins of an old Roman town, is on 
the top of a steep, rocky, sandstone cliff some two or three hundred 
feet above the river. In the same cliff were several rock-hewn 
tombs, on the walls of which we could distinctly see the customary 
pictures. The town dates back to the time of Augustus — the 
tombs to that of Thothmes III. Although there was sterility along 
this part of the river — many enormous banks of sand which made 
you think you were somewhere upon the shores of the ocean — 
there were also occasionally perfect forests of date palms, the tree- 
trunks being so thickly placed that it was quite impossible to see 
between them. Crocodiles are said to abound in this part of the 
Nile, but though we scoured every sandbank with our binoculars, 
we discovered but one during all the afternoon. 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 205 

At about five o'clock we saw, a long distance before us, upon 
the west bank of the river, the rocky ridge, some three or four 
hundred feet in height, which runs at right angles to the river and 
in the interior of which has been excavated the famous rock-temple 
of Aboo Simbel. There were low ranges and peaks in sight all 
around the distant horizon, and along the east bank vast groves of 
palm trees and some straggling villages. Before us we could see a 
longer and straighter stretch of river than I had noticed hereto- 
fore. There is no village at Aboo Simbel, but as we drew in to the 
shore a number of natives came running to us from every direc- 
tion, all bringing something to sell — coins, spears, bridles, bits of 
Dervish manufacture, etc. Aboo Simbel or Ipsambool, is 170 
miles south of Phila? and 46 from the second cataract. We passed 
a small excavation in the face of the cliff in which we could dis- 
tinctly see a sitting-figure — some member of the Egyptian Pan- 
theon. This would have been almost inaccessible except by ropes 
let down from the top of the cliff. Next we saw, at a height of say 
twenty feet above the surface of the river, a rock-hewn temple which 
is dedicated to Hathor. The face of the rock had been planed, and 
covered with sculptures of Rameses and members of his family. But 
the highest interest centred in the great temple near at hand, and 
before which we moored for the night. Notwithstanding our con- 
siderable expectation and the knowledge that this monument is not 
only the greatest attraction Nubia has to offer the antiquarian 
student, but perhaps the finest rock-temple in the world — not even 
excepting those at Ellora and Elephanta in western India — and 
the chief reason for visiting the Nile between the first and second 
cataracts, we were in no particular disappointed. The sun was 
just setting and threw a peculiarly mellow light upon the cone- 
shaped mountain and the colossal figures of Eameses the Great. 
There they sit in serene and amiable majesty looking out over the 
Nile valley as they have done for over 3,000 years. Their sim- 
plicity, grandeur and beauty are very impressive. At a distance the 
great statues are somewhat qualified by the background of rock 
and sand, but when you approach and stand below them, you are 
overwhelmed at their huge proportions. 

This grand temple was built by Rameses II. to commemorate 
his victory over the Khetas. It is hewn out of the solid grit-stone 
rock — a sort of brown sandstone — to a depth of 185 feet. The 
cliff, which originally sloped down to the river, has been hewn 
away and smoothed for a space about 120 feet square to form the 



206 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

front of the temple. This has made a great niche in the moun- 
tain, seventy-five feet deer) at the bottom, and here in very high 
relief have been carved four gigantic statues of Rameses II. seated 
on thrones like other Egyptian colossi. Each has the royal car- 
touche cut upon the upper arms. These splendid figures are sixty- 
five feet high and twenty-five feet across the chest, and well pro- 
portioned. The nose of each is three-and-one-half feet long ; the 
forefinger three feet. The countenances are especially intelligent 
and pleasant-looking. The statue to the left of the entrance has 
lost its head, shoulders and arms, which lie on the ground in front. 
The colossus on the other side of the doorway has been restored by 
Seti I., and that to the extreme right by the Egyptian govern- 
ment. The statue in the left hand corner is the most perfect. 
To the right and left of each of these statues stand small figures 
of the mother, wives and children of Eameses. The cornice and 
frieze at the top of the facade is ornamented by a row of twenty- 
one little cynocephali, or apes with dogs' heads. These are regarded 
as worshippers of the sun-god, whose statue, in full relief, is just 
below. Beneath these are rows of hieroglyphics and cartouches. 
Over the door is the statue of Hermachis or. Re the sun-god, to 
whom the temple was dedicated, and on each side of him is a 
figure of the king offering adoration. An enormous bank of sand 
has drifted down the mountain to the right and across the foot 
of the temple, nearly closing the entrance, though it has been four 
times cleared away— by Belzoni in 1817, Lepsius in 1844, Mariette 
in 1869 and by the Egyptian government, for the visit of the late 
Khedive, in 1891. The cliff may be ascended by means of this 
great sand drift — a stiff climb — but the view from the summit, 
above the statues, repays the effort. The temple is perhaps fifty 
feet above the river, which is very deep hereabouts. 

Well supplied with candles and magnesium wire we enter the 
lofty and narrow doorway, and proceed to inspect the various 
chambers, of which there are about a dozen, the side ones being 
of irregular size and location, though all of them are of an ob- 
long shape, as seems to be the universal rule in Egyptian archi- 
tecture. We enter first the grand hall, in which are eight great 
square columns with " engaged " figures of Osiris, 18 feet high, 
upon them — i. e. figures of the king portrayed as Osiris. These 
statues with their calm, dignified countenances and folded arms 
are very impressive. The ceiling, columns and walls are covered 
with deeply carved — intaglio — sculptures which show many traces 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 207 

of having once been very brilliantly colored. The tableaux on the 
wall represent the victories of Rameses. On the north side is an 
enormous battle-piece covering a space 58 feet in length by 25 in 
height and containing nearly 1,200 figures ! There are also many 
pictorial decorations. All these were first chiselled in the stone, 
and then covered with a thin coating of plaster and painted. The 
great hall is sixty feet square, with a ceiling twenty-five feet high. 
Directly behind this hall is a smaller one, 35 X 25 feet, with four 
square columns. Xext there is a corridor and then comes the 
" holy of holies," containing an altar and four seated figures, which 
are much mutilated. They represent Ptah, Amen-Ra, Rameses II. 
and Hermachis. Several of the other chambers have sculptured 
walls and a high and narrow shelf or scat running around the sides. 
Some of them are without sculptures or only show them in process 
of formation. These chambers were full of hundreds, if not thou- 
sands, of bats. A little distance to the left of the great temple is 
a small one — about 12 X U X 10 feet, which has some interesting 
sculptures. It is believed that this temple was used in connection 
with the larger. To the north of the great temple and close to the 
river, hewn in the living rock, is the smaller one, to which allu- 
sion has already been made. It is eighty-four feet deep, and is 
dedicated to Hathor, who is symbolized in the form of a cow, by 
Rameses II. and his wife Xefert Ari. The cliff has been smoothed 
for a breadth of ninety feet for the facade of this temple. The 
front is ornamented with six large statues standing (the colossi are 
sitting) and sloping back from the base like those of the great 
temple. They are those of the king, his wife and some of his chil- 
dren. Between the statues are vertical rows of hieroglyphics. In- 
side the main hall are six Hathor-headed pillars. This room is 
about 35 X 25 feet in dimension. The interior chambers are simi- 
lar in character to those of the large temple, but the execution of 
the sculptures is inferior to them. 

We go on at four o'clock in the morning. The scenery is 
somewhat tamer, but hardly less interesting. We pass several cas- 
tles, towns and columns of Roman and Arab ruins, with some few 
grottoes, tombs and tablets in the hills. We notice sakiahs far out 
in the river, at the edge of great sandbanks, which connect with 
other sakiahs on the permanent banks, and thus work in combina- 
tion like the shadoofs already mentioned. The Nile keeps of 
about the same width, but is shallower. We ran aground several 
times, but almost immediately backed off. Extremes of tempera- 



208 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

ture have been very great. I remarked one day on which there 
was a difference of 45° between 6 a. m. and 4 p. m. — 45° to 90°. 
At about eleven o'clock we reached Wadi Haifa, 802 miles from 
Cairo. The houses of the town are scattered along the eastern 
bank for several miles, and are mostly single-story mud huts ; a 
few of them are of two stories, and have whitened walls. Groves 
of palms line this bank, but the opposite is all desert. Wadi 
Haifa is so called from the halfa (called alfa throughout Bar- 
bary) or coarse grass which springs up everywhere outside the 
irrigated portions of land. The town is about in latitude 21° 50' 
north and longitude 31° 20' east. It contains 4,000 Egyptian 
troops, officered by Englishmen. A permanent garrison has been 
stationed here since the war in the Soudan. There are many 
negro soldiers, and these are said to be quite as brave as the Egyp- 
tians, and much truer. There are several mud forts, mounting 
small repeating guns, and outlying citadels for pickets in every 
direction on the summit of the ridges and knolls and even upon 
the opposite bank of the river. The town itself contains nothing 
of any special interest, but there is a narrow-gauge railway running 
from here around the cataract, which it is worth employing for a 
trip as far south as possible. 

The second cataract begins a few miles south of Wadi Haifa 
and extends about seven miles. The railway was laid down by the 
English a number of years ago to transport troops and stores above 
the cataract. It at first ran a distance of eighty-six miles to Ferket, 
but fifty miles of it were afterwards destroyed by the Mahdists, 
who threw the rails into the river and used the sleepers to boil 
their kettles and cook their food. The telegraph wire they twisted 
together to form their spurs. Thirty-six miles of this road have 
been put in order by the Egyptian army, and trains are now run 
regularly on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 A. m., returning at 4 P. m. 
The line extends to a place called Sarras, where is a large fort and 
camp, the outpost of the Egyptian army, all beyond this being 
since 1885 in the hands of the Mahdists. Thursday was the day 
on which we had arrived, and the train having gone out regularly 
in the morning, it was necessary for us to engage a special train, 
which we did at the rate of about $2.50 each for the excursion. 
There were some twenty of us, and so the railway people received 
$50.00. We had first to get permission of the military authorities, 
and then a guard of twelve soldiers, armed with Martini-Henry 
rifles, being deputed to accompany us, we left at 2 p. m. The car- 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 209 

riages were of miniature pattern, the third-class passengers having 
to stand in open vans. The rolling-stock was of English manu- 
facture. Our small but powerful locomotive was curiously enough 
called the " Gorgon." No train, even of goods, is allowed to run 
without an escort of soldiers. The little road in leaving Wadi 
Haifa passes the large walled enclosure of the garrison and the 
level space used as a parade, drill ground and shooting range, and 
then heads across the desert until it reaches the banks of the Nile, 
which it follows to Sarras. We crossed a number of Arab ceme- 
teries, the graves being placed close together, and only marked by 
low head and foot stones and covered with white pebbles. We 
soon entered the region of the cataracts — rapids and rocks similar 
to those in the first cataract. Along the banks were hills com- 
posed wholly of smoothly-rounded rocks, in the river were thou- 
sands of rocky and sandy islets, about which the muddy Nile roared 
and ran— some of these islets only large stones, others great heaps 
of them, others rocks with banks of sand, and still others large 
islands, cultivated and tree- or shrub-covered, and inhabited. The 
river was hereabouts several miles in width, and the black polished 
rocks and swirling water made a very extraordinary picture. The 
first cataract cuts through granite, but the second through ferreous 
sandstone boulders, which are stained and coated with Nile mud 
as those at Assouan-Philoe. At Sarras, the present terminus of 
the line, we found an Egyptian garrison in camp, and upon a 
neighboring isolated rock a strong fortress. The troops consisted 
of a battalion of infantry, a company of cavalry and a small camel- 
corps. The camels especially attracted our attention and admira- 
tion, being all of them white and fine animals. We found three 
English officers in charge of the outpost. The river continues 
southwards, between high banks, of about the same width, but is 
said to be scarcely navigable for a long distance. Sarras is the 
farthest point to which travellers are now permitted to go — it is 
in about latitude 21° north, or a thousand miles from the Medi- 
terranean. We arrived back at Wadi Haifa at 7 p. m. 

A few of us rose early the next day and made an excursion to 
the famous rock of Aboosir, which is about the centre of the 
cataract region, upon the west bank, the object being to get the 
view from thence of the cataract. We crossed diagonally to the 
opposite shore, a distance of about three miles, where we found 
donkeys to take us over the desert to our destination. I had so 
small a donkey that I actually feared he might trip over my feet. 



210 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

A very strong breeze from the northwest was blowing, and we were 
able to stem the strong current in about an hour. The donkeys 
carried us for a short distance along the river bank and then took 
a direct line across the desert to the great rock. The undulating 
surface was covered with fine deep sand. All about us were cu- 
rious low, weather-worn outcroppings of rock. In an hour and a 
quarter we had made the distance of six miles. The rock rises 
solitarily about fifty feet above a huge cliff facing the river and 
three hundred feet above it. It not only affords a capital pros- 
pect of the second cataract, but of the country in every direction. 
In the south the long range of blue mountains is that of Dongola, 
150 miles distant. The third cataract is near them. The view 
over the Nile is one of grandeur but of savage desolation. The 
polished black rocks look like heaps of coal or carbon crystals as 
they sparkle in the sunlight. The rapids on the western side of 
the river are much larger than those upon the eastern, and one 
sees better here the myriads of small islands which dot and 
break up the Nile into so many swirling streams. The roar of 
these rapids is plainly heard, but is not so prodigious as some 
travellers and geographers have maintained. The desert side of 
the rock of Aboosir is carved with thousands of names of visitors. 
Among them I noticed several of famous explorers and Egyptol- 
ogists—those of Belzoni, Champollion, Warburton and Lord 
Lindsay. We returned to Wadi Haifa at noon, and our steamer 
almost immediately thereafter started upon the return voyage to 
Philse. The strong head wind did not neutralise the power of 
the strong current, and we proceeded down stream at nearly 
double our upward rate. We arrived at Aboo Simbel at 5 p. m., 
and spent two hours in studying the splendid old temple, both ex- 
terior and interior. 

In the morning we found lying near us a little Egyptian gun- 
boat, which came in late the previous night. It was a " stern- 
wheeler " of much the same model as our own boat. It mounted 
a small Hotchkiss gun in an iron turret forward, and two Norden- 
feldt guns on a little deck above. The steamer was plated with 
bullet-proof sheets of iron. We had risen early in order to see 
the interior of the great temple illumined by the morning sun— 
it facing the east. It was not a specially bright morning, still we 
could see the sculptures and paintings to good effect. The ap- 
pearance of the wall pictures was quite like that of old tapestry, 
and showed a very harmonious blending of colors. The spirit and 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 211 

life of the various figures of Rameses once more called forth our 
heartiest praise and delight. We spent about three hours more 
in and about this very interesting temple, and then left for Ko- 
rosko. On the way a large crocodile was discovered asleep on a 
sandbank. Late in the afternoon we reached the village of Ko- 
rosko and remained a couple of hours in order to visit the peak of 
Awes-el-Guarany, some five or six hundred feet in height, from 
which an extensive survey is to be had, on the one side, of the 
Nile valley and, on the other, of the desert-road leading due south 
to Abu-Hamed. Korosko was from the earliest times the point 
of departure for caravans going to and from Shendy, Senaar and 
the Soudan. It was sometimes possible to see here at one time as 
many as two thousand camels. The peak of Awes-el-Guarany is 
held sacred by the natives and is a place of pilgrimage. On the 
summit are very many tablets and inscriptions recording the 
names of pilgrims from all parts of Egypt. The top is now sec- 
ularised by the Egyptian government as a lookout and signal- 
station. There is a stone watch-house here manned by three or 
four soldiers. In the village there is a large garrison of native 
troops. The mountain is of curious shape and composed of sand- 
stone and other rocks apparently of volcanic formation. The 
path is very steep but you are well repaid for the toil of the as- 
cent by the view, which gives you a capital idea of Nubian 
scenery. We returned to the steamer and went on down the 
river until ten o'clock, when we halted for the night at Sihala. 

We arrived at Shellah the following day, having had a very 
strong head-wind all the way. We then crossed to Philae and 
spent a couple of hours in re-inspecting the temples. From there 
we were ferried to the island of Biggeh, where are some ruins of a 
small Egyptian temple. From the summit of the rocky hill be- 
hind this, a splendid view is had of Philae and a little further on 
of the first cataract and its many islands, and of the hill on the 
western side of the river opposite Assouan where we had previ- 
ously visited some interesting rock-temples. All along the west- 
ern bank were great hilly ranges of yellow sand. The scenery of 
the first cataract is weird and strange, but not nearly so much so 
as that of the second. We returned to the steamer late in the 
afternoon, and left the next morning for Assouan by a road 
which for the most part follows the bank of the cataracts. On 
arriving we at once boarded the " Rameses," a steamer a little 
smaller but of the same general style as' the " Rameses the Great," 



212 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and with a full complement of passengers, viz. seventy-five. We 
remained all day in Assouan, busy revisiting many places and ob- 
jects seen on our upward passage, and left at daylight for Luxor, 
where we arrived early in the evening, and afterwards visited the 
temple of Luxor by bright starlight and were much impressed by 
the grandeur of the rows of great lotus-headed pillars. In the 
morning I rode out to Karnak on camel-back and spent two hours 
re-examining the ruins. I was more impressed by the magnitude 
of the grand hall, but found the pillars, as upon my previous 
visit, much too close to properly estimate and appreciate their 
massive proportions. We left Luxor at noon for Keneh, where 
we arrived four hours later, and took donkeys across the plain 
about a mile to the town. Keneh is noted for its manufacture of 
porous jugs and filtering bottles, for its dates, and its dancing 
girls. Its bazaars are large though not specially interesting. We 
remained but an hour, and then went on down the river to Disneh, 
where we moored for the night. Soon after leaving the port of 
Keneh we had a distinct view of the distant temple of Denderah 
on the western plain. This majestic monument we had explored 
on our upward journey and only regretted that the steamer did 
not allow us a second call. 

The next morning early we were at Bellianeh, the port of Aby- 
dos, which is seven miles in the interior. Donkeys were in waiting, 
and immediately after breakfast we started. The road led across 
an enormous plain covered with wheat, barley, beans and lentils. 
The ruins at Abydos consist of the temples of Seti I., and Eameses 
II., and of the Necropolis. The temple of Seti is alone of any 
great interest. Great heaps of rubbish lie all about it and are 
higher than its walls. It is built of a fine, white, calcareous stone, 
and is renowned for its splendid bas-reliefs and highly-finished 
hieroglyphics. The stones of the roof are of great size, laid on 
edge, and then having an arch cut through them. It is the only 
roof of the kind in Egypt. In the general appearance of this 
temple one is strongly reminded of that at Mediuet-Haboo. The 
portico contains twenty-four columns, and has seven doors which 
lead into the great hall of thirty-six columns. This hall again 
leads into seven parallel sanctuaries. There are also a number of 
small halls and chambers connected by corridors. The walls of 
the sanctuaries are very delicately sculptured and most brilliantly 
colored — all is in marvellously good preservation. In one room is 
the famous Tablet of Abydos, which gives the names of seventy-six 



IN LOWER NUBIA. 213 

kings of Egypt, beginning with Menes and ending with Seti I. 
The Necropolis is near by — vast heaps of rubbish, masses of graves 
one upon another, in historic strata. Abydos was one of the most 
renowned cities of ancient times and was famous as the chief seat 
of worship of Osiris in Upper Egypt. We lunched in the great 
temple and, returning to the steamer by the middle of the after- 
noon, went on to Souhag, a village on the west bank, at which we 
spent the night. We reached Assiout the next day at noon, the 
following night were at Maghargha, and arrived at Cairo at four 
in the afternoon of the day after, February 11th, thus completing 
a Nile tour of a month — one of the most instructive, fascinating 
and delightful journeys I ever made. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MAURITIUS AND MADAGASCAR. 

I went from Cairo to Alexandria and then to Constantinople, 
whence I paid a visit to Eussian Turkestan, returning to Con- 
stantinople and Alexandria after an absence of five months. This 
was a detour incidental to my main journey, thus spending in a 
salubrious part of Asia the months in which it would be unsafe or 
disadvantageous to travel in tropical Africa. From Alexandria I 
took a little Eussian boat around to Port Said, my object being to 
try and find a steamer going thence to Mauritius, for since this 
island is usually regarded as belonging to Africa, I had determined 
to see it, as well as Madagascar, in my projected circumnavigation 
of the continent, and this for climatic reasons was the best place 
to visit next. I found, however, at Port Said that I had missed by 
a week a French mail steamer of the Messageries Maritimes run- 
ning monthly from Marseilles to Aden, and Mahe in the Seychelles 
islands, whence there was a connecting steamer to Mauritius. I 
also learned that by waiting a few days a choice of routes still re- 
mained open to me : either to go direct in French steamer by way 
of Aden, Zanzibar and Madagascar to Mauritius, or in English 
steamer to Colombo in Ceylon, where I could change to another 
vessel for Mauritius. The latter though a considerably longer 
route would, by reason of but a single stop and greater speed of 
one of the steamers, bring me to my destination one day earlier 
than by the French course. I therefore accepted this plan, being 
also not unwilling to see again Ceylon, an island which I had 
visited twenty years before. From Port Said to Mauritius by the 
way of Colombo the steaming distance is 5,640 miles and the least 
time required twenty-four days. I left Port Said on July 14th in 
a splendid large steamer of the Orient Line. This vessel after 
calling at Colombo would go on to Australia — to Albany, Ade- 
laide, Melbourne and Sydney. 

Suez looked rather pretty from the southern entrance of the 

214 




The Summit of Peter Botte. 



MAURITIUS AND MADAGASCAR. 215 

Canal, but its glories have departed and its rival, Port Said, now 
contains double its population. We had fresh breezes in the Red 
Sea, but so hot was it — the thermometer ranging from 92° to 98° 
— that we wer only comfortable when upon deck, and on the 
windward side of the vessel. I arrived at Colombo on the 25th, 
and left for Mauritius on the 30th, in the British India Company's 
steamer " Wardha," 3,000 tons burden, duly arriving on August 
8th. As there would have been little or nothing to describe on 
my projected voyage from Port Said to Mauritius by way of Aden 
and the Seychelles, I have for convenience marked my route on 
the Map, accompanying this narrative, as continuous between these 
points. 

As we approached the island of Mauritius from the north the 
promiuent objects were the famous peak of Peter Botte, with its 
curious cylindrical boulder poised aloft, and another peak in the 
same range, called very appropriately La Pouce, from its striking 
resemblance to a gigantic thumb. The harbor of Port Louis, the 
capital, is long and narrow, with a good depth of water. Upon 
either side as you enter are sunken forts mounting heavy modern 
guns. The town lies upon land gently sloping backwards to the 
hills, but so little above the sea and so thickly dotted with trees 
that it does not show to advantage from the harbor. It contains 
some 60,000 inhabitants — French and English. These do not 
mingle, and though Mauritius has been a British dependency for 
over eighty years the island is full of people who cannot speak a 
word of English, and who preserve their own laws, habits and 
usages. Behind the town, on a prominent knoll, stands a strong 
citadel. The higher hill to the right is used as a signal-station. 
You land upon the stone jetty, and see across a plaza a bronze 
statue of one of the earlier French governors and beyond, through 
a little park full of curious tropical trees, the government-house, 
a plain stucco-covered building, with many broad verandahs. The 
streets are macadamised. The houses are mostly but one story in 
height and are built of stone or wood. 

Mauritius was called by the French Isle de France. It is situ- 
ated about 20° south of the Equator, and 450 miles east of Mada- 
gascar. It is some 39 miles long and 34 broad, and its highest 
point is but 2,600 feet above sea-level. I had been told that the 
scenery of Mauritius surpassed in beauty that of Tahiti, in the 
South Pacific, but failed to discover the slightest resemblance be- 
tween the two. The greater part of Mauritius is plain, or smoothly- 



216 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

rolling country, with here and there precipitous cones and ridges 
of volcanic formation. Once it was covered with forest but now 
you see scarcely a tree, and save in Port Louis, firewood is very 
dear. The island is in fact simply a great sugar plantation, 100,- 
000 acres being under culture. The staple article of export is un- 
refined sugar. Others are hemp, aloe and similar fibres, vanilla, 
cocoanut oil, rum, drugs and caoutchouc. The soil is very fertile 
and besides these exports, rice, coffee, indigo, cotton and spices are 
cultivated. There are altogether about a hundred sugar estates, 
upon which nearly sixty thousand laborers, mostly immigrants 
from India, are employed. There is a large trade with India and 
Great Britain. Mauritius is said to be the most thickly peopled 
country in the world, having 534 to the square mile — Belgium has 
470, China 300. The population was given me as 375,000 — over 
two-thirds of whom were from India (mostly Hindoos), Africans, 
Chinese, Malagasies, mixed races and whites. One-third of the 
inhabitants are engaged in agricultural pursuits. As to seasons, 
the climate is cool and genial from May to October ; warm the 
remainder of the year. Hot during January to March. Being a 
British colony one expects to find good means of communication, 
and is not disappointed. There are 367 miles of macadamised 
roads and about 100 of railway. There are two lines of the latter, 
one serving the northern and the other the southern parts of the 
island. Little narrow-gauge roads from sugar-estates connect with 
these. There is also a complete system of telegraphs. The stand- 
ard coin is the Indian rupee, about 50 cents. The government of 
Mauritius and its dependencies (small archipelagoes in the con- 
tiguous or neighboring Indian Ocean) is vested in a Governor aided 
by an Executive Council. There is also a Council of Government 
consisting of the Governor and twenty-seven members. Ten of 
these members are elected under a moderate franchise, one for 
each of the districts into which the colony is divided and two 
for the capital. The Governor has a salary of 50,000 rupees per 
annum. 

Mauritius is widely known for the terrific hurricanes which 
periodically visit it, and I had arrived only a few months after the 
greatest ever experienced. Quite one-third of Port Louis was ut- 
terly destroyed, stone edifices seeming to fare as badly as wooden 
ones. The total number of houses blown down, or more or less 
damaged, amounted to 1,450. In the capital and island 1,200 peo- 
ple were killed, and one-half of the sugar crop was destroyed. The 




Cliauarel F'alls, Mauritius. 



MAURITIUS AND MADAGASCAR. 217 

greatest velocity which the wind attained was 120 miles an hour ! 
The estimated loss caused by this hurricane amounted to 18,000,- 
000 rupees. One of the first things that struck me when walk- 
ing through the streets was the great number of people wearing 
mourning. These Mauritius hurricanes invariably occur on the 
inner borders of the southeast trade wind and northwest monsoon, 
and are supposed to be the meeting of those two opposite currents 
of air, under the influence of solar heat and the earth's diurnal 
motion. Their range is from 6° to 30° south latitude. The sea- 
son lasts from November to April. The average number of hurri- 
canes in a 3 7 ear is eight. The most of them observed in the south- 
ern Indian Ocean in any one month has been, during the years 
1848-1885 — 71 in January. In August and September there were 
during the same period none, and in July two. Of the hurricanes 
which at various times have devastated this island, those of 1771, 
1773, 1861, 1868, and 1879 were especially violent. That of 1771 
raged uninterruptedly for eighteen hours and completely destroyed 
the harvest; that of 1773 threw down three hundred houses in Port 
Louis and devastated all the neighboring plantations ; that of 1861 
lasted six days, and was accompanied with an extraordinary fall of 
rain ; that of 1868 raged during three days ; and that of 1879 lasted 
two days during which the wind acquired an occasional velocity of 
100 miles per hour. The island was not visited by a hurricane 
from 1879 till 1892, a period of thirteen years. 

During my stay of a week, I visited all parts of the island. 
Distant about an hour from Port Louis to the northeast are the 
observatory and the famous gardens of Pamplemousses. The ob- 
servatory is very well equipped, and is constantly engaged in mete- 
orological work. The gardens, once among the finest in the world, 
are a sad wreck and will never recuperate. The hurricane of 1892 
has completely destroyed all the splendid trees and plants. To the 
south of the capital in nearly the southern centre of the island is 
the little town of Curepipe, 1,800 feet above the sea. This may be 
called the sanitorium of Mauritius, for the climate is moderately 
cool and you need two blankets every night. The greater part of 
the troops are garrisoned here. The only hotel in the island wor- 
thy of the name is in Curepipe. There is a neat little park, where 
the English regimental band plays once a week, and there is an 
old extinct crater to which a short walk may be taken, while a 
drive of less than an hour will carry you to Tamarind Falls, one of 
the prettiest bits of scenery in the island. 
16 



218 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

I wished next to visit Keunion, or Bourbon, 135 miles from 
Mauritius, but as this could only be done after undergoing a quar- 
antine of fifteen days, I decided to pass on to Madagascar. Ke- 
union has belonged to France since 1764. Its scenery was de- 
scribed to me as bolder and grander than that of Mauritius, as it 
has an extinct volcano 10,000 feet high and an active one over 
7,000. Otherwise Bourbon is similar in many i"espects to the other 
island. It has a population of 165,000, of whom 120,000 are Cre- 
oles, the remainder being Hindoos, Africans, Malagasies and Chi- 
nese. Saint Denis is the capital, with a population of 40,000. It 
is 360 miles distant from Tamatave in Madagascar. The franchise 
was given to the former slaves in 1870. Maize, rice, wheat, beans 
and various vegetables are cultivated. Horses, mules, oxen, sheep, 
and goats are raised. The exports are sugar, coffee, and vanilla. 
There are eighty miles of narrow-gauge railway. On August 18th 
I left Port Louis for Tamatave in the " Garth Castle," a fine 
steamer of 3,000 tons burden, belonging to the well-known Castle 
Line of Liverpool. The distance is five hundred miles, which we 
made in forty hours. 

At daylight I went on deck to get my first glimpse of the great 
island of Madagascar — several ranges of mountains, the one rising 
behind the other with smoothly flowing lines, and covered with 
trees and grass. In the foreground were low undulating hills 
overspread with scrub, and sloping down to the sea a great broad 
beach of yellow sand. A vast plain studded more or less with hil- 
locks seemed to extend from the water away north and south as 
far as the eye could see. The distant mountains appeared steep, 
but with flat smooth ridges ; nothing of a volcanic character was 
anywhere noticeable. As we drew rapidly in the town of Tama- 
tave, half concealed by trees, became visible on a flat point of sand 
which jutted from the shore towards the southeast. The harbor 
or roadstead is to the north of this peninsula and is partially pro- 
tected by a semi-circular coral reef, with a deep opening, perhaps 
half a mile in width, through which the ships and steamers safely 
pass. In this harbor were anchored a little native gun-boat and 
three or four coasting-smacks. The appearance of the town from 
our anchorage was very pretty, the different colored wooden shops, 
cottages and warehouses, shaded by cocoanut palms, mango, orange, 
pandanus, bamboo, and umbrella trees, with the long lines of 
breaking, foaming surf contributing to the general effect. A few 
church towers and steeples, and a dozen flag-staffs of foreign con- 



MAURITIUS AND MADAGASCAR. 219 

sulates diversified the long level of verdure. At the land extremity 
of the peninsula is a large native town, and here stands an old dis- 
mantled stone fort. Back of the beach here was a great fringe of 
scrubby trees and beyond this beautiful soft meadows and culti- 
vated land extending to the hills. Boats manned by the negro- 
like inhabitants of the east coast came off to us, a bargain was 
soon struck and I went ashore. There was no pratique on board 
the steamer, nor any inspection upon the shore. There was no 
pier or proper landing-stage, so I ran the boat upon the beach and 
was carried ashore upon men's shoulders. But such a crowd as 
was assembled to carry my baggage ! They were colored boys and 
men, some of the negro type with curly, woolly hair — these were 
Betsimisarakas ; and others with straight hair and Malay features 
— these were Hovas. All were dressed in straw hats and great 
white cotton sheets, which they wore very gracefully like Roman 
togas. Their legs and feet were bare. Laughing, skylarking and 
good-humoredly fighting, showing great rows of splendid white 
teeth, at last about twenty of them succeeded in getting jwssession 
of my " traps " and followed by twenty more of their friends 
started for the principal street, which extends along the centre of 
the peninsula. It is perhaps twenty feet in width, filled with deep 
sand, without sidewalk but with a little narrow-gauge track upon 
which merchandise trucks are pushed from warehouse to harbor. 
This street is lined with one and two-story wooden houses, the 
offices, dwellings and warehouses of the European merchants — 
there are about twenty in Tamatave — and with the foreign and 
native retail shops. The houses were half concealed by the rich 
tropical vegetation and were always surrounded by pretty little 
flower gardens. The street was full of natives, some passing on 
foot, but the most squatting by the roadside and waiting for jobs, 
which apparently they hoped would not come. Occasionally I 
would meet a European merchant riding by in his filanzana, or 
palanquin, his bearers going at a jog trot, and chattering and 
laughing joyfully among themselves. There is no hotel in Tama- 
tave, and I considered myself fortunate in having a letter of intro- 
duction to an old resident, the Vice-Consul of my government, 
R. M. Whitney, who kindly took me in, cared for me during my 
brief stay, and carefully fitted me out for the journey to the capi- 
tal. Mr. Whitney had been many years in Madagascar and was 
one of the oldest established merchants and most popular of citi- 
zens of Tamatave. I was greatly grieved to learn that only a few 



220 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

months after my visit he succumbed, comparatively a young man, 
to a sharp attack of the dangerous Malagasy fever. 

There is no provision for lighting the narrow streets of Tama- 
tave ; at night people carry lanterns and the better class ride in 
the filanzanas. This is the universal carriage of Madagascar. 
Each man keeps his own, together with four bearers whom he pays 
about ten francs each per month and supplies with food. There 
are no proper wheeled vehicles in the island and but very few 
horses. The roads in the interior are mere trails and often too 
steep and bad for a horse or even a mule. The filanzana consists 
of two strong but slender poles, about eight feet in length, fastened 
together by two iron rods. Secured to other iron rods in the cen- 
tre is a sort of chair made of heavy canvas. Before this is a narrow 
flat piece of wood suspended by ropes from the poles and used as a 
foot-rest. The poles are borne on the shoulders of four men, two 
in front and two behind, who lock arms and keep step. They 
carry you at a brisk walk or a trot. These bearers are stout, lusty 
young fellows. You may generally recognize them by large cal- 
losities upon both shoulders and collar-bone produced by the poles 
of the filanzana which rest there. When changing bearers they 
allow the poles and your weight to fall upon them in a manner you 
would think might fracture a bone. The motion is of course easy 
and agreeable over level ground but in hilly tracks you are natu- 
rally much tossed about. Some find the filanzana on long journeys 
very tiresome, since its construction admits of but little change of 
position, but such was not my experience. Those used by women 
are sometimes made a little larger, and have a light canopy as pro- 
tection from sun and shower, but men generally trust to their large 
pith hats for the former and an umbrella for the latter. 

Tamatave is in latitude about 18° south. Its total population 
is 7,000 souls. Of this number about 200 are Europeans and there 
are perhaps 1,000 Creoles. There is a French Resident — Madagas- 
car being now a protectorate of France — and a Hova governor. 
The latter lives in the fort, in a small house built upon the walls. 
I called there, and found him a dignified and courteous gentleman, 
speaking English fairly well. There are in Tamatave many Hovas 
though the greater part of the population are Betsimisarakas. In 
general the men are short, thick-set and muscular, with scanty 
beards. Their color is light-brown and their skin smooth and 
satiny. Their hair is jet-black and bushy. The women dress 
their hair in a very elaborate manner, one performing this service 



MAURITIUS AND MADAGASCAR. 221 

for another. The hair seems to be parted into many small sections, 
which are separately braided, coiled and combined. It is dressed with 
cocoanut oil and is arranged but once a week. The men wear usu- 
ally only the great white cloth toga ; the women very high-waisted 
gowns of bright-colored calico. Both sexes go barefoot, the women 
without head covering, and the men with large yellowish straw hats, 
with black ribbons, which much resemble the Panama product, 
being very neatly plaited out of fine straw. Some of the girls are 
quite slender and comely, but too early marriages and improper 
sanitary precautions soon change this to plainness and corpulency. 
Both Hovas and Betsimisarakas are a smiling, rollicking, amiable 
set of people. The native town of Tamatave consists of two or 
three long streets of huts, built in the level sandy plain. The 
streets are crooked and not more than six or eight feet in width. 
The houses are all of one story, small and oblong in shape, with 
peaked roofs and generally with but one opening, the door. The 
floor is usually raised a few inches above the ground and covered 
with matting. The walls or sides are made of the split ribs of the 
traveller's palm and the roofs of the leaves of the same useful tree. 
There is but one room, which must be used for every purpose and 
be occupied by both sexes and several generations. Many of the 
huts are native hotels, where the merchants from the interior and 
the bearers of produce stay when in town. They can be easily rec- 
ognised by the presence of many bottles and a large cask of rum 
standing near the door. These people are excessively fond of 
spirits but it is remarkable that you scarcely ever see a drunken 
man in public streets or places. In front of many of the huts are 
displays of vegetables, meats and fruits, and occasionally a small 
general stock of miscellaneous manufactured goods. The houses, 
being built of palm ribs and leaves and filled with grass mats, are 
as dry as tinder. A considerable fire once started and aided by a 
strong wind would certainly burn the whole town. The native 
method of fighting a fire is by tearing down the huts and throw- 
ing sand upon the burning embers. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

DOWN THE COAST. 

For a journey to the capital, distant about 215 miles from 
Tamatave by the travelled trail (though only 118 from point to 
point), which first follows the coast towards the south for some 72 
miles and then when about opposite, proceeds nearly due west — 
it is necessary to engage a double set of filanzana bearers or eight 
men, the one set alternating work with the other ; to take pro- 
visions, cooking utensils, camp-bed and bedding, mosquito-netting 
and folding chair ; also bearers for these and for one's personal 
effects, since everything for the interior must be carried upon poles 
resting upon men's shoulders. The journey up is an affair of 
about a week of ordinary travelling, though it has been made, with 
frequent relays of bearers, in four days, and special government 
runners have covered it in three. Coming down to Tamatave the 
ordinary journey is uniformly two or three days less. There are 
no established posting men or stations ; it is a matter of individual 
contract. In the villages travellers generally select the best hut 
and its occupants temporarily move out for their accommodation, 
receiving a small fee therefor. 

On August 24th at 9 a. m. I left Tamatave for Antananarivo. 
My preparations, thanks to Mr. Whitney's knowledge and kind- 
ness, were quickly effected. I had eight bearers for my filanzana 
and six for my luggage, which was packed in small tin boxes. 
Two men will carry suspended from a stout pole of bamboo about 
120 pounds weight. When one man bears a burden he divides it 
if possible into equal portions, which he carries at the ends of 
a shorter piece of bamboo than that used by two men. I took 
a generous supply of provisions, mostly in a condensed or else 
canned form, besides the special camp articles mentioned above. 
All these things, save only the chair, were packed in tin boxes 
and all were further protected by covers of tarred cloth. The 



DOWN THE COAST. 223 

money current in Tamatave is French coin, gold, silver and cop- 
per, but for the journey to Antananarivo what is called "cut 
money " is employed, and in fact only this sort is current in the 
capital and generally in the interior of the island. Five-franc 
silver coins are cut up into irregular-shaped pieces — the largest 
being of about the value of a franc and the smallest of one-half of 
an American cent. With such a small coin as the latter naturally 
it is not necessary to cut up copper coins. These " cut " pieces 
pass only by weight among dealers, every native merchant keeping 
a little pair of metal scales. The maromitas or bearers receive 
about fifty cents each per day. Then I had a captain or head 
man who was to walk at my side, carrying my umbrella, macin- 
tosh, a water-jug and other necessaries, ready for instant use. Of 
course none of my men could speak anything but Malagasy, but 
this language is so easy that with the help of a phrase-book and 
the frequent correction of my pronunciation by my chief, I soon 
could make my most urgent wants known. My men were a mus- 
cular set of young fellows, very good-natured, and always laughing 
and chatting among themselves when on the road. They were 
rather scantily dressed, having on only a loin cloth and two shirts, 
the outer being sleeveless, made of coarse sacking like a gunny- 
bag, and colored and striped like the uniform of a prison-gang. 
Their legs and feet were bare, but they all wore straw hats, no 
two being of the same pattern or same kind of straw, or bear- 
ing the same color of ribbon. They carried an extra shirt in a 
pocket curiously placed on the back of their gunny-bags "between 
the shoulders. The filanzana bearers are rather disposed to look 
down upon the baggage bearers, who, however, when accompanying 
travellers, receive the same wages as the others. On the road your 
bearers will carry you on good ground four or five miles an hour. 
They keep step two by two, but not four by four. One takes hold 
with his disengaged hand of the engaged wrist of the other and 
this secures their movement in unison. With eight bearers, four 
walk a little ahead and relieve the others at intervals of two or 
three minutes. In this respect of frequent change they differ 
greatly from the palanquin bearers of India who do not alternate 
until one set is quite tired. The bearers change without slacken- 
ing speed, even when going down a steep hill at a brisk trot or 
while in the middle of a river, and if well done, you scarcely feel 
it, but when on a long march they are not over particular and you 
generally receive a decided jar every time a relay comes in. When 



224 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

changing, the new men duck under the poles and the others simply 
slide away at the ends. The bearers occasionally run with you, 
but only for short distances, and as a sort of rest for themselves. 
Over a fairly good road I prefer the filanzana to the horse, since 
you have no animal to watch and no fear of a spill, and thus are 
more at liberty to observe the country and the people. Tamatave 
is considered a healthy place for Europeans during the winter 
months, and a foreigner should always if possible enter the country 
at that time. All the seaboard of the island is permeated with 
miasma during the wet season. Besides, to say nothing of discom- 
fort, the rains are so heavy and continuous it is almost impossible 
to enter the interior at that time. August, September and Octo- 
ber are perhaps the best months for travel, and this was the time 
of year during which my visit was made. I found the days bright 
and warm, almost too warm in the middle of the day on the coast 
and low-lying plains, but the nights were always cool and com- 
fortable, and necessitated the use of one or two blankets. 

The road follows at first the line of the seacoast, from which 
you are never more than half a mile distant, and constantly in hear- 
ing of the heavy surf produced by the southeast trade winds beat- 
ing upon the broad beach. For some three or four miles inland, as 
far as Adevoranty, or seventy-two miles along the coast, the plain 
consists of sand which has been heaped up in great billows and is 
covered with scanty pasture or scrubby trees and low bush, except 
in parts where you pass through genuine woods or forests. The 
rivers coming down from the hills have been stopped in their 
courses and great lakes or lagoons have thus been formed along 
the coast. It is said that some four hundred miles of inland navi- 
gation by boats is thus afforded, the occasional obstructions of land 
being few and unimportant. The track which I followed ran 
along these great sandbanks of islands between the sea and the la- 
goons. I met many natives coming in to Tamatave, the men in 
plain white togas, the women in gay gowns. There was great dig- 
nity as well as grace in their gait and manner. All carried um- 
brellas. Many coolies bearing the products of the country also 
jogged along. A large number bore the hides of cattle, four of 
which seemed to be considered a sufficient load for one man. All 
these coolies carried a short spear with a slender staff and iron 
head, which, being also shod with a sharp iron prong, served as 
a sort of alpenstock as well as weapon. Several men bore old- 
fashioned flint-lock muskets. I will spare the reader the names of 



DOWN THE COAST. 225 

most of the villages at which I stopped, since they are all of ex- 
traordinary length and nearly unpronounceable. A Malagasy how- 
ever will pronounce a word with twenty-seven letters as quickly 
and glibly as we would one with five. The geographical nomen- 
clature of the island embraces a great number of these many-sylla- 
bled words, but in the conversational language are very many 
words of one syllable and but few letters. 

About two hours from Tamatave — distances in Madagascar are 
reckoned by hours' or days' travel, never by miles — I reached the 
Ivondrona river, a swiftly-flowing and tolerably deep stream some 
three or four hundred feet in width. This we crossed in a dug-out 
canoe about forty feet in length, four feet wide and three feet deep. 
The wood tapered to about an inch at the gunwales ; the ends were 
sharp. Though these canoes are as round as a barrel, they are 
left so thick at the bottoms as to be quite stiff when loaded. All 
my men, with the iilanzana and baggage, and a couple of boatmen 
sitting on the low seats, crossed to the shore further down the 
river. Eight men worked our passage with short paddles having 
wide blades and a cross-stick for handle at the opposite end. The 
paddle is grasped in both hands, one on the shank and the other 
on the cross-piece, so that thus the men can easily push and pull. 
One stands in the bow and continually sounds with a long pole 
and another sits in the stern and steers. The men sang several 
songs to which they kept time by striking their paddles against 
the side of the canoe. The music was soft and melodious, at times 
lively, and again plaintive. The time would change with the 
rapidity of the paddling. The voices though light were in good 
accord. One man generally sang the air and the others kept up 
an almost continuous accompaniment, somewhat like our part- 
songs. It was much more than a chorus, though there was a con- 
siderable repetition. I afterwards frequently heard the same and 
similar songs in the villages of the interior, and always with de- 
light. For this canoe voyage and incidental music I did not 
grudge the sum demanded, viz. half a franc. I stopped for lunch 
at a little village consisting of but a single street through which 
the highway passes, as is the custom in Persia and Turkestan. For 
the use of a house during the two hours' noon halt I had to pay 
half a franc and for a night's rest about a franc. The natives 
would generally sell me chickens and eggs, and firewood to boil 
my coffee, make soup, etc. In some of the larger villages I could 
buy beef and cooked manioc, in others small fish and sometimes 



226 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

milk. During the first day's travel I saw a great many herds of 
cattle — large, long-legged and long-tailed beasts, many of them 
plain black in color and others curiously mottled. The long 
horns of these cattle gracefully curve forwards. They have a curi- 
ous large conical hump upon the middle of the fore-shoulders and 
a long pendulous under neck which flaps when they move. The 
Madagascar beef is very good and being plentiful and cheap no 
doubt greatly contributes to the plump, strong and healthy condi- 
tion of the Malagasy. My bearers had enormous appetites. The 
first day at breakfast I was much amused, as well as surprised, to 
see two of them consume a huge platter of rice and beef, accom- 
panied by a great bowl of melted fat, which I had supposed was 
to serve for my eight men. They sat cross-legged upon the floor 
of the hut and ate from the same two dishes with large wooden 
spoons. They were accustomed to have two meals a day ; the first, 
consisting of a portion of boiled manioc packed in a piece of 
banana leaf, which they always begged me to buy them in the 
first village through which we might pass in the early mornings, 
could only have served them as a " whet " for their midday break- 
fast. The eight packages of manioc cost but half a franc. And 
to keep my men friendly disposed to the route and to myself I 
was in the habit of giving them — fourteen persons all told — every 
night a grand total of ten cents, which was always received with 
profound salaams and benedictions, and I suppose went likewise 
for a general supply of the inevitable manioc. 

During the afternoon our route lay along the sea-shore and we 
traversed its soft sand for a long distance. The beach is here very 
steep, saving a narrow strip adjoining the land, which is thus 
gradually being heaped up by the constant trade-winds. I passed 
the night in the village of Ampanirano, about thirty-five miles 
from Tamatave. These native towns through which you pass con- 
sist generally of but one long tortuous street from ten to twenty 
feet in width, lined by palm-thatched-and-sided houses which are 
of a dull brown color, and whose gable ends nearly touch. You 
will pass geese, fowls, pigs and dogs and see people squatting be- 
fore their houses, the women generally engaged in dressing each 
other's hair and the men busy with gossip or looking up and down 
the street. The proportion of old men and women seems quite 
large. Through the small doors of the huts you see women either 
weaving upon primitive looms, or else engaged in some domestic 
operation. In front of some of the huts, under little verandahs 



DOWN THE COAST. 227 

made by continuing the roof beyond the eaves, are small shops of 
meat, fish and fruit, or perhaps some cooked food. Other huts 
will have their little store of goods just within their doorways. 
There are small fenced enclosures about each village for raising 
vegetables or herding cattle. In the immediate neighborhood are 
cemeteries placed always upon a ridge shaded by a few trees, 
each family plot being surrounded by rough palisading and the 
graves marked with tall rough-hewn blocks of stone. The fences 
most in vogue for other purposes are simple limbs of trees placed 
near together and often half of them sprouting vigorously. The 
hut where I passed my first night was a typical one. It was 
slightly oblong in shape, the walls being about ten feet high and 
the length perhaps twenty-five feet, with a width of twenty. To 
the ridge-pole it must have been thirty feet. The whole house, 
excepting the light frame, was made of different parts of the 
traveller's palm, and there was not a nail in it. The floor was raised 
a couple of feet above the ground, and upon a layer of split palm 
ribs was a covering of nicely woven mats, sewed together, and the 
walls were similarly lined. This hut was of but one story and all 
was open within to the peak of the roof and showed very clever 
and neat arrangement and fastening of the palm-leaf roof. There 
were two doors near one end, one directly opposite the other to 
insure a draught of air, in which the people like to squat or recline 
during the heat of the day. There were no windows and no ar- 
rangement for allowing the smoke to escape. A large space in 
one corner was taken up by the fire-place — a square box filled with 
sand and containing a number of conical stones for supporting 
pans and kettles, fires for cooking being kindled beneath them. 
A framework of split bamboos, a few feet above it, contained the 
few cooking utensils used, and a neighboring shelf the quite as 
little crockery and earthenware. Leaning against the framework 
which is over the fire-place stand several pieces of bamboo perhaps 
six feet in length and three or four inches in diameter. The 
joints of these save the bottom one have been bored out, and a 
wood or metal stopper has been inserted at the top. They are 
used as water jars. The mouth is shaped like that of a pitcher 
and I found it required some practice to pour from them — first you 
did not have enough water and then of a sudden you had a deluge. 
Besides holding them in the middle it is always difficult to hit the 
mouth of a tumbler. Nevertheless they keep the water sweet and 
fresh, and comparatively cool. People travel with these poles as we 



228 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

do with a convenient " cooler " or " filterer." Extra mats and 
straw pillows for use at night were suspended from various parts 
of the walls. A straw-covered stool stood at one side, but there 
was neither chair nor table. I did however afterwards see reclin- 
ing-chairs, covered with straw matting, and a bed like a small table, 
but I imagine these were innovations intended to gratify the taste 
of foreign visitors. In addition to the above-mentioned furniture 
there is usually a wooden mortar in which the women pound their 
rice with a large wooden pestle. I suspect that the people who va- 
cated this house for my accommodation took little with them save 
some extra clothing and their supply of food. I have been describ- 
ing one of the best houses in a village ; the majority are smaller 
and more shabby. Flies and mosquitoes abound in the native huts 
at most seasons. Chickens, dogs, lizards, rats, mice, scorpions, and 
spiders the size of a teacup, are also regular visitors. At night light 
doors made of the central rib of the palm leaves are slid before the 
two entrances. I managed to get a fair amount of sleep notwith- 
standing the intrusion of my uninvited guests. There are many 
houses in each village set apart for the sole use of the merchandise- 
carrying coolies who travel between Tamatave and the capital. 
The owners live in adjoining huts. 

I started on at six in the morning. The scenery was at first of 
the character of great billows of sand, covered now with rough and 
scant pasture, and now with scrubby underbrush and squat trees, 
the Casuarina Pandauus, the screw pines, and the areca and other 
graceful palms predominating. The vegetation seemed to improve 
later on, and I especially remarked its rich deep green and very 
glossy appearance. There were a few flowers noticeable, including 
some very beautiful white orchids, having long spikes with a 
double row of curious pitcher-shaped blossoms. The singing of 
various small birds was a pleasing accompaniment to my march. 
I took lunch at Vavony, and during the afternoon we were again 
wading for a long distance through the deep soft sand of the sea 
beach and deafened by the thunder of four or five rows of huge 
billows. I had passed several small hamlets during the day and 
at night reached the town of Adovoranty situated at the southern 
extremity of a narrow island of sand, at which point there runs 
into the sea the Iharoka river, here some 300 yards wide. Ado- 
voranty being the point where all routes turn westwardly into 
the interior is a place of bustle and importance. Canoes loaded 
with merchandise are continually coming and going. The dis- 



DOWN THE COAST. 229 

tance from here to the capital as the crow flies is said to be but 70 
miles, but the road is so tortuous, to avoid marshes and hills gen- 
erally, and so uneven, including a gradual rise of nearly 5,000 feet 
above the sea coast, that the actual distance to be covered is 143 
miles. A few Frenchmen are settled in Adovoranty for business 
purposes. Their houses are easily distinguished from those of the 
natives by being of two stories and constructed of wood. I stopped 
at the rest-house for travellers, a small building reared upon posts 
some four or five feet from the ground, and consisting of but a 
single room, which however was provided with a bed, table and 
chairs. In the evening I took a walk through the long crooked 
and sandy main street. The only light was from the open door of 
the houses. Most of the shops seemed engaged in the retailing of 
rum and were all supplied with laughing and singing customers. 
This singing and general tattle over the town you could hear 
until a late hour at night owing to the flimsy construction of the 
houses. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

OVER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 

My men woke me at 4 a.m., for we had to take a long canoe 
voyage, and the wind is apt to blow rather fresh later in the morn- 
ing. At the landing close beside my windows I found a dozen 
great canoes busy lading merchandise and preparing to go up the 
Iharoka river. We selected a suitable one for which, including the 
services of two men, I had only to pay five francs, and this for a 
journey of nearly five hours. My own men did the paddling. As 
we started away by bright star-light, with the dark shores of the 
river dimly showing, and my men breaking out into wild songs 
something like those of the Georgia Jubilee Singers or the " col- 
ored minstrels " at home, and racing with neighboring canoes, the 
steerers exhorting their several crews to extreme exertion, I felt 
as if just arrived on a wholly new planet. The banks of the river 
were low and covered with large-leaved plants and delicately-fringed 
reeds. After about three hours' paddling, and when the river had 
narrowed to something like 100 yards, we entered a smaller one to 
the right and kept on for an hour and a half, the stream scarcely 
wide enough for two canoes to pass and flowing with a current of 
four knots an hour. In these rivers were many fish fykes, as in 
fact there were in all the lagoons that we had seen. Fish traps 
consisting of great square wicker-baskets, with funnel-shaped en- 
trances, are also used. Along the banks much rice, tobacco and 
sugar-cane are grown. Our canoe reaching the headwaters of the 
river at last grounded, and I was carried on shore on two of my 
men's shoulders to a village called Maromby, built on a ridge and 
part of its steep sides. The crew had sung nearly all of the canoe 
journey, giving at least a dozen tunes, some fast, some slow, now 
loud and dashing, now low and plaintive. I resumed the filan- 
zana. The aspect of the country was wholly different. I had left 
behind me the flats of the coast and found myself in a hillocky 



OVER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 231 

region that at once reminded me of certain parts of central Brazil. 
Instead of the sand of the shore I found a clayey soil covered with 
rich pasture, the depressions between the hillocks being crowded 
with masses of the traveller's palm (Ravenala) strongly resembling 
the setting sun, of the stout, gaunt roffia (Raphia) palm, and the 
graceful feathery bamboo. There was not wanting color also to the 
picture. The ground was often bright red, the leaves of the trav- 
eller's palm dark glossy green, the roffia purple, and the bamboo a 
bright yellow. The bamboos were growing largely in separate 
plants instead of the clumps usually seen, and with their very deli- 
cate foliage and gracefully drooping plumes gave great beauty to 
the general effect. In other places the enormous variety of plants 
of totally different form on a single definite space caused one to 
think the landscape-gardener had been giving aid to Dame Nature. 
The country is but thinly inhabited, the villages being small and 
far apart. You see but very few secluded farm houses here as in 
most other lands. The people are too amiable and sociable not to 
be gregarious. The track endeavors as far as possible to follow 
ridges and avoid valleys, but this is quite impossible, for it holds its 
way up and down steep hills in a terribly rough and washed-out 
condition, and with hard clay rendered very slippery by much 
travel. It does not wind or run in tangents but goes straight at 
the steepest hills. My men struggle and perspire but never seem 
to lose their footing. The strain upon them was intense and con- 
tinuous, but only once did they ask for a few minutes' rest and put 
me down. By having a plenty of curves and inclines the road 
might be made available for mules or even horses, but a railway 
could only be built at an enormous outlay. It would probably 
have to be three times as long as the present track. None is likely 
however to be built, for the Ilovas do not wish their country to be 
too accessible in either times of war or peace. I travelled this day 
fifteen miles in canoe and seventeen in filanzana, a total of thirty- 
two, and halted for the night in a small village on the top of one 
of the hills, asking the occupants of the best hut to be good enough 
to turn out for my accommodation, which they were only too glad 
to do — in view of an expected payment. I went to bed but not to 
sleep. The chattering and jabbering and singing in the streets 
and houses of a Madagascar village must be heard to be believed. 
You would think every other house was a cafe chantant. If you 
happen to understand the language your neighbors on every side 
will cheerfully acquaint you with all the gossip and some of the 



232 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

scandal of the village even while you are in your closed (!) house. 
One good thing may however be said for these houses, the ventila- 
tion is always of the best, and plenty of fresh air is no small matter 
where local odor as well as local color prevails. But joking aside, 
no sleep can be had by a visitor before midnight and none after 
five in the morning. The natives are accustomed to make up for 
this deprivation by sleeping a part of each day. 

The following morning I started at half-past six, the weather 
being pleasant and not too cool. The hills were more sharp and 
clearly defined, though the vegetation consisted largely as before of 
the traveller's palm and grass land. The meadows became greener 
and the whole country began to improve in beauty and individu- 
ality. There were splendid views in every direction, especially 
backwards towards the sea and upon the lower region of hillocks. 
The hills now, though quite as diversified as before, yet seem to 
partake of the general character of narrow parallel ranges, with 
much broken ground between them. I recalled the island of Do- 
minica in the West Indies in this connection. The road became 
exceedingly steep, deeply gullied and full of rough stones, alter- 
nating with smooth and slippery clay. It frequently ran at an 
angle of 35°, and so crooked and uneven was it that I do not be- 
lieve there was a straight level stretch 100 yards in length. We 
passed many more beautiful clear brooks, their waters running 
over pebbles and flat black and white stones, and having their sur- 
face often literally covered with pretty lilies. There were also 
cool pools, cascades and whirling rapids. Along the banks the 
vegetation grows in astonishing luxuriance, frequently completely 
arching the streams. From one of the ridges the houses of Ado- 
voranty, but fifteen miles distant as the crow flies, may be dis- 
tinctly seen. Descending this hill we crossed the Mahela river, 
about fifty feet wide and two or three feet deep. We overtook 
many coolies. There was one troop of about a hundred and an- 
other of fifty. They were carrying canned provisions and miscel- 
laneous merchandise to the capital. Several other troops passed 
us on their way down to Tamatave, either bearing hides or only 
their bamboo poles and ropes. As there was not business for the 
latter sort in the capital, they were going to look for imported 
goods at the seaport. The shoulders of some of these men were 
galled like the back of a horse under a bad saddle, while upon 
others were great excrescences of flesh, all produced by their bam- 
boo poles and heavy loads. But these people smiled at me quite as 



OVER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 233 

pleasantly as the others. The traveller's palm had now altogether 
disappeared and in its place were great groves of ordinary forest. 
These trees were not of very large girth, but they were very tall 
and almost without limb or foliage except at the extreme top. It 
seemed as if there was a race between them to get up to the light 
and air. The number of vines, lianas and creepers was great and 
there were many saplings, but the forests were by no means so 
dense as those in Brazil. Tree-ferns, orchids and parasitic plants 
in plenty were seen, and the woods were pleasantly vocal with the 
sweet notes of many birds. We next began to see quite extensive 
valleys which were given up to rice culture, and I noticed upon the 
terraces little elevated guard huts where, when the crops are ripen- 
in ^, men sit to frighten off the birds. We had several showers dur- 
ing the afternoon, which rendered the road like a toboggan slide, 
but though there were occasional slips not a man went down. To 
give an idea of the character of the surface of this region I have 
only to mention that the direct distance between two villages to- 
day was fifteen miles, but by the road thirty. At night we reached 
a good-sized village called Ampasimbe, lying in a beautiful amphi- 
theatre of green hills, some 1,600 feet above the sea. In the centre 
of the plaza was a flag-staff and near it a little butcher-shop stand- 
ing apart by itself. In all the villages this place of honor seems to 
be given to a butcher-shop alone. The largest house in the village 
was put at my disposition by its owner, a local dude with mous- 
tache and short side-whiskers, and a colored jacket under his white 
toga. I afterwards saw this gentleman parading the streets smok- 
ing a cigar stuck in a crooked meerschaum holder. This was the 
first native I had seen smoking. Many of them however chew a 
powdered tobacco or sort of snuff, which they carry about their 
person in a little section of bamboo. There seems to be a good 
deal of fever among the inhabitants even at this the best time of 
year. When I would halt natives would come to me to give them 
something, and sometimes parents would bring in a little child suf- 
fering from some throat or lung disease. As I always carry a small 
medicine chest with me, and very seldom find it necessary to have 
recourse to it myself, I was often able and very glad to help these 
poor people. Dry firewood is scarce everywhere. I always had to 
pay ten or fifteen cents for enough to " boil my kettle." 

We went on at the usual early hour the next morning, march- 
ing up and down, up and down, until we passed a depression in a 
ridge — a sort of pass — which is nearly 4,000 feet high. Then we 
17 



234 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

gradually descended till we reached a wretched little village 
called Anuvoka, where I halted for rest and lunch. The road was 
filled with coolie-carriers. One large box which might have been 
a piano was being carried on the shoulders of twelve men, with 
five more holding it back and steadying it in deep descents and 
hauling in front in ascents. There were two or three men in 
charge of this party. The coolies kept up a series of the most 
remarkable howls and shouts and grunts that would have done 
honor to a North American Indian. At times they would laugh- 
ingly encourage each other and they seemed on the whole to be 
having a very enjoyable time. They were large, splendidly devel- 
oped men, strong and wiry, and belong to a tribe occupying a fine 
plain between here and the capital. Soon after leaving this party 
I heard a terrible row of men's voices some distance ahead and 
upon coming out of the woods into a clearing, discovered about 
fifty villagers tugging at two long ropes attached to a sort of 
wooden drag which bore a great conical slab of granite intended 
to serve as a monument or tomb-stone. Some three or four men 
were directing this removal and twenty or thirty more were on- 
lookers. The laborers were working as usual to the time and tune 
of one of their lively songs, and shouting, laughing and skylark- 
ing as if they were demented. They were dragging this huge 
stone across the country to their cemetery. I was reminded of 
the labors of the ancient Egyptians. The going on the road was 
even worse than in the morning ; the mud was nearly a foot deep 
in places, and the men floundered and slipped about and had to 
grasp at roots and rocks to prevent going down on " all fours." 
Some of the gullies were so narrow and so deep as to seem almost 
like tunnels. We crossed brook after brook — they call many of 
these " rivers " here — some of them upon the rough trunks of 
small trees, hand-rails being sometimes, not always, provided. 
Gradually the forest became less dense and the vegetation lower 
and smaller. In the middle of the afternoon we passed the 
frontier Hova station of Analamazaotra, a neat village situated in 
a clearing of forest and surrounded by fields of bananas and 
sugar-cane. We had risen again, some 1,500 feet in about seven 
miles. There are now many hills and valleys covered with 
pasture, but still we have to ascend and descend ridges at angles 
of 35° and 40°, and so we kept on until at night I reached the vil- 
lage of Ampasimpotsy. At this altitude and coming so recently 
from the warm coast we find it quite cold, but the houses are of 



OVER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 235 

the same flimsy construction as at the level of the sea, and the 
people do not seem to wear any heavier clothing, though when 
walking abroad early or late they generally cover their mouth with 
their white winding-sheet — alias toga. They are, as I have said, 
predisposed to throat and chest troubles, and hence this super- 
stition of covering the mouth. I can only find quarters in a 
wretched house whose roof is so threadbare that as I lie upon my 
cot I can clearly trace all the constellations in the Southern Heav- 
ens. As I am endeavoring to go to sleep natives are strumming 
on a sort of mandolin on one side, a large party is singing on the 
other, and pandemonium reigns in a drinking-saloon opposite. 
Speaking however of native musical instruments, there was one 
which I frequently heard and which I thought particularly soft 
and sweet. It consists of a piece of bamboo with three joints, the 
middle one of which has sixteen slender strips cut from its 
surface and drawn taut by one or two stops arranged at such 
distances as to form a sort of musical scale. The strings are 
played upon with the fingers like the harp. It resembles in part 
a harp and a mandolin, and the simple native melodies are well 
adapted to its qualities. It is called the valiah. 

During the next morning we had a fine view over the plain of 
Ankay, a rolling prairie of long grass with several lines of smooth 
downs. This is a great elevated plateau of sedimentary clay, nearly 
two hundred miles long and from ten to twenty in breadth. To the 
east was a chain of hills some five hundred feet in height, while to 
the west was another perhaps two thousand feet highi We de- 
scended to the large town of Moramanga, surrounded by gardens 
of coffee, tea, manioc, bananas, sugar-cane and peaches. The 
main street was some thirty feet in width, and many of the houses 
were of wood. One of them was two-stories in height, probably 
the residence of the mayor. On each side of the street were small 
tents in which many Manchester goods and nicknacks were ex- 
posed for sale. A suburb extended quite half a mile along our 
route. We then had six miles of travel across the grassy plain, on 
which were large herds of sleek-looking cattle. I met many 
Hovas with their bright, pleasant, intelligent faces. Two or three 
riding in filanzanas saluted me cordially. I had left behind me 
the country of the Betsimisarakas, who dwell in the eastern part 
of the island and was now fairly in that of the Hovas, who occupy 
the central, the most fertile and salubrious section. Besides the 
great leading divisions of the people — Hovas, Betsimisarakas and 



236 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Sakalavas, the latter occupying the western part — they are sepa- 
rated into a great many clans, which seldom intermarry. There 
is said to be a total population of not over 2,500,000 — only the 
census of the city of Paris — in an island the third largest in the 
world, with an extreme length of 1,000 miles and a breadth of 
350, and an area twice that of Great Britain and Ireland. Of the 
entire number the races are estimated as follows : 1,700,000 Hovas, 
500,000 Sakalavas and 300,000 Betsimisarakas. The Hovas are 
the most intelligent, powerful and enterprising. They form the 
governing class and have been dominant for over fifty years. 
Their language is understood over a large part of the island. 
They, like the rest of the inhabitants, are chiefly devoted to agri- 
culture and cattle-breeding. Slavery still exists among them, 
though in a sort of patriarchal form. They have an army of 
20,000 men, most of whom are armed with modern rifles. I met 
a battalion of these troops, marching in single file on their way 
down to Tamatave. They wore no distinctive uniform and most 
of them used their rifles to carry their kit at one end and their 
ammunition at the other. The officers were only to be distin- 
guished from the men by their drawn swords ; they had no 
scabbards. Many women accompanied this troop, some of them 
carrying the men's rifles. 

The western part of the plain of Ankay is deeply scored with 
little valleys through which run small streams. All these valleys 
are terraced with rice fields. As I observed a " bird-scarer " sitting 
in his little hut and knew that there he sits all day long, and day 
after day, I thought that at least he had an excellent opportunity 
to realise the child's desire of sitting to see the plants grow. Bice 
seems to be the principal culture and production of all this region 
of country. I descended from the great plain into a little valley 
through which ran the Mangoro, a swiftly flowing stream about 
one hundred feet wide. It rises far to the north of the latitude of 
Tamatave and, flowing due south for most of its course, finally 
takes a sharp turn to the eastward and enters the Indian Ocean. 
I crossed it in a very narrow and cranky canoe. There is a small 
village here on either bank. Again I mounted and crossed a sharp 
chain of hills — part forest and part meadow-land — and then en- 
tered another rough valley. At one point the trail was so pre- 
cipitous, and so smooth and slippery, that my bearers could not 
carry me up. The recent showers had made the tenacious clay 
like glass. So I had to climb and, being without an alpenstock, 



OYER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 237 

made two of the men pull me, as the Arabs do on the great pyra- 
mid of Egypt. One of the men however slipping and falling, 
came near bringing us all down to the bottom when about half 
way up. We had forgotten to rope ourselves together. Some 
three or four times I had also to alight and crawl along the slip- 
pery logs which often serve as bridges over the brooks. One of 
my filanzana bearers fell several times, and it was always the same 
one. I wished to get rid of him as I would of an animal that 
stumbled badly. But there was no one to take his place, so I had 
to put up with him as well as go down with him. I next followed 
along a small river and across a valley which was quite wide and 
full of rice fields. The hills, or mountains if you like, were now 
just before me, covered with verdure and beautiful in outline. I 
halted for the night high up on the western side of the valley in a 
Hova village called Avarati-Asobotsy. I was put in a fine wooden 
house, with two rooms both of which were completely lined— ceil- 
ing, walls and floor— with fine straw-matting. One room con- 
tained moreover a chair and a large table. Soon after my arrival 
the schoolmaster of the village, at the head of a considerable party, 
called to bid me welcome and brought me a present of a basket of 
luscious oranges. He spoke in English. In returning thanks — 
in fluent Malagasy — I begged him to accept the gift of a small pot 
of Liebig's Meat Extract together with two Bengal cigars. The 
delegation withdrew overwhelmed by my graciousness. The school- 
master told me the Prime Minister had some large plantations of 
coffee and tea in the neighborhood. He further said he had been 
taught English — he knew perhaps twenty words altogether — by the 
missionaries at Antananarivo, that he had thirty-five boys and 
thirty girls in his school, and that he taught reading, writing, 
arithmetic, geography and history. Education is compulsory in 
Madagascar wherever the influence of the central government ex- 
tends. All the missionary societies — English, Norwegian and 
French— at work in the capital, have high-schools and colleges. 
There are also many missionaries stationed in different parts of the 
island, and very many religious and other books have been trans- 
lated into the native tongue. There are a number of foreign 
printing-presses in Antananarivo and from them issue, in the Mala- 
gasy, besides the religious, many educational and purely literary 
works. The foreign and native periodicals of the capital consist 
of a government gazette published at irregular intervals, three 
weekly newspapers, six monthly magazines and a quarterly. The 



238 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

missions have had great success, though five-sixths of the Malagasy 
still remain pagans. I was much amused at one old lady in this 
village feeding her large brood of chickens with one hand and 
with the other holding a long pole and driving away the chickens 
belonging to her neighbors ! How she could distinguish her own 
property from that of others, I could not guess. You see but few 
dogs in Madagascar, and these are such miserable curs that their 
absence is much to be preferred to + heir company. 

The next day we reached the capital, but we had some very 
hard climbing in getting dver the range of hills upon whose flanks 
we had been travelling. The filanzana seemed often to overhang 
precipices a thousand feet deep. But reaching at last the summit, 
called the Angavo Pass, we plunged once more into a dense forest 
and progressed over a very steep and rough road, on the whole 
rapidly rising until we reached the large village of Anderamadinika 
(I am glad my duty extends only to the spelling of this word), 4,620 
feet high and the first village in the finest province of Madagascar 
— Imerina. This portion of road was quite as bad as any yet ex- 
perienced, and in addition to the four bearers it required the almost 
constant pushing or holding of two other men to get me along. It 
was curious with the cool air of our altitude to see the merchan- 
dise-coolies jogging cheerfully along with nothing on but a breech- 
cloth. There were a goodly number of these men and of other 
natives travelling, the greater part on foot but a few in filanzauas. 
The band of the battalion which passed us the day before went by. 
They were in full undress uniform — that is to say, they were nearly 
nude. A funny sight it was to see a crowd of Hova men, dressed 
in white sheets as if just about to step into a bath, with large high- 
crowned straw hats and with bare, chocolate-colored legs and feet. 
Nor was the effect made the more sober by the large white um- 
brellas they carried. Several of the women had their hair braided 
in tiny strings which either were laid flat upon their heads or hung 
down all around, and others had theirs frizzed into " beau catchers " 
— as I believe they are termed by our more highly civilized ladies. 
Both these styles of chevelure were matted with lard, so that the 
general effect was somewhat marred. Many women were noticed 
also whose hair was sticking out almost a foot all over the head. 
They thus resemble some of the African tribes. Their hair is not 
long, but very thick and jet-black. This particular method of wear- 
ing the hair is a badge of mourning. 

Going on we again entered a region of grassy downs, with great 




&5 



OVER THE MOUNTAIN TERRACES. 239 

granite and gneiss rocks cropping out in every direction. One 
huo-e round bare rock was of just the shape, color and character 
of the great Half Dome in the Yosemite Valley, California. The 
houses now became more frequent and were of better style. The 
most of them seemed made of red or yellow clay bricks (un- 
burned), and were two stories high. Their height indeed was 
much out of proportion to their length and width. They looked 
at a distance like towers. The inmates must ascend from floor to 
floor by ladders. They all had sharply-pitched grass roofs, the 
ridge poles being ornamented by pretty little pillars. The country 
itself was now becoming more cultivated, and was divided into 
small fields. A round pit used as a threshing-floor with cattle 
was seen in some part of every farm. There was no fine scenery, 
the hillocks still continued. I descended into a sort of large 
basin in the hills and halted in the town of Manjakanduina. All 
about the neighborhood were little clusters of villages, and three or 
four churches were in sight. Everything seemed to indicate the 
gradual approach to an important centre of society and business. 
In many of the Hovas I could plainly distinguish a strong resem- 
blance to the Malay family. They had the same type of features, 
eyes and hair. They follow similar customs and their language is 
of the same general character, though I do not remember any such 
extraordinarily long words in the Malay. These words however, 
which at first give the foreign visitor so much trouble, do not bother 
the Hovas in the least. They seem to clip off the beginning, slur 
over the middle, and omit the ending. It is a good thing perhaps 
that the loug Malagasy words can be thus shortened, otherwise, as 
with German, you would get quite tired waiting for the thought 
or idea that a sentence might be supposed to convey. 

Resuming the road after lunch I was especially surprised at the 
great number of villages in sight from one point : I counted fifty 
that must have been situated within a radius of six miles. The 
surface of the country was all up and down as before. Away to 
the south was a fine range of blue mountains, and in every other 
direction nothing but hills and hills. In one large depression were 
great dome-shaped hillocks of sedimentary clay, and quite a per- 
fect amphitheatre which needed only its stone benches to have 
come directly from Italy or Greece. The land was quite treeless, 
and the few shrubs and bananas about the hamlets had a very for- 
lorn look. From the crest of one of the hills I had my first view 
of Antananarivo, some twenty miles away. Even at that great 



240 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

distance the Queen's Palace, a lofty building on the highest point 
of the hill on which stands the capital, could be seen. Later I 
got another view and could distinguish very well the general posi- 
tion of the city. Finally there was had a view, distant some 
eight miles as the crow flies, which allowed me to discern sev- 
eral of the larger edifices. The scene now became more invit- 
ing. The brown meadows, the cultivated fields, the threshing- 
floors, the pits for fattening cattle, the red or yellow clay houses 
with grass roofs a foot thick, the little roadside bazaars, the nu- 
merous churches, the streams bordered by great flat rice fields, all 
these kept the eye occupied and the mind interested. Whenever 
I mounted the successive billows of clay I caught glimpses of the 
city. It seemed built upon the top and steep sides of a short range 
of hills rising almost abruptly from the downs, about the last place 
one would naturally have selected for the position of a large town. 
The Queen's Palace and the Prime Minister's House were the two 
conspicuous buildings. The remainder of the city seemed to con- 
sist of brick — both burned and unburned — and to be mostly of the 
tower style already described, although there were many houses 
quite in the fashion of Swiss chalets. The churches with which 
the city appeared to abound were of brick and stone. And now 
it became dark, and I could only discern that we passed many rice- 
fields. We then entered the outskirts of the city and ascended 
almost perpendicularly through its streets, some of which were 
roughly paved with huge blocks of stoue. After a long circuitous 
course I was at last set down by my tired bearers at the house of 
Mr. J. 0. Kyder, a gentleman connected with the same firm as 
Mr. Whitney, at Tamatave, who had favored me with a letter of 
introduction. Mr. Kyder has been in Madagascar nearly forty 
years, having been stationed at points on both the east and west 
coasts, as well as in the capital. The interest and pleasure of my 
visit were much enhanced by this gentleman's knowledge and kind 
attentions. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

ANTANANARIVO. 

One of the first things that strikes a visitor to the capital of 
Madagascar is the modern character of so many of the houses. 
My original impression was derived largely from the work of the 
missionary Ellis, who gives a wood-cut of Antananarivo in which 
one recognizes the same hill hut in which the buildings are of 
mud with straw roofs. The city has in fact had three eras, ex- 
tending over a period of more than a century. First were the 
mud huts, then a reign of wooden houses, and now all are to be 
of burned brick or stone. Antananarivo lies in latitude about 19° 
south and longitude 48° east. It is in marly the centre of the 
great island from north to south but not in the centre from west 
to east, being a little nearer to the eastern coast. It stands 4,790 
feet above sea level. It is built upon the summit and steep sides 
of a hill that is 500 feet above the plain and about a mile and a 
half in length. The northern end branches into two arms or 
spurs which gradually slope down to the plain and are covered 
with houses. As for several miles around there is no eminence 
of like size and elevation, the city hill is a conspicuous object. It 
is of granite and basalt. The western, south and eastern sides are 
especially steep, and parts of the western are even precipitous. The 
country around is comparatively level, and hence the view is very 
extensive and embraces hamlets, moors, cultivated fields and hills 
and mountains in every direction. The prevailing color of the 
plains is in the dry season red and brown, and in the wet a rich 
green. To the west of the capital is the great plain of Betsimita- 
tatre, which was anciently a lake but is now an immense field of 
rice. The word " Antananarivo " signifies in Malagasy " city of a 
thousand " and was doubtless so named when a thousand houses 
were considered a very great city. The object of placing it upon 
the summit of an almost inaccessible hill was in accordance with 

241 



242 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the ancient idea, and generally a very necessary one, of defence. 
It rests, in short, upon the Acropolis of Madagascar. It is un- 
walled at present. Spaces have been dug out of the surface of the 
hill and on these the houses have been built. Thus you see them 
a dense mass, terrace above terrace, with no regularity of arrange- 
ment nor is there of the streets which wind around and about 
them. So uneven is the surface of the city that you will frequently 
see houses facing the road, upon which you are passing, fifty feet 
above it and reached only by stone staircases. The narrow streets 
are usually faced by mud walls from ten to twenty feet in height, 
so that one can see into many places only from a considerable dis- 
tance. In fact all except the houses of the poorest classes are en- 
closed by high mud walls. I have said that the houses were nearly 
all two and two and a half stories in height. This attic or upper- 
most story is always used for the cooking — a good way of getting 
rid of unpleasant smells and a sort of safeguard against fire. The 
number of houses in Antananarivo is put at 1G,000, which would 
give an average of about eight persons to a house. The city has 
a peculiar reddish hue, either a natural color of the bricks or an 
artificial one of the stucco covering them. There are only three 
or four principal streets — the largest dividing the city east and 
west — and from these branch innumerable pathways in every direc- 
tion. Some of the latter are so narrow that it is as much as two 
people can do to squeeze by one another. The streets are greatly 
washed by the heavy rains that prevail at certain seasons, and being 
for the most part unpaved, or ouly very unevenly and irregularly, 
with huge undressed blocks of stone, they are very many of them 
little better than great rough gulleys, and walking is consequently 
of so great labor that foreigners and the better class of natives 
patronise very liberally the filanzanas. Great patches of the rough 
natural rock often appear as sections of pavement. Yon frequently 
see prisoners, wearing heavy chains as in Siberia, passing along 
the roads. These are convicts, and are employed by the govern- 
ment in repairing the highways. Every portion of the city has 
a special name, generally given from some feature of the topog- 
raphy. The palaces and houses of the nobility occupy the summits 
of the central parts, while the houses of the poorest classes are at 
the northern and southern extremities and along the lower slopes 
of the hill. The latter are still built of sun-dried brick. The city 
is not lighted at night; those who go out generally carry lanterns. 
At ten o'clock a gun is fired and no natives are permitted in the 




The (ireut Palace, Antananarir 



ANTANANARIVO. 243 

streets after this hour ; foreigners are however not bound by this 
law. There are some half dozen foreign merchants settled in An- 
tananarivo and about thirty missionaries, teachers and doctors. 
There is a French Eesident and staff, with a guard of seventy-five 
French troops. The capital is policed at night by a sort of semi- 
civil, semi-military watch, who arrest any native walking after 
gun-fire. These guards are distributed all through the city in the 
yards of houses from which they can overlook the roads. At 
irregular intervals all through the night they keep up a long drawl- 
ing cry of " Zovy f " which means literally " who ? " and which 
proves a great nuisance to the nerves of sleepless strangers. The 
population of Antananarivo numbers 128,000. 

The next morning I started forth in a filanzana, with a native 
guide, for a cursory inspection of the city. I proceeded directly 
to the southern end of the hill, and then paused at the points of 
special interest on the way back. The crest at the southern ex- 
tremity is marked by*i small stone church, one of the first erected. 
From here you look away over the rice-fields and villages of the 
valley, some small lakes, and the little Ikopa river, which flows 
northwesterly and empties into the Mozambique Channel at Mo- 
janga, the second city of the island, with a population of some 
14,000. This is nearly opposite the town of Mozambique on the 
mainland of Africa. You also look down upon one of the Queen's 
summer palaces, a large structure of wood standing in the centre 
of a great level square, unsurrounded by trees. Turning about 
and proceeding along the ridge of the city towards the north you 
pass the Palace of Justice, a large wooden building with a high- 
peaked roof also of wood. Next comes the great palace called 
Manjakamiadana ("reigning prosperously "), an imposing edifice 
of yellow stone, about 100 feet long, 60 broad and 120 high. It 
has three stories, and a high pitched roof, covered with shingles, in 
which appear three or four dormer-windows. At each corner is a 
square turret of stone. The roof is surmounted by a great bronze 
figure of the voromahery, a bird something like a falcon, and the 
national emblem. The walls are ornamented by many balconies 
and pretty stone pillars. This palace occupies the centre of a wall- 
enclosed space perhaps 150 feet square. It may be justly called 
an imposing building, though sadly out of repair and greatly in 
need of a general furbishing. The chief entrance faces the north 
and consists of a sort of triumphal arch. Above it is the figure of 
another voromahery. The ground- floor of the palace is said to be 



244 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

divided into two immense rooms, where treaties are signed and 
grand receptions held. The Queen and her husband, who is the 
Prime Minister, live in the upper rooms, notwithstanding what is 
styled the Prime Minister's Kesidence stands a short distance to 
the northward and a little lower down. This palace, the second 
finest native building in the city, is occupied at present by various 
members of the Prime Minister's family. It is a square three- 
storied brick edifice, with towers at each corner and a conical dome 
in the centre. Like the great palace it also is much in need of re- 
pair. Passing many three-storied dwellings of nobles and govern- 
ment officials, each surrounded by high walls and a few trees, we 
enter the largest public square in the capital, the intersection of 
several roads. It is an open space of some six or eight acres, 
which was formerly the place of public assembly and has always 
been used as a coronation-ground. In the centre there is a slight 
depression in which the bare blue granite comes to the surface. 
This is called the " sacred stone," and standing upon this the 
sovereign made his or her first public appearance on the corona- 
tion day. Around the square are many fine houses, a number of 
stone and brick churches, and a few shops. At one side is an open- 
air bazaar, the little shops being only covered by canvas roofs. 
Eeviews are sometimes held here, about 5,000 troops being garri- 
soned in the city. I saw some of these native soldiers on guard at 
the Queen's Palace. They were active, smart-looking young fel- 
lows, uniformed in dark trousers and white jackets, with canvas 
skull-caps. They were armed with Snider rifles. A little dis- 
tance to the west of this square is the Rock of Ampamarinana, a 
precipice 150 feet deep, over which criminals were thrown until 
Avithin the last twenty-five years. Near the foot of this is a large, 
level, grassy plain called Imahamasina. It contains 180 acres and 
forms the Hova Champ de Mars. There is another " sacred stone " 
in the centre of this parade-ground, enclosed in a circular structure 
of masonry eight feet high by twelve in diameter. Standing upon 
this after the coronation the sovereign is presented to the assem- 
bled multitudes. South of the great square stands a curious dome- 
shaped hill whose sides are deeply scored by long parallel trenches, 
too straight and uniform to be made by water, too narrow and 
direct to be quarries of stone. The true explanation is that these 
trenches were made by one of the old kings, who had the inten- 
tion of here levelling a site on which to erect a palace. North of 
the Champ de Mars is a pretty little lake, partly natural, partly 



ANTANANARIVO. 245 

artificial. In its centre is an island upon which are summer- 
houses and gardens, connected with the mainland by a long nar- 
row causeway. In passing from the central square of the city to 
the northern suburb, in which was the residence of my kind host, 
I moved along a precipice in a paved road shaded with fine large 
fig-trees, under which, lying upon the ground on a sort of old ram- 
part, were some score or so of antique cannon. These bear the ini- 
tials G. R., and were presented to one of the Radamas, former sov- 
ereigns, by George IV. of England. They seemed quite useless. 

Seeing the streets full of people all walking in the same gen- 
eral direction I learned that they were going to the principal 
market-place, where a great market is held every Friday, and 
called from the name of the day, Zoma. The main road passing 
through the market continues on to the northwest, where on a 
slight elevation is situated the tomb of the Prime Minister's 
family, a large, low, square building with towers and minarets. 
This road then descends to the plain and runs off in the direction 
of Mojanga. The street nearing the market was lined with 
shops dealing in filanzanas. The hire of one of these by the day 
costs, in Antananarivo, fifty cents. The market proper was held 
in a large open space on the side of the hill, with a sort of annex 
in a square below. In the first were rows of little grass-thatched 
booths, with very narrow passages between them. These con- 
tained English and American cotton goods, and domestic utensils 
in small quantities but endless varieties. Here was also every sort 
of native manufacture, clothing, hats, silks, furniture, mats, 
earthenware, baskets, hardware, dyes, medicines, books, musical 
instruments, etc., etc. Each character of article was contained in 
a street or quarter by itself. In one part were great quantities of 
fruit : pineapples, oranges, lemons, bananas, guavas, peanuts and 
sugar-cane. In another section were the butchers, in shops singu- 
larly enough without roofs, cutting up and bartering their meats 
in the full glare of the sun. In one corner was the slave-market. 
Slavery here is altogether domestic ; no slaves are allowed to be 
imported, this by treaty made long ago with England. The slaves 
were a well-appearing set of people, both physically and mentally. 
In fact I could see no difference between their outward character 
and conduct and that of their purchasers. About fifty of them 
of both sexes and all ages were squatting in a long row against a 
wall, and would-be purchasers simply stood looking at them and 
asking them questions — there was no physical examination, no 



246 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

tests applied. Slaves are here treated very well by their owners, 
often living in the same hut and eating of the same food. Some- 
times they are hired out as laborers. They seemed to me a happy, 
contented lot. In another part of the market the larger and more 
bulky articles were exposed for sale, such as timber, fodder, fire- 
wood, hides, oxen, and poultry. There were also a few sheep, but 
this animal is not numerous in the island. It is easy to give an 
idea of the contents of the market but of the enormous crowd of 
people, of their appearance and of the babel of voices, both hu- 
man and animal, it is difficult to give any adequate conception. 
The natives come from all the country round about to attend 
these weekly markets. There were many hundreds of booths and 
stalls and from two to four persons in each, while standing before 
them and surging between them, and in the open-air spots where 
there were no paths, there were such crowding and pushing one 
could scarcely move at all in any direction. The appearance of 
so many dark faces, contrasted with the white lambas or shawls, 
was very striking. You see these white figures all the day long 
walking in single file in great numbers over the surrounding red- 
dish plain. The market is open from dawn to dusk. To describe 
it more minutely would be to simply give a catalogue of the prod- 
ucts and manufactures and the imports of the country. I have 
never anywhere seen a greater variety of goods exposed for sale in 
a like space. 

Facing the little lake of which I have spoken, in the northern 
part of the city, is the French Eesidency. It is a fine large palace, 
two stories in height and built, in true Versailles style, of brick 
with yellow-stone trimmings. It is surrounded by barracks and 
pretty gardens leading down to the placid lake. I called one day 
upon the French Eesident General, M. Lacoste, with a letter of 
introduction from M. Massicault, then French Eesident at Tunis. 
M. Lacoste was very agreeable and offered to do anything in his 
power for me, and so I accepted several letters of introduction to 
French officials, including the Vice-Consul at Mojanga. 

Another day I called by special invitation upon His Excellency 
Eanailivony, the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of 
Madagascar. This nobleman, now about sixty years of age, is far- 
and-away the ablest statesman the island has yet produced. He 
is in fact the government, for though having a cabinet and many 
ministers, he is the real ruler of the country. He has been Prime 
Minister for thirty years, and has served under three queens. The 




Native Soldie.rs. 



ANTANANARIVO. 247 

present Queen, who is only about thirty years old, is his wife, and 
their home is, as I have said, in the Royal Palace. They have also 
several residences in the suburbs, which they visit at certain seasons. 
An officer was sent to conduct me to the palace gate, where I was 
gravely saluted by a guard drawn up on either side. These men 
all come from the eastern parts of the island and are said to make 
very good soldiers. Their uniform was a picturesque sort of blouse, 
made of native cloth, and short knee-breeches. Their head gear 
was a curious conical straw turban. The officers had various styles 
of semi-European uniform — I remarked one in bright scarlet. 
The Malagasy troops are drilled by a colonel who was formerly in 
the British army. Having entered the courtyard I proceeded 
across the great square, passing two tombs of former kings, with 
their curious pyramidal covers of wood, with my hat in hand, as 
etiquette enjoins. I then arrived at a building, styled the Silver 
Palace from some fanciful idea, for silver by no means enters into 
its construction, either without or within, nor is it the royal treas- 
ury. It is a high, peak-roofed building of brick, with columned 
verandahs. Hereabouts were scores of natives who displayed great 
curiosity to see who could have the honor of a visit to their 
greatest official. They very gravely and respectfully saluted me. 
Here I met the aide-de-camp and first secretary and interpreter of 
the Prime Minister, and my guide withdrew. Walking clown a 
long line of saluting officials, I was ushered into the Silver Palace, 
where stood the Prime Minister, who bowed and shook hands with 
me, and motioned me to enter a reception-room, a small, plainly 
furnished apartment, with a large empty table in the middle and 
several chairs along the walls. His Excellency waved me to a 
large arm-chair at one side and himself took the seat at the head 
of the table. At the opposite end of the room now entered and 
sat down several secretaries, ministers and officers of the army. 
The Prime Minister was short and of slight build, with small 
hands and feet, but with a fine head, a high, broad and prominent 
brow and bright piercing eyes. His face was close shaven ex- 
cepting only a long jet-black moustache. His manner was quiet 
and dignified, but he was very affable and genial, and his counte- 
nance fairly beamed when interested in conversation. He was 
dressed in a long tunic of striped yellow and green brocade, from 
a pocket of which depended a massive gold chain and locket. 
About his neck was a yellow silk handkerchief, fastened with a 
great diamond and pearl brooch. I could not determine the char- 



248 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

acter of his trousers, if such he wore, but his feet were encased in 
red silk gaiters. Upon a little table at one side lay his hat — a 
curious flat and round affair of white satin. His Excellency wore 
no decorations, though he possesses many which he has from 
time to time received from European monarchs and govern- 
ments. The remainder of our company were in plain European 
civilian dress or that modified by Malagasy canons of taste and 
conventionality. 

After a few complimentary speeches and considerable reference 
to the picturesque side of Malagasy life and landscape, the Prime 
Minister was good enough to say that the United States had al- 
ways been very friendly to Madagascar, a feeling which he cor- 
dially reciprocated and hoped might always endure. He then 
offered to do everything to facilitate my tour through the island 
— I intended to cross to the west coast — and in the meantime 
alluded to a summer palace of his, distant about two miles to 
the north, which I could visit whenever I wished. I named the 
same afternoon and he deputed his nephew, a major in the army, 
his second secretary, and an aide-de-camp to escort me there and 
do the honors. Our conversation lasted about twenty minutes and, 
before leaving, the Prime Minister graciously acceded to my re- 
quest to give me his photograph and to place his autograph upon 
its back. Several servants crouched into the room bringing writ- 
ing material, and with a very large heavy gold pen His Excellency, 
while standing, wrote in a bold hand the name so popular through- 
out Madagascar, Kanailivony. One of the officers was then directed 
to add " Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of Madagascar," 
and I was rather unexpectedly invited to present my own photo- 
graph in reciprocation, a compliment which I fully appreciated, 
and with which I afterwards duly complied. Neither the Queen 
nor the Prime Minister has ever been out of Madagascar. Upon my 
telling the latter that he would find much to interest him in the 
United States, he said he should like very much to go, but it was so 
far and he was so busy. The Queen was described to me as a hand- 
some, clever woman, who spoke English very well, having been edu- 
cated at one of the missionary schools. She does not hold receptions 
or audiences, and is not much seen in public. Her birthday how- 
ever is observed with great ceremony, such as parades, processions, 
music, ovations and fireworks. The Prime Minister impressed me 
as a man of great reserve force who was quite able to hold his own 
with any political intriguers. Though his power is almost absolute, 



ANTANANARIVO. 249 

yet it would seem that this could hardly be intrusted to abler or 
more patriotic hands. After giving me his photograph His Ex- 
cellency asked if he could do anything else for me, and upon my 
replying he had already honored me far beyond my deserts, he 
rose, shook hands cordially, and said to me laughingly " Good-bye," 
the sole English words he knew. Then shaking hands with the 
principal officials, I left the Silver Palace, the Prime Minister 
politely accompanying me to the door. I passed through the 
crowds of gaping people, went hat in hand by the royal tombs, was 
again saluted by the guard at the archway, and entering my filan- 
zana, was gently wafted back to my temporary home. 

I found the Prime Minister's summer-palace standing in the 
midst of a great garden of mango and other fine trees peculiar to 
the country, and whose names are not known to me. We passed 
through a double series of high mud -brick walls and entered 
upon a long broad path which had but a short hour before been 
ordered swept in anticipation of my visit. At least fifty men and 
women were just finishing this work, with large bundles of twigs, 
as I approached the house. This proved to be a long and lofty 
single-story brick building, upon whose broad verandah stood the 
Prime Minister's nephew to welcome me. He was a pleasant- 
looking young man, not speaking English or French, but who 
had, he told me, once been connected with a diplomatic mission 
that visited Paris. He did not much care for Paris, it was too 
gay. I said I feared most Americans could not agree with him 
there. The palace contains large high-ceilinged rooms and is 
furnished throughout in elegant and appropriate European style. 
I was ushered through the grand hall and the library into the 
saloon, a noble room upholstered in red velvet, with velvet carpet, 
large mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and many tables of rare woods, 
loaded with silver ware and choice bric-a-brac. Above the mantel- 
piece hung a fine water-color portrait of His Excellency in full 
official dress. In his bedroom I afterwards saw another water- 
color representing him in his military uniform, with breast cov- 
ered with decorations. After a lively chat with the major, 
through the secretary, who spoke English perfectly, champagne 
and cake and cigars were served, and afterwards I was shown 
through the remainder of the palace, with its fine dining and 
breakfast and sitting-rooms, etc. We all then took a stroll around 
the grounds, and paid particular attention to a South African 
ostrich which is one of the " show sights " of the place. It was 
18 



250 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the largest ostrich I ever saw and at a distance, with its long neck 
and small head, reminded me of a giraffe. It was moreover very 
vicious. When it was not biting, it was kicking. In the grounds 
is a large pond full of beautiful gold-fish. The Prime Minister 
was the first to import this pretty fish into Madagascar. I was fol- 
lowed everywhere by a crowd of at least a hundred retainers, whose 
curiosity though respectful seemed quite insatiable. On the way 
back to the city my guides halted to show me a native tomb. The 
rich families generally have large stone vaults, of pyramidal shape, 
above ground, upon their own premises and frequently quite near 
their houses. Others seem to prefer any open spot by the wayside. 
There are no general public cemeteries. I saw many large flat 
slabs of granite lying by the road on the way from Tamatave to 
the capital and supposed that these covered tombs, but I was 
mistaken. They were instead intended in each case to be built 
into vaults. These are made of great rough slabs, well fitted 
together and entered by a door of a single stone, which turns upon 
pivotal hinges fashioned from itself and which are very exactly 
and neatly adjusted. A square chamber within contains tiers of 
stone shelves upon which the bodies rest without coffins, being 
simply covered and rolled in very many silk lambas or togas of the 
best class. The simple vaults have a pyramidal stepped mass of 
stone above them ; the others are of a like type, with columns sup- 
porting flat stones and cone-shaped ornaments. My escort were 
very entertaining, and only took leave of me at the gate of my 
abode. 




H. E. the Prim? Minister of Madagascar. 



CHAPTEE XXVIII. 

JOURNEY TO THE WEST COAST. 

Early on the morning of September 10th I left Antananarivo 
for Mojanga. My chief reason for not returning to Tamatave 
was that I preferred to see new country, and the second, that I 
wished to visit some gold mines worked by a Frenchman, named 
Suberbie, who had a concession of a large tract about half way 
between the capital and the coast. This gentleman has a house 
in Antananarivo and spends much of his time there. I had the 
pleasure of meeting him and he favored me with letters of intro- 
duction to his manager at one place and a mining-engineer at 
another. The bulk of my baggage had been left in Tamatave, 
and was to be sent on by the next monthly French mail steamer 
to Zanzibar, my ultimate destination. I expected to meet a like 
steamer at Nosy Be, a French port and island on the northwest 
coast, with which I learned I might connect by means of a small 
French steamer which periodically served the principal ports on 
the west coast of the island. By thus crossing Madagascar I 
hoped to familiarise myself with its three great races. The Sa- 
kalavas on the western portion of the island have always borne a 
bad name, which they have in part merited, though high-handed 
aggressions of foreigners ought often to be urged in mitigation 
thereof. I was warned to keep my revolver in readiness and my 
escort near at hand, and so determined to take chances of a safe 
passage to the sea. The direct distance from the capital to Mo- 
janga is 240 miles in a general northwest direction, though this 
distance, by many deviations and changes of level, is lengthened 
by the travelled route into about 311 miles. Of this latter dis- 
tance some 200 miles are by land in filanzana and the remainder 
by water in pirogue and dhow, or small sailboat. The total 
journey may readily be accomplished in ten days. The country 
through which I would have to pass was said to divide itself 

251 



252 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

naturally into three sections : the first was similar to that east- 
ward of the capital, a treeless region of moors and hills. This 
was the most inhabited. It consisted of four broad terraces 
which fell rapidly towards the sea. The road however leading as 
it did obliquely across these terraces presented on the whole easy 
gradients. Then came a section of nearly uninhabited wilderness, 
wooded and undulating. The third section contained the culti- 
vated hills and plains of the Sakalavas. I re-engaged for this 
journey four of the filanzana bearers and the captain, Mazoto, 
who had come up from Tamatave with me. This Mazoto was a 
bright intelligent fellow, who besides being the chief of the men, 
acted as my body-servant, and assisted me in cooking and the gen- 
eral duties of vagrant housekeeping. He was born in the country, 
but of Mozambique parents. His descent showed itself very 
clearly in his curly hair, his features and his manner. I then 
engaged four more filanzana bearers and six baggage coolies. 
This made a following of fifteen persons. I took a little larger 
stock of provisions, but otherwise the outfit was quite the same as 
when coming to the metropolis from Tamatave. I hired my men 
only as far as the land journey extended and was therefore obliged 
to pay one-half more for their return, which seemed no more than 
just. The bulk of this payment was arranged to be made when 
they arrived in Antananarivo and I promised them each also a small 
present to be earned only by faithful attention to duty and good 
behavior. So that by these means I had the men pretty well 
under control. And now it was necessary to call the roll of my 
assembled bearers and coolies and this was no easy or quick mat- 
ter, for scarcely one name was of less length than six syllables. 
Biographical names in Malagasy are quite as long as geographical. 
Two of the men were slaves belonging to Mr. Eyder's clerk. In 
appearance they could not be distinguished from the others, and 
in amiability and faithful work they proved rather superior to 
them. All the names singularly enough began with the letter R. 
Here are some of them : Rataimiandra, Ramahamay, Rainivelon- 
andro, Rainizanakolona. The baggage was soon packed in three 
parcels, and covered with tarred cloth for fear of stray showers. 
These parcels then being lashed to thick bamboo poles, each 
borne by two men, were sent on in advance. My filanzana stood 
waiting and after a hasty, but none the less heartfelt, parting from 
my kind entertainer, I " mounted " and started away north 
through the deeply gullied streets of the capital, past the edge of 



JOURNEY TO TEE WEST COAST. 253 

the great Zoma, by the tomb of the Prime Minister's family 
and down onto the great plain of Betsimitatatre, covered as far 
as the eye could see with variously tinted rice fields and everywhere 
traversed by large and small canals of water obtained mostly from 
the Betsiboka river. The large canals are utilised by boatmen 
in bringing their supplies in canoes to market. Squatting by 
the banks of many of the rice fields were natives armed with 
guns with which to kill the numerous birds that eat the young 
growing rice. 

The Betsiboka river is here about fifty feet wide in the dry sea- 
son, but so high and powerful does it become in the wet season 
that it has to be restrained in its bed by a huge levee of earth some 
fifty feet in width. On the top of this lay our road for many miles. 
The other great embankments crossing the plain were nearly cov- 
ered with mud-walled dwellings. We next reached the banks of 
the Ikopa, here only a muddy stream about fifty feet wide but one 
of the largest rivers of Madagascar, whose general course I was now 
to follow, though at some distance to the eastward, until I reached 
the sea. I soon left the plain and entered upon a country similar 
in general character to that found east of the capital, except that 
the treeless moors were smoother and the road far better. For a 
long way I enjoyed fine views of Antananarivo, sitting proudly 
upon her Acropolis, and then crossing a high ridge, she was gone, 
to be seen by me no more. Afterwards we passed at some distance 
a great bazaar or weekly market like the Zoma of the metropolis, 
being held on the top of one of the great smooth downs. The 
thousands of white shrouded figures collected there were a queer 
sight. I stopped to eat my lunch in a little roadside hut, and rested 
upon a comfortable mattress made of palm leaf ribs and covered 
with straw matting. On the wall hung a sort of fiddle, with two 
strings stretched upon a small gourd. The doorway of this hut 
was only three feet in height and I had almost to go on " all fours " 
in order to enter. A very old decrepit woman was the only one 
about, though I had noticed others in other huts. The sole occu- 
pations of these poor old creatures consist in sitting in the sun 
and gazing at nothing, or, while lying half asleep on a mat, in 
driving chickens from the rooms with a long pole or with simple 
hisses. As the doors are always wide open and the fowls always in 
search of scraps of food, the crones are not idle at least when in- 
side the huts. No one seems to pay any attention to these remi- 
niscences of humanity and they themselves appear to wait only for 



254 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

reluctant nature to dissolve. Going on there were many outcrop- 
pings of granite now to be seen and many curious shaped erratic 
boulders. One hill looked like the round dome of an observatory, 
another like an ordinary haystack. Everywhere possible rice ter- 
races were placed, and there were many small cultivated fields, but 
before night the country had become quite deserted, and the road 
after those to which I had been accustomed was positively lone- 
some. The strong pitiless wind which unobstructed sweeps these 
moors added to this feeling. Travelling at this season is very try- 
ing also, for as you sit so long in your filanzana you are chilled and 
cold until midday, then positively roasted until about four in 
the afternoon, when you again feel cold until your fire warms 
you at night. You must have a fire, for although the houses 
hereabouts are built of mud bricks, they are by no means 
tight about doors and roofs. While I was in Antananarivo the 
weather was cool and delightful morning and evening, per- 
haps a trifle too warm in the middle of the day only. But 
the air was always clear and bracing, and there was generally a 
light breeze blowing. 

Many of the hamlets were now surrounded by a deep ditch, a 
huge fence of cactus and a very wide low wall. They reminded 
me at once of pictures of scenes in Central Africa. The ditch 
generally has some sort of drain for fear of its overflowing during 
the heavy rains of the wet season. The ground within the en- 
closure is quite smooth and level, and the houses usually stand 
in two rows right and left of the low and narrow entrance-gate, 
which is partially closed by a great stone slab or by piles of logs. 
I stopped for the night in one of these villages and was shown 
quarters in a wretched hut half full of pigs. That is to say, I 
was offered a room adjoining the pig-sty, into which the door of 
the house directly opened, while the people scrambled into the 
dwelling-room by a window about two feet square, to which they 
mounted by a pile of rough stones. Up stairs there was a dirty 
kitchen to which you had access from the pig-sty by a flight of 
dark, narrow steep steps in which there was a turn at right-angles, 
for otherwise the house was so small the steps would have had 
to be vertical. Adjoining this kitchen was a room just large enough 
to contain my camp-bed, and this I accepted — fleas and all — for if 
I had to be in the same house as the pigs at least I preferred an- 
other Stage. All these villages seemed to allot a large portion of 
their ground-floors to a horrible little black and white spotted pig. 



JOURNEY TO THE WEST COAST. 255 

The infrequency of pigs on the east coast is more than balanced 
by their frequency in the central districts. 

We continued on during all the next day in a sort of rough 
valley bordered by ranges of hills. The soil was poor, the grass 
was coarse, and there was much red clay. The country was very 
thinly settled and few people were met upon the road. I stopped 
for my lunch in one of the circular, ditched villages, in a very 
dilapidated dirty hut in which the only door, as usual, opened di- 
rectly into the pig-sty, while the family scrambled through a little 
bit of opening several feet from the ground. To facilitate the exit 
of smoke two large holes had been made at either end of the roof. 
This let in some daylight, which was much needed, but looked as 
if much unneeded rain must enter by the same orifices. In the 
centre of the room next the piggery was a fire, and against the 
walls a few cooking utensils, a rice mortar and pestle, a basket of 
young squawking ducks, some rolls of matting and a few clothes. 
In one corner sat two little bright-eyed boys who were studying 
from some paper-covered books — their readers and spellers. I ob- 
served that they had also a catechism and a small testament. All 
were of course in the Malagasy language. They had also a slate 
which was used for writing their exercises. I took a little stroll 
afterwards among the houses, and was surprised and amused to see 
how frightened the chickens were at my approach. I had expected 
this of the few curs about, but hardly of the fowls. The hens ex- 
hibited the greatest alarm and strove to marshal and drive away 
their chickens. Apparently even a glimpse of civilization, as rep- 
resented in my humble self, was altogether too much for these 
creatures, so naturally more distrustful than their owners, who 
cheerfully look at everything foreign but will adopt nothing. 

During the afternoon we passed through the large village of 
Ankozobe, pleasantly situated on a smooth hill like the whole coun- 
try hereabouts entirely devoid of trees. The people burn a small 
reed for their cooking, and charge the same price for this as for 
firewood. Just outside the capital a great field is covered with huge 
bundles of this reed, there kept for sale. Nearly all the houses of 
Ankozobe were built in the shape of wall-tents, i. e. they had mud 
walls two or three feet high upon which directly rested the high- 
peaked grass roofs. The governor came from his house to invite 
me to rest and partake of some refreshment, but I was obliged to 
decline his hospitality, wishing to reach a certain town before dark. 
This was called Ambatvarana, with deep wide moat and a square 



256 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

full of cattle. Pigs swarmed everywhere. Just to the westward 
was a magnificent great mass of gneiss, with precipitous sides 
showing vertical striae which looked like the basaltic columns of 
the Giant's Causeway of Ireland. The range ends a little to the 
northward of the village in a vast dome of gneiss, with a big con- 
ical top which itself rises all of a thousand feet above the roughly 
undulating plain. It is called Mount Angavo. The highest point 
is said to be 4,880 feet above sea-level, or about one hundred feet 
above the site of Antananarivo. I visited several houses in this 
village that were tendered me, but each seemed worse than the 
other. Finally, I accepted a room in one, on condition that the 
pigs should sleep away from home for that night. After putting 
up my camp-bed and mosquito-netting, I found I could not get in 
all my very limited baggage and myself at the same time unless I 
suspended the most of the former from the walls, which accord- 
ingly I did, having driven wooden pegs into the interstices of the 
mud bricks. The upper floor into which the family were crowded 
was reached by a vertical bamboo ladder. Soon after lying down 
for the night I heard so much noise in the pig-sty that I was afraid 
my hostess had forgotten her promise. On searching I did not, it 
is true, discover any pigs, but there were a cat, a litter of pups and 
a brood of chickens. These, at least at my distance, did not smell, 
and I supposed would not indulge their respective vernaculars all 
the night, so I returned decided to make the best of the situation. 
But little did I know that by no means had a complete roster of 
the inmates been taken. I found long before morning that the 
place swarmed with vermin of all sorts : lice, fleas, mosquitoes, 
bugs, cockroaches, spiders and even scorpions. I arose at 2 A. m. 
and wished to take to the road at once, but had not the heart to 
waken my tired men before five. Within an hour we were off. 

The face of the country now presented a very extraordinary 
appearance, and was of a wild and broken character not without 
a certain picturesqueness. The land was still of sedimentary clay 
but the smooth hills were deeply scarred by land-slides and washed 
by the heavy rains of summer. The brown grass having slipped 
or been worn away exposes vast red or yellow rents, making ex- 
posures of gneiss and granite. It reminded me of similar sights 
in eastern Brazil. The valleys were pretty hard travelling for my 
bearers, but on the moors the track was quite smooth and without 
rocks or gullies. It was however a very desolate region. Not a 
single hut did I see during the entire morning, and we met but 



JOURNEY TO THE WEST COAST. 257 

two or three travellers. We forded several small and crystal-clear 
streams. There was a hard climb up a long and narrow gulch, a 
sort of pass in fact from one valley to another. The highest point 
reached was 4,800 feet, and here the east wind blew with great 
force. We then descended a little and reached the large town of 
Kinazy. This is one of a series of Hova military stations, five in 
number, which stretch in the direction of the west coast and the 
Sakalava country, and aloug the line of easiest access to the capital. 
They thus form a series of defensible posts, within easy communi- 
cation of each other, being only about fifteen miles apart. Each 
of these posts has its commander and garrison. Each is at the 
same time a cattle preserve and general depot. Great herds are 
always to be seen in their immediate neighborhood. These forti- 
fied towns clearly indicate the character of the Sakalava people, 
at least as they were a few years ago. Between them and the 
Hovas there seemed to exist a perpetual feud. The forts are now, 
however, in a sadly dilapidated condition and the moats full of 
trees, though they are still regarded as useful for the protection 
of cattle from marauders, and the gates are regularly barricaded at 
night. Kinazy numbers some eighty or so houses, built along the 
spur of a hill. It has double gateways and the inner one may be 
closed by a great round slab of stone, rolling it before the opening 
in the wall, as was the custom of closing the old tombs in Syria. 

We passed on up the valley, and then crossed a high and steep 
ridge into still another, this one quite narrow, with hilly moors 
upon one side, and high rocky hills, with steep bare " palisades," 
upon the other. After crossing many small streams we forded the 
Firingalava river and then mounted to the extremity of a short 
level spur upon which was situated the town of Ambohinarina — 
thirty or forty houses and a chapel. The houses were built of 
reeds, thickly plastered with mud, and lined with mud bricks. The 
governor lent me one of his spare houses — a neat little hut of one 
story, containing but a single room, draped throughout with straw 
matting. The roof projecting on either side made comfortable 
verandahs. A cook-house adjoined, and the whole were surrounded 
with a paling of stout sticks. The style of house indicates that I 
have descended so much that the climate is warmer here ; the next 
step will probably be the pure reed or palm-leaf hut. The other 
houses seemed full of squeaking pigs. I suppose the people en- 
deavor to squeeze into any space that might by chance remain. 
This town is the second of the Hova frontier stations and is da- 



258 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

fended by moat, wall and cactus hedges. There is a small Hova 
garrison. After my experience of the past night in a sort of ver- 
min " happy family " cage, I greatly appreciated having a clean 
room and being comparatively alone — there were in fact fleas, mos- 
quitoes, cockroaches and mice — but I could not mention these in 
the same day, or even the day after, the events recorded above. 
We had here also a concert of local professional talent, with a very 
long programme and not very long intermissions — lowing cattle, 
grunting swine, crowing roosters and baying, growling and fight- 
ing dogs — but I managed to snatch some sleep, and started on early 
the next morning. 

My filanzana bearers are a jolly set. They take turns when on 
the march in relating diverting stories, and all shout and laugh 
like merry children at play. The fellows enjoy the most robust 
health and the utmost gayety of spirits, yet their life seems to me a 
hard one. There must be compensation here as elsewhere. Their 
endurance is remarkable. They will march from thirty to forty 
miles a day over the worst roads of any country in the world, over 
tracks upon which no animal could possibly carry you, much worse 
than the worst in any part of the Andes or the Himalayas, and 
they will continue marching this way and carrying a load of sixty 
or seventy pounds for a month at a time. We followed the little 
river Feringalava up the valley for a few miles, and then climbed 
a steep ridge and went along its crest and down into another val- 
ley, passing on the left a fine gneiss mountain, four miles long, and 
a little further another, this time a sharp-peaked one. Much of 
the region had been burned over and was quite black. When the 
red path ran through this it looked in the distance like a line of 
bright flame. The old dry grass is burned in winter to improve 
the quality of the young grass which comes up in the spring, it 
thus acting as a species of fertiliser. 

I halted for lunch at Ampotaka, the third garrison town, which 
seemed to consist of about fifty houses, and contained several hun- 
dred cattle in its great fold — not to mention innumerable pigs. 
This station is 3,000 feet above the sea, or 1,800 below Antana- 
narivo. Coming from the comparatively high level of the latter 
we found the afternoon exceedingly warm. Two of my coolies 
were in fact prostrated with the heat. I doctored and encour- 
aged them a little, and was glad to see them all right the follow- 
ing morning. We were much tormented by a little black fly in 
the deeper valleys. The country thus far from the capital has 



JOURNEY TO THE WEST COAST. 259 

been very dry, the regular rains not only setting in somewhat 
later on the western than the eastern side of the island but 
being very much less in amount. The forest belt of the eastern 
side has doubtless much to do with this phenomenon, together 
with the strong and constant trade-winds which waft the clouds 
towards the high lands of the interior, where they are speedily con- 
densed to rain. During the afternoon we arrived upon the summit 
of a long ridge whence the view of mountains and hills in every 
direction was really magnificent. There was a pretty valley, also, 
with green trees throughout its length, and a stream which tore 
along over a rough granite bed in many whirling rapids. Then 
we came to a river which most deserved this title of any we had 
seen since leaving Antananarivo — the Mahamokomita. We de- 
scended to its banks, which we followed for a long distance. 
Here we saw a couple of Sakalavas driving away a small herd of 
stolen cattle. One of them, a wild-looking fellow, armed with 
rifle and spear, passed near us, and gave us a greeting equivalent to 
" good-day." We were glad to have our acquaintance with him 
cease with that commonplace. The scenery all aloug had been 
bold and picturesque, but at one point the river of which I have 
just spoken — it may have been two hundred feet wide — rolled over 
a tremendous ledge of granite in four cascades very like those of 
Trenton Falls, New York, only that here there was a double series, 
one on each side of the river. 

An hour or so afterwards we entered a great amphitheatre, a 
basin perhaps ten miles across, in the centre of which stands the 
fourth of the Hova garrison posts. It is called Mangasoavina, 
and is a station of some eighty or ninety houses. The hut in 
which I had to take up my quarters was small and filthy, and 
swarming with vermin enough to fill one wing of a zoological 
museum with interesting specimens. I had stipulated in advance 
that the pig members of the family should be sent on a brief 
visit for their health. On arising during the night for a drink 
of water I was much surprised to find a battalion of immense 
cockroaches reconnoitering the spot where I had taken my even- 
ing meal. They scampered off with a great clatter upon the ap- 
pearance of a light and myself upon the scene. Fortunately I 
had taken the precaution to lock up everything in my tin boxes 
so they could neither defile nor extract any of my provisions. In 
the morning I noticed one of my men lifting and peering under 
what I had taken for a bamboo mat. My curiosity was excited, 



260 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and I found the opening to an underground passage leading to 
another hut and then to the ojjen air. The whole village was un- 
dermined in this manner, and these tunnels are used for escape 
from a raid of the ever-distrusted Sakalavas. In every hut is a 
drum which the occupants beat on occasion of attack, and, if too 
hard pressed, rush for their burrows. To assist in its defence 
there were four gates to this little village, one behind the other. 
These gates are closed by small trunks of trees, which are sus- 
pended from a cross-stick piercing one end, and thus you can dur- 
ing the day time push them aside, in order to pass, and they will 
naturally swing back to their places. At night a tier of logs en- 
closed in two upright tree trunks is placed behind them. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

A VISIT TO A GOLD MINE. 

By six in the morning we were off again, and after a few miles 
passed on the left a splendid great mass of gneiss called Mount 
Andriba. We journeyed much along the crest of a high ridge 
which gave us in every direction fine views of the mountainous 
country. We then worked slowly up a long narrow and very rough 
pass and next entered a valley in the depressions of which I no- 
ticed many beautiful roffia and traveller's palms. There was here 
a considerable river, as far as width goes, though it was shallow 
and ran over smooth sand, and its banks were terraced with rice 
fields and supported a few shade trees. The little ribbon of sil- 
ver and green looked very pretty amidst the brown and yellowish 
hills, with their great " beauty spots " of red clay. Especially 
noticeable were these washings, weatherings and land-slips. Great 
peaks of hard material had been left standing in precipitous abysses, 
whose clean mineral walls displayed a dozen shades of color. The 
characteristics were like those of the grand canons of the Colorado 
and the Yellowstone rivers. During the day I passed the fifth 
and last of the Hova garrison towns, Malatsy, situated on a steep 
spur of hills. Malatsy numbers about fifty houses. There were 
also many little hamlets scattered about the valley, and among 
them was a Sakalava village. The Hova frontier proper may be 
said to terminate here, for beyond there is a belt almost unpeopled. 
This forms what was until quite recently a sort of debatable land 
between the wild coast tribes and the more civilized ones of the 
interior. This region used to be the resort of criminal outcasts 
and runaway slaves, and the transit across it was always considered 
hazardous. Leaving Malatsy I entered upon a rough but rather 
picturesque district with much running water, and many dells with 
trees like those on the edges of the forests of the eastern half of 
the great island. The road led through long valleys and over 

361 



262 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

pass after pass. The clay ridges were sprinkled with much quartz 
gravel, which caused even my rhinoceros-footed bearers to walk 
gingerly. There now appeared bamboos, wild citrons, guavas, fig- 
trees, gourds and acacias. 

Descending from a long ridge I had been following toward the 
north, I arrived at the town of Ampasaritsy, pleasantly situated 
upon a low, smooth knoll, adjoining which are the residences of 
the officers of one of M. Suberbie's rich alluvial gold-washings. 
The precious metal is not found in quartz in this locality. I 
remained all night with the mining-engineer in charge of the 
works here, and there being nothing special for one not a pro- 
fessional to see, started early in the morning upon my last day's 
march before beginning the canoeing. We passed through a 
rough sterile section of country without a hut in sight, and with- 
out meeting a single traveller upon the road, and then crossing 
several smaller rivers, came down to the banks of the Ikopa, here 
about a thousand feet in width, rushing along its half exposed 
rocky bed, and full of small tree- and grass-covered islands. The 
rushing water, falling in cataracts of foam over ledges of rock, with 
borders of high yellow grass and green trees, made a very pretty 
sight. We reached this river at a point suffering from the ex- 
traordinary name of Antanimbarindratsontsoraka (I believe I have 
not omitted any syllables), and then followed its banks for several 
miles until we reached the half-way village between Ampasaritsy 
and Mevatanana. The view this morning had greatly opened 
toward the west, where you almost seemed to distinguish the sea- 
line. At last we were fairly out of the mountain region where we 
could never see more than ten miles in any one direction. We 
next turned a little inland from the river and entered a plain of 
drift, debris and huge boulders. At one of the villages at which 
I halted for the midday rest, a man sitting quite nude on a stone 
near his door, was being given a bath by his wife. She would 
pour the water over him and then rub him down as if he were a 
child. He sat grinning and seemed to be enjoying himself im- 
mensely. Though both men and women were continually passing, 
I was apparently the only one who perceived anything at all pe- 
culiar. Whether the wife afterwards received her bath in similar 
fashion at the hands of the husband, I did not inquire. It was 
only too probable that she did. 

The region in which we were now was covered with scattered 
hamlets of Sakalavas. You can generally know a Sakalava by his 



A VISIT TO A GOLD MINE. 263 

more coarse and brutal appearance and less intelligent eye than 
the Hova. The men, moreover, always " do up " their hair in little 
braids that hang down all around their head, and give them the 
look of women when they happen to be without beard. Physically 
they are small but stocky, sturdy men, like the Hovas. Their huts 
on this coast are exactly like those of the Betsimisarakas in the 
same latitude and altitude upon the east coast. As I stood upon 
the ridge where the gravel drift is most noticeable I saw near the 
road a human skull reared upon a pole. This once belonged to a 
Sakalava who was a notorious robber, and is thus placed as a warn- 
ing and threat to would-be evil doers. The special outlook in the 
westerly distance was over an enormous undulating plain, part cov- 
ered with trees, part with pasture, and part with cultivated crops. 
This remarkable view was bounded only by the horizon, which in 
places one was apt to mistake for the line of the sea. I had wished 
this day to reach the town of Mevatanana, and could have done so 
easily had not my men been an hour late in coming to me in the 
morning, and had they not taken two hours instead of one in which 
to eat their breakfast. As it was, night overtook us upon the deso- 
late plain, and with no huts in the immediate neighborhood. I 
had pressed on hoping to reach the town or rather the headquar- 
ters of the gold mines of M. Suberbie in the vicinity. At last, 
however, it was evident that I must halt, or run the risk of broken 
limbs. There was nothing for it but to pass the night in the 
plain, so I had my camp-bed put up quite in " the open," and 
after my usual supper, turned in for a good sleep, and did not 
dream of hostile Sakalavas and skulls reared on poles. My men 
all lay down in the tall grass around me and drawing their white 
sheets over them were soon all joining in a great but not harmoni- 
ous snoring chorus. As I lay thus surrounded by my faithful 
henchmen I felt almost like a King of the Cannibal Islands. 
At three o'clock in the morning I roused them all up and after 
treating them to a pail of tea, a large loaf of bread and one of 
my tins of bouilli and soup, I started on, our trail illumined by 
the planet Venus and a faint last-quarter moon. In half an hour 
we reached the quartz mines and then followed the track of a nar- 
row-gauge railway which serves to transport the ore from the 
mines to the mill. We passed a large village of the laborers, and 
soon after saw before us the several dwellings of the European 
employes and officers, and near them on a low ridge the large two- 
story house of M. Suberbie, at one side of which was the residence 



264 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

of M. Victor Guilgot, Director of the Mines at Suberbieville, for 
all these houses, and those of the laborers, constitute a small town 
thus given in compliment the name of the concessionnaire. I re- 
ceived a kindly welcome from M. Guilgot, and was appointed to a 
room in a neighboring cottage, taking my meals with him, his 
pretty young wife, and his charming mother-in-law. Mevatanana 
is but a little way from here. The name means " an excellent 
site for a city " and is appropriate, for it stands on a high ridge of 
clay, 240 feet above sea-level. It is splendidly fortified by Nature 
and reminded me at once of the general appearance of the city of 
Constantine, in Algeria. With modern guns and soldiers it would 
certainly be an impregnable post. From the northern end of the 
hill — where stands the house originally occupied by M. Suberbie — 
you have a magnificent panorama. To the east and south the 
country is empty, to the west, across the river Ikopa, at long inter- 
vals, are small Sakalava villages. Mevatanana contains two hun- 
dred houses. That of the governor is in a broad open square, close 
to which are the principal shops. It is two miles from here to the 
Ikopa at the point to which in the wet season the river is navi- 
gable for canoes. 

The gold of Madagascar is nearly the purest in the world, being 
only surpassed, I believe, by that of Ballarat, in Australia. It has 
been known since the time when the island was first visited by the 
English missionaries, but no systematic mining has been done 
until comparatively recent years, and this always by foreigners. 
Concessions have been from time to time granted by the Malagasy 
government. That of M. Suberbie covers one hundred miles square 
and is to run for sixty years, of which but eight have as yet trans- 
pired. He has several alluvial works, but only one quartz-digging. 
Fifty-five per cent of the gold has to go to the government, which 
provides the native laborers, fortunately, for with such a large 
bonus to pay, M. Suberbie could hardly do so himself. It is, how- 
ever, a system of forced labor which prevails. The government 
claims a right to three months out of the twelve for the work of 
all natives. A Hova official will go to a village, impress every 
man, woman and child there, and send them away to work in the 
mines. This forced labor seems especially hard on the people 
because, when they are drafted, their farms and cattle must neces- 
sarily be neglected. Many of them escape and, taking to the deso- 
late parts of the country, lead the life of banditti. They are of 
course unwilling to return to their homes for fear of being again 



A VISIT TO A GOLD MINE. 265 

drafted. All this has greatly added to the danger of travel in this 
section of the country. Criminals also are compelled to labor, and 
in chains. There were a score or more of these wretched creatures 
at Suberbieville, and the perpetual clanking of their chains was 
really distressing. But I confess they themselves seemed to have 
no sense of shame, and were apparently quite as well contented 
without as they would be with their freedom. Most of them had 
been convicted of robbery ; a few of mining and selling on their 
own account. For this the severe penalty of death was at first 
ordained, but has since been commuted into long imprisonment 
in chains. The greater part of M. Suberbie's work has been so 
far in the alluvial washings of the beds and banks of streams. In 
the diggings the gold is found in pure quartz-rock. Near Suberbie- 
ville are several shafts and galleries from which the rock is re- 
moved in little iron cars. American powder is used in the blasts. 
The gold is exported in the form of bricks and dust. Two Ameri- 
can stamping mills are at work, a third is nearly erected, and a 
huge turbine wheel is being mounted, so that water-power may 
largely take the place of steam, since firewood is very scarce and 
costly. About eight hundred natives are at present employed by 
M. Suberbie. Formerly he had three or four thousand, but the 
fear of being forced to work has caused a general exodus of the 
people from this part of the country, and it is now very difficult 
to get enough men. Besides M. Guilgot, the able and active man- 
ager, there are several other Frenchmen and two Americans em- 
ployed. There are commodious and appropriate buildings for 
offices, for stores, for drug, blacksmith and carpenter shops, etc. 
The houses of M. Suberbie and M. Guilgot are surrounded by large 
vegetable and flower gardens, and great boxes of orchids line the 
verandahs. There are small ponds, and in one place a cage in 
which there are three tame monkeys who will eat from your fingers 
and lick your hand like a dog. The houses of the other Europeans 
are clustered around. They all have broad verandahs and roofs 
of galvanised iron, and are very comfortable, when one considers 
the great heat which always prevails. The pretty little gardens 
of which I have spoken, are only to be maintained by great and 
continual labor and with a lavish use of water, the land being very 
sterile and in the winter, or dry season, as parched as the Sahara. 
Another concession has lately been granted by the government to 
some German capitalists interested in the gold mines of Johannes- 
burg, South Africa, for a large district to the south of M. Suber- 
19 



266 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

bie's tract, and they intend to set vigorously to work to prospect 
thoroughly their acquired territory. 

From Mevatanana the route to Mojanga is generally by water, 
when there is enough to float the canoes — a species of dugout — 
the large ones carrying forty men. The canoe takes you down the 
river to the town of Marovoay, to the salt water, and here it is 
necessary to exchange it for a dhow, a boat about thirty feet long, 
eight broad and six deep. This has a wide and partially decked 
stern, aud carries a big lateen sail. But when in winter there is 
not sufficient water to float a large canoe, the route then follows 
the course of the river at a distance of from five to ten miles. On 
September 19th I left Suberbieville for Mojanga. The canoes 
were awaiting me about a mile down the river. There were a 
large and a small one. M. Guilgot was sending the monthly 
produce of gold and some merchandise, and as I had an escort 
of eight soldiers and an officer, two canoes were necessary. The 
country through which we were to pass was in a disturbed state, 
and an escort was therefore furnished by the Hova governor of 
Mevatanana. These men had no distinguishing uniform but were 
armed with Snider rifles. Each canoe had four Sakalava rowers 
and a coxswain, a native of the Comoro islands, a sort of Arab, but 
speaking a lingo understood by the Sakalavas. The rowers sit in 
the bow and use a broad, short paddle, alternating a long with a 
short stroke, and often singing while working. When my baggage 
was placed in the long narrow canoe and the soldiers and crew were 
aboard, there was scarcely room enough for me to sit, and I had 
before me a voyage of several days in the burning sun without any 
sort of canopy. We started late in the day as we only intended to 
make a few miles and then, camping for the night, to reach as 
soon as possible a little steamer of M. Suberbie's which ascends 
the river as far as the shallow water will permit, and whose exact 
whereabouts were not then known. After a couple of hours' row- 
ino-, crossing frequently from bank to bank as the channel seemed 
to veer, and several times getting aground, when the men would 
jump into the water and lift or push us free immediately, we 
reached our camping place — an ordinary hut in an ordinary vil- 
lage. The river thus far had been from a quarter to half a mile 
in width, and everywhere extremely tortuous and shallow. In the 
morning at daylight we started on down the river, and soon arrived 
at a spot where it debouches into the muddy Betsiboka, a more im- 
portant stream. The banks were flat and low, and covered with 



A VISIT TO A GOLD MINE. 267 

vegetation. The country from here to the coast is occupied by 
semi-independent tribes of Sakalavas, who pay a nominal tribute 
to the central government at Antananarivo. The population how- 
ever is thin and scattered, the villages numbering from ten to twenty 
houses. These houses are often well and artistically made of split 
bamboo reeds and palm leaf ribs and leaves, though so airy are 
some of them they look quite like great bird cages. The plains 
are frequently diversified by pretty chains of hills and the vege- 
tation is very tropic ; traveller's, roffia and fan palms, mango and 
tamarind trees, the banana, and quantities of the via, an arum lily 
of large size, abound. The banks are frequently composed of great 
terraces of fine sand, and indicate a rise in the rainy season of at 
least twelve feet. There are many aquatic birds and a few croco- 
diles, some of the latter being as much as fifteen feet in length. I 
frequently fire at them, but though often wounding, never know 
if I kill them, as they glide from the low smooth sand spits into 
the bottom of the river, and do not soon afterwards come to the 
surface. Lower down, the river is quite full of these uncanny 
monsters, and though they are never known to upset a canoe or 
attack its occupants, they occasionally mangle or kill a native who 
is careless in bathing, and frequently seize and drown an ox who 
may advance too far into the stream while drinking. We went on 
until dark along a part of the river said to be infested with pirates, 
and regarded as so dangerous that my soldiers sat holding their 
rifles in their hands, as if expecting an attack any moment 
from hidden foes. But nothing happened, and not being 
able to quite reach our originally planned point, we halted 
for the night in a Hova garrison town, surrounded with a 
heavy wooden palisade. The governor kindly gave up his house 
to me, and after a comfortable night, I continued the journey at 
daylight. 

We soon left the main stream, which has a current of about 
four miles an hour, and, entering a small affluent, proceeded up this 
to a place where we expected to exchange the canoe for the steamer. 
We were, however, destined to be disappointed, for, owing to the 
very low water, the steamer had not come up so far. My men now 
informed me they had only agreed to take me to this point, and 
that they would not carry me on. I nevertheless was determined 
to reach the steamer at Mojanga, which once a month connects at 
Xosy Be with the other from Tamatave to Zanzibar. So I sent 
for the Hova commandant and explained my situation, begging 



268 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

him to use his authority and influence with my men. He, how- 
ever, seemed quite afraid of them, and was of no service to me. A 
palaver went on at intervals for a couple of hours. Neither bribes 
nor threats seemed of any avail. Then my patience was exhausted, 
and nothing being settled, I ordered the men to cook and eat their 
breakfast, for I thought that my personal persuasion might be 
more effectual in appealing to full stomachs, but, upon calling the 
roll, was surprised to find that half the men had deserted. Things 
were now getting serious, and I saw that I must make a demon- 
stration. So revolver in hand I advanced savagely upon the two 
Comoro men, whom I believed had instigated the others to mutiny, 
and threatened to shoot either of them who should not at once 
get into his canoe. At the same time I sent a messenger to the 
Hova official to tell him my determination, and that if he did not 
get my missing boatmen together in fifteen minutes, there would be 
very serious trouble for which he would be held responsible by his 
government, to which I should report him. The ruse— although 
there was more in it than a mere ruse, for I certainly " meant busi- 
ness "_had its effect, and I started with but one man short, and 
his place I bribed a soldier to fill. We went rapidly on during the 
afternoon, through thick woods and plantations of the Sakalavas, 
amidst pretty scenery of hill and plain, passing a score of croco- 
diles lying log-like upon the sandbanks, and meeting a small fleet 
of canoes bound with various merchandise up-stream to Suberbie- 
ville. In ascending the river the boatmen stand two on either side 
of the bow, and pole the boat rapidly along. There were no in- 
habitants upon the banks, the little hamlets being situated at some 
distance inland. The birds increased in number : egrets, flamin- 
goes, ducks and pigeons. At dusk having first driven a half a 
dozen crocodiles from a sandbank, we landed and cooked and ate 
our dinner, and then entered the canoes to continue the journey, 
as there was no neighboring village where we could pass the night. 
We had reached the head of tide- water, which rose so fast that we 
had several times in the course of our meal to move further inland. 
My men had during the day been somewhat more civil, but in the 
evening became again mutinous, notwithstanding my promise of 
liberal gifts upon the completion of the voyage. I never closed 
my eyes throughout the night, and had literally to drive the men 
on at the point of my revolver. One would quietly draw in his 
paddle and go to sleep, when I would rush upon him from my 
seat, put the paddle in his hands, and compel him to continue his 



A VISIT TO A GOLD MINE, 269 

work. So we went slowly on all night, our progress being further 
delayed a part of the way by a strong head wind. 

Early in the morning we entered a small stream, a few miles 
up which is the town of Marovoay, where we expected to find 
the steamer or, if not, at least a dhow which would take us 
across the Bay of Bembatoka to Mojauga. We reached this 
place at eight o'clock, after sitting almost continuously for 
twenty hours in a canoe three feet broad and two deep ! The 
steamer proved to be in. It was of iron, about ten tons burden, 
and had side-wheels. A Frenchman was the only foreigner con- 
nected with its management and he informed me it would leave 
the next morning at four o'clock for Mojauga. The town of 
Marovoay was half a mile distant from the landing, lying on a 
plain at the base of a prominent hill, upon which was an old fort 
and the residence of the governor. The town was built of the 
customary palm stems and leaves, the houses standing on either 
side of long crooked sandy streets, shaded by many great mango 
and tamarind trees. From the summit of the hill a splendid view 
of the surrounding plain and winding river is obtained. The 
governor received me with much courtesy, treating me to cham- 
pagne, and sending after me to the steamer the present of a pair 
of ducks and a pair of geese. The little vessel started promptly 
at daylight and proceeded at its best pace — including the impetus 
of the current, about five miles an hour. The country is mostly 
level and covered with forest from Marovoay to the bay. The 
river is from one to two miles in width. It is about thirty miles 
from the mouth of the Betsiboka — which has been ascended for 
one hundred miles — to the town of Mojauga. The bay is in parts 
eight or ten miles in width. The shores present no striking or 
beautiful scenery. Mojauga has a little port, which is somewhat 
sheltered by a sandy spit curving from north to south. There are 
two towns — the upper is on a ridge from one hundred to two hun- 
dred feet high, while the lower extends along the sandy shore for a 
mile or more. The houses in the latter are huddled together in the 
sand, as at Tamatave, and are made of palm-leaves as dry as tinder. 
A fire consequently is exceedingly dangerous, and in connection 
with a strong wind is fatal. One occurred a few years ago, and 
burned down the entire native town. The houses of the few Euro- 
peans and the Banian (British India) and Arab merchants, however, 
escaped, being made either of stone or brick. Formerly Mojanga 
was an important place, with many Arabs, principally engaged in 



270 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the slave trade, but now its population is much dwindled and it 
is quite dead commercially. The streets are sandy, dirty and un- 
lighted at night. There are two mosques, an Arab and an Indian. 
The governor resides in a stone circular fort at the extremity of 
the point near which the town is built, but it is not garrisoned at 
present. On the hill and in the neighborhood are many splendid 
specimens of the mango and baobab trees. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 

After stopping two days in Mojanga I took passage in a little 
French steamer of 400 tons burden, belonging to the Messageries 
Mar i times Company for the island of Nosy Be, on the northwest 
coast, and about 150 miles distant. This steamer, as before men- 
tioned, makes a monthly tour of the ports on the west coast and 
connects at Nosy Be with the large mail steamer running between 
Marseilles, Tamatave and Zanzibar. It carries only first and fourth 
class passengers. We had a few of each class, French and Bom- 
bay merchants. We kept in sight of land during most of the voy- 
age, and as we neared Nosy Be beheld some pretty ranges of moun- 
tains, which stand about 2,500 feet above sea-level. We also saw 
some curious conical rocks along the shore. Crossing Ampasin- 
dara Bay we had before us the island of Nosy Be — perhaps fifteen 
miles square — and several other smaller ones, the most of them 
being covered with trees. Nosy Be has belonged to France for 
over half a century, and has an administrateur principal — at pres- 
ent M. Joseph Francois — for its governor. The general aspect of 
the island is altogether tropical, with its dense mass of vegetation 
peculiar to regions approaching the Equator. Thus I noticed 
mango and tamarind trees, cocoanut-palms, bananas, the bread- 
fruit — splendid large trees in fine perfection — custard-apples, papa- 
yas, lemons and limes. The inhabitants grow many vegetables, 
salads and pimentos, or hot spicy peppers. They also raise great 
quantities of poultry. The neighboring sea supplies a profusion of 
good fish and a variety of small oysters. The town stands upon the 
south side of the island. It has several quarters or, more properly, 
distinct settlements : one of Sakalavas, another of Bombay and Arab 
merchants, and a third of French, Malagasies, Comoro islanders 
and negroes from the African coast. The latter village is nearly 
concealed from view by the large mango and other trees which so 

271 



272 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

greatly abound. The chief administrator's house, that of the 
agent of the Steamer Company, and some warehouses alone being 
prominent. As to the dwellings they are of palm-leaf, with a few 
brick and stone ones belonging to French people. There are good 
macadamised streets shaded by long rows of great trees, faintly 
illumined at night by kerosene-lamps, a quaint stone church, a 
small market, a large public garden, and many buildings used by 
the government or, formerly, by the troops — none of the latter be- 
ing now stationed here, though there is generally a French man- 
of-war or two in the harbor. From many of the streets you catch 
pretty views of the surrounding sea and hilly islands. The inhab- 
itants seem largely composed of Comoro islanders, the women in 
particular being bright and gay, and often speaking French quite 
fluently. I landed at a long stone jetty and there being no hotel, 
hired a small house, and took my meals at a neighboring cafe. 
Nosy Be is warm, but a sea-breeze generally prevails during a 
great part of the day which renders the heat quite endurable. 
The climate is healthy but the summit — 1,800 feet above the sea 
— of one of the neighboring islands, that of Nosy Komba, is 
used by a few of the foreign residents as a sanatorium. The ad- 
ministrator, in particular, has a comfortable house here, which, 
at his kind invitation, I visited in company with one of his 
staff-officers. We crossed the bay in the Harbor-master's boat, 
some ten miles, to a small Sakalava village, on the shore of Nosy 
Komba. Here we took filanzanas and started for the top of the 
hill. The path, which led through beautiful forests of palms 
and bamboos, was very rough and steep. We passed a small 
house belonging to the chief priest of Nosy Be, and next the 
better-made dwelling of a French merchant, and then came the 
house of the administrator, a plain wooden affair with an iron roof. 
From its verandah we had a superb view of Nosy Be and the sur- 
rounding islands and sea, of the town, and the ships in the harbor. 
A short distance back of the town a huge extinct crater was promi- 
nently visible. The island had greatly indented shores and was 
hilly, partly covered with forests, with grazing land, and sugar and 
vanilla plantations. We descended in half an hour, a half part of 
the time necessary to come up, the bearers going at a rapid trot. 
Arrived at the Sakalava village, the wind was found too strong to 
cross at once, and so we dined at the house of one of the adminis- 
trator's secretaries, and sailed back to town about midnight. At 
Nosy Be I concluded my Madagascar tour of 750 miles. 



MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 273 

I had to wait four days for the French steamer going to Zanzi- 
bar which calls also at the island of Mayotta, a couple of hundred 
miles nearly due west from here. There were on board a number 
of officers and soldiers going home, a few merchants, and a civic 
official from the island of Bourbon, the only first- cabin passenger 
except myself. Early the following morning Mayotta was in sight, 
a very pretty island of volcanic formation, with a peak exactly like 
that called La Pouce, or The Thumb, in Mauritius. As we drew 
in I noticed that the vegetation was rather sparse, though there 
was much pasture-land. Mayotta produces little beyond sugar, 
vanilla and cacao. It is completely surrounded by a large reef be- 
tween which and the island are several pretty islets, on one of 
which to the eastward of the large island, the French colony is 
built. We followed a long winding channel, between several out- 
lying islands, first to the west and then to the north until we 
dropped anchor near the little town. The surface of Mayotta 
was very rough and hilly. Here and there were palm-leaf villages, 
interspersed with large sugar estates. The town consists of little 
more than cottages for officials and military officers, and barracks 
for troops. There is also a little fort mounting some small old- 
fasbioned cannon. Within it is the dwelling of the local adminis- 
trator. 

Late in the afternoon we left for Zanzibar, going out by the 
same tortuous channel by which we had entered. Early the fol- 
lowing morning I caught a very distant glimpse of the great Co- 
moro island, some of whose mountains reach an altitude of 8,600 
feet. There is here also a volcano which, though inactive during 
the past twenty years, is not considered extinct. There are sugar 
and vanilla plantations. But unfortunately there is no water sup- 
ply and the inhabitants have to depend wholly upon what they 
collect during rainfalls and preserve in tanks. There are two other 
islands of the Comoro group : Johanna and Mohilla. Ma}^otta is, 
as I have said, a French colony, the others are under a French pro- 
tectorate. About all there is on Mohilla is one large sugar planta- 
tion. Johanna is the most fertile and healthy island of the four. 
It has a splendid water supply, there being several rivers in 
the island. It has a fine harbor and several sugar plantations, 
the largest one being owned by an American, named Wilson, whom 
I had the pleasure of meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius. Vanilla, 
tobacco, cotton and coffee are also grown. There is a Sultan here. 

The next morning we had a view of the mainland of Africa — a 



274 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

low, smooth, wooded country, with some ranges of hills just dis- 
cernible in the far distance, and a great sandy beach at the sea's 
edge. A few hours afterwards we caught sight of the large, low 
island of Zanzibar, covered with a rather scrubby vegetation in 
which palms, bananas and mangoes take a prominent place. The 
shores were great sloping beaches of white sand. The Arabians 
who first looked upon this island named it Zanzibar, which means 
Paradise, and such it is in comparison with the shores of the Per- 
sian Gulf. As we threaded our way along between the mainland 
and the island, the sea was everywhere dotted with Arab dhows, or 
sloops with great lateen sails. The mainland, twenty-five or thirty 
miles distant, could only be seen in spots. The city of Zanzibar 
stands about the centre of the western side of the island. Nearly 
opposite upon the mainland is the town of Bagamoyo, the chief 
point of departure (and arrival) of caravans which pass into or out 
from the great central lake region by one or the other of several 
nearly parallel routes. 

The island of Zanzibar is about fifty miles in length and fif- 
teen in width. It is about equally distant — say 2,400 miles — from 
the Suez Canal, from India, and from the Cape of Good Hope. 
It is 1,332 miles from Tamatave direct to Zanzibar. Off the coast 
are several small, low islands, and some large sand-banks, but navi- 
gation is not difficult and there is a plenty of water for the largest 
of ships to enter its commodious and safe harbor. We soon saw 
the great white buildings of the city, which is situated on a broad 
point of land, with a slight slope towards the sea. Beyond is a 
range of prettily wooded hills. Before reaching the city we passed 
a large summer-palace belonging to the Sultan — a plain three- 
story building having much more the appearance of a factory than 
a palace. The city from the water and at a distance was quite 
picturesque. At one side, near the shore, was a great collection 
of brown palm-leaf huts, the home of the poorer natives, and be- 
yond them rose the spire of the English church. On the extreme 
point stood the British Consulate and the warehouses of Euro- 
pean merchants. A great square three-storied edifice with ve- 
randahs to every story, near the harbor, particularly claimed atten- 
tion. The upper floor seemed opened to the air all around, the 
roof being raised above it. The walls were of a coarse kind of 
coral or of a light-colored lime-stone ; the roof of galvanized iron. 
The windows, of which there were continuous rows all round the 
building, opened down to the floors. The only attempt at orna- 



MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 275 

mentation of any kind was in the gilded Arabic inscriptions on 
the balcony railings. This was the palace of the Sultan. Near it 
stood a lofty, many-storied, square tower, containing a clock giving 
Turkish time, which is six hours behind our own. There are here, 
in striking contrast with the glaring white walls of the houses, 
clumps of mangoes, palms, bananas, papayas and other tropical 
plants. The flags taffs and flags of many consulates broke some- 
what the hard, stiff lines of the flat-roofed houses. In the harbor 
there lay at anchor four small British and a German man-of-war, 
four or five cargo steamers, a yacht or two of the Sultan's and, 
near the beach, in a sort of bay, a great fleet of native dhows and 
coasting vessels. In the distance, along the shore to the north, 
were a couple of old stone palaces of the Sultan, together with a 
few residences of the city's rich men. The Sultan has several 
so-called palaces scattered about the island, but he does not dwell 
in them for any length of time. 

On going ashore my first surprise was that there should be no 
Custom-house examination or even inquiry regarding my baggage. 
My second surprise was at the terrific heat of the narrow un- 
covered streets, which average from four to twenty feet in width, 
and are very crooked. They are lighted by lamps suspended from 
the walls of the houses. They are either macadamised, or covered 
with concrete. There are of course no sidewalks. The only 
method of getting about the city is on foot. For trips into the 
suburbs or country, horses are to be had. There are also many 
carriages used outside the town, the English dog-cart seeming to 
be the favorite style. The Sultan has a large stable, containing 
some good Arab horses. Most of those used by Europeans are 
the tough little ponies of the Comoro islands. I had a long walk 
between dingy, tumble-down houses — whose only remarkable fea- 
ture was the prettily carved wood- work of their doors — until I 
reached a small German hotel, situated near the edge of the sea, 
where I found very good clean and airy rooms, and where my 
special servant was a Zanzibari who had been across Africa with 
Stanley on the Emin Pasha relief-expedition. He spoke a few 
words of English, and informed me that " Mr. Stanley he good 
man, but dwarfs very bad people." The fellow's name was Ab- 
dallah, and he was a splendid bronze Hercules as to physique. 

Zanzibar lies about 6° 30' south of the Equator, but owing to its 
fortunate position enjoys nearly always a refreshing breeze. The 
average temperature of the year is very equable, ranging, it is said, 



276 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

between 70° and 80°. The island is believed to contain a total of 
some 225,000 inhabitants, of which number about 100,000 are al- 
lotted to Zanzibar city. During the northeast monsoon — Decem- 
ber, January and February — foreign traders increase the latter esti- 
mate by 30,000 to 40,000. The population is very mixed. There 
are Arabs, half-caste Arabs and Africans or Suahelis, Comoro 
islanders, Parsees, Malagasies, and Indians or Banians, as they are 
usually called, who come from the west coast of India. Almost 
all the retail trade is in the hands of this race, who live so eco- 
nomically that no European can compete with them. When rich 
they generally return to their own country. More than half the 
native population are said to be slaves. Those already in servitude 
are allowed to be owned as slaves, though no more may be bought, 
sold or imported. The British Agency here, assisted by several 
gun-boats, is giving rigid support to this law. You frequently 
see in the streets of Zanzibar a half a dozen or more men and 
women — women quite as frequently as men — who are passing 
along, chained together by the neck or waist with large and heavy 
links. These are not slaves, but convicts. The most of them are 
thus punished for comparatively minor offences, such as theft 
and assault. They are always laughing and talking, and seem 
as happy and contented as ordinary non-criminals. There are 
about a hundred foreigners living in the city : British, Ger- 
mans, French, Portuguese and Americans. Many of these are in 
the employ of the Sultan in civil or military capacities. His 
Prime Minister is an Englishman who once had command of the 
native army. The latter, by the way, numbers about 1,200 men, 
armed with Snider rifles. I afterwards saw the whole number on 
parade. They were led by two English officers, one a general, the 
other a captain. The men marched in very soldierly fashion. 
They were dressed in a neat white uniform of European style, 
and wore small red caps. The only irregularity seemed to be in 
their foot-gear — some having leather shoes, some canvas, and some 
going barefoot. The men were all Suahelis, who are said, when 
properly led, to make good fighters, though not so good as the 
Soudanese. The remainder of the foreigners are settled as mer- 
chants or agents. 

Zanzibar is the largest town and the centre of the trade and 
commerce of East Africa. The chief exports seem to be ivory, 
caoutchouc, sesame seed, skins, cloves, copra, orchilla and gum 
copal. In 1891 the exports were valued at $7,000,000. Nearly 



MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 277 

one-half of this was ivory. Of cloves nearly a million dollars' 
worth were exported. The principal imports are raw and un- 
bleached cotton, and manufactured goods, the value of the latter 
being about double the former. The British Indian rupee (50 
cents), and the new rupee of the German East Africa Company 
are the coins current. As to the government, the protectorate of 
England was conferred in 1890. The Zanzibar dominions, origi- 
nally acquired by the Imams of Muscat by conquest from native 
chiefs and the Portuguese, were formerly held as appanages of 
Muscat, but in 1861 became independent of that State. The 
Sultan at the period of my visit was AH bin Said. He succeeded 
to the Sultanate in February, 1890, and was only on the throne 
about three years, dying of dropsy March 5, 1893, thirty-five 
years of age. The succession is not from father to son, as in 
most monarchical countries, but from brother to brother, and 
then starting afresh with the son of the last brother. The new 
Sultan is Hamed Said bin Tweni, son of the Sultan Said Tweni 
of Muscat — a grand-nephew of the late Sultan of Zanzibar. 

On the day of my arrival I had a sharp attack of Malagasy 
fever which kept me in bed for four days. It was probably con- 
tracted during my canoe voyage down the Ikopa and Betsiboka 
rivers, and was waiting until my system should be sufficiently ex- 
hausted to assert itself. This it certainly did, quite making up for 
any lost time by its vehemence. This fever, like so many of the 
African ones, generally commences in the afternoon with chills, 
and rises rapidly to its climax, with constant and terrific pain 
in the head, vomiting, profuse perspiration, frequently delirium, 
and then, on the following morning, great prostration and continu- 
ation of the pain in the head. This pain, by the way, is something 
that " must be felt to be appreciated." Sometimes it is a sharp 
pang that will pierce one part steadily for a period of twenty-four 
hours, without ceasing its power for a second. Sometimes the 
agony will be that produced by a tremendous pressure upon every 
portion of the skull, as if the blood were being forced into the 
head with a pump. The nausea continues, and you are quite un- 
able to eat until the fever is broken, and even then it may be weeks 
before you have a natural relish for your food. This fever increases 
every afternoon and evening, and gradually diminishes day by day 
until it ceases. The treatment usually followed is the heroic : first 
to give strong purgatives and afterwards heavy doses of quinine — 
thirty to fifty grains. As the fever lessens, the doses of quinine are 



278 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

diminished but not omitted for several days, or, sometimes, weeks. 
This is the fever which Madam Pfeiffer, the celebrated Austrian 
traveller, contracted in Madagascar, and of which she afterwards 
died. ' 

One day I took a drive of six or seven miles down the coast 
towards the south, to one of the Sultan's palaces — that which we 
passed in entering port from Madagascar. The road was good, be- 
ing macadamised the whole way. The vegetation consisted mostly 
of mango and cocoanut-palm trees, and much manioc was cultivated. 
Very striking in appearance were a few baobab trees, looking, with 
their branchless trunks and leafless limbs, like huge turnips stand- 
ing on their tops. Some of these trees bore at a distance the ap- 
pearance of a clump of half a dozen growing closely together. 
Some of their massy bodies were as much as twelve feet in diame- 
ter. There were but few native houses on my road, but several 
pretty bungalows of European merchants and of rich Banians 
doing business in the neighboring town. The palace of the Sul- 
tan is finely situated on a bluff at the edge of the beach, and a 
grand view may be had of the sea, the mainland of Africa, and of 
the city of Zanzibar. The palace seen near by is very plain and 
somewhat dilapidated. At one side were a large merry-go-round, 
and a huge vertical wheel fitted with swinging chairs. Both of 
these machines were turned by steam power. They gave a decided 
Coney Island flavor to the scene. At another spot were some pretty 
gardens full of bright flowers and curious-leaved plants, and sev- 
eral tanks and fountains. The interior of the palace is said to be 
handsomely furnished in European style, but it is only exhibited 
to visitors through special order from the Sultan. His Highness 
sometimes spends a day here, but never more, and consequently 
everything is allowed to go to " rack and ruin " in true Moham- 
medan fashion. On another occasion I took a drive in the oppo- 
site direction, along the coast towards the north. After passing 
through the Portuguese and Arab quarters, there came a very long 
street of Hindoo shops and huts, and then the open country. Soon 
thereafter I halted at the entrance of another of the Sultan's palaces 
and, alighting, visited the house and grounds. The latter are very 
extensive and are surrounded by a high coral-rock wall. They are 
full of palms and mango trees. A broad stone causeway leads from 
the gate directly to the building, which is large, two stories high, 
and faced by two pretty fountains, and a flower and vegetable gar- 
den. Eeturning to my dog-cart, I drove on through a fine grove 




H. H. the late Sultan of Zanzibar. 



MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 279 

of trees under which nestled several little villages. I then passed 
two or three old ruined palaces of former Sultans, and returned to 
town in the early evening. 

The Sultan has a band of thirty Portuguese musicians who play 
in a small square before his city palace every Wednesday afternoon 
from five to six, and for a short time at eight every evening. This 
serves also as the military band for the troops, who have besides a 
Suaheli drum and fife corps. For the weekly concert a circle of 
chairs is placed about the band for the exclusive use of the foreign 
residents. On one side of the square is the Sultan's harem. It is 
a large three-storied building, with several field-pieces stored upon 
the lower verandah, and Persian guards on duty at the door. The 
windows of the upper floors are carefully screened from too prying 
eyes by green jalousies, through which the ladies of the harem are 
supposed to be peeping during many of their waking hours. The 
Sultan is said to have some fifty or sixty women in his seraglio 
— Circassians, Georgians, Persians and Arabs — who are strictly 
guarded by black eunuchs and mutes. A covered bridge leads 
from the great palace to the quarters of the harem. Lying upon 
the ground near the palace were a score of old bronze cannon, some 
of them being twenty feet in length. Along the sea front here are 
also several large brass cannon, one of which is used for signals. 
There is also a large stone tank filled with water for public use, 
and drawn from faucets placed at frequent intervals. The tank 
has been fancifully fashioned in the form of a steamer. Here are 
also confined in cages a large African lion and lioness. At the 
time of my visit several hundred natives were grouped about the 
band, and were kept at a proper distance by an Arab armed with 
a huge stick. The band played a selection of operatic and mili- 
tary airs very well indeed, in fact I was agreeably surprised at the 
softness and sweetness of their music. But with such oriental 
surroundings a selection from " Martha " did seem rather bizarre. 
The concert terminated promptly at six by playing " God save the 
Queen," while the signal-gun boomed, the guards, drawn up in line, 
saluted, and the red flag of Zanzibar fell from its staff. It was 
quite a dramatic scene. 

During my stay in Zanzibar the (late) Sultan honored me with 
an invitation to visit him in the great palace which was reserved 
for audiences, balls and fetes, he himself living in a neighboring 
house connected with it by several enclosed bridges passing from 
floor to floor. Mr. C. W. Dow, the American Consul, who speaks 



280 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Suaheli fluently, was invited to accompany me. We went in full 
evening-dress, the Sultan sending for us one of his own carriages, 
with coachman in the royal livery. On alighting at the grand 
entrance of the palace we were received at the steps by the 
chamberlain. Then passing between double lines of the Persian 
guard, who presented arms at command of their officer, we 
entered the huge carved and bossed doors, passed under a massive 
crystal chandelier and then mounted a long wooden staircase to 
the second floor. The building is erected in a quadrangle and the 
great covered court is filled with double lines of staircases which 
connect the several floors. There are two flights running in op- 
posite directions between each floor, the ceilings being very high. 
At the top of our staircase the Sultan, surrounded by some of 
his head men and a few guards, stood waiting to receive us, bow- 
ing and shaking hands in most graceful and friendly fashion. He 
then led the way into a reception-hall, which extends the entire 
length of the building, and asked us to take chairs at a large 
round table near the centre of the room. Around the walls was 
a row of ordinary cane-seated chairs ; the rest of the furniture was 
in old gold and crimson brocade. Enormous chandeliers of crys- 
tal and silver depended from the lofty ceiling. Along the inner- 
wall of the room were niches which were filled with rare clocks, 
vases, and costly and curious bric-a-brac. On the opposite side 
was a row of windows reaching to the floor, and above them were 
wooden tablets covered with inscriptions in Arabic from the 
Koran, in gold letters upon a green background. Great mirrors 
in rich frames extended quite around the room and added much 
to its brilliancy. A single officer alone remained, and he was at a 
considerable distance. A long and spirited conversation then took 
place, Mr. Dow kindly acting as interpreter. 

His Highness was a medium-sized man of rather light-brown 
complexion, with bright dark eyes, having a pleasing expression, 
and wearing a beard and a moustache which were cropped close 
according to Moslem fashion. His voice was soft and rather thin 
and high, as if he was suffering from some throat or lung trouble, 
though he did not look in ill health. He was dressed in fine linen 
undergarments, over which was worn a dark cloth tunic, broidered 
heavily with gold lace. His feet were bare and thrust into leather 
sandals ; upon his head he wore a little white cap of very fine lawn. 
He had donned no jewelry of any description, nor any decorations, 
though, besides his own order, he has the Grand Cross of the Star 



MADAGASCAR TO ZANZIBAR. 281 

of India, received from Queen Victoria. There was a strong scent 
of attar of roses about His Highness. In conversation he showed 
himself very curious but courteous, asking many questions about 
America, and also concerning my travels in Africa and other parts 
of the world. He was graceful, dignified, and charmingly unaf- 
fected. During our interview fragrant coffee was served in little 
silver-mounted cups, and afterwards goblets of cool sherbet deli- 
cately flavored with bitter almonds. The Sultan then kindly offered 
to show us his palace, himself leading the way and explaining every- 
thing as we passed. All the walls of the interior corridors of each 
floor are covered with pictures, some by foreign, some by native 
artists, some of merit and many of none. I noticed portraits of 
the chief monarchs of Europe, several having been presented by 
themselves, and of Said Burgash, a former Sultan and brother of 
the late Sultan. There were also a number of pictures of local 
history. In one corner stood the as yet unused apparatus of a 
short line of telephone. In others were several cases full of 
Arabic books, among which the Koran and its commentaries 
were conspicuous. These corridors were full of furniture, gilded 
and plushed, of bureaus and sideboards and tables of choice 
woods, deftly carved. Rich gilded doors led from the corridors 
into various large parlors, reception-halls, ball and banquet rooms. 
They were of similar style of decoration and furnishment to the 
great reception-hall below. The Sultan took us from one of the 
upper floors out upon its wide verandah where the view of the 
harbor, the little islands, and even the distant mainland was very 
fine. He walked the entire length of this verandah with us, halt- 
ing some time in the corner nearest the harem. This I learned 
afterwards was to allow his ladies to have a peep at us through 
their Venetians. After resting a little in the reception-hall, where 
the Sultan kept up a lively and often humorous conversation with 
us, we took leave, His Highness coming to the top of the staircase, 
shaking hands, and wishing us every prosperity. At the outer door 
the Persian guard were again in line and saluted as we entered our 
carriage, around which a crowd of curious natives had collected 
and, thinking we must be people of some consequence, gravely 
salaamed to us as we drove away, well pleased with our courteous 
reception. The following day the Sultan did me the honor to 
bestow upon me his order of the Star of Zanzibar, and a large 
photograph of himself in his state robes, bearing his autograph in 
Arabic. I at once called at the palace to personally thank him 
20 



282 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

for his gracious kindness and, upon leaving, he surprised me by 
presenting me with a fine water-color painting which I had par- 
ticularly admired on my first visit. Its subject was the city of 
Zanzibar, with the foreign men-of-war, gayly decked in bunting, 
steaming past the palace, and firing salutes on the occasion of his 
succession to the Sultanate. 

I called one afternoon upon Tippoo Tib, the Arab governor of 
a large district of the Congo Free State, who was first made known 
to the world in the books of the explorer Stanley. Tippoo Tib ten 
or fifteen years ago was comparatively poor. He is now said to be 
the richest native in Africa, having property to the value of about 
$800,000. He is just building a fine large three-story house in the 
city of Zanzibar, and intends to reside here permanently after a visit 
to Europe, and one more to the Upper Congo. Tippoo received 
me at the street door and led me to a long narrow sitting-room 
upon the second floor. Here were ottomans and pillows, but the 
remainder of the furnishing was altogether in European style. 
Upon the wall hung many fine swords, daggers and pistols, and 
upon the centre-table were a set of tea-things and smoking uten- 
sils in delicate filigree silver-work. Tippoo is a large broad-shoul- 
dered man of more than middle-age. His head is shaved and his 
iron-gray beard trimmed close. He was dressed in a long tunic of 
fine white linen. His naked feet were in leather sandals, and upon 
his head he wore a cap of embroidered white linen. We took chairs, 
and through an interpreter had a long chat about Central Africa, 
Stanley, Zanzibar and Europe. Tippoo Tib's sons were administer- 
ing his province during his absence, and, learning that I intended 
to visit the Congo, he promised to give me letters of introduction 
to them. One of these, Sefu, the eldest, and a most bitter enemy 
of the Congo Free State, has since been killed in a fight with the 
Belgians. During our talk the customary small cups of coffee and 
large goblets of sherbet were served. Tippoo then took me all 
over his new house, with its wide view of the sea from the terraces. 
On leaving he insisted not only upon accompanying me to his door, 
but into the street for a distance of a hundred yards, as a special 
mark of respect, and appreciation of my call. 







Tippoo Tib. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

GERMAN EAST AFRICA. 

Before continuing my journey I paid a visit to the mainland 
at Bagamoyo, in company with two gentlemen connected with the 
American Consulate at Zanzibar. The distance across as sailed is 
about thirty miles. A strong current to the north sets through 
the channel between Zanzibar island and the continent, and there 
are many great sandbanks, some a little above, some a little below, 
the surface, both to be carefully avoided. The navigation is there- 
fore especially dangerous for steamers, which have to thread their 
way into port whether coming from the north or the south. We 
hired one of the Arab dhows to take us across. There are many 
hundreds of these boats which ply in and out of Zanzibar. They 
hear the letter Z and a number upon their sails, and nearly all carry 
the British flag. The special vessel that we hired was about thirty 
feet long, fifteen wide and ten deep. It had a long sharp prow and 
broad square stern. It was decked only a little space in the bow 
and in the stern. Under the latter was a small cabin capable of 
holding four people. The centre of the boat was roofed with palm- 
leaf and mats, upon which were placed great coils of rope and on 
one side a row-boat. The mast was about twenty-five feet in 
height and held a single lateen-sail attached to a yard perhaps 
forty feet in length. There were anchors in both bow and stern. 
In one place stood a large tank of drinking water, in another a 
box of sand where fires were made for cooking food. The crew 
numbered six Suaheli boys, with but one officer, the Arab captain. 
The men were quite naked, save for their small loin cloths. When 
the sail had been swung to one side, the stays were shifted to the 
opposite, thus giving additional support to the mast. The ropes 
were coarse but strong, being made of cocoanut fibre ; the blocks 
were crude enough affairs but seemed to answer their purpose. In 
fact the whole boat was coarse and primitive, roughly but very 

283 



284 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

strongly built of hard wood. These dhows will carry considerable 
cargo and are very good sea-boats. The Arab captains are capable 
and brave seamen, and are not afraid to carry sail in heavy weather. 
We started at half past twelve, our chief presenting a very pic- 
turesque appearance, standing upon the little quarter-deck dressed 
in a long yellow gown, over which was worn a short embroidered 
jacket, and a huge white turban, and giving his orders in a loud 
authoritative voice to weigh the anchor and hoist the sail. We 
were soon speeding over the roadstead and headed for Bagamoyo, 
which lies southwest of Zanzibar. The Sultan's tower remained 
in sight for a long time, and when we were half way across we 
could just discern both the island of Zanzibar and the low country 
in the neighborhood of Bagamoyo. We passed several dhows, and 
many men fishing with hook and line from little outrigger canoes 
far away in the middle of the channel, generally locating them- 
selves upon the edge of the great sandbanks. The water over 
these is of the most beautiful bright green tint, while all around it 
is of a dark purple. Upon some of the banks the sea breaks in 
long lines of foam. Their tawny yellow, and the varying tints of 
the water have a very pleasing effect. The wind generally rises 
about ten o'clock in the morning, and blows quite freshly during 
the remainder of the day. At night there is a land breeze and 
this is frequently used in returning from Bagamoyo, leaving there 
very early in the morning. At last we passed a large sandbank 
upon which a spindle had been placed, and now saw dimly before 
us the town of Bagamoyo. The coast here is low and level and 
is prefaced by a very wide and gently-sloping beach. Cocoanut 
palms are a prominent feature of the landscape. A score of two- 
and three-story residences of the German officials and merchants, 
and another score of Banian shops, owing to the density of the 
vegetation, alone appear from the sea, but beyond these stands a 
large native town with huts of mud and palm-leaf. The view is 
pretty, but tame. At the southern extremity is a small fort which 
was built by Major Wissmann. This mounts a few good modern 
cannon, and is garrisoned by a company of Soudanese. Near this 
is the building of the officers' mess, which contains also a reading- 
room and a billiard-table. It was through one of the windows of 
the dining-room of this house that Dr. Emin Pasha fell and frac- 
tured his skull on the occasion of a banquet given to him and to 
Stanley upon their return from Central Africa a few years ago. 
The windows at that time extended to the floor ; they have since 



GERMAN EAST AFRICA. 285 

been half blocked up to prevent further accidents. In the centre 
of the town facing the sea is the building of the German East 
Africa Company, a large two-story edifice reared upon stone and 
iron pillars. Behind this is the " Grand " Hotel, a little house 
with good accommodation, and a bowling alley iu course of con- 
struction. As we anchored in the semi-circular roadstead, near 
half a dozen other dhows, the wind was blowing very fresh and a 
high sea was rolling in upon the smooth beach. We had made the 
voyage in three hours, a very quick passage. We were rowed 
ashore in our small boat, or rather, we were rowed half-way ashore 
and then, mounted upon the backs of members of our crew, were 
carried in undignified but amusing positions to the dry land. The 
customs officials passed us at once and we walked to the hotel over 
a very sandy road. 

The whole location of Bagamoyo is sandy, and soil for the gar- 
dens has to be brought from the interior. Then, with the free 
use of water, most European vegetables can be grown. The offi- 
cials of the East Africa Company use an imported windmill for 
drawing water and, besides a fine large garden, exult in a pretty 
fountain. The Banian and foreign part of Bagamoyo consists 
mostly of two narrow parallel streets, covered with concrete. The 
houses are one and two stories in height and have little half-open- 
air shops under their front verandahs. The negro town has been 
largely laid out by the Germans and has grown very much of late 
years. The whole place is said to have a population of 30,000 and 
there are about thirty Europeans. The negro quarter is built quite 
upon the level sand, the streets are broad and straight, fenced off 
with cactus plants or pineapple shrubs, and rows of small cocoanut- 
palms have been set out for shade. The huts have high peaked 
roofs, which extend in front and make narrow verandahs, but the 
walls of the houses are very low and the doors too small even for 
the entry of an ordinary dog. In the bazaars we noticed that each 
merchant had for sale great quantities of very fine copper and 
brass wire, and bunches of beads in many colors and sizes. These 
constitute the money of the interior, the former corresponding in 
value to gold and the latter to silver. Cotton drillings and sheet- 
ings would probably in like manner correspond with a copper 
coinage. There were also many things from the distant interior 
exposed for sale : spears with broad, flat heads, and shields of 
bull's hide or wicker-work, short swords, war clubs, ostrich eggs, 
etc. Among the foods there were many grains and much manioc, 



286 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

many eggs, bananas, plantains and great heaps of unsavory dried 
shark's flesh. We called upon the highest German official resident 
in Bagamoyo and were received most courteously, being invited to 
take a drive in the only carriage in town, and over the sole road, 
and afterwards to dine at the officers' mess. The usual locomo- 
tion here and, in fact, in most parts of tropical Africa, is by foot, 
though there are many donkeys and a few saddle-horses used. 
The carriage belongs to one of the rich Parsee merchants. It is 
a victoria, with one horse, and a coachman in a fancy blue cloth 
uniform that is gayly trimmed with red. The road, made of 
broken shells, extends away to the north, parallel with the bay and 
passing through a splendid large cocoanut plantation and along a 
beautiful avenue of large mango trees, until you reach the French 
Catholic Mission. One of the brothers kindly showed us through 
the grounds, which are very extensive and embrace cocoanut and 
vanilla plantations, and gardens in which a great variety of Euro- 
pean vegetables are grown. This mission has been established 
nearly thirty years. It is intended for the education, both literary 
and technical, of native boys and girls. About thirty French men 
and women are at present connected with the mission, and are 
styled fathers, brothers and sisters. There are some three hun- 
dred pupils. The mission embraces comfortable modern dwellings 
for the children, school-houses, buildings where the brothers teach 
practically various manufactures and trades, a chapel, hospital, etc. 
The grounds are full of European trees mixed with the tropical, 
and there are several pretty shrines and statues of bronze which 
give the place a very cheerful civilised appearance. To my ques- 
tion, " Was the mission successful in its evangelical work ? " the 
reply was, simply, " We are getting on." The mission constitutes 
one of the chief sights of Bagamoyo, the other being what is called 
the Caravansary. We reserved a visit to this until the following 
day. 

On the outskirts of the town the Germans have set apart a con- 
siderable space and erected several barracks for the use of the great 
caravans that come down from the interior with ivory, hippopota- 
mus teeth and other commercial products. In the middle is a 
large stone-built quadrangle of godowns, or warehouses for storing 
the valuable goods, and in it is the residence of the manager of the 
caravansary. Frequently these caravans number one or two thou- 
sand men. They remain in Bagamoyo until cottons and manu- 
factured goods are to be carried into the interior. Unfortunately 



GERMAN EAST AFRICA. 287 

just at the time of our visit there was no great caravan nor were 
there any goods in the caravansary, but there were still a few na- 
tives who had not yet returned to their homes. These were from 
the country lying between Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria. They 
were a very dark people, scantily clothed, but all wearing a piece 
of a shell attached to a string of blue beads, as a charm, about 
their necks. Around their Avrists they wore sometimes as many 
as fifty bracelets of silver or brass wire, and, wound around their 
ankles, as many as ten yards of copper wire, which stuck up in a 
great bunch. They were not tall, and the men were generally 
thin and muscular, while the women were fat and glossy. The 
short hair, or wool rather, of their heads was frequently shaved in 
small patches of various concentric patterns. Very curious were 
their houses, simply little hollow hay-cocks, perhaps four feet high 
and five feet in diameter, with a hole a foot square for entrance. 
They were made of bundles of hay in the form of a bee-hive, and 
in them we generally found a native man or woman lying upon an 
ox-skin spread upon the ground. There was no furniture of any 
kind, but just outside and surrounded by a grass or palm-leaf 
fence, two or three feet high, were a few earthenware bowls and 
pots for cooking, a bark pail for holding water, and perhaps some 
cocoanut-shell saucers and some bottles made of gourds. These 
huts were generally massed under the large trees. Sometimes two 
or three of them would open into the same little yard, in which 
case they were probably owned by the same family. These na- 
tives seemed very stolid and unintelligent, although they did dis- 
play some curiosity about our personal appearance. They fre- 
quently march with their loads for a thousand miles and are many 
months on their way from the centres of the continent. At Baga- 
moyo I had an opportunity to see a great quantity of ivory as it 
comes to market, quite in the rough. The tusks were of all sizes 
and of many shapes and colors. They seemed to be hollow for 
about half their length. A large tusk would be some eight feet in 
length, would weigh 175 pounds, and be worth 8600. The best 
ivory is used for making billiard-balls, and no good substitute has 
ever been found for their manufacture. Ivory, as I have already 
indicated, is at present the principal export of the Zanzibar mer- 
chants and when we know of one single house there sending away 
in one year 6,000 tusks and are told that 65,000 elephants are killed 
annually in Africa, it certainly looks as if this splendid animal, 
like the American bison, must at no distant day become extinct. 



288 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

What then shall be the substitute for ivory? Doubtless when that 
time arrives, if not before, some product will be found or some 
manufacture invented. We left Bagamoyo at eight o'clock in the 
morning but owing to light and partially adverse winds did not 
reach Zanzibar until three in the afternoon, more than double the 
time required for the voyage in the opposite direction. I was 
very glad to have made this little flying visit to Bagamoyo, asso- 
ciated in my mind, as it always has been, with the inland journeys 
of Burton, Speke, Stanley and Cameron, and as once a great slave 
entrepot, but afterwards simply the terminus and the port of great 
highways leading into Central Africa. 

After a round of calls upon the foreign officials and merchants 
of Zanzibar, who had shown me so much attention during my 
stay, 1 took passage in one of the German steamers for Port 
Natal, with stops at Mozambique, and Lorenzo Marquez in Dela- 
goa Bay. There are only two lines of regular mail and passen- 
ger steamers plying between Zanzibar and Port Natal — a Portu- 
guese and a German. Both of these have small connecting steam- 
ers at Zanzibar and Mozambique in which you may visit the 
smaller intermediate seaports. By either line the traveller has an 
opportunity of remaining two or three days at Mozambique. My 
steamer was of about 2,500 tons burden, and very clean and com- 
fortable. There were only two passengers besides myself in the 
first cabin and but three or four in the second, while in the third 
were some score of Englishmen, Germans, Italians and Greeks going 
out to the gold fields of the Transvaal. Early the next morning 
the mainland was in plain sight— smooth ranges of hills covered 
with forest. About ten o'clock we entered the Bay of Lindi 
and in half an hour more were anchored some three miles from 
the town of the same name, and distant about midway between 
Zanzibar and Mozambique. It is a German possession. The 
country round about was covered with rough forest, conspicuous 
on the borders of which were the uncouth baobabs which, with 
their gnarled and bulbous trunks and branches, reminded one of 
Dore's illustrations to Dante. In one of the largest groves of 
cocoanut" palms stood the town of Lindi, a great collection of 
grass huts, and a few large stone buildings inhabited by foreigners. 
Anchored near the beach were a number of dhows. A small river 
enters the head of the bay and through a break in the hills in 
which it flows we had a distant view of the interior. This river 
is navigable for native boats some twenty miles. The shores of 



GERMAN EAST AFRICA. 289 

the bay held several small villages, and solitary huts could be 
seen in clearings of the forest. As we lay at anchor I observed 
many huge sun fish coming to the surface for food, and occa- 
sionally also the triangular fin of a shark prowling about the 
steamer. We remained only an hour at Lindi and then once 
more headed south for Mozambique. 

Early the following morning I obtained my first view of 
Mozambique town and island, and of a large square stone light- 
house which is built upon a low island in the sea some distance 
to the eastward. The mainland was covered with forest and along 
the sandy beach were great groves of cocoanut palms. The island 
was low and mostly filled by the town and its suburbs of grass 
huts. At the northern end stood a great fortress, with massive 
stone walls, forty feet in height, from embrasures in which there 
peeped the muzzles of many cannon of small calibre. Above the 
walls appeared the spire of a church or two and the flagstaffs of 
a number of foreign consulates. As we steamed slowly along we 
saw that the town was mostly built of single-story stone houses, 
plastered and variously colored red, pink, yellow, or lavender, or 
simply left white. Broad sandy beaches and coral reefs seemed 
to fringe the island. There were many cocoanut palms and a few 
other trees. The effect from a distance was thoroughly oriental 
and tropical. The island is about a mile and a quarter long and 
only a quarter of a mile broad. It extends northeast and south- 
west. Its northerly and southerly points are separated from the 
mainland by channels perhaps each a mile in width. The north- 
erly is the only one navigable by steamers. The anchorage is 
upon the west side in a large and secure bay, which extends far 
into the interior of the continent, with heavily wooded shores. 
In the distance a few pointed hills are seen. The steamer en- 
trance to this commodious harbor is narrow and tortuous, and you 
pass near the great fort, whose arched and ornamented gateway 
carries one in imagination back to the middle ages. A long iron 
pier runs out from the shore and provides a convenient landing. 
Near it was a small fleet of dhows at anchor, and other boats 
were drawn up upon the beach. We passed a small Portuguese 
man-of-war, three or four Portuguese steamers, a German one — 
that connecting with our own for the minor coast ports — and a 
Swedish brig, and then we dropped anchor perhaps half a mile 
from the town, and nearly opposite its centre. From this position 
we could look through both channels out to sea. A dilapidated 



290 ' ACTUAL AFRICA. 

fort occupied the southern end of the island. The health officers 
came off to us and after a considerable discussion agreed to allow 
us to " communicate " with the shore, without the quarantine 
which, the steamer coming previously from the then cholera-in- 
fested port of Hamburg, we had reason to expect. Natives in 
small canoes filled with great varieties of most beautiful shells and 
corals, paddled beside us, vociferously praising their wares and 
prices. The little German steamer then came alongside to receive 
her supply of coal and to give and receive cargo. 

Mozambique and its dependencies on the mainland consist of 
some 200,000 square miles, and contain a population estimated at 
1,000,000. The island, which lies in 15° of south latitude, is said 
to hold about 8,000 people. The province is administered by a 
governor-general, who is appointed by the Crown of Portugal, 
and armed with almost unlimited authority. He is aided by a 
provincial council and district governors, and a small military 
force. The neighboring mainland peninsula of Cabaccira is the 
cultivated portion of Mozambique— rice, maize, cassava, oranges, 
cocoanuts and coffee being raised in large quantities. The ex- 
ports of Mozambique are ivory, rubber, ground nuts, sesame seeds, 
wax, skins, tortoise-shell, gum copal, sago and timber. A large 
trade is carried on with India by Banian merchants, chiefly in 
Arab vessels manned by Arab seamen. At the head of the bay is 
the village of Messuril, where a large annual fair is held by 
Africans who come from the interior in caravans of sometimes 
3,000 men, bringing native products to exchange for the manu- 
factured goods of Europe and America. The greater number of 
the people who attend this fair belong to the Wahiao tribe. This 
is the tribe of which Chuma, Dr. Livingstone's faithful servant, 
was a member. It will be remembered that Chuma was with 
Dr. Livingstone during his nine last years of travel, and after his 
death accompanied his remains to England. Mozambique island 
being entirely covered with houses produces nothing, and its in- 
habitants receive all their food from the mainland. Every 
morning the bay is dotted with boats coming over to the island 
and every evening the bulk of travel is in the reverse direction. 



CHAPTEK XXXII. 

MOZAMBIQUE AND LORENZO MARQUEZ. 

Upon landing at the town, I was agreeably surprised at the 
cleanliness of the streets, so different from most oriental towns. 
They were narrow and crooked, but they were smoothly macad- 
amised and had little sidewalks, covered with hard plaster, at the 
curb of which were useful gutters. The streets were named by 
large enamel signs, and were lighted at night by lamps bracketed 
to the walls of the houses. Occasionally they would cross each 
other in such a way as to leave little triangular parks, and here 
you would find ambitious bronze candelabra recalling a European 
town. The dwellings are mostly of but one story, though several 
of the public buildings have two. There are a number of very 
old and curious small churches, massively built of coral rock. The 
municipal building is quite interesting from its quaint architecture, 
its doorways and plaster ornamentations. It is now used as a prison. 
The governor-general's palace is a large two-storied building facing 
the landing-pier. It was formerly a Jesuit convent. There is 
an open tree-lined space in front, and a band-stand where mili- 
tary music is performed three times a week. I was the fortunate 
bearer of a letter of introduction from the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs of Portugal to the governor. One of the native guards at 
the gate took my card to an aide-de-camp, and I passed through a 
long corridor and entered the patio or inner court of the palace. 
This was neatly paved with tiles and embellished with a flower 
garden and a fountain. At one side a grand double staircase, 
surmounted by elaborate coats-of-arms and national paraphernalia 
sculptured in plaster in high relief, led to the second floor. I 
was ushered into a very large ante-room with lofty ceiling, com- 
fortably though not grandly furnished. The walls were covered 
with groups of African weapons arranged in ornamental patterns. 
Here I forwarded my letter to the governor, and was soon sum- 

291 



292 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

moned to the reception-parlor, on one wall of which hung a large 
oil portrait of the King of Portugal. The governor-general, His 
Excellency Eaphael d'Andrada, entered, a bright pleasant young 
man of medium height and light complexion. He received me 
most courteously and offered to assist my travels in any way in his 
power. He had formerly been the captain of a man-of-war and 
had visited all parts of the world. He spoke French and also 
English very well. He gave me permission to visit the great 
fortress, parts of which, he said, were nearly four hundred years 
old. The fort is called St. Sebastian, and is approached from 
the town by a long avenue of beautiful wild fig-trees. I visited 
it after leaving the governor. A young lieutenant showed me 
around. It has been enlarged and modernised and is now in 
good condition, though it could hardly withstand the fire of one 
of the war-cruisers of the present day. The walls are of cut 
coral rock. There are massive bastions on each of the corners, 
where through notches in the parapet some fifty cannon protrude 
their muzzles. These are mostly old-fashioned iron 24-pounders, 
but there are a few new, though very small, brass guns. On top 
of one of these bastions there is quite a pretty garden of fig-trees, 
acacias, grape-vines, oleanders and other flowering plants. About 
three hundred troops under command of a major, are now in 
garrison. They are mostly half-castes or Creoles. They wear a 
uniform of yellow drilling, with small cloth skull-caps, a curious 
head-gear for such a latitude. The greater part of the population 
of Mozambique are Africans, then come Asiatics — Indians and 
Goanese from Hindoostan — Creoles and half-castes and some two 
hundred Europeans, the most of whom are Portuguese, there 
being only about a score of other foreigners — English, French, 
Dutch and German. The town being small you can generally 
get about on foot, though all the well-to-do inhabitants use a sort 
of palanquin called a machilla, which is borne by four men. It 
is simply an oblong cane-seated chair or lounge, in which you sit 
or recline, and is attached by ropes to a long bamboo pole, above 
which a canvas awning is fastened. It is much like the cango of 
Japan, though being larger is more comfortable. I visited the 
market, a small fenced enclosure with two large sheds and a pave- 
ment covered with smooth plaster. There seemed as many vend- 
ers squatting in the sun as under the iron roofs of the buildings. 
There was not a great variety of food offered for sale but there 
was an active business done in native beer brewed from the cachou 



MOZAMBIQUE AND LORENZO MARQUEZ. 293 

fruit. It was dispensed in large earthenware jars. This beer is 
light and wholesome, and its flavor is not displeasing to a Euro- 
pean palate. 

After stopping two days at Mozambique we went on to Delagoa 
Bay, having with us three additional passengers in the first cabin. 
As we were passing the old fortress the serried ranks of cannon 
suddenly belched forth a thundering salute of twenty-one " guns." 
This was in honor of Conselheiro Antonio Ennes, who was on his 
way to Lorenzo Marquez as special commissioner on the part of 
Portugal for the delimitation of the Anglo-Portuguese frontier in 
East Africa, and for determining the interpretation to be placed 
on some of the terms of the Convention of 1891 with England. 
Senhor Ennes was formerly a major in the army, and afterwards 
Minister of the Marine and Colonies at Lisbon. He is not only 
a diplomatist of proved ability, but a very amiable and highly 
accomplished gentleman, being distinguished as a dramatist and 
journalist as well as a soldier and statesman. The other new 
passengers were an Englishman in the Telegraph Service and a 
Boer, a resident of Johannesburg, in the gold-fields of South 
Africa. In a few hours the low-lying town and island were out of 
sight, as was also the distant tree-covered coast of the continent. 
Our general course was south-southwest down the Mozambique 
Channel, the great island of Madagascar lying some 250 miles to 
the eastward. On November 1st we crossed the Tropic of Capri- 
corn, and on the same day brought into sight the mainland in the 
neighborhood of Cape Corrientes and the town of Inhambane— 
steep, sandy bluffs and smooth shrub-covered hills bordering the 
coast. About noon on the following day we reached Delagoa Bay 
and Lorenzo Marquez. Directly at the mouth of the bay lies the 
large island of Inyack, of a sandy soil and overgrown with dense 
scrub. There are many reefs about and the channel is rather 
tortuous. The color of the water changes rapidly from dark- 
blue to dark-green and then to a dirty yellow. A small point of 
land projected from the northern shore upon which were a light- 
house, signal-station and some barracks for troops. The bluff 
showed a peculiar red soil. The opposite shore was low, smooth 
and lightly wooded. Passing the lighthouse we entered what is 
called English river, here perhaps a couple of miles in width. 
This stream is said to be navigable for light-draught steamers a 
distance of some seventy miles. Having rounded the point, the 
town of Lorenzo Marquez suddenly appeared before us, lying upon 



294 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the side and foot of a range of low hills facing the west. The 
gay colors of the houses and the quantities of trees between them 
made a very agreeable picture. The appearance of the town, 
which has a population of about six thousand, was altogether 
European and very striking by contrast with Zanzibar and Mo- 
zambique, which I had just left. 

We anchored near a little Portuguese man-of-war, a couple of 
steamers, and a few native trading-boats. Along the river's edge 
was a stone embankment, from several parts of which piers pro- 
jected. Here in the centre were two very large sheds belonging to 
the Custom-house. Away to the right, high up the hill, was a 
square stone building with castellated spires at the corners. I 
thought this might be a general mausoleum, with mural niches, 
and was surprised to learn that it was a powder magazine, for a 
more conspicuous building or site could hardly have been found. 
In about the centre of the town stood a very pretty white church 
and near it a large hospital. Away to the left upon a projecting 
knoll, were half a dozen large yellow barracks, and before them 
stood a saluting battery. At this extremity of the town were a 
railway station, machine shop, and car and locomotive sheds. The 
railway is to run eventually to Pretoria, the capital of the Trans- 
vaal Republic, and already covers 143 miles, the total distance being 
350. Loaded trains were passing, and added greatly to the Euro- 
pean aspect of the place. I went on shore and found a very clean 
little town with straight macadamised streets and concrete side- 
walks. The dwellings and shops were mostly of one story ; two or 
three hotels were of two stories. Most of the houses have iron 
roofs and sides. This makes a cool and lasting dwelling. Upon 
one side of a neat square was the governor's residence, an unpre- 
tentious building. You pass abruptly from the streets of the 
town to those running into the country, which are laid out with 
great width and bordered with rows of trees. I visited what is 
called the Botanic Garden and found it small, though full of a 
great variety of trees belonging both to tropical and temperate 
zones. As Lorenzo Marquez stands at the beginning of the short- 
est route from the coast to the gold-fields of Barberton and 
Johannesburg, and as it possesses a splendid harbor in which large 
steamers can anchor within -a short stone's throw of the shore, I 
expected to find it a place of considerable business activity, and I 
was not disappointed. About two hundred foreigners are engaged 
in business here — mostly Dutch and German, with a few English 



MOZAMBIQUE AND LORENZO MARQUEZ. 295 

and French. The remainder of the population is made up of 
Portuguese, Creoles, Banians and the representatives of many races 
of Africans. 

As my steamer was to remain in port for a day or two, I 
availed myself of the opportunity to make an excursion by rail to 
the Portuguese frontier and the town of Komati Poort, some 
sixty-three miles distant. The daily train started at 7 a. m., 
and I could spend about three hours at Komati Poort and 
return to Lorenzo Marquez by 6.30 p. m. The railway is of nar- 
row gauge. The locomotives have been built in England and the 
cars and vans either in Holland or Germany, that is to say, their 
parts have been made there, and brought out and put together 
here. A Dutch company has the contract for continuing and 
completing the road to Pretoria. Komati Poort is really a few 
miles beyond the Portuguese frontier, in the Transvaal. I was 
therefore only able to buy a " round " ticket to Ressano Garcia, 
the actual frontier station, and then to purchase another there 
to Komati Poort. The cars were diminutive little affairs, built 
partly on the English and partly on the American plan. You could 
pass from end to end of the train. The cars were of four classes, 
those of the first having comfortable leather-covered seats. The 
fourth were simply open freight ears, in which the natives stand 
or lie like animals. There were however but few passengers. 
The blacks proved interesting. They belonged mostly to the 
Amatonga and Swazi tribes. The men were of good size and 
muscular ; the women were fat and sleek. All were very dark, 
with short woolly hair, in which one or two feathers were generally 
stuck, not, as one would think, for ornament, but to use in scratch- 
ing the head. These gave a funny look indeed to the faces be- 
neath them. The natives were always chatting, laughing and 
skylarking. The dress of the women was simply two pieces of 
gay-colored calico or cotton, the one worn as a chemise, the other 
as a gown. They wore much jewelry : silver finger rings and 
buttons in their ears, bangles around their wrists, and rings of 
copper around their ankles. The men were clothed only in loin 
cloths, over which were suspended two pieces of an animal's skin, 
a flap before, another behind. They had sometimes many yards of 
copper or brass wire coiled about their ankles, sometimes several 
strings of coins or shells, or both. They often wore charms of 
bone or shell about their necks. Occasionally you might see one 
who had eked out his scanty costume with a European-made vest 



296 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

or hat, or a military coat. One fellow strutted up and down the 
platform of one of the stations with a pair of antelope horns fas- 
tened to his neck and standing out from his head in a very divert- 
ing fashion. These natives are either employed upon the railway 
or the plantations of foreigners. Many of them live in hamlets 
along the line, where the women till the fields and the men and 
boys bring food — chickens, eggs, fruit and bottles of milk — to the 
stations to sell to passing travellers. We followed the banks of 
the English river for a short distance, and then turned away and 
pursued a northwest course to our destination. The country 
throughout was of the same general character, low and level, and 
covered with grass and scrubby trees. You especially remarked 
the juxtaposition of vegetation belonging to widely separated 
zones. There were many species of palms and cacti, and a great 
number of calabash trees. At the stations were little else than 
the necessary railway buildings, and no towns appeared between 
them. The scattered houses of the natives were made of grass in 
beehive form, with an entrance not two feet in height. I saw 
many half-naked women at work in the fields, using great clumsy 
hoes, and often smoking pij)es. Sometimes they had a child 
strapped to their backs. Much maize and wheat seemed to be 
grown, but the greater part of the country was simply covered 
with coarse grass and with a squat sort of tree with gnarled 
branches. I noticed very few cattle, and these were not of good 
appearance. The scenery was altogether tame until the end of 
the journey was approached. Here we followed the banks of the 
Incomati river for a considerable way and then saw a distant 
chain of mountains to the left. These trend north and south, and 
are called the Lombobo Range. They serve as a division between 
the possessions of Portugal and the Transvaal. The southern fron- 
tier of the former is only seventy miles south of Delagoa Bay. 
Komati Poort consists of about a score of European houses, and a 
small settlement of blacks lying on the gentle slope of a wide 
valley. It boasts a hotel, many drinking saloons, and a few shops 
of provisions and miscellaneous manufactured goods. I was at- 
tracted to one of the latter by the great quantity of horns of ani- 
mals peculiar to South Africa lining the verandah. I found 
Koodoo horns selling for 15 shillings a pair, Buffalo £2, Hartbeest 
5 shillings, Sable Antelope £2, and the skull of a Hippopotamus 
for £4. Inside the shop were Leopard skins worth £2 each, and 
a splendid skin of a huge yellow Lion, for which the moderate 



MOZAMBIQUE AND LORENZO MARQUEZ. 297 

price of £5 was demanded. After lunch at the " Eailway Hotel," 
I returned to Lorenzo Marquez. 

The next day at noon we left for Port Natal, a voyage of three 
hundred miles. The continent, ten or fifteen miles distant, was in 
sight most of the way — a smooth, wooded country. Owing to a 
strong head-wind and very heavy sea we reached Port Natal too 
late to pass the bar on the flood tide, and were obliged to anchor 
off shore for the night. Cape Natal, a wooded bluff some three 
hundred feet high, and bearing a lighthouse whose splendid flash- 
light may be seen from a distance of thirty miles, juts into the sea 
towards the northeast, where is the outlet of a large interior bay 
that is fed by three rivers. There is a bad bar here and, though 
long and costly breakwaters have been built with a view of im- 
proving the channel, it has been found impossible to retain a suffi- 
cient depth for the largest steamers. Upon the northern shores of 
the bay, and three miles from the extremity of Cape Natal, is situ- 
ated the English town of Durban, of which Port Natal is simply 
what its name implies. We anchored near a large steamer of the 
Castle Line. A steam-tender, with the Health Officer, came out to 
us, and gave us permission to enter port the next morning, when 
there would be the greatest depth of water on the bar. To the 
north, above our position, was a long high ridge, mostly cleared of 
trees and covered with sugar-cane plantations. Directly facing us 
was a range of hills, about five hundred feet in height, which was 
thickly dotted with the residences of Durban officials and mer- 
chants. This is called the Berea and may be regarded as the 
largest suburb of Durban. But little of the city proper can be seen 
from the ocean. It lies too low and level. You observe, however, 
the tall tower of the fine Town Hall, a spire of a church, and a few 
large houses along the shore — the hospital, and the large " Beach 
Hotel." To the extreme left, near the entrance of the port, are 
seen the masts of several ships lying in the bay. Port Natal is 
1,200 miles from Mozambique, or 1,800 from Zanzibar, and about 
800 from Cape Town. Including the stops I was twelve days on 
the voyage. 



21 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

NATAL. 

At five o'clock we crossed the bar, and passing the long break- 
waters, slowly entered the port of Durban and drew up at the 
wharf, making fast in line with a dozen or more vessels of medium 
tonnage. On shore were various shipping offices and a large brick 
hotel. Cars were standing on several tracks of railway. Tugs 
were busy hauling lighters. A 'bus stood near by, and a uniformed 
customs official was at the gangway. I realized that I had reached 
a thorough-going British Colony. Making a simple " declaration " 
regarding my baggage, it and myself were soon bundled into a car- 
riage, and all started for the town, two miles distant. A tramway 
connects the port and a suburb, called Addington, with Durban, but 
it was not running at the early hour of our arrival. We drove 
rapidly along a broad, clean, macadamised avenue, lined with small 
single-story cottages surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, and 
turning into one of the three principal parallel streets of the city, 
passed a small but neat hotel, some Law Courts, and then the 
handsome Town Hall, appearing beyond and above a fine park, 
furnished with the conventional bandstand. Opposite this park 
was the hotel to which I had been recommended. And a more 
extraordinary structure I have never beheld in any part of the world. 
Apparently the citizens of Durban and visitors from this section of 
Africa dislike to mount staircases, for this hotel is but a single story 
in height, and is therefore spread over several acres. The front 
gardens were ablaze with lovely flowers which exhaled the rich- 
est perfumes. Entering I found halls like lanes running in every 
direction and most of them lined with pots of flowers and plants, 
and hung with heads and horns of South African game. Passing 
through a number of offices, reception-rooms and corridors, I came 
out into a large paved courtyard full of flowers and vines, and fur- 
nished with a fountain. Here were placed rows of great reclining- 

298 




^ "5 



NATAL. 299 

chairs, and on every side were rooms for guests. I wandered about, 
discovering one by one all the apartments necessary for the equip- 
ment of a first-class hotel, but this I did at great risk of getting 
lost. Flitting about in every direction with bare feet were Hindoo 
(Madrassee) servants, neatly and cleanly clad in white tunic and 
trousers, and wearing graceful white turbans. I afterwards found 
the hotel to be as well arranged and comfortable as it was novel 
and curious. Durban has a population of 30,000, of which number 
about one-half are English, one-quarter negroes, and one-quarter 
natives of India. 

In the afternoon I took a long drive through the city and out 
into the country to the top and along the crest of the Berea. Here 
there is a small hotel which commands, on the one side, a splendid 
view over the town, the port and the ocean, and upon the other, of 
the beautiful green hills and valleys of the interior. The view in 
this direction reminded me of many parts of England, with its 
general style of park-land, groves of trees and open country. 
There were cultivated here also much sugar-cane, tea, coffee, and 
tropical fruits and vegetables. Right at one side of the very Eng- 
lish-looking hotel and surrounding gardens, stood a mango tree 
and a huge roffia palm. The principal roads are broad and ma- 
cadamised. A tramway line runs nearly the whole length of the 
Berea. The open cars are drawn by three horses harnessed abreast. 
The country houses are of pleasing architecture, and some of them 
of brick and two stories in height, of Queen Anne style, sur- 
rounded by extensive grounds laid out in lawns, flower-gardens 
and paths, would be no discredit to a watering place like Long 
Branch. There is a very good Botanical Garden on the Berea, to 
which the public are admitted free. A small greenhouse contains 
a capital collection of orchids. 

I reached the TTmgeni river on the north and returned by the 
great plain upon which lies Durban, and which would contain a 
city three times the size. In the evening we had very heavy rain, 
which as the rainy season is coming on, will occur frequently now, 
and to which is due the deep rich green of the verdure all about 
the city and extending along the coast of the colony for a distance 
of about thirty miles inland. This has caused Natal to be called 
the " Garden of South Africa." Here tropical agriculture gener- 
ally prevails. To this region succeeds one where English styles of 
farming are carried on, and wheat, oats, barley and Indian corn are 
grown. Next comes the veldt or grazing country, where sheep- 



300 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

farming and the breeding of horses and cattle are the chief pur- 
suits of the inhabitants. 

The streets of Durban always afford interesting sights and 
scenes. As with the commingling of the vegetal products of two 
zones in this semi-tropical colony, so with the varied and pic- 
turesque blending of things English and things African, of life 
and customs at home and of those adopted abroad. In the first 
place Durban is a very pretty and lively town. It is laid out at 
right angles, with very wide macadamised streets and flagged side- 
walks. The majority of the buildings are but a single-story in 
height, and are made of brick and plaster with iron roofs, although 
plain brick and even stone are rapidly coming into use. There are 
many fine and useful public buildings. The Town Hall, near the 
centre of Durban, would be an ornament to any city. It occupies 
an entire square and is built of a gray sandstone, with a lofty tower 
in which a clock strikes the hours, halves and quarters, together 
with additional chimes. In the centre of the building is a large 
hall, with gallery and stage suitable for political meetings, concerts 
and balls. Other parts are occupied by the Post Office, the Museum, 
and the various municipal offices. The Museum, which is free to 
the public, is small but interesting, being devoted almost exclu- 
sively to collections from Natal and South Africa generally. 
There are minerals, shells, coins, animals, plants, and the dress 
and weapons of native tribes. All are well arranged and carefully 
labelled. Near the Town Hall is a public swimming bath, admis- 
sion to which is little more than nominal. The swimming tank is 
ninety feet long, thirty broad, three feet deep at one end and eight 
at the other. Durban boasts of a pretty little theatre, which has 
two galleries and eight stage-boxes. It is used at present only by 
travelling companies. There are also a free public library and 
reading-room. In short, most of the institutions thought neces- 
sary at home are here represented, and it is with difficulty one 
comes to believe one's self actually in " savage " Africa. There are 
but few cabs in Durban, but there is the tramway, with its one- 
and also two-deck cars, and there are regular stands of single and 
double 'ricshaws, a sort of baby-carriage, like those in use in Japan, 
where the idea originated, pulled by a native at a fast trot and 
costing a sixpence by the course. These vehicles are used also in 
Ceylon, and might with advantage be introduced elsewhere. Very 
odd it is to see occasionally in the streets — amid smart English 
drags, and dog-carts with tandem teams, and young men astride 






A Zulu Venus. 



NATAL. 301 

bicycles — huge four-wheeled wagons holding four tons and drawn 
by nine yoke of sturdy oxen. Curious also are the native police- 
men with their helmets and uniforms like those of the London 
police, but with knee-breeches only, their chocolate-colored calves 
being quite bare. They are picked men, however, and of fine 
physique. The streets are diversified and enlivened also by the 
features and costumes of the different neighboring tribes, of Zulus, 
Swazis, Amatongas, Basutos, and Pongos, to all of whom the gen- 
eral name of Kaffir seems to be indiscriminately applied. Then 
there are, moreover, Banians, Chinese, Madrassees, Boers and vari- 
ous European nationalities. The principal exports of Port Natal 
are wool, sheep- and ox-skins, and sugar. 

Having seen everything of interest in Durban, I left for the 
gold-fields and diamond-mines of the interior. My objective for 
the former was the city of Johannesburg, in the centre of the 
diarsrmsrs, which is in a general northwesterly direction from Dur- 
ban and is reached by 304 miles of railway to the borders of the 
Transvaal Republic, and then 135 miles by coach — the total dis- 
tance by this route being therefore -439 miles from the coast. It 
is traversed in forty-eight hours, including brief stoppages for food 
and sleep. The railway is eventually to be extended from the 
frontier of Natal across the Transvaal to Johannesburg. There 
are several lines of railway running from different parts of South 
Africa towards Johannesburg, but only one- 1 — that from Cape Town 
— as yet reaches it ; by the others the latter part of the journey 
has always to be made by coach. As the tariff is very high, and 
the coaches used in the interior cannot carry much baggage, 
I sent nearly all of mine by sea to Cape Town, there to await my 
arrival. An express train leaves Durban daily at 6 p. m. for 
Charlestown, the present terminus, arriving at 11.30 A. M. the 
following day. The coach is advertised to leave half an hour 
later. The railway is a narrow-gauge single-track, the road-bed is 
" metalled," the bridges are of cut stone, and the signals embody 
the latest improvements. At the station I found a short train 
of small carriages arranged in three classes, with a baggage van 
and powerful locomotive. Owing to the hilly character of 'the 
country and its rapid rise from the sea the line is very tortuous. 
There were not many passengers of the first and second class, but 
two carriages were crowded with Kaffirs. For a long distance 
from Durban the country was covered with the suburban resi- 
dences of her citizens, and with fruit and vegetable gardens. The 



302 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

broken character of the surface, and the intense green of the 
glossy verdure had a very pleasing appearance. In two hours' 
time we had ascended 2,500 feet and reached another climate. 
Much tea and many bananas were grown hereabouts. We saw 
several huts of the Zulus and numbers of these nearly wholly nude 
people. In two hours more we had reached Maritzburg, the capi- 
tal, a pretty town about half the size of Durban. Here I pur- 
chased for five shillings a " sleeping-ticket," which entitled me to 
have brought into my comjmrtment a heavy blanket, a sheet and 
two pillows, this being the nearest approach to a sleeping-car yet 
known upon this road. In the fine, large, brick station in which 
we halted were trucks bearing great piles of this bedding, which 
natives wheeled opposite each compartment and gave to those 
willing to pay the extra price. It was removed early in the morn- 
ing at another station. We stopped several times for refreshments, 
there being a choice offered of sitting at a table for a regular 
meal, or getting a lunch at a bar. The bars were always large and 
profusely supplied with " wet goods." The English governor of 
Natal resides at Maritzburg. Ladysmith, a little village of iron- 
roofed houses, which we reached at half-past five the following 
morning, is 3,300 feet above the sea. As we went on I saw that 
we had attained an entirely new style of country — undulating 
plains, for the most part treeless, and with a range of mountains, 
the Drakensburg, to the westward. One part of this range, nearly 
due west of Ladysmith, is 10,000 feet high. The Drakensburg 
forms the dividing line between Natal and the Orange Free State. 
We passed many Kaffir kraals or villages, with their circular en- 
closures for cattle, around which were placed their beehive-shaped 
grass and reed huts. On the grassy plains were occasionally to be 
seen small herds of cattle or flocks of sheep. English or Boer 
farms were few and far between. At Newcastle, a small town 268 
miles from Durban, and nearly 4,000 feet above it, we halted for 
breakfast. From here on, the engineering of the road was quite 
remarkable. It was full of loops, horseshoe curves, sometimes 
almost complete circles, steep grades, and in one place several 
tangents, the locomotive pulling first at one end of the train and 
then at the other. Coal of seemingly good quality was being 
mined at several points upon the railway between Newcastle and 
Charlestown. Four or five miles from the latter we passed through 
a rough ridge in a long tunnel. Charlestown I found to be a small 
village of two or three long, wide streets, with houses of hasty and 



NATAL. 303 

4 

flimsy construction, and everything betraying a temporary town, 
for when the railway is continued it will relapse into merely a sta- 
tion. Charlestown is 5,400 feet above the sea-level. 

At the side of the depot stood our coach, which I was surprised 
to find was of the " Concord " pattern, from New Hampshire, U. 
S. A. It was a huge structure, swung upon great leather straps, 
and carried twelve passengers inside and six outside. It was 
drawn by a team of eight mules and two horses, the latter leading. 
We employed mules over the rougher parts of the road, but else- 
where the teams consisted entirely of horses. All these animals 
were in fine condition, fat, strong and willing. Forty pounds only 
of bao'crage was allowed free to each passenger, all above that hav- 
ing to be paid for at a dear rate. The baggage having been 
weighed and our tickets shown, we took our seats, the coach being 
about half full. I therefore was able to obtain an outside seat, 
while reserving that in the inside which I had engaged for shelter 
in case of rain. There mounted before me two Boers, the one the 
driver, the other the conductor, a man whose duty it was to tend 
the break and castigate the team. I was surprised to find the 
driver employed but two pairs of reins, one being for the wheelers 
and the other for the leaders, though the latter passed through 
rings in the headstalls of all the others, with an outside rein 
attached to each animal. This arrangement was as admirable as 
simple, for the team was at all times under complete control. The 
driver was moreover exceedingly expert, but no less so was the 
conductor, who was armed with a whip of which the bamboo 
stock was about twelve feet iu length, with a leather lash of at 
least twenty feet. With a team of horses this was not much used, 
but with one of mules it was in almost constant application. The 
wielding of it is an art which I never tired of watching. The 
Boers will hit any part of any animal of the team that they wish, 
easily reaching the leaders and slashing them right and left with 
lightning rapidity, accompanied with snaps of the lash like the 
report of a pistol. They also have many peculiar cries for instruct- 
ing or encouraging their animals. The team draws by a long 
chain attached to, the pole of the coach. The stages varied from 
an hour to an hour and a half in length, and we alternated a trot- 
ting with a galloping pace. Our speed would vary from eight to 
ten miles an hour. At some of the stations there would be a store 
and hotel, and perhaps three or four other houses, at others only 
the stable of galvanised iron sheets. The stores contained a very 



304 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

miscellaneous collection of the necessities of life and travel in the 
interior of South Africa. As we drew up the fresh teams would 
always be standing in line, ready to be " put to " by their native 
hostlers in five or ten minutes' time. 

Leaving Charlestown and entering the Transvaal, we found 
ourselves in that vast prairie of smoothly undulating land called 
the veldt. Not a tree or bush was in sight, nothing but smooth 
pasture. The road is merely a track across this vast sea of grass. 
It is like the steppes of Central Asia. There are some distant low 
hills to be seen, but owing to the wavy character of the surface, ex- 
tensive views are not often possible. We would pass many miles 
of country without seeing a single house or meeting a person. 
The Boer homesteads are neat little structures, always surrounded 
by such trees as can be made to grow. We would occasionally 
meet their owners driving in a sort of two-wheeled gig, covered 
with a canvas hood, and drawn by a pair of horses or maybe a 
four-in-hand team. Occasionally we would pass natives walking 
to Johannesburg and carrying upon their backs all their worldly 
goods, consisting of a pair of shoes, a blanket and a pail or kettle 
of food. These people work in the mines for a few months, and 
then return home to spend what they have earned, or it may be 
to live in luxury for several years. We passed many of the great 
wagons going in either direction, loaded with wool and hides, or 
with all sorts of merchandise and provisions. The rear part of 
many of the wagons was covered with a canvas hood and here the 
transport men sleep and keep their cooking utensils and personal 
effects. Each wagon has a huge break attached to the rear-wheels 
and worked with a screw from behind. The oxen are driven by 
a man on foot with a long whip like that already described, 
though a native boy, called a forelouper, generally leads the first 
yoke by a leather strap attached to their horns. The oxen are 
fastened to the wagons by long chains or wire cables, and they 
pull with light and comfortable yokes. These animals were all 
large and sleek, though I was told that in the dry season they 
become very lean and ill-favored. Frequently by the side of the 
road you will see several of these teams " outspanned," unharnessed 
or unhitched, as we should say, for rest and feeding. At frequent 
distances along the road stones are set up informing the transport 
men that teams may feed thereabouts, or in other words these are 
public outspanning places. The land belongs to Boer farmers, 
but they have such enormous farms that they permit this use of 



NATAL. 305 

their pasture at stated spots. I found the track for the most part 
very good, being as smooth and hard as the floor of a house, 
though on the latter part of the journey, owing to recent rains 
and a rougher surface, we were a good deal shaken and jostled. 
During the afternoon we stopped at a wretched little inn for din- 
ner. This meal consisted only of chicken, rice and potatoes with 
tea and coffee, all bad, and the chicken sufficiently hard and tough 
to macadamise a road. We reached the town of Standerton about 
seven in the evening, first crossing the Vaal river — the principal 
branch of the great Orange river — upon a fine iron bridge resting 
on stone pillars. The stream was at that time not more than a 
hundred feet in width, but its banks plainly showed that before the 
end of the rainy season it became many times that width, with a 
swift current that would ill brook obstacles. Standerton is a 
straggling sort of village of small single-story houses, with a great 
shed of a hotel and a pretty stone church. It has, like all South 
African towns, enormously wide streets, and some attempts have 
been made at introducing the blue gum or eucalyptus trees of 
Australia. In the gardens of several of the houses you see peach 
and other fruit trees, though all seem to thrive with difficulty. In 
the hotel was a large billiard-table, and a bar which was constantly 
crammed with Boer citizens. We had a passable dinner, slept two 
in each room, about ten feet square, and were called at half-past 
four in the morning to dress, drink a cup of coffee, and re-enter 
the coach. 

The stars were shining brightly, and we found our overcoats 
none too heavy in the fresh light air. At eight we halted fif- 
teen minutes to partake of a bad Boer breakfast and then went 
on to Heidelburg, which we reached at half-past one. This 
town, lying on the slope of a smooth range of hills, is larger and 
more important than Standerton, though like the latter its only 
fine building is its church. After an unsatisfactory dinner at the 
hotel, we started on for Johannesburg. I speak so much of, our 
meals because this being one of the shortest and most travelled 
routes to the gold-fields, one expects and is entitled to far better 
accommodation. The road became wet and heavy but we kept 
steadily on, passing herds of splendid cattle and large flocks of 
sheep and goats. We crossed the track of the new railway run- 
niug between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which was completed a 
few months later. And about here we obtained our first view of 
a suburb of Johannesburg. The last stage was a short one of but 



306 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

six miles, and soon after entering upon it, we crossed a ridge from 
whose summit we had a good general view of the range of hills 
called the Witwatersrand, or simply Rand, for brevity, in which 
lies the reef now being worked for gold. This reef extends in a 
general east and west direction for some forty or fifty miles, and 
all around the horizon we saw the wooden towers containing the 
hauling-gear of the shafts, and the smoke-pipes and buildings of 
the batteries or stamping mills. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

JOHANNESBURG — THE CITY OF GOLD. 

Coming from the almost uninhabited, desolate and lonesome 
steppe, the first view of the metropolis of the Transvaal, scattered 
over the bottom and sides of an immense valley, is by contrast 
very striking. No very large or grand buildings appear, but the 
great mass of houses, the activity indicated by the many smoking 
chimneys, and the subdued roar of the mills take strong hold of 
the imagination. We pass an occasional outlying mill or a dis- 
used shaft, see on the distant left the grand-stand of the race 
course, in the centre the hospital, and along the range to the right 
a long row of batteries. The soil hereabouts is red and sandy, 
and these characteristics prevail throughout the city. The latter 
is laid out at right-angles, with wide, unpaved and for the most 
part unmacadamised streets, with bare sidewalks, lighted by gas 
or electricity, and bordered by buildings mostly of a single-story, 
which look more like sheds than proper houses. Then there are 
pretentious great stores of two and even three stories, some built 
of brick, some of iron, a few of stone. The prevailing color is 
like the soil, a dark red. The streets are full of people of every 
shade and nationality. 

We enter the city, our conductor playing quite an extended 
tune upon his brass-bugle. Following one of the principal streets 
and soon turning up another Ave deliver our mails at the Post 
Office, cross a large square, on one side of which is the handsome 
brick market, and rounding another corner, halt at the coach 
office, our ride of 135 miles completed. I descend and enter a cab 
like the gigs of the Boer farmers, already described. They have 
two seats, a half of the front one being raised to permit passage to 
that in the rear. I am driven to the " Grand National Hotel," a 
large rambling, shed-like structure, but the best hostelry in town. 
The rooms were very small and crude, though lighted by elec- 

307 



308 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

tricity. The table and wines were good. Before the house ran a 
tramway, with cars exactly such as may be seen in the streets of 
New York. There were billiard-tables, reading-room, and of 
course a bar, with conventional English bar-maid. Buying a 
newspaper I saw that amusement for the evening might be sought 
in two theatres, an amphitheatre, a gymnastic exhibition, a con- 
cert, and several music halls. Just think of it, a city of 50,000 
inhabitants has in seven years been built here in the centre of 
the steppe, and all the material of the houses and nearly all their 
contents have been brought in ox- wagons by tiresome journeys 
of from 400 to 1,000 miles from the sea-coast ! Only the magic 
power of gold could have effected this. 

The Transvaal is not only wonderfully rich in gold, but copper, 
silver, lead, iron and coal are all found here in quantities and sit- 
uations that will pay for mining. A great belt of auriferous 
country, varying both in width and riches, stretches right across 
the continent from Delagoa Bay to Walwich Bay. Johannesburg 
is the centre of the richest and most promising of these gold- 
fields. So far back as 1854 gold is said to have been discovered 
in this locality, but no serious efforts were made to turn the dis- 
covery to practical account until thirty years afterward. And it 
was not until July, 1886, that the government proclaimed the 
district public gold-fields and the Witwatersrand or AVhite Waters 
Range was then " rushed " by gold seekers from all parts of 
South Africa, and soon from all parts of the world. In less than 
two years from the proclamation of the fields there were a thou- 
sand head of stamps at work. The gold-bearing strata, to speak 
geologically, consist of reefs or lodes of conglomerate rock, formed 
of quartzose pebbles bedded solidly in disintegrated schists. 
This region is cut out into an almost continuous line of claims 
for a distance of fifty miles. The deposits in many cases are of 
great width, and shafts have been sunk six hundred feet, proving 
the stability of the formation. The mines are chiefly in the 
hands of a large number of joint-stock companies, over one hun- 
dred of which are registered at the Stock Exchange. The quan- 
tity of gold mined in the Rand has long since beaten the best 
records of California and Australia. Thus the output for the 
month previous to my visit was 112,167 ounces. Its value was 
nearly $2,000,000. As a rule each month's supply has shown a 
steady increase on that of its predecessor. The total output for 
ten months of the year 1892 was 234,423 ounces greater than 



JOHANNESBURG— THE CITY OF GOLD. 309 

for the corresponding months of the previous year. It was 
thouo-ht by experts that the amount of 200,000 ounces a month 
would be reached within three years' time. The shipment of gold 
from South Africa during 1893 amounted to $27,500,000 ! The 
output from the Witwatersrand district for May, 1894, amounted 
to 169,773 ounces, worth about $3,000,000. The crushing power 
is constantly being increased — one mill now has 1G0 stamps in 
operation. I visited this mill and its mine, one of the oldest and 
richest in the neighborhood of Johannesburg. It is the property 
of the Langalate Estate and Gold Mining Company. The bat- 
teries in operation are a grand sight, and the clatter is appalling. 
The stamps have been furnished by the great Chicago firm of 
Fraser, Chalmers & Co. Very much of the other machinery has 
been provided by American firms. There are three shafts to the 
mine. On the upper levels the rock is a sort of coarse red con- 
glomerate or pudding-stone, but below this a hard gray sandstone 
is reached. There are about 1,000 natives and 200 Europeans em- 
ployed in the mine and mills. The latter run continuously night 
and day, and Sundays, but the mine is closed on Sundays. 

Street scenes are even more interesting in Johannesburg than 
in Durban. The great squares are full of long ox-teams and huge 
wagons. They come into town in the morning with produce of 
all sorts, which is frequently sold by auction. Saturday is the day 
on which extensive general auctions are also held in the plazas or 
squares, every conceivable article is thus offered and sales are gen- 
erally brisk, if prices are not always high. Besides the single- and 
double-deck tram-cars and the cabs or two-wheeled gigs, you see 
elegant barouches and victorias, many fine saddle-horses, and not 
a few bicycles. On the sidewalks ladies fashionably attired are 
eagerly engaged in shopping, Boers and miners swing recklessly 
along, and natives of many tribes peer like children into full store 
windows. During business hours, which are short, there is a great 
rush and turmoil, and the street in front of the Stock Exchange 
is usually blocked with a crowd of excited men, either discussing 
matters in groups, or calling out their " bids " and " takes " for 
mining shares. The Exchange is a large and well-appointed 
building where bulls and bears, as in Europe and America, do 
congregate and vociferate. The two little theatres of Johannes- 
burg would be ornaments in either London or Paris and are largely 
attended by ladies and gentlemen in full evening dress. Life is 
interesting in Johannesburg and would be pleasant were it not for 



310 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the almost constant dust storms which prevail. These are often 
so dense you cannot see the buildings across the street. Thunder 
storms are also fierce and frequent, and much damage is done by 
lightning. 

I paid a flying visit to Pretoria, distant thirty-five miles to the 
north. The railway was not completed, but the coach made three 
trips a day, taking five hours for the journey. I started about three 
in the afternoon. We had a full load of passengers. We soon left 
the suburbs of Johannesburg and entered the veldt, a rolling prai- 
rie which continued all the way to the capital. The latter portion 
of the ride was made quite in the dark, in fact we neither could 
see our leaders nor the road, but on we went at full speed just the 
same. The electric lights of the city shone forth for a long dis- 
tance, and exactly on schedule time we dashed up to the coaching- 
office, amid the usual excessive quantity of bugling from the con- 
ductor. A good little hotel was near at hand, and there I found 
accommodation. Pretoria lies in a large uneven valley, nearly 
everywhere surrounded by low grassy hills. Its appearance from 
the flanks of any of these is very pretty, and the profusion of green 
foliage is in marked contrast to Johannesburg. The great major- 
ity of the trees have been planted. You are sure to take delight 
in the willows and the great blue-gums. The city is only a quar- 
ter of the size of Johannesburg. It is regularly laid out, and the 
streets are illumined at night by the electric light. In general 
appearance the business quarters are like those of the " city of 
gold " but the dwellings are of a better class and are very attract- 
ive, with their large gardens and fruit trees and bright flowers. 

The most conspicuous building is nearly in the centre of the 
town, and occupies an entire square. It is the Government House, 
three stories in height and built of brick covered with cement, 
which gives it at a distance the appearance of gray sandstone. It 
faces the principal square and the largest church. It is, however, a 
rather curious sample of architecture and seems too ambitious for 
its surroundings. It cost $750,000. On the central facade is the 
motto, in raised gilt letters : " Eight makes Might "—or rather its 
Dutch equivalent : " Eeudragt Maakt Magt." Besides all the gov- 
ernment offices — save those of the law courts — it contains the two 
Chambers, called the First and Second Volksraad. These are 
rather plain halls, with stained-glass windows. The seats for the 
members are arranged in circles facing the platform, the tables 
and desks being covered simply with green baize. On the floors lie 



JOHANNESBURG— THE CITY OF GOLD. 311 

rough matting. The walls of the First Chamber are decorated with 
portraits of President Kriiger and General Joubert, in their cere- 
monial dresses. The members of the Volksraad are elected by their 
constituents for four years. There are thirty-four representatives 
in all. The Executive consists of the President, who is elected for 
five years by a general election throughout the State, the State 
Secretary elected by the Volksraad for four years, and four un- 
official members, chosen for three years by the two chambers. 
President Kriiger was just completing his second term of office, 
and was a candidate for a third. His opponent was General Jou- 
bert, who had long been the Commandant-General. Kriiger 
seemed likely to be chosen, though it was thought the polling 
would be very close. (He was re-elected in April, 1893). The 
President lives in a plain little single-story house, backed by large 
trees, but situated directly on one of the principal streets. In one 
part of the city is a fine large park, surrounding which are the 
best residences. At another side is the race-course, with commo- 
dious grand-stand. I passed the prison, near which, enclosed by 
a high brick wall and all but covered by a great orchard of peach 
trees, stood the public gallows, the black cross-beam alone loom- 
ing ominously. Living is very dear in Pretoria, as also in Jo- 
hannesburg. You get a good variety of meats in the hotels, 
though but few fruits and vegetables. There is some reason for 
the high cost of all such manufactured goods as come up from the 
coast ports in ox- wagons ; there is less reason for the absence of 
market-gardeners' stuff, for the soil and climate are well adapted 
to almost every sort. Travel also, both by coach and rail, and 
along the coast by steamer, is very costly. Pretoria is in frequent 
connection with all the neighboring mines and towns by coach, 
and in a few weeks there will be communication with Johannes- 
burg and Cape Town by rail. It is also connected by coach with 
Bechuanaland to the west, and with Matabeleland and Mashona- 
land to the north. A weekly line of coaches runs through direct 
from Pretoria to Fort Salisbury, in Mashonaland — at present the 
most northerly outpost town of the gold regions — for $140., doing 
the journey in sixteen days. One's food would cost $30. addi- 
tional. Fort Salisbury is in about latitude 18° South, nearly due 
west of the Portuguese town of Quilimane, and due east of, and 
about 400 miles distant from, the celebrated Victoria Falls of the 
Zambesi river. 

Having returned to Johannesburg, a day or two later I left for 



312 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Kimberley and the diamond mines. The railway does not go 
directly there by the shortest route, but one has to pass through 
the Orange Free State from north to south, and having entered 
Cape Colony, to cross westwardly to a railroad which extends from 
Cape Town to Vryburg in British Bechuanaland and passes Kim- 
berley en route. You reach this line at De Aar Junction, almost 
at a point equidistant from Johannesburg and Cape Town. The 
time consumed on the journey of 1,013 miles between these two 
latter points is fifty-six hours, and the first-class fare, exclusive of 
meals and " tips," is £11. 12s. Every Monday a " saloon sleeping 
and dining train," consisting of first-class carriages only, leaves Jo- 
hannesburg by this route, and every day of the week there is an 
ordinary train of three classes, which completes the distance in 
about five hours' more time. The line had only been opened 
directly through to Cape Town about two months before my 
visit to the Transvaal. When extended to Pretoria it will cover 
a total distance of 1,050 miles. There was talk also of the West- 
ern System, or Kimberley route, being continued to Johannesburg, 
a distance of 250 miles. All these railroads are of a three-and- 
one-half foot gauge, are of single-track, and belong to the Cape 
Colony Government, with the exception of the roads in the Trans- 
vaal, which are being built for that government by the " Nether- 
lands Company of South Africa." My train started at the rather 
uncomfortable hour of 5.15 a. m. There were about a dozen car- 
riages, drawn by a very powerful locomotive with six small driv- 
ing-wheels. Some of the carriages were labelled as passing through 
direct to Port Elizabeth or East London, ports on the southeast 
coast, or to Cape Town or to Kimberley. Then there were a num- 
ber of dilapidated old freight-cars which had been cheaply fitted 
for excursions. These were at that time running to the local and 
foreign exhibition being held at Kimberley, to which cheap return 
rates were being offered by all the railroads. I found the Orange 
Free State Bailway to be well made, with a stone-ballasted track, 
substantial stone and iron bridges, and frequently pretty and com- 
modious little station-houses, built of a hard cut stone. All along 
the road were wretched huts of Kaffirs, who had been employed 
in building it, or were now engaged in keeping it in order. Some 
of the huts were made of pieces of sheet iron, others of iron sleep- 
ers, others of old rugs. The country through which we passed all 
day was simply the veldt, a great treeless rolling prairie, with but 
very few farmhouses, and still fewer villages. The stations ordi- 




H. E. the President of the Transvaal. 



JOHANNESBURG— THE CITY OF GOLD. 313 

narily contained only the buildings appropriate to the railway 
service, and a miserable little store, hotel and bar. Our speed was 
slow and we made long stops at seemingly unimportant places. 
Meals of not very good quality, and with little or no attendance, 
were served at the uniform rate of two-and-sixpence per head. 
Occasionally you might see several ox-wagons with their great 
teams "trekking," or travelling, away across the plains. On leav- 
ing Johannesburg we passed for a long distance through a mining 
region. There were plenty of shafts and mills, and great heaps 
of " tailings." These were gold diggings, but upon reaching the 
frontier of the Orange Free State I noticed many coal mines. 
About three o'clock the next morning we passed through Bloem- 
fontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, a small town of low 
houses, though of a picturesque appearance, in strong contrast 
to the surrounding prairie. The government of this State is car- 
ried on through legislative powers vested in an assembly called the 
Volksraad, as in the Transvaal. There are fifty-eight members, 
who are elected by their constituents for the term of four years. 
The Executive power rests in the President, who is elected by 
suffrage of burghers throughout the State. 

Going on from Bloemfonteiu, the character of the country 
changed somewhat, being much more rough and hilly. This kind 
of surface is here styled the Karroo, and it is mostly covered with 
a low scrub called Karroo bush. In this part of the State I saw 
many great flocks of sheep and goats, and a few of ostriches. The 
latter sitting close together, with their long necks craning directly 
upwards, made an odd sight. The railway is not yet fenced, and 
the engineer had frequently to blow his whistle to scare away ani- 
mals, and sometimes we had to come to a " dead-stop," since the 
railway company are obliged to pay for any destruction of life. 
The line will eventually be fenced, as are the Natal railways. The 
southern border of the State is the Orange river, which we crossed 
upon a fine iron-girder and stone-pier bridge, about 1,200 feet long 
and fifty or sixty feet above the water. The river is crooked, very 
muddy, and not very deep, but subject to floods in the rainy sea- 
son that greatly increase its depth and velocity. We were now in 
Cape Colony proper and still in the Karroo, great undulating 
plains from which spring here and there curious peaked or table- 
topped hills with almost precipitous flanks. Not a tree, other 
than such as have been planted, appears. In the valley of the 
Orange river and other smaller streams which we crossed there was 
22 



314 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

a little verdure, consisting of dwarf trees and bush. At the De 
Aar Junction we found a train that had just arrived from Kim- 
berley, and was going on to Cape Town, after attaching several 
carriages of our train destined for the same point. From De Aar 
to Kimberley the distance is 147 miles. Late in the evening we 
crossed the Orange river again, and by a bridge similar to that just 
mentioned. To sum up, the greater part of the country through 
which we passed from Johannesburg to De Aar and to Kimberley 
was simply a vast, wind-swept, treeless, grass- or bush-covered up- 
land steppe. We reached Kimberley at half-past two the follow- 
ing morning, and I was driven at once to a comfortable little 
three-story brick hotel, situated near Market Square. 



CHAPTEE XXXV. 

THE DIAMOND DISTRICT. 

Kimberley is the capital and the centre of the greatest dia- 
mond mining district in the world. It is situated on an open 
windy plain, about 4,000 feet above the sea-level, and has a popula- 
tion of 30,000. Here are t nun ways, the electric light, cabs, good 
shops, hotels, theatres and daily newspapers. The city is irregu- 
larly planned, but has smooth macadamised streets. Its suburb of 
Beaoonsfield, to the south, is laid out at right-angles. The houses 
are most of them but single-story, of brick or iron, and with iron 
roofs. Around the residences, which are walled, trees and flowers 
and lawns have been planted, but they are maintained with great 
difficulty, owing principally to lack of water. There is a small 
Botanical Garden, which upon the very day I visited it was being 
devoured by an enormous cloud of locusts. The flower section 
especially suffered, and was all but completely removed during the 
hour of my stay. The locusts were short and thick, and of a dark 
yellow color. They had recently been making great ravages in 
the Orange Free State, and had destroyed nearly all the growing 
crops. 

On the extreme northern edge of the town is the famous Kim- 
berley Mine, now a vast hole of a tunnel shape, whose surface 
covers fifteen acres and whose depth is G50 feet. A few men 
were working near the bottom, where a shaft has been sunk, but 
the great cobweb of wire ropes, with which the diamondiferous 
soil was formerly hoisted, was all gone. The sides of the huge 
funnel seemed composed of loose earth, small rocks and stones. 
The mineral coloring was quite pretty. There were tints of light 
and dark blue, black, gray, and various shades of red. This is the 
largest open mine in the world. Upon its northern edge work is 
still going on by means of shafts, inclines and levels. Beyond 
these are the washing-machines and the great depositing floors. 

315 



316 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

The De Beer's Mine, with its depositing and washing sites, and its 
" compound " or enclosure for the native miners, lies upon the 
western side of the town, while directly south of Beaconsfield and 
quite near together, are the Bulfontein and Dutoitspan Mines. A 
circle three-and-one-half miles in diameter would enclose the four, 
and the great diamond output of past years has been chiefly from 
these four mines. Upon the discovery of diamonds here in 1870, 
the land was divided into claims under government control, and 
then these claims became the property of many companies. These 
have now, however, for the most part been united under one vast 
control — the De Beer's Consolidated Mines, Limited. Their cap- 
ital is $20,000,000, and their present annual output, the value of 
diamonds exported, is of about the same amount, and this appears 
to be the maximum the market can take without unduly affecting 
the price. It is said that during the past twenty years there have 
been exported from South Africa over fifty millions of carats of 
diamonds, of a total value of 1375,000,000. Bearing in mind that 
a carat equals four grains, the weight of diamonds exported has 
amounted to about fifteen tons ! If piled in a heap, they would 
form a pyramid 6 feet high, with a base 9x9 feet, or they would 
fill a box 5x5x6 feet. Before the diamond mines were discov- 
ered more than three-quarters of the total exports of Cape Colony 
— which amounted to about two millions sterling per annum — con- 
sisted of wool. To-day the exports are six-fold that sum, to which 
diamonds contribute more than one-half, and wool but a fifth. 

These mines are situated about 650 miles northeast of Cape 
Town and 500 miles from the sea-coast. The diamonds were first 
obtained on the surface in a yellow earth, the result of the decom- 
position of strata. Then going down they were found in a sort of 
tough blue clay, a hard lava-like earth which extends to a great 
depth, as a shaft sunk 1,200 feet shows nothing but this species of 
diamond-bearing soil. At a depth of 600 feet hard rock has been 
found containing some shale. It is said that this rock has been 
altered by the action of heat produced by penetration of volcanic 
forces through it, and this heat causing the liberation of some 
volatile hydrocarbon, has produced the diamond. The funnel of 
blue ground, surrounded by various hard and soft rocks and mixed 
with angular pieces of carbonaceous shale, garnet, mica, etc., with 
the crater-like mouth, support this hypothesis of a volcanic origin of 
the mines. And this agrees with the popular theory of the forma- 
tion of diamonds — an outburst of heat or force from below, result- 




^S,*' 



-*-\ ■» 







TEE DIAMOND DISTRICT. 317 

ing in the conversion of carbon into the crystalline form which we 
call diamonds. At Kimberley the diamonds occur in a great va- 
riety of colors — green, blue, pink, brown, yellow, orange and white 
— and in a variety of tints from pure white to dark yellow, from 
light to deep brown. The precious stones vary in size from that 
of a pin's head to one that was found a few years ago in the De 
Beer's Mine, which weighed in the rough 428 §■ carats and after 
cutting 228£. This is undoubtedly the largest brilliant in the 
world. It measured when uncut 1-J inches through the longest 
axis, and 1\ inches square. This remarkable stone was exhibited 
at the Paris Exposition of 1889. There are many other famous 
South African gems, but I have space to mention only two. In 
18G9 a Dutchman purchased a stone from a Gricqua native for 
$2,000. worth of goods, and immediately sold it for $50,000. Its 
value to-day is estimated at $125,000. It was the famous " Star 
of South Africa," a pure white diamond of 83£ carats, and is at 
present amongst the jewels of the English Countess of Dudley. 
What is called the " Tiffany " yellow diamond, the largest stone 
in America, and the finest yellow diamond in the world, weighing 
125 carats and valued at $100,000, was found in the Kimberley 
Mine. 

The mining processes are as follows : The blue ground is 
hoisted by the shafts and being emptied into iron cars is drawn 
by machinery to the depositing or pulverising floors. That of the 
De Beer's Mine is three miles by one in extent — fairly level land, 
cleared of bush, rolled and made as smooth and hard as possible. 
Here the blue ground is spread out to be pulverised by exposure 
to the air and sun. This requires a period of from three to six 
months, varying according to the season of the year and the 
amount of rain. The next step is that of passing the blue stuff 
through rotary washing machines where the lighter portions are 
washed away and the heavier remain. In this washing process 
one hundred tons of blue ground are concentrated into one load 
of diamondiferous stuff. After being washed in the machines, 
the diamonds are cleaned of any extraneous matter by boiling 
them in a mixture of nitrate and sulphuric acids. They are then 
carefully assorted with reference to size, color and purity. Parcels 
are made up and sold to local buyers, who represent the leading 
diamond merchants of Europe. What is called the Diamond 
Market, at Kimberley, consists of several streets of the offices of 
these merchants. The size of a parcel varies from a few thousands 



318 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

to tens of thousands of carats. In one instance, a few years ago, 
nearly a quarter of a million of carats was sold in one lot to one 
buyer. These parcels are sent to Europe by registered post. There 
are about 12,000 natives at present working in these mines, under 
the supervision of some 1,300 Europeans. The natives receive 
$5. a week. Work goes on both day and night by different gangs 
of men. It is said that $5,000,000 are annually expended for labor 
in the mines, shops and offices. Formerly there was a great deal 
of diamond stealing by native diggers and buying by white mer- 
chants. It is even told that these thieves stole one quarter of the 
entire yield. Improved methods of surveillance are rapidly dimin- 
ishing this loss. Now none but authorised agents are permitted 
to purchase or possess rough diamonds, a large detective force is 
employed, and the natives are domiciled and confined in " com- 
pounds," or villages, enclosed by high walls or fences, with doors 
made of sheet iron. 

The deepest shaft in the mining district is that of the Kimber- 
ley — 1,200 feet. The hauling machinery here was manufactured 
by the Chicago house of Fraser, Chalmers & Co., and is of course 
of the latest and best pattern. Near this shaft is what is called 
the " mechanical haulage," a sort of endless chain by which loaded 
trucks are carried a mile or so to the pulverising floors and at the 
same time unloaded ones are returned to the mine. Here I saw 
one of the " compounds " of the native diggers. It was a great 
open square lined by iron sheds and surrounded by a high iron 
fence. Entrance to this compound is had only from the shaft, 
the men thus going to and returning from work in narrow under- 
ground passages. The period of service for which they engage is 
usually three months. During this time they may have special 
permission to visit their relatives or friends for a few days if de- 
sirable, but otherwise they are in effect prisoners. They, however, 
do not object to their isolation as they are thus preserved from 
temptation to drink, and have an opportunity to save some of their 
wages, which are for their limited wants comparatively high. Fre- 
quently they come and beg to be taken into the compound. In 
the one of which I am speaking there were 2,500 men and boys, 
mostly belonging to the Basuto tribe, splendid specimens phys- 
ically and going all but entirely naked, save only when visiting 
their homes. Ample space is allotted to each, though several are 
put together in a room. They seem to have very few personal 
effects or domestic paraphernalia — a suit of coarse cotton, a blanket 



f *, 



" >. » 'IS***"*^ 







Kimberley Mine, 1SSS. 



THE DIAMOND DISTRICT. 319 

or two, and a few kettles and pans suffice. Everything is done 
for their comfort and cleanliness by the company. There is a 
shop in which they can buy their simple food of appointed persons 
at reasonable prices. A general kitchen is also provided, but they 
seem to prefer doing their cooking each before his own doorway, 
buying firewood from a great store of it heaped in the centre of 
the compound. Near this is a place set apart for their washing. 
The diggers are almost invariably docile, a good-natured lot of 
children. A curious effect is produced by a wire netting which 
extends over a large part of the compound. This has been ar- 
ranged to prevent any one throwing diamonds concealed about 
their persons to pals waiting outside the barriers. There are a 
hospital and a post-office on the premises. 

In the general office of the company, I visited the valuing- 
rooms, where the diamonds are sorted by size and color in little 
heaps upon white paper placed on long narrow benches under 
strong light. Here they are viewed by the local buyers and prices 
are arranged. The transactions are naturally frequently very large. 
A single sale of $750,000 was made the day before my visit. The 
De Beer's Mine, Works, Compounds and Floors are enormous, 
covering several square miles of surface. This mine, which closely 
resembles the great funnel of the Kimberley, is not now worked 
in the open. I visited all parts, and witnessed many interesting 
processes. The machinery of the " Pulsator," where the diamonds 
are found, and that of the washing-machine is, however, too intri- 
cate for detailed description here. The smooth pulverisation fields, 
covered about a foot deep by blue earth, extended away almost to 
the horizon. . On one side were huge gray hills composed of " tail- 
ings," or soil from which the diamonds had been extracted. A 
little locomotive was hauling a train of trucks loaded with the 
precious gravel. Smoke issued from many chimneys, and the 
clatter of machinery resounded on all sides. I was in the 
centre of the mining works of the greatest stock company in the 
world. 

While at Kimberley I also paid several visits to the " South Af- 
rican and International Exhibition." The buildings and grounds 
occupied a considerable space on the outskirts of the town, and 
neither were very impressive. The buildings were merely tempo- 
rary sheds, while as to the grounds the great difficulty to make 
anything else than coarse shrubs live and thrive was only too ap- 
parent. The Exhibition was open every day except Sundays, from 



320 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

11 A. m. to 11 p. m. General admission was two shillings. Besides 
the railway excursion tickets, with accompanying six to twelve free 
admissions, there were the usual enticements of organ recitals, 
promenade concerts, side-shows, children's games, and illumina- 
tions and fireworks. The Exhibition was a considerable success. 
It had only been open a little over two months and had already 
been visited by 300,000 people. There were eight hundred gold, 
silver and bronze medals awarded to successful exhibitors. A 
striking object in the centre of the main building was a great yel- 
low shaft — perhaps thirty feet high and three feet square at the 
base — which represented the bulk of all the gold so far taken from 
the Witwatersrand reef of the Transvaal. 

From Kimberley I went direct by rail to Cape Town, the dis- 
tance being 647 miles and the time consumed on the journey 
thirty-four hours. We reached De Aar Junction late in the after- 
noon and attaching several carriages of the Johannesburg train, 
which arrived at the same time, we went on in a southwesterly di- 
rection. The country consisted still of great bush-covered prairies, 
interspersed with many ranges of low hills. There were also many 
isolated flat-topped, or sometimes peaked, hills which from a dis- 
tance had the appearance of islands rising from a great green sea. 
During the night we passed Beaufort West, a town of considerable 
importance, on the banks of the Gamka river, and situated about 
2,800 feet above the level of the sea. Going on we halted at a 
number of stations whose names were supplemented with the word 
" Eoads." It seems many of the villages are distant from the rail- 
way—one of them Fraserburg, as much as sixty-seven miles — and 
at the stations there are simply roads which lead to them. Farm- 
houses were few and far between. In the Karroo were many large 
flocks of sheep and goats, this being a great wool and mohair pro- 
ducing region. The sheep farms of Cape Colony are of very great 
extent, running from 3,000 to 5,000 acres each. Beyond Beaufort 
West I saw flocks of ostriches almost as frequently as of sheep. It 
was always interesting to observe these great birds quietly feeding, 
strutting about, or squatting in the sand, with their long slim 
necks reared aloft. Ostrich farming has long been a staple indus- 
try of Cape Colony. In 1865 there were but eighty domesticated 
birds in the Colony ; now the number is put at 150,000. Naturally 
therefore the price of ostriches has fallen very much of late years. 
Whereas formerly they fetched $1,000 a pair, now a young one may 
be bought for $10. The total weight of feathers exported from 



THE DIAMOND DISTRICT. 321 

the Cape during the past thirty years is more than one thousand 
tons, and their value about $50,000,000. 

We arrived at the village of Matjesfontein at eight o'clock the 
following morning and were served a most abominable breakfast. 
I may say that the food, beverages and cigars at all the railway 
stations in South Africa are especially bad, though very high 
charges are made for everything. Matjesfontein is about 3,600 
feet above sea-level. From this point we g:adually descended, 
until at Cape Town we were at the level of the sea. We left be- 
hind the " great " Karroo and passed through several large villages 
with steep rocky ranges on either side, called the Hex River 
Mountains. These are utterly devoid of vegetation and seem as if 
nearly altogether composed of lava. The highest peaks were 
slightly flecked with snow. These mountains are very picturesque, 
frowning savagely above level valleys covered with verdure and 
crops of grain, and dotted with pretty farm-houses. From the top 
of one range we had a magnificent view of what is specifically 
styled the Hex River Valley, some 2,000 feet below. The road 
descends by a stupendous feat of engineering. At one place it 
has to make an enormous triangle. For upwards of twenty miles 
it is very steep in gradient, very sharp in curve, deep in rock- 
cutting, with several long tunnels, many high embankments and 
some great gullies spanned by fine iron viaducts. In the steepest 
places the grade is one foot in forty feet. Within a distance of 
thirty-six miles you descend 2,500 feet. 

Leaving the beautiful Hex River Valley we entered upon an 
enormous plain, surrounded by rough rocky mountains, where the 
bush of the Karroo had given place to rich grass and great fields 
of oats and rye. We halted at the pretty town of Worcester, 
thickly ensconced in trees, amongst which very large blue gums 
were prominent. There are no natural-grown shade trees in this 
part of Cape Colony, everything has been planted and is sustained 
by great labor and care. Around Worcester were gardens of beans, 
potatoes, cabbages and lettuce. Wellington was a similar town, 
some fifty or sixty miles further on. And then we came to a chain 
of mountains, called the Paarl because they were fancifully sup- 
posed to resemble a string of pearls. These mountains supply 
granite for the public buildings of Cape Town. There is a long 
line of neat farm-houses along their base, where grapes are largely 
cultivated. In fact, the Paarl is the centre of a famous wine dis- 
trict. Then we had a great stretch of the Karroo again, with the 



322 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

massive Table Mountain, half-covered with clouds, in view directly 
ahead. Next I caught sight of a wide sandy beach and the At- 
lantic, and realised that I had crossed South Africa. 

We passed through the outskirts of Cape Town with glimpses 
of Table Bay, a long breakwater and several large steamers upon 
the right and the Lion's Head and more distant Devil's Peak upon 
the left. Our journey terminated in a fine, large two-story station, 
and I at once took a hansom — the city is well supplied with a 
serviceable variety — for one of the many good hotels. The thor- 
oughly English character of most of the houses struck my atten- 
tion — though in the flat roofs and yellow-colored walls there was 
also an oriental flavor — but the words " Coffee Eoom " on the doors 
of a cheerful refectory did not lessen my first impression. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

CAPE TOWN. 

Cape Town is situated in nearly the 34th degree of south lati- 
tude. It is built on the steep slopes of Table Mountain and Lion's 
Head, and a level expanse around the circular shore of Table Bay. 
The perpendicular sides of the dark, gray, rocky, flat-topped Table 
Mountain, flanked by the two other eminences known as Lion's 
Head and Devil's Peak, make a grand background for the town. 
Table Mountain reaches 3,850 feet above the sea ; the lower part 
is composed of granite, the upper of sandstone. When the wind 
is from the southeast a peculiar sight is witnessed upon the top 
and edge of this mountain, which is then fringed by a thin line of 
fleecy cloud. This lying flat and low on top, and gracefully falling 
over the edges, has happily been called the " table-cloth." The 
slopes of this mountain were once thickly wooded, but now the 
comparatively small amount of vegetation seen is mostly the result 
of planting. The streets of Cape Town are regularly and well 
laid out, macadamised or paved with wood, and lighted by gas. 
In general appearance it is like an English provincial city. There 
are large and well-built stores of two and even three stories, which 
are mostly of brick and stucco or cement. In nearly the centre 
of the town is the Botanical Garden, a beautiful mass of green, 
and in the upper or more modern portions— called the Gardens, a 
belt of foliage here surrounding the city proper — are the greater 
part of the English dwellings, many of them handsome cottages 
or pretentious villas with slate roofs, and standing in enclosures 
prettily arranged with lawns and flower beds. Besides the cabs 
and hansoms there are several lines of tramway and omnibuses. 
The hansoms, with their white hoods and fanciful names in addi- 
tion to their numbers, are a prominent feature, standing in long 
lines in the centres of the principal streets. At one side near the 
shores of the bay is the parade-ground and near it the old Dutch 

323 



324 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Castle, a fort laid out by Van Riebeek, the first Dutch governor, 
240 years ago. This is a quaint specimen of the ancient citadel, 
built of brick and stone, in pentagonal form, with ravelins, glacis, 
ditch, gate, sally-port and all the other features characteristic of 
old fortifications. The military headquarters of the commander of 
H. B. M.'s forces and his staff are at present in the Castle. At the 
other extremity of the town are the docks, which are very exten- 
sive and commodious, and the breakwater, which is nearly two- 
thirds of a mile long. Ten million dollars have been spent on the 
various harbor works. 

Cape Town is now misnamed " town," for it is a city of 62,000 
inhabitants. The population is very mixed — white and colored, 
passing gradually from a pale yellow to a deep black. There are 
English, Dutch, Malays, Indians, Kaffirs, and many half-castes. A 
large proportion of the white inhabitants are of Dutch, German 
and French origin, mostly descendants of the original settlers. 
The white population of Cape Colony is 350,000 ; while blacks, 
half-castes and others bring up this number to a gross total of 
1,500,000. The water supply of Cape Town is excellent. There 
are several large reservoirs in the upper part of the city which are 
supplied from springs and rain-water running down the face of 
Table Mountain. Iron pipes distribute the water everywhere, and 
the pressure on the hydrants is sufficient to throw a good volume 
seventy feet in the air. This is most useful for the local fire- 
brigade. Some of the business and public buildings are handsome 
and appropriate. In the principal thoroughfare — Adderly Street 
is an especially striking edifice, the headquarters of the Stand- 
ard Bank of South Africa. It cost $160,000. The style is strictly 
classic, with massive facade and portico, and a domed tower in the 
centre ninety feet high, surmounted with a marble figure of Brit- 
annia. Further up the same street is the capacious Dutch Re- 
formed Church, with its quaint old vane-topped Flemish spire. 
It contains an interesting pulpit carved from timber brought from 
India. Two enormous lions support the pulpit, which is orna- 
mented with the Netherlands coat-of-arms, an upright anchor on 
a shield, with cable on either side. This church might properly 
be called the " Colonial Westminster Abbey," for beneath its pave- 
ment lie the bones of no less than seven Dutch governors of the 
Cape. 

In several of the streets the old-fashioned Dutch mansions of 
the early colonists may still be seen. The houses are spacious and 



CAPE TOWN. 325 

lofty, with flat roofs, massive white or yellow colored fronts, nu- 
merous windows with very small panes, and a terrace or stoop 
(stoep) rising from the street at the entrance. The extension of 
Adderly Street to the south is called Government Avenue. This 
runs in the direction of Table Mountain for a distance of three- 
quarters of a mile, a fine, broad, gravelled walk through rows of 
grand old oaks, a veritable tunnel of glossy green foliage. These 
now massive gnarled trees were set out as young plants over two 
hundred years ago by one of the old Dutch governors, Van der 
Stell by name. The new Parliament Houses and the Public Li- 
brary and Museum are close to the entrance of this avenue, and 
adjoining it are the Botanical Garden, the Government House, 
and the Fine Art Gallery. Government House is the official resi- 
dence of the Governor of Cape Colony. It is a heavy, irregular 
building of brick and stucco, colored yellow. It was originally 
commenced by the Dutch officials more than a century and a half 
ago, and has been altered and modernised from time to time since. 
Before the entrance there is a military patrol, day and night. The 
rooms are large but very plainly furnished. On either side and 
in the rear of the house are beautiful flower gardens and many 
shade trees. 

The handsomest of the public buildings of Cape Town is that 
containing the Houses of Parliament. It stands in neatly-laid-out 
gardens, surrounded by a high iron fence. Before one of the side 
entrances is a marble statue of Queen Victoria. This is about ten 
feet in height, and represents Her Majesty in robes of state. In 
the right hand is the sceptre, in the left the orb. A diadem is on 
the head, and the ribbon and star of the Garter are conspicuous. 
The likeness is said to be good, and the statue as a whole has a 
pleasing effect. The edifice is of brick, with pilasters and window- 
dressings of Portland cement. There are three stories, and the 
base is of Paarl granite. The general style of the architecture re- 
minds one of the palaces at Versailles. The principal front is 264 
feet in length. The portico is of massive dimensions, with a com- 
manding flight of granite steps. Passing in by the main entrance 
I found myself in a lofty hall or vestibule with a tessellated pave- 
ment, and a gallery and many pillars in imitation of dark gray 
granite. Adjoining this hall is the Parliamentary Library, a fine 
apartment about 50 X 30 feet, with two galleries. There are also 
on this floor a number of committee rooms and offices for the 
President and Speaker, and officials of the Legislature. There are 



326 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

also refreshment, smoking, reading, and billiard rooms for the 
comfort and diversion of members. The two debating chambers 
are in the right and left pavilions. They are of the same size — 
67 X 36 feet — or only ten feet in length and breadth less than the 
House of Commons in London. The Upper-House or Legislative 
Council Chamber is upholstered in red leather, and the chair of 
the President is of fine carved-wood. In the Lower-House or 
Assembly Chamber, the benches are covered with green leather, 
and the Speaker's chair is also elaborately carved. Behind it, 
upon the wall, hangs a large portrait of the Queen. Both these 
halls are very simply and plainly frescoed. The ground-floor of 
the building is occupied by the premier department of the govern- 
ment, the offices of the Colonial Secretary and other officials, and 
by fire-proof safes in which the records of Parliament and the 
archives of the Colony are deposited. The entire cost of the 
building, furniture and grounds has been $1,100,000. Parliament 
meets once in each year, and oftener if necessary. Its sessions are 
usually held during the months from May to August. There are 
seventy-four members in the Assembly and twenty-two in the 
Council. 

The Public Library and South African Museum are located in 
a large building of Grecian design, situated nearly opposite the 
Houses of Parliament. The library contains about 50,000 vol- 
umes, in every branch of science and literature. In addition to 
the library itself — which is free to the public for consultation, 
though a subscription of $10. per annum is made by those who 
wish to take out books — there are several valuable collections 
which have either been bequeathed or purchased. One of these 
has some 4,500 volumes of a rare character, including 130 manu- 
scripts on vellum or parchment. In this collection are two very 
old maps of the world, the one dated 1489 and the other 1546, 
both of which, singularly enough, show the Central African lakes. 
There are also very valuable manuscripts of the native languages 
of Africa, Polynesia and New Zealand, and many photographs and 
paintings of types of the South Africans. In the wing opposite 
that occupied by the library is the collection of curiosities forming 
the Museum, which is free to the public. This is chiefly devoted 
to products of South Africa, and combines zoology, geology and 
ethnology. It occupies a large hall with two galleries, and is a 
very interesting and creditable exhibit. It is supported by an an- 
nual grant of $5,000 from the public funds, and some special sub- 



CAPE TOWN. 327 

scriptions of private individuals. The Botanic Garden faces the 
Public Library and Museum building on the north. It covers 
some fourteen acres, and is well worth a visit. It is laid out with 
trees, flowers, vegetables, shrubberies, conservatories, nurseries, 
fountains, statues, and a herbarium. It is said to contain up- 
wards of 8,000 varieties of plants, embracing rare exotic produc- 
tions, as well as specimens of the indigenous flora. The greater 
part are designated by neat, enamelled iron labels. The sole re- 
maining " public building," and dating from the olden time, is the 
Town Hall, situated on a square in the central part of the city. 
Outwardly it is a plain, two-storied, stuccoed structure, built in 
the heavy Dutch style with a balcony and massive stoop, and with 
large windows filled with many small panes. Its corner stone was 
laid in 1755. It is now used by the Mayor and Town Council to 
carry on the municipal administration. The Council Chamber is 
the only interesting room. This occupies the front of the build- 
ing on the second story. It is a very plain and bare oblong room, 
with ceiling supported by thick rough-hewn rafters, and floor de- 
void of carpeting. The chair of the Mayor, which faces a horse- 
shoe oval of desks, is surmounted by the old coat-of-arms — shield, 
anchor and cable, carved in wood. On the wall behind the chair 
is a painting of the first Dutch governor, Van Riebeek. Above 
the door leading out upon the balcony is a very curious old carv- 
ing in wood, representing a couple of cannon, pyramids of balls, 
and kegs of gunpowder. In the centre is the coat-of-arms, with 
an inscription in Dutch. The present Council meets once a week. 
The suburbs of Cape Town extend for long distances in two 
opposite directions, one to the southeast around the side of Table 
Mountain, and the other towards the northwest, along Table Bay, 
and to Sea Point fronting directly upon the ocean. In the former 
direction the buildings stretch some ten miles, in the latter three. 
The capital is connected with both by railway, and with Sea Point 
also by tramway. From the east side of Table Mountain the rail- 
way runs on towards the south for a distance of twenty-three miles 
to Simon's Bay, a great naval station, where generally a half dozen 
British men-of-war are maintained. Cape Town is situated upon 
the northern portion of a long narrow peninsula whose southern 
extremity, forty miles distant, is the world-famous Cape of Good 
Hope. This great cliff bears a lighthouse whose top is eight hun- 
dred feet above the surface of the ocean, and holds a splendid re- 
volving light which may be seen thirty-six miles at sea. About 



328 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

one hundred miles southeast of this cape is that of Agulhas, which 
is the most southerly point of Africa, and not that of Good Hope, 
as many people seem to imagine. I paid a visit to Simon's Bay 
and returning about two-thirds of the way — to Wynburg — drove 
across the peninsula behind Table Mountain and by the ocean 
around to Sea Point and back to town, a distance of about twenty- 
five miles. The railway has a double-track most of its course, and 
trains run very frequently during the day. The villages, which 
thickly adjoin each other, lie in a long flat valley, with the gaunt 
rugged Table Mountain and its comrades upon the west, and upon 
the east a distant range of mountains which runs north and south 
and circles around False Bay to its eastern extremity. We passed 
through many fine forests of fir, oak, willow, pine and eucalyptus. 
Though there is much wild wood, there seems to be more that has 
been planted and cultivated. All along the line were pretty little 
cottages, nestling in beautiful gardens of fruits, vegetables, and 
flowers, and half concealed by vines, with fences composed of rose- 
bushes in full-bloom. The country roads led through perfect tun- 
nels of green foliage and were as smooth and hard as those of a city 
park. This is a much healthier place of residence than Cape Town, 
or at least more comfortable, for in summer the difference of tem- 
perature is as much as ten degrees. The scenery all along the railway 
is very interesting, the sylvan beauty of the foreground being en- 
hanced by a grand background of precipitous mountains. 

A few miles from town, on the left, I saw the domes of the 
Eoyal Observatory, which was designed by Telford and completed 
in 1829. Here Sir John Herschel made his long and valuable 
survey of the southern heavens. Perhaps the prettiest and most 
attractive of the little villages at which we halted was Eondes- 
bosch. It contains the country residence of the governor. Here 
also are grounds for cricket and football clubs, and a few miles 
further, the race-track of the South African Turf Club. At Wyn- 
burg, eight miles from town, is the hospital, and the military camp 
which is said to be the healthiest and most agreeable foreign sta- 
tion in the British possessions. The old Dutch governor Van 
Riebeek once had a farm here, upon which a good deal of labor 
was bestowed. It is recorded that in 1661 there were on it over a 
thousand young orange, lemon and citron trees, ten banana plants, 
two olive, three walnut, five apple, two pear, nineteen plum and 
forty-one other fruit trees, besides some thousands of vines. Near 
Wynburg is the Government Wine Farm, where there are 150,000 



CAPE TOWN. 329 

vines, besides many fruit trees of every description. During the 
latter part of the journey the rich fertile soil changed rapidly to 
a very sandy one, and I finally came out directly upon the shores 
of False Bay, on the western side of which, about its centre, lies 
the further small indentation of Simon's Bay. There were several 
hamlets along the shores and many hotels, and boarding and bath- 
ing houses. The people of Cape Town spend a part of the sum- 
mer here, to inhale the fresh and invigorating sea air. The fishing 
industry is also lucrative hereabouts, and eagerly pursued. Simon's 
Town is a small village of a single street, winding around the steep 
chain of hills that extends from here down to the Cape of Good 
Hope. In the bay lay four British men-of-war and a number of 
small gunboats. On shore was a large Naval Dockyard, which is 
fitted with every appliance requisite for repairing modern war 
ships. There are two hospitals, a residence for the Admiral, and 
buildings for many officials. 

Eeturning to Wynburg, I alighted from the train, and took an 
open " Cape cart " back to the capital. It proved a most inter- 
esting and charming drive of three hours, at the very good speed 
of about eight miles an hour. The road was faultless and the team 
fresh and frisky. The air was by turns redolent of the perfume 
of flowers or the rich resinous odors of firs and pines. In gliding 
over the plains and up the gradual incline of the mountains I 
passed through many great vineyards and fruit-orchards. All 
sorts of European vegetables seemed also to be raised, and were 
growing in perfection. The grape vines were very low, squat 
bushes, not trained on trellises or supported by sticks, but planted 
thickly in rows close together. The red and white Cape wines are 
good and cheap. Sherry and brandy of fair quality are also made. 
We mounted a low ridge between Table Mountain and other simi- 
lar-topped mountains to the south, and enjoyed a magnificent pros- 
pect behind us over the rich green plain of Wynburg and Constan- 
tine, and off over the bright blue waters of False Bay. Then we 
crossed a great barren valley, containing a few poor houses, and 
turning towards the south came out upon the wide, flat beach of 
Host's Bay, which is mostly bordered by savage rocky mountains 
that start straight up from the water's edge. Near here was a 
comfortable little hotel, patronised by the city people as a bathing 
and fishing place, and as a sort of road-house for those who simply 
come for the drive from Cape Town. Turning about I went a 
few miles further north, and then crossing a ridge found myself 
23 



330 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

directly by the ocean's side, though upon cliffs several hundred 
feet above it. The road now wound in and out around these cliffs 
and gradually descended until we were nearly at the level of the 
sea. Upon the right was a long line of rough, rocky, crags, styled 
the Twelve Apostles, which extend quite to the edge of Table 
Mountain. About the centre of these is a tunnel whence an inex- 
haustible supply of water is obtained, and carried to Cape Town 
through several miles of iron pipes. The views of the sombre 
cliffs of Table Mountain, of the sharp peak of Lion's Head, 
and of the sea are very grand all along this side of the penin- 
sula. Gradually we approached Sea Point, passing first a toll-gate 
where the modest sum of sixpence was charged ; little enough for 
the pleasure of using such capital roads. Near here we turned 
sharply around and followed the tram-line, through a wide street 
lined with pretty villas, back to the city. On the left, in the dis- 
tance, was a great hospital, of three stories and six castellated tur- 
rets, situated within spacious grounds, well planted with trees and 
flowering plants. Next came the Breakwater, and the Docks and 
circular bay with their crowd of steamers and ships, and soon 
thereafter I arrived at my hotel, having enjoyed a picturesque 
excursion, with perfect weather. The seasons at the Cape come of 
course in the reverse order to those in Europe and North America. 
The climate is warm and dry. I found it a little hot in the mid- 
dle of the day in November, the Cape summer, but not uncomfort- 
able, and the nights were always cool and agreeable. It is a land 
of sunshine, pure buoyant air, clear blue skies, and pleasant tem- 
perature. The air is especially sweet and exhilarating ; it is as 
" clear as crystal," and a vitalising tonic. 

I had desired to continue my journey from Cape Town up the 
western coast of the continent to Mossamedes, the most southerly 
town in the Portuguese Possessions, and but four hundred miles 
from Loanda, the capital. But I was unable to find any direct 
means of communication, either by steamer, ship, coaster, yacht or 
man-of-war. There was formerly a Portuguese line and for a brief 
period a German, but both of them had been withdrawn. At 
present this is the only part — save that between Tripoli and Alex- 
andria — of the whole 16,000 miles of African sea-coast not served 
by several lines and nationalities of steamers. There was abso- 
lutely no way for me to reach Mossamedes except by making a very 
long detour by way of the island of Madeira. I would have to 
accomplish a voyage of 10,000 miles in order to reach a point but 



CAPE TOWN. 331 

1,200 miles from Cape Town ! I could go directly to Funchal in 
an English steamer and return in a Portuguese, calling at several 
ports upon the west coast. So being quite unwilling, unless abso- 
lutely compelled, to forego any part of my projected tour, I decided 
upon this course, being the less reluctant as I wished to see Ma- 
deira. I took passage in the " Moor," of the Union Royal Mail 
Steamship Company, which sailed on the evening of December 7th. 
We passed slowly out of the Docks, crept along the Breakwater, 
and turning abruptly, steamed away to the north. But little of 
the city is visible from beyond the roadstead, and the great preci- 
pice of Table Mountain is half hidden by the Lion's Head and 
Signal Hill. In half an hour we reached Robbin Island, a low, 
sandy stretch of land, about two miles long from north to south, 
and seven or eight miles distant from the shore. In 1657 a plat- 
form was erected on this island upon which a fire was kept up 
at night whenever ships belonging to the Dutch East India Com- 
pany were seen off the port. But nowadays a fine, round light- 
house, sixty feet high, warns the navigator to steer clear of the 
heavy breakers which surround it. It was also formerly used as a 
convict station and place of banishment for political offenders. 
The Cape Colony general infirmary for lepers and lunatics is upon 
the southern part of this island. More than half the population — 
of 650 — are patients of one kind or another. The annual expen- 
diture upon the maintenance of the institution is $100,000. A 
little steamer makes bi-monthly trips from Cape Town to the 
island. We carried few passengers, for, as it was the cold season 
in England, people accustomed to the hot weather of the Cape pre- 
ferred visiting home in the summer time. The grand old Table 
Mountain and the gigantic crags of the Twelve Apostles were in 
view for several hours, or until the darkness of night came down 
upon us. We went on with a cool fresh breeze, and a tremendous 
"following swell," which caused the most extraordinary rolling 
of the steamer and continuing the next day, made nearly all the 
passengers very ill. 

The distance from Cape Town to Funchal is 4,761 miles. On 
the 10th we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn — my tenth entrance 
into the Tropics. Both air and water were much colder than in 
the same latitudes of the East coast. This is doubtless explained 
by the South Atlantic and Equatorial currents which run from 
Polar Regions northerly and northwesterly along this coast and 
then bend to the westward through the Tropics and along the 



332 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Equator. Our track was very lonely ; we saw no vessels until near 
Cape Verd. We crossed the Equator on the 15th, and afterwards 
entered the region marked on the charts, " Variables and Calms," 
between 2° and 10° north latitude, and situated west of the Afri- 
can State of Liberia and the British Colony of Sierra Leone. We 
then followed the coast of the continent until we reached the 
Tropic of Cancer, when we headed off a little towards the Canary 
Islands. We passed Cape Verd about ten miles to the westward. 
Well does it deserve its title of the Green Cape. It is a long, 
narrow peninsula upon the extremity of which are two knolls, 
the most westerly one being crowned by a tall lighthouse. These 
knolls seemed covered with grass and shrubs, and extending a 
short distance on both sides of the point were forests of palms and 
other trees. Cape Verd is in the French Colony of Senegambia 
and on its southern side lies the town of Dakar and the neigh- 
boring island and town of Goree. Cape Verd is situated almost 
exactly in latitude 15° north. The Cape Verd Islands lie 350 
miles due west. We sighted the island of Grand Canary late on 
the afternoon of the 20th. In the evening we steamed between 
the islands of Teneriffe and Gomera, where is a deep channel about 
twelve miles wide. By starlight we saw the hard, black outlines 
of the famous peak, though it did not show to advantage, as we 
were too near and there was an intervening stretch of high land. 
It is 250 miles from the Canaries to Madeira. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A DETOUR BY MADEIRA. 

A heavy squall of wind and rain prevented our seeing Madeira 
until we had almost entered the roadstead of Funchal, its capital, 
which is situated on the southeastern side of the island. There 
is great depth of water, and we drew in to less than a quarter of 
a mile from the shore and anchored, just fourteen days from Cape 
Town. The view of Funchal was remarkably fine. The town is 
built upon the steep sides of a vast amphitheatre of high hills, 
which are dotted to their top with villas interspersed with gardens, 
orchards and vineyards. So steep are the hills that it is necessary 
to cover them with minute terraces. The villas are mostly but 
one or two stories in height, and their gay-colored walls and red 
tiled roofs make a very pretty appearance amidst the glossy green 
foliage of the diversified hills. At the right was an old stone fort, 
at the extreme left, not far from shore, upon a high rough rock, 
was another, and quite a distance up the hills upon a sharply pro- 
jecting spur, was a third. In the centre was a short stone pier, 
the landing place for boats. On one side of this was the palace 
of the governor, a yellow, two-storied edifice standing in an old 
fort. Near by was the theatre, a great plain white building. 
Prominent also in several directions were the large three and four 
storied English hotels, built for the accommodation of winter 
visitors and invalids. The towers of several old churches appeared 
above much rich foliage of trees and tropical plants. The beach 
was composed of gray and black pebbles and large stones which 
the furious surf was rolling up and down with a noise like the 
booming of distant cannon. No sooner was our anchor down than 
a score of boats full of native products and manufactures were 
rowed off to us, and our quarter-deck was soon converted into a 
bazaar. There were wicker-work furniture — chairs, tables and 
baskets — feather flowers, fine embroidery and filigree jewelry, and 

333 



334: ACTUAL AFRICA. 

an extraordinary profusion of fruits — oranges, apples, chirimoyas 
or custard-apples, bananas, lemons, pears, mangoes, pineapples, 
loquats and granadillas. The island also produces mulberries, 
pomegranates, grapes, guavas, figs, gooseberries and alligator-pears. 

Though the waves were running " mountain high," I succeeded 
in getting ashore in a little haven behind the rock-topped fort. 
When the wind does not blow too strongly and the sea is calm, 
the landing is made directly at the pier, or even on the neighbor- 
ing shore, the boats being beached before their occupants leave 
them. Where I was taken there stood a line of strange-looking 
sledges, drawn by bullocks. They are called carros, or cars, and 
are the national vehicles of the island. The streets are all paved 
with small cobble-stones, a sort of slippery pummice over which 
these sledges, shod with iron, glide as smoothly as if over snow. 
The carro has two cushioned seats, vis-a-vis, and a black water-proof 
canopy. The body is hung on springs, and is only about a foot 
above the ground. The bullocks are small but strong. They are 
driven by a man and boy, the latter walking directly before them, 
like the forelouper of a South African ox-team. The man walks 
at the side and occasionally prods the animals with a goad which 
he carries. I suffered no delay at the Custom-house and pro- 
ceeded to one of the English hotels, centrally located, and which 
had been established upwards of forty years. Nearly all the hotels 
of Funchal belong to the same English family. I found mine 
exceedingly comfortable and well-conducted. It offered for the 
delectation of its guests a beautiful large garden, filled with rare 
plants and pretty flowers, fountains, and cages of birds and mon- 
keys. Under great magnolia trees were easy extension-chairs, in 
which invalids passed the greater part of the day reading, chatting 
and dozing. The paths were paved with smooth pebbles in pretty 
ornamental patterns, and kept scrupulously clean. There was a 
billiard-table in a detached cottage, and of course a convenient 
lawn-tennis ground. Every morning I was awakened by the glori- 
ous singing of birds, the most of whom were captives. The wild 
canaries sing admirably. They are generally dark in color. Every 
family seems to keep a number of song birds, half a dozen or 
more together in a cage, canaries being in the majority. It is the 
same in the Canary Islands; every town inhabitant has many 
specimens. 

The houses and streets of Eunchal reminded me of Lisbon. 
The features and complexion, too, of the inhabitants closely re- 



A DETOUR BY MADEIRA. 335 

semble the Portuguese. The houses in the heart of the city are 
two and three and, sometimes, even five stories in height. They 
are adorned with many little balconies, and their lower windows 
are barred and grated like those of a prison. There are three 
mountain torrents that come down from behind the city and pass 
through it in deep, walled canals which are crossed by occasional 
bridges. On either side of these streams are avenues with rows of 
great trees which produce a grateful shade and have a pretty ap- 
pearance. The streets are narrow and crooked. They are lighted 
at night by oil lamps suspended from the walls by brackets. Many 
of them are a bright green color from the fine grass which springs 
vigorously from the interstices of the pebble-pavement. This 
pavement by the way is very disagreeable for the foreign pedes- 
trian. The natives wear a heelless, low-legged boot, made of tanned 
goat-skin, which is said to be much more comfortable than the cus- 
tomary European foot-gear. Occasionally there are narrow side- 
walks. I passed the Public Gardens, which are very beautiful. 
In Madeira you have the rose, fir, myrtle, laurel, bay, cypress, 
chestnut, oak, pine and cedars of southern Europe mixed with the 
plants of the Tropics — magnolia, mango, banana, coffee and palm. 
The profusion of flowers and vines growing upon the walls of the 
houses is remarkable, and with the myriads of birds hovering about 
produces a very fascinating scene. There are many shops selling 
the special industries of the island, though most of the inhabitants 
are engaged in the culture of the grape and sugar-cane, and in the 
manufacture of wine. The prosperity of Funchal is largely due to 
the winter residence of many foreigners. Every one knows that the 
islaud is much resorted to by consumptives on account of the mild- 
ness and uniformity of the climate. In the capital the mean an- 
nual temperature is 67°, and there is an average difference of only 
10° between the hottest and coldest months. Madeira is situated 
approximately in latitude 32° north, about four hundred miles to 
the westward of Morocco, and is kept at the high and even tem- 
perature by the Gulf Stream, which, dividing at the Azores, sweeps 
southwards and envelops the island in its warm embrace. Ma- 
deira, I may mention, is the name of a group of islands as well as 
of that containing Funchal, though only one besides this is in- 
habited — Porto Santo. The population of the two is 140,000. 
Madeira proper is a volcanic mass of basaltic rock. Its extreme 
length is thirty-eight miles and breadth sixteen. The highest 
point is Pico Ruivo — 6,050 feet. The capital has a population of 



336 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

30,000. It is only three-and-one-half days by fast steamer from 
Southampton. 

There are three methods of transport about the city of Fun- 
chal — horses, hammocks and bullock-carros — and they are all of 
the same cost per hour, about forty cents. The horses are very 
good, and carefully shod with high heels and prominent nails in 
the front of their shoes, on account of the steep and slippery streets. 
A boy usually runs behind you. The hammocks are very com- 
fortable, being furnished with thin mattress, pillow, and with a 
canopy for the head. They are slung from light, bamboo poles 
borne upon the shoulders of two men. These bearers, neatly 
dressed in white trousers and dark vest, with cloth or straw hat, 
carry long forked poles which they use to support the hammock 
when resting, and as alpenstocks when marching. They carry you 
at a fast walk, or jog-trot. For long distances two extra men are 
taken, who alternate with the others. They do not change so fre- 
quently as in Madagascar, but two go on until tired and are then 
succeeded by the other couple, and so on. The bullock sledges have 
already been described. These can only penetrate a short distance 
into the country through lack of suitable roads. In fact, there is 
only one carriage road in the island. It is in Funchal, is about 
six miles long, is macadamised and planted with trees, and ex- 
tends along the shore to the westward, to a quiet little fishing 
village. 

One day I paid a visit to what is called the Mount Church, 
situated behind the town, and 2,000 feet above the sea. I engaged 
a small wicker-work bullock sledge, with one seat facing back- 
wards, and uncanopied for the better view. The sledge runners 
were shod simply with hard wood — the others have them of iron — 
and from time to time they were cleaned and oiled by passing 
under them a wad of greasy rags. After a little winding we went 
straight away up the hills by a very steep road, where the pavement 
was put down in low ridges for better foothold. The road was 
walled the greater part of the way and lined with quintas, or villas, 
all of which had solid masonry terraces covered with gardens, 
pavilions, and seats for enjoying the wide prospect over town and 
sea. The huge camellias were a mass of flowers. Many grape 
vines grow upon trellises which frequently projected half across the 
road. I was just one hour in making the ascent of two miles to 
the church, which is reared upon a great platform of masonry, and 
is approached by a long flight of stone steps. The facade is 



A DETOUR BY MADEIRA. 337 

flanked by two towers. The interior is roughly decorated with in- 
different altars and paintings. The small image of the Virgin on 
the high altar is covered with jewelry ; gifts of the pious. She is 
much venerated on account of the miracles she is said to have per- 
formed — in token of which, witness an assortment of wax arms 
and legs hung upon the wall at one side. This church is four 
hundred years old. In returning to town it is customary to omit 
the service of the bullocks, the car descending by gravity, and be- 
ing directed by one or two men who run at the side or behind, 
holding ropes which are attached to the forward end of the run- 
ners, as with our ordinary sleds. This then is called a " running 
sledge," and well does it merit the title. You go down at a fear- 
ful pace ; I was but ten minutes in covering a part of the road that 
took fifty to mount. x\ll these steep mountain roads are thus 
utilised by the peasants for carrying their morning market supplies 
down to town. 

The Fish and Fruit Markets on the beach at Funchal are 
worthy of a visit. Both are well adapted for their purposes. The 
fish are exposed for sale on stone slabs plentifully supplied with 
running water. Here are to be seen turtles, mackerel and horse 
mackerel, red and gray mullet, sardines and tunny fish. The 
tunny is often enormous, weighing several hundred pounds. Its 
flesh is coarse but said not to be unpalatable. Then there are a 
great number of bright-colored, odd-looking fish, whose names 
convey no meaning to us. The Fruit Market displayed an ex- 
traordinary variety of well-conditioned products. In the centre 
of its quadrangle is a pretty marble fountain, with an allegorical 
statue. 

The Funchal citizens seem very fond of noise. About noon of 
the day before Christmas, they commenced letting off all sorts of 
fireworks — rockets and crackers predominating — and this amuse- 
ment continued at intervals during the night, all of Christmas Day 
and all of the two succeeding days. The only holidays these peo- 
ple have are connected with religious festivals, processions and 
pilgrimages. On Christmas Eve the churches had extra musi- 
cal services, and balls also were in great vogue. Parties of gay 
young men paraded the streets singing a lively fandango style of 
songs to the accompaniment of violins and guitars. The voices 
though light were often good, and the instruments were managed 
with much skill. 

Undoubtedly the first natural sight in Madeira is what is called 



338 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the Grand Curral. The word curral means sheepfold or cattlefold. 
It is simply an immense valley, surrounded by hills or mountains 
with perpendicular sides nearly 2,000 feet high, which lies eleven 
miles to the northwest of Funchal, and nearly in the centre of the 
island. The valley extends north and south. Its bottom is 2,080 
feet above the sea level, and bears a small torrent called the Eio 
dos Soccoridos. The visit is generally made on horseback. You 
pass through the narrow streets of Funchal, always rising, and in 
three-quarters of an hour reach the church of San Antonio. From 
here there are splendid prospects backward over the city and road- 
stead. A half an hour further and you come out upon the top of 
a ridge 3,305 feet high, whence a good view is had into the Curral 
Ravine, with its river flowing away to the ocean. I was much 
reminded of the Grand Cation of the Yellowstone, excepting that 
you have not the exquisite coloring of that renowned gorge, for 
here all is green, not of trees, but of grass and shrubs. The road 
is paved to this point, but beyond only in the most dangerous 
places. The greater part is very steep, often you have a rise of 
one foot in four feet. The peculiar characteristics of Madeira 
scenery may be said to be steep mountain ridges and peaks sepa- 
rated by deep valleys and yawning chasms. At the bottom of 
these are stony torrent beds, almost or quite dry in summer, but 
in winter covered with rapid streams which rush over them with 
great noise. All the hills are terraced and carefully tilled, the 
limit of cultivation being 3,000 feet. The terraces, as I have said, 
are absolutely necessary by reason of the steep inclination of the 
country. The houses of the peasants are generally small, of rough 
basalt, and thatched with straw. A better class are faced or stuc- 
coed, and have tiled roofs. There are some wooden huts, and 
caves in the rocks which are walled up. The peasants are of 
course descendants of Portuguese settlers. They live simply, dress 
roughly, are not clean in person or dwelling, are hardy and strong, 
are superstitious, hospitable, conservative, ignorant, and generally 
respectful and polite. 

As I proceeded the road narrowed to three or four feet, and in 
places was quite appalling, there being a vertical wall of rock 
above you, on the one hand, and a sheer precipice of 1,500 feet 
below you, upon the other. I was astonished at the variety and 
fecundity of vegetable life. There were hedges of box-trees twenty 
feet high, and heaths of even greater height. The display of ferns 
and mosses was also remarkable. There are said to be forty-two 



A DETOUR BY MADEIRA. 339 

varieties of ferns found in the island. Flowers, as already stated, 
covered the walls and crowded the gardens everywhere. There 
are 650 species of flowering plants known to botanists in the 
Madeira group. Among the curious vegetable products is the 
Dragon tree, originally a native of Teneriffe. This odd plant lives 
several thousands of years ! It resembles the asparagus in that the 
dead branches serve as a support for the tufts or crowns, the roots 
of which encircle and conceal the original stem, which gradually 
rots away inside, leaving a hollow trunk. The roots which fail to 
grasp the stem hang withered from the branches. Dragon's blood 
or sap is an article of commerce. As regards the great variety of 
trees in Madeira I may mention that the United States Consul at 
Funchal collected, and sent to the Columbian Exhibition at Chi- 
cago, samples of two hundred species. As I went on up the moun- 
tains to a point commanding a special view of the Grand Curral, 
I saw peaks like those in the wonderful canon of the Colorado, 
save that here all is verdure, there all is rock.- In about two hours 
from Funchal you arrive upon the brink of the most interesting 
part of the Curral, where you may look down 2,000 feet below 
you to a comparatively level expanse, upon which are a church, a 
few comfortable houses, and a village of grass-thatched huts. The 
entire bed of the valley is carefully cultivated, and upon its pre- 
cipitous sides browse many flocks of goats and sheep. You dis- 
mount and climb a neighboring pinnacle, and then enjoy a 
broader view below, around, and above. The air is like crystal, and 
mountains of 6,000 feet seem only half this height. The hills are 
mostly covered with grass and shrubs, and often the bare rock 
crops out, showing a purple hue that contrasts well with the green 
of the foliage, the white of the houses, the blue of the sky. The 
precipices are fearful, sheer descents to the bed of the stream, and 
often accentuated by silver ribbons of falling cascade. In spots 
the river has worn itself a deep and tortuous channel through the 
rocks, and hereabouts the picture is most impressive. The pano- 
rama is alternately wild and savage, graceful and beautiful. One 
marvels how the peasants ever get down to the bottom of the Cur- 
ral, but occasionally you will observe their zigzag paths scratched 
upon the flank of some giant precipice. 

After seeing the principal objects of interest in Madeira, and 
having still some ten days to await the arrival from Lisbon of 
the mail steamer for Mossamedes and other Portuguese towns on 
the west coast of Africa, I determined to pay a flying visit to the 



340 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

neighboring Canary Group, and try and make the ascent of the 
volcanic peak of Teneriffe. For this purpose I took passage in one 
of the Mersey Steamship Company's fortnightly steamers plying 
between London, Madeira and the Canary Islands. This vessel 
was to call first at La Palma, then at Teneriffe, and then at Grand 
Canary, and to return to Madeira, stopping only at Teneriffe. My 
plan was to leave the steamer at Santa Cruz, the capital of Ten- 
eriffe, to visit Orotava and the peak on the opposite side of the 
island, and to rejoin it on its return to Funchal. This would give 
me three or four days upon the island of Teneriffe. The steamer 
was only of 800 tons burden, so small it was quite full with our 
dozen cabin passengers. On leaving port we had the Desertas, 
three uninhabited islands of the Madeira group, in sight for many 
hours. These are steep and barren, save for a few pine trees. They 
contain, however, rabbits and wild goats, which are sometimes 
hunted by parties from Funchal. Deserta Grande, the largest, is 
but six miles long, and 1,600 feet high. Madeira belongs of course 
to Portugal and the Canaries to Spain. The latter were once known 
as the " Fortunate Isles " or " Isles of the Blessed " by the ancients. 
They lie between 27° 30' and 29° 30' north latitude, opposite the 
desert of Sahara and Morocco, and one of them — Fuerteventura — 
is but sixty-four miles distant from Cape Juby. There are seven 
large islands — of which Grand Canary and Teneriffe are the most 
important — and many small ones. They are all of volcanic forma- 
tion, containing many craters of extinct volcanoes, hilly and rugged, 
and generally rise sheer and precipitous out of the deep waters of 
the ocean. Their climate is one of the finest in the world, warm 
and equable, and less humid than that of Madeira. The population 
of the Canaries is placed at 284,000. They are a mixed people, 
descendants of Spaniards and a native race— called Guanches, now 
wholly exterminated — mingled also with Norman, Flemish and 
Moorish blood. The aboriginal Guanches, supposed to have be- 
longed to the Berber family, were a brave, powerful, moral shep- 
herd race. The inhabitants at the present day are chiefly engaged 
in agriculture, cattle-breeding, and the cultivation of cochineal and 
the vine. About 20,000 pipes of Canary sack — a dry red wine — 
are exported annually to England and America. 

Early the following afternoon we were at anchor in the circular 
roadstead of Santa Cruz de Palma. The island is high, steep and 
very broken like Madeira, the loftiest point nearly reaching 8,000 
feet. The little capital is situated in a valley facing the sea, and 



A DETOUR BY MADEIRA. 341 

just north of a huge extinct crater. Landing upon a small stone 
pier I took a stroll through the town, which contains about 6,000 
inhabitants. The principal street bore the astounding name of 
O'Daly, many Irish having once emigrated here. There is a good 
English hotel. The sights of the place appear, however, to be of no 
very great number or interest. I pass a circular building once 
used for cock-fights, but now occupied as a wine store. The Town 
Hall presents a fine old facade of cut stone, with arches and a coat- 
of-arms bearing the date 1563. The Cathedral of San Salvador 
also has its original tower and a fine doorway still standing, but 
the interior presents little more of note than a carved wooden ceil- 
ing. The Alameda or public garden is very small and but illy 
supplied with trees and plants. The interest of the island is not 
however in the capital but in the Gran Caldera, an enormous 
crater, 6,780 feet deep, and from five to seven miles across, broken 
on one side by a great barranca, or ravine, through which once 
rushed a gigantic river of molten lava. Unfortunately I could not 
visit this great crater — perhaps the largest in the world — as the 
round journey requires three days upon mule-back. 

We remained twelve hours at La Palma and then sailed to 
Teneriffe, directly to the eastward, and about fifty miles distant to 
its nearest point, though one hundred to its seaport of Santa Cruz 
de Teneriffe, on the northeastern side. The names of these capi- 
tals are very confusing, and it is necessary always to add those of 
their respective islands. There also seems to be an unnecessary 
similarity in the name of the island La Palma and of the town 
Las Palmas, the capital of Grand Canary. From La Palma I had 
a fine view of the snow-capped peak of Teneriffe, and the high 
land of the island. This is the largest of the Canaries, notwith- 
standing there is a Gran Canaria — another misnomer. It is sixty 
miles long and thirty-seven broad at the widest point. It extends 
northeast and southwest and is of a rough, pear shape, the peak 
being in about the centre of the broadest part. Teneriffe is of 
course chiefly renowned for its wonderful peak, which was first 
ascended by some members of the Koyal Society of London, at the 
instigation of King Charles II., and the Duke of York, with the 
purpose of weighing the air and taking other observations. But 
it was the memorable ascent of Humboldt, nearly a century ago, 
which brought it prominently before the world. The name Tene- 
riffe is derived from two words in the ancient dialect of La Palma, 
thener, mountain, and ife, white, in allusion to its appearance when 



342 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

covered with snow, which it is during a great part of the year. It 
is 12,200 feet high, and has been seen from the hills of Madeira, 
250 miles distant, and from the level of the ocean at a distance of 
125 miles. This peak in relation to its surroundings is second to 
none on the globe. As Humboldt long ago said, rising as it does 
directly from the level of the sea, it presents one of the most strik- 
ing objects Nature has to offer us in any part of the world, and its 
situation is heightened by its form, character, and the marvellous 
grouping around its base and lower heights of all the climates and 
vegetable products of both hemispheres. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

A MID-WINTER ASCENT OF TENERIFFE. 

The next morning we were favored with a magnificent un- 
clouded view of the peak and the island, some ten or twelve miles 
distant. The peak shows to best advantage from a considerable 
distance at sea, for the whole island is so elevated that the great 
height of the mountain is dwarfed when you are near. At least 
4,000 feet of the beautiful cone were covered with snow. We could 
just discern the town of Puerta Orotava, at the sea's edge, and, about 
the centre of the celebrated valley, the town called Villa Orotava. 
The valley was very green and beautiful, though almost destitute 
of trees. It was bordered by two long, steep and lofty ridges, and 
seemed but an enormous flow from the volcano. The scenery at 
the northeastern end of the island is exceedingly wild, precipitous 
and broken. We passed between two huge rocks, and turned 
around to the south and west. Far away in the dim east were the 
islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, and to the south, Grand 
Canary. A long breakwater makes a small but safe port of Santa 
Cruz de Teneriffe. The town lies upon the gently-sloping hills, 
with two tall churches very conspicuous, and many pretty villas 
dotting the hills. In the distance, just appearing above the ridge 
of green mountains, was the top of the cone of the great snowy 
peak. The city contains about 23,000 inhabitants, and is of a bet- 
ter character than Funchal. The streets, though narrow, are well 
paved and provided with sidewalks. All the houses are surmounted 
by little towers, or miradores, which afford fine views of the town, 
the port and the sea. I, however, did not tarry here, but took car- 
riage at once for Puerta Orotava, twenty-six miles distant, first tele- 
graphing for a horse, pack-mule and guides for beginning the as- 
cent of the peak on the following morning. I was furnished with 
a comfortable barouche drawn by three horses abreast. The road, 
which wound slowly up the hills, was most excellent. It was ma- 

343 



344 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

cadamised, and provided with stone bridges and long causeways 
when necessary. The country was terraced and covered with cere- 
als and the cochineal plant. All the villas with their gay-colored 
walls were surrounded by pretty flower and vegetable gardens. 
After a drive of about six miles I reached the old town of La 
Laguna, 1,840 feet above sea-level, and rattled through its strag- 
gling suburbs and flat-paved streets for a long time, passing several 
curious old churches, the Town Hall, and a plaza ornamented with 
a large marble fountain. I had left Santa Cruz at four in the 
afternoon and now was favored with a clear full-moon. On leav- 
ing Laguna the road was bordered with rows of eucalyptus trees 
and led through an undulating, fertile and carefully cultivated 
country. Then I caught a glimpse of the sea, and the road fol- 
lowed the general trend of the coast, though at some distance, and 
descended gradually to the valley of Orotava. From now on I 
had charming views of the peak, the snow-fields glistening in the 
strong moonlight. Finally I reached the eastern barrier of the 
valley and saw the point called " Humboldt's Corner," as it was 
near here, on the old road, that the great traveller threw himself 
on the ground, and saluted the sight as the finest in the world. 
Though it certainly was remarkably fine by night, and afterwards 
as I saw it by day, still I could not wholly agree with the judg- 
ment of Humboldt. 

Driving on, the road was lined for miles with eucalypti, cacti, 
geraniums, roses and oleanders. The whole air was filled with per- 
fume. We passed many sumptuous villas and rich fields. Gradu- 
ally turning towards the ocean, I saw upon the great sloping plain 
two low cones of extinct volcanoes, now mere cinder heaps. Then 
came an enormous new hotel — it contains 150 rooms — standing on 
a hill, three or four hundred feet high, and just back of the town 
of Puerta Orotava, which lies upon a flat peninsula, fringed with 
great reefs of lava rock upon which the billows break and foam 
and roar. At last I reached my destination, and made final ar- 
rangements for the ascent of the peak. The hotel was surrounded 
by a beautiful garden with walks, ponds, fountains and aviaries. 
It was full of invalids, most of whom were of English nationality. 
Puerta Orotava is an ordinary Spanish town of some 4,000 inhabi- 
tants, with an old convent in which cockfights are held on Sun- 
days. My visit was in mid-winter when Teneriffe is rarely as- 
cended. There were but two guides in the town. One believing 
it too dangerous, refused me point-blank, but the other would take 










'S 







•fp 



f^'^ 






In a Ravine, Teneriffe. 



A MID-WINTER ASCENT OF TENERIFFE. 345 

the risk, though he added that if it were a week later in the season 
he should not think of it. The snow descending so much lower, 
and being so much deeper and harder in winter than in summer, 
makes the ascent more difficult. Besides the cold is much greater, 
and sudden and heavy snow-storms might prove in many ways 
very dangerous. However I was determined to make the attempt, 
having had considerable experience in ascending some of the 
highest accessible mountains and volcanoes of the world. My out- 
fit consisted of a small, wiry horse, shod with flat and nearly 
elliptical shoes, and a stout mule to carry provisions and blankets. 
I secured an English saddle with strong crupper and chest-strap. 
My guide and the driver of the mule were both natives of the 
island, and had made the ascent many times. The excursion to 
the peak requires two days and a night, or thirty-six hours. Dur- 
ing this time you generally ride some forty or fifty miles and 
climb six or eight hours. 

We started at six. It was a beautiful bright morning, the 
summit of the peak, which just appeared above the western ridge 
enclosing the valley, being wholly free from clouds. Still at that 
time of year it was quite impossible to prognosticate fine weather. 
"We followed the macadamised road as far as Villa Orotava. This 
town stands about 1,000 feet above the sea and has 10,000 in- 
habitants. It contains a good English hotel, some interesting old 
churches and tombs, some curious facades surmounted by the 
arms of the Spanish aristocracy of olden days, and some lofty 
buildings whose top-floor windows are faced by beautifully-carved 
and delicately-painted balconies. The general plan of my ascent 
was now to cross the valley to the base of its western walls, and 
then to zigzag upwards until I reached the great rough plain 
upon which rests the peak. I intended to return by another trail 
to the northward and along the coast. The road was narrow and 
paved until I reached the really steep beginning of the ascent, and 
afterwards a mere trail, though the rise actually commences at once 
upon leaving Puerta Orotava. We passed between great gardens 
of oranges, lemons, figs, peaches and pears, and fields planted with 
cereals and vegetables. There were many wild and also cultivated 
plants and flowers in full and gorgeous bloom. The houses of the 
peasants sparsely line the road and there are occasionally small 
villages. At one of these, La Cruz Santa, we had reached an alti- 
tude of 1,450 feet. At 3,000 feet vegetation ceases, and I have 
reached the level of the clouds. The boundary ridge is called 
24 



346 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

Monte Verde, from the quantity of green heather which covers its 
precipitous flanks. I had now entered a region of heath and 
grasses, and at 4,000 feet found the valley behind me quite con- 
cealed by an ocean of white fleecy clouds, which spread far out 
over the sea. Next the heather gave place to the codeso, a sort of 
leguminous plant like the thorny acacia of South Africa, with 
branches somewhat like a miniature cedar tree. The ground was 
of gravel and rough stones. Then the codeso ceased and the 
retama began and continued, becoming gradually thinner, lower 
and more scrubby, to the limit of vegetation. This retama is a 
kind of mountain broom, a shrub said to be found nowhere else 
in the world. It looks like a member of the great cactus family, 
is very odoriferous, and full of nectar which is utilised by the bees 
to such an extent that the native palm-tree beehives are often 
filled with honey from this source during the summer. 

I soon reached El Portillo, a pass (7,150 feet high) to a great 
rough desert called the Cafiadas, with ranges of red and black 
walled mountains in the distance, and a good view of the great 
white peak around to the right. From here it seemed a huge 
dome-shaped mass, like Chimborazo in Ecuador, and from this 
rose its cone, very similar to that of Cotopaxi in the same South 
American State. The Portillo is, as its name implies, simply a 
vast gateway or gap down which has poured the enormous river 
of lava which spread itself over the valley of Orotava and then 
reached the sea. The Cafiadas is a huge crater, some eight miles 
in diameter, with walls 2,000 feet high, and for sterility hardly 
paralleled, save in the moon itself. It is a veritable Sahara of un- 
dulating yellow gravel, jagged brown lava, pumice-stone, white 
sand and red rocks. The beautiful blue mountains in the distance 
were simply the walls of the gigantic crater. I observed several 
cliffs that were quite black and glistened like streams of water in 
the sunlight. This effect was due to the presence of obsidian. 
The plaiii was covered with lava flows, some of which had the 
appearance of a petrified stormy sea. Elsewhere were great hum- 
mocky heaps — bergs of lava — slag, and unearthly-looking black 
stones. The oldest lava was of a yellow color, then came the 
brown streams, and last of all the black. Besides the scant and 
scrubby retama bush there are grasses and lavender, and in sum- 
mer even a species of violet is said to grow. The heat and light 
were both intense in crossing this plain, and the scenery wild and 
awful almost beyond conception. The poetry and romance of the 



A MID-WINTER ASCENT OF TENERIFFE. 347 

place require the pen of a Di Amici, the pencil of a Dore. Every- 
thing was witness of confusion, desolation and destruction, of 
violent energy, of unlimited power. This wild wilderness might 
well be called a " Malpays." I took lunch in the bright sun, 
which blinded but hardly warmed me, and then continued on 
across the crater and over a sort of spur of the peak, called Mon- 
tana Blanca, which is 8,985 feet high, and covered with a yellowish 
pumice and with great scattered balls of black lava ten and fifteen 
feet in diameter. Some of these were in fragments, but most 
were whole. They had been hurled from the terminal crater and 
had fallen at distances of many miles. I tried to picture to myself 
this peak in actual eruption at night, the slag, pumice, stones, 
gravel, sand, playing thousands of feet upwards continuously, and 
from time to time hundreds of great lava bombs shot through this 
gigantic pyrotechnic " flower-pot," and falling red-hot in the dis- 
tant plain, the rim of the crater meanwhile pouring over with vast 
rivers of liquid fire ! The very thought of such terrific forces 
of Nature at work is enough to freeze the marrow in one's bones. 
I do not wonder that the early Spanish settlers imagined some 
connection between the peak and the infernal regions, and called 
it El Pico de Teyde, or the Peak of Hell. 

I had now reached the Lomo Tiezo, or cone proper. A very 
zigzag path climbs this upon its eastern face, mounting a steep 
valley lined by two enormous streams of great blocks of a blue- 
black lava resembling chunks of coal. These streams, hundreds of 
feet in depth and thousands in width, show magnificently against 
the yellow and brown sand and pumice-stone on the snow-fields, 
and have also a very powerful contrast in the white clouds and 
blue sky. I soon found the snow had covered the path, and being 
soft and hard by turns, and its depth unknown, I had to dismount 
and struggle upwards on foot over the lava blocks and loose 
cinders. At five in the afternoon we reached the bifurcation of a 
giant stream of lava, where a stone cabin has been built for the 
accommodation of mountaineers. This point is called Alta Vista, 
and is 10,702 feet above sea-level. The angle of ascent to this is 
about 28°. 

The cabin is known as the Estancia de los Ingleses, and it is 
representatives of this nationality almost exclusively who make 
the ascent. There was formerly a small wooden hut here, but 
about two years ago the present one of stone was built by sub- 
scription, costing, with its furnishings, at this altitude, some 



348 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

It is about fifty feet long, fifteen wide and twenty high, with a con- 
ical roof also of stone. The walls are of solid masonry, and three 
feet thick. It is divided into three chambers, one for women, 
one for men, and the third a stable for animals, but where 
the guides and drivers also bivouac. I was greatly surprised to 
find here six camp-beds, washstands, tables, chairs, small iron 
stoves, with great baskets of coal standing ready for use, and even 
looking-glasses. The stable bad space for six animals. In one of 
the rooms was a huge boiler for melting snow for washing or for 
the animals to drink. Travellers bring their own drinking-water 
— more likely wine or spirits — in bottles, and require no ice. For 
all this accommodation you have to pay but one dollar. From the 
Estancia the view down the mountain into the huge crater, out 
over the ocean and away to the Grand Canary, is superb. You 
behold great lakes of lava blown this way or that like the sur- 
face of a ruffled sea. The ocean itself is only noticed here and 
there through the thick stratum of clouds. The peak cannot be 
seen from Alta Vista, but at sunset and sunrise its grand dark 
shadow is projected like a giant pyramid against the sky, where, 
profiled with marvellous clearness, it looks like another Vesu- 
vius. I was exceedingly lucky in having a clear sunset, then a 
crater illumined by a full moon, and in the morning a sunrise of 
surpassing grandeur, in which the sun was beheld reflected in the 
sea as a huge round red ball. The clouds at night were especially 
beautiful, looking like a vast plain covered with heaps of the 
whitest and fleeciest cotton. The direct ascent of the peak had 
been so rapid — nearly 11,000 feet in a less number of hours — 
that I suffered greatly from the cold at night, notwithstanding 
there was a good fire in my room. Outside the hut water froze 
half an inch thick. I also fell a victim to " mountain sickness " — 
headache and vomiting — and both my men were also troubled with 
the latter. 

In the morning, though extremely weak and still affected with 
nausea, I started for the summit. In summer the horses and 
mules can go a little higher up, but I had to travel on foot, and a 
hard climb it was over the great rough blocks of lava flows. In 
an hour, however, I had reached the Pambleta, an altitude of 
11,700 feet, the highest shelf of the peak, and the special crater 
from which the Piton, or Sugar-Loaf rises. It was exceedingly 
cold, and we all suffered much from the rarefaction of the air. 
The Piton, now directly before us, was a comparatively smooth 



A MID-WINTER ASCENT OF TENERIFFE. 349 

cone covered with sand and pumice-stone, and fields of snow and 
ice. It rose, at a mean angle of 33°, five hundred feet above 
us. Its contrasting colors — white, red, yellow and gray — added 
beauty to its majesty. In about an hour more, after halting every 
ten steps to breathe, I had with the aid of my alpenstock zig- 
zagged to the summit — 12,200 feet above the sea-level. The 
terminal crater is about four hundred feet in diameter and sev- 
enty deep. Its northern wall is nearly two hundred feet higher 
than the southern. The edge of the crater is very narrow, and the 
slope abrupt on both sides. I descended to the bottom, which 
is covered with white, yellow and greenish sulphur, and tinged 
here and there with red. There are many steam jets and also 
sulphureous acid vapors which it is well to keep to leeward, the 
wind generally blowing quite strongly here. The ground is every- 
where warm. The temperature of the jets of steam coming from 
small crevices is from 100° to 122° Fahrenheit's scale, and this 
condensing on stones gives means of support to a few mosses. 
There is also sometimes a little animal life : birds, bees, flies and 
spiders being congregated for the warmth. The view from the 
summit is, as might have been expected, grand and beautiful in 
the extreme. The peak slopes rapidly on the northern side, and 
you can see the vast lava flows which in 170G overwhelmed the 
town of Garachico. To the west rises the great crater of Chajora, 
three-fourths of a mile in diameter, 10,500 feet high. Between 
this and the sea are the smaller cones or cinder heaps of several 
extinct craters. On the remaining sides you have the semi-cir- 
cular basin of the Canadas. The back-bone or ridge of the moun- 
tain range may be seen distinctly from end to end of the island. 
And away down below, the towns in the valley of Orotava, others 
dotting the coast, next the sea, and then the six remaining islands 
of the Canary archipelago— satellites of mighty Teneriffe, floating 
in the hazy distance. It is a view never to be forgotten, a view 
unequalled in character and ease of possession throughout the 
world. It being New Year's Day I left evidence of my call in the 
guise of a large stone which I placed upon the topmost pinnacle, 
and then began to descend. We were at the bottom of the cone 
in fifteen minutes, in an hour more at the Alta Vista, where all of 
us were still too sick to eat. I next walked down to the Montana 
Blanca, rode across the Canadas in a more northerly direction than 
that in which we had come, and took lunch near a steep ridge of 
red rocks, appropriately styled the Fortaleza. We then descended 



350 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

by the range of Monte Verde nearly to the sea's edge, at the 
northwestern corner of the valley of Orotava, but some 1,500 feet 
above it. From here I enjoyed a splendid prospect over the 
whole valley, with its rich fields of disintegrated lava, its pretty 
houses, and stately churches. We descended the precipice by an 
exceptionally steep and winding paved road, going very slowly, for 
the stones were so slippery from recent showers that I had several 
times to dismount, and, crossing the valley, reached the hotel at 
six o'clock, after a very tolerable day's work. The next morning 
I returned to Santa Cruz, and a day later took the little English 
steamer back to Funchal. 




fe 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 

On" January 8th, 1893, the Portuguese mail steamer arrived 
from Lisbon, and I at once took passage for Mossamedes, the end 
of the route, a voyage of about a month. The line is styled the 
" Empreza Nacional." It calls only at ports in Portuguese pos- 
sessions, some ten altogether, four of them being at islands and 
the remainder at towns on the mainland. The first stop we were 
to make was at Sao Vicente, or St. Vincent, in the Cape Verd 
group of islands, about a thousand miles from Madeira. I found 
myself on board a steamer of 3,000 tons burden, with large com- 
fortable cabins, and, on deck, a fine great dining-saloon, walled 
about with vari-colored marbles. There were about thirty cabin 
passengers and a lesser number in the second and third cabins. 
Among those in the latter were about twenty convicts who were 
being transported to Loanda, where they would have their liberty 
but not be allowed to leave the colony. They were mostly exiled 
for political crimes or theft or murder. 

Early on the morning of the 12th the Cape Verd Islands were 
in sight. There are some ten chief islands in this group, most of 
which are fertile and one of which, Fogo, has an active volcano 
9,157 feet above sea-level. The large group seems to be divided 
into two smaller ones — St. Vincent being one of the northern, 
and Santiago one of the southern. The surface of the islands 
where uncultivated is generally rocky and arid, they being appar- 
ently of volcanic formation. We passed several small islands with 
steep red and brown sides and sharp tops, as barren as the moun- 
tains of Nubia, and with their numerous pinnacles and odd con- 
tours reminding me of the scenery of Mauritius. At intervals 
were the cinder cones of extinct volcanoes. We saw but little evi- 
dence of habitation. Water is said to be scarce. In more fertile 
parts cotton, sugar, indigo and fruits are cultivated. Salt is a 

351 



352 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

principal article of export. Donkeys, mules, goats, poultry and 
turtle are plentiful. These islands form a separate Portuguese 
province, with a governor who resides at Praia, on Santiago. The 
population of the group is put at 111,000 and consists for the most 
part of European and African half-breeds, though the pure negro 
type prevails in many of the islands. The inhabitants are Roman 
Catholics. They are occupied as husbandmen, and in oil and sugar 
refining, weaving and distilling. 

We passed the island of Sao Antonio and turning to the left, 
near a lighthouse erected on a great lava rock, were soon lying 
at anchor in the deep and commodious harbor of St. Vincent. 
The town lay at the foot and on the slope of some steep brown 
rocky hills, one of them recalling Table Mountain. St. Vincent 
is perhaps the best known of the group. It is rather barren, and 
its sole importance is derived from its being a much frequented 
coaling port, and a station of the Anglo-Brazilian telegraph cable. 
In the harbor were lying a German man-of-war, three or four 
merchant steamers, and a few ships. Not a blade of grass was 
to be seen on the island. It was all either solid lava, or lava lying 
disintegrated at the foot of the cliffs. The semi-circle of sharp 
broken ridges and odd-shaped peaks, with their varying colors 
— red, brown, gray or black — made a very picturesque setting to 
the simple town. A visit to the shore revealed many great 
sheds filled with coal from Cardiff, Wales, a small market, nar- 
row paved streets, and mean-looking dwellings crowded with poor 
people, a park without trees, a government-house or town-hall, 
and an alleged " palace " of the governor. The town has but 3,000 
inhabitants, and though it seems quite dead the harbor at least 
is a place of business activity. Some half a dozen steamers, of 
as many nationalities, entered and left during our brief stay. 

We remained at anchor but seven hours and then steamed away 
to Praia, on Santiago, the largest and most fertile of the group, 
and 160 miles southeast of St. Vincent. The highest point of 
this island is about 7,400 feet above the sea. Early the next 
morning we were coasting along Santiago, which resembled the 
others of the group already seen, though it was said to be quite 
fertile in the valleys and upon the opposite side from us. At seven 
o'clock we were at anchor in the roadstead of Praia. Before us 
and perhaps a mile distant, was the town, situated upon the flat 
top of a large hill with vertical rocky sides a hundred feet in 
height. It was a natural fortress. In valleys to right and left 



PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 353 

were large groves of cocoanut-palms, but they afforded the sole 
vegetation in sight. The circle of hills about the roadstead was 
all of lava, and several of the peaks were tilted from the perpen- 
dicular like those in Mauritius. There was a little pier projecting 
from the Custom-house, and a road wound up the cliff to the 
plateau of the town, where was a row of about twenty old-fash- 
ioned cannon, which might have been of some use in firing 
salutes, but certainly for nothing else. I went on shore but 
found only a dead place like St. Vincent. There was an attempt 
at a grand plaza, but nothing would grow in it save a few stunted 
palms, and orange and mulberry trees. The population, of some 
4,000, was mostly of Creoles and negroes. They seemed very poor 
both in person and dwelling. Their few clothes were patched or 
in rags, and they were almost universally barefoot. They were of 
light-brown complexion, and had the good-natured expression and 
temperament of the American negro. The women were dressed 
in bright colors, and wore bandanas. Occasionally we would see 
a Portuguese officer in full uniform strutting about the paved 
streets, or a native policeman in dark cloth coat and white hel- 
met. Shops were small and ill-furnished ; the market, save for 
its display of fruit, scarcely worth a visit. Donkeys were used as 
beasts of burden, and there were a few bullock-carts with block- 
wheels. Hotel there was none, but a cafe and billiard-room. We 
spent the day coaling here, instead of at St. Vincent, and did not 
resume our voyage until near midnight. 

Our next port of call is to be at the island of Principe or 
Prince's Island, in the Gulf of Guinea, near the Equator, and about 
150 miles from the mainland of Africa and the territory of French 
Congo. The distance is 2,100 miles from Santiago, and the time 
of the voyage in good weather about a week. On the continent 
at about 12°, north latitude, and a little south of the parallel 
of the Cape Verds, lies the Portuguese colony of Guinea, with a 
population of some 5,000. We experienced a great deal of rain, 
and suffered from the heat and lack of air in the " doldrums." 
We saw but one or two vessels the whole way. But at night there 
was always interest in the phosphorescent sea. All around the 
steamer for a width of five or six feet, and with a trail forty or 
fifty feet astern, the water was like molten silver, soft and ex- 
ceedingly luminous and sparkling. Our trail was like a gorgeous 
" milky- way," alive with stars and glorious suns. We descended 
almost to the Equator — within less than a degree of it — and then 



354 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

began to feel the effects of a current, which flows directly through 
the Gulf of Guinea, and which increased our daily run by a score 
of miles. 

We reached Prince's Island on the morning of the 22d. From 
a distance it is very pretty, and evidently of volcanic formation, 
with peaks, pinnacles and knife-like ridges. It is covered with 
trees even to the tops of the hills, though there are many out- 
croppings of rough rocks, some conical, others domed. The gen- 
eral appearance of the island recalled those of the South Seas. At 
a little distance from the shore we passed a huge naked rock with 
narrow vertical strata. Prince's Island is about ten miles long and 
six wide. Its highest point is 4,000 feet above the sea. It is very 
fertile, producing coffee and cacao chiefly. The population is al- 
most entirely native, though there are a few Portuguese who carry 
on business or form the local government. We skirted the pre- 
cipitous shore, noticing many huge cotton-trees, baobabs, and 
many cocoanut-palms in the general mass of verdure. There was 
also the usual tropical profusion of vines and creepers. The vary- 
ing shades of green gave a pleasing effect, and a strong odor of 
flowers came off to us. In truth, Prince's Island has been called 
a " volcanic flower-garden." 

We dropped anchor at the mouth of a long, narrow bay, at 
whose head, a couple of miles distant, stands, in a beautiful amphi- 
theatre, the little town of Sao Antonio, the capital, with about 
2,000 inhabitants. Our steamer carried a small steam-launch to 
transport passengers and tow lighters, and in this we paid a 
visit to the land. The town is rather dilapidated in its general 
appearance. The houses are built of wood, with tiled roofs, and 
are generally raised upon wooden posts some four or five feet 
from the ground. A few of the churches and shops are built 
of stone. The streets with one exception are mere tracks. The 
inhabitants are mostly blacks from Angola. They are strong and 
amiable, but lazy and improvident. The combination of great 
heat and humidity — being so near the Equator, it rains more or 
less during a great part of the year — is well adapted to produce a 
riant vegetation, but it produces also a very unhealthy climate, not 
only for foreigners but even for the natives. In the evening we 
left for the island of Sao Thome or St. Thomas, a little to the 
southwest and some ninety miles distant. The southern extremity 
of St. Thomas almost touches the line of the Equator. This island 
is about double the size of Prince's. It is mountainous and fer- 



PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 355 

tile, and live-stock is abundant. It boasts one peak 7,000 feet 
high. It is directly opposite, and 250 miles distant from, the mouth 
of the Gaboon river and the town of Libreville in the French Congo. 
The official name of the capital of St. Thomas is Santa Anna de 
Chaves. The population of the whole island is 30,000 and of the 
chief town about 4,000. They are mostly blacks, and settlers and 
their descendants from the province of Angola — members of the 
great Bantu family of Central and Southern Africa. 

Early in the morning we were anchored in the roadstead, some 
two miles from land. The water about us actually swarmed with 
huge and voracious sharks. Lying at anchor near by was a small 
Portuguese gun-boat, a ship, and a little French steamer which 
connects with ours and carries passengers and the mail to several 
of the French colonies on the mainland. Like Prince's the 
island is covered with trees from sea-surface to mountain-top, but 
it is not so rough and savage as the former. The town stands 
upon the northwestern corner, lining the semi-circular bay. Be- 
hind it rise the hills, some of them being of true volcanic pinna- 
cles, recalling once more Mauritius, save that these in St. Thomas 
are wooded. Here and there, in small clearings on the sides, little 
farm-houses could be seen. Upon the highest parts cinchona of a 
very good quality is grown, a little lower coffee and cacao, and grass 
for cattle, and still lower sugar-cane. Travel into the interior is 
by trails on horses or mules, or in hammocks borne by men as at 
Madeira. There is, however, one road suitable for bullock-carts. 
The climate, as at Prince's, is unhealthy, fevers abounding. A 
Portuguese governor-general for both Prince's and St. Thomas 
resides in the latter. The area of the island is 145 square miles. 
The capital seemed to possess no special character. A few gayly- 
colored walls, a great church, the red-roofed Custom-house, an old 
square fort, with rows of small cannon, alone break its dull uni- 
formity. To the right under the groves of cocoanut-palms stretch 
away the huts of the natives. Next come the cemetery and the 
buildings of the Lazaretto. Away to the left appear the three- 
storied prison, and the building of the Eastern and South African 
Telegraph Company. 

Our steamer was scheduled to stop two days at St. Thomas, 
so a few of us passengers determined to spend as much of the 
time as possible ashore. We landed at a pier where a dozen na- 
tives were busy taking cargo from the lighters, all singing to- 
gether, and being accompanied by tom-toms six feet in length 



356 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and not more than six inches in diameter at one end and three at 
the other. The men will not work without this music. The 
houses of the town are one and two stories in height, built of 
boards, with tile roofs generally, though some are of stone and 
plaster, notably the Custom-house in the principal square. Here 
are some fine acacia trees, and a band-stand and seats. The 
streets are macadamised, and lighted at night by oil lamps. There 
were many shops filled with a miscellaneous stock of goods, and 
several cafes and billiard-saloons. I called upon the governor, 
Senhor Francisco Eugenio Pereira de Miranda. His palace was a 
large two-storied stone and stucco building, surrounded by pretty 
flower gardens, fountains, sentry-boxes, etc. I was ushered into a 
large high-ceilinged room, handsomely furnished in carved wood 
and leather, and bearing upon one wall a fine large painting of 
the present King of Portugal, in brilliant uniform. The governor 
was very courteous and amiable. He proffered some choice Ma- 
deira wine and some fragrant cigars, and then, after a general chat, 
proposed to order some hammocks and bearers and send myself 
and friends to visit a large plantation of coffee, cacao and cin- 
chona which is situated on what is called Monte Koffee, back 
of the town, and about 2,500 feet above sea-level. We had pre- 
viously been invited by the manager of this estate, a German and 
fellow-passenger from Madeira, to visit him if there was time, 
and finding that there was, I gladly accepted the offer of the 
governor. 

There were sent for us ordinary cotton hammocks, slung from 
long bamboo poles, and covered by awnings which might be rolled 
up if the sun was not too warm and a more extended view was de- 
sired. There were six bearers to each hammock, two only carrying 
at a time. They were natives of Dahomey, engaged by the govern- 
ment, which gave them their food and about twenty-five cents a 
day. It seems that there were about one thousand of these Daho- 
meyans who, being prisoners of war, were ordered to be killed by 
their King, but were liberated at the request of the Portuguese 
government, which sent a gun-boat to bring them from Whydah 
to St. Thomas. Here they were generally employed in the Public 
Works Department. We entered upon a road adapted to small 
bullock-carts, which had trails leading in every direction to villages 
and plantations. This road is macadamised in parts, but at the 
time of my visit was in a terrible condition owing to an excess of 
recent rain. The estate which we intended to visit is twelve miles 



PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 357 

distant from the town. It belongs to a wealthy family named 
Bister, of German extraction, though residing for several genera- 
tions in Portugal, and owning beautiful houses in Cintra and in 
Lisbon. They possess altogether 9,500 hectares of land, includ- 
ing the highest peak in the island. About 8,000 hectares are un- 
cultivated, being covered with forest. The remainder is devoted 
to coffee, cacao and cinchona, with some vanilla, cinnamon and 
nutmegs. There are thirty Europeans, mostly Portuguese, and 
seven hundred natives employed upon the estate. The manager, 
Mr. Eichard Spengler, has held that position for fourteen years. 
The road passes through plantations of coffee and cacao, and a 
grand forest of cocoanut and roffia palms, bananas, bamboos, 
breadfruit, papayas, mangoes, acacias, baobabs and cotton trees, 
arums, orchids, vines and flowers. The vegetation is extremely 
riant, dense, and of velvety green. The cotton trees rear their 
lofty heads high above the rest, their smooth, straight trunks and 
cap of verdure being always very impressive. The forest, however, 
is not so dense as that of Brazil, or even of Madagascar, though 
similar in character and as interesting as it is beautiful. Now and 
again we pass a small hut, raised a few feet above the ground, and 
of one or two stories in height, the sides made of boards, the roof 
of straw or tiles. The fences were simply paling of small tree 
trunks. The natives that we encounter are simple, good-natured 
people, the men clothed in loin cloth and some sort of jacket or 
sack-coat, the women in calico gowns, with gay-colored handker- 
chiefs about their heads, both sexes going barefoot. Everything 
is carried upon the head — a bottle, a jack-fruit, a bundle of hay, 
an umbrella — even, sometimes, the poles of the hammocks, instead 
of on the shoulders. Babies are borne in sheets fastened to 
their mothers' backs. The women smoke pipes, as well as the men, 
a funny sight. These islanders live upon cassava, bananas, and 
poultry and fish. Owing to the mass of vegetation by which their 
huts are surrounded, and the great heat and humidity of the climate, 
they suffer a good deal from fever, dysentery and anaemia. At 
various points were venders of fresh palm-wine and sugar-cane 
rum. My bearers seemed to partake rather too freely of both. 
I tasted the new-made wine, a milky fluid of pleasant flavor, and 
quite refreshing. It is said to be good for foreigners as an anti- 
dote for biliousness. The road was in such a muddy and slippery 
condition that we did not reach the estate until seven o'clock in 
the evening, having been four hours on the way. When the road 



358 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

is in proper order saddle-horses are used. Goods are transported 
in carts drawn by one, two or four bullocks, small animals having 
enormous branching horns. We had telephoned from the town 
a notice of our approaching visit, and, immediately upon our arri- 
val at Monte Koffee, we were given a most sumptuous dinner, in 
French style. The manager's house was large, of stone and plas- 
ter, the rooms being all lined with various handsome native woods. 
We soon retired to rest, somewhat fatigued by our journey. The 
night was sufficiently cool to require a blanket. At this altitude 
the air is pure and wholesome, but it is very unhealthy in the town 
below. 

In the early morning, after a cup of delicious cacao, we started 
forth to see something of the estate, the buildings and the plants. 
Directly before our dwelling were three or four enormous terraces, 
paved with tiles on which to dry the coffee, and several long houses 
in which to dry the cacao and also stow the coffee during tem- 
porary showers. To the left was the hospital, to the right build- 
ings for the European workmen, in the distance opposite, others 
for the natives, a village of their primitive little huts, and a large 
several-storied house for drying and packing the quinine. We 
walked about for a couple of hours. Just back of Mr. Spengler's 
house is one of the most splendid collections of flowers and plants 
I have ever seen. It covers several acres, and is neatly laid out in 
ornamental beds and paths. Here you see flourishing robustly, 
and in the highest perfection, a most varied assembly of plants 
and flowers, which are so rare or valuable with us as to be found 
only in the green-houses of the very wealthy, or in those of some 
public botanical gardens. The combination of heat and moisture 
is well calculated to produce an astonishing quantity of both tropic 
and temperate growths. I am sure I have never seen such bril- 
liant coloring of flowers, such smoothness and richness of the 
beautiful family of curious-leaved plants. Also to be remarked 
were the great trees covered with blossoms where we at home 
would only expect to find shrubs so endowed. Near here was a 
large vegetable garden — maize, manioc, beans, cabbage, yams 
and sweet-potatoes growing side by side. We strolled along 
avenues of cinnamon, nutmegs, oranges and bananas, through 
arbors of vanilla and grapes, between rows of pineapples and by 
beds of strawberries. There were streams and fountains, and rus- 
tic couches stood under small mountains of shade, while birds of 
gay and odd plumage or bright and quaint song flew from tree to 



PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 359 

tree, or dipped to hastily pick at luscious fruits. It was altogether 
an enchanting spot, a little paradise of fruit and flower, of color 
and odor. We could hardly tear ourselves away to study the more 
prosaic commercial aspects of the estate. The cacao is a small 
melon-shaped fruit which grows in bunches directly upon the 
trunk of the tree. It contains forty seeds shaped like almonds — 
the cacao of export. The trees are grown in long rows and shaded 
by banana plants, there being about three rows of the former to 
one of the latter. The coffee shrubs are also partially shaded by 
the same giant-leaved plant. The machinery for hulling the coffee 
and cleaning the cacao is of American manufacture. We came 
upon a great crowd of women and boys sitting upon the ground, 
and engaged in breaking open the cacao pods and removing the 
seeds. Several of the negresses had their babies strapped to- their 
backs, but this proved no hindrance to their work. In one build- 
ing the cinchona bark, laid upon shelves of wire matting, was 
being dried in a temperature of about 100° Fahrenheit. 

After lunch and a long look from the verandah of the man- 
ager's house at the superb view over the forests and plantations, 
out to the vessels in the roadstead and two small islands, and 
away to the water horizon, we entered our hammocks and returned 
to town, descending in three hours, an hour less than the time 
occupied in the ascent. After returning thanks to the governor 
for his kindness, we went on board our steamer, which late in the 
afternoon sailed away towards the south and Cabinda, the next 
port, and situated in the little Portuguese colony of Congo, about 
latitude 5° south, and just north of the mouth of the great Congo 
river. Before midnight we crossed the Equator, and by noon of 
the next day were opposite the small Spanish island of Annobon, 
which is of volcanic formation, about four miles long and two 
broad. In the interior is an extinct crater that is filled by a pretty 
lake. Unlike Prince's and part of St. Thomas islands, Annobon 
is regarded as healthy, though it contains but a few hundred 
people. 

Early the following morning, and while still a hundred miles 
from the mouth of the Congo, the water became of a dark olive 
color, and as we neared Cabinda was greatly streaked with patches 
of foam. This was to the north of the river and near shore ; the 
water is discolored for a much greater distance to the westward, 
more directly opposite the mouth. As we drew in towards Ca- 
binda the coast bore a very pleasing appearance, being smoothly 



360 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

undulating, alternating with forest and pasture — the trees being a 
very dark green, the grass a very light — and ending in bluffs at 
the edge of the sea. Cabinda is situated upon roughly sloping 
ground on the southern side of a great circular bight. This is so 
shallow that we had to anchor about three miles from land, and 
we got aground even at that distance. Near us was a large white 
hulk used for temporary storing of cargo, and beyond it two small 
coast and river steamers, the one English, the other Portuguese. 
The town is quite small and straggling. At one side are some 
barracks, and on the highest point the dwelling of the governor. 
A small landing-pier projects into the bay. Away to the north, 
near the wide ocean beach, were a number of white buildings 
belonging to a Dutch factory or trading-station. The absence of 
cocoanut or other palms on the shores was remarked. Owing to 
the configuration of the land it was impossible to see far into the 
interior. Travel thither is generally by hammock along narrow 
forest trails. The country is at first of a sort of park character. 
There is now, however, scarcely anything grown for export, the 
business of Cabinda consisting almost wholly of imports. For- 
merly there were some exports of palm oil, gum, wax, orchilla, 
copper and ivory. There are several large factories — Portuguese, 
Dutch, English — which serve as deposits or depots for miscellane- 
ous collections of European manufactures, which are distributed 
about the country by bearers and by small steamers, and either 
sold for Portuguese copper coins, or bartered with the natives for 
wire, beads, or cottons. 

I went on shore and took a walk about the town. The for- 
eign houses are substantially built of wood, with iron roofs, 
and are raised a few feet above the ground upon posts. The 
region of the town has been cleared of trees. The soil is of 
a reddish color, very porous and sandy. This while detracting 
from its fertility is greatly conducive to the health of the residents, 
as the rain soon soaks away and leaves the air dry and bracing. 
Cabinda is therefore one of the healthiest locations along the 
coast. I visited the English factory, a collection of great ware- 
houses filled with merchandise, of dwellings and refectories, of 
offices, etc. There are eight young Englishmen employed in this 
factory, which has been established over thirty years. Several of 
the foreign agents or managers of factories have cottages upon 
the tops of the hills, surrounded by pretty little flower gardens 
and embracing extensive views of town, country and sea. I should 



PEEPS AT PORTUGUESE ISLANDS. 361 

explain that the word factory, as used in this part of the world, 
means simply a warehouse or magazine of goods stored as a circu- 
lating centre. The European part of Cabinda contains thirty or 
forty houses ; the native town is at some distance, and consists of 
little thatched huts. The natives are mostly from Angola, with 
sprinklings from various points in the more immediate neighbor- 
hood. The latter are rather small and weak, though said to be 
skilled in many industries. Cabinda was formerly a great slave 
mart. 

We left the following day for San Antonio, about fifty miles 
distant, on the southern bank of the Congo, near its mouth. 
The distant coast was low, smooth and thinly wooded. The south- 
ern bank of the Congo projects for a considerable distance beyond 
the northern, and terminates in Cape Pedras. Not far inland 
from this is Shark Point, a narrow spit of sand on which are 
located a light-house and signal-station, and about a dozen native 
huts. North of this, upon the low, sandy peninsula of Banana Point, 
is the collection of factories called Banana. The flat land all 
around is covered with mangroves, palms and forest trees. Banana 
is directly opposite Zanzibar on the East Coast. The town of San 
Antonio is merely a dozen houses on a level point of land. We 
dropped anchor in the river near an English and a Portuguese 
steamer. To the eastward extended the Congo towards a horizon 
of sky and water. At its mouth the river is eight miles wide and 
150 fathoms deep in mid-channel. It is of a rich coffee color, 
with a current of about five knots an hour. This immense stream 
discharges 1,000,000 tons of water per second, as great a volume 
probably as of all the other rivers of Africa together. It has 
worn a channel 6,000 feet deep for a distance of 300 miles into 
the ocean, the banks being mountains of detritus and slimy mud 
brought down by the river. It is said that this dark soft mud is 
even found 600 miles at sea at depths of 3,000 fathoms. As with 
the Amazon, nearly opposite on the coast of South America, the 
water of the sea surface is perfectly fresh a hundred miles from 
land. This great volume and force of current therefore effectu- 
ally prevents the formation of a bar or delta. The Congo is about 
3,000 miles in length, and most of its area is thought to have been 
at one time a vast lake or inland sea. It is second only to the 
Amazon in point of drainage and annual discharge of water. It 
was styled the "Congo" because it formed the northern limit of 
the ancient kingdom of that name which extended from Loanda 
25 



362 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

northward. It was called the Zaire by the Portuguese. Mr. Stan- 
ley re-named it the " Livingstone," in honor of the great English 
missionary and explorer, a title, however, which has not been adopted 
by geographers. In the evening we left San Antonio for Ambriz, 
in the province of Angola, and about 160 miles to the south- 
ward. 



CHAPTER XL. 

THE PROVINCE OF ANGOLA. 

We reached Ambriz in the early morning, and anchored quite 
three miles from shore. The coast hereabouts is low, smooth and 
sparsely wooded. In the distance are pretty chains of hills. As 
we steamed towards the shore the houses of the small village of 
Ambrizette appeared to the north. Ambriz is situated upon a 
long ridge of sandy soil, with a clayey bluff at its northern ex- 
tremity perhaps seventy or eighty feet in height. Just to the 
north of the town the small river Loje enters the sea. I went 
ashore in one of the cargo lighters which came out to us — a very 
wide flat boat, sharp at each end, and bearing an enormous lateen- 
sail. The situation of Ambriz is very similar to that of Praia, on 
Santiago, the Cape Verd island previously described. There is a 
semi-circular roadstead with a wide, sandy beach near which are 
the several buildings of the Custom-house. I am carried to land 
upon the shoulders of the black crew. A road winds up to the 
town, which contains about two hundred Europeans and perhaps 
two thousand natives. Here are several large factories — English, 
Dutch, French and Portuguese. The houses are of wood, with 
iron or felt roofs, and but a single story in height. The native 
huts are apart by themselves, very small, of wood or mud, and 
with grass roofs. The main street is wide and bordered with trees, 
but it is a mere track of sand. There is a plaza with small houses 
at each corner which are used for a market. Upon the bluff by 
the sea is a small fort and another, with stone walls and an arma- 
ment of old bronze guns, is at the southern end of the town. The 
views of the country inland are very pretty. 

I called upon the governor and he, with the courtesy always 
found among his race, made me at home in his house, introduced 
me to his wife, and treated me to wine, coffee and cigars. After- 
wards he guided me all over the town and accompanied me to the 

363 



364 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

landing, sending me on board my steamer in the Custom-house 
boat. Ambriz is the fourth town of Angola in point of size and 
importance. Coffee is about the only export worthy of mention. 
The imports are, however, very varied and considerable in amount. 
Though the town is apparently so dry and well-drained, it is not 
a healthy place, but gives rise to bad fevers. Near Ambriz there 
are some large deposits of copper, and an English company is be- 
ing formed for working them. To the south of Ambriz the shore 
for a considerable distance is a low, sandy bluff, with a smooth 
wide beach. 

In the afternoon we weighed anchor for St. Paul de Loanda, 
a distance of about sixty miles as our steamer was to take her 
course. We arrived at ten in the evening. The city lies at the 
southwestern corner of the extension of a fine large arm of the sea — 
Bengo Bay— and is protected from the westerly and northwesterly 
winds by long, narrow and low sand banks. This bay of Loanda 
makes one of the best harbors on the whole west coast. The en- 
trance to the port or inner harbor was marked by a flash light on 
the main land, and a fixed light on a shoal projecting to the north- 
ward of a long sand bank. We were obliged to anchor at least 
three miles from the city. Near us were two or three old coal 
hulks, a guard-boat and a few small ships, while several Portuguese 
men-of-war were lying at anchor opposite a naval station on one of 
the sand islands. Our anchor down, gun fired and whistle blown, 
we were soon approached by at least a dozen boats, coming out to 
seek friends, in addition to those belonging to the port and health 
officers. It was my intention to leave the greater part of my bag- 
gage at Loanda until my return from Mossamedes, and as the 
steamer was to stop three days, to see and learn as much as pos- 
sible during that time. After inspection, we were allowed to take 
our small luggage on shore, while trunks were to be sent to the 
Custom-house early in the morning. I went to the solitary hotel 
of Loanda, a large two-story building, faced by a small garden of 
bananas and flowers, and obtained a room with a pleasant outlook 
upon the bay. This hotel was like a huge warehouse. It was 
built of brick and stucco, with a tile roof. The interior walls ex- 
tended only to the eaves, and the fittings were of the plainest and 
most primitive description. In an inner courtyard goats were 
herded, a monkey was chained, and a cage full of many kinds of 
odd birds was located. Mosquitoes, fleas, bugs and mice abounded, 
while in a tank before the house there wriggled a small alligator. 



THE PROVINCE OF ANGOLA. 365 

The province of Angola, formerly Lower Guinea, of which 
Loanda is the chief town and seat of government, is about eight 
hundred miles square, and is therefore one of the largest terri- 
torial divisions on the new map of Africa. It includes the great 
native district, in the northeastern corner, called Muatayamvo's 
Kingdom, over which there is a protectorate. The population of 
Angola is put at 2,000,000. Loanda, which lies in 8° 48' south 
latitude, may be called the finest city of western Africa. It is 
served by four regular lines of steamers from Europe : the Portu- 
guese " Empreza IVacional" which runs two steamers a month 
from Lisbon, the " British and African Steam Navigation Com- 
pany," one monthly from Liverpool, the " Woermann Line," one 
monthly from Hamburg, and the " Gompagnie Chargeurs Reunis" 
one monthly from Havre. Loanda has a population of about 
15,000, of which number some 2,500 are Europeans, mostly Portu- 
guese. It was founded by the Portuguese in 1575, and was for- 
merly notorious as a seat of the slave trade to Brazil and Cuba. 
Here, and in the coast ports from the Congo to Mossamedes, there 
were as many as 100,000 slaves exported annually. Slavery con- 
tinued in Angola until quite a recent date, being only completely 
abolished in 1878. There are about a thousand convicts in 
Loanda. I have already spoken of a batch which we brought in 
our steamer. The better class are allowed to work outside the 
town, their employers giving bail for them. The system is said to 
be abused, and it is now proposed to adopt the more rigid confine- 
ment used elsewhere. Coffee is the staple export of Loanda, the 
quantity shipped exceeding in value all other exports together. 
Next in importance come rubber, wax, palm oil and kernels, 
hides, cotton, gums, ivory, orchilla, and kola and ground nuts. 
The total exports in 1890 amounted to about $5,000,000. India- 
rubber is found in most of the interior forests and could be culti- 
vated in many districts. Coffee grows spontaneously and is much 
cultivated in the mountain region. Copal and other gums are ob- 
tained in the coastal belt. Wax is produced everywhere in the 
province. Hides are mostly from the plateau region. Orchilla 
weed is found in the coast zone. Palm oil and kernels are pro- 
duced on river banks of the northern and central parts of the 
province. Cotton, which compares favorably with other kinds as 
regards quality and staple, grows spontaneously in the coast dis- 
trict and on the plateaux. Ivory is brought from the hunting 
grounds of the distant interior. Kola nuts grow wild in the coffee 



366 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

district. The agricultural and industrial machinery is English 
and American. That for hulling coffee and distilling is entirely 
American. Distilling is a great industry in Angola. It is in the 
form of rum. The distilleries are situated on the sugar-cane plan- 
tations, the spirit being manufactured direct from the juice of the 
cane. Most of the coffee planters of the interior also have some 
portion of their land under cane, from which a large quantity of 
rum is distilled. The labor question is at all times a serious one 
in Angola ; the native being easily and quickly supplied with all 
his necessaries of life, will not labor constantly, and the climate 
prevents white men from long working at manual labor while ex- 
posed to the sun. The most important imports are Manchester 
cotton fabrics of every kind — nearly all of which are used in a 
sort of barter trade with the people of the interior — powder, hard- 
ware, provisions in casks and boxes, and tinned goods. 

The Banco National Ultramarino, or National Colonial Bank, 
of Lisbon, has a branch at Loanda, established in a fine large and 
well-furnished building. This bank enjoys a monopoly and many 
privileges putting it on a footing different from banks in other 
countries. The currency is nearly all paper, a portion of which is 
issued by the treasury of the province and guaranteed by the 
public revenue. The bank also issues notes of the same value. 
The major part are of the latter complexion. There is no silver 
but some copper coin in circulation. Most of the copper money 
passes into the interior and does not return, which causes it to 
rise sometimes, at some of the trading stations, to the high pre- 
mium of 15 per cent. Loanda is well supplied with water, coming 
in pipes from a small river about sixteen miles distant. It is 
a monopoly and there are hydrants in the streets where it is 
sold to the natives, while most of the houses in the town have it 
" laid on." There are also a few ornamental marble fountains, 
supplied with drinking cups, for public use. The staple food of 
the natives is the manioc root, though the ground nut is also 
largely consumed. The latter is a beautiful annual plant, of which 
great quantities are exported to be crushed for oil. The inner 
bark of the baobab is used by the natives for making bags and 
rope, and is also exported for paper manufacture. The natives 
believe in fetishes, nearly all of them wearing some sort of charm. 
Circumcision is widely practised. Polygamy everywhere prevails. 
Every wife has her own house, garden and private property. The 
head wife has a limited authority. Tattooing is also very general, 



THE PROVINCE OF ANGOLA. 367 

the bodies being covered with rows and geometric figures of little 
raised cicatrices, and lumps of flesh as big as ordinary marbles. 
Each tribe has peculiar marks of its own. The language of the 
Angola people is called Kimbundu. It is the western branch of 
the great South African or Bantu family of languages, a sort of 
lingua franca of this region, as is the Suaheli of the east coast. 

From several points on the bluff back of the city, and from the 
fort of San Miguel at its western extremity, you have fine views 
over harbor and coast. The former is large and secure, though, as 
we have seen, so shallow that vessels have to anchor far from 
shore. On the ridge, at the left hand, as you cross the bay and 
enter the long harbor, is a small fort. Then comes a large build- 
ing formerly used as a barranca or slave depot. Xext at the edge 
of the water is another small fort, and then your eye alights on the 
outskirts of the city and the new three-story building of the rail- 
way station. A railway running in a southeasterly direction to 
the rich coffee plantations of the interior, is now in operation 145 
miles, and is to be extended some 85 miles further. On the right 
hand, or sea side of the harbor, extends the long narrow sandbank 
already mentioned, which bears several groves of cocoanut-palms, 
quite a settlement at the naval station, and a few collections of 
fishing-huts. Small sailing vessels or steam-launches can alone 
pass between the mainland and this long sandbank. The city is 
divided into two parts, an upper and a lower, the latter contain- 
ing the Custom-house and the foreign mercantile houses, the for- 
mer the residence of the governor, the public offices, and the best 
dwellings. Around the circular end of the harbor extends a broad 
sandy road, partially shaded by banyan and other trees. The 
houses are one and two stories in height, built of brick or stone 
covered with stucco, and with tile roofs. A curious custom is 
that of numbering the windows as well as the doors of each dwell- 
ing. It is only thought necessary to number the windows on the 
ground floor. Several causeways of stone masonry lead from the 
lower to the upper town. These are roughly paved and partially 
shaded. There is no attempt at sidewalk, save before a few of the 
houses. The town is lighted at night by kerosene lamps, which 
are placed in high iron posts such as are used for gas in European 
cities. In several of the squares are small bamboo booths where 
natives offer for sale various goods of Manchester and Birming- 
ham manufacture. There are four markets : two large quadri- 
lateral ones, one a simple shed, and one held out-of-doors upon the 



368 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

beach. The two latter are for fish, one of the others is for grain, 
and the remaining one is devoted to fruits and vegetables. Both 
of the latter are surrounded by small shops of miscellaneous goods. 
The fish markets contain a score of varieties varying in size from 
a few inches to several feet in length. Some of them were remark- 
ably cheap. A good fish four or five inches long sold for the equiva- 
lent of a cent. Among other curious specimens were the gelatin- 
ous cuttle-fish, here esteemed a delicacy. All the sections, save 
only the butchers' stalls, were served by women. In the general 
market they squatted upon the ground, with their goods exposed 
for sale in wicker-work baskets placed around them. I noticed 
cooked fish, jars of palm oil, and heaps of kernels and of kola nuts, 
which last are used as food and as a stimulant. There were also 
a few indigenous manufactures — baskets, earthenware jars, and 
pipes with carved wooden stems. The women were simply dressed 
in dark cotton gowns, secured about their waist, and a band of 
cloth about their chest just beneath their arms. Their neck, arms 
and feet were bare, as was often also their head, though some- 
times this was bound about with a gay handkerchief. They often 
wore gold earrings, or simply one if too poor to buy a pair. On 
their wrists and ankles they frequently wore thin iron bands. 
These women were very smiling, amiable creatures. The men 
also impress you favorably, except for their laziness. They wear a 
long loin cloth and a jacket, sometimes a cap or hat, but more 
often not. They all go barefoot. The machilla, like that used in 
Mozambique, is the prevailing vehicle, though one occasionally 
sees mule carriages. The governor's palace is situated upon the 
bluff. It is a long two-storied building, with public government 
offices below. The rooms are large, but simply furnished. Here 
I was most courteously received by the governor — Senhor Brito 
Grodins — who gave me letters of introduction to the governors of 
Benguela and Mossamedes. Opposite the palace is a little square 
in which is a marble statue to the first Portuguese governor of 
Angola. At one side is a pretty garden filled with flowers, and 
having a promenade which on "band-nights" — two nights in the 
week — is filled by all the fashionable world of Loanda. In another 
square, near the Custom-house, in the lower town, is a bronze 
statue, also to a former governor. These two statues constitute 
the sole art embellishments of the city. A large Town Hall of 
stone has been begun and, if ever completed, will be an ornament. 
There is a good meteorological observatory whose reports are regu- 



THE PROVINCE OF ANGOLA. 369 

larly published in the official bulletin. But the pride of the citi- 
zens is the great hospital, high up upon the bluff, and the most 
conspicuous building in the town as seen from the harbor. It has 
four hundred beds, and is as well appointed as those of Europe. 

Of course I paid a visit to Fort San Miguel, a very old structure 
standing upon a natural base, with a most commanding position, 
the walls being a couple of hundred feet above the sea. The 
commandant lives upon the top of one of the bastions and pos- 
sesses here a garden of flowers and vegetables, and even some siz- 
able trees, like those of a similar one in the old fortress of Mo- 
zambique. This fort mounts a large number of guns, but they are 
all old smooth-bores of but little use in these days. Several hun- 
dred prisoners, both men and women, dejjorted from Portugal, are 
confined in this fortification. The views from its walls are very 
extended and interesting. The purely native town stands by 
itself on the eastern side. The new parts are laid out in streets, but 
in the older the houses are massed in every conceivable fashion. 
The dwellings are small, oblong in shape, built of wattles plastered 
with mud, and roofed with grass. They have one or two doors 
and one or more windows. In the better class a sort of hall passes 
from one door to another, giving on each side two good-sized 
rooms. They cook in half-open sheds near by. They have little 
yards surrounded by high and tight grass fences. These natives 
are very fond of strong drink, rum being their preference, and 
as one wanders about their quarter it is no unusual thing to come 
across a drunken man or woman. The Portuguese residents have 
so few amusements that it does not seem unnatural that they 
should be fond of gambling. In the hotel there was a large rou- 
lette-table which was greatly patronised. The theatre is small and 
very rude, and only occupied by an occasional travelling company. 
There are several small cafes, with inferior billiard-tables. In the 
interior good shooting is to be had, both birds and beasts, on land 
and river. A weekly newspaper is published in Loanda, but it 
contains little more than new laws and regulations. 

On resuming our voyage the next port of call was Novo Re- 
dondo, 170 miles distant. About fifty miles south of Loanda we 
passed the mouth of the Quanza river, which extends in a south- 
easterly direction into the interior, and is navigable for 120 miles, 
as far as the town of Dondo, which I afterwards visited. The 
railway, of which I have already spoken, furnishes one means of 
entering the interior and the Quanza river, which is served by 



370 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

a Loanda line of light-draught steamers and barges, the other. 
Elsewhere the universal travelling appliance is a hammock — called 
tipoya — borne on the shoulders of natives along the narrow forest 
paths. We reached Novo Redondo the next afternoon, and an- 
chored about three miles from shore. The country hereabouts is 
hilly, with sandy and clayey bluffs immediately upon the sea, and 
a considerable range of mountains dimly appearing in the far 
distant interior. Novo Redondo is a small town. From the an- 
chorage you do not see more than a dozen Portuguese houses which 
are built upon a rough ridge of steep hills, some distance up from 
the sea and facing the north. There is a small fort on a point. 
Just to the left of the village is a large level space covered with 
sugar-cane and cocoanut plantations. Here are the buildings also 
of several large Portuguese factories. Not another tree is any- 
where in sight and the hills are — at least at this time of year — 
brown and yellow, and quite desolate-looking. The only commerce 
of Novo Redondo is in sugar and rum. A number of lighters 
soon sailed out to us, and we began at once to discharge cargo. 

We left the next morning for Benguela, about ninety miles dis- 
tant, keeping the coast in view all the way. It continues for the 
most part hilly, sandy and treeless. Where the Catumbella river en- 
ters the ocean — about fifteen miles north of Benguela — was, however, 
an exception, for upon a plain here there were trees and sugar-cane 
plantations. The river cuts its way through the hilly range, and 
discolors the sea for a considerable distance. In the evening we an- 
chored in a large semi-circular bay, lined with a great yellow beach, 
about a mile and a half from Benguela. Near by us lay a Portu- 
guese merchant steamer, nearer the shore a few small coasting ves- 
sels, and still nearer quite a fleet of lighters. The town is situated 
on a large flat plain covered with trees, and backed by ranges of 
bare yellow sand hills and, in the distance, several high and prettily 
diversified ranges. One peak — Olombinga — rises to a height of 
nearly 5,000 feet. The place and surroundings were therefore 
picturesque. Though its low situation and the trees prevent your 
seeing much of the town from the anchorage, still at the right 
hand may be distinguished the Custom-house, and the " palace " 
of the governor, which looks like a large Swiss chalet, behind these 
the building of the Telegraph Cable Company, and beyond, the 
walls and chapel of the cemetery. In about the centre of the 
view, near the shore, is an enormous low-walled fort, containing 
a large prison, back of which may be seen the white towers of a 







Angola Types. 



THE PRO VINCE OF ANGOLA. 371 

church. Away to the left lies a great collection of the native 
brown huts. Benguela is the second town of Angola in commer- 
cial importance but the third in point of population, being sur- 
passed in this particular by Mossamedes. It has been the point of 
arrival or departure of many of the great explorers who have 
crossed Africa. From here started the well-known expeditions of 
Serpa Pinto, and Capello and Ivins, and here arrived from the east 
coast those of Livingstone and Cameron. I went on shore in our 
steam-launch, landing at an iron pier upon which lines of rail led 
directly up to the Custom-house, a very large building filled with 
merchandise. Merchants are allowed to leave their imports here 
free for six months, after which, however, they have a heavy duty 
to pay. Across the street stood the very European-looking house 
of the governor, with its high-pitched slate roof, its many angles, 
and its garden full of flowers and great cages of pretty singing 
birds, and encircled by a tall iron fence. Beyond this again were 
the very long, white walls of the fort, above which projected 
the muzzles of a score of small old-fashioned cannon, and, still 
further off, the first story of a new stone hospital in course of erec- 
tion. The main street runs directly fro^fthe beach through the 
town. It is a broad macadamised avenue, lined by rows of trees, 
and lighted at night by kerosene lamps placed on iron posts. The 
town lies upon an immense sandy and very level plain. It is 
much spread out, the streets being wide and the houses mostly of 
but one story. The soil is so sterile that it is with difficulty any 
plants or flowers can be cultivated, though there are plenty of 
great rough trees and cocoanut-palms. It rains very little in Ben- 
guela. I follow up the grand central avenue leading by the fine 
two-story building of the English Telegraph Cable Company, all 
the material for which was brought out from England and put 
together here by English workmen. I pass the park full of acacias 
and oleanders, and surrounded by a neat iron fence. It contained 
a band-stand, and a fountain which was waterless. The market I 
found established in several large iron-roofed sheds, in which a few 
natives were squatting upon the ground and offering for sale fruits, 
vegetables, tobacco and bead-work. There are a number of Euro- 
pean business houses in Benguela, whose trade with the interior is 
very great. This trade consists chiefly of India-rubber and wax, 
which are brought down to the coast by native caravans. I saw 
one of these caravans of about thirty men, women and children, 
marching along in single file, and bearing their goods upon either 



372 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

head or shoulder, or suspended in baskets from a pole carried upon 
the shoulder. They were a poor-looking, half-fed and half-clothed 
set, wearing only the skin of some small animal about the loins, 
and the women being, like the men, naked to the waist, and neither 
sex wearing any head-covering. In the town I remarked the fre- 
quency of the native rum shops and their great number of noisy 
patrons. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

MOSSAMEDES. 

In the afternoon we started on for Mossamedes, 180 miles dis- 
tant, having taken on board quite a number of passengers for that 
town. The travel from point to point up and down the coast has 
been considerable, and so comparatively few are the Portuguese 
settlers that all seem to be more or less acquainted, and so there is 
a great deal of jollity on the steamers. These passengers vary in 
color from the pale white of the Portuguese to the light brown of 
the mulattoes and the jet-black of the negroes. Notwithstanding 
these varying tints all seem to be on a perfect equality. At the 
southwestern part of the bay in which Benguela is situated, upon a 
hilly point, is a huge round mass called " sombrero rock " from its 
resemblance to a hat. This remained in sight a long time and 
then we saw the light upon Cape Salinas. "We kept on, never 
out of sight of land, which gradually became lower and smoother, 
and utterly devoid of trees and shrubs. About midday we 
reached Mossamedes, for which I had started from Cape Town 
just two months before. We anchored near the shore in one 
comer of a beautiful expanse called Little Fish Bay, quite a mile 
from the iron pier which projects before the Custom-house, where 
the landing is made. It is a fine anchorage of deep water, and well 
protected on three sides. The country all around is a great yellow 
desert, and in the interior is a long sandy ridge of hills reminding 
me once again of Nubia. It is said to continue of this character 
for nearly a hundred miles to the eastward. There are no trees, 
shrubs, or even grass. Near us is anchored a hulk loaded with coal 
and extra cable belonging to the Telegraph Cable Company. A 
massive turtle comes to the surface for some food which has been 
thrown overboard. I notice the fins also of several huge sharks 
swimming around the steamer. 

Mossamedes is in about latitude 15° south, in almost exactly 

373 



374 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

the same parallel as Mozambique on the eastern coast. The town 
lies upon level ground along the circular beach of the bay, 
which here is ornamented with a long line of cocoanut-palms. 
Several windmills for pumping water appear. Upon the opposite 
side of the bay is a long narrow green strip of foliage, the fruit 
and sugar-cane plantations of several Portuguese factories. A 
river enters the sea here when not dry, which it is during the 
greater part of the year. To the west of the town upon the edge of 
a steep bluff is first a fort, with its rows of guns peeping over the 
wall, a little further on is the palace of the governor, a fine large 
stone edifice, of two lofty stories, painted blue with white trimmings. 
A little beyond this are the unpretentious buildings of the old and 
new hospitals. Near by is a twin-Aowered church whose yellow 
walls can hardly be distinguished from the sands of the surround- 
ing desert. In short, with the vari-colored walls of its houses, the 
green palms backed by yellow sand and brown rocky hills, Mossa- 
medes has quite an Egyptian aspect. As in Egypt, too, owing to the 
great evaporation, the cold is most felt at night, the difference of 
temperature between midday and midnight being very considerable. 
The city is quite modern, having been founded in 1849 by a Portu- 
guese colony from Brazil. Since that year immigration has con- 
tinued, until now the district has by far the largest white popula- 
tion of Angola. 

At Humpata, in the mountainous region east of Mossamedes, is 
a colony of Boers who " trekked " from the Transvaal, and set- 
tled here in 1882. They were by royal decree declared to be 
Portuguese citizens, though they do not mix with either the Por- 
tuguese or the natives, but live here just as they did at home, as 
independent farmers. They have, however, rendered valuable serv- 
ices to this district by building a canal and a road to Mossamedes 
from the plateau, by carrying freight on their great ox- wagons, and 
by their valor in the wars against the native tribes. Mossamedes 
is situated about two hundred miles from the Kunene river, the 
southern boundary of the province of Angola. Between it and 
Cape Town are only two important ports, one, Walfish Bay, belong- 
ing to Great Britain, in Damara Land, over which there is a Ger- 
man Protectorate, and Port Nolloth, in Cape Colony, fifty miles or 
so south of the mouth of the Orange river. A railway sixty miles 
in length runs from here to the rich copper mines of Ookiep. 
Walfish Bay affords a good anchorage, and is the point from which 
several tracks lead into the interior. 



§4&» 



p a^« 




^ • 










V 



MOSSAMEDES. 375 

Our steamer stays two days at Mossamedes and then returns to 
Lisbon, calling at the same ports as on the outward voyage. I 
visited the shore in the launch, took a walk about the town, and 
called upon the 1 governor. I landed at a commodious little iron 
pier covered with great piles of baskets of dried fish, ready for ex- 
port to other parts of the coast of Angola. Coast-fishing is one of 
the great industries of Mossamedes. There were also on the pier 
some bags of cotton and sugar, and several hogsheads of rum. 
Cattle are also a prominent export. Mossamedes is a compact little 
town, not spread out like Benguela. There is no village of poor 
natives adjoining, and so the place has a fresh and clean appear- 
ance. The streets, which run inwards from the bay, end abruptly 
in the sandy desert. They had apparently been macadamised at 
one time, though they were everywhere ankle-deep in sand, the glare 
from which was very trying to the eyes. Along the bank a double 
row of cocoanut-palms has been planted and many flowering shrubs, 
of which latter the oleanders succeed best. There is a small public 
garden in which the scrubby trees, plants and shrubs have to be 
frequently irrigated, the beds being specially arranged for this pur- 
pose. In one square was a monument to a former Minister of the 
Colonies at Lisbon, who was a great friend of the slaves. A paved 
road leads up the hill to the westward to the fort, governor's palace 
and hospitals. The lower part of the palace is used for the public 
offices of the local government. The floor above is occupied by the 
governor and his family. The then incumbent received me very 
kindly, and we enjoyed a long chat about colonial matters in Africa, 
and affairs Portuguese generally. As I returned to the pier files 
of loaded camels and ox-carts were bringing merchandise to town. 
I also saw one of the great teams and stout wagons which the Boers 
and settlers use in South Africa, and which are occasionally em- 
ployed here for trips into the interior, though nearly all the prod- 
ucts, as at Benguela, are brought down on native carriers' heads or 
shoulders, a slow, costly and precarious system. A railway running 
directly into the fertile and healthy land of the interior — say for a 
distance of two hundred miles — is very much wanted both at Mossa- 
medes and Benguela. The railway at Loanda is good, as far as it 
goes, but ought to be extended another hundred miles. Portugal 
well knows the necessity and value of this method of tapping and 
opening up the country, but pleads poverty. How then would it 
do to sell her territory on the eastern coast — there would be a ready 
market — to some richer Power near by, and concentrate her energy 



376 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and resources upon the western ? In this way at least Angola 
might be made to yield a much handsomer revenue than she does 
at present. 

On our return we arrived at Benguela early in the morning, 
and in the afternoon I made an excursion to Catumbella, with 
which it is connected by a narrow-gauge railway fifteen miles in 
length. There is one train each way every day. The cars are 
miniature. Those for the first-class had transverse seats, covered 
with cushions, and were open on every side, with canvas curtains 
to ward off the fierce sun ; the second-class passengers had to con- 
tent themselves with benches, and the third to squat upon the floor, 
or stand. There were, besides, several platform cars for freight. 
The little railway has been built some ten years, and is owned by 
a Portuguese Company. The speed attained is about ten miles an 
hour, though occasional stops have to be made to keep up a suffi- 
cient head of steam. We had quite a full train. The road runs 
all the way across level sandy plains, which are covered with a coarse 
scrub of thorns and bushes, with a few baobabs. On one side was 
the sea, on the other a low range of barren mountains. Nearing 
Catumbella, however, the scene changed. Much vegetation and 
many villages appeared. There were great groves of the palm-oil 
trees and, by the ocean, of cocoanut-palms. The native huts were 
of wattle and mud sides and grass-thatches, surrounded by thick 
fences of coarse grass. 

We reached Catumbella in one hour and a half, there being no 
stations on the road. Just above the point at which the journey 
terminated were two knolls, upon one of which was a fort and 
upon the other the residence of the mayor of the town. I walked 
to a Dutch trading-house for whose manager, Mr. Kamerman, I 
bore a letter of introduction. I crossed on the way the Catum- 
bella river — a swift, shallow, muddy stream, here perhaps three 
hundred feet wide — upon a neat iron bridge. The town lies on 
level ground, bounded on every side, except that towards the sea, by 
a circle of steep bare hills and by its side winds the river, its banks 
bordered by beautiful tropical trees. Further up country this river 
contains both crocodiles and hippopotami. A road leads from the 
town to the sea, some four or five miles distant, where are several 
factories engaged in the salt trade. Catumbella consists of two or 
three long straggling macadamised streets. It is a town of single- 
story houses, and contains a population of about one hundred whites 
— Portuguese and Dutch — and some two thousand natives. It is a 




» 4 



MOSSAMEBES. 377 

great trading centre. A trade route from the distant interior termi- 
nates here, or rather it actually terminates at Benguela, to which 
the railway has been built for its accommodation. A carriage 
road, which runs much of the way alongside the railway, is also 
used by the Europeans for carts, mules and hammocks, while 
the natives pass on foot. Behind the town you see the trails 
of the carriers passing over the steep hills. They enter the interior 
by the valley of the river, which affords an easier route than is 
available to the eastward of Benguela. Caravans of natives are 
coming and going throughout the year. All day long you see 
them toiling over the hill, each bearing upon the head or shoul- 
der a bundle of India-rubber, hides or gum copal, or a bag of wax 
or orchilla, or a small tusk or tooth of ivory. Physically these car- 
riers are generally very ugly, being thin and misshapen, and many 
being afflicted with loathsome diseases. Both men and women are 
nearly naked and children wholly so. The few rags which they 
wear are filthy, but no more so than their bodies. Yet many of 
them, especially the children, have bright, intelligent faces. The 
women wear brass and iron wire bangles and anklets, necklaces of 
beads, and all, both men and women, attach fetish charms in small 
boxes or cylinders about their necks. Some of these caravans 
number two hundred people, and come from several hundred miles 
in the interior, being months upon their journey. Those living 
nearer make perhaps two visits a year. At the busiest season 
there are sometimes as many as ten thousand carriers temporarily 
staying in the town. The products and goods are brought chiefly 
by the natives of Bailundo, Bihe, Caconda and Ganguellas. For 
what they bring they are paid in barter by the many Portuguese 
traders, whose shops are filled with cheap cotton cloths, beads, 
wire, head-kerchiefs and clothing, gin and aguardiente, ordinary 
cheap guns, powder and last, but not least, old silk tall hats. A 
native of any means and pretensions to gentility is never happy 
until he has bought a high silk hat, with which, and wearing 
probably nothing else than a dirty loin cloth, with a pipe in 
his mouth, and being more or less under the influence of liquor, he 
struts about town, a very ridiculous show to a foreigner, but an 
object of admiration and envy to all his compatriots. These na- 
tives generally remain in Catumbella only so long as their credit is 
good, when they walk in easy stages back to their distant villages. 
They carry only an earthenware pot for cooking their manioc, a 
gourd for water, a stick to assist their climbing in difficult places, 
26 



378 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

and perhaps a rusty old flint-lock musket, which has been tightly 
bound with strips of hide from end to end with the idea or hope 
that this will prevent its explosion. 

I remained over night in Catumbella and took the morning 
train back to Benguela. We carried with us some thirty or forty 
laborers who were going to Prince's and St. Thomas' islands under 
contract to work for five years in the coffee and cacao plantations. 
Each wore around the neck a tin badge inscribed with his or her 
number, the name of the plantation, and the locality. These 
people had been neatly fitted out with gay-colored cotton suits and 
fancy caps, of all which finery they seemed exceedingly proud. I 
breakfasted with the governor, Senbor Francisco de Paula Cid, 
Junior, and received from him a fine collection of photographs, 
and much interesting information concerning Beuguela. This 
gentleman was formerly a captain in the navy. The provincial 
and district governors, who have great power, are by tradition 
naval officers, while the chiefs of the counties into which the 
districts are divided, are, as a rule, officers of the army. The 
counties are again divided into townships, which are presided 
over by resident traders or, often, educated natives. I also received 
a number of similar courtesies from the governor at Loanda, but 
why should I specialise ? — one is always sure of favor and hospital- 
ity from a Portuguese official. Governor Paula Cid told me that 
in the year 1887 the exports of Benguela took a sudden jump 
upwards, owing to the appearance in the markets of a new kind of 
India-rubber, which is extracted from the roots of a small shrub 
that grows spontaneously on the banks of certain rivers in the 
interior. This rubber is not so good as the Brazilian, but is found 
in greater quantity and is more readily extracted. The value of 
the exports in 1892 was 1,466 contos of reis (or about $1,650,000) 
and of this total, rubber amounted to 1,207 contos, wax coming 
next with 188, and ivory next with but 34 contos. In the same 
year the district of Benguela produced 3,000,000 litres of aguar- 
diente, most of which was sent to London and St. Thomas. The 
value of the importation in 1892 was 900 contos. The port of 
Benguela is annually visited by an average of 100 vessels, of which 
number 70 are steamers and the remainder ships. The two prin- 
cipal rivers of the district are tbe Kunene and the Kubango 
which flow from the north to the south and west, and whose banks, 
some four or five thousand feet above the sea-level, are very fertile. 
Between these two rivers are found several sorts of iron, and in 



MOSSAMEDES. 379 

great quantities. Some mines of copper and sulphur, and some 
small traces of gold are met with upon the high plateau. The 
climate here is excellent, and well-suited to Europeans. There is 
in Beno-uela a branch of the Banco National Ultramarino, the 
business of which in 1892 amounted to over $3,000,000. We 
received on board a large shipment of India-rubber, wax and 
orchilla, and left for Novo Redoudo, where we received more cargo, 
and then went on to Loanda, arriving at noon on the following 
day. 

Before leaving Loanda I witnessed " Carnival " as celebrated by 
the natives and Portuguese. It lasted three days, during which 
time the blacks did not work, but kept on a perpetual spree, con- 
suming great quantities of aguardiente. There were processions in 
bal-masque costume by day and night, and fireworks also at all 
times. The order of the processions was something like this : there 
was a march, then a halt and dance, a grand " walk-round" to the 
music of tom-toms, mandolins and tambourines, the whole accom- 
panied with much singing and chanting. The dances were quite 
barbaric, and the din of the native music was terrific. The other 
people would crowd around at these halts and clap their hands and 
laugh like the children they are. Very many of the maskers copied 
the uniforms of generals, with cocked-hats, much gold-lace and deco- 
rations. There were, besides, many ridiculous caricatures. These 
simple people save their wages and prepare for these carnivals for 
weeks beforehand. Flags were displayed all over the city, which 
was thoroughly en fete. On the last afternoon there was a proces- 
sion of the Portuguese in gayly-decked carriages, and a great pelt- 
ing of bonbons and flowers quite in the style of the bataille des 
fleurs at Nice. Many were in fancy-dress. At night a military 
band discoursed very agreeable music in the little park upon the 
hill near the governor's palace. 



CHAPTER XLIL 

INTO THE INTERIOR. 

A few days afterwards I started on a tour to see something of 
inner Angola. My general plan was to proceed by railway to a 
point distant about seventy-five miles from Loanda, on the Quanza 
river, and there to take steamer to a town seventy-five miles fur- 
ther, situated at the head of navigation upon the river, a place 
called Dondo, and of considerable importance as a trading station 
and general warehouse for goods brought by carriers from the in- 
terior, like Catumbella, only much larger. From here it was my 
intention to go to Cazengo, to a large coffee plantation called 
Monte Bello, in a tipoya with native bearers, and from there again 
by the same conveyance to the terminus of the railway, which, as I 
have said, is at present some 145 miles from Loanda. I carried 
letters of introduction from the well-known English house of 
Newton, Carnegie and Company, at Loanda, to its branches at 
Dondo and Cazengo. This firm, which has also branches in 
London and Lisbon, are agents for several lines of West African 
steamers, and deal as coal and general merchants, ship brokers, 
etc. The railway has a rather ambitious title : Companhia Real 
dos Caminhos de Ferro Atravez d' Africa, the Eoyal Railway 
Company Across Africa. But of the 2,000 miles from coast to 
coast only 145 are as yet completed. It was projected in 1877, but 
only floated in 1885, and work was begun in 1886, the first por- 
tion of twenty-eight miles being opened in 1889. The plaut 
comes from Belgium, the coal from England. The building of 
the railway has been greatly hampered by scarcity of labor and by 
heavy rains. In December, 1891, there was an enormous loss. In 
one part the completed road was washed away in eighteen different 
places in less than as many miles, the gaps varying from two hun- 
dred to five hundred feet in width. 

There are two railway stations in Loanda, one in the lower 

380 



INTO THE INTERIOR. 381 

town at the northeastern corner, and the other in the upper town 
near the hospital. I walked to the latter up a broad sandy street, 
and found at the station a train of small cars in waiting. The 
road is a narrow-gauge. The carriages, for three classes of pas- 
sengers, naturally, in such a climate, consist chiefly of windows. 
The line is exceedingly winding, to avoid difficulties of construc- 
tion, and for the first half of its length has almost no cuttings or 
fillings. The speed was good, but we halted too long at the 
stations — from ten minutes to half an hour at each. There is only 
one train per day in each direction, so that freight and passengers 
are carried at the same time. We passed through a gently un- 
dulating country of alternate moors and woodland. There was 
much grass, which was coarse and strong like reeds. There were 
hamlets of mud huts, surrounded by little gardens of beans, 
maize and manioc. The first station was situated upon the shore 
of Bengo Bay. There was a large trading-house here, and many 
salt pans, salt being the chief industry of the place. It is coarse, 
but being cheaper than imported salt, is sent in large quantities 
into the interior. It is also an article of considerable foreign ex- 
port. At the next village — Quifangondo — were the steam water- 
works which supply Loanda. The vegetation of the district 
through which we now passed was always interesting. The pre- 
vailing trees were cocoanut and oil palms, euphorbia, baobabs and 
ceibas. The baobabs were especially remarkable. Occasionally 
these huge and curious products are seen in small groves, though 
they seem ordinarily to prefer a solitary existence, dotting the 
landscape at considerable intervals. Their trunks, like towers, 
almost as large atop as below and ending abruptly, the huge 
gnarled limbs starting at right-angles, the general lack of grace 
and symmetry, always rivet the attention of the foreign visitor. 
Some of them look like huge hollow bottles made of pasteboard or 
plaster-of-Paris ; as a livmg vegetable substance they are most un- 
real in appearance. The tropical euphorbias also strangely accen- 
tuate the green background of trees which have a guise as of the 
temperate zone, with their small straight trunks and odd branches 
pointing upwards in curves something like the arms of candelabra. 
We were served a good breakfast at nine o'clock at one of the 
stations, and reached our terminus of Cunga at midday. With car- 
riers for our light baggage we walked across to the Quanza river, 
perhaps a mile distant, the path leading through grass ten feet high, 
and the sun beating down upon us with great force. So far the 



382 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

country had been thinly peopled. It was one of the trading-sta- 
tions, called also Cunga, where we arrived. There were here a large 
single-storied house, containing a store and dwelling, and some 
outlying warehouses. Moored to the bank was an iron side-wheel 
steamer of about 100 tons burden, one of the Quanza river steamer 
company's boats, the company having been founded in 1865 by 
an American named Archer Silva. This had a flat bottom and 
drew but three feet of water. It had in tow two iron lighters, 
loaded with cargo. The captain and engineer were Portuguese, 
the crew were blacks. The steamer had been built in England, 
and had a long awning-shaded deck where the passengers sat and 
ate. There was also a small upper-deck accessible to them. In a 
general cabin in the stern were some six or eight beds, though on 
account of the great heat, it is customary to sleep upon deck on 
little camp-bedsteads covered with mosquito nettings. I strolled 
into the trader's store and found that his stock was confined to a 
sort of blue cotton sheeting, used as dress by both sexes, to casks 
of rum, gay-colored bandanas, old hats and little toy drums. 

The steamer started soon after our arrival. The river here was 
about two hundred yards wide, of a dark green color, and running 
with a very swift current. The remainder of the day we steamed 
slowly along, almost touching one shore or the other, not making, 
it seemed to me, more than two miles an hour. The banks were 
about ten feet above the river, which was exceedingly tortuous 
and filled with sandbanks that made the navigation very diffi- 
cult. Sometimes the steamers get stuck upon these for several 
days at a time. When the water is high, two trips each way are 
generally made in a month. It takes about five days to make the 
upward voyage from Loanda, the steamers having to pass around 
the long sand islands and out into the ocean to the mouth of the 
river. They could return in half this time, but generally have to 
wait at the stations for cargo. We carried two or three passen- 
gers in the first cabin and half a dozen in the second. The 
river passed through great plains of luxurious grass, with low 
and smooth tree-clad ranges in the distance. The forests were 
not so dense as one might expect in a latitude so near the 
Equator, and doubtless much of the country had been burned 
over, giving rise to a second-growth. Towards night we saw 
several huge crocodiles, and took shots at some of them. There 
are said also to be hippopotami in some portions of the river, 
though we did not happen to see any of them. At the villages 



'• ■ 




INTO THE INTERIOR. 383 

there is always a little section fenced off for the use of the washer- 
women and others, who come to fetch water, to prevent their be- 
ing caught by a sly crocodile. At dusk we dropped anchor in the 
stream for the, night, and were at once boarded by thousands of 
mosquitoes. We were opposite a trading-station, though it was 
too late to venture ashore. Notwithstanding our nettings we 
passed a very disagreeable night, for it seemed impossible to es- 
cape the voracious pests. The heat too was something terrific, 
and there was no compensating breeze. 

At daylight we were glad to move on. The scenery began to 
improve a little, and the banks would often be lined for great dis- 
tances with villages. The trees here were of larger size, and the 
houses were half concealed by these and by the banana plants. 
The huts were oblong in shape, with peaked roofs, and with doors 
and windows. They were made of wattles and mud, with grass for 
the roofs. Drawn up at convenient landing-places were always a 
number of " dug-out " canoes. Some of these were of great size, 
as much as forty feet in length, three or four feet wide and as many 
deep. The bottoms were quite flat. They were often made of 
very crooked trees. They were propelled by paddles or long poles. 
As we steamed slowly along the natives would stand upon the bank 
in groups or rows, always grinning and pointing out to each other 
some thing or other about the steamer, or its occupants, which 
struck their curiosity. They were very dark curly-headed people, 
scantily dressed in dirty cotton sheeting. Neither sex wore hats 
even under the fiercest sun. About noon we reached the town of 
Muxima, on the left bank. Here upon the top of a steep hill is a 
white-walled fort and below, near the river, is a large heavy- walled 
church. There seem to be but one or two Portuguese dwellings, 
though there is a considerable assemblage of brown native huts. 

As we proceeded the vegetation became more dense, and the 
proportion of oil-palm trees greatly increased. Towards night we 
passed the trading station of Barraca, some three or four houses, 
situated on the side of a steep hill, a high and dry location. Here- 
abouts the scene was the most diversified and the prettiest of any I 
had yet encountered. We anchored for the night in the middle of 
the river, a little beyond the settlement. Flames of fire were seen 
in several directions, being built by the natives in order to drive 
away the mosquitoes. In the middle of the river, however, and 
much further from the sea than on the previous night, we were not 
very much troubled. We hove anchor at daylight and about mid- 



384 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

day passed the fort, church and few huts of Massangano, upon the 
top of a precipitous hill. In the middle of the afternoon we had a 
distant view of Dondo down a long, straight, stretch of river. In 
every direction in the distance were mountains, some of them 
oblong and table-topped, and others peaked and pinnacled. The 
sides of the nearer ones were thinly timbered, and covered with 
coarse grass. Dondo is situated on a sort of peninsula, the river 
here making a direct turn, and just beyond it are the falls of Cam- 
bembe. We first saw the brown huts of the principal native quar- 
ter, then, between the trees and along the river, a few of the Portu- 
guese houses. We drew in to the bank — upon which were standing 
or sitting at least a hundred natives and a dozen Portuguese — and 
tied up to an enormous tree trunk. On the opposite side of the 
river were a few hamlets. All around the town were low smooth 
hills. The natives were a very motley crew — various tints as to 
complexion, and various garments as to covering. Scarcely any 
one had a full equipment of the latter. Beyond this crowd were at 
least a hundred women and children engaged in washing clothes. 
It is lucky no buttons are employed by these people, for the popu- 
lar method of washing is to hammer the clothes upon flat stones, 
which are placed in the water a few feet from shore. I landed and 
walked up a sandy street, past the governor's residence, to the 
house of Senhor Abreu, to which I had been recommended. It 
was a large one-storied building, in part store, warehouse, office 
and dwelling. The warehouse was full of bags of coffee and India- 
rubber. Before it was a large square, planted about the sides with 
rows of small acacias. I had a good dinner in company with a 
half dozen Portuguese clerks, and retired early to rest, but not to 
sleep, for the heat was excessive all night, the thermometer regis- 
tering 95° Fahrenheit at four o'clock in the morning. 

Dondo has some 15,000 inhabitants, of whom perhaps one hun- 
dred are Portuguese. It was first occupied in 1857, and owes its 
prosperity to the Quanza river steamer company, and to the neigh- 
boring plantations of Cazengo, which produce a large quantity of 
the coffee that is shipped from Loanda. The berry of this coffee 
is small, and does not command such a high price as the Brazilian 
coffee, but still meets with a ready sale in the European markets. 
Dondo is well laid out with macadamised streets, lined with acacias. 
Along the river is a grand esplanade with a double row of trees. 
On nearly all the corners of the streets are the shops of the traders, 
where you will generally find a lot of native carriers standing, 



INTO TEE INTERIOR. 385 

sitting, or singing out for articles which they wish in barter for the 
India-rubber and coffee that they bring down from the interior. 
As at Catumbella the streets are full of caravans. Those coming 
in bear their goods, bound up in palm-leaves, upon their heads or 
shoulders. Those leaving may be plainly distinguished by the 
fact of oue wearing a gay worsted cap, another a waistcoat, a 
third a fancy loin cloth, a fourth carrying a red cotton umbrella, 
and a fifth with his neck covered with strings of beads. These 
people seem to belong to many different tribes, as judged by the 
variety of their tattooing, the shaving of the head, arrangement of 
the hair, style of dress, or lack of dress. Many of the women wear 
only small handkerchiefs around their pendulous breasts, and an 
equally small loin cloth. Some of them dress their hair in many 
little plaits hanging around their head from the crown. In most 
of the trading-houses there are large yards set apart for the ac- 
commodation of these carriers. They sleep in long sheds, and pass 
the day under large trees, cooking their simple food, or lounging 
and dozing. At night they sing and dance, as if mad, continuously 
for a couple of hours but generally by nine o'clock all is quiet and 
so remains until daylight, when the din recommences and is con- 
tinued during the whole day. There is a market of Manchester 
fabrics held in little booths of reed mats, under the trees in one of 
the squares. The general market is held in and around a series of 
huge sheds. The dealers are, as usual with semi-civilised people, 
nearly all women and children. They squat upon the ground in 
long rows and sell manioc, flour, bananas, dried-fish, tobacco, beans, 
palm-oil, packages of crude manioc, great bundles of sugar-cane, 
and earthenware of rude and simple manufacture. The natives 
seem much affected with elephantiasis, and I have even seen a dog 
who was suffering from this skin disease. The native houses are 
mostly crowded together in certain outer quarters of the town, sur- 
rounded by fences of palm leaves and coarse grass. The Portuguese 
houses are of stone and stucco, with red tiled roofs. 

The next morning I left Dondo in a tipoya for the fazenda, or 
coffee plantation, of Monte Bello, in Cazengo. I was furnished by 
my kind host, Senhor Abreu, with several letters of introduction 
to Portuguese planters on the road, and also with a supply of food 
for a journey of probably two days. The tipoya was simply a 
canvas hammock, slung from a long and light but stout pole, borne 
on the shoulders of two natives. I took eight cargadores, or bear- 
ers, so that I might travel rapidly. These men on a good road 



386 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

will cover four and even five miles an hour. They relieve each 
other every half hour or so, and they change the pole from shoulder 
to shoulder every few minutes. To keep it from cutting the flesh 
they use a thick pad of cotton covered with leather. It was in- 
teresting to contrast the method and style of these bearers with 
those in Madagascar. Both races have remarkable strength and 
endurance, but in Madagascar you remain seated on the steep- 
est hills, while here you are politely requested to dismount and 
walk at every trivial incline. When in motion the bearers have a 
habit of singing very loudly, one giving the refrain and the other 
coming in as a sort of chorus. At other times one will give two 
or three funny grunts, always in the same key, and be in like 
manner sympathetically answered by the other. The tipoya was 
covered with a flat awning, and had waterproof curtains all around, 
which could be rolled up in good weather, and thus enable you to 
get a view of the country, though, as you lie on your back, almost 
in a horizontal position, with your head upon a low pillow, it is 
awkward and almost impossible to get a good idea of the charac- 
ter and appearance of the country you are passing through. I much 
prefer the filanzana, where you sit upright, and I found that much 
less tiresome than the tipoya. My porters were dressed in nothing 
but waist cloths, in which they generally stuck a huge wooden 
spoon, a pipe, and a tobacco pouch of primitive make. One of 
them carried an earthenware jar or two and a kettle, together with 
some manioc flour and some dried fish for their food. They were 
paid a little money in advance, with which to buy provisions on 
the road, and the remainder they were to receive upon their re- 
turn to Dondo, for I intended to keep them with me on my cir- 
cuitous journey as far as Oeiras, at the terminus of the railway, 
whence they could walk to Dondo in about six hours' time. We 
soon passed out of the town, and entered upon a good ox-cart 
road on which were streams of carriers coming in to Dondo in 
caravans of ten, twenty and even fifty. Thousands of these na- 
tives passed me during the day, men, women and children, all 
bearing upon head or shoulder products for barter at Dondo. 
Bags of coffee seemed the usual load. These caravans were 
an interesting study. The natives were fully two-thirds naked, 
without head-covering of any kind, and ail jogging on in the blaz- 
ing sun at a fast trot, sometimes singing, more often chatting and 
laughing, occasionally passing in dead silence. All were exceed- 
ingly curious to get a peep at me under my tipoya-awning, and I 



INTO THE ISTEEIOB. 387 

certainly was no less eager to have a look at them. They are 
accustomed to halt under the trees for midday rest and food, and 
at night sleep on the road whenever darkness may happen to 
overtake them y lying upon straw mats on the ground, and covering 
their whole body and head with sheets, which cause them to look 
like bundles of merchandise. At some much-frequented halting- 
place where there is water, rude straw beehive-shaped huts have 
been erected by themselves for their accommodation. During 
the day, while on the march, my bearers would occasionally ask my 
permission to stop to drink water, and I was always surprised, not 
to say disgusted, to see them using puddles of muddy or slimy 
water. 

The country through which I passed was rough and covered 
with scrubby trees and tall yellow grass, with prettily diversi- 
fied hills in every direction. There were many baobabs, and a 
few oil-palms and euphorbias. There were but few villages, and 
these of mud and grass huts. At noon I halted in a sort of pub- 
lic rest-house, containing a plain table and chairs, and a curious 
stool with four legs and a stand, all carved from a single block 
of wood. Here I ate a frugal lunch, my bearers looking on 
with great interest. When I had finished they began to cook 
their food just outside the hut. It was now my turn to do the 
staring, and I adjourned to their al fresco kitchen, where one 
earthenware bowl was boiling and bubbling with its contents of 
manioc flour, and another was quietly simmering with some dried 
cod-fish. At long intervals on the roadside, provisions were 
offered for sale, and my men had added to their store a few ba- 
nanas and a basket of peanuts. Their food was soon cooked, the 
manioc being stirred with one of the alpenstocks, and then they 
all set to like wolves, those happening to have wooden spoons 
using them and the others their fingers. They were no sooner 
done than all filled their pipes and, squatting around the fire in a 
circle, had a comfortable and sociable smoke. 

I went on during the afternoon, through a similar country, 
and intended to pass the night with some one of the planters to 
whom I bore letters of introduction. But it was quite dark by 
the time we reached the banks of the Lucalla river — a stream 
about one hundred yards wide, which runs with a swift current 
and empties into the Quanza — and the canoes necessary to cross 
it were chained upon the opposite bank, while the ferryman had 
gone home for the night. I called across to some natives to go in 



388 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

search of this man, but was informed that he would not cross after 
dark for fear of the jacarays, or crocodiles, which the river is said 
to contain in plenty. My idea of a warm supper and soft bed was 
thus rudely overturned, and as a heavy shower seemed imminent 
I had to look quickly for some sort of shelter. I remembered 
nothing nearer than a small mud hut, a quarter of a mile or so 
back from the road, near which, under the trees and in some little 
" beehive " huts, several hundred carriers were bivouacking. So 
thither I felt my way — I could not see — and entered a hut, which, 
however, contained but two rooms, in one of which, huddled to- 
gether upon the mud floor, were eight natives, and in the other, six. 
I suddenly changed my mind about sleeping in a hut, and rigging 
my hammock up in two forked sticks — for I could not lie ujoon 
the ground on account of a dangerous sort of tick prevalent — and 
putting down its curtains, I slept comfortably in the open air. 
Fortunately there was no rain, otherwise I should have had to don 
my waterproof and pass the night standing under a baobab. 

At daylight I roused up my men, who had been sleeping on 
their straw mats near by, and we went on to the bank of the river, 
and waited until some one poled across a canoe. A tax of two 
cents is levied upon all who use this ferry. When I reached the 
other side there was a long row of carriers in waiting, with their 
loads resting on two sticks before them. All these loads are lashed 
between the extremities of two long small poles, which are then 
fastened together at the opposite ends, and thus a purchase is 
gained which holds the bundle tightly together. Long narrow 
wicker-work or palm-leaf baskets are always used for carrying 
loads of many and smaller pieces, but the two sticks are never 
forgotten, and are in use all over central and southern Africa. In 
marching one hand or the other grasps one of these sticks to sup- 
port the load, and when wishing to take it from head or shoulder 
they greatly assist, and are also used to support it against a tree, 
thus keeping it out of mud or water and away from voracious 
insects. I was surprised at the number of young boys and girls 
bearing large bags of coffee. 

Soon after crossing the Lucalla, I entered quite another sort 
of country, all the valleys being filled with dense masses of tropical 
vegetation, and the tops of the hills alone being covered with coarse 
grass and scrubby trees as before. I saw some enormously stout 
baobab trees, with trunks ten feet in diameter and not more than 
thirty high. I had entered the district of Cazengo, which is now 



INTO THE INTERIOR. 389 

the most important agricultural country of Angola and, as I have 
said, the centre of the great coffee production. The first planta- 
tion was established here in 1835. The railway from Loanda is 
being rapidly pushed on into the heart of this region. I passed 
through the little village of Caculo, the capital of Cazengo ; a large 
Portuguese flag was flying in the centre of the principal square. 
Few people were around. Malange, an important town, fifty miles 
or so to the east, owes its existence to the rubber trade, but all 
around Cazengo there is little else than coffee, as I soon had occa- 
sion to notice, for I left the little town and began the ascent of 
Monte Bello. This hill was so steep that I had to take to my feet 
and walk or rather climb upward through grass ten feet in height, 
which almost concealed the path in places, and past hamlets of 
native laborers, on through acres and acres of coffee, and a mag- 
nificent virgin forest full of splendid trees — among them many 
giant ceibas (Bombax) — bound into an almost solid mass with curi- 
ous velvety creepers. It was Monte Koffee in St. Thomas over 
again, a region the very reverse of that in which I had been jour- 
neying from 'Dondo. I kept onward and upward, with occasional 
backward glimpses of beautiful valleys, until I attained an eleva- 
tion of about 2,000 feet, and had passed through a good half of 
the fazenda of Monte Bello, when, finally, marching along a good 
road, shaded by bananas, I reached the house, factory and trading- 
store of Messrs. Newton, Carnegie & Co. 

The distance from Dondo to Monte Bello is about fifty miles. 
The heat had been very great during my journey, it being the hot- 
test period of the year in Angola. Although the whole of this great 
and wealthy province lies in the Tropics the climate in the greater 
part of it is as salubrious as any in the temperate zone. On the 
coast the temperature is advantageously modified by the sea-breeze 
and in the interior by the elevation of the land. The coast belt, 
from fifty to one hundred miles wide is, as we have seen, hot and 
rather sterile, but would become productive and rich were irriga- 
tion liberally introduced. Between the coast and the plateau belt 
is a sort of mountain region, not only of luxuriant vegetation but 
of untapped mineral treasures. Copper is found at many points, 
iron is abundant everywhere, and gold has been discovered in the 
sand of the Lombigi river, and this district is now being pro- 
spected by an English company — the Great Gold Zone Company — 
who have a large concession. It is expected that payable gold will 
be found there. Silver is said to have been known to the natives 



390 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

in olden times. Going on into the interior from Cazengo, the 
highland belt rises gradually from 2,000 to 6,000 feet, and here 
you find grass and bush, prairie and park land, where cattle and 
live-stock will flourish as in the temperate zone. The white man 
soon gets acclimated here, flourishes, and lives to a hale and ripe 
old age. 

I was cordially received at Monte Bello by the English man- 
agers, Messrs. Thomson and Holt. The fazenda contains sc me fif- 
teen hundred acres of forest, grass, sugar-cane and coffee land. 
About eight hundred acres are in coffee and some sixty acres are in 
cane. At present two hundred natives are employed on the estate. 
The coffee grows wild in all these valleys, but is greatly improved 
by cultivation. I found its flavor soft yet strong, with a delicate 
insinuating bouquet. Cacao is not now grown, but could be, and 
to advantage. Much maize, manioc and bananas are raised as food 
for the laborers. There is a distillery for making rum, none of 
which is, however, exported. Every sort of tropical fruit, including 
very excellent pineapples, is grown for the consumption of the 
managers. The natives are treated with great consideration and 
kindness. They receive no money for their services, but a sum 
the equivalent of fifty-four cents a week in "trade-tickets," 
which may be exchanged for clothes and provisions in the com- 
pany's store. The laborers are also allowed as much land as they 
are able to cultivate for their own use, and are given Sundays in 
which to work in these gardens. Every other Saturday is a holi- 
day. The foods they chiefly raise are manioc, maize, beans, cab- 
bages, bananas and vegetable-marrow. They are permitted to sell 
as much of this produce as they like in the neighboring village 
markets, and for this they receive pay in copper money. Twice a 
year they are given a present of eight yards of cloth — the cloth 
which they use for their solitary covering. There is a doctor to 
care for them when sick, and a hospital where they can receive 
shelter. During the day I walked with my obliging hosts to the 
summit of a neighboring hill, whence was a splendid prospect over 
the surrounding country— a region of pretty park-land, hills, and 
occasional mountains, with outcropping ridges and peaks of rock. 

The following day I left in my hammock for Oeiras, at that 
time the railway terminus. We descended the hills by a road lead- 
ing to the west through the forest and then over a rough region 
covered with grass ten and twelve feet in height, the stalks of 
which were as large as one's finger and quite like reeds. The path 




Entrance to an Estate. 



INTO THE INTERIOR. 391 

was almost closed by the luxuriant growth of this grass and fre- 
quent thorn bushes, and the men had so much difficulty in bearing 
my tipoya along that I descended and walked for a long distance. 
This region was full of gayly-plumaged birds, and their bright and 
dainty songs constantly greeted my ears. Two or three large 
snakes, not so agreeable, were seen gliding silently and swiftly 
away. 

Early in the afternoon I reached the end of the railway, that 
is, the end of its road-bed, and as I could not get through to 
Oeiras that day, I gladly accepted the hospitality proffered by one 
of the contractors and engineers, Senhor Moraes, who was living 
in a comfortable though temporary house, surrounded by a small 
village of his laborers. The country is exceedingly rough here- 
abouts, and there are many cuttings and fillings necessary, but, 
nevertheless, so rapidly is the road being pushed that it was to be 
completed to Canhoca — 180 miles from Loanda — in January, 1894. 
From there it will eventually be carried on to Ambaca, fifty miles 
further. At seven the next morning I started for Oeiras, follow- 
ing the railway bed most of the way. Though this had been but 
recently made, so prolific is the vegetation of these tropical lati- 
tudes, it was often covered with shrubs and coarse grass ten feet 
in height. Towards noon I reached the valley of the Lucalla 
river, which the railway follows for some distance and afterwards 
crosses on a fine stone-pier bridge. In one place the road-bed is 
cut from the rocky side of a steep hill, .several hundred feet above 
the surface of the river, and then runs in a semi-circle upon an 
enormous embankment to another series of hills, upon whose sides 
it continues all the way to Oeiras. To this point the rails were 
then laid, and many hundred men were at work. There are some 
6,000 laborers on the entire line. As I was inspecting the road 
two engineers hailed me, insisted upon my stopping to breakfast 
with them, aud afterwards arranged for my siesta in a comfortable 
room, and provided me with smoking material and reading matter. 
So it ever is with these hospitable people — you carry an outfit of 
provisions, but seldom have an opportunity to use them. You are 
invited to dinner or breakfast, or to pass the night, or at least to 
rest, take a refreshing drink, and smoke a cigarette. In the cool 
of the afternoon I passed on to Oeiras, five or six miles distant. 
This little village is altogether surrounded by hills, in a very hot 
and unhealthy situation. I was the guest of a Portuguese trader 
here, who could not do too much for my comfort. 



392 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

At six in the morning I took the train for Loanda. We got 
out of the dense forest at the first village — Cassoalalla. A few sta- 
tions further on and I had exchanged the fresh velvety green foli- 
age of the valleys and hills for the monotonous yellow of the grass 
land and the baobabs and eujDhorbias of the coast regions. There 
are about a dozen villages on the road between Oeiras and Loanda, 
but only two or three are of any great size. One sees always a few 
Portuguese houses and a neighboring hamlet of native mud and 
grass huts. We had a long train, with many passengers and much 
freight, and stayed so long at the stations that we did not reach 
Loanda until 8 p. m. — fourteen hours to make 145 miles ! Appre- 
ciating a refreshing sea-breeze after the torrid heat waves of the 
afternoon, I repaired at once to the comfortable and commodious 
house of my friend Mr. Nightingale, the Acting British Consul, 
and thus happily ended my tour of five hundred miles in the in- 
terior of the province of Angola. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

PORTUGAL VS. ENGLAND. 

There is a very large mulatto population in Angola, but the 
white is relatively much more numerous than in any other part of 
tropical Africa. The people are very anxious to have direct 
steamer communication with the United States. There are no 
American traders settled here at present, but there is a good field 
for them, and they would be cordially received both by the colonists 
and by the government, which encourages immigration. Includ- 
ing women and children there are now about fifty American 
missionaries in Angola. In Loanda there is a German and an 
English firm, and the employes of the cable company are English. 
In Benguela and Mossamedes the only foreigners, other than 
Portuguese, are Englishmen, also connected with the cable com- 
pany. Owing to its geographic position, variety of climate, natu- 
ral resources, and to the progress already accomplished in the civ- 
ilisation of the natives, the intrinsic value and immediate possibili- 
ties of Angola surpass those of any other European possession of 
tropical Africa. With reference to educational work and facili- 
ties : there is a High School in Loanda, and there are many 
primary schools both here and at Benguela and Mossamedes, and 
every county has a school of some sort. The district of Loanda 
has thousands of natives who can read and write to some extent, 
many of them having been taught by volunteer native teachers. 
The best schools in the interior are those of the Catholic missions. 

The colony of Angola extends to the south bank of the river 
Congo from its mouth to a distance of about 135 miles, or to the 
town of Matadi. The small territory called Congo, in which is 
the town of Cabinda, to the north, is now separated from Angola 
by a long narrow strip of the Congo Free State, on the north bank 
of the river and extending to the ocean. Formerly Congo and 
Angola were joined, and very properly and justly. Portugal has 

27 393 



394 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

been treated most cavalierly in respect of her African territory upon 
both this and the east coast. The Portuguese rights to the region 
between Congo and Angola, and including the mouth of the 
Congo, are based on a papal grant, on priority of discovery, on 
actual possession, and on intentions and manifestations constantly 
expressed by word and act of maintaining its sovereignty. A 
papal grant, accompanied by the customary " Bull," was made to 
Portugal in 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV., by which he conveyed to 
the Portuguese the sovereignty of all the lands they should dis- 
cover on the entire coast line of the African continent. Three 
years later the mouth of the Congo was discovered by the Portu- 
guese voyager, Diego Cam, who set up on the southern side of it 
one of the padraos, or pillars, by means of which the Portuguese 
were wont to mark the progress of their discoveries. It is not 
true, as has been asserted, that Portugal made no special claim to 
this territory until it was perceived that the commerce of the 
Congo must prove considerable, and would therefore enable her to 
impose dues and charges which would enhance her revenues, for 
the possession of it has been a subject of debate between the Brit- 
ish and Portuguese governments at various times since 1845. 
While the region seemed of no very great importance to the world 
the claims of Portugal were disputed only by the great colonial 
aggressor, England. So matters stood until finally the Berlin 
Conference took away the mouth of the river and adjacent north- 
ern territory from Portugal, and gave her instead that part of 
Angola now extending from Ambriz to the southern bank of the 
Congo, a region in no proper sense an equivalent. 

In eastern Africa Portugal has been used even more shabbily 
than in western. I refer more especially to the ultimatum which 
England sent to Lisbon in 1890, requiring the immediate aban- 
donment on the part of Portugal of all pretensions to rights in the 
Shire Highlands and in Nyassaland, as well as in Manica, Mata- 
bele and Mashonaland on the moral plea — Professor Drummond 
distinctly admits that England has made no other than a " moral 
claim " — that the Portuguese cannot govern their foreign posses- 
sions so well as the English, that they have not properly colonised 
and developed them. The fact that the actual occupation of some 
of the Portuguese territories has been occasionally interrupted by 
considerations of an economical or political nature certainly cannot 
invalidate a claim to their real possession. Nor is it at all a ques- 
tion as to the superiority of methods of colonisation, but simply 



PORTUGAL VS. ENGLAND. 395 

to which nation belongs the truest " claim of possession." It is 
not, as the English seem to think, which would be best, to convert 
the African to Protestantism or to Catholicism. Whether England 
can the betted civilise inferior races, whether she can the sooner 
stop or oppose slavery or intertribal wars, whether she were the 
ablest to establish lucrative commerce are interesting inquiries but 
can have nothing whatever to do with the present matter, which is 
solely a question of ownership of ground, or what in Africa has 
always constituted ownership. England, however, wished these 
territories in order to assist in the development and aggrandise- 
ment of her neighboring colonies, and hence she has completely 
set all rights at defiance and simply taken them, leaving poor weak 
Portugal no alternative but to yield her point — which she has 
done under protest; but what is a protest against overwhelming 
force and the determination of a Great Power? — and to content 
herself with a naturally intense resentment, an ever-existing enmity. 

In this political partition England has exactly reversed the 
maxim, the grand fundamental principle, emblazoned on the 
facade of the Boer Parliament House at Pretoria, that " right 
makes might," and has taken a course with Portugal like that 
which she recently took with Venezuela, regarding the frontier of 
Guiana, and has previously taken several times with many smaller 
and feebler nations throughout the world. She breaks the Zulu 
power, but not the Russian. Her policy of expansion is always 
out of Europe ; in Europe she does nothing until she can find an 
ally. She has been thoroughly immoral in her dealings with 
weaker States, and seems always ready and eager to follow up her 
" moral claims " with very material troops and ironclads. Is it 
not time that the motto " Dieu et mon droit " was changed to 
" Dieu et ma force " ? Many prominent Englishmen have ex- 
pressed similar views. It is the doctrine of Mr. Chamberlain that 
the British Empire has been built up by generations of successful 
buccaneering. Rider Haggard more than once has spoken very 
strongly of the heavy responsibility which rested upon England as 
the outcome of the unjustifiable war which she waged upon the 
Zulus. Mr. Labouchere has declared that the entire history of 
the Matabele war was disgraceful, alike in its inception and in the 
mode in which it was carried through. It was one of which, as a 
nation, Englishmen ought to be thoroughly ashamed. 

Already possessing more than one-third of the fairest and 
richest parts of the globe — the British Empire is now about as 



396 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

large as the whole of Africa — it really looks as if England's greed 
for territory would never be satisfied. And Africa affords a capi- 
tal illustration of this fact in the enormous growth of British 
Colonies, protectorates and " spheres of influence " there during 
the last eighteen years. In 1876 the total area was a little less 
than 280,000 square miles, now it is 2,300,000, nearly one-third of 
European Africa. The West Coast Colonies have increased from 
15,000 to 45,000 square miles, and Cape Colony and its depend- 
encies from 240,000 to 500,000, while to these territories must 
now be added the 500,000 square miles of the Eoyal Niger Com- 
pany and the Oil Eivers District, the 750,000 square miles of 
the South African Company, the 468,000 square miles of British 
East Africa, and several districts of smaller extent. The Portu- 
guese possessions in Africa are but a third the area of the British. 

To Portugal the merit of early discovery in Africa, in so far as 
the maritime regions are concerned, chiefly belongs. In the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries she was the foremost of the mari- 
time powers of Europe. Her colonies girdled the globe, and far 
exceeded in population and extent the mother country. When the 
Portuguese began their explorations the Atlantic coast of Africa 
was only known as far as Cape Nun, scarcely three hundred miles 
distant from the Strait of Gibraltar. In 1406 A. D. Prince Henry, 
the Navigator, a son of King John L, took up his residence at 
the town of Sagres, at Cape St. Vincent, with the view of lending 
systematic encouragement to the prosecution of discovery along 
the African shores. His first vessel of exploration was fitted out 
in 1412, and for several subsequent years he despatched a ship 
annually. By this means little by little the headlands of Bojador, 
Blanco and Verd were passed, the island of Madeira was discov- 
ered, and the shores of Senegambia and Guinea visited and partially 
explored. Prince Henry — the five hundredth anniversary of whose 
birth was last year celebrated at Oporto — expired at Sagres in 
1463, but the spirit of maritime enterprise survived. The Portu- 
guese continued the prosecution of discoveries along the African 
coasts, and the results were seen in the grand achievements of Bar- 
tholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama. The former of these bold 
adventurers reached and rounded the southern apex of the con- 
tinent in 1486, and eleven years afterward was followed by the 
latter, who was the first to sail up the east coast, and to lead a 
Portuguese fleet across the Indian seas. 

Besides their vast possessions in Africa the Portuguese made 



PORTUGAL VS. ENGLAND. 397 

stations on the borders of the Red Sea, at Socotra, Muscat, at 
Ormuz, on both the Malabar and Coromandel coasts of India, and 
in the peninsula of Malacca. They got a footing also in Ceylon, 
and in the East Indian archipelago, and established commercial 
relations even with China and Japan. On the other side of the 
world they made equally extensive discoveries, conquests and an- 
nexations. It being necessary for the maintenance of their power 
to depend mainly upon material force, they established military 
stations and forts all up the eastern coast of Africa — at Lorenzo 
Marquez, Sofala, Quillimane, Mozambique, Melinda and Zanzibar. 
Their immense territory stretched along the mainland from Dela- 
goa Bay to Cape Delgado. A great part of this region — namely 
that from and including the Zambesi river as far as Mozambique 
— was re-bestowed upon Portugal by a pope coming after Sixtus 
IV., — Alexander VI. The important point now arises : have these 
papal grants — of which public notice was always promulgated by a 
Bull — have these grants been regarded by European nations as valid 
titles ? History distinctly affirms that they have been always so 
regarded until these particular questions of the rights of Portugal 
in East and West Africa have been denied by England. Undoubt- 
edly Portugal has a just and abiding, a well-founded, right to the 
territories I have mentioned. The French claim a sphere of in- 
fluence — undisputed by the other nations having investments in 
African soil — over the vast territory of the Sahara lying between 
their colonies of Algeria and Senegambia, which are nearly 1,500 
miles asunder. Have not therefore the Portuguese as good, if 
not a better, right to the Central African territory between their 
east and west possessions, which are but 400 miles apart? French 
influence is acknowledged to extend over territory nearly four 
times greater than is demanded for that of Portugal. But France, 
of course, is a very much more powerful nation than Portugal. 
The " pirating " of her colonial possessions to-day cannot, how- 
ever, efface the glories of Portuguese history, for it will never be 
forgotten that this small kingdom took the lead of Europe in 
the variety and extent of its memorable maritime explorations 
and discoveries during the later Middle Ages. The enthusiasm 
and heroism of her earlier navigators have never been surpassed, 
and that much of the result of their gigantic efforts should have 
lately been lost to her, is a disgrace to the Great Powers of 
Europe, who have without protest permitted a weak nation to be 
ruthlessly despoiled by a strong. 



398 ACTUAL AFRICA. 

On the 27th of February I went, in a steamer of the Empreza 
National, from Loancla to San Antonio, at the mouth of the Congo, 
halting only twelve hours at the town of Ambriz. From San 
Antonio I then crossed to Banana Point, a distance of about eight 
miles, in a small steam-launch which came over for the mails. 
Banana Point is a sandy peninsula but a few feet above the level 
of the sea. It is some two miles long, though but a few hundred 
feet wide, and extends southerly into the river. It is formed by 
the ocean, and a creek which contains two or three fathoms of 
water. The Point, being almost pure sand, sustains little save 
cocoanut-palms, fig-trees, magnolias, coarse grass, and a few pretty 
wild flowers. In the interior, to the north and east, are some grass- 
covered ranges of hills three or four hundred feet in height. We 
steamed slowly up Banana Creek, passing first the great Dutch 
factory, with its many huge warehouses and dwellings, rough 
single-story buildings reared on iron pillars or stone posts three or 
four feet from the ground. Then we passed the French factory, 
before which lay several little steam-launches and lighters. Then 
came the official buildings and trading stations, the police head- 
quarters, and warehouses of the Congo Free State, with her pretty 
flag — a blue field bearing a gold five-pointed star in the centre — 
floating above them. In a square before the house of the governor 
of the station was a large flower-garden, with a few small cannon 
standing about. Beyond here was the Portuguese factory, and 
then came the mainland and the forests. I went ashore and 
walked in sand nearly covering my shoes to an avenue of small 
palms which led directly to the " Hotel de Banana." This was a 
quite rough verandah-faced building, containing large dining, 
billiard and reading rooms. Between it and the ocean cocoanut 
palms had been planted in stra