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COPYKIGHT, 1919. 1920, BY 


Published October, 1920 










Having begun my book with the statement that 
Morocco still lacks a guide-book, I should have 
wished to take a first step toward remedying that 

But the conditions in which I travelled, though 
full of unexpected and picturesque opportunities, 
were not suited to leisurely study of the places 
visited. The time was limited by the approach of 
the rainy season, which puts an end to motoring 
over the treacherous trails of the Spanish zone. 
In 1918, owing to the watchfulness of German sub- 
marines in the Straits and along the northwest 
coast of Africa, the trip by sea from Marseilles to 
Casablanca, ordinarily so easy, was not to be made 
without much discomfort and loss of time. Once 
on board the steamer, passengers were often kept in 
port (without leave to land) for six or eight days; 
therefore for any one bound by a time-limit, as 
most war-workers were, it was necessary to travel 

[ vii 1 


across country, and to be back at Tangier before 
the November rains. 

This left me only one month in which to visit 
Morocco from the Mediterranean to the High 
Atlas, and from the Atlantic to Fez, and even had 
there been a Djinn's carpet to carry me, the multi- 
plicity of impressions received would have made 
precise observation diflScult. 

The next best thing to a Djinn's carpet, a mili- 
tary motor, was at my disposal every morning; 
but war conditions imposed restrictions, and the 
wish to use the minimum of petrol often stood in 
the way of the second visit which alone makes it 
possible to carry away a definite and detailed im- 

These drawbacks were more than offset by the 
advantage of making my quick trip at a moment 
unique in the history of the country; the brief 
moment of transition between its virtually com- 
plete subjection to European authority, and the 
fast approaching hour when it is thrown open to 
all the banaUties and promiscuities of modern 

Morocco is too curious, too beautiful, too rich 

[ viii 1 


in landscape and architecture, and above all too 
much of a novelty, not to attract one of the main 
streams of spring travel as soon as Mediterranean 
passenger traffic is resumed. Now that the war is 
over, only a few months' work on roads and rail- 
ways divide it from the great torrent of "tourism"; 
and once that deluge is let loose, no eye will ever 
again see Moulay Idriss and Fez and Marrakech as 
I saw them. 

In spite of the incessant efforts of the present 
French administration to preserve the old monu- 
ments of Morocco from injury, and her native arts 
and industries from the corruption of European 
bad taste, the impression of mystery and remote- 
ness which the country now produces must in- 
evitably vanish with the approach of the *' Circular 
Ticket." Within a few years far more will be 
known of the past of Morocco, but that past will 
be far less visible to the traveller than it is to-day. 
Excavations will reveal fresh traces of Roman and 
Phenician occupation; the remote affinities be- 
tween Copts and Berbers, between Bagdad and 
Fez, between Byzantine art and the architecture 
of the Souss, will be explored and elucidated; but, 



while these successive discoveries are being made, 
the strange survival of mediaeval life, of a life con- 
temporary with the crusaders, with Saladin, even 
with the great days of the Caliphate of Bagdad, 
which now greets the astonished traveller, will 
gradually disappear, till at last even the mys- 
terious autocthones of the Atlas will have folded 
their tents and silently stolen away. 


Authoritative utterances on Morocco are not 
wanting for those who can read them in French; 
but they are to be found mainly in large and often 
inaccessible books, like M. Doutte's "En Tribu," 
the Marquis de Segonzac's remarkable explorations 
in the Atlas, or Foucauld's classic (but unobtain- 
able) "Reconnaissance au Maroc"; and few, if 
any, have been translated into English. 

M. Louis Chatelain has dealt with the Roman 
ruins of Volubilis and M. Tranchant de Lunel, M. 
Raymond Koechlin, M. Gaillard, M. Ricard, and 
many other French scholars, have written of Mos- 
lem architecture and art in articles published either 
in " France-Maroc, " as introductions to catalogues 



of exhibitions, or in the reviews and daily papers. 
Pierre Loti and M. Andre Chevrillon have reflected, 
with the intensest visual sensibility, the romantic 
and ruinous Morocco of yesterday; and in the 
volumes of the *' Conferences Marocaines," pub- 
lished by the French government, the experts 
gathered about the Resident-General have exam- 
ined the industrial and agricultural Morocco of to- 
morrow. Lastly, one striking book sums up, with 
the clearness and consecutiveness of which French 
scholarship alone possesses the art, the chief things 
to be said on all these subjects, save that of art and 
archaeology. This is M. Augustin Bernard's vol- 
ume, "Le Maroc," the one portable and compact 
yet full and informing book since Leo Africanus 
described the bazaars of Fez. But M. Augustin 
Bernard deals only with the ethnology, the social, 
rehgious and pohtical history, and the physical 
properties, of the country; and this, though "a 
large order," leaves out the visual and picturesque 
side, except in so far as the book touches on the 
always picturesque life of the people. 

For the use, therefore, of the happy wanderers 
who may be planning a Moroccan journey, I have 

[xi ] 


added to the record of my personal impressions a 
slight sketch of the history and art of the country. 
In extenuation of the attempt I must add that the 
chief merit of this sketch will be its absence of 
originality. Its facts will be chiefly drawn from the 
pages of M. Augustin Bernard, M. H. Saladin, and 
M. Gaston Migeon, and the rich sources of the 
"Conferences Marocaines" and the articles of 
"France-Maroc." It will also be deeply indebted 
to information given on the spot by the brilHant 
specialists of the French administration, to the 
Marquis de Segonzac, with whom I had the good 
luck to travel from Rabat to Marrakech and back; 
to M. Alfred de Tarde, editor of "France-Maroc"; 
to M. Tranchant de Lunel, director of the French 
School of Fine Arts in Morocco; to M. Goulven, 
the historian of Portuguese Mazagan; to M. Louis 
Chatelain, and to the many other cultivated and 
cordial French officials, military and civilian, who, 
at each stage of my journey, did their amiable best 
to answer my questions and open my eyes. 



In the writing of proper names and of other Arab 
words the French spelhng has been followed. 

In the case of proper names, and names of cities 
and districts, this seems justified by the fact that 
they occur in a French colony, where French usage 
naturally prevails; and to spell Oudjda in the French 
way, and koubba, for instance, in the English form 
of kubba, would cause needless confusion as to their 
respective pronunciation. It seems therefore sim- 
pler, in a book written for the ordinary traveller, to 
conform altogether to French usage. 

[ xiii 1 






m. FEZ 75 






INDEX 283 



r \ris() PACJS 

















NEZ 66 




[ xvii ] 





KECH 130 












FEZ 270 





[ xviii ] 




TO step on board a steamer in a Spanish port, 
and three hours later to land in a country 
without a guide-hook, is a sensation to rouse 
the hunger of the repletest sight-seer. 

The sensation is attainable by any one who will 
take the trouble to row out into the harbour of 
Algeciras and scramble onto a little black boat 
headed across the straits. Hardly has the rock of 
Gibraltar turned to cloud when one's foot is on the 
soil of an almost unknown Africa. Tangier, in- 
deed, is in the guide-books; but, cuckoo-like, it has 
had to lays its egg in strange nests, and the trav- 
eller who wants to find out about it must acquire a 
work dealing with some other country — Spain or 
Portugal or Algeria. There is no guide-book to 
Morocco, and no way of knowing, once one has 
left Tangier behind, where the long trail over the 



Rif is going to land one, in the sense understood 
by any one accustomed to European certainties. 
The air of the unforeseen blows on one from the 
roadless passes of the Atlas. 

This feeling of adventure is heightened by the 
contrast between Tangier — cosmopolitan, frowsy, 
familiar Tangier, that every tourist has visited for 
the last forty years — and the vast unknown just 
beyond. One has met, of course, travellers who 
have been to Fez; but they have gone there on 
special missions, under escort, mysteriously, per- 
haps perilously; the expedition has seemed, till 
lately, a considerable affair. And when one opens 
the records of Moroccan travellers written within 
the last twenty years, how many, even of the most 
adventurous, are found to have gone beyond Fez.'^ 
And what, to this day, do the names of Meknez 
and Marrakech, of Mogador, SaflB or Rabat, sig- 
nify to any but a few students of political history, a 
few explorers and naturalists? Not till within the 
last year has Morocco been open to travel from 
Tangier to the Great Atlas, and from Moulay Idriss 
to the Atlantic. Three years ago Christians were 
being massacred in the streets of Sale, the pirate 



town across the river from Rabat, and two years 
ago no European had been allowed to enter the 
Sacred City of Moulay Idriss, the burial-place of 
the lawful descendant of Ali, founder of the Idriss- 
ite dynasty. Now, thanks to the energy and the 
imagination of one of the greatest of colonial ad- 
ministrators, the country, at least in the French 
zone, is as safe and open as the opposite shore of 
Spain. All that remains is to tell the traveller how 
to find his way about it. 

Ten years ago there was not a wheeled vehicle 
in Morocco; now its thousands of miles of trail, 
and its hundreds of miles of firm French roads, are 
travelled by countless carts, omnibuses and motor- 
vehicles. There are light railways from Rabat to 
Fez in the west, and to a point about eighty-five 
kilometres from Marrakech in the south; and it is 
possible to saj^ that within a year a regular railway 
system will connect eastern Morocco with western 
Algeria, and the ports of Tangier and Casablanca 
with the principal points of the interior. 

What, then, prevents the tourist from instantly 
taking ship at Bordeaux or Algeciras and letting 
loose his motor on this new world ? Only the tem- 

[ 5 ] 


porary obstacles which the war has everywhere put 
in the way of travel. Till these are lifted it will 
hardly be possible to travel in Morocco except by 
favour of the Resident-General; but, normal con- 
ditions once restored, the country will be as ac- 
cessible, from the straits of Gibraltar to the Great 
Atlas, as Algeria or Tunisia. 

To see Morocco during the war was therefore to 
see it in the last phase of its curiously abrupt transi- 
tion from remoteness and danger to security and 
accessibility; at a moment when its aspect and its 
customs were still almost unaffected by European 
influences, and when the "Christian" might taste 
the transient joy of wandering unmolested in cities 
of ancient mystery and hostility, whose inhabi- 
tants seemed hardly aware of his intrusion. 



With such opportunities ahead it was impossible, 
that brilliant morning of September, 1917, not to 
be off quickly from Tangier, impossible to do jus- 
tice to the pale-blue town piled up within brown 



walls against the thickly-foliaged gardens of "the 
Mountain," to the animation of its market-place 
and the secret beauties of its steep Arab streets. 
For Tangier swarms with people in European 
clothes, there are Enghsh, French and Spanish signs 
above its shops, and cab-stands in its squares; it 
belongs, as much as Algiers, to the familiar dog- 
eared world of travel — and there, beyond the last 
dip of "the Mountain," lies the world of mystery, 
with the rosy dawn just breaking over it. The 
motor is at the door and we are off. 

The so-called Spanish zone, which encloses in- 
ternationalized Tangier in a wide circuit of territory, 
extends southward for a distance of about a hun- 
dred and fifteen kilometres. Consequently, when 
good roads traverse it, French Morocco will be 
reached in less than two hours by motor-travellers 
bound for the south. But for the present Spanish 
enterprise dies out after a few miles of macadam 
(as it does even between Madrid and Toledo), and 
the tourist is committed to the piste. These pistes 
— the old caravan-trails from the south — are more 
available to motors in Morocco than in southern 
Algeria and Tunisia, since they run mostly over 



soil which, though sandy in part, is bound together 
by a tough dwarf vegetation, and not over pure 
desert sand. This, however, is the utmost that can 
be said of the Spanish pistes. In the French pro- 
tectorate constant efforts are made to keep the 
trails fit for wheeled traflSc, but Spain shows no 
sense of a corresponding obligation. 

After leaving the macadamized road which runs 
south from Tangier one seems to have embarked 
on a petrified ocean in a boat hardly equal to the 
adventure. Then, as one leaps and plunges over 
humps and ruts, down sheer banks into rivers, and 
up precipices into sand-pits, one gradually gains 
faith in one's conveyance and in one's spinal 
column; but both must be sound in every joint to 
resist the strain of the long miles to Arbaoua, the 
frontier post of the French protectorate. 

Luckily there are other things to think about. 
At the first turn out of Tangier, Europe and the 
European disappear, and as soon as the motor be- 
gins to dip and rise over the arid httle hills beyond 
to the last gardens one is sure that every figure on 
the road will be picturesque instead of prosaic, 
every garment graceful instead of grotesque. One 



































o ' 





knows, too, that there will be no more omnibuses 
or trams or motorcyclists, but only long lines of 
camels rising up in brown friezes against the sky, 
little black donkeys trotting across the scrub under 
bulging pack-saddles, and noble draped figures 
walking beside them or majestically perching on 
their rumps. And for miles and miles there will 
be no more towns — only, at intervals on the naked 
slopes, circles of rush-roofed huts in a blue stock- 
ade of cactus, or a hundred or two nomad tents of 
black camel's hair resting on walls of wattled thorn 
and grouped about a terebinth-tree and a well. 

Between these nomad colonies lies the bled, the 
immense waste of fallow land and palmetto desert: 
an earth as void of life as the sky above it of clouds. 
The scenery is always the same; but if one has the 
love of great emptinesses, and of the play of light on 
long stretches of parched earth and rock, the same- 
ness is part of the enchantment. In such a scene 
every landmark takes on an extreme value. For 
miles one watches the little white dome of a saint's 
grave rising and disappearing with the undulations 
of the trail; at last one is abreast of it, and the 
sohtary tomb, alone with its fig-tree and its broken 

[ 9 ] 


well-curb, puts a meaning into the waste. The same 
importance, but intensified, marks the appearance 
of every human figure. The two white-draped 
riders passing single file up the red slope to that 
ring of tents on the ridge have a mysterious and 
inexplicable importance: one follows their progress 
with eyes that ache with conjecture. More excit- 
ing still is the encounter of the first veiled woman 
heading a little cavalcade from the south. All the 
mystery that awaits us looks out through the eye- 
slits in the grave-clothes muflfling her. Where have 
they come from, where are they going, all these 
slow wayfarers out of the unknown ? Probably only 
from one thatched douar* to another; but intermi- 
nable distances unroll behind them, they breathe of 
Timbuctoo and the farthest desert. Just such fig- 
ures must swarm in the Saharan cities, in the Sou- 
dan and Senegal. There is no break in the links: 
these wanderers have looked on at the building of 
cities that were dust when the Romans pushed their 
outposts across the Atlas. 

* Village of tents. The village of mud-huts is called a nourwal. 

[ 10] 



A TOWN at last — its nearness announced by the mul- 
tiplied ruts of the trail, the cactus hedges, the fig- 
trees weighed down by dust leaning over ruinous 
earthern walls. And here are the first houses of the 
European El-Ksar — neat white Spanish houses on 
the slope outside the old Arab settlement. Of the 
Arab town itself, above reed stockades and brown 
walls, only a minaret and a few flat roofs are visible. 
Under the walls drowse the usual gregarious 
Lazaruses; others, temporarily resuscitated, trail 
their grave-clothes after a line of camels and don- 
keys toward the olive-gardens outside the town. 

The way to Rabat is long and diflScult, and there 
is no time to visit El-Ksar, though its minaret 
beckons so alluringly above the fruit-orchards; so 
we stop for luncheon outside the walls, at a can- 
teen with a corrugated iron roof where skinny 
Spaniards are serving thick purple wine and eggs 
fried in oil to a party of French soldiers. The heat 
has suddenly become intolerable, and a flaming 
wind straight from the south brings in at the door, 

[ 11 1 


with a cloud of blue flies, the smell of camels and 
trampled herbs and the strong spices of the ba- 

Luncheon over, we hurry on between the cactus 
hedges, and then plunge back into the waste. Be- 
yond El-Ksar the last hills of the Rif die away, 
and there is a stretch of wilderness without an out- 
line till the Lesser Atlas begins to rise in the east. 
Once in the French protectorate the trail improves, 
but there are still diflScult bits; and finally, on a 
high plateau, the chauffeur stops in a web of criss- 
cross trails, throws up his hands, and confesses that 
he has lost his way. The heat is mortal at the mo- 
ment. For the last hour the red breath of the sir- 
occo has risen from every hollow into which we 
dipped ; now it hangs about us in the open, as if we 
had caught it in our wheels and it had to pause 
above us when we paused. 

All around is the featureless wild land, palmetto 
scrub stretching away into eternity. A few yards 
off rises the inevitable ruined koubba* with its fig- 
tree: in the shade under its crumbling wall the buzz 
of the flies is like the sound of frying. Farther off, 

* Saint's tomb. The saint himself is called a marabout. 

I 12] 


we discern a cluster of huts, and presently some 
Arab boys and a tall pensive shepherd come hurry- 
ing across the scrub. They are full of good-will, 
and no doubt of information; but our chauffeur 
speaks no Arabic and the talk dies down into shrugs 
and head-shakings. The Arabs retire to the shade of 
the wall, and we decide to start — for anywhere . . . 

The chauffeur turns the crank, but there is no 
responding quiver. Something has gone wrong; 
we can't move, and it is not much comfort to re- 
member that, if we could, we should not know 
where to go. At least we should be cooler in mo- 
tion than sitting still under the blinding sky. 

Such an adventure initiates one at the outset 
into the stern facts of desert motoring. Every 
detail of our trip from Tangier to Rabat had been 
carefully planned to keep us in unbroken contact 
with civilization. We were to "tub" in one Eu- 
ropean hotel, and to dine in another, with just 
enough picnicking between to give a touch of local 
colour. But let one little cog slip and the whole 
plan falls to bits, and we are alone in the old un- 
tamed Moghreb, as remote from Europe as any 
mediieval adventurer. If one lose one's way in 

[ 13 ] 


Morocco, civilization vanishes as though it were a 
magic carpet rolled up by a Djinn. 

It is a good thing to begin with such a mishap, 
not only because it develops the fatalism necessary 
to the enjoyment of Africa, but because it lets one 
at once into the mysterious heart of the country: a 
country so deeply conditioned by its miles and miles 
of uncitied wilderness that until one has known the 
wilderness one cannot begin to understand the 

We came to one at length, after sunset on that 
first endless day. The motor, cleverly patched up, 
had found its way to a real road, and speeding 
along between the stunted cork-trees of the forest 
of Mamora brought us to a last rise from which we 
beheld in the dusk a line of yellow walls backed by 
the misty blue of the Atlantic. Sale, the fierce old 
pirate town, where Robinson Crusoe was so long a 
slave, lay before us, snow-white in its cheese- 
coloured ramparts skirted by fig and olive gar- 
dens. Below its gates a stretch of waste land, 
endlessly trailed over by mules and camels, sloped 
down to the mouth of the Bou-Regreg, the blue- 
brown river dividing it from Rabat. The motor 

[ 14] 


stopped at the landing-stage of the steam-feny ; 
crowding about it were droves of donkeys, knots of 
camels, plump-faced merchants on crimson-sad- 
dled mules, with negro servants at their bridles, 
bare-legged water-carriers with hairy goat-skins 
slung over their shoulders, and Aral> women in a 
heap of veils, cloaks, mufflings, all of the same ashy 
white, the caftans of clutched children peeping 
through in patches of old rose and lilac and pale 

Across the river the native town of Rabat lay 
piled up on an orange-red cliff beaten by the At- 
lantic. Its walls, red too, plunged into the darken- 
ing breakers at the mouth of the river; and behind 
it, stretching up to the mighty tower of Hassan, 
and the ruins of the Great Mosque, the scattered 
houses of the European city showed their many 
lights across the plain. 



Sale the white and Rabat the red frown at each 
other over the foaming bar of the Bou-Regreg, 
each walled, terraced, minareted, and presenting a 

[ 15] 


singularly complete picture of the two types of 
Moroccan town, the snowy and the tawny. To 
the gates of both the Atlantic breakers roll in with 
the boom of northern seas, and under a misty 
northern sky. It is one of the surprises of Morocco 
to find the familiar African pictures bathed in this 
unfamiliar haze. Even the fierce midday sun does 
not wholly dispel it: the air remains thick, opales- 
cent, like water slightly clouded by milk. One is 
tempted to say that Morocco is Tunisia seen by 

The European town of Rabat, a rapidly develop- 
ing community, lies almost wholly outside the 
walls of the old Arab city. The latter, founded in 
the twelfth century by the great Almohad con- 
queror of Spain, Yacoub-el-Mansour, stretches its 
mighty walls to the river's mouth. Thence they 
climb the cliff to enclose the Kasbah * of the Ou- 
dayas, a troublesome tribe whom one of the Al- 
mohad Sultans, mistrusting their good faith, packed 
up one day, flocks, tents and camels, and carried 
across the bled to stow them into these stout walls 
under his imperial eye. Great crenellated ram- 
parts, Cyclopean, superb, follow the curve of the 

* Citadel. 

[ 16] 


cliff. On the landward side they are interrupted 
by a gate-tower resting on one of the most nobly 
decorated of the horseshoe arches that break the 
mighty walls of Moroccan cities. Underneath the 
tower the vaulted entrance turns, Arab fashion, at 
right angles, profiling its red arch against darkness 
and mystery. This bending of passages, so char- 
acteristic a device of the Moroccan builder, is like 
an architectural expression of the tortuous secret 
soul of the land. 

Outside the Kasbah a narrow foot-path is 
squeezed between the walls and the edge of the 
cliff. Toward sunset it looks down on a strange 
scene. To the south of the citadel the cliff descends 
to a long dune sloping to a sand-beach; and dune 
and beach are covered w^ith the slanting head- 
stones of the immense Arab cemetery of El Alou. 
Acres and acres of graves fall away from the red 
ramparts to the grey sea; and breakers rolling 
straight from America send their spray across the 
lowest stones. 

There are always things going on toward eve- 
ning in an Arab cemetery. In this one, travellers 
from the bled are camping in one corner, donkeys 
grazing (on heaven know^s what), a camel dozing un- 

[ 17 1 


der its pack; in another, about a new-made grave, 
there are ritual movements of muflSed figures and 
wailings of a funeral hymn half drowned by the 
waves. Near us, on a fallen headstone, a man with 
a thoughtful face sits chatting with two friends 
and hugging to his breast a tiny boy who looks like 
a grasshopper in his green caftan; a little way off, a 
solitary philosopher, his eye fixed on the sunset, 
lies on another grave, smoking his long pipe of kif. 
There is infinite sadness in this scene under the 
fading sky, beside the cold welter of the Atlantic. 
One seems to be not in Africa itself, but in the 
Africa that northern crusaders may have dreamed 
of in snow-bound castles by colder shores of the 
same ocean. This is what Moghreb must have 
looked like to the confused imagination of the 
Middle Ages, to Norman knights burning to ran- 
som the Holy Places, or Hansa merchants de- 
vising, in steep-roofed towns, of Barbary and the 
long caravans bringing apes and gold-powder from 
the south. 

Inside the gate of the Kasbah one comes on 
more waste land and on other walls — for all Mo- 

[ 18 1 


roccan towns are enclosed in circuit within circuit 
of battlemented masonry. Then, unexpectedly, a 
gate in one of the inner walls lets one into a tiled 
court enclosed in a traceried cloister and over- 
looking an orange-grove that rises out of a carpet 
of roses. This peaceful and well-ordered place is 
the interior of the Medersa (the college) of the 
Oudayas. Morocco is full of these colleges, or 
rather lodging-houses of the students frequenting 
the mosques; for all Mahometan education is given 
in the mosque itself, only the preparatory work 
being done in the colleges. The most beautiful of 
the Medersas date from the earlier years of the 
long Merinid dynasty (1248-1548), the period at 
which Moroccan art, freed from too distinctively 
Spanish and Arab influences, began to develop a 
delicate grace of its own as far removed from the 
extravagance of Spanish ornament as from the in- 
heritance of Roman-Byzantine motives that the 
first Moslem invasion had brought with it from 
Syria and Mesopotamia. 

These exquisite collegiate buildings, though still 
in use whenever they are near a well-known mosque, 
have all fallen into a state of sordid disrepair. The 

[ 19] 


Moroccan Arab, though he continues to build — 
and fortunately to build in the old tradition, which 
has never been lost — has, like all Orientals, an in- 
vincible repugnance to repairing and restoring, and 
one after another the frail exposed Arab structures, 
with their open courts and badly constructed 
terrace-roofs, are crumbling into ruin. Happily the 
French Government has at last been asked to in- 
tervene, and all over Morocco the Medersas are 
being repaired with skill and discretion. That of 
the Oudayas is already completely restored, and 
as it had long fallen into disuse it has been trans- 
formed by the Ministry of Fine Arts into a museum 
of Moroccan art. 

The plan of the Medersas is always much the 
same: the eternal plan of the Arab house, built 
about one or more arcaded courts, with long nar- 
row rooms enclosing them on the ground floor, and 
several stories above, reached by narrow stairs, and 
often opening on finely carved cedar galleries. 
The chief difference between the Medersa and the 
private house, or even the fondak,* lies in the use to 
which the rooms are put. In the Medersas, one 

* The Moroccan inn or caravanserai. 

[ 20 ] 


of the ground-floor apartments is always fitted up 
as a chapel, and shut off from the court by carved 
cedar doors still often touched with old gilding and 
vermilion. There are always a few students pray- 
ing in the chapel, while others sit in the doors of 
the upper rooms, their books on their knees, or 
lean over the carved galleries chatting with their 
companions w^ho are washing their feet at the marble 
fountain in the court, preparatory to entering the 

In the Medersa of the Oudayas, these native 
activities have been replaced by the lifeless hush 
of a museum. The rooms are furnished with old 
rugs, pottery, brasses, the curious embroidered 
hangings which line the tents of the chiefs, and 
other specimens of Arab art. One room repro- 
duces a barber's shop in the bazaar, its benches 
covered with fine matting, the hanging mirror in- 
laid with mother-of-pearl, the razor-handles of 
silver niello. The horseshoe arches of the outer 
gallery look out on orange-blossoms, roses and the 
sea. It is all beautiful, calm and harmonious; and 
if one is tempted to mourn the absence of life and 
local colour, one has only to visit an abandoned 

[21 ] 


Medersa to see that, but for French intervention, 
the charming colonnades and cedar chambers of 
the college of the Oudayas would by this time be a 
heap of undistinguished rubbish — for plaster and 
rubble do not "die in beauty" like the firm stones 
of Rome. 

ROBINSON Crusoe's "sallee" 

Before Morocco passed under the rule of the 
great governor who now administers it, the Eu- 
ropean colonists made short work of the beauty 
and privacy of the old Arab towns in which they 
established themselves. 

On the west coast, especially, where the Mediter- 
ranean peoples, from the Phenicians to the Portu- 
guese, have had trading-posts for over two thousand 
years, the harm done to such seaboard towns as 
Tangier, Rabat and Casablanca is hard to estimate. 
The modern European colonist apparently imag- 
ined that to plant his warehouses, cafes and cinema- 
palaces within the walls which for so long had 
fiercely excluded him was the most impressive way 
of proclaiming his domination. 

[ 22 ] 


Under General Lyautey such views are no longer 
tolerated. Respect for native habits, native be- 
liefs and native architecture is the first principle 
inculcated in the civil servants attached to his 
administration. Not only does he require that 
the native towns shall })e kept intact, and no Eu- 
ropean building erected \vithin them; a sense of 
beauty not often vouchsafed to Colonial governors 
causes him to place the administration buildings so 
far beyond the walls that the modern colony 
grouped around them remains entirely distinct 
from the old town, instead of growing out of it 
like an ugly excrescence. 

The Arab quarter of Rabat was already irrepar- 
ably disfigured when General Lyautey came to 
Morocco; but ferocious old Sale, Phenician count- 
ing-house and breeder of Barbary pirates, had been 
saved from profanation by its Moslem fanaticism. 
Few Christian feet had entered its walls except 
those of the prisoners who, like Robinson Crusoe, 
slaved for the wealthy merchants in its mysterious 
terraced houses. Not till tw^o or three years ago 
was it completely pacified; and when it opened its 
gates to the infidel it was still, as it is to-day, the 

[ 23 1 


type of the untouched Moroccan city — so un- 
touched that, with the sunHght irradiating its 
cream-coloured walls and the blue-white domes 
above them, it rests on its carpet of rich fruit- 
gardens like some rare specimen of Arab art on a 
strip of old Oriental velvet. 

Within the walls, the magic persists: which does 
not always happen when one penetrates into the 
mirage-like cities of Arabian Africa. Sale has the 
charm of extreme compactness. Crowded between 
the river-mouth and the sea, its white and pale- 
blue houses almost touch across the narrow streets, 
and the reed-thatched bazaars seem like miniature 
reductions of the great trading labyrinths of Tunis 
or Fez. 

Everything that the reader of the Arabian Nights 
expects to find is here: the whitewashed niches 
wherein pale youths sit weaving the fine mattings 
for which the town is still famous; the tunnelled 
passages where indolent merchants with bare feet 
crouch in their little kennels hung with richly or- 
namented saddlery and arms, or with slippers of 
pale citron leather and bright embroidered ba- 
bouches; the stalls with fruit, olives, tunny-fish, 

I 24 ] 

From a plwlojraph from the Serrice def lieaux-Artti an Maroc 

Sale — entrance of tlio 


vague syrupy sweets, candles for saints* tombs, 
Mantegnesque garlands of red and green peppers, 
griddle-cakes sizzling on red-hot pans, and all the 
varied wares and cakes and condiments that the 
lady in the tale of the Three Calanders went out 
to buy, that memorable morning in the market of 

Only at Sale all Is on a small scale: there is not 
much of any one thing, except of the exquisite mat- 
ting. The tide of commerce has ebbed from the 
intractable old city, and one feels, as one watches 
the listless purchasers in her little languishing 
bazaars, that her long animosity against the in- 
truder has ended by destroying her own life. 

The feeling increases when one leaves the bazaar 
for the streets adjoining it. An even deeper hush 
than that which hangs over the well-to-do quarters 
of all Arab towns broods over these silent thorough- 
fares, with heavy-nailed doors barring half-ruined 
houses. In a steep deserted square one of these 
doors opens its panels of weather-silvered cedar on 
the court of the frailest, ghostliest of Medersas — ■ 
mere carved and painted shell of a dead house of 
learning. Mystic interweavings of endless lines, 



patient patterns interminably repeated in wood and 
stone and clay, all are here, from the tessellated 
paving of the court to the honeycombing of the 
cedar roof through which a patch of sky shows here 
and there like an inset of turquoise tiling. 

This lovely ruin is in the safe hands of the French 
Fine Arts administration, and soon the wood- 
carvers and stucco-workers of Fez will have re- 
vived its old perfection; but it will never again be 
more than a show-Medersa, standing empty and 
unused beside the mosque behind whose guarded 
doors and high walls one guesses that the old re- 
ligious fanaticism of Sale is dying also, as her 
learning and her commerce have died. 

In truth the only life in her is centred in the 
market-place outside the walls, where big expanding 
Rabat goes on certain days to provision herself. 
The market of Sale, though typical of all Moroccan 
markets, has an animation and picturesqueness of 
its own. Its rows of white tents pitched on a 
dusty square between the outer walls and the fruit- 
gardens make it look as though a hostile tribe 
had sat down to lay siege to the town; but the 
army is an army of hucksters, of farmers from the 

[ 26 ] 


rich black lands along the river, of swarthy nomads 
and leather-gaitered peasant women from the 
hills, of slaves and servants and tradesmen from 
Rabat and Sale; a draped, veiled, turbaned mob 
shrieking, bargaining, fist-shaking, call on Allah to 
witness the monstrous villanies of the misbegotten 
miscreants they are trading with, and then, struck 
with the mysterious Eastern apathy, sinking down 
in languid heaps of muslin among the black figs, 
purple onions and rosy melons, the fluttering hens, 
the tethered goats, the whinnying foals, that are 
all enclosed in an outer circle of folded-up camels 
and of mules dozing under faded crimson saddles. 



The Merinid Sultans of Rabat had a terribly 
troublesome neighbour across the Bou-Regreg, and 
they built Chella to keep an eye on the pirates of 
Sale. But Chella has fallen like a Babylonian city 
triumphed over by the prophets; while- Sale, sly, 
fierce and irrepressible, continued till well on in the 
nineteenth century to breed pirates and fanatics. 

[ 27 1 


The ruins of Chella lie on the farther side of the 
plateau above the native town of Rabat. The 
mighty wall enclosing them faces the city wall of 
Rabat, looking at it across one of those great red 
powdery wastes which seem, in this strange land, 
like death and the desert forever creeping up to 
overwhelm the puny works of man. 

The red waste is scored by countless trains of 
donkeys carrying water from the springs of Chella, 
by long caravans of mules and camels, and by the 
busy motors of the French administration; yet there 
emanates from it an impression of solitude and de- 
cay which even the prosaic tinkle of the trams jog- 
ging out from the European town to the Exhibition 
grounds above the sea cannot long dispel. 

Perpetually, even in the new thriving French 
Morocco, the outline of a ruin or the look in a pair 
of eyes shifts the scene, rends the thin veil of the 
European Illusion, and confronts one with the old 
grey Moslem reality. Passing under the gate of 
Chella, with its richly carved corbels and lofty 
crenellated towers, one feels one's self thus com- 
pletely reabsorbed into the past. 

Below the gate the ground slopes away, bare 

[28 ] 


and blazing, to a hollow where a little blue-green 
minaret gleams through fig-trees, and fragments of 
arch and vaulting reveal the outline of a ruined 

Was ever shade so blue-black and delicious as 
that of the cork-tree near the spring where the 
donkey's water-cans are being filled? Under its 
branches a black man in a blue shirt lies immovably 
sleeping in the dust. Close by w^omen and chil- 
dren splash and chatter about the spring, and the 
dome of a saint's tomb shines through lustreless 
leaves. The black man, the donkeys, the women 
and children, the saint's dome, are all part of the 
inimitable Eastern scene in which inertia and agita- 
tion are so curiously combined, and a surface of 
shrill noise flickers over depths of such unfathom- 
able silence. 

The ruins of Chella belong to the purest period 
of Moroccan art. The tracery of the broken arches 
is all carved in stone or in glazed turquoise tiling, 
and the fragments of wall and vaulting have the 
firm elegance of a classic ruin. But what would 
even their beauty be without the leafy setting of 
the place? The ** unimaginable touch of Time" 

I 29 ] 


gives Chella its peculiar charm: the aged fig-tree 
clamped in uptorn tiles and thrusting gouty arms 
between the arches; the garlanding of vines flung 
from column to column; the secret pool to which 
childless women are brought to bathe, and where 
the tree springing from a cleft of the steps is al- 
ways hung with the bright bits of stuff which are 
the votive offerings of Africa. 

The shade, the sound of springs, the terraced 
orange-garden with irises blooming along channels 
of running water, all this greenery and coolness in 
the hollow of a fierce red hill make Chella seem, 
to the traveller new to Africa, the very type and 
embodiment of its old contrasts of heat and fresh- 
ness, of fire and languor. It is like a desert trav- 
eller's dream in his last fever. 

Yacoub-el-Mansour was the fourth of the great 
Almohad Sultans who, in the twelfth century, 
drove out the effete Almoravids, and swept their 
victorious armies from Marrakech to Tunis and 
from Tangier to Madrid. His grandfather, Abd- 
el-Moumen, had been occupied with conquest and 
civic administration. It was said of his rule that 
"he seized northern Africa to make order prevail 



there"; and in fact, out of a welter of wild tribes 
confusedly fighting and robbing he drew an empire 
firmly seated and securely governed, wherein cara- 
vans travelled from the Atlas to the Straits with- 
out fear of attack, and "a soldier wandering through 
the fields would not have dared to pluck an ear of 

His grandson, the great El-Mansour, was a 
conqueror too; but where he conquered he planted 
the undying seed of beauty. The victor of Alarcos, 
the soldier who subdued the north of Spain, dreamed 
a great dream of art. His ambition was to bestow 
on his three capitals, Seville, Rabat and Marra- 
kech, the three most beautiful towers the world had 
ever seen; and if the tower of Rabat had been com- 
pleted, and that of Seville had not been injured by 
Spanish embellishments, his dream would have been 

The "Tower of Hassan," as the Sultan's tower 
is called, rises from the plateau above old Rabat, 
overlooking the steep cliff that drops down to the 
last winding of the Bou-Regreg. Truncated at 
half its height, it stands on the edge of the cliff, a 
far-off beacon to travellers by land and sea. It is 

[31 1 


one of the world's great monuments, so sufficient 
in strength and majesty that until one has seen its 
fellow, the Koutoubya of Marrakech, one wonders 
if the genius of the builder could have carried such 
perfect balance of massive wall-spaces and traceried 
openings to a triumphant completion. 

Near the tower, the red -brown walls and huge 
piers of the mosque built at the same time stretch 
their roofless alignment beneath the sky. This 
mosque, before it was destroyed, must have been 
one of the finest monuments of Almohad architec- 
ture in Morocco: now, with its tumbled red masses 
of masonry and vast cisterns overhung by clumps 
of blue aloes, it still forms a ruin of Roman grandeur. 

The Mosque, the Tower, the citadel of the 
Oudayas, and the mighty walls and towers of 
Chella, compose an architectural group as noble 
and complete as that of some mediaeval Tuscan 
city. All they need to make the comparison exact 
is that they should have been compactly massed 
on a steep hill, instead of lying scattered over the 
wide spaces between the promontory of the Ou- 
dayas and the hill-side of Chella. 

The founder of Rabat, the great Yacoub-el- 

[ 32 1 


Mansour, called it, in memory of the battle of 
Marcos, "The Camp of Victory" (Ribat-el-Path), 
and the monuments he bestowed on it justified the 
name in another sense, by giving it the beauty that 
lives when battles are forgotten. 

[33 ] 







ONE day before sunrise we set out from 
Rabat for the ruins of Roman Volubilis. 
From the ferry of the Bou-Regreg we 
looked backward on a last vision of orange ram- 
parts under a night-blue sky sprinkled with stars; 
ahead, over gardens still deep in shadow, the walls 
of Sale were passing from drab to peach-colour in 
the eastern glow. Dawn is the romantic hour in 
Africa. Dirt and dilapidation disappear under a 
pearly haze, and a breeze from the sea blows away 
the memory of fetid markets and sordid heaps of 
humanity. At that hour the old Moroccan cities 
look like the ivory citadels in a Persian miniature, 
and the fat shopkeepers riding out to their vege- 



table-gardens like Princes sallying forth to rescue 
captive maidens. 

Our way led along the highroad from Rabat to 
the modern port of Kenitra, near the ruins of the 
Phenician colony of Mehedyia. Just north of 
Kenitra we struck the trail, branching off eastward 
to a European village on the light railway between 
Rabat and Fez, and beyond the railway-sheds and 
flat-roofed stores the wilderness began, stretching 
away into clear distances bounded by the hills of 
the Rarb,* above which the sun was rising. 

Range after range these translucent hills rose 
before us; all around the solitude was complete. 
Village life, and even tent life, naturally gathers 
about a river-bank or a spring; and the waste we 
were crossing was of waterless sand bound together 
by a loose desert growth. Only an abandoned 
well-curb here and there cast its blue shadow on 
the yellow hled^ or a saint's tomb hung like a bub- 
ble between sky and sand. The light had the pre- 
ternatural purity which gives a foretaste of mirage: 
it was the light in which magic becomes real, and 
which helps to understand how, to people living in 

* The high plateau-and-hill formation between Tangier and Fez. 

[ 38 1 


such an atmosphere, the boundary between fact 
and dream perpetually fluctuates. 

The sand was scored with tracks and ruts in- 
numerable, for the road l)etween Rabat and Fez is 
travelled not only by French government motors 
but by native caravans and trains of pilgrims to 
and from the sacred city of Moulay Idriss, the 
founder of the Idrissite dynasty, whose tomb is in 
the Zerhoun, the mountain ridge above Volubilis. 
To untrained eyes it was impossible to guess which 
of the trails one ought to follow ; and without much 
surprise we suddenly found the motor stopping, 
while its wheels spun round vainly in the loose sand. 

The military chauffeur was not surprised either; 
nor was Captain de M., the French staff-officer who 
accompanied us. 

"It often happens just here," they admitted 
philosophically. "When the General goes to Mek- 
nez he is always followed by a number of motors, so 
that if his own is stuck he may go on in another." 

This was interesting to know, but not par- 
ticularly helpful, as the General and his motors 
were not travelling our way that morning. Nor 
was any one else, apparently. It is curious how 



quickly the hied empties itself to the horizon if one 
happens to have an accident in it ! But we had 
learned our lesson between Tangier and Rabat, and 
were able to produce a fair imitation of the fatal- 
istic smile of the country. 

The officer remarked cheerfully that somebody 
might turn up, and we all sat down in the hied. 

A Berber woman, cropping up from nowhere, 
came and sat beside us. She had the thin sun- 
tanned face of her kind, brilliant eyes touched with 
kholy high cheek-bones, and the exceedingly short 
upper lip which gives such charm to the smile of 
the young nomad women. Her dress was the usual 
faded cotton shift, hooked on the shoulders with 
brass or silver clasps (still the antique ^6w/flE), and 
wound about with a vague drapery in whose folds 
a brown baby wriggled. 

The coolness of dawn had vanished and the sun 
beat down from a fierce sky. The village on the 
railway was too far off to be reached on foot, and 
there were probably no mules there to spare. 
Nearer at hand there was no sign of help: not a 
fortified farm, or even a circle of nomad tents. It 
was the unadulterated desert — and we waited. 

[40 ] 


Not in vain; for after an hour or two, from far 
off in the direction of the hills, there appeared an 
army with banners. We stared at it unbelievingly. 
The mirage^ of course ! We were too sophisticated 
to doubt it, and tales of sun-dazed travellers 
mocked by such visions rose in our well-stocked 

The chauffeur thought otherwise. "Good ! That's 
a pilgrimage from the mountains. They're going 
to Sale to pray at the tomb of the marabout; to-day 
is his feast-day." 

And so they were ! And as we hung on their ap- 
proach, and speculated as to the chances of their 
stopping to help, I had time to note the beauty of 
this long train winding toward us under parti- 
colored banners. There was something celestial, 
almost diaphanous, in the hundreds of figures tur- 
baned and draped in white, marching slowly 
through the hot colorless radiance over the hot 
colorless sand. 

The most part were on foot, or bestriding tiny 
donkeys, but a stately Ca'id rode alone at the end of 
the line on a horse saddled with crimson velvet; and 
to him our officer appealed. 

[41 1 


The Caid courteously responded, and twenty or 
thirty pilgrims were ordered to harness themselves 
to the motor and haul it back to the trail, while 
the rest of the procession moved hieratically on- 

I felt scruples at turning from their path even a 
fraction of this pious company; but they fell to 
with a saintly readiness, and before long the motor 
was on the trail. Then rewards were dispensed; 
and instantly those holy men became a prey to the 
darkest passions. Even in this land of contrasts 
the transition from pious serenity to rapacious rage 
can seldom have been more rapid. The devotees 
of the marabout fought, screamed, tore their gar- 
ments and rolled over each other with sanguinary 
gestures in the struggle for our pesetas; then, per- 
ceiving our indifference, they suddenly remembered 
their religious duties, scrambled to their feet, tucked 
up their flying draperies, and raced after the tail- 
end of the procession. 

Through a golden heat-haze we struggled on to 
the hills. The country was fallow, and in great 
part too sandy for agriculture; but here and there 
we came on one of the deep-set Moroccan rivers, 

[ 42 ] 


with a reddish-yellow course channelled between 
perpendicular banks of red earth, and marked by a 
thin line of verdure that widened to fruit-gardens 
wherever a village had sprung up. We traversed 
several of these '^sedentary" * villages, nourwals 
of clay houses with thatched conical roofs, in gar- 
dens of fig, apricot and pomegranate that must be 
so many pink and white paradises after the w^inter 

One of these villages seemed to be inhabited en- 
tirely by blacks, big friendly creatures who came 
out to tell us by which trail to reach the bridge over 
the yellow oiied. In the oued their womenkind 
were washing the variegated family rags. They 
were handsome blue-bronze creatures, bare to the 
waist, with tight black astrakhan curls and firmly 
sculptured legs and ankles; and all around them, 
like a swarm of gnats, danced countless jolly pick- 
aninnies, naked as lizards, with the spindle legs 
and globular stomachs of children fed only on 

Half terrified but wholly interested, these in- 

* So called to distinguish them from the tent villages of the less settled 

[43 1 


fants buzzed about the motor while we stopped to 
photograph them; and as we watched their antics 
we wondered whether they were the descendants 
of the httle Soudanese boys whom the founder of 
Meknez, the terrible Sultan Moulay-Ismael, used 
to carry off from beyond the Atlas and bring up in 
his military camps to form the nucleus of the Black 
Guard which defended his frontiers. We were on 
the line of travel between Meknez and the sea, and 
it seemed not unlikely that these nourwals were all 
that remained of scattered outposts of Moulay- 
Ismael's legionaries. 

After a time we left oueds and villages behind us 
and were in the mountains of the Rarb, toiling 
across a high sandy plateau. Far off a fringe of 
vegetation showed promise of shade and water, 
and at last, against a pale mass of olive-trees, we 
saw the sight which, at whatever end of the world 
one comes upon it, wakes the same sense of awe: 
the ruin of a Roman city. 

Volubilis (called by the Arabs the Castle of the 
Pharaohs) is the only considerable Roman colony 
so far discovered in Morocco. It stands on the ex- 
treme ledge of a high plateau backed by the moun- 
tains of the Zerhoun. Below the plateau, the land 

[ 44 ] 


drops down precipitately to a narrow river-valley 
green with orchards and gardens, and in the neck 
of the valley, where the hills meet again, the conical 
white town of Moulay Idriss, the Sacred City of 
Morocco, rises sharply against a wooded back- 

So the two dominations look at each other across 
the valley: one, the lifeless Roman ruin, represent- 
ing a system, an order, a social conception that 
still run through all our modern ways; the other, 
the untouched Moslem city, more dead and sucked 
back into an uninteUigible past than any broken 
architrave of Greece or Rome. 

Volubilis seems to have had the extent and 
w^ealth of a great military outpost, such as Timgad 
in Algeria; but in the seventeenth century it was 
very nearly destroyed by Moulay-Ismael, the Sul- 
tan of the Black Guard, who carried off its monu- 
ments piece-meal to build his new capital of Mek- 
nez, that Mequinez of contemporary travellers 
which was held to be one of the wonders of the age. 

Little remains to Volubilis in the wav of im- 
portant monuments: only the fragments of a 
basihca, part of an arch of triumph erected in 
honour of Caracalla, and the fallen columns and 

[45 ] 


architraves which strew the path of Rome across 
the world. But its site is magnificent; and as the 
excavation of the ruins was interrupted by the war 
it is possible that subsequent search may bring 
forth other treasures comparable to the beautiful 
bronze sloughi (the African hound) which is now 
its principal possession. 

It was delicious, after seven hours of travel un- 
der the African sun, to sit on the shady terrace 
where the Curator of Volubilis, M. Louis Chatelain, 
welcomes his visitors. The French Fine Arts have 
built a charming house with gardens and pergolas 
for the custodian of the ruins, and have found in M. 
Chatelain an archaeologist so absorbed in his task 
that, as soon as conditions permit, every inch of 
soil in the circumference of the city will be made 
to yield up whatever secrets it hides. 



We lingered under the pergolas of Volubilis till the 
heat grew less intolerable, and then our com- 
panions suggested a visit to Moulay Idriss. 

[ 46 1 

from a photograph J'ruvi the i>erricc lies Hcaiii-Artu im Mn^. , 

Voluljilis — tlic western portico of tlie basilira of Antoniiis Pius 


Such a possibility had not occurred to us, and 
even Captain de M. seemed to doubt whether the 
expedition were advisable. Moulay Idriss was still 
said to be resentful of Christian intrusion: it was 
only a year before that the first French oflScers had 
entered it. 

But M. Chatelain was confident that there would 
be no opposition to our visit, and with the piled-up 
terraces and towers of the Sacred City growing 
golden in the afternoon light across the valley it was 
impossible to hesitate. 

We drove down through an olive-wood as an- 
cient as those of Mitylene and Corfu, and then 
along the narrowing valley, between gardens luxuri- 
ant even in the parched Moroccan autumn. Pres- 
ently the motor began to climb the steep road to 
the town, and at a gateway we got out and were 
met by the native chief of police. Instantly at the 
high windows of mysterious houses veiled heads 
appeared and sidelong eyes cautiously inspected us. 
But the quarter was deserted, and we walked on 
without meeting any one to the Street of the 
Weavers, a silent narrow way between low white- 
washed niches like the cubicles in a convent. In 



each niche sat a grave white-robed youth, forming 
a great amphora-shaped grain-basket out of closely 
plaited straw. Vine-leaves and tendrils hung 
through the reed roofing overhead, and grape- 
clusters cast their classic shadow at our feet. It 
was like walking on the unrolled frieze of a white 
Etruscan vase patterned with black vine garlands. 

The silence and emptiness of the place began to 
strike us: there was no sign of the Oriental crowd 
that usually springs out of the dust ar the approach 
of strangers. But suddenly we heard close by the 
lament of the rekka (a kind of long fife), accom- 
panied by a wild thrum-thrum of earthenware 
drums and a curious excited chanting of men*s 
voices. I had heard such a chant before, at the 
other end of North Africa, in Kairouan, one of the 
other great Sanctuaries of Islam, where the sect of 
the Aissaouas celebrate their sanguinary rites in 
the Zaouia* of their confraternity. Yet it seemed 
incredible that if the Aissaouas of Moulay Idriss 
were performing their ceremonies that day the 
chief of police should be placidly leading us through 
the streets in the very direction from which the 

* Sacred college. 



chant was coming. The Moroccan, though he has 
no desire to get into trouble with the Christian, 
prefers to be left alone on feast-days, especially in 
such a stronghold of the faith as Moulay Idriss. 

But "Geschehen ist geschehen" is the sum of 
Oriental philosophy. For centuries Moulay Idriss 
had held out fanatically on its holy steep; then, 
suddenly, in 1916, its chiefs saw that the game was 
up, and surrendered without a pretense of resist- 
ance. Now the whole thing was over, the new con- 
ditions were accepted, and the chief of police as- 
sured us that with the French uniform at our side 
we should be safe anywhere. 

"The Aissaouas .-^ " he explained. "No, this is 
another sect, the Hamadchas, who are performing 
their ritual dance on the feast-day of their patron, 
the marabout Hamadch, whose tomb is in the Zer- 
houn. The feast is celebrated publicly in the 
market-place of Moulay Idriss." 

As he spoke we came out into the market-place, 
and understood why there had been no crowd at 
the gate. All the population was in the square and 
on the roofs that mount above it, tier by tier, 
against the wooded hillside: Moulay Idriss had 



better to do that day than to gape at a few tourists 
In dust-coats. 

Short of Sfax, and the other coast cities of east- 
ern Tunisia, there is surely not another town in 
North Africa as white as Moulay Idriss. Some are 
pale blue and pinky yellow, like the Kasbah of 
Tangier, or cream and blue like Sale; but Tangier 
and Sale, for centuries continuously subject to 
European influences, have probably borrowed their 
colors from Genoa and the Italian Riviera. In the 
interior of the country, and especially in Morocco, 
where the whole color-scheme is much soberer than 
in Algeria and Tunisia, the color of the native houses 
is always a penitential shade of mud and ashes. 

But Moulay Idriss, that afternoon, was as white 
as if its arcaded square had been scooped out of a 
big cream cheese. The late sunlight lay like gold- 
leaf on one side of the square, the other was in pure 
blue shade; and above it, the crowded roofs, ter- 
races and balconies packed with women in bright 
dresses looked like a flower-field on the edge of a 
marble quarry. 

The bright dresses were as unusual a sight as 
the white walls, for the average Moroccan crowd 


t rum a pnolograpli J rom the Hervice des iieaux-Art.i an Maror 

Moulay-Idriss — the market-place 


is the color of its houses. But the occasion was a 
special one, for these feasts of the Hamadchas oc- 
cur only twice a year, in spring and autumn, and 
as the ritual dances take place out of doors, in- 
stead of being performed inside the building of the 
confraternity, the feminine population seizes the 
opportunity to burst into flower on the housetops. 
It is rare, in Morocco, to see in the streets or the 
bazaars any women except of the humblest classes, 
household slaves, servants, peasants from the coun- 
trv or small tradesmen's wives; and even thev 
(with the exception of the unveiled Berber women) 
are wrapped in the prevailing grave-clothes. The 
fiU^s dt^ joit' and dancing-girls whose brilliant dresses 
enliven certain streets of the Algerian and Tunisian 
towns are invisible, or at least unnoticeable, in 
Morocco, where life, on the whole, seems so mucii 
less gay and brightly-tinted; and the women of the 
richer classes, mercantile or aristocratic, never 
leave their harems except to be married or buried. 
A throng of women dressed in hght colors is there- 
fore to be seen in pubHc only when some street 
festival draws them to the roofs. Even then it is 
probable that the throng is mostly composed of 

[51 1 


slaves, household servants, and women of the lower 
bourgeoisie; but as they are all dressed in mauve 
and rose and pale green, with long earrings and 
jewelled head-bands flashing through their parted 
veils, the illusion, from a little distance, is as com- 
plete as though they were the ladies in waiting of 
the Queen of Sheba; and that radiant afternoon at 
Moulay Idriss, above the vine-garlanded square, 
and against the background of piled-up terraces, 
their vivid groups were in such contrast to the usual 
gray assemblages of the East that the scene seemed 
like a setting for some extravagantly staged ballet. 
For the same reason the spectacle unrolling itself 
below us took on a blessed air of unreality. Any 
normal person who has seen a dance of the Aissaouas 
and watched them swallow thorns and hot coals, 
slash themselves with knives, and roll on the floor 
in epilepsy must have privately longed, after the 
first excitement was over, to fly from the repulsive 
scene. The Hamadchas are much more savage 
than Aissaouas, and carry much farther their dis- 
play of cataleptic anaesthesia; and, knowing this, I 
had wondered how long I should be able to stand 
the sight of what was going on below our terrace. 

[52 ] 




But the beauty of the setting redeemed the bestial 
horror. In that unreal golden light the scene be- 
came merely symbolical: it was like one of those 
strange animal masks which the Middle Ages 
brought down from antiquity by way of the satyr- 
plays of Greece, and of which the half-human pro- 
tagonists still grin and contort themselves among 
the Christian symbols of Gothic cathedrals. 

At one end of the square the musicians stood on 
a stone platform above the dancers. Like the 
musicians in a bas-relief they were flattened side 
by side against a wall, the fife-players with lifted 
arms and inflated cheeks, the drummers pounding 
frantically on long earthenware drums shaped like 
enormous hour-glasses and painted in barbaric 
patterns; and below, down the length of the mar- 
ket-place, the dance unrolled itself in a frenzied 
order that would have filled with envy a Paris or 
London impresario. 

In its centre an inspired-looking creature whirled 
about on his axis, the black ringlets standing out in 
snaky spirals from his haggard head, his cheek- 
muscles convulsively twitching. Around him, but 
a long way off, the dancers rocked and circled with 



long raucous cries dominated by the sobbing boom- 
ing music; and in the sunht space between dancers 
and holy man, two or three impish children bobbed 
about with fixed eyes and a grimace of comic 
frenzy, solemnly parodying his contortions. 

Meanwhile a tall grave personage in a doge-like 
cap, the only calm figure in the tumult, moved 
gravely here and there, regulating the dance, stimu- 
lating the frenzy, or calming some devotee who had 
broken the ranks and lay tossing and foaming on 
the stones. There was something far more sinister 
in this passionless figure, holding his hand on the 
key that let loose such crazy forces, than in the 
poor central whirligig who merely set the rhythm 
of the convulsions. 

The dancers were all dressed in white caftans 
or in the blue shirts of the lowest classes. In the 
sunlight something that looked like fresh red paint 
glistened on their shaved black or yellow skulls and 
made dark blotches on their garments. At first 
these stripes and stains suggested only a gaudy 
ritual ornament like the pattern on the drums; 
then one saw that the paint, or whatever it was, 
kept dripping down from the whirling caftans and 

[54 1 


forming fresh pools among the stones; that as one 
of the pools dried up another formed, redder and 
more glistening, and that these pools were fed from 
great gashes which the dancers hacked in their 
own skulls and breasts with hatchets and sharp- 
ened stones. The dance was a blood-rite, a great 
sacrificial symbol, in which blood flowed so freely 
that all the rocking feet were splashed with it. 

Gradually, however, it became evident that many 
of the dancers simply rocked and howled, without 
hacking themselves, and that most of the bleeding 
skulls and breasts belonged to negroes. Every now 
and then the circle widened to let in another fig- 
ure, black or dark yellow, the figure of some hum- 
ble blue-shirted spectator suddenly "getting re- 
ligion" and rushing forward to snatch a weapon 
and baptize himself with his own blood; and as 
each new recruit joined the dancers the music 
shrieked louder and the devotees howled more 
wolfishly. And still, in the centre, the mad mara- 
bout spun, and the children bobbed and mimicked 
him and rolled their diamond eyes. 

Such is the dance of the Hamadchas, of the con- 
fraternity of the marabout Hamadch, a powerful 

[55 ] 


saint of the seventeenth century, whose tomb is in 
the Zerhoun above Moulay Idriss. Hamadch, it 
appears, had a faithful slave, who, when his master 
died, killed himself in despair, and the self-inflicted 
wounds of the brotherhood are supposed to sym- 
bolize the slave's suicide; though no doubt the 
origin of the ceremony might be traced back to the 
depths of that ensanguined grove where Mr. Fraser 
plucked the Golden Bough. 

The more naive interpretation, however, has its 
advantages, since it enables the devotees to divide 
their ritual duties into two classes, the devotions 
of the free men being addressed to the saint who 
died in his bed, while the slaves belong to the 
slave, and must therefore simulate his horrid end. 
And this is the reason why most of the white caf- 
tans simply rock and writhe, while the humble blue 
shirts drip with blood. 

The sun was setting when we came down from 
our terrace above the market-place. To find a 
lodging for the night we had to press on to Mek- 
nez, where we were awaited at the French military 
post; therefore we were reluctantly obliged to re- 
fuse an invitation to take tea with the Caid, whose 
high-perched house commands the whole white 

[56 1 


"C -^ 


amphitheatre of the town. It was disappointing to 
leave Moiilay Idriss with the Hamadchas howHng 
their maddest, and so much besides to see; but as 
we drove away under the long shadows of the olives 
we counted ourselves lucky to have entered the 
sacred town, and luckier still to have been there on 
the day of the dance which, till a year ago, no for- 
eigner had been allowed to see. 

A fine French road runs from Moulay Idriss to 
Meknez, and we flew on through the dusk between 
wooded hills and open stretches on which the fires 
of nomad camps put orange splashes in the dark- 
ness. Then the moon rose, and by its hght we saw 
a widening valley, and gardens and orchards that 
stretched up to a great walled city outlined against 
the stars. 



All that evening, from the garden of the Military 
Subdivision on the opposite height, we sat and 
looked across at the dark tree-clumps and moon- 
lit walls of Meknez, and listened to its fantastic 

Meknez was built by the Sultan Moulay-Ismael, 



around the nucleus of a small town of which the 
site happened to please him, at the very moment 
when Louis XIV was creating Versailles. The co- 
incidence of two contemporary autocrats calling 
cities out of the wilderness has caused persons with 
a taste for analogy to describe Meknez as the Ver- 
sailles of Morocco: an epithet which is about as 
instructive as it would be to call Phidias the Ben- 
venuto Cellini of Greece. 

There is, however, a pretext for the comparison 
in the fact that the two sovereigns took a Hvely 
interest in each other's affairs. Moulay-Ismael 
sent several embassies to treat with Louis XIV on 
the eternal question of piracy and the ransom of 
Christian captives, and the two rulers were con- 
tinually exchanging gifts and compliments. 

The governor of Tetouan, who was sent to 
Paris in 1680, having brought as presents to the 
French King a lion, a lioness, a tigress, and four 
ostriches, Louis XIV shortly afterward despatched 
M. de Saint-Amand to Morocco with two dozen 
watches, twelve pieces of gold brocade, a cannon 
six feet long and other firearms. After this the re- 
lations between the two courts remained friendly 




till 1693, at which time they were strained by the 
refusal of France to return the Moorish captives 
who were employed on the king's galleys, and who 
were probably as much needed there as the Sul- 
tan's Christian slaves for the building of Moorish 

Six years later the Sultan despatched Abdallah- 
ben-Aissa to France to reopen negotiations. The 
ambassador was as brilliantly received and as 
eagerly run after as a modern statesman on an 
official mission, and his candidly expressed admira- 
tion for the personal charms of the Princesse de 
Conti, one of the French monarch's legitimatized 
children, is supposed to have been mistaken by the 
court for an offer of marriage from the Emperor of 
Barbary. But he came back without a treaty. 

Moulay-Ismael, whose long reign (1673 to 1727) 
and extraordinary exploits make him already a 
legendary figure, conceived, early in his career, a 
passion for Meknez; and through all his troubled 
rule, with its alternations of barbaric warfare and 
far-reaching negotiations, palace intrigue, crazy 
bloodshed and great administrative reforms, his 
heart perpetually reverted to the wooded slopes on 



which he dreamed of building a city more splendid 
than Fez or Marrakech. 

"The Sultan" (writes his chronicler Aboul 
Kasim-ibn-Ahmad, called "Ezziani") "loved Mek- 
nez, the climate of which had enchanted him, and 
he would have liked never to leave it." He left it, 
indeed, often, left it perpetually, to fight with re- 
volted tribes in the Atlas, to defeat one Berber 
army after another, to carry his arms across the 
High Atlas into the Souss, to adorn Fez with the 
heads of seven hundred vanquished chiefs, to put 
down his three rebellious brothers, to strip all the 
cities of his empire of their negroes and transport 
them to Meknez ("so that not a negro, man, 
woman or child, slave or free, was left in any part 
of the country"); to fight and defeat the Chris- 
tians (1683); to take Tangier, to conduct a cam- 
paign on the Moulouya, to lead the holy war against 
the Spanish (1689), to take Larache, the Spanish 
commercial post on the west coast (which fur- 
nished eighteen hundred captives for Meknez); 
to lay siege to Ceuta, conduct a campaign against 
the Turks of Algiers, repress the pillage in his 
army, subdue more tribes, and build forts for his 

[ 60] 


Black Legionaries from Oudjda to the Oued Noun. 
But almost each year's bloody record ends with 
the placid phrase: "Then the Sultan returned to 

In the year 1701, Ezziani writes, the indomitable 
old man "deprived his rebellious sons of their prin- 
cipalities; after which date he consecrated himself 
exclusively to the building of his palaces and the 
planting of his gardens. And in 1720 (nineteen 
years later in this long reign !) he ordered the de- 
struction of the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss for the 
purpose of enlarging it. And to gain the necessary 
space he bought all the adjacent land, and the 
workmen did not leave these new labors till they 
were entirely completed." 

In this same year there was levied on Fez a new 
tax which was so heavy that the inhabitants were 
obliged to abandon the city. 

Yet it is written of this terrible old monarch, 
who devastated whole districts, and sacrificed un- 
counted thousands of lives for his ruthless pleasure, 
that under his administration of his chaotic and 
turbulent empire "the country rejoiced in the most 
complete security. A Jew or a woman might travel 

[61 ] 


alone from Oudjda to the Oued Noun without any- 
one's asking their business. Abundance reigned 
throughout the land: grain, food, cattle were to be 
bought for the lowest prices. Nowhere in the 
whole of Morocco was a highwayman or a robber 
to be found." 
And probably both sides of the picture are true. 

What, then, was the marvel across the valley, 
what were the "lordly pleasure-houses" to whose 
creation and enlargement Moulay-Ismael returned 
again and again amid the throes and violences of a 
nearly centenarian life.'^ 

The chronicler continues: "The Sultan caused all 
the houses near the Kasbah* to be demolished, and 
compelled the inhabitants to carry away the ruins of 
their dwellings. All the eastern end of the town was 
also torn down, and the ramparts were rebuilt. He 
also built the Great Mosque next to the palace of 
Nasr. . . . He occupied himself personally with 
the construction of his palaces, and before one was 
finished he caused another to be begun. He built 
the mosque of Elakhdar; the walls of the new town 

* The citadal of old Meknez. 



were pierced with twenty fortified gates and sur- 
mounted with platforms for cannon. Within the 
walls he made a great artificial lake where one 
might row in boats. There was also a granary with 
immense subterranean reservoirs of water, and a 
stable three miles long for the Sultan's horses and 
mules; twelve thousand horses could be stabled in 
it. The flooring rested on vaults in which the 
grain for the horses w^as stored. . . . He also 
built the palace of Elmansour, which had twenty 
cupolas; from the top of each cupola one could look 
forth on the plain and the mountains around Mek- 
nez. All about the stables the rarest trees were 
planted. Within the walls were fifty palaces, each 
with its own mosque and its baths. Never was 
such a thing known in any country, Arab or for- 
eign, pagan or Moslem. The guarding of the doors 
of these palaces was intrusted to twelve hundred 
black eunuchs." 

Such w^ere the wonders that seventeenth cen- 
tury travellers toiled across the desert to see, and 
from which they came back dazzled and almost in- 
credulous, as if half-suspecting that some djinn 
had deluded them with the vision of a phantom 

[ 63 ] 


city. But for the soberer European records, and 
the evidence of the ruins themselves (for the whole 
of the new Meknez is a ruin), one might indeed be 
inclined to regard Ezziani's statements as an Orien- 
tal fable; but the briefest glimpse of Moulay- 
Ismael's Meknez makes it easy to beheve all his 
chronicler tells of it, even to the three miles of 

Next morning we drove across the valley and, 
skirting the old town on the hill, entered, by one of 
the twenty gates of Moulay-Ismael, a long empty 
street lined with half-ruined arcades. Beyond was 
another street of beaten red earth bordered by 
high red walls blotched with gray and mauve. 
Ahead of us this road stretched out interminably 
(Meknez, before Washington, was the "city of 
magnificent distances"), and down its empty length 
only one or two draped figures passed, like shadows 
on the way to Shadowland. It was clear that the 
living held no further traflSc with the Meknez of 

Here it was at last. Another great gateway let 
us, under a resplendently bejewelled arch of tur- 
quoise-blue and green, into another walled empti- 

[ 64 1 


ness of red clay; a third gate opened into still vaster 
vacancies, and at their farther end rose a colossal 
red ruin, something like the lower stories of a 
Roman amphitheatre that should stretch out in- 
definitely instead of forming a circle, or like a 
series of Roman aqueducts built side by side and 
joined into one structure. Below this indescribable 
ruin the arid ground sloped down to an artificial 
water which was surely the lake that the Sultan 
had made for his boating-parties; and beyond it 
more red earth stretched away to more walls and 
gates, with glimpses of abandoned palaces and huge 
crumbling angle-towers. 

The vastness, the silence, the catastrophic deso- 
lation of the place, were all the more impressive 
because of the relatively recent date of the build- 
ings. As Moulay-Ismael had dealt with Volubilis, 
so time had dealt with his own Meknez; and the 
destruction which it had taken thousands of lash- 
driven slaves to inflict on the stout walls of the 
Roman city, neglect and abandonment had here 
rapidly accomplished. But though the sun-baked 
clay of which the impatient Sultan built his plea- 
sure-houses will not suffer comparison with the 



firm stones of Rome, *'the high Roman fashion" is 
visible in the shape and outHne of these ruins. 
What they are no one knows. In spite of Ez- 
ziani's text (written when the place was already 
partly destroyed) archaeologists disagree as to the 
uses of the crypt of rose-flushed clay whose twenty 
rows of gigantic arches are so like an alignment 
of Roman aqueducts. Were these the vaulted 
granaries, or the subterranean reservoirs under the 
three miles of stabling which housed the twelve 
thousand horses? The stables, at any rate, were 
certainly near this spot, for the lake adjoins the 
ruins as in the chronicler's description; and between 
it and old Meknez, behind walls within walls, lie 
all that remains of the fifty palaces with their 
cupolas, gardens, mosques and baths. 

This inner region is less ruined than the mys- 
terious vaulted structure, and one of the palaces, 
being still reserved for the present Sultan's use, 
cannot be visited; but we wandered unchallenged 
through desert courts, gardens of cypress and oHve 
where dried fountains and painted summer-houses 
are falling into dust, and barren spaces enclosed in 
long empty facades. It was all the work of an 



eager and imperious old man, who, to realize his 
dream quickly, built in perishable materials; but 
the design, the dimensions, the whole conception, 
show that he had not only heard of Versailles but 
had looked with his own eyes on Volubilis. 

To build on such a scale, and finish the work in a 
single lifetime, even if the materials be malleable 
and the life a long one, implies a command of human 
labor that the other Sultan at Versailles must have 
envied. The imposition of the corvee was of course 
even simpler in Morocco than in France, since the 
material to draw on w^as unlimited, provided one 
could assert one's power over it; and for that purpose 
Ismael had his Black Army, the hundred and fifty 
thousand disciplined legionaries who enabled him 
to enforce his rule over all the wild country from 
Algiers to Agadir. 

The methods by which this army were raised 
and increased are worth recounting in Ezziani's 
words : 

"A taleh^ of Marrakech having shown the Sul- 
tan a register containing the names of the negroes 
who had formed part of the army of El-Mansour, 

* Learned man. 

[67 1 


Moulay-Ismael ordered his agents to collect all that 
remained of these negroes and their children. . . . 
He also sent to the tribes of the Beni-Hasen, and 
into the mountains, to purchase all the negroes to 
be found there. Thus all that were in the whole of 
Moghreb were assembled, from the cities and the 
countryside, till not one was left, slave or free. 

"These negroes were armed and clothed, and 
sent to Mechra Erremel (north of Meknez) where 
they were ordered to build themselves houses, 
plant gardens and remain till their children were 
ten years old. Then the Sultan caused all the 
children to be brought to him, both boys and 
girls. The boys were apprenticed to masons, car- 
penters, and other tradesmen; others were employed 
to make mortar. The next year they were taught 
to drive the mules, the third to make adobe for 
building; the fourth year they learned to ride horses 
bareback, the fifth they were taught to ride in the 
saddle while using firearms. At the age of six- 
teen these boys became soldiers. They were then 
married to the young negresses who had meanwhile 
been taught cooking and washing in the Sultan's 
palaces — except those who were pretty, and these 



were given a musical education, after which each 
one received a wedding-dress and a marriage set- 
tlement, and was handed over to her husband. 

"All the children of these couples were in due 
time destined for the Black Army, or for domestic 
service in the palaces. Every year the Sultan went 
to the camp at Mechra Erremel and brought back 
the children. The Black Army numbered one 
hundred and fifty thousand men, of whom part 
were at Erremel, part at Meknez, and the rest in 
the seventy-six forts which the Sultan built for 
them throughout his domain. May the Lord be 
merciful to his memory!" 

Such was the army by means of which Ismael 
enforced the corvee on his undisciplined tribes. 
Many thousands of lives went to the building of 
imperial Meknez; but his subjects would scarcely 
have sufficed if he had not been able to add to them 
twenty-five thousand Christian captives. 

M. Augustin Bernard, in his admirable book on 
Morocco, says that the seventeenth century was 
*'the golden age of piracy" in Morocco; and the 
great Ismael was no doubt one of its chief pro- 
moters. One understands his unwillingness to 

[ 69 ] 


come to an agreement with his great friend and 
competitor, Louis XIV, on the difficult subject of 
the ransom of Christian captives when one reads 
in the admiring Ezziani that it took fifty-five 
thousand prisoners and captives to execute his 
architectural conceptions. 

"These prisoners, by day, were occupied on vari- 
ous tasks; at night they were locked into subter- 
ranean dungeons. Any prisoner who died at his 
task was built into the wall he was building." (This 
statement is confirmed by John Windus, the Eng- 
lish traveller who visited the court of Moulay- 
Ismael in the Sultan's old age.) Many Europeans 
must have succumbed quickly to the heat and the 
lash, for the wall-builders were obliged to make 
each stroke in time with their neighbors, and were 
bastinadoed mercilessly if they broke the rhythm; 
and there is little doubt that the expert artisans 
of France, Italy and Spain were even dearer to the 
old architectural ijiadman than the friendship of 
the palace-building despot across the sea. 

Ezziani's chronicle dates from the first part of 
the nineteenth century, and is an Arab's colorless 
panegyric of a great Arab ruler; but John Windus, 



the Englishman who accompanied Commodore 
Stewart's embassy to Meknez in 1721, saw the im- 
perial palaces and their builder with his own eyes, 
and described them with the vivacity of a for- 
eigner struck by every contrast. 

Moulay-Ismael was then about eighty-seven 
years old, **a middle-sized man, who has the re- 
mains of a good face, with nothing of a negro's 
features, though his mother was a black. He has 
a high nose, which is pretty long from the eyebrows 
downward, and thin. He has lost all his teeth, and 
breathes short, as if his lungs were bad, coughs and 
spits pretty often, which never falls to the ground, 
men being always ready with handkerchiefs to re- 
ceive it. His beard is thin and very white, his eyes 
seem to have been sparkling, but their vigor de- 
cayed through age, and his cheeks very much sunk 


Such was the appearance of this extraordinary 
man, who deceived, tortured, betrayed, assassin- 
ated, terrorized and mocked his slaves, his subjects, 
his women and children and his ministers like any 
other half -savage Arab despot, but who yet man- 
aged through his long reign to maintain a barbar- 

[71 ] 


ous empire, to police the wilderness, and give at 
least an appearance of prosperity and security 
where all had before been chaos. 

The English emissaries appear to have been 
much struck by the magnificence of his palaces, 
then in all the splendor of novelty, and gleaming 
with marbles brought from Volubilis and Sale. 
Windus extols in particular the sunken gardens of 
cypress, pomegranate and orange trees, some of 
them laid out seventy feet below the level of the 
palace-courts; the exquisite plaster fretwork; the 
miles of tessellated walls and pavement made in 
the finely patterned mosaic work of Fez; and the 
long terrace walk trellised with "vines and other 
greens" leading from the palace to the famous 
stables, and over which it was the Sultan's custom 
to drive in a chariot drawn by women and eunuchs. 

Moulay-Ismael received the English ambassador 
with every show of pomp and friendship, and im- 
mediately "made him a present" of a handful of 
young English captives; but just as the negotia- 
tions were about to be concluded Commodore 
Stewart was privately advised that the Sultan had 
no intention of allowing the rest of the English to 



be ransomed. Luckily a diplomatically composed 
letter, addressed by the English envoy to one of the 
favorite wives, resulted in Ismael's changing his 
mind, and the captives were finally given up, and 
departed with their rescuers. As one stands in the 
fiery sun, among the monstrous ruins of those 
tragic walls, one pictures the other Christian cap- 
tives pausing for a second, at the risk of death, in 
the rhythmic beat of their labor, to watch the little 
train of their companions winding away across the 
desert to freedom. 

On the way back through the long streets that 
lead to the ruins we noticed, lying by the roadside, 
the shafts of fluted columns, blocks of marble, 
Roman capitals: fragments of the long loot of Sale 
and Volubilis. We asked how they came there, and 
were told that, according to a tradition still be- 
lieved in the country, when the prisoners and cap- 
tives who were dragging the building materials to- 
ward the palace under the blistering sun heard of 
the old Sultan's death, they dropped their loads 
with one accord and fled. At the same moment 
every worker on the walls flung down his trowel or 
hod, every slave of the palaces stopped grinding or 



scouring or drawing water or carrying faggots or 
polishing the miles of tessellated floors; so that, 
when the tyrant's heart stopped beating, at that 
very instant life ceased to circulate in the huge house 
he had built, and in all its members it became a 
carcass for his carcass. 







MANY-WALLED Fez rose up before us out 
of the plain toward the end of the day. 
The walls and towers we saw were 
those of the upper to\Mi, Fez Eld j id (the New), 
which lies on the edge of the plateau and hides 
from view Old Fez tumbling down below it into 
the ravine of the Oued Fez. Thus approached, the 
city presents to view only a long line of ramparts 
and fortresses, merging into the wide, tawny plain 
and framed in barren mountains. Not a house is 
visible outside the walls, except, at a respectful dis- 
tance, the few unobtrusive buildings of the Euro- 
pean colony; and not a village breaks the desolation 
of the landscape. 

As we drew nearer, the walls towered close over 
us, and skirting them we came to a bare space out- 

[77 ] 


side a great horseshoe gate, and found ourselves 
suddenly in the foreground of a picture by Carpac- 
cio or Bellini. Where else had one seen just those 
rows of white-turbaned majestic figures, squatting 
in the dust under lofty walls, all the pale faces 
ringed in curling beards turned to the stoiy-teller 
in the centre of the group ? Transform the story- 
teller into a rapt young Venetian, and you have 
the audience and the foreground of Carpaccio's 
"Preaching of St. Stephen," even to the camels 
craning inquisitive necks above the turbans. Every 
step of the way in North Africa corroborates the 
close observation of the early travellers, whether 
painters or narrators, and shows the unchanged 
character of the Oriental life that the Venetians 
pictured, and Leo Africanus and Windus and 
Charles Cochelet described. 

There was time, before sunset, to go up to the 
hill, from which the ruined tombs of the Merinid 
Sultans look down over the city they made glorious. 
After the savage massacre of foreign residents in 
1912 the French encircled the heights commanding 
Fez with one of their admirably engineered military 
roads, and in a few minutes our motor had climbed 

[ 78 ] 


to the point from wliicli the great dynasty of artist- 
Sultans dreamed of looking down forever on their 

Nothing endures in Islam, except what human 
inertia has left standing and its own solidity has 
preserved from the elements. Or rather, nothing 
remains intact, and nothing wholly perishes, but 
the architecture, like all else, lingers on half-ruined 
and half-unchanged. The Merinid tombs, how- 
ever, are only hollow shells and broken walls, grown 
part of the brown cliff they cling to. No one 
thinks of them save as an added touch of j^ictur- 
esqueness where all is picturesque: they survive as 
the best point from which to look down at Fez. 

There it lies, outspread in golden light, roofs, 
terraces, and towers sliding over the plain's edge 
in a rush dammed here and there by barriers of 
cypress and ilex, but growing more precipitous as 
the ravine of the Fez narrows downward with the 
fall of the river. It is as though some powerful en- 
chanter, after decreeing that the city should be 
hurled into the depths, had been moved by its 
beauty, and with a wave of his wand held it sus- 
pended above destruction. 



At first the eye takes in only this impression of a 
great city over a green abyss; then the complex 
scene begins to define itself. All around are the 
outer lines of ramparts, walls beyond walls, their 
crenellations climbing the heights, their angle fort- 
resses dominating the precipices. Almost on a 
level with us lies the upper city, the aristocratic 
Fez Eldjid of painted palaces and gardens; then, as 
the houses close in and descend more abruptly, 
terraces, minarets, domes, and long reed-thatched 
roofs of the bazaars, ail gather around the green- 
tiled tomb of Moulay Idriss, and the tower of the 
Almohad mosque of El Kairouiyin, which adjoin 
each other in the depths of Fez, and form its cen- 
tral sanctuary. 

From the Merinid hill we had noticed a long 
fagade among the cypresses and fruit-trees of Eld- 
jid. This was Bou-Jeloud, the old summer-palace 
of the Sultan's harem, now the house of the Resi- 
dent-General, where lodgings had been prepared 
for us. 

The road descended again, crossing the Oued Fez 
by one of the fine old single-arch bridges that mark 



the architectural link between Morocco and Spain. 
We skirted high walls, wayside pools, and dripping 
mill-wheels; then one of the city gates engulfed us, 
and we were in the waste spaces of intramural Fez, 
formerly the lines of defense of a rich and perpet- 
ually menaced city, now chiefly used for refuse- 
heaps, open-air fondaks, and dreaming-places for 
rows of Lazaruses rolled in their cerements in the 

Through another gate and more walls we came 
to an arch in the inner line of defense. Beyond 
that, the motor paused before a green door, where 
a Cadi in a silken caftan received us. Across 
squares of orange-trees divided by running water 
we were led to an arcaded apartment hung with 
Moroccan embroideries and lined with wide divans; 
the hall of reception of the Resident-General. 
Through its arches were other tiled distances, foun- 
tains, arcades; beyond, in greener depths, the 
bright blossoms of a flower-garden. Such was our 
first sight of Bou-Jeloud, once the summer-palace 
of the wives of Moulay Ilafid. 

Upstairs, from a room walled and ceiled with 
cedar, and decorated with the bold rose-pink em- 

[81 ] 


broideries of Sale and the intricate old needlework 
of Fez, I looked out over the upper city toward the 
mauve and tawny mountains. 

Just below the window the flat roofs of a group 
of little houses descended like the steps of an irregu- 
lar staircase. Between them rose a few cypresses 
and a green minaret; out of the court of one house 
an ancient fig-tree thrust its twisted arms. The 
sun had set, and one after another bright figures 
appeared on the roofs. The children came first, 
hung with silver amulets and amber beads, and 
pursued by negresses in striped turbans, who bus- 
tled up with rugs and matting; then the mothers 
followed more indolently, released from their ashy 
muflflings and showing, under their light veils, long 
earrings from the Mellah* and caftans of pale green 
or peach color. 

The houses were humble ones, such as grow up 
in the cracks of a wealthy quarter, and their inhab- 
itants doubtless small folk; but in the enchanted 
African twilight the terraces blossomed like gar- 
dens, and when the moon rose and the muezzin 
called from the minaret, the domestic squabbles 

* The Ghetto in African towns. All the jewellers in Morocco are Jews. 

[ 82] 


and the shrill cries from roof to roof became part 
of a story in Bagdad, overheard a tliousand years 
ago by that arch-detective Haroun-al-Raschid. 



It is usual to speak of Fez as very old, and the 
term seems justified when one remembers that the 
palace of Bou-Jeloud stands on the site of an Almo- 
ravid Kasbah of the eleventh century, that when 
that Kasbah was erected Fez Flbali had already 
existed for three hundred years, that El Kairouiyin 
is the contemporary of Sant' Ambrogio of Milan, 
and that the original mosque of Moulay Idriss 11 
was built over his grave in the eighth century. 

Fez is, in fact, the oldest city in Morocco with- 
out a Phenician or a Roman past, and has preserved 
more traces than any other of its architectural 
flowering-time; yet it would be truer to say of it, 
as of all Moroccan cities, that it has no age, since 
its seemingly immutable shape is forever crumbling 
and being renewed on the old lines. 

WTien we rode forth the next day to visit some 

[ 83] 


of the palaces of Eldjid our pink-saddled mules car- 
ried us at once out of the bounds of time. How 
associate anything so precise and Occidental as 
years or centuries with these visions of frail splen- 
dor seen through cypresses and roses? The Cadis 
in their multiple muslins, who received us in se- 
cret doorways and led us by many passages into 
the sudden wonder of gardens and fountains; 
the bright-earringed negresses peering down from 
painted balconies; the pilgrims and clients dozing 
in the sun against hot walls ; the deserted halls with 
plaster lace-work and gold pendentives in tiled 
niches; the Venetian chandeliers and tawdry rococo 
beds; the terraces from which pigeons whirled up in 
a white cloud while we walked on a carpet of their 
feathers — were all these the ghosts of vanished 
state, or the actual setting of the life of some rich 
merchant with "business connections" in Liverpool 
and Lyons, or some government official at that 
very moment speeding to Meknez or Casablanca 
in his sixty h. p. motor ? 

We visited old palaces and new, inhabited and 
abandoned, and over all lay the same fine dust of 
oblivion, like the silvery mould on an overripe 

[ 84 ] 


fruit. Overripeness is indeed the characteristic of 
this rich and stagnant civiHzation. Buildings, peo- 
ple, customs, seem all about to crumble and fall of 
their own weight: the present is a perpetually pro- 
longed past. To touch the past with one's hands 
is realized only in dreams; and in Morocco the 
dream-feeling envelopes one at every step. One 
trembles continually lest the "Person from Porlock'* 
should step in. 

He is undoubtedly on the way; but Fez had not 
heard of him when w^e rode out that morning. Fez 
Eldjid, the "New Fez" of palaces and government 
buildings, was founded in the fourteenth century 
by the Merinid princes, and probably looks much 
as it did then. The palaces in their overgrown gar- 
dens, with pale-green trellises dividing the rose- 
beds from the blue-and-white tiled paths, and 
fountains in fluted basins of Italian marble, all had 
the same drowsy charm; yet the oldest were built 
not more than a century or two ago, others within 
the last fifty years; and at Marrakech, later in our 
journey, we were to visit a sumptuous dwelling 
where plaster-cutters and ceramists from Fez were 
actually repeating with wonderful skill and spon- 

[ 85 ] 


taneity, the old ornamentation of which the threads 
run back to Rome and Damascus. 

Of really old private dwellings, palaces or rich 
men's houses, there are surprisingly few in Morocco. 
It is hard to guess the age of some of the featureless 
houses propping each other's flanks in old Fez or 
old Sale; but people rich enough to rebuild have 
always done so, and the passion for building seems 
allied, in this country of inconsequences, to the 
supine indifference that lets existing constructions 
crumble back to clay. *'Dust to dust" should have 
been the motto of the Moroccan palace-builders. 

Fez possesses one old secular building, a fine fon- 
dak of the fifteenth century; but in Morocco, as a 
rule, only mosques and the tombs of saints are pre- 
served — ^none too carefully — ^and even the strong 
stone buildings of the Almohads have been allowed 
to fall to ruin, as at Chella and Rabat. This indif- 
ference to the completed object — ^which is like a 
kind of collective exaggeration of the artist's indif- 
ference to his completed work — ^has resulted in the 
total disappearance of the furniture and works of 
art which must have filled the beautiful buildings 
of the Merinid period. Neither pottery nor brass- 

[ 86 ] 


work nor enamels nor fine hangings survive; there 
is no parallel in Morocco to the textiles of Syria, 
the potteries of Persia, the Byzantine ivories or 
enamels. It has been said that the Moroccan is 
always a nomad, who lives in his house as if it were 
a tent; but this is not a conclusive answer to any 
one who knows the passion of the modern Moroccan 
for European furniture. WTien one reads the list 
of the treasures contained in the palaces of the 
mediaeval Sultans of Egypt one feels sure that, if 
artists were lacking in Morocco, the princes and 
merchants who brought skilled craftsmen across 
the desert to build their cities must also have im- 
ported treasures to adorn them. Yet, as far as is 
known, the famous fourteenth-century bronze chan- 
delier of Tetuan, and the fine old ritual furniture 
reported to be contained in certain mosques, are 
the onlj^ important works of art in Morocco later 
in date than the Roman slouglii of Volubilis. 

[ 87 ] 




The distances in Fez are so great and the streets 
so narrow, and in some quarters so crowded, that 
all but saints or humble folk go about on mule-back. 

In the afternoon, accordingly, the pink mules 
came again, and we set out for the long tunnel-like 
street that leads down the hill to the Fez Elbali. 

"Look out — 'ware heads !" our leader would call 
back at every turn, as our way shrank to a black 
passage under a house bestriding the street, or a 
caravan of donkeys laden with obstructive reeds or 
branches of dates made the passers-by flatten them- 
selves against the walls. 

On each side of the street the houses hung over 
us like fortresses, leaning across the narrow strip of 
blue and throwing out great beams and buttresses 
to prop each other's bulging sides. Windows there 
were none on the lower floors; only here and there 
an iron-barred slit stuffed with rags and immemorial 
filth, from which a lean cat would suddenly spring 
out, and scuttle off under an archway like a witch's 

[88 1 

t rum u ijiiuiuijrapit Jnjin tlu >'iriicc iltf Ihaux-.lrls an Maroc 

Fez — a rccd-roofcd stn-ct 


Some of these descending lanes were packed with 
people, others as deserted as a cemetery; and it was 
strange to pass from the thronged streets leading 
to the bazaars to the profound and secretive silence 
of a quarter of well-to-do dwelling-houses, where 
only a few veiled women attended by negro slaves 
moved noiselessly over the clean cobblestones, and 
the sound of fountains and runnels came from hid- 
den courtyards and over garden-walls. 

This noise of water is as characteristic of Fez as 
of Damascus. The Oued Fez rushes through the 
heart of the town, bridged, canalized, built over, 
and ever and again bursting out into tumultuous 
falls and pools shadowed with foliage. The central 
artery of the city is not a street but a waterfall ; and 
tales are told of the dark uses to which, even now, 
the underground currents are put by some of the 
dwellers behind the blank walls and scented gar- 
dens of those highly respectable streets. 

The crowd in Oriental cities is made up of many 
elements, and in Morocco Turks, Jews and infidels, 
Berbers of the mountains, fanatics of the confrater- 
nities, Soudanese blacks and haggard Blue Men of 
the Souss, jostle the merchants and government 

[ 89 ] 


officials with that democratic familiarity which goes 
side by side with abject servility in this land of per- 
petual contradictions. But Fez is above all the 
city of wealth and learning, of universities and 
counting-houses, and the merchant and the oulama* 
— ^the sedentary and luxurious types — ^prevail. 

The slippered Fazi merchant, wrapped in white 
muslins and securely mounted on a broad velvet 
saddle-cloth anchored to the back of a broad mule, 
is as unlike the Arab horseman of the desert as Mr. 
Tracy Tupman was unlike the Musketeers of 
Dumas. Ease, music, money-making, the affairs 
of his harem and the bringing-up of his children, 
are his chief interests, and his plump pale face with 
long-lashed hazel eyes, his curling beard and fat 
womanish hands, recall the portly potentates of 
Hindu miniatures, dreaming among houris beside 

These personages, when they ride abroad, are 
preceded by a swarthy footman, who keeps his hand 
on the embroidered bridle; and the government 
officers and dignitaries of the Makhzen f are usually 
escorted by several mounted officers of their house- 

* Learned man, doctor of the university. f The Sultan's government. 



hold, with a servant to each mule. The cry of the 
runners scatters the crowd, and even the panniered 
donkeys and perpetually astonished camels some- 
how contrive to become two-dimensional while the 
white procession goes by. 

Then the populace closes in again, so quickly 
and densely that it seems impossible it could ever 
have been parted, and negro water-carriers, muffled 
women, beggars streaming with sores, sinewy and 
greasy "saints," Soudanese sorcerers hung with 
amulets made of sardine-boxes and hares'-feet, long- 
lashed boys of the Chleuh in clean embroidered caf- 
tans, Jews in black robes and skull-caps, university 
students carrying their prayer-carpets, bangled and 
spangled black women, scrofulous children with 
gazelle ej^es and mangy skulls, and blind men tap- 
ping along with linked arms and howling out verses 
of the Koran, surge together in a mass dra\\Ti by 
irresistible suction to the point where the bazaars 
converge about the mosques of Moulay Idriss and 
El Kairouivin. 

Seen from a terrace of the upper town, the long 
thatched roofing of El Attarine, the central bazaar 
of Fez, promises fantastic revelations of native life; 

[91 1 


but the dun-colored crowds moving through its 
checkered twilight, the lack of carved shop-fronts 
and gaily adorned coffee-houses, and the absence of 
the painted coffers and vivid embroideries of Tunis, 
remind one that Morocco is a melancholy country, 
and Fez a profoundly melancholy city. 

Dust and ashes, dust and ashes, echoes from the 
gray walls, the mouldering thatch of the souks, the 
long lamentable song of the blind beggars sitting in 
rows under the feet of the camels and asses. No 
young men stroll through the bazaar in bright caf- 
tans, with roses and jasmine behind their ears, no 
pedlars offer lemonade and sweetmeats and golden 
fritters, no flower-sellers pursue one with tight 
bunches of orange-blossom and little pink roses. 
The well-to-do ride by in white, and the rest of the 
population goes mournfully in earth-color. 

But gradually one falls under the spell of another 
influence — the influence of the Atlas and the desert. 
Unknown Africa seems much nearer to Morocco 
than to the white towns of Tunis and the smiling 
oases of South Algeria. One feels the nearness of 
Marrakech at Fez, and at Marrakech that of Tim- 

[ 92 ] 


Fez is sombre, and the bazaars clustered about 
its holiest sanctuaries form its most sombre quarter. 
Dusk falls there early, and oil-lanterns twinkle in 
the merchants' niches while the clear African day- 
light still lies on the gardens of ui)per Fez. This 
twilight adds to the mystery of the souks, making 
them, in spite of profane noise and crowding and 
filth, an impressive approach to the sacred places. 

Until a year or two ago, the precincts around 
Moulay Idriss and El Kairouiyin were horiri, that 
is, cut off from the unbeliever. IIea\'y beams of 
wood barred the end of each souk, shutting off the 
sanctuaries, and the Christian could only conjec- 
ture what lay beyond. Now he knows in part; for, 
though the beams have not been lowered, all comers 
may pass under them to the lanes about the 
mosques, and even pause a moment in their open 
doorways. Farther one may not go, for the shrines 
of Morocco are still closed to unbelievers; but who- 
ever knows Cordova, or has stood under the arches 
of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, can reconstruct 
something of the hidden beauties of its namesake, 
the "Mosque Kairouan" of western Africa. 

Once under the bars, the richness of the old 

[ 93 ] 


Moorish Fez presses upon one with unexpected 
beauty. Here is the graceful tiled fountain of 
Nedjarine, glittering with the unapproachable blues 
and greens of ceramic mosaics; near it, the court- 
yard of the Fondak Nedjarine, oldest and stateliest 
of Moroccan inns, with triple galleries of sculptured 
cedar rising above arcades of stone. A little farther 
on lights and incense draw one to a threshold where 
it is well not to linger unduly. Under a deep arch- 
way, between booths where gay votive candles are 
sold, the glimmer of hanging lamps falls on patches 
of gilding and mosaic, and on veiled women pros- 
trating themselves before an invisible shrine — ^for 
this is the vestibule of the mosque of Moulay Idriss, 
where, on certain days of the week, women are 
admitted to pray. 

Moulay Idriss was not built over the grave of 
the Fatimite prophet, first of the name, whose 
bones lie in the Zerhoun above his sacred town. 
The mosque of Fez grew up around the tomb of his 
posthumous son, Moulay Idriss II, who, descend- 
ing from the hills, fell upon a camp of Berbers on 
an afl9uent of the Sebou, and there laid the founda- 
tions of Fez, and of the Moroccan Empire. 

[ 94 ] 

t rum u pliulugraph from the 6crticc des lieaux-Arl.i an Manic 

Fez — the Xedjarine fountain 


Of the original monument it is said that Httle 
remains. The zaou'ia* which encloses it dates 
from the reign of Moulay-Ismael, the seventeenth- 
century Sultan of Meknez, and the mosque itself, 
and the green minaret shooting up from the very 
centre of old Fez, were not built until 1820. But a 
rich surface of age has already formed on all these 
disparate buildings, and the over-gorgeous details 
of the shrines and fountains set in their outer walls 
are blended into harmony by a film of incense- 
smoke, and the grease of countless venerating lips 
and hands. 

Featureless walls of mean houses close in again 
at the next turn; but a few steps farther another 
archway reveals another secret scene. This time it 
is a corner of the jealously guarded court of ablu- 
tions in the great mosque El Kairouiyin, with the 
twin green-roofed pavilions that are so like those of 
the Alhambra. 

Those who have walked around the outer walls 
of the mosque of the other Kairouan, and recall the 
successive doors opening into the forecourt and 
into the mosque itself, will be able to guess at the 

* Moslem monastery. 



plan of the church of Fez. The great Almohad 
sanctuary of Tunisia is singularly free from para- 
sitic buildings, and may be approached as easily as 
that of Cordova; but the approaches of El Kairoui- 
yin are so built up that one never knows at which 
turn of the labyrinth one may catch sight of its 
court of fountains, or peep down the endless colon- 
nades of which the Arabs say: "The man who 
should try to count the columns of Kairouiyin 
would go mad." 

Marble floors, heavy whitewashed piers, pros- 
trate figures in the penumbra, rows of yellow slip- 
pers outside in the sunlight — out of such glimpses 
one must reconstruct a vision of the long vistas of 
arches, the blues and golds of the mirhab* the 
lustre of bronze chandeliers, and the ivory inlaying 
of the twelfth-century minhar] of ebony and san- 

No Christian footstep has yet profaned Kairoui- 
yin, but fairly definite information as to its plan 
has been gleaned by students of Moroccan art. 
The number of its "countless" columns has been 
counted, and it is known that, to the right of the 

* Niche in the sanctuary of mosques. f Movable pulpit. 

[ 96] 


mirhab, carved cedar doors open into a mortuary 
chapel called "the mosque of the dead" — and also 
tliat in this chapel, on Fridays, old books and 
precious manuscripts are sold by auction. 

This odd association of uses recalls the fact that 
Kairouiyin is not only a church but a library, the 
University of Fez as well as its cathedral. The 
beautiful Medersas with which the Merinids adorned 
the city are simply the lodging-houses of the stu- 
dents; the classes are all held in the courts and gal- 
leries adjoining the mosque. 

El Kairouiyin was originally an oratory built in 
the ninth century by Fatmah, whose father had 
migrated from Kairouan to Fez. Later it was en- 
larged, and its cupola was surmounted by the talis- 
mans which protect sacred edifices against rats, scor- 
pions and serpents; but in spite of these precautions 
all animal life was not successfully exorcised from 
it. In the twelfth century, when the great gate 
Ech Chemmain was building, a well was discovered 
under its foundations. The mouth of the well was 
obstructed by an immense tortoise; but when the 
workmen attempted to take the tortoise out she 
said: *'Burn me rather than take me away from 



here." They respected her wishes and built her 
into the foundations; and since then women who 
suffer from the back -ache have only to come and 
sit on the bench above the well to be cured. 

The actual mosque, or "praying-hall," is said 
to be formed of a rectangle or double cube of 90 
metres by 45, and this vast space is equally divided 
by rows of horseshoe arches resting on whitewashed 
piers on which the lower part is swathed in finely 
patterned matting from Sale. Fifteen monumental 
doorways lead into the mosque. Their doors are 
of cedar, heavily barred and ornamented with 
wrought iron, and one of them bears the name of 
the artisan, and the date 531 of the Hegira (the 
first half of the twelfth century) . The mosque also 
contains the two halls of audience of the Cadi, of 
which one has a graceful exterior fagade with coup- 
led lights under horseshoe arches; the library, whose 
20,000 volumes are reported to have dwindled to 
about a thousand; the chapel where the Masters of 
the Koran recite the sacred text in fulfilment of 
pious bequests; the "museum" in the upper part 
of the minaret, wherein a remarkable collection of 
ancient astronomical instruments is said to be pre- 



served; and the mestonda, or raised hall above 
the court, where women come to pray. 

But the crow^i of El Kairouiyin is the Merinid 
court of ablutions. This inaccessible wonder lies 
close under the Medersa Attarine, one of the oldest 
and most beautiful collegiate buildings of Fez; and 
through the kindness of the Director of Fine Arts, 
who was with us, we were taken up to the roof of 
the Medersa and allowed to look down into the 

It is so closely guarded from below that from 
our secret coign of vantage we seemed to be looking 
down into the heart of forbidden things. Spacious 
and serene the great tiled cloister lay beneath us, 
water spilling over from a central basin of marble 
with a cool sound to which lesser fountains made 
answer from under the pyramidal green roofs of 
the twin pavilions. It was near the prayer-hour, 
and worshippers were flocking in, laying off their 
shoes and burnouses, washing their faces at the 
fountains and their feet in the central tank, or 
stretching themselves out in the shadow of the en- 
closing arcade. 

This, then, was the famous court "so cool in the 

[ 09 ] 


great heats that seated by thy beautiful jet of water 
I feel the perfection of bliss" — as the learned doc- 
tor Abou Abd Allah el Maghili sang of it; the court 
in which the students gather from the adjoining 
halls after having committed to memory the prin- 
ciples of grammar in prose and verse, the "science 
of the reading of the Koran," the invention, expo- 
sition and ornaments of style, law, medicine, theol- 
ogy", metaphysics and astronomy, as well as the 
talismanic numbers, and the art of ascertaining by 
calculation the influences of the angels, the spirits 
and the heavenly bodies, "the names of the victor 
and the vanquished, and of the desired object and 
the person who desires it." 

Such is the twentieth-century curriculum of the 
University of Fez. Repetition is the rule of Arab 
education as it is of Arab ornament. The teaching 
of the University is based entirely on the mediaeval 
principle of mnemonics; and as there are no exami- 
nations, no degrees, no limits to the duration of any 
given course, nor is any disgrace attached to slow- 
ness in learning, it is not surprising that many stu- 
dents, coming as youths, linger by the fountain of 
Kairouiyin till their hair is gray. One well-known 

[ 100 ] 


oulama has lately finished his studies after twenty- 
seven years at the University, and is justly proud 
of the length of his stay. The life of the scholar is 
easy, the way of knowledge is long, the contrast 
exquisite between the foul lanes and noisy bazaars 
outside and this cool heaven of learning. No won- 
der the students of Kairouiyin say with the tortoise : 
"Burn me rather than take me away." 



Outside the sacred precincts of Moulay Idriss and 
Kairouiyin, on the other side of the Oued Fez, lies 
El Andalous, the mosque which the Andalusian 
Moors built when they settled in Fez in the ninth 

It stands apart from the bazaars, on higher 
ground, and though it is not horm we found it less 
easy to see than the more famous mosques, since 
the Christian loiterer in its doorways is more quickly 
noticed. The Fazi are not yet used to seeing un- 
believers near their sacred places. It is only in 
the tumult and confusion of the souJcs that one can 

[ 101 1 


linger on the edge of the inner mysteries without 
becoming aware of attracting sullen looks; and my 
only impression of El Andalous is of a magnificent 
Almohad door and the rich blur of an interior in 
which there was no time to single out the details. 

Turning from its forbidden and forbidding thresh- 
old we rode on through a poor quarter which leads 
to the great gate of Bab F'touh. Beyond the gate 
rises a dusty rocky slope extending to the outer 
walls — one of those grim intramural deserts that 
girdle Fez with desolation. This one is strewn with 
gravestones, not enclosed, but, as in most Moroccan 
cemeteries, simply cropping up like nettles between 
the rocks and out of the flaming dust. Here and 
there among the slabs rises a well-curb or a crum- 
bling kouhha. A solitary palm shoots up beside one 
of the shrines. And between the crowded graves 
the caravan trail crosses from the outer to the 
inner gate, and perpetual lines of camels and don- 
keys trample the dead a little deeper into the dusty 

This Bab F'touh cemetery is also a kind of fon- 
dak. Poor caravans camp there under the walls 
in a mire of offal and chicken-feathers and stripped 

[ 102 ] 


date-branches prowled through by wolfish dogs and 
buzzed over by fat blue flies. Camel-drivers squat 
beside iron kettles over heaps of embers, sorcerers 
from the Sahara offer their amulets to negro women, 
peddlers with portable wooden booths sell greasy 
cakes that look as if they had been made out of the 
garbage of the caravans, and in and out among the 
unknown dead and sleeping saints circulates the 
squalid indifferent life of the living poor. 

A walled lane leads dow^n from Bab F'touh to a 
lower slope, where the Fazi potters have their bak- 
ing-kilns. Under a series of grassy terraces over- 
grown with olives we saw the archaic ovens and 
dripping wheels which produce the earthenware 
sold in the souks. It is a primitive and homely 
ware, still fine in shape, though dull in color and 
monotonous in pattern; and stacked on the red 
earth under the olives, the rows of jars and cups, 
in their unglazed and unpainted state, showed 
their classical descent more plainly than after they 
have been decorated. 

This green quiet hollow, where turbaned figures 
were moving attentively among the primitive ovens, 
so near to the region of flies and offal we had just 

[ 103 ] 


left, woke an old phrase in our memories, and as 
our mules stumbled back over the graves of Bab 
F'touh we understood the grim meaning of the 
words: *'They carried him out and buried him in 
the Potters' Field." 


Fez, for two centuries and more, was in a double 
sense the capital of Morocco: the centre of its trade 
as well as of its culture. 

Culture, in fact, came to northwest Africa chiefly 
through the Merinid princes. The Almohads had 
erected great monuments from Rabat to Marra- 
kech, and had fortified Fez; but their *' mighty 
wasteful empire" fell apart like those that had 
preceded it. Stability had to come from the west; 
it was not till the Arabs had learned it through the 
Moors that Morocco produced a dynasty strong 
and enlightened enough to carry out the dream of 
its founders. 

Whichever way the discussion sways as to the 
priority of eastern or western influences on Moroc- 
can art — whether it came to her from Syria, and 

[ 104 ] 


was tlicnce passed on to Spain, or was first formed 
in Spain, and afterward modified bj' the Moroccan 
imagination — there can at least be no doubt that 
Fazi art and culture, in their prime, are partly the 
reflection of European civilization. 

P\igitives from Spain came to the new city when 
Moulay Idriss founded it. One part of the town 
was given to them, and the river divided the Elbali 
of the Almohads into the two quarters of Kairouiyin 
and Andalous, which still retain their old names. 
But the full intellectual and artistic flowering of 
Fez was delayed till the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries. It seems as though the seeds of the new 
springtime of art, blown across the sea from re- 
awakening Europe, had at last given the weltering 
tribes of the desert the force to create their own 
t}T>e of beauty. 

Nine INledersas sprang up in Fez, six of them 
built by the princes who were also creating the 
exquisite collegiate buildings of Sale, Rabat and 
old Meknez, and the enchanting mosque and min- 
aret of Chella. The power of these rulers also was 
in perpetual flux; they were always at war with the 
Sultans of Tlemcen, the Christians of Spain, the 

[ 105 ] 


princes of northern Algeria and Tunis. But during 
the fourteenth century they estabhshed a rule wide 
and firm enough to permit of the great outburst of 
art and learning which produced the Medersas of 

Until a year or two ago these collegiate buildings 
were as inaccessible as the mosques; but now that 
the French government has undertaken their resto- 
ration strangers may visit them under the guidance 
of the Fine Arts Department. 

All are built on the same plan, the plan of Sale 
and Rabat, which (as M. Tranchant de Lunel* 
has pointed out) became, with slight modifications, 
that of the rich private houses of Morocco. But 
interesting as they are in plan and the application 
of ornament, their main beauty lies in their details : 
in the union of chiselled plaster with the delicate 
mosaic work of niches and revetements; the web-like 
arabesques of the upper walls and the bold, almost 
Gothic sculpture of the cedar architraves and cor- 
bels supporting them. And when all these details 
are enumerated, and also the fretted panels of 
cedar, the bronze doors with their great shield-like 

* In France-Maroc, No. 1. 

[ 106 ] 


bosses, and the honeycombings and rufflings of the 
gilded ceihngs, there still remains the general tinge 
of dry disintegration, as though all were perishing 
of a desert fever — that, and the final wonder of 
seeing before one, in such a setting, the continuance 
of the very life that went on there when the tiles 
were set and the gold was new^ on the ceilings. 

For these tottering Medersas, already in the 
hands of the restorers, are still inhabited. As long 
as the stairway holds and the balcony has not 
rotted from its corbels, the students of the Univer- 
sity see no reason for abandoning their lodgings 
above the cool fountain and the house of prayer. 
The strange men giving incomprehensible orders 
for unnecessary repairs need not disturb their medi- 
tations; and when the hammering grows too loud 
the oulamas have only to pass through the silk mar- 
ket or the souh of the embroiderers to the mosque 
of Kairouiyin, and go on weaving the pattern of 
their dreams by the fountain of perfect bliss. 

One reads of the bazaars of Fez that they have 
been for centuries the central market of the coun- 
try. Here are to be found not only the silks and 

[ 107 ] 


pottery, the Jewish goldsmiths' work, the arms and 
embroidered saddlery which the city itself pro- 
duces, but "morocco" from Marrakech, rugs, tent- 
hangings and matting from Rabat and Sale, grain 
baskets from Moulay Idriss, daggers from the 
Souss, and whatever European wares the native 
markets consume. One looks, on the plan of Fez, 
at the space covered by the bazaars; one breasts 
the swarms that pour through them from dawn to 
dusk — and one remains perplexed, disappointed. 
They are less ''Oriental" than one had expected, if 
"Oriental" means color and gaiety. 

Sometimes, on occasion, it does mean that: as, 
for instance, when a procession passes bearing the 
gifts for a Jewish wedding. The gray crowd makes 
way for a group of musicians in brilliant caftans, 
and following them comes a long file of women with 
uncovered faces and bejewelled necks, balancing on 
their heads the dishes the guests have sent to the 
feast — kouskous, sweet creams and syrups, "gazelles' 
horns" of sugar and almonds — in delicately woven 
baskets, each covered with several squares of bright 
gauze edged with gold. Then one remembers the 
marketing of the Lady of "The Three Calendars," 

[ 108 1 

■ ■ r« 












and Fez again becomes the Bagdad of Al Ras- 

But when no exceptional events, processions, 
ceremonies and the Hke brighten the underworld of 
the souks, their look is uniformly melancholy. The 
gay bazaars, the gaily-painted houses, the flowers 
and flute-playing of North Africa, are found in her 
Mediterranean ports, in contact with European in- 
fluences. The farther west she extends, the more 
she becomes self-contained, sombre, uninfluenced, 
a gloom}' fanatic with her back to the walls of the 
Atlantic and the Atlas. Color and laughter lie 
mostly along the trade-routes, where the peoples 
of the world come and go in curiosity and rivalry. 
This ashen crowd swarming gloomily through the 
dark tunnels represents the real Moghreb that is 
close to the wild tribes of the "hinterland" and the 
grim feudal fortresses of the Atlas. How close, 
one has only to go out to Sefrou on a market-day 
to see. 

Sefrou is a military outpost in an oasis under the 
Atlas, about forty miles south of Fez. To most 
people the word "oasis" evokes palms and sand; 
but though Morocco possesses many oases it has 

[ 109 1 


no pure sand and few palms. I remember it as a 
considerable event when I discovered one from my 
lofty window at Bou-Jeloud. 

The hied is made of very different stuff from the 
sand-ocean of the Sahara. The light plays few 
tricks with it. Its monotony is wearisome rather 
than impressive, and the fact that it is seldom with- 
out some form of dwarfish vegetation makes the 
transition less startling when the alluvial green is 
finally reached. One had always half expected it, 
and it does not spring at a djinn's wave out of 
sterile gold. 

But the fact brings its own compensations. Mo- 
roccan oases differ one from another far more than 
those of South Algeria and Tunisia. Some have no 
palms, others but a few, others are real palm-oases, 
though even in the south (at least on the hither side 
of the great Atlas) none spreads out a dense uniform 
roofing of metal-blue fronds like the date-oases of 
Biskra or Tozeur. As for Sefrou, which Foucauld 
called the most beautiful oasis of Morocco, it is sim- 
ply an extremely fertile valley with vineyards and 
orchards stretching up to a fine background of 
mountains. But the fact that it lies just below the 

[ 110] 


Atlas makes it an Important market-place and cen- 
tre of caravans. 

Though so near Fez it is still almost on the dis- 
puted border between the loyal and the "unsub- 
missive" tribes, those that are Blad-Makhzen (of 
the Sultan's government) and those that are against 
it. Until recently, therefore, it has been inaccessible 
to visitors, and even now a strongly fortified French 
post dominates the height above the towTi. Look- 
ing down from the fort, one distinguishes, through 
masses of many-tinted green, a suburb of Arab 
houses in gardens, and below, on the river, Sefrou 
itself, a stout little walled town with angle-towers 
defiantly thrust forth toward the Atlas. It is just 
outside these walls that the market is held. 

It was swarming with hill-people the day we 
were there, and strange was the contrast between 
the crowd inside the circle of picketed horses and 
the white-robed cockneys from Rabat who fill the 
market-place of Sale. Here at last we were in 
touch with un-Arab Morocco, with Berbers of the 
bled and the hills, whose women know no veils and 
no seclusion, and who, under a thin surface of 
Mahometan ism, preserve their old stone and animal 

[ 111 ] 


worship, and all the gross fetichistic beliefs from 
which Mahomet dreamed of freeing Africa. 

The men were lean and weather-bitten, some 
with negroid lips, others with beaked noses and 
gaunt cheek-bones, all muscular and fierce-looking. 
Some were wrapped in the black cloaks worn by 
the Blue Men of the Sahara,* with a great orange 
sun embroidered on the back; some tunicked like 
the Egyptian fellah, under a rough striped outer 
garment trimmed with bright tufts and tassels of 
wool. The men of the Rif had a braided lock on 
the shoulder, those of the Atlas a ringlet over each 
ear, and brown woollen scarfs wound round their 
temples, leaving the shaven crown bare. 

The women, squatting among their kids and 
poultry and cheeses, glanced at us with brilliant 
hennaed eyes and smiles that lifted their short upper 
lips maliciously. Their thin faces were painted in 
stripes and patterns of indigo. Silver necklets cov- 
ered their throats, long earrings dangled under the 
wool-embroidered kerchiefs bound about their tem- 
ples with a twist of camel's hair, and below the cot- 

* So called because of the indigo dye of their tunics, which leaves a per- 
manent stain on their bodies. 

[ 112 ] 


ton shifts fastened on their shoulders with silver 
clasps their legs were l)are to the knee, or covered 
with leather leggings to protect them from the 
thorn V bled. 

They seemed abler bargainers than the men, and 
the pla}' of expression on their dramatic and in- 
tensely feminine faces as they wheedled the price 
of a calf out of a fierce hillsman, or haggled over a 
heap of dates that a Jew witli greasy ringlets was 
trying to secure for his secret distillery, showed that 
they knew their superiority and enjoyed it. 

Jews abounded in the market-place and also in 
the town. Sefrou contains a large Israelite colony, 
and after we had wandered through the steep 
streets, over gushing waterfalls spanned by "ass- 
backed" Spanish bridges, and through a thatched 
souk smelling strong of camels and the desert, the 
French commissioner (the only European in Sefrou) 
suggested that it might interest us to visit the 

It was our first sight of a typical Jewish quarter 
in Africa. The Mellah of Fez was almost entirelv 
destroyed during the massacres of 1912 (which in- 
cidentally included a pogrom), and its distinctive 

[ 113 ] 


character, happily for the inhabitants, has disap- 
peared in the rebuilding. North African Jews are 
still compelled to live in ghettos, into which they 
are locked at night, as in France and Germany in 
the Middle Ages; and until lately the men have 
been compelled to go unarmed, to wear black gab- 
ardines and black slippers, to take off their shoes 
when they passed near a mosque or a saint's tomb, 
and in various other ways to manifest their subjec- 
tion to the ruling race. Nowhere else do they live 
in conditions of such demoralizing promiscuity as 
in some of the cities of Morocco, They have so 
long been subject to unrestricted extortion on the 
part of the Moslems that even the wealthy Jews 
(who are numerous) have sunk to the habits and 
appearance of the poorest; and Sefrou, which has 
come so recently under French control, offers a 
good specimen of a Mellah before foreign sanitation 
has lighted up its dark places. 

Dark indeed they were. After wandering through 
narrow and malodorous lanes, and slipping about 
in the offal of the souks, we were suddenly led under 
an arch over which should have been written "All 
light abandon — " and which made all we had seen 
before seem clean and bright and airy. 

[ 114 ] 


The beneficent African sun dries up and purifies 
the immemorial filth of Africa; where that sun 
enters there is none of the fouhiess of damp. But 
into the Mcllah of Sefrou it never comes, for the 
streets form a sort of subterranean rabbit-warren 
under the upper stories of a soHd agglomeration of 
tall houses — a buried city lit even at midday by 
oil-lamps hanging in the goldsmiths' shops and 
under the archways of the black and reeking stair- 

It was a Jewish feast-day. The Hebrew stalls in 
the souks were closed, and the whole population of 
the Mellah thronged its tunnels in holiday dress. 
Hurrying past us were young women with plump 
white faces and lovely eyes, turbaned in brilliant 
gauzes, with draperies of dirty curtain muslin over 
tawdry brocaded caftans. Their paler children 
swarmed about them, little long-earringed girls like 
wax dolls dressed in scraps of old finery, little boys 
in tattered caftans with long-lashed eyes and wily 
smiles; and, waddling in the rear, their unwieldy 
grandmothers, huge lumps of tallowy flesh who 
were probably still in the thirties. 

With them were the men of the familv, in black 
gabardines and skull-caps: sallow striplings, incal- 

[ 115 1 


culably aged ancestors, round-bellied husbands and 
fathers bumping along like black balloons; all has- 
tening to the low doorways dressed with lamps and 
paper garlands behind which the feast was spread. 
One is told that in cities like Fez and Marrakech 
the Hebrew quarter conceals flowery patios and 
gilded rooms with the heavy European furniture 
that rich Jews delight in. Perhaps even in the 
Mellah of Sefrou, among the ragged figures shuffling 
past us, there were some few with bags of gold in 
their walls and rich stuffs hid away in painted cof- 
fers; but for patios and flowers and daylight there 
seemed no room in the dark holgia they inhabit. 
No wonder the babies of the Moroccan ghettos are 
nursed on date-brandy, and their elders doze away 
to death under its consoling spell. 



It is well to bid good-by to Fez at night — a moon- 
light night for choice. 

Then, after dining at the Arab inn of Fez Eldjid 
— where it might be inconvenient to lodge, but 

[ 116 ] 


where it is extremely pleasant to eat kouskous under 
a grape-trellis in a tiled and fountained patio — this 
})leasure over, one may set out on foot and stray 
down the lanes toward Fez Elijah. 

Not long ago the gates between the different 
quarters of the city used to be locked every night 
at nine o'clock, and the merchant who went out 
to dine in another part of the town had to lodge 
with his host. Now this custom has been given 
up, and one may roam al)out untroubled through 
the old quarters, grown as silent as the grave after 
the intense life of the bazaars has ceased at night- 

Nobody is in the streets: wandering from ghostly 
passage to passage, one hears no step but that of 
the watchman with staff and lantern. Presently 
there appears, far off, a light like a low-flying fire- 
fly; as it comes nearer, it is seen to proceed from 
the McIIah lamp of open-work brass that a servant 
carries ahead of two merchants on their way home 
from Elbali. The merchants are grave men: they 
move softly and slowly on their fat slippered feet, 
pausing from time to time in confidential talk. At 
last they stop before a house wall with a low blue 

[ 117 1 


door barred by heavy hasps of iron. The servant 
Hfts the lamp and knocks. There is a long delay; 
then, with infinite caution, the door is opened a 
few inches, and another lifted light shines faintly 
on lustrous tiled walls, and on the face of a woman 
slave who quickly veils herself. Evidently the 
master is a man of standing, and the house well 
guarded. The two merchants touch each other on 
the right shoulder, one of them passes in, and his 
friend goes on through the moonlight, his servant's 
lantern dancing ahead. 

But here we are in an open space looking down 
one of the descents to El Attarine. A misty radi- 
ance washes the tall houses, the garden-walls, the 
archways; even the moonlight does not whiten Fez, 
but only turns its gray to tarnished silver. Over- 
head in a tower window a single light twinkles: 
women's voices rise and fall on the roofs. In a rich 
man's doorway slaves are sleeping, huddled on the 
tiles. A cock crows from somebody's dunghill; a 
skeleton dog prowls by for garbage. 

Everywhere is the loud rush or the low crooning 
of water, and over every wall comes the scent of 
jasmine and rose. Far off, from the red purgatory 

[ 118] 


between the walls, sounds the savage thrum-thrum 
of a negro orgy; here all is peace and perfume. A 
minaret springs up between the roof like a palm, 
and from its balcony the little white figure bends 
over and drops a blessing on all the loveliness and 
all the squalor. 

[ 119 ] 




THERE are countless Arab tales of evil Djinns 
who take the form of sandstorms and hot 
winds to overwhelm exhausted travellers. 
In spite of the new French road between Rabat 
and Marrakech the memory of such tales rises up 
insistently from every mile of the level red earth 
and the desolate stonv stretches of the hied. As 
long as the road runs in sight of the Atlantic break- 
ers they give the scene freshness and life; but when 
it bends inland and stretches away across the wil- 
derness the sense of the immensity and immobility 
of Africa descends on one with an intolerable op- 

The road traverses no villages, and not even a 
ring of nomad tents is visible in the distance on the 

[ 123 ] 


wide stretches of arable land. At infrequent inter- 
vals our motor passed a train of laden mules, or a 
group of peasants about a well, and sometimes, far 
off, a fortified farm profiled its thick-set angle- 
towers against the sky, or a white koubba floated 
like a mirage above the brush; but these rare signs 
of life intensified the solitude of the long miles be- 

At midday we were refreshed by the sight of the 
little oasis around the military-post of Settat. We 
lunched there w^ith the commanding officer, in a 
cool Arab house about a flowery patio; but that 
brief interval over, the fiery plain began again. 
After Settat the road runs on for miles across the 
waste to the gorge of the Oued Ouem; and beyond 
the river it climbs to another plain so desperate in 
its calcined aridity that the prickly scrub of the 
wilderness we had left seemed like the vegetation 
of an oasis. For fifty kilometres the earth under 
our wheels was made up of a kind of glistening red 
slag covered with pebbles and stones. Not the 
scan test and toughest of rock-growths thrust a leaf 
through its brassy surface; not a well-head or a 
darker depression of the rock gave sign of a trickle 

[ 124 ] 


of water. Everything around us glittered with the 
same unmerciful dr^'ness. 

A long way ahead loomed the line of the Djebilets, 
the Djinn-haunted mountains guarding Marrakech 
on the north. When at last we reached them the 
wicked glister of their j)urj)le flanks seemed like a 
volcanic upheaval of the plain. For some time we 
had watched the clouds gathering over them, and 
as we got to the top of the defile rain was falling 
from a fringe of thunder to the south. Then the 
vapours lifted, and we saw below us another red 
plain with an island of palms in its centre. Mys- 
teriously, from the heart of the palms, a tower shot 
up, as if alone in the wilderness; behind it stood 
the sun-streaked cliffs of the Atlas, with snow 
summits appearing and vanishing through the 

As we drove downward the rock gradually began 
to turn to red earth fissured by yellow streams, and 
stray knots of palms sprang up, lean and dishevelled, 
about well-heads where people were watering camels 
and donkeys. To the east, dominating the oasis, 
the twin peaked hills of the Ghilis, fortified to the 
crest, mounted guard over invisible Marrakech; 

[ Uo ] 


but still, above the palms, we saw only that lonely 
and triumphant tower. 

Presently we crossed the Oued Tensif on an old 
bridge built by Moroccan engineers. Beyond the 
river were more palms, then olive-orchards, then 
the vague sketch of the new European settlement, 
with a few shops and cafes on avenues ending sud- 
denly in clay pits, and at last Marrakech itself ap- 
peared to us, in the form of a red wall across a red 

We passed through a gate and were confronted 
by other ramparts. Then we entered an outskirt 
of dusty red lanes bordered by clay hovels with 
draped figures slinking by like ghosts. After that 
more walls, more gates, more endlessly winding 
lanes, more gates again, more turns, a dusty open 
space with donkeys and camels and negroes; a final 
wall with a great door under a lofty arch — and sud- 
denly we were in the palace of the Bahia, among 
flowers and shadows and falling water. 

[ 126 ] 



Whoever would understand Marrakech must begin 
by mounting at sunset to the roof of the Bahia. 

Outspread below lies the oasis-city of the south, 
flat and vast as the great nomad camp it really is, 
its low roofs extending on all sides to a belt of blue 
palms ringed with desert. Only two or three min- 
arets and a few noblemen's houses among gardens 
break the general flatness; but they are hardly no- 
ticeable, so irresistibly is the eye drawn toward two 
dominant objects — the white wall of the Atlas and 
the red tower of the Koutoubya. 

Foursquare, untapering, the great tower lifts its 
flanks of ruddy stone. Its large spaces of unorna- 
mented wall, its triple tier of clustered openings, 
lightening as they rise from the severe rectangular 
lights of the first stage to the graceful arcade below 
the parapet, have the stern harmony of the noblest 
architecture. The Koutoubya would be magnifi- 
cent anywhere; in this flat desert it is grand enough 
to face the Atlas. 

The Almohad conquerors who built the Kou- 

l 127 ] 


toubya and embellished Marrakech dreamed a 
dream of beauty that extended from the Guadal- 
quivir to the Sahara; and at its two extremes they 
placed their watch-towers. The Giralda watched 
over civilized enemies in a land of ancient Roman 
culture; the Koutoubya stood at the edge of the 
world, facing the hordes of the desert. 

The Almoravid princes who founded INlarrakech 
came from the black desert of Senegal; themselves 
were leaders of wild hordes. In the history of 
North Africa the same cycle has perpetually re- 
peated itself. Generation after generation of chiefs 
have flowed in from the desert or the mountains, 
overthrown their predecessors, massacred, plun- 
dered, grown rich, built sudden palaces, encouraged 
their great servants to do the same; then fallen on 
them, and taken their wealth and their palaces. 
Usually some religious fury, some ascetic wrath 
against the self-indulgence of the cities, has been 
the motive of these attacks; but invariably the 
same results followed, as thev followed when the 
Germanic barbarians descended on Italv. The con- 
querors, infected with luxury and mad with power, 
built vaster palaces, planned grander cities; but 

[ 128 ] 

From a plmtugra pit from the Service ties Deaux-.irls an Maroc 

Marrakech — The "Little flarden" (willi jjaiiited doors) in l)ackgrouncl, 

Palace (if the Baliia 


Sultans and Viziers camped in tlieir golden houses 
as if on the march, and the mud huts of the tribes- 
men within their walls were but one degree removed 
from the mud-walled tents of the hied. 

This was more especially the case with Marra- 
kech, a city of Berbers and blacks, and the last 
outpost against the fierce black world beyond the 
Atlas from which its founders came. 'SMien one 
looks at its site, and considers its hLstorj-, one can 
only mar^-el at the height of civilization it attained. 

The Bahia itself, now the palace of the Resident 
General, though built less than a hundred years 
ago, is t\-pical of the architectural megalomania of 
the great southern chiefs. It was built by Ba- 
Akmed. the all-powerful black Vizier of the Sultan 
Moulav-el-Hassan.* Ba-Ahmed was e^ndentlv an 
artist and an archaeologist. His ambition was to 
re-create a Palace of Beauts* such as the Moors had 
built in the prime of Arab art, and he brought to 
Alarrakech skilled artificers of Fez, the last 5ur\-iv- 
ing masters of the mysterj' of chiselled plaster and 
ceramic mosaics and honeycombing of gilded cedar. 
They came, they built the Bahia. and it remains 


the loveliest and most fantastic of Moroccan pal- 

Court within court, garden beyond garden, re- 
ception halls, private apartments, slaves' quarters, 
sunny prophets' chambers on the roofs and baths 
in vaulted crypts, the labyrinth of passages and 
rooms stretches away over several acres of ground. 
A long court enclosed in pale-green trellis-work, 
where pigeons plume themselves about a great tank 
and the dripping tiles glitter with refracted sun- 
light, leads to the fresh gloom of a cypress garden, 
or under jasmine tunnels bordered with running 
water; and these again open on arcaded apartments 
faced with tiles and stucco-work, where, in a languid 
twilight, the hours drift by to the ceaseless music 
of the fountains. 

The beauty of Moroccan palaces is made up of 
details of ornament and refinements of sensuous 
delight too numerous to record; but to get an idea 
of their general character it is worth while to cross 
the Court of Cypresses at the Bahia and follow a 
series of low-studded passages that turn on them- 
selves till they reach the centre of the labyrinth. 
Here, passing by a low padlocked door leading to a 

[ 130 ] 


crypt, and known as the "Door of the Vizier's 
Treasure-House," one comes on a painted portal 
that opens into a still more secret sanctuary: The 
apartment of the Grand Vizier's Favourite. 

This lovely prison, from which all sight and sound 
of the outer world are excluded, is built about an 
atrium paved with disks of turquoise and black 
and white. Water trickles from a central vasca of 
alabaster into a hexagonal mosaic channel in the 
pavement. The walls, which are at least twenty- 
five feet high, are roofed with painted beams rest- 
ing on panels of traceried stucco in which is set a 
clerestory of jewelled glass. On each side of the 
atrium are long recessed rooms closed by vermilion 
doors painted with gold arabesques and vases of 
spring flowers; and into these shadowy inner rooms, 
spread with rugs and divans and soft pillows, no 
light comes except when their doors are opened into 
the atrium. In this fabulous place it was my good 
luck to be lodged while I was at Marrakech. 

In a climate where, after the winter snow has 
melted from the Atlas, every breath of air for long 
months is a flame of fire, these enclosed rooms in 
the middle of the palaces are the only places of 

[ 131 ] 


refuge from the heat. Even in October the tem- 
perature of the favourite's apartment was deH- 
ciously reviving after a morning in the bazaars or 
the dusty streets, and I never came back to its wet 
tiles and perpetual twilight without the sense of 
plunging into a deep sea-pool. 

From far off, through circuitous corridors, came 
the scent of citron-blossom and jasmine, with some- 
times a bird's song before dawn, sometimes a flute's 
wail at sunset, and always the call of the muezzin 
in the night; but no sunlight reached the apartment 
except in remote rays through the clerestory, and 
no air except through one or two broken panes. 

Sometimes, lying on my divan, and looking out 
through the vermilion doors, I used to surprise a 
pair of swallows dropping down from their nest in 
the cedar-beams to preen themselves on the foun- 
tain's edge or in the channels of the pavement; for 
the roof was full of birds who came and went 
through the broken panes of the clerestory. Usually 
they were my only visitors; but one morning just at 
daylight I was waked by a soft tramp of bare feet, 
and saw, silhouetted against the cream-coloured 
walls, a procession of eight tall negroes in linen 

[ 132 ] 


tunics, who filed noiselessly across tlic atriinn like 
a moving frieze of bronze. In that fantastic set- 
ting, and the hush of that twilight hour, the vision 
was so like the picture of a "Seraglio Tragedy/' 
some fragment of a Delacroix or Decamps floating 
up into the drowsy brain, that I almost fancied I 
had seen the ghosts of Ba-Ahmed's executioners 
revisiting with dagger and bowstring the scene of 
an unavenged crime. 

A cock crew, and they vanished . . . and when 
I made the mistake of asking what they had been 
doing in my room at that hour I was told (as though 
it were the most natural thing in the world) that 
they were the municipal lam})-lighters of Tslarra- 
kech, whose duty it is to refill every morning the 
two hundred acetylene lamps lighting the palace of 
the Resident General. Such unforeseen aspects, in 
this mysterious city, do the most ordinary domestic 
functions wear. 

[ 13^ 1 



Passing out of the enchanted circle of the Bahia it 
is startling to plunge into the native life about its 

Marrakech is the great market of the south; and 
the south means not only the Atlas with its feudal 
chiefs and their wild clansmen, but all that lies 
beyond of heat and savagery: the Sahara of the 
veiled Touaregs, Dakka, Timbuctoo, Senegal and 
the Soudan. Here come the camel caravans from 
Demnat and Tameslout, from the Moulouya and 
the Souss, and those from the Atlantic ports and 
the confines of Algeria. The population of this 
old city of the southern march has always been 
even more mixed than that of the northerly Moroc- 
can towns. It is made up of the descendants of 
all the peoples conquered by a long line of Sultans 
who brought their trains of captives across the sea 
from Moorish Spain and across the Sahara from 
Timbuctoo. Even in the highly cultivated region 
on the lower slopes of the Atlas there are groups of 
varied ethnic origin, the descendants of tribes 

[ 134 ] 


transplanted by long-gone rulers and still preserv- 
ing many of tlieir original characteristics. 

In the bazaars all these peoples meet and mingle: 
cattle-dealers, olive-growers, peasants from the 
Atlas, the Souss and the Draa, Blue Men of the 
Sahara, blacks from Senegal and the Soudan, com- 
ing in to trade with the wool-merchants, tanners, 
leather-merchants, silk-weavers, armourers, and 
makers of agricultural implements. 

Dark, fierce and fanatical are these narrow souks 
of IMarrakech. They are mere mud lanes roofed 
with rushes, as in South Tunisia and Timbuctoo, 
and the crowds swarming in them are so dense that 
it is hardly possible, at certain hours, to approach 
the tiny raised kennels where the merchants sit 
like idols among their wares. One feels at once 
that something more than the thought of bargain- 
ing — dear as this is to the African heart — animates 
these incessantly" moving throngs. The vSouks of 
Marrakech seem, more than any others, the central 
organ of a native life that extends far beyond the 
city walls into secret clefts of the mountains and 
far-off oases where plots are hatched and holy wars 
fomented — farther still, to yellow deserts whence 

[ 135 ] 


negroes are secretly brought across the Atlas to 
that inmost recess of the bazaar where the ancient 
traffic in flesh and blood still surreptitiously goes on. 
All these many threads of the native life, woven 
of greed and lust, of fetichism and fear and blind 
hate of the stranger, form, in the souks, a thick net- 
work in which at times one's feet seem literally to 
stumble. Fanatics in sheepskins glowering from 
the guarded thresholds of the mosques, fierce tribes- 
men with inlaid arms in their belts and the fighters' 
tufts of wiry hair escaping from camel's-hair tur- 
bans, mad negroes standing stark naked in niches 
of the walls and pouring down Soudanese incanta- 
tions upon the fascinated crowd, consumptive Jews 
with pathos and cunning in their large ej^es and 
smiling lips, lusty slave-girls with earthen oil-jars 
resting against swaying hips, almond-eyed boys 
leading fat merchants by the hand, and bare-legged 
Berber women, tattooed and insolently gay, trading 
their striped blankets, or bags of dried roses and 
irises, for sugar, tea or Manchester cottons — from 
all these hundreds of unknowTi and unknowable 
people, bound together by secret affinities, or in- 
triguing against each other with secret hate, there 

[ 136 1 


emanates an atmosphere of mystery and menace 
more stifling than tlie smell of camels and spices 
and black bodies and smoking fry which hangs like 
a fog under the close roofing of the souks. 

And suddenly one leaves the crowd and the tur- 
bid air for one of those quiet corners that are like 
the back-waters of the bazaars: a small scjuare where 
a vine stretches across a shop-front and hangs ripe 
clusters of grapes through the reeds. In the pat- 
terning of grape-shadows a very old donkey, teth- 
ered to a stone-post, dozes under a pack-saddle 
that is never taken off; and near by, in a matted 
niche, sits a very old man in white. This is the 
chief of the Guild of "morocco" workers of ]Marra- 
kech, the most accomplished craftsman in Morocco 
in the preparing and using of the skins to which 
the city gives its name. Of these sleek moroccos, 
cream-white or dyed with cochineal or pomegranate 
skins, are made the rich bags of the Chleuh dancing- 
boys, the embroidered slippers for the harem, the 
belts and harnesses that figure so largely in Moroc- 
can trade — and of the finest, in old days, were 
made the pomegranate-red morocco bindings of 
European bibliophiles. 

[ 137 ] 


From this peaceful corner one passes into the 
barbaric splendor of a souh hung with innumerable 
plumy bunches of floss silk — skeins of citron yellow, 
crimson, grasshopper green and pure purple. This 
is the silk-spinners* quarter, and next to it comes 
that of the dyers, with great seething vats into 
which the raw silk is plunged, and ropes overhead 
where the rainbow masses are hung out to dry. 

Another turn leads into the street of the metal- 
workers and armourers, where the sunlight through 
the thatch flames on round flanks of beaten copper 
or picks out the silver bosses of ornate powder- 
flasks and pistols; and near by is the souh of the 
plough-shares, crowded with peasants in rough 
Chleuh cloaks who are waiting to have their archaic 
ploughs repaired, and that of the smiths, in an 
outer lane of mud huts where negroes squat in the 
dust and sinewy naked figures in tattered loin- 
cloths bend over blazing coals. And here ends the 
maze of the bazaars. 

[ 138 ] 



One of the Almohad Sultans who, during their 
hundred years of empire, scattered such great mon- 
uments from Seville to the Atlas, felt the need of 
coolness about his southern capital, and laid out 
the olive-yards of the Agdal. 

To the south of Marrakech the Agdal extends 
for many acres between the outer w'alls of the city 
and the edge of the palm-oasis — a continuous belt 
of silver foliage traversed by deep red lanes, and 
enclosing a wide-spreading summer palace and two 
immense reservoirs walled with masonry; and the 
vision of these serene sheets of water, in which the 
olives and palms are motionlessly reflected, is one 
of the most poetic impressions in that city of invet- 
erate poetry. 

On the edge of one of the reservoirs a sentimental 
Sultan built in the last century a little pleasure- 
house called the Menara. It is composed of a few- 
rooms with a tw^o-storied loggia looking across the 
water to the palm-groves, and surrounded by a 
garden of cypresses and orange-trees. The Menara, 


long since abandoned, is usually uninhabited; but 
on the day when we drove through the Agdal we 
noticed, at the gate, a group of well-dressed ser- 
vants holding mules with embroidered saddle- 

The French officer who was with us asked the 
porter what was going on, and he replied that the 
Chief of the Guild of Wool-Merchants had hired 
the pavilion for a week and invited a few friends to 
visit him. They were now, the porter added, tak- 
ing tea in the loggia above the lake; and the host, 
being informed of our presence, begged that we 
should do him and his friends the honour of visiting 
the pavilion. 

In reply to this amiable invitation we crossed an 
empty saloon surrounded with divans and passed 
out onto the loggia where the wool-merchant and 
his guests were seated. They were evidently per- 
sons of consequence: large bulky men wrapped in 
fresh muslins and reclining side by side on muslin- 
covered divans and cushions. Black slaves had 
placed before them brass trays with pots of mint- 
tea, glasses in filigree stands, and dishes of gazelles' 
horns and sugar-plums; and they sat serenely ab- 

[ HO ] 


sorbing these refresliments and gazing with large 
calm eyes ui)on the motionless water and the re- 
flected trees. 

So, we were told, they would probably spend the 
greater part of their holiday. The merchant's 
cooks had taken possession of the kitchens, and 
toward sunset a sumptuous repast of many courses 
would be carried into the saloon on covered trays, 
and the guests would squat about it on rugs of 
Rabat, tearing with their fingers the tender chicken 
wings and small artichokes cooked in oil, plunging 
their fat white hands to the wrist into huge mounds 
of saffron and rice, and washing off the traces of 
each course in the brass basin of perfumed water 
carried about by a young black slave-girl with hoop- 
earrings and a green-and-gold scarf about her hips. 

Then the singing-girls would come out from Mar- 
rakech, squat round-faced young women heavily 
hennaed and bejewelled, accompanied by gaunt 
musicians in bright caftans; and for hours they 
would sing sentimental or obscene ballads to the 
persistent maddening twang of violin and flute and 
drum. Meanwhile fiery brandy or sweet cham- 
pagne would probably be passed around between 

[ Ul 1 


the steaming glasses of mint-tea which the slaves 
perpetually refilled; or perhaps the sultry air, the 
heavy meal, the scent of the garden and the vertig- 
inous repetition of the music would suffice to 
plunge these sedentary worthies into the delicious 
coma in which every festive evening in Morocco 

The next day would be spent in the same manner, 
except that probably the Chleuh boys with sidelong 
eyes and clean caftans would come instead of the 
singing-girls, and weave the arabesque of their 
dance in place of the runic pattern of the singing. 
But the result would always be the same: a pro- 
longed state of obese ecstasy culminating in the 
collapse of huge heaps of snoring muslin on the 
divans against the wall. Finally at the week's end 
the wool-merchant and his friends would all ride 
back with dignity to the bazaar. 

[ 142 1 



"Should you like to see the Chleuli boys dance?" 
some one asked. 

"There they are," another of our companions 
added, pointing to a dense ring of spectators on one 
side of the immense dusty square at the entrance 
of the souks — the "Square of the Dead" as it is 
called, in memory of the executions that used to 
take place under one of its grim red gates. 

It is the square of the living now, the centre of 
all the life, amusement and gossip of Marrakech, 
and the spectators are so thickly packed about the 
story-tellers, snake-charmers and dancers who fre- 
quent it that one can guess what is going on within 
each circle only by the wailing monologue or the 
persistent drum-beat that proceeds from it. 

Ah, ves — we should indeed like to see the Chleuh 
boys dance; we who, since we had been in Morocco, 
had seen no dancing, heard no singing, caught no 
single glimpse of merry-making ! But how were 
we to get within sight of them? 

On one side of the "Square of the Dead" stands 

[ 143 ] 


a large house, of European build, but modelled on 
Oriental lines: the office of the French municipal 
administration. The French Government no longer 
allows its offices to be built within the walls of 
Moroccan towns, and this house goes back to the 
epic days of the Caid Sir Harry Maclean, to whom 
it was presented by the fantastic Abd-el-Aziz when 
the Caid was his favourite companion as well as his 
military adviser. 

At the suggestion of the municipal officials we 
mounted the stairs and looked down on the packed 
square. There can be no more Oriental sight this 
side of the Atlas and the Sahara. The square is 
surrounded by low mud-houses, fondaks, cafes, and 
the like. In one corner, near the archway leading 
into the souJcs, is the fruit-market, where the red- 
gold branches of unripe dates* for animal fodder 
are piled up in great stacks, and dozens of donkeys 
are coming and going, their panniers laden with 
fruits and vegetables which are being heaped on 
the ground in gorgeous pyramids : purple egg-plants, 
melons, cucumbers, bright orange pumpkins, mauve 
and pink and violet onions, rusty crimson pome- 

* Dates do not ripen in Morocco. 

[ 144 ] 


granates and the gold grapes of Sefrou and Sale, 
all mingled with fresh green sheaves of mint and 

In the middle of the square sit the story-tellers' 
turbaned audiences. Beyond these are the hum])ler 
crowds about the wild-ringleted snake-charmers 
with their epileptic gestures and hissing incanta- 
tions, and farther off, in the densest circle of all, we 
could just discern the shaved heads and waving 
surpliced arms of the dancing-boys. Under an 
archway near by an important personage in white 
muslin, mounted on a handsome mule and sur- 
rounded by his attendants, sat with motionless face 
and narrowed eyes gravely following the movements 
of the dancers. 

Suddenly, as we stood watching the extraordinary 
animation of the scene, a reddish light overspread 
it, and one of our companions exclaimed: "Ah — a 
dust-storm !" 

In that very moment it was upon us: a red cloud 
rushing across the square out of nowhere, whirling 
the date-branches over the heads of the squatting 
throngs, tumbling down the stacks of fruits and 
vegetables, rooting up the canvas awnings over the 

[ 145 ] 


lemonade-sellers' stalls and before the cafe doors, 
huddling the blinded donkeys under the walls of 
the fondak, and stripping to the hips the black 
slave-girls scudding home from the souks. 

Such a blast would instantly have scattered any 
western crowd, but "the patient East" remained 
undisturbed, rounding its shoulders before the 
storm and continuing to follow attentively the mo- 
tions of the dancers and the turns of the story- 
tellers. By and bye, however, the gale grew too 
furious, and the spectators were so involved in col- 
lapsing tents, eddying date-branches and stamped- 
ing mules that the square began to clear, save for 
the listeners about the most popular story-teller, 
who continued to sit on unmoved. And then, at 
the height of the storm, they too were abruptly 
scattered by the rush of a cavalcade across the 
square. First came a handsomely dressed man, 
carrying before him on his peaked saddle a tiny boy 
in a gold-embroidered orange caftan, in front of 
whom he held an open book; and behind them a 
train of white-draped men on showily harnessed 
mules, followed by musicians in bright dresses. It 
was only a Circumcision procession on its way to 

[ 146 ] 


the mosque; but the dust-enveloped rider in his 
rich dress, clutching the bewildered child to his 
breast, looked like some Oriental prince trying to 
escape with his son from the fiery embraces of des- 
ert Erl-maidens. 

As swiftly as it rose the storm subsided, leaving 
the fruit-market in ruins under a sky as clear and 
innocent as an infant's eye. The Chleuh boys had 
vanished with the rest, like marionettes swept into 
a drawer by an impatient child; but presently, 
toward sunset, we were told that we were to see 
them after all, and our hosts led us up to the roof 
of the Caid's house. 

The citv lav stretched before us like one Immense 
terrace circumscribed by palms. The sky was pure 
blue, verging to turquoise green where the Atlas 
floated above mist; and facing the celestial snows 
stood the Koutoubya, red in the sunset. 

People were beginning to come out on the roofs: 
it was the hour of peace, of ablutions, of family life 
on the house-tops. Groups of women In pale tints 
and floating veils spoke to each other from terrace 
to terrace, through the chatter of children and the 
guttural calls of bedizened negresses. And pres- 

[ 147 ] 


ently, on the roof adjoining ours, appeared the slim 
dancing-boys with white caftans and hennaed feet. 

The three swarthy musicians who accompanied 
them crossed their lean legs on the tiles and set up 
their throb-throb and thrum-thrum, and on a nar- 
row strip of terrace the youths began their measured 

It was a grave static dance, such as David may 
have performed before the Ark; untouched by 
mirth or folly, as beseemed a dance in that sombre 
land, and borrowing its magic from its gravity. 
Even when the pace quickened with the stress of 
the music the gestures still continued to be re- 
strained and hieratic; only when, one by one, the 
performers detached themselves from the round 
and knelt before us for the peseta it is customary to 
press on their foreheads, did one see, by the mois- 
ture which made the coin adhere, how quick and 
violent their movements had been. 

The performance, like all things Oriental, like 
the life, the patterns, the stories, seemed to have 
no beginning and no end : it just went monotonously 
and indefatigably on till fate snipped its thread by 
calling us away to dinner. And so at last we went 

[ 148 ] 


down into the dust of the streets refreshed by that 
vision of white youths dancing on the house-tops 
against the gold of a sunset that made them look — 
in spite of ankle-bracelets and painted eyes — almost 
as guileless and happy as the round of angels on the 
roof of Fra Angelico's Nativity. 



On one of the last days of our stay in Marrakech 
we were told, almost mysteriously, that permission 
was to be given us to visit the tombs of the Saadian 

Though iNIarrakech has been in the hands of the 
French since 1912, the very existence of these tombs 
was unknown to the authorities till 1917. Then 
the Sultan's government privately informed the 
Resident General that an unsuspected treasure of 
Moroccan art was falling into ruin, and after some 
hesitation it was agreed that General Lyautey and 
the Director of Fine Arts should be admitted to 
the mosque containing the tombs, on the express 
condition that the French Government undertook 

[ 149 ] 


to repair them. While we were at Rabat General 
Lyautey had described his visit to us, and it was at 
his request that the Sultan authorized us to see the 
mosque, to which no travellers had as yet been 

With a good deal of ceremony, and after the cus- 
tomary pourparlers with the great Pasha who con- 
trols native affairs at Marrakech, an hour was fixed 
for our visit, and we drove through long lanes of 
mud-huts to a lost quarter near the walls. At last 
we came to a deserted square on one side of which 
stands the long low mosque of Mansourah with a 
turquoise-green minaret embroidered with traceries 
of sculptured terra cotta. Opposite the mosque is a 
gate in a crumbling wall; and at this gate the 
Pasha's Cadi was to meet us with the keys of the 
mausoleum. But we waited in vain. Oriental 
dilatoriness, or a last secret reluctance to admit un- 
believers to a holy place, had caused the Cadi to 
forget his appointment; and we drove away dis- 

The delay drove us to wondering about these 
mysterious Saadian Sultans, who, though coming 
so late in the annals of Morocco, had left at least 

[ 150 ] 


one monument said to be worthy of the Merinid 
tradition. And the tale of the Saadians is worth 

They came from Arabia to the Draa (the fruitful 
countr}' south of the Great Atlas) early in the fif- 
teenth century, when the Merinid empire was 
already near disintegration. Like all previous in- 
vaders they preached the doctrine of a pure Islam- 
ism to the polytheistic and indifferent Berbers, and 
found a ready hearing because they denounced the 
evils of a divided empire, and also because the 
whole of Morocco was in revolt against the Chris- 
tian colonies of Spain and Portugal, which had en- 
circled the coast from Ceuta to Agadir with a chain 
of fortified counting-houses. To bouter dehors the 
money-making unbeliever was an object that found 
adherents from the Rif to the Sahara, and the 
Saadian cherifs soon rallied a mighty following to 
their standard. Islam, though it never really gave 
a creed to the Berbers, supplied them with a war- 
cry as potent to-day as when it first rang across 

The history of the Saadians is a foreshortened 
record of that of all their predecessors. They over- 

I 151 ] 


threw the artistic and luxurious Merinids, and in 
their turn became artistic and luxurious. Their 
greatest Sultan, Abou-el-Abbas, surnamed *'The 
Golden," after defeating the Merinids and putting 
an end to Christian rule in Morocco by the crush- 
ing victory of El-Ksar (1578), bethought him in his 
turn of enriching himself and beautifying his capital, 
and with this object in view turned his attention to 
the black kingdoms of the south. 

Senegal and the Soudan, which had been Moham- 
medan since the eleventh century, had attained in 
the sixteenth century a high degree of commercial 
wealth and artistic civilization. The Sultanate of 
Timbuctoo seems in reality to have been a thriving 
empire, and if Timbuctoo was not the Claude-like 
vision of Carthaginian palaces which it became in 
the tales of imaginative travellers, it apparently 
had something of the magnificence of Fez and Mar- 

The Saadian army, after a march of four and a 
half months across the Sahara, conquered the whole 
black south. Senegal, the Soudan and Bornou sub- 
mitted to Abou-el-Abbas, the Sultan of Timbuctoo 
was dethroned, and the celebrated negro jurist 
Ahmed-Baba was brought a prisoner to Marrakech, 

[ 152 ] 


where his chief sorrow appears to have been for 
the loss of his Hbrary of 1,G00 volumes — though he 
declared that, of all the numerous members of his 
family, it was he who possessed the smallest num- 
ber of books. 

Besides this learned bibliophile, the Sultan 
Abou-el-Abbas brought back with him an immense 
booty, principally of ingots of gold, from which he 
took his surname of "The Golden"; and as the 
result of the expedition Marrakech was embellished 
with mosques and palaces for which the Sultan 
brought marble from Carrara, paying for it with 
loaves of sugar from the sugar-cane that the Saa- 
dians grew in the Souss. 

In spite of these brilliant beginnings the rule of 
the dj^nasty was short and without subsequent in- 
terest. Based on a fanatical antagonism against 
the foreigner, and fed by the ever-wakeful hatred 
of the Moors for their Spanish conquerors, it raised 
ever higher the Chinese walls of exclusiveness which 
the more enlightened Almohads and Merinids had 
sought to overthrow. Henceforward less and less 
daylight and fresh air were to penetrate into the 
souks of Morocco. 

The day after our unsuccessful attempt to see 

[ 153 ] 


the tombs of these ephemeral rulers we received 
another message, naming an hour for our visit; and 
this time the Pasha's representative was waiting in 
the archway. We followed his lead, under the 
openly mistrustful glances of the Arabs who hung 
about the square, and after picking our way through 
a twisting land between walls we came out into a 
filthy nettle-grown space against the ramparts. At 
intervals of about thirty feet splendid square towers 
rose from the walls, and facing one of them lay a 
group of crumbling buildings masked behind other 

We were led first into a narrow mosque or pray- 
ing-chapel, like those of the Medersas, with a cof- 
fered cedar ceiling resting on four marble columns, 
and traceried walls of unusually beautiful design. 
From this chapel we passed into the hall of the 
tombs, a cube about forty feet square. Fourteen 
columns of colored marble sustain a domed ceiling 
of gilded cedar, with an exterior deambulatory 
under a tunnel-vaulting also roofed with cedar. 
The walls are, as usual, of chiselled stucco, above 
revetements of ceramic mosaic, and between the 
columns lie the white marble cenotaphs of the 

[ 154 ] 


Saadian Sultans, covered with Arabic inscriptions 
in the most deHcate low-relief. Beyond this cen- 
tral mausoleum, and balancing the praying-chapel, 
lies another long narrow chamber, gold-ceilinged 
also, and containing a few tombs. 

It is difficult, in describing the architecture of 
Morocco, to avoid producing an impression of 
monotony. The ground -plan of mosques and Me- 
dersas is always practically the same; and the same 
elements, few in number and endlessly repeated, 
make up the materials and the form of the orna- 
ment. The effect upon the eye is not monotonous, 
for a patient art has infinitely varied the combina- 
tions of pattern and the juxtapositions of color; 
while the depth of undercutting of the stucco, and 
the treatment of the bronze doors and of the carved 
cedar corbels, necessarily varies with the periods 
which produced them. 

But in the Saadian mausoleum a new element has 
been introduced which makes this little monument 
a thing apart. The marble columns supporting 
the roof appear to be unique in Moroccan archi- 
tecture, and they lend themselves to a new roof- 
plan which relates the building rather to the tradi- 

[ 155 ] 


tion of Venice or Byzantine by way of Kairouan 
and Cordova. 

The late date of the monument precludes any 
idea of a direct artistic tradition. The most prob- 
able explanation seems to be that the architect of 
the mausoleum was familiar with European Renais- 
sance architecture, and saw the beauty to be de- 
rived from using precious marbles not merely as 
ornament, but in the Roman and Italian way, as a 
structural element. Panels and fountain-basins are 
ornament, and ornament changes nothing essential 
in architecture; but when, for instance, heavy 
square piers are replaced by detached columns, a 
new style results. 

It is not only the novelty of its plan that makes 
the Saadian mausoleum singular among Moroccan 
monuments. The details of its ornament are of 
the most intricate refinement: it seems as though 
the last graces of the expiring Merinid art had been 
gathered up into this rare blossom. And the slant 
of sunlight on lustrous columns, the depths of 
fretted gold, the dusky ivory of the walls and the 
pure white of the cenotaphs, so classic in spareness 
of ornament and simplicity of design — this subtle 

[ 156 1 

Friitii a phnlojrajih by M. Atnlrc i hirnUon 

Marrakech — Mausuleuiii i>f i\w Saadian Sultans (sixteenth century) showing 

t!if tombs 


harmony of form and color gives to the dim rich 
chapel an air of dream-hkc unreahty. 

And how can it seem other than a dream ? \Mio 
can have conceived, in the heart of a savage Saha- 
ran camp, the serenity and balance of this hidden 
place? And how came such fragile loveliness to 
survive, preserving, behind a screen of tumbling 
walls, of nettles and offal and dead beasts, every 
curve of its traceries and every cell of its honey- 
combing ? 

Such questions inevitably bring one back to the 
central riddle of the mysterious North African civ- 
ilization : the perpetual flux and the immovable sta- 
bility, the barbarous customs and sensuous refine- 
ments, the absence of artistic originality and the 
gift for regrouping borrowed motives, the patient 
and exquisite workmanship and the immediate neg- 
lect and degradation of the thing once made. 

Revering the dead and camping on their graves, 
elaborating exquisite monuments only to abandon 
and defile them, venerating scholarship and wisdom 
and living in ignorance and grossness, these gifted 
races, perpetually struggling to reach some higher 
level of culture from which they have always been 

[ 157] 


swept down by a fresh wave of barbarism, are still 
only a people in the making. 

It may be that the political stability which 
France is helping them to acquire will at last give 
their higher qualities time for fruition; and when 
one looks at the mausoleum of Marrakech and the 
Medersas of Fez one feels that, were the experiment 
made on artistic grounds alone, it would yet be 
well worth making. 

[ 158 ] 




TO occidental travellers the most vivid im- 
pression produced by a first contact with 
the Near East is the surprise of being in 
a country where the human element increases in- 
stead of diminishing the delight of the eye. 

After all, then, the intimate harmony between 
nature and architecture and the human body that 
is revealed in Greek art was not an artist's counsel 
of perfection but an honest rendering of reality: 
there were, there still are, privileged scenes where 
the fall of a green-grocer's draperies or a milkman's 
cloak or a beggar's rags are part of the composition, 
distinctly related to it in line and colour, and where 
the natural unstudied attitudes of the human body 
are correspondingly harmonious, however hum- 

[ IGl ] 


drum the acts it is engaged in. The discovery, 
to the traveller returning from the East, robs the 
most romantic scenes of western Europe of half 
their charm: in the Piazza of San Marco, in the 
market-place of Siena, where at least the robes 
of the Procurators or the gay tights of Pinturic- 
chio's striplings once justified man's presence 
among his works, one can see, at first, only the out- 
rage inflicted on beauty by the ''plentiful strutting 
manikins" of the modern world. 

Moroccan crowds are always a feast to the eye. 
The instinct of skilful drapery, the sense of colour 
(subdued by custom, but breaking out in subtle 
glimpses under the universal ashy tints) make 
the humblest assemblage of donkey-men and water- 
carriers an ever-renewed delight. But it is only 
on rare occasions, and in the court ceremonies to 
w^hich so few foreigners have had access, that the 
hidden sumptuousness of the native life is revealed. 
Even then, the term sumptuousness may seem 
ill-chosen, since the nomadic nature of African life 
persists in spite of palaces and chamberlains and 
all the elaborate ritual of the Makhzen, and the 
most pompous rites are likely to end in a dusty 

[ 162 ] 


gallop of wild tribesmen, and the most princely 
processions to tail off in a string of half-naked 
urchins riding bareback on donkeys. 

As in all Oriental countries, the contact between 
prince and l)eggar, vizier and serf is disconcert- 
ingly free and familiar, and one must see the 
highest court officials kissing the hem of the Sul- 
tan's robe, and hear authentic tales of slaves given 
by one merchant to another at the end of a con- 


vivial evening, to be reminded that nothing is as 
democratic in appearance as a society of which 
the whole structure hangs on the whim of one 



In the verandah of the Residence of Rabat I stood 
looking out between posts festooned with gentian- 
blue ipomeas at the first shimmer of light on black 
cypresses and white tobacco-flowers, on the scat- 
tered roofs of the new town, and the plain stretch- 
ing away to the Sultan's palace above the sea. 

We had been told, late the night before, that 
the Sultan would allow Madame Lyautey, with 

[ 163 ] 


the three ladies of her party, to be present at the 
great rehgious rite of the Aid-el-Kebir (the Sacri- 
fice of the Sheep). The honour was an unprece- 
dented one, a favour probably conceded only at 
the last moment: for as a rule no women are ad- 
mitted to these ceremonies. It was an opportunity 
not to be missed; and all through the short stifling 
night I had lain awake wondering if I should be 
ready early enough. Presently the motors as- 
sembled, and we set out with the French officers 
in attendance on the Governor's wife. 

The Sultan's palace, a large modern building on 
the familiar Arab lines, lies in a treeless and gar- 
denless waste enclosed by high walls and close 
above the blue Atlantic. We motored past the 
gates, where the Sultan's Black Guard was drawn 
up, and out to the msalla* a sort of common ad- 
jacent to all the Sultan's residences where public 
ceremonies are usually performed. The sun was 
already beating down on the great plain thronged 
with horsemen and with the native population of 
Rabat on mule-back and foot. Within an open 

* The visalla is used for the performance of religious ceremonies when the 
crowd is too great to be contained in the court of the mosque. 

[ 164 ] 


space in the centre of the crowd a canvas pahssade 
dyed with a bold black pattern surrounded the 
Sultan's tents. The Black Guard, in scarlet tunics 
and white and green turbans, were drawn up on 
the edge of the open space, keeping the spectators 
at a distance; but under the guidance of our com- 
panions we penetrated to the edge of the crowd. 

The palissade was open on one side, and within 
it we could see moving about among the snowy- 
robed officials a group of men in straight narrow 
gowns of almond-green, peach-blossom, lilac and 
pink; they were the Sultan's musicians, whose 
coloured dresses always flower out conspicuously 
among the white draperies of all the other court 

In the tent nearest the opening, against a back- 
ground of embroidered hangings, a circle of ma- 
jestic turbaned old men squatted placidly on Rabat 
rugs. Presently the circle broke up, there was an 
agitated coming and going, and some one said: 
"The Sultan has gone to the tent at the back of 
the enclosure to kill the sheep." 

A sense of the impending solemnity ran through 
the crowd. The mysterious rumour which is the 

[ 165 ] 


Voice of the Bazaar rose about us like the wind 
in a palm-oasis; the Black Guard fired a salute 
from an adjoining hillock; the clouds of red dust 
flung up by wheeling horsemen thickened and then 
parted, and a white-robed rider sprang out from 
the tent of the Sacrifice with something red and 
dripping across his saddle-bow, and galloped away 
toward Rabat through the shouting. A little 
shiver ran over the group of occidental spectators, 
who knew that the dripping red thing was a sheep 
with its throat so skilfully slit that, if the omen 
were favourable, it would live on through the long 
race to Rabat and gasp out its agonized life on the 
tiles of the Mosque. 

The Sacrifice of the Sheep, one of the four great 
Moslem rites, is simply the annual propitiatory 
offering made by every Mahometan head of a 
family, and by the Sultan as such. It is based not 
on a Koranic injunction, but on the "Souna" or 
record of the Prophet's "custom" or usages, which 
forms an authoritative precedent in Moslem ritual. 
So far goes the Moslem exegesis. In reality, of 
course, the Moslem blood-sacrifice comes, by way 
of the Semitic ritual, from far beyond and behind 

[ 166 1 


it; and the belief that the Sultan's prosperity for 
the coming year depends on the animal's protracted 
agony seems to relate the ceremony to the dark 
magic so deeply rooted in the mysterious tribes 
peopling North Africa long ages before the first 
Phoenician prows had rounded its coast. 

Between the Black Guard and the tents, five 
or six horses were being led up and down by mus- 
cular grooms in snowy tunics. They were hand- 
some animals, as Moroccan horses go, and each 
of a different colour; and on the bay horse was 
a red saddle embroidered in gold, on the piebald 
a saddle of peach-colour and silver, on the chest- 
nut, grass-green encrusted with seed-pearls, on 
the white mare purple housings, and orange velvet 
on the grey. The Sultan's band had struck up 
a shrill hammering and twanging, the salute of 
the Black Guard continued at intervals, and the 
caparisoned steeds began to rear and snort and 
drag back from the cruel Arab bits with their ex- 
quisite niello incrustations. Some one whispered 
that these were His Majesty's horses — and tliat 
it was never known till he appeared which one he 
would mount. 

[ 167 ] 


Presently the crowd about the tents thickened, 
and when it divided again there emerged from it 
a grey horse bearing a motionless figure swathed 
in blinding white. Marching at the horse's bridle, 
lean brown grooms in white tunics rhythmically 
waved long strips of white linen to keep off the 
flies from the Imperial Presence; and beside the 
motionless rider, in a line with his horse's flank, 
rode the Imperial Parasol-bearer, who held above 
the sovereign's head a great sunshade of bright 
green velvet. Slowly the grey horse advanced a 
few yards before the tent; behind rode the court 
dignitaries, followed by the musicians, who looked, 
in their bright scant caftans, like the slender music- 
making angels of a Florentine fresco. 

The Sultan, pausing beneath his velvet dome, 
waited to receive the homage of the assembled 
tribes. An official, riding forward, drew bridle 
and called out a name. Instantly there came 
storming across the plain a wild cavalcade of tribes- 
men, with rifles slung across their shoulders, pis- 
tols and cutlasses in their belts, and twists of 
camel's-hair bound about their turbans. Within 
a few feet of the Sultan they drew in, their leader 

[ 168 ] 


i f. 


uttered a cry and sprang forward, bending to the 
saddle-bow, and with a great shout the tribe gal- 
loped by, each man bowed over his horse's neck 
as he flew past the hieratic figure on the grey 

Again and again this ceremony was repeated, 
the Sultan advancing a few feet as each new group 
thundered toward him. There were more than ten 
thousand horsemen and chieftains from the Atlas 
and the wilderness, and as the ceremony continued 
the dust-clouds grew denser and more fiery -golden, 
till at last the forward-surging lines showed through 
them like blurred images in a tarnished mirror. 

As the Sultan advanced we followed, abreast 
of him and facing the oncoming squadrons. The 
contrast between his motionless figure and the 
wild waves of cavalry beating against it typified 
the strange soul of Islam, with its impetuosity 
forever culminating in impassiveness. The sun 
hung high, a brazen ball in a white sky, darting 
down metallic shafts on the dust-enveloped plain 
and the serene white figure under its umbrella. 
The fat man with a soft round beard-fringed face, 
wrapped in spirals of pure white, one plump hand 


on his embroidered bridle, his yellow-slippered 
feet thrust heel-down in big velvet-lined stirrups, 
became, through sheer immobility, a symbol, a 
mystery, a God. The human flux beat against 
him, dissolved, ebbed away, another spear-crested 
wave swept up behind it and dissolved in turn; and 
he sat on, hour after hour, under the white-hot sky, 
unconscious of the heat, the dust, the tumult, em- 
bodying to the wild factious precipitate hordes a 
long tradition of serene aloofness. 



As the last riders galloped up to do homage we 
were summoned to our motors and driven rapidly 
to the palace. The Sultan had sent word to Mme. 
Lyautey that the ladies of the Imperial harem 
would entertain her and her guests while his Ma- 
jesty received the Resident General, and we had 
to hasten back in order not to miss the next act 
of the spectacle. 

We walked across a long court lined with the 
Black Guard, passed under a gateway, and were 

[ 170 1 


met by a shabbily dressed negress. Traversing a 
hot dazzle of polychrome tiles we reached another 
archway guarded by the chief eunuch, a towering 
black with the enamelled eyes of a basalt bust. 
The eunuch delivered us to other negresses, and 
we entered a labyrinth of inner passages and patios, 
all murmuring and dripping with water. Passing 
down long corridors where slaves in dim greyish 
garments flattened themselves against the walls, 
we caught glimpses of great dark rooms, laundries, 
pantries, bakeries, kitchens, where savoury things 
were brewing and stewing, and where more ne- 
gresses, abandoning their pots and pans, came to 
peep at us from the threshold. In one corner, on 
a bench against a wall hung with matting, grey 
parrots in tall cages were being fed by a slave. 

A narrow staircase mounted to a landing where 
a princess out of an Arab fairy-tale awaited us. 
Stepping softly on her embroidered slippers she 
led us to the next landing, where another golden- 
slippered being smiled out on us, a little girl this 
one, blushing and dimpling under a jewelled diadem 
and pearl-woven braids. On a third landing a 
third damsel appeared, and encircled by the three 

[ 171 ] 


graces we mounted to the tall mirador in the cen- 
tral tower from which we were to look down at 
the coming ceremony. One by one, our little 
guides, kicking off their golden shoes, which a slave 
laid neatly outside the door, led us on soft bare 
feet into the upper chamber of the harem. 

It was a large room, enclosed on all sides by a 
balcony glazed with panes of brightly-coloured 
glass. On a gaudy modern Rabat carpet stood gilt 
armchairs of florid design and a table bearing a 
conmiercial bronze of the "art goods" variety. 
Divans with muslin-covered cushions were ranged 
against the walls and down an adjoining gallery- 
like apartment which was otherwise furnished only 
with clocks. The passion for clocks and other 
mechanical contrivances is common to all un- 
mechanical races, and every chief's palace in North 
Africa contains a collection of time-pieces which 
might be called striking if so many had not ceased 
to go. But those in the Sultan's harem of Rabat 
are remarkable for the fact that, while designed on 
current European models, they are proportioned in 
size to the Imperial dignity, so that a Dutch 
"grandfather" becomes a wardrobe, and the box- 

[ 172 ] 


clock of the European mantelpiece a cupboard that 
has to be set on the floor. At the end of this 
avenue of time-pieces a European double-bed with 
a bright silk quilt covered with Nottingham lace 
stood majestically on a carpeted platform. 

But for the enchanting glimpses of sea and plain 
through the lattices of the gallerj% the apartment of 
the Sultan's ladies falls far short of occidental ideas 
of elegance. But there was hardly time to think 
of this, for the door of the mirador was always open- 
ing to let in another fairy-tale figure, till at last 
we were surrounded by a dozen houris, laughing, 
babbling, taking us by the hand, and putting shy 
questions while they looked at us with caressing 
eyes. They were all (our interpretess whispered) 
the Sultan's "favourites," round-faced apricot- 
tinted girls in their teens, with high cheek-bones, 
full red lips, surprised brown eyes between curved- 
up Asiatic lids, and little brown hands fluttering 
out like birds from their brocaded sleeves. 

In honour of the ceremony, and of Mme. 
Lyautey's visit, they had put on their finest 
clothes, and their freedom of movement was some- 
what hampered by their narrow sumptuous gowns, 

[ 173 1 


with over-draperies of gold and silver brocade and 
pale rosy gauze held in by corset-like sashes of 
gold tissue of Fez, and the heavy silken cords that 
looped their voluminous sleeves. Above their fore- 
heads the hair was shaven like that of an Italian 
fourteenth-century beauty, and only a black line 
as narrow as a pencilled eyebrow showed through 
the twist of gauze fastened by a jewelled clasp 
above the real eye-brows. Over the forehead- 
jewel rose the complicated structure of the head- 
dress. Ropes of black wool were plaited through 
the hair, forming, at the back, a double loop that 
stood out above the nape like the twin handles of 
a vase, the upper veiled in airy shot gauzes and 
fastened with jewelled bands and ornaments. On 
each side of the red cheeks other braids were looped 
over the ears hung with broad earrings of filigree 
set with rough pearls and emeralds, or gold hoops 
and pendants of coral; and an unexpected tulle 
ruff, like that of a Watteau shepherdess, framed 
the round chin above a torrent of necklaces, neck- 
laces of amber, coral, baroque pearls, hung with 
mysterious barbaric amulets and fetiches. As the 
young things moved about us on soft hennaed feet 

[ 174 1 


the light played on shifting gleams of gold and sil- 
ver, blue and violet and apple-green, all harmonized 
and bemisted by clouds of pink and sky-blue; and 
through the changing group capered a little black 
picaninny in a caftan of silver-shot purple with a 
sash of raspberry red. 

But presently there was a flutter in the aviary. 
A fresh pair of hahouchcs clicked on the landing, 
and a young girl, less brilliantly dressed and less 
brilliant of face than the others, came in on bare 
painted feet. Her movements were shy and hesi- 
tating, her large lips pale, her eye-brows less vividly 
dark, her head less jewelled. But all the little hum- 
ming-birds gathered about her with respectful 
rustlings as she advanced toward us leaning on 
one of the young girls, and holding out her ringed 
hand to Mme. Lyautey's curtsey. It was the young 
Princess, the Sultan's legitimate daughter. She 
examined us with sad eyes, spoke a few compli- 
ments through the interpretess, and seated herself 
in silence, letting the others sparkle and chatter. 

Conversation with the shy Princess was flagging 
when one of the favourites beckoned us to the bal- 
cony. We were told we might push open the 

[ 175 ] 


painted panes a few inches, but as we did so the 
butterfly group drew back lest they should be seen 
looking out on the forbidden world. 

Salutes were crashing out again from the direc- 
tion of the msalla: puffs of smoke floated over 
the slopes like thistle-down. Farther off, a pall 
of red vapour veiled the gallop of the last horse- 
men wheeling away toward Rabat. The vapour 
subsided, and moving out of it we discerned a 
slow procession. Pirst rode a detachment of the 
Black Guard, mounted on black horses, and, com- 
ically fierce in their British scarlet and Meccan 
green, a uniform invented at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century by a retired English army of- 
ficer. After the Guard came the standard-bearers 
and the great dignitaries, then the Sultan, still 
aloof, immovable, as if rapt in the contemplation 
of his mystic office. More court officials followed, 
then the bright-gowned musicians on foot, then 
a confused irrepressible crowd of pilgrims, beggars, 
saints, mountebanks, and the other small folk of 
the Bazaar, ending in a line of boys jamming their 
naked heels into the ribs of world-weary donkeys. 

The Sultan rode into the court below us, and 

[ 176 ] 








:-.-; 1 


Vizier and chamberlains, snowy-white against the 
scarlet line of the Guards, hurried forward to kiss 
his draperies, his shoes, his stirrup. Descending 
from his velvet saddle, still entranced, he paced 
across the tiles between a double line of white 
servitors bowing to the ground. White pigeons 
circled over him like petals loosed from a great 
orchard, and he disappeared with his retinue under 
the shadowy arcade of the audience chamber at 
the back of the court. 

At this point one of the favourites called us in 
from the mirador. The door had just opened to 
admit an elderly woman preceded by a respectful 
group of girls. From the newcomer's round ruddy 
face, her short round body, the round hands emerg- 
ing from her round wrists, an inexplicable majesty 
emanated; and though she too was less richly ar- 
rayed than the favourites she carried her head- 
dress of striped gauze like a crown. 

This impressive old lady was the Sultan's mother. 
As she held out her plump wrinkled hand to Mme. 
Lyautey and spoke a few words through the inter- 
pretess one felt that at last a painted window of 
the mirador had been broken, and a thought let 

[ 177 1 


into the vacuum of the harem. "VMiat thought, it 
would have taken deep insight into the processes 
of the Arab mind to discover; but its honesty was 
manifest in the old Empress's voice and smile. 
Here at last was a woman beyond the trivial dis- 
simulations, the childish cunning, the idle cruelties 
of the harem. It was not a surprise to be told that 
she was her son's most trusted adviser, and the 
chief authority in the palace. If such a woman 
deceived and intrigued it would be for great pur- 
poses and for ends she believed in: the depth of 
her soul had air and daylight in it, and she w^ould 
never willingly shut them out. 

The Empress Mother chatted for a while with 
Mme. Lyautey, asking about the Resident General's 
health, enquiring for news of the war, and saying, 
with an emotion perceptible even through the un- 
intelligible words: *'A11 is well with Morocco as 
long as all is well with France." Then she with- 
drew, and we were summoned again to the mira- 

This time it was to see a company of officers 
in brilliant uniforms advancing at a trot across 
the plain from Rabat. At sight of the figure that 

[ 178 ] 


headed them, so sHm, erect and young on his splen- 
did chestnut, witli a pale ))kic tunic barred by the 
wide orange ribbon of the Cherifian Order, salutes 
pealed forth again from the slope above the palace 
and the Black Guard presented arms. A moment 
later General Lyautey and his staff were riding 
in at the gates below us. On the threshold of the 
inner court they dismounted, and moving to the 
other side of our balcony we followed the next 
stage of the ceremony. The Sultan was still seated 
in the audience chamber. The court officials still 
stood drawn up in a snow-white line against the 
snow-white walls. The great dignitaries advanced 
across the tiles to greet the General; then they 
fell aside, and he went forward alone, followed at 
a little distance by his staff. A third of the way 
across the court he paused, in accordance with 
the Moroccan court ceremonial, and bowed in the 
direction of the arcaded room; a few steps farther 
he bowed again, and a third time on the threshold 
of the room. Then French uniforms and Moroccan 
draperies closed in about him, and all vanished into 
the shadows of the audience hall. 

Our audience too seemed to be over. We had 

[ 179 1 


exhausted the limited small talk of the harem, had 
learned from the young beauties that, though they 
were forbidden to look on at the ceremony, the 
dancers and singers would come to entertain them 
presently, and had begun to take leave when a 
negress hurried in to say that his Majesty begged 
Mme. Lyautey and her friends to await his arrival. 
This was the crowning incident of our visit, and I 
wondered with what Byzantine ritual the Anointed 
One fresh from the exercise of his priestly functions 
would be received among his women. 

The door opened, and without any announce- 
ment or other preliminary flourish a fat man with 
a pleasant face, his djellabah stretched over a 
portly front, walked in holding a little boy by the 
hand. Such was his Majesty the Sultan Moulay 
Youssef, despoiled of sacramental burnouses and 
turban, and shufl3ing along on bare yellow-slippered 
feet with the gait of a stout elderly gentleman who 
has taken off his boots in the passage preparatory 
to a domestic evening. 

The little Prince, one of his two legitimate sons, 
was dressed with equal simplicity, for silken gar- 
ments are worn in Morocco only by musicians, 

[ 180 1 


boy-dancers and other hermaphrodite f^y^ With 
his ceremonial raiment the Sultan had put ofF his 
air of superhuman majesty, and the expression of 
his round pale face corresponded with the plainness 
of his dress. The favourites fluttered about him, 
respectful but by no means awestruck, and the 
youngest began to play with the little Prince. We 
could well believe the report that his was the hap- 
piest harem in Morocco, as well as the only one 
into which a breath of the outer world ever came. 
Moulay Youssef greeted Mme. Lyautey with 
friendly simplicity, made the proper speeches to 
her companions, and then, with the air of the busi- 
ness-man who has forgotten to give an order be- 
fore leaving his office, he walked up to a corner of 
the room, and while the flower-maidens ruffled 
about him, and through the windows we saw the 
last participants in the mystic rites galloping away 
toward the crenellated walls of Rabat, his Maj- 
esty the Priest and Emperor of the Faithful un- 
hooked a small instrument from the wall and ap- 
plied his sacred lips to the telephone. 

[ 181 1 



Before General Lyautey came to Morocco Rabat 
had been subjected to the indignity of European 
"improvements," and one must traverse boule- 
vards scored with tram-lines, and pass between 
hotel-terraces and cafes and cinema-palaces, to 
reach the surviving nucleus of the once beautiful 
native town. Then, at the turn of a commonplace 
street, one comes upon it suddenly. The shops 
and cafes cease, the jingle of trams and the trum- 
peting of motor-horns die out, and here, all at once, 
are silence and solitude, and the dignified reticence 
of the windowless Arab house-fronts. 

We were bound for the house of a high govern- 
ment official, a Moroccan dignitary of the old 
school, who had invited us to tea, and added a 
message to the effect that the ladies of his house- 
hold would be happy to receive me. 

The house we sought was some distance down 
the quietest of white-walled streets. Our com- 
panion knocked at a low green door, and we were 
admitted to a passage into which a wooden stairway 

I 182] 


descended. A brother-in-law of our host was wait- 
ing for us: in his wake we mounted the ladder-Hke 
stairs and entered a long room with a florid 
French carpet and a set of gilt furniture to match. 
There were no fretted walls, no painted cedar 
doors, no fountains rustling in unseen courts: the 
house was squeezed in between others, and such 
traces of old ornament as it may have possessed 
had vanished. 

But presently we saw whj' its inhabitants were 
indifferent to such details. Our host, a handsome 
white-bearded old man, welcomed us in the door- 
way; then he led us to a raised oriel window at 
one end of the room, and seated us in the gilt arm- 
chairs face to face with one of the most beautiful 
views in Morocco. 

Below us lay the white and blue terrace-roofs of 
the native town, with palms and minarets shooting 
up between them, or the shadows of a vino-trellis 
patterning a quiet lane. Beyond, the Atlantic 
sparkled, breaking into foam at the mouth of the 
Bou-Regreg and under the towering ramparts of the 
Kasbah of the Oudayas. To the right, the ruins of 
the great Mosque rose from their plateau over the 

[ 183 ] 


river; and, on the farther side of the troubled flood, 
old Sale, white and wicked, lay like a jewel in its 
gardens. With such a scene beneath their eyes, the 
inhabitants of the house could hardly feel its lack 
of architectural interest. 

After exchanging the usual compliments, and 
giving us time to enjoy the view, our host with- 
drew, taking with him the men of our party. A 
moment later he reappeared with a rosy fair-haired 
girl, dressed in Arab costume, but evidently of 
European birth. The brother-in-law explained 
that this young woman, who had "studied in Al- 
geria," and whose mother was French, was the 
intimate friend of the ladies of the household, and 
would act as interpreter. Our host then again 
left us, joining the men visitors in another room, 
and the door opened to admit his wife and daugh- 

The mistress of the house was a handsome 
Algerian with sad expressive eyes: the younger 
women were pale, fat and amiable. They all wore 
sober dresses, in keeping with the simplicity of 
the house, and but for the vacuity of their faces 
the group might have been that of a Professor's 

[ 184 ] 


family in an English or American University town, 
decently costumed for an Arabian Nights' pageant 
in the college grounds. I was never more vividly 
reminded of the fact that human nature, from one 
pole to the other, falls naturally into certain cate- 
gories, and that Respectability wears the same 
face in an Oriental harem as in England or America. 

My hostesses received me with the utmost 
amiability, we seated ourselves in the oriel facing 
the view, and the interchange of questions and 
compliments began. 

Had I any children? (They asked it all at 

Alas, no. 

"In Islam" (one of the ladies ventured) "a 
woman without children is considered the most 
unhappy being in the world." 

I replied that in the western world also childless 
women were pitied. (The brother-in-law smiled 

Knowing that European fashions are of absorb- 
ing interest to the harem I next enquired: *'What 
do these ladies think of our stiff tailor-dresses? 
Don't thej'' find them excessively ugly?" 

[ 185 ] 


"Yes, they do;" (it was again the brother-in- 
law who replied.) "But they suppose that in your 
own homes you dress less badly." 

"And have they never any desire to travel, or 
to visit the Bazaars, as the Turkish ladies do.^^" 

"No, indeed. They are too busy to give such 
matters a thought. In our country women of the 
highest class occupy themselves with their house- 
hold and their children, and the rest of their time 
is devoted to needlework." (At this statement I 
gave the brother-in-law a smile as incredulous as 
his own.) 

All this time the fair-haired interpretess had 
not been allowed by the vigilant guardian of the 
harem to utter a word. 

I turned to her with a question. 

"So your mother is French, Mademoiselle?" 

"Oui, Madame." 

"From what part of France did she come.'^" 

A bewildered pause. Finally: "I don't know 
. . . from Switzerland, I think," brought out this 
shining example of the Higher Education. In spite 
of Algerian "advantages" the poor girl could speak 
only a few words of her mother's tongue. She had 

[ 186 ] 


kept the European features and complexion, but 
her soul was the soul of Islam. The harem had 
placed its powerful imprint upon her, and she 
looked at me with the same remote and passive 
eyes as the daughters of the house. 

After struggling for a while longer with a con- 
versation which the watchful brother-in-law con- 
tinued to direct as he pleased, I felt my own lips 
stiffening into the resigned smile of the harem, 
and it was a relief when at last their guardian drove 
the pale flock away, and the handsome old gentle- 
man who owned them reappeared on the scene, 
bringing back mj^ friends, and followed by slaves 
and tea. 


What thoughts, what speculations, one wonders, 
go on under the narrow veiled brows of the little 
creatures destined to the high honour of marriage 
or concubinage in Moroccan palaces.^ 

Some are brought down from mountains and 
cedar forests, from the free life of the tents where 
the nomad women go unveiled. Others come from 

[ 187 ] 


harems in the turreted cities beyond the Atlas, 
where blue palm-groves beat all night against the 
stars and date-caravans journey across the desert 
from Timbuctoo. Some, born and bred in an airy 
palace among pomegranate gardens and white 
terraces, pass thence to one of the feudal fortresses 
near the snows, where for half the year the great 
chiefs of the south live in their clan, among fight- 
ing men and falconers and packs of sloughis. And 
still others grow up in a stifling Mellah, trip un- 
veiled on its blue terraces overlooking the gardens 
of the great, and, seen one day at sunset by a fat 
vizier or his pale young master, are acquired for 
a handsome sum and transferred to the painted 
sepulchre of the harem. 

Worst of all must be the fate of those who go 
from tents and cedar forests, or from some sea- 
blown garden above Rabat, into one of the houses 
of Old Fez. They are well-nigh impenetrable, these 
palaces of Elbali: the Fazi dignitaries do not wel- 
come the visits of strange women. On the rare 
occasions when they are received, a member of the 
family (one of the sons, or a brother-in-law who 
has "studied in Algeria") usually acts as inter- 

[ 188 ] 


preter; and perhaps it is as well that no one from 
the outer world should come to remind these list- 
less creatures that somewhere the gulls dance on 
the Atlantic and the wind murmurs through olive- 
yards and clatters the metallic fronds of palm- 

We had been invited, one day, to visit the harem 
of one of the chief dignitaries of the Makhzen at 
Fez, and these thoughts came to me as I sat among 
the pale women in their mouldering prison. The 
descent through the steep tunnelled streets gave 
one the sense of being lowered into the shaft of a 
mine. At each step the strip of sky grew narrower, 
and was more often obscured by the low vaulted 
passages into which we plunged. The noises of the 
Bazaar had died out, and only the sound of foun- 
tains behind garden w'alls and the clatter of our 
mules' hoofs on the stones went with us. Then 
fountains and gardens ceased also, the towering 
masonrv closed in, and we entered an almost sub- 
terranean labyrinth which sun and air never reach. 
At length our mules turned into a cul-de-sac blocked 
by a high buijding. On the right was another build- 
ing, one of those blind mysterious house-fronts of 

[ 189 1 


Fez that seem like a fragment of its ancient forti- 
fications. Clients and servants lounged on the 
stone benches built into the wall; it was evidently 
the house of an important person. A charming 
youth with intelligent eyes waited on the threshold 
to receive us: he was one of the sons of the house, 
the one who had "studied in Algeria" and knew 
how to talk to visitors. We followed him into a 
small arcaded "patio hemmed in by the high walls 
of the house. On the right was the usual long room 
with archways giving on the court. Our host, a 
patriarchal personage, draped in fat as in a toga, 
came toward us, a mountain of majestic muslins, 
his eyes sparkling in a swarthy silver-bearded face. 
He seated us on divans and lowered his voluminous 
person to a heap of cushions on the step leading 
into the court; and the son who had studied in 
Algeria instructed a negress to prepare the tea. 

Across the patio was another arcade closely hung 
with unbleached cotton. From behind it came the 
sound of chatter, and now and then a bare brown 
child in a scant shirt would escape, and be hur- 
riedly pulled back with soft explosions of laughter, 
while a black woman came out to readjust the 

[ 190 ] 


There were three of these negresses, splendid 
bronze creatures, wearing white djellabahs over 
bright-coloured caftans, striped scarves knotted 
about their large hips, and gauze turbans on their 
crinkled hair. Their wrists clinked with heavy 
silver bracelets, and big circular earrings danced 
in their purple ear-lobes. A languor lay on all the 
other inmates of the household, on the servants 
and hangers-on squatting in the shade under the 
arcade, on our monumental host and his smiling 
son; but the three negresses, vibrating wuth activ- 
ity, rushed continually from the curtained chamber 
to the kitchen, and from the kitchen to the master's 
reception-room, bearing on their pinky-blue palms 
trays of Britannia metal with tall glasses and fresh 
bunches of mint, shouting orders to dozing menials, 
and calling to each other from opposite ends of 
the court; and finally the stoutest of the three, 
disappearing from view, reappeared suddenly on 
a pale green balcony overhead, where, i)rofiled 
against a square of blue sky, she leaned over in a 
Veronese attitude and screamed down to the others 
like an excited parrot. 

In spite of their febrile activity and tropical 
bird-shrieks, we waited in vain for tea; and after 

[ 191 ] 


a while our host suggested to his son that I might 
like to visit the ladies of the household. As I had 
expected, the young man led me across the patio , 
lifted the cotton hanging and introduced me into 
an apartment exactly like the one we had just 
left. Divans covered with striped mattress-ticking 
stood against the white walls, and on them sat 
seven or eight passive-looking women over whom 
a number of pale children scrambled. 

The eldest of the group, and evidently the mis- 
tress of the house, was an Algerian lady, probably 
of about fifty, with a sad and delicately-modelled 
face; the others were daughters, daughters-in- 
law and concubines. The latter word evokes to 
occidental ears images of sensual seduction which 
the Moroccan harem seldom realizes. All the ladies 
of this dignified oflScial household wore the same 
look of somewhat melancholy respectability. In 
their stuffy curtained apartment they were like 
cellar-grown flowers, pale, heavy, fuller but frailer 
than the garden sort. Their dresses, rich but sober, 
the veils and diadems put on in honour of my visit, 
had a dignified dowdiness in odd contrast to the 
frivolity of the Imperial harem. But what chiefly 

[ 192 ] 


struck me was the apathy of the younger women. 
I asked them if they had a garden, and they shook 
their heads wistfully, saying that there were no 
gardens in Old Fez. The roof was therefore their 
only escape: a roof overlooking acres and acres of 
other roofs, and closed in by the naked fortified 
mountains which stand about Fez like prison-walls. 
After a brief exchange of compliments silence 
fell. Conversing through interpreters is a benumb- 
ing process, and there are few points of contact 
between the open-air occidental mind and beings 
imprisoned in a conception of sexual and domestic 
life based on slave-service and incessant espionage. 
These languid women on their muslin cushions 
toil not, neither do they spin. The Moroccan lady 
knows little of cooking, needlework or any house- 
hold arts. When her child is ill she can only hang 
it with amulets and wail over it; the great lady 
of the Fazi palace is as ignorant of hygiene as the 
peasant-woman of the bled. And all these colour- 
less eventless lives depend on the favour of one 
fat tyrannical man, bloated with good living and 
authority, himself almost as inert and sedentary 
as his women, and accustomed to impose his whims 

[ 193 ] 


on them ever since he ran about the same patio 
as a Httle short-smocked boy. 

The redeeming point in this stagnant domesticity 
is the tenderness of the parents for their children, 
and western writers have laid so much stress on 
this that one would suppose children could be loved 
only by inert and ignorant parents. It is in fact 
charming to see the heavy eyes of the Moroccan 
father light up when a brown grass-hopper baby 
jumps on his knee, and the unfeigned tenderness 
with which the childless women of the harem caress 
the babies of their happier rivals. But the senti- 
mentalist moved by this display of family feeling 
would do well to cpnsider the lives of these much- 
petted children. Ignorance, unheal thiness and a 
precocious sexual initiation prevail in all classes. 
Education consists in learning by heart endless pas- 
sages of the Koran, and amusement in assisting at 
spectacles that would be unintelligible to western 
children, but that the pleasantries of the harem 
make perfectly comprehensible to Moroccan in- 
fancy. At eight or nine the little girls are married, 
at twelve the son of the house is "given his first 
negress"; and thereafter, in the rich and leisured 

[ 194 1 


class, both sexes live till old age in an atmosphere 
of sensuality without seduction. 

The young son of the house led me back across 
the court, where the negresses were still shrieking 
and scurrying, and passing to and fro like a stage- 
procession with the vain paraphernalia of a tea 
that never came. Our host still smiled from his 
cushions, resigned to Oriental delays. To distract 
the impatient westerners, a servant unhooked from 
the wall the cage of a gently-cooing dove. It was 
brought to us, still cooing, and looked at me with 
the same resigned and vacant ej^es as the ladies I 
had just left. As it was being restored to its hook 
the slaves lolling about the entrance scattered re- 
spectfully at the approach of a handsome man of 
about thirty, with delicate features and a black 
beard. Crossing the court, he stooped to kiss the 
shoulder of our host, who introduced him as his 
eldest son, the husband of one or two of the little 
pale wives with whom I had been exchanging plati- 

From the increasing agitation of the negresses 
it became evident that the ceremony of tea-making 
had been postponed till his arrival. A metal tray 

[ 195 ] 


bearing a Britannia samovar and tea-pot was placed 
on the tiles of the court, and squatting beside it 
the newcomer gravely proceeded to infuse the mint. 
Suddenly the cotton hangings fluttered again, and 
a tiny child in the scantest of smocks rushed out 
and scampered across the court. Our venerable 
host, stretching out rapturous arms, caught the 
fugitive to his bosom, where the little boy lay like 
a squirrel, watching us with great sidelong eyes. 
He was the last-born of the patriarch, and the 
youngest brother of the majestic bearded gentle- 
man engaged in tea-making. While he was still 
in his father's arms two more sons appeared: 
charming almond-eyed schoolboys returning from 
their Koran-class, escorted by their slaves. All 
the sons greeted each other affectionately, and 
caressed with almost feminine tenderness the danc- 
ing baby so lately added to their ranks; and finally, 
to crown this scene of domestic intimacy, the three 
negresses, their gigantic effort at last accomplished, 
passed about glasses of steaming mint and trays of 
gazelles' horns and white sugar-cakes. 

[ 196] 



The farther one travels from the Mediterranean 
and Europe the closer the curtains of the women's 
quarters are drawn. The only harem in which 
we were allowed an interpreter was that of the 
Sultan himself; in the private harems of Fez and 
Rabat a French-speaking relative transmitted (or 
professed to transmit) our remarks; in Marrakech, 
the great nobleman and dignitary who kindly in- 
vited me to visit his household was deaf to our 
hint that the presence of a lady from one of the 
French government schools might facilitate our 

When we drove up to his palace, one of the 
stateliest in Marrakech, the street was thronged 
with clansmen and clients. Dignified merchants 
in white muslin, whose grooms held white mules 
saddled with rose-coloured velvet, warriors from 
the Atlas wearing the corkscrew ringlets which 
are a sign of mihtary prowess, Jewish traders in 
black gabardines, leather-gaitered peasant-women 
with chickens and cheese, and beggars rolling their 

[ 197 ] 


blind eyes or exposing their fly-plastered sores, 
were gathered in Oriental promiscuity about the 
great man's door; while under the archway stood 
a group of youths and warlike-looking older men 
who were evidently of his own clan. 

The Caid's chamberlain, a middle-aged man of 
dignified appearance, advanced to meet us between 
bowing clients and tradesmen. He led us through 
cool passages lined with the intricate mosaic-work 
of Fez, past beggars who sat on stone benches 
whining out their blessings, and pale Fazi craftsmen 
laying a floor of delicate tiles. The Caid is a lover 
of old Arab architecture. His splendid house, 
which is not yet finished, has been planned and 
decorated on the lines of the old Imperial palaces, 
and when a few years of sun and rain and Oriental 
neglect have worked their way on its cedar-wood 
and gilding and ivory stucco it will have the same 
faded loveliness as the fairy palaces of Fez. 

In a garden where fountains splashed and roses 
climbed among cypresses, the Caid himself awaited 
us. This great fighter and loyal friend of France 
is a magnificent eagle-beaked man, brown, lean 
and sinewy, with vigilant eyes looking out under 

[ 198 1 


his carefully draped muslin turban, and negroid 
lips half-hidden by a close black beard. 

Tea was prepared in the familiar setting; a long 
arcaded room with painted ceiling and richly 
stuccoed walls. All around were ranged the usual 
mattresses covered with striped ticking and piled 
with muslin cushions. A bedstead of brass, imitat- 
ing a Louis XVI cane bed, and adorned with brass 
garlands and bows, throned on the usual platform; 
and the only other ornaments were a few clocks 
and bunches of wax flowers under glass. Like all 
Orientals, this hero of the Atlas, who spends half 
his life with his fighting clansmen in a mediaival 
stronghold among the snows, and the other half 
rolling in a 60 h. p. motor over smooth French roads, 
seems unaware of any degrees of beauty or ap- 
propriateness in objects of European design, and 
places against the exquisite mosaics and traceries 
of his Fazi craftsmen the tawdriest bric-a-brac of 
the cheap department-store. 

WTiile tea was being served I noticed a tiny 
negress, not more than six or seven years old, who 
stood motionless in the embrasure of an archwav. 
Like most of the Moroccan slaves, even in the 

[ 199 1 


greatest households, she was shabbily, almost 
raggedly, dressed. A dirty gandourah of striped 
muslin covered her faded caftan, and a cheap ker- 
chief was wound above her grave and precocious 
little face. With preternatural vigilance she 
watched each movement of the Caid, who never 
spoke to her, looked at her, or made her the 
slightest perceptible sign, but whose least wish she 
instantly divined, refilling his tea-cup, passing the 
plates of sweets, or removing our empty glasses, 
in obedience to some secret telegraphy on which 
her whole being hung. 

The Caid is a great man. He and his famous 
elder brother, holding the southern marches of 
Morocco against alien enemies and internal re- 
bellion, played a preponderant part in the defence 
of the French colonies in North Africa during the 
long struggle of the war. Enlightened, cultivated, 
a friend of the arts, a scholar and diplomatist, he 
seems, unlike many Orientals, to have selected 
the best in assimilating European influences. Yet 
when I looked at the tiny creature watching him 
with those anxious joyless eyes I felt once more 
the abyss that slavery and the seraglio put between 

[ 200 ] 


the most European Ized Mahometan and the west- 
ern conception of Hfe. The Caid's Httle black 
slaves are well-known in Morocco, and behind the 
sad child leaning in the archway stood all the 
shadowy evils of the social system that hangs like 
a millstone about the neck of Islam. 

Presently a handsome tattered negress came 
across the garden to invite me to the harem. Cap- 
tain de S. and his wife, who had accompanied 
me, were old friends of the Chief's, and it was owing 
to this that the jealously-guarded doors of the 
women's quarters were opened to Mme de S. and 
myself. We followed the negress to a marble- 
paved court where pigeons fluttered and strutted 
about the central fountain. From under a trellised 
arcade hung with linen curtains several ladies came 
forward. They greeted my companion with ex- 
clamations of delight; then they led us into the 
usual commonplace room with divans and white- 
washed walls. Even in the most sumptuous Mo- 
roccan palaces little care seems to be expended on 
the fittings of the women's quarters: unless, in- 
deed, the room in which visitors are received corre- 
sponds with a boarding-school *' parlour," and 

[ 201 ] 


the personal touch is reserved for the private apart- 

The ladies who greeted us were more richly 
dressed than any I had seen except the Sultan's 
favourites; but their faces were more distinguished, 
more European in outline, than those of the round- 
cheeked beauties of Rabat. My companions had 
told me that the Cai'd's harem was recruited from 
Georgia, and that the ladies receiving us had been 
brought up in the relative freedom of life in Con- 
stantinople; and it was easy to read in their wist- 
fully smiling eyes memories of a life unknown to 
the passive daughters of Morocco. 

They appeared to make no secret of their regrets, 
for presently one of them, with a smile, called my 
attention to some faded photographs hanging over 
the divan. They represented groups of plump pro- 
vincial-looking young women in dowdy European 
ball-dresses; and it required an effort of the imag- 
ination to believe that the lovely creatures in velvet 
caftans, with delicately tattooed temples under com- 
plicated head-dresses, and hennaed feet crossed on 
muslin cushions, were the same as the beaming 
frumps in the photographs. But to the sump- 

[ 202 ] 


tuously-clad exiles these faded photographs and 
ugly dresses represented freedom, happiness, and 
all they had forfeited when fate (probably in the 
shape of an opulent Hebrew couple '* travelling 
with their daughters") carried them from the Bos- 
phorus to the Atlas. 

As in the other harems I had visited, perfect 
equality seemed to prevail between the ladies, and 
while they chatted with Mme de S. whose few 
words of Arabic had loosed their tongues, I tried 
to guess which was the favourite, or at least the 
first in rank. My choice wavered between the 
pretty pale creature with a ferronniere across her 
temples and a tea-rose caftan veiled in blue gauze, 
and the nut-brown beauty in red velvet hung with 
pearls whose languid attitudes and long-lidded 
eyes were so like the Keepsake portraits of Byron's 
Haidee. Or was it perhaps the third, less pretty 
but more vivid and animated, who sat behind the 
tea-tray, and mimicked so expressively a soldier 
shouldering his rifle, and another falling dead, in 
her effort to ask us "when the dreadful war would 
be over"? Perhaps . . . unless, indeed, it were 
the handsome octoroon, slightly older than the 

[ 203 ] 


others, but even more richly dressed, so free and 
noble in her movements, and treated by the others 
with such friendly deference. 

I was struck by the fact that among them all 
there was not a child; it was the first harem with- 
out babies that I had seen in that prolific land. 
Presently one of the ladies asked Mme. de S. about 
her children; in reply, she enquired for the Caid's 
little boy, the son of his wife who had died. The 
ladies' faces lit up wistfully, a slave was given an 
order, and presently a large-eyed ghost of a child 
was brought into the room. 

Instantly all the bracelet-laden arms were held 
out to the dead woman's son; and as I watched 
the weak little body hun^ with amulets and the 
heavy head covered with thin curls pressed against 
a brocaded bosom, I was reminded of one of the 
coral-hung child-Christs of Crivelli, standing livid 
and waxen on the knee of a splendidly dressed 

The poor baby on whom such hopes and am- 
bitions hung stared at us with a solemn unamused 
gaze. AVould all his pretty mothers, his eyes 
seemed to ask, succeed in bringing him to maturity 

[ 204 1 


in spite of the parched summers of the south and 
the stifling existence of the harem? It was evi- 
dent that no precaution had been neglected to 
protect him from maleficent influences and the 
danger that walks by night, for his frail neck and 
wrists were hung with innumerable charms: Ko- 
ranic verses, Soudanese incantations, and images 
of forgotten idols in amber and coral and horn and 
ambergris. Perhaps they will ward off the powers 
of evil, and let him grow up to shoulder the burden 
of the great Caids of the south. 

[ 205 1 






IT is not too much to say that General Lyautey 
has twice saved Morocco from destruction: 
once in 1912, when the inertia and double- 
dealing of Abd-el-Hafid abandoned the country to 
the rebellious tribes who had attacked him in Fez, 
and the second time in August, 1914, when Ger- 
many declared war on France. 

In 1912, in consequence of tlie threatening atti- 
tude of the dissident tribes and the generally dis- 
turbed condition of the country, the Sultan Abd-el- 
Hafid had asked France to establish a protectorate 
in Morocco. The agreement entered into, called 
the "Convention of Fez," stipulated that a French 
Resident -General should be sent to Morocco with 
authority to act as the Sultan's sole representative 
in treating with the other powers. The convention 

[ 209 ] 


was signed in March, 1912, and a few days after- 
ward an uprising more serious than any that had 
gone before took place in Fez. This sudden out- 
break was due in part to purely local and native 
difficulties, in part to the intrinsic weakness of the 
French situation. The French government had 
imagined that a native army commanded by French 
officers could be counted on to support the Makh- 
zen and maintain order; but Abd-el-Hafid's grow- 
ing unpopularity had estranged his own people 
from him, and the army turned on the government 
and on the French. On the 17th of April, 1912, 
the Moroccan soldiers massacred their French offi- 
cers after inflicting horrible tortures on them; the 
population of Fez rose against the European civil- 
ians, and for a fortnight the Oued Fez ran red with 
the blood of harmless French colonists. It was 
then that France appointed General Lyautey Resi- 
dent-General in Morocco. 

When he reached Fez it was besieged by twenty 
thousand Berbers. Rebel tribes were flocking in 
to their support, to the cry of the Holy War; and 
the terrified Sultan, who had already announced 
his intention of resigning, warned the French troops 

[ 210 J 


who were trying to protect him that unless they 
guaranteed to get him safely to Rabat he would 
turn his influence against them. Two days after- 
ward the Berbers attacked Fez and broke in at two 
gates. The French drove them out and forced 
them back twenty miles. The outskirts of the city 
were rapidly fortified, and a few weeks later General 
Gouraud, attacking the rebels in the valley of the 
Sebou, completely disengaged Fez. 

The military danger overcome, General Lyautey 
began his great task of civilian administration. 
His aim was to support and strengthen the existing 
government, to reassure and pacify the distrustful 
and antagonistic elements, and to assert French 
authority without irritating or discouraging native 

Meanwhile a new Mandi (Anmed-el-Hiba) had 
risen in the south. Treacherously supported by 
Abd-el-Hafid, he was proclaimed Sultan at Tiznit, 
and acknowledged by the whole of the Souss. In 
Marrakech, native unrest had caused the Euro- 
peans to fly to the coast, and in the north a new 
group of rebellious tribes menaced Fez. 

El-Hiba entered Marrakech in August, 1912, and 

I 211 1 


the French consul and several other French resi- 
dents were taken prisoner. El-Hiba's forces then 
advanced to a point half way between Marrakech 
and Mazagan, where General Mangin, at that time 
I a colonial colonel, met and utterly routed them. 
The disorder in the south, and the appeals of the 
native population for protection against the savage 
depredations of the new Mahdist rebels, made it 
necessary for the French troops to follow up their 
success; and in September Marrakech was taken. 

Such were the swift and brilliant results of Gen- 
eral Lyautey's intervention. The first difficulties 
had been quickly overcome; others, far more com- 
plicated, remained. The military occupation of 
Morocco had to be followed up by its civil reor- 
ganization. By the Franco-German treaty of 1911 
Germany had finally agreed to recognize the French 
protectorate in Morocco; but in spite of an appar- 
ently explicit acknowledgment of this right, Ger- 
many, as usual, managed to slip into the contract 
certain ambiguities of form that were likely to 
lead to future trouble. 

To obtain even this incomplete treaty France 
had had to sacrifice part of her colonies in equatorial 
Africa; and in addition to the uncertain relation 

[ 212 ] 


with Germany there remained the dead weight of 
the Spanish zone and the confused international 
administration of Tangier. The disastrously mis- 
governed Spanish zone has always been a centre 
for German intrigue and native conspiracies, as 
well as a permanent obstacle to the economic de- 
velopment of Morocco. 

Such were the problems that General Lyautey 
found awaiting him. A long colonial experience, 
and an unusual combination of military and admin- 
istrative talents, prepared him for the almost im- 
possible task of dealing with them. Swift and de- 
cisive when military action is required, he has above 
all the long views and endless patience necessary 
to the successful colonial governor. The policy of 
France in Morocco has been weak and spasmodic; 
in his hands it became firm and consecutive. A 
sympathetic understanding of the native prejudices, 
and a real affection for the native character, made 
him try to build up an administration which should 
be, not an application of French ideas to African 
conditions, but a development of the best native 
aspirations. The difficulties were immense. The 
attempt to govern as far as possible through the 
Great Chiefs was a wise one; but it was hampered 

[ 213 ] 


by the fact that these powerful leaders, however 
loyal to the Protectorate, knew no methods of ad- 
ministration but those based on extortion. It was 
necessary at once to use them and to educate them; 
and one of General Lyautey's greatest achieve- 
ments has been the successful employment of native 
ability in the government of the country. 


The first thing to do was to create a strong frontier 
against the dissident tribes of the Blad-es-Siba. 
To do this it was necessary that the French should 
hold the natural defenses of the country, the foot- 
hills of the Little and of the Great Atlas, and the 
valley of the Moulouya, which forms the corridor 
between western Algeria and Morocco. This was 
nearly accomplished in 1914 when war broke out. 
At that moment the home government cabled 
the Resident-General to send all his available 
troops to France, abandoning the whole of con- 
quered territory except the coast towns. To do so 
would have been to give France's richest colonies* 

* The loss of Morocco would inevitably have been followed by that of the 
whole of French North Africa. 

I 214 ] 


outright to Germany at a moment when what they 
could supply — meat and wheat — was exactly what 
the enemy most needed. 

General Lyautey took forty-eight hours to con- 
sider. He then decided to "empty the egg without 
breaking the shell"; and the reply he sent was that 
of a great patriot and a great general. In effect he 
said: *'I will give you all the troops you ask, but 
instead of abandoning the interior of the country I 
will hold what we have already taken, and fortify 
and enlarge our boundaries." No other military 
document has so nearly that ring as Marshal Foch's 
immortal Marne despatch (written only a few 
weeks later): "My centre is broken, my right wing 
is wavering, the situation is favorable and I am 
about to attack." 

General Lyautey had framed his answer in a 
moment of patriotic exaltation, when the soul of 
every Frenchman w^as strung up to a superhuman 
pitch. But the pledge once made, it had to be 
carried out; and even those who most applauded 
his decision wondered how he would meet the 
almost insuperable difficulties it involved. Mo- 
rocco, when he was called there, was already honey- 

l 215 ] 


combed by German trading interests and secret 
political intrigue, and the fruit seemed ready to 
fall when the declaration of war shook the bough. 
The only way to save the colony for France was to 
keep its industrial and agricultural life going, and 
give to the famous *' business as usual" a really 
justifiable application. 

General Lyautey completely succeeded, and the 
first impression of all travellers arriving in Morocco 
two years later was that of suddenly returning to a 
world in normal conditions. There was even, so 
complete was the illusion, a first moment of almost 
painful surprise on entering an active prosperous 
community, seemingly absorbed in immediate ma- 
terial interests to the exclusion of all thought of the 
awful drama that was being played out in the 
mother country; and it was only on reflection that 
this absorption in the day's task, and this air of 
smiling faith in the future, were seen to be Mo- 
rocco's truest way of serving France. 

For not only was France to be supplied with 
provisions, but the confidence in her ultimate tri- 
umph was at all costs to be kept up in the native 
mind. German influence was as deep-seated as a 

[ 216 ] 


cancer: to cut it out required the most drastic of 
operations. And that operation consisted precisely 
in letting it be seen that France was strong and 
prosperous enough for her colonies to thrive and 
expand without fear while she held at bay on her 
own frontier the most formidable foe the world has 
ever seen. Such was the "policy of the smile," 
consistently advocated by General Lyautey from 
the beginning of the war, and of which he and his 
household were the first to set the example. 


The General had said that he would not "break 
the egg-shell"; but he knew that this was not 
enough, and that he must make it appear unbreak- 
able if he were to retain the confidence of the 

How this was achieved, with the aid of the few 
covering troops left him, is still almost incompre- 
hensible. To hold the line was virtually impossi- 
ble: therefore he pushed it forward. An anony- 
mous writer in VAJrique Frangaise (January, 1917) 
has thus described the manoeuvre: "General Henrys 
was instructed to watch for storm-signals on the 

[ 217 1 


front, to stop up the cracks, to strengthen weak 
points and to rectify doubtful lines. Thanks to 
these operations, which kept the rebels perpetually 
harassed by always forestalling their own plans, the 
occupied territory was enlarged by a succession of 
strongly fortified positions." While this was going 
on in the north, General Lamothe was extending 
and strengthening, by means of pacific negotiations, 
the influence of the Great Chiefs in the south; and 
other agents of the Residency were engaged in 
watching and thwarting the incessant German in- 
trigues in the Spanish zone. 

General Lyautey is quoted as having said that 
*'a work-shop is worth a battalion." This precept 
he managed to put into action even during the first 
dark days of 1914, and the interior development of 
Morocco proceeded side by side with the strength- 
ening of its defenses. Germany had long foreseen 
what an asset northwest Africa would be during 
the war; and General Lyautey was determined to 
prove how right Germany had been. He did so 
by getting the government, to whom he had given 
nearly all his troops, to give him in exchange an 
agricultural and industrial army, or at least enough 

[ 218 ] 


specialists to form such an army out of tlic avail- 
able material in the country. For every battle 
fought a road was made;* for every rebel fortress 
shelled a factory was built, a harbor developed, 
or more miles of fallow land ploughed and sown. 

But this economic development did not satisfy 
the Resident. He wished Morocco to enlarge her 
commercial relations with France and the other 
allied countries, and with this object in view he 
organized and carried out with brilliant success a 
series of exhibitions at Casablanca, Fez and Rabat. 
The result of this bold policy surpassed even its 
creator's hopes. The Moroccans of the plain are 
an industrious and money-loving people, and the 
sight of these rapidly improvised exhibitions, where 
the industrial and artistic products of France and 
other European countries were shown in picturesque 
buildings grouped about flower-filled gardens, fas- 
cinated their imagination and strengthened their 
confidence in the country that could find time for 

* During the first year of the war roads were built in Morocco by German 
prisoners; and it was because Germany was so thoroughly aware of the 
economic value of the country, and so anxious not to have her prestige di- 
minished, that she immediately protested, on the absurd plea of the un- 
wholesomeness of the climate, and threatened reprisals unless the prisoners 
were withdrawn. 

[ "219 1 


such an effort in the midst of a great war. The 
Voice of the Bazaar carried the report to the far- 
thest confines of Moghreb, and one by one the 
notabilities of the different tribes arrived, with 
delegations from Algeria and Tunisia. It was even 
said that several rebel chiefs had submitted to the 
Makhzen in order not to miss the Exhibition. 

At the same time as the "Miracle of the Marne" 
another, less famous but almost as vital to France, 
was being silently performed at the other end of 
her dominions. It will not seem an exaggeration 
to speak of General Lyautey*s achievement during 
the first year of the war as the "Miracle of Mo- 
rocco" if one considers the immense importance of 
doing what he did at the moment when he did it. 
And to understand this it is only needful to reckon 
what Germany could have drawn in supplies and 
men from a German North Africa, and what would 
have been the situation of France during the war 
with a powerful German colony in control of the 
western Mediterranean. 

General Lyautey has always been one of the 
clear-sighted administrators who understand that 
the successful government of a foreign country de- 
pends on many little things, and not least on the 

[ 220 ] 


administrator's genuine sympathy with the tradi- 
tions, habits and tastes of the people. A keen feel- 
ing for beauty had prepared him to appreciate all 
that was most exquisite and venerable in the Arab 
art of Morocco, and even in the first struggle with 
political and military problems he found time to 
gather about him a group of archoeologists and 
artists who were charged with the inspection and 
preservation of the national monuments and the 
revival of the languishing native art-industries. 
The old pottery, jewelry, metal-work, rugs and 
embroideries of the different regions were carefully 
collected and classified; schools of decorative art 
were founded, skilled artisans sought out, and every 
effort was made to urge European residents to fol- 
low native models and use native artisans in build- 
ing and furnishing. 

At the various Exhibitions much space was al- 
lotted to these revived industries, and the matting 
of Sale, the rugs of Rabat, the embroideries of Fez 
and Marrakech have already found a ready mar- 
ket in France, besides awakening in the educated 
class of colonists an appreciation of the old build- 
ings and the old arts of the country that will be its 
surest safeguard against the destructive effects of 

I 221 ] 


colonial expansion. It is only necessary to see the 
havoc wrought in Tunisia and Algeria by the heavy 
hand of the colonial government to know what 
General Lyautey has achieved in saving Morocco 
from this form of destruction, also. 

All this has been accomplished by the Resident- 
General during five years of unexampled and in- 
cessant difficulty; and probably the true explana- 
tion of the miracle is that which he himself gives 
when he says, with the quiet smile that typifies his 
Moroccan war-policy: "It was easy to do because 
I loved the people." 

PROTECTORATE, 1912-1918 


Owing to the fact that the neglected and roadless Spanish 
zone intervened between the French possessions and Tangier, 
which is the natural port of Morocco, one of the first pre- 
occupations of General Lyautey was to make ports along the 
inhospitable Atlantic coast, where there are no natural har- 

Since 1912, in spite of the immense cost and the diflSculty 
of obtaining labour, the following has been done: 

Casablanca. A jetty 1900 metres long has been planned: 
824 metres finished December, 1917. 

[ 222 ] 


Small jetty hegiin lOlG, finished 1017: length 330 metres. 
Small "harbour thus created shelters small boats (150 tons) in 
all weathers. 

Quays 747 metres long already finished. 

16 steam-cranes working. 

Warehouses and depots covering 41,985 square metres 

Rabat. Work completed December, 1917. 

A quay 200 metres long, to which boats with a draught of 
three metres can tie up. 

Two groups of warehouses, steam-cranes, etc., covering 
22,600 square metres. 

A quay 100 metres long on the Sale side of the river. 

Kenitra. The port of Kenitra is at the mouth of the Sebou 
River, and is capable of becoming a good river port. 

The work up to December, 1917, comprises: 

A channel 100 metres long and three metres deep, cut 
through the bar of the Sebou. 

Jetties built on each side of the channel. 

Quay 100 metres long. 

Building of sheds, depots, warehouses, steam-cranes, etc. 

At the ports of Fedalah, Mazagan, Safi, Mogador and 
Agadir similar plans are in course of execution. 


1912 1918 

Total Commerce Total Commerce 

Fes. 177,737,723 Fes. 386,238,618 

Exports Exports 

Fes. 67,080,383 Fes. 116,148,081 

[ 223 ] 



National roads 2,074 kilometres 

Secondary roads 569 " 


622 kilometres 


1915 1918 

Approximate area Approximate area 

21,165.17 hectares 1,681,308.03 hectares 


1. Creation of French com-ts for French nationals and those 
under French protection. These take cognizance of civil 
cases where both parties, or even one, are amenable to French 

2. Moroccan law is Moslem, and administered by Moslem 
magistrates. Private law, including that of inheritance, is 
based on the Koran. The Sultan has maintained the princi- 
ple whereby real property and administrative cases fall under 
native law. These courts are as far as possible supervised 
and controlled by the establishment of a Cherifian Ministry 
of Justice to which the native Judges are responsible. Special 
care is taken to prevent the alienation of property held col- 
lectively, or any similar transactions likely to produce political 
and economic disturbances. 

3. Criminal jurisdiction is delegated to Pashas and Cadis 
by the Sultan, except of offenses committed against, or in 
conjunction with, French nationals and those under French 
protection. Such cases come before the tribunals of the 
French Protectorate. 

[ 224 ] 



The object of the Protectorate has been, on the one hand, 
to give to the children of French colonists in ^Morocco tlie 
same education as they would have received at elementary 
and secondary schools in France; on the other, to provide tlie 
indigenous population with a system of education that shall 
give to the j'oung Moroccans an adequate commercial or 
manual training, or prepare them for administrative posts, 
but without interfering with their native customs or beliefs. 

Before 1912 there existed in Morocco only a few small 
schools supported by the French Legation at Tangier and by 
the Alliance Frangaise, and a group of Hebrew schools in the 
Mellahs, maintained by the Universal Israelite Alliance. 

1912. Total number of schools 37 

1918. " " " " 191 

1912. Total number of pupils 3006 

1918. " " " " 21,520 

1912. Total number of teachers 61 

1918. " " " " 668 

In addition to the French and indigenous schools, sewing- 
schools have been formed for the native girls and have been 
exceptionally successful. 

Moslem colleges have been founded at Rabat and Fez in 
order to supplement the native education of young Mahome- 
tans of the upper classes, who intend to take up wholesale 
business or banking, or prepare for political, judicial or ad- 
ministrative posts under the Sultan's government. The 
course lasts four years and comprises: Arabic, French, math- 

[ 225 ] 


ematics, history, geography, religious (Mahometan) instruc- 
tion, and the law of the Koran. 

The "Ecole Superieure de la langue arabe et des dialectes 
berberes" at Rabat receives European and Moroccan stu- 
dents. The courses are: Arabic, the Berber dialects, Arab 
literature, ethnography, administrative Moroccan law, Mos- 
lem law, Berber customary law. 


The Protectorate has established 113 medical centres for 
the native population, ranging from simple dispensaries and 
small native infirmaries to the important hospitals of Rabat, 
Fez, Meknez, Marrakech, and Casablanca. 

Mobile sanitary formations supplied with light motor am- 
bulances travel about the country, vaccinating, making tours 
of sanitary inspection, investigating infected areas, and giv- 
ing general hygienic education throughout the remoter regions. 

Native patients treated in 1916 over 900,000 

1917 " 1,220,800 


Night-shelters in towns. Every town is provided with a 
shelter for the indigent wayfarers so numerous in Morocco. 
These shelters are used as disinfection centres, from which 
suspicious cases are sent to quarantine camp at the gates of 
the towns. 

Central Laboratory at Rabat. This is a kind of Pasteur In- 
stitute. In 1917, 210,000 persons were vaccinated through- 
out the country and 356 patients treated at the Laboratory 
for rabies. 

[ 226 ] 


Clinics for venereal diseases have been established at Casa- 
blanca, Fez, Rabat, and Marrakech, 

More than 15,000 cases were treated in 1917. 

Ophthalmic clinics in the same cities gave in 1917, 44,600 

Radiotherapy. Clinics have been opened at Fez and Rabat 
for the treatment of skin diseases of the head, from which the 
native children habitually suffer. 

The French Department of Health distributes annually 
immense quantities of quinine in the malarial districts. 

Madame Lyautey's private charities comprise admirably 
administered child-welfare centres in the principal cities, with 
dispensaries for the native mothers and children. 

[ 227 ] 





IN the briefest survey of the Moroccan past 
account must first of all be taken of the factor 
which, from the beginning of recorded events, 
has conditioned the whole history of North Africa: 
the existence, from the Sahara to the Mediterra- 
nean, of a mysterious irreducible indigenous race 
with which every successive foreign rule, from Car- 
thage to France, has had to reckon, and which has 

Note. — In the chapters on Moroccan history and art I have tried to set 
down a slight and superficial outline of a large and confused subject. In 
extenuation of this summary attempt I hasten to explain that its chief merit 
is its lack of originality. 

Its facts are chiefly drawn from the books mentioned in the short bibliog- 
raphy at the end of the volume; in addition to which I am deeply indebted 
for information given on the spot to the group of remarkable specialists at- 
tached to the French arlministration, and to the cultivated and cordial French 
officials, military and civilian, who, at each stage of my rapid journey, did 
their best to answer my questions and open my eyes. 

I ^31 1 


but imperfectly and partially assimilated the lan- 
guage, the religion, and the culture that successive 
civilizations have tried to impose upon it. 

This race, the race of Berbers, has never, modem 
explorers tell us, become really Islamite, any more 
than it ever really became Phenician, Roman or 
Vandal. It has imposed its habits while it ap- 
peared to adopt those of its invaders, and has per- 
petually represented, outside the Ismalitic and 
Hispano-Arabic circle of the Makhzen, the vast 
tormenting element of the dissident, the rebellious, 
the unsubdued tribes of the Blad-es-Siba. 

Who were these indigenous tribes with whom 
the Phenicians, when they founded their first 
counting-houses on the north and west coast of 
Africa, exchanged stuffs and pottery and arms for 
ivory, ostrich-feathers and slaves ? 

Historians frankly say they do not know. All 
sorts of material obstacles have hitherto hampered 
the study of Berber origins; but it seems clear that 
from the earliest historic times they were a mixed 
race, and the ethnologist who attempts to define 
them is faced by the same problem as the historian 
of modem America who should try to find the 

[ 232 ] 


racial definition of an "American." For centuries, 
for ages, North Africa has been what America now 
is: the clearing-house of the world. When at 
length it occurred to the explorer that the natives 
of North Africa were not all Arabs or Moors, he 
was bewildered by the many vistas of all they 
were or might be: so many and tangled were the 
threads leading up to them, so interwoven was their 
pre-Islamite culture with worn-out shreds of older 
and richer societies. 

M. Saladin, in his "Manuel d'Architecture Mus- 
ulmane," after attempting to unravel the influences 
which went to the making of the mosque of Kai- 
rouan, the walls of Marrakech, the Medersas of 
Fez — influences that lead him back to Chaldsean 
branch-huts, to the walls of Babylon and the em- 
broideries of Coptic Eg;y'pt — somewhat despairingly 
sums up the result: "The principal elements con- 
tributed to Moslem art by the styles preceding it 
may be thus enumerated: from India, floral orna- 
ment; from Persia, the structural principles of the 
Acheminedes, and the Sassanian vault. Mesopo- 
tamia contributes a system of vaulting, incised 
ornament, and proportion; the Copts, ornamental 

[ 233 ] 


detail in general; Egypt, mass and unbroken wall- 
spaces; Spain, construction and Romano-Iberian 
ornament; Africa, decorative detail and Romano- 
Berber traditions (with Byzantine influences in 
Persia); Asia Minor, a mixture of Byzantine and 
Persian characteristics." 

As with the art of North Africa, so with its sup- 
posedly indigenous population. The Berber dia- 
lects extend from the Lybian desert to Senegal. 
Their language was probably related to Coptic, 
itself related to the ancient Egyptian and the non- 
Semitic dialects of Abyssinia and Nubia. Yet phi- 
lologists have discovered what appears to be a far- 
off link between the Berber and Semitic languages, 
and the Chleuhs of the Draa and the Souss, with 
their tall slim Egyptian-looking bodies and hooked 
noses, may have a strain of Semitic blood. M. 
Angus tin Bernard, in speaking of the natives of 
North Africa, ends, much on the same note as 
M. Saladin in speaking of Moslem art: **In their 
blood are the sediments of many races, Phenician, 
Punic, Egyptian and Arab." 

They were not, like the Arabs, wholly nomadic; 
but the tent, the flock, the tribe always entered 

[ 234 ] 


into their conception of life. M. Augustin Bernard 
has pointed out that, in North Africa, the seden- 
tary and nomadic habit do not imply a permanent 
difference, but rather a temporary one of situation 
and opportunity. The sedentary Berbers are no- 
madic in certain conditions; and from the earliest 
times the invading nomad Berbers tended to be- 
come sedentary when they reached the rich plains 
north of the Atlas. But when they built cities it 
was as their ancestors and their neighbours pitched 
tents; and they destroyed or abandoned them as 
lightly as their desert forbears packed their camel- 
bags and moved to new pastures. Everywhere be- 
hind the bristling walls and rock-clamped towers of 
old Morocco lurks the shadowy spirit of instability. 
Every new Sultan builds himself a new house and 
lets his predecessors* palaces fall into decay; and as 
with the Sultan so with his vassals and officials. 
Change is the rule in this apparently unchanged 
civihzation, where *' nought may abide but Muta- 

[ ^35 1 




Far to the south of the Anti-Atlas, in the yellow 
deserts that lead to Timbuctoo, live the wild Tou- 
aregs, the Veiled Men of the south, who ride to 
war with their faces covered by linen masks. 

These Veiled Men are Berbers; but their alpha- 
bet is composed of Lybian characters, and these 
are closely related to the signs engraved on certain 
vases of the Nile valley that are probably six thou- 
sand years old. Moreover, among the rock-cut 
images of the African desert is the likeness of The- 
ban Ammon crowned with the solar disk between 
serpents; and the old Berber religion, with its sun 
and animal worship, has many points of resem- 
blance with Egyptian beliefs. All this implies 
trade contacts far below the horizon of history, and 
obscure comings and goings of restless throngs 
across incredible distances long before the Phe- 
nicians planted their first trading posts on the 
north African coast about 1200 b. c. 

Five hundred years before Christ, Carthage sent 
one of her admirals on a voyage of colonization 

[ 236 ] 


beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Ilannon set out 
with sixty fifty-oared galleys carrying thirty thou- 
sand people. Some of them settled at Mehedyia, 
at the mouth of the Sebou, where Phenician remains 
have been found; and apparently the exploration 
was pushed as far south as the coast of Guinea, for 
the inscription recording it relates that Ilannon be- 
held elephants, hairy men and "savages called 
gorillas.'* At any rate, Carthage founded stable 
colonies at Melilla, Larache, Sale and Casablanca. 

Then came the Romans, who carried on the 
business, set up one of their easy tolerant protecto- 
rates over "Tingitanian Mauretania," * and built 
one important military outpost, Volubilis in the 
Zerhoun, which a series of minor defenses probably 
connected with Sale on the west coast, thus guard- 
ing the Roman province against the unconquered 
Berbers to the south. 

Tingitanian Mauretania was one of the numerous 
African granaries of Rome. She also supplied the 
Imperial armies with their famous African cavalry; 
and among minor articles of exportation were 

* East of the Moulouya, the African protectorate (now west Algeria and 
U»e Sud Oranais) was called the Mauretania of Caesar. 

[ 237 ] 


guinea-hens, snails, honey, euphorbia, wild beasts, 
horses and pearls. The Roman dominion ceased 
at the line drawn between Volubilis and Sale. 
There was no interest in pushing farther south, 
since the ivory and slave trade with the Soudan 
was carried on by way of Tripoli. But the spirit of 
enterprise never slept in the race, and Pliny records 
the journey of a Roman general — Suetonius Pau- 
linus — who appears to have crossed the Atlas, prob- 
ably by the pass of Tizi-n-Telremt, which is even 
now so beset with diflSculties that access by land 
to the Souss will remain an arduous undertaking 
until the way by Imintanout is safe for European 

The Vandals swept away the Romans in the fifth 
century. The Lower Empire restored a brief period 
of civilization; but its authority finally dwindled to 
the half-legendary rule of Count Julian, shut up 
within his walls of Ceuta. Then Europe vanished 
from the shores of Africa; and though Christianity 
lingered here and there in vague Donatist colonies, 
and in the names of Roman bishoprics, its last 
faint hold went down in the eighth century before 
the irresistible cry: *' There is no God but Allah !" 

[ 238 ] 




The first Arab invasion of Morocco is said to have 
reached the Atlantic coast; but it left no lasting 
traces, and the real Islamisation of Barbary did 
not happen till near the end of the eighth century, 
when a descendant of Ali, driven from Mesopota- 
mia by the Caliphate, reached the mountains above 
Volubilis and there founded an empire. The Ber- 
bers, though indifferent in religious matters, had 
always, from a spirit of independence, tended to 
heresy and schism. Under the rule of Christian 
Rome they had been Donatists, as M. Bernard 
puts it, *'out of opposition to the Empire"; and so, 
out of opposition to the Caliphate, they took up 
the cause of one Moslem schismatic after another. 
Their great popular movements have always had a 
religious basis, or perhaps it would be truer to say, 
a religious pretext; for they have been in reality 
the partly moral, partly envious revolt of hungry 
and ascetic warrior tribes against the fatness and 
corruption of the "cities of the plain." 

Idriss I became the first national saint and ruler 

[ 239 ] 


of Morocco. His rule extended throughout north- 
ern Morocco, and his son, Idriss II, attacking a 
Berber tribe on the banks of the Oued Fez, routed 
them, took possession of their oasis and founded 
the city of Fez. Thither came schismatic refugees 
from Kairouan and Moors from Andalusia. The 
Islamite Empire of Morocco was founded, and 
Idriss II has become the legendary ancestor of all 
its subsequent rulers. 

The Idrissite rule is a welter of obscure struggles 
between rapidly melting groups of adherents. Its 
chief features are: the founding of Moulay Idriss 
and Fez, and the building of the mosques of El 
Andalous and Kairouiyin at Fez for the two groups 
of refugees from Tunisia and Spain. Meanwhile 
the Caliphate of Cordova had reached the height 
of its power, while that of the Fatimites extended 
from the Nile to western Morocco, and the little 
Idrissite empire, pulverized under the weight of 
these expanding powers, became once more a dust 
of disintegrated tribes. 

It was only in the eleventh century that the dust 
again conglomerated. Two Arab tribes from the 
desert of the Hedjaz, suddenly driven westward by 

[ 240 ] 


the Fatimites, entered Morocco, not with a small 
military expedition, as the Arabs had hitherto done, 
but with a horde of emigrants reckoned as high 
as 200,000 families; and this first colonizing expe- 
dition was doubtless succeeded by others. 

To strengthen their hold in Morocco the Arab 
colonists embraced the dynastic feuds of the Ber- 
bers. They inaugurated a period of general havoc 
which destroyed what little prosperity had sur- 
vived the break-up of the Idrissite rule, and many 
Berber tribes took refuge in the mountains; but 
others remained and were merged with the invaders, 
reforming into new tribes of mixed Berber and Arab 
blood. This invasion was almost purely destruc- 
tive; it marks one of the most desolate periods in 
the progress of the ''wasteful Empire" of Moghreb. 



While the Hilalian Arabs were conquering and 
destroying northern Morocco another but more 
fruitful invasion was upon her from the south. 
The Almoravids, one of the tribes of Veiled Men 

[ 241 ] 


of the south, driven by the usual mixture of relig- 
ious zeal and lust of booty, set out to invade the 
rich black kingdoms north of the Sahara. Thence 
they crossed the Atlas under their great chief, 
Youssef-ben-Tachfin, and founded the city of Mar- 
rakech in 1062. From Marrakech they advanced 
on Idrissite Fez and the valley of the Moulouya. 
Fez rose against her conquerors, and Youssef put 
all the male inhabitants to death. By 1084 he was 
master of Tangier and the Rif , and his rule stretched 
as far west as Tlemcen, Oran and finally Algiers. 

His ambition drove him across the straits to 
Spain, where he conquered one Moslem prince after 
another and wiped out the luxurious civilization of 
Moorish Andalusia. In 1086, at Zallarca, Youssef 
gave battle to Alphonso VI of Castile and Leon. 
The Almoravid army was a strange rabble of x\rabs, 
Berbers, blacks, wild tribes of the Sahara and 
Christian mercenaries. They conquered the Span- 
ish forces, and Youssef left to his successors an 
empire extending from the Ebro to Senegal and 
from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the borders of 
Tunisia. But the empire fell to pieces of its own 
weight, leaving little record of its brief and stormy 

[ 242 ] 


existence. While Youssef was routing the forces 
of Christianity at Zallarca in Spain, another schis- 
matic tribe of his own people was detaching Marra- 
kech and the south from his rule. 

The leader of the new invasion was a Mahdi, 
one of the numerous Saviours of the World who 
have carried death and destruction throughout 
Islam. His name was Ibn-Toumert, and he had 
travelled in Egypt, Syria and Spain, and made the 
pilgrimage to Mecca. Preaching the doctrine of a 
purified monotheism, he called his followers the Al- 
mohads or Unitarians, to distinguish them from 
the polytheistic Almoravids, whose heresies he de- 
nounced. He fortified the city of Tinmel in the 
Souss, and built there a mosque of which the ruins 
still exist. When he died, in 1128, he designated 
as his successor Abd-el-Moumen, the son of a pot- 
ter, who had been his disciple. 

Abd-el-Moumen carried on the campaign against 
the Almoravids. He fought them not only in 
Morocco but in Spain, taking Cadiz, Cordova, 
Granada as well as Tlemcen and Fez. In 1152 his 
African dominion reached from Tripoli to the Souss, 
and he had formed a disciplined army in which 

[ 243 ] 


Christian mercenaries from France and Spain 
fought side by side with Berbers and Soudanese. 
This great captain was also a great administrator, 
and under his rule Africa was surveyed from the 
Souss to Barka, the country was policed, agriculture 
was protected, and the caravans journeyed safely 
over the trade-routes. 

Abd-el-Moumen died in 1163 and was followed 
by his son, who, though he suffered reverses in 
Spain, was also a great ruler. He died in 1184, and 
his son, Yacoub-el-Mansour, avenged his father's 
ill-success in Spain by the great victory of Alarcos 
and the conquest of Madrid. Yacoub-el-Mansour 
was the greatest of Moroccan Sultans. So far did 
his fame extend that the illustrious Saladin sent 
him presents and asked the help of his fleet. He 
was a builder as well as a fighter, and the noblest 
period of Arab art in Morocco and Spain coincides 
with his reign. 

After his death, the Almohad empire followed 
the downward curve to which all Oriental rule 
seems destined. In Spain, the Berber forces were 
beaten in the great Christian victory of Las-Navas- 
de Tolosa; and in Morocco itself the first stirrings 

[ 244 ] 


of the Beni-Merins (a new tribe from the Sahara) 
were preparing the way for a new dynasty. 


I^E Beni-Merins or Merinids w^ere nomads who 
ranged the desert between Biskra and the Tafilelt. 
It was not a rehgious upheaval that drove them 
to the conquest of Morocco. The demorahzed 
Almohads called them in as mercenaries to defend 
their crumbling empire; and the Merinids came, 
drove out the Almohads, and replaced them. 

They took Fez, Meknez, Sale, Rabat and Sidjil- 
massa in the Tafilelt; and their second Sultan, 
Abou-Youssef, built New Fez (Eld j id) on the height 
above the old Idrissite city. The Merinids renewed 
the struggle with the Sultan of Tlemcen, and car- 
ried the Holy War once more into Spain. The con- 
flict with Tlemcen was long and unsuccessful, and 
one of the Merinid Sultans died assassinated under 
its walls. In the fourteenth century the Sultan 
Abou Hassan tried to piece together the scattered 
bits of the Almohad empire. Tlemcen was finally 

[ 245 ] 


taken, and the whole of Algeria annexed. But in 
the plain of Kairouan, in Tunisia, Abou Hassan 
was defeated by the Arabs. Meanwhile one of his 
brothers had headed a revolt in Morocco, and the 
princes of Tlemcen won back their ancient kingdom. 
Constantine and Bougie rebelled in turn, and the 
kingdom of Abou Hassan vanished like a mirage. 
His successors struggled vainly to control their vas- 
sals in Morocco, and to keep their possessions be- 
yond its borders. Before the end of the fourteenth 
century Morocco from end to end was a chaos of 
antagonistic tribes, owning no allegiance, abiding 
by no laws. The last of the Merinids, divided, 
diminished, bound by humiliating treaties with 
Christian Spain, kept up a semblance of sovereignty 
at Fez and Marrakech, at war with one another 
and with their neighbours; and Spain and Portugal 
seized this moment of internal dissolution to drive 
them from Spain, and carry the war into Morocco 

The short and stormy passage of the Beni-Merins 
seems hardly to leave room for the development of 
the humaner qualities; yet the flowering of Moroc- 
can art and culture coincided with those tumultu- 

[ 246 1 


ous years, and it was under the Merinid Sultans 
that Fez beeame the centre of Moroccan learning 
and industry, a kind of Oxford with Birmingham 



MiL\NWHiLE, behind all the Berber turmoil a secret 
work of religious propaganda was going on. The 
Arab element had been crushed but not extirpated. 
The crude idolatrous wealth-loving Berbers appar- 
ently dominated; but whenever there was a new 
uprising or a new invasion it was based on the 
religious discontent perpetually stirred up by Ma- 
hometan agents. The longing for a Mahdi, a Sa- 
viour, the craving for purification combined with 
an opportunity to murder and rob, always gave 
the Moslem apostle a ready opening; and the down- 
fall of the Merinids was the result of a long series 
of religious movements to which the European in- 
vasion gave an object and a war-cry. 

The Saadians were Cherifian Arabs, newcomers 
from Arabia, to whom the lax Berber paganism 
was abhorrent. They preached a return to the 

[ 247 1 


creed of Mahomet, and proclaimed the Holy War 
against the hated Portuguese, who had set up for- 
tified posts all along the west coast of Morocco. 

It is a mistake to suppose that hatred of the 
Christian has always existed among the North 
African Moslems. The earlier dynasties, and espe- 
cially the great Almohad Sultans, were on friendly 
terms with the Catholic powers of Europe, and in 
the thirteenth century a treaty assured to Chris- 
tians in Africa full religious liberty, excepting only 
the right to preach their doctrine in public places. 
There was a Catholic diocese at Fez, and afterward 
at Marrakech under Gregory IX, and there is a 
letter of the Pope thanking the "Miromilan" (the 
Emir El Moumenin) for his kindness to the Bishop 
and the friars Hving in his dominions. Another 
Bishop was recommended by Innocent IV to the 
Sultan of Morocco; the Pope even asked that cer- 
tain strongholds should be assigned to the Christians 
in Morocco as places of refuge in times of disturb- 
ance. But the best proof of the friendly relations 
between Christians and infidels is the fact that the 
Christian armies which helped the Sultans of Mo- 
rocco to defeat Spain and subjugate Algeria and 
Tunisia were not composed of *'renegadoes" or 

[ 248 ] 


captives, as is generally supposed, but of Christian 
mercenaries, French and English, led by knights 
and nobles, and fighting for the Sultan of Morocco 
exactly as they would have fought for the Duke of 
Burgundy, the Count of Flanders, or any other 
Prince who offered high pay and held out the hope 
of rich spoils. Any one who has read "Villehar- 
douin" and "Joinville" will own that there is not 
much to choose between the motives animating 
these noble freebooters and those which caused the 
Crusaders to loot Constantinople "on the way" to 
the Holy Sepulchre. War in those days was re- 
garded as a lucrative and legitimate form of busi- 
ness, exactly as it was when the earlier heroes 
started out to take the rich robber-town of Troy. 
The Berbers have never been religious fanatics, 
and the Vicomte de Foucauld, when he made his 
great journej^ of exploration in the Atlas in 1883, 
remarked that antagonism to the foreigner was 
always due to the fear of military espionage and 
never to religious motives. This equally applies to 
the Berbers of the sixteenth century, when the 
Holy War against Catholic Spain and Portugal was 
preached. The real cause of the sudden deadly 
hatred of the foreigner was twofold. The Span- 

[ 249 ] 


iards were detested because of the ferocious cruelty 
with which they had driven the Moors from Spain 
under Ferdinand and Isabella; and the Portuguese 
because of the arrogance and brutality of their 
military colonists in the fortified trading stations 
of the west coast. And both were feared as possi- 
ble conquerors and overlords. 

There was a third incentive also: the Moroccans, 
deahng in black slaves for the European market, 
had discovered the value of white slaves in Moslem 
markets. The Sultan had his fleet, and each coast- 
town its powerful pirate vessels, and from pirate- 
nests like Sale and Tangier the raiders continued, 
till well on into the first half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, to seize European ships and carry their pas- 
sengers to the slave-markets of Fez and Marra- 
kech.* The miseries endured by these captives, 
and so poignantly described in John Windus's trav- 
els, and in the "Naufrage du Brick Sophie" by 

Charles Cochelet,t show how savage the feeling 
against the foreigner had become. 

* The Moroccans being very poor seamen, these corsair-vessels were usually 
commanded and manned by Christian renegadoes and Turks. 

t Cochelet was wrecked on the coast near Agadir early in the nineteenth 
century and was taken with his fellow-travellers overland to El-Ksar and 
Tangier, enduring terrible hardships by the way, 

[ 250 ] 


With the advent of the Cherifian dynasties, 
wliich coincided with this rcHgious reform, and was 
in fact brought about by it, Morocco became a 
closed country, as fiercely guarded as Japan against 
European penetration. Cut off from civilizing in- 
fluences, the Moslems isolated themselves in a 
lonely fanaticism, far more racial than religious, 
and the history of the country from the fall of the 
Merinids till the French annexation is mainly a 
dull tale of tribal warfare. 

The religious movement of the sixteenth century 
was led and fed by zealots from the Sahara. One 
of them took possession of Rabat and Azemmour, 
and preached the Hol}^ War; other "feudal fiefs'* 
(as M. Augustin Bernard has well called them) 
were founded at Tameslout, Ilegli, Tamgrout: the 
tombs of the marabouts who led these revolts are 
scattered all along the west coast, and are still ob- 
jects of popular veneration. The unorthodox saint 
worship which marks Moroccan Moslemism, and 
is commemorated by the countless white koubbas 
throughout the country, grew up chiefly at the time 
of the religious revival under the Saadian dynasty, 
and almost all the "Moulays" and "Sidis" ven- 

[ 251 ] 


crated between Tangier and the Atlas were war- 
rior monks who issued forth from their fortified 
Zaou'ias to drive the Christians out of Africa. 

The Saadians were probably rather embarrassed 
by these fanatics, whom they found useful to op- 
pose to the Merinids, but troublesome where their 
own plans were concerned. They were ambitious 
and luxury-loving princes, who invaded the wealthy 
kingdom of the Soudan, conquered the Sultan of 
Timbuctoo, and came back laden with slaves and 
gold to embelUsh Marrakech and spend their treas- 
ure in the usual demoralizing orgies. Their ex- 
quisite tombs at Marrakech commemorate in 
courtly language the superhuman virtues of a 
series of rulers whose debaucheries and vices were 
usually cut short by assassination. Finally another 
austere and fanatical mountain tribe surged down 
on them, wiped them out, and ruled in their stead. 

[ 252 ] 




The new rulers came from the Tafilelt, which has 
always been a troublesome corner of Morocco. 
The first two Hassanian Sultans were the usual 
tribal chiefs bent on taking advantage of Saadian 
misrule to loot and conquer. But the third was 
the great Moulay-Ismael, the tale of whose long 
and triumphant rule (1672 to 1727) has already 
been told in the chapter on Meknez. This savage 
and enlightened old man once more drew order out 
of anarchy, and left, when he died, an organized 
and administered empire, as well as a progeny of 
seven hundred sons and unnumbered daughters.* 

The empire fell apart as usual, and no less quickly 
than usual, under his successors; and from his 
death until the strong hand of General Lyautey 
took over the direction of affairs the Hassanian 

* Moulay-Ismael was a learned theologian and often held religious discus- 
sions with the Fathers of the Order of Mercy and the Trinitarians. He was 
scrupulously orthodox in his religious observances, and wrote a treatise in 
defense of his faith which he sent to James H of England, urging him to be- 
come a Mahometan. He invented most of the most exquisite forms of torture 
which subsequent Sultans have applied to their victims (see Loti, Au Maroc), 
and was fond of flowers, and extremely simple and frugal in his personal 

[ 253 ] 


rule in Morocco was little more than a tumult of 
incoherent ambitions. The successors of Moulay- 
Ismael inherited his blood-lust and his passion for 
dominion without his capacity to govern. In 1757 
Sidi-Mohammed, one of his sons, tried to put order 
into his kingdom, and drove the last Portuguese 
out of Morocco; but under his successors the coun- 
try remained isolated and stagnant, making spas- 
modic efiForts to defend itself against the encroach- 
ments of European influence, while its rulers wasted 
their energy in a policy of double-dealing and dis- 
simulation. Early in the nineteenth century the 
government was compelled by the European powers 
to suppress piracy and the trade in Christian slaves ; 
and in 1830 the French conquest of Algeria broke 
down the wall of isolation behind which the country 
was mouldering away by placing a European power 
on one of its frontiers. 

At first the conquest of Algeria tended to create 
a link between France and Morocco. The Dey of 
Algiers was a Turk, and, therefore, an hereditary 
enemy; and Morocco was disposed to favour the 
power which had broken Turkish rule in a neigh- 
bouring country. But the Sultan could not help 

[ 254 ] 


tr^'ing to profit by the general disturbance to seize 
Tlemcen and raise insurrections in western Algeria; 
and presently Morocco was engaged in a Holy War 
against France. Abd-el-Kader, the Sultan of Al- 
geria, had taken refuge in Morocco, and the Sultan 
of Morocco having furnished him with supplies and 
munitions, France sent an oflScial remonstrance. 
At the same time Marshal Bugeaud landed at Mers- 
el-Kebir, and invited the Makhzen to discuss the 
situation. The offer was accepted and General 
Bedeau and the Caid El Guennaoui met in an open 
place. Behind them their respective troops were 
drawn up, and almost as soon as the first salutes 
were exchanged the Caid declared the negotiations 
broken off. The French troops accordingly with- 
drew to the coast, but during their retreat they 
were attacked by the Moroccans. This put an end 
to peaceful negotiations, and Tangier was besieged 
and taken. The following August Bugeaud brought 
his troops up from Oudjda, through the defile that 
leads from West Algeria, and routed the Moroc- 
cans. He wished to advance on Fez, but inter- 
national politics interfered, and he was not allowed 
to carry out his plans. England looked unfavour- 

[ '255 ] 


ably on the French penetration of Morocco, and it 
became necessary to conclude peace at once to 
prove that France had no territorial ambitions 
west of Oudjda. 

Meanwhile a great Sultan was once more to ap- 
pear in the land. Moulay-el-Hassan, who ruled 
from 1873 to 1894, was an able and energetic ad- 
ministrator. He pieced together his broken em- 
pire, asserted his authority in Fez and Marrakech, 
and fought the rebellious tribes of the west. In 
1877 he asked the French government to send 
him a permanent military mission to assist in 
organizing his army. He planned an expedition 
to the Souss, but the want of food and water in 
the wilderness traversed by the army caused the 
most cruel sufferings. Moulay-el-Hassan had pro- 
visions sent by sea, but the weather was too stormy 
to allow of a landing on the exposed Atlantic coast, 
and the Sultan, who had never seen the sea, was 
as surprised and indignant as Canute to find that 
the waves would not obey him. 

His son Abd-el-Aziz was only thirteen years old 
when he succeeded to the throne. For six years 
he remained under the guardianship of Ba-Ahmed, 
the black Vizier of Moulay-el-Hassan, who built 

[ 256 1 


the fairy palace of the Bahia at Marrakech, with 
its mysterious pale green padlocked door leading 
down to the secret vaults where his treasure was 
hidden. When the all-powerful Ba- Ahmed died 
the young Sultan was nineteen. He was intelli- 
gent, charming, and fond of the society of Euro- 
peans; but he was indifferent to religious questions 
and still more to military affairs, and thus doubly 
at the mercy of native mistrust and European 

Some clumsy attempts at fiscal reform, and a 
too great leaning toward European habits and 
associates, roused the animosity of the people, 
and of the conservative party in the upper class. 
The Sultan*s eldest brother, who had been set 
aside in his favour, was intriguing against him; the 
usual Cherifian Pretender was stirring up the fac- 
tious tribes in the mountains; and the European 
powers were attempting, in the confusion of an 
ungoverned country, to assert their respective 

The demoralized condition of the country justi- 
fied these attempts, and made European interfer- 
ence inevitable. But the powers were jealously 
watching each other, and Germany, already covet - 

[ 257 ] 


ing the certain agricultural resources and the con- 
jectured mineral wealth of Morocco, was above all 
determined that a French protectorate should not 
be set up. 

In 1908 another son of Moulay-Hassan, Abd-el- 
Hafid, was proclaimed Sultan by the reactionary 
Islamite faction, who accused Abd-el-Aziz of hav- 
ing sold his country to the Christians. Abd-el-Aziz 
was defeated in a battle near Marrakech, and re- 
tired to Tangier, where he still lives in futile state. 
Abd-el-Hafid, proclaimed Sultan at Fez, was rec- 
ognized by the whole country; but he found him- 
self unable to cope with the factious tribes (those 
outside the Blad-el-Makhzen, or governed country). 
These rebel tribes besieged Fez, and the Sultan 
had to ask France for aid. France sent troops to 
his relief, but as soon as the dissidents were routed, 
and he himself was safe, Abd-el-Hafid refused to 
give the French army his support, and in 1912, 
after the horrible massacres of Fez, he abdicated 
in favour of another brother, Moulay Youssef, the 
actual ruler of Morocco. 

[ 258 ] 




MH. SALADIN, whose "Manual of Mos- 
lem Architecture" was published in 
• 1907, ends his chapter on Morocco 
with the words: "It is especially urgent that we 
should know, and penetrate into, Morocco as soon 
as possible, in order to study its monuments. It is 
the only country but Persia where Moslem art 
actually survives; and the tradition handed down 
to the present day will doubtless clear up many 

M. Saladin's wish has been partly realized. 
Much has been done since 1912, when General 
Lyautey was appointed Resident-General, to clear 
up and classify the history of Moroccan art; but 
since 1914, though the work has never been dropped, 
it has necessarily been much delayed, especially as 

[261 ] 


regards its published record; and as yet only a few 
monographs and articles have summed up some of 
the interesting investigations of the last five years. 


When I was in Marrakech word was sent to Cap- 
tain de S., who was with me, that a Caid of the 
Atlas, whose prisoner he had been several years 
before, had himself been taken by the Pasha*s 
troops, and was in Marrakech. Captain de S. was 
asked to identify several rifles which his old enemy 
had taken from him, and on receiving them found 
that, in the interval, they had been elaborately 
ornamented with the Arab niello work of which 
the tradition goes back to Damascus. 

This little incident is a good example of the de- 
gree to which the mediaeval tradition alluded to by 
M. Saladin has survived in Moroccan fife. No- 
where else in the world, except among the mori- 
bund fresco-painters of the Greek monasteries, has 
a formula of art persisted from the seventh or 
eighth century to the present day; and in Morocco 
the formula is not the mechanical expression of a 
petrified theology but the setting of the life of a 

[ 262 ] 

Frum a phvluynij/h j'rvin the .Siriiec >i,.^ Ii,,i„^-Arls an Maror 

Marrakecli — a street fouiilain 


people who have gone on wearing the same clothes, 
observing the same customs, believing in the same 
fetiches, and using the same saddles, ploughs, 
looms, and dye-stuffs as in the days when the foun- 
dations of the first mosque of El Kairouiyin were 

The origin of this tradition is confused and ob- 
scure. The Arabs have never been creative artists, 
nor are the Berbers known to have been so. As 
investigations proceed in Syria and Mesopotamia 
it seems more and more probable that the sources 
of inspiration of pre-Moslem art in North Africa 
are to be found In Egypt, Persia, and India. Each 
new investigation pushes these sources farther back 
and farther east; but It is not of much use to retrace 
these ancient vestiges, since Moroccan art has, so 
far, nothing to show of pre-Islamite art, save what 
is purely Phenician or Roman. 

In any case, however, it is not in Morocco that 
the clue to Moroccan art is to be sought; though 
interesting hints and mysterious reminiscences will 
doubtless be found In such places as Tinmel, in the 
gorges of the Atlas, where a ruined mosque of the 
earliest Almohad period has been photographed by 

[ 263 ] 


M. Doutte, and in the curious Algerian towns of 
Sedrata and the Kalaa of the Beni Hammads. 
Both of these latter towns were rich and prosperous 
communities in the tenth century and both were 
destroyed in the eleventh, so that they survive as 
mediaeval Pompeiis of a quite exceptional interest, 
since their architecture appears to have been almost 
unaffected by classic or Byzantine influences. 

Traces of a very old indigenous art are found in 
the designs on the modern white and black Berber 
pottery; but this work, specimens of which are to 
be seen in the Oriental Department of the Louvre, 
seems to go back, by way of Central America, 
Greece (sixth century b. c.) and Susa (twelfth cen- 
tury B. c), to the far-off period before the streams 
of human invention had divided, and when the 
same loops and ripples and spirals formed on the 
flowing surface of every current. 

It is a disputed question whether Spanish influ- 
ence was foremost in developing the peculiarly 
Moroccan art of the earliest Moslem period, or 
whether European influences came by way of Syria 
and Palestine, and afterward met and were crossed 
with those of Moorish Spain. Probably both things 

[ 264 ] 


happened, since the Almoravids were in Spain; 
and no doubt the currents met and mingled. At 
any rate, Byzantine, Greece, and the Palestine and 
Syria of the Crusaders, contributed as much as 
Rome and Greece to the formation of that peculiar 
Moslem art which, all the way from India to the 
Pillars of Hercules, built itself, with minor varia- 
tions, out of the same elements. 

Arab conquerors always destroy as much as they 
can of the work of their predecessors, and nothing 
remains, as far as is known, of Almoravid architec- 
ture in Morocco. But the great Almohad Sultans 
covered Spain and Northwest Africa with their 
monuments, and no later buildings in Africa equal 
them in strength and majesty. 

It is no doubt because the Almohads built in 
stone that so much of what they made survives. 
The Merinids took to rubble and a soft tufa, and 
the Cherifian dynasties built in clay like the Span- 
iards in South America. And so seventeenth cen- 
tury Meknez has perished while the Almohad walls 
and towers of the tenth century still stand. 

The principal old buildings of Morocco are de- 
fensive and religious — and under the latter term 

[ 265 ] 


the beautiful collegiate houses (the medersas) of 
Fez and Sale may fairly be included, since the edu- 
cational system of Islam is essentially and funda- 
mentally theological. Of old secular buildings, 
palaces or private houses, virtually none are known 
to exist; but their plan and decorations may easily 
be reconstituted from the early chronicles, and also 
from the surviving palaces built in the eighteenth 
and nineteenth centuries, and even those which 
the wealthy nobles of modern Morocco are building 
to this day. 

The whole of civilian Moslem architecture from 
Persia to Morocco is based on four unchanging con- 
ditions: a hot cHmate, slavery, polygamy and the 
segregation of women. The private house in Ma- 
hometan countries is in fact a fortress, a convent 
and a temple: a temple of which the god (as in all 
ancient religions) frequently descends to visit his 
cloistered votaresses. For where slavery and polyg- 
amy exist every house-master is necessarily a god, 
and the house he inhabits a shrine built about his 

The first thought of the Moroccan chieftain was 
always defensive. As soon as he pitched a camp 

[ 266 ] 

From a photograph from the Serrice dcs Beaux-Arts an Maroc 

Rabat — gate of the Kasbali of tlu- Oudavas 


or founded a city it had to be guarded against the 
hungry hordes who encompassed him on every side. 
Each Httle centre of culture and luxury in Moghreb 
was an islet in a sea of perpetual storms. The 
wonder is that, thus incessantly threatened from 
without and conspired against from within — with 
the desert at their doors, and their slaves on the 
threshold — these violent men managed to create 
about them an atmosphere of luxury and stability 
that astonished not only the obsequious native chron- 
icler but travellers and captives from western Europe. 
The truth is, as has been often pointed out, that, 
even until the end of the seventeenth century, the 
refinements of civilization were in many respects 
no greater in France and England than in North 
Africa. North Africa had long been in more direct 
communication with the old Empires of immemorial 
luxury, and was therefore farther advanced in the 
arts of living than the Spain and France of the 
Dark Ages; and this is why, in a country that to 
the average modern European seems as savage as 
Ashantee, one finds traces of a refinement of life 
and taste hardly to be matched by Carlovingian 
and early Capetian Europe. 

[ 267 ] 



The brief Almoravid dynasty left no monuments 
behind it. 

Fez had already been founded by the Idrissites, 
and its first mosques (Kairouiyin and Les Anda- 
lous) existed. Of the Almoravid Fez and Marra- 
kech the chroniclers relate great things; but the 
wild Hilahan invasion and the subsequent descent 
of the Almohads from the High Atlas swept away 
whatever the first dynasties had created. 

The Almohads were mighty builders, and their 
great monuments are all of stone. The earliest 
known example of their architecture which has 
survived is the ruined mosque of Tinmel, in the 
High Atlas, discovered and photographed by M. 
Doutte. This mosque was built by the inspired 
mystic, Ibn-Toumert, who founded the line. Fol- 
lowing him came the great palace-making Sultans 
whose walled cities of splendid mosques and towers 
have Romanesque qualities of mass and propor- 
tion, and, as M. Raymond Koechlin has pointed 
out, inevitably recall the "robust simplicity of the 
master builders who at the very same moment 

[ 268 ] 

From a photograph from the Scriicc dca licaux-Art.t an Marnc 

Fez — Medersa Boiianvana 


were beginning in France the construction of the 
first Gothic cathedrals and the noblest feudal 

In the thirteenth century, with the coming of 
the Merinids, Moroccan architecture grew more 
delicate, more luxurious, and perhaps also more 
peculiarly itself. That interaction of Spanish and 
Arab art which produced the style known as Moor- 
ish reached, on the African side of the Straits, its 
greatest completeness in Morocco. It was under 
the Merinids that Moorish art grew into full 
beauty in Spain, and under the Merinids that Fez 
rebuilt the mosque Kairouiyin and that of the 
Andalusians, and created six of its nine Medersas, 
the most perfect surviving buildings of that unique 
moment of sober elegance and dignity. 

The Cherifian dynasties brought with them a 
decline in taste. A crude desire for immediate 
effect, and the tendency toward a more barbaric 
luxury, resulted in the piling up of frail palaces as 
impermanent as tents. Yet a last flower grew 
from the deformed and dying trunk of the old Em- 
pire. The Saadian Sultan who invaded the Soudan 
and came back laden with gold and treasure from 

[ 269 ] 


the great black city of Timbuctoo covered Marra- 
kech with hasty monuments of which hardly a 
trace survives. But there, in a nettle-grown corner 
of a ruinous quarter, lay hidden till yesterday the 
Chapel of the Tombs: the last emanation of pure 
beauty of a mysterious, incomplete, forever retro- 
gressive and yet forever forward-straining people. 
The Merinid tombs of Fez have fallen; but those 
of their destroyers linger on in precarious grace, 
like a flower on the edge of a precipice. 


Moroccan architecture, then, is easily divided into 
four groups: the fortress, the mosque, the collegiate 
building and the private house. 

The kernel of the mosque is always the mihrah, 
or niche facing toward the Kasbah of Mecca, where 
the imam* stands to say the prayer. This arrange- 
ment, which enabled as many as possible of the 
faithful to kneel facing the mihrah^ results in a 
ground-plan necessarily consisting of long aisles 
parallel with the wall of the mihrah^ to which more 

*The "deacon" or elder of the Moslem religion, which has no order of 

[ 270 1 

Fez — the praying-chapel in the Medersa el Attarine 


and more aisles are added as the number of wor- 
shippers grows. ^Miere there was not space to 
increase these lateral aisles they were lengthened 
at each end. This tjT)icaI plan is modified in the 
Moroccan mosques by a wider transverse space, 
corresponding with the nave of a Christian church, 
and extending across the mosque from the praying 
niche to the principal door. To the right of the 
mihrah is the minhar, the carved pulpit (usually of 
cedar-wood incrusted with mother-of-pearl and 
ebony) from which the Koran is read. In some 
Algerian and Egyptian mosques (and at Cordova, 
for instance) the mihrah is enclosed in a sort of 
screen called the maksoura; but in Morocco this 
modification of the simpler plan was apparently 
not adopted. 

The interior construction of the mosque was no 
doubt usually affected by the nearness of Roman 
or Byzantine ruins. M. Saladin points out that 
there seem to be few instances of the use of columns 
made by native builders; but it does not therefore 
follow that all the columns used in the early mosques 
were taken from Roman temples or Christian basil- 
icas. The Arab invaders brought their architects 

[ 271 ] 


and engineers with them; and it is very possible 
that some of the earlier mosques were built by- 
prisoners or fortune-hunters from Greece or Italy 
or Spain. 

At any rate, the column on which the arcades 
of the vaulting rests in the earlier mosques, as at 
Tunis and Kairouan, and the mosque El Kairoui- 
yin at Fez, gives way later to the use of piers, 
foursquare, or with flanking engaged pilasters as 
at Algiers and Tlemcen. The exterior of the 
mosques, as a rule, is almost entirely hidden by a 
mushroom growth of buildings, lanes and covered 
bazaars; but where the outer walls have remained 
disengaged they show, as at Kairouan and Cor- 
dova, great masses of windowless masonry pierced 
at intervals with majestic gateways. 

Beyond the mosque, and opening into it by 
many wide doors of beaten bronze or carved cedar- 
wood, lies the Court of the Ablutions. The open- 
ings in the fagade were multiplied in order that, on 
great days, the faithful who were not able to enter 
the mosque might hear the prayers and catch a 
ghmpse of the mihrah. 

In a corner of the courts stands the minaret. It 

[ 272 1 


is the structure on which Moslem art has played 
the greatest number of variations, cutting off its 
angles, building it on a circular or polygonal plan, 
and endlessly modifying the pyramids and penden- 
tives by which the ground-plan of one story passes 
into that of the next. These problems of transi- 
tion, always fascinating to the architect, led in Per- 
sia, Mesopotamia and Egypt to many different 
compositions and ways of treatment; but in Mo- 
rocco the minaret, till modern times, remained 
steadfastly square, and proved that no other plan 
is so beautiful as this simplest one of all. 

Surrounding the Court of the Ablutions are the 
school-rooms, libraries and other dependencies, 
which grew as the Mahometan religion prospered 
and Arab culture developed. 

The medersa was a farther extension of the 
mosque: it was the academy where the Moslem 
schoolman prepared his theology and the other 
branches of strange learning which, to the present 
day, make up the curriculum of the Mahometan 
university. The medersa is an adaptation of the 
private house to religious and educational ends; or, 
if one prefers another analogy, it is a fondak built 

[ 273 ] 


above a miniature mosque. The ground-plan is 
always the same; in the centre an arcaded court 
with a fountain, on one side the long narrow pray- 
ing-chapel with the mihrab, on the other a class- 
room with the same ground-plan; and on the next 
story a series of cell-like rooms for the students, 
opening on carved cedar- wood balconies. This 
cloistered plan, where all the effect is reserved for 
the interior fagades about the court, lends itself to 
a deUcacy of detail that would be inappropriate on 
a street-front; and the medersas of Fez are end- 
lessly varied in their fanciful but never exuberant 

M. Tranchant de Lunel has pointed out (in 
"France-Maroc") with what a sure sense of suit- 
ability the Merinid architects adapted this decora- 
tion to the uses of the buildings. On the lower 
floor, under the cloister, is a revetement of marble 
(often alabaster) or of the almost indestructible 
ceramic mosaic* On the floor above, massive 
cedar-wood corbels ending in monsters of almost 
Gothic inspiration support the fretted balconies; 

* These Moroccan mosaics are called zelUjes. 

[ 274 ] 

J- raiii (J iilKiiugrtiiih Jrom Uir >irrirf lie.t lieaux-Arts an ilarnr 

Sale — interior court of tlif Mcdcrsa 


and above rise stucco interlacings, placed too high 
up to be injured by man, and guarded from the 
weather by projecting eaves. 

The private house, whether merchant's dwelHng 
or chieftain's palace, is laid out on the same lines, 
with the addition of the reserved quarters for 
women; and what remains in Spain and Sicily of 
Moorish secular architecture shows that, in the 
Merinid period, the play of ornament must have 
been — as was natural — even greater than in the 

The Arab chroniclers paint pictures of Merinid 
palaces, such as the House of the Favourite at 
Cordova, which the soberer modern imagination 
refused to accept until the medersas of Fez were 
revealed, and the old decorative tradition was 
shown in the eighteenth century Moroccan palaces. 
The descriptions given of the palaces of Fez and of 
Marrakech in the preceding articles, which make it 
unnecessary, in so slight a note as this, to go again 
into the detail of their planning and decoration, 
will serve to show how gracefully the art of the 
mosque and the medersa was lightened and domes- 

[ 275 ] 


ticated to suit these cool chambers and flower-filled 

With regard to the immense fortifications that 
are the most picturesque and noticeable architec- 
tural features of Morocco, the first thing to strike 
the traveller is the diflSculty of discerning any dif- 
ference in the probable date of their construction 
until certain structural peculiarities are examined, 
or the ornamental details of the great gateways are 
noted. Thus the Almohad portions of the walls of 
Fez and Rabat are built of stone, while later parts 
are of rubble; and the touch of European influence 
in certain gateways of Meknez and Fez at once 
situate them in the seventeenth century. But the 
mediaeval outline of these great piles of masonry, 
and certain technicalities in their plan, such as the 
disposition of the towers, alternating in the inner 
and outer walls, continued unchanged throughout 
the different dynasties; and this immutability of 
the Moroccan military architecture enables the im- 
agination to picture, not only what was the aspect 
of the fortified cities which the Greeks built in Pal- 
estine and Syria, and the Crusaders brought back 

[ 276 ] 

? ^ 


to Europe, but even tliat of the far-off Assyrio- 
Chaldsean strongholds to which the whole fortified 
architecture of the Middle Ages in Europe seems to 
lead back. 

[ 277 ] 





Afrique Frangaise (L'), Bulletin Mensuel du Comite de 

TAfrique Frangaise. Paris, 21, rue Cassette. 
Bernard, Augustin. Le Maroc. Paris, F. Alcan, 1916. 
Budgett-Meakin. The Land of the Moors. London, 1902. 
Chdtelain, L. Recherches archeologiques au Maroc. Volu- 

bilis. (Published by the Military Command in Mo- 

Les Fouilles de Volubilis. (Extrait du Bulletin Archeo- 
logique, 1916.) 
Che\'Tillon, A. Crepuscule d'Islam. 
Cochelet, Charles. Le Naufrage du Brick Sophie. 
Conferences Marocaines. Paris, Plon-Nourrit. 
Doutte, E. En Tribu. Paris, 1914. 
Foucauld, Vicomte de. La Reconnaissance au Maroc. Paris, 

France-Maroc. Revue Mcnsuelle, Paris, 4, rue Chauveau- 

Gaillard. Une Ville d'LsIam, Fez. Paris, 1909. 
Gayet, Al. L'Art Arabe. Paris, 1906. 
Hondas, O. Le Maroc de 1631 a 1812. Extrait d'une his- 

toire du Maroc intitulee "LTnterprete qui s'exprime 

clairement sur les dynasties de I'Orient et de I'Occident" 

par Ezziani. Paris, E. Leroux, 1886. 

[ 281 ] 


Koechlin, Raymond. Une Exposition d'Art Marocain. (Ga- 
zette des Beaux-Arts, Juillet-Septembre, 1917.) 

Leo Africanus, Description of Africa. 

Loti, Pierre. Au Maroc. 

Migeon, Gaston. Manuel d'Art Musulman. II. Les Arts 
Plastiques et Industriels. Paris, A. Picard et Fils, 1907. 

Saladin, H. Manuel d'Art Musulman. I. L' Architecture. 
Paris, A. Picard et Fils, 1907. 

Segonzac, Marquis de. Voyages au Maroc. Paris, 1903. 
Au Coeur de 1' Atlas. Paris, 1910. 

Tarde, A. de. Les Villes du Maroc: Fez, Marrakech, Rabat. 
(Journal de I'llniversite des Annales, 15 Oct., 1 Nov., 

Windus. A Journey to Mequinez. London, 1721. 

[ 282 ] 




Abdallah-ben-A!ssa, 59 
Abd-el-Aziz, 256-258 
Abd-el-Hafid. 209-211, 258 
Abd-el-Kader, 255 
Abd-el-Moumen, 30, 243, 244 
Abou-el- Abbas ("The Golden"). 

152, 153 
Abou Hassan, 245, 246 
Abou-Youssef, 245 
Agdal, olive-yards of the, 139 
Ahmed-Baba, 152 
Ahmed-el-Hiba, 211, 212 
Ald-el-Kebir. the, 164-170 
Aissaouas, the, of Kairouan, 48 

dance of, 52 
Algeria. French conquest of, 254-256 
Almohads, the, invasion of Mo- 
rocco by, 243-245 
architecture of, 265. 268 
Almoravids, the, invasion of Mo- 
rocco by, 241-243 
destruction of architecture of, 265, 
Andalusian Moors, the, mosque of, 

101, 102, 240, 268, 269 
Arabs, conquest of Morocco by, 239- 

Architecture, Moroccan, four basic 
conditions of, 266 
four groups of, 270 
of the Almohad dynasty, 268 
of the Cherifian dynasties, 269 
of the Merinid dynasty, 269, 274, 

the Saadian mausoleum, 155 
the collegiate building, 273-275 

the fortress, 276 
the mosque, 270-273 
the private house, 275 
Art, Moroccan, sources of influence 
on, 104, 262-265 
disappearance of treasures of, 86, 

and Moorish art, 269 

Ba-Ahmed, builder of the Bahia, 

129, 256, 257 
Bab F'touh cemetery, at Fez, 102- 

Bahia, the, palace of, at Marrakech, 
apartment of Grand Vizier's Fa- 
vourite in, 131 
Bazaars, of Fez, 91, 107-109 
of Marrakech, 135-138 
of Sale, 24, 25 
Beni-Merins. See Merinids 
Berbers, the. attack of, on Fez, 210, 
origins of, 232 
dialects of. 234 

nomadic character of, 234, 235 
heresy and schisms of, 239 
Bernard, M. Augustin, 69, 234, 265, 

239, 251 
Black Guard, the Sultan's, 164-167 
uniform of, 176 

Moulay-Ismael's method of rais- 
ing, 44. 67-69 
Blue Men of the Sahara, the, 1 \& 
Bou-Jeloud, palace of, 80, 81, 83 
Bugeaud, Marshal, 255 

[ 285 ] 


Carthage, African colonies of, 236, 

Casablanca, exhibitions at, 219 

port of, 222, 223 
Catholics, in Morocco, 248, 249 
Cemetery, El Alou, 17, 18 

Bab F'touh, 102-104 
Chatelain, M. Louis, 46 
Chella, niins of, 28-30 
Cherifian dynasties, the, 247, 251 

architecture of, 269 
Children, Moroccan, 

in the harem, 194 

negro, 43, 44, 199-201 

training of, for Black Guard, 67-69 
Chleuh boys, dance of, 148 
Christians, captive, and the building 
of Meknez, 69. 70, 73 

religious liberty to, in Africa, 248, 
Clocks, in Sultan's harem at Rabat, 

172, 173 
Cochelet, Charles, his "Naufrage du 

Brick Sophie," 250 
Colleges, at Fez, 97-100, 105-107 

at Sale, 19-22, 25, 26 

Moslem, 225 

architecture of Moroccan, 273-275 
Colors, of North African towns, 50 
Commerce, Moroccan, 223 
Conti, Princesse de, 59 
Convention of Fez, the, 209 
Courts of Justice, Moroccan, 224 
Crowds, Moroccan street, 161, 162 
Culture, in North Africa, 104-106, 
246, 267 

Dance, of Chleuh boys, 148 

of the Hamadchas, 48, 49, 51-57 
Dawn, in Africa, 37 
Djebilets, the, 125 
Doutte, M., 264, 268 
Dust-storm, at Marrakech, 145-147 

Education, in Morocco, 225, 226 

Elakhdar, mosque of, 62 

El Alou, cemetery of, 17, 18 

El Andalous, mosque of, 101, 102, 

240, 268, 269 
Elbali (Old Fez), 88 et seq. 

harems of. 188-196 
Eldjid (New Fez), 77, 80 

palaces of, 84-87 

founding of, 245 
El Kairouiyin, mosque of, 80, 83, 93, 
95-100, 240, 263. 268, 269 

the praying-hall of, 98 

the court of ablutions of, 99, 100 

legend of the tortoise of, 97 
El-Ksar, 11, 12, 152 
El-Mansour, Yacoub, 16, 80-33 
Elmansour, palace of, 63 
Empress Mother, the, 177, 178 
English emissaries, 

visit of, to Meknez, 71-73 
Exhibitions, planned by General 

Lyautey, 219-221 
Ezziani, chronicler of Moulay-Is- 
mael, 60, 61, 64, 66, 67, 70 

Fatimites, the, 240, 241 
Fez, the approach to, 77 

unchanged character of, 78 

ruins of Merinid tombs of, 78. 79 

the upper or new, 80 

old summer-palace at, 80-83 

night in, 82, 116-119 

antiquity of, 83 

palaces of, 84-87 

the inns at, 86, 94, 116, 117 

streets of, 88-91 

a city of wealth, 90 

the merchant of, 90 

bazaars of, 91, 92, 107-109 

a melancholy city, 92, 109 

twilight in, 93 

the shrines of, 93 

[ 286 ] 



mosque of Moiilay Idriss at, 94, 95 

mosque of El Kairouiyinat,9.'3-100 

the University of, 97, 100, 101 

Medersaa of. 99. 105-107, 274 

mosque of El Andalous at, 101, 

Bab F'touh cemetery of, 102-104 

the potters of, 103 

art and culture of, 104-106, 247 

the Mellah of, 113 

harems of Old, 188-196 

the Convention of, 209 

uprising in, 210 

attack of Berbers on, 211 

exhibitions at, 219 

Moslem college at, 225 

founding of, 240 

Almoravid conquest of. 242 

centre of Moroccan learning, 247 

Catholic diocese at, 248 

massacres at, 258 
Fez Elbali, 88 et seq., 188-196 
Fez Eldjid, 77, 80, 83-87, 245 
Fondak Nedjarine, the, at Fez, 94 
Fortifications, Moroccan, architec- 
ture of, 276 
Foucauld, Vicomte de, 110, 249 
Franco-German treaty of 1911, 212 
French Protectorate in Morocco, 

work of, 222-227 
French, conquests in Morocco, 254- 

at Fez, 258 
Furniture, disappearance of Meri- 
nid. 86, 87 

Chilis, the, 125 
Gouraud, General, 211 

Hamadch, tomb of, 49, 56 
Ilamadchas, the, ritual dance of, 48, 
40, 51-57 


in old Fez, 188-196 

an Imperial, 170-181 

in Marrakech, 197-205 

in old Rabat. 182-187 
Hassan, Sultan, 129, 245, 246. 256 
Hassan, tower of, at Kabat, .SI, 32 
Hassanians. the, rule of, 253-258 
Holy War, the. against France, 255, 
against Spain and Portugal, 
Hospitals, in Morocco, 226, 227 
Houses, Moroccan, 

architecture of, 266, 275 

color of, 50 

plan of. 20 

rich private, 86, 106 

Ibn-Toumert, 243, 268 

Idriss I, 94. 239 

Idriss II, 61, 80, 83, 94, 240 

Idrissite empire, the, 240, 241 

Inns, Moroccan, 86, 94, 116, 117 

Jews, of Sefrou. 113-116 

treatment of North African, 114 

Kairouan, the Alssaouas of, 48, 52 

Great Mosque of, 93, 95, Hi 
Kairouiyin, mosque of. See El 

Kalaa, ruins of, 264 
Kenitra, port of, 38, 223 
Koechlin, M. Raymond, 268 
Koutoubya, tower of the, 127, 128 

Lamothe, General. 218 

Land, area of cultivated, in Mo- 
rocco. 224 

Louis XIV, and Moulay-Ismael, 58, 
59, 70 

Lunel, M. Tranchant de, 106. 274 

Lyautey. General. 23, 149, 150 
at Sultan's court, 179 

[ 287 ] 


appointed Resident-General in 

Morocco, 210 
military occupation of Morocco 

by. 211, 212 
policy of, 213 et seq, 
economic development of Morocco 

achieved by, 218-222 
summary of work of, 222-226 

Maclean, Sir Harry, 144 
Mamora, forest of, 14 
Mangin, General, 212 
Mansourah, mosque of, 150 
Market, of Marrakech, 144 

in Moulay Idriss, 49 

of Sale, 26, 27 

of Sefrou, 111-113 
Marrakech, the road to, 123-126 

founders of, 128, 129, 242 

tower of the Koutoubya at, 127, 

palace of the Bahia at, 129-133 

the lamp-lighters of, 133 

mixed population of, 134 

bazaars of, 135-138 

the "morocco" workers of, 137 

olive-yards of, 139 

the Menara of, 139, 140 

a holiday of merchants of, 140-142 

the Square of the Dead in, 143- 

French administration office at, 

fruit-market of, 144 

dance of Chleuh boys in, 148 

Saadian tombs of, 149, 154-158, 

a harem in, 197-205 

taken by the French, 212 

Catholic diocese at, 248 

Chapel of the Tombs at, 270 
Medersa, the, of the Oudayas, 19-22 

Attarine, 99 

at Fez, 99, 105-107 

at Sale, 25, 26 

architecture of, 273-275 
Mehedyia, Phenician colony of, 38, 

Meknez, building of, 57-64, 69, 70 

the Kasbah of, 62 

palaces of, 63 

stables of, 63 

entrance into, 64 

ruins of, 64-66 

sunken gardens of, 72 

visit of English emissaries to, 71-73 
Mellah, of Fez, 113 

of Sefrou, 113-116 
Menara, the, in the Agdal, 139, 140 
Mequinez. See Meknez 
Merinids, the, tombs of, at Fez, 78, 79 

conquest of Morocco by, 245-247 

architecture of, 269, 274, 275 
Mirador, the Imperial, 170-181 
Moorish art, 269 
Mosque, of Elakhador, 62 

of El Andalous, 101, 102, 240, 268, 

of El Kairouiyin, 80, 83, 93-100, 
240, 263, 268, 269 

of Kairouan, 93 

of Mansourah, 150 

of Rabat, 32 

of Tinmel, 243, 268 

of Tunisia, 96 

architecture of Moroccan, 270-273 
Moulay Hafid, 81 
Moulay-el-Hassan, 129, 256 
Moulay Idriss I, rule of, 239 

tomb of, 94 
Moulay Idriss II, tomb of, 61, 80, 83. 

rule of, 240 
Moulay Idriss, Sacred City of, 5, 39, 

Street of the Weavers in, 47 

[ 288 ] 


feast of the Hamadchas in, 48-37 

market-place of, 49 

whiteness of, 50 

founding of, 240 
Moulay-Isniael, and Louis XIV, 58, 
59, 70 

exploits of, 60-62 

mausoleum of Moulay Idriss en- 
larged by. 61 

Meknez l)uilt by, 62, 63, 69, 70 

the Black (Juard of, 44, 67-69 

description of, 71 

palaces of, 72 

and English emissaries, 72, 73 

death of, 73, 74 

rule of, 253 

successors of, 254 
Moulay Youssef, 180, 181, 258 

Nedjarine, fovmtain and inn of, 94 
Night, in Fez, 116-119 

Oases, Moroccan, 109, 110 

Marrakech, 127 el seq. 

Sefrou, llO et seq. 

Settat, 124 
Oudayas, the, Kasbah of, 16, 17 

Medcrsa of, 19-22 

Palaces, Moroccan, the Bahia, 129- 
Bou-Jcloud, 80-83 
at Fez, 80-87 
at Meknez, 63 
of Moulay-Ismael, 72 
Phenicians, the, African explora- 
tions of, 236, 237 
Pilgrimage to Sale, a, 41 
Population, Moroccan, varied ele- 
ments of, 89, 134 
Ports, Moroccan. 222, 223 
Portugal, the Holy War against, 

Pottery. Berber. 204 
Potters' Field, the, 104 

Rabat, 15, 16 

Tower of Hassan at. 31. 32 
ruins of mosque at, '.H 
called "Camp of Victory," 33 
Sacrifice of the Sheep at, 163 el 

Sultan's harem of, 170-181 
visit to a harem in old, 182-187 
exhibitions at, 219 
port of, 223 
Moslem college at, 225 
Central Laboratory at, 220 
Railways, Moroccan, built by French 

Protectorate, 224 
Rarb, the, 38, 44 
Roads, Moroccan, built by French 

Protectorate, 224 
Romans, the, African explorations 
of, 237, 238 

Saadian Sultans, the, history of, 

tombs of. 149, 154-158, 252 

rule of, 247-252 
Sacrifice of the Sheep, the, 164-170 
Saint- Amand, M. dc, 58 
Saladin, M. H., his "Manual of 
Moslem Architecture," 233, 
261, 271 
Sale, first view of, 14 

tj-pe of untouched Moroccan city, 
23, 24 

bazaar of, 24, 25 

Medersae of, 19-22, 25, 26 

market of. 20, 27 

colors of. 50 
Schools, in Morocco, 225, 226 
Sedrata. ruins of. 264 
Sefrou, 110-110 

market-place of, 111-113 

[ 289 ] 


men and women of, 112, 113 
Jewish colony of, 113-116 
Senegal, 152 
Settat, oasis of, 124 
Sheep, sacrifice of the, 164-170 
Sidi-Mohammed, 254 
Slaves, Moroccan, 171, 191, 199-201 

trade in white, 250 
Sloughi, bronze, at Volubilis, 46, 87 
Soudan, 152 
Spain, the Holy War against, 248- 

Spanish zone, the, German intrigue 

in, 213, 218 
Stables, of Meknez, 63 
Stewart, Commodore, 71 
Street of the Weavers (Moulay 

Idriss), 47 
Streets, Moroccan, 47, 88-91, 161, 


Tangier, 3-8 

colors of, 50 

taken by the French, 255 
Tetuan, bronze chandelier of, 87 
Timbuctoo, the Sultanate of, 152 
Tingitanian Mauretania, 237 
Tinmel, ruins of mosque at, 243, 268 
TIemcen, the conflict for, 245, 246 

Touaregs, the, 236 
Tower, of Hassan, 31, 32 

of the Koutoubya, 127, 128 
Tunisia, Almohad sanctuary of, 96 

Vandals, the, African invasion by, 

Veiled Men, the, 236, 241 

Versailles and Meknez, 58 

Villages, "sedentary," 43 

Volubihs, ruins of, 44-46 
bronze sloughi of, 46, 87 
founded by Romans, 237 

Wedding, Jewish, procession bring- 
ing gifts for, 108 

Windus, John, 70-72, 250 

Women, Moroccan, 
dress of, 51, 52 
of Sefrou, 112, 113 
of the harems, 187-189 
in Sultan's harem, 173-175 
in harems of Old Fez, 188, 192-194 
in harem of Marrakech, 202-204 
in harem of Rabat, 184-187 
negro, 43, 191 

Yacoub-el-Mansour, 16, 30-33, 244 
Youssef-ben-Tachfin, 242 

[ 290 ] 

DT Wharton, 3dith Newbolci (Jones) 

310 In Morocco