Skip to main content

Full text of "Morocco that was"

See other formats


RO 



HAT WA 




GIFT OF 




Morocco that Was 




MULAI ABDUL AZIZ. 



Morocco that Was 



BY 



WALTER B. HARRIS 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



William Blackwood and Sons 

Edinburgh and London 

1921 



' 









CONTENTS. 



THE MOORISH COURT 

I. THE ACCESSION OF MULAI ABDUL AZIZ . . 1 

n. LIFE AT THE MOORISH COURT ... 32 

HI. THE ROAD TO RUIN .... 65 

IV. THE BEGINNING OF THE END ... 91 

V. THE LIQUIDATION OF THE SULTANATE . . 119 

VI. THE SULTAN AT HOME 140 

VH. THE SULTAN IN FRANCE V . . . 160 

RAISULI .... . . . . 179 

SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS .... 265 

CHANGES AND CHANCES , . . 291 



495010 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



MULAI ABDUL AZIZ Frontispiece 

MOUNTAIN-TOPS, ATLAS .... Facing p. 10 

From photo by Author. 

COURTYARD OF PACHA 'S PALACE, MARRAKESH 38 

From photo by Felix, Marrakeeh (Maroc). 

MARRAKESH ,,60 

From photo by Felix, Marrakeeh, (Maruc). 

THE WALLS OF FEZ ,,64 

From photo by Service des Beaux- Arts, Morocco. 

TROOPS GUARDING THE AUTHOR'S VILLA AT 

TANGIER ,,76 

From photo by Author. 

GATE OF MANSOUR EL-ALJ, MEKNE*S . . 101 

From photo by Author. 

MEDERSA OF ATTARINE, FEZ . . . 110 

From photo by Service des Beaux-Arts, Morocco. 

MULAI HAFID 120 

FEZ FROM THE SOUTH . . . . 136 

From photo by Service des Beaux-Arts, Morocco. 



Vlll 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



RABAT 



From photo by Service des Beaux- Arts, Morocco. 



BERBER TRIBESMEN OF THE MIDDLE ATLAS 

From photo by Service des Beaux-Arts, Morocco. 

THE AUTHOR, EL AOUFI, AND RAISULl'S 
BRIGANDS 

From photo by Madame de Beaumarchait. 

THE AUTHOR MEASURING THE WALLS OF 
THE RUINS OF RAISULl'S HOUSE . 

From photo by Madame de Beaumarchais. 

MY CARAVAN CROSSING THE ATLAS 

From photo by Author. 

COURT OF KAmOUIN MOSQUE, FEZ 

From photo by Service des Beaux-Arts, Morocco. 

A FRENCH " POSTE " IN THE ATLAS . 

From photo by Service des Beaux-Arts, Morocco. 

AN ATLAS CASTLE 

From photo by Lord Loch. 

ROOM IN THE PACHA 'S PALACE, MARRAKESH 

From photo by Felix, Marrakech (Maroc). 



. Facing p. 160 
194 



220 

232 
272 
290 
304 
322 



MOROCCO THAT WAS. 



THE MOORISH COURT. 



THE ACCESSION OF MULAI ABDUL AZIZ. 

MY first introduction to the Moorish Court was 
in 1887, only a very few months after my arrival 
in Morocco, when I was invited by the British 
Minister, the late Sir William Kirby-Green, to 
accompany his special Mission to the Sultan. 

Mulai Hassen was then at the zenith of his 
power. He was a " strong " Sultan, probably 
cruel, and certainly capable. His energy was 
never-failing, and he maintained order amongst 
his lawless tribes and stamped out the constantly 
occurring revolts by an almost unceasing "pro- 
gress " through the country, accompanied by his 
rabble of an army. He seldom spent six months 
together in any of his several capitals, and the 
Moors had a saying, " The Imperial tents are 
never stored." 

The great labour, the enormous transport that 
these journeyings necessitated, is difficult to appre- 

A 



2 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

ciate. Not only was the Sultan accompanied by 
his numerous ladies and all his viziers and their 
families and suites, but he had with him as well 
some ten thousand soldiers and a rabble of camp- 
followers. A large number of native merchants 
also joined the throng, for trade flowed to the 
region in which the Court was residing. 

Some idea of the results upon the country 
passed through can be imagined from the fact 
that the very name of these expeditions in Arabic 
is " Harka," " the burning." No matter whether 
the tribes were in incipient rebellion, in open 
revolt, or in peace, they had to provide the food 
and fodder of this great horde, whose ravages 
more nearly resembled those of a flight of locusts 
than the passing by of human beings. Not only 
such " legal " taxation as could be extorted was 
collected, but the viziers and the Sultan's entour- 
age had to be bribed and paid as well, while 
every soldier and every camp-follower pillaged on 
his own account. On receiving the news of the 
coming of one of these Imperial expeditions, as 
many of the population as could, or as dared, 
fled to other regions ; and the Sultan often passed 
through a deserted country, except that the 
Governor and tribal representatives had to be 
there to pour the little wealth of the countryside 
into the royal coffers. 

Morocco was still an almost unknown country 
in those days. Europe paid little attention to 
what was passing within its boundaries, and so 
long as the Sultan's actions didn't threaten to 



THE MOORISH COURT 3 

complicate international questions, he was allowed 
to go his own way. The rivalry of Great Britain 
and France was its outstanding feature, together 
with the constantly recurring quarrels and petty 
local wars of Spain with the tribes that surround 
her " Presidios " on the northern coast. Morocco 
lived its life apart. True, it was at the very gates 
of the Mediterranean, but it might have been in 
the Pacific for all the attention that it attracted. 
From time to time the European Governments 
despatched special Missions to the Sultan gigantic 
picnics to one or other of the capitals, during 
which the pending claims would, or would not, 
be settled ; a commercial treaty was possibly 
discussed ; eternal friendship was sworn where 
only hatred on one side and indifference on the 
other really existed, for in those days the general 
feelings of the Moors toward the Europeans and 
Christians amounted to hate. 

Sir William Kirby-Green's special Mission pro- 
ceeded by sea to Mazagan, conveyed by a British 
warship, and thence overland to Marrakesh, the 
Sultan having, as the custom was, sent an escort, 
transport, and tents to the coast for this 
purpose. 

However rotten the state of Morocco may have 
been at that time, Mulai Hassen's strong hand 
held its fabric together, and presented to the 
outside world a front of great dignity. The 
British Mission travelled amongst the tribes in 
perfect security, and was received with all honour 
and with pretended rejoicings. Compliments 



4 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

flowed as fast as mountain streams happy in 
their wording, sonorous in their utterance, and 
absolutely insincere. 

And then, in mingled dust and sunshine, the 
entry into the southern capital ; the threading 
of its narrow streets ; the throng of onlookers ; 
the almost hopeless crush of horses and mules 
and men ; and our arrival in the great garden 
of olives and oranges which surrounded the kiosks 
of the Maimounieh Palace, in which the Mission 
was housed during its stay at Marrakesh. 

The reception of foreign envoys by the Sultan 
formed a pageant of much magnificence. Only 
a very few years later the whole formality was 
changed, and the representatives of the Govern- 
ments of Europe were no longer received as vassals 
bringing tribute. But as long as the old etiquette 
lasted, there could be no question about the 
splendour of the ceremony. It may have been 
derogatory, and no doubt was, for the represen- 
tatives of the Great Powers of Europe to stand 
bareheaded in the sun while the Sultan, under a 
crimson parasol, remained on horseback ; but no 
one could dispute the picturesqueness of the scene 
or its oriental dignity. 

The great square of the palace, covering many 
acres, in which the reception took place, was 
surrounded by yellow walls, here and there pierced 
by gateways. At one end, above these walls, 
appeared the flat terraces and green-tiled roofs of 
the palace, at the other extremity the cypress- 
and olive-trees of the great park of the Agdal ; 



THE MOORISH COURT 5 

while away to the south, towering high into the 
morning sunlight, rose the snow-covered peaks of 
the Atlas Mountains. A fitter mise en scene for 
a great pageant could scarcely be imagined. 

The great square was lined with troops, ragged 
and parti-coloured, some in uniform and some 
out of it, and some in uniform so ragged that 
they were as much out of it as in it. Others, 
again, in brilliant costumes of every colour, evi- 
dently made and served out for the occasion. 
In detail much was wanting, perhaps ; in general 
effect it was a rainbow. Into the centre of this 
square the British Minister and his suite were 
ushered by high white-robed functionaries of the 
Court, while close behind the little group of 
uniformed Europeans were piled the cases of 
presents sent by the British Government to His 
Shereefian Majesty. In fact, the whole traditional 
ceremony was based upon the reception of vassals 
and the offering of tribute. 

A blast of trumpets, and the great green gates 
of the palace are hurled open, and a hurried 
throng of Court attendants, in white robes and 
crimson-peaked fezes, emerges. A band of shrill 
music pipes and drums bursts into noise. Ban- 
ners and wand-bearers and spear-bearers follow, 
and black grooms leading horses, saddled and 
caparisoned in gay silks and gold embroideries, 
which prance and neigh at the dust and noise. 
Then the Sultan, a stately figure in white, on a 
white horse trapped in green and gold. Over his 
head is borne the great flat parasol of State, of 



6 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

crimson velvet and gold, while at his side attend- 
ants wave long white scarves to keep the flies 
off his sacred person. After him follow his viziers, 
portly gentlemen swathed in soft white hanging 
garments, and then more Court attendants and 
slaves. 

As the sacred presence of the Sultan passes into 
the public square a great shout rends the air, 
and the bowing crowd cries, " May God protect 
the life of our Lord." 

As the procession approaches the group of the 
British Mission it divides to right and left, and 
the Sultan advances, accompanied only by his 
Chamberlain and one or two attendants, and 
followed by his viziers. The members of the 
Mission bow and salute, and the Chamberlain 
presents the Minister to His Majesty, who bids 
him welcome. Sir William Kirby-Green then read 
his speech, and handed his credentials to His 
Majesty, wrapped up in silk. The Sultan took 
them, holding the folds of his cloak between his 
sacred fingers and the infidel documents ! The 
suite is presented, and after another word or two 
of welcome on the part of the Sultan, His Majesty 
turns his horse and retires again to the precincts 
of his palace, amid the cries of his people, the 
booming of cannon, and the shrill blast of native 
music. 

It may not be out of place to give here a brief 
account of how this ceremony came to be abolished. 
I was attached, in 1902, to Sir Arthur Nicolson's 
special Mission to the Sultan Mulai Abdul Aziz at 



THE MOORISH COURT 7 

Rabat. There had for some time been a strong 
feeling on the part of the European Governments 
that some new ceremonial should replace the 
traditional form of the reception of the represen- 
tatives of the Powers, and I was sent to Rabat, 
a week in advance of the Mission, to urge upon 
the Sultan the expediency of this change. I was 
at that time upon very intimate and friendly 
terms with His Majesty, and had ample oppor- 
tunity to put these views before him. Mulai 
Abdul Aziz always had, and has, the true instincts 
of a great gentleman, and he agreed readily that 
the form of reception in vogue at his Court was 
derogatory to the position and dignity of a special 
envoy from the Sovereign and Government of 
Great Britain. At the same time, he main- 
tained that it was extremely difficult to introduce 
radical changes in Court etiquette without creat- 
ing a hostile feeling amongst the people, or at 
least running the risk of much criticism. For 
a few days he hesitated ; but the evening before 
the arrival of the Mission he authorised me to 
inform Sir Arthur Nicolson that the old cere- 
monial would no longer be carried out, and that 
his reception would take place in a room in the 
palace. In order to explain the change of pro- 
cedure, it was allowed to be whispered in the 
town that His Majesty was a little unwell, and 
unable to stand the fatigue of the great function 
in the open air. 

The reception accordingly took place in an upper 
room of the palace. The young Sultan was seated 



8 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

cross-legged on a pale blue Louis XV. sofa, the 
greater part of which was covered by his out- 
spread robes. At his side stood his Minister of 
Foreign Affairs and his viziers. The Chamberlain 
introduced the British Minister, who read his 
speech in English, the interpretation being made 
by an official of the Legation. The Sultan whis- 
pered his reply to the Foreign Minister, who spoke 
it out aloud. 

The scene was attractive, and of course much 
more " intimate " than the great ceremonial of 
the past, but was never lacking in dignity. The 
" audience," confined strictly to the reception, 
lasted only a very few minutes, when the Minister 
and his suite retired. As we were proceeding 
down the staircase, I was hurriedly called back 
into the Sultan's presence. He had thrown ofT 
the great white cloak in which he had been almost 
enveloped, and discarded his heavy turban of 
State for one of much less weighty dimensions. 
His viziers and courtiers had departed. Calling 
to me to come quickly, he cried, " Climb up here 
with me, on to the back of the sofa ; we shall 
be able to see the Mission ride out of the palace 
square" ; and he clambered up and stood on the 
gilt carving of his throne, whence, by pulling him- 
self up by his hands, he could just see out of a 
little window high up in the richly-decorated wall 
of the room. Following his example, I mounted 
beside him, and together we watched the Minister 
and the Mission mount their horses and depart 
from the palace, to the booming of guns. 



THE MOORISH COURT 9 

At the time of my first visit to the Court, Si 
Ahmed ben Moussa, better known as Bou Ahmed, 
was the predominant figure amongst the native 
officials. He held at this time the post of Cham- 
berlain, one of great importance and influence, 
as its holder was in constant contact with the 
Sultan, and could gain his private ear. He was 
undoubtedly devoted to the Sultan's interests, and 
served him faithfully and well. His father had 
been a palace slave, and he himself was very 
dark in colour, and of most unattractive appear- 
ance. He was a man of no particular intelligence, 
but of indomitable will, and cruel. He made no 
pretensions to understand the foreign relations of 
Morocco; and except in so far as he was anti- 
European, more from political than religious 
motives, he seems to have had no fixed policy. 
Even later, when he became, under Mulai Abdul 
Aziz, Grand Vizier, he was content to leave the 
discussion of all affairs of foreign policy to the 
other viziers, though no doubt he took part in 
the decisions arrived at. Mulai Hassen's Foreign 
Minister was Sid Fadhoul Gharnit, a wily and 
intelligent gentleman, who is still living. When 
the Government of which he was a member fell 
and the falls of Government in those days often 
meant the falling of heads too Sid Fadhoul 
Gharnit was seized by a stroke, and disappeared 
into the recesses of his house. For years he was 
supposed to be paralysed, and was no doubt in 
bad health ; but another change of Ministry came 
about years afterwards, and he emerged again, 



10 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

miraculously cured and looking younger and more 
x spry than ever, to become Grand Vizier for a time. 
He has now retired from public life, and resides 
in Fez. No doubt his paralysis, real or feigned, 
saved his family from ruin, his fortune from con- 
fiscation, and probably himself from prison or 
even death. Difficult as was the work, great as 
were the responsibilities of Cabinet Ministers in 
Morocco, they were not pestered by an Opposi- 
tion, for if rarely any members of the outgoing 
Government survived, they were always in prison. 

In 1893 Mulai Hassen determined to visit the 
desert regions of Morocco, including far-off Tafilet, 
the great oasis from which his dynasty had origi- 
nally sprung, and where, before becoming the ruling 
branch of the royal family, they had resided ever 
since their founder, the great-grandson of the 
Prophet, had settled there, an exile from the East. 

Leaving Fez in the summer, the Sultan pro- 
ceeded south, crossing the Atlas above Kasba-el- 
Maghzen, and descended to the upper waters of 
the Wad Ziz. An expedition such as this would 
have required a system of organisation far in 
excess of the capabilities of the Moors, great 
though their resources were. Food was lacking ; 
the desert regions could provide little. The water 
was bad, the heat very great. Every kind of delay, 
including rebellion and the consequent punish- 
ment of the tribes, hampered the Sultan's move- 
ments ; and it was only toward winter that he 
arrived in Tafilet with a fever-stricken army and 
greatly diminished transport. 




{Photo by Author, 



MOUNTAIN TOPS, ATLAS. 



THE MOORISH COURT 11 

Mulai Hassen returned from Tafilet a dying 
man. The internal complaint from which he was 
suffering had become acute from the hardships he 
had undergone, and he was unable to obtain the 
rest that his state of health required, nor would 
he place himself under a regime. For a few 
months he remained in the southern capital, and 
in the late spring 1894 set out to suppress a 
rebellion that had broken out in the Tadla region. 

While camping in the enemy country he died. 
Now, the death of the Sultan under such circum- 
stances was fraught with danger to the State. He 
was an absolute monarch, and with his disappear- 
ance all authority and government lapsed until 
his successor should have taken up the reins. 
Again, the expedition was in hostile country, and 
any inkling of the Sultan's death would have 
brought the tribes down to pillage and loot the 
Imperial camp. As long as the Sultan lived, and\ 
was present with his expedition, his prestige was 
sufficient to prevent an attack of the tribes 
though even this was not unknown on one or two 
occasions and to hold his forces together as a 
sort of concrete body. But his death, if known, 
would have meant speedy disorganisation, nor 
could the troops themselves be trusted not to 
seize this opportunity to murder and loot. 

It was therefore necessary that the Sultan's 
demise should be kept an absolute secret. He 
had died in the recesses of his tents, themselves 
enclosed in a great canvas wall, inside which, 
except on very special occasions, no one was 



12 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

permitted to penetrate. The knowledge of his 
death was therefore limited to the personal slaves 
and to his Chamberlain, Bou Ahmed. 

Orders were given that the Sultan would start 
on his journey at dawn, and before daylight the 
State palanquin was carried into the Imperial 
enclosure, the corpse laid within it, and its doors 
closed and the curtains drawn. At the first pale 
break of dawn the palanquin was brought out, 
supported by sturdy mules. Bugles were blown, 
the band played, and the bowing courtiers and 
officials poured forth their stentorian cry, " May 
God protect the life of our Lord." The procession 
formed up, and, led by flying banners, the dead 
Sultan set out on his march. 

A great distance was covered that day. Only 
once did the procession stop, when the palanquin 
was carried into a tent by the roadside, that the 
Sultan might breakfast. Food was borne in and 
out ; tea, with all the paraphernalia of its brew- 
ing, was served : but none but the slaves who knew 
the secret were permitted to enter. The Chamber- 
lain remained with the corpse, and when a certain 
time had passed, he emerged to state that His 
Majesty was rested and had breakfasted, and 
would proceed on his journey and once more 
the procession moved on. Another long march 
was made to where the great camp was pitched 
for the night. 

The Sultan was tired, the Chamberlain said. 
He would not come out of his enclosure to trans- 
act business as usual in the " Diwan " tent, where 



THE MOORISH COURT 13 

he granted audiences. Documents were taken in 
to the royal quarters by the Chamberlain himself, 
and, when necessary, they emerged bearing the 
seal of State, and verbal replies were given to a 
host of questions. 

Then another day of forced marches, for the 
expedition was still in dangerous country ; but 
Mulai Hassen's death could no longer be con- 
cealed. It was summer, and the state of the 
Sultan's body told its own secret. 

Bou Ahmed announced that His Majesty had 
died two days before, and that by this time his 
young son, Mulai Abdul Aziz, chosen and nomi- 
nated by his father, had been proclaimed at Rabat, 
whither the fleetest of runners had been sent with 
the news immediately after the death had occurred. 

It was a fait accompli. The army was now free 
of the danger of being attacked by the tribes ; 
and the knowledge that the new Sultan was already 
reigning, and that tranquillity existed elsewhere, 
deterred the troops from any excesses. Many 
took the occasion of a certain disorganisation to 
desert, but so customary was this practice that it 
attracted little or no attention. 

Two days later the body of the dead Sultan, - 
now in a terrible state of decomposition, arrived 
at Rabat. It must have been a gruesome pro- 
cession from the description his son Mulai Abdul 
Aziz gave me : the hurried arrival of the swaying 
palanquin bearing its terrible burden, five days 
dead in the great heat of summer ; the escort, 
who had bound scarves over their faces but even 



16 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

dishes of cooked meats, or what was left of them, 
had been removed, there remained great plates of 
fresh butter, the very first of the season, hard 
and rolled into large balls. The learned tutor of 
the Sultan's sons stated that it was much to be 
regretted that such splendid butter should be 
wasted by being eaten by the palace slaves and 
attendants, and forthwith he tore off a length of 
his fine white turban, rolled up one of the large 
balls of butter, and replaced the package in the 
crown of his high-peaked fez, which formed the 
foundation of his headgear. 

One of the slaves told Mulai Hassen what had 
occurred, and he determined to amuse himself at 
the expense of his sons' tutor. He entered the 
great chamber where the guests were assembled 
and bade them welcome, paying a few compli- 
ments to each. When it came to the turn of the 
learned man, the Sultan congratulated him on 
his great attainments, adding, " He shall be speci- 
ally honoured. Bring rose-water and incense." 

Now, it is the custom at Moorish feasts to 
sprinkle the guests with rose and orange-blossom 
water, and to perfume their robes with incense. 
So the long-necked silver bottles and the brass 
incense-burner were produced. From the latter, 
laid upon red-hot charcoal, the burning sandal- 
wood diffused its smoke in delicious clouds. 
Having received the regulation sprinkling, the 
incense-burner was placed before him. Lifting 
his wide sleeves, the slaves held the censer below 
them, allowing the smoke to permeate his volum- 



THE MOORISH COURT 17 

inous garments. Then drawing the hood of his 
" bernous " over his head and face, the customary 
perfuming of the turban was begun. But the 
slaves held tight, and instead of the performance 
lasting half a minute, it was unduly prolonged. 
At first it was only the richly-perfumed smoke of 
the sandalwood that entered his nose and eyes ; 
but presently the delicious odour changed, for the 
butter concealed in his fez, melting under the 
applied heat of the red-hot charcoal, was begin- 
ning to drop into the incense-burner, giving forth 
a penetrating and unpleasant odour of cooking. 
From drops to a trickling stream took a very 
little while, and soon the whole room was full of 
the smoke of burning butter, while the aged scholar 
presented the most pitiful sight half -blinded, 
choking, and dripping all over. When he had 
been washed and cleaned up the Sultan had 
gone. 

Mulai Abdul Aziz was, at the time of his suc- 
cession (1894), about twelve or thirteen years of 
age. He was a younger son of the late Sultan, 
for Islamic thrones do not necessarily descend by 
primogeniture. It is not unseldom a brother who 
succeeds, and at times even more distant relations. 
The throne is almost elective inside the royal 
family, though, as a matter of fact, a Sultan 
generally nominates his successor. The descent 
from the common ancestor who in this case of 
Shereefian families is the Prophet Mohammed 
is of far greater importance than the relationship 
of the deceased and succeeding Sultan. After the 

B 



18 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

abdication of Mulai Hafid in 1912, his half-brother, 
Mulai Youssef, was "chosen" to fill the throne, 
and accepted without hesitation. His choice has 
been amply justified by the dignified manner and 
the constant tact that he has always shown in 
his very difficult position. 

The mother of Mulai Abdul Aziz was a Turkish 
lady, brought from Constantinople to Morocco. 
Report states that she was a woman of great 
intelligence and considerable force of character. 
She was certainly a most devoted mother. It is 
even said that she played a part in the politics 
of the country, and that she was consulted on 
affairs of State by her husband. That she must 
have possessed a remarkable personality is clear 
from the fact that she maintained her influence 
over the Sultan till the day of his death no easy 
task amidst a host of rivals and so assured the 
succession of her son. Her great friend and com- 
panion in the harem was another Turkish lady,, 
the mother of the reigning Sultan Mulai Youssef. 
It is curious that these two " strangers in a foreign 
land " should both have been destined to become 
the mothers of Sultans. 

It was only natural that the succession of a 
minor gave rise to every form of intrigue at Court. 
There were two great factions in the palace the 
party of Bou Ahmed, the powerful Chamberlain, 
on the one hand, and that of the Grand Vizier 
and Minister of War on the other. These two high 
officials belonged to the aristocratic and powerful 
family of the Ulad Jamai, and were respectively 



THE MOORISH COURT 19 

Haj Amaati and Si Mohammed Soreir. Now Bou 
Ahmed was the son of a negro slave, and there- 
fore could count on no tribal or family influence. 
His rivals, on the contrary, were Fez aristocrats, 
highly born, and supported by the influential 
population of the towns. They came of what is 
known as a " Maghzen " family that is to say, 
a family who in the past had held Government 
posts, and had a sort of traditional claim to high 
employment. It was evident that jealousy must 
exist between these two factions. 

Bou Ahmed's position of Chamberlain gave him 
constant access to his sovereign, whose extreme 
youth brought him little into contact with his 
viziers. No doubt, too, Bou Ahmed could count 
upon the influence of the Sultan's mother. He 
had been the constant and trustworthy confidant 
of her husband, and instrumental in putting her 
son on the throne. His own fate, too, depended 
upon his keeping him there, and there can be 
little doubt that Mulai Abdul Aziz's mother and 
Bou Ahmed worked in connivance. 

As soon as the new Government was organised 
sufficiently for Mulai Abdul Aziz to travel, the 
Court left Rabat for Fez the real capital of the 
country. No Sultan can count upon his throne 
as being safe until he has been accepted by the 
religious and aristocratic Fezzis, and taken up his 
residence in the city; for Fez is the centre of 
religion and learning and also of intrigue and 
the influence of its population upon the tribes is 
very great. It was therefore very important that 



18 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

abdication of Mulai Hafid in 1912, his half-brother, 
Mulai Youssef, was "chosen" to fill the throne, 
and accepted without hesitation. His choice has 
been amply justified by the dignified manner and 
the constant tact that he has always shown in 
his very difficult position. 

The mother of Mulai Abdul Aziz was a Turkish 
lady, brought from Constantinople to Morocco. 
Report states that she was a woman of great 
intelligence and considerable force of character. 
She was certainly a most devoted mother. It is 
even said that she played a part in the politics 
of the country, and that she was consulted on 
affairs of State by her husband. That she must 
have possessed a remarkable personality is clear 
from the fact that she maintained her influence 
over the Sultan till the day of his death no easy 
task amidst a host of rivals and so assured the 
succession of her son. Her great friend and com- 
panion in the harem was another Turkish lady,, 
the mother of the reigning Sultan Mulai Youssef. 
It is curious that these two " strangers in a foreign 
land " should both have been destined to become 
the mothers of Sultans. 

It was only natural that the succession of a 
minor gave rise to every form of intrigue at Court. 
There were two great factions in the palace the 
party of Bou Ahmed, the powerful Chamberlain, 
on the one hand, and that of the Grand Vizier 
and Minister of- War on the other. These two high 
officials belonged to the aristocratic and powerful 
family of the Ulad Jamai, and were respectively 



THE MOORISH COURT 19 

Haj Amaati and Si Mohammed Soreir. Now Bou 
Ahmed was the son of a negro slave, and there- 
fore could count on no tribal or family influence. 
His rivals, on the contrary, were Fez aristocrats, 
highly born, and supported by the influential 
population of the towns. They came of what is 
known as a " Maghzen " family that is to say, 
a family who in the past had held Government 
posts, and had a sort of traditional claim to high 
employment. It was evident that jealousy must 
exist between these two factions. 

Bou Ahmed's position of Chamberlain gave him 
constant access to his sovereign, whose extreme 
youth brought him little into contact with his 
viziers. No doubt, too, Bou Ahmed could count 
upon the influence of the Sultan's mother. He 
had been the constant and trustworthy confidant 
of her husband, and instrumental in putting her 
son on the throne. His own fate, too, depended 
upon his keeping him there, and there can be 
little doubt that Mulai Abdul Aziz's mother and 
Bou Ahmed worked in connivance. 

As soon as the new Government was organised 
sufficiently for Mulai Abdul Aziz to travel, the 
Court left Rabat for Fez the real capital of the 
country. No Sultan can count upon his throne 
as being safe until he has been accepted by the 
religious and aristocratic Fezzis, and taken up his 
residence in the city; for Fez is the centre of 
religion and learning and also of intrigue and 
the influence of its population upon the tribes is 
very great. It was therefore very important that 



20 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the young Sultan should reach Fez at as early 
a date as possible. His journey through the tribes 
to Meknes was very successful. He was well 
received on every side, and on his arrival at the 
old capital which Mulai Ismail, a contemporary 
of Louis Quatorze, had built, the population of 
the city accorded him a popular welcome. 

Meknes is some thirty-three miles from Fez, 
and there remained only this last stage of the 
journey to be accomplished. 

Bou Ahmed fully appreciated his position. He 
knew that once in Fez his influence must decrease. 
His rivals could count upon the support not only 
of the townspeople, but also of the Sultan's rela- 
tions in the capital. To the Fezzis he was an 
upstart, and there would be no peace from their 
intrigues to bring about his fall, and no pity when 
he fell. It was a case of now or never for Bou 
Ahmed. 

There were no signs of the coming storm. The 
Ulad Jamai brothers were no doubt waiting till 
their arrival amongst their own people in Fez to 
begin a more active intrigue, and Bou Ahmed 
himself was courteous and a little obsequious to 
the influential viziers. A few mornings after the 
Sultan's arrival at Meknes, the usual morning 
Court was being held. Haj Amaati, the Grand 
Vizier, surrounded by his white-robed followers, 
rode into the palace square, amidst the bowing 
officials and the salutes of troops. He was imme- 
diately summoned into the Sultan's presence. 

Mulai Abdul Aziz was alone with Bou Ahmed 



THE MOORISH COURT 21 

when Haj Amaati entered. He prostrated him- 
self, and waited for the Sultan to speak. In a 
rather frightened voice Mulai Abdul Aziz asked 
him a question. Haj Amaati' s answer was not 
found satisfactory, and Bou Ahmed burst forth 
in a string of reproaches against the Vizier, and 
accused him of disloyalty, avarice, extortion, and 
political crimes. Suddenly appealing to the Sul- 
tan, he asked for permission to arrest him. Mulai 
Abdul Aziz inclined his head. 

A few minutes later a dishevelled, cringing, 
crying creature, amid jeers and laughter, was 
dragged through the palace square amongst the 
crowd that only so short a time before had been 
bowing to the ground. His clothes were torn, 
for the soldiers were rough, and his turban was 
all askew. As he passed through the gate, dragged 
by the soldiery, the sentry at the door seized 
the Vizier's clean white turban and set it on his 
own head, replacing it by his own duty fez cap. 
A shout of laughter greeted this act. 

The Vizier's brother, Si Mohammed Soreir, the 
Minister of War, had not yet left his house for 
the palace. He was arrested at his own doorway, 
and did not attempt to resist, but allowed himself 
to be led to prison. 

The subsequent history of these two men forms 
perhaps the blackest page of Mulai Abdul Aziz's 
reign. They were sent in fetters to Tetuan, and 
confined, chained and fettered, in a dungeon. In 
the course of time and how long those ten years 
must have been Haj Amaati died. The Governor 



22 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

of Tetuan was afraid to bury the body, lest he 
should be accused of having allowed his prisoner 
to escape. He wrote to Court for instructions. 
It was summer, and even the dungeon was hot. 
The answer did not come for eleven days, and all 
that time Si Mohammed Soreir remained chained 
to his brother's corpse ! The brother survived. 
In 1908 he was released after fourteen years' 
incarceration, a hopeless, broken, ruined man. 
Everything he had possessed had been confis- 
cated ; his wives and children had died, the result 
of want and persecution. He emerged from his 
dark dungeon nearly blind, and lame from the 
cruel fetters he had worn. In his days of power 
he had been cruel, it is said but what a price he 
paid ! 

He settled in Tangier, where I saw him almost 
daily. He was in absolute poverty ; but all his 
friends assisted him and he wanted so little. An 
old slave woman of the family, who had survived 
in some out-of-the-way corner, came to look after 
him, and used to massage his tortured wrists and 
ankles. At length he died. 

Two days before his death I saw him for the 
last time. It was clear that a very little span 
of life remained for him. I sat with him a long 
time, and as I rose to leave him, he said : " Listen. 
When they have washed my body for burial, I 
want you to see that my chains and fetters are 
put back upon my limbs. I desire to appear 
before my God as I spent those fourteen years 
of my life, that I may appeal to Him for the 



THE MOORISH COURT 23 

justice my Sultan refused me, that He in His 
great mercy and forgiveness may open to me the 
gates of Paradise." 

It was impossible to replace the chains and 
fetters, but I believe a link was sewn up in his 
winding-sheet. With the cruellest cynicism he was 
given an official military funeral, attended by all 
the native authorities and functionaries f or after 
all he had been Minister of War ! 

Sir Ernest Satow represented Great Britain in 
Morocco at the time of Mulai Abdul Aziz's succes- 
sion. On learning of Mulai Hassen's death, the 
news of which Kaid Maclean who was with the 
Moorish army had managed to send to Tangier 
with almost incredible rapidity, Sir Ernest sent 
for me and told me that he proposed to send 
some confidential agent to Fez upon a mission, 
which would certainly be difficult and very likely 
dangerous, for, as the news of the Sultan's death 
spread, there would no doubt be disturbances on 
every side. I naturally volunteered to go, and 
my offer was accepted. The same night at twelve 
o'clock I left, accompanied by one of my men, 
both of us well mounted and armed. I am averse 
to carrying arms in such countries as Morocco, 
and have very seldom done so ; but the occasion 
was unusual, and bands of marauders might be 
looked for. I was dressed as a native mountaineer, 
my head shaved except for one long lock of hair, 
which I, native fashion, wore at this period of 
my life ; my legs bare, and my feet thrust into 
yellow slippers. A rough brown-hooded cloak 



24 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

covered my scanty clothing. I, no doubt, looked 
a brigand my companion was one. Luckily I 
had good horses in my stable, and we chose the 
two most likely to stand the fatigue. It was most 
important to start at once and travel fast, in 
order, if possible, to keep ahead of the news of 
the Sultan's death, which was now publicly known 
in Tangier. I could not take the direct route for 
Fez, for part of my mission was to visit certain 
influential Shereefs en route to whom I was per- 
sonally known, and to exhort them to use all 
their influence in the interests of peace, law, and 
order. 

It was midsummer, and dawn was early ; but 
before the sun had risen we reached Arzeila, 
twenty-six miles from Tangier. Here I break- 
fasted with the Shereef of Abrish, a brother-in- 
law of the famous Raisuli, and himself a man of 
considerable renown. He promised to exert all 
his influence to keep the tribes quiet. After a 
short halt I left the town, and at night arrived 
at Alcazar, having covered, by the route we had 
travelled, well over sixty miles. From Alcazar to 
Wazzan was a matter of some eight hours' ride, 
and I reached the holy city of that name early 
the next afternoon. I was most cordially received 
by the very influential Shereefs who inhabit that 
little mountain city, so rarely visited by Euro- 
peans, as it is holy ground. It was a feast-day ; 
but in spite of that the Shereefs at once got to 
work, sending numerous letters to the tribes to 
remain quiet. This work kept me at Wazzan till 



THE MOORISH COURT 25 

the middle of the following day, when I started 
once more, reaching the Maizerieh, a village on 
the hills above the Sebou Valley, that night. 
Here we slept, to start again before daylight. 

It was clear that the tribes here had learned 
the news of the Sultan's death, for all night long 
there was desultory firing, and in the early dawn 
we could distinguish groups of horsemen in the 
valley below. A general wiping out of old scores 
had begun, combined with organised pillage. 

Avoiding as far as possible the districts where 
firing was taking place, my man and I rode on. 
The situation was uncomfortable, and I forgot 
for a moment what brigands we ourselves must 
have looked ; but on suddenly coming upon a 
long line of laden camels, the half-dozen caravan 
men in charge took to their heels and ran for 
their lives. We soon, however, reassured them, 
and rode on. The fourth day's travelling after 
leaving Tangier I arrived in Fez, having by our 
detours covered from 190 to 200 miles. My horses 
were tired, but not done up. At midday I pre- 
sented the British Minister's despatch, and my 
verbal message, to a council of the native authori- 
ties sitting in the house of Amin Haj Abdesalam 
El-Mokri, the father of the well-known Grand 
Vizier, Haj Mohammed El-Mokri, perhaps the 
most intelligent and capable of all the Moorish 
authorities of to-day. 

I remained in Fez for several weeks. Mean- 
while, Mulai Abdul Aziz had reached Meknes, 
where, at the moment of the arrest of the Grand 



26 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Vizier and the Minister of War, I arrived, return- 
ing to Fez with the young Sultan. 

I have always looked back upon that period 
with great pleasure. I was engaged upon a mission 
of some delicacy, and I was thrust into the very 
midst of native affairs. With that hospitality for 
which the Mokri family is so well known, I was 
a guest in their great house, one of the sights of 
Fez, with its terraced gardens and its many foun- 
tains. It required no little courage in those days 
to harbour a " Christian," and I think this was 
the first time on which a European had ever 
been made welcome to stay in one of the great 
Fez houses. I wore the native dress I had, of 
course, arrived without even a change of shirt 
and lived in the company of the sons of the family, 
and was treated as one of them. My wants were 
amply supplied from the voluminous wardrobes of 
my hosts. 

My mission was a success. On 14th July Sir 
Ernest Satow wrote me agreeing to my request 
to be allowed to return to Tangier. His letter is 
before me now : 

" The Foreign Office has much approved of my 
having sent you to Fez, and will not be unmindful 
of the services you have rendered on the present 
occasion. I sent copies of the greater part of 
your long report (which I copied out myself) to 
Sanderson, and Lord Kimberley read it with great 
interest. I will only add now that I feel myself 
under a great obligation to you for having under- 
taken an important and, to all appearances, peril- 



THE MOORISH COURT 27 

ous mission. But I felt you were the man to 
accomplish it. ... Many thanks for all you have 
done. It has been most successful." 

My mission had lasted many weeks, and necessi- 
tated riding several hundreds of miles in the great 
heat of midsummer in discomfort, and often in 
danger. The British Government remunerated my 
services by presenting me with a cheque of 100. 
I did not complain, nor do I now, for it has been 
so unusual to be paid at all when employed upon 
these unofficial missions, that it seemed almost 
extravagant. Only on one other occasion during 
my whole Morocco career have I ever been paid 
even my out-of-pocket expenses for tasks under- 
taken at the request of the British authorities. 
I never realised myself the extent of the work 
I have done in this connection until I began to 
write this book, when I unearthed the voluminous 
correspondence that a succession of British Minis- 
ters had addressed to me, and which seem to 
treat of every mortal question pertaining to 
Morocco. 

I have quoted Sir Ernest Satow's letter, not 
from any desire to boast of the utility of my 
work, but because it represented one of the very 
few marks of appreciation and encouragement that 
I ever received from official sources, or, rather, I 
should perhaps say, in which the credit of my 
work was allowed to me. It was only years later 
that I learned that from the day of Sir Ernest 
Satow's departure from Morocco, over a period 
of many years, all my work went home anony- 



28 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

mously that is to say, contained in official de- 
spatch as " I understand," or " I am informed." 
In my own particular case it didn't matter much ; 
but I confess that it hurt a little to be told long 
afterwards that the mass of information that I 
obtained often by undertaking journeys at the 
direct instigation of the British authorities, often 
by my own personal relations with the tribes, and 
always at my own expense went home without 
its origin being disclosed, and without identity. 
I have quoted Sir Ernest Satow's letter ; I will 
give one or two quotations from those of his 
successors. 

" I want you particularly to find out and let 
me know the following things . . ." "It would 
be interesting, as you are in that part of the 
country, if you would go a little farther and 
visit ..." "I want you to impress upon the 
Sultan the importance of . . ." " I would like 
you to return here as soon as possible, to consult 
you about the . . . question." " You are the 
only authority on the . . . tribes and what is 
passing there. Could you therefore return . . ." 
" I hope you will arrange not to be long away, 
as I want to consult you about ..." " Please 
give the Sultan clearly to understand that we will 
not . . ." " You are the one and only authority 
on these questions." "When you have time 
would you make me a full report on ..." "As 
a private individual it will be easier for you to 
get the Maghzen [Government] to agree to . . ." 
" I bow to your superior knowledge on all these 



THE MOORISH COURT 29 

questions, and now agree with you that ..." 
" Do come back. I am lost without having you 
to consult." These are a few extracts of what 
was written ; the verbal instructions and requests 
were naturally far greater. 

I am glad of having been able to be of use, 
and would not hesitate to act again as I acted 
in the past ; but the policy of depriving the 
unofficial and unpaid workman of the little crumbs 
of credit is wrong. It ought rather to be the rule 
to tempt young men of adventurous disposition 
to live the life I led, and, if necessary, to assist 
them not to use them perpetually and keep them 
outside the pale. It is contrary to human nature 
to be absolutely disinterested in the personal suc- 
cess of one's work, and the suppression of its 
origin more particularly when its origin is a life- 
time of travel and of study, as well as a proficiency 
for making friends amongst such people as the 
Moors can only tend toward discouragement. In 
any branch of life but that of diplomacy such 
action would be considered incorrect. 

Since 1912, when the French Protectorate was 
declared, and even before that date, from the 
time when England had abandoned all political 
aims in Morocco except to assist French policy, 
my information became of more value to the 
authorities of our friend and ally than to our- 
selves. I was invited to accompany more than 
one French special Mission, and have on many 
occasions been consulted on questions of great 
confidence, not only by French Ministers in Tan- 



30 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

gier, but also by the highest authorities of the 
French Protectorate. My little dossier of French 
official correspondence compares very favourably 
with that of our own people. Sir Ernest Satow's 
letter, which was quoted, is the one and only 
expression of appreciation I ever received from 
the British Government, while I have a dozen 
letters of thanks, simple and full of appreciation 
and encouragement, from Paris. My duties as 
' Times ' correspondent often brought me into more 
or less acute discussions with the Spanish Govern- 
ment, but this has not deterred their high authori- 
ties from expressing to me on several occasions, 
in letters which I much appreciate, their thanks 
for information given, and their satisfaction at the 
large and fair way I have treated certain diplo- 
matic questions, not only in the ' Times ' but also 
elsewhere. 

In such a life as I have led there have been 
necessarily moments when one has been disheart- 
ened and depressed, perhaps owing to fever, per- 
haps to events. In my case, happily, they have 
been few and far between, and I look back over 
those past years in Morocco as a period of great 
pleasure ; but there have been moments when a 
little word of encouragement, a few lines to say 
that one's work had been appreciated at home 
another letter, for instance, like Sir Ernest Satow's 
would have been so welcome and have done so 
much. I can honestly say the occasions have not 
been wanting. 

I have enjoyed throughout the confidence of 



THE MOORISH COURT 31 

our representatives, and a very intimate and much 
appreciated friendship with them all. I have had 
every opportunity of seeing the inner workings of 
their diplomacy, and I can state that Great 
Britain has been fortunate in her Ministers in 
this country. Some left Tangier to fill more 
important posts elsewhere Sir Ernest Satow, Sir 
Arthur Nicolson, and the late Sir Gerard Lowther, 
the best and kindest of men. One, perhaps the 
most brilliant of all, rests here for ever, the last 
British Minister to Morocco, Sir Reginald Lister, 
whose loss to his country was so great, and to 
his friends irreparable. 



II. 

LIFE AT THE MOORISH COURT. 

MULAI ABDUL Aziz's stay in Fez, the northern 
capital, in 1894, was not of long duration, for it 
was important that the Court should move to the 
south to consolidate his throne in those regions. 
While Northern Morocco has always been the un- 
restful and most seditious part of the country, it 
has never presented such a serious danger as the 
south is capable of becoming, for the northern 
tribes are poor, numerically in no great force, and 
always at war with each other. But in the Marra- 
kesh region it is different. The rich agricultural 
land, and the great harvest reaped from it, render 
the tribes affluent ; they are well horsed and well 
armed, and very prolific. Again, beyond the 
plains, the great range of the Atlas Mountains is 
inhabited by spirited and warlike Berber tribes, 
to all intents and purposes unconquered. Fortun- 
ately for the welfare of a long succession of Moorish 
Sultans, these great tribes, governed by hereditary 
chiefs, were nearly always on bad .terms with one 
another ; and one of the most important results 
accomplished by the French Protectorate Govern- 



THE MOORISH COURT 33 

ment in the last few years has been to form a 
league of the southern tribesmen. Any one who 
knew the old Morocco could scarcely believe that 
the great chiefs the Glaoui, the Mtougi, the Gin- 
dafi, and the Rahamna Kaid would ever join 
hands, even in the interests of the country. But 
to-day it is so. , 

Mulai Abdul Aziz was able to leave the north 
in a state of peace and security. New Governors 
had been appointed, and Bou Ahmed's firm hand 
had made itself felt, and it was indispensable that 
the Court should move south : there were already 
signs of unrest that could not be ignored. 

The arrival of the Sultan in the southern capital 
had a tranquillising effect, and Bou Ahmed set 
to work to restore order amongst the restive 
tribes and to build himself a palace at the public 
expense. For six years he continued building, 
and every available workman and artist was 
employed. The result was grandiose, and the 
building now forms the " Residency " of the 
French Protectorate Government. The " Bahya " 
that is to say, " The Effulgence," as the palace 
is called consists of a succession of handsome 
courtyards, one planted with cypress, orange, 
lemon, and other fruit trees and flowers, lead- 
ing one out of the other. These courts are 
surrounded by arcades, on to which the great 
rooms open. Everywhere are fountains and tanks 
of water. This palace must cover many acres of 
land, and though quite modern, is a building of 
singular interest. There is one courtyard which 

c 



34 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

is particularly beautiful, where the Moorish archi- 
tect based his art on the traditions of the past. 
The walls are higher ; the woodwork is not painted, 
as is usual, in polychrome; while the court itself 
is not nearly as large as some of the others. The 
rooms themselves are perhaps less interesting than 
the courtyards into which they open, though in 
many cases the elaborately carved and painted 
ceilings are very good. 

On a very recent visit to Marrakesh I was able 
to wander at leisure over this great palace, accom- 
panied by a native who was in charge, and who 
knew its every corner and turret, for he had been 
employed on its construction. I had seen it years 
before or, rather, a portion of it for I had twice 
been entertained at dinner by its owner, the fam- 
ous Bou Ahmed. I recall now one of those even- 
ings : the hot, jasmine-scented air of the courts, 
for it was late in spring, and the great dinner 
served in one of the saloons, while a native band 
discoursed anything but soft music just outside ; 
and Bou Ahmed himself short, dark, and of 
unprepossessing appearance, but none the less an 
excellent host. He has been dead now for twenty 
years, and his property, confiscated by the Sultan 
on his death, has passed into other hands. His 
name is only a memory of the past. In Morocco 
it was not, " How are the mighty fallen ! " but 
" How are the mighty falling ! " for almost month 
by month some great Kaid, some Vizier, or some 
Prince fell and fell far indeed. 

Bou Ahmed had other things to think of besides 



THE MOORISH COURT 35 

his house. There was grave dissatisfaction amongst 
some of the tribes, particularly amongst the 
Rahamna, whose extensive territory lies imme- 
diately to the north of the city of Marrakesh. 
A leader, Taher ben Suleiman, had arisen, and 
under his influence the tribes revolted. The local 
authorities were murdered or driven out, and the 
rebellion became general. Its suppression took 
long, and cost much in lives and money. On one 
occasion the rebels arrived at the walls of Marra- 
kesh and took possession of the northern suburbs 
of the town, but were driven back. Bou Ahmed 
showed considerable ability in the suppression of 
this revolt : not only was his energy unceasing, 
but he knew also how to utilise the jealousy and 
mistrust that always exists among the rebels. He 
worked tribe against tribe, and division against 
division. The Maghzen, by its superiority of 
organisation, and by the means at its disposal 
to obtain men, arms, and ammunition, prevailed. 
The Rahamna rebellion was repressed, and hun- 
dreds of square miles of country were given up 
to fire, the sword, and pillage. The tribe was 
almost wiped out ; hundreds died in prison ; the 
women and children became the prey of the 
soldiery, and were sold or driven away to starve, 
and devastation reigned supreme. A few years 
later I travelled through the Rahamna country. 
It was still deserted, and the fields were grown 
over with thick weeds and thorn-bushes. Only 
a few most miserable black tents, with half -starved 
inhabitants, remained where once the rich and 



36 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

flourishing Rahamna tribe had dwelt. Taher 
ben Suleiman was captured. He was imprisoned 
in a cage made of the barrels of his partisans' 
rifles a cage so small that he could scarcely 
move in it, and was exhibited to the public 
of Marrakesh, to be spat upon and reviled. He 
died in prison. 

As long as Bou Ahmed lived the young Sultan 
remained in the palace. True, he appeared at 
ceremonies and celebrated the religious feasts in 
public, but he was a nonentity. Bou Ahmed alone 
governed Morocco. 

In 1900 he died. I was in Marrakesh at the 
time of his last illness, when he lingered on day 
by day, kept alive by inhalations of oxygen. No 
one cared, unless it was a few of his personal 
followers and attendants, who would naturally 
suffer by his demise. As for the rest, there was a 
general indifference. He had never been popular, 
and the immense fortune he had amassed and 
great palace he had constructed awoke the jealousy 
of others who had the same desires but not the 
same opportunities. He was feared certainly, for 
his will was indomitable, and he was cruel. A 
sort of superstitious reverence had encircled his 
life, but it disappeared when sickness laid him 
low ; and when he breathed his last, the pent-up 
feelings of the people burst forth, and they rose 
up and cursed him. 

The death of a great personage in Morocco is 
terrible, and for several days as the Vizier lay 
expiring, guards were stationed outside his palace 



THE MOORISH COURT 37 

waiting in silence for the end. And then one 
morning the wail of the women within the house 
told that death had come. Every gateway of the 
great building was seized, and no one was allowed 
to enter or come out, while within there was 
pandemonium. His slaves pillaged wherever they 
could lay their hands. His women fought and 
stole to get possession of the jewels. Safes were 
broken open, documents and title-deeds were ex- 
tracted, precious stones were torn from their set- 
tings the more easily to be concealed, and even 
murder took place. 

While all this was proceeding within the strictly 
guarded walls, Bou Ahmed's body was borne out 
and buried. The Sultan, weeping, followed the 
bier of the man who had put him on his throne 
and kept him there through those difficult years 
of his youth. He must, indeed, have felt himself 
alone as he stood beside the grave of his Vizier, 
who, whatever may have been his faults, however 
great may have been his extortions, had been 
loyal throughout. When Mulai Abdul Aziz, still 
weeping, had returned to his palace, his first act 
was to sign the decree for the confiscation of all 
Bou Ahmed's property. It was now organised 
loot, for officials and slaves were turned loose to 
carry out the royal commands. For days laden 
baggage animals, half -concealed under great masses 
of furniture, heaped with carpets and bedding, or 
staggering under safes, bore Bou Ahmed's pro- 
perty into the Sultan's palace. His women and 
his slaves were made to give up their loot, and 



38 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the house was left empty and its owners penni- 
less. A few days later nothing remained but the 
great building all the rest had disappeared into 
space. His family were driven out to starvation 
and ruin, his slaves were taken by the Sultan to 
be kept or sold, and his vast properties passed 
into the possession of the State. It was the 
custom of the country. The belongings of all 
State functionaries passed at death to their lord 
and master the Sultan. I see Bou Ahmed's sons 
now and again. They are in complete poverty, 
and accept as presents with real gratitude the 
little sums which an upper servant in England 
would despise. 

The accepting of small presents of money is, in 
Morocco, not considered by any means derogatory, 
much less the accepting of large sums. I remember 
well a great-uncle of the reigning Sultan, a man 
who had been Viceroy in his time, who regularly 
toured the country with a slave or two, collecting 
alms. He was a pleasant genial old gentleman, 
and had no hesitation in asking any one he met 
to help him, or in accepting the smallest of coins. 
On one occasion he arrived at the residence of a 
native ex-official of the Moorish Court, who lived 
in Tangier. There was a tennis-party going on, 
and the guests, amongst whom were a certain 
number of the representatives of the European 
Powers, were at tea. His Highness called me aside 
and asked who all these Europeans were. " They 
are," I replied, " largely the Ministers of the 
foreign Powers." " Aha," said the Prince, " they 



THE MOORISH COURT 39 

ought to be good for a pair of shoes if not for a 
cloak. Rich people, rich people." I was able to 
deter him, much to his surprise, by explaining 
that it was not the custom in Europe for members 
of the royal families to ask total strangers for 
coats, or even shoes, and I added that if he would 
wait a little I would see what could be done. 
I mentioned the Prince's request to a few of my 
friends, and we subscribed between us the six 
francs necessary to purchase a pair of yellow 
slippers, the only footgear of the country. He 
was graciously pleased to accept them with the 
dignity of a Prince of the Blood. 

The death of Bou Ahmed naturally brought 
about changes at Court. Whatever jealousies there 
may have existed amongst the viziers, and no 
doubt they were many, they realised that common 
action was necessary. Each might have, and 
probably would have, to defend his own particular 
position from the others, but collectively they had 
to defend their united positions from all the world. 
They must either succeed or fall together, and 
they determined to succeed. 

The Sultan was now about twenty years of age, 
and might at any moment desire to assert himself ; 
and the self-assertion of young monarchs of auto- 
cratic power and no experience is dangerous. The 
viziers realised that in all probability the dis- 
appearance of the strong hand of Bou Ahmed 
would tempt the young Sultan to become more 
independent, and it was necessary to come to some 
arrangement as to how he should be led to think 



40 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

and act. Certainly it must not be in the direc- 
tion of affairs of State those the viziers meant 
to keep to themselves. An occupation must be 
found for the inexperienced and hitherto secluded 
monarch. 

It was the exact reverse of all the traditions of 
Morocco ; but the situation was an unusual one, 
for there had never been a Sultan in a similar 
position. The viziers felt that should influence 
be brought to bear to keep him in his palace he 
might rebel against this enforced seclusion, and 
rid himself, and probably in no gentle manner, 
of the men who had instituted it. No ; it was 
clear the Sultan must be amused, and his amuse- 
ments must be so numerous and so varied that 
his entire attention would be distracted from 
affairs of State. Morocco itself could not supply 
the novelties that would be required. Such plea- 
sures and such luxuries as the country could 
produce were his already women, horses, jewels, 
and the whole paraphernalia that goes to make 
up an oriental potentate's surroundings. For 
further distractions appeal must be made to 
Europe. It was not made in vain. It was the 
beginning of the great debacle, of the reckless 
extravagance, of the follies and the debts that led 
to foreign loans, and step by step to the loss of 
Morocco's independence. 

A strong and good adviser might have prolonged 
the life of an independent Morocco, for although 
possessed of no great attainments or will-power, 
Mulai Abdul Aziz was thoughtful, intelligent, and 



THE MOORISH COURT 41 

desirous of doing well. It was no easy matter, 
however, at Marrakesh, the southern capital, where 
the Court was at this time in residence, to keep 
the young Sultan amused. Situated 100 miles 
from the nearest port, which itself was 300 miles 
down the Atlantic coast, communication with 
Europe was necessarily very slow, and the Sultan's 
ever-increasing orders of European goods took long 
to carry out. Often, too, the heavy Atlantic swell 
rendered communication impossible between the 
ships and the shore for weeks together. 

The Sultan's caterers were at their last resources. v 
Fireworks were played out ; bicycle tricks had led 
to bruises and sprains ; and even photography 
had lost its pristine interest. At this critical 
moment came word of a belated circus at one of 
the coast towns. It must naturally have been a 
very poor circus ever to have found itself at that 
dreary little port, but its advent was welcomed 
as enthusiastically as if it had been Barnum's 
entire show. Imperial letters were directed to the 
local Kaids and Governors, agents rushed wildly 
to and fro, and eventually the circus, bag and 
baggage, consisting of a dozen people and three 
or four horses, started out across the weary plains 
of Morocco to obey the royal command. It all 
took time, and meanwhile in Court circles it was 
the absorbing topic of conversation. One or two 
serious rebellions among the tribes, and an acute 
quarrel with the Government of a European Power, 
passed into temporary oblivion. 

Now, the proprietress of this circus was an 



42 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

extremely stout Spanish lady of uncertain age, 
on whose corpulent body the rough jogging on a 
mule for more than a hundred miles had left almost 
as painful an impression as the discomfort, heat, 
and worry of the journey had upon her temper. 
She herself took no active part in the perform- 
ance, and it was on this account, to her intense 
indignation and wrath, that she was refused admit- 
tance to the court of the palace in which the 
Sultan was to witness the show. His Majesty's 
orders were that none but the actual performers 
should be allowed to enter. 

So the fat lady and one or two of the employees 
of the circus remained in an outer courtyard 
adjoining the enclosure in which the Sultan, seated 
under a gorgeous tent, was witnessing the per- 
formance. A wall some twenty feet in height 
separated these two courts ; and in the outer one, 
where the fat lady found herself, the Sultan had 
been building some additions to the palace, and 
a pile of stone, mortar, and other material reached 
almost to the top of the wall. The lady was both 
angry and bored, nor were a herd of gazelle and 
a few fine specimens of mouflon Barbary wild 
sheep that roamed about the enclosure sufficient 
to keep her amused. 

To have received a royal command to come all 
that way to the Moorish capital, and then to be 
deprived of the glory of seeing her own circus 
performing before a real Sultan, was more than 
she could bear, and she straightway began to 
climb the great heap of building material that lay 



THE MOORISH COURT 43 

piled against the wall. It was hard work, nor 
was her figure suited for such mountain-climbing ; 
but she was to receive assistance from a source 
undreamed of. Affected, no doubt, by her slow 
progress in a sport of which he himself was so 
proficient, the old ram mouflon lightly bounded 
after her. Balancing himself for a moment on 
his hind-legs, he lunged forward and butted the 
fat lady so successfully from below that her ascent 
was materially assisted. In a series of repeated 
bounds, owing to no voluntary action on her own 
part, she found herself pantingly grasping the top 
of the thick wall. 

Meanwhile the performance of the circus was 
progressing to the Sultan's satisfaction. Suddenly, 
however, an expression of wrathful consternation 
became visible in his face, and, speechless, he 
pointed at the wall. There, far above, was the 
agonised and purple visage of the fat lady, peering 
down at the Sultan and his Court. In a moment 
the officers of the suite were shouting and gesticu- 
lating to her to retire. But the only reply they 
received was a sudden vision of a considerable 
portion of her immense body, as a playful mouflon, 
himself invisible, gave her another hoist up. At 
last all her body was on the wall, to which she 
clung for dear life with arms and legs, as she lay 
extended on its summit. It was at this moment 
that the mouflon appeared. With a majestic 
bound he leaped on to the summit, stood for a 
moment poised on his hind-legs, then suddenly 
dropped, and with a terrific prod from his wide 



44 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

horns, butted the fat lady at least a yard 
along the wall. He was evidently intent upon 
taking her round the entire circuit of the court- 
yard. 

For a few moments there was turmoil. The 
Sultan sat silent and amazed, while the Cabinet 
Ministers all shouted to the lady to disappear, 
which she was certainly most anxious to do. The 
slaves, more wisely, pelted the mouflon with stones, 
and drove him from his point of vantage. Then 
slowly the lady disappeared the fat legs first, 
then the heaving mass of body, and finally even 
vfche purple face was seen no more. 

It was in 1901 that I became personally ac- 
quainted with the young Sultan. I had seen 
him once or twice, for I had accompanied Sir 
Arthur Nicolson's special Mission to Marrakesh in 
1896 ; but at that time the Sultan had not emerged 
from his shell of reserve. He was still a young 
boy, evidently very shy, and entirely under the 
thumb of Bou Ahmed, the famous Grand Vizier. 
One audience that we had with him on that occa- 
sion was not without interest. We had ridden 
far into the depths of the great Agdal gardens 
to a summer-house, where His Shereefian Majesty 
was waiting to receive the British Minister. A 
tangled jungle of orange-trees ; vines climbing 
over broken trellis, and clinging in festoons to 
great cypresses ; here and there a broken marble 
fountain or a tiny stream such were our sur- 
roundings. With our escort of white-robed Moorish 
cavalry, led by the Master of the Ceremonies, we 



THE MOORISH COURT 45 

rode through the great garden to dismount before 
a kiosk of arches and pillars, of green-glazed 
tiles and red geometric frescoes on a yellow wall. 
Everywhere the tangle of vegetation had over- 
grown its borders. The cypresses shot up, pillars 
of dark green, above the building, while vine, 
jasmine, and geranium strove for the supremacy 
below. Outside the building, and out of sight of ' 
its occupants, sat a row of Moorish officers, the 
Sultan's attendants. At the door of the one room 
that the kiosk contained for it seemed all 
arches and pillars without stood Bou Ahmed, the 
Vizier, a dark, stout, short man, showing his black 
origin in every feature. 

Within, opposite the doorway, on a Louis Seize 
settee, was Mulai Abdul Aziz. He was seated 
cross-legged, with his hands folded in his lap and 
half -hidden in his soft white raiment. I remember 
being particularly struck with his pale complexion 
and his evident shyness. At the side of the divan 
was a chair, where the British Minister was in- 
vited to be seated, while we who were in attend- 
ance stood around the door. The Sultan himself 
said little, and that little was addressed to his 
Vizier in almost a whisper, and repeated by him 
to the British Minister. In a few minutes Mulai 
Abdul Aziz had largely recovered his self-posses- 
sion, and was busy taking in every item of the 
uniforms worn by the Minister's suite. He could 
scarcely keep his eyes off one man the present 
Lord Loch whose six feet five, capped by an 
enormous busby, was of evidently entrancing in- 



46 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

terest to His Majesty. Four years later, talking 
to Mulai Abdul Aziz in the intimacy of personal 
friendship, I reminded him of this episode. He 
laughingly replied that he had certainly been more 
struck with his height and uniform than anything 
else on that Mission, and requested me to ask the 
British Minister whether it would not be possible 
for Lord Loch to accompany a second embassy 
that was to start a few months later. This message 
duly reached the authorities at home, and in 
January 1902 Mulai Abdul Aziz, no longer shy, 
had the pleasure and it was an evident pleasure 
of once more welcoming Lord Loch at his Court. 
I little thought at their first meeting, when I 
watched the young Sultan's shy interest in the 
big Guardsman, that a few years later I should 
witness the same Guardsman instructing the same 
Sultan in the mysteries of " tip-and-run " in an 
enclosure of the Shereefian Palace. 

My first private audience with Mulai Abdul Aziz 
was in the summer of 1901. After a considerable 
delay, largely owing to the discussion of the kind 
of obeisance I was prepared to make in entering 
His Majesty's presence, I was honoured with a 
private audience. I found His Majesty courteous, 
pleasant, and intelligent. He was easy to amuse, 
and by my departure from the austere etiquette 
of the Court in not confining my remarks to 
replies to His Majesty's questions, although at first 
it seemed a little to surprise him, I succeeded in 
gaining his attention and amusement. I had been 
told that my audience would be very formal and 



THE MOORISH COURT 47 

last a few minutes. It lasted over an hour. The 
Sultan was seated, and I remained standing the 
whole time to which I could not very well object. 
In any case, I had overcome the difficulty of my 
reception by refusing point-blank to go down on 
my knees and to touch the floor with my fore- 
head a form of salutation which was being prac- 
tised by the Europeans in His Majesty's service, 
for already he had begun to increase his Christian 
entourage. I had stated that I was prepared to 
enter the Sultan's presence in adopting the same 
formalities as I did in the presence of my own 
sovereign, and the Sultan had accepted that 
formula. Almost the first question he asked me 
was if I had ever been received in private audience 
by my own King. I replied that I had experienced 
that honour. He then asked what obeisance I 
had made. I replied that I had bowed on enter- 
ing the room, and again on approaching His 
Majesty's person. The Sultan seemed surprised, 
and demanded why it was the Englishmen in his 
service carried out the Moorish form of etiquette 
by kneeling and touching the floor with their 
foreheads ? I could only protest that I didn't 
know, except to surmise that, as they were in the 
service of a Moorish Sultan, they probably thought 
they ought to adopt the traditional Moorish form 
of obeisance. The Sultan gave orders that it was 
to be discontinued, though, as a matter of fact, 
the Europeans in his service still continued to use 
it on the great feast-days of the year until the 
end of his reign. A few years later, on one of 



48 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

these occasions I saw a long line of Englishmen 
drop on to their knees and bow their foreheads 
to the ground as the Sultan approached. It is a 
matter of personal option, based on prejudice. It 
seems to me that any human being has a right 
to act in such matters just as he thinks right. 
That he demeans himself or his country by so 
doing appears to me ridiculous. An Englishman, 
and much less England, cannot be demeaned by 
any fantastic gymnastics. I preferred not to do 
it solely for the reason that it seemed to me to 
be absurd, just as half the ceremonies at a British 
coronation would appear absurd and meaningless 
to a Moor. Nearly all etiquette is ridiculous, only 
we are more or less accustomed to it, and have 
largely modified its eccentricities. I have experi- 
enced things nearly as absurd as this Moorish 
custom in other Courts. Some years ago, on one 
of the very hottest days of a hot summer in a 
country of Southern Europe, I had the honour to 
be received by the sovereign. I arrived at the 
palace at half-past ten in the morning and left it 
at one o'clock. The king in question was dressed 
in the heavy blue uniform of an admiral ; I was in 
a frock-coat. The thermometer, even in the room, 
must have been in or very near the nineties. 
Yet we stood the whole time for two hours and 
a half. At half-past two I was summoned back 
to the palace to complete this long but interesting 
audience. With a sigh of relief His Majesty said, 
" I think this time we can sit down." And we 
did. Why on earth we hadn't sat down in the 



THE MOORISH COURT 49 

morning during all those perspiring hours Heaven 
only knows. I could have understood a king 
sitting and his visitor being made to stand, but 
mutual discomfort and fatigue in such a case and 
for such a length of time appears to me to be 
almost childish folly. 

The Moorish protocol would have compared 
favourably with this European etiquette. The 
Moorish visitor would have made his lowly obei- 
sance to the sovereign, but this done he would 
have squatted down, more or less comfortably, 
in his Sultan's presence, and remained seated till 
the end of the audience. It seemed to me to be 
preferable. But etiquette is all a question of 
custom and habit. Take kissing, for example. 
How well every man must remember how, when a 
small boy, he feared that his mother might kiss 
him in the presence of his schoolfellows. In after 
years, when it is too late, how he would have 
treasured those lost kisses were they now obtain- 
able ! What amusement, too, the kissing of foreign 
men on the railway platforms of the continent 
has caused us ! But witness the meeting of two 
great Morocco chiefs the stately approach, the 
last few more hurried steps, and the graceful em- 
brace as each bends forward and kisses the other's 
shoulder. I have seen the meeting of great men 
in Morocco in the hour of sorrow, when they 
have fallen upon each other's necks and wept. 
How few soldiers know that the origin of the 
salute they give to-day comes from the East, and 
is really no more than the movement of the sub- 

D 



50 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

ject to shield from his eyes the effulgent glory of 
his sovereign, only to-day it applies equally to 
the effulgent glory of his second lieutenant as well. 
Habit is everything, and prejudice scarcely less. 

These were the first days of the toys and fire- 
works at the Moorish Court. For a time the 
t latter were paramount, and almost nightly the 
southern capital was illumined by the reflection 
of Catherine-wheels and startled by the flashing 
of the many colours of marvellous rockets. A man 
was brought especially from England to show and 
prepare the fireworks, and he became a permanent 
member of His Majesty's suite. The natives were 
partly amused, partly shocked. Thrifty as the 
Moor is by nature, he could not overlook the 
wild extravagance of this manner of spending 
money, and the fireworks by the time they had 
arrived in Marrakesh had cost a pretty price. 
Freight, insurance, and the long caravan trans- 
port from the cost had to be added to the original 
cost, and there was an item known as commission. 
They were certainly very beautiful fireworks and 
very expensive. I was present at a display given 
to amuse a British Minister, who highly dis- 
approved of this extravagance, but could not 
refuse the invitation. There was a set piece of 
an enormous elephant, and the show concluded 
with a waterfall of fire in a new shade of pink, 
just discovered, and accordingly of elevated price. 
It was certainly very beautiful, but it was very 
useless and very dear. 

One afternoon the Sultan informed me that 



THE MOORISH COURT 51 

there would be a display that night in the palace 
grounds, but that it was for the " palace " that 
was to say, the ladies and no men would be 
invited ; but if I went up on to the roof of the 
house in which I was living, I should no doubt 
be able to witness something of it. I watched 
the beautiful rockets of every colour rise in their 
streaks of fire into the wonderful sapphire blue 
of the sky of the southern night, to burst with 
their thousand stars, filling the whole scene of the 
flat house-tops of the old city with the pale glow 
of greens and pinks and yellows. In the " Jumma 
el-Fenaa " the open place that lies in the centre 
of the city the crowds stood and watched the 
rockets as they rose over the high walls of the 
palace half a mile away. 

The next day the Sultan asked me what I had 
thought of the display. I spoke of its beauty, and 
hinted at its waste. I mentioned the crowd in 
the square. " What did the people say ? " asked 
the Sultan. " I didn't hear much," I replied ; 
" but on several occasions some one would cry 
out, ' There goes another thousand dollars of our 
money.' 3 

Mulai Abdul Aziz had expected to hear his own 
praises sung for having presented the brilliant 
spectacle to the people of his city, and my answer 
surprised him. It was, however, not without 
effect, or perhaps he was growing tired of coloured 
fires, for there was a great diminution in these 
displays, although the professional exhibitor re- 
mained for some time later at the palace. 



52 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Throughout the many months that I spent at 
the Moorish Court, I always felt that a catastrophe 
must eventually happen. The Sultan was evidently 
being led upon the road to ruin, and near him as 
I was, all my efforts to persuade him of the fact 
were in vain. On more than one occasion, par- 
ticularly towards the end of 1902, I implored him, 
in language which he smilingly told me no one 
had ever ventured to address to him before, to 
pull himself up in time. He was kind, thanked 
me for being so outspoken, and continued his 
pro-European proclivities and his extravagances. 
Had he at that time dismissed the greater number 
of his European employees, leaving only his doctor, 
an engineer or two, and any one who had been 
in his father's employ, and ceased spending his 
money, the whole future of Morocco might have 
been changed. 

His afternoons in Marrakesh were given up to 
play. More than once, always accompanied by 
Menebhi, the Minister of War, and some of his 
European employees, we rode in the immense 
wilderness of gardens of the Agdal Palace. At the 
edge of a great square tank we would dismount, 
and sometimes went for a row in one of the various 
boats that he kept there. On one occasion His 
Majesty and his Minister rowed very badly in- 
deed while I, the only other occupant of the 
boat, steered. The Sultan, who rowed bow, caught 
several crabs, and splashed poor Menebhi all over. 
The Minister of War rowed about one hundred 
short strokes to the minute, whilst the Sultan, 



THE MOORISH COURT 53 

struggling with his oars, rowed about ten extremely 
long ones. But both were hugely delighted with 
the performance, and our spirits were of the 
highest. 

" We are both boatmen, and you are the pas- 
senger. We are crossing a Moorish ferry," cried 
the Sultan. 

Entering into the Sultan's little joke, I replied 
" that they were the worst ferrymen I had ever 
seen, and that on landing I should complain to 
the authorities of their incapacity." 

" Oh, you will, will you ? " replied Mulai Abdul 
Aziz. " Then all I can say is, we won't put you 
ashore until you pay us." 

" Then I'll stop here." 

" All right," replied the Sultan ; and he promptly 
began to splash me with all his might and main, 
though poor Menebhi was getting as wet as I was. 

" Will you pay ? " asked His Majesty. 

" Willingly," I laughed. " How much ? " 

" Half a peseta each " (about 4d.), answered 
the Sultan, and they duly pocketed their fee. 
It was the first time in my life I had tipped a 
Sultan and a Minister of War. 

In the autumn of 1902 I was invited to accom- 
pany the royal progress to the northern capital, 
Fez. 

The Sultan's departure from Marrakesh, where 
he had now been in residence for some six years, 
had been expected earlier in the autumn ; but 
constant delays occurred, and although the im- 
perial tents had been for some time pitched out- 



54 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

side the city gates, it was not until late in November 
that a start was made. Early one morning, sur- 
rounded by all the characteristic pomp pertaining 
to the Sultanate of Morocco, Mulai Abdul Aziz 
left his palace in the southern capital for the first 
camp of his northward march. 

There is no necessity to describe day by day 
the Sultan's progress. The etiquette and formali- 
ties of each were almost identical, though the scene 
was an ever- varying one, changing with the nature 
of the country traversed. An account of one day, 
picked out at hazard, will be sufficient to give 
an idea of the whole. Long before daylight the 
great camp was astir, and when, soon after 3 A.M., 
the morning gun was fired, a number of tents 
had already been struck, horses saddled, and mules 
and camels packed for the march. In the moon- 
light and early dawn the scene was one of great 
beauty an indistinct medley of white tents, here 
silvery in the moonlight, there ruddy with the 
glow of camp-fires, whose tall red columns of 
smoke rose pillar-like into the still air. In and 
about the tents passed the shadowy forms of men 
and animals. As if by magic the scene was ever 
changing, as tent after tent silently fell to the 
ground, until with the first glow of dawn there 
remained of the great encampment only the canvas- 
walled enclosure containing the Sultan's tents, and 
a plain covered with horsemen and thousands 
upon thousands of baggage mules and camels. 
Already the cavalry were massed near the Sultan's 
enclosure, the horsemen forming an open square, 



THE MOORISH COURT 55 

in the centre of which, surrounded by the Ministers 
of State, lay a crimson-curtained palanquin with 
its couch of turquoise blue. From the entrance of 
the Sultan's tents to the square of cavalry a 
double line was formed by white-robed, red-capped 
officials, awaiting His Majesty. 

A bugle sounds clear in the still atmosphere, 
and a moment later a great cry rends the air. 
There is a beating of drums and a sound of trum- 
pets, as a solitary white figure, erect and dignified, 
walks slowly through the bowing lines of officials, 
enters the square of horsemen, and seats himself 
upon the blue divan. Again arises the cry of wel- 
come, as, bending forward, the tribes greet their 
Sultan with the salutation, " May God prolong 
the life of our Lord." 

The sun has risen now, his first rays falling upon 
the gold-orbed banners, heavy with brocades and 
silks that wave high above the heads of the 
cavalry ; then upon the wild horsemen themselves, 
their saddles of brilliant reds and greens, half- 
hidden in the heavy folds of their long white 
garments, and the scene becomes one of indescrib- 
able beauty. One by one the Sultan's tents are 
struck, and the great canvas-walled enclosure 
vanishes under the hands of hundreds of skilled 
tent-pitchers. Sometimes His Majesty gives an 
audience to an official, a local governor of a tribe, 
who, barefoot, approaches the Sultan, falls upon 
his knees, and three times touches the ground 
with his forehead, remaining crouched before 
his lord and master during the few seconds that 



56 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

such audiences last. Again a bugle ; and through 
the line of horsemen run dusky soldiers leading 
saddled horses, trotting them past the Sultan 
that he may choose upon the back of which 
he will perform the day's march. With a slight 
motion of his hand the choice is made, and the 
honoured steed is led up to the palanquin. Some- 
times it is a white, saddled and trapped in tur- 
quoise blue ; sometimes a grey, decked in rose- 
coloured silks ; sometimes a black, his head half 
hidden in primrose-yellow tassels. 

As the Sultan mounts, the scene becomes for a 
few minutes one of wild confusion. The banner- 
bearers, the spear-bearers, the cavalry, the scarlet- 
and-blue mounted infantry, the high officials on 
their saddle-mules, the artillery, even the Sultan 
himself, seems hopelessly mixed in a struggling 
crowd. It is only for a very little while, and then 
from the medley emerges the royal procession, 
forming into order as it proceeds. The vanguard 
is formed of an escort of cavalry, headed by the 
standard-bearers, carrying flags of every hue and 
colour, the poles topped with glittering balls. 
Next come the artillery, the guns carried upon 
the backs of mules, and after them a troop of 
mounted infantry. Two mounted men, carrying 
long slender spears, precede the led horses, five 
or six of which, trapped in rich silks, always form 
a feature of the procession. Riding alone is the 
Grand Master of the Ceremonies, a dark man of 
fine presence, wand of office in hand. Then, after 
a space of some forty yards, the Sultan, a solitary 



THE MOORISH COURT 57 

white figure on horseback. At his side run negroes, 
waving long white scarves to keep the dust and 
the flies off his holy person. Immediately behind 
His Majesty rides a soldier, bearing aloft, so as 
to shade the Sultan from the rays of the sun, 
the Imperial parasol of crimson and gold. The 
red palanquin, borne by sturdy mules, follows, 
and behind it a long wide line of standard-bearers, 
the banners rich in gold thread and brocaded 
silks, and the poles of one and all crowned with 
gilded orbs. Immediately behind the flags ride 
the viziers and great officers of State, followed by 
a rabble of smaller officials and soldiery, of black 
slaves and tribesmen from all over Morocco. 

There are no roads, and the procession of men 
and animals spreads widely out over the plains 
and undulating hills. Often as far as the eye can 
reach one can trace the great migration stretching 
from horizon to horizon, a rainbow of colour upon 
the green plains. Sometimes to cross a valley the 
procession narrows in, to spread out again in the 
open country beyond, till the whole land is dotted 
with horsemen and mules, and slow-gaited lumber- 
ing camels. 

Now and again a tribal governor, with his escort 
of horsemen, comes to sahite his sovereign. Drawn 
up in a long line they await the Sultan's approach. 
At his approach the governor dismounts from his 
horse and prostrates himself before his lord, to 
rise again at a signal from His Majesty. Bending 
low, he approaches and kisses the Sultan's stirrup, 
then mounts again, and with a hoarse cry of 



58 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

welcome the tribesmen dig their spurs into the 
flanks of their barbs and gallop pell-mell hither 
and thither, now singly, now in line, firing their 
guns the while, until the horses are brought to 
a sudden standstill in a cloud of smoke and dust. 
These tribesmen are not the only people who 
come from afar to greet the Sultan on his march. 
There are beggars and representatives of all the 
dervish sects, from cymbal-beating negroes from 
the Sudan to the Hamacha of Meknes, who cut 
open their heads with hatchets. There are snake- 
charmers and acrobats, and men with performing 
apes ; little deputations of country Jews and 
Jewesses ; groups of white-robed scholars from 
local mosques, bearing white flags ; veiled Arab 
women, uttering shrill trembling cries of welcome, 
and offering bowls of milk ; lepers with their 
faces swathed and wearing great straw hats, bear- 
ing bowls of wood to collect alms in, for none may 
touch them a thousand scenes of human life, 
with all its pleasures and all its tragedies. 

On the sixth day's march one of the largest 
rivers in Morocco, the Oum er-Rebia, had to be 
forded. Fortunately the autumn rains had not 
yet fallen, and the river presented no great obstacle 
to the passage of so large a caravan. Almost the 
first to ride across was the Sultan, his horse sur- 
rounded by negroes on foot, while a line of expert 
swimmers were held in readiness, linked hand in 
hand, stretched from bank to bank. For over 
three hours the procession steadily waded through, 
and though many a mule fell and many a man 



THE MOORISH COURT 59 

and pack were soaked, no serious accidents oc- 
curred. It was a scene of wild confusion as the 
horsemen and laden animals climbed down the 
steep bank to the water's edge and entered the 
swiftly-flowing river ; but in the end all got across 
in safety, and great were the rejoicings and many 
the congratulations that night in camp, for it is 
seldom that a Sultan and his vast following have 
crossed the Oum er-Rebia without paying a toll in 
human lives. 

Usually a ride about four hours brings the 
Sultan to his next camping-ground. A quarter 
of an hour before reaching the selected spot the 
bands commence to play, and the tribesmen, the 
cavalry, and mounted infantry gallop ahead, form- 
ing into two lines, between which His Majesty 
rides into a square of horsemen drawn up in the 
same formation as that of the early morning. 
The crimson palanquin is quickly unharnessed, the 
blue divan arranged, and Mulai Abdul Aziz seats 
himself in solitary state to await the pitching of 
his encampment. 

No tent might be raised in the camp until the 
gilded globe which surmounts the Sultan's prin- 
cipal tent is in position ; but it required only a 
very short time for the skilled tent-pitchers to 
pitch the great mass of canvas crowned with its 
glittering orb. It is a signal to the rest of the 
camp, and almost as if growing from the ground 
arose the white canvas town. There was no con- 
fusion, no noise. Every one knew the right posi- 
tion to pitch in, and the whole system worked 



60 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

without a hitch. Probably the Moors are alone 
in the pitching of these great camps ; it seems a 
hereditary trait in their characters. Sultan after 
Sultan, ever since the Empire of Morocco first 
came under the dominion of the Arabs, had 
travelled in exactly the same manner as that in 
which Mulai Abdul Aziz was making the journey 
from Marrakesh to Rabat. In no detail had it 
changed. The very shape and decoration of the 
tents had never varied, and to such an extent 
had conservatism been maintained, the Sultan 
told the writer, that, so far from travelling with 
all the luxury that one could imagine, he was 
forbidden by the unwritten laws of tradition to 
cover the floor of his State tent, except for three 
small carpets. The rest of the floor-space must 
consist of the soil of the country, and this, on the 
day which His Majesty narrated the fact, was 
perhaps four inches deep in almost liquid black 
mud. Outside his tent he may lay down straw or 
matting, or any covering he may please, but 
within there must be nothing. 

The Sultan's principal tent once up, the tent- 
pitchers turned their attention to the remainder 
of his camp, consisting of some half-dozen large 
marquees, the whole an acre perhaps of ground 
being enclosed with a nine-feet wall of white 
canvas, decorated in patterns of dark blue. This 
private encampment of His Majesty formed the 
centre of the camp, which stretched away on all 
sides, often for nearly half a mile in every direc- 
tion. At the outer extremity were pitched the 



THE MOORISH COURT 61 

tents of the infantry, so close to one another that 
entrance and exit to the camp was only possible 
at certain intervals, where spaces were left for the 
purpose. 

The greatest interest naturally attached to the 
immediate surroundings of the Sultan's tents. No 
one but his ladies and their female slaves might 
enter the walled enclosure, with the exception of 
one small portion of it divided off from the rest, 
retained for unofficial audiences. His Majesty 
transacted all his affairs of State outside the en- 
closure, in a tent of scarlet and green cloth, pitched 
at the end of a large open square, and visible from 
a considerable distance. Here before the eyes of 
the public His Majesty received his Ministers, 
attended to his correspondence, and sealed official 
documents. Near this tent, known as the " Si wan," 
were two large marquees, one used as a mosque, 
the other the office of the viziers. In this quarter, 
too, were the offices of the other Ministers of State 
and high officials. Behind these were the private 
encampments of the more important personages, 
often consisting of several very large tents leading 
to one another by covered passages of canvas. 
Directly opposite, on the farther side of the Sultan's 
enclosure, were the royal stables, where a quantity 
of fine barbs were tethered, their number con- 
stantly being added to by the presents brought 
to His Majesty by the tribal governors. 

As soon as his tents were ready, the Sultan 
remounted his horse, and amidst the playing of 
bands and the shouts of the tribesmen, rode into 



62 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the seclusion of his private camp. It was generally 
not long after His Majesty's disappearance from 
view that a long line of white-robed and veiled 
women, mounted upon mules, passed silently 
amongst the tents and entered the royal precincts. 
As they filed through the camp every man turned 
his head away from the mysterious white pro- 
cession. Usually the whole camp was pitched by 
midday, and not long after that hour the neigh- 
bourhood of the Government quarters became astir 
with life. The white-robed viziers sought their 
offices, while soldiers kept order amongst the 
throng of people that were always crowding near 
the tent doors awaiting audiences with the Minis- 
ters of State. Only the " Siwan " was deserted, 
but not for long. A bugle sounds. There is a 
hurrying to and fro of officials and soldiers, and 
again the cry, " God prolong the life of our Lord," 
is heard, and the solitary white figure, round 
whom all this great camp revolves, is seen slowly 
entering under the shadow of the tent of scarlet 
and green. 

His Majesty usually gave some two or three 
hours a day to the consideration of affairs of State, 
though, on the occasions on which the great cara- 
van did not travel and no journey was made, a 
considerably longer period was put aside for public 
business. Meanwhile, in another quarter of the 
camp, provisions and fodder were being distri- 
buted to the vast concourse of people who follow 
His Majesty upon these royal progresses. Yet, in 
spite of the fact that some thirty thousand persons 



THE MOORISH COURT 63 

and probably twenty thousand horses and mules 
had to be fed, the commissariat worked without 
a hitch, and food and fodder were supplied in an 
incredibly short period of time to all those who 
had a right to receive it. The local tribes alone 
were dependent upon their own resources, and, 
with this exception, the Sultan feeds the whole 
camp. Up till the time of this journey of Mulai 
Abdul Aziz the march of a Sultan through a dis- 
trict was sufficient to bring ruin upon the people, 
so extortionate were the demands made upon 
them. But he would have none of this, and 
most of the provisioning was paid for, not by 
local taxation, but from the Imperial Treasury, 
and His Majesty showed throughout solicitude for 
the welfare of his subjects. He allowed them to 
approach him, and listened attentively to their 
complaints against the local officials. 

At sunset gunfire, His Majesty prayed, and 
retired to his tents for the night, though almost 
every evening he gave unofficial audiences to his 
friends in the divided-off portion of his private 
encampment reserved for this purpose. As night 
fell the camp became dotted with the little lights 
of lanterns, often gaily decorated with coloured 
glass, while here and there a camp-fire showed up 
ruddily amongst the tents. Now and again could 
be heard the tinkling of stringed instruments and 
the soft murmur of a singer, who seemed afraid to 
raise his voice in the stillness that pervades every- 
thing, a stillness only broken now and again by 
an order to the guards and sentries of whom 



64 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

400, shoulder to shoulder, encircled the Sultan's 
enclosure or by the long-drawn accents of the 
mueddin as he called the Faithful to prayer. 

The " last post " and as the note of the bugle 
dies away, a wonderful silence fell upon the moon- 
lit camp. 



III. 

THE ROAD TO RUIN. 

BY the end of 1902 Mulai Abdul Aziz had returned 
to Fez, desirous of introducing reforms, and reck- 
lessly extravagant. His intentions were the best ; 
but if there was one thing his viziers did not 
desire to see introduced it was reform, for their 
livelihoods and their fortunes depended upon a 
continuance of the state of corruption which they 
had every interest to see prolonged. So they 
closed their eyes to the young Sultan's extrava- 
gances, watched him waste his own and his coun- 
try's money on every sort of folly, and shared in 
the profits. 

All sorts of rumours and stories were current 
amongst the tribes as to what went on in the 
palace. For instance, the Sultan, finding the white 
walls of one of the interior courtyards too dazzling 
for his eyes, had them painted blue an innova- 
tion unheard of at a Court where tradition ruled. 
Now the walls of this courtyard were visible from 
the hills above Fez, and the patch of bright blue 
soon attracted the attention of the tribesmen 
attending the local markets. To them, as it was 

E 



66 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

contrary to Moslem tradition, it must be of Chris- 
tian origin, and a story was soon being circulated 
that Mulai Abdul Aziz had lost his fortune playing 
cards with his Christian friends, and was now 
staking the various parts of his palace in lieu of 
money. He had lost this particular court, which 
the Christians had taken possession of and painted 
blue. As a matter of fact, at this period playing- 
cards were unknown inside the palace, and with 
all his extravagances Mulai Abdul Aziz never 
showed the least propensity to gambling. All play 
for money is forbidden by the Moslem religion, 
and the young Sultan was strict in the observances 
of his faith. 

The rumours of Christian influence spread fast, 
and were soon taken advantage of. The Moors 
are essentially opportunists, and one, Omar ez- 
Zarhonni, was more opportunist than the rest. 
He was an educated man who had been a scribe 
at Court, but a forgery had put an end to his 
career in the precincts of the palace. For a time 
he was a sort of secretary to Hammou el-Hassen, 
the Berber Kaid of the Beni Mtir tribe, when I 
knew him. In 1901 he left the Kaid and dis- 
appeared into the country. Amongst other useful 
attainments he was a skilful forger, and knew a 
certain number of rather ordinary conjuring tricks. 
He possessed as well a most fluent tongue. By 
the aid of these accomplishments he was able to 
make a living, travelling from tribe to tribe on 
a she-donkey, from which fact he became known 
along the countryside as " Bou Hamara " liter- 



THE MOORISH COURT 67 

ally, the "Father of the she-donkey." It was 
amongst the simple tribesmen of the Rif that he 
met with his principal success. Starting with the 
idea of merely earning a livelihood, he soon saw 
the possibilities of a career on a larger scale. His 
conjuring tricks, his wily tongue, and his forgeries 
to say nothing of the she-donkey encircled him 
with a sort of religious prestige ; and one day he 
suddenly declared himself to be Mulai Mohamed, 
the first-born son of the late Sultan Mulai Hassen, 
and therefore the elder brother of the then reigning 
sovereign, Mulai Abdul Aziz. For a time he did 
not discard his donkey, and the humility of this 
means of transit added attractions to his prestige 
in the eyes of the devout. 

In the late autumn of 1902 Mulai Abdul Aziz 
left Fez for Rabat. His departure had been de- 
layed on account of this incipient rebellion of Bou 
Hamara's ; but affairs seemed to have quieted 
down, and the departure of the Court took place 
in November. An army had been meanwhile sent 
in the direction of Taza to put down the rebellion. 
The choice of a Commander-in-Chief for this army 
was typical of Morocco of those days. The situa- 
tion was critical, and the future depended largely 
upon the success of His Majesty's troops. The 
Sultan was leaving North Morocco, and by this 
fact alone his position would be weakened ; but 
the tradition of corruption accepted and per- 
mitted was too great. I asked the Sultan, for 
I was at Fez with him at that time, whom he 
had chosen as Commander-in-Chief. To my aston- 



68 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

ishment he replied, " My brother, Mulai el-Kebir." 
" But he is still a boy," I replied, " and has never 
been a soldier." " True," replied the Sultan, " but 
my other brothers have all commanded expedi- 
tions. It is Mulai el-Kebir's turn. He has never 
had a chance of making a little money." The 
making of a little money was, of course, the 
abstraction of the soldiers' pay and extortion 
everywhere. I accompanied the Sultan when he 
left Fez in November. The Court proceeded, with 
all its pomp and majesty, to Meknes, where we 
stayed a few days, and then on into the Zimmour 
country, where rebellion was rife. It is impossible 
to say of how many people the rabble which 
accompanied the Sultan consisted, but we were 
probably 18,000 or 20,000 in camp, with at least 
half perfectly useless for warfare. A number of 
Fez merchants, who followed the Court from 
capital to capital, accompanied the Sultan, and 
each had his family and retainers with him. 
Amongst other strange groups were hundreds of 
beggars, for the most part blind, who also migrated 
with the Court. 

There was some fighting in the Zimmour country, 
but still more in the Sultan's camp. The incidents 
which occurred were typical of the time and 
country. The Zimmour tribesmen decided to re- 
sist the Sultan's progress at a deep ravine which 
crossed the plains at right angles to our line of 
march. This ravine was perhaps 400 feet in depth, 
a few yards wide only at the bottom, where a 
little river flowed, and half a mile across at its 



THE MOORISH COURT 69 

summit. Aware that the army was likely to meet 
with resistance at this spot, a halt was called on 
the edge of the valley. Half-way up the steep 
slope on the opposite side was an open ledge of 
green grass, on which was a group of black tents 
and thatch huts of the Zimmour villagers. From 
the thick brushwood opposite a few rebel shots 
were fired at the army. The Sultan's artillery and 
machine-guns were brought up to the edge of the 
ravine, and began firing promiscuously into the 
brushwood. It was soon clear that the valley 
was not strongly held. The Zimmour tribesmen 
are horsemen, and their attack was more likely 
to be made on the plain across the ravine, at the 
moment when the army was extricating itself from 
the precipices and brushwood. 

A regiment the Doukkalas was ordered to 
clear the valley in preparation for an advance, 
and started down the steep hillside with much 
noise and singing. A few shots were fired at them 
as they descended. The river crossed, they began 
the ascent, and soon reached the little deserted 
village. Here temptation was too strong, and 
instead of mounting higher they began to loot. 
The villagers had carried off all their movable 
property, but their stores of grain remained, and 
grain is valuable in the Sultan's camp. The ques- 
tion was how to transport it. The Moorish soldier 
is not easily foiled, and the brave Doukkala regi- 
ment was quite up to the occasion. In the presence 
of the Sultan and of the whole army they laid 
down their rifles, took off their baggy uniform 



70 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

breeches of bright blue cotton, tied up the holes 
through which the legs ordinarily protruded with 
string, and filled the rest with wheat. This done, 
they loaded up their booty on their backs, picked 
up their rifles, and started to return to the army. 

Nothing would make them go on : bugles were 
blown, signals made, orders shouted ; but the 
Doukkalas felt that their day's work was done, 
and steadily climbed homewards. In exasperation 
the Abda regiment, equally famous and equally 
brave, was sent to support them, and to see if 
they couldn't be persuaded to turn once more in 
the direction of the enemy and abandon their 
loot. 

With music and singing the Abda regiment set 
out. They met the Doukkalas struggling up under 
their heavy loads near the river-bed. A collision 
was inevitable, and the Abda charged. The Douk- 
kalas threw down their loads and commenced 
firing, and in a few minutes a little battle was 
raging far down below us in the ravine between 
the two loyal regiments. A ceasing of the firing 
bespoke a compromise. The two bodies of troops 
fraternised, the Doukkalas temporarily abandoned 
their breeches' loads of grain on the river-bank, 
and returned barelegged to the Zimmour village 
with their comrades the Abdas. Once there it 
was the latter's turn to step out of their nether 
garments, and the Doukkalas assisted them to 
load up the remaining grain. This done, the two 
regiments, except for a few killed and wounded, 
returned together, every man bearing on his back 



THE MOORISH COURT 71 

his voluminous baggy blue breeches stuffed to 
bursting-point with wheat and barley. I shall 
never forget the sight of these troops struggling 
up the steep slope, puffing and perspiring, dressed 
in the scarlet " zouave " coats, with just a fringe 
of shirt encircling their waists and nothing else, 
and on the summit the enraged Sultan and his 
Court and the rest of the army, impotent to change 
the course of events. The afternoon was well 
over, and all thought of crossing the ravine 
that night was out of the question, so the camp 
was pitched on the side we were on. 

I have passed many strange disturbed nights in 
Morocco, but this one was perhaps unique, for 
the Doukkalas and Abda regiments quarrelled 
over the division of the spoil, and fought on and 
off all the night through. Bullets were flying in 
every direction, and one had to lie as low to 
ground as possible. Eventually things quieted 
down, and one of my servants came and announced 
to me that "it is all right. The army is now 
being flogged," which was a fact, for the energetic 
Minister of War had managed to arrest the sur- 
vivors of the two regiments concerned, and was 
having them individually severely flogged one after 
the other by soldiers of other regiments and slaves 
and volunteers. 

We never crossed that ravine. The next day 
the news reached the Sultan that the army under 
his brother had been defeated by Bou Hamara 
near Taza. In all haste we turned back, and 
proceeded once more to Fez. That return journey 



72 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

over the track of our advance brought to light 
many things of which nothing apparently had been 
known, or at least cared about, in camp. The 
road was strewn with dead stragglers from the 
Sultan's army who had been cut off by the rebel 
Zimmours; for woe betide any one who lagged 
behind. We found in the precincts of a country 
mosque a dozen corpses, decapitated and muti- 
lated ; and even the blind beggars on foot, whose 
afflictions made it almost impossible to keep up 
with the army, fell a prey to the tribesmen, and 
not a few were found stripped of their poor belong- 
-\ings and with their throats cut. Woe betide the 
wounded, too left to die where they fell for the 
Sultan's army possessed no hospital installation of 
any kind, and no ambulances. Every effort of 
the few doctors who from time to time were 
employed at the Moorish Court was almost in 
vain. Only if a fallen soldier's comrade chose to 
carry him to the camp did he escape death on the 
field of battle ; but the question of his transport 
and of his subsequent care rested entirely with his 
comrades, and the Moorish soldier's comrades were 
not always prepared to make sacrifices for a 
wounded " pal." Often they waited his death in 
order to steal his clothes ; often they stole his clothes 
and left him to perish without awaiting his death. 
In camp, if there was a doctor, medical attend- 
ance was given, but it was given almost without 
any encouragement or any help from the Maghzen, 
but none the less given whole-heartedly. Even 
when the whole army was attacked with malaria, 



THE MOORISH COURT 73 

it was often the doctor who supplied the entire 
quantity of quinine required out of his own pocket. 
The idea of the value of their men's lives never 
seems to have entered into the heads of the 
authorities. 

Often the soldiers, if they took the trouble, 
buried the wounded alive, to prevent their heads 
being carried off as trophies by the enemy. I 
remember being told, while spending an evening 
with some of the riff-raff of the army who, in 
spite of their characters, were often the most 
jovial and cheery of companions the story of a 
recalcitrant wounded comrade who didn't want 
to be buried alive. The incident had happened 
the same day. The man was badly wounded, the 
camp was a long way off, and his " pals " didn't 
mean to have the trouble of carrying him there. 
So they dug his grave, and began to push him in. 
He naturally protested. " I am not dead," he 
cried ; " don't you see I am living ? " "Be 
quiet," said a companion ; " you were killed at 
least an hour ago. Don't you realise that you are 
dead ? " The poor man still cried out till the 
earth covered him and put an end to his protesta- 
tion and his life. The soldier who narrated the 
incident added, " The Moorish soldier is an un- 
grateful and unbelieving individual. This man, for 
instance, had no confidence in us, his comrades, 
when we assured him he was dead. I hate in- 
gratitude," and he filled up his little "kif " pipe 
and handed it to us for a whiff. 

Life was of no value, but the Moorish soldier is. 



74 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

I have seen him often under all circumstances ; 
and in spite of all his faults, I have an admiration 
and a liking for him. He considered his "pal's" 
life as nothing, and his own almost as valueless ; 
and yet on my many journeys I have often 
experienced kindness, and never rudeness, from 
these outcasts of the old regime. Murderers often, 
generally thieves, and always blackguards, yet 
there existed amongst them the undercurrent of 
the pride of race, and a sense of honour in their 
dealings with a sympathetic European, which they 
would have considered quite unnecessary with a 
compatriot. In all life and on all my journeys 
in Morocco I have made a point of trusting every 
one, and seldom, if ever, have I been disappointed. 
I have put natives taken from the wild mountain 
districts into positions of confidence ; I have given 
them every facility to rob, but I have trusted to 
their honour, and they have not failed me. I am 
often told I have been and am foolish, and that 
some day ! but that some day has not come yet, 
and my life has been rendered far easier and far 
happier by the mutual confidence that has always 
existed, and still, I am glad to say, exists, between 
the people of this country and myself. I start 
out on my journeys with this certain knowledge, 
that wherever I choose to go I am known at 
least by name and sure of a welcome. 

A few days after taking the hurried decision to 
return, the Sultan reached Fez, where he remained 
for several years, unable to leave these disturbed 
regions where revolution was rife. In the summer 



THE MOORISH COURT 75 

of 1903, having returned to Tangier meanwhile, 
I was captured by Raisuli's tribesmen, and spent 
three weeks in captivity at Zinat and in the 
Anjera mountains. My experiences are narrated 
in the chapter which deals with the famous brigand 
and his doings. 

In 1904 an arrangement was come to between 
France and England regarding Morocco. This 
book does not in any way pretend to be a history, 
and important as this event was, it need only 
be referred to here in a few words. France was 
permitted by this agreement to intervene in 
Morocco, on the condition of not changing the 
political status of the country, and was given a 
free hand to preserve order and to grant such 
assistance for the introduction of certain reforms 
as might be required. France at the same time 
agreed to come to terms with Spain. All British 
commercial rights and privileges were to remain 
intact. 

Raisuli was all this time in communication, if 
not in league, with Bou Hamara, who remained 
in the Taza and Oujda districts. While I was a 
prisoner of Raisuli's in 1903, 1 managed to abstract 
from a secret cupboard in the room in which I was 
confined a number of documents of considerable 
interest. One of these was the " dahir " of the 
Pretender appointing Raisuli Governor of the 
mountain tribes of North-West Morocco. This 
dahir is stamped with the great seal of the Pre- 
tender under the name of Mohamed ben Hassen. 
No doubt Raisuli, who was at this moment Mulai 



76 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Abdul Aziz's Governor in the same districts, was 
keeping this alternative appointment up his sleeve 
in a case of the necessity arising of having to 
proclaim the Pretender as Sultan. 

It was only natural that this Anglo-French agree- 
ment should bring about a general spirit of unrest 
in the country, and in May 1904 Raisuli captured 
Mr Perdicaris and his stepson, Mr Varley. They 
were released seven weeks later against a ransom 
of 14,000 and political advantages for Raisuli, 
who obtained from the Sultan, Mulai Abdul Aziz, 
his own appointment of Governor of the north- 
west tribes as one of his terms. 

Meanwhile the situation in the interior became 
so serious that all Europeans were withdrawn to 
the coast, and even at Tangier security was threat- 
ened. In December my country villa was attacked 
during the night, and I narrowly escaped a second 
capture. The soldiers guarding my house were 
seized and disarmed in the verandah ; but the 
brigands, under a young chief called Ould Bak- 
kasha, failed to force an entrance into the house. 
The telephone wire was cut, but I had just time 
to get a message through, and a few hours later 
troops arrived. Our total losses were one soldier 
killed and one wounded. I had to abandon my 
villa and come and live nearer the town. 

Ould Bakkasha, the chief of this new band, was 
killed a few weeks later. He was a young man, 
of attractive manner and appearance, who evi- 
dently wanted to become a second Raisuli ; but 
fate was against him. During a raid which he 



THE MOORISH COURT 77 

and his men made upon a village, he was shot. 
He was forcing his way into a house, the owner 
of which was holding the door on the inside. 
Unable to leave the door, the owner of the house 
called to his son, a mere boy, to bring him his 
rifle, which was hanging on the wall. The boy 
in hurrying to his father fell, and the rifle went 
off. The bullet pierced the closed door, and killed 
Ould Bakkasha, who was attempting to force an 
entrance from without. The band fled, leaving 
their chief's dead body on the threshold. 

The year 1905 saw the famous visit of the 
Kaiser to Tangier, the result of the Franco-British 
agreement of the previous year, and of the sub- 
sequent action of France in sending a special 
Mission to Fez to insist upon the introduction of 
reforms. It was on 31st March that the Kaiser 
landed. At the last moment he had hesitated to 
come ashore, partly on account of the roughness 
of the sea, and partly perhaps because he may 
have appreciated the far-reaching effects of this 
hostile demonstration to France and indirectly to 
England, and partly because he feared assassina- 
tion at the hands of anarchists. 

The Emperor looked nervous as he rode through 
the decorated streets to the German Legation. 
Immense crowds of natives, who had been told 
that this visit meant the saving of the indepen- 
dence of their country, had gathered on the open 
market-place in front of the Legation, and volley 
after volley was fired by them as the Emperor 
arrived and left. Many of the guns and rifles 



78 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

contained bullets, one of which, in its downward 
course, struck and indented the leather helmet of 
one of the suite, but fortunately no accident 
occurred. I was in the room while the diplomatic 
corps and the native officials were presented to 
the Kaiser, and heard both his words to the 
French Charge d' Affaires, Comte de Cherisy, and 
to the Moorish authorities. To both he announced 
x^y his intention of considering Morocco as an in- 
^j\dependent country, and of treating its Sultan as 
an independent sovereign. 

Fez became a few months later the scene of 
action, for three special Missions a British under 
Mr (afterwards Sir Gerard) Lowther, a French 
Mission under Monsieur Saint Rene Taillandier, 
and a German under Count Tattenbach visited 
the capital. The French Government was insisting 
on the acceptance of its reform proposals by the 
Sultan, and every assistance was being rendered 
by the British Government to obtain this desirable 
result ; but German influence was too strong, and 
the Sultan Mulai Abdul Aziz definitely refused the 
French proposals on 28th May, only a day or two 
before the arrival of the British Mission in Fez. 
The moment was cleverly chosen. Mr Lowther's 
Mission was en route to the Court, and only learned 
of the Sultan's decision on his arrival at Fez. He 
was too late to influence the Sultan, and too late 
to abandon his Mission. This check to France led 
indirectly to the fall of Delcasse and the agree- 
ment to hold an International Conference on the 
subject of Morocco. 



THE MOORISH COURT 79 

Meanwhile there was no improvement in the 
interior situation of Morocco. Bou Hamara main- 
tained his rebellion in Eastern Morocco, and Raisuli 
governed in north-eastern tribes. Everywhere 
there was insecurity, and two British officers, 
Captain Crowther and Lieutenant Hatton, were 
captured in October on the shore of the An j era 
coast, where they were employed in the salving 
of H.M.S. Assistance, which had gone ashore there. 
The brigand who made this coup was the Shereef 
Ould Boulaish, an important Anjera tribesman. 
Their release was fortunately obtained without 
much difficulty. 

The Court had lost its prestige. The Sultan was 
openly scoffed at and despised, and anarchy 
reigned on every side. 

This final stage of the history of independent 
Morocco had begun and ended in the early years 
of this century, when the young Sultan, Mulai 
Abdul Aziz, entered upon that period of his reign 
which may be deservedly known as the years of 
the commis voyageurs. It was a pitiful period and 
one best forgotten, except that every now and 
again some incident would occur worth recording 
on account of its perfectly unintentional humour, 
which only rendered more pitiful still the depress- 
ing interludes. It was the last decadence of the] 
decadent Moorish Court. The Treasury was fast 
being emptied, the revenues were being wasted, 
foreign loans were being raised, and the palaces 
of the Sultan were littered with packing-cases, 
the contents of which the British Press once seri- 






80 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

ously described as " evidences of Christian civilisa- 
tion at Fez." Everywhere it was packing-cases, 
and even to-day on some of the tracks from the 
coast to the interior lie the wrecked fragments of 
machinery and other rusty forsaken goods, which 
the weary camels could transport no longer. 

Of what did these " evidences of Christian civil- 
isation " consist ? Grand pianos and kitchen- 
ranges ; automobiles and immense cases of corsets ; 
wild animals in cages, and boxes of strange theatri- 
cal uniforms ; barrel-organs and hansom-cabs ; a 
passenger lift capable of rising to dizzy altitudes, 
destined for a one - storied palace ; false hair ; 
cameras of gold and of silver with jewelled buttons ; 
carved marble lions and living macaw parrots ; 
jewels, real and false ; steam-launches and fire- 
works ; ladies' underclothing from Paris, and 
saddlery from Mexico ; trees for gardens that 
were never planted, or, if planted, were never 
watered ; printing-presses and fire-balloons an 
infinity of all that was grotesque, useless, and in 
bad taste. As each packing-case gave forth its 
contents they were looked at, perhaps played with, 
and the majority speedily consigned to rust and 
rot in damp stores and damper cellars. It was, 
indeed, a glorious period for the commis voyageurs, 
but it was the " agony " of Morocco. Every 
incident in Europe was seized to push their wares. 
The coronation of King Edward VII. brought 
crowns to the fore. The Sultan was told he must 
have a crown. He objected. It was contrary to 
his religion to put gold or jewels on his head. 



THE MOORISH COURT 81 

But escape was impossible. A coloured oleograph 
was spread out before him representing King 
Edward in his coronation robes, standing by a 
small table, with his index finger lightly resting 
on the summit of the Imperial Crown. This at 
least was a purpose to which the Sultan, without 
infringing the tenets of Islam, could put a crown. 
So the crown came. 

The crown, it was rumoured, came from Paris ; 
but the State coach was British, and London's 
best, built by a famous coach-builder, and of fine 
workmanship. The afternoon that it arrived, 
transported in packing-cases carried on platforms, 
which in turn were slung between camels, the 
Sultan was playing bicycle-polo with some of his 
European suite, which included at this period an 
architect, a conjurer, a watchmaker, an American 
portrait-painter, two photographers, a German 
lion-tamer, a French soda-water manufacturer, a 
chauffeur, a firework expert, and a Scottish piper. 
All these enjoyed the personal friendship of His 
Majesty, and the entree into the presence of the 
ruler who, with the exception perhaps of the 
Grand Lama of Thibet, should have been the most 
exclusive and the most secluded of sovereigns. 
It is no wonder that the tribesmen looked askance 
on the high palace walls. 

It was a gorgeous coach, of crimson lacquer, 
with gilded ornamentation. The inside was lined 
with rich green-brocaded silk, and the hammer- 
cloth was of scarlet and gold, and bore what were 
supposed to be the Royal Arms of Morocco as a 

F 



82 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

fact, non-existent. Like the coach itself, the 
purple harness, with its gilt fittings, was of the 
very best ; and together they formed an ensemble 
as expensive as it was utterly useless, for there 
were no roads in Morocco. 

The bicycle-polo ceased, and the Sultan invited 
the Consul of a great foreign Power, who hap- 
pened to be at the Court, and the writer, to come 
and inspect his newest purchase. In the centre 
of an immense field of swampy grass, surrounded 
by high crenellated walls, stood the scarlet car- 
riage. In this field of many acres were opened 
all the packing-cases which were too large to pass 
through the gateways that led into the interior 
courts of the palace ; it served also as a grazing- 
ground for His Majesty's menagerie. In a wide 
circle at some little distance from the State coach 
stood a ring of zebras, emus, wapiti, Hindu cattle, 
apes, antelope, and llamas, with a background 
of more timid flamingos and strange storks and 
cranes one and all intent on examining, from a 
position of safety, the extraordinary scarlet addi- 
tion to their numbers which had suddenly appeared 
among them. 

The Sultan was evidently pleased. As usual, 
he said little ; but he called to one of his officers, 
and ordered four horses to be harnessed to the 
coach. It had to be explained to him that no 
horse in the Imperial stables had ever been in 
harness, for the Sultan's previous purchases of 
carriages and hansom-cabs lay rotting idle and 
neglected in stores and cellars. But His Majesty 



THE MOORISH COURT 83 

was not going to be deprived of the pleasure of 
seeing his coach in movement. Men soldiers and 
slaves were harnessed and told to pull. Slowly 
the lumbering, useless, expensive but glorious State 
coach began to move. 

" We will ride in it," said the Sultan ; and, 
beckoning to the Consul of a Great Power to get 
up behind, he himself mounted to the scarlet-and- 
gold seat of honour on the box. The writer rode 
inside. When all were seated, the vehicle started 
on its first and last progress of State. The soldiers 
and slaves sweated and puffed as the wheels sank 
deeper and deeper into the swampy ground, and 
the " progress " was slow indeed. Slow, too, were 
the paces of the procession that followed us, for, 
doubting but fascinated, the whole menagerie was 
in our wake, led by an emu whose courage had 
already been proved by an unprovoked attack 
upon the Scottish piper, and by having danced a 
pas-seul on the prostrate form of the expert in 
fireworks a few days previously. Close behind 
the emu followed a wapiti with the mange and 
then in turn the zebras, the Hindu cattle, the 
apes, gazelles, and lastly, the timid llamas, with 
their great luminous eyes and outstretched necks. 
Away in the background half a dozen cranes 
were dancing and performing the most absurd 
antics. 

It rained that night, and the next day the little 
lake of water in which the State coach stood was 
purple from the dye of the harness, and the beau- 
tiful hammer-cloth of scarlet and gold flapped 



84 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

limp and ruined in the wind. Inside there was a 
pool of water on the green-brocaded seat. 

The great fault, or misfortune, of Mulai Abdul 
Aziz was his extravagance. He was never able 
to realise the value of money. He spent, in the 
few years since he emerged from the seclusion of 
his palace to take up the reins of government, not 
only the whole revenue of his country, but also 
the savings of his predecessors. And what had 
he got for it all ? A lot of rubbish, bought at 
fabulous prices, which was lying rotting and rust- 
ing in the gloomy cavernous stores of his various 
palaces ! He was to blame for this extravagance, 
no doubt, but others were to blame still more. 
Those to whom he looked for advice left no stone 
unturned to exploit him. They made their for- 
tunes, and left a broken unhappy Sultan, whose 
whole country was in rebellion, whose Treasury 
was exhausted, to bear the brunt of their sins. 
Mulai Abdul Aziz, full of the vigour of youth, 
anxious to learn, anxious to reform his country, 
anxious to do what was right, had a future be- 
fore him of much useful work. His advisers took 
his education in hand and his education cost 
him dear, for his fortune, his influence with his 
subjects, and his reputation had all gone. He 
was weak and young and sometimes stubborn ; 
but no man ever lived whose intentions were 
better ; but these intentions were warped and 
frustrated by his advisers. The Sultan had no 
disinterested person about him ; no disinterested 
advice was given him. He was told, when he 



THE MOORISH COURT 85 

spent his money in ordering useless goods from . 
the various European countries, that it gave satis- I 
faction to the Governments of those respective I 
countries that he made his purchases in their/ 
markets. 

Few of the things that he bought gave him any 
pleasure. Photography amused him for a time ; 
but even this was made a means of exploiting 
him. A camera of gold at 2000 came from 
London ; 10,000 francs' worth of photographic 
paper arrived in one day from Paris. His Majesty 
once informed me that his photographic materials, 
not including cameras and lenses, for one year 
cost him between 6000 and 7000 ! He natu- 
rally did not know what was required, and left it 
to his commission agents to purchase the " neces- 
sary " materials. They did, with a vengeance. 

But it must not be thought that the Sultan 
lived no other life except this. His frivolity was 
of short duration an hour or two perhaps every 
day ; but at other times affairs of State took 
up his attention, though scarcely as much as 
ought to have been the case. He could, too, on 
occasion be remarkably serious in his conversa- 
tions ; and as he possessed a quick intelligent 
mind, much prone to speculation, his talk was 
often exceedingly interesting, and there were many 
occasions when, alone with him for an hour or 
two at a time, he let his words flow on from sub- 
ject to subject. On the question of religion he 
was by no means a fanatic, though in every way 
a strict and orthodox Moslem, in spite of many 



86 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

stories to the contrary. His faults have been 
against the traditions of his predecessors, and 
never against his religion, though the two are so 
indissolubly mixed in the minds of the people 
that they are incapable of distinguishing one from 
the other, and so the untrue rumours which were 
spread broadcast all over Morocco appeared as 
based on fact. He would never have attracted 
attention and suspicion had he been a little better 
advised. The men who bought him European 
boots and European saddles, to their own profit 
and to his unmaking, were almost guilty of high 
treason. The men who ordered fancy European 
uniforms for him in the European capitals, as well 
as the men who photographed him in them, and 
allowed his photograph to appear in the illustrated 
papers of Europe, could almost have been tried 
for attempted regicide. From the newspaper to 
the picture post-card, the " Commander of the 
Faithful," the religious head of Islam in North- 
West Africa, was exhibited in a variety of 
costumes in the Tangier shop windows and sold 
for a halfpenny: and this in a country where 
pictures are considered as contrary to religion. 
That Mulai Abdul Aziz was weak there is no 
doubt ; but how easy it is to be weak in such 
circumstances, for every one was pushing him on, 
helping him day by day to become more and 
more unpopular, seeing his authority and his 
country slipping away from him " educating " 
him, in fact, for so they called it, until in the 
end they left him with an empty Treasury to 



THE MOORISH COURT 87 

bear the brunt of the coming crisis. Every com-^\ 
mission agent had his vizier-partner, who recom- 
mended that particular agent and his goods, and 
shared the profits. There was no one, actually no 
one, who could make his voice heard in the sur- 
roundings of intrigue and " education." 

Had the men who really influenced him pressed 
him to stop buying instead of to buy, he would 
have done so, but such was not their obj 
They kept back from him the state of the country, 
and made little of the rebellion which was smoulder- 
ing all around him. The one man who realised 
more than the rest how badly things were going 
was the only man of energy at the Moorish Court, 
Sid Mehdi el-Menebhi, who had been a special < 
ambassador at London and Berlin. He ventured 
once or twice to speak seriously, but the mass of 
intrigue against him was too great. I remember 
one incident so well. It was in December 1902. 
I was leaving Fez in the course of a few days 
for Tangier, when I received from an unknown 
country Moor news that the Pretender's forces, 
which, my informant said, were very numerous, 
were on the point of attacking the camp of 
the huge disorderly army which Mulai Abdul 
Aziz had sent out of Fez a day's march 
to the eastward. I had reason to believe this 
news then, and I have reason to believe to- 
day that it was sent me in order that I might 
leave Fez, for the Pretender at that time intended 
to follow his attack on the camp with a march 
on the capital. My informant, an uneducated 



88 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

countryman, mentioned, as a guarantee of good 
faith, an incident which had happened some years 
before at Meknes, in which I had apparently been 
able to render some small service to a Moor whose 
name at that time I did not know. It was Jilali 
Zarhouni, the Pretender himself, who four years 
afterwards, mindful of my little act, sent me this 
word of warning. 

I reported the whole matter to the Sultan, whom 
I saw alone that night, but I could make no impres- 
sion upon His Majesty. He laughed at the rebel- 
lion and at my fears for his troops, at the Pre- 
tender and his reputed forces. " Go," he said, " to 
Menebhi, and tell him from me to give you a 
good dinner, with musicians and ' kooskoosoo,' 
and don't worry yourself. Your fears are ground- 
less." Menebhi gave me the good dinner, but he 
knew my fears were not groundless. We sat late 
into the night talking he was Minister of War at 
the time and I think he was persuaded that 
some steps must be taken. Before we parted we 
had further evidence of how serious things were 
becoming, for a Shereef, who had relations at 
Taza, had received news which confirmed my 
estimate of the Pretender's forces, though not of 
his proposed attempt to attack the Government 
troops. 

The next day I bade farewell to Mulai Abdul 
Aziz. He was standing under a great archway in 
the palace. He tried to persuade me to stay, but 
for many reasons I had to be back in Tangier in 
eight or ten days' time. We stood there a while 



THE MOORISH COURT 89 

talking, and nothing could have been more kind 
than he was. 

" I shall miss you much," he said ; " good-bye," 
and with a shake of the hand he left me. I turned 
and watched his tall figure, draped in white, until 
he disappeared into the palace through a gate in 
the garden wall. It was Monday, 22nd December 
1902. That very evening, some forty miles away, 
his whole army fled in a panic before the Pre- 
tender's forces, leaving their entire camp, artillery, 
stores, ammunition, money, and transport in the 
hands of Bou Hamara. 

The commander of the Sultan's forces that 
suffered this severe defeat was Mulai Abdesalam 
el-Amarani, His Majesty's uncle. He was an 
elderly and much-respected member of the royal 
family, who, with a brother, Sid Mohamed el- 
Amarani, had played a considerable and worthy 
part in Moorish politics. That he possessed any 
military capacity is doubtful ; but his name and 
his already proved political influence rendered him 
a suitable person to command such expeditions, 
on which diplomacy was always, if possible, pre- 
ferred to fighting. 

On my next visit to Fez, Mulai Abdesalam 
el-Amarani described to me the attack of Bou 
Hamara's forces upon the camp of the Sultan's 
army. His description of his own terror was 
pathetic. " I had no time," he said, " to collect 
my valuables, but there were two things I did 
not want to leave behind a sack of money and 
the pills Dr Verdon had given me for my indiges- 



90 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

tion. The money was beside my bed, the pills 
under the mattress, and I couldn't find them at 
once, and between this loss and my terror and the 
sound of firing in the camp I had to flee. It was 
not until I was on my mule that I discovered that 
in my excitement I had forgotten both the money 
and the pills." 



IV. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END. 

IN spite of his extravagances, the life which the 
Sultan led was a very simple one. He rose early, 
and after prayers at dawn left the privacy of his 
palace for the buildings in which he held his 
Court. Here he took his seat, generally upon a 
settee or divan, in a private room, a little way 
removed from the great courtyard in which his 
viziers carried on then: business. This courtyard 
was surrounded by a colonnade on to which opened 
a number of small rooms. In these were seated 
the various viziers and their secretaries, while 
without in the shade of the colonnade sat those 
who sought interviews with the various Secre- 
taries of State. A gateway, guarded always by 
gatekeepers, led from this courtyard to the Sultan's 
private offices, and messages and letters passed 
to and fro. From time to time he would summon 
one or other of the viziers to his presence on affairs 
of State, and discuss with them what course it 
might be best to pursue. It can be understood 
from this slight intercourse that His Majesty held 
with the outside world, for he seldom had more 



92 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

than this, how easy it was for the people of his 
entourage to withhold from him all reliable in- 
formation, and to paint the existing state of affairs 
in the colours that might suit their own views, or, 
more often, their own pockets. 

" Court," which commenced in the early morning, 
was finished by noon, and the Sultan retired into 
the palace, where he dined. He ate always alone, 
and, as is the custom all over Morocco, with his 
fingers. This habit, which seems almost revolting 
to Europeans, is by no means an unclean one, 
for the hands are washed in warm water both 
before and after the meal, and the food is 
always cooked in such a way that it can easily 
be broken. A habit of our own, which we con- 
sider far more cleanly than eating with our fingers, 
is looked upon by the Moors as filthy that is, 
washing our hands or face in a basin, and, still 
more, taking a bath where the water is not running. 
The cleaner we become, they say, the dirtier the 
water we are washing with must necessarily be, 
and eventually we step forth as cleansed from 
water which is no longer clean. A Moor to wash 
his hands has the water poured from a vessel over 
them, and never by any chance dips them into 
the dirty water. The same way in their baths : 
the water is thrown over their bodies out of bright 
brass bowls, and flows away through holes in the 
marble or tile floor. 

His midday meal over, the Sultan would rest 
for a while, generally issuing from the palace 
about three o'clock. There was no afternoon 



THE MOORISH COURT 93 

" Court," and on this account Mulai Abdul Aziz 
was free to spend the rest of the day as he pleased, 
and generally did so in the company of his Euro- 
pean employees and friends. Bicycle-polo, cricket, 
and tennis were the order of the day. 

One evening, after a longer game of tennis than 
usual, we commenced to take in the net, as rain 
seemed probable. His Majesty had just retired 
into the palace, but had left his pocket-handker- 
chief tied to the top of the net, where he had 
fixed it, as the light was waning, and it was diffi- 
cult to distinguish the net's height. I unfastened 
the handkerchief, but feeling something large tied 
up in a corner of it, I examined it more carefully. 
It was a cut diamond, about the size of a small 
walnut, which His Majesty had lately purchased. 
Carefully secreting the handkerchief and its valu- 
able contents in my pocket for there is no means 
of getting at the Sultan once he has, entered the 
recesses of the palace, where women only are 
allowed I proceeded to leave the precincts by the 
usual exit. I had crossed one courtyard and was 
near the outer gate when I became aware that 
some one was pursuing me. I took in the situa- 
tion and ran ; but I was no match for the Sultan, 
who, stirred to more than usual activity by the 
loss of his valuable jewel, came down upon me 
like a whirlwind. Almost before I realised that I 
was caught, I was lifted off my feet and thrown 
to the ground, while Mulai Abdul Aziz, his knees 
pinning down my elbows, was rifling my pockets. 
He soon discovered his diamond, still tied in the 



94 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

handkerchief; but, not content with that, he de- 
prived me of a pocket-book, a ring I was wearing 
on my watch-chain, a necktie-pin, and a cigarette- 
case. He let me go at last, laughing at the adven- 
ture, but I never saw my property again. 

On another occasion I was present when one 
of the Court officials came to offer his respects to 
the Sultan on receiving a high appointment. This 
man was the now famous Haj Omar Tazzi, the 
present vizier of Government domains. 

I was standing talking to His Majesty alone in 
a courtyard along one side of which were situated 
the cages of the Sultan's wild beasts, when Haj 
Omar entered. Prostrating himself barefoot on the 
marble floor, he touched the ground with his 
forehead. The Sultan, scarcely heeding him, made 
a few formal remarks, and then turning to me, 
asked abruptly, " Do you know this man ? " 

I scarcely did, but aware of His Majesty's love 
of humour, I thought I saw the opportunity for 
a practical joke upon Haj Omar, whom, being a 
Fez town Moor, I rightly guessed to be a 
coward. 

" I know him well," I replied. " Only to-day 
he was at my house begging me to ask a favour 
of your Majesty on his account." 

Haj Omar, who was still prostrate on the ground, 
looked uneasily in my direction, not understanding 
what was passing. 

" His favour is granted," replied the Sultan, 
to whom I had made a slight signal to allow me 
to continue. 



THE MOORISH COURT 95 

" He asked," I went on, " that this afternoon, 
when summoned to your Majesty's presence for 
the first time in his new position, he might be 
allowed to give some proof of his fidelity." 

" Certainly," replied Mulai Abdul Aziz. 

" He proposed," I continued, " with your 
Majesty's permission, in order that his fidelity 
and courage might be put to the test, to spend 
half an hour in the lions' cage." 

Haj Omar, still prostrate before the Sultan, 
squirmed uneasily, and lifted a fat pasty face 
toward the Sultan and myself. 

" Certainly," replied the Sultan. 

" If your Majesty bids me die, I am ready to 
do so," came a feeble voice trembling with emotion 
from the ground. 

" Call the slave who has the keys of the lions' 
cage," replied the Sultan, and at the same time 
he moved in the direction of the wild beasts, 
Haj Omar following him on all-fours. 

The slave arrived ; but Haj Omar's terror was 
now so evident that the joke could no longer be 
kept up. Seizing me by the hand, the Sultan led 
me away, and Haj Omar fled. 

We played another joke on Haj Omar before 
I left Fez, and on this occasion Menebhi was my 
accomplice, if not my instigator. 

Haj Omar was pointing out to the Sultan the 
arrangement of a new flower-garden then in course 
of construction. His Majesty stood somewhat in 
advance, and the rather stout, pompous little 
courtier a little behind him on his right. Menebhi 



96 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

and I, who had wandered a short distance in 
another direction, soon made a discovery a pump 
and a long hose ! Standing the pump in the 
water-tank, I proceeded with the hose till I reached 
Haj Omar, and just as I put the nozzle down the 
back of his neck, Menebhi began to pump. The 
rich Moors never wash with cold water, and the 
voluminous stream which began to flow down Haj 
Omar's back nearly caused him to have a fit. 
The water poured out of his baggy trousers into 
his yellow slippers, but he daren't say a word, 
for His Majesty was addressing him. " It shall 
be done as your Majesty commands," he replied, 
when the Sultan had ceased speaking ; but his 
voice was so trembling, so truly pitiful, that Mulai 
Abdul Aziz turned hurriedly to see what had 
happened. It was a sad object that met his view 
Haj Omar Tazzi standing shivering and dripping 
in a pool of water. Etiquette forbids the Sultan 
to laugh in public, but etiquette couldn't help him 
covering his face with the long sleeve of his jelab 
to hide his merriment, and walking hurriedly in 
another direction. 

The mention of etiquette recalls to my mind 
one or two of the " traditions " of the Moorish 
Court. In comparison with the barbaric splendour 
of the Sultan's State appearances in public, when, 
in the shade of the crimson-and-green velvet 
umbrella, he receives his tribesmen, his private 
life is simple. There is perhaps no more pic- 
turesque sight in the world than one of these 
Morocco processions. The ragged troops in blue 



THE MOORISH COURT 97 

and red, who, with a background of crumbling 
yellow walls, line the palace squares ; the blue 
sky above ; the led horses in their gorgeous trap- 
pings of coloured silks; the white-robed Court 
officials on foot ; the splendour of gold-embroidered 
banners ; and in the centre of it all the Sultan him- 
self, swathed in flowing white robes, the only 
figure on horseback all help to form a picture 
that, once seen, can never be forgotten. Then 
suddenly a great cry rends the air, " May God 
bless the life of our Lord the Sultan ! " and the 
motley company bow low as His Majesty, still 
shaded by the great umbrella of State, rides into 
their midst. Compared in picturesqueness to this 
gorgeous pageant, European State ceremonies are 
poor indeed. But in his private life the Sultan is 
simple enough. No man, of course, crosses the 
precincts of the inner palace, where women only 
are allowed to enter ; but Mulai Abdul Aziz on 
several occasions spoke to me of the boredom of 
his domestic life. He recounted one or two facts 
which show that, autocratic monarch as he is, his 
actions are much restricted by precedent. One 
of these referred to his bedroom, which must be 
furnished in the greatest simplicity, and one colour 
alone must be used, a deep, beautiful, indigo blue. 
The silk hangings are made and dyed in Morocco, 
and no European material must be employed. 
Curtains, bedcovers, carpets, and wall-hangings 
must all be of this one colour and manufacture. 
Again, when out in camp his sleeping-tent must 
contain but three carpets, and he must sleep on 

G 



98 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

a mattress on the ground, and not on a bedstead. 
His viziers and courtiers cover the floor of their 
tents with straw, over which they lay matting 
and piles of rich carpets ; but the Sultan may 
have nothing but the bare earth and the tradi- 
tional three small carpets. In wet weather he is 
obliged to wade ankle-deep in mud, while slaves 
wait to wash his feet as he steps on to the rug on 
which the mattress is spread. No doubt this 
simple sleeping-tent owes its origin to days when 
constant dangers threatened the Sultans on their 
camping expeditions, and when they were liable 
to be called up at night to lead their troops into 
battle ; but however it may have originated, the 
custom a particularly uncomfortable one re- 
mains unchanged to-day. During the daytime the 
Sultan may spend his time in other tents, where 
no restrictions are placed upon his luxuries and 
comforts. 

There is a certain room in the palace at Fez 
to which a recognised tradition pertains. The 
construction dates from a remote time, and there 
is supposed to exist, somewhere built into its 
walls, a certain charm. The purport of this charm 
is that as long as this particular chamber in the 
palace remains intact, no Sultan will die in Fez, 
and, curiously enough, no Sultan has died in Fez 
since the room was built. His Majesty described 
the chamber to me, for it is situated in the interior 
of the palace, where no men may enter. It is a 
large hall, richly furnished with its original rugs 
and divans, and every night special slaves, whose 



THE MOORISH COURT 99 

duty it is, light the many candles that are sup- 
ported in the chandeliers. Two huge candles, 
brought from Mecca once a year, are the only 
ones that are lit more than once ; all the others 
are replaced nightly. Nor may European candles 
be used they must be of Fez manufacture. 

The ceiling, rich in carving, still exists, but the 
roof above has been replaced again and again, 
one layer above another, without ever removing 
the underneath ones, lest the "charm" should be 
destroyed. In the same way the walls have been 
strengthened from the outside, until their thick- 
ness is immense. So exactly has this room been 
left in its original state that in one corner of it 
stands a ladder which has never been removed, 
while skins for holding water are still hanging 
upon the walls, little left of them but their gold 
spouts and pendent cups. 

Mulai Abdul Aziz was an expert bicyclist, and 
there were often great games of bicycle-polo of an 
afternoon in one of the courtyards of the palace. 
The only other Moor who played was Menebhi, 
then at the height of his power and influence. 
The Sultan was a plucky but careful rider, seldom 
coming to grief, and handling his machine with 
the most perfect judgment. Menebhi was equally 
plucky, but much more excitable, and I have seen 
him, in pursuit of the ball, charge at full speed 
into the palace wall, to be rescued from what 
looked like a lot of broken umbrellas a minute 
later, as he shouted wildly for a new bicycle. As 
the Sultan was always supplied with the most 






100 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

expensive articles that could be purchased, most 
of his bicycles were of aluminium, and therefore 
not suited to bicycle-polo ; but the more that 
were broken the more were required, and his 
commission agents reaped their harvest. The 
record, I think, was taken by a young secretary 
of the British Legation, who successfully smashed 
six in one afternoon ! But it was not at polo 
alone that Mulai Abdul Aziz was a skilful bicyclist, 
for he could perform a number of tricks that would 
almost have done honour to a professional. I 
have seen him myself ride up a steep plank laid 
against a packing-case, then along another plank 
forming a bridge to another packing-case, and 
down an incline at the end again. On one of these 
occasions he fell, and lodged on his head ; but 
after being stunned for a minute or two, remounted 
his bicycle and successfully accomplished his object. 

I only once saw him annoyed, and it was with 
myself. We were standing on the summit of an 
old outer wall of the palace. Immediately beneath 
us, in the shadow of the wall, were a dozen or so 
ill-clothed, half-starved members of what was in- 
appropriately called the Moorish Army. Many of 
the little group were evidently suffering from 
fever, very prevalent in Fez in summer, and alto- 
gether they formed a pitiful sight. 

I spoke, perhaps, too warmly of the neglect 
with which the soldiers were treated, of their 
stolen pay, of their abject misery, and I failed 
to notice that the Sultan was not in a mood at 
that moment to listen to my complaint. 



THE MOORISH COURT 101 

" It isn't my fault," he said pettishly. 

" It is," I replied. "Your Majesty doesn't take 
the trouble to see that your orders are carried 
out." 

The blood rushed to the Sultan's face, and he 
drew himself up. " Remember," he said, " you 
are speaking to ' the Commander of the Faithful,' ' 
referring to his most coveted title. 

" I do," I replied, " remember it. It is your 
Majesty who forgets that these men are ' the 
Faithful.' " 

Alas ! as far as he is concerned, but few of 
them were any longer faithful. 

He bore me no grudge for what I said, and his 
look of anger passed into one of great sadness. 
For a little while he stood looking over the great 
plain that lay before us, then turned and said 
very gently, " You don't know how weary I am 
of being Sultan," and tears stood in his eyes. 

On one occasion while visiting Meknes with the 
Sultan, I took the opportunity to go to the Jews' 
quarter of the town, to call on an Israelite family 
who had often hospitably entertained me at a 
feast on previous visits. The lady of the house 
was an extremely portly dame, one might almost 
say of gigantic proportions, but as kind-hearted 
asjshe was large. I was received with open arms 
by my host and hostess, their children and grand- 
children, and after the usual salutations they 
began to pour out their woes. The Jews' quarter 
had been raided by Berber tribesmen, and my 
friends' house and stables had been broken into 



102 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

and robbed. Could I obtain justice for them ? 
Now, in spite of the Sultan's good intentions, 
justice was about the only thing in the world 
unobtainable in Morocco. The Sultan, I knew, 
would order the damages to be repaid by the 
responsible authorities, but my friends would 
certainly receive only a very small portion of 
what they had lost ; the rest would disappear 
en route. I therefore determined to obtain justice 
from the Sultan by a little ruse. I told the portly 
lady that His Majesty would make his State 
entry into the town the following day, and bade 
her climb on to the pedestal of one of the great 
marble pillars of the famous gateway of Mansour- 
el-Alj, and there to await his passage. Immediately 
she saw the Sultan appear from under the gateway 
she was to cry, " Will my Lord the Sultan allow 
me to die in misery ? Will my Lord the Sultan 
not protect me ? " I told her to look as fascinat- 
ing as possible she was well on for sixty years 
of age and to put on all the finery of gold lace 
and velvet to which the Israelite ladies of the 
Moroccan towns are so partial, and which forms 
their national gala dress. 

She promised to carry out my instructions, and 
I laid my plans accordingly. An hour or two later 
I was received by the Sultan, and ventured to 
remark that I had experienced a curious dream 
the night before. The Sultan asked me to relate 
it, and I replied that I had dreamed that I was 
accompanying His Majesty on his State entry 
into the town, and that just as we passed under 



THE MOORISH COURT 103 

the famous gateway an enormously fat Jewess, 
in gala attire, clinging to one of the marble columns, 
cried out, " Will my Lord the Sultan allow me to 
die in misery ? Will my Lord the Sultan not 
protect me ? " The Sultan was by nature super- 
stitious, and wondered what my dream could 
mean. Needless to say, I didn't inform him. 

Everything occurred as I had planned it, with 
one ludicrous addition. The Sultan emerged from 
the gate, and there, on the high pedestal of the 
column, embracing the marble pillar, was my stout 
friend, shouting out her petition. The Sultan, 
struck by the coincidence, turned to see if he could 
catch my eye, and I naturally looked as astonished 
as he did. But the lady's anxiety to be heard led 
her to lean too far forward, her hold on the marble 
pillar was relaxed, and the last I saw of her was 
taking a header into the midst of scarlet-and-blue 
soldiers who lined the gateway. An hour later 
messengers hurried me into the Sultan's presence. 
I found His Majesty all excitement at the incident, 
and I explained that no doubt my extraordinary 
dream was a revelation in order that the woman 
might receive justice. The Sultan asked me if I 
knew who she was. 

" I have seen her more than once," I replied. 

" Go immediately," said His Majesty, " and find 
out what she wants." 

The delight of my friends can be imagined when 
I entered their house and, on behalf of the Sultan, 
asked for a " statement of claim." I fully reported 
the matter, and Mulai Abdul Aziz sent for one of 



104 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

his own relations, Amrani Shereef, and ordered 
him to see that the family were immediately re- 
funded for what they had lost, and that their 
house should be guarded in future. In this manner 
I knew they would get their money, which they 
certainly would not have done had the matter 
passed, in the usual course, through the hands of 
the viziers. The next day they were paid, and the 
day after I confessed my plot to the amused 
Sultan. 

The year of the Algeciras Conference (1906) I 
was back in Fez again after an absence of three 
years. Everything was changed, for the days of 
prosperity and " packing-cases " were over, and 
the Maghzen had fallen upon evil times. Tribe 
after tribe had thrown off their allegiance. The 
robbery and pilfering and corruption were worse 
than ever. Famine reigned in the city. 

The " campaign " which I, as ' Times ' corre- 
spondent, had carried on in the ' Times ' during 
the preceding year or two, rendered me no persona 
grata to the Sultan and his Court, and even accom- 
modation was refused me and the palace gates 
hermetically sealed. I stayed for some months, 
and enjoyed, as I have never enjoyed before or 
since, the goodwill of the people of Fez. They 
knew what had happened. They knew that the 
' Times ' had called the attention of the world to 
the plight of their co-religionists and fellow-country- 
men in Morocco, and in their suffering and misery 
they showed an appreciation that was at once 
most marked and most valued. They knew that 



THE MOORISH COURT 105 

the Sultan had refused to receive me, and that 
the doors of the viziers' palaces were closed to 
me ; and they knew, too, the reason that I repre- 
sented a great newspaper, the columns of which 
have always been open to the cries of distress of 
ill-used and neglected peoples, and that their 
plaints had already reached the British public 
and the world's public by these means. I shall 
never forget the sympathy and kindness shown to 
me by the mass of the inhabitants at Fez at this 
time. And what was this change that was so 
evident ? 

It was famine that was all ! Bread at seven- 
pence a loaf, and the loaf the size of a railway- 
station bun. Famine, because a few of the viziers 
and officials had taken advantage of last year's 
poor crops to " corner " wheat, by buying it 
before it entered the town, and selling it at any 
profit they liked ; famine, because the same little 
coterie regulated the price at which even meat 
might be sold, and alternately robbed the poor 
and the butchers ; famine, because every neces- 
sary of life had to pass through their hands before 
it reached the public ; famine, because even 
charcoal, without which no cooking can be done, 
was " cornered." And the caravans of camels 
which should have been bringing grain from the 
coast to feed the starving people were comman- 
deered to transport marble for the floors of the 
viziers' palaces, built with the proceeds of foreign 
loans and of famine. 

Yes, three years had brought about a change 



106 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

in Fez, and it was not a change for the better. 
Life and energy seemed to have disappeared. 
The hang-dog starving soldiery, in rags of course, 
and paid, when they were paid at all, sufficiently 
well to buy half a small loaf of bread a day, prowled 
to and fro in the streets, such few, that is, as 
were left of them, for the greater part had long 
ago deserted to the Pretender, who fed his men, or 
had sold their rifles to the nearest buyer, and gone 
back to spread sedition amongst the tribes. Really 
no one can blame them, and those that remained 
would have gone too, shaking the dust of Fez 
off their shoes only they had no shoes, and most 
of them no strength to walk the distance. The 
streets were full of starving and half-starving 
people, many of whom begged only with their 
eyes, too pitiful to look upon unmoved. For a 
short time the proceeds of a public subscription 
did something to relieve these sufferers, but the 
funds disappeared into the brick and mortar of 
palaces, it is said and by, perhaps, more than a 
coincidence, the date of the conclusion of the 
Algeciras Conference was also the date at which 
the Maghzen ceased attempting to feed the poor. 
Could it have been that the eyes of Europe were 
no longer fixed on Morocco, and therefore the poor 
might starve again ? The long lines of suffering 
humanity cringed back against the walls of the 
narrow streets to make way for the camels, and 
mules and donkeys, laden with marble and mosaics 
for the palaces which the Court favourites were 
building with the money of the people, with the 



THE MOORISH COURT 107 

proceeds of famine. Before, the people bore their 
sufferings for even then they suffered enough 
from the exactions of the Maghzen, but consoled 
themselves by saying, " Our Lord the Sultan does 
not know." Now it was different. Famine had 
rendered them a little a very little more cour- 
ageous, and they said, " Our Lord the Sultan does 
not care." After all, there is only the difference 
of one word. In the country districts they went 
a little just a little further, and said, " There 
is no Sultan." It was not true, of course, for 
within the crumbling battlements of the expanse 
of palace, Mulai Abdul Aziz, bored by everything, 
but still kind-hearted, still with the best intentions, 
wandered from court to court and from garden 
to garden, giving orders that he knew would never 
be carried out, weary with trying to do better 
things, and content to await a change any 
change of circumstances, with implicit trust in 
God and a lurking mistrust in Europe. He, too, 
had lost his energy. It was not altogether his 
fault perhaps ; for at one time he really tried, 
and circumstances had been against him. Too 
much good nature and too little determination 
had led to his failure, until he had handed over 
everything to men far less capable and far less 
well-intentioned than himself, and allowed them 
to rob him as they pleased. He saw no one, and 
went nowhere, probably because, with his nature, 
he could not but feel the ignominy of his position 
and the degradation of his country. The palace 
itself resembled the palace of a dream, haunted 



108 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

by ghosts. Yet even as such it was more fitted 
for the residence of a Moorish Sultan than the 
palace of three years ago, when the courtyards 
were strewn with useless European goods, unsale- 
able for the most part in Europe, and piled with 
packing-cases empty and full and littered with 
straw. Probably most of this refuse remained 
there still a poor return, after all, for what was 
expended on it. 

The scene in the great courtyard, surrounded 
by its columns and arches, in which the Maghzen 
held its daily Court, was changed too. Under 
their respective arcades the viziers sat, sleepily 
transacting what they called business that is to 
say, putting off till to-morrow, or longer, every- 
thing that they ought to have done to-day. There 
was no life, no movement, in this Court now. 
Where were the soldiers, who, slovenly as they 
were, added a touch of colour to the scene ? 
Where were the country governors and kaids and 
their escorts ? Where were the officers of the 
Court in their white robes and red-peaked fezes 
where were they all ? And where that active 
lithe figure whose quick stride and energetic 
movements, whose keen eyes kept the whole 
fabric together El Menebhi, where was he ? 
Gone, faded away like phantoms, leaving to a 
handful of incapable and self-seeking men whose 
voices were mocked almost in their own hearing 
the misgovernment of their country. What wonder 
that the people all over Morocco said, " We have 
no Sultan." What wonder that they disobeyed 



THE MOORISH COURT 109 

and ridiculed the Shereefian commands ! What 
wonder that the Pretender and Raisuli and a 
score of others had arisen all over the country ! 
No, the only wonder is that the population had 
not rebelled in a body. But they had no need to 
do so. They paid no taxes and acknowledged no 
government. As to the townspeople, years of 
extortion and suffering had crushed their spirit 
though they knew that all the present regime 
was giving them was famine. ^ 

And Mulai Abdul Aziz, knowing something of 
all this knowing, anyhow, enough to make him 
desirous of knowing no more still talked of what 
he intended to do for his people, still poured 
out plans for their betterment into the ears of 
men whose one object was to frustrate them, 
and wandered aimlessly from court to court and 
from garden to garden inside the palace precincts 
a kind intelligent gentleman, too good in many 
ways, and too weak in many more, for the arduous 
position he had been called upon to fill. If the 
Pope was a prisoner in the Vatican, the Sultan of 
Morocco was doubly so in the palace of Fez. 

Yet these changes, such as they were, could be 
apparent only to those very familiar with Fez in 
former days. To all others the city must be the 
same as ever, with its narrow tortuous streets 
overhung by, and tunnelled through, the high 
projecting houses ; full of gloom and mystery ; 
with glimpses, here of orange-trees peeping over 
a high wall ; there, of tiled minarets and the 
green roofs of mosques and tombs a city that 



110 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

extends not a yard beyond the walls that encircle 
it. Within, a tortuous maze ; without, mile upon 
mile of open country dotted by the thatch huts 
and tent villages of the tribes. Yet close to the 
walls, along the banks of the river that flows in 
so many channels through and around the town, 
have sprung up gardens of oranges and olives, of 
mulberries, apricots, and vines, that form a setting 
of richer green to the grey white city that meanders 
down from the plain to the valley of the Sebou, 
following all the way the form of the depression 
in which it lies. 

There is scarcely a view of Fez that is not 
beautiful, scarcely a glimpse that is not sad. 
Its very colouring, or perhaps lack of colouring; 
its amazing alleys into which the sun never shines ; 
its ruined mosques, rich in fast-falling mosaics 
and wood-carving, in rotting arabesques and grass- 
grown roofs ; its damaged drinking fountains, 
from the broken tiles of which the water still 
splashes to where once a basin caught it, but now 
only to form a channel of mud in the narrow 
thoroughfare ; its stately caravanserais with their 
galleries of arches and trellis of wood that has 
turned purple and grey with age ; its garden 
quarter from which rise the modern palaces of 
the viziers, built with the people's money and the 
people's food all add a mysterious charm to a 
city that stands alone as an unspoiled example of 
former prosperity and existing decay. 

So it is with the people. They wore the de- 
spondent sad expression that came from years of 







[Service des Beaux- Arts, Morocco. 
MEDERSA OF ATTARINE, FEZ. 



THE MOORISH COURT 111 

oppression hopeless of the future, forgetful of 
the past, and yet with one solace left to them, 
and one only : that God had ordained it so. 
Nothing would shake their belief that all was 
predestined, unalterably predestined and inscribed 
beforehand, hi their book of life. "It is written " 
and for them that was enough. 

While the Powers of Europe had been almost 
on the verge of war over Morocco, while the eyes 
of the world's public had been fixed upon the 
Conference of Algeciras, while there still lay 
before the country a future that was unknown, 
while one-fifth of the land was in the hands of the 
Pretender, while the Sultan's authority scarcely 
extended outside a few walled cities Fez had 
remained unmoved. Fatalists one and all, the 
Sultan and his viziers, the townspeople and the 
starving poor had scarcely given a serious thought 
to the future to the crisis through which their 
country had passed, and was still passing. Mulai 
Abdul Aziz wandered from garden to garden and 
court to court inside the palace walls. His viziers 
still frustrated the good intentions of His Majesty 
there was but little majesty left except in name 
and the people still starved ; and one and 
all, firm in their unshakable belief, said "It is 
written." 

The results of the Conference of Algeciras and 
of the " Acte " which promulgated its decisions 
were what might have been expected. All Europe 
sent its delegates to the pleasant little Spanish 
town lying a few miles from Gibraltar, and every 



112 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Government had an axe to grind. They poured 
new wine vinegar most of it into old skins, and 
the result was inevitable. While the special 
Ambassadors, whose titles fill a couple of pages 
of print in the tiny volume that contains the 
*" Acte," were discussing Public Works, Inter- 
national Police, the State Bank, and the differences 
between " fusils rayes et non-ray es " and a host 
of other things Morocco was sinking deeper and 
deeper into a state of anarchy, rendered more 
hopeless than ever by the rumours which were 
circulated amongst the tribes as to what was 
occurring on the other side of the Straits of 
Gibraltar. From the hills above Algeciras on at 
least one occasion the smoke of burning villages 
in the Tangier district the result of this anarchy 
was clearly visible. Raisuli was supreme in the 
north, while to the east of Fez the Pretender, 
Bou Hamara, still held his own. 

4 Bou Hamara was a native of the Zarhoun tribe, 
who had been employed at one time as a scribe 
by a high native functionary of Meknes. His 
conduct, however, had rendered him quite un- 
suitable to be maintained as a secretary, for he 
not only, so rumour says, forged his master's 
signature, but also caused a replica of the Imperial 
Seal to be made, by which he obtained a consider- 
able grant of money. He had also in his spare 
moments learned a few simple conjuring tricks. 
Already known as a scholar and a devout Moslem, 
these other acquirements stood him in good stead. 
But he was found out, and left Meknes hurriedly. 



THE MOORISH COURT 113 

Living on his wits, he made for the Taza districts, 
situated between Fez and the Algerian frontier, 
and there acquired, from his scholarship and his 
conjuring, a very considerable prestige. Almost 
unconsciously he was accepted as a " leader," 
and eventually declared himself to be Mulai 
Mohamed, the eldest son of the late Sultan, 
Mulai Hassen, and therefore the elder brother 
of the reigning monarch, Mulai Abdul Aziz. He 
caused a great Seal of State to be struck, and was 
proclaimed as Sultan. Mention has already been 
made of the defeat the troops of Mulai Abdul Aziz 
suffered at his hands in December 1902. His 
prestige had now reached its zenith, and caused 
the greatest anxiety to the Moorish Court. He 
ruled Eastern Morocco for several years with 
scarcely varying success. At times, it is true, he 
was driven back into the mountains of the Rif 
when Taza was captured by a Moorish army under 
El-Menebhi, the active young Minister of War ; 
but Bou Hamara was always able to reassert his 
authority and regain his lost possessions. In spite 
of every effort of El-Menebhi to maintain an 
adequate force, the corruption and incapacity of 
the Court was such that even his energy could 
avail nothing. The soldiers' pay failed, and the 
Sultan's troops melted away. It was not until 
Mulai Hafid had come to the throne in 1912, 
after the abdication of Mulai Abdul Aziz, that Bou 
Hamara was captured and brought to Fez. Con- 
fined in a cage carried on the back of a camel, 
the famous Pretender was brought into the 

H 



114 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Sultan's presence. The interview was protracted. 
For several days Bou Hamara, squatting in the 
small space of his cage, was exposed to public 
view in the great court of the palace where the 
Sultan held his receptions and the Sovereign 
who held the throne and the Pretender who had 
so long threatened it were face to face. Eventually 
the prisoner of State was put into the lions' cage 
in the presence of the Sultan, while the ladies of 
the Court lined the roof of the palace to witness 
the execution. The lions, however, too well fed, 
refused to eat him, but mangled one of his arms. 
After waiting for some time longer to see if the 
king of beasts would change their minds, the Sultan 
ordered the Pretender to be shot, and he was 
despatched by the slaves. His body was after- 
wards burnt, to deprive him of any possibility 
for the Moors believe in a corporeal resurrection 
of going to heaven. Terrible as was his end, 
Bou Hamara himself had been guilty of every 
kind of atrocity, and had regularly burnt, after 
sprinkling them with petroleum, any of the 
Sultan's soldiers that he had been able to capture 
during his campaigns. 

The vicinity of the Pretender's jurisdiction to 
the Spanish port of Melilla, on the Rif coast, had 
seriously inconvenienced the Spanish authorities 
and inhabitants of that town ; and at length, in 
order to obtain supplies for the population, the 
Spaniards had been obliged to negotiate and to 
enter into direct relations with him. A mining- 
engineer told me that he had once accompanied 



THE MOORISH COURT 115 

some Spanish capitalists on a visit to Bou Hamara's 
headquarters at Selouan. They all went with a 
certain fear and trembling, but the stake was a big 
one. They wanted to obtain a concession for the 
working of some valuable iron-mines in the neigh- 
bourhood. The Pretender received them cordially 
enough, and invited them to sit down with him 
on a large carpet spread in the shadow of a tree. 
The discussion of the terms of the concession 
proceeded, and Bou Hamara's demands became 
more and more exacting. The capitalists hesitated 
and protested, but were brought to acceptance 
by the fact that while the conversation was still 
in progress a number of the Pretender's soldiers 
arrived carrying the recently-severed heads of a 
dozen or so of his enemies, which they arranged 
round the edge of the carpet. At the end of the 
interview the three or four very pale capitalists 
had accepted in their entirety the Pretender's 
propositions, and were thanking him for his 
cordial reception, surrounded by the ghastly ex- 
hibition that had n>t a little influenced their 
decision. 

The heads of enemies were, until the end of 
Mulai Hafid's reign, commonly exposed upon the 
gates of the towns of the interior of Morocco. 
In 1909, during the official Mission of the late 
Sir Reginald Lister to Fez, the Bab Mharouk was 
hung with the heads of rebels. One of these grisly 
monuments fell, with a resounding thud, as the 
British Minister and some of his party were passing 
underneath. The manner of affixing them was 






116 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

by passing a wire through the ear, which was 
fastened to a nail in the wall. Over and over again 
during my long residence in Morocco I have seen 
the gates and other buildings at the Moorish capitals 
decorated with these horrid trophies. 

\ A more serious rival to the Sultan Abdul Aziz 
came upon the scene when Mulai Hafid, his half- 
brother, set up the banner of revolt in Southern 
Morocco in 1908, and proclaimed himself Sultan. 
The moment was opportune. The previous year 
(1907) the French had bombarded Casablanca 
after the massacre of a number of European 
workmen by the natives. These workmen, Italians 
and Frenchmen, were engaged upon the quarrying 
and transport of stone for the construction of the 

N port. The little railway used for this purpose 
passed through, or close to, a Moslem cemetery. 
Native opinion, excited by religious agitators, 
burst all bounds of restraint, and the Moors 
attacked the train. The labourers returning from 
their work were murdered. A French warship 
arrived on the scene, and an armed party landed 
for the protection of the European population of 
the town. The forts and native official quarters 
were at the same time bombarded. Scenes of the 
wildest confusion ensued, for not only was the 
town under the fire of the cannon of the warship, 
but the tribes from the interior had taken advan- 
tage of the panic to invade and pillage the place. 
Every sort of atrocity and horror was perpetrated, 
and Casablanca was a prey to loot and every kind 
of crime. The European force was sufficient to 



THE MOORISH COURT 117 

protect the Consulates, and the greater part of 
the Christian population escaped murder. When 
order was restored the town presented a pitiful 
aspect. I saw it a very few days after the bom- 
bardment, and the scene was indescribable a 
confusion of dead people and horses, while the 
contents of almost every house seemed to have 
been hurled into the streets and destroyed. The 
looting was incomplete : piles of cotton goods, 
cases of foodstuffs in fact, every class of mer- 
chandise still lay strewn about the roads. Many 
of the houses had been burned and gutted. Out 
of dark cellars, Moors and Jews, hidden since the 
first day of the bombardment, many of them 
wounded, were creeping, pale and terrified. Some 
had to be dug out of the ruins of their abodes. 
Over all this mass of destruction horses and men 
had galloped and fought. Blood was everywhere. 
In what had once been the poorer quarter of the 
town, where the houses, mostly thatched in straw, 
had been burned, I only met one living soul a 
mad woman, dishevelled, dirty, but smiling -who 
kept calling, " Ayesha, my little daughter ; my 
little son Ahmed, where are you : I am calling you." 
Turning to me she asked, " You haven't seen my 
little children, have you ? a little girl and a tiny 
boy, almost a baby." She didn't wait for an 
answer, but passed on, still calling Ayesha and 
Ahmed. 

There were many people completely mad with 
fear. The Jews and Jewesses were perhaps those 
who suffered the most. One Jewess, rescued from 



118 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

a cellar, was brought, stunned with terror, to 
Tangier on a relief ship. It was only after landing 
that she remembered that she had hidden her 
baby, to save it from death, in a corner of the 
cellar where she had been concealed three days 
before. 

The bombardment of Casablanca and those days 
of horror necessitated a campaign to clear the sur- 
rounding country of the evil tribes that hovered 
about, waiting another occasion to murder, rape, 
and pillage. ^LlM--tb e beginning of the French 
occupation of Morocco, and the final end of cen- 
turies of cruelty, corruption, and extortion. 



V. 

THE LIQUIDATION OF THE SULTANATE. 

THE year 1912 saw the end of the independence of 
Morocco, and though there must always be present 
a regret when something very old and picturesque 
disappears, yet, on the whole, the end of its 
independence was a matter for congratulation. 

Built up originally on the foundation of the 
religious prestige of its rulers for the Sultans of 
Morocco were descendants of the Prophet the 
rotten old edifice had stood for many years in a 
state of imminent collapse. Only its isolation, 
and the exclusiveness and fanaticism of its people, 
had postponed its earlier disintegration, and for 
a long time, in the throes of mortal disease, Morocco 
had kept up a semblance of life. A young and 
spendthrift Sultan, Mulai Abdul Aziz, had wasted 
the revenues of the country and emptied its 
Treasuries for the greater part on the most use- 
less purchases of European origin. His reign had 
been the epoch of the commis voyageurs, when 
caravans converged upon Fez from all the seaports, 
bearing cages of wild beasts, and the most astound- 
ing assortment of every imaginable and unpractical 



120 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

object of luxury and bad taste. It was the time 
of fireworks and barrel-organs, of fantastic uniforms 
and beds made of looking-glass, of cameras and 
parrots from the Amazons. This expenditure, his 
association with Europeans, and the weakness with 
which he administered his Government, gave rise 
to a rebellion. His half-brother, Mulai Hafid, pro- 
claimed himself Sultan in the southern capital. 

The war between the two Sultans was tedi- 
ous and uninteresting. The principal object of 
both seemed to be how to avoid an encounter, 
and they contented themselves by issuing edicts of 
mutual excommunication, and, in order to obtain 
money, by pillaging the tribes, regardless of their 
political opinions. When either Sultan had funds 
he had also soldiers ; failing resources, the armies 
alternately dwindled away almost to the point of 
disappearance. In fact, both were dependent for 
troops on deserters from each other's forces. 

In 1908 Mulai Abdul Aziz left Fez for the scene 
of the rebellion, and marching slowly by a very 
devious course, so as to avoid any possible en- 
counter with the enemy, he set out for the south. 
Meanwhile Mulai Hafid, equally pluckily, set out 
to conquer the north also, and for the same 
reason, by a very devious route. In all probability 
each would have successfully reached the other's 
capital without a hitch, if Mulai Abdul Aziz's 
army, when only a short distance from its goal, 
Marrakesh, had not suddenly pillaged the Imperial 
camp, driven the Sultan to seek refuge, after a 
long and dangerous journey, on the coast, and 



THE MOORISH COURT 121 

declared for his rival. A few months later he 
abdicated in favour of Mulai Hafid, who, with only 
a few followers, for his army had likewise deserted 
him, had meanwhile arrived in Fez with little 
more than the proverbial half-crown in his 
pocket. 

Fez accepted him as Sultan, on the distinct 
condition that the city was to be exempted from 
all taxation. This His Majesty solemnly promised 
and he kept his promise for a few weeks, until, 
in fact, he was strong enough to break it and 
then he collected taxes, legal and illegal, with 
gusto never before experienced. 

His ability to act thus was owing to his having 
meanwhile collected a little army. Naturally the 
Treasury was empty, and no tribesmen presented 
themselves as desiring to take military service, as 
no pay was forthcoming. The situation was pre- 
carious. Without troops Mulai Hafid could do 
nothing, not even collect the taxes he had promised 
to forgo ; and without the taxes he couldn't live. 
At all costs he must have an army. 

So one morning the public criers announced in 
the streets and market-places that the Sultan was 
on a certain day giving a great feast at the palace 
to the adepts of the sect of the " Gennaoua." 
Now the confraternity of the " Gennaoua " is 
very popular in Morocco, though limited almost 
entirely to the Southerners, who are largely of 
negro extraction, and form a class by themselves 
of labourers and water-carriers it is looked upon 
as unorthodox by the more educated Moors. The 



122 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Sultan even hinted that he himself had leanings 
towards their particular doctrine. 

On the day in question the " Gennaoua," washed 
and in their best clothes, flocked to the palace, 
and entered its great walled courts, surrounded by 
frowning towers. With every sign of holiday- 
making and joy, they manifested their pleasure 
at the honour of being invited to the Sultan's 
religious-garden-party and sought refreshments. 
Alas ! there were none nothing but high walls and 
closed gates and the next day a sad but resigned 
army was being drilled on the palace parade-ground. 

Mulai Hafid was not the man to restore the dying 
Morocco back to health. Tribes revolted ; he 
himself adopted barbarous methods, and the con- 
dition of Morocco became worse than before. In 
the early months of 1912 the Sultan was besieged 
by the tribes in Fez. He appealed to the French, 
already installed at Casablanca on the Atlantic 
coast. An expedition was hurriedly despatched 
to the capital, which was relieved, and a few 
weeks later the Treaty of the French Protectorate 
was signed, to be followed immediately by a 
massacre of French officers and civilians in Fez. 
Mulai Hafid' s position became impossible, both 
in the eyes of France and of his own people, and 
he decided to abdicate. The Court moved to 
Rabat, on the coast, and there the final scenes 
of Moroccan independence took place. They con- 
sisted in the most rapacious bargaining on the 
part of the Sultan, in order to obtain the best 
possible terms for himself. 



THE MOORISH COURT 123 

Before leaving Fez he had already begun to se- 
cure his future comfort in life. He had informed 
all the royal ladies of his palace and they were 
legion the widows of former Sultans and a host 
of female relations that they must all accompany 
him to Rabat. He gave them stringent orders 
as to their luggage. All their jewels and valuables 
were to be packed in small cases, then" clothes 
and less costly belongings in trunks. They strictly 
followed these injunctions, but on the day of the 
Sultan's departure the ladies and the trunks were 
left behind. They are still in Fez : the jewels, 
there is reason to believe, are in Europe. Mulai 
Hafid always prided himself on his business 
qualities. 

The last weeks of his reign were one continual 
period of wrangling with the French authorities. 
He was still Sultan and therefore dangerous, and 
the question of his successor had not been settled, 
so he yet held some trump cards, which he played 
successfully. Even when everything was arranged, 
and the letters for the proclamation of his younger 
half-brother, Mulai Youssef, the reigning Sultan, 
had been despatched to the interior, Mulai Hafid 
changed his mind. On reconsideration, he stated, 
he thought he wouldn't abdicate or leave the 
country, as had been decided. He had already 
obtained the most generous terms from the French 
Government, but the situation was desperate. 
Instructions had already been circulated in the 
interior to proclaim the new Sovereign, and the 
reigning one refused to abdicate ! Then Mulai 



124 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Hafid said that possibly he might be persuaded 
again to change his mind. He was ; but it cost 
another 40^000, which was given him in a cheque 
as he left the quay at Rabat for the French cruiser 
that was to take him on a visit to France. In 
exchange, he handed to the French Resident-General 
the final document of his abdication. The mutual 
confidence between these two personages was such 
that for a spell they stood each holding an end 
of the two documents, and each afraid to let 
go of his lest the other paper should not be 
delivered. 

The night before the signing of his official 
abdication Mulai Hafid destroyed the sacred em- 
blems of the Sultanate of Morocco for he realised 
that he was the last independent Sovereign of 
that country, and was determined that with its 
independence these historical emblems should dis- 
appear too. He burnt the crimson parasol which 
on occasions of State had been borne over his 
head. The palanquin he hewed in pieces and 
consigned also to the flames, together with the 
two cases in which certain holy books were carried. 
The books themselves he spared. The family 
jewels he took with him. 

From Rabat, Mulai Hafid proceeded to France, 
where, as the guest of the French Government, 
and travelling in semi-state, he made a protracted 
tour. At the conclusion of this journey he returned 
to Tangier, where his immediate family and re- 
tainers in all about 160 persons had meanwhile 
arrived. The old Kasbah (castle) was placed at 



THE MOORISH COURT 125 

His Majesty's disposal, and there he took up his 
residence. 

Almost immediately after his arrival at Tangier 
began the discussion of the terms of his abdication, 
for only its more general lines had been settled 
at Rabat, and in a very sTTort time the ex-Sultan's 
relations with the French were seriously embroiled. 
Mulai Hafid did not apparently regret having 
abdicated. He knew that his continued presence 
on the throne in the actual circumstances was out 
of the question. What he did regret was that he 
had not made better terms for himself, and he 
still hoped to be able to extort more money and 
more properties. Thus the negotiations were being 
carried on by him in a spirit of grasping meanness, 
that rendered any solution impossible. At the 
beginning of his reign, only four years before, he 
had shown signs of an elevated and patriotic 
spirit, and really intended to do his best to main- 
tain the independence of the country. But he 
had quickly realised how impossible his self-set 
task was. He became unscrupulous, neurasthenic, 
and cruel. He made enemies on every side 
amongst his own people by his barbarities and his 
extortions, and amongst the Europeans by his 
cynicism and intransigence. 

So it came about that in a very short time after 
his arrival in Tangier his relations with the French 
authorities were strained to breaking-point. It was 
at this moment, when everything seemed almost 
hopeless, that the writer was asked, independently 
by both sides, to intervene in the interests of peace. 



126 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

This invitation to intervene came about as 
follows. There had been a terrible scene between 
the ex-Sultan and the French authority charged 
with the negotiations, and Mulai Hafid had used 
language so unparliamentary that any further 
meeting was out of the question. 

Early one morning the writer received the visit 
of a French official, who implored him to become 
the medium of the conversations and proposals, 
paying him the compliment of saying that he 
seemed to be the only person who had any influence 
over the ex-Sultan, whose conduct was bitterly 
resented in high quarters. 

Scarcely had this person disappeared when the 
ex-Sultan himself arrived. His nerves appeared 
to have completely given way, and he was in a 
state of the deepest depression. Throwing himself 
upon a sofa, and in tears, he poured out all his 
woes, real and pretended, attacking the French 
with a vehemence that was as violent as it was 
unjust. " You," he said to the writer, " seem to 
be the only person who has any influence upon 
these villains. Will you continue the negotia- 
tions ? " Under the circumstances there was 
nothing to do but to accept. 

An hour later the conversations had recom- 
menced. The ex-Sultan spent the whole day at 
the writer's villa, and could scarcely be persuaded 
to eat or drink. During the writer's absence at 
the French Legation, Mulai Hafid took his de- 
parture and that was not all he took, for he car- 
ried away with him ths^choicest specimens of the 



THE MOORISH COURT 127 

writer's Arabic manuscripts. Being of a literary 
disposition, the temptation of the illuminated 
books was too great. The writer never saw them 
again, but it is only fair to state that His Majesty 
sent a present in exchange the same evening a, 
gold and enamelled dagger. 

During the following weeks the principal points 
of the negotiations were successfully solved the 
question of the pension, funds for the construction 
of a palace in xangief, the retention of certain 
large properties in the interior, and the future of 
the ex-Sultan's wives and children. 

Then came the question of the debts, about 
which there ensued a long and acrimonious dis- 
cussion. It had been accepted on principle that 
all debts that had been incurred directly, and in 
certain cases indirectly, in the interests of the 
State, should be considered as Governmental debts, 
and be paidj^ the French Protectorate Govern- 
ment, while all private debts should be settled out 
of the ex-Sultan's private fortune. 

Now this distinction of debts was rendered 
extremely difficult by the systems under which 
Morocco had been governed. The Sultan of 
Morocco was always an absolute monarch, and, 
as such, the revenues of the country were his. 
There had never been any distinction between 
public funds and private funds all belonged to 
the Sultan. As a rule, the expenses of the State, 
as well as the palace upkeep, were paid by bills 
drawn upon the custom-houses of the coast. It 
was therefore no easy task to arrive at an agree- 



128 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

ment as to what were State and what private 
debts, so inextricably mixed had they been in the 
past. 

There was, for instance, a bill for a fine marble 
staircase, ordered in Italy for the palace at Fez. 
The French authorities argued that this very 
expensive staircase was merely a piece of wild 
extravagance on the part of Mulai Hafid, and that 
accordingly he ought to pay for it. The ex-Sultan, 
on the contrary, insisted that the palace was the 
property of the State he had argued just the 
other way when he had been called upon to explain 
why he had brought away with him certain valu- 
able fixtures and that any additions and improve- 
ments he had made to it were all to the advantage 
and interests of the State. It was, he said, his 
successor and not he himself who would benefit 
by the marble staircase. The Protectorate Govern- 
ment allowed the justice of this argument and 
paid the bill. 

The sequel to this incident is worth the telling. 
A few months later, when the ex-Sultan was 
signing a contract for the construction of his new 
palace at Tangier, he eliminated one of the several 
marble staircases marked in the plan. He had, 
he said, a very superior marble stair which would 
do admirably in its place. The writer ventured to 
ask if it was the same one about which there had 
been so much discussion. " It is," replied Mulai 
Hafid. " You see, it had not yet left Italy, so I 
telegraphed and had it delivered here instead of 
being sent to Fez." 



THE MOORISH COURT 129 

A still more complicated claim was for some 
hundreds of yards of very expensive and very fine 
crimson cloth. Naturally the Protectorate author- 
ities scheduled this amongst the private debts. 
The Sultan protested. The cloth, he said, had been 
purchased for Governmental purposes in fact, for 
the trousers of the Imperial kitchen-maids for 
there are several hundred slave-women employed 
in preparing the palace food. The Protectorate 
Government refused to be responsible for this 
debt. The ex-Sultan drew up an historical treatise 
to prove that Imperial kitchen-maids were part 
and parcel of the State, and passed, like the palace 
itself, from Sultan to Sultan. The principle was 
accepted, but the debt was disallowed, on the 
ground that these good ladies did not require such 
expensive stuff for their nether garments. A cotton 
material, they argued, would have equally well 
served the purpose. The Sultan's reply was 
unanswerable and crushing. " In Europe," he 
said, " it may be the custom for the Imperial 
kitchen-maids to wear cotton trousers, but in 
Morocco we have more appreciation of the dignity 
of their position." 

There was nothing more to be said. The debt 
was paid by the Protectorate Government. 

The long discussions which the writer, practically 
unaided, had to maintain with the Sultan were 
not always facilitated by the surroundings in which 
they took place. There were no regular business 
hours for these conversations or for the examina- 
tion of the voluminous documents which they 

I 



130 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

often necessitated, and which were always in the 
wildest disorder, but which none the less required 
a careful perusal. Whenever and wherever His 
Majesty felt inclined he would burst out with his 
grievances, and as at all costs he had to be kept 
apart from the French authorities, the whole 
storm used often to fall on the writer's head. At 
times the ex-Sultan, struck by a brilliant idea 
how to escape the payment of some small sum, 
would arrive at my villa at dawn at others 
I was hastily summoned to the palace at mid- 
night. The debts were discussed and argued over 
in every possible situation, and any one present, 
native or European, high authority or slave, was 
dragged into the discussion. There were two aged 
ladies whose opinion was constantly asked. One 
was an old black slave nurse, the other a 
Berber woman, quite white, who was the Sultan's 
soothsayer and fortune-teller. Her advice was 
always good and to the point, and she never 
hesitated to tell the ex-Sultan that he was acting 
foolishly when occasion required, and she rendered 
distinct services toward the unravelling of these 
complicated questions. 

Sometimes it was when seated on mattresses 
and rugs in a garden, surrounded by his slaves, 
that Mulai Hafid would argue that all debts were 
State debts, and that private property never had 
legally existed, and that individual responsibility 
especially for debts was contrary to the highest 
principles of divine nature. He discoursed with 






MULAI HAFID. 



THE MOORISH COURT 131 

great facility and great literary ability. He had 
a classical Arabic quotation at hand often most 
skilfully misquoted to prove his every argument. 
He could persuade others quickly, and himself at 
once. Leaning slightly forward, swathed in his 
soft white robes, he would speak slowly and with 
great distinctness and charm, with an accompany- 
ing slow movement of his right hand and then in 
the middle of it all his attention would be attracted 
by his elephants or his llamas or a group of cranes 
that would come wandering out of the shrubberies, 
and turn his thoughts and his conversation into 
new channels. 

While the two elephants were being brought 
from Fez to Tangier at the time of the abdication, 
one of them escaped on the road, and being an 
unknown beast to the villagers of the countryside, 
it met with many adventures. Wherever it ap- 
peared arose panic and consternation, and the whole 
male population turned out with such weapons as 
they could lay their hand on to drive away this 
terrible and unknown beast. The country popula- 
tion, however, possessed little but very primitive 
firearms, whose range was short, and whose bullets 
dropped harmlessly off the sides and back of the 
huge pachyderm, thereby increasing the panic. 
The elephant, luxuriating in the spring crops, 
grazed undisturbed, while from as near as they 
dared to approach the outraged proprietors poured 
volleys against its unheeding bulk. But one day 
it found itself on the road again, and came rolling 



132 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

along into Tangier none the worse, but remark- 
ably spotted all over with the marks of the spent 
bullets. 

It was during one of these long discussions of 
claims that news was brought to the Sultan that 
one of these elephants was lying down in its stable 
and was unable to rise. This information, of course, 
put an end to all business, and we set out at once 
to see what had happened. Sure enough, the 
female elephant was lying on her side, every now 
and then struggling but vainly to get up. 

After everybody present had given an opinion, 
and every effort had been made to put the poor 
creature on her legs from twisting her tail to 
lighting a lucifer match under her hind-legs, 
which failed, of course, even to singe the skin 
Mulai Hafid arrived at the conclusion that only 
by the aid of a crane could the elephant be raised. 

A heavy beam was found, and made fast to 
ropes hung from the roof. Two other ropes were 
passed under the elephant's recumbent body, one 
just behind her front-legs, the other just in front 
of her hind ones, a manoeuvre that entailed 
considerable labour. 

When everything was ready the slaves began 
to haul. With cries and shouts of mutual encour- 
agement they managed to raise the elephant till 
she was swinging suspended in the air, and then 
set to work to lower her gently on her feet. In 
this they would no doubt have been successful 
had not the forward one of the two ropes slipped 
back, with the result that the unfortunate pachy- 



THE MOORISH COURT 133 

derm, suspended now only from aft, stood on her 
head, and remained hung up in this posture 
until she was lowered to earth once more, this 
time with her face to the wall in a more impossible 
position than ever. But in spite of all the diffi- 
culties, after much shouting, swearing, and a good 
deal of real hard work, she was restored to a 
standing posture. 

There were many occasions when our conversa- 
tions were in less pleasant places than the gardens. 
There was a room, for instance, in a hideous 
villa that Mulai Hafid had bought as it stood, 
and greatly admired, that seemed haunted by the 
microbe of irritability. Not only was its decoration 
appalling, but it was full of a host of objects which 
the ex-Sultan had brought from Fez, amongst 
them innumerable musical-boxes, clocks of every 
shape and form he evidently particularly fancied 
a kind made in the shape of a locomotive engine 
in coloured metals, the wheels of which all turned 
round at the hours, half-hours, and quarters, and 
mechanical toys. Everything, or nearly every- 
thing, was broken, and an Italian watchmaker 
was employed in trying to sort out the wheels, 
bells, and other internal arrangements of this 
damaged collection of rubbish. It was in this 
room that he had set up his workshop, and 
nothing pleased Mulai Hafid more than to sit and 
watch him. 

Now it was not unseldom the writer's duty to 
break to the ex- Sultan the news that the French 
authorities refused to pay such and such a debt. 






134 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

With all oriental autocrats it is best to break 
bad news gently, for they are usually wanting 
in self-restraint, and are not accustomed to blunt 
facts. Often it required considerable time and a 
neatly-expressed argument, couched in Arabic at 
once diplomatic and literary, to carry out the 
task successfully and escape an access of temper. 
I would begin with a little discourse on the 
origin of revenues, the ex-Sultan would listen 
attentively, and then just as the moment arrived 
to bring generalities into line with actual facts, 
the Italian watchmaker would meet with an un- 
expected success. Clocks would begin to strike 
and chime, or a musical-box, old and wheezy, to 
play, or an almost featherless stuffed canary in a 
cage would utter piercing notes in a voice that 
moth and rust had terribly corrupted or from 
near the Italian's chair some groaning mechanical 
toy would crawl its unnatural course over the 
carpet, eventually to turn over on its back and 
apparently expire in a whizz of unoiled wheels. 
The ex-Sultan's attention would stray. There was 
an end of business, and it generally led to the 
ordering of a meal to be served to every one at 
any hour and on any excuse at which the watch- 
maker, who might have only just finished a repast, 
was the guest of honour, and was forced to eat 
incredible quantities of very rich, but very excel- 
lent, food. And what was left of the royal repast 
was handed out of the windows and served to the 
slaves and gardeners. 

Perhaps the most difficult claim to settle was 



THE MOORISH COURT 135 

that of the Sultan's Spanish (ientist, for not only ' 
was it extremely complicated, but it also became 
almost international. It might naturally be sup- 
posed that the dentist's bill was for professional 
services; but no it was for a live lion. In the 
early days of his reign the Sultan had engaged the 
dentist at a regular stipend, and he had become 
a permanent member of His Majesty's household. 
For a time he was kept busy patching up the 
mouths of the Court, but the task was at length 
accomplished, and the ladies' teeth glistened with 
gold. The dentist remained unemployed. 

Now there is no possible reason in the world 
why dentists shouldn't be employed to buy lions. , 
It is not, of course, usual, and so sounds incon- 
gruous. In Morocco, views as to the limitations 
of professions are much less restricted than with 
us. In Mulai Abdul Aziz's time, a very few years 
ago, one of the duties of the Scotch Court-piper 
was to feed the kangaroos, the professional photo- 
grapher made scones, a high military authority 
supplied the Sultan's ladies with under-linen, and 
the gardener from Kew was entrusted with the 
very difficult task of teaching macaw parrots to 
swear. And so it was not surprising that the 
dentist became a buyer of lions. 

In the first flush of his success at the beginning 
of his reign, Mulai Hafid was setting himself up 
as an orthodox Sovereign by Divine Right, and 
this necessitated a menagerie. It is one of the 
attributes of royalty which has almost dis- 
appeared, except in the East, though at one time 



136 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

universal. It is perhaps fortunate. The hurried 
entrance of an excited rhinoceros amongst the guests 
at a garden party at Windsor Castle would prove 
embarrassing, and so, to a lesser degree, would be 
the presence of a hyena at the evening service 
at St George's Chapel ; but at Morocco similar 
incidents would have attracted little or no atten- 
tion. The father of Mulai Hafid, Mulai Hassen, 
allowed his tame leopards to roam about his 
reception-rooms ; but his son, more timid by nature, 
confined the leopards in cages, and replaced them 
in his drawing-room by guinea-pigs. The effect 
lost in majesty, but the afternoon callers were less 
nervous. 

So the dentist was sent to Hamburg to buy wild 
beasts from Hagenbeck. But he erred. He should 
have returned with the menagerie and shared its 
glory. He delayed, and when he arrived in Fez a 
few months later the novelty and glamour of the 
wild beasts was passed, and the reception that he 
and the belated unpaid-for lion the last of a 
series of lions met with was by no means en- 
thusiastic. Mulai Hafid had discovered that the 
upkeep of so many sheep-eating beasts was ex- 
pensive, as the tribes, on the eve of revolt, refused 
to supply the sheep, and insultingly demanded 
payment. 

So far the claim presented no insurmountable 
difficulties, but there were complications ; for the 
Sultan, immensely attracted by the mechanism of 
the dentist's operating - chair, had some time 
previously ordered from the dentist, and paid for, 



THE MOORISH COURT 137 

a throne to be constructed on the same mechanical 
principles. This throne had never been supplied, 
so there was a counter-claim. The Sultan stated 
that he had paid for the lion ; or if he hadn't, 
then it was a State debt, for which he was not 
responsible, and demanded the delivery of his 
mechanical throne. The question was still under 
discussion when the term of the dentist's contract 
expired, and the ex-Sultan notified him that it 
would not be renewed. But the dentist held a 
trump card, for the ex-Sultan had lodged him, 
rent free, in a little villa situated on one of His 
Majesty's Tangier properties. The dentist refused 
to quit, and the Spanish authorities upheld him, 
for by the capitulations each Power protects the 
interests of its respective subjects. A body of 
slaves were sent to eject him. They found the 
villa barricaded, and were met with pistol-shots. 
The complications were becoming serious, and in- 
ternational in character. The Sultan, the French 
authorities, the Spanish dentist, the black slaves, 
the writer, a British subject, and the German lion 
threatened to cause annoyance to the Govern- 
ments of Europe if recourse was made to firearms. 
I made an impassioned appeal for conciliation 
on every one's part. After much delay and no 
little difficulty, an interview was arranged between 
the ex-Sultan and the dentist, at which as medi- 
ator I was to be present. Each was st ' >usly 
coached in the part he was to play : the dentist's 
pj-ainjive appeals to the generosity of the ex- 
Sovereign were carefully rehearsed, as were also 



138 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the Sovereign's " gracious reply," while the writer's 
little speech on the blessing of brotherly love was 
a gem of the first quality. 

Mulai Hafid was seated on a divan studiously 
reading a book when the dentist entered and made 
his obeisance, but this obeisance polite but inten- 
tionally curtailed did not meet with His Majesty's 
approval. Instead of, as arranged, smilingly 
acknowledging the dentist's salutation, the ex- 
Sultan continued reading half aloud in a sing- 
song drawl. 

A long period ensued, broken by one of the suite, 
who said, " My lord the King, the dentist is here." 

Without raising his eyes from his book the ex- 
Sultan asked in the softest of voices 

" Has he^brought my mechanical throne ? " 

f Now that wasn't on the programme at all ! 
There was to have been no mention of such dis- 
tressing objects as dentist-chair-thrones or lions. 
There was to have been purely and simply a 
reconciliation : a sum of money promised to the 
dentist if he would quit the villa, and a general 
abandonment of claim and counter-claim. But 
alas ! before any one could intervene the dentist 
shouted out 

" Pay me for my lion ! " 

And then the fat was in the fire. For some 
moments the atmosphere boiled with vituperative 
allusions to lions and dentist-thrones, until, while 
the writer restrained the infuriated potentate, the 
dentist was, struggling and shouting, removed 
from the presence-chamber. 



THE MOORISH COURT 139 

By dint of great persuasion the writer eventually 
brought about a settlement. The Sultan did not 
get his throne, nor did he pay for the lion, which 
the Protectorate Government took over, not having 
been informed that it had meanwhile died. The 
dentist received a sum of money in payment of 
all his claims. The writer, whose solution it was, 
got the thanks of none of them, all three parties 
concerned expressing themselves as distinctly dis- 
satisfied with the settlement arrived at. 



VI. 

THE SULTAN AT HOME. 

IN 1912-1913 the modern palace which the latest 
of the abdicated Sultans, Mulai Hafid, has built 
himself at Tangier, and which covers several acres 
of ground with its immense blocks of buildings 
and its courtyards, was still rising from the level 
of the soil, and His Majesty was temporarily 
housed, with all his retinue, in the old Kasbah 
at the top of the town. It is a spacious, uncomfort- 
able, out-of-date, and out-of-repair old castle, and 
it formed by no means a satisfactory place of 
residence, for it was not easy to install 168 people 
within its crumbling walls with any comfort or 
pleasure. When, too, it is taken into account 
that many of these 168 people were royal ladies 
with royal prerogatives as to their apartments 
to say nothing of their pretensions to the " most 
favoured ladies' ' ' treatment it can be realised 
that the solution was not easy. Even in the most 
luxurious of quarters the ladies of the palace are 
said to give considerable trouble, for jealousy is 
rife ; and if one of them receives more attentions 
personal or in presents than the rest, there are 



THE MOORISH COURT 141 

often disturbing scenes and rumour says that 
the " Arifas " the elderly housekeepers charged 
with keeping order not unseldom make use of 
the equivalent of the " birch rod " a knotted 
cord. 

The royal ladies completely filled all the avail- 
able accommodation in the Kasbah, and the Sultan 
was able to reserve for his private use only a couple 
of very shabby rooms over the entrance. Here 
he would, apologetically, receive his guests until 
the purchase of the large garden in which he con- 
structed his new palace furnished him with more 
convenient apartments ; for there was a villa in 
the garden which had been erected by its former 
owner, a wealthy and respected Israelite, who had 
for years filled the post of Belgian Vice-Consul. 
This villa, which still exists, is an astounding 
example of extraordinary taste a pseudo-moresque \ 
copy of a toy -house, over which plaster and paint 
of every colour had been poured in amazing pro- 
fusion. Plaster lions guard its entrance, more like 
great diseased pug-dogs than the king of beasts, 
and to add to their attractions they were then 
painted all over with red spots. A scalloped arch- 
way crowned the front door, and the former owner 
had once pointed out to the writer that each of 
the thirty-two scallops was painted a different 
colour, which was quite evident. Inside, decora- 
tion had run riot in the wildest way. The ceilings 
dripped with plaster protuberances in reds and 
gold. Mouldings pursued their strange courses 
all over the parti-coloured walls, enclosing odd- 



142 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

shaped panels painted with views of lakes and 
mountains and impossible fishing-boats designed 
and executed by some local genius. Chande- 
liers of coloured glass hung suspended from the 
ceilings, and the windows were fitted with panes of 
green and purple. The Sultan was in ecstasies, 
and furnished these astounding apartments with 
chairs and sofas covered in red plush trimmed with 
blue and yellow fringes, and studded with blue 
and yellow buttons. On the walls he hung pro- 
miscuously a score of clocks of all sizes and shapes ; 
he littered tables with mechanical toys ; he piled 
up musical-boxes in every corner ; he hung cages 
of canaries in every window, and adorned the 
chimneypiece with baskets of paper-flowers and 
then he sat down, happy, to enjoy civilisation. 

Amongst many mechanical toys which Mulai 
Hafid possessed was one which in its absurdity 
surpassed any toy I have ever seen. It was or 
had been a parrot, life-sized, seated on a high 
brass stand which contained music. Moth and 
rust had corrupted, and there was little left of the 
gorgeous bird except a wash-leather body the shape 
of an inflated sausage, with the two black bead 
eyes still more or less in place, and a crooked and 
paralysed-looking beak. The legs had given way, 
and the cushion of a body had sunk depressedly 
on to the brass perch. One long red tail-feather 
shot out at an angle, and round its neck and 
sparsely distributed over its body were the remains 
of other plumes, of which little but the quills 
remained. On either side were the foundations 



THE MOORISH COURT 143 

of what had once been its wings, consisting of 
mechanical appliances in wood and wire. Any- 
thing more pitiful than this relic of parrotry could 
not be imagined. 

Every now and then, apparently for no reason, 
this strange toy came to life. The sausage-like 
body wriggled, the broken beak opened, the tail- 
feather shot out at a new angle, and the framework 
of the wings extended itself and closed again with 
a click ; and then after a mighty effort, which ^ , 
gave one the impression that the ghost of a bird 
was going to be sea-sick, the whistling pipes con- 
cealed in the brass stand began to play. The 
music was at a par with the bird notes were 
missing, and the whole scale had sunk or risen 
into tones and demi-tones of unimaginable com- 
position. To recognise the tune was an impossi- 
bility, but the thrill of the performance was 
undeniable. It seemed as though there was a 
race between the bird and the pipes to reach the 
climax first. Both grew more and more excited, 
until suddenly there was a long wheeze and longer 
chromatic scale from high to low, and, with an 
appealing shake of its palsied head, the parrot 
collapsed once more into its state of petrified 
despair. 

Mulai Hand was completely content. He realised 
that at last, after the sombre pomp of the palace 
at Fez, he had settled down to modern life and 
refinement, and had attained " taste." It was his 
custom to arrive early in the morning and spend 
his days there, riding down from the Kasbah on a 



144 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

fat saddle-mule caparisoned in purple or pale blue 
or yellow, accompanied by men on horseback, 
and with his black slaves running beside him. 
Two old women one a negress, the other a white 
Berber woman nearly always accompanied him, 
poised upon fine saddle-mules and closely veiled. 
The negress was his old nurse, the Berber woman 
a soothsayer already mentioned. Arrived in the 
garden, the usual series of mishaps began. One 
of his old ladies would fall off her frisky mule, 
or the key of the empty house was lost, and an 
entry had to be made by forcing a window after 
every one had fussed about pretending to look for 
the key for half an hour or so. Then a carpenter 
would be sent for to mend the broken window, 
and a slave would suddenly remember that for 
fear of losing the key he had tied it round his neck 
on a string, where it still hung heavily on his 
chest. Then breakfast would arrive, carried down 
from the Kasbah on the heads of black slaves 
great trays of fresh bread, bowls of milk, sodden 
half-warm cakes smothered in butter and honey, 
excellent native crumpets, and a host of dishes of 
fruits and pastry and sweets, and tea and coffee 
on immense silver trays. It was a sort of pro- 
miscuous meal, partaken of first of all by the 
Sultan and his particular friends, then passed on 
to the " courtiers," and finally handed out of the 
windows to the slaves, gardeners, and retainers, 
who completely finished what was left, however 
great the quantity. 

By this time the workmen had begun building 



THE MOORISH COURT 145 

operations on the great palace a hundred yards 
or so away, and the ex-Sultan would visit the site, 
taking a very intelligent interest in every detail. 
Then back to the villa, where native visitors would 
be received and literary and religious questions 
discussed. Mulai Hafid himself is no mean author, 
and his Arabic verses would, if published at that 
time, have gained him much praise and many 
enemies. To-day there is no reason to remain 
silent. Circumstances have changed. Was it not 
he who wrote of Tangier ? 

" In the last day the people of Tangier came to 
the judgment - seat of God; and the Supreme 
Judge said, ' Surely you are the least and worst 
of all people. Under what circumstances did you 
live?' 

" And they replied, ' We have sinned ; we have 
sinned ; but our Government was international : 
we were ruled by the representatives of Europe.' 

" And the Supreme Judge said, ' Surely you have 
been sufficiently punished : enter into Paradise.' ' 

By any one who knew and experienced the 
international Government of Tangier these verses 
cannot fail to be appreciated. 

Did he not also write the following in his days 
of contention with the French Government ? 

" Is not the wisdom of God manifest ? 
Has He not given intelligence even to the dog ? 
A little less, it is true, than to the elephant, 
But a little more than He bestowed upon the 
French Administration." 

K 



146 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

When Mulai Hafid purchased the property of 
Ravensrock at Tangier, which had for many years 
been the country residence of the late Sir John 
Drummond-Hay, he began at once to fell the 
beautiful trees for which the place was famous. 
Most people of Arab race have a dislike for trees, 
which is no doubt one of the reasons why Morocco 
is so treeless. One after the other the great pines 
and eucalyptus disappeared ; but though numbers 
of men were employed, the work did not progress 
fast enough to satisfy his ex-Majesty. 

One day some one proposed to him that dyna- 
mite would do the work more quickly, so he 
promptly despatched one of the workmen to town 
to buy dynamite cartridges from the Spanish 
fishermen, who used them for killing fish at sea. 
I was with the ex-Sultan when the messenger 
returned. He stood before us, and, turning the 
hood of his jelab inside out, let fall on the ground 
at our feet a couple of dozen of these highly- 
explosive cartridges. Fortunately none exploded. 
A few minutes later the work had begun. Holes 
were quickly drilled in the trees near the roots, 
and the cartridges placed in position. Fuses were 
lit, and one saw scurrying groups of men bolting 
out of reach. Then there was a crash, and some 
giant of the mountain came crumbling down to 
earth, to the intense delight of Mulai Hafid. It 
was reckless destruction of what had taken years 
of care and attention to create, but nothing would 
persuade the ex-Sultan to allow these beautiful 
woods to remain. By dint of very special pleading 



THE MOORISH COURT 147 

a few of the finest trees were spared, but only 
a few. This wholesale destruction was carried 
out principally because Mulai Hafid feared assassin- 
ation, and wished to eliminate from his surround- 
ings any covert in which the would-be assassin 
could conceal himself. 

The ex-Sultan took assiduously to bridge, and 
played whenever he got the chance. One of 
these chances was with his dentist. His rela- 
tions with his own particular Spanish dentist 
having been very strained on the question of the 
price of a live lion, he was forced to apply else- 
where for such dental repairs as he required from 
time to time ; and fortune favoured him, for he 
discovered an excellent American dentist who had 
lately arrived. A close friendship sprang up 
between the ex-Sultan and the dentist, and, as 
often as not, bridge took the place of dentistry. 
The American would arrive with his timid lady- 
assistant and all his implements of torture, only 
to be invited to sit down at the table and play 
cards. The lady-assistant was very young and 
very shy, and was more accustomed to play 
children's games than bridge. A fourth player 
would be found, and the ill-assorted party com- 
pleted. The ex -Sultan enjoyed himself im- 
mensely. He generally won, perhaps a little by 
never permitting the trembling lady-assistant to be 
his partner. In this manner the whole afternoon 
would be passed, and Mulai Hafid in the evening 
would show the few francs he had won with great 
joy. The points were one franc a hundred, so no 



148 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

very serious damage could be done ; but rich as 
the Sultan was, he rejoiced more in his humble 
winnings at bridge than over his many thousands 
in the banks. Not a little of this enjoyment was 
owing to the fact that he felt that he was " doing " 
the dentist. " He comes," the ex-Sultan would 
say, " to mend my teeth and to take my gold, 
and in the end I win his francs." Weeks went by. 
Now and again there was an afternoon for real 
dentistry, but there were many more for bridge, 
and every time the Sultan won. But one day the 
climax came. The teeth were excellently repaired 
the work was of the best, there was no more 
to be done but to pay the bill; and the bill 
very naturally and rightly included all the bridge 
hours at so much per hour. It was the most 
expensive bridge Mulai Hafid ever played. 

The ex-Sultan's bridge was peculiar. It would 
not for a moment be hinted that the irregularities 
that occurred in the game were due to anything 
but accident, but these little accidents were very 
frequent. The ex-Sultan, who all his life had 
been accustomed to sit cross-legged on a divan, 
soon tired of sitting upright on a chair. He would 
become restless, and tuck his legs underneath 
him. Now ordinary chairs are not intended to 
be sat in cross-legged, especially by bulky people ; 
and as generally an arm-chair had been placed for 
His Majesty to sit in, he would constantly be 
changing his position, and wriggling to make 
himself more comfortable and to find more room 
for his capacious legs. These wriggles occasioned 



THE MOORISH COURT 149 

at times a decided movement to right or left, 
and if the players did not hold their cards well 
up it was their own fault. Sometimes he would 
drop his cards, and his long sleeve at the same 
time would sweep the tricks already won on to 
the floor, and there was confusion in sorting them. 
Once or twice an ace unexpectedly appeared for 
the second time in the game, picked up by accident 
from the floor, no doubt, and as to revokes but 
with a plaintive voice he would say, " I am only 
a beginner." When he won he was in the highest 
spirits ; when he lost he sulked but he didn't 
very often lose. 

It is a characteristic of the Moors that they 
hate to lose a game, no matter what they are 
playing. I have seen the most exciting games 
of chess, skilfully and quickly played, where the 
loser has insisted on going on playing game after 
game till sometimes in pure desperation his 
adversary allows him to win. Mulai Abdul Aziz, 
Mulai Hafid's predecessor on the throne, had a 
unique manner of scoring at cricket. When he 
was Sultan we used to play cricket in the palace 
at Fez, generally four on each side. The score 
was carefully kept, but no names were entered. 
When the game was finished the Sultan himself 
placed the names against the score, always, of 
course, putting his own in front of the largest. 
Then the name of the player he liked best on that 
particular afternoon had the second best score, 
and so on, and the lowest being reserved for the 
person most out of favour. The score-book was 



150 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

religiously kept, and often referred to by the Sultan, 
who would say, " That was a great afternoon. 
I made 61 runs and Harris made 48. X. played 
abominably, and only made 2." While as a matter 
of fact His Majesty himself had made 2 and 
Harris perhaps none ; while the unfortunate man 
who was down in the book as having scored 2 was 
probably the excellent batsman who had made 
the 61 that the Sultan claimed. If one is an 
autocratic monarch one can do anything even 
poach your neighbour's cricketing score. I remem- 
ber well the first game of bridge I ever played 
with Mulai Abdul Aziz. It was in my own house 
after a dinner the first European dinner the 
Sultan ever attended. There were present the 
British and French Ministers, and the staffs of the 
two Legations. It was all rather formal. The 
Sultan sat at the head of the table, and ate very 
little ; he was then not at ease with knives and 
forks. After dinner we sat down to bridge. The 
Sultan and Sir Reginald Lister, who then repre- 
sented Great Britain in Morocco, played against 
a member of the staff of the French Legation and 
myself. We cut for deal, and I drew the lowest 
card. The Sultan was seated on my left. I 
dealt, and declared " Hearts." " I can't play 
hearts," burst out His Majesty petulantly. " I 
haven't got any. You must give me your cards " ; 
and I was obliged to pass him over the excellent 
" Heart " hand on which I had declared in exchange 
for his barren thirteen cards, containing only one 
small trump. But " Hearts " we had to play, and 



THE MOORISH COURT 151 

played, and my partner and I went down five 
tricks, much to the Sultan's delight. Luckily we 
were not playing for money. 

That was not the only amusing episode that 
happened at that dinner. There had been a long 
diplomatic discussion as to the etiquette to be 
observed with the ex-Sultan, as this was the first 
European dinner he had ever attended and would 
form a precedent. It was decided that the guests 
should arrive at my house punctually at 8, and the 
Sultan at 8.15. I was to meet the Sultan at the 
door and conduct him into the drawing-room, 
where I was to present to him the Ministers of 
Great Britain and France, who in turn would 
present their suites. This was all very well on 
paper, but Mulai Abdul Aziz, taking an intelligent 
interest in dinner parties, thought he would like 
to see what went on before the guests came, and 
instead of arriving at 8.15 he came at 5 in the 
afternoon. He apologised for being a little before 
the time, and expressed his desire to see the pre- 
parations. Two minutes later he was in the 
kitchen, where his august and highly-saintly pres- 
ence for he was a direct descendant of the 
Prophet, and to his countrymen " the Com- 
mander of the Faithful" somewhat upset the 
tranquillity of my native cooks and servants. 
But ovens had to be opened and saucepans un- 
covered, spoons introduced into them, and the 
contents exhibited ; the ice-machine to be thor- 
oughly explained, and a thousand and one ques- 
tions answered. Then the pantry occupied for 



152 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

some time His Majesty's attention. Nor was he 
less interested in the floral decorations of the 
table and the distribution of the plate. While I 
dressed for dinner he sat and talked to my native 
servants the Sultan never losing his dignity nor 
my men their respect and all concerned were 
completely at their ease. The Moor has nearly 
always the perfect manners of a gentleman, no 
matter what his position, and the sentiment of 
the country is essentially democratic. It was a 
common incident at the many dinners I have 
since given for the two ex-Sultans, that they would 
appeal to the men who served the table for con- 
firmation of some statement, or for the generally 
accepted opinion of the Moorish people on some 
subject under discussion. 

At 8 o'clock the guests arrived, and Mulai Abdul 
Aziz, being already in the house, instead of arriving 
at 8.15 as by the programme he should have done, 
had to be concealed in a room upstairs. Punctu- 
ally at 8.15 he descended the stairs, crossed the 
hall, and entered the drawing-room. He was 
dressed in his fine long white flowing garments, 
and all my guests expressed to me afterwards 
their appreciation of his dignity and carriage as 
he made his formal entry and during the pre- 
sentation of the guests. Nor were they less struck 
by the undoubted charm of his manners, the 
gentleness of his voice, and his intelligence, which 
render Mulai Abdul Aziz perhaps the most attrac- 
tive figure in Morocco of to-day. 

When the moment arrived for the ex-Sultan to 



THE MOORISH COURT 153 

take his departure, he called me aside and said 
that he had a kitchen-range in his palace, but 
had never used it. He was pleased to say that the 
excellence of my dinner had convinced him that 
his own range must be set to work at once and 
had I a sack of coal, as he had none, for in his 
kitchens only wood and charcoal were burned ? 
In a few minutes my servants, in their smartest 
liveries, were filling a sack with coal in the back 
premises. When it was ready the Sultan left. 
The guests rose to their feet, the Sultan shook 
hands with them all, and I conducted him to the 
door. A magnificently caparisoned riding -mule 
awaited him, and mounted slaves were at the gate. 
On a second mule was an officer of his household, 
beautifully dressed in white clothes, struggling to 
balance across the front of his crimson saddle the 
almost bursting sack of coal. 

It was always my great desire to bring about 
a reconciliation between the two ex-Sultans, Mulai 
Abdul Aziz and Mulai Hafid, but I never suc- 
ceeded. Mulai Hafid had driven his brother, 
Mulai Abdul Aziz, from the throne, and naturally 
his brother had no reason to be grateful to him. 
At the same time, Mulai Hafid always blamed 
Mulai Abdul Aziz for having ruined Morocco, and 
of having sown the seed of the loss of Moroccan 
independence. There was also the question of 
precedence. Mulai Abdul Aziz had been Sultan 
first, and claimed the first place. Mulai Hafid 
equally claimed it, because he had been Sultan 
last. After many unsuccessful endeavours, I per- 



154 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

suaded both to agree that if they met by chance 
on the road they would salute each other and 
embrace. For months they did not meet, but one 
day, turning a sudden corner, their riding-mules 
collided. So taken aback were their two Majesties 
that they entirely forgot their agreement, and 
rode away in opposite directions as fast as their 
mules could carry them. 

Immediately after the reconciliation if such it 
could be called between Mulai Hafid and the 
French authorities, the ex-Sultan gave a dinner- 
party to the members of the French Legation and 
a number of other French officials, in a charming 
villa he had meanwhile taken on the Marshan, at 
Tangier. Not sure of whom he ought to invite 
to this solemn repast, Mulai Hafid had left the 
choice of his guests to the French Charge^ d' Affaires, 
who had sent in a list. The hour of dinner arrived, 
and so did the guests, amongst whom was the very 
capable and excellent " Commissaire " of the 
French local police, whom His Majesty had not 
yet met. The presentations took place, and the 
Sultan called me aside I was in attendance and 
asked who certain of the guests, whom he didn't 
know by sight, were. When I informed him that 
one of them was the French Commissaire de Police, 
he became a little uneasy, and a shadow passed 
over his face. " What do you think he has come 
f or ? " asked the ex-Sultan nervously. 

Seeing an opportunity for a joke at His Majesty's 
expense, I hesitated a moment, and then, with 
many apologies, informed the Sultan that there 



THE MOORISH COURT 155 

had been stories current about his manner of 
playing bridge. No one, I said, believed them, 
but naturally the French authorities were most 
desirous that there should be an end to this false 
rumour, and had therefore decided, very privately 
of course, to bring the " Commissaire de Police " 
to watch his play on that particular evening. As 
soon as they were assured that His Majesty's 
play was above all suspicion, an official dementi 
could be given to these disturbing rumours. 
Mulai Hafid's face wore a look of unusual gravity 
during the long and sumptuous dinner. 

After the guests had adjourned to the drawing- 
room we sat down to bridge. The " Commissaire," 
who was not a player, was purposely invited, 
without the Sultan's knowledge, to seat himself 
at Mulai Hafid's side. The game began. His 
Majesty was terribly nervous. Every time he 
wriggled in his chair and leant either to right 
or left, he would pull himself together and fix his 
eyes upon his own cards. Not once did he let his 
" hand " fall on the floor. Not once did his long 
sleeves sweep the tricks off the table. Not once 
did he revoke. He lost game after game, and his 
distress became painfully manifest. 

Between two " deals " a guest approached and 
politely asked, " Is Your Majesty winning ? " 

1 Winning ! " cried the now thoroughly upset 
monarch, " winning ! How can I possibly win 
with this horror of a policeman watching every 
card I play ? " And the writer had to explain to 
the assembled company the whole plot. 



156 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Mulai Hafid was an excellent host, and was never 
happier than when entertaining. His dinners 
were well served and always amusing, and his 
guests, European and native, suitably chosen. 
On one occasion some charming and aristocratic 
French ladies were visiting Morocco. Amongst 
a series of fetes given by the Diplomatic Corps 
and others for their entertainment was a banquet 
at the residence of the Moorish ex-Minister of War, 
Sid Mehdi el-Menebhi, G.C.M.G. At this ban- 
quet the ex-Sultan presided. The distinguished 
lady guests had been purchasing Moorish cos- 
tumes, and it was arranged that they should come 
to this feast arrayed in all their recently-acquired 
magnificence. The result was charming so charm- 
ing that it was decided to send for a photo- 
grapher and have the group taken. On his arrival 
the guests were posed, Mulai Hafid seated on a 
cushioned divan surrounded by the ladies in their 
Moorish dresses. The men stood behind. 

The photograph was a great success, but its 
indirect results almost a tragedy, for Mulai Hafid 
placed a large copy of the group on the mantel- 
piece of the drawing-room of his villa. The 
ladies of his household never left the Kasbah, 
but on one occasion he sent an old Berber lady, 
before mentioned, and an aged slave, who had 
been his nurse, to visit the villa, and the eagle 
eyes of this venerable dame discovered the photo- 
graph. In their minds no clearer evidence of Mulai 
Hafid' s wickedness could be imagined, for here 
was the ex-Sultan seated in a bevy of apparently 



THE MOORISH COURT 157 

s 

very attractive native ladies, surrounded by Euro- 
pean men. No combination of facts could to 
their eyes be more shocking. Not only was it 
clear that Mulai Hafid had been enjoying the 
society of ladies other than his wives, but he had 
even not hesitated to do so in the presence of 
" Christian " men. So the photograph was con- 
veyed in their voluminous raiment to the Kasbah, 
where it was presented to the gaze of the Sultan's 
outraged wives. Mulai Hafid was out hunting 
that day, and it was he himself who recounted to 
the writer what occurred on his return. None of 
his ladies were in the courtyard to meet him ; no 
one, except a slave or two, was visible. Not a 
word of welcome, not a question as to the sport 
he had enjoyed ! Seeking the apartments of one 
of the royal wives, the Sultan had the mortification 
to see her go out of one door as he entered by the 
other. He called to her, but she paid no attention. 
He sought consolation elsewhere, with no better 
results. He was shunned and in exile not one 
of the ladies would speak to him. He knew, of 
course, nothing of the reason, and could obtain 
no explanation. He slept in his little reception- 
room over the entrance of the Kasbah, and hoped 
for a brighter situation in the morning, but things 
were no better. 

Then the two old women who had found the 
photograph and given it to the Sultan's ladies 
grew alarmed, and confessed, but the many wives 
were difficult to convince, and it was only when 
the writer was called in and explained to some 



158 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

invisible persons, concealed behind a thick curtain 
drawn across an archway, that peace and calm 
were restored in the Shereefian harem. As the 
Sultan said afterwards, " There are some institu- 
tions in Europe which are in a way preferable to 
ours. Monogamy has its advantage. When a 
man ever quarrels he has only one wife to quarrel 

with, whereas we ! '' 

The ex-Sultan had a very numerous family of 
young children, to whom he was really devoted, 
and with some of whom he would play for long 
hours together. They were and are to-day 
exceedingly well brought up, nice-mannered, and 
beautifully dressed, and now that they are a 
little older are being well educated. I sometimes 
was taken to see them in a garden in the Kasbah. 
There would be a few black slave women, and from 
ten to twenty children, all probably under seven 
years of age, and varying in colour from very dark 
to very fair. Once I mentioned to Mulai Hafid 
that they seemed to be many. He laughed, and 
replied that they were not all there : none of the 
younger ones were present, and that in all there 
were twenty-six under six or seven years of age. 
He was certainly a devoted father to his numerous 
offspring. During the whole period of the War 
he has been separated from them. In 1914 he went 
to Spain, where his relations with the German 
Embassy caused him to be suspected of instigating 
intrigues in Morocco. His pension was cancelled, 
and he remains to-day an exile. Any one who has 



THE MOORISH COURT 159 

known him in his family life and witnessed his 
devotion to his children cannot help desiring, if 
his actions in Spain have not been more than 
follies, that he may be permitted once more to 
return to his home. 



VII. 

THE SULTAN IN FRANCE. 

IT was on the quay at Rabat, that picturesque 
old town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, that 
the Sultan Mulai Hafid finally handed to General 
Lyautey, the French Resident-General in Morocco, 
the documents of his abdication. It had been a 
long struggle to get them ; for although His 
Majesty was decided that the only course open to 
him was to cede the throne and leave the country, 
still he was desirous, and made no concealment 
of his desire, to bargain to the very last moment. 
However, at length the question was settled, and 
as the Sultan stepped on board the launch to 
proceed to the French cruiser that was to take 
him as far as Gibraltar, en route to France, the 
official document of abdication was handed over. 
In return he received a cheque of 40,000, the last 
instalment of the agreed sum of money which the 
new Protectorate Government of Morocco had 
undertaken to pay him. 

The following morning the cruiser, with the 
ex-Sultan on board, arrived at Gibraltar. I 
happened to be there, returning from Morocco 



THE MOORISH COURT 161 

to England, and was leaving the same day for 
Plymouth by steamer direct. Desirous, however, 
of seeing some personal friends who were amongst 
the ex-Sultan's suite, I proceeded on board the 
French cruiser to visit them. It was my desire, 
if possible, to avoid meeting the ex-Sultan, for a 
few months previously there had been a scene in 
Fez, in which the unchecked torrents of Sultanate 
wrath had been poured on my head for having 
given too much publicity to the barbarous atro- 
cities which His Majesty had been committing, 
especially in the case of the torturing of the wife 
of the Governor of Fez, in order to discover an 
imaginary hidden fortune, and in the wholesale 
amputations of the feet and hands of certain 
rebel tribesmen. I had no desire that the dis- 
cussion as to the necessity or advisability of 
perpetrating horrors should be continued on 
the deck of a French warship, and so I took 
every precaution not to be seen by His Majesty 
in order to avoid the outpourings of renewed 
wrath. But in vain. The ex-Sultan caught a 
glimpse of me as he stepped on board, and, 
hurrying to meet me, embraced me in the most 
cordial manner, and then stated that unless I 
would consent to join the suite and continue the 
journey with him to France, he (the ex-Sultan) 
would claim the right of being in British territorial 
waters, and refuse to proceed an inch farther. 
The situation was difficult. The Sultan, always 
neurasthenic, appeared, and undoubtedly was suf- 
fering under great nervous tension, evidently not 

L 



162 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

diminished by the sufferings he had undergone 
during a particularly rough passage on a warship 
that was renowned for its rolling. 

A hurried consultation was held with the French 
officials who were accompanying the ex-Sultan on 
his journey to France. My plans were already 
fixed : it was no easy matter to change them 
at the last moment; but the Sultan insisted. 
The French authorities, too, foreseeing real diffi- 
culties, begged me to alter these plans and to 
proceed to France, to which I eventually con- 
sented. The Sultan, appeased, offered no more 
resistance to continuing his journey, and by midday 
we were en route for Marseilles. 

What had influenced the Sultan was this. He 
was suffering from nerves, and once on board the 
warship had become convinced that he was under 
arrest, and was on his way to imprisonment in 
France. He was particularly desirous of having, 
therefore, as members of his suite one or two 
persons of British origin, so that there might be 
witnesses or even objectors in the case of his 
incarceration. Of course such a thought had never 
entered the minds of the French Government. 
The Sultan had abdicated, and for political reasons 
it was advisable that he should absent himself 
from Morocco for a short period, so that the 
proclamation and installation of the new Sovereign 
might proceed without any hitch ; for it was 
always possible that so long as the ex-Sultan 
remained in the country there might be some 
opposition to the elevation of his successor to 



THE MOORISH COURT 163 

the throne. Two days later Mulai Hafid landed 
in Marseilles, where he was officially received. 
The quay was hung with flags, there was a cavalry 
escort, and military music enlivened the scene. 

At Gibraltar the French cruiser had been 
abandoned for the greater comforts and more 
ample space of a P. & 0. On board this steamer, 
en route to Australia, was a music-hall troupe, 
and it was their kind thought to give a perform- 
ance in honour of the Sultan. The sea was calm, 
the night warm, and after dinner the performance 
took place singing, dancing, and some juggling. 
One item of the show took place in the saloon, 
where a very attractive and skilful lady-conjurer 
performed some most astonishing tricks. The 
Sultan and his suite were much impressed, but 
their astonishment reached its climax when the 
charming young lady filled an apparently un- 
limited number of glasses with an apparently 
unlimited variety of drinks out of a medium-sized 
teapot. 

As we threaded our way out of the saloon, one 
of the more influential of the native suite whis- 
pered in my ear, " What do you think the lady 
would take for the teapot ? " I naturally replied 
that probably all the wealth of the world could 
not purchase so unique a vessel. My friend was 
disappointed ; he would clearly have liked to own 
a teapot, and to have had it always beside him, 
which would pour out any beverage he com- 
manded. " It would have been," he added with 
a sigh, " so useful when one was travelling." 



164 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

His Majesty's stay at Marseilles was uneventful. 
Official visits, a gala at the theatre, and excursions 
to places of interest filled up his days. However, 
during the dinner a semi-state ceremony which 
was given to His Majesty at the hotel on the 
evening of his arrival, a little incident occurred. 
The manager of the hotel, looking very troubled, 
approached the high official of the police to whom 
the precautions for the personal security of the 
Sultan had been entrusted, and whispered in his 
ear. A few moments later I received a message 
asking me to leave the table for a moment's con- 
versation in the next room. Here I was informed 
that, while dinner was proceeding, the Sultan's 
little black slave boys had found a big bag of 
five-franc pieces in His Majesty's bedroom, and 
were amusing themselves by throwing them one 
by one into the street, to be scrambled for by the 
N.crowd. The Cannebiere was blocked, all traffic 
was at a standstill, and various wounded persons 
had already been taken to the hospital ; but the 
black imps, delighted with their game, persistently 
refused to abandon so amusing an occupation 
unless they received the express orders of their 
lord and master to do so. These orders the writer 
hastily invented, and, personally visiting the scene, 
threatened such chastisement that the three or 
four little black demons slunk away to bed. 

During this dinner the news had been published 
in the local evening papers of a serious battle in 
Morocco ; for, although the French Protectorate 
had been proclaimed, yet there was still anarchy 



THE MOORISH COURT 165 

existing in the remoter parts of the country. 
Now the ex-Sultan had never been popular in 
France, perhaps with some reason. He had 
driven from the throne his brother, whose more 
friendly feelings toward the French were known 
and appreciated, and he had succeeded in so doing 
by a frankly unfriendly programme toward French 
policy. His tribes, and even his troops, had fought 
them in the Chaouia Campaign of 1907-8, and 
during the four years that he had held the throne 
(1908-12) he had done his utmost to assist German 
intervention in Morocco. It was therefore not to 
be wondered at that the people of Marseilles 
showed no enthusiasm for their guest, and com- 
plained of the honours that were being rendered 
him and the cost the French Government was 
incurring in his entertainment. Up till now, how- 
ever, there had always been a show of interest 
in his movements, and a little crowd to see him 
wherever he went ; and though his reception had 
been by no means enthusiastic, no hostile demon- 
stration had taken place. The receipt of the news, 
however, of heavy French losses in this latest 
Moorish battle, had stirred up some feeling against 
him. The people felt it was ridiculous that while 
their troops were being shot in Morocco the origi- 
nator of the attacks of the tribes should be their 
honoured guest in France. And so it was that 
when, after the dinner, the ex-Sultan entered the 
box that had been reserved and decorated for him 
in one of the great music-halls of Marseilles, he was 
met with hoots and whistling. 



166 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

For a moment no one could explain this hostile 
demonstration, for the news of the battle had only 
just been published, and had not reached the 
dinner at which we had all been present. The 
manner in which the demonstration was suppressed, 
and a few moments later changed into a most 
friendly reception, was admirable, and spoke well 
for the capabilities of the " Commissaire de 
Police " attached to the ex-Sultan's suite. It 
was manoeuvred in a way that was almost un- 
noticeable. A number of people seemed to be 
leaving the theatre, but discreetly, as if in the 
ordinary course of their affairs, and meanwhile 
their places and every vacant seat, and even the 
passage, were being filled up. In five minutes the 
building was full, and then suddenly the band burst 
out with the " Marseillaise" ; the Sultan stood up, 
and the whole audience, turning toward the royal 
box, shouted and cheered. It was well done, and 
had all the appearance of being a spontaneous 
demonstration. 

Although Mulai Hafid was by no means popular 
in France, his visit received a good deal of atten- 
tion, and the French public took considerable 
interest in his personality. He was, in fact, the 
man of the hour. His portrait appeared in every 
paper, and all his movements were closely reported 
and read. 

His Majesty, who never minded how dangerously 
fast he travelled in motor-cars, had a horror of 
the train, and it had been a little difficult to 
persuade him to consent to proceed to Vichy by 



THE MOORISH COURT 167 

that means. The distance being great, the journey 
by motor, with his numerous suite of French 
officers and diplomats and all his native retinue, 
would have been a difficult one to have organised. 
So three days after his arrival at Marseilles he 
entered the carriages that had been specially 
added to the train that was to convey him 
to the fashionable health resort. He was un- 
mistakably nervous as we left, and made no 
secret of it. As the pace increased he wanted 
the train stopped, and said he would walk to 
Vichy rather than continue ; but the climax was 
reached when, with a shrill whistle, the train 
hurled itself into a long tunnel, and apparently 
into unending darkness. 

The Sultan's fear was pitiful to behold. He 
literally clung to the French officer beside him, 
with terror staring from his eyes. All he could 
utter was, " Tell them to stop ; why don't you 
tell them to stop ! " The fright of his native 
retainers was even more marked. They called out 
and clung to each other in abject fear, except the 
little black slave boys, who seemed intensely 
amused. Then the train whirled out of the tunnel 
into daylight again. The Sultan pulled himself 
together, and said, with an air of offended majesty, 
" You will kindly tell them not to do it again." 

" I am afraid it will be difficult to avoid." 

" Why ? " 

" Because the line must pass under the hills." 

" Then the train must stop and I will walk over 
the top and join it again on the other side." 



168 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

" The distance . . ." 

"I do not mind the distance. Anything is 
better than such suffering as it occasions me." 

However, he was persuaded that his proposal 
was impracticable, and bore the few more tunnels 
that we passed through with commendable sang- 
froid and courage, though on each occasion His 
Majesty expressed his very distinct disapproval of 
railways and their builders, and more especially 
the folly of making tunnels. 

At Vichy a villa, which formed an annexe to 
the well-known Hotel Majestic, was placed at his 
disposal. His Majesty was an early riser, and 
sometimes he would take an early morning prome- 
nade in the gardens and streets of the town. On 
one of these occasions he bought a little mongrel 
puppy, which an itinerant dog-seller was hawking 
at the end of a string. Returning to his villa with 
his purchase, the antics of the little puppy so 
amused the ex-Sultan that he called in his slaves, 
and ordered them to disperse over the town and 
buy more dogs. One of the dusky servitors ventured 
to ask how he was to know which dogs were for 
sale. The Sultan, fresh from his experience of 
purchasing the puppy, replied that every dog at 
the end of a string was for sale. As, of course, 
none of the slaves spoke anything but Arabic, 
they were ordered to bring dogs and sellers 
alike to the villa, where the bargains would be 
completed. 

Now the municipal authorities of Vichy had 
recently issued an order that all dogs were either 



THE MOORISH COURT 169 

to be led or muzzled, so when the fashionable 
world went out to drink its early morning waters, 
at least half of the ladies had little dogs at the 
end of a string. 

The writer was at breakfast when he was hur- 
riedly summoned to the villa. At an open window 
on the ground floor, sitting cross-legged on an 
arm-chair, was His Majesty looking down with a 
puzzled expression upon the little garden, crowded 
with excited ladies and little dogs. Some were in 
tears, others wore expressions of interested curi- 
osity, and a few were evidently trying to look 
their best, for no social distinctions had been 
recognised by the slaves who had " rounded them 
up " in the promenades of Vichy. 

" I want to buy," said the ex-Sultan from his 
window, " all these little dogs, but the sellers do 
not seem to understand the first principles of 
trade, and seem to be making a terrible fuss." 

The situation was evident and acute. I ex- 
plained it to the ex-Sultan, who politely apolo- 
gised for having disturbed the ladies' early walks, 
but still insisted, without success, in trying to 
buy the dogs. It required all the writer's tact 
and diplomacy to put an end to a difficult situa- 
tion, and to restore equanimity to the indignant 
ladies. 

The ex-Sultan's purchases were often embarrass- 
ing. One evening at sunset he visited a farm a 
few miles from the town, and insisted upon going 
all over it. In an enclosure were collected from 
twenty to thirty fine specimens of the beautiful 



170 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

white cattle for which this part of France is so 
justly famous. The ex-Sultan decided to buy the 
lot, and gave the farmer his card, saying, " Send 
them round to-night to this address." 

Now the address he gave was the Hotel Majestic, 
the most fashionable and magnificent of Vichy's 
palaces. About eleven o'clock that night, when life 
at the hotel was at its height, the manager sought 
the writer, and announced the unexpected arrival 
of twenty-seven enormous cows in the coiirtyard 
of the hotel. And there, sure enough, meandering 
in and out of smart motor-cars, lowing gently 
into the ground-floor windows, were the ex-Sultan's 
latest purchases. Where they passed the night 
the writer never knew, but the next day more 
suitable quarters were found for them. 

The Sultan dined in the great dining-room of 
the Hotel Majestic. His table, a very large one, 
for there were constant guests, was raised on a 
dais at one end of the room, which gave him an 
excellent view of all the diners and the diners 
at the Hotel Majestic at Vichy in the height of the 
season are worth seeing. One night the Sultan 
appeared " distrait " at dinner, and his eye roved 
over the crowded room with an anxious and 
sympathetic expression. He spoke little, and it 
was difficult to get him to talk. At last he asked 
to see the manager, and that most amiable and 
deservedly popular gentleman, the proprietor of 
the hotel, appeared at once. " These people," 
said the Sultan, waving his hand toward the 
crowd at dinner, " are badly distributed. Many 



THE MOORISH COURT 171 

are not happy. Let us rearrange them. The old 
gentleman with the long grey beard has no right 
to be dining with the beautiful young lady in the 
big black hat, wearing a pearl necklace. There 
is a terrible disparity in their ages. She should 
be dining with the charming young officer over 
there " he pointed to another table, " and the 
elderly lady, no doubt his mother, should be dining 
with old greybeard. You should have " and he 
addressed the proprietor " some thought for the 
happiness of your guests. Now that lady there " 
and again he pointed in another direction " is 
terribly bored. She has been tapping the edge of 
her plate with her fork for half an hour. She 
evidently dislikes extremely the gentleman with 
whom she is dining probably her husband, but 
I have watched her, and she keeps looking at the 
young man dining alone with the waxed mous- 
taches. Go and introduce them. Her husband 
hasn't spoken to her once this evening. He won't 
miss her and you will make two people happy ; 
and if the husband is dull, invite that strange lady 
with the red hair, who is just coming in, to sit 
down beside him. She will keep him occupied, I 
expect, to judge by her appearance." 

But, alas ! interesting as such an experiment 
would have been, it was impossible. 

The first few days of the ex-Sultan's visit were 
wet and cloudy, but one morning the August sun 
asserted itself with uncompromising efficiency. 
The villa reception-rooms faced south-east, and 
by eight o'clock in the morning were insufferably 



172 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

hot, for the Sultan refused to close the outside 
shutters, as he liked to see and to be seen. Half 
an hour later he decided to change his quarters. 
On the opposite side of the road was a charming 
villa, in the deepest shade, with a balcony on the 
first floor wreathed in flowering creepers. Order- 
ing his slaves to follow him, the ex-Sultan strode 
across the road, entered the villa, and found his 
way to the upstairs room with the balcony. It 
was gorgeous but empty. An immense bed, which 
had evidently been slept in, stood with its head 
against the wall. A word from His Majesty and 
the bed was wheeled by the slaves into the window 
which opened on to the balcony, and, arranging 
the silk quilt and the lace-fringed pillows, the 
ex-Sultan seated himself cross-legged, gazing down 
into the street below. 

Now the Russian lady of title who had occupied 
the bed had retired a few moments previously 
into her adjacent cabinet de toilette to take her 
morning bath. Her ablutions completed, but not 
clad for a reception, she entered her room to find 
a dusky oriental potentate, with his still more 
dusky slaves, in possession. The ex-Sultan's 
politeness was extreme. He bade her welcome, 
and invited her to sit down beside him. 

An overflowing sense of humour on the part 
of the lady saved a situation which might other- 
wise have been embarrassing, and when the 
writer, hastily summoned, arrived, the lady, now 
more suitably arrayed, and her husband were 
thoroughly enjoying the novelty of the situation. 



THE MOORISH COURT 173 

Mulai Hafid was often bored with such official 
functions as his position and his duty necessitated 
his attending. At a dinner given at a large pro- 
vincial town within motoring distance of Vichy, 
he made his first public speech in France. He 
certainly had great fluency, and spoke well in 
Arabic, of course, his words being immediately 
translated into French. When, with tears in his 
eyes, he explained his love and gratitude to 
France whose policy in Morocco he had all his 
reign done his best to wreck he was really 
immense. Never did words bear a more genuine 
ring ; never was deep affection more apparent 
in a speaker's voice. But Mulai Hafid must not 
be misjudged. He had learnt much during his 
stay in France, and had probably realised long 
before this episode how much more successful a 
Sultan of Morocco he would have been had he 
followed more strictly and more sincerely the 
advice of his French advisers. But the Germans 
had been always at hand, with their intrigues and 
their incentives, with vague promises and much 
ready money, and with their recommendations to 
absolutism and to cruelty. On one occasion the 
Governments of Europe officially, through their 
Consuls at Fez, protested to Mulai Hafid their 
abhorrence of the barbarities he had been per- 
petrating. The German Consul was noticeable by 
his absence. Berlin deliberately refused to protest, 
and its representative at Fez was instructed to 
inform the Sultan that his Government considered 
that His Majesty had a perfect right to do what he 



174 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

pleased, and advised him to pay no regard to the 
protest of the Consuls of Great Britain, France, 
and Spain speaking in the names of their respective 
Governments and in the interests of civilisation. 
But, happily, Germany has paid dearly in Morocco 
for her sins in the past. It is a closed country for 
her to-day, and her people are rightly looked upon 
as outcasts and outlaws. 

Successful as Mulai Hafid's first public utter- 
ances were, these long and ceremonious dinners 
profoundly bored him. As many as he could he 
escaped, but some he had to attend. He took 
the strongest dislike to the " Prefets " a title 
that, in the functions of the post, resembles our 
" Mayor." He always had to sit on the Prefet's 
right, and he complained that they were pompous 
and dull. 

When the programme of his journey to other 
parts of France was being drawn up, he was asked 
what towns he would like to visit. It was one of 
his " off " days he was silent and depressed. 
He said he didn't care where, or when, or how he 
travelled. No amount of pressing could get a direct 
answer from him ; but the official of the French 
Home Office could not return to Paris without a 
reply. Urged finally to give some idea, however 
vague, of where he would like to go, the ex-Sultan 
answered wearily, " Anywhere to any town that 
has no ' Prefet.' " Many other distinguished 
travellers must have often felt the same, but few 
probably ever dared to avow it. 

Mulai Hafid was by no means always in low 



THE MOORISH COURT 175 

spirits. On one occasion we made a long motor 
trip to a famous watering-place, and after an 
official luncheon we ascended a neighbouring peak 
in a sort of funicular railway. In the railway 
carriage was a frock-coated and top-hatted gentle- 
man of irreproachable get-up a typical French 
fonctionnaire polite, deferential, and with an 
official smile that must have taken a long time to 
acquire. Speaking through an interpreter, he 
informed Mulai Hafid that he was charged by the 
French Government to accompany and point out 
to His Majesty the beauties and spots of interest 
of the local scenery. Mulai Hand, in an equally 
polite reply, thanked him, but hinted that he 
already had in his suite some one who knew the 
country extremely well, who would be only too 
pleased to assist in giving the required information, 
and he suddenly presented the writer to the French 
official. Needless to say, I had never been 
within a hundred miles of the place, and had 
no idea whatever of its beauties, its historical 
associations, and even less of its geological forma- 
tion. I appreciated, however, one thing : that 
Mulai Hafid meant to play a practical joke on the 
suave and black-gloved functionary. 

The train started and began the steep ascent. 
Mulai Hafid, innocently seated between the French 
official and the writer, asked, " What are those 
rocks ? " Before the authorised and official guide 
could reply, the writer had begun, " Those rocks 
are of the tertiary period, and contain many 
interesting remains : the skeletons of mammoths 



176 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

have been frequently found there, as well as the 
household utensils a corkscrew amongst others 
of primitive man." The poor functionary, too 
polite to protest, scarcely showed his astonishment, 
except in a furtive look in my direction. " And 
that wood ? " continued the ex-Sultan. " That 
wood," I went on, " was the scene of the eating 
by a bear of the children who mocked at Elisha." 
This time the functionary gave a little start. 
Farther up the line were the ruins of what had 
once probably been a wooden shed perched on 
a high rock. " And that ? " asked the Sultan. 
" That," replied the writer, "is all that remains 
of Noah's Ark, which came to rest here after the 
subsiding of the Flood." But the functionary 
was now only too palpably suffering tortures. 
He was on an official mission and terribly serious. 
He could not see that the episode was a joke, 
and seemed sincerely to believe that Mulai Hafid, 
the guest of the French Republic, was being 
purposely deceived. " It may have been," he 
began politely, " that local tradition at some period 
claimed this spot as the resting-place of the Ark 
of that I know nothing but historical facts have 
clearly proved that it was elsewhere that that 
interesting event took place." 

A few nights later a gala performance of Meyer- 
beer's ' Roma ' was given in the ex-Sultan's honour 
at the Opera. Now, singing in Morocco is a nasal 
monotonous repetition of words, with little ex- 
pression and no gesture. The " basso " in the 
opera was an extremely corpulent gentleman, with 



THE MOORISH COURT 177 

a voice like thunder, accompanied by wild gesticu- 
lations. A few bars of recitative by the orchestra, 
and his great voice burst out and filled the theatre. 
To the Sultan the effect had nothing in common 
with music, and all he could imagine was that the 
performer was suffering intense unbearable pain, 
more especially as the louder he sang the more 
he waved his arms about and beat his capacious 
stomach. 

Springing to his feet, His Majesty cried, " Where 

is Dr V ? " (Dr V was his English doctor, 

who had accompanied him on his visit to France) 

" where is Dr V ? Find him quickly, some 

one. He may be able to save his life " ; and with 
an expression of terrible anxiety the ex-Sultan's 
eyes alternately gazed fascinated at the singer 
or sought for the doctor in the gloomy recesses 
of the royal box. It was not without difficulty 
that His Majesty was persuaded that the singer 
was suffering no pain ; but that he was actually 
supposed to be giving pleasure to the audience he 
entirely refused to believe. 

The ex-Sultan was bored, and left the theatre 
before the end. The following morning he asked 
me what had taken place in the last act, and on 
being told of the terrible fate that almost all the 
characters in the tragedy had suffered, he replied, 
" I am sorry I did not stay. I should have sent for 
the manager and insisted that the piece should 
end happily. The young lady should have married 
the soldier with the big sword. The blind woman 
should have had her sight restored by an able 

M 



178 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

doctor, and no one should have been stabbed or 
built up in a tomb." 

It was perhaps as well that he didn't stay till 
the end, for his amiable intervention might have 
disturbed the tragic climax of the opera. 



RAISULI. 

I. 

MULAI AHMED BEN MOHAMMED ER-RAISTJLI is to- 
day a man of about fifty years of age. He is by 
birth sprung from one of the most aristocratic 
families in Morocco, and is a Shereef, or direct 
descendant of the Prophet, through Mulai Idris, 
who founded the Mohammedan Empire of Morocco, 
and was the first sovereign of the Idrisite Dynasty. 
The children of Mulai Idris were established in 
various parts of the country, and it is from Mulai 
Abd es-Salam, whose tomb in the Beni Aros tribe 
is a place of great sanctity, that the famous 
brigand is directly descended his family, and he 
himself, still holding a share in the lands, the 
rights and the privileges which were enjoyed by 
their renowned ancestor. A branch of the family 
settled in Tetuan, where a fine mosque forms a 
mausoleum for his more recent ancestors, and is 
venerated as a place of pilgrimage. 

Possibly it was this holy ancestry that turned 
Raisuli from the paths of virtue, for after having 
received an excellent education in religion and 
religious law at Tetuan, he took to the adventurous, 



180 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

lucrative, and in Morocco by no means despised, 
profession of a cattle robber. It is a risky business, 
and requires courage. You may just as likely 
be shot yourself as shoot any one else ; but pres- 
tige tells in favour of the head of the band, and a 
reign of terror of the young Raisuli ensued. He 
became celebrated. He was a youth of great 
courage, of the most prepossessing looks, and he 
and his followers earned money easily and fast 
and spent it still faster. But cattle robberies led 
to other crimes. Murders followed, and it must 
be confessed that Raisuli' s hands are none too 
clean in that respect ; but murder in Morocco 
cannot be classed with murder in England. Life 
is cheap, and the dead are soon forgotten. By 
nature he was, and is, cruel, and the profession 
he had adopted gave him unlimited scope to 
exhibit his cruelty. On one occasion a Shereef 
who had married his sister proposed, according 
to Moslem custom, to take a second wife. Raisuli's 
sister, enraged, fled to her brother and com- 
plained. Nothing occurred till the night of the 
new marriage, when at the height of the festivities 
Raisuli and his men entered his brother-in-law's 
house and put to death the young bride and her 
mother. 

At length his acts became insupportable. The 
whole country round lived in terror of his raids. 
The late Sultan ordered his arrest. His greatest 
friend betrayed him ; he was seized, and sent to 
prison in the dreaded dungeons of Mogador. 
When, in 1903, I was Raisuli's prisoner at Zinat, 



RAISULI 181 

he narrated more than once to me the history of 
those four or five years spent in prison. He * 
showed me the marks of the chains on his ankles, 
wrists, and neck ; he told me of the filth and the 
cold ; of the introduction of a file in a loaf of 
bread ; of five months' patient work at night ; 
and of a delayed flight. He escaped, but for a 
very few hours. He did not know his way about 
the town, and he had forgotten that the chains 
would almost prevent his walking. He entered 
a street that had no outlet, and was recaptured. 
Fresh chains were heaped upon him, and it was 
not till two years later that he was released on the 
petition of Haj Mohammed Torres, the Sultan's 
representative at Tangier. He came back to his 
home, meaning to live a quiet and peaceful life, 
but he found that his friend who had betrayed 
him had become Governor of Tangier, and con- 
fiscated all his property. He applied for its 
return, but could not obtain it. He threatened, 
but they laughed at him and then he took to his 
old profession and became a brigand. 

It was at this period that I first met him. I 
was camping on a shooting expedition near Arzeila, 
when he and his men paid me a visit and spent 
the night at my camp. I confess that his person- 
ality was almost fascinating. Tall, remarkably 
handsome, with the whitest of skins, a short dark 
beard and moustache, and black eyes, with profile 
Greek rather than Semitic, and eyebrows that 
formed a straight line across his forehead, Mulai 
Ahmed er-Raisuli was a typical and ideal bandit. 



182 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

His manner was quiet, his voice soft and low, 
and his expression particularly sad. He smiled 
sometimes, but seldom, and even though I knew 
him much better later on, I never heard him laugh. 
With his followers he was cold and haughty, and 
they treated him with all the respect due to his 
birth. 

When next I saw him I was his prisoner at his 
stronghold at Zinat, situated about twelve miles 
from Tangier in June 1903. He had altered a 
littta His face had filled out, the mouth had 



become harder and a little more cruel, but he was 
still remarkably handsome. He had not changed 
for the better. Only a few months before my 
capture he had sold one of his prisoners to an 
enemy for $1500, and stood by to see the pur- 
chaser cut the victim's throat. As long as he had 
restricted his energies to cattle-lifting and to 
attacks upon natives no one paid very serious 
attention to him, though the Maghzen were trying 
to encompass his capture. On 16th June 1903 the 
Shereefian troops attacked and burnt Zinat ; the 
same afternoon I was captured. 

Hearing that a battle had taken place at that 
spot, situated some eight or nine miles away, I 
rode out toward the middle of the day in that 
direction, accompanied by my native groom, whose 
parents lived at Zinat, and who was most anxious 
as to the safety of his relations. Already the alarm 
had spread to the neighbouring villages, and we 
found the country round entirely deserted, the 
population having fled to the mountains of Anjera 



RAISULI 183 

with all their cattle and as much of their goods 
as they could carry away. Although the attack 
of the Government troops had been made with 
the object of capturing Raisuli, the native cavalry 
had wandered far afield after loot, and a consider- 
able number of cattle, &c., had been carried off 
from villages innocent of any rebellious intentions, 
and in no way accessories to Raisuli' s depredations. 

I found it difficult on this account to obtain 
any accurate information of what had occurred, 
and a desire to do so, coupled with my groom's 
anxiety, persuaded me to approach nearer than 
was perhaps advisable to the scene of the morn- 
ing's action. Skirting the stony hill on which 
Zinat is situated, I entered the plain, crossed by 
small gulleys, that lies to the south of the villages, 
and until within two miles of the place met with 
no incident worth recording. The whole country 
was absolutely deserted. Not a single person, 
not a head of cattle, was to be seen. 

It was when we were crossing this plain that 
suddenly a volley was fired at us from men con- 
cealed in the brushwood and rocks of a small hill 
near by. The range was a long one, and though 
we could hear the bullets whizzing over our heads, 
I do not believe that any passed us very closely. 
Setting spurs to our horses, we cantered away 
out of range, and drew rein on an elevation in the 
plain in the midst of a field of corn. Turning to 
see what was happening, I perceived three or four 
natives a considerable distance away, who had 
taken off their cloaks and turbans, and were 



184 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

waving to me to return. This waving of turbans 
is always in Morocco a sign of " aman " or safety, 
and I therefore waited for the men, who were 
moving quickly in our direction. Two alone 
approached us, both well known to me ; and having 
arrived at the spot where we were stationed, they 
apologised profusely for the mistake of their men 
in having fired, and begged me to return with 
them to Zinat to discuss the situation there. 
They were Anjera men from the neighbouring 
Roman hills, who had not been present at the 
battle, but who had come down to Zinat, as the 
irregular cavalry had carried off a considerable 
number of their cattle. They stated that they 
were desirous of knowing the intentions of the 
Moorish Government with regard to their tribe. 
If, they said, it was the Government's intention 
to attack them, they were ready to resist; but 
if the Moorish forces had been ordered merely to 
capture Raisuli and had looted their property 
without authority, they demanded the return of 
their cattle a very reasonable demand. They 
added that they were afraid to proceed to Tangier 
to interview the authorities for fear of capture and 
imprisonment there, and asked me accordingly to 
take their message to the native officials, as on 
such occasions I had often done before. Under a 
promise of safety I proceeded with them in the 
direction of Zinat, having agreed that I should 
go to a spot near the hills where three or four 
of the headmen of the tribe were to meet me. 
It was when proceeding in that direction that I 



RAISULI 185 

was captured. We were crossing a small gully, 
thick with crimson-blossomed oleanders, when sud- 
denly I discovered that I had fallen into an 
ambush. Flight was impossible, and as I was 
unarmed, resistance was out of the question. 
From every side sprung out tribesmen, and in a 
second or two I was a prisoner, surrounded by 
thirty or forty men, one and all armed with 
European rifles. I received no rough treatment 
at their hands, but was told that I was their 
prisoner and must proceed to Zinat. On arrival 
at the woods which surround the several villages 
which lie scattered on the Zinat hills, messengers 
were sent to inform Raisuli of my capture, and 
in a short time I was taken to him. He was 
seated under some olive-trees in a little gully, 
surrounded by his men and by the headmen 
of the neighbouring tribes, who had collected on 
learning what had taken place. Raisuli received., 
me pleasantly enough. He was still a young 
man of handsome appearance, refined in feature 
and manner, and with a pleasant voice. He 
was dressed in the costume of the mountain tribes, 
a short brown cloak covering his white linen k 
clothes and reaching only to the knees, with a 
turban of dark-blue cloth. His legs were bare, 
and he wore the usual yellow slippers of the country. 
After a short talk with Raisuli, who narrated to 
me all that had taken place, he led me to what 
remained of his house, the greater part of which 
had been burned by the troops. Up to this time 
I had nothing to complain of in the attitude of the 



186 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

tribesmen, but a great number had collected in 
the vicinity, all anxious to catch a glimpse of the 
Christian captive, and not a few inclined to wreak 
summary vengeance on me for the devastation the 
Government troops had committed in the place. 
There was a good deal of hooting and cursing, 
but Raisuli's influence was sufficient for him to 
be able to hurry me through the crowd, now very 
threatening, and his own followers closed round 
me and guarded me from the mountaineers. It 
was an unpleasant moment, for I soon perceived 
that no authority existed over this collection of 
tribesmen, who numbered at this time perhaps 
2000 though by nightfall this number was pro- 
bably doubled, and that there would be no possi- 
bility of protection did they proceed to extremes. 
It was with no little relief that I saw the door of 
a small room in the remaining portion of Raisuli's 
house opened, through which I was pushed in. A 
moment later it was closed again, but it seemed as 
though the crowd without would break it down. 
But Raisuli and his men, and a score of personal 
friends amongst the tribesmen, formed up against 
the doorway outside, and were able to dissuade the 
rabble from their intention of dragging me out. 

The room in which I found myself was very 
dark, light being admitted only by one small 
window near the roof, and it was some time 
before my eyes became accustomed to the gloom. 
When I was able to see more clearly, the first 
object that attracted my eyes was a body lying 
in the middle of the room. It was the corpse of 



RAISULI 187 

a man who had been killed there in the morning 
by the troops, and formed a ghastly spectacle. 
Stripped of all clothing and shockingly mutilated, 
the body lay with extended arms. The head had 
been roughly hacked off, and the floor all round 
was swimming in blood. The soldiers had carried 
off the head in triumph as a trophy of war, and 
they had wiped their gory fingers on the white- 
washed walls, leaving bloodstains everywhere. 
However, I was not to suffer the company of the 
corpse for long, for half a dozen men came in, 
washed the body, sewed it up in its winding-sheet, 
and carried it away for burial ; and a little later 
the floor was washed down, though no attempt 
was made to move the bloody finger-marks from 
the wall. 

Here I remained alone for some hours, and it 
was certainly an anxious time. I reviewed the 
situation quietly, and came to the conclusion 
that, in spite of the danger which I knew existed, 
I had much in my favour. The fact that the 
language of the people was almost the same to 
me as my own tongue was a great assistance, 
and amongst these mountain tribes I have a large 
number of personal friends, who, I believed, and 
rightly, would protect me as far as they were 
able. Unfortunately, few of my influential 
acquaintances amongst the mountaineers had 
arrived, though to my joy I learned, from the 
conversation of the guards outside the door, that 
they were expected during the coming night. I 
decided meanwhile to pretend absolute ignorance 



188 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

of any danger, and to talk of my condition as 
only one of a series of adventures that I have 
undergone in Morocco and elsewhere. 

At sundown Raisuli and some of his men brought 
me food, and I had a long conversation with them. 
Raisuli was polite, and made no secret that he 
intended to make use of me, though he had not 
yet decided in what way. He, however, kindly 
informed me that, should the attack of the troops 
be renewed, I should be immediately killed. His 
career, he said, was practically finished, and his 
sole desire was to cause the Moorish Government 
as much trouble and humiliation as possible, and 
he argued that there would be no easier way to 
do this than by causing my death. However, 
he promised me, at the same time, that provided 
no fresh attack was made upon the place, he would 
do his best to protect me. I was allowed to com- 
municate with the British Legation, but was not 
aware till later that this letter never reached its 
destination, though the following morning I was 
in direct communication with His Majesty's Min- 
ister, and throughout my captivity no difficulties 
were put in my way in corresponding with the 
British Legation. 

During the night a large contingent of the 
Anjera tribe arrived, amongst them several influ- 
ential men on whose friendship I felt I might 
implicitly rely ; and as a matter of fact I owe my 
release, and probably my life, largely to these men. 

There is no need to give the details of the nine 
days that I spent at Zinat, sufficient to say that I 



RAISULI 189 

suffered very considerable hardship. Though never 
actually roughly handled, except for a few insult- 
ing blows with slippers, &c., my discomforts were 
extreme. During those nine days I was never 
able to wash ; I never took my clothes off, with 
the result that I was smothered with vermin. 
Once I went for thirty-six hours without any food, 
for none was procurable, as the village had been 
burnt, and during the whole time my life was 
threatened. My friends did what they could for 
me, but it was little they could do. There must 
have been some 4000 tribesmen present, and they 
obeyed no one, and no one had any authority 
over them. It was a trying time, but my only 
chance lay in pretending to place implicit confi- 
dence in them, and thus gain time while the 
negotiations for my release proceeded. 

No words of praise are sufficient for the great 
tact displayed by Sir Arthur Nicolson, the British 
Minister, in conducting these negotiations. From 
the very beginning he realised the difficulties of 
success, and throughout, in every dealing that he 
had with the tribesmen, he showed the greatest 
tact and skill. He from the very commencement 
warned the Moorish Government not to take any 
steps to treat with the mountaineers, and con- 
ducted the entire proceedings himself, Mulai Ahmed, 
the young Shereef of Wazzan, being the means of 
communication between the British Government 
and the tribesmen. These negotiations were doubly 
difficult owing to the fact that the mountaineers 
had no recognised chiefs, and that many tribes 



190 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

were concerned. Yet in such a manner were the 
negotiations conducted, that throughout the wiiole 
proceedings the ignorant and fanatical tribesmen 
placed entire confidence in the Minister's word, 
and though delays occurred, as they always do in 
Morocco, there was never a serious hitch. 

The first demand made to me for my release 
was the removal of all Englishmen from the 
Sultan's Court. I naturally treated this as pre- 
posterous, and persuaded the tribesmen that it 
was mere folly to mention it. This was followed 
by other equally impossible conditions, which 
were likewise abandoned ; and by the time that 
the British Legation was in communication with 
the tribesmen they had lessened their demands 
to the release of a certain number of tribal prisoners 
confined in the prisons of Tangier and Laraiche. 

At no time was a demand made for a ransom 
in money, and in this my capture differed entirely 
from those of Mr Perdicaris and Kaid Maclean, 
which took place later. I owe this immunity 
from a pecuniary ransom to an admirable trait 
in the character of these wild mountain tribes- 
men. My country-house at Tangier was situated 
about two and a half miles from the town, on the 
sea-coast, on the main track that passes between 
the An j era tribe and Tangier. Just beyond my 
grounds, on the town side, is a tidal river, which 
then and now possesses no bridge, but it is ford- 
able at low tide. Often the tribes-people found 
the tide too high to cross, and were obliged to 
wait long weary hours, in winter at times in dark- 



RAISULI 191 

ness and rain. A large number were women and 
young girls carrying loads of charcoal to market. 
I had always made it a rule to give shelter to all 
such as asked for it, and had built a room or two 
for this purpose, and in winter-time it was seldom 
that some of the benighted peasants were not 
spending the night there. When it was cold and 
wet they had a fire, and as often as not a little 
supper. A very short time after my capture a 
proposal was made from Tangier that a very 
considerable sum of money should be paid for my 
immediate release. This was discussed by the 
tribesmen and refused. They decided that in 
the case of one who had shown such hospitality 
to their women and children, and often to them- 
selves, there must be no question of money and 
there was none. 

There was one hitch which threatened to break 
down our negotiations, and which caused some 
delay to my release. 

It had been agreed that twelve prisoners from 
the tribesmen, confined in various Moorish Govern- 
ment prisons, were to be released in exchange for 
myself ; but after a very numerously-attended 
meeting, at which a large number of fresh moun- 
taineers arrived, a demand was made for the release 
of over fifty. The British Legation was notified 
of this, and very rightly objected to this sudden 
and very large addition. Sir Arthur Nicolson 
wrote me to this effect. Before, however, making 
known the contents of his letter, I obtained the 
names of all the fifty tribesmen whose release was 



192 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

demanded, and sent the list to Tangier, pretending 
that it was to be submitted to the authorities, 
in order that in the case of its acceptance, orders 
for the release of the men might be given. Once 
this letter well on its way, I made known to the 
tribesmen that on no account more than the 
original twelve prisoners would be released. At first 
they tried persuasion, and then threats but I felt 
sure of my position. " You propose," I said, " to 
kill me. Possibly you will do so, but you have 
kindly given me a list of all your relations who 
are in the Moorish prison some fifty-six in all, 
I think. This list is now in Tangier. You will 
have the satisfaction of killing me, but remember 
this on fifty-six consecutive days one of your 
sons or brothers or nephews will be executed 
one each morning ; and more their bodies will 
be burnt and the ashes scattered to the wind. 
You will see the smoke from here " for Tangier 
was visible from where we were. Now, the Moors 
believe in a corporeal resurrection, and the burn- 
ing of a body means the depriving of the soul of 
resurrection. It was a splendid bluff, and I felt 
the greatest delight in using it. I was there alone, 
seated in the centre of a great circle of the tribes- 
men, who swore and cursed and threatened ; but 
to no avail. I even explained that it was a matter 
of no importance in the Christian religion what 
became of one body and pointed out the conse- 
quent loss of fifty-six good Moslem souls, deprived 
of going to heaven. I was successful. The tribes- 
men returned to their original demand. 



RAISULI 193 

In all my dealings with the Moors I have found 
this, that the intelligent European, provided he 
has a complete and absolute knowledge of the 
language, holds a very distinct advantage over 
the Moor. He has, in fact, two advantages her- 
editary training of thought, and education. The 
Moor is generally, by his environment and isola- 
tion, a slow thinker, and in the many difficult 
situations in which I at times found myself I have 
always had confidence in my own mental superi- 
ority over the average native. I have been able 
to turn threats into ridicule, or to raise a laugh, 
or to persuade by the mere superiority of the 
power of thinking and of giving utterance to one's 
thoughts. The Moor is very susceptible to sarcasm 
and ridicule, and often I have turned what looked 
like becoming a stormy incident into the pleasantest 
of channels. I have, almost without exception, 
carried no arms, which are often more a source 
of danger than of security. 

The only time that I left my quarters at Zinat 
for more than a few minutes together was on one 
occasion, a few days after my arrival, when I was 
taken down to a gully below the village to be shown 
the corpse of a Moorish cavalry soldier who had 
been killed during the engagement. In revenge 
for the beheading of the Zinat man who had been 
killed, the tribesmen had mutilated the soldier's 
body. It was a ghastly sight. The summer heat 
had already caused the corpse to discolour and 
swell. An apple had been stuck in the man's 
mouth, and both his eyes had been gouged out. 

N 



194 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

The naked body was shockingly mutilated, and the 
finger-tips had been cut off, to be worn, the tribes- 
men told me, as charms by their women. The 
hands were pegged to the ground by sticks driven 
through the palms, about a yard in length, bearing 
little flags. A wreath of wild flowers was twined 
round the miserable man's head, and the village 
dogs had already gnawed away a portion of the 
flesh of one of the legs. I was jokingly informed 
that that was probably what I should look like 
during the course of the next few days. 

During the entire nine days that I was at Zinat 
I was no doubt always in danger, and certainly 
always in great discomfort ; but I had used every 
opportunity to bring the friendly tribe of Anjera 
over to my side, and on the night of the ninth day 
my friends rose nobly to the occasion. They 
surrounded Raisuli's house and village with per- 
haps a thousand men, all armed and prepared, 
and demanded that I should be handed over to 
them, threatening that, if this were not immediately 
carried out, they would shoot or arrest Raisuli. 
It was a little coup-d'etat, and it was successful. 
In the middle of the night I was hustled out of 
the small room which I shared with a dozen 
guards, placed on the back of a mule, and carried 
off into the Anjera mountains by my friends of 
that tribe. For six hours we proceeded through 
mountain passes and thick brushwood, arriving 
soon after sunrise at the village of Sheikh Duas, 
one of the most influential of the Anjera tribesmen. 
It was a journey I will never forget the dark- 



RAISULI 195 

ness of the moonless night, the rough mountain 
tracks, the silence of the hundreds of armed men 
who accompanied me, and the intense relief that, 
even if my captivity was long protracted, I was 
amongst men who would, at any rate, protect my 
life. I was tired and weak. Nine days of constant 
strain, in great heat, on a diet of inferior dry bread 
and water, with the necessity the whole time of 
pretending rather to enjoy the situation than 
otherwise, had worn me out. But from the friendly 
tribe of Anjera I received nothing but kindness 
every word, every act of theirs was cheering and 
thoughtful ; and though life among them was 
rough enough in its way, I owe them a debt of 
gratitude that it will be difficult ever to repay. 
I remained twelve days at Sheikh Duas's village 
in the Anjera mountains, and throughout that 
period I never suffered an indignity or an insult 
from him or his people. A little room in his house 
was put at my disposal, and infinite pains were 
taken to render it clean and habitable. The best 
of such food as was procurable was given me 
milk and cream-cheese, and a rough porridge of 
sour milk and millet. His followers for Duas is 
not above being a cattle robber on a large scale 
helped me to pass my time pleasantly enough, 
and with them I explored the neighbouring moun- 
tains, and sat in the shade of the fruit trees of 
their little gardens listening to their local musicians 
or watching the ungraceful movements of their 
dancing-girls. I made friends there whose friend- 
ship I shall always value. I was treated as one of 



196 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the tribe. I wore their dress, shaved my head, 
and conformed to all their customs ; but above 
and beyond all, my anxiety was at an end I 
knew that I was out of grave danger. 

Meanwhile the British Minister, ably assisted by 
the Shereef of Wazzan, was carrying on the negoti- 
ations. Although I was now amongst friends, these 
negotiations were delicate and difficult, for the 
Anjera tribe had given their word to the other 
tribes concerned not to release me until their 
prisoners were set free, and these other tribes 
were constantly desirous of changing their condi- 
tions, and, owing to the distances which separated 
them, this necessarily meant delay. The very fact 
that I was now some twenty-seven miles a day's 
journey from Tangier protracted the negotiations. 
Several times I seemed on the point of release, 
but some small hitch, unimportant, it is true, 
would arise and a delay occur. 

Except for this, time passed pleasantly; the 
scenery was delightful, and although it was the 
middle of summer the air was cool at this altitude. 
Little streams of water ran in every direction, and 
I was able to bathe and be clean once more. To 
all intents and purposes I was free to go where 
I pleased, and though always accompanied by 
guards, so thoughtful and kind were they that 
one forgot that they were there to prevent my 
escape, and we all became the best of friends. 
Meanwhile the Shereef of Wazzan spared himself 
no trouble. No sun was too hot for him to travel, 
no journey too tiring for him to undertake. He 



RAISULI 197 

attended the tribal meetings and made known 
to the headman the British Minister's intentions 
with regard to the tribal prisoners, orders for whose 
release had meanwhile been received from the 
Sultan. His Majesty's readiness to comply with 
Sir Arthur Nicolson's request was deserving of all 
praise, for it must be remembered that the action 
of the rebels throughout was intended to humiliate 
the Sultan and his Government. What rendered 
the situation during my captivity, especially during 
the first part of it, doubly insecure was the fact 
that the tribes were in active communication with 
the Pretender to the Moorish Throne the leader 
of the rebellion in the Rif, and it was proposed 
over and over again to send me to him as a useful 
hostage ; and, had it not been for my friendship 
with the An j era tribe a friendship of long stand- 
ing I have no doubt this proposal would have 
been carried out. 

On Saturday, 4th July, a large tribal meeting 
was held near Sheikh Duas's village, and during 
the usual wrangling which occurred on these 
occasions the Shereef of Wazzan arrived, having 
travelled the twenty-seven miles from Tangier 
that day, in spite of the heat of the July sun. 
His opportune presence settled my fate, and the 
negotiations were brought to a conclusion, not 
without considerable opposition. The following 
day a large contingent of tribesmen, the Shereef, 
and I set out for Tangier, spending the night some 
twelve miles from that place. Even here a last 
attempt was made an attempt that nearly led 



198 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

to bloodshed to prevent my release, but happily 
unsuccessfully. The next morning we moved 
down towards my own house, which stands alone, 
some two and a half miles from the town. In a 
ruined fort a quarter of a mile from my villa a 
halt was made, and messengers were despatched 
to town with letters to the British Minister to 
release the tribal prisoners, who for the last week 
or so had been comfortably housed in the basement 
of the British Consulate, having been brought up 
from Laraiche in specially-chartered steamers. 
Within an hour we saw the sixteen prisoners 
arriving, and very shortly afterwards they were 
being welcomed by their friends. Lord Cranley, 
Mr Wyldbore-Smith, Mr Kirby Green, and Mr 
Carleton accompanied the prisoners on behalf of 
the British Legation, but no formal exchange 
took place. The moment the prisoners arrived I 
was free to depart, though the many adieux that 
I had to make with my mountain friends took 
some little time. We parted on the best of terms, 
and, wild and savage as the two hundred tribesmen 
looked, I could not but feel how great a debt of 
gratitude I owed them for having released me from 
the dangers and discomforts of my first days of 
captivity. 

For a year after this adventure R-aisuli remained 
tolerably quiet, but the following spring he carried 
out a coup even more daring. He surrounded the 
villa of Mr Perdicaris at night, and carried off both 
the proprietor and his son-in-law. The American 
Government sent a fleet to Tangier, and the whole 



RAISULI 199 

world watched the ensuing negotiations. Mr Per- 
dicaris and Mr Varley were restored to liberty ; 
but at what a price ! Raisuli demanded and 
obtained from the Sultan the following terms. 
That he should be appointed the Governor of all 
the districts in the neighbourhood of Tangier ; 
that the existing Governor his former friend, who 
had betrayed him should be deposed ; a ransom 
of $70,000, the imprisonment of all his enemies, 
and the release from prison of all his friends 
and other concessions of less importance. The 
Sultan surrendered, and the terms were carried 
out. Raisuli found himself all-powerful a hero 
in the eyes of the Moors, a menace in those of 
Europe. 

His first acts were good. He put down the 
effervescence which Bou Hamara's rebellion had 
caused in the neighbourhood, and he opened the 
roads to caravan traffic, and since he was made 
Governor not a single caravan had been robbed 
within the limits of his jurisdiction. He brought 
about, in fact, a period of greater security than 
had existed during the previous year or two but 
a security that depended upon Raisuli was natu- 
rally a doubtful one. 

As his influence increased he became a despot. 
He squeezed the people under him, and extorted 
money from even the very poorest of the poor. 
The Maghzen lived in terror of him, and let him 
know it, with the result that he ignored their 
orders and commands, and even the treaties with 
Europe. He threatened and blackmailed even the 



200 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Maghzen authorities, who openly acknowledged 
then- incapacity to deal with him, and he became 
at the same time the protector and the scourge 
of Tangier and the surrounding districts. He 
enforced his authority up to the very gates of the 
town, and his armed followers even entered and 
dragged out of prison men who were not in his 
jurisdiction. His representatives administered jus- 
tice (!) in the market-place, and beat people to death 
within a few yards of the French and German Lega- 
tions. In 1906 Raisuli had reached the zenith of 
his power. At Zinat it was sufficient to tell a man 
that he was a prisoner, and he would never attempt 
to escape. There was no need to lock him up he 
knew that his master's arm was long enough to 
reach him wherever he fled to, and the strange 
sight of dozens of prisoners at liberty could be 
seen there on any day. Raisuli showed all the 
qualities required by a strong Governor in Morocco, 
but unfortunately he overdid it. For him there 
existed no treaties. His and his representatives' 
actions at this period are well known. The flog- 
ging of protected natives, the cutting off of the 
electric light, the blackmailing of Europeans, the 
destruction of property a long list of acts of 
unbearable tyranny. 

At length the representatives of the European 
Powers could endure it no longer. They addressed 
a collective Note to the Moorish Minister of 
Foreign Affairs at Fez, demanding that an end be 
made to the impossible state of affairs existing 
in the Tangier districts. It was almost an ulti- 



RAISULI 201 

matum, for the bay was full of the warships of 
France and Spain, present to protect European 
interests until the introduction of the new police. 
The Sultan and his viziers could not misunderstand 
the purport of this Note. The Minister of War 
was ordered to proceed to Tangier with all avail- 
able forces. 

Early in January 1907 the troops that had 
arrived from Fez were camped not many miles 
from Raisuli's stronghold, waiting for orders to 
attack. News was brought to me that this attack 
would take place two days later, on Saturday, 
6th January; and it was still dark when that 
morning, at a very early hour, I left Tangier on 
horseback with three trusted Moors to see what I 
could of it. I had clothed myself in the flowing 
dress of a trooper of Moorish irregular cavalry, as 
I knew that orders had been issued to prevent 
Europeans approaching the spot, and also so as 
to be able to move about the scene of action with- 
out attracting notice. Before we had emerged 
into the open country we had passed no less than 
six outposts of some twenty-five men each, for 
the Maghzen authorities had been taking great 
precautions to protect the town ; but even the 
clattering of our horses' shoes upon the paved 
roads failed to wake a single man from the deep 
slumber in which they were lying inside their 
tents. At dawn we were a good many miles away, 
but we had time to spare, and rode slowly, 
realising that a long day lay before us ; and it 
was seven o'clock before, from the point of a low 



202 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

hill, the camp of the Shereefian troops was visible 
in the plain below us. A mile to our left was the 
famous hill of Zinat, with its rocky crests and 
precipices, and its steep lower slopes stretching 
down to the plain, at places dotted with olive 
groves. Set in the midst of this background stood 
Raisuli's stronghold, a large rambling building, 
half-fort, half-house, with windows dotted irregu- 
larly about its front, and here and there a battle- 
mented tower rising above the rest of the roof, 
a strong building in a very strong position. Away 
behind Zinat and in front of us rose the higher 
peaks of the Beni Msaour Mountains, range beyond 
range, until, bounding the eastern horizon, they 
were overtopped by the snow-clad summits of 
Beni Hassan. There were no signs of the coming 
struggle at that moment. Cattle were feeding 
near the little villages on the plain, and thin 
white smoke, hanging heavily in the bright air, 
issued from the thatched roofs and tents of the 
plains-people as they cooked their breakfasts. In 
the Shereefian camp there was some movement, 
and near Raisuli's stronghold his followers could 
be seen strolling about, while the smoking chim- 
neys of his house bespoke the fact that they too 
were preparing their breakfasts. 

It was nine o'clock before the scene changed. 
Clear in the still air a bugle rang out in the camp. 
They must have heard it away at Zinat, for sud- 
denly from the summit of the rocks above Raisuli's 
fortress a long thin column of white smoke arose, 
then another and another, and then from peak to 



RAISULI 203 

peak, as far as the eye could reach, the fires were 
answered. The mountaineers were signalling to 
one another that the great battle was imminent. 
Down in the camp below us the infantry were 
" falling in " and the cavalrymen mounting their 
horses, and it was only a few minutes later when 
amongst the beating of drums and the blowing 
of bugles, the neighing of horses and the fluttering 
of coloured banners and flags, the Shereefian 
troops marched out on to the plain. A hoarse 
shout arose from every throat, " Ah ! salih en- 
Nebi, Rasoul Allah ! " an invocation to the 
Prophet, repeated again and again, and answered 
by a far-away and fainter cry of the same words 
from the fortress and rocks of Zinat. 

Once all the troops are out on the plain they are 
drawn up in formation for the attack. On the right 
were the artillery, two field-guns, and a couple of 
Maxims, carried by mules. Near them, amidst a 
panoply of banners, rode the Commander-in-Chief 
and his staff, a group of a hundred or so persons 
well mounted and gaily dressed, with their bright 
saddles of every shade of coloured cloth and 
silk adding to a scene already brilliantly pictur- 
esque. In the centre were some 800 infantry with 
a strong support of tribal cavalry, while on the 
left a somewhat smaller force formed the flank. 
The contingent of loyal mountaineers in their 
short black cloaks could be seen already scaling 
some low hills away on the extreme right. Then 
slowly the whole army advances. 

It was a moment of thrilling excitement. From 



204 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the rocky hill where I had taken up my point of 
vantage the whole scene was passing at my very 
feet. On my left the fortress and rocks ; on my 
right the slowly advancing forces the left flank 
within a hundred yards or so of where I stood. 
At Zinat there was not a sign of life, though with my 
glasses I could see the glint of rifle-barrels in the em- 
brasures of the house, and now and then amongst 
the precipices and rocks above it. The troops are 
within 1200 yards now, and in the open, but still 
advancing slowly, for the most part in close forma- 
tion, and offering even at that range a long one 
for the Moors, who are proverbial bad shots an 
excellent target. The sunlit air is so still that 
every little sound rises unbroken from the plain 
below : a word of command here, a bugle-call 
there. Then suddenly the firing opens from Zinat 
the quick nervous spitting of the Mauser rifles, 
rendered the more impressive from the fact that 
nothing can be seen, for there is not a single man 
there who does not use smokeless powder. A few 
Askaris are seen to fall, killed or wounded, and the 
advance ceases. The whole army replies, firing 
at an impossible range into a solid fort and still 
more solid precipice with rifles that have only 
reached Morocco after they have long been dis- 
carded as useless in Europe, and with powder 
that issues, evil-looking and evil-smelling, from 
the barrels of their weapons. After all, it made 
little difference where they fired, for few or none 
had ever handled a rifle before, and there was 
nothing to shoot at. Meanwhile the cavalry 



RAISULI 205 

galloped to and fro in every direction, except to 
advance, waving flags and firing their rifles, appa- 
rently at the green plover that swept over in 
flocks, disturbed by the unusual racket. 

Inane impotent warfare, carried on by undis- 
ciplined and uncourageous men, whose uniforms 
alone bespoke them as soldiers. 

A curl of thin yellow smoke, widening as it 
ascended, rises from the rocks far above the house 
the first shell fired by the artillery, followed by 
another and another, which, although aimed at 
the house itself, fall in widely different directions, 
more than once nearer the Maghzen troops than 
the enemy. During the entire action of this 
Saturday, although the range was only about 
1000 metres, the house was only struck twice, 
and even the explosion of these two shells did not 
force the defenders to abandon the flat roof and 
windows, though they cannot have failed to be 
effective. Meanwhile the troops on the left, under 
the cover of the rocks, had entered and burned a 
village out of Raisuli's line of fire, and were return- 
ing toward the camp laden with loot, under the 
impression that their duty for the day was over. 
Nor did any one attempt to persuade them to 
re-enter the fight, and I watched them disappear, 
staggering under huge mattresses, chests of painted 
wood the dowry of every Moorish bride, and a 
thousand other household articles. For a back- 
ground the burning village, the flames of which 
rose lurid and roaring into the still air, to pass 
away in great rolls of heavy white smoke. 



206 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

From one to two o'clock the firing slackened, 
but at the latter hour another attempt was made 
to advance. The whole line pushed forward, but 
700 or 800 yards from Zinat they broke, and 
well, if they did not exactly run, they certainly 
returned very quickly. It was at this moment 
that two picturesque incidents occurred. From 
Raisuli's house emerged a woman, who, crossing 
the open ground under a heavy fire, mounted upon 
a rock and thence cursed the troops. She threw 
back her thick " haik," and, tearing her hair, 
waved her arms towards heaven, but the firing 
drowned her voice. Then slowly and majestically 
she drew her veil around her and retired. A few 
seconds later eight men, no doubt encouraged by 
her bravery, rushed into the open grounds, shout- 
ing and jeering at the retiring forces, and firing 
the while with their Mausers. It was then that 
the Commander-in-Chief fell wounded in the neck. 
A mule was brought, and, supported by his ret- 
inue, he was hurriedly taken back to the camp. 
By this time the army had used up all their shells 
and nearly all their cartridges. Even a reserve 
force, hidden in a river-bed a mile in the rear, 
had been firing at that range at the mountain 
ever since the morning, to the imminent danger 
of their advancing comrades. 

The army was now retiring in good order, fol- 
lowed by Raisuli's eight men, who every now and 
then sped a parting shot at them. The battle 
at Zinat was over. The great effort of the Maghzen 
had failed, and the stronghold and village, except 



RAISULI 207 

for a few holes made by the shells, stood as placid 
and peaceful in appearance as it had been in the 
morning. The great Shereefian army had proved 
itself to be like everything else in Morocco, 
except perhaps Raisuli himself a gigantic bluff. 

It was well on in the afternoon now, and the 
scene of the fight was deserted. I crept up a little 
gully to within 400 or 500 yards of the house, and, 
peeping from between the rocks, I took a long 
view with my glasses. On the green sward in 
front of the house stood a man holding a pair of 
glasses to his eyes. On either side of him were 
a few retainers. He stood silent and still, watching 
the retreating army. It was Raisuli. 

At dawn on Sunday morning I was back again 
in the hills near Zinat. Never did the sun rise 
over a more peaceful scene or one more serenely 
beautiful. Peak after peak, many touched with 
snow, turned pink and gold as the first rays of the 
rising sun touched their summits. At Zinat itself 
all was quiet. A little blue smoke, the smoke of 
wood fire, arose from the chimneys of Raisuli' s 
house, in front of which half a dozen mountaineers 
were warming themselves over a small bonfire. 

It was nine o'clock before the troops left the 
camp, and, deploying in much the same formation 
as the day before, advanced across the plain. 
But their numbers were increased, for reinforce- 
ments had been hurriedly sent by night from 
Tangier, and fresh contingents of loyal moun- 
taineers had turned up in force. But what was 
still more important was the addition of one man, 



208 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

an Algerian artillery officer attached to the Sultan's 
service by the French Government, whose shooting 
with the field-guns at Taza and Oujda had largely 
saved the situation at both places. It had been 
the intention of the Maghzen to send him on 
Saturday, but owing to his being a French subject 
they decided not to do so, as in their own con- 
sideration any one to do with France was at this 
period a person to be avoided. Their folly lost 
them the day. Had Si Abderrahman ben Sedira 
been behind the guns on Saturday, Raisuli's house, 
and probably Raisuli and most of his followers, 
would have been destroyed. The proof, if one 
were needed, is this. He accomplished more 
destruction with the two shells he fired at the 
fortress on Sunday morning than in the 130 shots 
fired on Saturday. A general advance toward 
Zinat was commenced a little before two, and the 
two shells above mentioned were fired from the 
field-guns. There was no reply from the house 
or from the rocks above it. Already the troops 
were considerably nearer than they had ever got 
the previous day. A little hesitation was visible, 
for no doubt the soldiers imagined that they were 
being allowed to approach to within an easy and 
certain range. The left were well ahead, led by 
Raisuli's late Calipha, more royalist than the 
King nowadays, who was followed close by his 
contingent of the Fahs tribe. Three hundred 
yards only now separated them from the village. 
With a wild shout and a volley from then* rifles 
the cavalry charged. Over the rising ground they 



RAISULI 209 

passed, a brilliant flash of colour, and never drew 
rein till they were at Raisuli's door. 

The house and village were empty. Then began 
a scene of pandemonium. Askaris, horsemen, 
and tribal contingents rushed upon the castle, 
and the wildest looting commenced. Other bands, 
intent upon pillage, ransacked the neighbouring 
houses. In a few minutes flames burst forth 
from the thatched roofs of the surrounding huts. 
The flames spread, and in as short a space of time 
as it takes to write it the whole village was ablaze. 
The strong wind drove the heavy smoke in huge 
clouds across the face of the mountain, and in 
half an hour all that was left of Zinat were the 
burning houses from above which Raisuli's for- 
tress towered, as yet but slightly damaged. Then 
smoke burst out from its windows. The roof, 
already half blown off by the shells, fell with a 
crash ; a wall toppled over in clouds of dust, and 
little by little the stronghold became a useless 
ruin. Not a shot was fired from the mountain, 
for there was no one to fire one. Silently in the 
night Raisuli and his followers, and the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring villages, with all their old 
people, their women and children, and their flocks 
and herds, had crept away into the darkness over 
the plain and on into the mountains. Not a guard 
had been posted to keep watch, not a blow had been 
struck to prevent them escaping. Under the rocks 
upon which I was seated the soldiers, laden with 
loot, were returning. Carpets, mattresses, boxes, 
vases of artificial flowers, tea-trays and tea-cups, 

o 



210 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

sacks of flour and grain, rolls of matting all the 
belongings and appurtenances of Moorish houses 
formed their burdens. One soldier, a cheery 
kindly-looking giant, was whistling to a canary in 
a cage, which he had brought away in preference 
to more valuable loot. 

As I rode over the brow of the hill on my way 
back to Tangier I drew rein for a moment and 
looked back. The army was leaving Zinat, and 
the burning houses were little more than heaps 
of smouldering ashes. Beyond lay the high moun- 
tains of Beni Msaour, whence Raisuli and the 
inhabitants of his villages must have been looking 
upon the ruins of their homes. 



II. 



RAISULI was now completely outlawed. He lived 
in the fastness of his mountains, where the Sultan's 
troops could never even attempt to penetrate. 
Thence he spread alarm right and left, causing 
constant fears and panics, even to the Europeans 
at Tangier. 

The whole situation in Morocco was seething. 
The tribes had become to all intents and purposes 
independent, and many threw off all pretence of 
obeying the orders of their Governors or of paying 
taxes. Such as were more vulnerable, either from 
their geographical position or by their numerical 
weakness, were persecuted and squeezed to make 
up for the delinquencies of the others. The 
rapacity of the viziers was greater than ever, and 
the Sultan's extravagances seemed to have in- 
creased by the fresh supply of money that an ill- 
advised foreign loan had a year or two before 
brought into his spending power. Bou Hamara, 
the Pretender, in the Rif, and Raisuli amongst 
the mountain tribes, were the two principal thorns 
in the Maghzen's side. With Bou Hamara, who 
stated that he was the eldest brother of the Sultan, 
nothing could be done. He remained in the 



212 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

inaccessible Rif tribe-lands, where he governed as 
a petty Sultan ; and even the Spanish authorities, 
who waited long to see him driven out, were at 
last obliged to enter into relation with him, in 
order to ensure the security of their "Presidios." 
That Bou Hamara and Raisuli were in com- 
munication is certain, but there was little respect 
and little confidence between them, and except 
for the passage of letters no compact of real or 
practical importance seems to have existed between 
them. Yet that their relations were cordial is 
clear, from the original document in my possession 
sealed by Bou Hamara with his great seal of State, 
by which he appoints Raisuli Governor of certain 
of the mountain tribes. On this seal of State, 
Bou Hamara uses the style " Mohammed ben 
Hassen " claiming thereby to be Mulai Moham- 
med, the eldest son of Mulai Hassen, and therefore 
the elder brother of the reigning Sultan. 

Raisuli had no pretensions to the Sultanate, 
though in the eyes of Europe he played a more 
important part, for his principal activities were 
employed in the districts of Tangier, the diplo- 
matic capital of the country. 

In 1906 that futile Conference of Algeciras 
futile, that is to say, in so far as it had any bene- 
ficial effect in Morocco had met, discussed, signed, 
and separated. It had for Europe, no doubt, 
cleared the situation, and was a check to Germany ; 
but poor Morocco gained little in fact, it marked 
one more step on its road to ruin. Never probably 
did such a collection of diplomatists, whose high- 



RAISULI 213 

sounding titles fill the first few pages of that 
insignificant little yellow -book which contains 
the results of their insignificant labours, give 
themselves airs of such importance. For days 
together they discussed the questions of the import 
of sporting-guns and the rifling of gun-barrels with 
all the pomposity of affairs of the gravest moment 
to pass to the rules for the distribution of parcels 
post. Three or four men were playing a great 
stake representatives of England and France, 
and of Germany and it was well played. The 
victory remained with the two former. The rest 
were puppets, but didn't realise it. They really 
thought, or seemed to think, that their endeavours 
were being of service to the country which few 
of them knew anything about, beyond the distant 
view they could obtain of it from the hills above 
Algeciras. 

Northern Morocco was at its worst the year after 
the Algeciras Act had been signed, and even the 
pleasure-loving Mulai Abdul Aziz perceived that 
affairs were becoming serious. He decided to 
open negotiations with Raisuli. For this purpose 
Kaid Maclean had an interview with the brigand 
chief in April (1907). Raisuli listened to the 
Raid's proposals, but refused to accompany him 
to Fez, where the Sultan was then residing. 
However, a step had been made toward a possible 
arrangement. A month later, armed with the 
authority of the Sultan, Kaid Maclean returned 
to Alcazar, a town on the Tangier-Fez road, 
situated about sixty miles from the former. But 



214 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

meanwhile it has leaked out that Raisuli would 
attempt the capture of this important functionary. 
Every effort was made by the Sultan, who had 
also received the news, and by the British Legation, 
to cancel the interview, and the British Consular 
Agent at Alcazar was instructed to this effect to 
continue the negotiations. An interview with 
Raisuli was secretly arranged, to be held on the 
borders of the Ahlserif tribe-lands, some few miles 
from Alcazar. There these two personages met. 
The Sultan's propositions were made known to 
Raisuli, who pretended to accept them, and to 
be disposed to return to Fez with the Kaid. He 
would, he said, start at once, and if the Kaid would 
accompany him to the village where his camp 
was pitched they would set out the next day. 
The Kaid agreed, and entered the mountains with 
his host only there was no setting out the next 
day, for he found himself a prisoner, and remained 
in captivity for some seven months, suffering 
considerable hardships. 

Of all the negotiations for the obtaining of the 
liberty of Raisuli' s prisoners, these were the most 
difficult. The terms demanded by Raisuli were 
preposterous, and a score of people seemed negotiat- 
ing on their own account, while the Kaid himself 
was doing his utmost, and very naturally, to obtain 
his release. The result was confusion and mis- 
understanding, and the distance from Tangier at 
which Raisuli kept his captive increased the 
difficulties. Had the whole affair been left in the 
hands of Sir Gerard Lowther, who at this period 



RAISULI 215 

ably represented England in Morocco, it is probable 
that Kaid Maclean's release would have been more 
quickly obtained. But on every occasion on which 
a solution seemed near some perfectly new pro- 
position, emanating from unauthorised sources, 
would frustrate the official plans. In the end 
Raisuli obtained 20,000, and he was made a 
British protected subject ; and there were other 
minor terms. Kaid Maclean was released. The 
only pleasing aspect of all these brigandage cases 
was the absolute confidence that Raisuli always 
placed in the word of the British Government, 
the British authorities, and in fact that of all 
Britishers. 

Some years after this event, when the ex-Sultan 
Mulai Abdul, Aziz, who had just abdicated, was visit- 
ing my villa at Tangier, I showed him two Arabic 
documents. One was his original " Dahir " for 
the nomination of Raisuli as Governor of the 
tribes, which the brigand had extorted as part of 
the ransom of Perdicaris ; and the other was 
Raisuli' s appointment as Governor of the same 
tribes, bearing another great seal of State, that 
of the Pretender, Bou Hamara. Mulai Abdul 
Aziz asked me how I had become possessed of 
these two documents. I told him. The " Dahir " 
of the Pretender I had found, during my im- 
prisonment, in a secret cupboard in a room of 
Raisuli's house at Zinat. I had carried it, sewn 
up in my clothing, with other equally interesting 
correspondence, during the whole period of my 
captivity. The firman of the Sultan himself I 



216 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

had obtained the day Raisuli's house was looted 
by the Maghzen troops, at which picturesque 
incident I had been present. 

The ex-Sultan smiled. " There seems," he said 
rather cynically, "to be nothing of interest in 
Morocco which hasn't reached either your know- 
ledge or your hands ; nothing that you haven't 
had given you acquired ? " 

" The most valuable of all things was given me," 
I replied. 

" And that was ? " 
X" Your Majesty's friendship." 

It was at this period, while an outlaw in the 
mountains, that Raisuli nearly made his most 
important capture. It was an incident that was 
kept very quiet at the time, but leaked out in 
the French Press a little later. The truth was, we 
Europeans who played a part and we very 
nearly played a very serious part in the story 
had no desire for publicity. 

The facts were these. The ruins of Raisuli's 
stronghold at Zinat were only distant from Tangier 
about fourteen miles, and formed a tempting 
excursion, but one which no one undertook, as 
it was notoriously unsafe. However, as time went 
on and nothing occurred in the neighbourhood of 
Tangier to disturb the tranquillity, and as Raisuli 
and his band seemed permanently to have taken 
up their residence in the mountains at a con- 
siderable distance from the scene of their former 
activities, a picnic at Zinat was decided upon, 
and I was invited. The other members of our 



RAISULI 217 

party consisted of Sir Gerard Lowther, then 
British Minister to Morocco, Monsieur and Madame 
de Beaumarchais of the French Legation, and 
Mr Christopher Lowther, the son of the Speaker 
of the House of Commons. I formed the fifth 
member of the party. 

One hot summer morning we rode out, having 
sent our lunch on in advance. On nearing Zinat 
we were hailed by a countryman who was plough- 
ing his fields. I rode to see what he wanted, 
and was informed that Raisuli's band was back 
at Zinat, apparently having come to take away 
some treasure which had, by being buried, escaped 
the looting of the soldiery at the time of the destruc- 
tion of the castle. He advised us not to proceed. 
We discussed this news, and in the folly of an 
enjoyable excursion, decided, as the lunch was on 
ahead, to proceed. Nothing could surpass the 
tranquillity of the scene on our arrival, and we 
were soon lunching under the shade of the olive- 
trees. I confess that the pleasure of the foie-gras 
was mingled, in my case, with a certain nervous 
apprehension from which the others appeared 
immune. We did not believe, or had pretended 
not to believe, the story of the return of Raisuli's 
brigands. 

Lunch was nearly over when the glint of a rifle- 
barrel in the thick brushwood caught my eye, 
and another and yet another in the rocks, for the 
hill at Zinat is a wild precipitous slope of broken 
masses of rock and scrub. A minute later we were 
surrounded. The men were perfectly polite, and 



218 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

to all intents and purposes appeared merely to 
have come to wish us good- day. At their head 
was the good-looking young Ahmed el-Aoufi, 
Raisuli's second-in-command, a personal friend of 
my own, who had shown me considerable kindness 
during my captivity with the brigands in 1903. 
He shook us warmly by the hand, and, his rifle 
between his knees, sat down to spend the time 
of day. A few yards away, in a complete circle 
round us, were thirty or forty of his men. 

I confess that situations like this exhilarate me. 
I hate bloodshed and noisy encounters, but a 
delicate situation has a zest that is unique, and, 
heavens ! it was a delicate situation. The British 
Minister and the French Charge d' Affaires what 
a coup ! I was the only member of the party who 
spoke Arabic, and the suspense the others must 
have suffered during the next hour or two must 
have been extreme. Yet no one made a sign. 
I have often seen great examples of self-restraint, 
but never, I think, greater than on this occasion. 
Remember, my friends understood nothing of 
what I was saying, except that every now and 
again I referred to them for confirmation of my 
assertions. For me the situation was very exciting. 
If I was taken after all, it was only what had 
happened before, and I was used to adventure and 
hardship but for the others ! and I could not 
help thinking of the terms probably impossible 
terms that Raisuli would demand for their re- 
lease and of the possible consequences ! I have 
found on occasions like these for this was by 



RAISULI 219 

no means the only tight place of the kind that 
I have been in that not only is there a kind 
of exhilaration, but also that one's power of 
concentration of thought is accentuated. How- 
ever inauspicious the actual surroundings may be, 
one feels and knows that the mental superiority 
rests with the European, and that hereditary 
training of thought and education stand one in 
good stead. The Moor is no fool, he is cunning 
and astute, but his mind is untrained and he is 
confiding when dealing with Europeans. In the 
first moments of our encounter at Zinat I knew 
that our safety depended upon the game that I 
was determined to play and which I played 
successfully. 

I began with an enormous untruth. Holding 
El-Aoufi's hand, I told him I was delighted to 
see him, and that his visit was most opportune 
nothing, in fact, could have been better. Then 
I sat him down, and talked to him and to his chief 
companions seriously. It was at this moment 
that Madame de Beaumarchais, with the admir- 
able sangfroid of a talented and courageous 
Frenchwoman, took a photograph. The man to 
whom I was talking was Ould el-Aoufi ; the Euro- 
pean seated just behind me was the late Sir 
Gerard Lowther. 

The story that I told them was this. I reminded 
them that Raisuli had been driven from the 
Governorship of Tangier and the surrounding 
tribes at the demand of the European Powers. 
They had acted unwisely and realised it, and now 



220 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

they regretted their action. " Do you know," I 
asked, " who these people are who are here 
to-day ? " 

" We are not sure," they replied. 

" Then I will teU you," and I did. Instead of, 
as would seem natural, trying to conceal the 
identity of my distinguished friends, I launched 
out into exaggerated statements as to their im- 
portance. I saw I had made an impression. My 
audience were now thoroughly puzzled. 

" And why are they here ? " I asked. " Listen, 
and I will tell you. The Powers of Europe regret 
Raisuli's departure and disgrace. They desire 
him to be reinstated, but the Sultan has refused. 
The Powers insist, and as the Maghzen still holds 
out, the Governments of England and France have 
telegraphed to their representatives the gentle- 
men you see here to-day instructing them to 
visit the scene of the depredations on Raisuli's 
castle, and to make all the necessary arrangements 
for its reconstruction as quickly as possible, so 
that Raisuli can be restored to his own, and once 
more introduce law and order into the region. 
For this purpose we are come to-day against the 
advice of all our friends so that the work can 
be undertaken at once. Meanwhile the letter 
recalling Raisuli from the mountains is being 
drawn up." I then added, " We were warned 
on the way that we should find you here, and 
advised to turn back, but I told the people who 
warned us that Raisuli's men would perfectly 
understand our mission, and nice trouble they 




[Photo by Madame de Beavmarchttit. 
THE AUTHOR, EL AOUFI, AND RAISULl's BRIGANDS. 




[Photo by Madame de Beautnarchais. 

THE AUTHOR MEASURING THE WALLS OF THE RUINS OF 

RAISULI'S HOUSE. 
(The European standing in the background is the late 



RAISULI 221 

would get into with their chief if they captured 
the very men who are insisting on restoring him 
to his former grandeur, and obtaining the return 
of all his confiscated property and even rebuild- 
ing his castle at the expense of the Governments ^ 
they represent. " I should like to see your face, -^n^ 
friend Ahmed el-Aoufi, after Raisuli had discovered 
the ' gaffe ' that you had made ; and if I know 
your chief, friend and confidant as you are, I can 
imagine the stripes he could lay upon your bare 
back. Do you think that, unless we had been 
really his benefactors, we should ever have been 
such fools to have ventured into this hornets' 
nest ? Now up with you," I cried, rising, " and 
we will see what we can do with these ruins." 

I led the way down to the ruins, and for the 
next hour measured walls, took notes of the local 
price of masons and carpenters and the possibilities 
of obtaining bricks on the spot, proposed a new 
water-supply which the laws of gravitation ren- 
dered quite impossible, and even whispered in 
El-Aoufi's ear that there would be money to 
build him a little house adjoining his chief's. 
We came to the conclusion that for between 
12,000 and 15,000, taking into consideration 
that Raisuli could obtain a plentiful supply of 
forced labour, and as much material as he liked, 
the house could be restored to more than its 
pristine glories. 

Another photograph taken by Madame de Beau- 
marchais pictures us pacing out the length of the 
walls of the house. 



222 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

My note-book full of figures, I sat down again 
and dictated to El-Aoufi the following letter, which 
he wrote : "To the trusted and well-beloved 
Shereef , the learned Mulai Ahmed er-Raisuli, peace 
and the mercy of God be upon you ; and acting on 
the instructions of their Governments, of which 
the letter I sent you yesterday will have given 
you full particulars, the British Minister and the 
French Charge d' Affaires have paid a visit to the 
ruins of your Kasbah. They have grieved much to 
see its piteous state. As you will have learned by 
the contents of my letter, it is the intention of 
their Governments not only to restore you to 
power but also to reconstruct your castle. To-day 
we are at Zinat, and we had the good fortune to 
find your faithful and intelligent deputy, my lord 
Ahmed el-Aoufi, and your followers, who have 
been of great use to us, and have shown us many 
things that have helped us, and have guarded us 
in security and peace from any bad people who 
may have been about. We are grateful. And my 
lord Ahmed el-Aoufi will tell you of many things 
which in our friendship for you we have confided 
to him. We will await at Tangier a reply to the 
letter I sent you yesterday, explaining fully those 
things, and immediately on receiving the reply 
measures will be taken to commence the restora- 
tion of your Kasbah ; but it is trusted that you 
will not wait its completion before returning to 
your former position, for any delay will only 
protract the unsatisfactory state of affairs existing 
at present, and continue the nervousness of the 



RAISULI 223 

population of Tangier and the oppression of the 
poor country people. My lord El-Aoufi will tell 
you all. May peace be with you." 

To this epistle I put my signature, and not one 
pang of conscience did I feel, nor have felt since. 
Raisuli and I had played many games only this 
one was a little bigger than the rest. To tell the 
truth, so far from feeling guilty, I literally revelled 
in my deception. 

It was time to return to Tangier, and I confess 
I was nervous. I proposed to El-Aoufi that the 
others should start first, and that I should remain 
for a while and catch them up on the road. I 
wanted to spend, I said, a little while longer in 
his company it was a pleasure so rare and so 
valued. 

With a sigh of relief I saw the rest of our party 
mount. El-Aoufi shook hands with all of them 
and thanked them for their visit and they rode 
slowly away. My fears were at an end. 

I sat for half an hour, and explained to El-Aoufi 
that Raisuli would have already received my 
(perfectly imaginary) letter of yesterday which 
explained the whole situation, and that on his 
return to his chief in the mountains, some six or 
eight hours' journey farther on, he would find 
him fully informed. He (El-Aoufi) must, I added, 
have crossed my letter en route. Had he not met 
the messenger, whose name I gave ? No ! Well, 
then, he must have taken another track. My 
friends were now no more than little black specks 
far away in the plain. I rose and embraced El- 



224 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Aoufi, and in the manner of the country we kissed 
each other's shoulders. My horse was brought, 
and, cantering slowly down the slope, I rode away 
toward Tangier. 

In spite of the deliberate series of falsehoods 
of which I had been guilty during those few hours, 
I never felt less conscience-stricken and perhaps 
never happier in my life. 

I have seen Raisuli many times since the inci- 
dent. He referred to El- Aoufi, after a trial fight, 
as a lion of courage. 

" There was no finer creature in God's world," 
I replied, " than the lion, but sometimes the wily 
jackal deceives him." 

I noticed a little flash in Raisuli' s eye, but he 
answered languidly, " Verily the jackal is an 
unclean beast." 

Sir Gerard Lowther, the Beaumarchais, Christo- 
pher Lowther, and I all dined together the night 
of our adventure, but we didn't talk very much 
about it. Our thankfulness for our escape was 
only equalled by our appreciation of our immense 
folly in having undertaken the expedition. We 
agreed that, if possible, the incident was to be 
kept a secret, but a few weeks later the ' Temps ' 
contained the whole story, which had leaked out 
from native sources and got to Paris. 

I should have liked to have seen the interview 
of Raisuli and El- Aoufi when the latter related 
the incident and gave him my letter. He fell 
from favour for a time, as might be expected, 
but he came to see me in Tangier a few months 



RAISULI 225 

later. We did not mention the visit to Zinat, 
but discussed more general subjects. Talking of 
the good and bad qualities of mankind, El-Aoufi 
said, " The most degrading thing in the world is 
deceit," and he said it quite nastily. 

" In my opinion there is something even more 
humiliating," I replied. 

" That is ? " 

" To be made a fool of." 

But we parted the best of friends. 



III. 



ALTHOUGH, as will have been appreciated, my 
relations with Raisuli were varied and adventure- 
some, I bear him no grudge ; and I think he always 
considered me as a friend, and I hope does so now. 
He has, on his visits to Tangier, often spent hours 
at a time in my house, discussing the many situa- 
tions in the country and the varying attitudes of 
the mountain tribes. He had lost much of his 
former handsome appearance, having become heavy 
and stout, and his expression perhaps more cruel. 
He was always courteous and generally amusing, 
often in a very sarcastic cynical manner. He was 
full of his own importance, and seemed to realise 
that he was unique which, perhaps happily, he 
certainly was. 

On one occasion while at my house, he saw in a 
glass case an illuminated Koran of considerable 
artistic value, both on account of its antiquity 
and of its beauty. Now, the Moors cannot bear 
to see their religious books in the possession of 
Europeans, and Raisuli, without more ado, ex- 
tracted the book from the vitrine, kissed it rever- 
ently, carefully wrapped it in a silk handkerchief, 
and placed it in the hands of one of his slaves. 



RAISULI 227 

He gave no explanation of his action, which, after 
all, needed no explanation. The conversation 
flowed on in other channels, and he never so much 
as mentioned the book. A little later he left and 
so did my Koran. 

I had two of these Korans, but the one which 
Raisuli had taken was much the finest, from the 
collector's point of view. The second copy was, 
however, newer and more brilliant in colour, and 
certainly would appear in the eyes of a Moor a 
more desirable acquisition, for to them antiquity 
is of no great account. This second copy Raisuli 
had not seen. 

The next day I sent one of my Moors with it, 
wrapped in silk, to ask Raisuli whether he would 
be willing to restore me the one he had taken in 
exchange for this newer and far better preserved 
volume. The first copy, I informed him, perhaps 
not quite truly, had a very great personal interest 
to me, and I begged him to accept the second 
and restore me the older one. I hinted that the 
second was a much superior book. My man 
returned crestfallen and sad. His mission had 
failed. He brought me many friendly messages 
from Raisuli but no book, neither the first nor the 
second, for Raisuli had kept both. It was ex-/ 
asperating, but there was nothing to be done but 
to swear to be equal with him at some future 
time. 

One morning, about a month later, I sent to 
him asking him to lend me two riding-mules with 
their saddles, for some friends of mine to ride on 



228 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

to a picnic good pacing mules, as my friends 
were not accustomed to riding. Half an hour 
later two very fine mules, caparisoned in rich red 
saddles, arrived, led by Raisuli's slaves. I myself 
put them in my stable and turned the key. I 
then sent to Raisuli to say that when I had my 
books he could have his mules. One of his secre- 
taries returned with my messenger, and after the 
usual compliments informed me that his master 
had instructed him to say that the books were 
invaluable, and that he could not restore them. 
The mules were mine, he added ; in fact every- 
thing Raisuli possessed was mine except, of 
course, the books and if I required more mules 
or horses he could send me as many as I wished. 
He could easily have done so : he possessed dozens 
and dozens, if not hundreds, nearly all confiscated 
or extorted from the people of the country. They 
had cost him nothing to get, then they would 
therefore cost little to give. 

My conscience smote me. My little trick ap- 
peared so mean beside this dignified magnificence 
and generosity of Raisuli. I offered to restore the 
mules, but he would not hear of it. They continued 
in my stables, and my friendship with their former 
owner flowed on undiminished and unchanged. I 
saw him often. Since the episode of the Koran, 
books have never been mentioned between us ; 
now mules were also placed upon the Index. 
Never directly or indirectly in his conversations 
did we ever refer to the subject. Nor was my 
capture ever spoken of. Only once a tactless 



RAISULI 229 

European broached in the brigand chief's presence 
of my having been for some time at his stronghold 
at Zinat. With a pleasant smile Raisuli interposed : 
" My house is always at the disposal of my friends." 
Hospitality is innate in the Moorish character. 

The giving and taking of presents was practised 
a great deal in the " old " Morocco, but it is now 
happily disappearing. It was always a great 
nuisance. One often gave away something one 
really wanted and it was so difficult to replace 
anything and got in return some perfectly useless 
acquisition. I have arrived back in Tangier after 
a long journey in the interior with half a dozen 
new horses, most of them neither good nor bad. 
I couldn't possibly ride them all, and they were 
only a very irksome expense and luxury. At 
first, and for a long time, I hesitated to adopt the 
custom of the country, and hand them on as 
presents to some one else. A feeling possessed me 
that gifts were " sacrosanct," and must be kept 
at all costs, and that the giver would be hurt in 
his feelings to learn that his present had been 
passed on. But in time I found that the donor 
didn't care the least what became of his presents, 
or ever give them a second thought. 

One of the viziers once gave me an amber neck- 
lace of transparent cut beads. He said the Sultan 
had given it to him, and that His Majesty had 
received it from a high official from the southern 
capital. A few years afterwards I gave it to a 
young European lady about to be married, as a 
wedding present, to find out that it had been her 



230 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

father who had brought it to Morocco as looking 
much more expensive than it really was and had 
given it to one of the tribal Governors in return 
for something else. It had travelled all over 
Morocco, but got home at last to where it had 
started from, to meet with no appreciation. We 
laughed over the history of the necklace, and the 
damsel got another present in exchange. My 
amber beads now deck the fair throat if she ever 
wears them of a beautiful and distinguished lady 
far away from Morocco. 

My stables were often full to overflowing, and 
were a very great strain upon my resources, until 
I steeled my heart and gave the horses away as 
they came in. But unfortunately it was not 
horses the Moorish authorities wanted : they had 
already too many. No, it was one's watch or 
one's shot-gun, or a sporting-rifle, or a barometer 
or field-glasses that they always set their hearts 
upon something rare and impossible to procure 
or replace in the country. Nor were one's troubles 
over when the exchange of presents was accom- 
plished, for there were the numberless tips that 
had to be given. A horse would be brought, led 
by a slave and accompanied by the chief of the 
stables and two grooms and they had to be 
satisfied. Then probably the son of the donor 
would pay a visit to my camp and express a sudden 
and intense desire to be possessed of my shot-gun 
or my watch-chain ; and when he had left, satisfied 
perhaps with a less costly present from a box of 
objects brought for the purpose, the secretary of 



RAISULI 231 

his father would arrive to apologise for the son's 
rudeness, and to say that he would be punished 
by his father for having ventured to ask for any- 
thing. He would sing the praises of my recently- 
acquired horse. Then a tone of sadness would 
be adopted. He was a poor man ; he had had 
troubles. He wouldn't have breathed of it to 
another, not if lions' teeth were tearing his entrails ; 
but he felt that the bond of sympathy between us 
was so close that and then came out a long story, 
perfectly untrue of course, of the meanness of his 
employer, and of his unpaid salary, &c. He could 
keep his secret no longer, he must tell it, and with 
tears in his eyes he would beg for a sum of money, 
generally modest enough. However, there was 
always scope for bargaining, and his demands 
would diminish, till eventually he would go away 
with a few coins in ecstasy of pretended gratitude. 
Accepting the hospitality of the great chiefs 
was only a little less costly, and a night's enter- 
tainment by some dignitary or governor of a tribe 
was often both tiring and expensive. It meant a 
succession of visits to one's camp on the part of a 
host of inquisitive people, most of whom wanted 
something. There were the guards too, who were 
specially given one to keep away these inquisitive 
people, but who, in fact, only added to their 
number. These guards expected payment for the 
duties they so signally failed in accomplishing. 
Then great quantities of food were sent by the high 
official living fowls, a live sheep, loaves of sugar, 
packets of tea, barley for the horses, and these 



232 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

commodities, supplied in abundance that was as 
extravagant as it was irksome, necessitated un- 
ending tips in exchange. It took three men, for 
instance, to lead the sheep, and a slave to carry 
each fowl and one and all waited their pourboires 
before departing. Then at dinner-time generally 
it was so late that it was nearly midnight great 
dishes of cooked food would arrive and very 
excellent they were and probably the great man 
himself and some of his household would invite 
themselves to the dinner they had so amply pro- 
vided. It was nearly always very tiring, and always 
very late before sleep could be obtained. Once in 
a way it was pleasant enough, and I can look back 
upon many and many a night spent in this way 
in feasting with the great men of the land, the 
memory of which is very pleasant. No food was 
wasted, for the sheep and chickens were killed 
and the retainers and slaves came and helped in 
the camp-kitchen, and brought great earthen pots 
and pans for the cooking and sat and sang and 
ate the whole night through. On the outskirts 
of the camp would collect the poor, and these 
were never forgotten. 

I have travelled in China and Japan, in Persia, 
Arabia, and Abyssinia, and in many parts of 
North Africa, Turkey in Asia and Syria, but 
" old " Morocco was by far the most expensive 
to travel in. There were absolutely no facilities 
no caravanserais to put up in, and all food and 
sometimes fodder and fuel had to be carried with 
one. Nothing but a sheep and chickens could be 




[Photo by A uthot 
MY CARAVAN CROSSING THE ATLAS. 



RAISULI 233 

bought on the road, even one's bread had to be 
transported or cooked in camp. The purchase or 
hire of caravan animals was always heavy, and 
sometimes exorbitant. Tips were excessive. Only 
at the towns at long distances apart could any 
stores be replenished, and in the inland cities, 
beyond tea, sugar, and candles, nothing else was 
procurable. In spring-time butter could be bought, 
but even if it was procurable at other periods of 
the year it was always the preserved " smin " 
with its strong taste and smell. I have never yet 
discovered the reason that rendered travel so 
difficult and so expensive. The bad Government 
no doubt had much to do with it, for there was 
actually not only no incentive to the people to pros- 
per and breed animals, but on the contrary to be 
rich or even fairly well-to-do rendered the native 
liable to arrest, confiscation of his property, and 
perhaps total disappearance. Yet the Moor has 
been always thrifty, ready to turn his hand to 
work, and still more ready to earn money. In 
spite of this, it was often difficult even in the big 
centres to collect caravan mules for a journey, and 
then hire was often exorbitant. 

I am writing of journeys in which I travelled 
as a European with a large camp, often alone, 
sometimes in the company of friends, when all 
the rigid etiquette and formality of visits to the 
Kaids and local authorities had to be paid. But 
there were other journeys when, with half a dozen 
mules of my own, and my own men with me, a 
few good horses, and tents of less pretensions and 



234 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

native in character, I wandered through the 
country alone and in native clothes, for months 
and months together. Those were the great days : 
long almost objectless journeys, wandering whither 
the desire led me now to the cities of Wazzan, 
Fez, or Marrakesh, now on the borders of the 
snows of the Great Atlas. Unless actually explor- 
ing, as on my Tafilet journey, I never, of course, 
pretended to pass as a native ; but the fact of the 
Moorish dress kept away the inquisitive people, 
and even reduced the constant demands that were 
made upon one's purse. It rendered life much 
more pleasant. Instead of pitching one's camp 
outside the great men's castles, I was invited to 
stay within, generally in a little guest apartment 
of two or three rooms, and the masses of un- 
necessary food were reduced to pleasant meals 
with one's host. To the Moor " Christian " clothes 
and a hat on one's head meant the most formal 
of relations, while once these were discarded I 
was accepted in intimacy. 

The latest visit that I have paid to Raisuli was 
about eight years ago, when he was building his 
palace at Arzeila. I was accompanied by a young 
niece, who had come on a short visit to Tangier, 
and by a girl friend of hers. I thought nothing 
could be more amusing for two English girls than 
to pay a visit to the famous brigand at the little 
old walled town of Arzeila, with the remains of 
its old Portuguese castle and bastions. A zest 
was added to this visit by the disapproval it 
occasioned amongst my friends. It was late at 



RAISULI 235 

night when we reached Raisuli's camp, for he had 
come some way to meet us. A tidal river had 
delayed us, and we had sat on its banks waiting 
for the water to descend, until after dark. It 
was with a sigh of relief that I saw the lights and 
fires of the camp, for the night was pitch dark, 
and our horses stallions, of course, for no one 
rides anything else in Morocco had become very 
excited from the proximity of numerous mares, 
invisible in the blackness of the night. 

We found Raisuli in his great tent, a circular 
canvas pavilion some twenty-five feet in diameter, 
with high walls and a lofty roof. An immense 
square pillar, rather than a pole, supported the 
great weight, for the whole tent was lined through- 
out with heavy and very expensive dark-green 
cloth. The outside of the tent was of white 
canvas decorated in designs of indigo blue material, 
appliqued to the canvas. 

While our tents were being pitched we dined in 
Raisuli's pavilion. The famous brigand was accom- 
panied by a certain number of his friends and 
secretaries, while an ex-high native official had 
also arrived on a visit the same day, to take part 
in the hunting we were to be offered. My niece, 
her friend, and myself were, of course, the only 
Europeans. Tall highly-polished brass candle- 
sticks, bearing large candles, stood on trays of the 
same material, and sufficed to light the tent and 
to illumine the faces of the guards of mountaineers 
and the black slaves who stood or squatted in 
groups without the door, ready to do their master's 



236 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

bidding. A number of smaller tents were pitched 
in a great semicircle, of which the apex was 
formed by Raisuli's pavilion. 

Seated on luxurious mattresses, which were 
arranged all round the walls of the great tent, 
we were served with dishes of cooked meats, 
green tea, with its flavouring mint and herbs, and 
coffee. 

The following day we rode on to Arzeila. 
Raisuli's retinue, a couple of hundred of moun- 
taineers, spread themselves out in a long line and 
hunted as they went, with horse and gun and grey- 
hound, and sticks and even stones singing and 
shouting the whole time. 

On our arrival we were invited by our host 
either to take up our residence in a house in the 
little town which had been furnished and pre- 
pared for us, or in a vast camp that had been 
pitched for our reception near the sea-shore, and 
within two hundred yards of the Atlantic breakers. 
We chose the latter, for the outskirts of Arzeila 
form one of the most delightful camping-grounds 
in Morocco. 

On our left lay the old town, with its frowning 
towers and battlements rising above the olive- and 
orange-trees of the surrounding gardens. In front 
the soft green grass sloped gently to the yellow 
sands and the great expanse of ocean, while behind 
us rose undulating grassy hills. The camp buzzed 
with life : soldiers in uniform, slaves and servants 
passed and repassed, and a long line of some 
forty horses, tethered by their feet in the custom 



RAISULI 237 

of the country, were at our disposal should we 
want to ride other horses than our own. Food, 
dead and alive, poured into the camp it seemed 
one perpetual procession of great cooked dishes 
and flocks of sheep and crates of chickens and 
pigeons. A native band discoursed shrill music 
at all the most inconvenient hours of day and 
night. 

Raisuli was the best of hosts, and in excellent 
spirits. Amongst other entertainments that he 
offered us was a luncheon to my niece, her friend, 
and myself, served in an upper room on one of 
the high towers that overhung the sea. With the 
sweetest of smiles, and in a most successful en- 
deavour to interest his young lady guests, if not 
to amuse them, he pointed out one of the windows 
of the room an old embrasure in the walls 
through which at the point of the bayonet he and 
his men had driven the late Governor of the town, 
the Kaid Khalkhali, to fall forty feet on to the 
rocks beneath, only a short time before. The past 
history of one's hosts at Moorish entertainments 
added a piquant flavour to the repasts. In 
Morocco one mustn't be too critical, and it was 
seldom one dined with any great native authority 
in the country who had not a record behind him 
that would have outdone Newgate's historic annals. 
Thank God, those days are over. The advent of 
the French has put an end to the period that was 
really terrible. Yet when one lived amongst these ^ 
great crimes the sudden appearances and dis- 
appearances, the midnight burials in desert places, 



238 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the carrying off of women; hate, love, revenge, 
and now and again some great unselfishness the 
exaggeration, in fact, of all qualities and all senti- 
ments good and bad, one ceased to wonder. 
Whole families would fall in wealth and luxury 
to-day, and gone to-morrow to rise again perhaps 
a generation later, and carry on the blood-feud of 
revenge and hate or perhaps, generally unwisely, 
to forgive. 



IV. 



As has already been stated, one of the terms for 
the release of Kaid Maclean demanded by Eaisuli 
and complied with by the British Government 
was his being made a British protected subject, 
which status put him outside the jurisdiction of 
the Sultan, and rendered him amenable to British 
law. It was a humiliating sacrifice for His Majesty's 
Government to have to make, but there was no 
way out of it. Raisuli might have perhaps been 
persuaded to abandon the 20,000 that he received 
in cash, but never this other clause of the terms. 
Freed thus from fear of arrest by the Sultan, he took 
to a more regular life, and began the construction 
of his great residence at Arzeila. It must be 
added, that pending the period during which he 
enjoyed British protection he committed no crimes 
that we know of more than those of extortion from 
the tribes and no doubt certain cruelties. It 
was fortunate that the suffering tribesmen did 
not complain to the British authorities, as it would 
have been difficult even to summon Raisuli to 
appear in the Tangier Consular Court and still 
more difficult to have got him there. 

While Raisuli was living quietly at Arzeila, if 



240 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

being visited by all the neighbouring tribesmen 
and living in a turmoil of building can be so 
described, affairs elsewhere in Morocco were seeth- 
ing. In 1908 Mulai Abdul Aziz, defeated with his 
army in the south, abdicated, and Mulai Hafid 
seized the throne. After a long and dangerous 
journey the new Sultan installed himself at Fez. 
Raisuli felt that his chance had come. He 
had helped in the overthrow of Mulai Abdul Aziz, 
and had been one of the first to proclaim Mulai 
Hafid in the north ; and, ambitious by nature, he 
wished once more to play a part, and a great one, 
in the new regime. Secret negotiations were 
opened between him and Mulai Hafid, which ended 
in a visit to the Court at Fez. The tussle that 
ensued was most interesting. I was in Fez, and 
in constant touch with both the parties interested, 
during the negotiations. Of the two, Mulai Hafid 
was the shrewdest. He had more patience and 
more cunning than Raisuli, though he too was 
by no means lacking in this latter useful oriental 
characteristic. The brigand chief had come to 
Fez full of the importance of his power and influ- 
ence, but he did not realise that at the educated 
and civilised Court he was looked upon as little 
more than a very successful robber, who neverthe- 
less was recognised as a danger and a thorn in the 
Sultan's side. His reception by Mulai Hafid was 
not cordial, in fact he was kept waiting for some 
time before he could obtain an audience. The 
viziers were polite and barely that. Raisuli, 
installed in a very palatial residence in the city, 



RAISULI 241 

was bored. He longed to get back to the north, 
where he reigned supreme, and to be quit of Fez, 
where he was suspicious of lurking danger, and 
considered as a person of no great consequence. 
But Mulai Hafid purposely let the negotiations 
drag on, and Raisuli had great difficulty in obtain- 
ing audiences of his Sovereign and even when 
arranged they were continually postponed. At 
last, weary of so much delay, he began to 
act, and to Mulai Hafid' s annoyance, affairs in 
the northern tribes began to go badly. There 
were rumours of a likelihood of Mulai Abdul Aziz 
being proclaimed again, and the tribes were getting 
out of hand. Raisuli was the only man who could 
exert real influence in those regions, and both the 
Sultan and he knew it. I was consulted by both, 
and as the peace of the country was more import- 
ant than these local quarrels in Fez, I strongly 
advised both to come to terms. They did. Raisuli 
was appointed Governor over practically all the 
tribes of North- West Morocco, with the exception 
of Tangier and its surrounding district ; but 
before receiving this appointment he was forced 
to abandon his British protection, for by the law 
of the land no " protected subject " could hold a 
Maghzen appointment. He was also called upon 
to refund the 20,000 which the British Govern- 
ment had paid him for Kaid Maclean's release. 

So far Mulai Hafid had scored, for the British 
Government was pressing him, as Sultan, for the 
repayment of Maclean's ransom, which had been 
advanced to the impecunious Maghzen, unable to 

Q 



242 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

raise the sum. At the same time, in abandoning 
his British protection, Raisuli became amenable 
once more to Moorish law and jurisdiction; and 
Mulai Hafid, who hoped to be able to consolidate 
his sovereignty in the north, foresaw the possi- 
bilities of being able some day to rid himself of 
this chieftain if he became too troublesome. 
Raisuli, on the contrary, knew that within a few 
months he could easily repay himself the 20,000 
out of the tribes he was now appointed to govern, 
and he was sufficiently sure of his own influence 
and power to fear no possible reprisals on the part 
of the Sultan. He promised devoted loyalty, but 
had already determined on absolute independence. 
Having satisfied the Sultan and given considerable 
presents in money to the viziers, he left Fez for 
the north and has never returned to the capital 
since. 

It must be acknowledged that during the four 
years that Raisuli was Governor of these northern 
tribes he maintained order in the region. The 
roads were open to caravan traffic, and robberies 
were rare. But it was a government of terror 
and extortion. His prestige was enormous, and 
he exerted it to its full. The tribes brought 
everything that he demanded and he demanded 
much. Money poured into his coffers ; labour 
they supplied free. Caravans of lime and building 
material came in endless array to Arzeila, and 
the great house rose tier above tier over the sea- 
walls of the town. He built residences, too, at 
Zinat and at Tazerout, in the Beni Aros tribe. 



RAISULI 243 

His stables were filled with horses and mules, for 
which he paid little or nothing. He entertained 
hospitably in fact, kept open house, as is the 
custom of the country. But behind all was the 
cruel iron will and the heavy hand, and thousands 
who might have been free obeyed him as if hypno- 
tised, and brought their little all to him, generally 
to be told to go back and bring more. Half revered, 
half feared ; a little loved and perhaps entirely 
unhated for no one dared to hate him, Raisuli 
ruled the tribes of North- West Morocco, and treated 
them as slaves. His principal enemy at this time 
was the Kaid er-Remiki, who had offered his ser- 
vices to Spain, and had organised the pretended 
attack on Alcazar, which gave the Spaniards the 
excuse for occupying that town in 1911. Remiki 
was a German agent, even in those days, and he 
and his family's actions had long been suspect. 
His relations with Raisuli were strained, for the 
mountain brigand saw in this leader of the plains 
for Remiki was Kaid of the Khlot tribe a pos- 
sible rival. His presence, too, with the Spaniards, 
and the aid he was openly giving them, drove 
Raisuli still further into a spirit of independence 
and opposition ; but as time went on and the 
Spanish troops occupied the plains round Alcazar, 
Raisuli saw his position or at least his property 
threatened, for he owns very considerable estates 
in those regions. Spanish attempts at opening 
negotiations with him failed for a considerable 
time, but at last a modus vivendi was arrived at, 
which at first seemed successful. A permanent 



244 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

understanding between Raisuli and the Spanish 
authorities was, however, more than could be 
hoped for both were overwhelmed by an exag- 
gerated sense ^fjirrcrmr pwpr a f and neither under- 
stood, nor desired to understand, the mentality 
of the other. Raisuli was ready to be friendly so 
long as his independence was not interfered with ; 
the Spaniards were also prepared to be friendly so 
long as Raisuli did not exert this very independence 
that he claimed and insisted upon. The result was 
constant friction. Nor was the situation rendered 
easier by the fact that the methods being adopted 
by the Spanish civil authorities were completely 
at variance with those of the military chiefs, for 
neither consulted^ the other. A good deal of the 
correspondence which passed between the Spaniards 
and Raisuli at this date came into my hands. It 
is of no very particular interest except in showing 
the totally opposed objects and ends of the Spanish 
military and civil authorities. Things even went 
so far that measures were taken by certain military 
authorities to bring about the " disappearance " 
of Raisuli. The accident was to have taken place 
while he was en route to pay a visit to the Spanish 
civil authorities at Tangier with the idea of arrang- 
ing a visit to Madrid. The Spanish Legation at 
Tangier was, of course, completely ignorant of this 
plot, and had given a safe-conduct to Raisuli. 
It only reached the ears of the Spanish Charge 
d' Affaires at almost the last moment. There was 
just time to send a native runner to Raisuli to 
warn him not to start on this journey, which 



RAISULI 245 

would certainly not have passed without a pro- 
bably fatal incident. The Spanish authorities at 
Tangier behaved, as might have been expected, 
with great promptitude and correctness. The fact 
was that the jealousy existing between the Spanish 
military authorities .at Laraiche and the Spanish 
representative at Tangier was such that neither 
knew what the other was doing or proposing to 
do. While General Silvestre, who commanded the 
Spanish troops at Laraiche, was pursuing an 
energetic policy, and foresaw, rightly, the diffi- 
culties that Raisuli's presence and attitude would 
cause Spain in the future, the Spanish Legation at 
Tangier was, on the contrary, in favour of making 
terms with the brigand, and using him in further- 
ance of Spanish aims and ambitions. Either pol- 
icy, if skilfully applied, would probably have been 
successful, but both put into action at the same 
moment did not tend to allay Raisuli's suspicions. 
Eventually he came to Tangier, where at least this 
time his life was safe ; and while he was actually 
negotiating with Madrid, the military authorities 
at Laraiche, exasperated by the difficulties put 
in their way ^_jiis_intrigues, confiscated his 
properties and broke off all relations with him. 

Raisuli was once more an outlaw, and took to 
the mountains. His one object his one desire 
became to make the Spaniards restore his property 
and to have revenge. It was not long before his 
schemes took form, and the Spanish troops and 
military " posts " received no rest. There was 
constant murder, and constant theft and " sniping," 



246 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

and attacks and alarms at night. Civilians, too, 
suffered, for any and every Spaniard was an object 
of Raisuli's wrath and vengeance. 

The brigand's attitude with regard to Spaniards 
had never been a secret. He may have cordially 
disliked subjects of the other Powers of Europe, 
but the inhabitants of the Peninsula he despised. 
During the latter period of his outlawry, when he 
was threatened with attack by the Sultan's troops, 
he had ordered his followers to " capture a Chris- 
tian " as a hostage. It was no easy matter, for 
precaution had been taken at Tangier ; but one 
day a band of his men chanced upon a little 
caravan of Spanish workmen en route from Tetuan 
to Tangier. They were promptly seized, and a 
messenger was hurriedly sent to Raisuli to announce 
that some " Christians " had been taken. The 
brigand chief was at this moment in the Beni 
Msaour Mountains, and thither the captives were 
despatched. When he saw them he waxed exceed- 
ing wroth, and turning to his men, he shouted, 
" I ordered you to capture me ' Christians ' and you 
bringjne Spaniards " and promptly let them go. 
He knew by experience that the terms he could 
extract from Spain for the ransom of half a dozen 
jjoor Spaniards would be small indeed. In a 
former case in which two Spaniards, a boy and a 
girl, had been captured from Arzeila, they had both 
been killed by the brigands owing to the unfortu- 
nate manner in which the negotiations had been 
opened by the authorities. In later years, however, 
since the occupation of Tetuan by the Spaniards, 



RAISULI 247 

the mountain tribes have engaged profitably in 
local brigandage. They know the exact value of a 
Spanish soldier or non-commissioned officer, and 
a Spanish civilian, man or woman, and the price 
that they can extort without apparently running 
any risk of eventual punishment. There were 
several cases of such brigandage in 1919-20, in 
some cases accompanied by murder. 

Raisuli's attitude toward the Spanish authorities 
and troops caused great anxiety in Spain. The 
public fretted at the continual loss of life which 
his resistance to the Spanish occupation of the 
country occasioned, and General Silvestre, who 
commanded the troops at Laraiche, was recalled. 
Negotiations were once more entered into with 
Eaisuli. The terms he demanded and received 
were extortionate ; but Spanish public opinion 
and the Madrid press demanded a termination to 
the constant and often heavy losses that the troops 
were suffering. His terms had to be accepted. 
He received a little native army of his own, to 
be paid and armed by Spain, a large monthly 
stipend, and a host of minor favours. He became 
practically dictator of the north-western part of the 
Spanish zone, governing Spaniard and Moor alike. 
His own " zone " was clearly demarcated, and woe 
betide any Spaniard who attempted to pass his 
frontier and enter the country under his juris- 
diction. The roads were closed, and there was 
insecurity under the very walls of Ceuta and 
Tetuan. 

Raisuli was an agent of the Germans long before 



248 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the war. He had made contracts with the famous 
Mannesman!! Brothers with reference to mining 
in the mountain districts, which practically closed 
those regions to other nationalities and other 
companies. When war broke out he continued 
his friendly relations with the German Consuls 
at Tetuan and Laraiche, and with the many 
German secret agents that the Spanish zone 
harboured. Under their guidance he gave active 
assistance to German criminal intrigue and pro- 
paganda, and was in direct relations with the 
German Embassy at Madrid. The ' Times ' of 
3rd September 1918 published a translation of a 
letter from the German Embassy to Raisuli, 
which contained amongst other things a definite 
promise of arms and ammunition. 

To those who have no personal knowledge of 
the mountain tribes of Morocco, the perpetual 
state of anarchy in which they live, the oppression 
by their lawful and unlawful chiefs, the revenge 
and murder must seem incredible. 

In the An j era tribe in the early years of this 
century there were two great families, the Deilans 
and the Duas. Both were amongst my intimate 
friends. I had been always dressed as a native 
and always received as a welcome guest at the 
weddings of several of the Sheikh Deilan's sons 
in their village on the mountain-tops, where 
hundreds of the tribesmen would be collected 
spending the moonlight nights in feasting and 
singing, for the time of full moon, and generally 
late spring, summer, or early autumn were chosen 



RAISULI 249 

for these festivities. What wonderful nights they 
were ! On the most level spot that could be found \ 
in the neighbourhood of the village the moun- 
taineers would congregate, leaving an open circular 
space in their centre, with vacant " aisles " in 
the closely-gathered throng radiating into the 
crowd. To the music of shrill pipes and drums 
wild exhilarating music to those who have 
learned to appreciate it the dancers, trained boys, 
would take up their stand in the centre and slowly 
at first, then faster, begin to dance. These moun- 
tain dances have nothing in common with the 
ordinary oriental dance that is witnessed in the 
towns and in the plains. There is none of the 
inartistic and suggestive wriggling that to the 
European point of view is so ungraceful. Dressed 
in long loose white garments, almost reaching to 
their feet, with flowing sleeves held back by cords 
of coloured silk, and with a small scarf thrown 
over the head so as to half veil the face, the 
youths moved gracefully in and out, each dancing 
alone, and yet fitting his dance into a plan of 
concerted movement. 

The mountain dancing begins by the performers 
standing motionless for a few moments, the head 
thrown back, and the arms loosely falling to the 
side. Then, to the time of the music, there is a 
sudden quick movement of the feet a little soft 
stamping but without the least motion of the 
body. As the musicians increase their energy the 
dancer's body takes life. The movement of the 
feet is accentuated, and suddenly he glides forward 



250 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

toward his audience, with outstretched arms, 
raising the scarf from the face for a moment, and 
then once more the body becomes motionless. 
But, as if against his will, the music conquers him. 
The movements become more general. The feet 
are raised higher from the ground, and the dancer 
gyrates and falls on one knee, rises again and glides, 
holding the body almost motionless, up the empty 
aisles that lie open between the sections of the 
crowd. Never is the graceful posing abandoned ; 
the veil, now half raised, now drawn down again, 
the little tremble of the shoulders and the gliding 
movement of the feet all has a charm and artistic 
merit. Every now and again, with a quick turning 
movement of the body, which sends the loose folds 
of the long white garment floating round him, the 
dancer falls on one knee before one of the guests, 
and, removing the veil, awaits the pressing of a 
silver coin upon his forehead, and to receive the 
exaggerated and poetical compliments of the donor. 
There is one movement in these dances which 
is admirable, though there are few who can accom- 
plish it, for it means a complete subjection and 
training of the muscles. The dancer suddenly 
stands erect with outstretched arms, the head 
thrown back. Then from his feet up a little 
trembling a little shudder, as it were passes up 
the body, to die away in the tips of the fingers 
of the outstretched hands. In its upward move- 
ment each portion of the limbs and body trembles 
alone ; the rest is motionless, and even the 
trembling is so delicate that it might pass almost 



RAISULI 251 

unperceived. The rigidity of the body is undis- 
turbed, and one feels rather than sees this ascending 
" nervous thrill " which illumines the figure, as 
though giving life to a statue. 

But I digress. The Deilans and the Duas were 
the great families of the An j era tribe. Of the two 
the Deilans were the most powerful, for the old 
Sheikh had many sons and nephews and kinsfolk. 
Naturally the eternal jealousy arose, and ended 
in an open quarrel. For a time the two families 
lived apart, but in the end a reconciliation was 
arranged. Deilan and his family visited Duas to 
partake of a great feast to celebrate the termina- 
tion of their quarrel. While seated over the 
steaming savoury dishes in the courtyard of Duas's 
house a signal was given, and Deilan and his sons 
were shot, many of his retainers also falling 
victims to the carefully-prepared treachery. For 
a time Duas was undisputed chief of the tribe 
in his stronghold on the very summit of a moun- 
tain. I had been a prisoner in this house not long 
before for a few days during the latter part of 
the time when I was taken by Raisuli and my 
recollection of Duas, whom I knew well, and of 
his household is a pleasant one. I was treated 
not only with respect but also with great friendli- 
ness, and my time of captivity was rendered as 
easy and as pleasant as possible. 

Then, a little later, the Duas family began to 
pay the penalty of their treachery and murder. 
One by one they were " sniped " and died. Some- 
times it was by day, sometimes by night, but always 



252 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

a well-directed and unfailing bullet from a Mauser 
rifle, fired from the rocks or brushwood. Then 
came the turn of Duas himself. He was riding a 
mule on his way to a local market surrounded by 
his retainers. The bullet seemed to avoid his men, 
and found its mark in their chief. He fell dead. 
And so the blood-feud went on, carried out by 
one man alone. He was a nephew of the Sheikh 
Deilan, by name Ben Ahmed, who had escaped 
the massacre at Duas's house. I knew him well 
a handsome young man, not knowing what 
fear meant and sworn to revenge. He was shot 
at last, but he had killed Duas and eleven members 
of his family. The names of Duas and Deilan are 
already almost forgotten in the An j era. If any 
members of the families still live they have fallen 
to the unimportance of ordinary tribesmen, and 
others have arisen in their place. 

Of one other Anjera chief a few words must be 
said. Of all my friends amongst the mountaineers 
he was the one whose friendship I most valued 
and appreciated. Sid El Arbi bel Aysh was a 
member of an important Shereefian family of the 
Anjera, and a direct descendant of the Prophet 
Mohammed, and a brigand as well the two 
professions so often go together in Morocco ! Of 
undoubted courage the Spaniards gave him the 
name of " Valiente " he had taken part in many 
tribal fights, and once, with a handful of his 
followers, had held his mountain fastness against 
several hundred tribesmen. His aim was unerring, 
and woe betide the man at whom he shot. Up 



RAISULI 253 

to the end of his short life he was killed in 1915 
he was a constant visitor of my house, coming 
regularly from his mountain home to spend a 
week or so at Tangier. He won the heart of 
every one he met a brigand perhaps, but a 
brigand against whom no accusation of cruelty 
was ever made. With the hereditary manner of 
a chief whose family originated 1300 years ago 
with the Prophet Mohammed, with a presence 
of much grace and manly beauty, with a voice 
that charmed and a personality that attracted, 
Sid El Arbi bel Aysh was the perfect type of 
Moroccan mountaineer gentleman. His open smile, 
his good-natured wit, rendered him a persona grata 
everywhere, and nowhere was he more welcome 
than in my house. 

Sid El Arbi's moral courage was as great as hik 
physical courage, for he held himself aloof froni 
all his tribe when in 1913 they declared war on 
the Spaniards. For a long time he refused to 
fight, though thereby endangering his own life, 
for his fellow-tribesmen at one moment meditated 
his assassination on this account. Unfortunately, 
however, the Spaniards did not appreciate his 
action, nor know how to turn it to their benefit ; 
and yet he was perhaps the only loyal friend upon 
whom they could have counted in the Anjera. 
In the question of a sale of some of his lands, 
with the accompanying water rights, to the Spanish 
authorities of Ceuta, he was treated in a manner 
that is best left undescribed. Briefly, he never 
received but a small portion of the purchase price. 



254 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Every advantage had been taken of his goodwill 
to bargain over the transaction till the sum agreed 
upon was preposterously small, and even most of 
that he never got. Exasperated at this treatment, 
and urged by the gibes of his tribesmen, he eventu- 
ally took up arms against the Spaniards. A very 
few weeks later he was killed in battle, struck down 
by a fragment of a shell. 

Shortly before his death I had arranged an 
interview between him and a high Spanish author- 
ity, in the hopes of bringing about a reconciliation 
and of obtaining Sid El Arbi bel Aysh's influence 
in the interests of peace. Unfortunately the 
Spanish official did not realise that he was dealing 
not only with a powerful young chieftain but also 
with a member of one of the oldest families in 
Morocco and, moreover, a gentleman. With a 
want of tact that amounted almost to insult, the 
Spaniard asked Sid El Arbi whether the real reason 
of his taking up arms against them was because his 
wives had stigmatised him as a coward and had 
rendered his life unbearable at home. In Moslem 
countries one does not talk to a man of his women, 
but Sid El Arbi laughed and replied, " No, that 
was scarcely the reason." 

" I suppose they called you a ' coward ' and a 
6 Christian ' for not taking up arms against us ? " 
continued the unfortunate Spaniard. 

I tried my best to change the conversation into 
other channels, but it was too late. Again Sid El 
Arbi laughed. 

" No," he replied again, " it was not that. All 



RAISULI 255 

the world knows I am not a coward, and some of 
my best friends are Christians." 

" Then what made you fight us ? " 

" I will teU you," said Sid El Arbi, still smiling, 
but very angry. " I bore all the gibes till one day, 
in desperation, I was called a ' Spaniard.' That 
insult was more than human nature could bear. , _ 
From that moment I have been at war with you." 
Still smiling, Sid El Arbi rose, and, breaking off 
his interview before its object had been reached, 
bade adieu to our host and left the house. 

It was the final straw. He returned to the 
An j era, and died fighting a short time after. 

The occupation of Tetuan by the Spaniards in 
1912 put_an_end to all travel in the mountains 
of North- West Morocco, where in the past I had 
spent so many pleasant months, fishing for trout 
and shooting. A few months before the Spanish 
troops entered the town the roads were still safe, 
and English ladies rode alone over the forty-two- 
mile track that led from that town to Tangier. 
But nowadays the tribes have completely changed 
in character, for they have become distrust- 
ful, and are always at war. As late as the 
spring of 1912 Sir Reginald Lister, who was 
British Minister to Morocco he died, alas ! in 
November the same year and I made several 
excursions overland to Tetuan unaccompanied by 
any one except our grooms. Often a mounted 
soldier of the police would start with us, but we 
always left him far behind, and no doubt he would 
turn back. Sir Reginald had bought and restored 



256 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

a delightful little Moorish house in Tetuan, and 
there we spent our week-ends. We would leave 
Tangier at eight in the morning, and arrive at 
Tetuan at three in the afternoon, with an hour 
for lunch en route : not bad going, for the distance 
is forty-two miles, and the road in many places a 
mere stony track. Sometimes, if the going was 
heavy, we changed horses half - way, but as a 
rule I rode one horse right through. From Tetuan, 
delightfully situated overlooking the wide valley, 
with its background of rugged peaks, we would 
make excursions to the country round, with merely 
a man who knew the country as a guide and our 
grooms. Leaving early in the mornings, we rode 
to the mountain villages, to meet everywhere 
with the kindest of welcomes from the people. 
Some of these villages had seldom and perhaps 
never been visited by Europeans, and our coming 
caused much interest. At times the tracks were 
too rough for our horses, and we would leave them 
in charge of our men, and scramble up the rocks 
to the little groups of thatched huts that seemed 
to hang to the mountain-side. The views were 
always beautiful, often extending over the who]e 
Straits of Gibraltar, which seemed but a narrow 
stream dividing the rugged mountains of Africa 
from Europe. 

Then came the Spanish occupation, and the 
closing of all this country. With all the troops at 
their disposal, it took several years before these 
villages were reached. The mountains, where 
many Europeans used to camp and shoot in 



RAISULI 257 

perfect security, are as difficult of access to-day 
as the wildest regions of Central Africa, and far 
more unsafe. While in the French Protectorate 
immense regions, unexplored until the advent of 
the French, can be travelled in perfect security 
often by train or motor the advent of the 
Spaniards has, on the contrary, tended to close 
the greater part of the zone which lies under 
their influence, many parts of which were formerly 
open to travellers and sportsmen. 

It need not have been so. At first things 
went tolerably well, but want of knowledge of 
the natives and their ways, w fln t- of tact, and 
want of generosity quickly brought about mis- 
understandings, with the result which exists to-day 
a total absence of security, constant aggression, 
and little accomplished. 

Throughout the whole period of the war Raisuli 
maintained this pro-German attitude. He pos- 
sessed at the ftflinf fiTYiP- f.frp a.hanlnffi npnfirlAnoA^ 

of the Spanish Government, which supplied him/,, 
with almost unlimited sums of money, with rifles 
and ammunition, and with uniforms for his native 
troops and foodstuffs to feed them. Any one who, 
from knowledge of the situation or of the man, ven- 
tured to express an opinion that Raisuli' s sentiments 
toward Spain might be open to doubt, was assailed 
by official denunciations and press attacks from 
Madrid. Yet the situation was perfectly clear. 
Raisuli was gaining time. He was increasing his 
wealth and his means of resistance if the situation 
should require resistance and gave little or no 

R 



258 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

thought to any one or anything except himself and 
his own future. I sent to him once during the war 
and asked him whether it was true he was taking 
German money. He evaded my question in his 
answer. He replied, " If the British or French, 
or any other nation have money to give away, I 
will willingly accept it the more the better." 

He worked in the interests of Germany because 
he was paid to do so, just as he would have worked 
in the interests of any other country under similar 
circumstances. When Raisuli realised the results 
of the war, and the rejoicings for the signature of 
peace were being held at Tangier it was on 
14th July 1919, Raisuli sent to me to say 
that he too was keeping the peace by having 
massacred a few hundred Spaniards. He congratu- 
lated France and England, he said, on having got 
rid of Germany, and would himself rid the Allies 
" of another enemy, Spain." So much for his 
German proclivities. 

At the end of the war the condition of affairs 
in the Spanish zone was frankly impossible, from 
every one's point of view. The Spaniards had put 
their money on the wrong horse; the Allies had 
won, and Madrid had to explain away the evil 
purposes to which the Spanish Government had 
allowed its zone in Morocco to be put and it was 
not an easy explanation. Too late they began to 
expel the German spies and to put down the 
intrigue that had been allowed practically free 
scope up to then. Nor was Spain's own position 
in her zone a pleasant one. Even the Spanish 



RAISULI 259 

High Commissioner was to all intents and purposes 
under Raisuli's orders, and no Spaniard could 
travel in a great part of their zone without a 
special passport from the brigand chief. One or 
two who ventured to do so disappeared, and nothing 
more was heard of them. 

At last public opinion in Spain revolted. Raisuli 
had received millions of pesetas of good Spanish 
money for which he had rendered no services, unless 
the prevention of Spanish occupation of the country 
can be considered as a service. General Jordana, 
the Spanish High Commissioner, died suddenly in 
Tetuan, and the Spanish Government decided upon 
taking action. What amounted to an ultimatum 
was sent to Raisuli and disregarded and a crisis 
arose. General Berenguer, an able Spanish general 
with considerable knowledge of Morocco, was ap- 
pointed Spanish High Commissioner, and success- 
fully inaugurated his period of office by winning 
over the large and important Anjera tribe to the 
side of Spain. But even he made too sure of 
success, and a few days after he had made a 
declaration to the " Press " stating that there 
would be no more fighting in Morocco, the 
Spanish forces received a very severe check at 
the hands of Raisuli. The series of combats of 
Wad Ras, began on llth July, and lasted till 
13th July 1919. The Spanish authorities made 
every attempt to hide the truth of what had 
occurred, but failed. All the assistance, all the 
money, and all the arms the Spaniards had for 
five years been giving to Raisuli were now turned 



260 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

against the donors, as any one who really knew the 
situation had long realised must ultimately be 
the case. The small Spanish force operating on 
the north crests of the Wad Ras hills, about twenty 
miles from Tangier, was practically cut to pieces. 
The losses have never been published, but I have 
every reason to believe that they were about 
300 killed and probably 1000 wounded. There 
were no prisoners, and the Spanish wounded were 
massacred to a man. Not only were Raisuli's 
forces, thanks to the generosity of the very people 
he was attacking, well armed, but they were also 
possessed of Spanish uniforms, disguised in which 
they were able to massacre a column of over 170 
soldiers. To add to the horrors of this episode, 
Raisuli's tribesmen came provided with hand- 
grenades and asphyxiating bombs. This disaster 
for, whatever the Spaniards may assert, it was 
a disaster led to fresh revelations. The hospitals 
were reported to be in a shocking state of neglect ; 
there were no beds for the wounded, and complete 
disorganisation in every department. 

The Spanish Government at last realised that 
something must be done, or a continuance of the 
policy hitherto pursued would soon prove fatal to 
Spanish prestige, not only in Morocco but also 
in Europe. The general responsible for the fate- 
ful incidents of July was dismissed, and General 
Silvestre, a well-known enemy of Raisuli, was sent 
from Spain to take command. Vast quantities of 
material were shipped to Africa, including aero- 
planes, tanks, artillery, rifles and ammunition, and, 



RAISULI 261 

happily, hospital necessaries in sufficient quantities. 
In two months from the critical days of July the 
Spanish army in Morocco was prepared once more 
to advance and to drive Raisuli from his mountain 
strongholds. 

The new campaign began on 27th September 
1919. Twelve thousand Spanish troops were col- 
lected to form the principal columns which were 
to encircle the Fondak of Wad Ras, whence 
Raisuli held the road leading from Tangier to 
Tetuan. In former days this road was open to 
traffic, and parties of lady tourists often rode from 
Tangier to Tetuan accompanied only by a native 
guide. Since the occupation of Tetuan by the 
Spaniards, Raisuli had closed this track to all 
but natives. Its importance to the Spaniards 
was paramount, for it forms the one direct means 
of communication between the district of Tetuan 
and of Laraiche on the Atlantic coast. As long 
as Raisuli held the Fondak no communication was 
possible, and to proceed from one town to another 
in the Spanish zone the only means was by sea. 
The Spanish forces advanced with caution. Rai- 
suli' s tribesmen offered no great resistance. They 
were powerless in the presence of the immense 
war material the Spaniards had lately brought to 
the scene of action. Artillery and aeroplanes 
harassed them. Shells and bombs burnt their 
villages, and killed their women and children. 
The odds were too great. For a moment the 
operations were checked by a small revolt of 
native troops behind the Spanish lines. Spanish 



262 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

officers and men were massacred ; but the mutiny 
was suppressed, and the columns, attacking from 
three directions, drew near the Fondak. 

On Saturday, 4th October, there remained only 
a very few kilometres, and the Spanish troops 
had already begun the ascent of the slopes leading 
up to the Fondak. On Sunday morning the sur- 
rounding brush-covered hills were heavily bom- 
barded, and the troops advanced on the last stage 
of their march, burning everything that would 
burn en route. From the hills above Tangier I 
could see the bursting shells, the explosions of 
falling bombs, the ruthless destruction of villages 
by fire in fact, the ruining of hundreds of families 
and the rendering desolate dozens of homes, which 
marks the introduction of civilisation into this part 
of Morocco. 

And somewhere on those mountain-tops Raisuli 
saw it too, and as he never forgot or forgave the 
destruction of his castle at Zinat, so he will never 
forget or forgive this last campaign. He may be 
impotent to fight a force numerically more than 
twice his own, and armed with every modern and 
hideous appliance of war, but, if I know his char- 
acter and his warfare, he will wage a guerilla 
campaign of midnight attack and murder that 
will last long and prove costly in its toll of lives 
amongst the invaders of his country. 

The solution rests with the Spaniards. If they 
bring prosperity and justice to the natives of their 
zone they will be left in peace. At present they 
have brought neither, but much may be hoped 



RAISULI 263 

from the Spanish Government, which realises that 
the manner of their occupation of Morocco is as 
important for the good name of Spain as is their 
conduct of affairs in the Peninsula itself. They 
must not forget that Raisuli still lives, and that he 
is, in his way, the biggest man in Morocco. 

There are few countries that could produce a 
Raisuli. It necessitates an environment which 
exists, perhaps happily, only in such countries as 
Morocco. Yet during the last few years of his 
career he has made himself famous, and a real 
touch of romance surrounds the brigand, who, 
born of an aristocratic family, has terrorised and 
yet in a way protected Tangier, a city of 40,000 
inhabitants, the seat of a dozen legations. In 
spite of his celebrity, very few Europeans have 
ever seen him. He has seldom, if ever, been 
photographed, and never written his name in the 
autograph collector's album. He has been through- 
out a sort of mysterious personage, half -saint, half- 
blackguard, whom every courageous male tourist 
has volunteered to capture, and many a still 
more courageous female tourist to marry. Mulai 
Ahmed er-Raisuli is unique and perhaps, after 
all, one of his kind is enough. 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 

THE political influence that the Moslem " con- 
fraternities " possess in Morocco is not easy to 
estimate. In ordinary times of peace and pros- 
perity it is probably very small, but the germ of 
fanaticism which can never be entirely absent 
from such cults, might under certain circumstances 
become a dangerous factor in the situation. 

In Morocco reside a large number of Shereefian 
families, descendants of the Prophet foremost 
amongst them that of the reigning Sultan. As 
Shereefs they claimed in the past, and were per- 
mitted, great privileges. They were universally 
respected, not only as forming a superior and 
religious nobility, but also on account of their 
great local influence, which they used as a means 
of mediation between the secular authorities and 
the tribesmen. Considered, through their posses- 
sion of the holy "Baraka" the birthright of all 
descendants of the Prophet as men to whom 
ordinary laws were not applicable, these great 
families, especially certain selected representatives 
of them, possessed extraordinary influence and 
power. Their advice was sought, and followed, 
by the country people on every question, and 



266 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

their decisions were accepted as final in all points 
in dispute, even though at times their judgments 
might be contrary to the unalterable laws of Islam. 
Not only did these Shereefs live beyond the reach 
of the ordinary civil and criminal laws, they were 
also considered as meriting no punishment for their 
sins. This immunity from the laws of God and 
man gave them unlimited opportunity of which 
they were usually not slow to take advantage to 
practise extortion and tyranny, " frailties " which 
were accepted in silence by the people, who saw, 
or imagined they saw, in every act and deed of 
their Shereefs the guidance of the hand of God. 

Existing largely on offerings brought to them, 
or to the tombs of their ancestors, by pious pil- 
grims, and upon a system of religious taxation, 
the Shereefian families formed a class entirely 
apart, and though often enough thoroughly bad, 
they not unseldom were of great use in settling 
intertribal disputes and preventing bloodshed. 

To such a class European invasion, or any form 
of stable and just government, meant ruin, and 
it is not surprising that it was the Shereefian 
families who have in the past always been averse 

any kind of reform in Morocco. 

The arrival of the French in the country was 
the deathblow to the irregular influence of these 
families not, be it understood, that any repression 
took place, but from the fact that once peace and 
security existed in the country there was no longer 
any necessity for them. Intertribal disputes 
ceased with the advent of good government, and 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 267 

the intervention of the Shereefs ceased with it. 
The system of general and just taxation put a 
stop to much of the revenues of these families, 
for there was no longer any necessity for the tribes- 
men to pay large sums to an influential Shereef 
in order to avoid having to pay still larger ones 
to the Moorish Government. Although it has been 
the policy of the French to uphold rather than to 
suppress the great influential families of Morocco, 
circumstances have nevertheless lessened their 
repute and prestige. The native himself has 
" found them out." The spiritual benefits they 
promised or bestowed paid for at a rather high 
price were not as valuable as the temporal 
benefits which accrue from a just and reasonable 
Government. He has found that he can claim 
as his right, and not as a privilege to be pur- 
chased by money, the justice and assistance which 
he previously had to buy, often without tangible 
results. The famous Shereefian families of Wazzan, 
Bou Jad, and Tamshlat are becoming year by year 
more dependent upon their agricultural estates 
for their wellbeing, owing to the falling-off in the 
offerings of the " faithful." The Moor who formerly 
put a portion of his fortune into unproductive 
religious investments in the form of offerings to 
Shereefs, now puts it into real estate. He still 
respects the Shereefs, he still kisses the hem of 
their robes, but he keeps his money for himself. 

This gradual disappearance of reverence toward 
the living descendants of the Prophet has not to 
any great extent diminished the veneration that 



268 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

is paid to the tombs of deceased saints. Of the 
two this veneration of the deceased is preferable 
to that of the living, for at all events the buried 
Shereef is dead and unable to stir up strife and 
X. rebellion. The French policy has been extremely 
able with regard to the " holy places " and 
" tombs " for which the authorities demand the 
greatest respect, and which they themselves treat 
with respect, even so far as assisting by influence 
and gifts the prestige of the tomb or mosque as 
the case may be. It is this respect for the person 
and tradition of dead saints and scholars that has 
given so strong an impetus to the " confraternities " 
or sects of Moslem Morocco. 

The study of the introduction of these " con- 
fraternities " is beyond the scope of this work. 
It is sufficient to state that many of them had 
their origin in the early days of Islam, some even 
before the time of the Baghdad Khalifs, whose 
literary tastes and erudition introduced the ideas 
of Indian and Greek philosophy into a religion the 
principal attribute of which is its simplicity and lack 
of imagination. It may almost be said that the 
only want of judgment exhibited by Mohammed 
in originating the faith of Islam was in depriving 
his followers of what is so necessary to all oriental 
character, an environment of mysticism. But the 
want supplied itself, for so prosaic a religion as 
Islam in its crude form was irreconcilable with 
the traditions and characteristics of the Arab 
nature. One of the first innovations was the 
invention of the " Baraka " or holy birthright 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 269 

pertaining to descendants of the Prophet which 
doctrine helped not a little to cause the first 
great split in Islam, the separation of the Sunni 
and the Sheiya. By the close of the second century 
A.H. the traditions of Pantheism and the learning 
of India and Greece had so permeated the Moslem 
world that there arose an old cult under a new 
name Sufism the traces of which exist to-day 
in every one of the sects and " confraternities "of 
Morocco. 

More than the briefest survey of Sufism is im- 
possible here, but brief as it is, it will be sufficient 
to show how entirely the doctrine stands apart 
from orthodox Islam. 

^ 

To the Sufi the world is an illusion. It is merely 
a collection and massing together of the shapes and 
forms of things which have no real existence, being 
but the lights and shadows of the reflection and 
" essence " of the Deity. Given this theory, the 
Sufi considers that the highest ideal of life, and its 
ultimate aim, is the merging of all individuality 
in this vague " essence " of the Deity. It can well 
be imagined how a doctrine of such a character 
can be misunderstood and misconstrued amongst 
an ignorant people, and to-day, in the place of 
pure Sufism, with its seeking after ideals, we find 
a number of sects, one and all founded on Sufism, 
but most of them erring far from its primitive 
aim. Yet the very incomprehensibleness of these 
doctrines to the larger part of the people who 
have adopted them has given a great impetus to 
the success of these " confraternities." The real 



270 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

philosophy has been lost, and its place has been 
taken by a belief, the more attractive in that it 
is inexplicable, that the repetition of certain 
prayers and extracts from the Koran has mystical 
powers tending to accomplish the aim in view, 
the effacement of individuality. It is curious 
that no cabalistic forms are used in this " dikr " 
or formulae and that even to the most strict 
Moslem it would be difficult to find fault with the 
outward and visible form of the tenets of the 
" confraternities." Yet though in all North Africa 
the greater part of the population adheres to the 
orthodox Maleki school of Islam, these sects are 
so impregnated with Sufism, and even with Neo- 
Platonism, as to be, one and all, completely 
unorthodox. 

In order that the importance of these sects may 
be realised, a few words are necessary as to their 
organisation, for they owe their strength princi- 
pally to the system by which the various centres 
are kept in touch with one another, and obedience 
to supreme orders guaranteed. 

Each " confraternity " has its central " zaouia " 
or sanctuary, where either the chief of the sect 
resides or its founder is buried. From these centres 
their policy is promulgated, and by means of sub- 
ordinate " zaouias," each under the charge of a 
spiritual " Sheikh " or " mokaddem," orders are 
passed on to the devotees. The larger " zaouias " 
consist usually of a group of buildings containing 
a mosque and quarters for pilgrims, and for the 
education of the " tholba," or scholars, all of whom 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 271 

are kept supplied with food from the funds at the 
disposal of the local officials. It is at these 
" zaouias " that the initiation of the devotees 
takes place, and that the followers of each sect 
gather together from time to time for religious 
intercourse and services. Scarcely a town exists 
in Morocco that has not " zaouias " of at least 
half a dozen saints. All over the country districts, 
too, they are found, often consisting of only a 
thatch hut in the vicinity of some revered 
tomb, but none the less a spot for the concentra- 
tion of the devotees, and the object of many a long 
and weary pilgrimage. 

It is not necessary that the " Sheikhs " of the 
sects, or even the founder, should be a descendant 
of the Prophet, though such is often the case. 
In some sects the choice of the supreme chief is 
elective, in some it is hereditary, as in the Wazzan 
family. In others, again, it is neither elective nor 
hereditary, it being left to divine agency to dis- 
close who the heaven-appointed " Sheikh " may 
be. In this latter case, on the death of a " Sheikh," 
no move is made to name or discover his successor. 
In due time it " becomes known " that a certain 
adept at a certain spot is the new chief, and he is 
at once accepted as the spiritual leader. He need 
perform no miracle ; he need possess no mark or 
sign to disclose his calling ; he may be, and 
generally is, of extreme poverty ; and it is not 
apparently necessary that he should have any 
great personal qualifications. There can be no 
doubt that this curious system of nominating 



272 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

their religious " Sheikhs," though not always 
put into practice and becoming rarer, is but an 
example of the secrecy with which their plans are 
made and carried out, and that the man is really 
chosen by a secret council without even the know- 
ledge of the individual himself. Word is sur- 
reptitiously sent to the heads of all the " zaouias," 
and upon a given day it is announced to the faith- 
ful that a new " Sheikh " has " appeared " 
in such and such a spot. The frequenters of 
" zaouias," hundreds of miles apart, obtain the 
information upon the same day, and the credulous 
people consider it a revelation from God. The 
" Derkaoua " are the principal sect that follow 
this course. 

In the hands of the supreme chief lies the selec- 
tion of the minor " Sheikhs," who in turn possess 
certain limited powers in the nominating of the 
" mokaddems," or lesser officials, all of whom 
have the right, as a rule, of initiating devotees, 
and all of whom are agents for the collection of 
funds. 

The general and public tenets of the sects are 
good enough: chastity, patience, poverty, obedience, 
and prayer are the principal teachings, though the 
" derouich," who abandons the ways of the world, 
and the " khoddam," who is merely an adherent, 
follow different rules of life and conduct. 

The importance of these Moroccan confra- 
ternities depends entirely upon the political in- 
fluence that they are able to exert. When left to 
themselves, in ordinary times, they consist of 



[Service des Beaux- A rts, Morocco. 
COURT OF KAIROUIN MOSQUE, FEZ. 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 273 

little more than religious institutions and brother- 
hoods, of which the concealed energies, such as 
they are, are not called forth by circumstances. 
It is only when they come directly into contact 
with Europe and Europeans that their essentially 
religious features might become impregnated with 
anti-Christian policy. A " Jehad " or " Holy War," 
accepted and furthered by the united sects of 
Morocco, might be very dangerous, but, happily, 
it is also very improbable. 

Perhaps the most renowned of all the Shereefian 
families of Morocco is that of Wazzan (Ouezzan). 
Descended from the Prophet, the Shorfa of Wazzan 
can boast of an unbroken lineage for thirteen 
centuries, though it was not until a couple of 
hundred years ago that they became of great 
account. Up to that period they had apparently 
lived the ordinary devout lives of people of holy 
descent, no doubt looked up to and probably the 
recipients of many offerings. The last few genera- 
tions have, however, enjoyed a great renown 
throughout Morocco Mulai Abdullah Shereef, Sid 
el Haj el-Arbi, and Sid el-Haj Abdesalam. The 
last named, who died some twenty-five years ago, 
married an English lady, still residing at Tangier, 
who carries on there many good and charitable 
works amongst the Moors. It was she who intro- 
duced vaccination into the country, and herself 
has vaccinated many thousands of the people. 
She is much loved by the Moors and respected by 
the Europeans. Her husband, Sid el-Haj Abd- 
esalam, had, by previous marriages with native 

s 



274 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

women, three sons, who at the time of which I 
write the end of the 'eighties and the early 
'nineties of the last century resided in Wazzan. 
In my early journeys I often visited this fanatical 
and difficult district, and became great friends of 
the two elder brothers. In 1889-90 I spent many 
months at their little religious Court, the only 
European in any of those regions. 

It was a life of great interest : there were 
constant relays of pilgrims, who came to pray 
at the tombs of the ancestors of the family and 
to bring offerings to its living members. They 
would arrive by dozens, and sometimes by hun- 
dreds men, women, and children, with caravans 
of mules, ponies, and camels, laden with grain and 
other products of the country as an offering to the 
" House of Surety," as it was called by the natives. 
These pilgrims, who were lodged and fed by the 
Shereefs, were generally received in audience the 
day after their arrival. The Shereefs, Mulai el-Arbi 
and Sidi Mohamed, received them separately, 
either in their little walled gardens, full of running 
water and flowers, or else in one of the courtyards 
of the " zaouia " or sanctuary. Often Mulai el- 
Arbi would be seated just inside an open window, 
through which the passing pilgrims could bend to 
kiss his holy raiment, while an offering in money 
was laid upon the window-sill, to be dropped into 
a basket by the Shereef as each pilgrim proceeded 
on his way. When the entire string of visitors 
had passed, Mulai el-Arbi would count his newly- 
acquired wealth. Although the sums were never 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 275 

great for the population of Morocco was in its 
worst days of oppression the total received during 
the autumn and winter pilgrim season was no 
mean one. 

The two brothers, Mulai el-Arbi and Mulai 
Mohamed, were of entirely different characters. 
The elder was religious and timid, while his brother, 
Mulai Mohamed, was a hunter and a man of 
courage and action, whose influence over the 
surrounding wild mountain tribes was very great. 
He did not hesitate to use force when he con- 
sidered it necessary. During the period of my 
stay at Wazzan the town was constantly attacked. 
The Shereefs had organised a garrison for its 
defence, consisting of their followers and slaves, 
who were well armed and well supplied with 
ammunition. Sometimes these attacks were really 
serious, though the casualties were never very 
great. On one occasion the enemy lost a dozen 
killed, but, as far as I know, this was the largest 
number of losses on any one day. 

I was present on one occasion when an attempt 
was made to assassinate Mulai Mohamed. He 
was seated in a room which was built over an 
archway across a street. Opening on to the street 
at either end of this room were two large windows. 
The ground below sloped upwards, so that any 
one higher up the street could see right through 
the room. It was here that Mulai Mohamed 
often sat, surrounded by particular friends and 
retainers. We were there one afternoon drinking 
green tea, the favourite beverage of Morocco, 



276 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

while a relation of the Shereefs was reading aloud 
from an old Arabic manuscript. Suddenly the 
glass of the windows at both ends of the room 
was broken, and simultaneously we heard the re- 
port of a rifle. There was a little panic amongst 
the guests, but Mulai Mohamed, without a 
moment's hesitation, ordered his cousin to con- 
tinue the reading. The bullet had passed through 
the room, just missing the Shereef. The would-be 
assassin was never discovered. The shot had been 
fired from the upper end of the street a hundred 
yards or so away, and no clue was ever obtained 
as to who fired it. 

Wazzan was the home of tragedy. Except for 
the paramount influence of the Shereefian family 
there was no Government of any kind. The 
Sultans had at various periods attempted to en- 
force their jurisdiction, but had never succeeded. 
Although ostensibly on good terms with the 
Shereefs, the jealousy between the reigning family 
and Wazzan was intense. The followers of the 
Shereefs, and such tribal villages which were 
counted as special devotees of the " zaouia," 
paid no taxes, and were outside the jurisdiction 
of the Sultan's governors. The result was constant 
friction ; but the Wazzanis' religious influence 
was so strong, and in such fear was their name 
held, that on the whole the Shereefs were able to 
set the Sultan's word at nought. 

Both Mulai el-Arbi and Mulai Mohamed are 
long since dead. The elder brother was insane 
for some years before his death, and the last time 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 277 

I saw him his mind was completely deranged. 
He was seated in a chair in the centre of a semi- 
circle of his women, who were, of course, closely 
veiled, though it was contrary to all tradition 
that they should be there at all. Besides his 
ladies, the room contained several live sheep and 
a host of fowls, ducks, and pigeons. He had 
changed but little in appearance. I noticed that 
his retainers, who introduced me, paid perhaps 
more deference to the mad Shereef than they had 
done in the days of his health ; but oriental 
people have a strange reverence for insanity. 
Mulai el-Arbi made no sign of recognition, and sat 
immovable. I recalled to him the months I had 
spent as his guest and incidents of my many 
visits, but to no avail. He listened, but made no 
reply, though from time to time I noticed a 
puzzled look on his face. I made a move to go, 
but with his hand he beckoned me to be seated 
again, and once more I continued trying to recall 
the wandering memory of my host. At last a 
gleam stole into his eyes, and he said very slowly, 
" Yes, and greyhounds ; lots of greyhounds." 
He had remembered ; for, hunting often, I had 
kept quite a number of native " slougis " in the 
days of my stay at Wazzan. It was all he said. 
He died a few months later. 

Some idea of the sanctity of this man even in 
his own household can be gathered from an inci- 
dent which occurred during one of my visits. 
china teacup of considerable value was missing 
after tea had been served. The slaves were sum- 



278 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

moned, and one was accused by the Shereef it 
must be confessed on no evidence of having 
stolen it. He was severely beaten: when I say 
severely beaten, he received a flogging that would 
probably have killed a European. That night, 
after the Shereef had retired into his house, I 
went to see the slave, who, considering the terrible 
punishment he had received, was bearing up very 
well. I asked him if he was guilty of the theft. 
His reply was pathetic. " I have no recollection 
of having stolen the teacup, but I must have done 
so, for my lord the Shereef has divine knowledge, 
and could not have made a mistake." The cup 
was found and the slave proved guiltless, but he 
received a severe reprimand for not having been 
able to prove his innocence from the first. 

Mulai Mohamed, the younger of the two 
brothers, predeceased Mulai el-Arbi. He died of 
a lingering and painful malady. He was by far 
the most attractive of the two a sportsman, 
energetic and witty. I accompanied him on many 
a great hunt in the Wazzan districts, when wild 
boar, jackals, hares, and partridges were slain 
galore driven from their covert by hundreds of 
tribesmen. Often these hunts lasted several days, 
and the evenings and nights were spent under 
canvas in feasting and revelry: great days and 
great nights ! 

The third brother, Mulai Thami, had also a 
tragic end. He had served as a youth in the 
French Army in Algeria, and had learnt to read 
and write French, but he had fallen a victim to 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 279 

intemperance. He was a good deal younger than 
his two brothers, and the son of another wife, 
and considerable jealousy existed between them. 
He complained that his share of the revenues did 
not reach him, and that he was often sorely in 
need of money. When drunk he at times became 
very violent ; on other occasions he was charming, 
an excellent conversationalist, and he had re- 
ceived a good education. Drink at length affected 
his brain, and a series of incidents led to his 
imprisonment. I was at Wazzan at the time. In 
a fit of madness he fired from a window of his 
house upon people passing to the mosque to 
prayer. Several were killed, but his sanctity 
rendered him immune from any punishment. The 
townspeople stated it was the " Will of God," 
manifested through the holy Shereef, and some 
even envied the people who had found death at 
his hands. All that was done was to post a soldier 
in front of his house to warn the passers-by that 
there was a risk of being shot ! The same night 
Mulai Thami wrote me a letter. It is undated 
it was December 1889 and is written in French : 

" MON CHER AMI, Je vous prie de dire a mes 
freres que je les remercie beaucoup de m' avoir 
envoyer encore un soldat pour me tuer, parceque 
aujourd'hui j'ai monte dans mon ' couba ' pour 
prendre un peu d'air. Comme je regardai par la 
fenetre je voyai un soldat arme de sa carabine. 
J'avais peur, alors j'ai arme sur lui ma carabine, 
mais comme il m'a dit qu'il ne me fera rien je 
1'ai laisse* passe tranquilement. Aussitot est alle 



280 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

dire a mes freres que j'ai voulu le tuer. Je vous 
jure par la tete de notre Prophete Mohamet si je 
voudrai faire 9a j'ai d'autres endroits ou je pourrai 
tuer tout ce qui passe, mais seulement je ne suis 
pas fou. J'ai tue ces hommes parceque j'^tais ivre, 
et puis en colere, a cause du voyage et a cause 
d'une histoire entre moi et un cherif. Je vous jure, 
mon cher ami, que je n'avais pas la tete a moi. 

" Maintenant, cher ami, dites a Muley el-Arbi 
qu'il me rend mon mulet et qu'il m'envoie de 
P argent, car je creve de faim, moi et ma famille. 

" Je vous prie de faire votre possible avec mes 
freres pour me sauver la vie a moi et ma pauvre 
mere. Le coup de fusil qu'il m'a donne le soldat 
ne m'a attrape. 

" C'est comme 9a qu'on doit etre les freres ? 

MULEY TOUHAMI." 

(Translation.) 

" MY DEAR FRIEND, I beg you to tell my 
brothers that I thank them very much for having 
sent still another soldier to kill me, for to-day I 
went up to my couba (upper room) for a little 
air. As I looked out of the window I saw a soldier 
armed with his rifle. I was afraid, and I aimed 
my rifle at him, but as he told me he would do 
nothing I let him pass quietly. He at once went 
to my brothers to say that I had wished to kill 
him. I swear to you on the head of our Prophet 
Mohamed that if I had wished to do so I have 
other places from which I could kill every one 
who passes, only I am not mad. I killed those men 
because I was drunk, and also angry on account 
of a journey and on account of a story between 
me and a Shereef. I swear to you, my dear friend, 
that I was ' off my head.' 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 281 

" Now, dear friend, ask Mulai el-Arbi to return 
me my mule, and that he send me some money, 
for my family and I are starving. 

" I beg you to do your utmost with my brothers, 
so as to save my life and that of my poor mother. 
The shot that the solider fired missed me. 

" Is it thus that brothers should be ? 

MlTLEY TOUHAMI." 

He omitted to state in this letter that he had, 
as well as killing the people he speaks of, attempted 
to murder the two sons of his brother Mulai 
Mohamed, by firing on them inside the mosque ! 

On Christmas night, a few weeks after these 
incidents, I went to see Mulai Thami, who had 
been sober and in his right mind for some time. 
We were to go hunting the next day at dawn, 
and a few details of our excursion still remained 
to be settled. I had supper with him, but on % 
leaving the supper-room in which we had spent 
the evening I was treacherously attacked by the 
Shereef and his slaves. In the struggle I fell down 
the steep flight of stairs. My call for help had 
alarmed some passers-by, and the Shereef 's re- 
tainers heard voices in the street. They fled, and 
their master disappeared into the inner part of 
the house. After a short period of unconsciousness 
I was able to open the door and get out into the 
street a pitiful figure, my clothes torn to rags 
and stained with blood from a wound on the head, 
happily only skin-deep, and much bruised. 

Mulai Thami was imprisoned. After a period 
of incarceration at Wazzan he was taken to Tangier, 



282 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

but he had become quite insane, and on being 
brought into the presence of his father, Sid el-Haj 
Abdesalam, who still lived at Tangier, he wanted 
to assassinate him. He was confined at Tangier, 
and some little time later was sent to a lunatic 
asylum in France, where he lived for several years, 
suffering from the strange delusion for a Moham- 
medan that he was Jesus Christ. 

Wazzan was at this period the most lawless 
place in Morocco. Many murders of important 
personages took place. The almost total immunity 
of the Shereefs from punishment for it was only 
this head of the family who had the right to 
imprison them, a right dangerous to exercise for 
fear of reprisals increased crime. One instance 
will be sufficient to demonstrate the absolute 
anarchy which existed. 

A Fez merchant, who was residing at Wazzan 
at this time, possessed a daughter who was re- 
puted to be of great beauty. A Shereef asked the 
father for his daughter's hand in marriage, and 
was refused. The Fez merchant desired her to 
marry a young man of his own native town, and 
the Shereef in question was quite undesirable. In 
time the wedding of the young Fezzi and the girl 
took place. It was night, and the bridegroom 
rode at the head of the procession, which had 
proceeded to fetch the bride from her father's 
house. In the gaily-decorated " Amaria " a sort 
of box carried on a mule's back was the bride, 
surrounded by her relations. Many of the crowd 
carried lanterns, and the air rang with the gay 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 283 

music of drums and fifes. Suddenly the pro- 
cession was attacked by a group of men emerg- 
ing from a side street. It was the disappointed 
Shereef and his retainers. The bridegroom was 
shot, the guests dispersed, and the bride carried 
off to the house of the Shereef, who forthwith 
married her. 

Wazzan, surrounded by its gardens and olive 
groves, is one of the most picturesque towns in 
Morocco. It is situated on the eastern slopes of a 
double-peaked mountain, with an extensive view 
over range after range of wild hills to the highlands, 
often snow-covered, of the Sheshouan district. 
Snow often falls, and lies for two or three days 
together, in Wazzan itself. The result is incon- 
venient, for as fast as it accumulates on the flat 
roofs of the houses the inhabitants shovel it off 
into the streets, which at times are completely 
blocked. Situated on the borders of the " Jibala " '' 
" mountaineer " country there is no district 
more turbulent, and Wazzan has been for several 
years unvisited by Europeans. It falls in the 
French sphere of influence, and its occupation by 
the Protectorate troops has lately been spoken of 
as imminent. 1 The town has lost much of its 
religious prestige. All over Morocco the reverence 
for the many Shereefian families is disappearing, 
the native finding that the spiritual return in 
blessings is scarcely worth the financial sacrifice 
that is entailed to obtain them. In fact, the days 

1 Wazzan was occupied by the French Protectorate troops in 
October 1920. 



284 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

of the " Holy Shereefs " are nearing an end, 
though there is still a new role for them to play 
in Morocco. Their influence, if exerted for good, 
may yet be very beneficial to the country, and 
the sons and grandsons of the English wife of Sid 
el-Haj Abdesalam are setting a good example. 
Her eldest grandson, who speaks French and Eng- 
lish perfectly, is to-day a brilliant young cadet of 
the Protectorate army in the new military school 
for the sons of " Nobles " at Meknes. His younger 
brothers are to enter various professions, in which 
they can look for every success in the future. 

The following sects are the most influential and 
numerous in Morocco : 

Derkaoua. Followers of Mulai el-Arbi ben Ahmed 
el-Derkaoui, who was born about 1730, and is 
buried in the tribe-lands of the Beni Zerual tribe, 
in the mountains of North- West Morocco, to the 
north of Fez. He was a Shereef, or descendant of 
the Prophet, and a renowned scholar. He him- 
self practised the cult of the Chedili sect, a branch 
of the better-known Kaderia, or followers of Mulai 
Abdul Kader el-Ghrailani of Baghdad. 

The order of the " Derkaoua " is certainly the 
most powerful in Morocco. It is, as a rule, entirely 
religious, but would be capable of speedy secret 
organisation and combined political action. It 
is a " socialistic " and " ascetic " sect, depreciat- 
ing all temporal rulers, and only accepting the 
Sultans of Morocco on the grounds of their Sher- 
eefian descent. They accentuate the great doc- 
trine of Islam, the Unity of God, and consider the 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 285 

Prophet and all other holy men of secondary 
importance, though they reverence them. They 
may perhaps best be described as the Unitarians 
of Morocco. Besides counting a very large number 
of devotees amongst the middle classes, the sect 
boasts many professional adherents, for the most 
part beggars, who can be recognised by their 
rosaries of exaggeratedly large beads. 

The political influence at present non-existing, 
but capable of almost instantaneous appearance, 
should circumstances bring it to life of this sect 
is important. Exerted in the interests of peace 
and order, it might prove invaluable in a time of 
trouble, for not only is the sect very numerous, 
but it could also bring much pressure to bear on 
the people, and other sects. On the contrary, 
should the Derkaoua proclaim a campaign against 
Europeans and European influence, their power 
would be equally strong in the interests of evil, 
especially in stirring up other religious sects of 
more fanatical tenets, such as the Aissaoua and 
Hamacha. 

The Derkaoua seem to be the only confraternity 
in Morocco that still maintains intact their secret 
organisation. 

Aissaoua. Followers of Sidi ben Aissa. A sect 
dating from the seventeenth century A.D. ; the 
founder is buried at Mekne"s, where the great annual 
festival in his honour is held, on the Mouloud, 
or Prophet's birthday. The adherents of this sect 
are principally people of the lower classes. They 
resemble more the " dervishes " of the East than 



286 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the generality of the other Moroccan sects, for 
they dance, and work themselves into a state of 
wild frenzy, in which they devour live sheep, glass, 
burning coals, the leaves of the " prickly pear," 
and other equally indigestible food. A number 
of fables, of little interest, are stated as being the 
origin of these very unorthodox proceedings, which 
are looked on askance by the educated Moor. 
Sidi ben Aissa is also the patron saint of the snake- 
charmers. 

Although when excited to a state of frenzy the 
" Aissaoua " are capable of acts of fanaticism, they 
are in their ordinary lives, as a rule, peaceful law- 
abiding people. There are " zaouias " of the 
sect all over Morocco, presided over by " Sheikhs " 
and " mokaddems " ; but their organisation ap- 
pears to be almost entirely localised, and therefore 
capable of no sudden political combination nor 
need such be looked for in any case. There are a 
certain number of professional adherents, musicians, 
reciters, snake-charmers, who travel from town to 
town, and live on charity. 

Hamacha. Followers of Sidi Ali ben Hamdouch, 
who is buried on the slopes of the Zarhoun Moun- 
tains, near Meknes. Like the Aissaoua, whom they 
much resemble, they are principally people of the 
lower classes. When worked into a state of religious 
frenzy, they cut their heads with hatchets and 
throw up heavy cannon-balls which they let fall 
on their skulls. They are capable of fanaticism 
when in a frenzical state, but peaceful citizens in 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 287 

ordinary life. There are a few professional Hama- 
cha, who perform in the towns and country markets 
for money. 

Taibiya. Followers of Mulai Taiyeb, son of 
Mulai Abdullah Shereef , of Wazzan. Mulai Taiyeb 
lived in the early nineteenth century, and is buried 
at Wazzan. The adherents of this sect are, as a 
rule, respectable middle-class people. A member of 
this Shereefian family is always the chief of this 
order. 

Ulad Sidi Ahmed ou Mousa. " Sons of Sidi 
Ahmed ou Mousa." The patron saint of all the 
acrobats. This Shereef was a descendant of 
Mulai Idris, and died early in the thirteenth cen- 
tury. No political importance of any kind. 

Tijania. Followers of Sidi Ahmed el-Tijani. 
The adherents of this sect are few in Morocco, 
though strong in Algeria. Essentially religious. 

Shingata. Followers of the Shereef M'al-Ainin 
of Shingit, in the far south of Morocco. The sect 
was founded by this Shereef, who only died five 
years ago. He was of very holy reputation, and 
was always veiled. The Sultans Mulai Hassen 
and Mulai Abdul Aziz paid him the greatest 
respect, and loaded him with presents on his 
periodical visits to the Court. On his death he 
was succeeded by his son, Mohamed Hiba, who 
took advantage of the disturbed period of 1912 to 
declare himself Sultan. He even entered Marra- 
kesh, the southern capital, but fled on the approach 
of the French forces. 



288 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Mohamed Hiba was always in revolt, but never 
venturing out of the southern Sus districts, where 
an expeditionary force attacked him in 1917, 
defeating his followers, who were dispersed. He 
died in 1919. 

Kaderia. Followers of Mulai Abdul Kader el- 
Ghrailani, of Baghdad, where he is buried. This 
" confraternity " has numerous adherents in 
Morocco, which Mulai Abdul Kader is supposed 
to have visited. He died in the twelfth cen- 
tury A.D. 

It is a strictly religious sect, differing from 
others solely in the form of prayer used, and in 
the position taken up when at prayer, and " in 
the absorbing of the individual in the essence of 
the Deity " by repetitions of the name of God. 
This sect shows more traces of Sufism, being of 
Persian origin, than any other cult in Morocco, 
but its original practices seem to have become 
adapted to Moroccan thought and sentiment. It 
is strictly religious, and it is difficult to say whether 
it could play any political role. 

Nasaria. Followers of Sidi ben Nasr, who is 
buried at Tamgrout, on the Wad Draa. An essen- 
tially religious and innocuous sect. 

Kittamin. Followers of Sidi Mohamed el- 
Kittani, who was beaten to death by order of 
the Sultan Mulai Hafid in 1909. His martyr- 
dom appears to have given a great impetus to 
his followers, who are increasing in numbers, 
especially in Fez. A religious sect. 

There are, in addition to the " zaouias " of 



SAINTS, SHEREEFS, AND SINNERS 289 

the " confraternities," a large number of tombs 
which are visited as places of pilgrimage. It is 
usual for one day in the year to be set aside for 
the festival at each of these tombs, and great 
crowds proceed to these " mousim." A general 
holiday is kept in the surrounding districts, and 
pilgrims arrive from far and near. Often if the 
tomb is situated in the country a whole town of 
tents springs up around it. 

The following is a list of the principal tombs, 
given in the order of their relative import- 
ance : 

The tomb of Mulai Idris I., in the mountains of 
Zarhoun (died 790 A.D.) 

The tomb of Mulai Idris II., at Fez (died 828(?) 

A.D.) 

The tomb of Mulai Abdesalam ben Mashish 
(died twelfth century A.D.), in the moun- 
tains of the Beni Aros in North-West 
Morocco. 

The tomb of Mulai Brahim in the Ghergaya dis- 
trict, on the northern slopes of the great 
Atlas, to the south of Marrakesh. 

The tomb of Mulai Ali Shereef at Tafilet) died 
1590 A.D.) 

The tomb of Mulai Busseta el-Khammar in 
Fichtala, to the north of Fez (twelfth cen- 
tury A.D.) 

The tombs of Sebat er-Rejal, " the Seven 
Men" (i.e., the seven patron saints of 
Marrakesh). 

The tomb of Mulai Bou Shaib at Azimour. 



290 MOEOCCO THAT WAS 

The tomb of Sidi Ben Daoud at Bu Jad, on the 

plains of Central Morocco. 
The tomb of Mulai Bouselham, on the sea-shore 

of the Gharb province, not far from Laraiche. 
The tomb and hot springs of Mulai Yakoub, 

near Fez. 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 

THE change that is taking place, and will still for 
a long time be taking place, in Morocco must be 
gradual. The deep conservatism of the people 
the spirit that kept the country closed for century 
after century to Europe has not yet disappeared. 
It is, except in the case of the more remote tribes, 
less an open opposition to reform than an un- 
ceasing disinclination to any alteration in their 
status. In many ways it is better it should be so 
old bottles cannot stand too much new wine 
and little by little the Moor and the tribesman 
is imbibing the new state of things without appre- 
ciating, or at least without fully realising, the 
great change that is already coming about. 

There is no doubt that effectively it is easier 
to organise civilisation, primitive though it may 
at first have to be, amongst the savage tribes of 
Central Africa than to try and adapt, and neces- 
sarily to some extent to destroy, what has pre- 
viously existed. The state of civilisation of 
Morocco has for centuries been a high one com- 
pared to most of Africa. It has been, it is true,\ 
for a long period in its decadence, but none the 
less possessing certain admirable features. The 



292 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

institutions of the country, the architecture and 
art, the remnants of learning, the water-supplies 
of Fez and Marrakesh, the manners of the people 
and their capacity as merchants, traders, and 
agriculturists, all bespeak evidences of an attain- 
ment of civilisation, uninfluenced for many cen- 
turies past by Europe, that can only be con- 
sidered as admirable. There has been little or no 
progress. The Moors lived on the mere echo of 
the past, but were proud both of that past and 
of the spirit that they had inherited from it a 
spirit of closing the door of their country to all 
aggression, and the door of their hearts to all 
external influence. 

When it does come the beginning of the great 
change, as it has come in Morocco the new system 
must expect to be met with suspicion and un- 
popularity. In course of time the benefits will 
be fully recognised, and some gratitude will be 
shown, but it may be a very long time. Few 
people in the world really appreciate radical change, 
especially if radical change is forced upon them by 
foreigners in race, in language, and in religion. 
Yet, on the whole, the Moor of Morocco is meeting 
it in the same stolid spirit of disinterest as he 
bore the former persecutions of his own Sultans 
and Government. He accepts all as the will of 
God, but finds that he has now for the first time 
I am speaking of the French Protectorate of 
Morocco security of life and property. He dislikes 
all foreigners, but he acknowledges the improve- 
ment in his situation. He is richer, happier than 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 293 

he was. This he puts down to the merciful provi- 
dence of God. In return he has to pay regular 
taxation, which he particularly dislikes ; and 
that he puts down to the intervention of the 
French. He eases his conscience, and takes advan- 
tage of the situation. 

Yet gradual as the change is, much has already 
been accomplished. Only those who knew the 
country before and who know it now can realise 
the extent of what has been done. When the 
French bombarded Casablanca and thus opened 
the road to their occupation of the greater part 
of Morocco, they entered a closed house, tenanted 
by suspicion, fanaticism, and distrust. The country 
considered itself impregnable, and the people 
looked upon the " Christians " as a despised 
race, condemned by their religion, unwarlike by 
nature, and ridiculous in appearance. The Moor 
imagined that with a small Moslem army, aided 
by divine assistance, he could easily defeat all the 
" Christian " forces of the world. " Your shells 
and bullets will turn to water," they said, " for 
the saints and holy men who protect us will never 
allow the infidel to invade our land. Storms will 
wreck your ships, and even should your soldiers 
land, a handful of our horsemen would suffice to 
drive them back into the sea." They really 
believed it. 

What a change has come about since then 
and it is only thirteen years ago that the bombard- 
ment of Casablanca took place ! From time to 
time I accompanied the expedition that invaded 



294 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the Chaouia and the highlands beyond it, when 
one by one the tribes gave way and acknowledged 
that those two French columns, advancing and 
ever advancing, were stronger than all the saints 
in their tombs and than all the Holy Men with 
their promises of victory. The Moor had to realise 
a fact. It was very difficult at first. It changed 
his whole aspect of life, his whole mentality. A few 
thousand Christians were conquering his country ! 
And the two columns were as irresistible as the 
fact itself. He took refuge in the supreme solace 
of his religion cried, "It is the will of God " ; 
laid his rifle aside, and either went back to the 
fields or enlisted in the French Army. 

Behind the show of force there was another 
and still more important factor at work. As 
district after district was occupied and the troops 
passed on, there sprung up a new organisation, a 
new administration that safeguarded the interests 
of the people, their lives and their properties. 
They experienced, for the first time for centuries, 
security. The ever-present fear of death, con- 
fiscation, and imprisonment, under the shadow of 
which they had passed their whole lives, as had 
their parents and their ancestors before them, 
disappeared. The extortion of the " Kaids " 
ceased, or was greatly curtailed, and justice was 
obtainable. 

In the introduction of civilisation the French 
have shown admirable tact. Their every act and 
thought has been influenced by a desire to amelio- 
rate the condition of the people and to render them 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 295 

prosperous. They have built endless roads. They 
have opened hospitals and dispensaries, and every- 
thing has been avoided that could wound the 
religious susceptibilities of the people. They 
had the experience of Algeria and Tunis. They 
studied our action in Egypt. They have 
known what to adopt and what to avoid. They 
have maintained upon the throne a descendant 
of the ancient line of Sultans, and, governing in 
his name, they have been able to obtain an elas- 
ticity of administration which the codified laws 
of France could never have given, had a system of 
direct government been adopted. They have met 
with far less opposition than might have been 
expected. In fact, the introduction of civilisation 
into Morocco, in times of great difficulty during 
the war, has been a fine example of the true 
spirit of pacification and progress. I, who have 
known Morocco for over thirty years, can bear 
witness that in the parts of the country occupied 
by France the improvement in the welfare of its 
people is immense. There is yet much to be done. 
Decades must pass before the work is completed, 
but I am convinced that the great policy inaugu- 
rated by General_Jjyautey in Morocco will be 
accepted as the basis of government to the 
mutual benefit of the " Protecting " and the 
" Protected." 

Yet there are those who still talk of the " good 
old days " of Morocco before the French came to 
the country ! That any one can regret that time 
is incredible. Only those who failed to see beneath 






296 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

the surface and how little surface there was to 
hide the facts can possible compare the two 
periods. The most that can be said against the 
French regime is that the native finds the intro- 
duction of regulations annoying. He has regular 
taxes to pay instead of suffering the extortion of 
his own authorities, as he did in the past. He dis- 
likes regularity, and some Moors would probably 
prefer the uncertainty and gambling chances of 
the past to the uneventful prosperity of the 
present. It is true there was the risk of death, 
of confiscation, of imprisonment; but there was also 
the chance of loot and robbery, of acquiring a 
position by force or by bribery, and of being able, 
in tolerable security, to confiscate the property of 
others and put others in prison ; and if in the 
end one died in prison oneself well, it was God's 
will. The Moor is a gambler. He staked under 
that old regime not only his fortune but his life. 
Often he lost both ; but sometimes he won, and 
it was the lives of others that were sacrificed 
and their properties that accrued till a great 
estate was built up, till palaces were built in all 
the capitals, till his slaves were legion and his 
women buzzed like a swarm of bees and then 
one day the end came. If fate was kind he died 
in possession of his estates and they were con- 
fiscated on the day of his death; but more often 
he died in prison while his family starved. Mean- 
while nothing could be imagined more pitiable 
than was the lot of the country people, victims of 
robbery of every kind, for, from the Sultan to the 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 297 

village sheikh, the whole Maghzen pillaged and 
lived on the poor. No man could call his soul his 
own. Thank God, the " good old days " are gone 
and done with ! ""\ 

I sometimes wonder whether, in spite of all that \ 
has been written on the subject, the state of affairs \ 
existing in Morocco up to the date of the intro- 
duction of the French Protectorate in 1912 is fully 
realised. 

While -MulaLJETafid was Sultan, from 1908 to 
1912, in which year he abdicated, the palace was 
the constant scene of barbarity and torture. The 
Sultan himself, neurasthenic, and addicted, it is 
said, to drugs, had his good and his bad days. 
There was no doubt that at first he meant to 
reform his country or perhaps, more correctly, 
to save it from the encroaching intervention of 
France. He was possessed of a certain cunning 
intelligence, and had some idea of government, 
but disappointment met him. Things had gone 
too far. Morocco was doomed. Finding all his 
attempts to preserve his country's independence 
futile, he gave way to temptations, and became 
cruel and avaricious. 

Rebels taken in the war many, no doubt, 
were harmless tribesmen had their hands and 
feet cut off. Twenty-six were thus tortured 
at Fez in one day. Twenty-five succumbed, 
mostly to gangrene ; for though the European 
doctors in Fez implored the Sultan to be allowed 
to attend them, Mulai Hafid refused. Publicly 
the butchers cut and hacked from each of these 



298 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

unfortunate men a hand and a foot, treating the 
stumps with pitch. The one survivor of that 
particular batch is living to-day. 

Earlier in his reign in 1909 Mulai Hafid 
became jealous of a young Shereef, Sid Mohamed 
el-Kittani, a member of a great family, who, 
having taken to a religious life, had gathered 
round him a group of cultured men and founded 
a sect. People spoke much of him ; his popularity 
and reputation were great. From the precincts 
of the palace the Sultan followed his every move- 
ment, and spies reported his every word, but no 
excuse could be found for his arrest. But Mulai 
Hafid was determined that he must be got rid of. 
He let the young Shereef understand that he was 
in danger, that the Sultan meant to arrest him, 
and, influenced by a spy, the young man was per- 
suaded to abandon Fez. He fled by night straight 
into the trap. He was allowed to reach the Beni 
Mtir tribe-lands, and there he was arrested. Mean- 
while the report was spread that he had tried to 
get himself proclaimed Sultan, and evidence to 
this effect was easily produced. He was brought 
back to Fez I saw him brought a prisoner into 
the palace and in the presence of Mulai Hafid 
he was flogged. Blow after blow from knotted 
leathern cords was rained upon his back and legs, 
till, life almost extinct, he was carried away and 
thrown into a prison in the palace. He was not 
even allowed to have his wounds tended. He 
lived for a few days only, and the slaves who 
washed his dead body for burial told me that the 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 299 

linen of his shirt had been beaten so deeply into 
his flesh, which had closed in hideous sores over 
it, that they had merely cut the more exposed parts 
of the evil blood-stained rags away and left the rest. 

Perhaps the most tragic of the tortures per- 
petrated by Mulai Hafid were upon the family 
of the Basha Haj ben Aissa, the Governor of Fez, 
a man whose reputation was certainly no worse 
than that of the majority of Moorish officials, and 
very much better than that of many. 

Believing that he was very rich, Mulai Hafid 
had the Governor arrested and thrown into prison, 
with several members of his family. The usual 
floggings and privations took place, and Haj ben 
Aissa surrendered all his properties to the Sultan. 
But Mulai Hafid was not satisfied. He believed 
in the existence of a great fortune in money. 
As a matter of fact, the Governor of Fez had been 
a keen agriculturist, and had invested all his 
gains licit and illicit in land, but nothing could 
persuade the Sultan that this was the fact. He 
gave orders that the fortune was to be found ; and 
thus fresh privations and more floggings ensued, 
but all to no avail. Then the women were 
arrested, amongst them the aristocratic wife of the 
Governor of Fez, a lady of good family and high 
position. It was thought that she would know, 
and disclose the hidden treasure. She was tor- 
tured, but disclosed nothing, because there was 
nothing to disclose. 

The whole of this story came to my knowledge, 
and the barbarity of the Sultan's proceedings 



I 



300 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

determined me to let the world know what was 
passing. The ' Times ' opened its columns un- 
reservedly to these wrongs, as that great paper 
has never failed to do whenever there has been a 
wrong to redress. It was not so much the tortur- 
ing of the wife of the Governor of Fez terrible 
though that was as the fact that these things 
were still happening in Morocco and must cease. 
The evidence I had was legally slight, but I deter- 
mined to see it through. The Sultan denied, 
threatened, and denied again, but the repeated 
efforts of the ' Times ' were sufficient even to move 
the Foreign Office, and it was decided that some 
action must be taken. The late Sir Reginald 
Lister was British Minister at that time, and his 
encouragement and help assisted me in my cam- 
paign. At long length the British Government 
decided to ask the Sultan to produce the lady, 
as no other proof would be sufficient to persuade 
them that great cruelties had not been perpetrated. 
The French Government stood side by side with 
our own in the interests of humanity. The Sultan 
agreed willingly, but failed to produce the lady. 
The energy of Mr M c Leod, the British Consul at 
Fez, was untiring. He was determined to see the 
matter through. At length, driven by the force 
of circumstances, the Sultan allowed the Basha's 
wife to be visited by two English lady medical 
missionaries, accompanied by the wife of a French 
doctor. They saw her in the recesses of the palace, 
and, in spite of protestations and threats on the 
part of the slaves, they insisted on examining her. 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 301 

Her crippled body, and the terrible scars of recent 
wounds, amply justified the ' Times ' action. The 
Sultan had lied throughout. The woman had 
been cruelly tortured. 

With that humane spirit which he has shown 
throughout his whole life, Sid el Haj Mohamed ^ 
el-Mokri, who was Grand Vizier then, and to-day 
so ably fills the same post, took the injured wife 
of the Governor of Fez into his own house, where 
she received all the medical assistance of which 
she stood in need, and all the kindness of the 
vizier's womenkind. 

I have two letters referring to this incident 
which I value. One is from Mr J. M. M c Leod, 
C.M.G., then British Consul at Fez, dated 28th July 
1910, in which he writes to me to tell me that the 
surviving members of Haj Ben Aissa's family had 
been to see him for the purpose of asking him to 
let me know how grateful they were for the " great 
efforts I had made on their behalf, which had been 
an immense solace to them." The second is a 
letter from the British Minister, Sir Reginald 
Lister, dated 22nd February, from the Dolomites, 
in which he says, " I write first and above all to 
congratulate you on your triumph in the matter 
of the tortures." After all, my part had been 
small. It was the publicity that the ' Times ' 
gave to my telegrams and messages that obtained 
the success. Two years afterwards, when circum- 
stances had brought Mulai Hafid and myself 
together again, I asked him to explain his action. 
He told me that he knew the woman had been 



302 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

tortured she was not the only one but that he 
personally had not intended it. He said that when 
he had been informed that Haj ben Aissa's fortune 
could not be found, he had ordered the arrest of 
his womenkind. A little later he was told the 
women " wouldn't speak," and he acknowledged 
that he had replied, " They must be made to speak." 
Such words from such a source were taken to mean 
one thing, and one thing alone torture ; and they 
were tortured. 

Of the end of Bou Hamara I have written else- 
where: his long confinement in a small cage, his 
being thrown to the lions in the presence of the 
Sultan's women, and eventually his being shot 
after the savage beasts had mangled and torn his 
arms. 

Those were the " good old days " ! 

It was not only in the palace that there was 
cruelty. In every governor's Kasba, deep in 
damp dungeons as often as not holes scooped 
in the earth for storing grain there lay and pined 
those who had committed, or not committed, as 
the case might be, some crime ; and still more 
often, those who were rich enough to be squeezed. 
In such suffering, and in darkness, receiving just 
sufficient nourishment to support life, men were 
known to have existed for years, to emerge again 
long after their relations had given up all hope of 
seeing them. But there was always a chance 
a chance that the Governor might die or fall into 
disgrace ; and then the dungeons in his castle 
would be opened and the wrecks of his prisoners 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 303 

be released. And what prisons ! what horrors of 
prisons they were, even those above ground and 
reserved for the ordinary class of criminal. Chained 
neck to neck, with heavy shackles on their legs, 
they sat or lay in filth, and often the cruel iron 
collars were only undone to take away a corpse. 
The prisons in the towns were bad enough, but 
those of the country Kasbas were far worse. 
Mulai Abdul Aziz, who reigned from 1894 till 
1908, and who still lives at Tangier, deserves at 
least some credit, for at one period of his reign he 
put the prisons of Fez in order. They were largely 
restored, a water-supply was added, and they 
became less hideous than they had been before; 
but gradually the old system crept back again, 
and the improvements lasted only a little while. 
With all the good intentions in the world, a Sultan 
of those days could not break down the traditions 
and corruption of his surroundings. 

Amongst the great Berber chieftains of the 
Atlas, lif e was even harder ; but at all events there 
was not the same persecution and squeezing as 
existed in the plains and richer districts. The 
more than semi-independence of the Berbers freed 
them from the perpetual exactions of the Maghzen, 
though by no means from the extortion of their 
own chiefs. Yet the very climate, the hardships 
of life in those inhospitable peaks, the constant 
warfare in which the tribes were engaged with one 
another, made men of them, and all the traditions 
of their race were democratic. But if the same 
oppression for the sake of extorting money did not 



304 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

exist, their treatment of prisoners taken in war 
whose lives were not forfeited, or of those held as 
hostages, was harsh enough. They, too, the great 
Berber Kaids, had their castles and their dungeons, 
and the latter were seldom empty. The whole life 
in those great Atlas fortified Kasbas was one of 
warfare and of gloom. Every tribe had its enemies, 
every family had its blood-feuds, and every man 
his would-be murderer. Since quite my early 
years in Morocco I have visited these far-away 
castles, and with many of the Berber Kaids I 
enjoy to-day a friendship that has lasted over 
many years. With the family of the Kaids of 
Glaoua I have long been on intimate terms. When 
I first knew them, Sid Madani Glaoui was merely 
the Governor of the Glaoua tribe, and his younger 
brother, Sid Thami a youth then held no official 
position. Remarkable for their skill in warfare 
and for their ability in tribal diplomacy, the 
members of the Glaoua family seldom left the 
high mountain peaks, except to pay periodical 
visits to Marrakesh, three days' journey from their 
home. Their Kasba at Teluet, the grandest of all 
the Atlas fortresses, is situated over 7000 feet 
above the level of the sea. Such ability did these 
young brothers possess, that it was not difficult 
to foresee that they must be destined to play a role 
in the history of Morocco. They began by consoli- 
dating their power in the Atlas, both by diplo- 
macy and by a series of little wars, in which they 
surpassed themselves in feats of arms, and in which 
both were repeatedly wounded. As Commander- 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 305 

in-Chief of the Shereefian forces the elder was 
employed by Mulai Abdul Aziz in his wars against 
the Rif tribes. Meanwhile the Glaoua faction in 
the south was becoming all-powerful, and when 
Mulai Hafid in 1908 unfurled the standard of revolt 
against his brother, the Glaoui chiefs supported 
him. Without them his cause must have failed 
at once. Madani became his Minister of War and 
later his Grand Vizier ; his brother, Haj Thami, 
was appointed Governor of Marrakesh and the 
surrounding tribes. Capable in the art of native 
government, they were equally capable in the 
management of their own affairs. Their estates, 
the most extensive of any except, perhaps, the 
Sultan's Maghzen properties, were admirably 
worked and conducted, and vast revenues flowed 
in. At the moment when the French Protectorate 
was declared, both these able men threw in their 
lot with France, and have served her loyally. 
Intelligent, realising for years past that the end 
of the independence of Morocco might be staved 
off for a short period, but was eventually inevitable, 
the Glaoui brothers had never disguised their 
preference for reform and their desire for the 
opening up of Morocco's wealth. The Berber race 
possesses not only a keenness of intellect, but 
also an activity that is wanting in the other in- 
habitants of Morocco. Roads, railways, machinery 
pleases them, and they are eager for their intro- 
duction. Their mentality is European and not 
African. 

Madani Glaoui died two years ago, a man who 

u 



306 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

was really regretted, not only by the French, to 
whom he rendered great services, but also by the 
natives. He was one of the greatest, the richest, 
and the most generous of Berber chiefs, a man of 
delightful manners and much learning. His brother, 
Haj Thami, still a comparatively young man, is 
to-day Basha of Marrakesh. He lives a simple life 
in the midst of much splendour, and spends all 
the hours that he can spare from his official duties 
hi visiting his estates or in handling and reading 
his wonderful collection of Arabic manuscripts. 
On one of my visits to their Kasba at Teluet, I 
think in the year 1901, I allowed myself to be 
persuaded to stay on and on, though I ought 
already to have been on my way toward the coast. 
First it had been Kaid Madani who had asked me 
to remain another day, then one or other of his 
brothers or cousins, and so on. Every morning I 
prepared to start, and every time I was begged 
to stay. At last I really expected to be allowed 
to leave, but I was led out into a great court- 
yard, overlooked by the frowning walls of the 
Kasba. On the terraced roofs were gathered a 
multitude of veiled women. My host, bidding me 
look up, said, " To-day it is our womenfolk who 
beg you to stay," and with a loud cry the women 
uttered their welcome. The Berbers are less strict 
about womenkind, and I often conversed with 
elderly ladies of the Glaoua family. On asking 
one of these personages she was a very near 
relation to Sid Madani why it was the women 
of the Kasba desired me to prolong my stay, she 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 307 

replied, " Because since you have been here there 
has been a truce to war and to feud. Our sons 
and our sons' sons are in safety. Before you came 
no one ever laughed in the Kasba, for the men 
think only of war, and we women only of death ; 
but for a fortnight now we have laughed and sung, 
having no fear. But when you go the truce will 
end, and all our laughter will cease." It made 
one realise life in the Kasba of Teluet. 

When Sid Madani Glaoui was at Fez as Grand 
Vizier during the reign of Mulai Hafid, he had 
only a few of his very numerous children with 
him. Amongst these few was a favourite son by 
a black slave woman. He was about twelve years 
of age, very dark, but of a remarkable vivacity 
and intelligence, and most amusing. Unfortu- 
nately this temperament had its disadvantages, 
and his conduct for his age was disgraceful. He 
had already indulged in the wildest life. His 
father had sent him to the French school, but it 
was only on the rarest occasions that he ever 
turned up there. No matter how many of the 
Vizier's retainers took him to the door, he invari- 
ably by some means or other escaped, and spent 
his days in far less eligible society elsewhere. At 
last things became so bad that the schoolmaster 
insisted on complaining personally to his father. 
The boy was summoned into his presence, and was 
asked why he played truant. He denied it, to the 
surprise of both. He insisted that he attended 
school regularly, and that it was only because 
the schoolmaster disliked him that this accusation 



308 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

was made against him. The schoolmaster continued 
naturally to contradict the boy, who at last said, 
" Well, I can prove it. If I hadn't attended school 
I couldn't speak French. Examine me." Hur- 
riedly one of the Vizier's Algerian retinue was 
called and asked to address the boy in French. 
He did so, and the black imp replied with the 
facility almost of a Parisian, but it wasn't the 
French that schoolboys ought to learn. The ex- 
pressions and words he used made the school- 
master's hair stand on end, but undoubtedly he 
spoke French, and with a fluency that was appal- 
ling. It was not in a school for the " sons of 
gentlemen " that he had learned it nor in a 
school for the " daughters of ladies " either but 
in a French cafe chantant, as it called itself, which 
had recently been installed in the Jews' quarter of 
the city. 

The Jews of Morocco are a race apart. There 
are two distinct branches the descendants of the 
original Berber Jews of the country, and the 
descendants of the Jews who migrated from Spain, 
mostly in the fifteenth century. While the latter 
have preserved Spanish as their native tongue, 
the former use the Shelha (Berber) or Arabic 
languages, according to the part of Morocco they 
inhabit. The type, as might be expected, is very 
different, and it is often difficult, and at times 
impossible, to distinguish between the Israelites 
of the Atlas and the neighbouring Moselm Berber 
tribesmen. They even dress alike, except for the 
small black cap which is common to the Jewish 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 309 

tribes. The origin of these indigenous Jews is 
unknown, but their presence in Morocco is of 
great antiquity. A tradition exists that they were 
driven out of Palestine by Joshua, the son of 
Nun, but it seems more probable that they were 
native Berbers converted at some very early 
period from paganism. 

These original Jews inhabit the interior of the 
country, mostly in the towns, though many are 
scattered amongst the tribes. They live alone, 
and regard the more educated Jews of Spanish 
origin as leaning toward unorthodoxy, if not 
actually unorthodox. The circumstances in which 
they pass their existence amongst proud and 
fanatical Moslem tribesmen has naturally given 
to the native Jews none of the facilities nor the 
incentives for progress. In the case of the Jews 
of Spanish descent there has been a remarkable 
movement during the last fifty years. They have 
seized upon every form and kind of education in 
order to increase their social welfare. Schools 
have been built, professors from Europe engaged, 
and all this has been accomplished almost entirely 
from funds locally subscribed. The " Alliance 
Israelite " has largely found the personnel of the 
schools, but the wave of education has been the 
work of the intelligent Jews themselves. No sacri- 
fice has been too great, no effort too vast, with 
the result to-day that there is scarcely a Jew in 
the coast towns of Morocco who does not speak 
and read and write at least two languages, while 
the majority speak three. These Jews of Spanish 



310 MOEOCCO THAT WAS 

origin share with their co-religionists of the East 
the title of " Sephardim." When they were exiled, 
after a period of cruel persecution, from Spain, 
they sought refuge in Morocco. They were already 
an educated and civilised race, in learning and the 
arts far ahead of the majority of Spaniards, 
amongst whom they were no longer permitted to 
live. On their arrival in Morocco they found the 
Jews of Berber origin living in a position of in- 
feriority, such as it would be quite impossible for 
them to accept. They therefore negotiated with 
the Sultan an " Ordonnance " as to the status they 
might hold in the country, which at the same 
time laid down certain rules for the guidance of 
then 1 own conduct, lest life amongst their more 
ignorant native co-religionists might cause them 
to abandon some of their more civilised and 
civilising tenets. This " Ordonnance " is still ad- 
hered to, and is known to the " Sephardim " as the 
" Decanot." It contains, amongst many other 
clauses, rules as to marriage contracts, and on the 
question of succession of property. 

The " Sephardim " of Morocco are a remarkable 
people, who have rendered and are rendering great 
services to the country. Hard-working, intelligent, 
keen business men, and capable organisers, the 
Spanish Jews of Morocco have progressed in 
civilisation, in education, and in fortune in a 
manner that is highly commendable. 

But long before this modern " renaissance," 
the " Sephardim " Jews of Morocco, in spite of 
the great difficulties and drawbacks under which 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 311 

they existed, had gained for themselves a position 
in Morocco. They had become, as bankers and 
money-lenders, indispensable to the country, while 
they filled also many other professions. The 
tailors, jewellers, tent-makers, and metal-workers 
were practically all Jews. The " Mellah," as their 
quarter is called, was the centre of trade. In 
their shops there was nothing too small to be 
bought : I have seen boxes of wax-matches split 
up and sold by the half-dozen; while the same 
shopman, or perhaps his brother, would lead you 
to his house, and in an upper chamber, with the 
door locked, offer you a string of pearls or a great 
cabuchon emerald, or a diamond the size of a 
shilling. 

In many ways their position, persecuted though 
they were as a race, was preferable to that of the 
Moslem. They had their own laws, administered 
by their rabbis. Their taxation was collected 
apart by their own people, and paid in a sort of 
offering to the Sultan. They were squeezed, of 
course, and now and again their quarter was 
pillaged, but there was never the individual 
danger of persecution such as the Moslem was at 
all times liable to. They were able almost at any 
time to gain access to the authorities, and even 
to the Sultans, who in their conversation with the 
many Jews and Jewesses who worked as tent- 
makers and tailors in the palace, were far more 
intimate and affable than with their own people. 
Both Mulai Abdul Aziz and Mulai Hafid had 
personal friends amongst the Fez and Marrakesh 



312 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Jews, with whom they were on terms of consider- 
able intimacy. The result was that the Jews of 
Morocco as a race were far more often able, through 
their friendships at Court and with the viziers, 
to obtain justice for their wrongs than were their 
Moslem neighbours, and even in the country 
districts a Jewish trader was feared. He would 
be mocked at perhaps, or sometimes a little 
bullied, but seldom really ill-treated. An example 
of the fear in which the Jews were held came to 
my personal knowledge during my travels many 
' years ago. A Jew, travelling alone from country 
market to country market, was murdered, and 
his little stock-in-trade and his few dollars were 
robbed. The murder took place in the thickly- 
populated Gharb district, between two of the 
most important markets, during the early hours 
of the night. I knew the man well, and he was a 
constant visitor of the " souks." For a day or 
two nothing was known, except that he was no 
longer seen at the markets. He might, it is true, 
have gone back to Alcazar, his native town, to 
replenish his stock, but it seemed certain know- 
ledge that he had been done to death. His body, 
however, was not found, though on those level 
plains, thick with tent and hut villages, it would 
be difficult to hide it. All that could be said for 
certain was that he had disappeared. 

Now, what had happened was this. The mur- 
derers, having robbed the body, laid it by night 
just outside a neighbouring village. At dawn the 
villagers found it, and terrified of being accused of 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 313 

murdering a Jew, they concealed the corpse till 
night, when stealthily they carried it away and 
laid it on the outskirts of another village. Here 
again the same manoeuvre was practised, and day 
by day and night by night the body was con- 
cealed and carried on. It mattered little that in 
time the state of the corpse would have clearly 
demonstrated that the murder had taken place 
already some time back. It would have been 
sufficient evidence of guilt merely for it to have 
been found near a village, no matter how decom- 
posed. The inevitable punishment would have 
been severe imprisonments and confiscations 
for the innocent villagers. Had the murdered man 
been a Moslem, little heed would have been taken, 
but the murder of a Jew was far more serious. 
The matter reached my ears, for the inhabitants 
of a village confided in me that they had found 
the body that morning, and that, owing to death 
having occurred some weeks before, its transport 
to another village was a matter of extreme diffi- 
culty. I intervened, and notified the discovery to 
the authorities, and the villagers did not suffer. 

The business instinct is naturally very strong 
amongst the Morocco Jews. Their existence has 
always been a struggle in the past, and life has 
been hard. One of the many friends I have 
amongst the race told, with a delightful sense of 
humour, an anecdote of his early childhood. He 
had just begun to study in Hebrew the details of 
his faith, and his soul was aflame with the idea 
that the promised Messiah might come at any 



314 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

moment. Bidding good night to his parents and 
his relatives, he whispered to his old grandmother, 
a lady of great influence in the family, " Do you 
think the Messiah will come to-night ? " She 
patted his head gently, and said, " Don't worry, 
my dear, about that. He will come in his own 
day. Learn to add up ; learn to add up." She 
was a practical old lady, and her grandson followed 
her advice. He is to-day the leader of the Jewish 
community in one of the most important towns in 
Morocco, an honourable and wealthy man, of great 
generosity, and of unswerving devotion to the 
interests of his people. 

The Jews keep very strictly to the letter of the 
law, and though I have every respect for devotion, 
I once was really very seriously annoyed by the 
rigid adherence of an elderly Israelite to his 
commandments. 

I was camping in the Gharb province in winter. 
The rain was falling in torrents, and the ground 
deep in mud. During dinner a Jewish youth 
arrived, and, bursting into my tent, began to 
cry. As soon as he could make himself intelligible, 
he stated that his father, who was camping in a 
neighbouring village, was very ill. He had heard 
of the arrival of a " Christian," and begged me to 
go and see him. I went, my men accompanying 
me with lanterns. It was a long walk, and it was 
raining cats and dogs ; but at length we arrived 
where the camp of the Jews was pitched a 
couple of big tents, such as the travelling Jewish 
trader always uses. Everything was in darkness. 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 315 

If was welcomed, by the light of my own lanterns, 
by the youth's father, who, surrounded by his 
bales of cloth and cotton goods, seemed the picture 
of health. After the usual compliments I asked 
what I could do. 

It was Friday night, and therefore the Jews 
had already entered upon their Sabbath. With 
many apologies, the merchant informed me that 
the wind had put their lanterns out, and as it was 
the Sabbath they were not permitted to strike 
matches, so they could not relight them. The 
Moors infidels, he called them had refused to 
help them, and so he had been obliged to trouble 
me ! and I had walked a couple of miles through 
deep mud, late at night, in torrents of rain to 
strike a match ! 

I struck it, and I pride myself it was the only 
thing I did strike. I left him with his lanterns 
alight, but I made him tip my men so generously 
for their long and tiring walk, that he would pro- 
bably prefer in the future to spend weeks in dark- 
ness rather than risk disturbing another Christian. 

A Moslem family that suffered many vicissi- 
tudes was that of a former Governor of Oulad 
Sifian in the Gharb. Haj Bouselham er-Remoush 
was at one time a great man. He owed his ap- 
pointment to friends and to bribery at Court, and 
quickly became an influential and wealthy per- 
sonage. As a matter of fact, he was not, as 
Moorish Raids go, a bad Governor. Extortion he 
naturally practised, and his prisons were full, but 
the tribe he governed did not inordinately com- 



316 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

plain, which meant that he must have had some 
good points. Those good points certainly weren't 
his sons. The elder, who was deputy-Governor, 
was a thorough rascal. A fine horseman, always 
beautifully dressed, he was to outward appearances 
an attractive personality ; but he drank copiously, 
and no good-looking woman or girl in his juris- 
diction was safe from his attentions. He was still 
almost a youth when the crash came. There had 
been complaints to the Sultan of his licentiousness, 
and consequently the father was heavily "squeezed" 
from Court, and his fortune could not stand the 
pressure. When the viziers had extracted all he 
had to give, a band of troops arrived, and arrested 
all the male members of the family, while the 
soldiers spent the following day or two in his 
harem. His house was torn down stone by stone 
in the search for treasure, and the Kaid and his 
two elder sons were sent in chains to Marrakesh. 
His home became a ruin, and his gardens were 
destroyed. Still to-day, in the midst of a tangle 
of " prickly pear," one sees the remains of what 
was once the important residence. 

Haj Bouselham, an elderly man, accustomed to 
all the luxuries of wealth, succumbed quickly to 
the horrors of the Marrakesh prison. His eldest 
son died soon afterwards. The third, still a boy, 
was released. Some few years afterwards, riding 
across the hill-tops near Wazzan, a shepherd in 
charge of a flock of goats spoke to me. " You do 
not recognise me," he said ; "I am Mohamed, the 
son of Haj Bouselham er-Remoush." I asked 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 317 

him to tell me his history. Released from prison, 
penniless of course, he had taken refuge with his 
mother's people, who had suffered, too, in the 
general confiscation that had succeeded his father's 
fall. He was now a goatherd ; and only a few 
years before how often I had seen him mounted 
on one or other of his fine horses, on a saddle em- 
broidered in gold and surrounded by his slaves. 

A few years later I met him again. His luck 
had turned. Part of his confiscated property had 
been acquired again, and he was a well-to-do 
young tribesman in a prosperous way. To-day, 
under a benigner rule, he is an important land- 
owner and farmer, and once more rides fine horses. 

As a rule, families held together for better or 
for worse. Their safety depended upon their 
cohesion and on their numbers. The moment a 
man was made Kaid he collected all his brothers 
and his uncles and his cousins, and installed them 
round him. He exempted them from taxation, 
and let them rob. It was the numerical strength 
of his retainers as much as his prestige that kept 
him immune from murder and revolt. Yet some- 
times the families were split up, and then woe 
betide them. 

Some thirty years ago, on the death of one of 
the great southern Kaids, his eldest son hurried 
to the Sultan's Court, with mules laden with money, 
to buy his succession to his father's post. There 
was a younger son who still was allowed in the 
women's quarters, and whose mother had been 
the old Raid's favourite wife, and she had re- 



318 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

mained up to the time of his death his confidante. 
She knew well enough what would be her fate 
should the elder son succeed in buying the succes- 
sion that she and her boy would be driven out to 
starve, even if the youth was not murdered, for 
the feud between the members of the family was 
a deadly one. She held one trump card almost 
always the winning card in Morocco. She and she 
alone knew where the dead Raid's secret fortune 
was hidden. Under the charge of some of her 
relations she hurried her son to the Court. He 
arrived to find that his half-brother was already 
nominated to the Kaidship, and had left to return 
to his tribe that very morning. Not a moment 
was to be lost. The youth and his advisers sought 
the Grand Vizier, and asked how much the brother 
had paid for his succession. The sum was named, 
whereupon the younger brother offered a still 
greater amount in return for a letter from the 
Sultan appointing him to the post, with Imperial 
authority to take such steps as he might think 
necessary in order to dispossess his brother. The 
bargain was quickly struck, and, with a strong 
body of cavalry placed at his disposal by the 
Sultan, he set out in pursuit. They met outside 
the Kasba walls, and, overpowered by the troops, 
the elder son of the old Kaid was taken prisoner 
and thrown into a dungeon in the castle. Needless 
to say, he never emerged alive. The soldiers 
remained a few days, and returned to the Sultan, 
bearing the promised price of office, for the son 
had dug up, from under a great fountain basin 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 319 

in the courtyard of the Kasba, the secret treasure 
of his father. 

There was no crime that the Maghzen would 
not commit for money. The Sultans not unseldom 
carried out their own bargains. Mulai Hafid had, 
rightly, little confidence in his entourage it was 
a mutual sentiment, and there was no financial 
transaction, however doubtful its morality, that 
he would not personally undertake, and nearly 
always with success. 

The whole atmosphere of the palace was per- 
meated with extortion. The Sultans never hesi- 
tated playfully but definitely to take possession 
of any article that took their fancy, if the owner 
were on any but the most formal terms. Over 
and over again I was the victim of these petty 
thefts pocket-books, sleeve-links, necktie pins. 
One soon learned to take nothing of value with 
one into the precincts of the Court. It must not 
be thought that presents were given in return, 
for it was rare indeed that any Sultan gave away 
anything. Now and then they were generous with / 
some one else's property, and even that was rare. 
Visits to the Court of Mulai Abdul Aziz and Mulai 
Hafid were expensive. There were many who 
thought that the few lucky persons to whom those 
closely-shut gates were opened were making their 
fortunes. Some were those who had goods for 
sale; but those who, like myself, were casual 
visitors, paid dearly enough for their privilege 
of the entree. One of the commonest forms 
of robbery was this. On arriving at the palace 



320 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

gates one's horse was taken possession of by the 
black slaves. On emerging later on from the pre- 
cincts of the palace the slaves were there, but the 
horse invisible. Protests and threats were of no 
avail ; a payment, and often a heavy one, had to 
be made in order to get it back. At one time 
my audiences with Mulai Hafid, who was then at 
Fez, were of almost daily occurrence, and this 
form of extortion became so expensive that 
eventually I " struck," for it often cost me from 
2 to 3 to get my horse back. On one occasion 
I lost my temper, and cursed the slaves. Failing 
to obtain any redress, T returned in a justified 
burst of rage, and complained to the Grand 
Vizier. The Sultan overheard me, and I was 
summoned to his presence, where I spoke equally 
forcibly. I told him that in Europe people paid 
gate-money to go and see monstrosities in side- 
shows fat women and tattooed men but that I 
wasn't going to be robbed in this perfectly un- 
justifiable and wholesale way each time I came to 
see him. It was he, I added, who sent for me. 
As for myself, I was indifferent to these inter- 
views, and was quite prepared not to come again if 
affairs were not put right. The Sultan soothed my 
injured spirits, spoke a little of kindness and 
charity, and finished up by saying, " You mustn't 
judge them too hardly. You see, none of them 
receive any wages, and they live on what they 
make. However, I will have them punished, so 
that they won't worry you again," and he ordered 
the Grand Vizier to have them flogged. Of course 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 321 

I intervened, knowing what these floggings often 
were, but I needn't have troubled. They were 
flogged, but it was only a pretence half a dozen 
blows each that would scarcely have hurt a small 
child. On reaching the door of the palace a few 
minutes later, my horse had disappeared again ! 
It had been taken by the slaves who had admin- 
istered the bastinado, and who now demanded 
payment for the punishment they had inflicted 
on their fellow-slaves for an exactly similar offence. 
There was nothing to be done. I paid. 

It is all so different nowadays at the palace. 
The traditional and historical etiquette is strictly 
followed on all State occasions, but the organising 
hand is felt. The slaves and soldiers are beauti- 
fully dressed. The Court officials, in their long 
white robes, are politeness itself, and an official 
reception by the present Sultan at his palace is a 
sight worth seeing. In the outer courtyards are 
his black guards in scarlet and gold, cavalry and 
infantry, and his band of musicians in their 
" kaftans " of rainbow colours, and the long 
corridors are filled with the palace attendants. In 
the throne-room, seated on a divan, the Sultan 
receives his guests, an intelligent affable host. 
It is true the " surprises " are gone, but the rest 
remains, even to the lions that roar in their 
cages in a corner of the inner garden. The palaces 
are the same, but swept and cleaned and garnished, 
for in the old days only the portion of the great 
buildings actually inhabited by the Sultan was 
kept in repair. I visited the palaces at Fez and 

x 



322 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

Marrakesh soon after the abdication of Mulai 
Hafid. I had already seen certain parts of them, 
but the presence of hundreds of women under the 
old regime many the widows and slaves and 
descendants of dead Sultans prevented one visit- 
ing many of the courtyards and buildings. On 
the advent of the new regime other arrangements 
were made for these palace pensioners, much to 
then* advantage, and the restoration of the palaces 
was undertaken. But there was much past 
restoring courtyard after courtyard, where the 
ceilings of the rooms had fallen in, and where it 
was literally unsafe to walk. The impression that 
the ensemble gave one was that, with the excep- 
tion of some of the oldest and some of the most 
modern parts, the Sultans had been terribly 
" done " by their builders and the men responsible 
for the upkeep. No doubt this always was so. 
The Court functionaries and the viziers demanded 
and received commissions and what commissions ! 
on all the work done at the palaces. As a rule, 
the decoration in the palaces is no better than 
that existing in the splendid private residences of 
Fez and Marrakesh, and the workmanship is often 
distinctly inferior. The greater parts of the ex- 
isting palaces were constructed by Mulai Hassen, 
the grandfather of the present Sultan Mulai Yussef , 
who died in 1894. He must have destroyed, in 
order to raise these acres and acres of buildings, 
much of what existed previously. Of the palaces 
of former dynasties nothing but the merest ruins 
remains a few walls at Fez of the palace of the 




ix, Marrakech (Maroc). 
ROOM IN THE PACHA'S PALACK, MARRAKKSH. 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 323 

Merinides, and at Marrakesh the great walls and 
enclosure of what must have been the finest of all 
Moroccan buildings, the palace of the Saadien 
Sultans, whose dynasty came to an end in the 
seventeenth century. Their mausoleum, dating 
from the sixteenth century, the most beautiful 
building in Morocco, still remains intact as an 
example of perfect Moorish art ; and there is no 
doubt, from contemporary descriptions, that the 
neighbouring palace was of unparalleled beauty 
and magnificence. The ground-plan of its great 
courtyard, with its immense water-tanks and its 
fountains, can still be clearly traced ; while at one 
end, facing a long straight tiled walk between two 
of the great basins, are the ruins of the Sultan's 
audience-chamber, a vast square room. The walls 
are still standing, but the roof has fallen long ago. 
The description of this palace in the days of its 
glory reads like a page from the ' Thousand and 
One Nights.' What had taken a century to build 
was destroyed in a day. The Saadien dynasty fell, 
and the cruel despot, Mulai Ismail, seized the 
throne. His first act was to order the destruction 
of this famous palace of his predecessors, and the 
great building was looted by the soldiery and the 
crowd. Many of the old houses in Marrakesh 
to-day have doorsteps formed of small columns, 
or parts of larger ones, of rare marbles the 
remnants of the colonnades that once decked this 
magnificent palace of the most intellectual and 
civilised dynasty that Morocco ever boasted. 
Perhaps the most noticeable change that has 



324 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

come about in Morocco is in the attitude of the 
people to medical and surgical aid. The Moor 
was often ready in the past to accept the assist- 
ance of European doctors, and had a certain faith 
in their medicines, but the opportunities were few. 
The Medical Missions at Fez and Marrakesh were 
well attended and rendered great services, and 
the doctors attached to the Sultan's Court had a 
certain clientele. As a rule, the native's faith was 
half-hearted, sufficient to accept medicines if no 
charge was made, but rarely of the kind that 
would pay a fee. Often, too, the medicine was 
not taken, and secretly in his inmost heart the 
patient had sometimes far more faith in the good 
that might accrue from the presence of the doctor 
than from the remedies he recommended. A short 
time since I experienced a good example of this. 
A Moor, a neighbour of mine, was very ill with 
typhus fever, and at my recommendation his 
women-folk summoned an excellent doctor to 
attend him. I always accompanied the doctor 
on his visits. The man was desperately ill. The 
doctor and I carefully explained to the women 
how his medicines should be taken, and they 
apparently followed our advice to the letter. 
But one day, arriving unexpectedly at the 
house at the hour in which the patient should 
have taken his medicine, I saw his wife care- 
fully measure the dose into the glass and deliber- 
ately pour it away. I remained concealed for a 
few moments, and then made my presence known. 
I asked if the man had had his medicine. Hold- 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 325 

ing up the bottle and pointing to the diminu- 
tion in its contents, the woman replied, " Yes ; he 
has just taken it." I told the woman that I had 
seen her throw it away. She showed little or no 
confusion, but said, " The doctor's presence is 
sufficient without his drugs. His knowledge is 
what is useful who knows what his drugs con- 
tain ? " I have experienced many similar cases, 
one that was so absurd that it is worth repeating. 
Happening to meet an old native who had a 
terrible sore on the calf of one of his legs, I 
asked him if he would go as an out-patient to 
the hospital to have it treated. He willingly 
assented, and I wrote on a visiting-card a line 
to the doctor in charge. The man took the 
card and went his way. A day or two later I 
met him his leg was bound up with a filthy rag. 
I asked him if he had been to the hospital. 
" No," he replied, " there was no need. My leg 
is already better." I insisted on seeing the 
sore. Under the reeking bandage, bound across 
the open wound, was my visiting-card ! I asked 
the man why he had put it there. " Your kind- 
ness," he said, " and the knowledge of the doctor 
to whom it was addressed is sufficient cure, so I 
applied the card to the sore. It is better already." 
It wasn't. If anything, it was distinctly worse, 
so I took the old man by force and walked him up 
to the hospital myself, where he was treated. 
Finding almost instant relief from pain, he followed 
the doctor's advice, and continued his visits until 
his leg was healed. I attempted to show him the 



326 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

follies of his own idea of cure, but he would only 
reply, " Your card was sufficient. It would have 
got well just the same if you had allowed me to 
leave it there." 

The women were, and are still, the most diffi- 
cult, but even in their case a great change has 
come about, and the Medical Mission to women at 
Fez, so admirably conducted by two estimable 
English or rather Irish ladies has rendered im- 
mense service. It is curious that it is at Fez, the 
most fanatical of all the Moroccan cities, that the 
most headway has been made in this women's 
medical work. Elsewhere there has been a con- 
siderable measure of success, but nowhere else, I 
think, have the houses and hearts of the native 
women been so opened to " Christians " as they 
have at the northern capital. No great function 
in any of the aristocratic houses is complete if the 
ladies of the Medical Mission are not present. 
Speaking the language with perfect fluency, they 
have succeeded by their good works and perhaps 
still more by their good natures in making them- 
selves most justly and most sincerely beloved. 
Part at least of the secret of their success has been 
what is often so wanting, cheerfulness and love 
which constitute, after all, perhaps the most 
important equipment of real Christianity. 

Formerly the mass of the people were satisfied 
with the healing power of their Shereefs, and with 
the charms of the " tholba," or students of re- 
ligion. They visited certain holy places, mostly 
tombs, where prayers were offered. Others, still 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 327 

more ignorant, summoned to the bedside of their 
sick, negro dancers and the devotees of the 
" Aissaoua " sect, the noise of whose music and 
chants should have been sufficient to drive away 
all the djinns of Morocco. At the same time there 
is a certain knowledge of herbs existing amongst 
the country people, and many of the remedies to 
which they have recourse are by no means to be 
despised. Bone-setting is regularly practised, and 
well practised, with splints of wood and cane. 

The Moors have long been aware of the medi- 
cinal value of certain hot springs, which are largely 
resorted to for the cure of skin diseases and other 
maladies common to the country. Particularly 
famous are the hot baths of Mulai Yakoub, not 
far from Fez, and the benefit derived is unques- 
tionable. I have known natives, scarcely able to 
ride to the spot and covered with sores, who, after 
a sojourn of from twenty to thirty days at this 
spot, have returned healed. 

Apart from the venders of strange medicines 
who can be seen in any of the Moroccan markets, 
with their stock-in-trade set out before them 
hideous dried animals and the skins of moth-eaten 
birds predominating there are a certain number 
of native doctors. The most renowned are Shereefs 
from Dades, an oasis situated to the south of the 
Great Atlas. These men pretend to inspired and 
hereditary knowledge, and there is no doubt that 
there still exists amongst them some trace of 
medical learning. They operate for cataract, not 
by removing the cataract, but by dislocating it, 



328 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

by which sight is often restored, but without any 
certainty that the cure is more than temporary. 
They are also skilful in removing portions of 
broken skull. There is no actual trepanning of 
the bone, but the broken part is removed and 
replaced, the scalp having been opened and drawn 
back by a portion of the dried shell of a gourd, 
which, overlapping the uninjured part of the skull, 
covers the aperture and protects the brain. The 
scalp is replaced and sewn up. 

Perhaps the most ingenious practice in use 
amongst the Berbers of the Atlas is the use of the 
large red ant for closing skin wounds. The art of 
sewing up wounds is known and practised, but they 
have no means of disinfecting the material used, 
and they state that the stitches often either open 
or form sores. They therefore employ the follow- 
ing method. Holding the two edges of the skin 
together, so as to leave a little of both edges 
protruding, they apply a living red ant to the 
wound. The ant closes his strong mandibles on 
the skin, and is promptly decapitated with the 
aid of a pair of scissors. The mandibles remain 
closed, holding the two edges of skin together. 
As many as four or five of these " clips " are applied 
to a wound of a few inches in length. By the time 
the ant's head falls away the wound has closed. 
This system is in common use in the Atlas, and the 
Governor of Marrakesh, Haj Thami Glaoui, told 
me that he insists on his men using it in preference 
to sewing, unless the sewing can be performed by 
a European doctor with disinfected material. 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 329 

The Sultans Mulai Abdul Aziz and Mulai Hand 
both took an interest in medicine and dentistry, 
and had confidence in their doctors. An English 
dentist, who attended the ladies of the palace in 
the reign of the former of these two Sultans, was 
only allowed to work on the mouths of the inmates 
of the Imperial harem through a small hole cut 
in the sheet, which entirely enveloped the patient 
as she sat in the dentist's chair. So successfully, 
however, did he mend up the teeth of the ladies 
of the palace that the viziers followed suit, and the 
dentist had a busy time. The Minister of Foreign 
Affairs sent for me one day, and after some general 
remarks, asked me if I knew the dentist. I replied 
that I did, and that he was an adept at his art. 
The Vizier continued that he knew personally 
very little about dentistry, and would I tell him 
whether every time his wife sneezed it was neces- 
sary to sneeze her new row of upper teeth half 
across the room. I replied that I doubted whether 
this was an absolute necessity, but I would ask 
the dentist. I did so, and the lady's set of teeth 
was quickly altered to fit her better. "It is 
wonderful," said the Vizier to me later on ; " she 
sneezes and sneezes and her teeth never even 
rattle." 

In the days of Mulai Hassen, before the advent 
of a resident physician to the palace, Kaid Maclean, 
then a young officer, used to dabble in medicine, 
and so great was the confidence that he inspired 
in the Sultan's eyes that even His Majesty allowed 
himself to be treated. Kaid Maclean's knowledge 



330 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

was limited to the contents of his medicine-chest 
and a book of explanations. On one occasion the 
ladies of the palace had been suffering, from indi- 
gestion probably, and at the same time some dis- 
infectant was required for some one in the palace 
who had been injured in an accident. Kaid Maclean 
sent the two medicines, with instructions how they 
were to be used, but by some mistake the ladies 
swallowed the compressed tabloids of perman- 
ganate of potass instead of the tonic. The tabloids 
dissolved inside, but brought on violent attacks of 
sickness, and to the horror of the Sultan and the 
ladies themselves, they began to vomit what ap- 
peared to be vast quantities of blood. The more 
sick they were the more terrified they became, and 
in reply to an anxious message, Kaid Maclean 
hurried to the palace. The Sultan was beside 
himself with fear, but an explanation was forth- 
coming, and the ladies recovered. 

Mulai Abdul Aziz's first experience of the use 
of chloroform might easily have led to more serious 
results. Dr Verdon, his English doctor, had 
operated on a slave under chloroform, and the 
Sultan had been present. The operation over, 
His Majesty retired into the palace carrying with 
him a large bottle of the anaesthetic. The doctor 
tried to obtain possession of the bottle, but in vain, 
and all he could do was to warn His Majesty to be 
very careful with it. He no doubt was, for appa- 
rently nobody died; but rumour has it that his 
ladies lay all over the palace as insensible as logs 
of wood for he had a grand chloroforming evening 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 331 

all to himself. Mulai Hafid, too, quite appreciated 
the use of chloroform, and insisted on its being 
administered to a lion that was suffering from over- 
grown toe-nails. The lion, whose temper was not 
of the best, took none too kindly to the whole 
operation, which was, however, eventually success- 
fully performed, to the satisfaction of His Shereefian 
Majesty. 

To-day the people flock in thousands to the hos- 
pitals and dispensaries which the French have 
opened throughout the length and breadth of their 
Protectorate. There is yet room for more medical 
work, for disease is rife, but what has already 
been accomplished is admirable. The Moor, who 
would never have thought of accepting the assist- 
ance of a doctor in the old days, now hurries to the 
nearest dispensary as soon as he feels ill, and any 
man who meets with an accident is immediately 
taken by his fellow- workmen to the native hospital. 
Crowds patiently wait their turn in the gardens 
and corridors, and the women's days are almost as 
congested as are those for the men. Whatever may 
be the people's real sentiments toward Europeans, 
their confidence in " Christian " doctors is undis- 
putable. Yet the very people who crowd to the 
flock for medical aid would probably not acknow- 
ledge that any change has taken place in their 
views. They don't realise that only ten years ago, 
even if the possibilities had existed, they would 
never have dared to show this outward respect 
for and belief in the skill of the " infidel." But the 
change has come gradually, and is unnoticed by/ 



332 MOROCCO THAT WAS 

those to whom it is owing. The same sequence of 
mentality is noticeable in many other ways. The 
" universities " medarsas of Fez and Marrakesh, 
closed for centuries to Europeans, are now open 
once more to the Christian visitor, who is allowed 
to enter and admire these gems of Moorish archi- 
tecture. The religious authorities could no longer 
insist on their being kept closed when they acknow- 
ledged that a few centuries ago Christian scholars 
were actually being educated in their precincts, 
so after a little hesitation they decided to permit 
the " medarsas " being visited. The authorities 
of the Service des Beaux-Arts immediately set 
about the restoration of these architectural master- 
pieces. At first the students were shocked at the 
presence of the Christian, and on one of my visits 
to the beautiful " medarsa " of Ben Youssef at 
Marrakesh, they complained rather bitterly that 
the French architects were restoring the old work 
and taking liberties with the structure. They 
would rather, they said, have it left alone in its 
ruined condition than have it tampered with by 
" unbelievers." 

A year later I returned to the " medarsa." 
The same, or many of them the same, scholars 
were there. The Service des Beaux - Arts had 
restored one side of the great courtyard, but 
were waiting for further funds before beginning 
the rest. Again the scholars -complained, but 
their complaint was a different one the French 
architects had abandoned their work. What 
right had they to leave it unfinished ? Would I 



CHANGES AND CHANCES 333 

use my influence to see that the restorations were 
continued and completed ? I reminded them of 
their complaint of only a year ago, and of their 
objection to the work being undertaken at all. 
They laughed, and replied, " Well, you see, 
yesterday was yesterday, and to-day is to-day." 



PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SON*. 



RETURN TO the circulation desk of any 
University of California Library 

or to the 

NORTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 
Bldg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
University of California 
Richmond, CA 94804-4698 

ALL BOOKS MAY BE RECALLED AFTER 7 DAYS 

2-month loans may be renewed by calling 
(510)642-6753 

1-year loans may be recharged by bringing 
books to NRLF 

Renewals and recharges may be made 4 
days prior to due date. 

DUE AS STAMPED BELOW 



JAN 2 & 2001 



12,000(11/95) 

NO. DD6, 60m, 1 1 /78 BERKELEY, CA 9472' 




S 



LIBRARY. o.C. BERKELEY 




UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY