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A WINTER IN

IN MOROCCO.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

WHEN first my attention was attracted to Tangier, by circumstances which afterwards rendered it necessary for me to undertake the journey to, and reside for some length of time in, that town, my knowledge of its geographical and historical position was limited to the facts, that it was somewhere in the north of Africa, and that it had once belonged to England, having been received as a portion of the marriage dowry of Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II.

Such deplorable ignorance as this, is not, I am aware, universal, neither, I should hope, is it very, very common. That it is not very uncommon, however, I became pain. fully aware when I was about to commence my journey, by the queries and comments of

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valued friends and acquaintances on the subject.

"Tangier is in Algeria, isn't it?”

Tangier! Oh, that's where the Tangerine oranges come from.

“How do you get there? Go to Tunis first, I suppose ?

many of

Going to Morocco ? Morocco belongs to Spain, does it not?

“Doesn't Tangier belong to England ? We conquered it once, didn't we?

“Tangier! How nice! That's near Mount Atlas, you can climb up some day!”

By this it will be seen that I was not at all more ignorant than many of my friends. And I may add that my friends are not at all more ignorant than other people's friends.

For the ignorant, then, I write this chapter. Any one who feels, on reading the title-page of the book, that he already knows "all about,” Morocco in general and Tangier in particular, may as well skip this chapter; or rather, under those circumstances, he may as well skip the book altogether, as he will find nothing in it that he is not already acquainted with. I have candidly confessed that I knew nothing about the country or the people when I went there. Everything I saw was novel and interesting to me. And it is for that section of the reading public whose minds may be in the same blank condition on the subject that mine was, that I have written down my experiences in Morocco, and described, as well as I could, all that I saw and heard there; in the hope that, even thus at second hand, it may afford some amusement, and perhaps a little instruction, to them also, as it did to me.

Morocco is an independent empire situated on part of the north and north-west coast of that portion of Africa, known as Barbary. It was formerly divided into four kingdoms-Fez, Morocco, Suz, and Talifat; later on into two, viz., Fez and Morocco. All are now united into the one empire of Morocco, subject to the rule of the sultan, Sidi*. Mohammed-ben-Abderahman. Tangier is the principal seaport town of the northern portion of the empire, that which was formerly the kingdom of Fez, of which the city of Fez was and is the capital. Morocco was the capital of the kingdom of Morocco, and now shares alternately with Fez the honour of being the residence of the sultan; Mogador being the chief seaport. The population of Morocco is a mixed one.

There are the Berbers, a race of wandering shepherds the descendants of the ancient Libyans, who are supposed to have been the primitive inhabitants of the country, before the Phænician colonization, B.C. 900 years. These, besides differing in their dress, are easily distinguished in their appearance from the Moors, who chiefly inhabit the cities. There are the wandering Arabs of the plains ; the Jews, who also confine themselves entirely to the cities; Negroes, and, in most of the coast towns, small colonies of Spaniards. The Moors are the most nu

* Sultans or princes of other names than “Mohammed” use the higher title “Muley" as a prefix instead of “Sidi.” But as the Prophet was never addressed by any title but “Sidi,” the Moors think that it would be impious to apply the higher title to any one bearing his name, even to the Sultan himself.

merous, and of course the dominant race, and use their power cruelly, towards at least one portion of their subordinate fellow-country men, viz., the Jews. The Negroes are all either slaves or released slaves, or the descendants of released slaves. But these latter, though free, seldom attain to wealth, or any position above that of menial labour.

For any one anxious for further information with regard to the history of Morocco and its former and present inhabitants, I can only say that there have been several excellent works written on the subject which are easily procurable. The above will suffice, I think, for the present purpose.

I will only add that Tangerine oranges don't come from Tangier, but principally from Tarifa in Spain. They are very scarce in Tangier, and the few that do grow there, the people wisely keep for themselves.

Also, the best way to get to Tangier is by the Penin. sular and Oriental mail steamer from Southampton to Gibraltar. That is the quickest. But there are excellent lines of steam-packets from both London and Liverpool, notably Hall's from the former, which though taking two or three days longer on the voyage, possess the double advantage of being cheaper, and affording an 'opportunity of spending a day in Lisbon on the way. Tangier, in fine weather, is but about three hours' steam or sail from Gibraltar. In bad weather it is better not to go at all—if one can help it.

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