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Ali Bey's Travels in Morocco, Tripoli, &c. 613

have just mentioned, is a feast for the
family of the Neophyte. When they
proceed to the sacrifice, a certain num-
ber of boys are assembled, who carry
handkerchiefs, sashes, and even miserable
rags, which they fasten, like flags, to
long sticks or reeds; this groupis follow-
ed by music, consisting of two bag-pipes,
which are played in unison, but not,
therefore, less discordant, and two or
more drums of a very hoarse sound, a
band sufficiently disagreeable to an ear
accustomed to European music, as mine
unfortunately had been. The father, or
the nearest relations, follow with the per-
sons invited, who surround the child,
mounted on a horse, of which the saddle
is covered with a red cloth.
If the child be too young, he is carried
in the arms of a man on horseback. All
the rest are on foot. The Neophyte is
generally covered with a sort of cloak

made of white linen, and over this cloak

he wears a red one, adorned with vari-
ous ribands, and a fillet or band of silk is
tied round his head. A man walks on
each side of the horse with a silk hand-
kerchief in his hands, with which he
drives away the flies from the child and
from his horse. Some women, wrapt up
in their enormous Hhaiks or bournous,
close the procession.
Though there were circumcisions every
day during the festival of Mouloud, yet
I waited till the last, because I was as-
sured that they would then be more nu-
merous ; and indeed on that day the
streets were full of people, going and re-
turning in crowds, and of soldiers with
their guns.
At ten in the morning I left my house,
and pressing through the crowd, I went
towards the chapel. I found on my
way groups of three or four or more chil-
dren, who were going to endure the cer-
emony. The country was covered with
horses, soldiers, inhabitants, Arabs, and
collections of women, entirely enveloped
in their concealing garments, and sitting

in hollows of the ground, or under the

shade of trees. These women, as the

children passed by, uttered cries exceed-
ingly shrill, which are always considered
from them as signs of mirth and of en-
After having reached the hermitage I
crossed a yard crowded with people, and

entered the chapel, where I found what
may be called a real butchery.
On one side of the saint's sepulchre
were placed five men dressed only in
shirts and drawers, with their sleeves
turned up to their shoulders. Four of
these men were sitting in front of the
door of the chapel, and the fifth was
standing at the side of the door, in order
to receive the little victims. Two of
those, who were sitting, held the instru-
ments of the sacrifice ; the other two had
each a purse or little bag, filled with an
astringent powder.
Behind these four ministers was a
group of about twenty children, of all
ages and colours, who had also their part
to play, as we shall see presently ; and,
at the distance of some yards, an orches-
tra, of the same kind as I have described
before, was executing its discordant
Every time that a Neophyte arrived,
his father, or the person who was there
to represent him, walked before him, and
entering the chapel, kissed the head of
the operating minister, and made him
some compliments. The child was then
brought forward, and immediately seiz-
ed by the strong-armed man, who was
appointed to receive the victims; and
he, having lifted up the gown of the
child, presented him to the operator.
At this moment the music began to
sound with its loudest noise ; and the
children, who were seated behind the
ministers, started suddenly up, and
shouted with great vociferation, to at-
tract the attention of the victim, and, by
the motions of their fingers, directed his
eyes to the roof of the chapel. Stunned
with all this noise, the child lifted up his
head, and that very moment the officiat-
ing priest laid hold of the prepece, and
pulling it with force, clipped it off with
one motion of the scissars. Another
immediately threw a little astringent
powder on the wound, and a third cov-
ered it with lint, which he tied on by a
bandage ; and the child was carried
The whole operation did not last half
a minute, though it was executed in a
very clumsy manner. The noise made
by the children and the music prevented
me from hearing the cries of the victims,
though I was close to them. However,

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The principal food of the inhabitants of all the kingdom of Morocco, consists of a sort of paste called couscoussow; it is made only of flour and water, kneaded to a hard paste, which is divided into small pieces of a cylindrical form, as big as a finger; these are afterwards reduced to grains, by slicing them, and by dividing them dexterously with the hands; they are then spread upon a napkin, and exposed to the sun, or to the open air, to be hardened. To boil this couscoussou, it is put with butter in a kind of pot, whose bottom is full of small holes. This pot is placed over a larger one, which the poor fill with water only, but the better sort add some meat and poultry. This double pot being placed before the fire, the steam which ascends from the lower one enters through the holes of the upper, and boils the couscoussou above. If there be meat in the lower part, it is served up on a plate, surrounded and covered with the couscoussou, which forms thus a sort of pyramid, without any gravy or soup; the grains of the couscoussou are loose, and do not adhere; they are made of all sizes, from the smallness of oatmeal to the size of grains of rice. I look upon this dish as the best possible food for the people, for, besides the advantage of being easily procured and conveyed, it is also very nourishing, wholesome, and agreeable.


The architecture in Moorish, or Western Arabia, resembles in nothing the ancient or modern Oriental. Far from finding in the present Moorish architecture that elegance and boldness which distinguish the ancient Arabian architecture, all its works exhibit marks of the grossest ignorance. The buildings are constructed without any plan, and seemingly at random, and with such an ignorance of the first rules of the art, that in some of the first houses I found the staircase without the smallest ray of light, so that it was always necessary to burn

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these rooms have generally no windows, nor any other opening than the door in the middle which opens on the gallery; hence all their dwellings are dark and

badly aired. The roofs of the houses :

are flat, and covered with the same kind of plaister as the floors of the rooms. The walls are made of lime, plaster, and stones, but more commonly of a kind of greasy clay beat up with water. In order to erect such a wall, two planks are placed perpendicularly with a sufficient space between them, into which is thrown the clay kneaded with water till it has acquired the consistency of paste. Two men then beat it down between the two planks with their clubs; they accompany their work with songs, to which their clubs beat time. The difficulty of procuring strong beams obliges them to construct very narrow rooms, in order to make the small wood of the country answer their purpose. They put over it a bed of reeds, which they cover with plaster about a foot thick; this heavy ceiling crushes the dwelling, and seldom lasts long. The doors are of a clumsy construction, and most of the locks at Tangier are made of wood. The use of sewers and other important conveniences is almost unknown there. THEIR SCIENCEs. As they have not the art of printing it is difficult to read their writing, on account of the arbitrary form of the letters they make, and from the want of vowels and punctuation : hence the people are plunged in the grossest ignorance. I met in this country only one person who had heard any thing about the movement of the earth. Their conjectures upon the planets, the stars, and motion of the firmament, are exceedingly extravagant. They have not the slightest idea of physic. One of those who call themselves learned, seeing in my hand one day. an artificial horizon filled with mercury to



Ali Bey's Travels in Morocco, Tripoli, &e. 615

make an astronomical observation, gave me to understand, with a great deal of importance, that it was an excellent thing to kill vermin and insects with. He shewed me how to apply it to the folds and seams of their clothes. This

was the most beneficial use to which he

could employ mercury. The Moors confound astronomy with *# and have a number of astrologers. They have no knowledge of chemistry ; but they have some pretended adepts in alchymy. They are entirely ignorant of medicine. As to arithmetic and geometry, their ideas are very confined. They have scarcely any poets, and still fewer historians. They know nothing of their own history ; and of the fine arts they have not the least conception. Their only books consist of the Koran and its expositions. This sketch is unfortunately too faithful; and these climates may with propriety be called barbarian. GEOLOGY. The ground which forms the basis of the coast at Tangier is composed of different beds of secondary granite of a compact or fine granulated texture. These beds are inclined to the horizon, and form with it an angle of 50 to 70 degrees. They are generally one foot and a half to two feet thick ; their direction runs from east to west, and their inclination, by which the angle is formed, is northerly. The distance between the beds iscommonly about two feet, and this space is filled with a sort of white and not very hard clay, which, taking the same direction, forms intermedial beds of a slaty texture. These beds of granite and clay are very little above the level of the sea; their highest point does not exceed thirty or forty feet; but their width is considerable, for they are exactly the same at the river of Tetuan, and at eight leagues distance. I have also remarked some beds of granite advancing into the sea at a great distance, and taking the same direction. If I were permitted to draw large inferences from small facts, I might say that the catastrophe which opened the Streights of Gibraltar was occasioned by a sudden sinking; not of the ground,

which forms the bottom of the Streight, but of that part which is nearest on the south, and on the vacancy of which fell the mountain or earthy mass which formerly occupied the space that is now filled by the arm of the sea. In consequence of this movement the perpendicular beds of granite have taken their actual direction ; but on the other side, as this compact granite seems to be of a secondary formation, we may admit all the possible directions in the beds, without supposing any derangement posterior to their formation. On this bed or general basis of the coast, the waves and the wind have accumulated other beds, of soft clay and of sand ; they form the hills and the high mountains of the road to Tetuan. The vegetable and animal remains have made a bed of vegetable earth which covers the whole, and is extremely fertile, At the southern parts of the bay at Tangier, on the sea shore, the easterly winds have formed by degrees great accumulations of sand ; they represent already little hills, which successively contract the bay, and one day will shut it up entirely. These sands are actually shifting and contain no other substances which can unite them. Notwithstanding this peculiarity, a plant of a lily kind and several others are growing on them, of which I have preserved some specimens. THE EMPEROR OF MOROCCO. The cannon of the batteries of Tangier announced, on the 5th October, the arrival of the Sultan Muley Soliman, Emperor of Morocco, who dismounted at the castle of the town called Alcassaba, As I had not been yet presented to the Emperor, I did not go out, but remained at home waiting his orders, as I had settled with the Kaid and Kadi; hence I could not witness the ceremony of his arrival. The next morning the Kaid apprized me that I might get the customary presents ready for the following day; I did so immediately, and on the morning of the appointed day I had an interview with the Ka'id and Kadi, to prepare for my presentation. The Kaid asked me for the rest of the presents which I intended for the Sultan; I gave them to him, and we soon agreed upon the subject. The Sultan came out soon after and mounted his mule; when he came to the centre of the circle, the Kaid and myself advanced a few steps ; the Sultan stopped his mule. The Kaid presented me: I made an inclination with my head towards him, putting my hand on my breast. The sultan answered by a similar inclinatin, and said, “You are welcome ;” then turning his head towards the crowd, he invited them to salute me : “Tell him,” said he, “that he is welcome ;” and instantly all the crowd exclaimed “welcome.” The Sultan spurred his mule, and rode to a battery which was about two huudred yards distant. I followed the Kaid thither, and waited near the gate; the Kaid, alone, advanced with the presents. From the moment that we entered the battery, there was a profound silence. The whole assembly consisted of about twenty persons, most of them the high officers. A moment after, the Kaid called me ; I followed him to the platform of the battery, which was a kind of terrace, situa-” ted on the north towards the sea, and which was defended with nine pieces of cannon of the largest size. At the eastern angle was a small house of wood, elevated some feet above the parapet, with a small staircase of eight stairs. Into this house the Sultan entered, and laid himself down on a mattress on some cushions. The Kaid, two high officers, and myself, left our slippers at the door, in order to present ourselves barefoot, which the usual ceremony required. The two officers placed themselves at my sides, each holding me by one of my arms; the Kaid staid to the left, as if to form a sort of fence round me. We presented ourselves to the Sultan bowing, or rather bending half the body profoundly to him, and placing our right hands on our breasts. The Sultan repeated to me his “welcome,” and bid me sit on the stairs; the officers withdrew, and the Kaid kept standing. The Sultan told me, with some warmth, and with a tone of kindness, that he was very glad to see me : he repeated several expressions of this sort, laying his hand on his breast, in order to show me his sentiments both by words and by actions. I found this sovereign very favourably disposed towards me, at which I was the more surprized,



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only said, “Well, bring them to-mor

row.” At what o'clock! “At eight in the morning;” I shall not fail, said I: and, taking leave of the Sultan, I went away with the Kaid. The next day I went to the castle at the appointed hour. The Sultan was waiting for me, on the same place, with his principal Fakih or Mufti, and another favourite. He was served with tea. When I came into his presence he bid me ascend the small stairs, and sit down at his side. He took the tea-pot, and poured some tea into a cup, and, having filled it up with milk, he himself presented it to me. He then called for pen and ink; they brought him a scrap of indifferent paper, a small horn ink-stand, and a pen made of a reed. He wrote a sort of prayer in four or five lines, which he gave to his Fakih to read, who observed to him that a word was wanting. The Sultan took the paper back and added that word. Having finished his tea, his Moorish Majesty presented me the writing to read, and accompanied me as I read with his finger, pointing word by word. He corrected my pronunciation

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when I made a mistake, as a master would do to his scholar. When I had finished reading, he desired me to keep the writing, and I have it still in my possession. The tea-things consisted of a gold sugar-box, a tea-pot, a milk-pot, and three cups of white china, gilt; they were all placed on a gilt dish. The sugar was put in the tea-pot, according to the custom of the country, a method not very convenient, as it compels you most freIently to take it either too much or too little sweetened. The Sultan repeated to me several times indications of his regard to me. He desired me to produce my instruments, and examined them one after another with much attention; asking me an explanation of every thing that was new to him. He shewed great pleasure in what he saw, and commanded me to make some astronomical observations in his presence. To satisfy him I took two heights of the sun with my multiplying circle; I shewed him several astronomical tables and logarithms which I

had brought with me, in order to con

vince him that these instruments would be of no use to any one who did not understand these books and many others. He was very much surprized at the sight of so many figures. I then offered him my instruments; his answer was, that I ought to keep them, as I only knew how to use them, and that we should have plenty of days and nights to amuse ourselves in contemplating the sky. I saw from these and the former expressions, that his intention was to keep me near his person, and to attach me to his service ; he added, that he desired to see my other instruments. I proposed

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I ordered my electrical machine, and a camera obscura, to be brought in. I presented these to him as objects of mere amusement, which had no scientifical application. Having prepared these two machines, I placed the camera obscura near the window. The Sultan got up, and went twice into the camera ; I covered him with the baize all the while that he amused himself in contemplating the objects transmitted by it. That he permitted me to do so was a mark of his high confidence in me. He afterwards amused himself with seeing the electric jar discharged, and had it often repeated; but what surprised him most was the

experiment of the electric shock, which I,

was obliged to repeat a great many times; all of us holding ourselves by the hands in order to form the chain. He

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a telescope, and asked for it now, in or

der to adapt it to his sight, which I immediately did, and marked the exact place on the tube, after he had found the suitable distance.

I wore very long whiskers; the Sultan asked me why I did not cut them like other Moors ; I told him that it was the custom in the east to wear them, at full length. He answered, “Well, well, but this is not the fashion here.” He had some scissors brought in, and cut a little from his own ; he then laid hold of mine, and shewed me what I ought to cut, and what to preserve ; perhaps his first intention was to clip them himself, but, as I did not answer, he put down the scissors.

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