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FRENCH TROOPS IN BIVOUACK.
Algerine domination, and readily joined the invaders against the common enemy.
I had intended to set off very early in the morning from Tizi-Ouzou to avoid the heat of the weather; but owing to some misunderstanding, the horses were not brought until half-past eight. But I was well mounted on an excellent Arab horse belonging to a spahi, and by four o'clock in the afternoon I reached the caravanserai at the Isser (where I proposed to pass the night) with far less fatigue than had resulted from only twothirds of the distance the day before on my sluggish mule. Between the valley of the Sebaou and Zib Zamoun, where I stopped an hour to breakfast, I met a battalion of French soldiers forming part of a force to be employed in improving the roads of Kabylie and draining some marshes. The condition of the route was very bad where I encountered them, and great was the disgust apparent on every face. What they were coming to, however, was much worse. arriving at the Isser, I found three battalions more encamped, and at Boudouaou, the next day, two more following them. The appearance of the camp at the Isser was very lively; and the men had all made themselves comfortable, and seemed full of goodhumour. The tents were all pitched, and cooking are "the men of Bujie or Buzie." In 1833 the Kabyles in the mountains round about this place could bring 20,000 armed men into the field. The Beni-Abbès, like the Chaldeans of Kurdistan, were manufacturers of arms. The town of Kala (which was their fortress) is only five or six leagues from the Biban or Iron Gates.
THEIR ORDER AND HELPFULNESS.'
was going on in messes.
Several of the soldiers were
fishing in the river, others bathing or washing their shirts. I saw no drunkenness or disorder of any kind, either in the camp or the neighbourhood, and was everywhere treated with civility. While strolling by the bank of the river, I came suddenly on the carcase of a horse out of which several pieces had been cut. This was, probably, a sumpter animal, killed by an accident. The French soldiers in Africa eat, without the slightest hesitation, the flesh of any horse or mule which is so killed. On their expeditions into the interior, the commissariat does not profess to carry any other food than biscuit for them, and they get no meat but what can be procured on the spot, or is the result of accidents. My informant told me that, in the Kabylie expedition of 1857, a mule happened to fall from a precipice, and in a quarter of an hour's time not a hoof was left. His own cook served him up some of the carcase as lamb; and the only fault he found with the dish was that it was too fat. The allowance of the soldier is three biscuits a day; and on some expeditions he is compelled to carry rations for six or seven days in addition to his arms and accoutrements. On one occasion, my informant told me, he had known biscuits for eleven days carried by each man. This is, I fancy, more than is done in any other army of modern times; but yet the Roman legionary would
have thought it a light weight compared with that on his own shoulders.
The discipline of the French regiments which have been for some time in Africa is, apparently, all that can be desired. The Zouaves are especially remarkable in this respect. They are an extremely fine body of men, at least equal in point of physique to our foot-guards, and far superior to them as regards education and habits of life. During the whole of my stay in Algeria, I never saw a Zouave either intoxicated or engaged in any discreditable act. The regiments of the line are, in every respect, much inferior. It is the practice to take one of these out every fine day upon a promenade militaire, to accustom them gradually to the exigencies of war. They proceed to some distance, as if on actual service, pitch their tents, cut wood and cook their rations, and return to barracks in the afternoon. But although the object is to rehearse the incidents of a campaign in the presence of the enemy, and the semblance of war is kept up even to leading spare sumpter mules with the troops, habits of slovenliness have been allowed to creep into the system. One day I came upon a battalion just marching out of Algiers, and determined to accompany them. Everything went on en règle while we were in the neighbourhood of the town; but immediately after this, bayonets were unfixed and swords sheathed, the officer commanding
OF A PART OF THE ARMY.
the advanced guard quitted his men and took a short cut across the common under Mustapha, and the men carried their muskets in any way that most suited their ideas of comfort. On arriving at the Jardin d'Essai, a halt for a quarter of an hour took place, and the officer again quitted his men to have a chat and a cup of coffee in the café opposite. I availed myself of the opportunity to feel the weight of one of the knapsacks; but the owner informed me, with a smile, that on actual service it would weigh twice as much, for that on these occasions they made it as light as possible. The ammunition boxes on the mules were, if I might judge from the sound as they shook, similarly emptied. This regiment might, possibly, have recently arrived from France, and be an exception to the ordinary rule; but it certainly made an indifferent figure. The road was excessively muddy, and the men expressed their annoyance very generally, although in a good-humoured way. Probably a good deal of tact is required in bringing new arrivals up to the proper standard of efficiency.
Military punishments are extremely common. Scarcely a week takes place without something of the kind. One day I was a spectator of the expulsion of a soldier from the army. He was placed in the centre of the Place Royale, around which several companies were drawn up. The commanding officer read aloud a paper containing his sentence and the
grounds of it. A musket was then put into his hands, and he went through the manual exercise backwards, after which the piece was lowered from his shoulders to the ground, and he was compelled to step over it. The military buttons were then cut from his dress, and, no longer a soldier, he was made over to the civil power for the further punishment of seven years' hard labour. This man's offence had been disorderly conduct in one of the natives' houses, and resistance to the authorities who were called in to put a stop to it; in the course of which he struck his commanding officer. He had been in a military prison for two years before, and was just discharged when he committed the offence which led to his further punish
NOTE TO PAGE 143.
The following considerations induce me to believe that the language now spoken by the Kabyles is substantially the same as that which prevailed in the north of Africa more than two thousand years ago; a language bearing, probably, about the same relation to that of an educated Carthaginian, as the spoken dialect of the Saxon boors in the reign of Edward III. might to the written language of Wiclif:
1. St. Augustine, on an occasion of explaining the word "Messias," remarks that the Punic word "Messe" is equivalent to the Latin "ungue." (Tract. 15, in Johan. Evang. c. iv. § 27.) The student is naturally surprised that, in employing such an illustration, Augustine should have selected an imperative mood. But, in fact, the imperative mood is in the Kabyle language the root of the verb, all other forms of which are moulded upon this one. It seems an obvious inference that the same remarkable peculiarity existed in the language that Augustine calls "Punic."
2. But the "Punic" of Augustine is "the only language besides