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VIEW OF CHERCHELL.
and would do so. The modern Cherchell contains but very few houses within the walls (so far as the view from the sea may be trusted); but there is a large building, which I was informed was a military hospital, and in the neighbourhood are two camps, built so as to command the country and keep the neighbouring Kabyles in awe. These people have cleared and tilled a good many spots in the high mountain which terminates in the cape, as well as in the others to the south. A road from Cherchell, practicable for wheeled carriages in the summer only, runs through the forest of timber-trees spoken of above, and after passing through Marengo, a feverstricken French village created in 1848, proceeds to join the route which unites Blidah with Miliana. From Marengo it is possible to pass direct to Algiers; but as far as Koleah the traveller must go on horseback, although on arriving at the latter place he will find one of the best roads in Algeria, and a daily diligence to Algiers. Koleah is not seen from the sea, because it is on the southern incline of the Sahel; but it is not very far removed from it. It is nearly abreast of the steamers when they are half-way between the promontory of Sidi Ferudje and the Tombeau de la Reine. There is a strong military force there in fortified barracks; and the town, although an Arab one originally, has been so metamorphosed by the French, who have taken possession
ITS CAPTURE BY THE FRENCH.
of it, and cut sash-windows in the houses, that it is difficult to imagine that it was recently a place esteemed sacred by the natives. Such, however, is the case; and even yet the tomb of the marabout, whose reputation made the place illustrious, is, in deference to the feelings of the natives, closed against all Christians, although the mosque which was built by its side has been converted into a military hospital.
The Kabyles in the neighbourhood of Cherchell gave the French a good deal of trouble in the first eighteen years of the occupation; and the camp at Koleah was, in fact, intended to secure the settlers in the Metidja against incursions from this quarter. Cherchell itself was not occupied in force until the outbreak of the war with Abd-el-Kader in 1839. The French met with no resistance in entering the town; but it was entirely deserted by its inhabitants, and they found no human being within the walls, except a blind beggar and a dwarf idiot. But the mountaineers, especially the Beni-Menasser, maintained a perpetual warfare with the garrison until the year 1842, when the vigorous efforts of Marshal Bugeaud and General Changarnier succeeded to a great measure in breaking their spirit, and the ruin of Abd-el-Kader completed their submission.
Tenez, which is considered half-way between Algiers and Oran, lies a little to the westward of the cape.
It occupies the site of the ancient Cartenna, a Roman colony, and the quarters of the second legion. A small town nearly a mile from it was the capital of one of the petty kingdoms which succeeded to the break-up of the Arab domination. The object of the Romans in establishing a colony there probably was to obtain the produce of the copper and iron mines which exist a few miles off. The first part of the name Cartenna, like that of Carthage and Cirta, implies a fort, and the last seems connected with the root of "Teniat," a pass; and some of the French antiquaries of Algeria believe they have found the foundations of a tower on a hill commanding a defile in the immediate neighbourhood. The steamer carrying the mails between Algiers and Oran touches at Tenez, but the approach is considered very dangerous. An artificial harbour is projected; but it is not likely to be executed before the Greek Kålends.
At sunset on the 4th the breeze had abated, and we had every hope of arriving at Oran by nine or ten o'clock the next morning. But soon afterwards the west wind again resumed its force, and about four in the morning became a perfect storm; so that when I came on deck at seven o'clock on the morning of the 5th, I found that very little progress had been made. As the day advanced the wind abated, but until late in the afternoon we never made more than four knots. The weather, however, was very fine; and as the coast
COAST OF THE DAHRA.
trends greatly to the southwards, we were able to make some sail and steady the vessel. After coming abreast of a place called on the maps Point Magroua,* the high hills, which had from the time of passing Cherchell come down into the sea, leaving occasionally narrow plains, but more generally steep cliffs scarcely permitting a track to be made along them,-receded from the shore and diminished very much in altitude. The coast began to present the appearance of a plateau of sandstone (with what looked like limestone over it in some places), and was occasionally so low and so loose in texture as to remind one of the crag of the Norfolk coast. Its colour varies from the white of driving sand † to the reddish colour which predominates in the neighbourhood of Algiers. Here and there it is cut by small rivers, and in one place by a very considerable one
* Magroua is an alternative of the more common name Dahra, given to the country between the sea and the river Cheliff. Its inhabitants are almost all of Kabyle race; they are brave and industrious, and at one time exported corn and wax at a few places on the seaboard.
This is also conspicuous at a place called Rummel-el-Abiad (white sand), just to the east of Point Magroua, one of the places where in the time of Shaw European merchants used to trade with the native tribes of the Dahra. Khelat-el-Shimmah (the lighthouse) is another observable point. Shaw says that about here is the Djibel Meniss, a mountain of salt. He puts Khelat-el-Shimmah at nine leagues from the embouchure of the Cheliff. I took it (or the building which I supposed to be it) for considerably less. But the circumstances under which I saw it exclude all pretence to exactness. I may observe, however, that Shaw in this part of his book is far from exact. He errs palpably, for instance, in identifying the Cartili of the Itinerary with any one of the places on the coast of the Dahra; for whatever it was, it was to the east of Tenez, and lay between it and Cherchell. My Khelat-el-Shimmah is to the west of Magroua, not, as Shaw makes it, to the east.
ARRIVAL AT ORAN.
the Cheliff-the largest river in Algeria. After passing this, we stretched across the bay of Arzew, seeing Mostaganem in the distance just before sunset; and as we approached the high hills which again show themselves at the western extremity of the bay, the lights of Arzew appeared in the angle on the left hand. It was perfectly calm as we rounded Cape Ferratt, at a distance, so far as I could judge, of about three miles; but the moon had not risen, and I very much grudged the loss of the scene, a feeling which a view of it from the shore of the bay by daylight some days afterwards did not tend to diminish. However, before light the next morning we arrived safe in Mers-elKebir (the Great Port), and having taken a pilot on board, entered the harbour of Oran at eight o'clock, where our long narrow steamer looked like a great pike in a cistern of water. I landed, and found tolerable quarters at the Hotel de l'Univers, and an establishment of warm baths in the immediate vicinity. My tossing on board the steamer had produced no feeling of discomfort; I had lost, apparently, all trace of illness, and I looked forward with intense interest to the prospect of visiting a country where, for a century before its conquest by the French, travelling had been an impossibility for an European.
Oran itself has been entirely rebuilt by the French. It occupies the two sides of a ravine, through the bottom of which flows a brook which turns several