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apparently well-educated Frenchmen here, and tried to learn something from them in explanation of what met my eye. But they assured me that nothing was known, adding, "Vous n'avez qu'à voir et y réfléchir, Monsieur, et vous pourrez en faire une histoire autant qu'un autre." Any enthusiasm, however, for exploring, which this encouragement might have excited, was damped by my new acquaintance calling my attention to the height of the sun, and recommending me not to let the shades of evening overtake me in the Bois de Boulogne.

On my way back to the town I witnessed an amusing spectacle,-forty or fifty Arabs playing hockey. It was the only time I ever saw this grave impassive race in a state of active enjoyment. On this occasion, however, they certainly were so,—at least the players. The scene of the sport was a large quadrangular inclosure, part of a ruined building of some kind. The game was played with large crooked sticks, of which the bent part was tied round with a cord, so as to form a kind of spoon, and the ball— which was a large leathern pudding-was not struck, but pushed or spooned. There were three holes in three of the four sides of the ruin, and a party of players corresponding to each; and the object seemed to be for every two of these to combine against the third, so as to defeat their efforts to drive the ball through their own hole. Such a game is an apt




emblem of the political life of the race, ever ready to combine against a government, even if it be one which they themselves have helped to set up.

After visiting the Mansourah, Mr. Marty took me to a village in the neighbourhood called Sidi-BouMedine, which has grown up around the marabout of a Mahometan saint of the same name. A very beautifully decorated mosque-now being restored-stands close by the marabout. So sacred is this village reputed, that no European is allowed to reside in it. Notwithstanding this, the French officer and myself were admitted into the very sanctuary, without taking off our boots or spurs-much against my own wish. Both the tomb of Sidi-Bou-Medine and that of SidiAbsalom, who lies by his side, are covered with rich carpets, and the walls hung round with offerings, very much in the same style as in the marabout of SidiAbd-el-Rahman described elsewhere. In this case there was also a sort of chancel-screen in front of the two tombs, completely covered with banners, which, I was told, were renewed annually. Close to the apartment containing the tombs is another in which four or five persons are buried, who were admirers of one or other of the two saints. Opposite to these chambers, but still within the enceinte of the marabout, is another chamber with benches, on which pilgrims who frequent the shrine sometimes spread their carpets and pass the night. Within the precinct

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is also a well, surrounded with a tube of white marble, down which a small bucket (which held about two quarts) was let by a chain and some water brought up. This was offered to me, but I did not taste it, upon which some of the people who were with us drank it eagerly; and as they certainly were not at the time thirsty, I imagine that some particular virtue is supposed to reside in the spring.

We were conducted from the marabout to an elevated bank nearly opposite, where, under the shade of a tree, we found a carpet spread on a bench of stone in the open air. On this the officer and I took our seats, the superior spahi on a stool just below us, and the other two with four or five people of the village on a stone bench at right angles to ours some way off. They then brought us coffee, prepared in the Arab fashion, and a large basket filled with nuts, pomegranates, and dates, to which a bowl of milk was soon added. After drinking our coffee, and just tasting the contents of the basket, which I was told ought to be done, a live coal was brought in a pair of tongs for us to light our cigars, and the spahi then took the provisions and carried them to the occupants of the lower bench, who consumed them with every appearance of appetite. I fancy the theory of the transaction was that these people were feeding on our bounty. In an apartment adjoining the mosque we found a school in which the



children of the village were being taught to read. One of them, a little creature of only four years old, was the son of the schoolmaster. It was painfully studying the Arabic alphabet on a well-thumbed bit of parchment, with the usual accompaniments in such cases of a pouting mouth and dirty nose.

The Government keep up a breeding stable at Tlemçen, for the use of the tribes; but there were at the time no fine horses in it, the best having been dispersed over the country. The long wars since the conquest of Algiers were so destructive, that there resulted a manifest degeneracy in the quality of the race; and to remedy the mischief, the Government has of late years purchased stallions at high prices, and allowed the Arabs to avail themselves of them gratuitously. The best breeding stable is considered to be that at Mostaganem. In this I saw a very handsome Syrian horse, for which 7,000 francs had been paid. He was the most expensive of the whole collection, but there were three or four other very fine animals. The lowest price for which a stallion can be procured which it would be desirable to use as a stud horse is about 4,000 francs; but for ordinary purposes, from 500 to 700 francs will purchase a good horse in the western province, and in the eastern the price would be even less. Mr. Marty told me that his charger which I rode, had cost 700 francs. It was from Morocco, and a powerful animal,



thicker in the carcase than the Arab horses usually are, of a gray colour, and with a rat-tail. I saw several others of the same type in the neighbourhood of Oran, but scarcely any either in the central or eastern provinces, and I imagine that this variety of the Barb is peculiar to the empire of Morocco. Mr. Marty's own horse was a black, much lighter in the crest and finer in the head. He told me he had more than once galloped him for fifteen leagues. The great value of the Barb consists in his endurance of fatigue and hard fare. The full allowance of food which he ever receives is ten pounds of barley and the same weight of hay, where the latter is attainable; but of the latter very few horses belonging to the natives get any. The animal is fed at the close of his day's work, having been allowed to drink about half an hour or an hour before. The barley is put into a nosebag, and the horse is left to eat it at his leisure during the night. During the whole day he is not allowed either to eat or drink; and he is never put into a close stable or littered down. It is quite an error to suppose that the Arabs never trot their horses. I have seen them often do it; but the usual pace in travelling is a quick walk, which the Barb will keep up for an almost unlimited time. On campaigns this breed is said to be unrivalled. The whole of the French cavalry in Africa is now furnished with native horses; and I was informed that their use

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