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SPECIMENS STILL EXISTING.
is no glass in them. On the stuccoed floor, there are one or two small carpets, and perhaps a lion's or panther's skin with the teeth and nails gilt. In the palmy days of Algerine piracy, both the town and the neighbourhood were full of mansions furnished in this style, and in the case of the latter surrounded with delicious gardens. But the universal ruin of the Moorish population, which followed the French conquest, has to a great extent obliterated the traces of the former magnificence. The country villas were at first wantonly destroyed by the conquerors, and the town houses subsequently stripped by their owners of everything valuable which could be carried away. In some instances the beautiful courts with their marble columns are occupied by the stores of an European shopkeeper; in others the tenant has cut oblong holes in the outer walls and put sashes into them, and scarcely in any has there been attention paid to keeping up the ornamental repairs. Still, in a few houses, the visitor may yet gain an idea of what a Moorish interior must have been under the old régime. The house of the bishop, which before the invasion of the French was the palace of the Agha or War Minister, is, perhaps, the finest specimen in existence. On a smaller scale, but still very elegant and characteristic, is the house of the English consul, Mr. Bell. The supreme court of justice is also held in a genuine Moorish house, although modernized by covering the
THE KAZBAH OF ALGIERS.
open court with a roof of glass. The public library and museum furnishes yet another example of the kind; and this last and the house of the consul are the more striking, as the approach to them is through streets of the most unprepossessing character, and least likely to inspire an expectation of the beauty of the interiors.
The Kazbah is rather a fortified palace than a citadel in the proper sense of the word. It is completely commanded by a hill in the immediate neighbourhood, on which formerly stood a fortification, called the Fort of the Tagarins; while this in its turn is dominated by the Fort of the Emperor, so called from its being the point selected by Charles V. of Spain as the base of his operations when he laid siege to Algiers. But it promised perfect security to the Deys against their own tumultuous soldiery; and shortly after the bombardment of the town by Lord Exmouth, the seat of government was transported thither in a single night by Megheur Ali, the successor of Omar, under whom the bombardment had been inflicted, and who was strangled by his own subjects the next year. The Djenina, the ancient palace, stood in the Place Royale, overlooking the sea, and the existing clock-tower occupies the site of a part of the terrace which belonged to it. The circuit of the Kazbah, as may be supposed, included everything which was necessary to the completeness of Turkish
RUINED IN THE INVASION.
life-among the rest a handsome mosque, which is now used as an artillery barrack. The remainder is appropriated to other military purposes; and the work of destruction and alteration has been carried to such an extent as to make it difficult to comprehend the connexion which formerly existed between such portions as are still left.
It happened by a singular fatality that, through the neglect of the chief of the staff, this alone, of all the buildings in Algiers, was shamefully plundered immediately after the occupation of the town. The mischief began by some persons taking mere trifles by way of souvenirs, but their example was quickly followed by others whose rapacity changed the system of petty thieving into downright pillage. A great deal was said at the time on the subject, and grave charges of enormous peculation made against General Bourmont himself. But as regards the treasure which was laid up there, the charge of malversation appears to be without foundation; and there is no reason to doubt that the whole found its way to the treasury of the French government.
There are several mosques in Algiers still appropriated to the use of the Moorish population, but some have been converted into Christian churches. I could not learn whether the cathedral was or was not one of these, but it has every appearance of being so. The so-called New Mosque (Djemmâa Djedid) stands
INTERIOR OF MOSQUES.
at the corner of the Place Royale and Rue de la Marine, and is being restored at the expense of the Government. There is a tradition that it was built by a Christian slave, who had been an architect. When it was finished, some one called the attention of the Dey to the fact that the ground plan was of the form of a cross; and the unfortunate artist expiated by death what was regarded as an intentional insult to the faith of Islam. When the French first acquired possession of the town, they strictly prohibited all Christians from attempting to enter a mosque, but now no objection is made either by the conquerors or the conquered. The raw is not healed, but the poor jade is too much exhausted to wince when wrung. There is, however, little gratification for curiosity to be obtained by shocking the religious prejudices of the population. A mosque is uniformly like a church of several aisles, stripped of its pews and everything else except its pulpit. At one end is a kind of niche (mihrab), which is intended to indicate the direction of Mecca, towards which the faithful should turn while repeating their prayers, and by the side of this the seat of the sheikh, whose duty it is to read the lessons from the Koran and to preach occasionally. The floors are covered with mats or carpets, and before passing on to them the votary takes off his shoes. In a court of the mosque is a fountain for the requisite ablutions before commencing religious
COURT OF THE KADI.
worship. The walls of the interior are in most cases painted, and decorated all over with verses of the Koran; candles are burnt by the side of the mihrab, and lighted lamps hung from the arches of the roof. Occasionally there is a sort of vestry where instruction is given in the Koran, or one aisle of the mosque is appropriated to the purpose; and to almost all mosques of importance a small room is attached serving for a law-court, where the ordinary questions of litigation between Mussulmans are decided on the basis of the Koran. It is rather amusing to witness the proceedings of the court. Women are not allowed to enter it, but when their evidence is required they give it through a small window of a few inches square which opens into an adjoining apartment. Those which I heard were very voluble and far more vehement than the male witnesses; and in one or two instances were obviously snubbed by the Kadi for wandering from the point at issue, but with as little effect as is generally produced by a similar proceeding upon an Irish woman at Bow Street.
Besides the mosques, there are several marabouts in Algiers and the neighbourhood. The word in its original application denotes a saint, but is also employed to signify the burial-place of such a one, to which a sacred character is always considered to attach. There is no form of consecration used by the Mahometans either for their places of sepulture or