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Morocco   By: (1872-1958)

Book cover

First Page:




[Illustration: Stamp]


[Illustration: IN DJEDIDA]

Transcriber's Note:

The following apparent printer's errors were changed: from appearonce to appearance from everthing to everything from kindgom to kingdom from "Tuesday market. to "Tuesday market." Other inconsistencies in spelling have been left as in the original.

"As I have felt, so I have written."



It has been a pleasant task to recall the little journey set out in the following pages, but the writer can hardly escape the thought that the title of the book promises more than he has been able to perform. While the real Morocco remains a half known land to day, this book does not take the traveller from the highroad. The mere idler, the wayfarer to whom Morocco is no more than one of many places of pilgrimage, must needs deal modestly with his task, even though modesty be an unfashionable virtue; and the painstaking folk who pass through this world pelting one another with hard facts will find here but little to add to their store of ammunition. This appeal is of set purpose a limited one, made to the few who are content to travel for the sake of the pleasures of the road, free from the comforts that beset them at home, and free also from the popular belief that their city, religion, morals, and social laws are the best in the world. The qualifications that fit a man to make money and acquire the means for modern travel are often fatal to proper appreciation of the unfamiliar world he proposes to visit. To restore the balance of things, travel agents and other far seeing folks have contrived to inflict upon most countries within the tourist's reach all the modern conveniences by which he lives and thrives. So soon as civilising missions and missionaries have pegged out their claims, even the desert is deemed incomplete without a modern hotel or two, fitted with electric light, monstrous tariff, and served by a crowd of debased guides. In the wake of these improvements the tourist follows, finds all the essentials of the life he left at home, and, knowing nothing of the life he came to see, has no regrets. So from Algiers, Tunis, Cairo ay, even from Jerusalem itself, all suggestion of great history has passed, and one hears among ruins, once venerable, the globe trotter's cry of praise. "Hail Cook," he cries, as he seizes the coupons that unveil Isis and read the riddle of the Sphinx, "those about to tour salute thee."

But of the great procession that steams past Gibraltar, heavily armed with assurance and circular tickets, few favour Morocco at all, and the most of these few go no farther than Tangier. Once there, they descend upon some modern hotel, often with no more than twenty four hours in which to master the secrets of Sunset Land.

After dinner a few of the bolder spirits among the men take counsel of a guide, who leads them to the Moorish coffee house by the great Mosque. There they listen to the music of ghaitah and gimbri, pay a peseta for a cup of indifferent coffee, and buy an unmusical instrument or two for many times the proper price. Thereafter they retire to their hotel to consider how fancy can best embellish the bare facts of the evening's amusement, while the True Believers of the coffee house (debased in the eyes of all other Believers, and, somewhat, too, in fact, by reason of their contact with the Infidel) gather up the pesetas, curse the Unbeliever and his shameless relations, and praise Allah the One who, even in these degenerate days, sends them a profit.

On the following morning the tourists ride on mules or donkeys to the showplaces of Tangier, followed by scores of beggar boys. The ladies are shown over some hareem that they would enter less eagerly did they but know the exact status of the odalisques hired to meet them. One and all troop to the bazaars, where crafty men sit in receipt of custom and relieve the Nazarene of the money whose value he does not know... Continue reading book >>

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