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spicuous in the transparent almost every little hill is a atmosphere, indicating the situ- mass of stones, or fragments of ation of the Spanish camp at broken wall, witness to the Zargeia. Two aeroplanes drone fate of a fortified post. Every far in the sky. The prospect one of our companions has been is restful to a degree, and an concerned in such assaults, in occasional distant rumble of which the tribesmen particugun-fire hardly disturbs the larly excel, slinging their grenserene calm of the African ades from a distance, or creepafternoon.
ing close up to drop them The sun slants across low- through the loopholes of the lands far away to the west, fort. One young man is aland overhead the sky is deepest ready regarded as a veteran, blue. Golden beams penetrat- having been present in front of ing the half-transparent foliage, Melilla four years ago, when an make wonderful inter-play of entire Spanish army was enlight and shade among the trapped and destroyed. Among hollows. The earth is red, and the group there is another who the vegetation vivid green and speaks with intimate knowgold. Homesteads and orange- ledge of the enemy, having in groves are being left behind, boyhood spent some time in and we have dismounted to Madrid. In spite of their pick our way on foot among pride, he has encountered most swamp and bush, enclosed by agreeable people among the a company of light-hearted Spaniards, and will hear nothsoldiers on their way to relieve ing derogatory to their honour. sections in the field. A fine He has a clear recollection of type of mountaineer is in com- seeing the Guard changed in mand, and walks between us ; the courtyard of the palace, while the pace is so good that and freely admits the superiormule-drivers, following on, are ity of Spanish ceremonial, obliged to beat their charges though he does not consider into a half amble to keep up. that such a fine system of
After sixteen years of war, training particularly fits their these men are glad to be going troops for fighting. There is up the line, and to them it also in the company a sternappears that their liberty is faced Moor, whose household already won. They are un- has been destroyed by a gasable to give credence to the shell, a man who is sworn to idea of a strategic retreat. wage war without pity. His Their talk is concerned almost ways are rough, and he speaks exclusively with enemy posi- seldom, but twice I am intions that have been taken by debted to his experienced eye surprise, with defence lines and steadier foothold on slipdriven in and capiemento sur- pery rock, which enable me rounded by bombing parties to avoid total immersion in in the night, so that crowning wads that lie in the path,
Our new friends offer fresh wise gagged; greybeards in oranges to suck as we stride charge of mules loaded with together over tussocks of scrub. farm produce; and everywhere Their lightness of heart is very soldiers urging them on, helpinfectious, and for a time war ing the feeble over rough places in the Riff seems an agreeable and through wads, maintainrelaxation.
ing order among the children So the band goes lightly while they crack light jokes across verdant ridges, drawing with their elders. continually nearer to Zargeia, The Fondyk is falling away until her tents are dazzlingly behind, and the chain of hills close in the sun, and men can sinking to nothing on the right. be distinguished moving be- We are lost in a world of ridges tween them. In the effort of whose tops are bathed in golden surmounting endless crests that sunshine, while cool shadows are like the petrified waves of already steal along the dingles an ocean, and perhaps a little between. apprehensive concerning the As we proceed the multitude tents so near ahead, one has is becoming very quiet, and to some extent lost count of only at rare intervals does the non-essentials. Now a crowing muffled cry of some creature cock recalls me to the con- break on the ear. A subdued sciousness of my immediate bleat, or again the crowing of surroundings; and with a thrill a cock. There are no other
a of surprise I am become aware sounds as they push continuof a strange accession of ally over hillocks, and up and strength to our company, which down little ravines, surmountno longer consists exclusively ing every obstacle, flowing of armed men on their way up steadily forward like a rising the line.
tide, surging over eminences For there are about us per- and filling in depressions. The sons of both sexes and every chatter among the group of age-children and nimble-footed soldiers immediately around has old men and women. A surg- died away, and the plain is ing throng scattered over the filled with a speechless moving wide plain, strings of women throng, advancing continually stooping beneath heavy bundles, westward. appearing and disappearing, From somewhere not far off making marvellous colour in the report of a rifle breaks the the late sunlight; mothers with spell, several shots following in babies on their backs, often rapid succession. Instantly driving goats in front of them; they have all vanished. Endprocessions of boys and girls, less hill-tops appear without with kids whose muzzles are an indication of life in the bound up, apparently to stop level sunshine, while a solitary their bleating; children carry- eagle circles an immense dising poultry in their arms, like- tance overhead.
Yet they are all close by, teller is surrounded by a growwhispering together in the hol- ing crowd. Now that the sun lows, occasionally peeping with has gone, increasing twilight infinite precaution between gives a touch of unearthliness thick bushes at the lines of to the spectacle. A fresh start gleaming tents, by this time is made in gathering shadows ; under a mile away. In the men, with their rifles at full ravines, women have deposited cock, moving ahead, and on their baskets of vegetables on each flank. Little troops of the mud, while they feed their white-clad women are again babies, or rearrange their cloth- bobbing up and down against ing. Children dabble in pools, the sky-line ; unwilling mules or munch bread and figs. The pushed and dragged over appalittle valleys are so numerous rently insuperable obstacles ; and intricate, that it is possible boys chasing one another to pass about fairly freely without a sound along the among this strangest of assem- wads. blies, without ever exposing So they press forward, hour oneself on a ridge. Here are after hour, talking in whispers, grave merchants with Assyrian or not at all. Occasionally beards, and a professional story- the quiet is broken by the cry teller surrounded by hopeful of some animal whose gag has children, as he rests on a flat slipped from its mouth, or by stone ; here is a Susi tribes- a shot coming from nowhere, man with his cloak of shaggy meaning nothing. Hour by brown goat-skin, and here is hour they are advancing, like
snake - charmer examining night in pursuit of day, filling the occupants of his boxes, the air with the faint rustling lifting them out, while they noise of phantoms as they wind themselves lasciviously hasten by. about arms and neck. Here Hour upon hour, until withare women refres ng their feet out apparent reason laughter in the little wads where chil- and cheerful talk suddenly indren play ; also a coal-black trude upon the silence, and we juggler from the Soudan toying find ourselves, to our amazewith the mysterious implements ment, surrounded by the most of his profession. Mendicants joyful band imaginable. My with horrible malformations are mule-driver lays a hand on my moving about with surprising knee, indicating with the other agility. There are also young some obscure object that has women and girls so completely just been left behind. “Posta veiled in white drapery that Spagnola ” he observes, and only their eyes and toes are administers a resounding whack visible. As the minutes slip to my steed. A quarter of an by, without a repetition of the hour later the frontier has shooting, a light murmur of been crossed, and the remainder talk fills the air. The story- of the journey lies within the
confines of the neutral zone of has handed his load to a comTangier.
panion, and is carrying a deThey are resting for a time formed beggar on his shoulders among little knolls, eating through a wad that is deeper bread and figs. But very soon than usual. He returns immethe march has to be resumed, diately to perform the same men and women and children service for a shrivelled old together, going over rocks and woman. through water with heavy bur- Three white-draped girls with dens on their backs, laughing market baskets full of flowers and singing on their way to are conspicuous for an instant market. The soldiers have not in soft moonshine, hesitating passed the frontier. Their re
Their re- on the summit of a knoll besponsibility is ended. This fore they vanish with loud throng of market people is splashes into shadowy depths marching with confidence beyond, only to reappear, laughamong shadows, full of irre- ing and chatting together, a sponsible gaiety. Not for them little farther on. are the amenities of civilised life, not for them security The bands of market people against hunger and physical have melted away as mysteridiscomfort. They are the chil- ously as they came. We are dren of nature; their men travelling with only three or can endure every natural hard- four armed men and our muleship; their women and chil- drivers. Now we are pulled dren tramp all night long and into a hollow, and the animals laugh in the dark, drenched off-saddled in front of a cabin, to the skin from immersion while a white-robed Moor indi. in innumerable streams. They cates the way in. “Shuayia ! are Arcadians, cradled in the Shuayia ! To-morrow morning wild, and they enjoy the rare very early the Inglizi will be contentment which is only de- able to enter Tangier.” rived from continual associa- But for them it is to-night, tion with natural things.
and after heated argument, , Look how eagerly they are fresh animals are brought round, pressing forward now in the and the progress resumed. increasing light. A new moon For long an intermittent flash has risen. The sign of the in the sky has indicated the golden crescent is in the sky. direction of the lighthouse. How they hasten over ledges Presently fainter gleams, , à of rock and through the masses great way off, begin to mark the of bramble, jesting with one whereabouts of the European another each formidable suburb of the mountain. ridge is surmounted, or laugh- Thenceforward this return to ing uproariously as they de- Tangier is a simple reversal scend to the armpits in chill of the departure, seven weeks water. A sturdy countryman earlier.
Approaching the town our our sand-bag, we set off very escort dwindles until, at a dis- wearily along the smooth road, tance of about six kilometres, taking care to walk side by side it is time to dismount and bid in the European way, and not good-bye to the two remaining in file, as they do of necessity mule - drivers. Leaving their in the Riff. Passing various charges to graze by the road- police posts, we find ourselves side, they take us each by the discussing suitable topics in hand with fervently expressed irreproachable English, with the wishes that we may soon return sincere hope that it will not to their delectable country. strike any member of the force Then we are left standing in as odd that such superior perthe empty road with sons should be carrying a bulky sack.
sack about at dead of night in Immediately become very an international zone. British and self-conscious, we The nocturnal life of the hasten to divest ourselves one town is in full swing as after the other of sbabeet and slink through the Petit Socco. jaleeb in favour of boots and Crowded restaurants dazzle with coats, and crumpled felt hats, their numerous lights, while in those foundations of self-re- the. Casino play has not yet spect in every modern civilised finished. The same croupiers community. Whereupon, hav- appear always to be raking the ing rapidly bundled the dis- same douros about on the green carded livery of the East into baize table-cloth.
VOL. CCXVIII.-NO. MCCCXXII.