Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/154

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124
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

different consuls resident here, who are sufficient to form a very agreeable society. From a terrace in that of the Swedish consul is an extensive and pleasing view over the town of Tangier and its bay at your feet; the distant peaks of the Lesser Atlas in the south-east; and to the north, across the dark blue waters of the Straits, the coast of Spain, from the memorable Cape Trafalgar, to the rock of Gibraltar. The anchorage in the bay is very tolerable, except in strong north-west winds. Were the mole rebuilt, the remains of which are still visible under water, the landing on the beach would be always secure. The ruins of old Tangier, possibly ancient Tingis, and a Roman bridge, are yet standing at the southern part of the bay. Four small batteries, of about six guns each, defend the sand-hills around the shores.

Population of Tangier, from 7000 to 8000, including 1500 Jews, who are the chief artisans.

Itinerary, 1st day, November 9, 1829.

The British embassy, consisting of a party of officers, the interpreter, a motley group of Moors, Arabs, and Jews, as muleteers and servants, escorted by a body of Moorish cavalry, accompanied by the Bashà of the province with his troops, and all the European consuls, to do honour to the mission, left Tangier. the road leading in a south direction, over a sandy soil, through the productive gardens that surround the town; then through an undulating country, over rounded schistose hills, about three hundred feet high; mica slate, with veins of foliated quartz, occurring rarely; direction, north-west and south-east; dip of strata, 75° to south-west; and covered with scanty herbage; passing occasionally an Arab village of a few hovels, fenced by a hedge of aloes and prickly pear, or Indian fig[1]; here and there a patch of Guinea corn, otherwise no signs of cultivation; at eight miles reached our first encampment, a well-chosen spot in a valley, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, the distant ranges in the south-east quarter stretching far away towards Cape Negro. We arrived at dusk, and found the tents ready pitched; and when, shortly after, the broad full moon rose above the mountains in the east, the scene was beautiful and picturesque indeed. On each side of the round handsome tent of our Moorish leader, Sidi Mohammed, striped blue and white, and surmounted by a gilt globe, were the other tents, forming a circle, with the Arabs and baggage in the centre; camels, horses, and mules piqueted around; here and there a group of Moors, their swarthy faces lighted up by the watch-fires over which they were leaning; and when the Moslems began their chaunt of the Slāt el Ashar, or evening prayer, it completed a scene that we had all read descriptions

 

  1. Cactus Opuntia (Kermuse d'Ensarrah, i. e., Christian fig.)