Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/158

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
128
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

Itinerary, 9th day, November 17.

Rode about 13 miles S. W., along the margin of the lake, in which are several islands with saints' tombs, insular spots being here, as elsewhere, sacred to holy purposes. Lake covered with wild-fowl of all sorts—widgeon, wild-duck, snip, curlew, water-hens, dabchicks, herons, cormorants, besides plover and peewits: it produces fine eels; soil light, sandy; coarse herbage; little or no cultivation; no wood; herds of cattle on opposite bank of lake; distant mountains in the east, bounding the great plain of Msharrah Roumella; passed fifteen douars: four coubbas to-day.

Itinerary, 10th day, November 18.

S.W. by S. 11 miles. Lake loses itself in a marshy stream; country becomes hilly—highest five hundred feet; soil gravelly and sandy; colocynth and coarse herbage; pass two coubbas, nine douars, three springs; from summit of these hills of sandstone basis, view of the

Wād Seboo, winding in the boldest sweeps imaginable, through a rich and varied plain, far as the eye can reach; descended a steep bank covered with broom, myrtle, juniper; crossed the river, about four hundred yards wide; a bar of sand, a quarter of a mile from its outlet, extends almost across, and nearly dry at low water spring tides; inside from three to four fathoms water; rise of tide seven or eight feet; a good spring of water one hundred yards distant from the northern bank of the river opposite the town. Rode through the town of

Mehedīa, situated on a height of about ten feet, on the southern bank of the river, and distent one mile from the sea: when formerly in the possession of the Portuguese it was a place of some consequence, as the ruins of handsome fountains, arches, and churches attest; its fortifications also were respectable; a double wall, if not a ditch, on the south-western side; a long low battery defended the beach and entrance of river, and the citadel commanded the whole; at present eight guns mounted are its sole defence. The town now contains from three to four hundred inhabitants, chiefly fishermen, who subsist by the sale of shebhel, an excellent fish, much like salmon, which is caught here in great abundance. Water communication exists between this city and Fās, but is not taken advantage of.

Itinerary, 11th day, November 19.

Course S.S.W. 16 miles, through a narrow, deep valley; lake on right three miles long; on it four birds like swans, white bodies and necks, red feathers on the side, wings tipped with black, called by the Moors El Boch 'Hhamar, a variety (pink) of the anas casarca. Succession of hills and dales; one mile and a