Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/164

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134
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

hundred and fifty feet; gravel; on summit of one of the highest stands the ruin of a building named

Gherando, either a fort or watch-tower; circular, and apparently fifty feet high by twenty in diameter; none of the peasantry could say when or why constructed. From camp, eighteen saints' tombs in sight[1].

Itinerary, 24th and 25th days , December 7, 8.

Course S.E. by S. 40 miles; read gradually ascends, about two hundred feet, through a broken hilly country of clay-slate, on to the plain of Stairs, extending about twelve miles; then again ascends two hundred feet on to a second plain, seventeen miles in extent, named

Peira—basis of clay-slate; soil at times sandy, then decomposed slate; many stones; fragments of quartz; flints; much agate embedded in crystallized quartz; some very beautiful specimens; and covered with palmetto and coarse herbage; with a thorny tree, about twenty feet high, bearing a dark yellow berry, called sidra nebach, the rhamnus infectorius, (or yellow-berried buckthorn.) Encamped at the foot of a range of hills, varying from five to twelve hundred feet in height; schistose, with veins of quartz; strata in a north by east and south by west direction, dip 75°; forming the northern boundary of the plain of Marocco; during our ride across these two plains, not a hut to be seen except at our night's encampment, and but one spring of water; herds of gazelles and wild boar.

Itinerary, 26th day, December 9.

Course S. by E. 12 miles; ascending about two hundred feet, between hills of micaceous schist; torrent bed fringed with Spanish broom, sidra nebach, and acacia; road stony, boulders of iron, stone, &c., and flints. On debouching from this rocky defile, the imperial city, with its buildings, its mosques, its minarets, and lofty tower, in a large plain, in the midst of a forest of palms, backed by the eternal snows of Atlas, rising to the height of eleven thousand feet, and brought forward in striking relief from the deep blue sky behind them—burst on our view. While we gazed with delight on this beautiful prospect, our 'Moorish leader, on first sight of Marocco, halted his troops, and one and all offered up prayers for the health of the sultan their master, and thanksgiving for the happy termination of their journey; encamped for the night under the shade of the palm trees; the contrast striking between this emblem of tropical and burning

 

  1. The clear-sighted people of this empire, it is believed, do not wish their country to be surveyed. They should not canonize so many of their idiots, or build so many saints' tombs; for did an observer wish to select stations for a trigonometrical survey of their plains, nothing could have been better placed than these sanctuaries, and which it is a point of their religion to keep in good preservation.