Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/176

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146
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

on the ground, round which sit cross-legged half-a-dozen persons; chairs, tables, knives, forks, spoons, and plates, are superfiuities unknown.

Coffee is not used. Tea very generally; at all hours of the day it is presented to visiters, otherwise water is the only beverage.

The Moors do not smoke tobacco, but take a great deal of snuff; they occasionally smoke the leaves of the Hashīsha (or hemp-plant), which appears to have much the soothing quality of opium, producing pleasing intoxication; they also make a sort of confection of the seed of this plant, called Kèef, which has the same properties, and to the use of which they are much addicted. The characteristics of the Moor are idleness, apathy, pride, ignorance, and sensuality—though living in the most deplorable state of ignorance, they look with contempt on all others, terming them barbarians. Their bigotry, too, is excessive; on our journey to Marocco, a party of travellers that we met, after saluting the chief of our escort, said to him, 'God preserve you from the contamination of the Kaffirs.' On such occasions it is brought home to us with double force, how thankful should we Europeans be for the blessed light of Christianity. The sensuality of the Moors knows no bounds; the laws of nature cannot restrain it; the constant and often repeated application to the medical officer[1] attached to the mission was for stimulating drugs and cordials, even after their noxious qualities were pointed out;—decrepit old men, with one foot in the grave, would have given half their fortune for a few hours of invigorated youth. The day is usually lounged away in idleness:—except for the military exercise of Lab el Barōd (literally, playing powder), which consists in charging at full gallop, firing their guns, and stopping short, they seldom move from their lethargic state of apathy or drowsiness; yet with these vices they are hospitable and possessed of great fortitude under misfortune; 'Allah brā,' 'God made it so,' is their support under all afflictions. The people are generally healthy and long lived; the Climate is unquestionably good, yet leprosy, ophthalmia, elephantiasis, hydrocele, and the venereal disease, are not uncommon; their remedies are simple, their whole materia medica consisting in a few herbs; but rite dreadful scourge of this country, the plague, visits them nearly every twenty years, nor will they be induced to take any precautions against it.

Locusts also commit fearful ravages, occasionally devouring every green leaf, and leaving the ground over which they have passed absolutely barren. But the pride of the Moor is his

Horse, and often, indeed, it is an animal of great beauty; has

 


  1. Mr. Williams, R.A., who, by his readiness to give advice and assistance to the natives on all occasions, kept them in good humour, and was enabled to obtain much information.