Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/177

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147
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

more stuff in him than the Andalusian jennet, probably owing to finer pasturage; his action and shape also differ; he does not raise his feet so high, and advances more; neither does he pace, but his usual step is a long walk; nor slip in his quarters as the Spanish horse; and is sure-footed even when galloping over rough ground, as we often proved, hunting both wild boar and gazelles. The horses usually stand from fourteen to fifteen hands high, of every colour; the most beautiful we remarked were chestnut and black; though the latter not common; flowing mane and tails, which they never dock, but when young shave the tail, giving it an absurd appearance; we measured the main of a chestnut horse two feet and a half long, the tail sweeping the ground; they seldom begin to ride them till four years old, nor do they ride the mares. In the interior of the country a good horse may sometimes be bought for one hundred Spanish dollars (twenty guineas), though with difficulty, and cannot be exported without an order from the emperor. On a journey the Barbary horse starts unfed and without water; at the end of it is piqueted, unbridled, never unsaddled; given as much water as he can drink, then barley and broken straw thrown down on the ground as far before him as he can reach by stretching out his neck; thus he rarely or never lies down, nor gets any sleep, yet is very spirited; broken wind is rare; they are often tender-footed, and much shaken in the shoulders from the sudden stop, even at full gallop, which is constantly practised.

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The audience with the sultan;—the interchange of presents,—namely, our choicest works of art, such as chronometers and telescopes, for the fiercest beasts of nature, as tigers, hyænas, wolves,—the honours paid to the British mission, &c., fall not within the limits of a geographical sketch.—To proceed then to the Atlas.

January 7, 1830.

Bade adieu to our earthly paradise, the garden of El Mahmōnīa, and journeyed across the plain, in a south-east direction, towards the Atlas; soil, light, sandy loam, covered with rolled stones, and shrubs of the buckthorn and tirnet (resembling a gooseberry bush); several brooks of water, fringed with oleanders; large plantations of olives, and ruined aqueducts crossing the plain in various directions. At sixteen miles, entered a valley of the Atlas, winding in a south direction, and following the course of a mountain torrent; encamped for the night about two thousand four hundred feet above the level of the sea, and one thousand feet above the plain, commanding a splendid view of the city, the whole plain of Marocco, and the winding of the fiver, losing itself in the western horizon.