Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/181

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151
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

five to eight hundred feet in height, assume eyery variety of shape; truncated cones, pyramidal, pine-apple, sugar-loaf, &c.; one of which was covered with masses of gneiss, or cross-grained granite, abounding with black mica; many of these blocks were several tons weight. How got they there? If granite, the nearest granite mountains are at the distance of twenty-five or thirty miles. Can they be boulders? They had rather the appearance of roughly quarried masses of four or five feet square.

January 11, 12, 13.

Left the plain of Marocco, and, Btriking. through the schistose hills, again came on the extended plain which we had crossed forty miles to the westward, on our journey to the capital; soil, fine loam; irrigated and well cultivated; a three days' journey of about fifty miles in a north-north-east direction, over this great plain, brought us to the banks of the river

Oom-erbegh, at the ford called Meshra el 'Khalluf, or ford of wild boar, many of which we hunted and killed during our day's journey; the river here is not rapid; about one hundred and fifty yards broad, and fordable; it flows through banks of deep soil. During these fifty miles passed but twelve Arab encampments, and six saints' tombs; much less population, but which may be accounted for by the land being destined to pasturage; herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and goats.

January 15 to 21.

A journey of seventy miles across a series of plains, in a north-west direction, brings the traveller from the banks of the Oom-erbegh to the sea coast at Fidallah; the former part of the plain gravelly; a palmetto desert, but the latter part a fine rich. soil; thinly peopled and little cultivation; but as the spring in this climate draws on, nature teems with life; the ground rich in bulbs, flowers, &c., enamelled as a carpet, with iris, crocus, daffodil, narcissus, lotus, lupins, African marigolds, &c., in full bloom; that gigantic annual also, the gum ammoniac plant, like fennel, already putting forth its shoots and feathery leaves. Thirty-three Arab encampments and twenty saints' tombs passed in five days' journey.

At twenty miles north of the Oom-erbegh, encamped at a spot which still bears the name of

Kaisār—name and tradition agree in pointing out this spot as of ancient times. We traced the foundation of a building whose north side was two hundred and fifty paces long; round towers at the corners; walls five feet thick, of rough unhewn limestone and mortar, but level with the ground; other foundations are visible to a great extent; a well and conduits leading to the spring. The writer has great pleasure in being able to give the remarks on this