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We left the dissolving crowd, and strolled to the Turkish café, a strange place, where women dance. The entrance is a dimly lighted Moorish arch that lends mystery, and leads to a courtyard surrounded by huge pillars that support a gallery, from which men and women looked down. In the shadow behind them were many small doors opening to rooms where people ate and slept, or kept their stores of rugs, draperies, and pottery from Fez, or any of the hundred things that merchants bring to sell. When this house was built, perhaps for a Moorish gentleman, the court was open to the sky; but now it is roofed over, and the old court has become the pit of a small theater, with tables set for drinking. On a raised platform sat a row of women with tambourines, and a one-eyed man before a zither, while a man and a boy with violins, held like 'cellos, completed the orchestra. A woman rose, pale and weary of face, and with eyes and hair of a dark luster. A sharp crash on the zither arrested the hum of voices from the groups of Moors at the tables. Then a strange rhythm, an expression of Arab love, broke from the violins, and clanged in the strings of the zither. It was a plaintive note, which began high, and fell in little rippling cascades of sound, only to rise and fall again in the same waves of sound. Then the voices of the women caught the wailing love-note and their tambourines beat the rhythm to which the dancer began to move.
WHEN Fatima and Ayesha first waited upon me, I was disappointed but I reflected that a traveler in any of the Mohammedan countries must be content to see the women of the people. Those from the country are lower than European peasants, the veriest beasts of burden, bent double beneath huge loads of fagots, which they carry miles over hill and valley to vend for a miserable pittance in the market-place. Luckier are those who sell scarlet tomatoes. Some of these have amassed wealth, which is displayed in gold and silver bangles on the wrist and ankle, or hangs suspended from the ear.
favored with huge, dark eyes, lined with kohl, that vaguely suggest the charms of regal beauties hidden in the harem. Sometimes a figure, huddled in filmy veils that even conceal the eyes, passes on a richly
saddled mule. Her life is that of all these roses born in a hothouse. A perfect creature of the senses, she will be sold to the best buyer, be he twenty or sixty, while she is less than sixteen.
Every day one may see the public part of the marriage ceremony passing in the street. Down a narrow alley comes the slow beat of drums. The shrill, mellow cry of the Moorish pipes rises in weird, discordant music that always halts for the breath of the player. First appear two men bearing large Moorish lamps upon their heads, within which are several lighted candles. Then come many men walking, and a large mule with flat saddle, upon which the bride sits cross-legged. She is invisible within a box-like canopy of wood, covered with muslin in many thicknesses. Her negro slave woman walks sorrowfully in the procession, for she is going to lose the darling she has dressed and tended for years. The pipes and the drums precede the bride or bring up the rear of the procession. They are going to a saint's tomb, where she will be consecrated, and then. carried in the same fashion to the house of her lord and master. To-morrow she will be separated from him for seven days, the time being spent by the bride in seclusion among her women, where the hours are passed in music and story-telling. The bride sits high in a niche, carpets and precious stuffs are spread before her, and thus, a goddess for the time, she has the incense of love burned before her.
A strange adventure may be fall the wedding-party. In Moorish law, an uncle of her own blood may claim the bride from all comers. Such a one may stop the procession in the street and carry off the bride, while the intended husband can only execrate the robber impotently when the news is brought to him at home, where he has been ardently awaiting the coming of his bride.
TIMBUCTOO, as we called him, is a Sudanese. When he beams upon you, coins come unresisting from your pockets, and the extra sparkle of joy in his gnarled face is your reward, even if he does not shake your hand and kiss his own daintily where it has touched yours, or murmur "God bless you" in Arabic.
I met him first on the Marshan, a flat plateau about which Europeans, Jews, and
the motion changed to a strange bow made
rope bound with many-colored cloths was slung over his shoulder. From it were suspended ornaments of every description feet-sea-shells mounted on cords of red, keys, the teeth of animals, army buttons, a flat card covered with green and red cloth and surrounded by tinsel, tassels of red and purple, and cords of a deep cadmium yellow. From the other shoulder was slung a party-colored bag of mysteries, which I afterward saw opened. In it were money, food, pipe, and a strange medley of rags. In his hands he carried a pair of enormous castanets, and tucked under his arm was a short stick decked with many-colored rags, a sort of jester's wand.
Safely from balconies some Frenchmen were watching the wild rites. A few Europeans rode past on horses, but not too closely. Very few whites were on foot in the crowd. I walked close until the
Moors began to scowl and seemed to close in a little to prevent my progress. There was a sense of fanaticism and danger in the air.
Returning through the crowd to watch the lighter expressions of joy, I met Timbuctoo. He smiled with odd dignity as he passed, all a-glitter with dangling trinkets. His trappings were odd, bizarre, yet exquisite and entirely harmonious. They were as much a part of him as was his grizzled beard. Into his jelaba (outside garment), originally the color of undyed wool, patches of mellow and vivid colors had been inserted. On his head he wore a red cap covered with coins and teeth. About it, near the head, was coiled a turban of purplish red, one strand of which was looped loosely beneath his chin. A
In my wanderings about the place I next came upon a group of Moors. The tom-toms were beating joyfully, and the great castanets were clattering merrily. In the perspiring group of dancing mimes Timbuctoo was easily king. As his slender legs, like black bronze, danced in time, he uttered a guttural "Uh-hoo-hoo! uhhoo-hoo!" then, seized by the spirit of the desert, turned round in a circle, always in four sharp jerks, pausing a perceptible instant at each of the four points of the compass. This he did many times, after which he threw his head back and forward to the beat of the dancing group.
THE Kasbah is the ancient Moorish city, set upon the hill that tumbles down in rocky bluffs to the sea from its high, en