« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Two other detachments also traveled in mule, immediately crushed the animal to this way—the Sultan's tent and his harem. the earth. Frequent occurrences of this Astride of as many mules, six favorites of kind caused the tent to fall far behind his unknown color and beauty, together with Majesty, and those in charge were frenforty-two mysterious, squatting creatures, zied in their endeavors to hurry it along, riding in pairs on pack-mules, composed lest it should be unprepared for their ruler the royal collection of ladies chosen for in time. this journey. Even a sultan must make Perched upon a saddle intended for a some sacrifices when he journeys. How- full-grown man, and riding a large horse, ever, he could look forward to a full house- the Sultan's youngest brother (Sidi Mohamhold awaiting him at Fez.
med) looked a perfect elf-a picturesque The forty-eight favored ones rode very little fellow as he rode along quietly in the closely bunched, looking like so many safe escort of his black body-guard. cones of sugar, each one being enveloped Bareheaded slaves and eunuchs were in white, with just a narrow slit for the scattered about, scampering hither and eyes. They were guarded by formidable- thither upon fiery barbs. looking soldiers, while flags, carried far in When the cavalcade was about to pass advance, cleared the way far more effec- through a fresh district, the governor who tively than clubs clear Broadway.
controlled it, with his standard unfurled The Sultan's tent was carried along on beside him, and many of his tribesmen, the strongest of mules in the center of a awaited its arrival on the border-line. At very noisy and vociferous crowd of soldiers the instant of the Sultan's coming abreast and tent-pitchers. When traveling was bad and halting, the kaid of the mishwa cried they were compelled to change the mules aloud: every ten or fifteen minutes, and often this “Saith my lord, you are welcome." mighty bundle of canvas and ropes, which Bowing low in their saddles, they derequired eight men to place it upon the voutly mumbled in chorus:
Allah preserve our Lord.”
rest until his quarters were prepared. This Hurriedly dismounting and prostrating found, his chair was quickly placed, wherehimself at the feet of his master, the gov- upon he dismounted and seated himself. ernor kissed the earth and then the royal His ministers took up their stations in the robe. Without being recognized, he at rear, while his soldiers cleared a great space once vaulted into his saddle and sought before him, at the border of which the vilthe Minister of War, while the imperial lagers, or people of the neighborhood, conpageant moved onward. By this time his gregated and shouted aloud for joy. Protribesmen had galloped some distance in visions had been stored by these people for advance and to one side. Whirling about, years for no other than court use, and now they came tearing back, fifteen or twenty they could be squeezed no more on that abreast, amid clouds of dust or buckets of mud, according to conditions. With faces The sign given that all was in readiness, of fiends, they rode like devils, silken gar- the Sultan again mounted, and with the ments gnarling and shimmering, glistening umbrella surmounting his head like a giflint-locks held high in air. A loud yell – gantic crown, he rode through another bang, bang! --and horses and , !
riders channel of soldiers into an opening in the
riders emerged from a cloud of smoke. Exe- canvas wall. After having eaten and rested, cuting this wild riding and shouting. - the he emerged alone, and with swaying garpowder play, --row after row plunged for- ments walked slowly to the court tent, ward, in startling contrast to the stately where he called his ministers by turn to court pageant, slowly and unconcernedly discuss matters pertaining to court. The moving on.
same routine was followed day after day. When the demons had tired, they jogged In the open space before him horses along with us, dignified and quiet, not only presented to the royal stable were led for to the next encampment, but to the bor- his approval. Frequently, in the midst of der of the succeeding district.
court matters, some man with a grievance, So enthusiastic were the poor country who had stolen to the edge of the clearing, Arabs along the line of march that they raised himself, and, with arms extended for were totally oblivious of the blows and recognition, shouted wildly: rough treatment to which many were sub- "Mulai Abd-ul-Aziz, have mercy, in the jected by the soldiers in order to keep name of God!” them from blockading the path of their Two soldiers conveyed him to an offiruler. What would our farmers say to cial, who attended to his case. thousands of horsemen, although com- At five o'clock in the afternoon a body manded by the President, kicking up and of four hundred soldiers marched from dooming to perdition all of their fields ? their quarters and formed a cordon about But the Moorish farmer looks upon the the imperial tent, remaining there until thousands of horsemen trampling his crops, bugle-call for a general exodus on the foland says: “ Praise God for his favor and lowing morning, when they arose sleepily kindness! From this time forth shall my and stretched their limbs, thus completing crops bear twofold. The Sultan hath their toilet for the day. Without shelter of blessed my soil; to God be the glory!” any kind, these guards sat throughout the
The sherifian umbrella was never un- night, sometimes in a torrent of rain, and, folded until well within sight of the camp,
should the wind blow, hanging to the guy. when, simultaneously with the playing of ropes to quiet the unruly canvas and allow plaintive music, its shadow enveloped the the sherifian dreamer to sleep undisroyal horseman.
turbed. Extending toward us for about a mile On the fifth day we came to a wide river from each proposed encampment were two with a treacherous current, and although rows, one composed of foot-soldiers, who the great tent was already being erected, left early every morning for this purpose, his Majesty decided, on account of the and the other of mounted soldiers and probability of rain during the night, to tribesmen. Between this wide channel the
The ford was indicated pageant passed.
by Arabs standing breast-high in deep His Majesty continued searching the places. A shelving of rock at the entrance plain right and left for a suitable spot to forced all animals to plunge at once into
cross at once.
water to their knees. Then the battle with were taken farther up the river, where they the current began. Slowly feeling his foot- also were made to swim. ing, my horse carried me to the screaming The Sultan was carried over by a splashthrong battling with the current. Here ing horse, while his black attendants, in were constantly occurring the most wildly full costume, breasted the current on each exciting incidents of the journey. My en- side of him. The blue chair was placed ergies, concentrated upon crossing safely, upon the opposite bank, and in it the Sulwere about taken up with that task. Still, tan sat for hours, watching.
I was aware of being in the midst of chaos. It was here that, in the reign of the Swerving animals foundered amid heavy present Sultan's father, many lives were splashes and frenzied shouts, while others sacrificed. The river was very high, and vainly strove to regain their footing, with it was out of the question to attempt crossdrenched Arabs lifting at the loads. ing except by means of the old barges of
“Cut the pack free!” “Here, the dag- the river. The army was composed almost ger!” The baggage being cut away, some entirely of men from the interior, who had animals churned to their feet; others, heard rumors of boats—“ things which carweakened by vain plunging and heaving, ried people across the water, similar to a were held in a death-grip by the furious horse on land." These boats were hastily river, the owners grimly holding the nostrils filled with baggage, and in a twinkling of the breadwinners above water. Many were covered with squatting soldiers, while animals and quantities of baggage were others clung to the edges, laughinglý chafflost. The shallow water once reached, all ing the more unfortunate ones left behind. was well. Before entering the water, don- A few, anticipating trouble, rushed into the keys were freed of their loads and swam water to drag some friends off, but these,
The horses of the royal stables thinking it a ruse to secure their places,