A TRIP TO THE ORIENT
The Story of a Mediterranean Cruise
BY ROBERT URIE JACOB
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO. PHILADELPHIA
Copyright 1907, by ROBERT URIE JACOB.
Half-tones made by The Photo-Chromotype Engraving Co. Philadelphia, Pa.
"A Trip to the Orient, the Story of a Mediterranean Cruise," by Robert Urie Jacob, has been written at the request of fellow-travelers who did not have time to take notes by the way.
One said, "Do not write a guide book nor a love story, but a simple narrative that will recall the incidents and delightful experiences of the tour." Following these suggestions, but with many misgivings, the author has undertaken and completed the work, assisted in the editing and proof-reading by Miss Ruth Collins, of the Drexel Institute, and by Miss Anna C. Kauffman.
An interesting feature of the book is the large number of illustrations made from artistic photographs, all of which have been kindly contributed by amateur photographers. It contains nearly two hundred illustrations of views or incidents in Funchal, Granada, Algiers, Malta, Athens, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo, Luxor, Naples, and Nice, reproduced from photographs taken by Mr. L. O. Smith, Rev. G. B. Burnwood, Mr. Charles Louis Sicarde, Mr. Franklin D. Edmunds, Mr. Roberts LeBoutellier, Mrs. Charles S. Crosman, Miss M. Florence Pannebaker, Mr. Walter F. Price, Mr. S. L. Schumo, Mr. George C. Darling, Mr. Howard E. Pepper, Mr. John W. Converse, Mr. C. Edwin Webb, and Mr. Edwin Alban Bailey.
The story was intended specially for voyagers who have visited the same places, but it may be almost equally interesting to those who are planning a similar trip. And those who must stay at home may in these pages be able to look through another's eyes at the places described.
If the book should in any slight way deepen the pleasant memories of those who have made the trip, or if it should give pleasure to those who must picture those scenes only in their imagination, the author will feel that his effort has not been in vain.
I. ON THE OCEAN 1
II. FUNCHAL 10
III. GIBRALTAR 24
IV. GRANADA AND THE ALHAMBRA 38
V. THE CITY OF ALGIERS 60
VI. THE ISLAND OF MALTA 82
VII. ATHENS AND THE ACROPOLIS 97
VIII. CONSTANTINOPLE AND SANTA SOPHIA 128
IX. THE SELAMLIK AND THE TREASURY 154
X. FROM THE BOSPORUS TO PALESTINE 179
XI. JERUSALEM 199
XII. THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE 227
XIII. CAIRO AND THE PYRAMIDS 257
XIV. LUXOR AND KARNAK 296
XV. ON THE NILE 327
XVI. NAPLES AND POMPEII 353
XVII. NICE AND MENTONE 378
ON THE OCEAN.
"Have you decided to go?" inquired my friend. Before us on the table lay an illustrated booklet containing the prospectus of a cruise to the Mediterranean. Its contents had been under consideration for some days.
"Yes," I answered, "I will write to-day to secure state room accommodations for our party. Nevertheless I am not quite sure that it is wise to take the trip."
"For two reasons. First, are seventy days long enough to make a cruise of nearly fourteen thousand miles and visit so many places? Second, with five hundred passengers will there not be a crowd?"
"Well, those doubts never troubled me. Seventy days is all that can be spared from my business, and much may be seen in that time. As to the number of passengers, every steamer carries its full complement. At any rate, you are going, so think no more of your doubts. You will probably forget that you had any."
So it was that at seven o'clock on the morning of the fifth of February, when the steamship Moltke left her dock at New York, we stood among the passengers lined along her rail. The hawsers had been cast off, whistles were blowing, and tugs were puffing in their efforts to push and pull the huge vessel into the stream.
At that early hour of a wintry day there was no crowd filling the pier, no sea of faces looking upward, no waving of handkerchiefs and flags, the usual sight when a great liner departs. The wharf, cheerless and dismal, appeared to be almost deserted. Its only occupants were a few scattered onlookers shivering in the cold, and the officials and employees whose duties required their presence. But on the Moltke, in spite of the chill air and the gray morning, all were animated and eager. The band played the "Belle of New York" while the ship was being warped into the stream, and the "American Patrol" while it was steaming down the river. The tourists, alert and expectant, viewed the panorama of the city as the tall buildings were brought into strong relief against the brightening sky, saw Liberty's cap reflect the rays of the rising sun, then watched the incoming steamers, and the forts and lighthouses that seemed to approach and pass. Just outside of Sandy Hook our pilot with a satchel of letters descended the rope ladder to the waiting tug, and soon afterwards the low-lying shores became dimmer and dimmer until they disappeared from view.
The farewells had been exchanged on the previous day, when the promenade decks and saloons of the steamer were thronged with passengers, friends, and curious visitors, and the after-deck was encumbered with piles of baggage. Then, the tables in the main saloon were filled with boxes of flowers, baskets of fruit, packages of confectionery, and bundles of steamer letters marked to be opened on certain days after sailing.
Before the departure we had met the deck steward and with his assistance had located our steamer chairs; for in the places then selected the chairs were to remain throughout the long cruise. We had also interviewed the chief steward, had obtained from him a passenger list, and had arranged that our party should be seated together at one of the side tables in the dining saloon.
The passenger list contained four hundred and fifty-three names. Among these were thirteen preceded by the title Reverend, thirteen by Doctor, and a number by military or other titles of honor. Every state in the Union and several provinces of Canada had representatives on the list.
During the first three days' sailing a storm, which had been predicted as approaching from the west when we left New York, followed but did not overtake us. We could not, however, remain on deck as long as desired, for the wind was chilly and the ocean rough. But each morning, laden with heavy wraps and rugs, we sought our steamer chairs. Then, settled comfortably under the wraps and rugs carefully tucked around us by the attentive steward, we defied the cold for an hour or two and inhaled the invigorating air.
As the vessel made her way southward, the temperature moderated and the sea became smooth. By the time the stormy weather had passed, the tourists, accustomed to ship motion and ship life, spent most of their time upon the decks. Then, to increase sociability and make the time pass pleasantly, self-appointed committees met and laid plans for card parties, lectures, concerts, and dances.
On the fifth night out the southern side of the promenade deck was curtained with awnings, cleared of chairs, decorated with flags and Chinese lanterns, and brilliantly illuminated with clusters of electric lights, for an impromptu dance. Music was furnished by the band, and Father Neptune kindly kept his waves in subjection, although an occasional roll caused some unsteadiness in the movements of the waltzers.
By that time we knew many of our fellow-voyagers. For, as we had similar plans, a common destination, and the same pleasures in anticipation, we readily made friendships. We chatted around the table during the luncheon and dinner hours, took a hand in euchre with men in the smoking room, or a place at whist with the ladies in the music room, and exchanged pleasantries and experiences with our neighbors while occupying the steamer chairs. Friendships grew rapidly under these favorable conditions. Sometimes chats with new acquaintances which began in a mirthful way changed to talks of a serious kind as some spoken word recalled home and friends left behind, and conversations when prolonged became almost confidential in their character.
One afternoon while we were sipping the tea which had been served, a lady who occupied a chair next ours, said:—"I enjoy so much my hours in the gymnasium. Each morning I take a gallop on the electric horse and get my blood into circulation. The first day I felt rather timid in the saddle when the custodian asked, 'Fast or slow?' so I said, 'Start slow,' but I quickly had him increase the speed, for I'm used to horseback riding."
"We're from Texas, you know," spoke up a young woman sitting close by.
"You should practice riding on the electric camel in preparation for our trip into Egypt," I suggested.
"We have; we've tried all the arm and foot movements and have been thumped on the back, and on the chest, and even on our heads," responded the young woman. "But I wished for a rowing machine. Rowing is my favorite exercise."
"Before we left home we all had many misgivings about this trip," remarked the elder sister. "We knew how large these steamships really are, but yet we had visions of many possible discomforts during so long a journey. We disliked tours in sleeping cars and couldn't realize the difference between traveling in cars and in ships. But our stateroom here is very cozy with the wardrobes and the racks for our books and our pictures."
"And it seems homelike, too," added the other.
The life on shipboard was to many a novel experience. In the mornings we were roused from our slumbers by the notes of a bugle. The first day when the reveille sounded I looked at my watch. It was a quarter to eight. "Must I get up?" I thought. Then remembering that the breakfast hour was from eight to ten, I closed my eyes. But soon there came a gentle tapping at the door. "Who's there?" I asked. "Your bath is ready, sir." The words were English but the accents were plainly German. That call was more imperative than the bugler's, for I might miss my invigorating salt water dip if I did not quickly respond. After a breakfast of fruit, cereals, chops, and coffee we went to the deck for a tramp. "Ten rounds of the promenade deck make a mile," said my room-mate consulting his pedometer. Then we strolled to the library for books, but the books lay unread in our laps when we were seated in our steamer chairs; for how could our minds be fixed on the story when the real life before us was more interesting? The Professor who was to lecture during the trip stepped by with rapid tread, nodding as he passed. The minister from Iowa who was to preach on the Sabbath stopped to exchange greetings, a friend dropped into a vacant chair for a talk. Then the music stands were set up and the band assembled around them and for an hour we listened to selections from Wagner and Bach, varied with the martial strains of Sousa or the melodies of Foster. The stewards brought out a table, filled it with dishes, and served bouillon and biscuit, while near by a kodak carrier was snapping a picture.
On the ship there were many places of interest. When in need of exercise we visited the gymnasium on the upper deck, and when desirous of a change in cooking we resorted to the grill room where the white clad cook broiled chops in our sight over a bright fire. Impelled by curiosity, we explored the vacant steerage, and with the chief engineer descended the iron ladder to the depths below to investigate the mysteries of the engine and fire rooms. Sometimes from the breezy fore-deck we scanned the horizon for the ships that rarely appeared, and sometimes sought a snug corner aft and watched the swift-winged gulls, the quivering log line, the smoke clouds and their shadows, or the widening streak of water disturbed by the revolving screw.
"How rapidly the week has passed," said a friend on the evening of the twelfth of February. "Listen! One, two, three, four," as the ship's bell rang out four strokes. "Four bells, that's six o'clock. We have half an hour to dress for dinner."
When we entered the brilliantly illuminated dining saloon that evening a bust of Lincoln was on the platform, and the room was decorated with the American colors. Some one had remembered Lincoln's birthday, though many of the passengers had forgotten the date. A picture of Lincoln with the inscription, "In commemoration of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday," was engraved on the covers of the souvenir menus. The dinner was an unusually good one, and the seven selections rendered by the orchestra during the courses were appropriate for the day.
After dinner a man who had been personally acquainted with the martyred President delivered an interesting memorial address. His final words had just been said when an announcement was made which caused a thrill of expectancy and sent us hurriedly to the deck: "Land is in sight!"
"That is the island of Madeira," said the captain, pointing to a dark mass dimly seen against the horizon. "We are now nearly twenty-eight hundred miles southeast of New York."
We had been sailing for seven days with only a vast expanse of ocean in view, and so we longed for a sight of land and eagerly looked forward to the arrival at our first port. As we approached the island the form of a mountain became clear in the star-light; then the twinkling of lights at its base revealed the location of a city. When within half a mile of the shore, the water in the harbor became too shallow for large vessels, so the screw propeller of the Moltke ceased revolving and the ship came to anchor.
"May we go ashore to-night?" many asked.
"Certainly, there is no objection," replied the captain.
A number of the passengers, eager to see the attractions of the place, and too impatient to wait until morning, were rowed across the dark water to the pier. In the city, Funchal, we found that at so late an hour the main attractions were gambling places, dance halls, and lotteries, the owners of which were greedy for American money. The main Casino, in the midst of a beautiful garden, was brilliantly illuminated and its halls were filled with well dressed people. Some of the party who had placed their silver on the tables of chance showed on their return to the steamer handfuls of coins that fortune had brought them; others who had made similar experiments were silent as to the results.
"We should have read up the Madeiras before leaving home," said one of the tourists at our early breakfast the morning after our arrival, "but we were too busy then with other things. While you were ashore last night I found in the library an old English book of travel that gave some information about the islands."
"Share it with us while the stewards are bringing the coffee, won't you?"
"I made very few notes," she replied. "As we are to be in Funchal but one day, I skipped the statistics of population, hotels, exports, and history. But here are some facts just as I jotted them down:
"'The Madeira Islands, about six hundred miles west of Gibraltar, were settled by the Portuguese and are owned by Portugal.
"'The principal and only town large enough to be called a city is Funchal, situated on the southern side of Madeira on the slope of a hill.
"'The city has an equable climate. Mild sunshine, gentle ocean breezes, and protection from harsh winds by mountains, give to Funchal throughout the whole year the temperature of England in the month of May.
"'The island is very mountainous, gashed with many deep gorges which extend in from the sea. The streets in the city are paved, but the roads in the country are impassable for wagons. Merchandise is carried on pack mules or in ox-drags. Horses are rarely seen and carriages are few. Quaint vehicles are used in their stead for the conveyance of passengers.'
"How odd these vehicles are we shall find out when we land. We shall have a busy day. I am eager to start."
It was yet early when we ascended the deck, but the sun was shining brightly. Funchal appeared like a beautiful picture. Overhead was the azure sky of a summer day; before us, stirred by a gentle breeze, glistened in blue and silver the waters of the harbor; on the curving shore, tier above tier, reflecting the sunshine, rose the white and yellow stone buildings of the city surmounted by roofs of red tiling; above the city, white cottages amidst a dense foliage of green shrubbery dotted the steep hillsides, and beyond, but seeming very near, higher mountains formed a dark and appropriate background.
"The steam tenders are ready to carry you to the shore," announced one of the officials, interrupting our survey of the picture.
We descended the long ladder of fifty steps from the deck of the steamer to the bobbing barge in the water below, and were soon landed on the stone steps of the breakwater, which, extending out to a picturesque crag, protects and partially encloses the harbor. There, in place of cabs, a hundred low sleds with canopy tops and cushioned seats were in readiness to convey us on a sight-seeing excursion through the city. This ride in ox-drags was a novel experience. Each sled was dragged by two bullocks, driven without reins by loud-voiced natives who, with frequent yells and prodding sticks, urged on their teams. The drivers carried bunches of greasy rags which they occasionally threw underneath the sled-runners as a lubricant to diminish the friction of their movement over the stone-paved streets.
The sights in the city were strange. The shops on the narrow streets were plain and unattractive, and the signs unintelligible. The windows of the lower floors of the dwellings were grated with iron bars like a prison. Beneath a bridge over a walled ravine that kept a rushing stream within bounds in the rainy season, women washed clothes and spread them on rocks to dry. In the public square the women carrying water from the fountain or chatting on the sidewalks appeared to have little curiosity regarding the visitors in their city, and the men, lounging on the steps of the fountain, cast but careless glances in our direction; only the boys stopped their play to gaze awhile at the passing strangers.
"This plodding team seems fitting in such a peculiar place," remarked one of the quartet in our sled. "Although it is not rapid transit, it is comfortable. But look, there is a more luxurious mode of traveling." As he spoke he pointed to two Portuguese bearing suspended on a pole a handsome hammock in which a lady reclined languidly.
At the foot of the mountain we changed from the slowly moving sleds to the car of a cog-wheel railway, which carried us up the steep incline. The speed of the car was not much greater than that of the ox-team. As we ascended, scenes of beauty opened around us. Cottages built on terraces were covered with blooming bouguain-villea or climbing roses. Patches of cultivated land were filled with sugar cane, banana plants, and orange trees. Palms and cacti appeared in many varieties. Flowers bloomed on every side. Geraniums, fuschias, and heliotropes were of enormous size. Camelias, lilies, and nasturtiums grew in profusion. Children from the suburban cottages ran alongside the moving car, merrily casting roses, heliotropes, geraniums, and camelias through the open windows into our laps, and the tourists, pleased with the floral offerings, in return tossed pennies to the running children.
When we alighted from the car, young peddlers, some bright-faced and clean, others ugly and dirty, offered flowers and trinkets for sale and beggars asked for money. But our pennies were exhausted and we were glad that peddlers and paupers were not permitted to follow us into the hotel grounds.
"Here you may lunch," said the guide, as we entered a hotel on the mountain, "and get pure Madeira wine. The wine which is made in this island was at one time its most noted production; but some thirty years ago insects and disease so infested the vines that many vineyards were destroyed and the quantity of wine now made is not so large as in former years."
After having luncheon and tasting the well known wine in its purity on a broad piazza overlooking a beautiful tropical garden, we wandered through an interesting old church and convent near by, and then strolled around a mountain pathway from which, as the guide said, "views most grand" might be seen. As we advanced on our way we looked down from the height upon many continually changing scenes of picturesque beauty. Now there appeared a vista through a wooded ravine of striking grandeur, now a view of a rocky gorge penetrating from the ocean, and again a wide panorama of city, harbor, and ocean.
Our return to the city was in a conveyance indeed unique. The descent of the mountain in sleds from the summit to the city below, through narrow lanes paved with small stones worn and slippery from years of service, was an experience long to be remembered. Our sled, without any means of propulsion but our own weight, glided rapidly down the hill over the smooth surface of the pavement like a toboggan on an icy slide. It was controlled by two men, who, sometimes running alongside, sometimes clinging to the runners, regulated the speed and guided the sled around corners by means of ropes attached to its sides.
"That was a wild and exciting ride," exclaimed one of the ladies who had been tightly holding to her seat during the descent. "What is the distance from the summit?"
"The slide is about two miles in length, lady," replied one of the conductors.
"Don't take our picture now with our hair flying wildly," exclaimed an occupant of a sled just arriving, to a friend with a camera.
"Your request comes too late," he answered. "I have pressed the button."
"I hope it will not be a good one," she wished, but it was.
When we returned to the Moltke many row-boats were clustered around the vessel. Some of these had brought visitors who desired to inspect the ship. Some contained Portuguese merchants, who, with cargoes of embroidery, wicker chairs, straw goods, fruits, photographs, and curios, had been patiently awaiting our return. When they were permitted to come on board they displayed their wares upon the deck and made many sales. Other small craft contained half-naked boys who shouted to us to test their skill as divers by throwing pennies into the clear but deep emerald water, claiming that they could secure the money before it reached the bottom of the bay. We complied with the boys' request and exhausted the ship's supply of pennies in putting their dexterity to the proof. When the money was thrown into the sea the young experts, diving like beavers and successful in securing the money, rose to the surface and clambered into the boats holding the coins in their mouths. One youth more daring than the others mounted to the upper deck of our steamer and offered, if a shilling instead of a penny was thrown into the water, to plunge from his high perch to the sea fifty feet below and get the silver. And he won much applause by successfully accomplishing the feat.
Toward evening the whistle of the steamer sounded warning notes. The time for sailing was at hand. The tourists who had been loitering on the shore hastened to return. The peddlers on the deck reluctantly packed their unsold wares and with their bundles descended the ship's ladder. The visitors, after courteously bidding adieu to the officials who had been entertaining them, took their departure. But the trained swimmers whose antics in the water were giving so much amusement tarried until ordered away. Then while our band played a farewell air, Sousa's "Hands Across the Sea," the Moltke slowly steamed out of the harbor.
"Is not this a German vessel?" asked a passenger of the first officer, as they stood conversing near the gymnasium on the upper deck the morning after we left Funchal.
"Most surely it is," he replied, astonished at the question.
"Then," pointing to the red ensign floating at the top of the foremast, "why does the Moltke fly the British colors?"
"The British flag at our foremast indicates that this ship is bound for a port that belongs to Great Britain," explained the mate. "When we sail from Gibraltar the Union Jack will be replaced by the French tri-color to show that we are then on the way to a French port. The emblem on the fore-mast will be changed many times before we return to New York. But there," turning and pointing to the rear, "in its place at the stern is the German standard, the flag of our fatherland. There it will remain throughout the cruise. Above us, too, on the mast nearest the stern, the white pennant bearing the letters H. A. P. A. G., the insignia of the company that owns the Moltke, will constantly fly."
The evening we sailed from Funchal each lady found beside her plate at the dinner table a bunch of violets, a memento from the flower gardens of Madeira; and on St. Valentine's Day each found there a package containing a pretty fan with the compliments of the Captain. At this dinner on the fourteenth of February much merriment prevailed during the dessert course, when favors containing caps and bonnets were distributed. Formality was dropped for the time. Each diner donned his headgear and the comical appearance of the wearers drew forth many pleasantries and much laughter.
The Captain, with a huge paper sun-bonnet on his head, rose to make a few remarks.
"Silence! listen to what our old mother has to say!" cried a humorist.
Amid laughter the captain began, but the laughter quickly ceased and his words were listened to with attention.
"Fellow voyagers," said he in conclusion, "you will find on the bulletin board to-night some information and advice relative to your trip to Granada. For the past ten days you have been under my charge and I have looked after your welfare, but to-morrow you leave the vessel for two days. I wish you a pleasant excursion and a safe return to shelter under the care of your 'Old Mother.'"
After the applause had subsided and a response had been made by one of the passengers, the orchestra played as a finale Liebe's "Auf Wiedersehen."
Then we, after securing pencil and paper, hastened to join the crowd around the bulletin board to make notes of the directions for the trip into Spain. The notice read as follows:
"The Moltke will arrive at Gibraltar to-morrow, February fifteenth, before daylight. Breakfast will be served at an early hour and tenders will be alongside the steamer at seven o'clock to take the tourists to the dock. There guides will be in waiting and three hours will be spent in Gibraltar.
"At ten o'clock the tourists will be conveyed in the steam ferry across the bay to the railroad station at Algeciras, from which place the train will start for Granada. During the ferry passage a box containing luncheon to be eaten on the train will be given to each person.
"Dress warmly or take heavy wraps, as it is sometimes cold at Granada at this season of the year.
"Call at the office at the news-stand on main deck for railroad tickets and hotel assignments.
"The excursion party returning will leave Granada at four o'clock Monday afternoon and arrive at the steamer about midnight. The Moltke will then sail for Algiers."
"Let us go to the office at once. The giving out of tickets may require considerable time," said my room-mate.
Others were of the same opinion, it seemed, for many were ahead of us, but there was no delay, each applicant receiving promptly with his railroad ticket a card bearing the name of the hotel in Granada to which he was assigned. The managers of the tour, having arranged in advance for the required number of rooms at the principal hotels, were prepared to make the allotment before leaving the vessel, so avoiding confusion and delay on our arrival at our destination, and securing for us prompt attention at the hotels.
Some of our friends who had already received their envelopes rejoiced to see on their cards "Hotel Washington Irving," a hotel which they knew from description to be beautifully situated on the heights near the Alhambra.
"Hotel Victoria," I read on mine. I was disappointed at first, but on the following day I found that the central location of the "Victoria" gave opportunities to see much of the life of the city that might have been missed had the assignment been to the hotel in the suburbs.
When we awoke the next morning the Moltke was lying quietly at anchor. We hastily dressed and ascended to the deck.
Any one who has seen pictures of the huge rock that guards the entrance to the Mediterranean will recognize Gibraltar at sight if he approaches the rock from the right point of view. The illustrations, however, represent a somber mountain. The picture we saw showed white houses, red roofs, green trees, patches of lawn, groups of shrubbery, and plots of flowers, all contrasting with gray rocks; these with blue sky overhead, and white sails in the foreground gave life and color to the scene.
As we gazed for some time from the vessel's deck at the strong fortress which has been held securely in the grasp of Great Britain for two hundred years, we thought of the many unsuccessful attempts that have been made during those two centuries to wrest it from British control; most noted of all, the long siege by the French and Spanish forces that continued for four years when Napoleon was supreme in France. What might have been the result, if England's grasp on the rock had been broken by Napoleon; or what the outcome, if Napoleon's fleet had been victorious in the conflict on the near-by Trafalgar Bay!
The rock had a peaceful look, but we knew that the cactus plants, which grew rank on the slope of the mountain, concealed powerful batteries, and that on the summit of the rock were mounted cannons of the largest calibre, which, if required, could hurl projectiles to the far side of the strait, a distance of twelve miles.
On one of the highest points of the rock stands the Signal Tower. To this tower the officers of the Moltke had signaled the news of our arrival when the steamer entered the harbor, and before we had stirred from our berths, that information had been flashed over the cable to London and New York. On the following morning our friends at home read in the shipping news of their daily paper, the following item:
"Arrived out; Feb. 15, Gibraltar, Moltke, from New York."
As we started ashore on the lighters at the early hour appointed, we realized that we should have to take in a great deal in a very little while. We entered the city of Gibraltar by a tunnel-like entrance through walls of great thickness. The gateway was closely guarded by sentinels, who demanded the passes with which we had been furnished and who told us that these would be good only until sunset, for at the firing of the evening gun each day the gates are closed and the passes then are useless.
The markets near the gates, where many kinds of fruits, vegetables, and fish, unlike those seen in our home markets, were offered for sale, first attracted our attention. Here customers carrying oddly shaped baskets were bargaining with Moorish fishermen, Jewish peddlers, and Spanish marketmen. Each dealer, with gesticulations and loud voice, appeared to be asserting the superiority of his own wares. There was a confusion of tongues. Only the pigs tied to stakes squealed, and the chickens in wicker crates crowed, in strains familiar to our ears. The streets through which we proceeded were clean but narrow. The sidewalks were only wide enough for two people to walk side by side. The buildings were constructed of gray limestone similar to that of which the great Rock is composed.
The presence of an army in this stronghold was indicated by the large number of soldiers we met. An officer whom we questioned kindly told us that the garrison consisted of about six thousand men, and that provisions sufficient to feed that number for five years in case of siege were at all times kept in storage. He advised us to visit the "Lower Galleries" of the fortifications on the heights and obtain the view from that point, and then to attend the afternoon band concert in the park. But our limited stay did not permit us to follow his suggestions.
"In some respects," said the Major, "Gibraltar is rather a dull post for the officers stationed here; but we have a large library, billiard and club rooms, courts for tennis, and ground for polo. We have also many dances and riding parties, and occasionally attend the Spanish bull fights which take place in the large bull ring across the bay at Algeciras."
The great variety of uniforms worn by the soldiers of England was particularly noticeable. We saw squads in khaki uniforms carrying quarters of beef toward the barrack buildings on the hill; a detachment in Scotch kilts marching to relieve the guards on sentinel duty at the neutral ground; many smart looking corporals and sergeants in short red jackets and little red caps placed jauntily on the sides of their heads, carrying short canes; an elderly looking officer in spotless white flannel, to whom the military salute was given by all soldiers who passed him; numbers of officers in red coats and white duck trousers; and a group of troopers in undress uniform of coarse white or grey, who had been grooming the horses in the stables.
Other things of interest that the camera of our eyes snapped as we hurried along, were yellow-slippered, bare-legged, swarthy Arabs gliding quietly by; a neat grey-gowned nurse taking two pretty English children to early service; Spaniards in long black cloaks and felt hats drawn down, who looked exactly like the conspirators we see in a play; many sailors in the garb of various nations, who appeared to be enjoying a holiday ashore; Hebrew residents in peculiar looking coarse costumes; well dressed English people with prayer books on their way to church; Moors from Tangiers in snow-white turbans, and black-haired Spanish senoritas with large pompadours, high combs, and mantillas draped gracefully over their heads. These, with many others, met our sight; but, among all the crowd we encountered, we were not approached by a beggar, the soliciting of alms being forbidden by the military authorities.
We paused to glance at the little Trafalgar cemetery, but did not enter.
"Here," said the English guide, "sleep many of the British heroes who with our gallant Nelson gave their lives to gain the famous naval victory of the Bay of Trafalgar, in which the French and Spanish fleets were destroyed. Bonaparte boasted that the combined navies of the two countries would crush our British fleet, and then his army would cross the channel and camp in London; but our brave Admiral upset Napoleon's plans."
Beyond the cemetery we crossed the Alameda or Park Gardens, the pleasure ground of the people, where the military band plays in the afternoon and evening. There we saw a luxuriant growth of subtropical vegetation, orange trees with leaves of dark, glossy green, date palms with bunches of unripe dates, palms with broad leaves, spreading pepper trees, and great ash trees whose roots protruded above the ground for unwary tourists to stumble over. The geraniums and heliotropes were of gigantic size, and many other flowering plants were unusually large.
Our guide persuaded us to enter a museum, as he called it; but this proved to be a regular old curiosity shop containing a large assortment of oddities and souvenirs with which the owner was willing to part for a sufficient compensation.
"There is a little milkmaid serving milk. I'll take a snap-shot of her while she is at work," said one of our party with a camera as we drew near a young girl who was drawing milk directly from a brown-haired goat into a customer's pitcher.
While returning to the wharf we met several herds of the brown-haired goats driven by milkmen through the streets; and, assembled near the dock around a group of English Salvation Army lads and lasses who were singing familiar hymns accompanied by cornet and drum, we saw a motley crowd of men, many of whom from their diverse and peculiar costumes were evidently sailors from various ports of the world. Then, having completed our hurried tramp through the city in the time allotted for that purpose, we descended the steps at the pier to the ferry-boat that was to carry us a few miles across the bay to the town of Algeciras.
After thirty minutes on the ferry we stepped ashore on Spanish soil. The first special train had departed and the second was being made up. During the short interval of waiting, the kodak carriers were busily engaged securing their first Spanish views.
GRANADA AND THE ALHAMBRA.
The small cars on the railroad which carried us from Algeciras to Granada were divided into compartments with doors opening from the sides. Each compartment comfortably seated eight persons, four facing the front and four the rear. This arrangement of seating allows general conversation among the group, and, if the occupants are congenial, promotes sociability.
A traveler speeding through the United States in a "Chicago Limited," at the rate of sixty miles an hour, can merely catch glimpses of objects on the way and receive only blurred and indistinct impressions of the scenery; but when traveling in the "Spanish Express," at the more moderate speed of twenty-five miles an hour, he can enjoy clear and vivid pictures of the unfolding panorama. Let me try to describe some of these pictures just as they appeared to us during the trip.
Looking back after leaving Algeciras, we saw the huge rock of Gibraltar, almost an island, connected with the main land by a narrow, flat, sandy isthmus. Across the "neutral ground," as the strip between the English and Spanish possessions is called, a line of sentry boxes extended, and red-coated British sentinels paced back and forth. Parallel to the British line there was another line of sentry boxes, where the soldiers of Alfonzo were on guard to prevent the smuggling of tobacco and other forbidden wares into Spain.
"See those miserable little white plastered huts with roofs made of straw," said one of our party. "I did not know that the people were so poor."
This picture of poverty was our first impression of Spain. For some distance the train had been running through a region apparently unfertile, where fences of sharp spined cacti enclosed small fields. The people were shabbily dressed, the houses straw-thatched and dilapidated, and the little patches of land poorly cultivated. It seemed that Sunday was a common wash-day; for at almost every cottage the family wash was hanging in the sun on trees, shrubs, or cacti.
Within an hour, however, we were passing through a section of the country entirely different in aspect, where the cork industry gives employment to many people. For a distance of eight or ten miles groves of cork-oak trees were in sight. At the station were bulky piles of cork bark, cars stacked with cork were on the sidings, and great carts drawn by oxen were on the roads bringing in still more of this valuable commodity.
"Millions of bottles are made in our city," said a New Jersey girl, "and there is enough cork here in sight to stopper them all."
Beyond this, the land was more fertile and under better cultivation. Well built stone houses replaced the huts; glossy-leaved orange trees and pink-blossomed almond trees dotted the fields or filled the orchards. Instead of fences, the boundaries of fields and farms were marked at the corners by white stones projecting above the ground. Farther along, yellow-green olive plantations, magnificent in size and beautiful in color, filling the valleys and hillsides as far as the eye could see with orderly, far-reaching lines of trees, made so impressive a sight that it drew forth many expressions of admiration.
Women, as gatekeepers, waved white flags to signal that the crossings were clear. Gangs of men, often thirty in a gang, were in the fields cultivating leeks or onions with crude, heavy-looking, short-handled hoes. Teams of long-horned oxen attached to old-fashioned plows, at times eight or ten teams in one field, were turning up the soil. Occasionally ox-teams drawing heavily laden carts or wagons were seen along the smooth white roads; but more frequently appeared trains of slowly moving donkeys, five or six in a line, with gay trappings and bells and panniers piled high with produce, driven by red-sashed muleteers.
At stations where the train stopped five or ten minutes, the doors at the sides of the compartments were opened and the passengers descended and walked up and down the platform. Spanish women, carrying jugs, cried "Lacte," "Limonada," "Narrandjada," and "Acqua," and other peddlers with baskets offered "bollos," "tortitas," and "narranges." After some difficulties in obtaining information as to "how much," the shillings and pence, pesetas and centimes of the tourists were exchanged for the milk, lemonade, orangeade, and water, the cakes, rolls, and oranges of the dealers.
One of the ladies, after making a purchase, said, "I asked that woman with the black-eyed baby the price of a half dozen oranges. She said, 'Fifty centimes.' Then I offered her an English six-pence, and she gave me six oranges and a penny in change."
Spanish boys scrambled for a roll or boiled eggs thrown to them, and men, women, and children extended their hands for money or remnants of our luncheon. One boy who had secured an apple and an egg in a scramble laughed with happiness over his success. These people did not appear to be destitute; for children, as well as adults, were comfortably clothed, and wore neat looking shoes and stockings. As the day, however, was Sunday, probably they were in holiday attire.
The red-capped station masters were important personages. At the principal stations they directed the starting of the trains with the greatest care and deliberation. In our own country the conductor's hand touches the signal-cord and the train moves. At Ronda, a bell in the station rang, then a red-capped employee trotted along the length of the train ringing a hand dinner bell. A minute later he repeated his trip with warning bell, then the whistle tooted, but it was not until the red-cap was sure that every passenger was aboard that the whistle issued a second toot and the wheels began to revolve. These extraordinary precautions, although affording amusement for the tourists, may have been taken under special orders of the railroad officials in order to avoid accidents and insure our safety. At any rate, we know that the railroad officials and their Spanish employees did give us special attention and treat us with kindness and courtesy.
Through many deep cuts and tunnels, over romantic gorges of dark depth, and along cliffs whose heights we could not see, the train climbed and crossed a mountain range. As the car emerged from tunnel or cut, changing scenes of wild and savage landscape appeared near by, and charming glimpses of distant valleys far below. The torrents and waterfalls of the river Gaudiara added to the weird beauty of the scene. A stanza in Southey's poem, "The Cataract of Lodore," fittingly describes the wildness of the river that we crossed and re-crossed so often:
"Here it comes sparkling And there it lies darkling: Now smoking and frothing The cataract strong Then plunges along, And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing: And so never ending but ever descending, Sound and motions forever are blending."
A famous canyon, deep and narrow, with rushing, foaming stream, seemed like a crevice sliced down by a gigantic blade. Towns and villages far away amid green fields and gray olive orchards, and buildings of white and cream, luminous in the sunlight, with backgrounds of dark and rugged mountains, produced a succession of picturesque views. Among the hills were seen young Davids, staff in hand, guarding flocks of grazing sheep, ancient swineherds lazily watching droves of swine feeding on the roots, and goatherds following their nimble-footed brown herds as they picked their way among the rocks.
As we approached our destination, the valleys showed signs of great prosperity. The fields were highly cultivated; the farms were irrigated by ditches of flowing water; the orchards were well trimmed; the buildings larger; and the red-sashed laborers more sprucely attired.
At Pinos we saw the stone bridge where, in 1492, Columbus, on his way to France, disheartened by his failure to interest King Ferdinand in his plans, was over-taken by Queen Isabella's messenger and summoned back to court to receive his commission.
As twilight was settling down we arrived on schedule time at the white stone station in Granada where carriages stood in waiting to convey us to the hotels. The Spanish drivers strove to surpass each other in speed. Our coachman lashed his horses till they ran like a run-away team. Regardless of anyone in the streets, grazing wagons by the way, overtaking and passing carriages ahead, he gave us the wildest ride we had ever taken. This chariot race to the hotel, a distance of over a mile, happily ended without accident or collision.
"Well, I'm thankful that ride is over without an upset," exclaimed with a sigh of relief a nervous lady, who had tried ineffectually to restrain the driver's zeal by the use of English words which he did not understand.
The old Cathedral, covering ground equal to a block in length and half a block in width, always attracts many visitors. Massive pillars support the roof and marble tiles cover the floor. The light, falling softly through stained glass windows, discloses valuable paintings on the walls, fine statuary in the aisles, and decorations of white and gold.
"Is this building very old?" some one inquired.
"Old!" replied the guide with scorn in his voice, "this Cathedral was here when Columbus discovered your country." The guide, however, exaggerated somewhat. It was built just about the time America was discovered.
In the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral, upon an alabaster mausoleum decorated with fine carving, lie the effigies of Ferdinand and Isabella. The soft, creamy alabaster gives them the appearance of sleeping. An inscription on the tomb reads as follows:
This chapel was founded by most Catholic Don Fernando and Dona Isable, King and Queen of Spain, of Naples, of Sicily, of Jerusalem, who conquered this kingdom and brought it back to our Faith; who acquired the Canary Isles and the Indies; who crushed heresy, and expelled the Moors and Jews from these realms.
Queen Dona Isable died Nov. 26, 1504. King Don Fernando died Jan. 23, 1516.
On the altar of the chapel is a very interesting bas-relief representing the surrender of the city of Granada. In the sacristy we were shown the carefully guarded holy relics; the richly embroidered vestments used on ceremonial occasions, the sword of Ferdinand; the sceptre, crown, and mirror of Isabella; and the casket which contained the jewels that the Queen offered in pledge to secure funds for Columbus.
"Most precious of all the relics," said the sacristan, "is the handkerchief with which the blessed Santa Veronica wiped the sweat from the Savior's brow on the road to Calvary. This bears the impression of the Savior's face."
The greatest point of interest in Granada, perhaps in all Spain, is, of course, the Alhambra. This is the name given to a collection of buildings located on an elevation that overlooks the city. These palaces on the heights were for many centuries the dwelling places of the Moorish kings, surrounded by their nobles, retainers, and guardsmen. They were also the repositories in which were stored the immense treasure accumulated from the forays of the Moors upon the Christians of northern Spain, and from the sacking of Christian cities. The palaces of the rulers and the treasure within were protected by great citadels and by stout walls which encircled the heights.
In the latter part of the fifteenth century, after a long struggle, the Moorish power was overthrown by King Ferdinand, and since then Granada has been a Spanish city. Columbus was present at the court of the Spanish sovereign when the capitulation of Granada occurred in April, 1492, and within two weeks after the surrender of the city received his commission to sail in search of a new world.
Washington Irving's description of the entrance of the conquering Spaniards into the Alhambra after the capture of the city, might, with the change of a word or two, still portray the visit of a party of modern tourists.
"The halls lately occupied by turbaned infidels," he writes, "now rustled with stately dames and Christian courtiers, who wandered with eager curiosity over this far-famed palace, admiring its verdant courts and gushing fountains, its halls decorated with elegant arabesques, and storied with inscriptions, and the splendor of its gilded and brilliantly painted ceilings."
Although the coloring is faded, and in many places the intricate ornamentation is crumbling or broken, sufficient remains to show how marvelously beautiful it must have been in Moorish splendor. And beautiful it still is, notwithstanding the ravages of time.
While in the Court of Myrtles, some of the party examined the light, graceful arches and the stucco tapestry interwoven with flowers and leaves that adorn the galleries; others were more interested in the gold fish swimming in the transparent water of the long sunken tank in the center of the tiled court. In the richly ornamented Hall of the Ambassadors, the state reception room of the king, we waited while the guide, in answer to a request, interpreted some of the delicately carved inscriptions that fill every available space on the wall.
"One of these mottoes," said the guide, "that is repeated over and over again on almost every wall of the palace, reads: 'There is no conqueror but Allah.' Other mottoes which are very common are: 'There is no God but Allah;' 'Mohammed is the envoy of Allah;' 'Allah is great;' 'Allah never forgets;' and various quotations from the Koran."
Twelve weatherbeaten marble lions in the center of the Court of Lions uphold a large alabaster basin in which were caught, in times gone by, the falling waters of the fountain above it. Many graceful pillars support the surrounding arcades of this court and the exquisite fret-work looks as if carved in ivory.
A practical man in the party called attention to the beautiful wooden doors through which we entered the Hall of the Abencerrages, and to the peculiar manner in which they were hung on pivots instead of hinges. On the rim of the marble basin in the center of this hall some red stains were seen.
"Here," said our guide, "is where the heads of the Abencerrages were cut off.
"But why was Aben's head cut off?" inquired a lady.
This gave the guide the opportunity he desired.
"A prominent member of the tribe or family of the Abencerrages, named Hamet," he replied, "fell in love with the Sultana, and she in return loved the handsome and gallant warrior. Secret meetings took place under a cypress tree in the garden of the Generalife until the Sultan, Boabdil, accidentally discovered their meetings. The enraged Boabdil, without revealing his knowledge of their actions, invited the guilty Hamet and every member of his tribe to attend a banquet. As each guest arrived at the palace he was brought into this hall. Here the guards seized him, forced his head over the edge of this basin, and the sharp simitar of the executioner showed no mercy. This was the king's revenge, and so the stains on the fountain."
The Room of Two Sisters brought forth exclamations of praise. Walls covered with dainty traceries in plaster, like embroideries on a ground of lace work; dados brilliant in fantastic designs of red, green, and blue; ceilings dropping thousands of stalactites each differing from the others in beauty of form; and charming views from the boudoir windows of floral beds and fountains in the garden beyond,—all these combined to make this place a suitable residence for a Queen.
In the Baths we saw where royalty had bathed in marble basins to the sound of music by players in the gallery overhead.
"Here are the rooms which Washington Irving occupied in the Alhambra during his stay in Granada," explained the guide.
Some of us tried to recall Irving's graphic descriptions in the "Conquest of Granada" of the scenes around this city; of the struggles between the Christian knights under the banner of Ferdinand, and the Moorish cavaliers under the standard of Mahomet; of fields covered with silken canopies; of cavalcades of warriors in jeweled armor and nodding plumes; of hand-to-hand conflicts and daring exploits; of the siege and capture of the city and expulsion of the Moors from Spain. As we thought of the unfortunate Boabdil, the noble queen mother Ayxa, and the beautiful Zoraya, driven into exile, giving up their beloved palace, the home of their ancestors with all its wealth and beauty, to their hated enemies, and leaving the land which had been in possession of the Moors for eight centuries, we to some extent realized the sorrow that filled the hearts of the departing exiles as they looked back for the last time on the heights of Granada and wept.
Although the buildings of the Alhambra are partly in ruins, the view from the Old Watch Tower has not changed materially. Standing on the tiled roof to which we climbed by many well worn stone steps, we saw a magnificent panorama spread out before us. The city lay almost at our feet; beautiful valleys extended for many miles dotted with white villages; gray olive orchards appeared here and there; verdant hills rose in the distance; and, forty miles away, the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada pierced the sky.
After leaving the tower, we drove to the Palace of the Generalife, which is situated on the mountain side considerably higher than the Alhambra. We approached this beautifully located residence, where Moorish kings came to spend the summer months, by a wide path bordered with tall cypress trees. In the Court of the Cypresses our Spanish guide pointed to a venerable tree and said: "That cypress is six hundred years old; under it the guilty lovers, the Queen and Hamet, had their meetings until discovered by King Boabdil."
In the gardens of the Generalife, we rambled amid oddly trimmed trees, climbing roses, immense rose bushes, fountains, and grottoes, and wished that our stay might be prolonged. The terraces of the garden have flights of marble steps leading from one level to another. One of the flights we descended had runlets of water flowing down on the top of the marble balustrades. Water, clear and sparkling, which is brought from a mountain stream above, is abundant everywhere in fountains and pools, and in streamlets along the pathways.
Among the sights of the city the milk delivery was interesting to strangers. A number of long-haired brown goats having been driven to the door of a house, a pitcher was brought and the milk drawn fresh from one of the goats; or a cow was led along the street and the milk furnished directly from the cow in any quantity desired by the customer.
Small donkeys with panniers were used instead of wagons for the transfer of almost every kind of material in the city and country. Often the burdens were so large that the donkey was almost lost from sight. We saw these patient little animals driven through the streets variously laden with sacks of charcoal, bundles of wood, baskets of vegetables, crates of oranges, bags of coal, cans of water, kegs of wine, or bearing hampers filled with building stone, bright tinware, or new-mown grass. Even the street cleaners shoveled into the panniers on the donkeys' backs the dirt and refuse that had been collected on the streets. Occasionally we saw men or women or children perched on the top of a load. Two men were sometimes seen riding on one donkey, and once we observed three large men on one small donkey.
As we drove along the streets to the station the residents at doors, windows, and sidewalks smilingly commented among themselves on our outlandish foreign costumes, evidently comparing our American styles with their own familiar dress. It was certainly as interesting to the Spanish women to observe the peculiarities of our costumes as it was for us to notice the mantillas and gay bodices which gave them a picturesque appearance in our eyes. We were being inspected as well as they; but the Spaniards are so polite that there was nothing unpleasant in their curiosity.
It was after midnight when the steam launches carried us across the bay from Algeciras to our steamship. The reception given us at the Moltke, after our two days' absence, made us feel that we had indeed arrived home. Colored fires reddened the waters, clusters of electric lights illumined the sides of the vessel, the band was playing on deck, and the captain welcomed us at the head of the gangway. Then while the orchestra played selections, a full course midnight dinner was served to the hungry pilgrims.
THE CITY OF ALGIERS.
On the morning of Tuesday, February seventeenth, the Moltke was speeding over a calm sea toward the coast of Africa. The tourists, after the strenuous sight-seeing of the past two days, luxuriously rested. Some lazily lounged in steamer chairs with pillows under their heads and gay blankets over them; others exchanged experiences with friends while sauntering slowly around the deck. Some in groups surrounded the card tables, playing or watching the games; while others read books from the shelves of the library, or gathered the latest home news from the columns of the London Times, or the Paris edition of the New York Herald, copies of which had been taken on board at Gibraltar.
During the afternoon, however, a north-east wind suddenly arose which stirred the blue waters of the Mediterranean until the short choppy waves gave to the vessel a new and peculiar roll, differing from any previously experienced by those on board. As a result, many of the passengers, not being able to adjust themselves to this unfamiliar change of motion, became suddenly pale, and prudently retired to the privacy of their staterooms. But by the time the evening dinner was served the wind had somewhat subsided, and the majority of the passengers gathered in the saloon for an entertainment in the form of a roll-call of states. This was presided over in a jolly manner by a prominent lawyer from Philadelphia. As he called the name of a state, some native of that state responded in a short informal address in which he praised his section of the country so highly that he made it appear to be a perfect El Dorado. There was but time to hear from seventeen states although representatives from almost every state in the Union and from Canada were present.
When the sun rose on Wednesday morning our steamer was anchored within the breakwater a short distance from the docks in the harbor of Algiers. A pleasant sight greeted our eyes when we came on deck. We saw a little white boat gliding over the waves flying the American flag, then two white steam launches speeding through the harbor with the same emblem floating in the breeze, while, over to the left, we descried at anchor three white gun boats, and hanging at their sterns our country's flag.
"Three cheers for the Stars and Stripes," cried an enthusiast, and the hurrahs were given earnestly and vigorously.
On the bulletin board we found the following notice posted:
PROGRAM FOR ALGIERS.
The Managers will furnish landing tickets to the tourists but all expenses while on shore in Algiers will be borne by each individual.
Carriages will be waiting on the docks for those who desire to ride, at their own expense, and a guide will be assigned to go with every four carriages.
Meals may be obtained by returning to the ship, and passengers are expected to return to the vessel at night.
"How shall we spend the day without a definite plan laid out for us?" said one of a group at the bulletin board.
"Let us take carriages with a guide as interpreter," suggested another, "and drive around the city during the morning, then buy our luncheon at a French restaurant, and spend the afternoon tramping around and visiting the shops."
"That will suit me, especially the shopping part; I want to buy some souvenirs," replied a third.
"And return hungry to the vessel in time for a good dinner in the evening," added a fourth.
Descending the ship's ladder, we placed ourselves in the care of the bronzed Arab boatmen, whose little boats had for some time been circling around the steamer, and were rowed to the custom house pier. Not having luggage to be examined, we fearlessly passed the red-trousered custom officials in the building and crossed the busy docks to the carriages in waiting.
At the docks many vessels were lying, and the wharves were filled with outgoing and incoming freight. Beyond the docks along the front of the city is a broad avenue, the Boulevard de la Republic, elevated forty or fifty feet above the wharves. This boulevard is supported on the sea side by solid white stone arcaded walls, and is reached by inclined roadways or by handsome stone stairways. On the land side it is lined with substantial white stone buildings of uniform height with an arcade in front.
The population of the city of Algiers, about 100,000, is composed principally of Moors, Arabs, Negroes, and other African nationalities, but with a large number of French, and many Hebrews, some Spanish, English, and other Continental representatives, and a few Americans. On its streets we saw faces of different colors ranging from pure white, through all the tints of brown, to the deepest black.
In the Place de Gouvernment, one of the centers of business and religious life of the city, we met turbaned Arabs, barefoot negroes, red-trousered soldiers, French civilians, American tourists, Hebrew traders, Kabyle mountaineers. In this motley crowd the native men and women especially attracted our attention. The Algerine men wore long white gowns fastened at the waist with a girdle; white cloaks, called bournous, around their shoulders; and white turbans of many folds on their heads. The richer classes were arrayed in spotless garments of fine material, stockings, and ornamented sandals; the laborers wore coarse gowns, and sandals made of rope; while the unclean bodies of importunate beggars and unfortunate cripples were but partially covered with filthy sacking and rags which hung upon them.
The Mohammedan women, wearing long bloomers made exceedingly full, and white mantles resembling sheets draped over their heads and falling loosely around their bodies, looked like ghosts as they walked through the streets. The white bandages or veils wrapped around their heads concealed all the features except the eyes, which appeared black and piercing. The Arab men may be able to distinguish the age of these veiled females, but it was difficult for us to tell which were old women, and which young, except by the elasticity of their movements.
Near the Place de Gouvernment is the imposing palace of the Governor where all official business is transacted. Adjoining the palace stands the handsome Roman Catholic Cathedral. A long flight of white marble steps leads up to the doors of the Cathedral and a spreading palm tree stands like a guard near the foot of the stairway. As we stood before the tomb of St. Geronimo in the interior of the Cathedral, we listened to the following tale told by our Catholic guide.
"A young man by the name of Geronimo, who lived in Italy about three hundred and fifty years ago, was captured by the Moors, and because he would not renounce the Christian religion, was condemned by his captors to death by torture. They tied his feet and hands with cords and threw him alive into a mould of soft concrete which slowly hardened around him, and the stone thus formed was built into the wall of a fortress then in course of construction. Fifty years ago, when the fortress was being demolished, the block of stone was discovered with the skeleton enclosed therein. The bones were carefully removed and interred in this Chapel in the tomb you see before you. Into the vacant space within the block of concrete, after removal of the bones, liquid plaster of Paris was poured, as into a mould, and a perfect model of Geronimo's body was obtained and placed in the Museum. It was in recognition of this act of heroism in refusing to renounce the Christian faith that the martyr was canonized and the name of Geronimo was added to the calendar of the saints of our Church."
In confirmation of the guide's story, the plaster of Paris model of the dead martyr's body may be seen among the curiosities and antiquities in the National Museum, a short distance from the Cathedral. This model shows the features, the clothing, and the cords which tied his feet and hands.
The main business part of the city is not only modern but model, having clean, well paved streets lined with substantial white stone four-story buildings with arcades or covered pavements in front of them. As very little smoke or soot rises from the city the white buildings have not become soiled and darkened but retain their freshness and purity of color.
Many of the stores we visited were kept by Arabs who understood French but could speak only a few words of English. The prices named by these merchants were generally two or three times more than they expected customers to pay, and it was very amusing to watch the process of a sale. A price was named by the dealer; a bid was made by the customer; then figuring, explaining, and dickering went on in a mixture of languages and signs until finally, if the buyer's patience did not wear out, the deal closed with a compromise. When the purchaser departed happy with a bargain, the dealer also appeared well satisfied, and if the same buyer returned to the store after once making a purchase, the Arab merchant would recognize and welcome him with most gracious smiles as if he were one of his warmest friends.
In these shops there was offered for sale such a varied and attractive assortment of oriental wares, that by evening the tourists were laden with packages. Handsome silk rugs, embroidered silk waists, curiously carved Algerine weapons, brightly colored leather goods, articles of hammered brass or copper, silver filagree work, ornaments of silver and gold, trinkets of ivory, coral and pearl, fans, photographs, and picture postal cards purchased during the day, were stored away in staterooms as souvenirs of Algiers.
At the market stands were fruits and vegetables in abundance. The dates offered were especially pleasing in appearance and quality. The bread dealers, we noticed, sold bread by weight, and added or cut off chunks and slices in order to give the exact weight wanted by customers.
The beggars did not trouble us very much by their importunities, although they were to be seen everywhere in filth and rags. Street peddlers, however, were persistent in offering wares and trinkets for sale, and bright Arab boys, who had learned a few sentences of English ran after us offering their services as guides.
The coffee shops which we saw while passing through the streets were as numerous in Algiers as beer saloons in an American city. As the Mohammedan religion forbids the use of alcoholic liquors, the Arab followers of Mahomet appeared to be satisfying their craving for stimulants by drinking strong black coffee and by drinking it often. In the cafes, which are open in front, allowing all that goes on inside to be visible from the street, and on the benches outside the shops, we saw the customers sitting crosslegged slowly imbibing this favorite beverage from tiny cups. It was plainly apparent that in this warm climate where there is no haste, numberless hours are dreamed away on the benches of these cafes.
When we left the modern part of the city and ascended the avenues which lead up the hill toward the older portion we found the streets diminishing in width until they were only passageways from six to ten feet wide, bordered by high buildings with blank walls showing no windows below, but with projecting windows above which almost meet overhead. In some of these steep, narrow, crooked streets there are little shops about the size of a large closet in which the merchant, sitting crosslegged on bench or cushion, can reach his goods and wait on his customer without rising or interfering with the enjoyment of his pipe. As the narrow thoroughfares are not wide enough for carriages, we had to walk through them with a guide. We were not favorably impressed with the odors nor with the sight of the filth in the streets and were glad when the guide turned from the gloom and foulness of the ancient Moorish streets and led us again toward the bright and attractive avenues of the modern city.
The electric street cars are divided into two compartments; the first class having thin cushions on the seats, and the second class having wooden seats without cushions. The natives save the extra penny of fare by crowding into the second class, thus giving to the first class passengers the advantage of always having enough room. In the second class, however, the tourists had a more favorable opportunity to study the people. Opposite us in one of the second class compartments which we entered sat two veiled women in their voluminous white bloomers and wrappings. We could see that one was old by the fact that she leaned upon a staff, and we decided that the other was young because she showed some curiosity. Sitting near us was a little black haired Arab girl with a chunk of dry bread in her hand, at which she was gnawing greedily. In a corner seat a meek looking nun in black gown and wide spreading stiff bonnet was counting the beads of her rosary as quietly as if alone in her devotions.
"Look," said one, as we were leaving the car, "there is the 'Thomson and Houston' stamp on the motor."
"Yes," responded another, "American products appear to be well represented in this French colony."
On the main business thoroughfare we had noticed warerooms where 'Singer' sewing machines are sold; at an agency of the 'Eastman Company' we had restocked our kodaks with films; and we could not avoid seeing on a large sign, in letters that could be read a block away, the words 'American Dentist.' Consequently when we passed the American Consulate it was with a feeling of pride that we saluted the National Emblem which was floating gracefully in the breeze.
In the Rue de Marine we saw an old structure of large dimensions with a long row of plain white marble columns in front, which, from its appearance, might be mistaken for an old warehouse. We were told by a Moslem guard, who fortunately understood our inquiry and was able to answer our questions in English, that the building is the Mosque El Tebir, the Great Mosque, and that we might enter subject to certain regulations.
"You must remove your shoes," said he, "or wear slippers over your shoes. You must also pay a small entrance fee."
In the vestibule, the door-keepers of the Mosque selected slippers from an assortment of different sizes which they kept for visitors' use and tied these over our shoes with tapes. We were then permitted to enter and wander around the interior over the handsome Persian rugs which cover the stone floor.
"The Moslems regard their Mosques as very sacred places consecrated to the worship of Allah, and they will not permit any profanation of their sanctuary," cautioned one of our party, a Presbyterian minister, seeing that we were inclined to make fun of the slippers. "The Moslems remove their shoes and enter the place of worship with reverence, and they expect us to behave in a respectful manner."
"The removal of the shoes at the entrance to a place of worship," continued the minister in explanation, "is an immemorial Eastern custom based on the words: 'And he said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,' and also on the words: 'And the captain of the Lord's hosts said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.' We should remember that the Mohammedan faith is based on the Old Testament, though supplemented by the instructions of Mahomet."
In this ancient Mosque, where the worship of Allah and the study of the Koran has continued for nine hundred years, we found a few barefoot worshipers, some kneeling muttering their prayers, while others squatted on the floor reading the Koran aloud. At one end of the interior we saw the niche which indicates the direction in which lies the Holy City of Mecca, and toward this, as is the custom in all Mohammedan mosques, the worshipers turn their faces while at prayer. There were no benches or chairs in the mosque, as the devotees assumed a crosslegged position on the thick rugs during the time of their reading, and stood or knelt while offering prayer.
The Jardin d'Essai, or Botanical Garden, situated in the suburbs near the sea about two miles from the center of the city, is reached by an electric street car of American make which for a three-cent fare carried us to the gates. In the garden the large and varied collection of tropical trees, plants, and vines, so different from those growing in our own temperate climate, greatly delighted us. An "Avenue of Palms" half a mile long was lined with palm trees of many varieties, some wide-spreading and curiously branching has broad leaves, and others, high-growing, has tufted tops swaying in the air fifty or sixty feet above our heads. A wider avenue of similar length was bordered with magnolia trees of immense growth which we then saw only in bud, but it was not difficult to see in imagination the magnificent picture that would be presented to the eye, when later on, these millions of buds overhead would be in full bloom. The "Bamboo Pathway" led through a dense growth of bamboos whose slender poles, bending under a slight breeze, kept up a continual creaking sound. Huge trees, whose wide-spreading branches were supported by scores of accessory trunks, so that each tree formed a grove of its own, we recognized as banyan trees. In one part of the garden, winding paths led through a tangled tropical growth so dense and wild that one felt as if in the midst of an African jungle where a tiger might spring forth or a boa constrictor drop down on one's head.
On the heights to the east, in the favorite modern residential district, called Mustapha Superieur, many large white stone hotels and apartment houses were situated amid gardens of glossy-leaved orange and lemon trees. Palms, plane, and pepper trees lined the clean, wide avenues; green terraces beautified the hillside gardens; and villas were almost hidden from sight by the climbing roses and luxuriant vines with clusters of purple racemes.
"Many of these villas," said the guide, "are owned by wealthy English and French families who spend the winters here. The mild climate and uniform temperature of our city makes this place a favorite winter resort not only for invalids, but for those who desire to get away from the damp fogs and harsh winds of more northern climates."
"Our city is noted for two views which we think are unsurpassed," he continued, as the driver reined in his team on a summit. "One is this which we now look down upon of city, harbor, sea, and villages near and distant along the shore. The other, you already have seen from the deck of the vessel, yet at sunset you will find that panorama of the city, villages, heights and mountains even more beautiful."
While we were exploring the city, the officers on the steamer were engaged in directing the taking on of fresh supplies of coal, water, and provisions, which had been purchased at Algiers. During the two days the Moltke lay in the harbor fifteen hundred tons of coal were carried in baskets on the shoulders of Arabs from barges into the hold of the vessel, a slow method of delivering compared with the rush of the steam scoops in New York harbor where three thousand tons were dumped into the bunkers in a few hours' time. Fresh water also was brought from shore in tank barges and pumped from these into the tanks on the steamer. The quantity of fresh water required at this port cost the steamship company, so the engineer informed us, a sum equal to four hundred dollars. Also great quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables were received on board, one of the most welcome things thus added to our bountiful bill of fare being the tender green artichoke which in Algiers grows to perfection.
On Thursday afternoon a reception was held on the Moltke and our band gave a most enjoyable musical program for the occasion. Hundreds of well dressed, courteous French ladies, gentlemen, and children, and some French officials in uniforms, came on board to visit the vessel which was thrown wide open for their examination. Some of the officers of the naval vessels also came to the reception and extended a cordial invitation to the tourists to visit the gunboats. This invitation was accepted by some who were willing to spare the time for that purpose.
"Less than one hundred years ago Algiers was a country of pirates," said one of the officers to a group of tourists, "and Algerine corsairs flying the black flag infested the Mediterranean coast. Like birds of prey they pounced upon the merchant vessels of other nations, confiscating the cargoes, seizing seamen and passengers, and burning the ships. They cast thousands of captives into dungeons and demanded heavy ransoms for their release. They sent many thousands to the markets to be sold,—the men to be degraded to slavery, the women, praying for death, to be dragged away to harems of their purchasers. Among the captives held for ransom were many Americans. But you are familiar with all this ancient history."
"No, we are not," replied one of the ladies; "I may have read it but if so, it has slipped from my mind. Why, we have gone about the city feeling as safe and secure from harm and insult as we did in our home cities."
"And you were as safe in Algiers during the day time as you would be in Paris, London, or New York. I should advise you, though, to keep off the streets of this and all Oriental cities after nightfall. We may be proud to remember that the United States was one of the first countries to stop paying ransoms and to administer a salutary reproof. In June of the year 1815 our Commodore Decatur sailed into this harbor and sent a message to the Dey of Algiers demanding the release of all Americans then held in captivity, threatening to bombard the city if the prisoners were not set free. The Dey after some demur yielded through fear of bombardment and liberated all the Americans; but sent a message to the Commodore requesting that a tribute in the shape of powder be given him in exchange for the captives. 'If the Dey wants powder, he must take the balls with it,' Decatur bravely replied. After that the merchant vessels flying the American flag were not molested. The great destruction of ships and the capture of Europeans continued until France, highly exasperated, determined that it must be stopped, and the Moors punished. An expedition was sent to Algiers and the country was conquered in the year 1830, since then Algiers has been a French colonial possession."
Just as the sun was dropping below the horizon filling the air with a golden light, the anchor was slowly raised. A number of the French people who had been visitors to the Molkte were in a steam launch near by waiting to see our departure.
"Adieu," "Adieu," "Bon voyage," were the parting salutations, as the French ladies waved handkerchiefs and the French men raised their hats.
As the warships were passed, "Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue" were given with a will amid waving hats, handkerchiefs, and small flags, and our greeting was answered by the lowering and raising of the Stars and Stripes on board the warships. Then our great ship steamed slowly out of the harbor, passing the forts which at the extremities of the moles guarded the entrance, and the lighthouse whose strong, steady light was just beginning to shine.
As we entered the open sea we looked back with regret at the scene of beauty behind us. Vessels flying flags of many nationalities lay at anchor in the harbor or at the piers. Above the handsome white stone docks on the sloping hillside rose the clean-looking white city. On the hill to the right far away in bold relief stood the Church of our Lady of Africa. To the left, as far as the eye could reach, along the shore of the bay beyond the city, were clusters of Moorish houses, white villages, and green plains, and on the heights above, white villas and hotels in the midst of green foliage. In the distance rose a range of high hills, and far beyond the gray peaks of the Atlas Mountains bounded the horizon.
No picturing of that scene can show the beauty of the view there presented to our eyes. But he who has visited Algiers will never forget the soft harmonizing colors of blue sky, white and yellow buildings, green foliage, and gray background.
THE ISLAND OF MALTA.
Among the tourists were twenty-one Knights Templar. These Knights took a special interest in the history of the island of Malta and the romantic story of the Knights of St. John. For the benefit of those who desired the information, a lecture on Malta was delivered by a member of our party who was familiar with the subject.
"Know something of the history of the island," advised the lecturer, "and you will appreciate and enjoy what you see there more highly than you would without that knowledge. In the fortifications, the palaces, the churches, of this island you will find many memorials of the Knights of Malta, and it may add to your pleasure to hear something about the famous warrior-monks before visiting these places."
Many of his hearers, taking the advice, made notes of the story as related by him.
"About one thousand years ago," he said, "the Order of the Knights Hospitallers was organized at Jerusalem, by Italians. Its members took vows of fraternity, chastity, and poverty. The purpose of the Order was to erect hospices for the shelter of pilgrims who came to visit the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and hospitals in which to care for the pilgrims when sick. During many years of faithful service the work of the Hospitallers was supported by contributions from all Christendom; but when the oppression of the Turks became unendurable, the Knights took upon themselves vows to fight in defense of the Christian faith, and the religious brotherhood became a band of saintly warriors. This band during the time of the Crusades grew into a great military order known as the 'Knights of St. John.' In the battles of the Crusades, the Knights, fighting against the infidels for the possession of the Holy Land, became renowned for great personal strength, dauntless courage, and daring heroism.
"After the failure of the Crusades, the Knights were expelled from Palestine by the victorious Saracens, and, twenty years later, were driven from the near-by island of Cyprus. Fleeing to the island of Rhodes, they there enjoyed two centuries of power and increasing prosperity, during which time the banner of the cross remained victorious over warring Turks, Greeks, and pirates. Then at the end of this period came the memorable siege of Rhodes. For six months the steel-clad cavaliers withstood the assaults of the Ottoman hosts, and their ponderous battle axes swept down the infidel assailers by scores. Personal strength, however, could not endure the continual strain. The besieged, utterly worn out, were compelled to capitulate and leave Rhodes; but as a compliment to their valor, they were permitted by the Sultan to depart in honor, taking with them all movable property and treasure.
"In the year 1530, the Knights of St. John found a refuge on the island of Malta. They grew in numbers and importance, fortified the island, and resumed the warfare against their hereditary foes. Success at sea and on land resulted in the capture of richly laden prizes, multitudes of captives, and booty of enormous value. The captives became slaves laboring on the fortifications or straining at the oars. The booty adorned the churches and enriched the people. But as power and wealth increased, the desire for spoils took possession of the hearts of the Knights and the original vows of humility, kindness, and charity were forgotten. They became proud and boastful seekers of plunder and believed themselves to be invincible. Their enemies called them pirates.
"In 1565 their numbers were greatly reduced during a noted siege by the Sultan of Turkey. Then fortune smiled or frowned on them in varying moods for many years, whose story is filled with romance and interest. In 1798 the island of Malta, after having been for nearly three centuries in the possession of the Knights of St. John, was captured by an invading French force, and two years later it became, by conquest, an English possession.
"The fortifications have since then been strengthened and equipped with modern armaments, so that the island is now considered an impregnable stronghold. Here, as at Gibraltar, an army is stationed in the barracks, and great quantities of provisions are kept in store to supply the garrison in case of siege. The harbor of Valetta is deep and safe, and the narrow entrance is commanded by three strong fortresses. Here is the headquarters of the Mediterranean fleet of the British navy. Here, also, are great repair docks, a coaling station where huge stocks of coal are kept on hand, and warehouses filled with naval supplies.
"The island is densely populated, the number of people to the square mile being four times greater than in England. The city of Valetta, the capital of Malta, named after the Grand Master, Jean de La Vallette, by whom it was founded in the sixteenth century, stands high above the water on a commanding promontory."
"In this condensed account," said the lecturer in conclusion, "I have tried to give you a few of the main facts relating to the Knights and the island. Those of you who are interested in the romantic history may read it more fully when you have leisure after your return home."
The Moltke cast anchor in the harbor of Valetta about six o'clock on the morning of the twenty-first of February. After we had partaken of an early breakfast, Maltese boatmen in scarlet caps and sashes, who stood up while handling their oars, rowed us to the shore. Their brightly painted boats had peculiar carved wooden posts erected at prow and stern and white awnings overhead. Walking up a sloping, zigzag pathway, constructed in a passage cut down through the high cliffs, we ascended from the busy docks to the heights above. At the summit a Maltese gentleman kindly directed us on our way to the Queen's Garden located directly above the landing place.