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mained a few hours at Algeziras this unpleasant detention would have been avoided.
We were not allowed within the Mole, but stuck in limbo alongside the lazaretto, behind all the dirty craft in harbour, and a Maltese guardian quartered on us to prevent communication with our filthy neighbours.
On three sides were the high dead walls of the city, and the number of vessels in front completely shut out our sea view. Many of the old Roman shores emptied themselves in our immediate vicinity, an annoyance which even our love of the antique could not make tolerable. Those only who have experienced the miseries of quarantine themselves can form a notion of our disagreeable situation; yet, even here we were not without some amusement. The Musselmans squatted on the walls and roofs of the houses around was something new. It was the time of the Ramadan, (the Mohammadan lent.) A gun is fired for the faithful at sunset, and a small dirty flag hoisted from the minarets of the mosques, three of which are now in sight. The mooeddin or crier then mounts the turret, and runs rapidly from corner to corner, shouting for the faithful to come to prayers, or rather, I should say, to feast, for as they eat nothing from sunrise to sunset, the greater number take their meals in the mosques after evening prayers. These remain illuminated the whole night, and
the minarets are also hung round with lamps, which has a pretty effect. The call tó
The call to prayers occurs three times a day, at sunrise, noon, and sunset. On Friday, the Mohammadan sabbath, instead of the dirty white flag, the green banner, the sacred colour of the Turks, is hoisted.
Some fifty years ago, our position would have been rather a dangerous one, and probably a worse misfortune than that of performing quarantine would have awaited us. The water here is particularly phosphorescent ; the wake of the boats through the harbour during the night look, at some distance, like so many great luminous worms skimming along the surface, and the whole harbour is at times brightened up as those “ lightnings of the wave” break upon the different vessels and buoys. I collected large quantities of the water, and always found the light to result from the innumerable ova of fish floating through it, as well as those little animals called lancelets. * As we were sitting at dinner on the 22d, a message arrived from the health office to say, we should instantly make our appearance at the lazaretto for examination. The medical attendant was very wrathful at having been delayed a few minutes ; if ever he had any French politeness, he must have left it at Marseilles. This farce consisted in parading all the ship’s crew at the same time in a railed-in space, like a parcel of wild beasts in a cage. We were then conducted
* See Appendix E.
back to the vessel, and told if we remained in good health until morning, we would get pratique. Next morning the health pfficers came on board in order to fumigate the vessel ; a purification so stifling, that we were nearly suffocated, and determined to resist. A fierce dispute arose ; the officers insisting that unless we allowed the stiflification to go on, we should remain in durance vile; but a gentle hint that they also were then in quarantine, and should remain so until we were leased, settled the matter, and the purificator, to save his conscience, first lighting his combustible on deck, bolted with it over the vessel's side, and set us free. We soon took advantage of our liberty, and landed at the far-famed mole of Algiers, the haunt of the pirate, the terror of Mediterranean commerce, and the scene of unheard of atrocities for centuries.
This day was the most exciting I had experienced since I left England. Nothing can exceed the variety and incongruity of costume, and the appearance of the people you meet with in the narrow streets of Algiers. These says, are but twelve feet broad; but this is a great exaggeration, as few are more than eight, and you can span most of them with your extended
All the houses project from the first story upward, which, in more social countries, would have afforded the inhabitants on opposite sides of the streets a comfortable tete-a-tete ; but
here they are barricadoed with shutters of close-set lattice-work, admitting little of air, and less of light. In many places there are perfect arches of stone thrown across the streets, opening here and there to admit a gleam of light, but we were often obliged to grope our way in perfect darkness with out-stretched arms, and pacing cautiously along we received into our embrace some portly turbaned Turk, had our toes crushed by the splay-foot of an enormous camel, or were almost squeezed to death against the wall by a heavily-laden donkey. I could not have believed that so many human habitations could be crowded into so small a compass. The French have opened a few of these streets, leaving a colonnade all along, and say they intend doing so to all.
The narrowness of the streets, however, has its use and advantage, in affording some protection from the intense rays of the sun, which would, under other circumstances, be concentrated into a focus on the heads of the passers, owing to the reflection from the white-washed walls. Besides the fountains in all the better sort of houses, there are numbers placed in the walls throughout the town, consisting of a small marble basin, into which the water flows, having a brass or copper bowl for the convenience of passengers, and with a verse of the Koorán above it.
There is one good open space opposite the fish
market battery—the grand place, where some fine houses have been lately erected.
Through the kindness of Sir Henry Marsh, of Dublin, we had a letter of introduction to an English physician, Dr. Bowen, who has been resident in Algiers for many years, and was of infinite service to us by the kind devotion of his time and knowledge to our information. Our walks through the city constantly presented scenes of exceeding interest and variety; and from their unEuropean character, particularly in the bazaars, had for the first few days the effect of keeping our wonder on the stretch.
Here the shops, about the size of a good dog-kennel, are ranged on either side of the street, the Moors and Turks squatted cross-legged in them, surrounded by their respective wares; and all the tradesmen pursue their avocations in the open air. Many trades have particular bazaars. Tailors are the most nume. rous class of artizans here, as they are in all other Mohammadan countries, and rank first in the state ; tailors, watch-makers, and barbers correspond to our three learned professions, divinity, law, and physic. Some of the first people were tailors ; amongst them were many of the Deys, and the eldest son of the late admiral was a tailor. The janizaries, from whom the Deys were chosen, had all trades or shops, which they regularly attended during the day, when not engaged in service, but at night they retired to the kalseria,