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(It appears to me that those passages of Scripture relating to the exaltation of the horn, were in reference to this ornament, which may have been originally worn by warriors as well as women.) It struck me as being a very beautiful piece of dress.
The eye-brows of all the Jewesses are stained a brownish red, with henna, which gives them a formal arched appearance. In the married females the arches are prolonged, and meet in an angle some way down the nose, but in the maiden's a space is left between ;* with these also the palms of the hands, the tips of the fingers, and nails, are stained a deep orange. The Jews inhabit a particular quarter of the city, and are by far the dirtiest people of the community, for with all their tawdry finery they look filthy. Their dwellings are miserable ; their extreme parsimony makes them. purchase the refuse meat and fish, and, as might be expected, they are the most unhealthy part of the people; so that when an epidemic breaks out, they are sure to suffer severely. A few years ago, when cholera prevailed here, three thousand people were carried off in a few days, the greater number of whom were Jews. I have often met groups of Jews, both male and female, many of whom were in a state of intoxication, going to mourn over their friends, outside
There are but few Turks now in Algiers, as the
*“For whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thine eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments.”—Ezekiel, xxiv. 40.
THE SWAUVES AND SPAHEES.
French policy compelled them to return to their own country. This seems neither a wise nor a necessary step, as they were a much superior race to the Moors, Kabyles, and other tribes who have been permitted to remain.
The next class is the Arabs; these are distinguished from the Moors, in that the latter follow traffic, and live in towns, while the former inhabit the tent, and rear flocks and herds. They do not remain in the city at night, but pitch their tents outside the walls, and form a small encampment beyond the Bab-el-Oued gate.
Many of them are now in the Swauves and Spahees, (the native regiments employed by the French,) and form the most valuable troops in the territory, as was lately proved at the taking of Constantina, combining the activity of desultory Arab warfare with the discipline of European tactics. They are officered by Frenchmen, and although of every shade of colour, the skilful management of their horses and Franco-Turkish costume give them a very martial appearance. The dress consists of very rich scarlet jackets, embroidered with gold, wide blue Turkish breeches, reaching to the knees, long cavalry boots, and white wide turbans—these, with their flowing beards and mustachios, make them have an imposing appearance. The turbans of the officers are composed of volumes of gold-spangled muslin. From their knowledge of the country, the Spahees or infantry make most valuable enterpris
ing skirmishers and pioneers. Their head-dresses, the small red turboosh or Turkish cap, and they are some of the finest men in the Algerine army.
It seems extraordinary that a European nation should be dressing up their soldiers in the eastern costume, while the Sooltan and Mohammad Alée are training their armies to European tactics, and dressing them in Frank costume.
The horses of the native cavalry are all Arab; small, but of high metal, and capable of undergoing the greatest fatigue. I cannot admire the French soldiery—their long bed-gowns must be a great incumbrance in action, especially in a hot climate like this; the clothing, accoutrements, and general appearance of the troops are by no means so neat, orderly, or soldier-like as ours.
There is a race of jet-black Musselmans here who dress like the Moors; they are a fine, handsome, well-made people, with European or Caucasian faces. It must have been from this race that Shakespeare took the colour of his Othello, which is perfectly consistent with truth, in spite of all that has been said by critics to the contrary. Numbers of the Moors of Morocco are black, and it was in Algiers alone that the quantity of white Moors was to be found, owing to renegadoes, and the intermarriages of the natives with the female captives of fair complexion, or the remains of the Koloorlies who were sons of the Turks resident at Algiers, and against whom the bar of intermarriage with the natives did
not extend. A few Bedawees are occasionally met in the town, who come down from the mountains, mounted on camels or horses, to sell game or charcoal. They are more wretchedly clad than any of this numerous tribe I have seen in the east, their sole garments consisting of a pair of loose drawers, and a dirty, ragged burnoose, with the hood kept over the head, bound round with a rope of camel's hair, which, as far as this extensive tribe wanders over the desert, is their distinguishing dress. They are a most ferocious race of men, generally of large size, and well made, with swarthy complexions, straight noses, and although muscular, are remarkably lean, the flesh being as if dried
up by the tanning influence of a powerful sun. The black beards are short and grisly, and their eyes are of extreme brilliancy, and cunning expression. The occasional visit of a few of this nomadic race, is at present the only communication the French have with the interior, so that but for the supplies of the mother country, the garrison would starve. After any little fracas with the natives who come thus far, and the soldiery, the market is quite deserted for several days, and the merest necessaries are obliged to be imported from Marseilles.
These Arabs are the true descendants of Ishmael, and the very signification of the word Bedawee is a fulfilment of the prophetic denunciation, “a man dwelling in a tent.” These children of the desert, in common with the other Arabs of Africa, are a
resentful race, and when offended by the French intruders, revenge it by sending a present to the governor, of Frenchmen's heads; fifteen of which, tied up in a sack, have been left at one of the gates in a night! None of the natives are allowed to carry arms, and although I believe it is a necessary precaution, I regretted it much, for picturesqueness sake, as a Turk or Moor looks only half-dressed without his yatigan, pistols, and dagger, peeping out of the jewel-studded girdle.
The Kabyles, or Berbers, from whom the country takes the name of Barbary, are the true aborigines.* They are the worst class here-low, mean, deceitful, and despised equally by all ; they have been, for a series of years, the principal cultivators of the land, and vast numbers are now to be found in the city, where they generally act as porters. Their garments consist of a simple flannel tunic, reaching to the knees, and the turboosh unadorned by a turban. They live in hordes, scattered over the plain, inhabiting gurbies or huts, formed of hurdles, daubed with mud, and do not wander like the Bedawees. They have still preserved the language, and a certain degree of national character, under the Carthaginians and Romans, Vandals, Saracens, and Turks; and the character of the Numidian answers, with little variation, throughout the successive conquests of a Belisarius, a Barbarossa, and a Count de Bourmont.
* Appendix G.