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red, but in the greater number white; and those who have performed the pilgrimage to Mekeh wear a green one. Over all is thrown the wide-flowing hyke, a white scarf of the finest wool, from five to six yards long, and about two broad, fringed at the ends, and worn much in the same manner as the plaid of the Scottish Highlanders, but not so tight. At times this serves as a cloak, and when wound gracefully round the body in loose folds, it presented to us at once the Roman toga, and is, in all probability, a remnant of the Mauritanian conquest. It is a very beautiful piece of dress, and almost peculiar to Barbary, which has always had immense manufactories of this article, as well as of the burnoose, or white cloak, which is occasionally worn, and consists merely of an oblong square piece of fine, thin flannel, doubled and joined together at the top; the hood thus formed is thrown over the head, and the folds are drawn about the body. The manufacture of both those articles of dress is peculiar, no shuttle being used in the weaving, which is performed much in the same manner as is exhibited in the figures on Egyptian monuments.* Might it not have been such a dress as this that was worn by our Saviour, being “without seam, woven from the top throughout ?”
These Moors are a noble-looking race of men, with fair and rather florid complexions. Several of those whom we met spoke English, and more plainly than any foreigner I ever heard, with a good pronunciation, never once misplacing a word, and finding no impediment from that stumbling-block to our continental neighbours, the th. The Moors are the principal natives here, and fill several places of trust—the judges, or kádees, 7 still sit in their own courts, and decide the civil and religious differences of the Moóslim population. Some of those old kádees, with their long silver beards, formal turbans, slow-measured gait, and patriarchal eastern costume, always reminded me of the early days of
* See Appendix, E.
+ In the orthography of this and other Arabic terms, I have endeavoured to retain, as much as possible, the true pronunciation, in accordance with that adopted by Mr. Lane, at the same time avoiding the repetition of the same sounds as expressed in the letters hh and ck, &c. For this I have been already severely criticised; yet I feel the day will come when we shall know and acknowledge no other.
Scripture history, and brought vividly to my recollection the magnificent picture by Guerchino, of Abraham turning out the bondswoman and her son, the first really good painting I remember to have seen.
Whether from their connection with Gibraltar, or in remembrance of Lord Exmouth, the natives hold the English and every thing belonging to them in the greatest veneration.
The Jews form a large portion of the population of Algiers, amounting to between three and four thousand; but at the census taken in 1823 the number was 5,919. The cause of the decrease since that time is owing to a number having set forward to Jerusalem with French passports. Strange it is, that though the politician, the statesman, and the soldier, look with a curious eye on the late conquest of Algiers, few would have thought the subjection of this place would have thus contributed towards the fulfilling of a prophecy, by restoring to their promised land nearly three thousand Israelites. You now meet them in every quarter of the city, where they hold a high head, being admitted to all the privileges of Frenchmen. Barbary was always a great resort of this people, and up to the period of the conquest they were the most despised, hated, and oppressed race of all in Algiers. Christians were always preferred by the Turks; yet, although compelled to be the executioners, and to hold the lowest menial offices, the Jews were the money-changers and bankers of the community. Heretofore they were only allowed by their Osmanli masters to wear black, and to ride on asses, and that too outside the walls ; but now they seem to make up for past restrictions, by wearing the most gaudy dresses, and assuming a haughty air and insolent manner. Although still subject to all the civil regulations of citizens, their own petty differences and religious disputes are settled by a person called the king. This office has been of long standing in Algiers, and was one of considerable profit to its possessor ; for, although he paid a large sum for it to the reigning Dey, yet his exactions from his brethren more than compensated for the tax. The principal part of the female population met
* Isaiah xi. 11, 12; xiv. 1 ; xviii. 7; Jeremiah xii. 14; xvi. 14, 15; Ezekiel xi. 17 ; xx. 34, &c. &c.
handkerchief, the contes down behind ; thee girls
with in the streets are Jewesses ; they wear no veil, and are not remarkable for personal beauty; they dress inelegantly, though their garments are covered with gold lace and braid. The girls wear the hair in long plaits hanging down behind ; the head is tied up in a handkerchief, the ends of which are twisted up with the plait, and reach below the waist.
From what I have observed amongst the numerous Jews, first at Gibraltar, now here, and further on throughout the east-of the many thousands I have seen—a peculiar colour of the hair is so striking as to seem characteristic of the nation. Amongst us, Jews almost invariably have hair of the deepest black ; but this is a light auburn, of a tint I have never seen before. If the letter to the Roman emperor may be relied on, such was, in all probability, the colour of our Saviour's.
There is one striking peculiarity in the dress of the Jewish matrons at Algiers ; this is the sarmah—a most extraordinary head-tire, consisting of a taper cone of silver filigree, from two to two and a half feet in length, open at the back for about onethird of the circumference, where it is closed by a loose bag of black silk. It is fastened on the head by a tight-fitting cap of silk or velvet, and projects out behind, very like, to use an odd simile, the spanker boom of a man-of-war. Over this is thrown a black net or gauze veil, which hangs down nearly to the ground. The fitting on of the sarmah forms no inconsiderable item in the toilette of a Jewish matron ; and a lady who has been long resident in Algiers assured me that, rather than be at the trouble of undressing, they frequently sleep with them on. Although peculiar to the Jews here, I have seen some few Moorish ladies wear ones of gold, but covered over with the usual thin, white muslin veil—white being still the distinguishing colour between the Jew and the Mooslim. It is probable the sarmah was introduced from Syria, a similar ornament being used by the women of Mount Lebanon, but with them it is worn in front, projecting forwards like the horn of a unicorn — the flowing veil that covers it acting equally as a protection against the sun, and preserving the modesty of the wearer. By some of the Druses, among whom it is called the Tantoura, it is worn on the side of the head, and resembles a small trumpet. It appears to me that those passages of Scripture relating to the exaltation of the horn, were in reference to this or some similar
ornament, which may have been originally worn by warriors as well as women. Altogether 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 among the maidens a space is left between the brows; with these also the palms of the hands, the tips of the fingers, and the 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 the city.
There are but few Turks now in Algiers, as the 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, or the 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, combining the activity of desultory Arab warfare with the discipline of European tactics, as was lately proved at the taking of Constantina. They are 142
* “For whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thine eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments.”_Ezekiel xxiii. 40.
SWAUVES AND SPAHEES.
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 officer's dress consists of a very rich scarlet jacket, embroidered with gold, wide blue Turkish breeches, reaching to the knees, long cavalry boots, and a white wide turban, composed of volumes of gold-spangled muslin; to these are added long flowing beards and most formidable mustachios. From their knowledge of the country, the Spahees or infantry make most valuable and enterprising skirmishers and pioneers; their head-dress is 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 thus dress up their soldiers in the eastern costume, while the Sooltan and Mohammed 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 ; and 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 ; a fine, handsome, well-made people, with European or Caucasian faces. It must have been from this race that Shakspeare 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. Several of the Moors of Morocco are black, and it was in Algiers alone that any number of white Moors were to be found, owing to renegadoes, and the intermarriages of the natives with the female captives of fair complexion, or the remains of the Kolooglies, 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 bur