⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Robert Frosts Poem Sundown
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The Poems of Robert Frost - Summary \u0026 Analysis
The Sun but glances upon his sister, the earth It is so Even now But here also are the signs of life, the eternal promise given to our people. In the death of the corn there is the seed--which is both food for the season of Death and the Beacon which will signal green-growing time and life returning. In the cold of the Earth there is but sleep wherein She will awaken refreshed and renewed, her journey into the Dark Lands ended.
And where the Sun journeys he gains new vigor and potency; that in the spring, his blessings shall come ever young! The crows above the forest call; Tomorrow they may form and go. O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled, Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day; At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away. The mulch you lay down will protect your perennial plants during the winter and feed the soil as it decays, while the cleaned up flower bed will give you a huge head start on either planting seeds or setting out small plants.
The maple wears a gayer scarf, The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I'll put a trinket on. A hundred summers snowmelt rock and air hiss in a twisted bough. Purple ironweed is diminishing in the pastures; thistles are down to their last silken tassels; goldenrod pours its heap of raw gold into the general fund. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. Oh, it must be October The leaves of red bright gold and brown, To Mother Earth come tumbling down, The breezy nights the ghostly sights, The eerie spooky far off sounds Are signs that it's October.
The pumpkins yellow,. Sorrels, It Must be October. After summer was over we knew winter would come: we knew silence would wait, tall, patient calm. Your crown of golden leaves is jeweled with amber, amethyst, and rubies. Your long, flowing purple robe stretches across the horizon. In Your hands You hold the ripened fruits. At Your feet the squirrels gather acorns. Black crows perch on Your outstretched arms. All around You the leaves are falling. You sit upon Your throne and watch the dying fires of the setting Sun shine forth its final colors in the sky. The purple and orange lingers and glows like burning embers.
Then all colors fade into the twilight. Lady Autumn, You are here at last. We thank You for Your rewards. We have worked hard for these gifts. Lady Autumn, now grant us peace and rest. Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaws. Slide and creep. But why? What for? Where did it all begin? Jording, Fall Planting. I have plowed in the seeds of winter grains and various legumes, their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth. I have stirred into the ground the offal and the decay of the growth of past seasons and so mended the earth and made its yield increase. All this serves the dark. Against the shadow of veiled possibility my workdays stand in a most asking light. I am slowly falling into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth, not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness and a delight to the air, and my days do not wholly pass.
It is the mind's service, for when the will fails so do the hands and one lives at the expense of life. After death, willing or not, the body serves, entering the earth. And so what was heaviest and most mute is at last raised up into song. Who cares? When autumn birds in flocks Fly southward, back we turn the clocks, And so regain a lovely thing That missing hour we lost in spring. My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. What is sour in the house a bracing walk makes sweet. The era of the Wild Apple will soon be past. It is a fruit which will probably become extinct in New England.
I fear that he who walks over these fields a century hence will not know the pleasure of knocking off wild apples. Ah, poor soul, there are many pleasures which you will not know! Dew on the lotus Scatters pure perfume; Wind on the bamboos Gives off a gentle tinkling. I am idle and lonely, Lying down all day, Sick and decayed; No one asks for me; Thin dusk before my gates, Cassia blossoms inch deep. Levy and Henry Wells. Legend says that you will see your true love reflected there. A Victorian Halloween card states the following verse: On Halloween look in the glass, Your future husband's face shall pass. A modern adaptation of this charm could include standing before the mirror at midnight on Samhain.
The new charm will help you to recognize a future or potential love. Slice the apple crosswise to expose the star-shaped arrangement of seeds inside. Light a tea-light candle and place the apple slices and the candle before the mirror. At midnight, say the following charm three times: As this Samhain night rushes past, Reveal to me a love that shall last. May I know them when next we meet, May our love be both strong and sweet. Allow the candle to burn out, and the next morning leave the apple pieces outside as an offering to the nature spirits. Pay attention and see who you "meet" within the next thirty days. Gold circles strewn across the sloping field Evoke a silence deep as my deep fear Of emptiness; I feel the scene requires A listener who can respond with words, yet who Prolongs the silence that I still desire, Relieved as clacking crows come flashing through, Whose blackness shows chance radiance of fire.
Yet stillness in the field remains for everyone: Wheels of baled hay bask in October sun. Gardening Resources. Vegetable Information. Vegetables and Melons. The River Lethe trickles through cracks opened several summers ago but not before I earned, and still hold in my own right, the gold coin Charon will demand, though not a word be spoken, not a breath exchanged. As we make passage on the River Styx I know not what lies ahead, less of what I've left behind, but I will go to complete my preterdained journey to the otherworld as the Ferryman leaves me off and guides his boat back to earthly shores. The wind blows from the west where the sun sets, it blows across the ancient road, across the bony horse, across the despairing man who stands at heaven's edge.
I will dance In cold, dead leaves A bending, whirling human flame. I will dance As the Horned God rides Across the skies. I will dance To the music of His hounds Running, baying in chorus. I will dance With the ghosts of those Gone before. I will dance Between the sleep of life And the dream of death. I will dance On Samhain's dusky eye, I will dance. Guest, Thanksgiving. Then you experience the miracle of entering into yourself like a diamond in glass, enjoying its own fragility when the storm carries everything else away including the memory of a freckled girlfriend out over the bluing lake hidden behind the bare hills. At heavier steps than birds' the squirrels scold.
The rich scene has grown fresh again and new As Spring and to the touch is not more cool Than it is warm to the gaze; and now I might As happy be as earth is beautiful, Were I some other or with earth could turn In alternation of violet and rose, Harebell and snowdrop, at their season due, And gorse that has no time not to be gay. But if this be not happiness, -- who knows? Some day I shall think this a happy day, And this mood by the name of melancholy Shall no more blackened and obscured be. I will bring up the dead to eat the living. And the dead will outnumber the living. The vines below have lost their purple grace, And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled, Hangs to the hills tempestuous, fold on fold, And moaning gusts make desolate all the place.
The leaves were still thick on the trees, but de-spangled gossamer threads hung on the bushes and the shrill little cries of unrest of the swallows skimming the green open park spaces of the park told of autumn and change. They be family, friends and foes, Pets and wildlife, fishes and crows. But be we still mindful of the Wee Folke at play, Elves, fey, brownies, and sidhe. Some to trick, some to treat, Some to purposely misguide our feet.
Stay we on the paths we know As planting sacred apples we go. This Feast I shall leave on my doorstep all night. In my window one candle shall burn bright, To help my loved ones find their way As they travel this eve, and this night, until day. Bless my offering, both Lady and Lord Of breads and fruits, greens and gourd. Leave them alone till frosty weather, Then they will all come down together.
The assignment of yellow is taken up now by thin-leafed wild sunflowers and artichokes. But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween. The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.
The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates. The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants.
The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven. The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree.
I can trace it in the flying Of the black crows overhead; I can hear it in the rustle Of the dead leaves as I pass, And the south wind's plaintive sighing Through the dry and withered grass. Ah, 'tis then I love to wander, Wander idly and alone, Listening to the solemn music Of sweet nature's undertone; Wrapt in thoughts I cannot utter, Dreams my tongue cannot express, Dreams that match the autumn's sadness In their longing tenderness. The summer was very big. Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose. Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetiness into the heavenly wine.
And before it started to descend from the height of noon, it leaned over and struck my shoulder as if with the flat of a sword, granting me honor and a task. The day's blow rang out, metallic--or it was I, a bell awakened, and what I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can. We've plowed, we've sowed We've reaped, we've mowed And brought safe home Every load. It swelled in its turbid course, so that it was impossible to tell a cow from a horse on the opposite banks or on the islets. Then the Spirit of the River laughed for joy that all the beauty of the earth was gathered to himself.
Down the stream he journeyed east, until he reached the North Sea. There, looking eastwards and seeing no limit to its wide expanse, his countenance began to change. And as he gazed over the ocean, he sighed and said to North-Sea Jo, "A vulgar proverb says that he who has heard a great many truths thinks no one equal to himself. And such a one am I. Formerly when I heard people detracting from the learning of Confucius or underrating the heroism of Po Yi, I did not believe it.
But now that I have looked upon your inexhaustibility -- alas for me! You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect, which is limited by his short life. You cannot speak of Tao to a pedagogue, who is limited in his knowledge. But now that you have emerged from your narrow sphere and have seen the great ocean, you know your own insignificance, and I can speak to you of great principles. For a dangerous ledge off the lighthouse island floats in on the still air the gentle trolling of a warning bell as it swings on the rocking buoy; it might be tolling for the passing of summer and sweet weather with that persistent, pensive chime.
Apple Lore and Facts. Apple Branch in Dianic Tradition. Apples: Iounn, Norse Goddess. By Alexei Kondratiev. Citadel, ISBN: Apple Tree Wisdom. Golden Apple in Mythology. Mabon, Autumnal Equinox, Alban Elfed. Adoration for Pomona by Scott B. Stewart "This month, this season we will gather under the apple tree as Autumn dawns upon the earth to pray under the apple tree so dear to Pomona's heart. Dear and wise Pomona, we invoke thee in the sacred month of your apple tree to bring forth your fertility. Fill our minds with creativity, our hearts with love and compassion as you bless your dear apple tree with her harvest's sweet fruition.
She profusely blooms white in Spring, attracting many friendly bees which pollinate her flower. With your divine grace and joy, you reward them with your nectar. Let it be to you as nectar this prayer to you that we offer in praise and supplication with our purest love and great affection. You shall clothe her leaves in colors as the Autumn nights get cooler. This apple tree we gather under will display your loving nature: red, orange, gold and mixtures thereof. With reverence and with love we honor you, our Lady Pomona this apple tree month Hour before the curfew. A small provincial city. The houses all dark. The store-fronts gutted. I am on a street corner Where I shouldn't be. Alone and coatless I have gone out to look For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of halloween mask Which I am afraid to put on. The vast country of the dead had its beginning everywhere: At the turn of a tree-lined alley, across park lawns. But I did not have to enter, I was not called yet. Motorboats pulled up on the river bank, paths in pine needles. It was getting dark early, no lights on the other side. I was going to attend the ball of ghosts and witches. A delegation would appear there in masks and wigs, And dance, unrecognized, in the chorus of the living. October begins astrologically with the sun in the sign of Libra and ends in the sign of Scorpio. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Virgo and ends in the constellation of Libra.
The name is from the Latin Word " octo " for " eight ". October was the eighth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period summer in the southern hemisphere was divided between January and February. Oh the joy to those who know October! Colors bright on bush and tree. Over the weedy swamp, we see A veil of purple and brown and gold. Thy beauty words have never told. Scolding sparrows on the lawn, Rabbits frisking home at dawn, Pheasants midst the sheaves of grain, All in harmony acclaim, October! Brown earth freshly turned by plow, Apples shine on bended bough, Bins o'erflowed with oats and wheat, And satisfaction reigns complete.
Radiant joy is everywhere. Spirits in tune to the spicy air, Thrill in the glory of each day. Life's worth living when we say, October! Love not just between man and woman but as the driving force behind our existence and the relationships that we share with others; faith both in ourselves and in others; and generosity and trust in the understanding that a heart that is open to give and receive is both the gateway to personal happiness and fulfillment and the key that unlocks the secrets of the Otherworld. The generous apple satisfies body, mind, and spirit, and warns against miserliness, for like attracts like. What we give will be the measure of all we receive. The days grow shorter.
Cranes walk the fairway now In careless order. They step so gradually Toward the distant green They might be brushstrokes Animating a screen. Mist canopies The water hazard. Nearby, the little flag lifts, Brave but frazzled. Under sad clouds Two white-capped golfers Stand looking off, dreamy and strange, Like young girls in Balthus. May we make wise choices in how and what we harvest, may earth's weather turn kinder, may there be enough food for all creatures, may the diminishing light in our daytime skies be met by an increasing compassion and tolerance in our hearts.
They'd lived through all the heat and noise and stench of summertime, and now each widely opened flower was like a triumphant cry, "We will, we will make seed before we die. Apples were considered the fruit of the gods in Celtic lore, and the apple tree has many associations with magical creatures. The unicorn lives underneath it and in spring the sweet apple blossom offers home to may flower fairies who spread an atmosphere of love and happiness. The gifts of the Apple Fairy are everlasting youth and beauty, although sadly such matters often give rise to strife The apple fairy invites us to enjoy sensuous pleasures of all descriptions, in the knowledge that there is plenty to go around, and that nothing that is truly ours can ever be taken away from us.
It means a row of lights and indeed illumination forms its main attraction. Every home - lowly or mightly - the hut of the poor or the mansion of the rich - is alit with the orange glow of twinkling diyas-small earthen lamps - to welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Multi-coloured Rangoli designs, floral decorations and fireworks lend picturesness and grandeur to this festival which heralds joy, mirth and happiness in the ensuring year. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all the regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of New Year.
As such the blessings of Lakshmi, the celestial consort of Lord Vishnu are invoked with prayers. Even countries like Gkyena, Thailand, Trinidad, Siam and Malaya celebrate this festival but in their own ways. This Diwali festival, it is surmised dates back to that period when perhaps history was not written, and in its progress through centuries it lighted path of thousands to attain the ultimate good and complete ecstasy. Beneath my glass skin Is a typhoon of savage passion. On October's Desolate shore a fresh carcass is cast up;. True, we had head winds all the time, and several stormy experiences which sent fifty percent of the passengers to bed sick and made the ship look dismal and deserted—stormy experiences that all will remember who weathered them on the tumbling deck and caught the vast sheets of spray that every now and then sprang high in air from the weather bow and swept the ship like a thunder-shower; but for the most part we had balmy summer weather and nights that were even finer than the days.
We had the phenomenon of a full moon located just in the same spot in the heavens at the same hour every night. The reason of this singular conduct on the part of the moon did not occur to us at first, but it did afterward when we reflected that we were gaining about twenty minutes every day because we were going east so fast—we gained just about enough every day to keep along with the moon. It was becoming an old moon to the friends we had left behind us, but to us Joshuas it stood still in the same place and remained always the same.
Young Mr. Seven days out from New York he came on deck and said with great decision:. She skips; she runs along regular enough till half-past eleven, and then, all of a sudden, she lets down. The ship was gaining a full hour every three days, and this fellow was trying to make his watch go fast enough to keep up to her. This young man asked a great many questions about seasickness before we left, and wanted to know what its characteristics were and how he was to tell when he had it.
He found out. We saw the usual sharks, blackfish, porpoises, etc. Some of them were white and some of a brilliant carmine color. The nautilus is nothing but a transparent web of jelly that spreads itself to catch the wind, and has fleshy-looking strings a foot or two long dangling from it to keep it steady in the water. It is an accomplished sailor and has good sailor judgment.
It reefs its sail when a storm threatens or the wind blows pretty hard, and furls it entirely and goes down when a gale blows. Ordinarily it keeps its sail wet and in good sailing order by turning over and dipping it in the water for a moment. Seamen say the nautilus is only found in these waters between the 35th and 45th parallels of latitude. But another persecutor came, and then another and another, and finally believing that the general enthusiasm would permit no one to slumber in peace, I got up and went sleepily on deck. The passengers were huddled about the smoke-stacks and fortified behind ventilators, and all were wrapped in wintry costumes and looking sleepy and unhappy in the pitiless gale and the drenching spray.
The island in sight was Flores. It seemed only a mountain of mud standing up out of the dull mists of the sea. But as we bore down upon it the sun came out and made it a beautiful picture—a mass of green farms and meadows that swelled up to a height of fifteen hundred feet and mingled its upper outlines with the clouds. It was ribbed with sharp, steep ridges and cloven with narrow canyons, and here and there on the heights, rocky upheavals shaped themselves into mimic battlements and castles; and out of rifted clouds came broad shafts of sunlight, that painted summit, and slope and glen, with bands of fire, and left belts of somber shade between. It was the aurora borealis of the frozen pole exiled to a summer land!
We skirted around two-thirds of the island, four miles from shore, and all the opera glasses in the ship were called into requisition to settle disputes as to whether mossy spots on the uplands were groves of trees or groves of weeds, or whether the white villages down by the sea were really villages or only the clustering tombstones of cemeteries. Finally we stood to sea and bore away for San Miguel, and Flores shortly became a dome of mud again and sank down among the mists, and disappeared. But to many a seasick passenger it was good to see the green hills again, and all were more cheerful after this episode than anybody could have expected them to be, considering how sinfully early they had gotten up. But we had to change our purpose about San Miguel, for a storm came up about noon that so tossed and pitched the vessel that common sense dictated a run for shelter.
Therefore we steered for the nearest island of the group—Fayal the people there pronounce it Fy-all, and put the accent on the first syllable. We anchored in the open roadstead of Horta, half a mile from the shore. The town has eight thousand to ten thousand inhabitants. Its snow-white houses nestle cosily in a sea of fresh green vegetation, and no village could look prettier or more attractive. It sits in the lap of an amphitheater of hills which are three hundred to seven hundred feet high, and carefully cultivated clear to their summits—not a foot of soil left idle. Every farm and every acre is cut up into little square inclosures by stone walls, whose duty it is to protect the growing products from the destructive gales that blow there.
These hundreds of green squares, marked by their black lava walls, make the hills look like vast checkerboards. The islands belong to Portugal, and everything in Fayal has Portuguese characteristics about it. But more of that anon. We landed under the walls of a little fort, armed with batteries of twelve-and-thirty-two-pounders, which Horta considered a most formidable institution, but if we were ever to get after it with one of our turreted monitors, they would have to move it out in the country if they wanted it where they could go and find it again when they needed it. The group on the pier was a rusty one—men and women, and boys and girls, all ragged and barefoot, uncombed and unclean, and by instinct, education, and profession beggars.
They trooped after us, and never more while we tarried in Fayal did we get rid of them. We walked up the middle of the principal street, and these vermin surrounded us on all sides and glared upon us; and every moment excited couples shot ahead of the procession to get a good look back, just as village boys do when they accompany the elephant on his advertising trip from street to street.
It was very flattering to me to be part of the material for such a sensation. Here and there in the doorways we saw women with fashionable Portuguese hoods on. This hood is of thick blue cloth, attached to a cloak of the same stuff, and is a marvel of ugliness. It stands up high and spreads far abroad, and is unfathomably deep. The general style of the capote is the same in all the islands, and will remain so for the next ten thousand years, but each island shapes its capotes just enough differently from the others to enable an observer to tell at a glance what particular island a lady hails from.
The Portuguese pennies, or reis pronounced rays , are prodigious. It takes one thousand reis to make a dollar, and all financial estimates are made in reis. We did not know this until after we had found it out through Blucher. Blucher said he was so happy and so grateful to be on solid land once more that he wanted to give a feast—said he had heard it was a cheap land, and he was bound to have a grand banquet. He invited nine of us, and we ate an excellent dinner at the principal hotel. In the midst of the jollity produced by good cigars, good wine, and passable anecdotes, the landlord presented his bill.
Blucher glanced at it and his countenance fell. He took another look to assure himself that his senses had not deceived him and then read the items aloud, in a faltering voice, while the roses in his cheeks turned to ashes:. Go—leave me to my misery, boys, I am a ruined community. I think it was the blankest-looking party I ever saw. Nobody could say a word. It was as if every soul had been stricken dumb. Wine glasses descended slowly to the table, their contents untasted. Cigars dropped unnoticed from nerveless fingers. At last the fearful silence was broken. He glanced from the little pile of gold pieces to Blucher several times and then went out.
He must have visited an American, for when he returned, he brought back his bill translated into a language that a Christian could understand—thus:. More refreshments were ordered. I think the Azores must be very little known in America. Some of the party, well read concerning most other lands, had no other information about the Azores than that they were a group of nine or ten small islands far out in the Atlantic, something more than halfway between New York and Gibraltar.
That was all. These considerations move me to put in a paragraph of dry facts just here. The community is eminently Portuguese—that is to say, it is slow, poor, shiftless, sleepy, and lazy. There is a civil governor, appointed by the King of Portugal, and also a military governor, who can assume supreme control and suspend the civil government at his pleasure. The islands contain a population of about ,, almost entirely Portuguese. Everything is staid and settled, for the country was one hundred years old when Columbus discovered America. The principal crop is corn, and they raise it and grind it just as their great-great-great-grandfathers did. They plow with a board slightly shod with iron; their trifling little harrows are drawn by men and women; small windmills grind the corn, ten bushels a day, and there is one assistant superintendent to feed the mill and a general superintendent to stand by and keep him from going to sleep.
When the wind changes they hitch on some donkeys and actually turn the whole upper half of the mill around until the sails are in proper position, instead of fixing the concern so that the sails could be moved instead of the mill. Oxen tread the wheat from the ear, after the fashion prevalent in the time of Methuselah. There is not a wheelbarrow in the land—they carry everything on their heads, or on donkeys, or in a wicker-bodied cart, whose wheels are solid blocks of wood and whose axles turn with the wheel. There is not a modern plow in the islands or a threshing machine. All attempts to introduce them have failed. The good Catholic Portuguese crossed himself and prayed God to shield him from all blasphemous desire to know more than his father did before him.
The climate is mild; they never have snow or ice, and I saw no chimneys in the town. The donkeys and the men, women, and children of a family all eat and sleep in the same room, and are unclean, are ravaged by vermin, and are truly happy. The people lie, and cheat the stranger, and are desperately ignorant, and have hardly any reverence for their dead. The latter trait shows how little better they are than the donkeys they eat and sleep with.
The only well-dressed Portuguese in the camp are the half a dozen well-to-do families, the Jesuit priests, and the soldiers of the little garrison. The wages of a laborer are twenty to twenty-four cents a day, and those of a good mechanic about twice as much. They count it in reis at a thousand to the dollar, and this makes them rich and contented. Fine grapes used to grow in the islands, and an excellent wine was made and exported. But a disease killed all the vines fifteen years ago, and since that time no wine has been made. The islands being wholly of volcanic origin, the soil is necessarily very rich.
Nearly every foot of ground is under cultivation, and two or three crops a year of each article are produced, but nothing is exported save a few oranges—chiefly to England. Nobody comes here, and nobody goes away. News is a thing unknown in Fayal. A thirst for it is a passion equally unknown. A Portuguese of average intelligence inquired if our civil war was over. Because, he said, somebody had told him it was—or at least it ran in his mind that somebody had told him something like that! And when a passenger gave an officer of the garrison copies of the Tribune, the Herald, and Times, he was surprised to find later news in them from Lisbon than he had just received by the little monthly steamer.
He was told that it came by cable. It is in communities like this that Jesuit humbuggery flourishes. We visited a Jesuit cathedral nearly two hundred years old and found in it a piece of the veritable cross upon which our Saviour was crucified. It was polished and hard, and in as excellent a state of preservation as if the dread tragedy on Calvary had occurred yesterday instead of eighteen centuries ago. But these confiding people believe in that piece of wood unhesitatingly. In a chapel of the cathedral is an altar with facings of solid silver—at least they call it so, and I think myself it would go a couple of hundred to the ton to speak after the fashion of the silver miners —and before it is kept forever burning a small lamp. A devout lady who died, left money and contracted for unlimited masses for the repose of her soul, and also stipulated that this lamp should be kept lighted always, day and night.
She did all this before she died, you understand. It is a very small lamp and a very dim one, and it could not work her much damage, I think, if it went out altogether. The great altar of the cathedral and also three or four minor ones are a perfect mass of gilt gimcracks and gingerbread. And they have a swarm of rusty, dusty, battered apostles standing around the filagree work, some on one leg and some with one eye out but a gamey look in the other, and some with two or three fingers gone, and some with not enough nose left to blow—all of them crippled and discouraged, and fitter subjects for the hospital than the cathedral.
The walls of the chancel are of porcelain, all pictured over with figures of almost life size, very elegantly wrought and dressed in the fanciful costumes of two centuries ago. The design was a history of something or somebody, but none of us were learned enough to read the story. The old father, reposing under a stone close by, dated , might have told us if he could have risen. As we came down through the town we encountered a squad of little donkeys ready saddled for use.
The saddles were peculiar, to say the least. They consisted of a sort of saw-buck with a small mattress on it, and this furniture covered about half the donkey. A pack of ragged Portuguese muleteers crowded around us, offering their beasts at half a dollar an hour—more rascality to the stranger, for the market price is sixteen cents. Half a dozen of us mounted the ungainly affairs and submitted to the indignity of making a ridiculous spectacle of ourselves through the principal streets of a town of 10, inhabitants. We started. It was not a trot, a gallop, or a canter, but a stampede, and made up of all possible or conceivable gaits. No spurs were necessary. These rascals were all on foot, but no matter, they were always up to time—they can outrun and outlast a donkey.
Altogether, ours was a lively and a picturesque procession, and drew crowded audiences to the balconies wherever we went. Blucher could do nothing at all with his donkey. The beast scampered zigzag across the road and the others ran into him; he scraped Blucher against carts and the corners of houses; the road was fenced in with high stone walls, and the donkey gave him a polishing first on one side and then on the other, but never once took the middle; he finally came to the house he was born in and darted into the parlor, scraping Blucher off at the doorway.
He turned a corner suddenly, and Blucher went over his head. And, to speak truly, every mule stumbled over the two, and the whole cavalcade was piled up in a heap. No harm done. A fall from one of those donkeys is of little more consequence than rolling off a sofa. The donkeys all stood still after the catastrophe and waited for their dismembered saddles to be patched up and put on by the noisy muleteers.
Blucher was pretty angry and wanted to swear, but every time he opened his mouth his animal did so also and let off a series of brays that drowned all other sounds. It was fun, scurrying around the breezy hills and through the beautiful canyons. There was that rare thing, novelty, about it; it was a fresh, new, exhilarating sensation, this donkey riding, and worth a hundred worn and threadbare home pleasures. The roads were a wonder, and well they might be.
Here was an island with only a handful of people in it—25,—and yet such fine roads do not exist in the United States outside of Central Park. Everywhere you go, in any direction, you find either a hard, smooth, level thoroughfare, just sprinkled with black lava sand, and bordered with little gutters neatly paved with small smooth pebbles, or compactly paved ones like Broadway. They talk much of the Russ pavement in New York, and call it a new invention—yet here they have been using it in this remote little isle of the sea for two hundred years!
Every street in Horta is handsomely paved with the heavy Russ blocks, and the surface is neat and true as a floor—not marred by holes like Broadway. And every road is fenced in by tall, solid lava walls, which will last a thousand years in this land where frost is unknown. They are very thick, and are often plastered and whitewashed and capped with projecting slabs of cut stone. Trees from gardens above hang their swaying tendrils down, and contrast their bright green with the whitewash or the black lava of the walls and make them beautiful.
The trees and vines stretch across these narrow roadways sometimes and so shut out the sun that you seem to be riding through a tunnel. The pavements, the roads, and the bridges are all government work. The bridges are of a single span—a single arch—of cut stone, without a support, and paved on top with flags of lava and ornamental pebblework. Everywhere are walls, walls, walls, and all of them tasteful and handsome—and eternally substantial; and everywhere are those marvelous pavements, so neat, so smooth, and so indestructible. And if ever roads and streets and the outsides of houses were perfectly free from any sign or semblance of dirt, or dust, or mud, or uncleanliness of any kind, it is Horta, it is Fayal.
The lower classes of the people, in their persons and their domiciles, are not clean—but there it stops—the town and the island are miracles of cleanliness. When we were dismounted and it came to settling, the shouting and jawing and swearing and quarreling among the muleteers and with us was nearly deafening. One fellow would demand a dollar an hour for the use of his donkey; another claimed half a dollar for pricking him up, another a quarter for helping in that service, and about fourteen guides presented bills for showing us the way through the town and its environs; and every vagrant of them was more vociferous, and more vehement and more frantic in gesture than his neighbor. We paid one guide and paid for one muleteer to each donkey.
The mountains on some of the islands are very high. We sailed along the shore of the island of Pico, under a stately green pyramid that rose up with one unbroken sweep from our very feet to an altitude of 7, feet, and thrust its summit above the white clouds like an island adrift in a fog! We got plenty of fresh oranges, lemons, figs, apricots, etc. But I will desist. I am not here to write Patent Office reports. We are on our way to Gibraltar, and shall reach there five or six days out from the Azores. And the last night of the seven was the stormiest of all. There was no thunder, no noise but the pounding bows of the ship, the keen whistling of the gale through the cordage, and the rush of the seething waters.
But the vessel climbed aloft as if she would climb to heaven—then paused an instant that seemed a century and plunged headlong down again, as from a precipice. The sheeted sprays drenched the decks like rain. The blackness of darkness was everywhere. At long intervals a flash of lightning clove it with a quivering line of fire that revealed a heaving world of water where was nothing before, kindled the dusky cordage to glittering silver, and lit up the faces of the men with a ghastly luster! Fear drove many on deck that were used to avoiding the night winds and the spray. Some thought the vessel could not live through the night, and it seemed less dreadful to stand out in the midst of the wild tempest and see the peril that threatened than to be shut up in the sepulchral cabins, under the dim lamps, and imagine the horrors that were abroad on the ocean.
And once out—once where they could see the ship struggling in the strong grasp of the storm—once where they could hear the shriek of the winds and face the driving spray and look out upon the majestic picture the lightnings disclosed, they were prisoners to a fierce fascination they could not resist, and so remained. It was a wild night—and a very, very long one. But dull eyes soon sparkled with pleasure, pallid cheeks flushed again, and frames weakened by sickness gathered new life from the quickening influences of the bright, fresh morning. Yea, and from a still more potent influence: the worn castaways were to see the blessed land again! On our left were the granite-ribbed domes of old Spain. The strait is only thirteen miles wide in its narrowest part.
At short intervals along the Spanish shore were quaint-looking old stone towers—Moorish, we thought—but learned better afterwards. In former times the Morocco rascals used to coast along the Spanish Main in their boats till a safe opportunity seemed to present itself, and then dart in and capture a Spanish village and carry off all the pretty women they could find. It was a pleasant business, and was very popular. The Spaniards built these watchtowers on the hills to enable them to keep a sharper lookout on the Moroccan speculators.
But while we stood admiring the cloud-capped peaks and the lowlands robed in misty gloom a finer picture burst upon us and chained every eye like a magnet—a stately ship, with canvas piled on canvas till she was one towering mass of bellying sail! She came speeding over the sea like a great bird. Africa and Spain were forgotten. All homage was for the beautiful stranger. While everybody gazed she swept superbly by and flung the Stars and Stripes to the breeze! Quicker than thought, hats and handkerchiefs flashed in the air, and a cheer went up! She was beautiful before—she was radiant now. To see it is to see a vision of home itself and all its idols, and feel a thrill that would stir a very river of sluggish blood! The other, the great Rock of Gibraltar, was yet to come.
The ancients considered the Pillars of Hercules the head of navigation and the end of the world. Even the prophets wrote book after book and epistle after epistle, yet never once hinted at the existence of a great continent on our side of the water; yet they must have known it was there, I should think. In a few moments a lonely and enormous mass of rock, standing seemingly in the center of the wide strait and apparently washed on all sides by the sea, swung magnificently into view, and we needed no tedious traveled parrot to tell us it was Gibraltar. There could not be two rocks like that in one kingdom.
The Rock of Gibraltar is about a mile and a half long, I should say, by 1, to 1, feet high, and a quarter of a mile wide at its base. One side and one end of it come about as straight up out of the sea as the side of a house, the other end is irregular and the other side is a steep slant which an army would find very difficult to climb. At the foot of this slant is the walled town of Gibraltar—or rather the town occupies part of the slant. Everywhere—on hillside, in the precipice, by the sea, on the heights—everywhere you choose to look, Gibraltar is clad with masonry and bristling with guns.
It makes a striking and lively picture from whatsoever point you contemplate it. I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up. But behold how annoyances repeat themselves. We rode on asses and mules up the steep, narrow streets and entered the subterranean galleries the English have blasted out in the rock. These galleries are like spacious railway tunnels, and at short intervals in them great guns frown out upon sea and town through portholes five or six hundred feet above the ocean. There is a mile or so of this subterranean work, and it must have cost a vast deal of money and labor. The gallery guns command the peninsula and the harbors of both oceans, but they might as well not be there, I should think, for an army could hardly climb the perpendicular wall of the rock anyhow.
Those lofty portholes afford superb views of the sea, though. At one place, where a jutting crag was hollowed out into a great chamber whose furniture was huge cannon and whose windows were portholes, a glimpse was caught of a hill not far away, and a soldier said:. On the topmost pinnacle of Gibraltar we halted a good while, and no doubt the mules were tired. They had a right to be. The military road was good, but rather steep, and there was a good deal of it. The view from the narrow ledge was magnificent; from it vessels seeming like the tiniest little toy boats were turned into noble ships by the telescopes, and other vessels that were fifty miles away and even sixty, they said, and invisible to the naked eye, could be clearly distinguished through those same telescopes.
Below, on one side, we looked down upon an endless mass of batteries and on the other straight down to the sea. While I was resting ever so comfortably on a rampart, and cooling my baking head in the delicious breeze, an officious guide belonging to another party came up and said:. Have pity on me. There—I had used strong language after promising I would never do so again; but the provocation was more than human nature could bear. If you had been bored so, when you had the noble panorama of Spain and Africa and the blue Mediterranean spread abroad at your feet, and wanted to gaze and enjoy and surfeit yourself in its beauty in silence, you might have even burst into stronger language than I did.
The wonder is that anybody should ever dream of trying so impossible a project as the taking it by assault—and yet it has been tried more than once. The Moors held the place twelve hundred years ago, and a staunch old castle of theirs of that date still frowns from the middle of the town, with moss-grown battlements and sides well scarred by shots fired in battles and sieges that are forgotten now. A secret chamber in the rock behind it was discovered some time ago, which contained a sword of exquisite workmanship, and some quaint old armor of a fashion that antiquaries are not acquainted with, though it is supposed to be Roman.
Roman armor and Roman relics of various kinds have been found in a cave in the sea extremity of Gibraltar; history says Rome held this part of the country about the Christian era, and these things seem to confirm the statement. In that cave also are found human bones, crusted with a very thick, stony coating, and wise men have ventured to say that those men not only lived before the flood, but as much as ten thousand years before it. In this cave likewise are found skeletons and fossils of animals that exist in every part of Africa, yet within memory and tradition have never existed in any portion of Spain save this lone peak of Gibraltar!
So the theory is that the channel between Gibraltar and Africa was once dry land, and that the low, neutral neck between Gibraltar and the Spanish hills behind it was once ocean, and of course that these African animals, being over at Gibraltar after rock, perhaps—there is plenty there , got closed out when the great change occurred. The hills in Africa, across the channel, are full of apes, and there are now and always have been apes on the rock of Gibraltar—but not elsewhere in Spain! The subject is an interesting one. There is an English garrison at Gibraltar of 6, or 7, men, and so uniforms of flaming red are plenty; and red and blue, and undress costumes of snowy white, and also the queer uniform of the bare-kneed Highlander; and one sees soft-eyed Spanish girls from San Roque, and veiled Moorish beauties I suppose they are beauties from Tarifa, and turbaned, sashed, and trousered Moorish merchants from Fez, and long-robed, bare-legged, ragged Muhammadan vagabonds from Tetuan and Tangier, some brown, some yellow and some as black as virgin ink—and Jews from all around, in gabardine, skullcap, and slippers, just as they are in pictures and theaters, and just as they were three thousand years ago, no doubt.
You can easily understand that a tribe somehow our pilgrims suggest that expression, because they march in a straggling procession through these foreign places with such an Indian-like air of complacency and independence about them like ours, made up from fifteen or sixteen states of the Union, found enough to stare at in this shifting panorama of fashion today. Speaking of our pilgrims reminds me that we have one or two people among us who are sometimes an annoyance. However, I do not count the Oracle in that list. I will explain that the Oracle is an innocent old ass who eats for four and looks wiser than the whole Academy of France would have any right to look, and never uses a one-syllable word when he can think of a longer one, and never by any possible chance knows the meaning of any long word he uses or ever gets it in the right place; yet he will serenely venture an opinion on the most abstruse subject and back it up complacently with quotations from authors who never existed, and finally when cornered will slide to the other side of the question, say he has been there all the time, and come back at you with your own spoken arguments, only with the big words all tangled, and play them in your very teeth as original with himself.
He reads a chapter in the guidebooks, mixes the facts all up, with his bad memory, and then goes off to inflict the whole mess on somebody as wisdom which has been festering in his brain for years and which he gathered in college from erudite authors who are dead now and out of print. This morning at breakfast he pointed out of the window and said:. Some authors states it that way, and some states it different.
If you have got your hand in for inventing authors and testimony, I have nothing more to say—let them be on the same side. We rather like him. We can tolerate the Oracle very easily, but we have a poet and a good-natured enterprising idiot on board, and they do distress the company. The one gives copies of his verses to consuls, commanders, hotel keepers, Arabs, Dutch—to anybody, in fact, who will submit to a grievous infliction most kindly meant. The other personage I have mentioned is young and green, and not bright, not learned, and not wise. He will be, though, someday if he recollects the answers to all his questions.
In Fayal they pointed out a hill and told him it was feet high and 1, feet long. And they told him there was a tunnel 2, feet long and 1, feet high running through the hill, from end to end. He believed it. He repeated it to everybody, discussed it, and read it from his notes. Finally, he took a useful hint from this remark, which a thoughtful old pilgrim made:. Here in Gibraltar he corners these educated British officers and badgers them with braggadocio about America and the wonders she can perform! He told one of them a couple of our gunboats could come here and knock Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea! At this present moment half a dozen of us are taking a private pleasure excursion of our own devising.
We form rather more than half the list of white passengers on board a small steamer bound for the venerable Moorish town of Tangier, Africa. Nothing could be more absolutely certain than that we are enjoying ourselves. One can not do otherwise who speeds over these sparkling waters and breathes the soft atmosphere of this sunny land. Care cannot assail us here. We are out of its jurisdiction. We even steamed recklessly by the frowning fortress of Malabat a stronghold of the Emperor of Morocco without a twinge of fear.
The whole garrison turned out under arms and assumed a threatening attitude—yet still we did not fear. The entire garrison marched and counter-marched within the rampart, in full view—yet notwithstanding even this, we never flinched. I suppose we really do not know what fear is. I inquired the name of the garrison of the fortress of Malabat, and they said it was Mehemet Ali Ben Sancom.
I said it would be a good idea to get some more garrisons to help him; but they said no, he had nothing to do but hold the place, and he was competent to do that, had done it two years already. That was evidence which one could not well refute. There is nothing like reputation. Every now and then my glove purchase in Gibraltar last night intrudes itself upon me. They said they were elegant and very moderate in price. It seemed a stylish thing to go to the theater in kid gloves, and we acted upon the hint. A very handsome young lady in the store offered me a pair of blue gloves. I did not want blue, but she said they would look very pretty on a hand like mine. The remark touched me tenderly. I glanced furtively at my hand, and somehow it did seem rather a comely member.
I tried a glove on my left and blushed a little. Manifestly the size was too small for me. But I felt gratified when she said:. I see you are accustomed to wearing kid gloves—but some gentlemen are so awkward about putting them on. It was the last compliment I had expected. I only understand putting on the buckskin article perfectly. I made another effort and tore the glove from the base of the thumb into the palm of the hand—and tried to hide the rent.
She kept up her compliments, and I kept up my determination to deserve them or die:. There is a grace about it that only comes with long practice. I was hot, vexed, confused, but still happy; but I hated the other boys for taking such an absorbing interest in the proceedings. I wished they were in Jericho. I felt exquisitely mean when I said cheerfully:. I like a glove that fits. It is warm here. It was warm. It was the warmest place I ever was in. A self-complacent ass, ready to be flattered out of your senses by every petticoat that chooses to take the trouble to do it!
They let me alone then for the time being. We always let each other alone in time to prevent ill feeling from spoiling a joke. But they had bought gloves, too, as I did. We threw all the purchases away together this morning. They were coarse, unsubstantial, freckled all over with broad yellow splotches, and could neither stand wear nor public exhibition. We had entertained an angel unawares, but we did not take her in. She did that for us. A tribe of stalwart Moors are wading into the sea to carry us ashore on their backs from the small boats.
This is royal! Let those who went up through Spain make the best of it—these dominions of the Emperor of Morocco suit our little party well enough. We have had enough of Spain at Gibraltar for the present. Tangier is the spot we have been longing for all the time. Elsewhere we have found foreign-looking things and foreign-looking people, but always with things and people intermixed that we were familiar with before, and so the novelty of the situation lost a deal of its force. We wanted something thoroughly and uncompromisingly foreign—foreign from top to bottom—foreign from center to circumference—foreign inside and outside and all around—nothing anywhere about it to dilute its foreignness—nothing to remind us of any other people or any other land under the sun.
And lo! In Tangier we have found it. Here is not the slightest thing that ever we have seen save in pictures—and we always mistrusted the pictures before. We cannot anymore. The pictures used to seem exaggerations—they seemed too weird and fanciful for reality. But behold, they were not wild enough—they were not fanciful enough—they have not told half the story. Tangier is a foreign land if ever there was one, and the true spirit of it can never be found in any book save The Arabian Nights.
Here are no white men visible, yet swarms of humanity are all about us. Here is a packed and jammed city enclosed in a massive stone wall which is more than a thousand years old. All the houses nearly are one-and two-story, made of thick walls of stone, plastered outside, square as a dry-goods box, flat as a floor on top, no cornices, whitewashed all over—a crowded city of snowy tombs! And the doors are arched with the peculiar arch we see in Moorish pictures; the floors are laid in varicolored diamond flags; in tesselated, many-colored porcelain squares wrought in the furnaces of Fez; in red tiles and broad bricks that time cannot wear; there is no furniture in the rooms of Jewish dwellings save divans—what there is in Moorish ones no man may know; within their sacred walls no Christian dog can enter.
And the streets are oriental—some of them three feet wide, some six, but only two that are over a dozen; a man can blockade the most of them by extending his body across them. There are stalwart Bedouins of the desert here, and stately Moors proud of a history that goes back to the night of time; and Jews whose fathers fled hither centuries upon centuries ago; and swarthy Riffians from the mountains—born cut-throats—and original, genuine Negroes as black as Moses; and howling dervishes and a hundred breeds of Arabs—all sorts and descriptions of people that are foreign and curious to look upon.
And their dresses are strange beyond all description. Here is a bronzed Moor in a prodigious white turban, curiously embroidered jacket, gold and crimson sash, of many folds, wrapped round and round his waist, trousers that only come a little below his knee and yet have twenty yards of stuff in them, ornamented scimitar, bare shins, stockingless feet, yellow slippers, and gun of preposterous length—a mere soldier!
And here are aged Moors with flowing white beards and long white robes with vast cowls; and Bedouins with long, cowled, striped cloaks; and Negroes and Riffians with heads clean-shaven except a kinky scalp lock back of the ear or, rather, upon the after corner of the skull; and all sorts of barbarians in all sorts of weird costumes, and all more or less ragged. And here are Moorish women who are enveloped from head to foot in coarse white robes, and whose sex can only be determined by the fact that they only leave one eye visible and never look at men of their own race, or are looked at by them in public. Their feet and ankles are bare. Their noses are all hooked, and hooked alike. They all resemble each other so much that one could almost believe they were of one family.
Their women are plump and pretty, and do smile upon a Christian in a way which is in the last degree comforting. What a funny old town it is! It seems like profanation to laugh and jest and bandy the frivolous chat of our day amid its hoary relics. Only the stately phraseology and the measured speech of the sons of the Prophet are suited to a venerable antiquity like this. Here is a crumbling wall that was old when Columbus discovered America; was old when Peter the Hermit roused the knightly men of the Middle Ages to arm for the first Crusade; was old when Charlemagne and his paladins beleaguered enchanted castles and battled with giants and genii in the fabled days of the olden time; was old when Christ and his disciples walked the earth; stood where it stands today when the lips of Memnon were vocal and men bought and sold in the streets of ancient Thebes!
The Phoenicians, the Carthagenians, the English, Moors, Romans, all have battled for Tangier—all have won it and lost it. Here is a ragged, oriental-looking Negro from some desert place in interior Africa, filling his goatskin with water from a stained and battered fountain built by the Romans twelve hundred years ago. Yonder is a ruined arch of a bridge built by Julius Caesar nineteen hundred years ago. Near it are the ruins of a dockyard where Caesar repaired his ships and loaded them with grain when he invaded Britain, fifty years before the Christian era.
Here, under the quiet stars, these old streets seem thronged with the phantoms of forgotten ages. My eyes are resting upon a spot where stood a monument which was seen and described by Roman historians less than two thousand years ago, whereon was inscribed:. Joshua drove them out, and they came here. Not many leagues from here is a tribe of Jews whose ancestors fled thither after an unsuccessful revolt against King David, and these their descendants are still under a ban and keep to themselves. Tangier has been mentioned in history for three thousand years. And it was a town, though a queer one, when Hercules, clad in his lion skin, landed here, four thousand years ago. In these streets he met Anitus, the king of the country, and brained him with his club, which was the fashion among gentlemen in those days.
The people of Tangier called Tingis then lived in the rudest possible huts and dressed in skins and carried clubs, and were as savage as the wild beasts they were constantly obliged to war with. But they were a gentlemanly race and did no work. They lived on the natural products of the land. The garden, with its golden apples oranges , is gone now—no vestige of it remains. Antiquarians concede that such a personage as Hercules did exist in ancient times and agree that he was an enterprising and energetic man, but decline to believe him a good, bona-fide god, because that would be unconstitutional.
Down here at Cape Spartel is the celebrated cave of Hercules, where that hero took refuge when he was vanquished and driven out of the Tangier country. It is full of inscriptions in the dead languages, which fact makes me think Hercules could not have traveled much, else he would not have kept a journal. And yet its arches, its columns, and its statues proclaim it to have been built by an enlightened race.
The general size of a store in Tangier is about that of an ordinary shower bath in a civilized land. The Muhammadan merchant, tinman, shoemaker, or vendor of trifles sits cross-legged on the floor and reaches after any article you may want to buy. You can rent a whole block of these pigeonholes for fifty dollars a month. The market people crowd the marketplace with their baskets of figs, dates, melons, apricots, etc. The scene is lively, is picturesque, and smells like a police court.
The Jewish money-changers have their dens close at hand, and all day long are counting bronze coins and transferring them from one bushel basket to another. I saw none but what was dated four or five hundred years back, and was badly worn and battered. These coins are not very valuable. I am not proud on account of having so much money, though. I care nothing for wealth. The Moors have some small silver coins and also some silver slugs worth a dollar each. The latter are exceedingly scarce—so much so that when poor ragged Arabs see one they beg to be allowed to kiss it. They have also a small gold coin worth two dollars.
And that reminds me of something. When Morocco is in a state of war, Arab couriers carry letters through the country and charge a liberal postage. Every now and then they fall into the hands of marauding bands and get robbed. The stratagem was good while it was unsuspected, but after that the marauders simply gave the sagacious United States mail an emetic and sat down to wait. The Emperor of Morocco is a soulless despot, and the great officers under him are despots on a smaller scale. There is no regular system of taxation, but when the Emperor or the Bashaw want money, they levy on some rich man, and he has to furnish the cash or go to prison.
Therefore, few men in Morocco dare to be rich. It is too dangerous a luxury. Vanity occasionally leads a man to display wealth, but sooner or later the Emperor trumps up a charge against him—any sort of one will do—and confiscates his property. Of course, there are many rich men in the empire, but their money is buried, and they dress in rags and counterfeit poverty. Every now and then the Emperor imprisons a man who is suspected of the crime of being rich, and makes things so uncomfortable for him that he is forced to discover where he has hidden his money.
About the first adventure we had yesterday afternoon, after landing here, came near finishing that heedless Blucher. We had just mounted some mules and asses and started out under the guardianship of the stately, the princely, the magnificent Hadji Muhammad Lamarty may his tribe increase! Had Blucher succeeded in entering the place, he would no doubt have been chased through the town and stoned; and the time has been, and not many years ago, either, when a Christian would have been most ruthlessly slaughtered if captured in a mosque.
We caught a glimpse of the handsome tessellated pavements within and of the devotees performing their ablutions at the fountains, but even that we took that glimpse was a thing not relished by the Moorish bystanders. Some years ago the clock in the tower of the mosque got out of order. The Moors of Tangier have so degenerated that it has been long since there was an artificer among them capable of curing so delicate a patient as a debilitated clock. The great men of the city met in solemn conclave to consider how the difficulty was to be met.
They discussed the matter thoroughly but arrived at no solution. Finally, a patriarch arose and said:. Ye know, also, that when mosques are builded, asses bear the stones and the cement, and cross the sacred threshold. Now, therefore, send the Christian dog on all fours, and barefoot, into the holy place to mend the clock, and let him go as an ass! And in that way it was done. Therefore, if Blucher ever sees the inside of a mosque, he will have to cast aside his humanity and go in his natural character. We visited the jail and found Moorish prisoners making mats and baskets.
This thing of utilizing crime savors of civilization. Murder is punished with death. A short time ago three murderers were taken beyond the city walls and shot. Moorish guns are not good, and neither are Moorish marksmen. In this instance they set up the poor criminals at long range, like so many targets, and practiced on them—kept them hopping about and dodging bullets for half an hour before they managed to drive the center. When a man steals cattle, they cut off his right hand and left leg and nail them up in the marketplace as a warning to everybody.
Their surgery is not artistic. They slice around the bone a little, then break off the limb. However, the Moorish heart is stout. The Moors were always brave. These criminals undergo the fearful operation without a wince, without a tremor of any kind, without a groan! No amount of suffering can bring down the pride of a Moor or make him shame his dignity with a cry. Here, marriage is contracted by the parents of the parties to it. The young man takes the girl his father selects for him, marries her, and after that she is unveiled, and he sees her for the first time. If after due acquaintance she suits him, he retains her; but if he suspects her purity, he bundles her back to her father; if he finds her diseased, the same; or if, after just and reasonable time is allowed her, she neglects to bear children, back she goes to the home of her childhood.
Muhammadans here who can afford it keep a good many wives on hand. They are called wives, though I believe the Koran only allows four genuine wives—the rest are concubines. I have caught a glimpse of the faces of several Moorish women for they are only human, and will expose their faces for the admiration of a Christian dog when no male Moor is by , and I am full of veneration for the wisdom that leads them to cover up such atrocious ugliness.
They carry their children at their backs, in a sack, like other savages the world over. Many of the Negroes are held in slavery by the Moors. They have three Sundays a week in Tangier. The Jews are the most radical. The Moor goes to his mosque about noon on his Sabbath, as on any other day, removes his shoes at the door, performs his ablutions, makes his salaams, pressing his forehead to the pavement time and again, says his prayers, and goes back to his work. But the Jew shuts up shop; will not touch copper or bronze money at all; soils his fingers with nothing meaner than silver and gold; attends the synagogue devoutly; will not cook or have anything to do with fire; and religiously refrains from embarking in any enterprise.
The Moor who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca is entitled to high distinction. Men call him Hadji, and he is thenceforward a great personage. Hundreds of Moors come to Tangier every year and embark for Mecca. They go part of the way in English steamers, and the ten or twelve dollars they pay for passage is about all the trip costs. From the time they leave till they get home again, they never wash, either on land or sea. They are usually gone from five to seven months, and as they do not change their clothes during all that time, they are totally unfit for the drawing room when they get back.
Many of them have to rake and scrape a long time to gather together the ten dollars their steamer passage costs, and when one of them gets back he is a bankrupt forever after. Few Moors can ever build up their fortunes again in one short lifetime after so reckless an outlay. In order to confine the dignity of Hadji to gentlemen of patrician blood and possessions, the Emperor decreed that no man should make the pilgrimage save bloated aristocrats who were worth a hundred dollars in specie.
But behold how iniquity can circumvent the law! For a consideration, the Jewish money-changer lends the pilgrim one hundred dollars long enough for him to swear himself through, and then receives it back before the ship sails out of the harbor! Spain is the only nation the Moors fear. The reason is that Spain sends her heaviest ships of war and her loudest guns to astonish these Muslims, while America and other nations send only a little contemptible tub of a gunboat occasionally.
The Moors, like other savages, learn by what they see, not what they hear or read. We have great fleets in the Mediterranean, but they seldom touch at African ports. The Moors have a small opinion of England, France, and America, and put their representatives to a deal of red-tape circumlocution before they grant them their common rights, let alone a favor. But the moment the Spanish minister makes a demand, it is acceded to at once, whether it be just or not. Spain chastised the Moors five or six years ago, about a disputed piece of property opposite Gibraltar, and captured the city of Tetouan. And then she gave up the city. But she never gave it up until the Spanish soldiers had eaten up all the cats. They would not compromise as long as the cats held out. Spaniards are very fond of cats.
On the contrary, the Moors reverence cats as something sacred. So the Spaniards touched them on a tender point that time. Their unfeline conduct in eating up all the Tetouan cats aroused a hatred toward them in the breasts of the Moors, to which even the driving them out of Spain was tame and passionless.I will bring up Robert Frosts Poem Sundown dead to eat the living. More Pattern Evidence Analysis for Gardeners. More refreshments were ordered.