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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author






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 centre to circumference—foreign inside and outside and
all around—nothing any where 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
can not any more. 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 inclosed 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


Page 77
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 077. In-line Illustration. Image of a busy street in Tangier. There are many people in kaftans and turbans carrying a wide assortment of objects. The caption reads, "VIEW OF A STREET IN TANGIER."] 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 vari-colored
diamond-flags; in tesselated many-colored porcelain
squares wrought in the furnaces of Fez; in red tiles and broad
bricks that time can not 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. Isn't it an oriental picture?

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 cutthroats—and


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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

And their dresses are strange beyond all description. Here
is a bronzed Moor in a prodigious white turban, curiously embroidered
jacket, gold and crimosn sash, of many folds,
wrapped round and round his waist, trowsers that only come
a little below his knee, and yet have twenty yards of stuff in
them, ornamented scimetar, bare shins, stockingless feet, yellow
slippers, and gun of preposterous length—a mere soldier!—I
thought he was the Emperor at least. 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 up on 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. Here are
five thousand Jews in blue gaberdines, sashes about their
waists, slippers upon their feet, little skull-caps upon the
backs of their heads, hair combed down on the forehead, and
cut straight across the middle of it from side to side—the self-same
fashion their Tangier ancestors have worn for I don't
know how many bewildering centuries. 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


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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 to-day when the lips of Memnon were vocal, and men
bought and sold in the streets of ancient Thebes!

The Phœnicians, 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 goat-skin 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 Cæsar nineteen hundred years ago. Men who
had seen the infant Saviour in the Virgin's arms, have stood
upon it, may be.

Near it are the ruins of a dock-yard where Cæsar 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:

“We are the Canaanites. We are they that have
been driven out of the land of Canaan by the Jewish
robber, Joshua.”

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,


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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. Their king's country residence was at
the famous Garden of Hesperides, seventy miles down the
coast from here. 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.

Five days' journey from here—say two hundred miles—are
the ruins of an ancient city, of whose history there is neither
record nor tradition. And yet its arches, its columns, and its
statues, proclaim it to have been built by an enlightened

The general size of a store in Tangier is about that of an
ordinary shower-bath in a civilized land. The Mohammedan
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 pigeon-holes for
fifty dollars a month. The market people crowd the market-place
with their baskets of figs, dates, melons, apricots, etc.,
and among them file trains of laden asses, not much larger, if
any, than a Newfoundland dog. The scene is lively, is picturesque,
and smells like a police court. The Jewish moneychangers


Page 81
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 081. In-line Illustration. Image of a man changing money from another man. There is a large pile of coins on the table between them and one of the men has a large sachel of coins over his shoulder. The caption reads, "CHANGE FOR A NAPOLEON."] have their dens close at hand; and all day long are
counting bronze coins and transferring them from one bushel
basket to another. They
don't coin much money
now-a-days, I think. 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.
Jack went out to get a
Napoleon changed, so as
to have money suited to
the general cheapness of
things, and came back and
said he had “swamped the
bank; had bought eleven
quarts of coin, and the
head of the firm had gone
on the street to negotiate for the balance of the change.” I
bought nearly half a pint of their money for a shilling myself.
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
searce—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. Therefore,
warned by experience, as soon as they have collected two dollars'
worth of money they exchange it for one of those little
gold pieces, and when robbers come upon them, swallow it.
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.


Page 82

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

Moors and Jews sometimes place themselves under the protection
of the foreign consuls, and then they can flout their
riches in the Emperor's face with impunity.