The expense of these costly expeditions, so far as transport is concerned, is borne, I was told, by the Morocco government; that is to say, the poor people have to be taxed for them. Their fitting-out sweeps off from Tangier and the region all the good saddle horses and mules. The English and some other legations had already gone, and the Italian was about to start. I saw at the Italian camp, outside the city, many fine horses and mules; the requisition for them made it impossible for us to procure decent riding animals for Tetuan. As we have only a consul-general in Morocco, the American government is not represented in these pilgrimages. If our government had any care for deserving travelers, it would furnish us the means of visiting the interesting city of Morocco in style befitting the citizens of the republic.
The government undertakes only to secure the safety of foreign travelers to Tetuan who are under escort of a soldier. This arrangement gives the soldier a dollar a day, which is paid by the traveler, throws around the latter the panoply of the law, and adds a certain state to his movements. The necessity of putting ourselves under the protection of the army was pleasing to us, and we commissioned our landlord to furnish us a man of war for our caravan. Our host assured us that he had procured the best beasts and equipments for our cavalcade, and we awoke early on the morning of our start, with excited anticipations of state and show.
When I glanced out of my windows at dawn, the view disclosed was exquisitely lovely. The comfortable hotel of M. Bruzeaud, where we stayed, is on a hill outside the Bab-el-Sok, or gate of the market-place, and above that busy exchange. One of my windows looked out on the garden, and the other upon the town and harbor. The garden is an orderly wilderness, a series of terraces of fruit-bearing trees, — oranges, lemons, figs, and palms; of flowering shrubs, — acacias, geraniums, carnations, pepper-trees, and rose-bushes, heavy with the weight of every form and color of this queen of the flowers. As soon as I had opened my window there came in a flood of sweet odors and a gush of bird notes. On the seats under the gigantic, wide-spreading sycamore that shades the front terrace were lounging three or four turbaned idlers, praising Allah, I hope, for the freshness of the morning, while they waited the advent of their prey, the foreigner.
From the seaward window the prospect was wide, varied, and most charming. Indeed, I scarcely know anywhere so pleasing a morning picture. The flat-topped roofs of the white-housed town, the even lines broken by a few pointed towers and minarets, and rising on the left to the ancient portions and castle, with the Alcazar; the little harbor, green and blue in patches, in the early light, with half a dozen sailing vessels and a steamer or two; to the left, the open Mediterranean and the high coast of Spain, and to the right the sand-hills of Morocco, rising by gradations and lofty mountains, over which the dawn was reddening, — this picture, for outline, color, repose, and Oriental suggestion, can hardly be equaled elsewhere. I think one might be content to spend a winter amid the color and perfume of this garden, with such a view to rest his tired senses. Already, as I looked, the life of the place was beginning to stir trains of camels were wending their way up the hill into the country; donkeys, with bundles of fagots and country produce, driven by women, or lazily bestrode by bare-legged men, were drifting into the market-place, where the crowd began to swarm, and buzz, and shift about like the occupants of an ant-hill; and I could hear the confused murmur and stir of beggars, and traffickers, and sluggards, unrolling themselves from their bundles of rags, in which they had slept beside their patient beasts. It was a market-day, and before I was dressed the idle business of the day had begun, and a circle was already formed about the snake-charmer, called together by the throb of the rude drum. If the Orientals go to rest with the sun, they rise with it.