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IN MOROCCO

[Illustration: _From a photograph from the Service des Beaux-Arts au
Maroc_

Fez Elbali from the ramparts]




IN MOROCCO

BY

EDITH WHARTON

ILLUSTRATED

[Illustration]

NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1920


COPYRIGHT, 1919, 1920, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

Published October, 1920

THE SCRIBNER PRESS


TO
GENERAL LYAUTEY

RESIDENT GENERAL OF FRANCE IN MOROCCO AND TO
MADAME LYAUTEY,

THANKS TO WHOSE KINDNESS THE JOURNEY
I HAD SO LONG DREAMED OF
SURPASSED WHAT I HAD DREAMED




PREFACE


I

Having begun my book with the statement that Morocco still lacks a
guide-book, I should have wished to take a first step toward remedying
that deficiency.

But the conditions in which I travelled, though full of unexpected and
picturesque opportunities, were not suited to leisurely study of the
places visited. The time was limited by the approach of the rainy
season, which puts an end to motoring over the treacherous trails of the
Spanish zone. In 1918, owing to the watchfulness of German submarines in
the Straits and along the northwest coast of Africa, the trip by sea
from Marseilles to Casablanca, ordinarily so easy, was not to be made
without much discomfort and loss of time. Once on board the steamer,
passengers were often kept in port (without leave to land) for six or
eight days; therefore for any one bound by a time-limit, as most
war-workers were, it was necessary to travel across country, and to be
back at Tangier before the November rains.

This left me only one month in which to visit Morocco from the
Mediterranean to the High Atlas, and from the Atlantic to Fez, and even
had there been a Djinn's carpet to carry me, the multiplicity of
impressions received would have made precise observation difficult.

The next best thing to a Djinn's carpet, a military motor, was at my
disposal every morning; but war conditions imposed restrictions, and the
wish to use the minimum of petrol often stood in the way of the second
visit which alone makes it possible to carry away a definite and
detailed impression.

These drawbacks were more than offset by the advantage of making my
quick trip at a moment unique in the history of the country; the brief
moment of transition between its virtually complete subjection to
European authority, and the fast approaching hour when it is thrown open
to all the banalities and promiscuities of modern travel.

Morocco is too curious, too beautiful, too rich in landscape and
architecture, and above all too much of a novelty, not to attract one of
the main streams of spring travel as soon as Mediterranean passenger
traffic is resumed. Now that the war is over, only a few months' work on
roads and railways divide it from the great torrent of "tourism"; and
once that deluge is let loose, no eye will ever again see Moulay Idriss
and Fez and Marrakech as I saw them.

In spite of the incessant efforts of the present French administration
to preserve the old monuments of Morocco from injury, and her native
arts and industries from the corruption of European bad taste, the
impression of mystery and remoteness which the country now produces must
inevitably vanish with the approach of the "Circular Ticket." Within a
few years far more will be known of the past of Morocco, but that past
will be far less visible to the traveller than it is to-day. Excavations
will reveal fresh traces of Roman and Phenician occupation; the remote
affinities between Copts and Berbers, between Bagdad and Fez, between
Byzantine art and the architecture of the Souss, will be explored and
elucidated; but, while these successive discoveries are being made, the
strange survival of mediæval life, of a life contemporary with the
crusaders, with Saladin, even with the great days of the Caliphate of
Bagdad, which now greets the astonished traveller, will gradually
disappear, till at last even the mysterious autocthones of the Atlas
will have folded their tents and silently stolen away.


II

Authoritative utterances on Morocco are not wanting for those who can
read them in French; but they are to be found mainly in large and often
inaccessible books, like M. Doutté's "En Tribu," the Marquis de
Segonzac's remarkable explorations in the Atlas, or Foucauld's classic
(but unobtainable) "Reconnaissance au Maroc"; and few, if any, have been
translated into English.

M. Louis Châtelain has dealt with the Roman ruins of Volubilis and M.
Tranchant de Lunel, M. Raymond Koechlin, M. Gaillard, M. Ricard, and
many other French scholars, have written of Moslem architecture and art
in articles published either in "France-Maroc," as introductions to
catalogues of exhibitions, or in the reviews and daily papers. Pierre
Loti and M. André Chevrillon have reflected, with the intensest visual
sensibility, the romantic and ruinous Morocco of yesterday; and in the
volumes of the "Conférences Marocaines," published by the French
government, the experts gathered about the Resident-General have
examined the industrial and agricultural Morocco of to-morrow. Lastly,
one striking book sums up, with the clearness and consecutiveness of
which French scholarship alone possesses the art, the chief things to be
said on all these subjects, save that of art and archæology. This is M.
Augustin Bernard's volume, "Le Maroc," the one portable and compact yet
full and informing book since Leo Africanus described the bazaars of
Fez. But M. Augustin Bernard deals only with the ethnology, the social,
religious and political history, and the physical properties, of the
country; and this, though "a large order," leaves out the visual and
picturesque side, except in so far as the book touches on the always
picturesque life of the people.

For the use, therefore, of the happy wanderers who may be planning a
Moroccan journey, I have added to the record of my personal impressions
a slight sketch of the history and art of the country. In extenuation of
the attempt I must add that the chief merit of this sketch will be its
absence of originality. Its facts will be chiefly drawn from the pages
of M. Augustin Bernard, M. H. Saladin, and M. Gaston Migeon, and the
rich sources of the "Conférences Marocaines" and the articles of
"France-Maroc." It will also be deeply indebted to information given on
the spot by the brilliant specialists of the French administration, to
the Marquis de Segonzac, with whom I had the good luck to travel from
Rabat to Marrakech and back; to M. Alfred de Tarde, editor of
"France-Maroc"; to M. Tranchant de Lunel, director of the French School
of Fine Arts in Morocco; to M. Goulven, the historian of Portuguese
Mazagan; to M. Louis Châtelain, and to the many other cultivated and
cordial French officials, military and civilian, who, at each stage of
my journey, did their amiable best to answer my questions and open my
eyes.




NOTE


In the writing of proper names and of other Arab words the French
spelling has been followed.

In the case of proper names, and names of cities and districts, this
seems justified by the fact that they occur in a French colony, where
French usage naturally prevails; and to spell _Oudjda_ in the French
way, and _koubba_, for instance, in the English form of _kubba_, would
cause needless confusion as to their respective pronunciation. It seems
therefore simpler, in a book written for the ordinary traveller, to
conform altogether to French usage.




TABLE OF CONTENTS


PAGE

PREFACE vii

I. RABAT AND SALÉ 1

II. VOLUBILIS, MOULAY IDRISS AND MEKNEZ 35

III. FEZ 75

IV. MARRAKECH 121

V. HAREMS AND CEREMONIES 159

VI. GENERAL LYAUTEY'S WORK IN MOROCCO 207

VII. A SKETCH OF MOROCCAN HISTORY 229

VIII. NOTE ON MOROCCAN ARCHITECTURE 259

IX. BOOKS CONSULTED 279

INDEX 283




ILLUSTRATIONS


FEZ ELBALI FROM THE RAMPARTS _Frontispiece_

FACING PAGE

GENERAL VIEW FROM THE KASBAH OF THE OUDAYAS - RABAT 16

INTERIOR COURT OF THE MEDERSA OF THE OUDAYAS - RABAT 20

ENTRANCE OF THE MEDERSA - SALÉ 24

MARKET-PLACE OUTSIDE THE TOWN - SALÉ 26

CHELLA-RUINS OF MOSQUE - SALÉ 30

THE WESTERN PORTICO OF THE BASILICA OF ANTONIUS
PIUS - VOLUBILIS 46

MOULAY IDRISS 48

THE MARKET-PLACE - MOULAY IDRISS 50

MARKET-PLACE ON THE DAY OF THE RITUAL DANCE OF
THE HAMADCHAS - MOULAY IDRISS 52

THE MARKET-PLACE. PROCESSION OF THE CONFRATERNITY
OF THE HAMADCHAS - MOULAY IDRISS 56

GATE: "BAB-MANSOUR" - MEKNEZ 58

THE RUINS OF THE PALACE OF MOULAY-ISMAËL - MEKNEZ 66

FEZ ELDJID 84

A REED-ROOFED STREET - FEZ 88

THE NEDJARINE FOUNTAIN - FEZ 94

THE BAZAARS. A VIEW OF THE SOUK EL ATTARINE AND
THE QUAISARYA - FEZ 108

THE "LITTLE GARDEN" IN BACKGROUND, PALACE OF
THE BAHIA - MARRAKECH 128

THE GREAT COURT, PALACE OF THE BAHIA - MARRAKECH 130

APARTMENT OF THE GRAND VIZIER'S FAVORITE, PALACE
OF THE BAHIA - MARRAKECH 132

A FONDAK - MARRAKECH 144

MAUSOLEUM OF THE SAADIAN SULTANS SHOWING THE
TOMBS - MARRAKECH 156

THE SULTAN OF MOROCCO UNDER THE GREEN UMBRELLA 168

A CLAN OF MOUNTAINEERS AND THEIR CAÏD 170

THE SULTAN ENTERING MARRAKECH IN STATE 176

WOMEN WATCHING A PROCESSION FROM A ROOF 194

A STREET FOUNTAIN - MARRAKECH 262

GATE OF THE KASBAH OF THE OUDAYAS - RABAT 266

MEDERSA BOUANYANA - FEZ 268

THE PRAYING-CHAPEL IN THE MEDERSA EL ATTARINE - FEZ 270

INTERIOR COURT OF THE MEDERSA - SALÉ 274

THE GATE OF THE PORTUGUESE - MARRAKECH 276


MAP

THE PART OF MOROCCO VISITED BY MRS. WHARTON 8




I

RABAT AND SALÉ


I

LEAVING TANGIER

To step on board a steamer in a Spanish port, and three hours later to
land in _a country without a guide-book_, is a sensation to rouse the
hunger of the repletest sight-seer.

The sensation is attainable by any one who will take the trouble to row
out into the harbour of Algeciras and scramble onto a little black boat
headed across the straits. Hardly has the rock of Gibraltar turned to
cloud when one's foot is on the soil of an almost unknown Africa.
Tangier, indeed, is in the guide-books; but, cuckoo-like, it has had to
lays its egg in strange nests, and the traveller who wants to find out
about it must acquire a work dealing with some other country - Spain or
Portugal or Algeria. There is no guide-book to Morocco, and no way of
knowing, once one has left Tangier behind, where the long trail over the
Rif is going to land one, in the sense understood by any one accustomed
to European certainties. The air of the unforeseen blows on one from the
roadless passes of the Atlas.

This feeling of adventure is heightened by the contrast between
Tangier - cosmopolitan, frowsy, familiar Tangier, that every tourist has
visited for the last forty years - and the vast unknown just beyond. One
has met, of course, travellers who have been to Fez; but they have gone
there on special missions, under escort, mysteriously, perhaps
perilously; the expedition has seemed, till lately, a considerable
affair. And when one opens the records of Moroccan travellers written
within the last twenty years, how many, even of the most adventurous,
are found to have gone beyond Fez? And what, to this day, do the names
of Meknez and Marrakech, of Mogador, Saffi or Rabat, signify to any but
a few students of political history, a few explorers and naturalists?
Not till within the last year has Morocco been open to travel from
Tangier to the Great Atlas, and from Moulay Idriss to the Atlantic.
Three years ago Christians were being massacred in the streets of Salé,
the pirate town across the river from Rabat, and two years ago no
European had been allowed to enter the Sacred City of Moulay Idriss, the
burial-place of the lawful descendant of Ali, founder of the Idrissite
dynasty. Now, thanks to the energy and the imagination of one of the
greatest of colonial administrators, the country, at least in the French
zone, is as safe and open as the opposite shore of Spain. All that
remains is to tell the traveller how to find his way about it.

Ten years ago there was not a wheeled vehicle in Morocco; now its
thousands of miles of trail, and its hundreds of miles of firm French
roads, are travelled by countless carts, omnibuses and motor-vehicles.
There are light railways from Rabat to Fez in the west, and to a point
about eighty-five kilometres from Marrakech in the south; and it is
possible to say that within a year a regular railway system will connect
eastern Morocco with western Algeria, and the ports of Tangier and
Casablanca with the principal points of the interior.

What, then, prevents the tourist from instantly taking ship at Bordeaux
or Algeciras and letting loose his motor on this new world? Only the
temporary obstacles which the war has everywhere put in the way of
travel. Till these are lifted it will hardly be possible to travel in
Morocco except by favour of the Resident-General; but, normal conditions
once restored, the country will be as accessible, from the straits of
Gibraltar to the Great Atlas, as Algeria or Tunisia.

To see Morocco during the war was therefore to see it in the last phase
of its curiously abrupt transition from remoteness and danger to
security and accessibility; at a moment when its aspect and its customs
were still almost unaffected by European influences, and when the
"Christian" might taste the transient joy of wandering unmolested in
cities of ancient mystery and hostility, whose inhabitants seemed hardly
aware of his intrusion.



II

THE TRAIL TO EL-KSAR

With such opportunities ahead it was impossible, that brilliant morning
of September, 1917, not to be off quickly from Tangier, impossible to do
justice to the pale-blue town piled up within brown walls against the
thickly-foliaged gardens of "the Mountain," to the animation of its
market-place and the secret beauties of its steep Arab streets. For
Tangier swarms with people in European clothes, there are English,
French and Spanish signs above its shops, and cab-stands in its squares;
it belongs, as much as Algiers, to the familiar dog-eared world of
travel - and there, beyond the last dip of "the Mountain," lies the world
of mystery, with the rosy dawn just breaking over it. The motor is at
the door and we are off.

The so-called Spanish zone, which encloses internationalized Tangier in
a wide circuit of territory, extends southward for a distance of about a
hundred and fifteen kilometres. Consequently, when good roads traverse
it, French Morocco will be reached in less than two hours by
motor-travellers bound for the south. But for the present Spanish
enterprise dies out after a few miles of macadam (as it does even
between Madrid and Toledo), and the tourist is committed to the _piste_.
These _pistes_ - the old caravan-trails from the south - are more
available to motors in Morocco than in southern Algeria and Tunisia,
since they run mostly over soil which, though sandy in part, is bound
together by a tough dwarf vegetation, and not over pure desert sand.
This, however, is the utmost that can be said of the Spanish _pistes_.
In the French protectorate constant efforts are made to keep the trails
fit for wheeled traffic, but Spain shows no sense of a corresponding
obligation.

After leaving the macadamized road which runs south from Tangier one
seems to have embarked on a petrified ocean in a boat hardly equal to
the adventure. Then, as one leaps and plunges over humps and ruts, down
sheer banks into rivers, and up precipices into sand-pits, one gradually
gains faith in one's conveyance and in one's spinal column; but both
must be sound in every joint to resist the strain of the long miles to
Arbaoua, the frontier post of the French protectorate.

[Illustration: The part of Morocco visited by Mrs. Wharton]

Luckily there are other things to think about. At the first turn out of
Tangier, Europe and the European disappear, and as soon as the motor
begins to dip and rise over the arid little hills beyond to the last
gardens one is sure that every figure on the road will be picturesque
instead of prosaic, every garment graceful instead of grotesque. One
knows, too, that there will be no more omnibuses or trams or
motorcyclists, but only long lines of camels rising up in brown friezes
against the sky, little black donkeys trotting across the scrub under
bulging pack-saddles, and noble draped figures walking beside them or
majestically perching on their rumps. And for miles and miles there will
be no more towns - only, at intervals on the naked slopes, circles of
rush-roofed huts in a blue stockade of cactus, or a hundred or two nomad
tents of black camel's hair resting on walls of wattled thorn and
grouped about a terebinth-tree and a well.

Between these nomad colonies lies the _bled_, the immense waste of
fallow land and palmetto desert: an earth as void of life as the sky
above it of clouds. The scenery is always the same; but if one has the
love of great emptinesses, and of the play of light on long stretches of
parched earth and rock, the sameness is part of the enchantment. In such
a scene every landmark takes on an extreme value. For miles one watches
the little white dome of a saint's grave rising and disappearing with
the undulations of the trail; at last one is abreast of it, and the
solitary tomb, alone with its fig-tree and its broken well-curb, puts a
meaning into the waste. The same importance, but intensified, marks the
appearance of every human figure. The two white-draped riders passing
single file up the red slope to that ring of tents on the ridge have a
mysterious and inexplicable importance: one follows their progress with
eyes that ache with conjecture. More exciting still is the encounter of
the first veiled woman heading a little cavalcade from the south. All
the mystery that awaits us looks out through the eye-slits in the
grave-clothes muffling her. Where have they come from, where are they
going, all these slow wayfarers out of the unknown? Probably only from
one thatched _douar_[1] to another; but interminable distances unroll
behind them, they breathe of Timbuctoo and the farthest desert. Just
such figures must swarm in the Saharan cities, in the Soudan and
Senegal. There is no break in the links: these wanderers have looked on
at the building of cities that were dust when the Romans pushed their
outposts across the Atlas.


III

EL-KSAR TO RABAT

A town at last - its nearness announced by the multiplied ruts of the
trail, the cactus hedges, the fig-trees weighed down by dust leaning
over ruinous earthern walls. And here are the first houses of the
European El-Ksar - neat white Spanish houses on the slope outside the old
Arab settlement. Of the Arab town itself, above reed stockades and brown
walls, only a minaret and a few flat roofs are visible. Under the walls
drowse the usual gregarious Lazaruses; others, temporarily resuscitated,
trail their grave-clothes after a line of camels and donkeys toward the
olive-gardens outside the town.

The way to Rabat is long and difficult, and there is no time to visit
El-Ksar, though its minaret beckons so alluringly above the
fruit-orchards; so we stop for luncheon outside the walls, at a canteen
with a corrugated iron roof where skinny Spaniards are serving thick
purple wine and eggs fried in oil to a party of French soldiers. The
heat has suddenly become intolerable, and a flaming wind straight from
the south brings in at the door, with a cloud of blue flies, the smell
of camels and trampled herbs and the strong spices of the bazaars.

Luncheon over, we hurry on between the cactus hedges, and then plunge
back into the waste. Beyond El-Ksar the last hills of the Rif die away,
and there is a stretch of wilderness without an outline till the Lesser
Atlas begins to rise in the east. Once in the French protectorate the
trail improves, but there are still difficult bits; and finally, on a
high plateau, the chauffeur stops in a web of crisscross trails, throws
up his hands, and confesses that he has lost his way. The heat is mortal
at the moment. For the last hour the red breath of the sirocco has
risen from every hollow into which we dipped; now it hangs about us in
the open, as if we had caught it in our wheels and it had to pause above
us when we paused.

All around is the featureless wild land, palmetto scrub stretching away
into eternity. A few yards off rises the inevitable ruined _koubba_[2]
with its fig-tree: in the shade under its crumbling wall the buzz of the
flies is like the sound of frying. Farther off, we discern a cluster of
huts, and presently some Arab boys and a tall pensive shepherd come
hurrying across the scrub. They are full of good-will, and no doubt of
information; but our chauffeur speaks no Arabic and the talk dies down
into shrugs and head-shakings. The Arabs retire to the shade of the
wall, and we decide to start - for anywhere....

The chauffeur turns the crank, but there is no responding quiver.
Something has gone wrong; we can't move, and it is not much comfort to
remember that, if we could, we should not know where to go. At least we
should be cooler in motion than sitting still under the blinding sky.

Such an adventure initiates one at the outset into the stern facts of
desert motoring. Every detail of our trip from Tangier to Rabat had been
carefully planned to keep us in unbroken contact with civilization. We
were to "tub" in one European hotel, and to dine in another, with just
enough picnicking between to give a touch of local colour. But let one
little cog slip and the whole plan falls to bits, and we are alone in
the old untamed Moghreb, as remote from Europe as any mediæval
adventurer. If one lose one's way in Morocco, civilization vanishes as
though it were a magic carpet rolled up by a Djinn.

It is a good thing to begin with such a mishap, not only because it
develops the fatalism necessary to the enjoyment of Africa, but because
it lets one at once into the mysterious heart of the country: a country
so deeply conditioned by its miles and miles of uncitied wilderness that
until one has known the wilderness one cannot begin to understand the
cities.

We came to one at length, after sunset on that first endless day. The
motor, cleverly patched up, had found its way to a real road, and
speeding along between the stunted cork-trees of the forest of Mamora
brought us to a last rise from which we beheld in the dusk a line of
yellow walls backed by the misty blue of the Atlantic. Salé, the fierce
old pirate town, where Robinson Crusoe was so long a slave, lay before
us, snow-white in its cheese-coloured ramparts skirted by fig and olive
gardens. Below its gates a stretch of waste land, endlessly trailed over
by mules and camels, sloped down to the mouth of the Bou-Regreg, the
blue-brown river dividing it from Rabat. The motor stopped at the
landing-stage of the steam-ferry; crowding about it were droves of
donkeys, knots of camels, plump-faced merchants on crimson-saddled
mules, with negro servants at their bridles, bare-legged water-carriers
with hairy goat-skins slung over their shoulders, and Arab women in a
heap of veils, cloaks, mufflings, all of the same ashy white, the
caftans of clutched children peeping through in patches of old rose and
lilac and pale green.

Across the river the native town of Rabat lay piled up on an orange-red


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