Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

events had taken with two men, the result of Sid Ahmed's jealousy, whọ hold in different ways almost and that he was actuated no doubt the highest positions in Morocco. also by a feeling that the course One was himself a vizier, the other he pursued was the safest in the far above all fear of arrest. They Sultan's interests—for by removboth told me the same tale; but, in ing his own two most dangerspite of the high authority on which ous enemies, he at the same time I heard it, I do not think it is to be would find further scope for his credited, and in my opinion it was influence and policy. That the the officially agreed upon story, viziers deserved their fate none that was to give justice to the can deny. Haj Amaati had imarrest of such important members poverished the whole country by of the Sultan's court.

his enormous and insatiable greed I was told that both the viziers and black-mail, and his brother in question had addressed letters had deprived the soldiery of a to Mulai Ismain in Fez, and to very considerable portion of their Mulai Mohammed in Morocco pay. City, the young Sultan's uncle Immediately the arrests were and brother respectively, inviting made the entire property of both them to seize the opportunity of -together with that of Sid el arbi attempting the throne, and offer- Zebdi-was confiscated, and their

— ing all their large fortune and in- houses

at

Fez seized. Нај fluence in the event of their doing Amaati had just completed the

These letters, it was said, building in the capital of a palace were intercepted and the plot dis- second to none there in size and covered.

decoration, a block of buildings Although both the viziers in rising high above the level of the question were quite capable of other houses, which will be an such a plot, I cannot believe eternal landmark of the vizier's that either pursued the course rise and fall. It had been comstated above. To a Moor a docu- pleted only during his absence in

a ment of any sort is a far more im- the south with the Sultan, and so portant thing than to us, and any much pride did the vizier take in one who is acquainted with the this new palace that he had Moors knows how extremely difli- ordered all the decorations in cult it is to obtain any kind of stucco and mosaic, of which the matter in writing. Had such an Moors are perfect masters, to be idea as that stated above entered draped with linen, so that none the minds of Haj Amaati and his should see the general effect before brother, and had they formulated himself. A rope attached to these

, any conspiracy to that effect, they curtains would allow the entire would never have been so foolish drapery to fall, when the every as to commit themselves to writ- beauty of the decoration would ing, and any communication with be exposed. Within a week of the two Shereefs in question would realising this dream of orienhave been made with the aid of a tal fancy, he was cast into trusted envoy. It was easy to see dungeon, and his house and all that one of my informants at least his wealth confiscated to the discredited the story he was telling Sultan. me, which he only knew from With the fall of the two viziers oflicial sources. My own opinion it became more apparent than ever is this, that the whole affair was that Sid Ahmed meant to be

a а

а

master of the whole situation ; but With regard to the former a he was wise enough not to attempt few words must be said. Mulai alone what could be done equally Omar, who had been left as vicewell, and very probably better, roy by Mulai el Hassen, whose with the advice of trusted advisers, son he was by a slave wife, is a There were two people at the young man of extremely vicious Court in whose hands might lie and degenerate habits, nearly black the power of treating him as he in colour, and with an expression had treated the others. These as ugly as it is revolting. While two were respectively the Circas- beyond his immorality no actual sian mother of the Sultan, and charge of crime can be laid to his Sidi Mohammed el Marani, an in- door, he may be said to be incapfluential Shereef, who had married able of filling the position he held, the sister of Mulai el Hassen, and and to want discretion and cominto whose hands a considerable mon-sense. part of the upbringing of Mulai It appears—and I knew of the Abdul Aziz had been intrusted. event at the time—that on his Both must be conciliated, for over learning of the death of his father, the Sultan both held great influ- he sent to the Jewish silversmiths, ence—so great, in fact, that should by whom all Government work is Sid Ahmed's conduct in any way done, and ordered one of their displease them, their united power number to make him a seal. Now might easily persuade the Sultan in Morocco a seal is an exceedingly to dismiss him. Not for this important object, and no one uses reason alone, however, did Sid a seal of office unless it is actually Ahmed, as it were, invite these presented to him by the Sultan. two to join him in a sort of council So far the story is generally known, of regency, for he knew fully well but here my version the true the ability of both and their devo- version differs, for while the tion to his lord and master.

European press harped upon the In the hands of these three fact that Mulai Omar wished to persons the welfare of Morocco lies. make himself a seal with the inBut before entering upon any con- scription of Sultan upon it, the jectures as to the future, the history fact was that the seal was to bear of past events must be continued Mulai Abdul Aziz's name, and

that the reason of Mulai Omar's On Thursday, July 19, a start ordering it to be made was not in was made from Mequinez towards order to stamp documents himself Fez, the army and the governor of as Sultan, but probably to have in the tribes and their escorts having his possession a means of forging camped the previous night a slight letters supposed to have come from distance outside the town near the Court. Whether his idea was by Fez road.

this to make the best of the short Two events worthy of mention period that remained to him as had meanwhile taken place at Fez, Viceroy to amass money, or whether first, the behaviour of Mulai Omar, in case of any outbreak or disthe Sultan's brother and viceroy; turbance on the part of the popand, secondly, the fact that the ulation to be able to forge concilenkas, or local taxation upon all iatory or other letters that would goods sold, had been removed, to keep them quiet until his brother's gether with the octroi at the city arrival, it is impossible to say. gates.

But whatever may have been the

up to date.

never

desire, the result in the suspicious veillance—a course that was supeyes of his brother was this—that plemented on his brother's arhe had attempted by some means rival by chains upon his legs. to usurp the throne.

Meanwhile his Majesty had been However, the seal was pleased to treat his brother, Mulai made. The Jew artificer, know- Mobammed, in Morocco City, in ing the penalty that would meet the same manner. him at the hands of the Sultan As to the remitting of the local were he even the innocent in- taxes and octroi in Fez, but little strument in this, fled and sought need be said. Certain unfriendly the protection of an influential remarks had been overheard regardmember of the Government, and ing the new Sultan, and the genthe affair was knocked on the eral tone of the Fez people was head at once.

not satisfactory Fearing that A second charge was also laid any outbreak might occur, and at Mulai Omar's door-that of knowing that the avaricious inhaving ordered the music of the habitants were open to no persuadrums and pipes to cease on the sion except money, the Amin Haj occasion of the announcement of Abdesalam Makri, the Chancellor Mulai Abdul Aziz's succession to of the Exchequer of Fez, on his the throne. On the players re- own authority, remitted this most fusing, his highness sent a slave, unpopular tax, which is contrary who enforced silence by splitting to Moorish law. It turned the up the drums with a dagger. For tide, and the Fez citizen, finding this act of treason he was after himself a few dollars, or a few wards punished by having the pence, the richer, changed front, flesh of his hand sliced, the wound and was loud in his acclamations filled with salt, and the whole of the new Sultan. The charm of hand sewn up in leather. It is the situation was, however, that a common belief that this punish- as soon as the Sultan had safely ment causes mortification to set entered Fez, and was thus securely in, and that the hand decomposes; upon the throne, he instituted once but such is not the case, for by again the tax, and the population the time the leather wears off the rose on the morning of Tuesday, wound is healed, the result being July 24, to find the tax-gatherers that the hand is rendered useless, returned to their accustomed and remains closed for ever. It haunts. is a punishment not often in use, On Saturday, July 21, Mulai but is sometimes done in cases of Abdul Aziz made his State entry murder or constant theft, as, with into Fez, with the pomp and gorout in any way injuring the health geousness with which the Moors of the man, it prevents his com- know so well how to adorn such mitting the crime a second time, pageants. Proceeding at once to or for the hundredth time, as the the tomb of his ancestor Mulai case may be. It is a punishment Idris, he took the e oath of the that cannot be applied except by constitution, and a few minutes the Sultan's orders.

later the great gates of the white It was no doubt on account of palace closed upon Mulai Abdul these offences that letters were Aziz, Sultan of Morocco. received by Mulai Omar from the So did Mulai el Hassen die and Sultan, forbidding him to leave his Mulai Abdul Aziz succeed. house, and placing him under sur

WALTER B. HARRIS,

WIIO WAS LOST AND IS FOUND.

CHAPTER XVII.

[ocr errors]

you are

IF Mrs Ogilvy had been at late in the evening. I have often home, it is almost certain that heard of them in the village,” Mrs none of these things could have Ainslie said. happened — if she had not been “ His visit is almost over

r-he is kept so long, if Mr Somerville's just going away,” said Mrs Ogilvy, other client had not detained faintly. “I am just a little tired him, and, worst of all, if she with my walk. Susie, you would had not been beguiled by the perhaps see—my son ?” unaccustomed relief of a sympa- "I saw Robbie—for a minute. thetic listener, a friendly hand We had no time to say anything. held out to help her, to waste I—could not keep him from his that precious hour in taking her dinner—and his friend," Susie said, luncheon with her old friend. with a flush. It hurt her to speak That was pure waste—to please of Robbie, who had not cared to him, and in a foolish yielding to see her, who had nothing to say to those claims of nature which Mrs her. “We are keeping you, and Ogilvy, like many women,

tired : and

me,

I have much thought she could defy. To-day, to do — and perhaps soon going

in the temporary relief of her away altogether,” said Susie, not mind after pouring out all her able to keep a complaint which troubles—a process which for the was almost an appeal out of her moment felt almost like the re- voice. moval of them—she had become “She will go to her own house, aware of her own exhaustion and I hope,” cried Mrs Ainslie; "and need of refreshment and rest. I hope you who are a friend of And thus she had thrown away the family will advise her for her voluntarily a precious hour. good, Mrs Ogilvy. A good hus

She met Susie and Mrs Ainslie band waiting for her and she at her own gate, and though tired threatens to go away altogether, with her walk from the station,

were driving her out. stopped to speak to them. “ We Was there ever anything so silly found the gentlemen at their din- and cruel to her father--not to ner,” Mrs Ainslie said, her usual speak of mejaunty air increased by a sort “Oh, my dear Susie! if I were of triumphant excitement, "and not so faint - and tired,” Mrs therefore of course we did not go Ogilvy said. in; but I rested a little outside, And Susie, full of tender comand the sound of their jolly voices punction and interest, but daring quite did me good. They don't to ask nothing except with her speak between their teeth, like all eyes, hurried her companion away. you people here.

Mrs Ogilvy went up

with a “My son—has a friend with slow step to her own house. She him,—for a very short time,” Mrs was in haste to get there—yet Ogilvy said.

would have liked to linger, to “Oh yes, I know - the friend leave herself a little more time with whom he takes long walks before she confronted again those

VOL. CLVI.—NO. DCCCCXLVIII.

[ocr errors]

as

we

[ocr errors]

21

[ocr errors]

as

two who were so strong against she wished to see could be of her in their combination, so care- the slightest importance, and yet less of what she said or felt. with an excited curiosity lest she She thought, with a sickness at might have been doing something her heart, of those “jolly voices prejudicial and was not to be which that woman had heard. trusted. These inferences of voice She knew exactly what they were jarred on Mrs Ogilvy's nerves in —the noise, the laughter, which at the weariness and over-strain. first she had been so glad to hear “It is of no consequence," she as a sign that Robbie's heart had said. “Let me in, Robbie-let recovered the cheerfulness of me come in at my own door: I am youth, but which sometimes made so wearied that I must rest." her sick with misery and the “Who was keeping you out of sense of helplessness. She would your own door ?” he cried, making find them so now, rattling away way for her resentfully. “You with their disjointed talk, and in tell me one moment that everyher fatigue and trouble it would thing is mine--and then you re“turn her heart.” She went up mind me for ever that it's yours slowly, saying to herself, as a sort and not mine, with this talk about of excuse, that she could not walk your own door.” as she once could, that her breath Mrs Ogilvy looked up at him was short and her foot uncertain for a moment in dismay, feeling and tremulous, so that she could if there was justice, somenot be sure of not stumbling even thing she had not thought of, in in the approach to her own house. his remark; and then, being over

It was a great surprise to her to whelmed with fatigue and the consee that Robbie was looking out flict of so many feelings, went into for her at the door. Her alarm her parlour, and sat down to rejumped at once to the other side. cover herself in her chair. There Something had happened. She were no “jolly voices” about, no was wanted. The fact that she sound of the other whose movewas being looked for, instead of ments were always noisier than pleasing her, as it might have done those of Robbie ; and Robbie himin other circumstances, alarmed self, as he hung about, had less her now.

She hurried on, not colour and energy than usual—or lingering any more, and reached perhaps it was only because she the door out of breath.

was tired, and everything around thing wrong? has anything hap- took colour from her own mood. pened ?" she cried.

“Is he not with you to-day?" “What should have happened ?" she said faintly. he answered, fretfully; "only that • Is he not with me?—you mean you have been

so long away. Lew, I suppose : where else should What have you been doing in he be? He's up-stairs, I think, in Edinburgh ? We thought, of his room." course, you would be back for “You

say

where else should he dinner."

be, Robbie ? Is he always to be “I could not help it, Robbie. I here? I'm wishing him no harm had to wait till I saw—the person —far, far from that; but it would I went to see.

be better for himself as well as for “And who was the person you you if he were not here. Where went to see?” he said, in that tone you are, oh Robbie, my dear, half-contemptuous, as if no one there's always a clue to him : and

"Is any

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »