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first to rush into the fray, and by his quickness and energy was enabled to save these martyrs to the laws of military honour. The rescuer was accordingly included in the glorious recompense awarded them: the same royal ordinance made M. de Breteuil and the five companions of Blandan members of the Legion of Honour.
The road to Blidah passes through the former site of an orange grove, which General Duvivier had for military reasons cut down. During two years, these trees served as fuel for the troops; what yet remains is still beautiful enough to lend a charm to Blidah as a place of residence. It was here, as I before said, that General Changarnier had for the moment taken up his abode. We had scarcely arrived at Blidah, when we set out in search of the head quarters. We were at a loss to find our way through the streets; and but for the eagerly obliging services of an Arab, who on the general's name being mentioned walked before us, and led us to the house of the Changarlo, as he called him, we should never have succeeded in finding this modest abode. Humble indeed was the house inhabited by General Changarnier in the Arab town. A sentinel stood at the door, perfectly buried in this labyrinth of streets, squares, and causeways. It was truly a singular
dwelling for the glorious chief of so extensive a province. The General was not at home; he had gone to inspect some works in course of construction, and would not return before an hour; but his aide-de-camp, Captain Pourcet, graciously offered us hospitality in his name. Nothing could be simpler than this house, consisting of two sets of apartments. The outside door opened upon a small vaulted passage, supporting a pavilion in which the General slept; this was the only apartment on the first floor. Passing through the passage, you were led into a courtyard, surrounded by a narrow gallery. To the left was a long room like the Moorish apartments, the floor of which was paved with tiles bearing the ordnance mark. It contained a few tables of white deal, covered with maps and papers, and a bed screened by a curtain. This was the apartment of Captain Pourcet, and was used also as an office. Immediately opposite was the dining-room, and to the right and left were two apartments, which might barely be called furnished, destined for the reception of visitors. In the other compartment, also on the ground floor, was a room the windows of which opened upon the shade of a large thickly-leaved fig tree growing in the centre of the courtyard, for the greater delectation of the pigeons in the neighbourhood. Pigeons and travellers alike found a welcome in this hospitable abode. At Blidah, as well as beneath his tent, the hospitality of General Changarnier had indeed passed into a proverb, even among the Arabs. It did not take up much time to make a complete survey of this Spartan habitation, and we were about to retire for a little rest when the General came in. His reception was kind and gracious, and he greeted us as guests, who had become his personal friends from the moment they had crossed the threshold. To our great delight, the General was on the eve of setting out on the expeditions in which we were to accompany him; and from the moment of our arrival at Blidah, we had only to prepare for our early departure.
The war at that time (1843) had continued four years in the province of Algiers; but from the beginning of the preceding year, it had entered upon its second period. Effectively in 1839, when the assassination of a superior officer, the massacre of two small columns, and numerous acts of pillage and destruction, signalised the resumption of hostilities, we had to contend with an enemy who had habitually taken advantage of intervals of peace to organise his resources and concentrate in one spot all the forces of the country. It was neces
sary to break up this nucleus and disorganise this new source of influence, before the tribes could be brought one by one to recognise our power. This was the work of two years. The brilliant campaigns of 1840 may have been forgotten, but then was established the budding renown of those names which were in future to become the glory of Africa; the pass of Mouzaia and its conflicts, Medeah and Milianah occupied by our troops, and the advance of our columns in every direction crushing all obstacles, deterred by neither danger nor fatigue. At the close of 1841, the Emir, retreating before our arms, transferred the theatre of war into the province of Oran, the focus of his power. This was the commencement of the war with the tribes; overwhelmed by a number of successful coups de main during the winter of 1841-2, the tribes of the Untidja were the first to sue for aman. In June 1842, the columns of Oran and of Algiers joined each other in the valley of the Cheliff; and in the autumn the troops of Algeria advanced in turn into the province of Oran, bringing with them the contingents of the allied tribes. Submissions were received on all sides, though of doubtful sincerity ; but pursuing its task without remission and without rest, the army continued unceasingly to make fresh advances, when in the winter of 1843 Abd-el-Kader, by a rapid movement, kindled rebellion among the Kabyles of the Beni-Menacers, the wild inhabitants of those frightful mountains dividing Cherchell from Milianah, and reconstituted a centre of resistance in Ouar-Senis, between the Cheliff and the lesser desert. To overcome this rebellion of the BeinMenacers, and two months later, to penetrate into Ouar-Senis and punish its population, was the task with which General Changarnier was charged. Notwithstanding the difficulties arising from the season, and the dangers of the operation, such was the confidence of the troops in him, that the danger was never thought of; and when he led the way, success never seemed doubtful.
The very next day after our arrival at Blidah the troops were to commence marching. Accordingly, nothing but noise and confusion reigned in the town, of which solitude and tranquillity are the habitual characteristics. The shops were crowded with soldiers purchasing their little provisions of sugar, coffee, tobacco, or cigars, according as their purses contained the humble penny allowance,* or the aristocratic silver piece. The
* The reader knows that after retaining a certain amount for food, from the pay, five sous are distributed, every five days, among the soldiers as pocket money.