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A L G ER I A.
THE COUNT P. DE CASTELLANE.
IN TWO VOLUME S.
SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN,
MILITARY LIFE IN ALGERIA.
ARRIVING by sea, Algiers gives one the idea of a city lying asleep along a hill side—calm and careless amidst the fresh fields which surround it; but on drawing nearer and penetrating within its whitened walls, you soon discover that beneath this apparent listlessness there is a stir and life altogether European. The die is cast, and Algiers the Mussulman is daily fading away to make room for the French city. From the terrace of a house in which we had been received with warm-hearted hospitality, we were never weary of gazing at the
bustling crowd, not an individual of whom was seen walking; everybody ran. A strange medley of many various faces and costumes; here a European just landed and all bewildered amidst the mob; now and then the Biskris passing at a rapid and measured pace, and carrying a heavy burden hanging to a long pole; anon the Arab in his burnous, the Turk under his cumbrous turban, the Jew with sombre garments and wily glance, or the oil carrier with his goat-skin vessels; and through the thick of the rout, legions of donkeys with their negro drivers, light cars drawn by two or three horses, baggage mules in a long string, bearing provisions for the military stores ; equestrians galloping in spite of police regulations; a colonist with white broad-brimmed hat, or perhaps an officer in brilliant uniform, believing himself privileged to do anything in the town which he protects. In short, the scene presented all the disorder, the confusion, the bustle of an ant-hill; all around were signs of activity, energy, and hope, that just and productive hope which accompanies labour.
While the lower city is thus delivered over to French Fury, the silence and repose, the calmness and gravity of the Mussulman have taken refuge in the upper quarters. I should advise no one to venture alone amid those narrow crooked streets, through which it is difficult for two people to walk abreast. He would infallibly lose himself in this labyrinth, which seems peopled only by shadows. From time to time a white phantom glides by your side, a door noiselessly opens, you turn your head, and the mysterious apparition has vanished. One would imagine, that from the summit of the Casbah, the memory of the Deys still spread terror among their subjects of yore, though it is long since the flag of France first waved over these walls.
In 1843 its shadow was spreading day by day wider over the country; every day a fresh step was made towards its conquest, and the scene of war receded still further from the walls of the city. We were in haste to find ourselves among the camps. What to us was Algiers ? Its immoveable houses could not balance in our eyes the attractions of the bivouac never two days the same. Accordingly we counted every hour that must elapse ere we could join General Changarnier, and begin our expeditions into the interior of the country. At last the day of departure arrived, and before we were