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the certainty of finding direction, precise orders, and, if the peril were great, the safety of all. The King of Castile, a valiant warrior, said in former times: “Murio el ombre, mas no su nombre” —the man dies, but not his name). Marshal Bugeaud is one of the small number who will survive generations; and, what is still better, leave an affectionate souvenir in the hearts of all those whom he has commanded.
It was now time to give a little repose to the troops, after their laborious winter campaign of 1846. We received orders, then, to march upon Algiers, where we were to remain a few days before we returned to Mostaganem. From Medeah we reached Blidah, passing through the gorge of the Chiffa, one of the wonders of Africa, and one of the most beautiful scenes in the world, Fancy a magnificent road twenty-five feet broad, constructed partly on a precipitous straight cliff five leagues in length, by the process of mining and blowing up great fragments of rock, and partly on a torrent, by straightening its channel, and robbing it of half its bed. Then out of the rocks spring lichens and herbs of all sorts, whilst, in more favoured spots, where the soil has not been carried away, real forests spread their
shades over your head, and the Chiffa, forcing a tortuous course across the rocks, receives among them numerous cascades from the mountains. Presently the horizon becomes enlarged. You issue, as it were, from a prison, and your eyes, dazzled by the sudden light, first rest upon the long hills of the Mitidja, then on the sea, which is visible through an opening of the Mazafran, and then on an immense plain, to which distance gives great beauty. An hour more, and you are at Blidah. Mohamed-ben-Yousef, the traveller, whose sayings still remain popular in Africa, has said of Blidah, “You are called a little city, but I call you a little rose.” And this is a perfect description ; for Blidah is gracefully situated in the midst of orange groves, whose perfumes betray its whereabout afar off. The French, they say, have embellished the place. In spite of their embellishments, however, Blidah remains still what it was, the little rose of Mohamed-benYousef.
Finally, after having marched three hundred leagues, and lived six months in bivouacs, we reached the good city of Algiers. The sailor is not happier in the enjoyment of shore after a tempest than we were. It was quite a new birth to us, this life at Algiers. We were never tired of contemplating the scene before us; the activity, the incessant movement of the busy crowds, the store-houses, the cafés, the journals, reports from France, the letters that were awaiting us; all this caused emotions impossible to describe. Then there was the secret joy of knowing we had worthily performed great duties; and then what poignancy past privation gave to present pleasures ! If ever you meet with any one satiated with the luxuries of life, prescribe for him a winter campaign in Africa.
The gaiety of Paris and the charm of the East are to be found combined in the city of Algiers, and this especially on a certain terrace, where one cannot sit without the fancy recurring to the Thousand and One Nights. It is there, towards the close of the day, that the inhabitants assemble to inhale the refreshing sea-breeze. The sparkling sea, the white-walled houses, suspended, as it were, overhead, the rose-coloured verdant hills, the mountains forming the horizon, their crests distinctly defined on the clear blue sky, and fading away towards the foot of the Jurjura, complete a scene of consummate enchantment. What a charm there was in contemplating this splendid land
scape; but it must be confessed that we enjoyed other pleasures too of a more turbulent description. Is it necessary to add that our happiness was of short duration ? But such is the life of a soldier. The halt and the march always follow quick upon each other. Eight days after we had entered Algiers we were again upon the move, encountering new perils and adventures.
The name of the Rhomsi is certainly very little known in France; nevertheless the Rhomsi are an old family of great renown among the Assesnas, the wild inhabitants of mountains which separate the Tell from the Sersous, not far from the French post of Saïda. This family or tribe are our most faithful allies; and since they submitted to our authority, and pledged their faith to us in 1841, have not once revolted.
Having valiantly opposed Abd-el-Kader, the Rhomsi, to escape his vengeance, were obliged to take refuge among their friends, the Harars. Setting out in the night, with a little barley and provision for three days, they hoped to join their friends in the neighbourhood of the Chotts. Vain hope! They were obliged to resume their route,