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strong reinforcements, and might have our revenge on the Flittas.
In the month of October the two combined columns marched into the country of the Flittas, bivouacking first at Touiza. We remained there long enough for General Bourjolly to send out foraging cavalry parties under the escort of a battalion of infantry.
A little beyond the plain of the Mina, there is a valley called Touiza of the Beni-Dergoun, from the name of the tribe which inhabits it. This valley leads to the Flittas mountains, which are parallel to the sea, and entering the mountains, forms towards the east a broad basin, covered with mastick trees, and intersected here and there by glades and corn fields. To the south, opposite Touiza, is the defile of Tifour; on the west, two leagues off, the passage of Zamora ; on the east, at the bottom of this great basin, a winding road cut through the mountain, which leads to OuedMelab and towards the Guerboussa. This road goes straight to the Khamis of the Beni-Ouragh. On the heights, to our left, we were on the lookout for straw; and indeed we soon saw mounds of earth, which indicated the existence of ricks; for to prevent the straw, broken to bits under the
horses' feet when the corn is trodden out, being carried away by the wind, the Arabs surround the ricks with thick layers of turf, about four feet in circumference, and five in length, which shelter them from the wind and the rain too. It requires no more than an hour to construct a granary on the field just reaped. Such, at least, is the practice among the Kerraich and the Flittas.
We were just on the point of plucking away the layers of turf, and filling our sacks, whilst the vidette watched the enemy at the bottom of the wood beneath us, when we heard many shots fired from the camp itself. At the same time, from all the thickets around, there arose stunning hurrahs and shouts. An infantry charge, with beat of drum, very soon, however, swept the neighbouring hills, whilst bombs from afar drove the Arabs from the wood. Colonel Tartas, at the same time, sounded to horse; and throwing away our sacks, we hastened to cut off the retreat of the enemy. Spahis and chasseurs kept in good order, in spite of the inequalities of the ground, and we pursued the enemy for two hours up to the mountains. The rally was then sounded, and we returned at a walk, a little annoyed by the Arab
musketry, but having left a good number of killed behind us.
On the next day, the column, marching in the direction of the Guer Coupa, passed the defile, and bivouacked on Oued-Melab. Many forays were attempted. Some succeeded, others failed. One day the Orleans chasseurs were ordered to beat up a wooded mountain. On the other side of it there was a precipitous rock, more than fifty feet high, and at thirty feet from the rock's edge was the entrance of a cavern, which, from below, looked merely like a black point. This, it was said, was one of the haunts of the Arabs, where they hid their treasures, and where probably some of them had, at this time, found a refuge. It was worth while testing the truth of this report, and it was decided that one of our Arab prisoners should lead the way, and go first into the cavern. This was a good idea, only it met with one obstacle—the poor devil of an Arab positively refused to be our guide; and not without a very sufficient reason; for he knew that if one of his countrymen should be hidden in the cavern, his death would be certain. Losing no time in useless arguments, two of our soldiers went through a little pantomimic exercise, so exceedingly ex
pressive and persuasive, that the prisoner was thereby made clearly to understand that it would be his safest plan to undertake the adventure.
This military eloquence having prevailed, two cords, nolens volens, were passed under his arms, and the Arab was lowered down the descent, scrambling afterwards along the rock by the help of a few bushes here and there growing out of its fissures. He soon reached the entrance of the cavern, and disappeared, the moment afterwards reappearing, and making a sign that we might follow, as no one was within the rock. As soon done as said; our soldiers were in a few seconds in the cavern of Ali-Baba. Haiks, carpets, burnous, provisions of all sorts, even tam-tams and wooden plates were carried off; the soldiers clambered again up the rock, and the party returned to the camp, bringing with them cattle and prisoners they had captured in the wood.
A few days afterwards, we bivouacked at Darben-Abdallah, an admirable military position. The Menasfa, running among ravines of rocks, defends it on three sides. From this position we could carry on a war against the granaries, that is the grain pits (Silos), of the Flittas. As for the
enemy, it was impossible to fight with or capture them, for they had disappeared, as it were, by enchantment. All before and around us was perfectly calm, but it was the calm of emptiness. Most of the Flittas had taken refuge, with their flocks, in the woods, so we were obliged again to begin our razzias, and carry on the war against the corn and cattle of the enemy, in which consisted all their resources. It is, in fact, only by the possession, or by the destruction of these two species of property, that we can exercise any influence over the Arabs. The African razzia, which has been such a fertile theme for the declamation of great orators and of opposition journalists, which has been called organized robbery, what is it but simply a repetition of what takes place in Europe under another name? What is war? A hunt of interests. And in Europe, when once masters of two or three great centres, a whole country is yours. But in Africa, it is different; for how can one get hold of a population which has no fixed residences, and which is attached only to particular places for a season by its moveable pickets and tents ? What force, what punishments, what invasion, can conquer men without cities and without houses, who, like