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fatigue parties were betaking themselves, under the command of officers, to the military stores, and in the evening the taverns were filled with men merrily celebrating the departure with copious libations, until the sounding of the retreat, the soldier's curfew, cleared off the belated topers, and restored the town to its stern tranquillity. The next morning every one in the best spirits, in perfect order, and admirable trim, their knapsacks and eight days provisions on their backs, set out on their march to Milianah. Fatigue or danger was of little matter to them; they were all old troopers, hardened by long years of service, and moreover, as they had it in their own familiar language, with Changarnier there's always a smell of mutton in the wind. Avec le Changarnier, cela sent toujours le mouton.*
We were to join them on the road, and the following day at three in the morning, our mules set out in advance. It is difficult to form an idea of all these poor animals carry. First two large
* The success of the numerous razzias made by General Changarnier had made this phrase proverbial among the troops. On the 13th of June, 1849, the 6th battalion of Chasseurs, who had long served under the General, in Africa, on being ordered to charge the insurgents, started off laughing and repeating, to the great astonishment of the National Guard, the old African by-word, “ Cela sent le mouton."
canteens are hooked on to their pack saddles, by iron rings, then on the top of these are heaped barley, forage, camp bags, chickens, cans, bowls, and every species of article forming the baggage of the traveller, who has only himself to look to on the journey. All this is packed together, fastened with long cords, and makes a tolerably steadfast heap, unless some accident causes the entire load to overturn, amidst the well-rounded oaths of the drivers cursing the ministre* and his awkwardness.
From Blidah we were to proceed to Milianah. We took an easterly direction, skirting the mountains south of the plain. Two leagues from Blidah we forded the Chiffa; the waters were very high, and the torrent was not less than a hundred metres across. We accordingly took
* The baggage mules are never otherwise designated in Africa. If you inquire why, the soldier will tell you that the mules are charged with the affairs of the state, or else that the telegraph is under their orders, pointing to their ears, which are always moving, Once a real minister, M. De Salvaudy, I believe, came to visit the eastern province, and was conducted from Philipperillc to Constantine, by the troops escorting the baggage. Coming to a hill he heard the word ministre on all sides, accompanied by energetic oaths. Astonished at this, he inquired what was meant, and was the first to laugh at the explanation given.
care to fix upon a guiding point on the opposite bank; for if you allow your eye to follow the current of the stream, you are seized with giddiness and topple off your horse. Having cleared this obstacle, the road was easy, and we soon reached Bou Roumi, where we halted an hour previous to climbing the hills separating the plain from the valley of the Oued Ger.
The staff was small, the General having only two officers with him: an aide de camp, Captain Pourcet, who for five years had never quitted him an instant, and an orderly officer, M. Carayon Latour, a charming person, cheerful, always ready to laugh or to fight, without care or reproach, one of those loyal straightforward characters, as rare as they are precious. This was not much of a staff, but thanks to their activity, it was enough. Up night and day, they fulfilled every task required. Not an order, not a duty met with the slightest delay. According to his invariable custom, the General rode in front, thoughtful and silent, at a walking pace, mounted on his favourite horse. Couscouss was a brave little horse, strong backed, thickset, and with a haughty and resounding step. In battle he was a perfect fireeater, and plunged into the midst of danger. The orderly who was grooming him, said to me, one
day; speaking of the horse and of his master, “It's devil ride devil.” I am inclined to think the orderly was right.
The road through the valley of Oued Ger was not followed when the communications between Milianah and Blidah were interrupted; its steep counterforts covered with mastics and green oaks, presented difficulties too great to encounter. The route taken by our columns, longer but safer, was along the crests of the mountains, and terminated, like the former, at the Marabout of Sidi-Abd-elKader, where we were to bivouac for the night. At three o'clock, after having crossed the Oued Ger eighteen times, we joined the troops who had started the day before, and our tents were pitched beneath the century-old olive trees, which the axe of the French soldier has yet spared. During the night the sky became obscured with clouds, and the rain was falling in abundance, when the drums beat. Fortunately, however, the weather cleared up while we were crossing the valley of the OuedAdélia, the loamy soil of which is so trying, both to the men and horses. From the valley of the Oued Ger, the route followed a southerly direction. We had now to make choice between two roads; one ascending towards Milianah, by the slopes of the Gontas, and the valley of the Cheliff, the
other passing through the country of the Righas, and reaching the town on the north side, by the declivities of the Zaccar. The latter was the shorter and was the one we took, and arriving in spite of the rain and the loam, on the plateaux of the Righas, we perceived, on the opposite side of an immense wooded ravine, Milianah, built upon a perpendicular rock, and surrounded with gardens and green fields. The territory which lay unfolded before us, was inhabited by a valiant tribe. Long condemned to exile, it cherished the remembrance of its native mountains, until the day when regaining its liberty it was enabled by its energy and courage to return to the land of its forefathers. In 1780, the tribe of the Righas were at variance with the Maghzen of Algiers. From a difference of opinion to the whistle of a bullet, the interval with Arabs is short. The Righas fought bravely. Two Aghas and forty horsemen, with stirrups of gold, were left upon the field. The whole of the Turkish forces were brought into action. Too feeble to resist such numbers, the Righas were compelled to surrender at discretion. They were brought by the Pasha's commands to Mostaganem, where they remained until the downfall of the Turkish dominion. In 1830, after fifty years exile, the entire tribe set out to return to their