Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

families that is fathers, mothers, and children; this is bad. Nor have young fellows brought over their sisters. I have on several occasions warned the mothers of families not to permit their husbands to come over to l'aris alone, eveu under the plea of seeing the races, for there are in this pleasant city many temptations, and Englishmen seem to think that because they are in Paris they may participate in all our demoralizing habits and customs. There is something queer about a few of the holiday visitors England has sent over this year. A few of the men are living in out-of-the-way small hotels, evidently not wishing to be seen. F. M.P. exclaims, Paris is beastly full of English, one cannot go out without tumbling against fellows! A nobleman has his letters addressed to my humble lodgings-with pleasure, but why? Why, again, does Mrs. C. B-, meeting me in the Rue de la Paix, whisper in my ear, Do not tell any mutual friends that I am in Paris; even Henry does not know anything about this little trip. I am with Lady, who is very unhappy, poor dear. I will tell you all about it some day'? So thickly veiled was Mrs. B-- that I should not have recognised her. Why, then, did she address me? Ah! because she wanted to make use of me. How difficult it is to know why people are so civil!"

Here Piggy's friend stopped to take breath and replenish his glass; while Piggy, throwing his legs up on the sofa and laughing heartily, exclaimed, "If all you say is true, all I can say is, what a world we innocent beings from across the Border live in.'

[ocr errors]

"True, my good friend," replied he, taking a good draught from his well-filled glass; "true as gospel. And as for this world we live in-Paris for the moment, the Frenchman's paradise-why it is a world in which men and women appear to take their will and spend their money, and leave the future to take care of itself. But of one thing be assured, Paris is far too near and too convenient for ladies and gentlemen of Great Britain, Ireland, aye, and Scotland, with all your sober ideas. But to resume, if you are not satiated with my gab: W. M.P. is here also (without his wife, of course), and dined last night at a café in a society' cabaret with two artistes of the dramatic world, who are going over with him to London, where they are engaged for the French plays.

"Well, there is of course nothing wrong in this; but Mrs. W. might not think so. W. refused to bring over his lawful wife-' Paris is so dear with a lady.' Englishmen did not condescend to such little fibs years ago.

"Another M.P. is here, I shall not tell you under what particular circumstances. He does serious politics at home, nevertheless; is deeply interested in the Irish Church question, also in missionary societies; and has met Mr. G. in Paris, quite by accident! He gives

a sad account of English politics, and declares the House of Commons is worked to death, and yet there is no reason for it. He says Gladstone is in a pretty mess, and that Ireland is to be annexed to America within fifty years.

"Very inexplicable mysteries are going on in the High Church, between young ladies and genteel Protestant priests-nothing wrong, by the way. Several noblemen are about to take holy orders as HighChurch Priests; and they, you know, must be gentlemen by birth,

"But why should I tell you what is taking place among yourselves? You wish for the latest intelligence of Paris.

[ocr errors]

Well, you meet with one clever fellow. He takes you by the button, and, in a most serious whisper, assures you that he had it from who was told by another, that the Emperor and the Prince of Wales dined together incog. at a café in the Palais Royal, and made a night of it. His Royal Highness often comes over to Paris incog.-ask T. if he does not. Such is the language of another. Then you are informed that the revolutionary period is fast approaching. Your days of quietude and order are over. The Emperor worn out. Must be so. Wonderful man. Empress going to Jerusalem. More in that than meets the eye. War in the spring, or the Empire is at an end.

"It is better, cher Piggy, not to listen to such things-far better not to believe them when you hear them; but you asked me for a slight historiette of Paris sayings and doings. You have them.

"Tired and thirsty, you stroll into the Cosmopolitan for a corpsereviver, a brandy cocktail, or a simple soda-and-brandy. It is a celebrated American establishment, wherein you may refresh yourself most agreeably for a franc. We will look in there during your séjour in Paris: they have some rare Scotch whiskey, said to be patronised by the higher powers. I may observe, en passant (excuse my French -we are in Paris) that the society you meet there is varied-sporting men, men of the highest class, men of the middle class, and men whose class it would be difficult to define.

"All is, nevertheless, orderly and accordant with propriety as far as the outward man is concerned. By St. Hubert, however, tongues are free! I shall give you one little anecdote I was compelled to hear, and then to bed. However, on reconsideration, I may as well say it is scarcely of a nature to be repeated, and, let us hope, not true. I never heard anything worse since the days of George the Fourth, Defender of the Faith. We all know that golden-haired ladies have ensured great admiration, from the days of Virgil and Homer; but why should the modern Didos and Helens

"No, I had better not. It makes one sad to contemplate the condition of Paris society. What say you of London? You are learning all our immorality. Your traditional domestic happiness is expiring; your women becoming more and more; your men begin to like a frivolous Frenchman's pleasures; you are even losing your religious practices and professions. All this is prophetic of the fall of the British Empire; and that fall will have originated in your imitating the political, religious, and social immorality of the French.

"And now, Piggy, having discussed two glasses of what across the Border you term toddy (stiff brandy-and-water), smoked no end of your excellent cigars-where do you get them ?-and given you my opinion of Paris and its ways, good night, or rather good morning. May your repose be undisturbed, though I may have excited your curiosity; and recollect, the day after to-morrow we start for Chantilly, to see the French Derby. Sharp nine, at the Northern Station. Mind you bring the Roaster. And so good-night!"

(To be continued.)

111

THE WEALTH IN EQUINE RESOURCES POSSESSED BY FRANCE IN HER ALGERIAN PROVINCES.

BY R. P.

(Continued.)

Returning to the indigenous horse, the barb, on which was to fall so heavily the share forecast for him in the enterprise of the victorsutilization as an instrument of the conquest. After the first years of active operations, in which for the most part, applied as indiscriminately as unsparingly to every war purpose, as though the supply were inexhaustible, because it had been somewhat accessible at first; when scarcity began to make itself every day more sensibly felt, then, a due recognition not only of his ulterior worth as an acquisition-but of the difficulty to replace what had been profusely squandered without any organised local means of reproduction, dawned upon the minds of the military authorities.

As may be readily conceived, the French army of occupation had in the first years of the war but very limited resources among the indigenous populations for the recruiting of the squadrons of native cavalry, no less than of the two battalions of native infantry organised respectively under the first and second administration of Governor-General Clauzel. It must, moreover, be acknowledged that the area for recruiting both arms of those native troops was as yet limited to the province of Algiers, of which a small part only had been subjected. The national sentiment of the Arabs was as yet too strong to be weakened in so short a time, and the constitution of the Spahis, both in regard to the men and the supply of native horses for their re-mount was not then what it afterwards became, and is in the present day.

From the first creation of those native cohorts up to 1845, the contingents were furnished by natives of the towns, comprising Moors, Koulouglis, the youth of the Mussulman population attracted to the service by the allurement of pay and subsistence, and refugees who had sought French protection from the constant incursions of the hostile Arabs. The horses were furnished by the Government, and charged to the account of the collective corps, the same as effects in linen, clothing, &c. Led by French officers and non-commissioned officers, with a proportion of French troopers incorporated in their ranks, they had fought upon numerous occasions with great distinction, and in the arduous duties of the outposts were especially reliable and alert for the repulse of nocturnal surprises.

The subsequent subjection of a few tribes in the territories of Bona and Oran had alone, however, enabled the further formation of several squadrons of Spahis; but in the province of Oran, in 1837, the indigenous irregular cavalry could only be increased by permitting the natives to remain by their tribes, with the allowance of a small monthly pay to ensure their services whenever called for.

With the exception of some few desertions, the native horse, like

the Zouaves' battalions, remained true to their salt; but not till after the taking of Constantine in October of that year, did the inclination of the natives to take military service receive a new and favourable impulse. New squadrons could then be organized on different points of the province, and the corps of native infantry, the Zouaves, received now a greater accession to their strength from the Kabylians of the Beylick of Constantine, and from the remnants of the dispersed Turkish militia of the vanquished Bey.

As regards the origin of this now world-known name, "Zouave," Pelissier de Reynaud in his "Annales Algeriennes," says: "The Zouaves, or rather the Zouaouas, are independent Kabylians of the province of Constantine, who sell their services to the Barbary powers in the same manner as in Europe the Swiss." Known throughout the three Regencies as first-rate foot soldiers, their Arabic name was considered by the French synonimous with, or especially indicative of, a light infantry combatant; for which reason, shortened to that of Zouaves, it was retained on their first organization in the service of France. But both native cavalry and infantry had now attained the limits of the first historical period of their establishment, viz., that extending from the date of their formation 1830, to the year 1839, when, at the call of Abd-el-Kader, who had proclaimed the "Holy War," after the explorative passage of the Pass of the Bibans, or " Iron Gates" by a division of the French army; Spahis and Zouaves deserted from their respective corps in such numbers that the experiment to secure at so early a period of the invasion their valuable auxiliary services for the army was considered to have completely failed.

Singular as it may seem, but no less historically true in fact than singular, that failure, in appearance so fatal at that time to every hope of a successful incorporation of native troops in the army of occupation, was an event which led to results so remarkably illustrative of the inherent pliancy of the military spirit of the French soldier that capacitates him for the most unexpected exigencies of war, that we cannot refrain here from a passing advertancy thereto, in our progress to the elucidation of the valuable equine resources of the territories conquered in Africa by his valour and powers of endurance. But few of our readers we are sure-for true sportsmen, as distinguished from "sporting men," feel readily a kindred interest in things that smack of the incidents of the field of war-and few British soldiers among them who made the Crimean campaign, will hesitate to consider our reference thereto a rightful tribute of admiration to our then loyal and gallant Allies.

The event adverted to necessitated a thorough change. Though made public in no official document, doubtless from political grounds as regarded the natives, Kalyb and Arab were excluded thenceforth from entry into the late native infantry battalions; but the name of the corps "Zouaves" was retained, and from 1839, the second period of its organization, it was wholly composed of Frenchmen; and what those battalions achieved from that time forth in Africa, the Crimea,

* A difficult mountain pass of the Lesser Atlas range in the Province of Constantine, four days' march from Algiers, in the direction of Setif. During their African wars the Roman legions never ventured to attempt its passage,

Italy, and Mexico, belongs no more to the Arabs, but exclusively to the national soldiers of France.

The late squadrons of native cavalry were alike reconstituted anew, almost wholly of French, though to a certain extent exception was made in favour of those natives who had remained faithful, and rendered distinguished service. As the "chasseurs d'Afrique" organized thenceforth in regiments, and Barb-mounted throughout, they remained also constantly in Africa, where, thoroughly acclimatised and naturalised us it were by custom to the harassing fatigues and perils of a continual war-service, as peculiar as desperate in its character, they emulated in the Arab saddle a renown equal to that of their fellow-countrymen who, as Zouaves, achieved for themselves the distinction conveyed in the official expression of "Un esprit de Corps tout Algérien."

It was from this critical period of 1839 to 1847 that at intervals within the vast area of the Algerian and Oranese Tell, and throughout the province of Constantine, the Barb horse seemed in imminent peril of being extinguished in the war which raged without interruption on every side. The race was becoming rare. There were moments, moreover, when (decimated, as it were, in the struggle for mastery) it had suffered so much from the ills and vicissitudes engendered in a period of such agitation and trouble as to exhibit an impoverishment of the blood, and the consequent deterioration of those qualities that constituted the distinguishing attributes of its race. The requirements of the army, and especially of the remount-commissions of the regiments of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, necessitated the military authorities to seek elsewhere that which circumstances refused now in Algeria. To this effect resort was had to the territory of the neighbouring Tunisian Regency; and thither also French officers of known judgment, accompanied by able veterinary adjuncts, had been sent by the State to purchase both, troop horses, and stallions of race for productors at the "depôts d'Etalons," now established at stations contiguous to Algiers by the Government, which had too much on its hands in pushing the military operations in the field to give serious attention to the establishment of State breeding studs of the indigenous horse, the necessity of which became every year more obvious.

At this period, nevertheless, and for some time-in fact, up to the failure and surrender of the heroic Emir Abd-el-Kader-the Arab tribes of the Tunisian Regency, though in territory, person, or property

* The "Tell," from the word tellus (ù terra)—the earth-by which the Romans had designated the vast region of arable and pasture land intermediate between the Mediterranean Sea-board and the elevated table lands extending southward to the desert. The mean length of the Tell (Teull of the Arabs) from the west to its centre, according to the data of the Colonial Topographical Department, is 120 kilometres, circa 75 miles English; and to the east 120 kilometres more, or 169 miles. It embraces the whole of Kabylia within its limits, and in its superficial area measures about 14 million hectares, or 35 million acres. Under the Roman empire it rivalled Sicily as the granary of Rome. It produces grain crops in abundance, supplies not only the whole of the populations of the Algerian territories and the nomadic tribes of the Sahara, but the grain exports of the three provinces to Europe. Tobacco is much cultivated in the Tell; it furnishes woods essentially adapted to cabinet-making; and cotton and wine are gradually becoming products of culture. The Mussulman population of the Tell in 1863 was composed of 700,000 Kabylians and 1,391,812 Arabs, divided into 1,200 tribes, and these themselves sub-divided into 10,000 douars.

« ZurückWeiter »