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over her own reflected image. More like Malabar than dreary Arabia and sterile Persia, this land has a spring even in its midsummer.
We glided south by east through a breach in the coralline reef that recalled the gateways of Jeddah. Presently, detached houses sprinkled the shore. A large unfinished pile, whitewashed, but fast decaying, was called by our pilot Akhir el Zaman-the End of Time. Under divers inauspicious omens, it had been commenced by the late Prince in his latter days; and the death of sundry masons killed by a falling wall, rendered it so hateful to the Arabs that it will probably remain uninhabitable. Then, at the distance of a mile, appeared the royal harem and demesne of Mtony, a large rusty building with an extinguisher-roofed balcony, of dingy planking. It has a quaint kind of Gothic look, like a castle in a play, or the Schloss of a pensionless German baron the luxuriant trees in rear have the faux air of an English park. A fetid lagoon here diffuses pestilence around it; and skippers anchoring off Mtony for convenience of watering with the purest element on the island, have, in the course of a few days, had occasion to lament the loss of half their crews. Presently we floated past the "Shah Allum,' an old fifty-gun frigate, of Bombay build she showed no colours, as is usual when a ship enters; and the few men on board shouted information which neither we nor the pilot understood. This worthy, as we drew near, decided, from the absence of Friday flags on the consular staffs, that some great man had gone to his long home. The "Elphinstone," however, would not have the trouble of casting loose her guns for nothing: with H. H., the Sazzid* of Zanzibar's ensign-a plain red-at the fore, and the union at the main, she cast anchor in Front Bay, about half a mile from shore, and fired a salute of twentyone. A gay bunting thereupon flew up to every truck, and the brass cannon of the Victoria" roared a response of twenty-two. We had arrived on
the fortieth, or the last day of mourning.
St Julian, patron of the wayfarer, had frowned upon us this time: the first visit to Colonel Hamerton, H. B. M.'s Consul, showed us the extent of our mishap. H. H. Sazzid Said of Maskat, upon whose aid and influence we calculated, had died on his way from Arabia to Zanzibar. State affairs had not been settled between the rival brothers, Sazzid Suwazui, the eldest, and successor, to whom Oman had been left, and Sazzid Majid, installed by his father Viceroy of the African possessions. This prince, moreover, being still confined to the house by an attack of the small-pox, which, during the last three years, has twice carried off thousands of the inhabitants, was ashamed to show a pitted face to subjects or visitors. Colonel Hamerton, now our mainstay, was also in poor health. The northern coast of the mainland, about Lamu, as usual on such occasions, was in anarchy, the southern suffering from drought and famine. We spent some heavy hours that night. I will relieve my feelings by describing the town of Zanzibar :
Zanzibar (to begin with the beginning) lies in S. lat. 6° 9', and in E. long. 39° 14'. The chief, and indeed the only settlement upon the island, it occupies one side of a wide curve on the coast of Coralline. Ras Chhangany, Sandy Point" (this name, corrupted to "Shangany," has erroneously been given to the whole town in charts), divides the front harbour from a back bay, where ships anchor, especially during the N.E. monsoon, to avoid the swell whilst landing cargo. The place is modern, owing its existence to the exigencies of trade. At the beginning of the present century it consisted of a fort and a ragged line of mat huts, where the Suk Mahogo, or Manioc Market, now stands as late as 1842, it boasted but five storehouses of the humblest construction, and the now crowded east end was in those days a palm plantation. But an Arab ever builds as soon and as extensively as
* It is incorrect to call the Chief of Oman an Imam, although some of his ancestors had a right to the ecclesiastical title. Moreover, "Sazzid," amongst these Arabs, means a chief or ruler, not, as " Sherif," a descendant of the Prophet.
his means permit. Zanzibar now contains in the season about fifty thousand inhabitants (slaves included), and there cannot be less than three thousand stationary habitations. This normal Arab town forms the segment of a circle, the chord resting upon the sea, and the arc fronting the plantations of the interior. It is a mere "dicky. a clean front, concealing something unsightly. Facing northwards is a line, about a mile and a half long, of large Arab houses, glaring, dazzling, whitewashed like sepulchres, and unrelieved save by a straggling cocoa, instead of domes and minarets. Like Jeddah and the Red-Sea cities, the material is wholly lime and coralline. The best houses -of course, those of the European merchants-are in the west end; wealthy "natives," and a few foreigners, inhabit the eastern extremity. In rear of the dicky, and at both flanks, is a foul dense mass of dwelling-places, where the poor and the slaves pig together. There are huts of cadjan-matting, with or without wattle-and-dab walls, windowless, blackened externally by wind and sun, and consisting internally of a "but and a ben," surrounded by projecting eaves, forming a deep and shady verandah, where articles are exposed for sale. The poorest classes content themselves with mere sheds. Two tumble-down bridges, ignorant of the arch, span the foul lagoon, which, at the Lyzygies, converts the settlement into almost an island, and leaves behind it a legacy of fevers and terrible maladies. ~ The drainage of the front is good, owing to the seaward slopes, but the inner town is in a dead flat. Drainage is all in all where tropical suns shine; drainage has rendered even Sierra Leone and our West Indian barracks salubrious. In the hands of Europeans, Zanzibar would soon be drained into healthiness; but the Arab looks upon pestilence as a minor plague compared with the trouble of cutting a trench or building a dam.
The tides, here rising twelve, sometimes fifteen, and even sixteen feet, occasionally walk into the lower apartments. Unchecked by quay or breakwater, this nuisance is on the increase. Off Chhangany Point,
VOL. LXXXIII-NO. DVIII.
where, in 1823, stood a clump of huts and a mosque, five fathoms of water now roll. The British Consulate, formerly many yards removed from the surf, at present requires the protection of piles and rubble. Some of the larger houses have sunk four feet, and have sloped nine from terrace to ground, owing to the instability of their soppy foundations. These coral formations are peculiarly fickle. The "Middle Shoal," about fifteen years ago, was awash; it is now high and dry. The "Tree Island" of our earliest charts has been undermined and carried away by the waves. On the other hand, the sea has encroached upon Mtony, where the Prince's flagstaff four times required removal.
At Zanzibar the line of streets is, as it should be, deep, narrow, and winding. In the west end a pavement of chunam, provided with a gutter - the first I have seen in "Orient climes " - carries off the violent rain, and secures coolness and purity.
The east end shows
attempts at similar civilisation; but green and miry puddles argue a preponderance of black population. Houses are on the favourite Arab plan familiar to travellers in Spain and her colonies: some of the oldest buildings in Galway and western Ireland still display the type "patio," or hollow paved quadrangle, where animals may be penned for safety, with galleries, into which the rooms open, running round the several floors. But architecture is at its lowest ebb. There is not a straight line in the masonry; the arches are of every shape and form, and the floors will have a foot of depression between the centre and the corners. The roofs, or rather terraces, supported by Zanzibar rafters, and walls of massy thickness, are copiously chunamed here men sit to enjoy the sundown breezes. Bandanis, or pent-houses of cadjans, garnish the house-tops in the native town: Europeans do not allow these adjuncts, fires being frequent, and the slaves being addicted to aiding the work of destruction in hope of plunder. Some foreigners secure the delights of a cool night by erecting upper cabins of planking: the oldster, however,
conforms to Arab precept, and always perspires during the hours of sleep. The higher the house, the larger the doorway, the huger the studs which adorn the massive planks, and the heavier the padlock, the greater is the owner's dignity. An inscription cut in the wood of the lintel secures the entrance from witchcraft; and half a yard of ships' chain-cable, from thieves. Even the little square holes placed high up in the wall, and doing duty for windows, are closely barred. As glass cannot be used in sleeping-rooms, by reason of the heat, rough or painted plank-shutters supply its place, and persiannes deform the best habitations. Arabs here, as elsewhere, love long narrow apartments, with many apertures towards the sea, securing the breeze essential to health: they as carefully close the eastern side-walls against the spicy feverish land - wind. The reception - hall is always on the ground-floor. It contrasts strongly with an English room, where the uncomfortable confusion of furniture, and the crowding of ornaments, ruin the proportions, and put out" the eye. Here the long lines and the rows of niches, which, as elsewhere in the East, supply the want of tables, are unbroken save by the presence of a chandelier and a mirror, a Persian rug or carpet for the dais, a matting over the floor, and half-adozen Indian black wood chairs. Such is the upholstery of an Arab palace and an Italian villa. In the houses of the very wealthy, porcelain, glass-ware ornaments, and articles of European luxury, lie about the niches. The abodes of the poorer classes are provided with kitandahs, or cartels of cord, twisted round a rude wooden frame, trays for food, gourds, coarse stools, pots, and similar necessaries.
The centre of the town frontage is occupied by the Fort, one of those naïve, straight curtained, round towered, crenellated, and tumble down erections, whose plan dates probably from the days of Peleg. It is fronted by a detached battery of twenty guns, with embrasures so close together that the first salvo would blow away the thin wall, and with armature so placed that every bullet striking the Fort must send a
billet into the battery. Between the two, a space of fifty feet or so represents the arsenal: a score of iron carronades, and a few fine old brass pieces, probably the plunder of Hormuz-one of them bears the dent of a heavy blow-lie piled on the right of the Fort entrance. The gateway is the usual intricate manner of barbican: the square excrescence from the main body contains upper rooms for the Beloch Yemadar or commandant; the interior ground-floor is a large vestibule, and the soldiery, with their armed slaves, lounge, play, chew betel, and chat upon the shady masonrybenches at the outer door. On the left of the Fort is a cadjan shed, where native artists are continually occupied in making carriages for the battery, whose furniture now lies upon the ground. The experiment of firing a gun was lately attempted: the piece reared up and fell backward, smashing the crazy woodwork and crushing two gunner-slaves. Some traveller has observed that a launch would suffice to capture this Fort. It was once, according to accounts, taken by a drunken American sailor, who, determining to liberate a pair of citizens in trouble, attacked the guard cutlass in hand, accompanied by a huge Newfoundland, and remaining master of a bloodless field, waved his flag in triumph upon the walls. Melancholy to relate, this hero fell by African fraud. The discomfited slaves, holding a long rope, ran round him, till, wound up like a windlass, he could no longer keep his footing.
The interior of the Fort is jammed with soldiers' huts and courts, divided by rickety walls. Here, too, is the only jail on the island. Its stocks, fetters, iron collars, and waist-chains do not prevent Black Man from chatting, singing, and gambling with cowries and pebbles. But the most refractory white that ever knocked down merchant-skipper has not fortitude to endure in it a second night. Such is the Arab's beau ideal of a prison: the very word should cause the horrors and the goose-skin. They term our Bombay jail "El Bistan" (the garden) because the courts are planted with a few shrubs; and, with them, a Bistan has always an arrière
pensée of Paradise. Foreigners usually visit the prison to see its standing curiosity-one Mezingera, a wretched clansman of the villain Panzij, who had beaten the death-drum whilst his chief was cutting M. Maizan the French traveller's throat. Mezingera was seized, instead of his master, by an Arab expedition, and chained two years in front of the French ConsulSince that time (1847) he has been heavily ironed to a gun in the Fort, under a cadjan-shed, where he can neither stand nor lie; yet the wretch looks fat and well.
Eastward of the Fort is the custom-house, an Arab bourse, where millions of dollars change hands under the dirtiest shed, a long low cadjan roof supported by two dozen rough uprights. It is surrounded by sacks and bales, baskets and packages, heaps of hides, old ships' tanks, piles of valuable woods, layers of ivory, and a heterogeneous mass of waifs and strays. The small adjacent square shows a dilapidated and unfinished line of arches, the fragments of a new custom-house: it was begun twenty-six or twenty-seven years ago, but the superstition of Yayaram, the late Hindu collector, who had become rich under the matting, but was not sure that stone and chunam would be as lucky to him, condemned it to rot. This is a general idea with Orientals: they are full of wise instances concerning the downfall of great men who have exposed themselves to the shafts of misfortune by enlarging their gates, or by building for themselves palaces.
In the centre of the square opposite the palace stands the Sazzid's flagstaff, where the Bakur-the Kurbaj of these regions-brings man to a sense of his duty, and where, according to an American traveller,* distinguished criminals are fastened to the pole, and bound upwards from the ankles to the throat, till "the soul of the dying man is literally squeezed out of its earthly tenement." I may observe, en passant, that in this part of
the world the two potent romancers, Ignorance and Interest, have been busily at work. An industrious Frenchman, seeing scrapings of elephants' tusks upon the beach, reported to the Prussian Government that ivory is so plentiful as to be thrown up by the tide. Adventurers of all nations have circulated the most ridiculous tales; amazons bestriding battle-bullocksa confusion with the 5000 women-musketeers of Dahomey, or possibly a revival of El Masudi, who, in our tenth century, reports that the king of Zanj, or Zanzibar, commanded an army mounted, like modern Kafirs, on oxen-hordes of steel-clad negroes,and brilliant troops of horse-artillery :-a battery was actually sent out to the Sazzid as a present from Woolwich!
The palace, fronted by a stuccoed platform that supports eight or nine small brass guns, placed in barbette for show, is a kind of double-storied barrack, 140 feet long, whitewashed, with tender green shutters, pentroofed with dingy-red tiles, provided seawards with a verandah for levees, and a few stunted trees for beauty, and backed by stables full of Oman blood, an oratory and a graveyard, where runaway slaves, chained together by the neck, lie in the shade.
The public buildings in Zanzibar are poor. The mosques, which adorn other Eastern towns with light and airy turrets, breaking the monotony of square white houses, are here in the simplest form. There are about thirty of these buildings, oblong flat-roofed rooms, divided internally by dwarf rows of square and polygonal columns supporting Saracenic arches, broad, pointed, and lanceated, with inner emarginations in the shape of small crescents or scollops. A Shafei place of worship boasts of a diminutive cone, resembling an Egyptian pigeon-tower, and another has a dwarf excrescence like the lantern of a lighthouse. The Kojalis have a ruined old mosque at Nazimozza, on the sea-shore south of the town; and the Shiahs their place of
Recollections of Mazunga, Zanzibar, Muscat, Aden, Mocha, and other Ea tern Ports. Salem: George Creamer, 1854. The author, who visited Zanzibar "in the mercantile," was grievously "hoaxed" by some kind friend. Only one mutilation took place under H. H. Šazzid Said. Death was inflicted according to Koranie order, and torture was unknown.
meeting in the Kipondah Quarter. Prayers of the great festivals, during the Prince's life, were recited at Mtony now in the Palace oratory, and other mosques. Sazzid Said also built a gable-ended house, after the model of the Dutch factory at Bunder Abbas. Unhappily a large chandelier dropped from the ceiling, and gave the place, which was intended for levees and a 66 hall of pleasure," a permanent bad name. since been shut up.
It has ever
There are four Suk or bazars at Zanzibar; the fish-market lies behind the Suk Mahogo, a long street in the south of the town, where paddy and grain, cloth and cotton, vegetables and provisions, generally are for sale; and eastward is the Suk Melinde, where the butchers expose their vendibles. The best articles disappear before 7 A.M., after which time nought but refuse remains. The most characteristic spot in Zanzibar-the slave auctions are held in an empty walled court is undoubtedly the salt bazar at the foot of the Fort's eastern bastion. It derives its name from huge heaps of saline sand, exposed for sale by the Mekranis and the Suri Arabs. Being near the custom-house, it is thronged with people, and gives, like the bazars of Cairo and Damascus, an exaggerated idea of the population. The staple material is a double line of negresses and black youth, with heaps of sun-dried manioc, mangoes, pine-apples, greasy fritters, the abominable jack-fruit, and redolent fish piled up between their extended legs. They vary the tedium of plaiting leaves and mat-weaving, with conversations arguing an admirable conformation of the articulating organs, and a somewhat lax morality. Pairs of muscular Hazramant porters, hobbling along with bales of goods and packs of hides suspended from a pole, pass chanting down the central road, kicking out of their way the humped cows, who placidly munch offal, fruits, and vegetables under the shadow of their worshippers the Banyans. Stout Bhattias, traders from Cutch, distinguished by high features, pale skins, shaven beards, peaked turbans of spotted purple or crimson edged with gold, snowy cotton coats, and immaculate
loin-cloths, chaffer with yellow Indian Kojahs; tricky-faced men with evil eyes and silky beards, forked after the fashion of ancient Rustam. More picturesque than these, gaunt light-brown Arabs from the Gulf, whose unkempt elf-locks flow low over their saffron- stained shirts, armed with two-handed swords, daggers, and small round hide-targes, stalk like beasts of prey, eyeing the crowd with cut-throat stare and single gaze. Sometimes a white manhow hideous his garb appears!threads the streets, arousing the mangy curs, and using the stick upon the naked shoulders that obstruct him. Here and there waddles an Arab woman a heap of unwashed clothes on invisible feet, with the Maskat masque exposing only her eye-balls. The black population, male and female, is more varied. Here is the tall Mhiao woman, of stalwart frame and sooty skin, known by the hole which, pierced in her upper lip, allows a pearl to shine through the outer darkness, and her man, with_cauterised skin worked and raised in intricate patterns over all his muscular trunk. The half-caste Sawahili girl wears a single piece of loose red or blue check bound tight under her arms, and extending to her ankles; her frizzly crop of hair is twisted into a multitude of lines, which have the appearance of being razor-traced upon the scalp; one wing of her flat nose is pierced to admit a bone or metal stud, and the lobes of her ears are distended with wooden pegs or twists of palm-leaf, which, by continued pressure, enlarge the aperture to a prodigious extent. The slave shaves her head into the semblance of a magnified coco-nut. She is accompanied by her hopeful, a small black imp ignorant of clothing; on his head is a water-jar bigger than his own potbelly, and he screams Na-kújá—“I come -to his friends, who are otherwise disporting themselves. There a group of Wanyassa, with teeth filed into shark shape, are "chaffing" old Shylock, an Arab slave-dealer; whilst Wazegura, with patterned skins, scowl evilly at the Suri Nakhoda, the professed kidnapper of their race. The tattoo distinguishes this confusion of tribes; all, how