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“Just once, Joe—just this one time.” "I won't do it.”
The Apostle's attitude is still resolute, but there is a note of weakening in his voice and his hand is working almost imperceptibly toward his pocket.
“Just once more, Joe, just for five dollars-one turn.”
The Apostle's hand is in his pocket. “Now, I tell you," he says, “I'll match you this one time, and never again."
"All right, Joe, just this one time, for luck; come on, now."
The coins go down together, and when they are uncovered the Colonel takes both, always. Then the Apostle jerks up his cap, jams it on, and starts for the deck.
“Hold on, Joe; just once more-just for luck." “You go to hell, will you ?”.
This is the programme daily with but slight variation. Sometimes the Apostle wins less than seven dollars—sometimes he loses more than five; but he always does win at piquet and he always does lose at matching. Thus do the unseen forces preserve the balance of exchange.
We crossed over and came in sight of the mountains of Algeria during the afternoon, and all the rest of this halcyon day we skirted the African shore, while Laura and I and two other juveniles kept a game of shuffleboard going on the after deck. To-night there is to be another grand dinner and dance, in honor of Washington's Birthday. We shall awake to-morrow in the harbor of Algiers.
THE DIVERTING STORY OF ALGIERS
THIS is a voyage of happy mornings. It was
I morning—just sunrise--when we met the American fleet homeward bound; it was morning when we caught the first glimpse of Madeira and steamed into the harbor of Funchal; the shores of Morocco-our first glimpse of the Orient-came out of the sunrise, and it was just sunrise this morning when I looked out of my port-hole on the blue harbor and terraced architecture of Algiers. And the harbor of Algiers is blue, and the terraced architecture is white, or creamy, and behind it are the hills of vivid green. And there are palms and cypress-trees, and bougainvillea and other climbing vines. Viewed from the ship it is a picture city, and framed in the port-hole it became a landscape miniature of wondrous radiance and vivid hues.
One of our passengers, a happy-hearted, elderly Hebrew soul, came along the promenade just outside my state-room and surveyed the vision through his glass. Presently he was joined by his comfortable, good-natured wife.
“Vat you get me up so early for, Sol?” she said.
He handed her his glass, his whole face alive with joy of the moment-fairly radiant it was.
"I yust couldn't help it!” he said. “Dot sunrising
and dot harbor and dot city all make such a beautiful sight.”
A beautiful sight it was, and it had the added charm of being our first near approach to the Orient. For Algiers is still the Orient, though it has been a French colony for nearly a hundred years. The Orient and the Occident have met here, and the Occident has conquered, but the Orient is the Orient still, and will be so long as a vestige of it remains.
The story of Algiers, like that of every Mediterranean country, has been a motley one, and bloody enough, of course. The Romans held it for nearly five hundred years; the Vandals followed them, and these in turn were ousted by the Arabs, about the year 700 A.D. Blood flowed during each of these changes, and betweentimes. There was always blood
-rivers of it-lakes of it—this harbor has been red with it time and again.
It did not stop flowing with the Arabian conquestnot by any means. Those Arabs were barbarians and robbers—Bedouins on land and pirates on the sea. They were the friends of no nation or people, and when business was dull outside, they would break out among themselves and indulge in pillage and slaughter at home for mere pastime. About the time Columbus was discovering America they were joined by the Moors and Jews who were being driven out of Spain and who decided to take up piracy as a regular business.
Piratic industry, combined with slavery, flourished for a matter of four centuries after that; then Commodore Decatur with a handful of little vessels met the Algerian fleet off Carthagena on the 20th of June, 1815. Decatur was a good hand with pirates. He went to work on that fleet and when he got through there wasn't enough of it left to capture a bananaboat. Then he appeared before Algiers and sent a note to the Dey demanding the immediate release of all Americans in slavery. The Dey replied that as a mere matter of form he hoped the American commander would agree to sending a small annual tribute of powder.
“If you take the powder you must take the balls with it,” was Decatur's reply, and thus the young American republic, then only about thirty years old, was first to break down the monstrous institutions of piracy and enslavement which for more than a thousand years had furnished Algerian revenues.
One Hussein (history does not mention his other name, but it was probably Ali Ben) was the last Dey of Algiers, and his memory is not a credit to his country's story. He was cruel and insolent; also, careless in his statements.
Piracy under A. B. Hussein flourished with a good deal of its old vigor, though I believe he was rather careful about plundering American vessels. Hussein was also a usurer and the principal creditor of some Jewish merchants who had a claim against France. The claim was in litigation, and Hussein, becoming impatient, demanded payment from the French king. As France had been the principal sufferer from Hussein's pirates, it was not likely that the king would notice this demand. Soon after, in the Dey's palace, the Kasba, at a court function the Dey asked of the French consul why his master had remained silent.
“The King of France does not correspond with the Dey of Algiers,” was the haughty reply, whereupon Hussein struck the consul on the cheek with his fan, and said a lot of unpleasant things of both king and consul.
That was the downfall of Algiers. A blockade was established by the French, and three years later the French army of invasion marched in. Fifteen hundred guns, seventeen ships of war, and fifty million francs fell into the hands of France, as spoil of war. Algiers was no longer the terror of the seas. Over six hundred thousand Christian people had suffered the horrors of Algerian bondage, but with that July day, 1830, came the end of this barbarism, since which time Algiers has acquired a new habit—the habit of jumping at the crack of the French whip.
I may say here in passing that we were to hear a good deal of that incident of the Dey, the French consul, and the fan. It was in the guide-books in various forms, and as soon as I got dressed and on deck one of our conductors-himself a former resident of Algiers—approached me with:
“Do you see that tower up there on the hill-top? That is the Kasba. It was in that tower that Hussein, the last Dey of Algiers, struck the French consul three times on the cheek with his fan-an act which led to the conquest of Algiers by France.”
I looked at the tower with greatly renewed interest, and brought it up close to me with my glass. Then he pointed out other features of the city, fair and