Studio: international art — 11.1897

Page: 178
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Tangier as a Sketching Ground

of others. The mosques have their minarets faced
with glittering tiles of iridescent blue and green, like
the wing sheaths of some tropical insect, but for
the most part Tangier is a little unpretentious city
of narrow white lanes that wander hither and thither
aimlessly, meeting others as hopelessly devoid of
strong convictions as themselves, but all wonderful
in the illimitable gradations of white—the white of
eggs, the white of milk, the white of cream, the
white of teeth, the white of pearls, the white of
opals, yes, and even the immaculate white of fair
women are all to be found in these little straggling
streets; for the great azure sky above, with the
ardent sun and the innumerable reflections of the
•earth are tinting them variously from morn till eve.

That wall in front of you is homely whitewash,
•steeped for the moment in a violet shade; a door
opens and a rectangular slab of yellow-white light
from the opposite wall of the patio makes you
blink, and deepens the violet of the near wall;

"CUL IiE SAC, TANGIER "

FROM A SKETCH IN OILS BY NORMAN OARSTIN

I78

purple patches of shade stain the patio's red tiles
with silhouetted pictures of the fig leaves under
whose shade the good man may sit him down, with
none to make him afraid—except his wives.

As we are looking a naked arm comes through
the doorway, and a henna-stained hand beats with
the knocker, a dark eye meanwhile furtively regard-
ing us. Straightway a shrill-voiced boy, with a flat
board upon his head, comes trotting up the lane
and receives upon his tray sundry flat cakes with
which he returns to the bakery, and the door is
shut upon the unbeliever, who moves on to where,
in the shadow of a piece of matting, a craftsman is
hammering brass trays for such infidels as, having
crossed the narrow waters, desire to have upon
their suburban hall-tables a memorial of their little
journey into Africa.

There sits a weaver in his doorway. The creaking
loom and the flying shuttle are such as wove
Joseph his gaudy coat, while beyond, behind the
net curtain, sits a barber, kindly lent by the
Arabian Nights, shaving a believing head, but care-
ful to preserve that lock with which the angel shall
ultimately pull it up to Paradise.

As you stand looking down upon the main street
the scene is very busy and animated. A green
minaret rises above the white houses and cuts the
blue bay beyond ; over the straits, in a haze of sun,
glitters the land of Spain, the white Tarifa, visible
from Tangier as a speck of lighter light. But in
the immediate foreground the street is full of life ;
up and down the crowd is moving, white for the
most part, white turbans, white haiks, and often
white gelawbs. There is a sort of auction going on
in the little SSko, the intending buyers standing or
squatting about with a kind of deprecatory listless-
ness, the "it is nought, it is nought" kind of ex-
pression of buyers all over this rascally world.
Here and there the salesmen's attendants are rush-
ing with Rabat carpets, silver-mounted guns and
daggers wrought by the wild but artistic Sus people,
bright caftans and all the Oriental luxuries or
necessaries.

Through this commercial scene soldiers with
conical tarbooshes ride, careless of the foot pas-
sengers ; donkeys are beaten and goaded, and the
most supreme democratic indifference reigns
supreme. Upon the hill, outside the upper water-
gate, there is a large market where country people
bring their produce: fruits, vegetables, charcoal
and rude pottery ; here there is a snake-charmer,
there a story-teller, each with his circle of half-
interested, half contemptuous spectators and
listeners ; there, amongst unloaded bales, is a knot
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