GIBRALTAR-February 1893. DEAR MOTHER:
Morocco as it is is a very fine place spoiled by civilization. Not nice civilization but the dregs of it, the broken down noblemen of Spain and cashiered captains of England and the R---- L----'s of America. They hunt and play cricket and gamble and do nothing to maintain what is best in the place or to help what is worst. I love the Moors and the way they hate the Christian and the scorn and pride they show. They seem to carry all the mystery and dignity of Africa and of foreign conquests about them, and they are wonderfully well made and fine looking and self-respecting. The color is very beautiful, but the foreign element spoils it at every turn. One should really go inland but I shall not because I mean to do that when I reach Cairo. Everybody goes inland from here and Bonsal has covered it already. He is a great man here among all classes.
I have bought two long guns and three pistols three feet long and a Moorish costume for afternoon teas. I shall look fine. My guide's idea of pleasing me is to kick everybody out of the way which always brings down curses on me so I have to go back and give them money and am so gradually becoming popular and much sought after by blind beggars. You can get three pounds of copper for a franc and it lasts all day throwing it right and left all the time. I made a great tear in Bonsal's record today by refusing to pay a snake charmer all he wanted and then when he protested I took one of the snakes out of his hands and swung it around my head to the delight of the people. I wanted to show him he was a fakir to want me to pay for what I would do myself. It was a large snake about four feet long. Then my horse and another horse got fighting in the principal street in the city standing up on their hind legs and boxing like men and biting and squealing. It was awful and I got mine out of the way and was trod on and had my arm nearly pulled off and the crowd applauded and asked my guide whether I was American or English. They do not like the English. So with the lower classes I may say that I am having a social success. DICK.
Off Malta--March 1, 1893. DEAR MOTHER:
I have been having a delightful voyage with moonlight all night and sunlight all day. Africa kept in sight most of the time and before that we saw beautiful mountains in Spain covered with snow and red in the sunset. There were a lot of nice English people going out to India to meet their husbands and we have "tiffin" and "choota" and "curry," so it really seemed oriental. The third night out we saw Algiers sparkling like Coney Island. I play games with myself and pretend I am at my rooms reading a story which is very hard to pretend as I never read in my rooms and then I look up and exclaim "Hello, I'm not in New York, that's Algiers." The thing that has impressed me most is how absolutely small the world is and how childishly easy it is to go around it. You and Nora MUST take this trip; as for me I think Willie Chanler is the most sensible individual I have yet met.
All the fascination of King Solomon's Mines seems to be behind those great mountains and this I may add is a bit of advance work for mother, an entering wedge to my disappearing from sight for years and years in the Congo. Which, seriously, I will not do; only it is disappointing to find the earth so small and so easily encompassed that you want to go on where it is older, and new. The worst of it is that it is hard leaving all the nice people you meet and then must say good-bye to. The young ladies and Capt. Buckle and Cust came down to see me off and Buckle brought me a photo four feet long of Gib, an official one which I had to smuggle out with a great show of secrecy and now I shall be sorry to leave these people. Just as I wrote that one of the officers going out to join his regiment came to the door and blushing said the passengers were getting up a round robin asking me to stop on and go to Cairo.
Since writing the above lots of things have happened. I bid farewell to everyone at Malta and yet in four hours I was back again bag and baggage and am now on my way to Cairo. Tunis and the Bey are impossible. As soon as I landed at Malta I found that though I could go to Tunis I could not go away without being quarantined for ten days and if I remained in Malta I must stay a week. On balancing a week of Egypt against a week of Malta I could not do it so I put back to this steamer again and here I am. Tomorrow we reach Brindisi and we have already passed Sicily and had a glimpse of the toe of Italy and it is the coldest sunny Italy that I ever imagined. I am bitterly disappointed about Tunis. I have no letters to big people in Cairo only subalterns but I shall probably get along. I always manage somehow with my "artful little Ikey ways." It was most gratifying to mark my return to this boat. One young woman danced a Kangaroo dance and the Captain wept and all the stewards stood in a line and grinned. I sing Chevalier's songs and they all sit in the dining room below and forget to lay out the plates and last night some of the Royal Berkshire with whom I dined at Malta came on board and after hearing the Old Kent Road were on the point of Mutiny and refused to return to barracks. Great is the Power of Chevalier and great is his power for taking you back to London with three opening bars. Malta was the queerest place I ever got into. It was like a city, country and island made of cheese, mouldy cheese, and fresh limburger cheese with holes in it. You sailed right up to the front door as it were and people were hanging out of the windows smoking pipes and looking down on the deck as complacently as though having an ocean steamer in the yard was as much a matter of course as a perambulator. There were also women with black hoods which they wear as a penance because long ago the ladies of Malta got themselves talked about. I was on shore about five hours and saw some interesting things and with that and Brindisi and the voyage I can make a third letter but Tunis is writ on my heart like Calais.
Today Cleveland is inaugurated and I took all the passengers down at the proper time and explained to them that at that moment a great man was being made president and gave them each an American cocktail to remember it by and in which to toast him I am getting to be a great speech maker and if there are any more anniversaries in America I shall be a second Depew.