by Belle Waring on September 7, 2015

Yesterday I chanced to read a story from 1850, The Three Visits, by one Auguste Vitu. It is in a collection of, broadly speaking, ghost stories: The Macabre Megapack: 25 Lost Tales From The Golden Age. It is free to Amazon Prime members, and 99 cents otherwise, so you should buy it. It is misleadingly advertised by the title–it’s actually tales from writers earlier than, and contemporaneous with, Edgar Allen Poe, not stories from the golden age of Weird Tales (though that is also a thing.) This story starts out in a promising way:

In the month of August, 1845, a column of French soldiers, composed of Chasseurs d’ Afrique, of Spahis, and several battalions of the line, were crossing the beautiful valley of orange-trees and aloes, at the base of Djebel-Ammer, one of the principal spurs of Atlas. It was nine o’clock at night, and the atmosphere was calm and clear. A few light and fleecy clouds yet treasured up the melancholy reflection of the sun’s last beams, which, in copper bands, were radiated across the horizon. The march was rapid, for it was necessary to catch up with the advance guard, which had been pushed forward to make a razzia, the object of which was to bring into subjection one or two mutinous tribes. The Marechal de Camp who commanded this advanced party had halted with a field-officer, to observe this party defile into its place with the rear guard. The day had been very warm, and luminous masses of vapor from time to time rose from the surface of the ground, like white apparitions in the midst of sombre space….

As the column approached Djebel-Ammer, the soil, which had hitherto been grassy and fertile, became barren and desolate. The orange-trees gave place to mastich-wood and the most horrible cactus. The arbuti lifted directly to heaven their blood-red trunks and regular branches, on which the leaves were so glittering that rays of the moon made them splendid as the scanthi of candelabra. On the right side and on the left arose layers of black and blue rocks, like vast Japanese vases, from which arose great cactus, with leaves dentelated as the claws of a gigantic crab. Fine and dry briars rattled as they quivered in the breeze, and the pale light of the rising stars made gigantic silhouettes of the shadows of the horses and men. The wolves howled in the distance, and large birds hovered in the air, uttering the most melancholy cries while they were on the wing.

What are spahis, you may be wondering? They are Algerian cavalry under French command. What’s a razzia, you wonder? Don’t worry, you’ll find out in a minute. In this story, the general reveals a compelling story to the regiment’s doctor about why he is “superstitious” and won’t allow the men to tell scary stories on night marches. Basically, it’s because his best friend of the golden hours of youth, George, has appeared to him twice after dying. George intimates, on their first post-death encounter, that the general would see him three times in his life, with the final meeting just preceding the general’s joining George in the possible Swedenborgian space awaiting him. (For real, Swedenborg is invoked). The second time, George saves his life by helping him clear his name, after the then-captain was falsely accused.

One night at a cafe of the street Bab-Azoun, I lost 14,000 francs, the remnant of my fortune. The sum was large and created much conversation in Algiers. “About ten o’clock an orderly delivered me a message that the Colonel wished to speak to me. Pale and uneasy, though I knew not why, I obeyed the order. “I found my good Colonel more pale and uneasy than I was. “‘Captain,’ said he, gasping as if in despair, ‘the military chest of my regiment was broken open this morning and there were taken from it fourteen thousand francs. Do you understand? Fourteen thousand francs.’ “The old officer advanced toward me, with his arms folded on his chest, and a stern and menacing eye. “I felt the pulses of my temples bound and my very brain seemed ready to burst. I drew back with indignation. “‘This handkerchief was lost by the robber, and found under the chair of the treasurer. See, sir, it bears your ciphers, E.V.’ “I took the handkerchief mechanically; it was indeed mine. My knees quivered, my eyes became filled with tears, and I could not articulate. “‘Now, sir,’ said the Colonel, ‘go and blow your brains out.’ “I left the room without uttering a word, completely overwhelmed at being called a criminal and a robber. It did not enter into my mind to declare my innocence, or to demand any inquiry. No, I returned to my quarters and took from the arm-rack a loaded pistol.

Wow, ice-cold, Colonel; ice-cold. Also, he was totally getting framed. But hey back to that razzia, eh?

The little army was encamped on the side of the army and saw at its feet a vast plain covered with a plentiful harvest and intersected by a network of canals fed with water from the Oued. On the other side of the mountain was a large Arab village, the irregularly-built houses of which seemed ready to fall into the valley. Vast rocks of trachytic porphyry were piled above it, and all was in the midst of a gigantic forest of cyprus, fig and pine trees.

“Here, Conscript,” said Corporal Gobin to Gabet, at the same time throwing him a box of matches, “go make your first fire.” “One sous a packet, two sous a box,” said an old gamin of Paris, from the neighborhood of the Temple. The plain was soon in a blaze, and the soldiers were forced to retreat before it. A light crackling of the grass was heard, then a whirlpool of blaze seemed to be formed in the midst of an immense mass of smoke. The matches, insignificant as they usually seem, in a country like Africa become terrible weapons, were seen everywhere busy in effecting the razzia. When the whole field was on fire, the column united again, to ascend the mountain; it crossed the ravines and valleys, and in the gorge of an immense pass, descended with loud hurrahs toward Djebel. Everywhere the greenish blaze of the match was visible, and the burning junipers made all the atmosphere fragrant. The slope of the mountain was scarcely descended, when the village was in a blaze as if it had been built of straw. A few Arabs hurrying from the houses exchanged shots with a handful of Spahis without much injury to either side. There were, however, two or three men wounded, and the doctor had taken care of them, when the column reached the base of the mountain. The conflagration had so closely followed the column that it seemed in pursuit of it. The fire wound round them like a serpent, until both man and the element paused on the banks of the Oued. The fire went out about dawn.

What in the actual what now? It’s war-crimes time, and people are joking around? It turns out, the general sees George again after mounting a nearby slope covered with melancholy cypress, and reflecting upon his life, and dies. The end. Why did anyone think this story works?

Now, to some degree people just did not know how to write ghost stories very well back in olden times. Quite seriously, I mean that, it was like not-yet-invented tech. But on the other hand, the reader is being assumed to have .001 fucks to give about the “mutinous” Arabs (and how precisely did they end up being people who answered to the command of France, such that they had the ability to mutiny?). The ‘a few villagers came out’ is the equivalent of the brief shot of the villains being cast from their burning car–that just rolled five times–on “The ‘A-Team'”, and then standing up so we know they are alive and well. (“I would have thought making someone’s car explode with a jerry-rigged bomb consisting of an oil-drum full of gasoline would hurt them! But I’m so happy to see they’re fine.” — a kid watching “The ‘A-Team'”) This could be an interesting horror story about taking the chance of burning loads of people alive, and starving them out when they rebel, and what it’s like to do such a thing. The tragedy could be what moves the general to his sombre reflection. That would assume a reader who has, like .1 fucks lying around to toss the sub-altern. But no! It is the relation of the tale itself which spurs the general to wander off and think about his dueling days, etc. All of Africa is just window-dressing for a poorly-told ghost story of the following form: 1) this is creepy y don’t u tell ghost stories 2) no the general is superstitious tho 3) wat how even, he’s, like, a general or something? 4) General: “I’ve totes seen a ghost, twice” 5) omniscient narrator: “then he saw a ghost again and died!1!.” The general is described rather charmingly: “General Etienne Vergamier, with his tall stature, his broad shoulders, his physical power, his mild expression, and his sweet and charming smile, might have served as a model for one of those northern heroes, sons of Ossian and Fingal, who as they fought sang heroic rhymes.” Yeah, he ten kinds of mild, am I right mutinous tribes? (Separately, remember when Ossian was a real thing?) I give it a B+ for style but it fails form.



Belle Waring 09.07.15 at 8:01 am

If it is the case that everyone in Europe/all right-thinking, historically well-informed people know what spahis and razzias are I would prefer to be told this only once and not multiple times, thanking you in advance, Belle.


david 09.07.15 at 8:19 am

curiously, both are French adaptations of broadly Muslim-world concepts to a colonial era – the aristocratic cavalry sipahi to coloured-auxiliary spahis, and slave-raiding ghazi to scorched-earth tactics razzia against insurgencies

but for colonial pretensions as to what colonialism was supposed to achieve, all this would have been pretty unremarkable, I suppose. The past is another country, as BDL once remarked.


Belle Waring 09.07.15 at 9:09 am

So you’re basically saying it’s Brad-ghazi?


Z 09.07.15 at 9:57 am

It’s war-crimes time, and people are joking around? […]

The historical name of the campaign the story references is the the Pacification Campaign, which gives you an idea of the mind-set. If you’ve read Les Misérables (as I’m guessing you must have), you can see that some people were not on board, at the time.

All of Africa is just window-dressing

Ah, but in fact the situation is much worse: from the point of view of the author and readers, the story takes place in France (Algeria in 1850 is a collection of three French departments).


JokeD 09.07.15 at 11:36 am

“Sepoy” (as in colonial India, Sepoy Mutiny etc.) is also derived from the word sipahi.


Donald Johnson 09.07.15 at 1:10 pm

In “A Savage War of Peace”, Horne has these two sentences–

“At the time of the conquest the indigenous population stood at somewhat less than three million; then a combination of war , disease and disastrous famine reduced it by fifty percent. But by 1906 it had re-established itself at 4,478,000 and from then on it began to take off, as European medical prowess made its impact.”

I suspect that if a western historian were writing a summary about a communist country with a similar demographic history (none quite fits the bill) the first sentence would be fleshed out a bit more.


William Berry 09.07.15 at 2:22 pm

@david: ” . . . as BDL once remarked”

L.P. Hartley, from novel The Go Between, way back before BDL was more than a gleam in his daddy’s eye: “The past is another country; they do things differently there.”*

*That is the opening line and a hell of a hook; probably better than anything else he wrote.


Garrulous 09.07.15 at 2:40 pm

“Razzia” is still the word in contemporary German for a large scale police raid.


rootlesscosmo 09.07.15 at 2:59 pm

A French movie of the 1950s was called “Razzia sur la chnouf,” “chnouf” being (according to Pauline Kael’s commentary) slang for dope. (It does sound sorta like snorting coke.) I hope someone has taken a closer look at the way the vocabulary of French colonialism in North Africa seeped into the lingo of crime in metropolitan France–the title of Jules Dassin’s crime caper movie “Rififi” (from a book called “Du rififi chez les hommes”) is derived from the Rif, a North African mountainous region whose “tribes” needed a lot of “subduing,” and seems to have expressed the idea that the war between cops and crooks in Pasris was much like that between colonial troops and “mutinous tribes.”
And isn’t “spahi” cognate with “sepoy”?


rootlesscosmo 09.07.15 at 2:59 pm



Glen Tomkins 09.07.15 at 3:26 pm

Not having read the story I can’t say that the problem isn’t just that the story doesn’t work, but it seems to me based on the fragments here, that its failure to work as a horror story might just mean that it isn’t meant to work in that genre. It’s a political tract that uses some elements of horror to avoid being overtly political.

If you do suppose that the second and third interventions of Georges (the first visitation is described as just informational, “I’m going to visit you twice more, then you die.”) are parallel events, then the final visit is also to save Vergamier’s honor from further stain by stopping his life of war crime.

The fact that the story is told with an otherwise consistent and categorical avoidance of any hint that the action of the story is a war crime is not any sort of refutation of this interpretation. The conquest and ongoing occupation of North Africa was quite controversial. The original readers of the time would have already taken sides on the interpretation of actions such as that retold in this story, noble assumption of White Man’s Burden vs colonialist genocide, so adding little tells and markers of the author’s view that this was a war crime would only serve to put colonialist believers on the defensive. An author who wanted to depict the occupation as shameful and dishonorable could write a screed that would convince no one but people already convinced. Or he could follow the plan of depicting what French forces in Algeria were actually doing in meticulously matter of fact detail, without presenting any judgment on the proceedings except — at the very end — the implication of the ghostly visitation, that Georges arrives to save Vergamier from deeper dishonor, and hope the reader might be thereby helped to understand what was wrong with the occupation.

If you look for remorse and moral scruples about what the general is doing, you find this tell that is mentioned, that he forbids ghost stories on night marches. The general displays no other superstitions but this one, no ghost talk on night marches. Vergamier knows that what he is doing is dishonorable, so fears an appearance of Georges and the only rescue from that dishonor still possible for a person who has followed the career path within an occupying army to its end in generalship. The general displays no faults except this little superstition. The author has to depict Vergamier as a paragon to avoid the misunderstanding that the atrocity recounted in the action of the story is somehow a result of his failings, rather than an inevitable working out of the logic of The White Man’s Burden.


Belle Waring 09.07.15 at 3:27 pm

One hopes less “setting everything on fire and then laughing about it” is involved in modern Germany. I think sepoy is from a different Indian root than spahi…no, it’s sipahi for infantrymen in the Mughal Empire according to wikipedia, from Persian. Um, but the French had cipayes in India? Because they imported the word twice, separately? Colonialism–there’s nothing it can’t do.*

*improving the lot of the colonized not included. May be prohibited by law.


Belle Waring 09.07.15 at 3:34 pm

Glen Thomkins: granting that you haven’t read the story and I may not have summarized it in quite entire enough detail to allow you to make meaningful conjectures that is a not totally insane interpretation. I just feel like…naw. That’s my distinct feeling, reader-wise. George’s first appearance was more pedestrian, and the general confesses to the doctor essentially that he is scared of ghosts generally because he, unlike most people, knows they are real. I mean, he seems to be worried the soldiers will stir something else up. It is actually fair to note that it’s maybe not supposed to be a scary story in the ordinary sense we employ it now. Yet it appears to be a grasp after the form of the ghost story whose target eludes it.


Glen Tomkins 09.07.15 at 3:47 pm

Okay, so Vergamier believes ghosts are real. He believes this because he has been visited by a ghost that he knows wasn’t just a hallucination because (if I understand this correctly) the ghost informed Vergamier of things he didn’t or couldn’t know by other means. This information was passed on by the ghost to right a wrong, to foil a frame-up.

Ghosts seem to be pretty benign, so why fear their appearance? Specifically, ghosts help people, like the young Vergamier, on the low end of the social totem pole, avoid being crushed in their powerlessness by manipulation of the powers that be.

True, this one ghost, Georges, can’t reappear to this one person, the general, without that meaning that the general is kaput. But the logic of the story — the specific use that ghosts are put to here in this story — is that ghosts appear only to right wrongs committed on the powerless. What does the general have to fear from ghostly forces vindicating the rights of the powerless?

Well, everything, as the real-world action of the story makes clear.


William Berry 09.07.15 at 4:01 pm

@Bell: “but the French had cipayes in India? Because they imported the word twice, separately?”

Maybe they didn’t import it twice. It might have come from the Pondicherry colony era, which preceded the time of the NA operation in the story.


david 09.07.15 at 4:01 pm

@6 – I was aware that BDL was quoting, but I was referring to the contents of the linked post.

A ‘razzia’ (in its nomadic sense, rather than colonial sense) is similar to a chevauchee, on the theme of war-crimes that put one “in his lady’s grace…”.

As scary stories go, there’s an entire niche of horror whose conceit is of people on the far-flung edges of civilization, testifying that Out There, There Are Ghosts/Spirits/Demons what-have-you. The intended dissonance is of practical romanceless modernity – here invoked in the mechanistic processes and hierarchy of the French military – and of the spirit world, whatever it is, I presume. Hence the meandering detail. This is France of 1850, there are veterans of the Algerian conquest two decades prior to rub their beards and say, hm, yes, this was what the Atlas mountains looked like to me too.

In an older Singapore bookstore, you can probably find “True Singapore Ghost Stories” and others of this ilk that are just this narrative, over and over again.


L 09.07.15 at 4:41 pm

When you mention “fire”, “war crimes”, and “Algeria” in the same sentence, what immediately comes to mind – now, and probably in the 1850s too – is Bugeaud’s “enfumades” (cf., say, https://www.academia.edu/3657137/Dahra_and_the_History_of_Violence_in_early_Colonial_Algeria ). I wonder, actually, whether that’s why the narrator seems so matter-of-fact about this: compared to suffocating 600 people, merely burning down an apparently nearly empty village must have seemed practically tame.

Incidentally, re #2 (david): razzia is from dialectal Arabic ghazya, which just means “raid” – the word has no specific connection to slave-raiding in Arabic or in French.


foolishmortal 09.07.15 at 4:57 pm

Cactus? In Africa?


Glen Tomkins 09.07.15 at 6:11 pm

As to the failure of this story to generate suspense, that may be at least partly the result of topicality. The opening quoted here would probably make an audience of its day imagine that it was going to hear a certain type of story with a certain ending, but that expectation is lost on the contemporary audience.

Specifically, the audience of 1850 would imagine that it is going to here about a French military disaster of a type that actually occurred fairly often in North Africa. Local forces would lure French forces far out into the wilderness by refusing to fight a straight-up conventional battle, but always retreating. Then, with the French forces far out in the wilderness, in unfavorable terrain that hampers their mobility but enhances that of the locals, after being whittled down by Parthian tactics and deprived of resupply, the locals would strike and wipe out the French column to the last man. Oh, perhaps there would be one survivor they would leave, “to tell the tale!”.

Throw in ghosts a bit later in the story, and this becomes a sort of Herodotean tale of the natural limits of even the most powerful of great powers. Herodotus has conventionally superior Persian armies destroyed completely by simple noble savage nomadic people to the East (the Massagetes), the South (the Macrobiotic Ethiopians), and the North (the Scythians), as a set up to their defeat at the hands of the very problematically noble savages to the West. Herodotus brings in Croesus prophesying from the middle of fire, and even more overtly religious stuff about Eleusis, to explain to us that mystical divine forces are at work guiding the fate of empire. This author is bringing in the ghost element to do the same. The audience is set up to hear what was presumably a conventional argument against the French imperial project, that Africa is beyond our natural boundaries, that our army therefore sets itself up for defeat at the hands of less-developed peoples, because we are fighting in their element, not ours.

But that’s not what happens as the story unfolds. General Vergamier has taken that prior intervention of Georges to heart. He stopped wasting his time, attention and fortune, and buckled down to learn his profession. He’s done so well at that, that his force takes all the reasonable precautions against the Parthian tactics of the Berbers. The military operation goes off like clockwork. The French Army can and has adapted to the Berbers, and can defeat them on their own ground. The author is not telling a cautionary tale against the French imperial project based on its impracticability, its tendency to get Frenchmen killed in a foolish and impractical cause.

The author’s objection to the French imperial project is not that it can’t be done, but that it can only be done with dishonor. The doom threatened by the ghost turns out to be personal to Vergamier in the story, France unexpectedly gets off scot-free and there is no military disaster. Vergamier is presented as a chevalier sans peur and sans reproches, because, like Bayard, he dies in service of a unjust cause. But the genocidal occupation of North Africa is in another league from invading Italy. Bayard keeps his honor, but Vergamier is compromised by the genocide inherent in the competent execution of his profession. He knows his entire career, what the does so well and with such professionalism, is based on the basic dishonor of using power to oppress the powerless, so he fears ghosts who vindicate the powerless, but can’t let himself understand that fear.


rea 09.07.15 at 9:19 pm

Separately, remember when Ossian was a real thing?

I’m old, but not that old . . .


Kenny 09.08.15 at 2:21 am

Cactus in Africa could be a reference to euphorbia. Or could just be a 19th century author who didn’t quite get the details right.

And multiple borrowings of the same word into the same language is totally a thing, like ship/skiff and shirt/skirt and castle/chateau (though I suppose all of these may have allowed enough time in between for the pronunciation to change, so they didn’t recognize it was the same word).


Belle Waring 09.08.15 at 2:49 am

The mastich-trees are a real thing, they produce a valued resin like gum Arabic, I checked. So maybe just English language confusion.


lurker 09.08.15 at 5:15 am


Peter T 09.08.15 at 6:34 am

The past is indeed another country. Winston Churchill’s account of a punitive expedition (commanded by Sir Bindon Blood!) in north-west India is quite open about what would now be war crimes.


L 09.08.15 at 8:32 am

Re 18, 21: There’s plenty of cactus in North Africa, specifically prickly pear. Introduced by the Spanish, of course, but that was a good 400 years ago, and by the 1850s it was already common.


passer-by 09.08.15 at 9:46 am

I agree with Glen Tomkins on the context and intended readership of a short story that’s probably not meant to be scary, but political.
Tocqueville, 1841, in his “report on Algeria” to the French parliament:
“I have often heard in France men I respect but do not agree with consider it wrong that we burn crops, empty grain stores and seize unarmed men, women and children. Those are in my opinion unfortunate necessities that any country who wants to wage war against the Arabs will have to bend to.
(…) The second important strategy, after the ban on commerce, is the devastation of the country. I believe that the law of war allows us to devastate the country and that we have to do it either by destructing crops at harvest time, or at all times, by leading those quick raids called razzias that aim at seizing the people or the herds.”
(With the conclusion, in 1847, that “around us, lights have gone out. We have made the muslim society much more miserable, more disordered, more ignorant and more barbaric that it was before it came to know us”).

The debates both on the conquest and colonization of Algeria and its means were extremely lively and well publicized in France from the 1830’s onward. The short story’s readers would not only be perfectly familiar with the actions described, but would probably, as Glen Tomkins said, have made up their minds about it.


Belle Waring 09.08.15 at 10:50 am

These are good objections! I re-read it and am more inclined to credit the general’s melancholic wander away from the troops in the wake of a successful, but ethically dubious, campaign as something reactive to the razzia as opposed to random moodiness. He specifically thinks back to his days at St.-Cyr and thus may well be thinking, “this isn’t what I studied for or expected.”


Z 09.08.15 at 1:39 pm

He knows his entire career, what the does so well and with such professionalism, is based on the basic dishonor of using power to oppress the powerless, so he fears ghosts who vindicate the powerless, but can’t let himself understand that fear.

the general’s melancholic wander away from the troops in the wake of a successful, but ethically dubious, campaign as something reactive to the razzia as opposed to random moodiness

Honestly, I don’t get either from the story. First of all, the triumphs of the General are all set during the Algerian campaign, including the joy of fighting with his beloved Georges at Fort l’Empereur and Sidi-Ferruch and the subsequent “glorious campaigns”. Second, the razzia is (in my edition) explicitly deemed to be necessary “une razzia devenue nécessaire pour faire rentrer dans l’obéissance des tribus mutinées” and (again in my edition) it is Major Bannis himself who gives treatment to the victims, showing the essential benevolence of the whole business. Third, the “powerless” are depicted with characteristic nastiness (“C’est égal, des revenants Arabes, ça doit être farce”) and the only Arab woman ever mentioned is-of course-a greedy prostitute who lures her lover into crime.

What I do get from the story are 1) strong undertones of homosexual love and 2) rather straightforward Balzac-ripping (in style but also plot, check out the similarities with La Peau de chagrin) and La Fille aux yeux d’or).

So I say Étienne is moody because he loved Georges, regrets not having satisfied his desires of him and pines for the last visit, even though he knows it will his last day, just like the hero of the Peau de chagrin oscillates between dying and experiencing a last desire.


Belle Waring 09.08.15 at 3:00 pm

ALL the homoerotic undertones, though. All of them. Thanks for reading the story and then commenting afterwards!


Peter Erwin 09.09.15 at 1:35 pm

I think sepoy is from a different Indian root than spahi…no, it’s sipahi for infantrymen in the Mughal Empire according to wikipedia, from Persian. Um, but the French had cipayes in India? Because they imported the word twice, separately? Colonialism–there’s nothing it can’t do.

Sipahi was also adopted from Persian by the Ottoman Turks to refer to their cavalry units. The French almost certainly picked up it from the Ottomans, who of course ruled Algeria (more or less loosely) before the French took over. So I suppose one could also say: “Cultural imperialism — there’s nothing it can’t do!” (The “cultural imperialism” in this case being Persian.)


yabonn 09.09.15 at 8:16 pm

Also vaguely resonates with Dumas’ “Les Frères corses”.


Ellie1789 09.11.15 at 7:00 am

This story is actually pretty typical of popular French stories set in Algeria in this period—lots of ghosts of lost comrades floating around (often killed in the Napoleonic wars), supporting tales whose moral is either a) This war is so great—we’re finally reviving the grand military traditions of Napoleon and showing that we are real men! or b) This war is not so great—it’s definitely not in the grand military tradition of Napoleon, but at least we get to do some fighting and show that French men are still at least somewhat manly! I don’t know Vitu well, but judging from the rest of his oeuvre (http://data.bnf.fr/11928575/auguste_vitu/), he was a Bonapartist, so probably category a.

To Glen Tomkins @19: The scenario you describe of French columns being wiped out en masse was actually pretty rare. Fewer than 5000 French troops were killed in combat in the first twenty years of the war of conquest in Algeria. The vast majority (c. 30,000) died of disease or infection. We don’t have figures for the year this story was published, but the best available data (from Kamel Kateb) shows the highest toll for this period was 1836 (the year of the first failed siege of Constantine), when just over 600 were killed in combat, but 2800 died in hospital.

Also, there are lots of cacti in North Africa, and they were omnipresent in Western images of Algeria in the nineteenth century.


Stu Witmer 09.11.15 at 1:34 pm

Near as I can tell, the book is not “free to Amazon Prime members, and 99 cents otherwise” but rather free to kindleUnlimited subscribers, and 99 cents otherwise. I rush to say, however, that I am far from knowledgeable as to the fol-de-rol ways of Amazon Prime or otherwise.

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