The Scapegoat by Sir Hall Caine Page 1 of 307
Within sight of an English port, and within hail of English ships as they pass on to our empire in the East, there is a land where the ways of life are the same to-day as they were a thousand years ago; a land wherein government is oppression, wherein law is tyranny, wherein justice is bought and sold, wherein it is a terror to be rich and a danger to be poor, wherein man may still be the slave of man, and women is no more than a creature of lust-a reproach to Europe, a disgrace to the century, an outrage on humanity, a blight on religion! That land is Morocco!
This is a story of Morocco in the last years of the Sultan Abd er-Rahman. The ashes of that tyrant are cold, and his grandson sits in his place; but men who earned his displeasure linger yet in his noisome dungeons, and women who won his embraces are starving at this hour in the prison-palaces in which he immured them.
His reign is a story of yesterday; he is gone, he is forgotten; no man so meek and none so mean but he might spit upon his tomb.
Yet the evil work which he did in his evil time is done to-day, if not by his grandson, then in his grandson"s name-the degradation of man"s honour, the cruel wrong of woman"s, the shame of base usury, and the iniquity of justice that may be bought!
Of such corruption this story will tell, for it is a tale of tyranny that is every day repeated, a voice of suffering going up hourly to the powers of the world, calling on them to forget the secret hopes and petty jealousies whereof Morocco is a cause, to think no more of any scramble for territory when the fated day of that doomed land has come, and only to look to it and see that he who fills the throne of Abd er-Rahman shall be the last to sit there.
Yet it is the grandeur of human nature that when it is trodden down it waits for no decree of nations, but finds its own solace amid the baffled struggle against inimical power in the hopes of an exalted faith.