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The Complete Celebrated Crimes by Alexander Dumas, Pere

Part 26 out of 33

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the father of the family. Village feasts were held on the booty
taken from strangers; and the favourite dish was always a stolen
sheep. Every man was esteemed in proportion to his skill and
courage, and a man's chances of making a good match were greatly
enhanced when he acquired the reputation of being an agile
mountaineer and a good bandit.

The Albanians proudly called this anarchy liberty, and religiously
guarded a state of disorder bequeathed by their ancestors, which
always assured the first place to the most valiant.

It was amidst men and manners such as these that Ali Tepeleni was
born. He boasted that he belonged to the conquering race, and that
he descended from an ancient Anatolian family which had crossed into
Albania with the troops of Bajazet Ilderim. But it is made certain
by the learned researches of M. de Pouqueville that he sprang from a
native stock, and not an Asiatic one, as he pretended. His ancestors
were Christian Skipetars, who became Mussulmans after the Turkish
invasion, and his ancestry certainly cannot be traced farther back
than the end of the sixteenth century.

Mouktar Tepeleni, his grandfather, perished in the Turkish expedition
against Corfu, in 1716. Marshal Schullemburg, who defended the
island, having repulsed the enemy with loss, took Mouktar prisoner on
Mount San Salvador, where he was in charge of a signalling party, and
with a barbarity worthy of his adversaries, hung him without trial.
It must be admitted that the memory of this murder must have had the
effect of rendering Ali badly disposed towards Christians.

Mouktar left three sons, two of whom, Salik and Mahomet, were born of
the same mother, a lawful wife, but the mother of the youngest, Veli,
was a slave. His origin was no legal bar to his succeeding like his
brothers. The family was one of the richest in the town of Tepelen,
whose name it bore, it enjoyed an income of six thousand piastres,
equal to twenty thousand francs. This was a large fortune in a poor
country, where, all commodities were cheap. But the Tepeleni family,
holding the rank of beys, had to maintain a state like that of the
great financiers of feudal Europe. They had to keep a large stud of
horses, with a great retinue of servants and men-at-arms, and
consequently to incur heavy expenses; thus they constantly found
their revenue inadequate. The most natural means of raising it which
occurred to them was to diminish the number of those who shared it;
therefore the two elder brothers, sons of the wife, combined against
Veli, the son of the slave, and drove him out of the house. The
latter, forced to leave home, bore his fate like a brave man, and
determined to levy exactions on others to compensate him for the
losses incurred through his brothers. He became a freebooter,
patrolling highroads and lanes, with his gun on his shoulder and his
yataghan in his belt, attacking, holding for ransom, or plundering
all whom he encountered.

After some years of this profitable business, he found himself a
wealthy man and chief of a warlike band. Judging that the moment for
vengeance had arrived, he marched for Tepelen, which he reached
unsuspected, crossed the river Vojutza, the ancient Aous, penetrated
the streets unresisted, and presented himself before the paternal
house, in which his brothers, forewarned, had barricaded themselves.
He at once besieged them, soon forced the gates, and pursued them to
a tent, in which they took a final refuge. He surrounded this tent,
waited till they were inside it, and then set fire to the four
corners. "See," said he to those around him, "they cannot accuse me
of vindictive reprisals; my brothers drove me out of doors, and I
retaliate by keeping them at home for ever."

In a few moments he was his father's sole heir and master of Tepelen.
Arrived at the summit of his ambition, he gave up free-booting, and
established himself in the town, of which he became chief ago. He
had already a son by a slave, who soon presented him with another
son, and afterwards with a daughter, so that he had no reason to fear
dying without an heir. But finding himself rich enough to maintain
more wives and bring up many children, he desired to increase his
credit by allying himself to some great family of the country. He
therefore solicited and obtained the hand of Kamco, daughter of a bey
of Conitza. This marriage attached him by the ties of relationship
to the principal families of the province, among others to Kourd
Pacha, Vizier of Serat, who was descended from the illustrious race
of Scander Beg. After a few years, Veli had by his new wife a son
named Ali, the subject of this history, and a daughter named
Chainitza.

Ire spite of his intentions to reform, Veli could not entirely give
up his old habits. Although his fortune placed him altogether above
small gains and losses, he continued to amuse himself by raiding from
time to time sheep, goats, and other perquisites, probably to keep
his hand in. This innocent exercise of his taste was not to the
fancy of his neighbours, and brawls and fights recommenced in fine
style. Fortune did not always favour him, and the old mountaineer
lost in the town part of what he had made on the hills. Vexations
soured his temper and injured his health. Notwithstanding the
injunctions of Mahomet, he sought consolation in wine, which soon
closed his career. He died in 1754.

CHAPTER II

Ali thus at thirteen years of age was free to indulge in the
impetuosity of his character. From his early youth he had manifested
a mettle and activity rare in young Turks, haughty by nature and
self-restrained by education. Scarcely out of the nursery, he spent
his time in climbing mountains, wandering through forests, scaling
precipices, rolling in snow, inhaling the wind, defying the tempests,
breathing out his nervous energy through every pore. Possibly he
learnt in the midst of every kind of danger to brave everything and
subdue everything; possibly in sympathy with the majesty of nature,
he felt aroused in him a need of personal grandeur which nothing
could satiate. In vain his father sought to calm his savage temper;
and restrain his vagabond spirit; nothing was of, any use. As
obstinate as intractable, he set at defiance all efforts and all
precautions. If they shut him up, he broke the door or jumped out of
the window; if they threatened him, he pretended to comply, conquered
by fear, and promised everything that was required, but only to break
his word the first opportunity. He had a tutor specially attached to
his person and charged to supervise all his actions. He constantly
deluded him by fresh tricks, and when he thought himself free from
the consequences, he maltreated him with gross violence. It was only
in his youth, after his father's death, that he became more
manageable; he even consented to learn to read, to please his mother,
whose idol he was, and to whom in return he gave all his affection.

If Kamco had so strong a liking for Ali, it was because she found in
him, not only her blood, but also her character. During the lifetime
of her husband, whom she feared, she seemed only an ordinary woman;
but as soon as his eyes were closed, she gave free scope to the
violent passions which agitated her bosom. Ambitious, bold,
vindictive; she assiduously cultivated the germs of ambition,
hardihood, and vengeance which already strongly showed themselves in
the young Ali. "My son," she was never tired of telling him, "he who
cannot defend his patrimony richly deserves to lose it. Remember
that the property of others is only theirs so long as they are strong
enough to keep it, and that when you find yourself strong enough to
take it from them, it is yours. Success justifies everything, and
everything is permissible to him who has the power to do it."

Ali, when he reached the zenith of his greatness, used to declare
that his success was entirely his mother's work. "I owe everything
to my mother," he said one day to the French Consul; "for my father,
when he died, left me nothing but a den of wild beasts and a few
fields. My imagination, inflamed by the counsels of her who has
given me life twice over, since she has made me both a man and a
vizier, revealed to me the secret of my destiny. Thenceforward I saw
nothing in Tepelen but the natal air from which I was to spring on
the prey which I devoured mentally. I dreamt of nothing else but
power, treasures, palaces, in short what time has realised and still
promises; for the point I have now reached is not the limit of my
hopes."

Kamco did not confine herself to words; she employed every means to
increase the fortune of her beloved son and to make him a power. Her
first care was to poison the children of Veli's favourite slave, who
had died before him. Then, at ease about the interior of her family,
she directed her attention to the exterior. Renouncing all the habit
of her sex, she abandoned the veil and the distaff, and took up arms,
under pretext of maintaining the rights of her children. She
collected round her her husband's old partisans, whom she attached to
her, service, some by presents, others by various favours, and she
gradually enlisted all the lawless and adventurous men in Toscaria.
With their aid, she made herself all powerful in Tepelen, and
inflicted the most rigorous persecutions on such as remained hostile
to her.

But the inhabitants of the two adjacent villages of Kormovo and
Kardiki, fearing lest this terrible woman, aided by her son, now
grown into a man, should strike a blow against their independence;
made a secret alliance against her, with the object of putting her
out of the way the first convenient opportunity. Learning one day
that Ali had started on a distant expedition with his best soldiers;
they surprised Tepelen under cover of night, and carried off Kamco
and her daughter Chainitza captives to Kardiki. It was proposed to
put them to death; and sufficient evidence to justify their execution
was not wanting; but their beauty saved their lives; their captors
preferred to revenge themselves by licentiousness rather than by
murder. Shut up all day in prison, they only emerged at night to
pass into the arms of the men who had won them by lot the previous
morning. This state of things lasted for a month, at the end of
which a Greek of Argyro-Castron, named G. Malicovo, moved by
compassion for their horrible fate, ransomed them for twenty thousand
piastres, and took them back to Tepelen.

Ali had just returned. He was accosted by his mother and sister,
pale with fatigue, shame, and rage. They told him what had taken
place, with cries and tears, and Kamco added, fixing her distracted
eyes upon him, "My son! my son! my soul will enjoy no peace till
Kormovo and Kardikil destroyed by thy scimitar, will no longer exist
to bear witness to my dishonour."

Ali, in whom this sight and this story had aroused, sanguinary
passions, promised a vengeance proportioned to the outrage, and
worked with all his might to place himself in a position to keep his
word. A worthy son of his father, he had commenced life in the
fashion of the heroes of ancient Greece, stealing sheep and goats,
and from the age of fourteen years he had acquired an equal
reputation to that earned by the son of Jupiter and Maia. When he
grew to manhood, he extended his operations. At the time of which we
are speaking, he had long practised open pillage. His plundering
expeditions added to his mother's savings, who since her return from
Kardiki had altogether withdrawn from public life, and devoted
herself to household duties, enabled him to collect a considerable
force for am expedition against Kormovo, one of the two towns he had
sworn to destroy. He marched against it at the head of his banditti,
but found himself vigorously opposed, lost part of his force, and was
obliged to save himself and the rest by flight. He did not stop till
he reached Tepelen, where he had a warm reception from Kamco, whose
thirst for vengeance had been disappointed by his defeat. "Go!" said
she, "go, coward! go spin with the women in the harem! The distaff
is a better weapon for you than the scimitar! "The young man
answered not a word, but, deeply wounded by these reproaches, retired
to hide his humiliation in the bosom of his old friend the mountain.
The popular legend, always thirsting for the marvellous in the
adventures of heroes, has it that he found in the ruins of a church a
treasure which enabled him to reconstitute his party. But he himself
has contradicted this story, stating that it was by the ordinary
methods of rapine and plunder that he replenished his finances. He
selected from his old band of brigands thirty palikars, and entered,
as their bouloubachi, or leader of the group, into the service of the
Pacha of Negropont. But he soon tired of the methodical life he was
obliged to lead, and passed into Thessaly, where, following the
example of his father Veli, he employed his time in brigandage on the
highways. Thence he raided the Pindus chain of mountains, plundered
a great number of villages, and returned to Tepelen, richer and
consequently more esteemed than ever.

He employed his fortune and influence in collecting a formidable
guerilla force, and resumed his plundering operations. Kurd Pacha
soon found himself compelled, by the universal outcry of the
province, to take active measures against this young brigand. He
sent against him a division of troops, which defeated him and brought
him prisoner with his men to Berat, the capital of Central Albania
and residence of the governor. The country flattered itself that at
length it was freed from its scourge. The whole body of bandits was
condemned to death; but Ali was not the man to surrender his life so
easily. Whilst they were hanging his comrades, he threw himself at
the feet of the pacha and begged for mercy in the name of his
parents, excusing himself on account of his youth, and promising a
lasting reform. The pacha, seeing at his feet a comely youth, with
fair hair and blue eyes, a persuasive voice, and eloquent tongue, and
in whose veins flowed the same blood as his own, was moved with pity
and pardoned him. Ali got off with a mild captivity in the palace of
his powerful relative, who heaped benefits upon him, and did all he
could to lead him into the paths of probity. He appeared amenable to
these good influences, and bitterly to repent his past errors. After
some years, believing in his reformation, and moved by the prayers of
Kamco, who incessantly implored the restitution of her dear son, the
generous pacha restored him his liberty, only giving him to under
stand that he had no more mercy to expect if he again disturbed the
public peace. Ali taking the threat seriously; did not run the risk
of braving it, and, on the contrary, did all he could to conciliate
the man whose anger he dared not kindle. Not only did he keep the
promise he had made to live quietly, but by his good conduct he
caused his, former escapades to be forgotten, putting under
obligation all his neighbours, and attaching to himself, through the
services he rendered them, a great number of friendly disposed
persons. In this manner he soon assumed a distinguished and
honourable rank among the beys of the country, and being of
marriageable age, he sought and formed an alliance with the daughter
of Capelan Tigre, Pacha of Delvino, who resided at Argyro-Castron.
This union, happy on both sides, gave him, with one of the most
accomplished women in Epirus, a high position and great influence.

It seemed as if this marriage were destined to wean Ali forever from
his former turbulent habits and wild adventures. But the family into
which he had married afforded violent contrasts and equal elements of
good and mischief. If Emineh, his wife, was a model of virtue, his
father-in-law, Capelan, was a composition of every vice--selfish,
ambitious, turbulent, fierce. Confident in his courage, and further
emboldened by his remoteness from the capital, the Pacha of Delvino
gloried in setting law and authority at defiance.

Ali's disposition was too much like that of his father-in-law to
prevent him from taking his measure very quickly. He soon got on
good terms with him, and entered into his schemes, waiting for an
opportunity to denounce him and become his successor. For this
opportunity he had not long to wait.

Capelan's object in giving his daughter to Tepeleni was to enlist him
among the beys of the province to gain independence, the ruling
passion of viziers. The cunning young man pretended to enter into
the views of his father-in-law, and did all he could to urge him into
the path of rebellion.

An adventurer named Stephano Piccolo, an emissary of Russia, had just
raised in Albania the standard of the Cross and called to arms all
the Christians of the Acroceraunian Mountains. The Divan sent orders
to all the pachas of Northern Turkey in Europe to instantly march
against the insurgents and quell the rising in blood.

Instead of obeying the orders of the Divan and joining Kurd Pacha,
who had summoned him, Capelan, at the instigation of his son-in-law,
did all he could to embarrass the movement of the imperial troops,
and without openly making common cause with the insurgents, he
rendered them substantial aid in their resistance. They were,
notwithstanding, conquered and dispersed; and their chief, Stephano
Piccolo, had to take refuge in the unexplored caves of Montenegro.

When the struggle was over, Capelan, as Ali had foreseen, was
summoned to give an account of his conduct before the roumeli-valicy,
supreme judge over Turkey in Europe. He was not only accused of the
gravest offences, but proofs of them were forwarded to the Divan by
the very man who had instigated them. There could be no doubt as to
the result of the inquiry; therefore, the pacha, who had no
suspicions of his son-in-law's duplicity, determined not to leave his
pachalik. That was not in accordance with the plans of Ali, who
wished to succeed to both the government and the wealth of his
father-in-law. He accordingly made the most plausible remonstrances
against the inefficacy and danger of such a resistance. To refuse to
plead was tantamount to a confession of guilt, and was certain to
bring on his head a storm against which he was powerless to cope,
whilst if he obeyed the orders of the roumeli-valicy he would find it
easy to excuse himself. To give more effect to his perfidious
advice, Ali further employed the innocent Emineh, who was easily
alarmed on her father's account. Overcome by the reasoning of his
son-in-law and the tears of his daughter, the unfortunate pacha
consented to go to Monastir, where he had been summoned to appear,
and where he was immediately arrested and beheaded.

Ali's schemes had succeeded, but both his ambition and his cupidity
were frustrated. Ali, Bey of Argyro-Castron, who had throughout
shown himself devoted to the sultan, was nominated Pacha of Delvino
in place of Capelan. He sequestered all the property of his
predecessor, as confiscated to the sultan, and thus deprived Ali
Tepeleni of all the fruits of his crime.

This disappointment kindled the wrath of the ambitious Ali. He swore
vengeance for the spoliation of which he considered himself the
victim. But the moment was not favourable for putting his projects
in train. The murder of Capelan, which its perpetrator intended for
a mere crime, proved a huge blunder. The numerous enemies of
Tepeleni, silent under the administration of the late pacha, whose
resentment they had cause to fear, soon made common cause under the
new one, for whose support they had hopes. Ali saw the danger,
sought and found the means to obviate it. He succeeded in making a
match between Ali of Argyro-Castron, who was unmarried, and
Chainitza, his own sister. This alliance secured to him the
government of Tigre, which he held under Capelan. But that was not
sufficient. He must put himself in a state of security against the
dangers he had lately, experienced, and establish himself on a firm
footing' against possible accidents. He soon formed a plan, which he
himself described to the French Consul in the following words:--

"Years were elapsing," said he, "and brought no important change in
my position. I was an important partisan, it is true, and strongly
supported, but I held no title or Government employment of my own.
I recognised the necessity of establishing myself firmly in my
birthplace. I had devoted friends, and formidable foes, bent on my
destruction, whom I must put out of the way, for my own safety.
I set about a plan for destroying them at one blow, and ended by
devising one with which I ought to have commenced my career. Had I
done so, I should have saved much time and pains.

"I was in the habit of going every day, after hunting, for a siesta
in a neighbouring wood. A confidential servant of mine suggested to
my enemies the idea of surprising me and assassinating one there. I
myself supplied the plan of the conspiracy, which was adopted. On
the day agreed upon, I preceded my adversaries to the place where I
was accustomed to repose, and caused a goat to be pinioned and
muzzled, and fastened under the tree, covered with my cape; I then
returned home by a roundabout path. Soon after I had left, the
conspirators arrived, and fired a volley at the goat.

"They ran up to make certain of my death, but were interrupted by a
piquet of my men, who unexpectedly emerged from a copse where I had
posted them, and they were obliged to return to Tepelen, which they
entered, riotous with joy, crying 'Ali Bey is dead, now we are free!'
This news reached my harem, and I heard the cries of my mother and my
wife mingled with the shouts of my enemies. I allowed the commotion
to run its course and reach its height, so as to indicate which were
my friends and which my foes. But when the former were at the depth
of their distress and the latter at the height of their joy, and,
exulting in their supposed victory, had drowned their prudence and
their courage in floods of wine, then, strong in the justice of my
cause, I appeared upon the scene. Now was the time for my friends to
triumph and for my foes to tremble. I set to work at the head of my
partisans, and before sunrise had exterminated the last of my
enemies. I distributed their lands, their houses, and their goods
amongst my followers, and from that moment I could call the town of
Tepelen my own."

A less ambitious man might perhaps have remained satisfied with such
a result. But Ali did not look upon the suzerainty of a canton as a
final object, but only as a means to an end; and he had not made
himself master of Tepelen to limit himself to a petty state, but to
employ it as a base of operations.

He had allied himself to Ali of Argyro-Castron to get rid of his
enemies; once free from them, he began to plot against his
supplanter. He forgot neither his vindictive projects nor his
ambitious schemes. As prudent in execution as bold in design, he
took good care not to openly attack a man stronger than himself, and
gained by stratagem what he could not obtain by violence. The honest
and straightforward character of his brother-in-law afforded an easy
success to his perfidy. He began by endeavouring to suborn his
sister Chainitza, and several times proposed to her to poison her
husband; but she, who dearly loved the pacha, who was a kind husband
and to whom she had borne two children, repulsed his suggestions with
horror, and threatened, if he persisted, to denounce him. Ali,
fearing the consequences if she carried out her threat, begged
forgiveness for his wicked plans, pretended deep repentance, and
spoke of his brother-in-law in terms of the warmest affection. His
acting was so consummate that even Chainitza, who well knew her
brother's subtle character, was deceived by it. When he saw that she
was his dupe, knowing that he had nothing more either to fear or to
hope for from that side, he directed his attention to another.

The pacha had a brother named Soliman, whose character nearly
resembled that of Tepeleni. The latter, after having for some time
quietly studied him, thought he discerned in him the man he wanted;
he tempted him to kill the pacha, offering him, as the price of this
crime, his whole inheritance and the hand of Chainitza, only
reserving for himself the long coveted sanjak. Soliman accepted the
proposals, and the fratricidal bargain was concluded. The two
conspirators, sole masters of the secret, the horrible nature of
which guaranteed their mutual fidelity, and having free access to the
person of their victim; could not fail in their object.

One day, when they were both received by the pacha in private
audience, Soliman, taking advantage of a moment when he was
unobserved, drew a pistol from his belt and blew out his brother's
brains. Chainitza ran at the sound, and saw her husband lying dead
between her brother and her brother-in-law. Her cries for help were
stopped by threats of death if she moved or uttered a sound. As she
lay, fainting with grief and terror, Ali made, a sign to Soliman, who
covered her with his cloak, and declared her his wife. Ali
pronounced the marriage concluded, and retired for it to be
consummated. Thus was celebrated this frightful wedding, in the
scene of an awful crime; beside the corpse of a man who a moment
before had been the husband of the bride and the brother of the
bridegroom.

The assassins published the death of the pacha, attributing it, as is
usual in Turkey, to a fit of cerebral apoplexy. But the truth soon
leaked out from the lying shrouds in which it had been wrapped.
Reports even exceeded the truth, and public opinion implicated
Chainitza in a crime of which she had been but the witness.
Appearances certainly justified these suspicions. The young wife had
soon consoled herself in the arms of her second husband for the loss
of the first, and her son by him presently died suddenly, thus
leaving Soliman in lawful and peaceful possession of all his
brother's wealth. As for the little girl, as she had no rights and
could hurt no one, her life was spared; and she was eventually
married to a bey of Cleisoura, destined in the sequel to cut a tragic
figure in the history of the Tepeleni family.

But Ali was once more deprived of the fruit of his bloody schemes.
Notwithstanding all his intrigues, the sanjak of Delvino was
conferred, not upon him, but upon a bey of one of the first families
of Zapouria. But, far from being discouraged, he recommenced with
new boldness and still greater confidence the work of his elevation,
so often begun and so often interrupted. He took advantage of his
increasing influence to ingratiate himself with the new pasha, and
was so successful in insinuating himself into his confidence, that he
was received into the palace and treated like the pacha's son. There
he acquired complete knowledge of the details of the pachalik and the
affairs of the pacha, preparing himself to govern the one when he had
got rid of the other.

The sanjak of Delvino was bounded from Venetian territory by the
district of Buthrotum. Selim, a better neighbour and an abler
politician than his predecessors, sought to renew and preserve
friendly commercial relations with the purveyors of the Magnificent
Republic. This wise conduct, equally advantageous for both the
bordering provinces, instead of gaining for the pacha the praise and
favours which he deserved, rendered him suspected at a court whose
sole political idea was hatred of the name of Christian, and whose
sole means of government was terror. Ali immediately perceived the
pacha's error, and the advantage which he himself could derive from
it. Selim, as one of his commercial transactions with the Venetians,
had sold them, for a number of years, the right of felling timber in
a forest near Lake Reloda. Ali immediately took advantage of this to
denounce the pasha as guilty of having alienated the territory of the
Sublime Porte, and of a desire to deliver to the infidels all the
province of Delvino. Masking his ambitious designs under the veil of
religion and patriotism, he lamented, in his denunciatory report, the
necessity under which he found himself, as a loyal subject and
faithful Mussulman, of accusing a man who had been his benefactor,
and thus at the same time gained the benefit of crime and the credit
of virtue.

Under the gloomy despotism of the Turks, a man in any position of
responsibility is condemned almost as soon as accused; and if he is
not strong enough to inspire terror, his ruin is certain. Ali
received at Tepelen, where he had retired to more conveniently weave
his perfidious plots, an order to get rid of the pacha. At the
receipt of the firman of execution he leaped with joy, and flew to
Delvino to seize the prey which was abandoned to him.

The noble Selim, little suspecting that his protege had become his
accuser and was preparing to become his executioner, received him
with more tenderness than ever, and lodged him, as heretofore, in his
palace. Under the shadow of this hospitable roof, Ali skilfully
prepared the consummation of the crime which was for ever to draw him
out of obscurity. He went every morning to pay his court to the
pacha, whose confidence he doubted; then, one day, feigning illness,
he sent excuses for inability to pay his respects to a man whom he
was accustomed to regard as his father, and begged him to come for a
moment into his apartment. The invitation being accepted, he
concealed assassins in one of the cupboards without shelves, so
common in the East, which contain by day the mattresses spread by
night on the floor for the slaves to sleep upon. At the hour fixed,
the old man arrived. Ali rose from his sofa with a depressed air,
met him, kissed the hem of his robe, and, after seating him in his
place, himself offered him a pipe-and coffee, which were accepted.
But instead of putting the cup in the hand stretched to receive it,
he let it fall on the floor, where it broke into a thousand pieces.
This was the signal. The assassins sprang from their retreat and
darted upon Selim, who fell, exclaiming, like Caesar, "And it is
thou, my son, who takest my life!"

At the sound of the tumult which followed the assassination, Selim's
bodyguard, running up, found Ali erect, covered with blood,
surrounded by assassins, holding in his hand the firman displayed,
and crying with a menacing voice, "I have killed the traitor Selim by
the order of our glorious sultan; here is his imperial command." At
these words, and the sight of the fatal diploma, all prostrated
themselves terror-stricken. Ali, after ordering the decapitation of
Selim, whose head he seized as a trophy, ordered the cadi, the beys,
and the Greek archons to meet at the palace, to prepare the official
account of the execution of the sentence. They assembled, trembling;
the sacred hymn of the Fatahat was sung, and the murder declared
legal, in the name of the merciful and compassionate God, Lord of the
world.

When they had sealed up the effects of the victim, the murderer left
the palace, taking with him, as a hostage, Mustapha, son of Selim,
destined to be even more unfortunate than his father.

A few days afterwards, the Divan awarded to Ali Tepeleni, as a reward
for his zeal for the State and religion, the sanjak of Thessaly, with
the title of Dervendgi-pacha, or Provost Marshal of the roads. This
latter dignity was conferred on the condition of his levying a body
of four thousand men to clear the valley of the Peneus of a multitude
of Christian chiefs who exercised more power than the officers of the
Grand Seigneur. The new pacha took advantage of this to enlist a
numerous body of Albanians ready for any enterprise, and completely
devoted to him. With two important commands, and with this strong
force at his back, he repaired to Trikala, the seat of his
government, where he speedily acquired great influence.

His first act of authority was to exterminate the bands of Armatolis,
or Christian militia, which infested the plain. He laid violent
hands on all whom he caught, and drove the rest back into their
mountains, splitting them up into small bands whom he could deal with
at his pleasure. At the same time he sent a few heads to
Constantinople, to amuse the sultan and the mob, and some money to
the ministers to gain their support. "For," said he, "water sleeps,
but envy never does." These steps were prudent, and whilst his
credit increased at court, order was reestablished from the defiles
of the Perrebia of Pindus to the vale of Tempe and to the pass of
Thermopylae.

These exploits of the provost-marshal, amplified by Oriental
exaggeration, justified the ideas which were entertained of the
capacity of Ali Pacha. Impatient of celebrity, he took good care
himself to spread his fame, relating his prowess to all comers,
making presents to the sultan's officers who came into his
government, and showing travellers his palace courtyard festooned
with decapitated heads. But what chiefly tended to consolidate his
power was the treasure which he ceaselessly amassed by every means.
He never struck for the mere pleasure of striking, and the numerous
victims of his proscriptions only perished to enrich him. His death
sentences always fell on beys and wealthy persons whom he wished to
plunder. In his eyes the axe was but an instrument of fortune, and
the executioner a tax-gatherer.

CHAPTER III

Having governed Thessaly in this manner during several years, Ali
found himself in a position to acquire the province of Janina, the
possession of which, by making him master of Epirus, would enable him
to crush all his enemies and to reign supreme over the three
divisions of Albania.

But before he could succeed in this, it was necessary to dispose of
the pacha already in possession. Fortunately for Ali, the latter was
a weak and indolent man, quite incapable of struggling against so
formidable a rival; and his enemy speedily conceived and put into
execution a plan intended to bring about the fulfilment of his
desires. He came to terms with the same Armatolians whom he had
formerly treated so harshly, and let them loose, provided with arms
and ammunition, on the country which he wished to obtain. Soon the
whole region echoed with stories of devastation and pillage. The
pacha, unable to repel the incursions of these mountaineers, employed
the few troops he had in oppressing the inhabitants of the plains,
who, groaning under both extortion and rapine, vainly filled the air
with their despairing cries. Ali hoped that the Divan, which usually
judged only after the event, seeing that Epirus lay desolate, while
Thessaly flourished under his own administration, would, before long,
entrust himself with the government of both provinces, when a family
incident occurred, which for a time diverted the course of his
political manoeuvres.

For a long time his mother Kamco had suffered from an internal
cancer, the result of a life of depravity. Feeling that her end drew
near, she despatched messenger after messenger, summoning her son to
her bedside. He started, but arrived too late, and found only his
sister Chainitza mourning over the body of their mother, who had
expired in her arms an hour previously. Breathing unutterable rage
and pronouncing horrible imprecations against Heaven, Kamco had
commanded her children, under pain of her dying curse, to carry out
her last wishes faithfully. After having long given way to their
grief, Ali and Chainitza read together the document which contained
these commands. It ordained some special assassinations, mentioned
sundry villages which, some day; were to be given to the flames, but
ordered them most especially, as soon as possible, to exterminate the
inhabitants of Kormovo and Kardiki, from whom she had endured the
last horrors of slavery.

Then, after advising her children to remain united, to enrich their
soldiers, and to count as nothing people who were useless to them,
Kamco ended by commanding them to send in her name a pilgrim to
Mecca, who should deposit an offering on the tomb of the Prophet for
the repose of her soul. Having perused these last injunctions, Ali
and Chainitza joined hands, and over the inanimate remains of their
departed mother swore to accomplish her dying behests.

The pilgrimage came first under consideration. Now a pilgrim can
only be sent as proxy to Mecca, or offerings be made at the tomb of
Medina, at the expense of legitimately acquired property duly sold
for the purpose. The brother and sister made a careful examination
of the family estates, and after long hunting, thought they had found
the correct thing in a small property of about fifteen hundred francs
income, inherited from their great-grandfather, founder of the
Tepel-Enian dynasty. But further investigations disclosed that even
this last resource had been forcibly taken from a Christian, and the
idea of a pious pilgrimage and a sacred offering had to be given up.
They then agreed to atone for the impossibility of expiation by the
grandeur of their vengeance, and swore to pursue without ceasing and
to destroy without mercy all enemies of their family.

The best mode of carrying out this terrible and self-given pledge was
that Ali should resume his plans of aggrandizement exactly where he
had left them. He succeeded in acquiring the pachalik of Janina,
which was granted him by the Porte under the title of "arpalik," or
conquest. It was an old custom, natural to the warlike habits of the
Turks, to bestow the Government provinces or towns affecting to
despise the authority of the Grand Seigneur on whomsoever succeeded
in controlling them, and Janina occupied this position. It was
principally inhabited by Albanians, who had an enthusiastic
admiration for anarchy, dignified by them with the name of "Liberty,"
and who thought themselves independent in proportion to the
disturbance they succeeded in making. Each lived retired as if in a
mountain castle, and only went out in order to participate in the
quarrels of his faction in the forum. As for the pachas, they were
relegated to the old castle on the lake, and there was no difficulty
in obtaining their recall.

Consequently there was a general outcry at the news of Ali Pacha's
nomination, and it was unanimously agreed that a man whose character
and power were alike dreaded must not be admitted within the walls of
Janina. Ali, not choosing to risk his forces in an open battle with
a warlike population, and preferring a slower and safer way to a
short and dangerous one, began by pillaging the villages and farms
belonging to his most powerful opponents. His tactics succeeded, and
the very persons who had been foremost in vowing hatred to the son of
Kamco and who had sworn most loudly that they would die rather than
submit to the tyrant, seeing their property daily ravaged, and
impending ruin if hostilities continued, applied themselves to
procure peace. Messengers were sent secretly to Ali, offering to
admit him into Janina if he would undertake to respect the lives and
property of his new allies. Ali promised whatever they asked, and
entered the town by night. His first proceeding was to appear before
the cadi, whom he compelled to register and proclaim his firmans of
investiture.

In the same year in which he arrived at this dignity, really the
desire and object of Ali's whole life, occurred also the death of the
Sultan Abdul Hamid, whose two sons, Mustapha and Mahmoud, were
confined in the Old Seraglio. This change of rulers, however, made
no difference to Ali; the peaceful Selim, exchanging the prison to
which his nephews were now relegated, for the throne of their father,
confirmed the Pacha of Janina in the titles, offices, and privileges
which had been conferred on him.

Established in his position by this double investiture, Ali applied
himself to the definite settlement of his claims. He was now fifty
years of age, and was at the height of his intellectual development:
experience had been his teacher, and the lesson of no single event
had been lost upon him. An uncultivated but just and penetrating
mind enabled him to comprehend facts, analyse causes, and anticipate
results; and as his heart never interfered with the deductions of his
rough intelligence, he had by a sort of logical sequence formulated
an inflexible plan of action. This man, wholly ignorant, not only of
the ideas of history but also of the great names of Europe, had
succeeded in divining, and as a natural consequence of his active and
practical character, in also realising Macchiavelli, as is amply
shown in the expansion of his greatness and the exercise of his
power. Without faith in God, despising men, loving and thinking only
of himself, distrusting all around him, audacious in design,
immovable in resolution, inexorable in execution, merciless in
vengeance, by turns insolent, humble, violent, or supple according to
circumstances, always and entirely logical in his egotism, he is
Cesar Borgia reborn as a Mussulman; he is the incarnate ideal of
Florentine policy, the Italian prince converted into a satrap.

Age had as yet in no way impaired Ali's strength and activity, and
nothing prevented his profiting by the advantages of his position.
Already possessing great riches, which every day saw increasing under
his management, he maintained a large body of warlike and devoted
troops, he united the offices of Pacha of two tails of Janina, of
Toparch of Thessaly, and of Provost Marshal of the Highway. As
influential aids both to his reputation for general ability and the
terror of his' arms, and his authority as ruler, there stood by his
side two sons, Mouktar and Veli, offspring of his wife Emineh, both
fully grown and carefully educated in the principles of their father.

Ali's first care, once master of Janina, was to annihilate the beys
forming the aristocracy of the place, whose hatred he was well aware
of, and whose plots he dreaded. He ruined them all, banishing many
and putting others to death. Knowing that he must make friends to
supply the vacancy caused by the destruction of his foes, he enriched
with the spoil the Albanian mountaineers in his pay, known by the
name of Skipetars, on whom he conferred most of the vacant
employments. But much too prudent to allow all the power to fall
into the hands of a single caste, although a foreign one to the
capital, he, by a singular innovation, added to and mixed with them
an infusion of Orthodox Greeks, a skilful but despised race, whose
talents he could use without having to dread their influence. While
thus endeavouring on one side to destroy the power of his enemies by
depriving them of both authority and wealth, and on the other to
consolidate his own by establishing a firm administration, he
neglected no means of acquiring popularity. A fervent disciple of
Mahomet when among fanatic Mussulmans, a materialist with the
Bektagis who professed a rude pantheism, a Christian among the
Greeks, with whom he drank to the health of the Holy Virgin, he made
everywhere partisans by flattering the idea most in vogue. But if he
constantly changed both opinions and language when dealing with
subordinates whom it was desirable to win over, Ali towards his
superiors had one only line of conduct which he never transgressed.
Obsequious towards the Sublime Porte, so long as it did not interfere
with his private authority, he not only paid with exactitude all dues
to the sultan, to whom he even often advanced money, but he also
pensioned the most influential ministers. He was bent on having no
enemies who could really injure his power, and he knew that in an
absolute government no conviction can hold its own against the power
of gold.

Having thus annihilated the nobles, deceived the multitude with
plausible words and lulled to sleep the watchfulness of the Divan,
Ali resolved to turn his arms against Kormovo. At the foot of its
rocks he had, in youth, experienced the disgrace of defeat, and
during thirty nights Kamco and Chainitza had endured all horrors of
outrage at the hands of its warriors. Thus the implacable pacha had
a twofold wrong to punish, a double vengeance to exact.

This time, profiting by experience, he called in the aid of
treachery. Arrived at the citadel, he negotiated, promised an
amnesty, forgiveness for all, actual rewards for some. The
inhabitants, only too happy to make peace with so formidable an
adversary, demanded and obtained a truce to settle the conditions.
This was exactly what Ali expected, and Kormovo, sleeping on the
faith of the treaty, was suddenly attacked and taken. All who did
not escape by flight perished by the sword in the darkness, or by the
hand of the executioner the next morning. Those who had offered
violence aforetime to Ali's mother and sister were carefully sought
for, and whether convicted or merely accused, were impaled on spits,
torn with redhot pincers, and slowly roasted between two fires; the
women were shaved and publicly scourged, and then sold as slaves.

This vengeance, in which all the nobles of the province not yet
entirely ruined were compelled to assist, was worth a decisive
victory to Ali. Towns, cantons, whole districts, overwhelmed with
terror, submitted without striking a blow, and his name, joined to
the recital of a massacre which ranked as a glorious exploit in the
eyes of this savage people, echoed like thunder from valley to valley
and mountain to mountain. In order that all surrounding him might
participate in the joy of his success Ali gave his army a splendid
festival. Of unrivalled activity, and, Mohammedan only in name, he
himself led the chorus in the Pyrrhic and Klephtic dances, the
ceremonials of warriors and of robbers. There was no lack of wine,
of sheep, goats, and lambs roasted before enormous fires; made of the
debris of the ruined city; antique games of archery and wrestling
were celebrated, and the victors received their prizes from the hand
of their chief. The plunder, slaves, and cattle were then shared,
and the Tapygae, considered as the lowest of the four tribes
composing the race of Skipetars, and ranking as the refuse of the
army, carried off into the mountains of Acroceraunia, doors, windows,
nails, and even the tiles of the houses, which were then all
surrendered to the flames.

However, Ibrahim, the successor and son-in-law of Kurd Pacha, could
not see with indifference part of his province invaded by his
ambitious neighbour. He complained and negotiated, but obtaining no
satisfaction, called out an army composed of Skipetars of Toxid, all
Islamites, and gave the command to his brother Sepher, Bey of Avlone.
Ali, who had adopted the policy of opposing alternately the Cross to
the Crescent and the Crescent to the Cross, summoned to his aid the
Christian chiefs of the mountains, who descended into the plains at
the head of their unconquered troops. As is generally the case in
Albania, where war is merely an excuse for brigandage, instead of
deciding matters by a pitched battle, both sides contented themselves
with burning villages, hanging peasants, and carrying off cattle.

Also, in accordance with the custom of the country, the women
interposed between the combatants, and the good and gentle Emineh
laid proposals of peace before Ibrahim Pacha, to whose apathetic
disposition a state of war was disagreeable, and who was only too
happy to conclude a fairly satisfactory negotiation. A family
alliance was arranged, in virtue of which Ali retained his conquests,
which were considered as the marriage portion of Ibrahim's eldest
daughter, who became the wife of Ali's eldest son, Mouktar.

It was hoped that this peace might prove permanent, but the marriage
which sealed the treaty was barely concluded before a fresh quarrel
broke out between the pachas. Ali, having wrung such important
concessions from the weakness of his neighbour, desired to obtain yet
more. But closely allied to Ibrahim were two persons gifted with
great firmness of character and unusual ability, whose position gave
them great influence. They were his wife Zaidee, and his brother
Sepher, who had been in command during the war just terminated. As
both were inimical to Ali, who could not hope to corrupt them, the
latter resolved to get rid of them.

Having in the days of his youth been intimate with Kurd Pacha, Ali
had endeavoured to seduce his daughter, already the wife of Ibrahim.
Being discovered by the latter in the act of scaling the wall of his
harem, he had been obliged to fly the country. Wishing now to ruin
the woman whom he had formerly tried to corrupt, Ali sought to turn
his former crime to the success of a new one. Anonymous letters,
secretly sent to Ibrahim, warned him that his wife intended to poison
him, in order to be able later to marry Ali Pacha, whom she had
always loved. In a country like Turkey, where to suspect a woman is
to accuse her, and accusation is synonymous with condemnation, such a
calumny might easily cause the death of the innocent Zaidee. But if
Ibrahim was weak and indolent, he was also confiding and generous.
He took the letters; to his wife, who had no difficulty in clearing
herself, and who warned him against the writer, whose object and
plots she easily divined, so that this odious conspiracy turned only
to Ali's discredit. But the latter was not likely either to concern
himself as to what others said or thought about him or to be
disconcerted by a failure. He simply turned his machinations against
his other enemy, and arranged matters this time so as to avoid a
failure.

He sent to Zagori, a district noted for its doctors, for a quack who
undertook to poison Sepher Bey on condition of receiving forty
purses. When all was settled, the miscreant set out for Berat, and
was immediately accused by Ali of evasion, and his wife and children
were arrested as accomplices and detained, apparently as hostages for
the good behaviour of their husband and father, but really as pledges
for his silence when the crime should have been accomplished. Sepher
Bey, informed of this by letters which Ali wrote to the Pacha of
Berat demanding the fugitive, thought that a man persecuted by his
enemy would be faithful to himself, and took the supposed runaway
into his service. The traitor made skilful use of the kindness of
his too credulous protector, insinuated himself into his confidence,
became his trusted physician and apothecary, and gave him poison
instead of medicine on the very first appearance of indisposition.
As soon as symptoms of death appeared, the poisoner fled, aided by
the emissaries of All, with whom the court of Berat was packed, and
presented himself at Janina to receive the reward of his crime. Ali
thanked him for his zeal, commended his skill, and referred him to
the treasurer. But the instant the wretch left the seraglio in order
to receive his recompense, he was seized by the executioners and
hurried to the gallows. In thus punishing the assassin, Ali at one
blow discharged the debt he owed him, disposed of the single witness
to be dreaded, and displayed his own friendship for the victim! Not
content with this, he endeavoured to again throw suspicion on the
wife of Ibrahim Pacha, whom he accused of being jealous of the
influence which Sepher Pacha had exercised in the family. This he
mentioned regularly in conversation, writing in the same style to his
agents at Constantinople, and everywhere where there was any profit
in slandering a family whose ruin he desired for the sake of their
possessions. Before long he made a pretext out of the scandal
started by himself, and prepared to take up arms in order, he said,
to avenge his friend Sepher Bey, when he was anticipated by Ibrahim
Pacha, who roused against him the allied Christians of Thesprotia,
foremost among whom ranked the Suliots famed through Albania for
their courage and their love of independence.

After several battles, in which his enemies had the a vantage, Ali
began negotiations with Ibrahim, and finally concluded a treaty
offensive and defensive. This fresh alliance was, like the first, to
be cemented by a marriage. The virtuous Emineh, seeing her son Veli
united to the second daughter of Ibrahim, trusted that the feud
between the two families was now quenched, and thought herself at the
summit of happiness. But her joy was not of long duration; the
death-groan was again to be heard amidst the songs of the
marriage-feast.

The daughter of Chainitza, by her first husband, Ali, had married a
certain Murad, the Bey of Clerisoura. This nobleman, attached to
Ibrahim Pacha by both blood and affection, since the death of Sepher
Bey, had, become the special object of Ali's hatred, caused by the
devotion of Murad to his patron, over whom he had great influence,
and from whom nothing could detach him. Skilful in concealing truth
under special pretexts, Ali gave out that the cause of his known
dislike to this young man was that the latter, although his nephew by
marriage, had several times fought in hostile ranks against him.
Therefore the amiable Ibrahim made use of the marriage treaty to
arrange an honourable reconciliation between Murad Bey and his uncle,
and appointed the former "Ruler a the Marriage Feast," in which
capacity he was charged to conduct the bride to Janina and deliver
her to her husband, the young Veli Bey. He had accomplished his
mission satisfactorily, and was received by Ali with all apparent
hospitality. The festival began on his arrival towards the end of
November 1791, and had already continued several days, when suddenly
it was announced that a shot had been fired upon Ali, who had only
escaped by a miracle, and that the assassin was still at large. This
news spread terror through the city and the palace, and everyone
dreaded being seized as the guilty person. Spies were everywhere
employed, but they declared search was useless, and that there must
bean extensive conspiracy against Ali's life. The latter complained
of being surrounded by enemies, and announced that henceforth he
would receive only one person at a time, who should lay down his arms
before entering the hall now set apart for public audience. It was a
chamber built over a vault, and entered by a sort of trap-door, only
reached by a ladder.

After having for several days received his couriers in this sort of
dovecot, Ali summoned his nephew in order to entrust with him the
wedding gifts. Murad took this as a sign of favour, and joyfully
acknowledged the congratulations of his friends. He presented
himself at the time arranged, the guards at the foot of the ladder
demanded his arms, which he gave up readily, and ascended the ladder
full of hope. Scarcely had the trap-door closed behind him when a
pistol ball, fired from a dark corner, broke his shoulder blade, and
he fell, but sprang up and attempted to fly. Ali issued from his
hiding place and sprang upon him, but notwithstanding his wound the
young bey defended himself vigorously, uttering terrible cries. The
pacha, eager to finish, and finding his hands insufficient, caught a
burning log from the hearth, struck his nephew in the face with it,
felled him to the ground, and completed his bloody task. This
accomplished, Ali called for help with loud cries, and when his
guards entered he showed the bruises he had received and the blood
with which he was covered, declaring that he had killed in
self-defence a villain who endeavoured to assassinate him. He
ordered the body to be searched, and a letter was found in a pocket
which Ali had himself just placed there, which purported to give the
details of the pretended conspiracy.

As Murad's brother was seriously compromised by this letter, he also
was immediately seized, and strangled without any pretence of trial.
The whole palace rejoiced, thanks were rendered to Heaven by one of
those sacrifices of animals still occasionally made in the East to
celebrate an escape from great danger, and Ali released some
prisoners in order to show his gratitude to Providence for having
protected him from so horrible a crime. He received congratulatory
visits, and composed an apology attested by a judicial declaration by
the cadi, in which the memory of Murad and his brother was declared
accursed. Finally, commissioners, escorted by a strong body of
soldiers, were sent to seize the property of the two brothers,
because, said the decree, it was just that the injured should inherit
the possessions of his would-be assassins.

Thus was exterminated the only family capable of opposing the Pacha
of Janina, or which could counterbalance his influence over the weak
Ibrahim of Berat. The latter, abandoned by his brave defenders, and
finding himself at the mercy of his enemy, was compelled to submit to
what he could not prevent, and protested only by tears against these
crimes, which seemed to herald a terrible future for himself.

As for Emineh, it is said that from the date of this catastrophe she
separated herself almost entirely from her blood-stained husband, and
spent her life in the recesses of the harem, praying as a Christian
both for the murderer and his victims. It is a relief, in the midst
of this atrocious saturnalia to encounter this noble and gentle
character, which like a desert oasis, affords a rest to eyes wearied
with the contemplation of so much wickedness and treachery.

Ali lost in her the guardian angel who alone could in any way
restrain his violent passions. Grieved at first by the withdrawal of
the wife whom hitherto he had loved exclusively, he endeavoured in
vain to regain her affection; and then sought in new vices
compensation for the happiness he had lost, and gave himself up to
sensuality. Ardent in everything, he carried debauchery to a
monstrous extent, and as if his palaces were not large enough for his
desires, he assumed various disguises; sometimes in order to traverse
the streets by night in search of the lowest pleasures; sometimes
penetrating by day into churches and private houses seeking for young
men and maidens remarkable for their beauty, who were then carried
off to his harem.

His sons, following in his footsteps, kept also scandalous
households, and seemed to dispute preeminence in evil with their
father, each in his own manner. Drunkenness was the speciality of
the eldest, Mouktar, who was without rival among the hard drinkers of
Albania, and who was reputed to have emptied a whole wine-skin in one
evening after a plentiful meal. Gifted with the hereditary violence
of his family, he had, in his drunken fury, slain several persons,
among others his sword-bearer, the companion of his childhood and
confidential friend of his whole life. Veli chose a different
course. Realising the Marquis de Sade as his father had realised
Macchiavelli, he delighted in mingling together debauchery and
cruelty, and his amusement consisted in biting the lips he had
kissed, and tearing with his nails the forms he had caressed. The
people of Janina saw with horror more than one woman in their midst
whose nose and ears he had caused to be cut off, and had then turned
into the streets.

It was indeed a reign of terror; neither fortune, life, honour, nor
family were safe. Mothers cursed their fruitfulness, and women their
beauty. Fear soon engenders corruption, and subjects are speedily
tainted by the depravity of their masters. Ali, considering a
demoralised race as easier to govern, looked on with satisfaction.

While he strengthened by every means his authority from within, he
missed no opportunity of extending his rule without. In 1803 he
declared war against the Suliots, whose independence he had
frequently endeavoured either to purchase or to overthrow. The army
sent against them, although ten thousand strong, was at first beaten
everywhere. Ali then, as usual, brought treason to his aid, and
regained the advantage. It became evident that, sooner or later, the
unhappy Suliots must succumb.

Foreseeing the horrors which their defeat would entail, Emineh,
touched with compassion, issued from her seclusion and cast herself
at Ali's feet. He raised her, seated her beside him, and inquired as
to her wishes. She spoke of, generosity, of mercy; he listened as if
touched and wavering, until she named the Suliots. Then, filled with
fury, he seized a pistol and fired at her. She was not hurt, but
fell to the ground overcome with terror, and her women hastily
intervened and carried her away. For the first time in his life,
perhaps, Ali shuddered before the dread of a murder.

It was his wife, the mother of his children, whom he saw lying at his
feet, and the recollection afflicted and tormented him. He rose in
the night and went to Emineh's apartment; he knocked and called, but
being refused admittance, in his anger he broke open the door.
Terrified by the noise; and at the sight of her infuriated husband,
Emineh fell into violent convulsions, and shortly expired. Thus
perished the daughter of Capelan Pacha, wife of Ali Tepeleni, and
mother of Mouktar and Veli, who, doomed to live surrounded by evil,
yet remained virtuous and good.

Her death caused universal mourning throughout Albania, and produced
a not less deep impression on the mind of her murderer. Emineh's
spectre pursued him in his pleasures, in the council chamber, in the
hours of night. He saw her, he heard her, and would awake,
exclaiming, "my wife! my wife!--It is my wife!--Her eyes are angry;
she threatens me!--Save me! Mercy!" For more than ten years Ali
never dared to sleep alone.

CHAPTER IV

In December, the Suliots, decimated by battle, worn by famine,
discouraged by treachery, were obliged to capitulate. The treaty
gave them leave to go where they would, their own mountains excepted.
The unfortunate tribe divided into two parts, the one going towards
Parga, the other towards Prevesa. Ali gave orders for the
destruction of both, notwithstanding the treaty.

The Parga division was attacked in its march, and charged by a
numerous body of Skipetars. Its destruction seemed imminent, but
instinct suddenly revealed to the ignorant mountaineers the one
manoeuvre which might save them. They formed a square, placing old
men, women, children, and cattle in the midst, and, protected by this
military formation, entered Parga in full view of the cut-throats
sent to pursue them.

Less fortunate was the Prevesa division, which, terrified by a sudden
and unexpected attack, fled in disorder to a Greek convent called
Zalongos. But the gate was soon broken down, and the unhappy Suliots
massacred to the last man.

The women, whose tents had been pitched on the summit of a lofty
rock, beheld the terrible carnage which destroyed their defenders.
Henceforth their only prospect was that of becoming the slaves of
those who had just slaughtered their husbands and brothers. An
heroic resolution spared them this infamy; they joined hands, and
chanting their national songs, moved in a solemn dance round the
rocky platform. As the song ended, they uttered a prolonged and
piercing cry, and cast themselves and their children down into the
profound abyss beneath.

There were still some Suliots left in their country when Ali Pacha
took possession of it. These were all taken and brought to Janina,
and their sufferings were the first adornments of the festival made
for the army. Every soldier's imagination was racked for the
discovery of new tortures, and the most original among them had the
privilege of themselves carrying out their inventions.

There were some who, having had their noses and ears cut off, were
compelled to eat them raw, dressed as a salad. One young man was
scalped until the skin fell back upon his shoulders, then beaten
round the court of the seraglio for the pacha's entertainment, until
at length a lance was run through his body and he was cast on the
funeral pile. Many were boiled alive and their flesh then thrown to
the dogs.

From this time the Cross has disappeared from the Selleid mountains,
and the gentle prayer of Christ no longer wakes the echoes of Suli.

During the course of this war, and shortly after the death of Emineh,
another dismal drama was enacted in the pacha's family, whose active
wickedness nothing seemed to weary. The scandalous libertinism of
both father and sons had corrupted all around as well as themselves.
This demoralisation brought bitter fruits for all alike: the subjects
endured a terrible tyranny; the masters sowed among themselves
distrust, discord, and hatred. The father wounded his two sons by
turns in their tenderest affections, and the sons avenged themselves
by abandoning their father in the hour of danger.

There was in Janina a woman named Euphrosyne, a niece of the
archbishop, married to one of the richest Greek merchants, and noted
for wit and beauty. She was already the mother of two children, when
Mouktar became enamoured of her, and ordered her to come to his
palace. The unhappy Euphrosyne, at once guessing his object,
summoned a family council to decide what should be done. All agreed
that there was no escape, and that her husband's life was in danger,
on account of the jealousy of his terrible rival. He fled the city
that same night, and his wife surrendered herself to Mouktar, who,
softened by her charms, soon sincerely loved her, and overwhelmed her
with presents and favours. Things were in this position when Mouktar
was obliged to depart on an important expedition.

Scarcely had he started before his wives complained to Ali that
Euphrosyne usurped their rights and caused their husband to neglect
them. Ali, who complained greatly of his sons' extravagance, and
regretted the money they squandered, at once struck a blow which was
both to enrich himself and increase the terror of his name.

One night he appeared by torchlight, accompanied by his guards, at
Euphrosyne's house. Knowing his cruelty and avarice, she sought to
disarm one by gratifying the other: she collected her money and
jewels and laid them at Ali's feet with a look of supplication.

"These things are only my own property, which you restore," said he,
taking possession of the rich offering. "Can you give back the heart
of Mouktar, which you have stolen?"

Euphrosyne besought him by his paternal feelings, for the sake of his
son whose love had been her misfortune and was now her only crime, to
spare a mother whose conduct had been otherwise irreproachable. But
her tears and pleadings produced no effect on Ali, who ordered her to
be taken, loaded with fetters and covered with a piece of sackcloth,
to the prison of the seraglio.

If it were certain that there was no hope for the unhappy Euphrosyne,
one trusted that she might at least be the only victim. But Ali,
professing to follow the advice of some severe reformers who wished
to restore decent morality, arrested at the same time fifteen ladies
belonging to the best Christian families in Janina. A Wallachian,
named Nicholas Janco, took the opportunity to denounce his own wife,
who was on the point of becoming a mother, as guilty of adultery, and
handed her also over to the pacha. These unfortunate women were
brought before Ali to undergo a trial of which a sentence of death
was the foregone conclusion. They were then confined in a dungeon,
where they spent two days of misery. The third night, the
executioners appeared to conduct them to the lake where they were to
perish. Euphrosyne, too exhausted to endure to the end, expired by
the way, and when she was flung with the rest into the dark waters,
her soul had already escaped from its earthly tenement. Her body was
found the next day, and was buried in the cemetery of the monastery
of Saints-Anargyres, where her tomb, covered with white iris and
sheltered by a wild olive tree, is yet shown.

Mouktar was returning from his expedition when a courier from his
brother Veli brought him a letter informing him of these events. He
opened it. "Euphrosyne!" he cried, and, seizing one of his pistols,
fired it at the messenger, who fell dead at his feet,--"Euphrosyne,
behold thy first victim!" Springing on his horse, he galloped
towards Janina. His guards followed at a distance, and the
inhabitants of all the villages he passed fled at his approach. He
paid no attention to them, but rode till his horse fell dead by the
lake which had engulfed Euphrosyne, and then, taking a boat, he went
to hide his grief and rage in his own palace.

Ali, caring little for passion which evaporated in tears and cries,
sent an order to Mouktar to appear before him at once. "He will not
kill you," he remarked to his messenger, with a bitter smile. And,
in fact, the man who a moment before was furiously raging and
storming against his father, as if overwhelmed by this imperious
message, calmed down, and obeyed.

"Come hither, Mouktar, "said the pacha, extending his murderous hand
to be kissed as soon as his son appeared. "I shall take no notice of
your anger, but in future never forget that a man who braves public
opinion as I do fears nothing in the world. You can go now; when
your troops have rested from their march, you can come and ask for
orders. Go, remember what I have said."

Mouktar retired as submissively as if he had just received pardon for
some serious crime, and found no better consolation than to spend the
night with Veli in drinking and debauchery. But a day was to come
when the brothers, alike outraged by their father, would plot and
carry out a terrible vengeance.

However, the Porte began to take umbrage at the continual
aggrandisement of the Pacha of Janina. Not daring openly to attack
so formidable a vassal, the sultan sought by underhand means to
diminish his power, and under the pretext that Ali was becoming too
old for the labour of so many offices, the government of Thessaly was
withdrawn from him, but, to show that this was not done in enmity,
the province was entrusted to his nephew, Elmas Bey, son of Suleiman
and Chainitza.

Chainitza, fully as ambitious as her brother, could not contain her
delight at the idea of governing in the name of her son, who was weak
and gentle in character and accustomed to obey her implicitly. She
asked her brother's permission to go to Trikala to be present at the
installation, and obtained it, to everybody's astonishment; for no
one could imagine that Ali would peacefully renounce so important a
government as that of Thessaly. However, he dissembled so skilfully
that everyone was deceived by his apparent resignation, and applauded
his magnanimity, when he provided his sister with a brilliant escort
to conduct her to the capital of the province of which he had just
been deprived in favour of his nephew. He sent letters of
congratulation to the latter as well as magnificent presents, among
them a splendid pelisse of black fox, which had cost more than a
hundred thousand francs of Western money. He requested Elmas Bey to
honour him by wearing this robe on the day when the sultan's envoy
should present him with the firman of investiture, and Chainitza
herself was charged to deliver both gifts and messages.

Chainitza arrived safely at Trikala, and faithfully delivered the
messages with which she had been entrusted. When the ceremony she so
ardently desired took place, she herself took charge of all the
arrangements. Elmas, wearing the black fox pelisse, was proclaimed,
and acknowledged as Governor of Thessaly in her presence. "My son is
pacha!" she cried in the delirium of joy. "My son is pacha! and my
nephews will die of envy! "But her triumph was not to be of long
duration. A few days after his installation, Elmas began to feel
strangely languid. Continual lethargy, convulsive sneezing, feverish
eyes, soon betokened a serious illness. Ali's gift had accomplished
its purpose. The pelisse, carefully impregnated with smallpox germs
taken from a young girl suffering from this malady, had conveyed the
dreaded disease to the new pacha, who, not having been inoculated,
died in a few days.

The grief of Chainitza at her son's death displayed itself in sobs,
threats, and curses, but, not knowing whom to blame for her
misfortune, she hastened to leave the scene of it, and returned to
Janina, to mingle her tears with those of her brother. She found Ali
apparently in such depths of grief, that instead of suspecting, she
was actually tempted to pity him, and this seeming sympathy soothed
her distress, aided by the caresses of her second son, Aden Bey.
Ali, thoughtful of his own interests, took care to send one of his
own officers to Trikala, to administer justice in the place of his
deceased nephew, and the Porte, seeing that all attempts against him
only caused misfortune, consented to his resuming the government of
Thessaly.

This climax roused the suspicions of many persons. But the public
voice, already discussing the causes of the death of Elinas, was
stifled by the thunder of the cannon, which, from the ramparts of
Janina, announced to Epirus the birth of another son to Ali, Salik
Bey, whose mother was a Georgian slave.

Fortune, seemingly always ready both to crown Ali's crimes with
success and to fulfil his wishes, had yet in reserve a more precious
gift than any of the others, that of a good and beautiful wife; who
should replace, and even efface the memory of the beloved Emineh.

The Porte, while sending to Ali the firman which restored to him the
government of Thessaly, ordered him to seek out and destroy a society
of coiners who dwelt within his jurisdiction. Ali, delighted to,
prove his zeal by a service which cost nothing but bloodshed; at once
set his spies to work, and having discovered the abode of the gang,
set out for the place attended by a strong escort. It was a village
called Plikivitza.

Having arrived in the evening, he spent the night in taking measures
to prevent escape, and at break of day attacked the village suddenly
with his whole force. The coiners were seized in the act. Ali
immediately ordered the chief to be hung at his own door and the
whole population to be massacred. Suddenly a young girl of great
beauty made her way through the tumult and sought refuge at his feet.
Ali, astonished, asked who she was. She answered with a look of
mingled innocence and terror, kissing his hands, which she bathed
with tears, and said:

"O my lord! I implore thee to intercede with the terrible vizier Ali
for my mother and brothers. My father is dead, behold where he hangs
at the door of our cottage! But we have done nothing to rouse the
anger of our dreadful master. My mother is a poor woman who never
offended anyone, and we are only weak children. Save us from him!"

Touched in spite of himself, the pacha took the girl in his arms, and
answered her with a gentle smile.

"Thou hast come to the wrong man, child: I am this terrible vizier."

"Oh no, no! you are good, you will be our good lord."

"Well, be comforted, my child, and show me thy mother and thy
brothers; they shall be spared. Thou hast saved their lives."

And as she knelt at his feet, overcome with joy, he raised her and
asked her name.

"Basilessa," she replied.

"Basilessa, Queen! it is a name of good augury. Basilessa, thou
shalt dwell with me henceforth."

And he collected the members of her family, and gave orders for them
to be sent to Janina in company with the maiden, who repaid his mercy
with boundless love and devotion.

Let us mention one trait of gratitude shown by Ali at the end of this
expedition, and his record of good deeds is then closed. Compelled
by a storm to take refuge in a miserable hamlet, he inquired its
name, and on hearing it appeared surprised and thoughtful, as if
trying to recall lost memories. Suddenly he asked if a woman named
Nouza dwelt in the village, and was told there was an old infirm
woman of that name in great poverty. He ordered her to be brought
before him. She came and prostrated herself in terror. Ali raised
her kindly.

"Dost thou not know me?" he asked.

"Have mercy, great Vizier," answered the poor woman, who, having
nothing to lose but her life, imagined that even that would be taken
from her.

"I see," said the pacha, "that if thou knowest me, thou dost not
really recognise me."

The woman looked at him wonderingly, not understanding his words in
the least.

"Dost thou remember," continued Ali, "that forty years ago a young
man asked for shelter from the foes who pursued him? Without
inquiring his name or standing, thou didst hide him in thy humble
house, and dressed his wounds, and shared thy scanty food with him,
and when he was able to go forward thou didst stand on thy threshold
to wish him good luck and success. Thy wishes were heard, for the
young man was Ali Tepeleni, and I who speak am he!"

The old woman stood overwhelmed with astonishment. She departed
calling down blessings on the pasha, who assured her a pension of
fifteen hundred francs for the rest of her days.

But these two good actions are only flashes of light illuminating the
dark horizon of Ali's life for a brief moment. Returned to Janina,
he resumed his tyranny, his intrigues, and cruelty. Not content with
the vast territory which owned his sway, he again invaded that of his
neighbours on every pretext. Phocis, Mtolia, Acarnania, were by
turns occupied by his troops, the country ravaged, and the
inhabitants decimated. At the same time he compelled Ibrahim Pacha
to surrender his last remaining daughter, and give her in marriage to
his nephew, Aden Bey, the son of Chainitza. This new alliance with a
family he had so often attacked and despoiled gave him fresh arms
against it, whether by being enabled better to watch the pasha's
sons, or to entice them into some snare with greater ease.

Whilst he thus married his nephew, he did not neglect the advancement
of his sons. By the aid of the French Ambassador, whom he had
convinced of his devotion to the Emperor Napoleon, he succeeded in
getting the pachalik of Morea bestowed on Veli, and that of Lepanto
on Mouktar. But as in placing his sons in these exalted positions
his only aim was to aggrandise and consolidate his own power, he
himself ordered their retinues, giving them officers of his own
choosing. When they departed to their governments, he kept their
wives, their children, and even their furniture as pledges, saying
that they ought not to be encumbered with domestic establishments in
time of war, Turkey just then being at open war with England. He
also made use of this opportunity to get rid of people who displeased
him, among others, of a certain Ismail Pacho Bey, who had been
alternately both tool and enemy, whom he made secretary to his son
Veli, professedly as a pledge of reconciliation and favour, but
really in order to despoil him more easily of the considerable
property which he possessed at Janina. Pacho was not deceived, and
showed his resentment openly. "The wretch banishes me," he cried,
pointing out Ali, who was sitting at a window in the palace, "he
sends me away in order to rob me; but I will avenge myself whatever
happens, and I shall die content if I can procure his destruction at
the price of my own."

Continually increasing his power, Ali endeavoured to consolidate it
permanently. He had entered by degrees into secret negotiations with
all the great powers of Europe, hoping in the end to make himself
independent, and to obtain recognition as Prince of Greece. A
mysterious and unforeseen incident betrayed this to the Porte, and
furnished actual proofs of his treason in letters confirmed by Ali's
own seal. The Sultan Selim immediately, sent to Janina a "kapidgi-
bachi," or plenipotentiary, to examine into the case and try
the delinquent.

Arrived at Janina, this officer placed before Ali the proofs of his
understanding with the enemies of the State. Ali was not strong
enough to throw off the mask, and yet could not deny such
overwhelming evidence. He determined to obtain time.

"No wonder," said he, "that I appear guilty in the eyes of His
Highness. This seal is, certainly mine, I cannot deny it; but the
writing is not that of my secretaries, and the seal must have been
obtained and used to sign these guilty letters in order to ruin me.
I pray you to grant me a few days in order to clear up this
iniquitous mystery, which compromises me in the eyes of my master the
sultan and of all good Mahommedans. May Allah grant me the means of
proving my innocence, which is as pure as the rays of the sun,
although everything seems against me!"

After this conference, Ali, pretending to be engaged in a secret
inquiry, considered how he could legally escape from this
predicament. He spent some days in making plans which were given up
as soon as formed, until his fertile genius at length suggested a
means of getting clear of one of the greatest difficulties in which
he had ever found himself. Sending for a Greek whom he had often
employed, he addressed him thus:

"Thou knowest I have always shown thee favour, and the day is arrived
when thy fortune shall be made. Henceforth thou shalt be as my son,
thy children shall be as mine, my house shall be thy home, and in
return for my benefits I require one small service. This accursed
kapidgi-bachi has come hither bringing certain papers signed with my
seal, intending to use them to my discredit, and thus to extort money
from me. Of money I have already given too much, and I intend this
time to escape without being plundered except for the sake of a good
servant like thee. Therefore, my son, thou shalt go before the
tribunal when I tell thee, and declare before this kapidgi-bachi and
the cadi that thou hast written these letters attributed to me, and
that thou didst seal them with my seal, in order to give them due
weight and importance."

The unhappy Greek grew pale and strove to answer.

"What fearest thou, my son?" resumed Ali. "Speak, am I not thy good
master? Thou wilt be sure of my lasting favour, and who is there to
dread when I protect thee? Is it the kapidgi-bachi? he has no
authority here. I have thrown twenty as good as he into the lake!
If more is required to reassure thee, I swear by the Prophet, by my
own and my sons' heads, that no harm shall come to thee from him. Be
ready, then, to do as I tell thee, and beware of mentioning this
matter to anyone, in order that all may be accomplished according to
our mutual wishes."

More terrified by dread of the pacha, from whose wrath in case of
refusal there was no chance of escape, than tempted by his promises,
the Greek undertook the false swearing required. Ali, delighted,
dismissed him with a thousand assurances of protection, and then
requested the presence of the sultan's envoy, to whom he said, with
much emotion:

"I have at length unravelled the infernal plot laid against me; it is
the work of a man in the pay of the implacable enemies of the Sublime
Porte, and who is a Russian agent. He is in my power, and I have
given him hopes of pardon on condition of full confession. Will you
then summon the cadi, the judges and ecclesiastics of the town, in
order that they may hear the guilty man's deposition, and that the
light of truth may purify their minds?"

The tribunal was soon assembled, and the trembling Greek appeared in
the midst of a solemn silence. "Knowest thou this writing?" demanded
the cadi.--"It is mine."--"And this seal?"--"It is that of my master,
Ali Pacha."--"How does it come to be placed at the foot of these
letters?"--"I did this by order of my chief, abusing the confidence
of my master, who occasionally allowed me to use it to sign his
orders."--"It is enough: thou canst withdraw."

Uneasy as to the success of his intrigue, Ali was approaching the
Hall of Justice. As he entered the court, the Greek, who had just
finished his examination, threw himself at his feet, assuring him
that all had gone well. "It is good," said Ali; "thou shalt have thy
reward." Turning round, he made a sign to his guards, who had their
orders, and who instantly seized the unhappy Greek, and, drowning his
voice with their shouts, hung him in the courtyard. This execution
finished, the pacha presented himself before the judges and inquired
the result of their investigation. He was answered by a burst of
congratulation. "Well," said he, "the guilty author of this plot
aimed at me is no more; I ordered him to be hung without waiting to
hear your decision. May all enemies of our glorious sultan perish
even as he!"

A report of what had occurred was immediately drawn up, and, to
assist matters still further, Ali sent the kapidgi-bachi a gift of
fifty purses, which he accepted without difficulty, and also secured
the favour of the Divan by considerable presents. The sultan,
yielding to the advice of his councillors, appeared to have again
received him into favour.

But Ali knew well that this appearance of sunshine was entirely
deceptive, and that Selim only professed to believe in his innocence
until the day should arrive when the sultan could safely punish his
treason. He sought therefore to compass the latter's downfall, and
made common cause with his enemies, both internal and external.
A conspiracy, hatched between the discontented pachas and the English
agents, shortly broke out, and one day, when Ali was presiding at the
artillery practice of some French gunners sent to Albania by the
Governor of Illyria, a Tartar brought him news of the deposition of
Selim, who was succeeded by his nephew Mustapha. Ali sprang up in
delight, and publicly thanked Allah for this great good fortune. He
really did profit by this change of rulers, but he profited yet more
by a second revolution which caused the deaths both of Selim, whom
the promoters wished to reestablish on the throne, and of Mustapha
whose downfall they intended. Mahmoud II, who was next invested with
the scimitar of Othman, came to the throne in troublous times, after
much bloodshed, in the midst of great political upheavals, and had
neither the will nor the power to attack one of his most powerful
vassals. He received with evident satisfaction the million piastres
which, at, his installation, Ali hastened to send as a proof of his
devotion, assured the pacha of his favour, and confirmed both him and
his sons in their offices and dignities. This fortunate change in
his position brought Ali's pride and audacity to a climax. Free from
pressing anxiety, he determined to carry out a project which had been
the dream of his life.

CHAPTER V

After taking possession of Argyro-Castron, which he had long coveted,
Ali led his victorious army against the town of Kardiki, whose
inhabitants had formerly joined with those of Kormovo in the outrage
inflicted on his mother and sister. The besieged, knowing they had
no mercy to hope for, defended themselves bravely, but were obliged
to yield to famine. After a month's blockade, the common people,
having no food for themselves or their cattle, began to cry for mercy
in the open streets, and their chiefs, intimidated by the general
misery and unable to stand alone, consented to capitulate. Ali,
whose intentions as to the fate of this unhappy town were irrevocably
decided, agreed to all that they asked. A treaty was signed by both
parties, and solemnly sworn to on the Koran, in virtue of which
seventy-two beys, heads of the principal Albanian families, were to
go to Janina as free men, and fully armed. They were to be received
with the honours due to their rank as free tenants of the sultan,
their lives and their families were to be spared, and also their
possessions. The other inhabitants of Kardiki, being Mohammedans,
and therefore brothers of Ali, were to be treated as friends and
retain their lives and property. On these conditions a quarter of
the town; was to be occupied by the victorious troops.

One of the principal chiefs, Saleh Bey, and his wife, foreseeing the
fate which awaited their friends, committed suicide at the moment
when, in pursuance of the treaty, Ali's soldiers took possession of
the quarter assigned to them.

Ali received the seventy-two beys with all marks of friendship when
they arrived at Janina. He lodged them in a palace on the lake, and
treated them magnificently for some days. But soon, having contrived
on some pretext to disarm them, he had them conveyed, loaded with
chains, to a Greek convent on an island in the lake, which was
converted into a prison. The day of vengeance not having fully
arrived, he explained this breach of faith by declaring that the
hostages had attempted to escape.

The popular credulity was satisfied by this explanation, and no one
doubted the good faith of the pacha when he announced that he was
going to Kardiki to establish a police and fulfil the promises he had
made to the inhabitants. Even the number of soldiers he took excited
no surprise, as Ali was accustomed to travel with a very numerous
suite.

After three days' journey, he stopped at Libokhovo, where his sister
had resided since the death of Aden Bey, her second son, cut off
recently by wickness. What passed in the long interview they had no
one knew, but it was observed that Chainitza's tears, which till then
had flowed incessantly, stopped as if by magic, and her women, who
were wearing mourning, received an order to attire themselves as for
a festival. Feasting and dancing, begun in Ali's honour, did not
cease after his departure.

He spent the night at Chenderia, a castle built on a rock, whence the
town of Kardiki was plainly visible. Next day at daybreak Ali
despatched an usher to summon all the male inhabitants of Kardiki to
appear before Chenderia, in order to receive assurances of the
pacha's pardon and friendship.

The Kardikiotes at once divined that this injunction was the
precursor of a terrible vengeance: the whole town echoed with cries
and groans, the mosques were filled with people praying for
deliverance. The appointed time arrived, they embraced each other as
if parting for ever, and then the men, unarmed, in number six hundred
and seventy, started for Chenderia. At the gate of the town they
encountered a troop of Albanians, who followed as if to escort them,
and which increased in number as they proceeded. Soon they arrived
in the dread presence of Ali Pacha. Grouped in formidable masses
around him stood several thousand of his fierce soldiery.

The unhappy Kardikiotes realised their utter helplessness, and saw
that they, their wives an children, were completely at the mercy of
their implacable enemy. They fell prostrate before the pacha, and
with all the fervour which the utmost terror could inspire, implored
him to grant them a generous pardon.

Ali for some time silently enjoyed the pleasure of seeing his ancient
enemies lying before him prostrate in the dust. He then desired them
to rise, reassured them, called them brothers, sons, friends of his
heart. Distinguishing some of his old acquaintances, he called them
to him, spoke familiarly of the days of their youth, of their games,
their early friendships, and pointing to the young men, said, with
tears in his eyes.

"The discord which has divided us for so many years has allowed
children not born at the time of our dissension to grow into men. I
have lost the pleasure of watching the development of the off-spring
of my neighbours and the early friends of my youth, and of bestowing
benefits on them, but I hope shortly to repair the natural results of
our melancholy divisions."

He then made them splendid promises, and ordered them to assemble in
a neighbouring caravanserai, where he wished to give them a banquet
in proof of reconciliation. Passing from the depths of despair to
transports of joy, the Kardikiotes repaired gaily to the
caravanserai, heaping blessings on the pacha, and blaming each other
for having ever doubted his good faith.

Ali was carried down from Chenderia in a litter, attended by his
courtiers, who celebrated his clemency in pompous speeches, to which
he replied with gracious smiles. At the foot of the steep descent he
mounted his horse, and, followed by his troops, rode towards the
caravanserai. Alone, and in silence, he rode twice round it, then,
returning to the gate, which had just been closed by his order, he
pulled up his horse, and, signing to his own bodyguard to attack the
building, "Slay them!" he cried in a voice of thunder.

The guards remained motionless in surprise and horror, then as the
pacha, with a roar, repeated his order, they indignantly flung down
their arms. In vain he harangued, flattered, or threatened them;
some preserved a sullen silence, others ventured to demand mercy.
Then he ordered them away, and, calling on the Christian Mirdites who
served under his banner.

"To you, brave Latins," he cried, "I will now entrust the duty of
exterminating the foes of my race. Avenge me, and I will reward you
magnificently."

A confused murmur rose from the ranks. Ali imagined they were
consulting as to what recompense should be required as the price of
such deed.

"Speak," said he; "I am ready to listen to your demands and to
satisfy them."

Then the Mirdite leader came forward and threw back the hood of his
black cloak.

"O Pacha!" said he, looking Ali boldly in the face, "thy words are an
insult; the Mirdites do not slaughter unarmed prisoners in cold
blood. Release the Kardikiotes, give them arms, and we will fight
them to the death; but we serve thee as soldiers and not as
executioners."

At these words; which the black-cloaked battalion received with
applause, Ali thought himself betrayed, and looked around with doubt
and mistrust. Fear was nearly taking the place of mercy, words of
pardon were on his lips, when a certain Athanasius Vaya, a Greek
schismatic, and a favourite of the pacha's, whose illegitimate son he
was supposed to be, advanced at the head of the scum of the army, and
offered to carry out the death sentence. Ali applauded his zeal,
gave him full authority to act, and spurred his horse to the top of a
neighbouring hill, the better to enjoy the spectacle. The Christian
Mirdites and the Mohammedan guards knelt together to pray for the
miserable Kardikiotes, whose last hour had come.

The caravanserai where they were shut in was square enclosure, open
to the sky, and intended to shelter herds of buffaloes. The
prisoners having heard nothing of what passed outside, were
astonished to behold Athanasius Vaya and his troop appearing on the
top of the wall. They did not long remain in doubt. Ali gave the
signal by a pistol-shot, and a general fusillade followed. Terrible
cries echoed from the court; the prisoners, terrified, wounded,
crowded one upon another for shelter. Some ran frantically hither
and thither in this enclosure with no shelter and no exit, until they
fell, struck down by bullets. Some tried to climb the walls, in hope
of either escape or vengeance, only to be flung back by either
scimitars or muskets. It was a terrible scene of despair and death.

After an hour of firing, a gloomy silence descended on the place, now
occupied solely by a heap of corpses. Ali forbade any burial rites
on pain of death, and placed over the gate an inscription in letters
of gold, informing posterity that six hundred Kardikiotes had there
been sacrificed to the memory of his mother Kamco.

When the shrieks of death ceased in the enclosure, they began to be
heard in the town. The assassins spread themselves through it, and
having violated the women and children, gathered them into a crowd to
be driven to Libokovo. At every halt in this frightful journey fresh
marauders fell on the wretched victims, claiming their share in
cruelty and debauchery. At length they arrived at their destination,
where the triumphant and implacable Chainitza awaited them. As after
the taking of Kormovo, she compelled the women to cut off their hair
and to stuff with it a mattress on which she lay. She then stripped
them, and joyfully narrated to them the massacre of their husbands,
fathers, brothers and sons, and when she had sufficiently enjoyed
their misery they were again handed over to the insults of the
soldiery. Chainitza finally published an edict forbidding either
clothes, shelter, or food to be given to the women and children of
Kardiki, who were then driven forth into the woods either to die of
hunger or to be devoured by wild beasts. As to the seventy-two
hostages, Ali put them all to death when he returned to Janina. His
vengeance was indeed complete.

But as, filled with a horrible satisfaction, the pacha was enjoying
the repose of a satiated tiger, an indignant and threatening voice
reached him even in the recesses of his palace. The Sheik Yussuf,
governor of the castle of Janina, venerated as a saint by the
Mohammedans on account of his piety, and universally beloved and
respected for his many virtues, entered Ali's sumptuous dwelling for
the first time. The guards on beholding him remained stupefied and
motionless, then the most devout prostrated themselves, while others
went to inform the pacha; but no one dared hinder the venerable man,
who walked calmly and solemnly through the astonished attendants.
For him there existed no antechamber, no delay; disdaining the
ordinary forms of etiquette, he paced slowly through the various
apartments, until, with no usher to announce him, he reached that of
Ali. The latter, whose impiety by no means saved him from
superstitious terrors, rose hastily from the divan and advanced to
meet the holy sheik, who was followed by a crowd of silent courtiers.
Ali addressed him with the utmost respect, and endeavoured even to
kiss his right hand. Yussuf hastily withdrew it, covered it with his
mantle, and signed to the pacha to seat himself. Ali mechanically
obeyed, and waited in solemn silence to hear the reason of this
unexpected visit.

Yussuf desired him to listen with all attention, and then reproached
him for his injustice and rapine, his treachery and cruelty, with
such vivid eloquence that his hearers dissolved in tears. Ali,
though much dejected, alone preserved his equanimity, until at length
the sheik accused him of having caused the death of Emineh. He then
grew pale, and rising, cried with terror:

"Alas! my father, whose name do you now pronounce? Pray for me, or
at least do not sink me to Gehenna with your curses!"

"There is no need to curse thee," answered Yussuf. "Thine own
crimes bear witness against thee. Allah has heard their cry. He
will summon thee, judge thee, and punish thee eternally. Tremble,
for the time is at hand! Thine hour is coming--is coming--is
coming!"

Casting a terrible glance at the pacha, the holy man turned his back
on him, and stalked out of the apartment without another word.

Ali, in terror, demanded a thousand pieces of gold, put them in a
white satin purse, and himself hastened with them to overtake the
sheik, imploring him to recall his threats. But Yussuf deigned no
answer, and arrived at the threshold of the palace, shook off the
dust of his feet against it.

Ali returned to his apartment sad and downcast, and many days elapsed
before he could shake off the depression caused by this scene. But
soon he felt more ashamed of his inaction than of the reproaches
which had caused it, and on the first opportunity resumed his usual
mode of life.

The occasion was the marriage of Moustai, Pacha of Scodra, with the
eldest daughter of Veli Pacha, called the Princess of Aulis, because
she had for dowry whole villages in that district. Immediately after
the announcement of this marriage Ali set on foot a sort of
saturnalia, about the details of which there seemed to be as much
mystery as if he had been preparing an assassination.

All at once, as if by a sudden inundation, the very scum of the earth
appeared to spread over Janina. The populace, as if trying to drown
their misery, plunged into a drunkenness which simulated pleasure.
Disorderly bands of mountebanks from the depths of Roumelia traversed
the streets, the bazaars and public places; flocks and herds, with
fleeces dyed scarlet, and gilded horns, were seen on all the roads
driven to the court by peasants under the guidance of their priests.
Bishops, abbots, ecclesiastics generally, were compelled to drink,
and to take part in ridiculous and indecent dances, Ali apparently
thinking to raise himself by degrading his more respectable subjects.
Day and night these spectacles succeeded each other with increasing
rapidity, the air resounded with firing, songs, cries, music, and the
roaring of wild beasts in shows. Enormous spits, loaded with meat,
smoked before huge braziers, and wine ran in floods at tables
prepared in the palace courts. Troops of brutal soldiers drove
workmen from their labour with whips, and compelled them to join in
the entertainments; dirty and impudent jugglers invaded private
houses, and pretending that they had orders from the pacha to display
their skill, carried boldly off whatever they could lay their hands
upon. Ali saw the general demoralization with pleasure, especially
as it tended to the gratification of his avarice, Every guest was
expected to bring to the palace gate a gift in proportion to his
means, and foot officers watched to see that no one forgot this
obligation. At length, on the nineteenth day, Ali resolved to crown
the feast by an orgy worthy of himself. He caused the galleries and
halls of his castle by the lake to be decorated with unheard-of
splendour, and fifteen hundred guests assembled for a solemn banquet.
The pacha appeared in all his glory, surrounded by his noble
attendants and courtiers, and seating himself on a dais raised above
this base crowd which trembled at his glance, gave the signal to
begin. At his voice, vice plunged into its most shameless
diversions, and the wine-steeped wings of debauchery outspread
themselves over the feast. All tongues were at their freest, all
imaginations ran wild, all evil passions were at their height, when
suddenly the noise ceased, and the guests clung together in terror.
A man stood at the entrance of the hall, pale, disordered, and
wild-eyed, clothed in torn and blood-stained garments. As everyone
made way at his approach, he easily reached the pacha, and
prostrating himself at his feet, presented a letter. Ali opened and
rapidly perused it; his lips trembled, his eyebrows met in a terrible
frown, the muscles of his forehead contracted alarmingly. He vainly
endeavoured to smile and to look as if nothing had happened, his
agitation betrayed him, and he was obliged to retire, after desiring
a herald to announce that he wished the banquet to continue.

Now for the subject of the message, and the cause of the dismay it
produced.

CHAPTER VI

Ali had long cherished a violent passion for Zobeide, the wife of his
son Veli Pacha: Having vainly attempted to gratify it after his son's
departure, and being indignantly repulsed, he had recourse to drugs,
and the unhappy Zobeide remained in ignorance of her misfortune until
she found she was pregnant. Then, half-avowals from her women,
compelled to obey the pacha from fear of death, mixed with confused
memories of her own, revealed the whole terrible truth. Not knowing
in her despair which way to turn, she wrote to Ali, entreating him to
visit the harem. As head of the family, he had a right to enter,
being supposed responsible for the conduct of his sons' families, no-
law-giver having hitherto contemplated the possibility of so
disgraceful a crime. When he appeared, Zobeide flung herself at his
feet, speechless with grief. Ali acknowledged his guilt, pleaded the
violence of his passion, wept with his victim, and entreating her to
control herself and keep silence, promised that all should be made
right. Neither the prayers nor tears of Zobeide could induce him to
give up the intention of effacing the traces of his first crime by a
second even more horrible.

But the story was already whispered abroad, and Pacho Bey learnt all
its details from the spies he kept in Janina. Delighted at the
prospect of avenging himself on the father, he hastened with his news
to the son. Veli Pacha, furious, vowed vengeance, and demanded Pacho
Bey's help, which was readily promised. But Ali had been warned, and
was not a man to be taken unawares. Pacho Bey, whom Veli had just
promoted to the office of sword-bearer, was attacked in broad
daylight by six emissaries sent from Janina. He obtained timely
help, however, and five of the assassins, taken red-handed, were at
once hung without ceremony in the market-place. The sixth was the
messenger whose arrival with the news had caused such dismay at Ali's
banquet.

As Ali reflected how the storm he had raised could best be laid, he
was informed that the ruler of the marriage feast sent by Moustai,
Pacha of Scodra, to receive the young bride who should reign in his
harem, had just arrived in the plain of Janina. He was Yussuf Bey of
the Delres, an old enemy of Ali's, and had encamped with his escort
of eight hundred warriors at the foot of Tomoros of Dodona. Dreading
some treachery, he absolutely refused all entreaties to enter the
town, and Ali seeing that it was useless to insist, and that his
adversary for the present was safe, at once sent his grand-daughter,
the Princess of Aulis, out to him.

This matter disposed of, Ali was able to attend to his hideous family
tragedy. He began by effecting the disappearance of the women whom
he had been compelled to make his accomplices; they were simply sewn
up in sacks by gipsies and thrown into the lake. This done, he
himself led the executioners into a subterranean part of the castle,
where they were beheaded by black mutes as a reward for their
obedience. He then sent a doctor to Zobeide; who succeeded in
causing a miscarriage, and who, his work done, was seized and
strangled by the black mutes who had just beheaded the gipsies.
Having thus got rid of all who could bear witness to his crime, he
wrote to Veli that he might now send for his wife and two of his
children, hitherto detained as hostages, and that the innocence of
Zobeide would confound a calumniator who had dared to assail him with
such injurious suspicions.

When this letter arrived, Pacho Bey, distrusting equally the
treachery of the father and the weakness of the son, and content with
having sown the seeds of dissension in his enemy's family, had
sufficient wisdom to seek safety in flight. Ali, furious, vowed, on
hearing this, that his vengeance should overtake him even at the ends
of the earth. Meanwhile he fell back on Yussuf Bey of the Debres,
whose escape when lately at Janina still rankled in his mind. As
Yussuf was dangerous both from character and influence, Ali feared to
attack him openly, and sought to assassinate him. This was not
precisely easy; for, exposed to a thousand dangers of this kind, the
nobles of that day were on their guard. Steel and poison were used
up, and another way had to be sought. Ali found it.

One of the many adventurers with whom Janina was filled penetrated to
the pacha's presence, and offered to sell the secret of a powder
whereof three grains would suffice to kill a man with a terrible
explosion--explosive powder, in short. Ali heard with delight, but
replied that he must see it in action before purchasing.

In the dungeons of the castle by the lake, a poor monk of the order
of St. Basil was slowly dying, for having boldly refused a
sacrilegious simony proposed to him by Ali. He was a fit subject for
the experiment, and was successfully blown to pieces, to the great
satisfaction of Ali, who concluded his bargain, and hastened to make
use of it. He prepared a false firman, which, according to custom,
was enclosed and sealed in a cylindrical case, and sent to Yussuf Bey
by a Greek, wholly ignorant of the real object of his mission.
Opening it without suspicion, Yussuf had his arm blown off, and died
in consequence, but found time to despatch a message to Moustai Pacha
of Scodra, informing him of the catastrophe, and warning him to keep
good guard.

Yussuf's letter was received by Moustai just as a similar infernal
machine was placed in his hands under cover to his young wife. The
packet was seized, and a careful examination disclosed its nature.
The mother of Moustai, a jealous and cruel woman, accused her
daughter-in-law of complicity, and the unfortunate Ayesha, though
shortly to become a mother, expired in agony from the effects of
poison, only guilty of being the innocent instrument of her
grandfather's treachery.

Fortune having frustrated Ali's schemes concerning Moustai Pacha,
offered him as consolation a chance of invading the territory of
Parga, the only place in Epirus which had hitherto escaped his rule,
and which he greedily coveted. Agia, a small Christian town on the
coast, had rebelled against him and allied itself to Parga. It
provided an excuse for hostilities, and Ali's troops, under his son
Mouktar, first seized Agia, where they only found a few old men to
massacre, and then marched on Parga, where the rebels had taken
refuge. After a few skirmishes, Mouktar entered the town, and though
the Parganiotes fought bravely, they must inevitably have surrendered
had they been left to themselves. But they had sought protection
from the French, who had garrisoned the citadel, and the French
grenadiers descending rapidly from the height, charged the Turks with
so much fury that they fled in all directions, leaving on the field
four "bimbashis," or captains of a thousand, and a considerable
number of killed and wounded.

The pacha's fleet succeeded no better than his army. Issuing from
the Gulf of Ambracia, it was intended to attack Parga from the sea,
joining in the massacre, and cutting off all hope of escape from that
side, Ali meaning to spare neither the garrison nor any male
inhabitants over twelve years of age. But a few shots fired from a
small fort dispersed the ships, and a barque manned by sailors from
Paxos pursued them, a shot from which killed Ali's admiral on his
quarter-deck. He was a Greek of Galaxidi, Athanasius Macrys by name.

Filled with anxiety, Ali awaited news at Prevesa, where a courier,
sent off at the beginning of the action, had brought him oranges
gathered in the orchards of Parga. Ali gave him a purse of gold, and
publicly proclaimed his success. His joy was redoubled when a second
messenger presented two heads of French soldiers, and announced that
his troops were in possession of the lower part of Parga. Without
further delay he ordered his attendants to mount, entered his
carriage, and started triumphantly on the Roman road to Nicopolis.
He sent messengers to his generals, ordering them to spare the women
and children of Parga, intended for his harem, and above all to take
strict charge of the plunder. He was approaching the arena of
Nicopolis when a third Tartar messenger informed him of the defeat of
his army. Ali changed countenance, and could scarcely articulate the
order to return to Prevesa. Once in his palace, he gave way to such
fury that all around him trembled, demanding frequently if it could
be true that his troops were beaten. "May your misfortune be upon
us!" his attendants answered, prostrating themselves. All at once,
looking out on the calm blue sea which lay before his windows, he
perceived his fleet doubling Cape Pancrator and re-entering the
Ambracian Gulf under full sail; it anchored close by the palace, and
on hailing the leading ship a speaking trumpet announced to Ali the
death of his admiral, Athanasius Macrys.

"But Parga, Parga!" cried Ali.

"May Allah grant the pacha long life! The Parganiotes have escaped
the sword of His Highness."

"It is the will of Allah!" murmured the pacha; whose head sank upon
his breast in dejection.

Arms having failed, Ali, as usual, took refuge in plots and
treachery, but this time, instead of corrupting his enemies with
gold, he sought to weaken them by division.

CHAPTER VII

The French commander Nicole, surnamed the "Pilgrim," on account of a
journey he had once made to Mecca, had spent six months at Janina
with a brigade of artillery which General Marmont, then commanding in
the Illyrian provinces, had for a time placed at Ali's disposal. The
old officer had acquired the esteem and friendship of the pacha,
whose leisure he had often amused by stories of his campaigns and
various adventures, and although it was now long since they had met,
he still had the reputation of being Ali's friend. Ali prepared his
plans accordingly. He wrote a letter to Colonel Nicole, apparently
in continuation of a regular correspondence between them, in which he
thanked the colonel for his continued affection, and besought him by
various powerful motives to surrender Parga, of which he promised him
the governorship during the rest of his life. He took good care to
complete his treason by allowing the letter to fall into the hands of
the chief ecclesiastics of Parga, who fell head-foremost into the
trap. Seeing that the tone of the letter was in perfect accordance
with the former friendly relations between their French governor and
the pacha, they were convinced of the former's treachery. But the
result was not as Ali had hoped: the Parganiotes resumed their former
negotiations with the English, preferring to place their freedom in
the hands of a Christian nation rather than to fall under the rule of
a Mohammedan satrap.... The English immediately sent a messenger to
Colonel Nicole, offering honourable conditions of capitulation. The
colonel returned a decided refusal, and threatened to blow up the
place if the inhabitants, whose intentions he guessed, made the
slightest hostile movement. However, a few days later, the citadel
was taken at night, owing to the treachery of a woman who admitted an
English detachment; and the next day, to the general astonishment,
the British standard floated over the Acropolis of Parga.

All Greece was then profoundly stirred by a faint gleam of the dawn
of liberty, and shaken by a suppressed agitation. The Bourbons again
reigned in France, and the Greeks built a thousand hopes on an event
which changed the basis of the whole European policy. Above all,
they reckoned on powerful assistance from Russia. But England had
already begun to dread anything which could increase either the
possessions or the influence of this formidable power. Above all,
she was determined that the Ottoman Empire should remain intact, and
that the Greek navy, beginning to be formidable, must be destroyed.
With these objects in view, negotiations with Ali Pacha were resumed.
The latter was still smarting under his recent disappointment, and to

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