Make your own free website on

List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

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.


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

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

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: