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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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right an old red cap, which he extended for the donations of the
passers-by.  Behind stood a Jew from Janina, charged with the office
of testing each piece of gold and valuing jewels which were offered
instead of money; for, in terror, each endeavoured to appear
generous.  No means of obtaining a rich harvest were neglected; for
instance, Ali distributed secretly large sums among poor and obscure
people, such as servants, mechanics, and soldiers, in order that by
returning them in public they might appear to be making great
sacrifices, so that richer and more distinguished persons could not,
without appearing ill-disposed towards the pacha, offer only the same
amount as did the poor, but were obliged to present gifts of enormous
value.

After this charity extorted from their fears, the pacha's subjects
hoped to be at peace.  But a new decree proclaimed throughout Albania
required them to rebuild and refurnish the formidable palace of
Tepelen entirely at the public expense.  Ali then returned to Janina,
followed by his treasure and a few women who had escaped from the
flames, and whom he disposed of amongst his friends, saying that he
was no longer sufficiently wealthy to maintain so many slaves.

Fate soon provided him with a second opportunity for amassing wealth.
Arta, a wealthy town with a Christian population, was ravaged by the
plague, and out of eight thousand inhabitants, seven thousand were
swept away.  Hearing this, Ali hastened to send commissioners to
prepare an account of furniture and lands which the pacha claimed as
being heir to his subjects.  A few livid and emaciated spectres were
yet to be found in the streets of Arta.  In order that the inventory
might be more complete, these unhappy beings were compelled to wash
in the Inachus blankets, sheets, and clothes steeped in bubonic
infection, while the collectors were hunting everywhere for imaginary
hidden treasure.  Hollow trees were sounded, walls pulled down, the
most unlikely corners examined, and a skeleton which was discovered
still girt with a belt containing Venetian sequins was gathered up
with the utmost care.  The archons of the town were arrested and
tortured in the hope of discovering buried treasure, the clue to
which had disappeared along with the owners.  One of these magistrates,
accused of having hidden some valuable objects, was plunged up to his
shoulders in a boiler full of melted lead and boiling oil.  Old men,
women, children, rich and poor alike, were interrogated, beaten, and
compelled to abandon the last remains of their property in order to
save their lives.

Having thus decimated the few inhabitants remaining to the town, it
became necessary to repeople it.  With this object in view, Ali's
emissaries overran the villages of Thessaly, driving before them all.
the people they met in flocks, and compelling them to settle in Arta.
These unfortunate colonists were also obliged to find money to pay
the pacha for the houses they were forced to occupy.

This business being settled, Ali turned to another which had long
been on his mind.  We have seen how Ismail Pacho Bey escaped the
assassins sent to murder him.  A ship, despatched secretly from
Prevesa, arrived at the place of his retreat.  The captain, posing as
a merchant, invited Ismail to come on board and inspect his goods.
But the latter, guessing a trap, fled promptly, and for some time all
trace of him was lost.  Ali, in revenge, turned his wife out of the
palace at Janina which she still occupied, and placed her in a
cottage, where she was obliged to earn a living by spinning.  But he
did not stop there, and learning after some time that Pacho Bey had
sought refuge with the Nazir of Drama, who had taken him into favour,
he resolved to strike a last blow, more sure and more terrible than
the others.  Again Ismail's lucky star saved him from the plots of
his enemy.  During a hunting party he encountered a kapidgi-bachi, or
messenger from the sultan, who asked him where he could find the
Nazir, to whom he was charged with an important communication.  As
kapidgi-bachis are frequently bearers of evil tidings, which it is
well to ascertain at once, and as the Nazir was at some distance,
Pacho Bey assumed the latter's part, and the sultan's confidential
messenger informed him that he was the bearer of a firman granted at
the request of Ali Pacha of Janina,

"Ali of Tepelenir.  He is my friend.  How can I serve him?"

"By executing the present order, sent you by the Divan, desiring you
to behead a traitor, named Pacho Bey, who crept into your service a
short time ago.

"Willingly I but he is not an easy man to seize being brave,
vigorous, clever, and cunning.  Craft will be necessary in this case.
He may appear at any moment, and it is advisable that he should not
see you.  Let no one suspect who you are, but go to Drama, which is
only two hours distant, and await me there.  I shall return this
evening, and you can consider your errand as accomplished."

The kapidgi-bachi made a sign of comprehension, and directed his
course towards Drama; while Ismail, fearing that the Nazir, who had
only known him a short time, would sacrifice him with the usual
Turkish indifference, fled in the opposite direction.  At the end of
an hour he encountered a Bulgarian monk, with whom he exchanged
clothes--a disguise which enabled him to traverse Upper Macedonia in
safety.  Arriving at the great Servian convent in the mountains
whence the Axius takes its rise, he obtained admission under an
assumed name.  But feeling sure of the discretion of the monks, after
a few days he explained his situation to them.

Ali, learning the ill-success of his latest stratagem, accused the
Nazir of conniving at Paeho Bey's escape.  But the latter easily
justified himself with the Divan by giving precise information of
what had really occurred.  This was what Ali wanted, who profited
thereby in having the fugitive's track followed up, and soon got wind
of his retreat.  As Pacho Bey's innocence had been proved in the
explanations given to the Porte, the death firman obtained against
him became useless, and Ali affected to abandon him to his fate, in
order the better to conceal the new plot he was conceiving against
him.

Athanasius Vaya, chief assassin of the Kardikiotes, to whom Ali
imparted his present plan for the destruction of Ismail, begged for
the honour of putting it into execution, swearing that this time
Ismail should not escape.  The master and the instrument disguised
their scheme under the appearance of a quarrel, which astonished the
whole town.  At the end of a terrible scene which took place in
public, Ali drove the confidant of his crimes from the palace,
overwhelming him with insults, and declaring that were Athanasius not
the son of his children's foster-mother, he would have sent him to
the gibbet.  He enforced his words by the application of a stick, and
Vaya, apparently overwhelmed by terror and affliction, went round to
all the nobles of the town, vainly entreating them to intercede for
him.  The only favour which Mouktar Pacha could obtain for him was a
sentence of exile allowing him to retreat to Macedonia.

Athanasius departed from Janina with all the demonstrations of utter
despair, and continued his route with the haste of one who fears
pursuit.  Arrived in Macedonia, he assumed the habit of a monk, and
undertook a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, saying that both the disguise
and the journey were necessary to his safety.  On the way he
encountered one of the itinerant friars of the great Servian convent,
to whom he described his disgrace in energetic terms, begging him to
obtain his admission among the lay brethren of his monastery.

Delighted at the prospect of bringing back to the fold of the Church
a man so notorious for his crimes, the friar hastened to inform his
superior, who in his turn lost no time in announcing to Pacho Bey
that his compatriot and companion in misfortune was to be received
among the lay brethren, and in relating the history of Athanasius as
he himself had heard it.  Pacho Bey, however, was not easily
deceived, and at once guessing that Vaya's real object was his own
assassination, told his doubts to the superior, who had already
received him as a friend.  The latter retarded the reception of Vaya
so as to give Pacho time to escape and take the road to Constantinople.
Once arrived there, he determined to brave the storm and encounter
Ali openly.

Endowed by nature with a noble presence and with masculine firmness,
Pacho Bey possessed also the valuable gift of speaking all the
various tongues of the Ottoman Empire.  He could not fail to
distinguish himself in the capital and to find an opening for his
great talents.  But his inclination drove him at first to seek his
fellow-exiles from Epirus, who were either his old companions in
arms, friends, of relations, for he was allied to all the principal
families, and was even, through his wife, nearly connected with his
enemy, Ali Pacha himself.

He had learnt what this unfortunate lady had already endured on his
account, and feared that she would suffer yet more if he took active
measures against the pacha.  While he yet hesitated between affection
and revenge, he heard that she had died of grief and misery.  Now
that despair had put an end to uncertainty, he set his hand to the
work.

At this precise moment Heaven sent him a friend to console and aid
him in his vengeance, a Christian from OEtolia, Paleopoulo by name.
This man was on the point of establishing himself in Russian
Bessarabia, when he met Pacho Bey and joined with him in the singular
coalition which was to change the fate of the Tepelenian dynasty.

Paleopoulo reminded his companion in misfortune of a memorial
presented to the Divan in 1812, which had brought upon Ali a disgrace
from which he only escaped in consequence of the overwhelming
political events which just then absorbed the attention of the
Ottoman Government.  The Grand Seigneur had sworn by the tombs of his
ancestors to attend to the matter as soon as he was able, and it was

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