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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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only requisite to remind him of his vow.  Pacho Hey and his friend
drew up a new memorial, and knowing the sultan's avarice, took care
to dwell on the immense wealth possessed by Ali, on his scandalous
exactions, and on the enormous sums diverted from the Imperial
Treasury.  By overhauling the accounts of his administration,
millions might be recovered.  To these financial considerations Pacho
Bey added some practical ones.  Speaking as a man sure of his facts
and well acquainted with the ground, he pledged his head that with
twenty thousand men he would, in spite of Ali's troops and
strongholds, arrive before Janina without firing a musket.

However good these plans appeared, they were by no means to the taste
of the sultan's ministers, who were each and all in receipt of large
pensions from the man at whom they struck.  Besides, as in Turkey it
is customary for the great fortunes of Government officials to be
absorbed on their death by the Imperial Treasury, it of course
appeared easier to await the natural inheritance of Ali's treasures
than to attempt to seize them by a war which would certainly absorb
part of them.  Therefore, while Pacho Bey's zeal was commended, he
obtained only dilatory answers, followed at length by a formal
refusal.

Meanwhile, the old OEtolian, Paleopoulo, died, having prophesied the
approaching Greek insurrection among his friends, and pledged Pacho
Bey to persevere in his plans of vengeance, assuring him that before
long Ali would certainly fall a victim to them.  Thus left alone,
Pacho, before taking any active steps in his work of vengeance,
affected to give himself up to the strictest observances of the
Mohammedan religion.  Ali, who had established a most minute
surveillance over his actions, finding that his time was spent with
ulemas and dervishes, imagined that he had ceased to be dangerous,
and took no further trouble about him.




CHAPTER VIII

A career of successful crime had established Ali's rule over a
population equal to that of the two kingdoms of Sweden and Norway.
But his ambition was not yet satisfied.  The occupation of Parga did
not crown his desires, and the delight which it caused him was much
tempered by the escape of the Parganiotes, who found in exile a safe
refuge from his persecution.  Scarcely had he finished the conquest
of Middle Albania before he was exciting a faction against the young
Moustai Pacha in Scodra, a new object of greed.  He also kept an army
of spies in Wallachia, Moldavia, Thrace, and Macedonia, and, thanks
to them, he appeared to be everywhere present, and was mixed up in
every intrigue, private or political, throughout the empire.  He had
paid the English agents the price agreed on for Parga, but he repaid
himself five times over, by gifts extorted from his vassals, and by
the value of the Parga lands, now become his property.  His palace of
Tepelen had been rebuilt at the public expense, and was larger and
more magnificent than before; Janina was embellished with new
buildings; elegant pavilions rose on the shores of the lake; in
short, Ali's luxury was on a level with his vast riches.  His sons
and grandsons were provided for by important positions, and Ali
himself was sovereign prince in everything but the name.

There was no lack of flattery, even from literary persons.  At Vienna
a poem was pointed in his honour, and a French-Greek Grammar was
dedicated to him, and such titles as "Most Illustrious, "Most
Powerful," and "Most Clement," were showered upon him, as upon a man
whose lofty virtues and great exploits echoed through the world.
A native of Bergamo, learned in heraldry, provided him with a coat of
arms, representing, on a field gules, a lion, embracing three cubs,
emblematic of the Tepelenian dynasty.  Already he had a consul at
Leucadia accepted by the English, who, it is said, encouraged him to
declare himself hereditary Prince of Greece, under the nominal
suzerainty of the sultan; their real intention being to use him as a
tool in return for their protection, and to employ him as a political
counter-balance to the hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia, who for
the last twenty years had been simply Russian agents in disguise,
This was not all; many of the adventurers with whom the Levant
swarms, outlaws from every country, had found a refuge in Albania,
and helped not a little to excite Ali's ambition by their
suggestions.  Some of these men frequently saluted him as King, a
title which he affected to reject with indignation; and he disdained
to imitate other states by raising a private standard of his own,
preferring not to compromise his real power by puerile displays of
dignity; and he lamented the foolish ambition of his children, who
would ruin him, he said, by aiming, each, at becoming a vizier.
Therefore he did not place his hope or confidence in them, but in the
adventurers of every sort and kind, pirates, coiners, renegades,
assassins, whom he kept in his pay and regarded as his best support.
These he sought to attach to his person as men who might some day be
found useful, for he did not allow the many favours of fortune to
blind him to the real danger of his position.  A vizier," he was
answered, "resembles a man wrapped in costly furs, but he sits on a
barrel of powder, which only requires a spark to explode it."  The
Divan granted all the concessions which Ali demanded, affecting
ignorance of his projects of revolt and his intelligence with the
enemies of the State; but then apparent weakness was merely prudent
temporising. It was considered that Ali, already advanced in years,
could not live much longer, and it was hoped that, at his death,
Continental Greece, now in some measure detached from the Ottoman
rule, would again fall under the sultan's sway.

Meanwhile, Pacho Bey, bent on silently undermining Ali's influence;
had established himself as an intermediary for all those who came to
demand justice on account of the pacha's exactions, and he contrived
that both his own complaints and those of his clients, should
penetrate to the ears of the sultan; who, pitying his misfortunes,
made him a kapidgi-bachi, as a commencement of better things.  About
this time the sultan also admitted to the Council a certain Abdi
Effendi of Larissa, one of the richest nobles of Thessaly, who had
been compelled by the tyranny of Veli Pacha to fly from his country.
The two new dignitaries, having secured Khalid Effendi as a partisan,
resolved to profit by his influence to carry out their plans of
vengeance on the Tepelenian family.  The news of Pacho Bey's
promotion roused Ali from the security in which he was plunged, and
he fell a prey to the most lively anxiety.  Comprehending at once the
evil which this man,--trained in his own school, might cause him, he
exclaimed, "Ah! if Heaven would only restore me the strength of my
youth, I would plunge my sword into his heart even in the midst of
the Divan."

It was not long before Ali's enemies found an extremely suitable
opportunity for opening their attack.  Veli Pacha, who had for his
own profit increased the Thessalian taxation fivefold, had in doing
so caused so much oppression that many of the inhabitants preferred
the griefs and dangers of emigration rather than remain under so
tyrannical a rule.  A great number of Greeks sought refuge at Odessa,
and the great Turkish families assembled round Pacho Bey and Abdi
Effendi at Constantinople, who lost no opportunity of interceding in
their favour.  The sultan, who as yet did not dare to act openly
against the Tepelenian family, was at least able to relegate Veli to
the obscure post of Lepanto, and Veli, much disgusted, was obliged to
obey.  He quitted the new palace he had just built at Rapehani, and
betook himself to the place of exile, accompanied by actors, Bohemian
dancers, bear leaders, and a crowd of prostitutes.

Thus attacked in the person of his most powerful son, Ali thought to
terrify his enemies by a daring blow.  He sent three Albanians to
Constantinople to assassinate Pacho Bey.  They fell upon him as he
was proceeding to the Mosque of Saint-Sophia, on the day on which the
sultan also went in order to be present at the Friday ceremonial
prayer, and fired several shots at him.  He was wounded, but not
mortally.

The assassins, caught red-handed, were hung at the gate of the
Imperial Seraglio, but not before confessing that they were sent by
the Pacha of Janina.  The Divan, comprehending at last that so
dangerous a man must be dealt with at any cost, recapitulated all
Ali's crimes, and pronounced a sentence against him which was
confirmed by a decree of the Grand Mufti.  It set forth that Ali
Tepelen, having many times obtained pardon for his crimes, was now
guilty of high treason in the first degree, and that he would, as
recalcitrant, be placed under the ban of the Empire if he did not
within forty days appear at the Gilded Threshold of the Felicitous
Gate of the Monarch who dispenses crowns to the princes who reign in
this world, in order to justify himself.  As may be supposed,
submission to such an order was about the last thing Ali
contemplated.  As he failed to appear, the Divan caused the Grand
Mufti to launch the thunder of excommunication against him.

Ali had just arrived at Parga, which he now saw for the third time
since he had obtained it, when his secretaries informed him that only
the rod of Moses could save him from the anger of Pharaoh--a
figurative mode of warning him that he had nothing to hope for.  But
Ali, counting on his usual luck, persisted in imagining that he
could, once again, escape from his difficulty by the help of gold and
intrigue.  Without discontinuing the pleasures in which he was
immersed, he contented himself with sending presents and humble
petitions to Constantinople.  But both were alike useless, for no one
even ventured to transmit them to the sultan, who had sworn to cut
off the head of anyone who dared mention the name of Ali Tepelen in
his presence.

Receiving no answer to his overtures, Ali became a prey to terrible
anxiety.  As he one day opened the Koran to consult it as to his

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