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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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plundered them, and drove them towards the camp, where slavery
awaited them.  The unhappy fugitives, taken thus between fire and.
sword, death behind and slavery before, uttered a terrible cry, and
fled in all directions. Those who escaped the Turks were stopped in
the hill passes by the mountaineers rushing down to the>> rey; only
large numbers who held together could force a passage.

In some cases terror bestows extraordinary strength, there were
mothers who, with infants at the breast, covered on foot in one day
the fourteen leagues which separate Janina from Arta.  But others,
seized with the pangs of travail in the midst of their flight,
expired in the woods, after giving birth to babes, who, destitute of
succour, did not survive their mothers.  And young girls, having
disfigured themselves by gashes, hid themselves in caves, where they
died of terror and hunger.

The Albanians, intoxicated with plunder and debauchery, refused to
return to the castle, and only thought of regaining their country and
enjoying the fruit of their rapine.  But they were assailed on the
way by peasants covetous of their booty, and by those of Janina who
had sought refuge with them.  The roads and passes were strewn with
corpses, and the trees by the roadside converted into gibbets.  The
murderers did not long survive their victims.

The ruins of Janina were still smoking when, on the 19th August,
Pacho Bey made his entry. Having pitched his tent out of range of
Ali's cannon, he proclaimed aloud the firman which inaugurated him as
Pacha of Janina and Delvino, and then raised the tails, emblem of his
dignity.  Ali heard on the summit of his keep the acclamations of the
Turks who saluted Pacho Bey, his former servant with the titles of
Vali of Epirus, and Ghazi, of Victorius.  After this ceremony, the
cadi read the sentence, confirmed by the Mufti, which declared
Tepelen Veli-Zade to have forfeited his dignities and to be
excommunicated, adding an injunction to all the faithful that
henceforth his name was not to be pronounced except with the addition
of "Kara," or "black," which is bestowed on those cut off from the
congregation of Sunnites, or Orthodox Mohammedans.  A Marabout then
cast a stone towards the castle, and the anathema upon "Kara Ali" was
repeated by the whole Turkish army, ending with the cry of "Long live
the sultan!  So be it!"

But it was not by ecclesiastical thunders that three fortresses could
be reduced, which were defended by artillerymen drawn from different
European armies, who had established an excellent school for gunners
and bombardiers.  The besieged, having replied with hootings of
contempt to the acclamations of the besiegers, proceeded to enforce
their scorn with well-aimed cannon shots, while the rebel flotilla,
dressed as if for a fete-day, passed slowly before the Turks,
saluting them with cannon-shot if they ventured near the edge of the
lake.

This noisy rhodomontade did not prevent Ali from being consumed with
grief and anxiety.  The sight of his own troops, now in the camp of
Pacho Bey, the fear of being for ever separated from his sons, the
thought of his grandson in the enemy's hands, all threw him into the
deepest melancholy, and his sleepless eyes were constantly drowned in
tears.  He refused his food, and sat for seven days with untrimmed
beard, clad in mourning, on a mat at the door of his antechamber,
extending his hands to his soldiers, and imploring them to slay him
rather than abandon him.  His wives, seeing him in this state, and
concluding all was lost, filled the air with their lamentations.  All
began to think that grief would bring Ali to the grave; but his
soldiers, to whose protestations he at first refused any credit,
represented to him that their fate was indissolubly linked with his.
Pacho Bey having proclaimed that all taken in arms for Ali would be
shot as sharers in rebellion, it was therefore their interest to
support his resistance with all their power.  They also pointed out
that the campaign was already advanced, and that the Turkish army,
which had forgotten its siege artillery at Constantinople, could not
possibly procure any before the end of October, by which time the
rains would begin, and the enemy would probably be short of food.
Moreover, in any case, it being impossible to winter in a ruined
town, the foe would be driven to seek shelter at a distance.

These representations, made with warmth conviction, and supported by
evidence, began to soothe the restless fever which was wasting Ali,
and the gentle caresses and persuasions of Basillisa, the beautiful
Christian captive, who had now been his wife for some time, completed
the cure.

At the same time his sister Chainitza gave him an astonishing example
of courage.  She had persisted, in spite of all that could be said,
in residing in her castle of Libokovo.  The population, whom she had
cruelly oppressed, demanded her death, but no one dared attack her.
Superstition declared that the spirit of her mother, with whom she
kept up a mysterious communication even beyond the portals of the
grave, watched over her safety.  The menacing form of Kamco had, it
was said, appeared to several inhabitants of Tepelen, brandishing
bones of the wretched Kardikiotes, and demanding fresh victims with
loud cries.  The desire of vengeance had urged some to brave these
unknown dangers, and twice, a warrior, clothed in black, had warned
them back, forbidding them to lay hands on a sacrilegious woman;
whose punishment Heaven reserved to itself, and twice they had
returned upon their footsteps.

But soon, ashamed of their terror, they attempted another attack, and
came attired in the colour of the Prophet.  This time no mysterious
stranger speared to forbid their passage and with a cry they climbed
the mountain, listening for any supernatural warning.  Nothing
disturbed the silence and solitude save the bleating of flocks and
the cries of birds of prey.  Arrived on the platform of Libokovo,
they prepared in silence to surprise the guards, believing the castle
full of them.  They approached crawling, like hunters who stalk a
deer, already they had reached the gate of the enclosure, and
prepared to burst it open, when lo! it opened of itself, and they
beheld Chainitza standing before them, a carabine in her hand,
pistols in her belt, and, for all guard, two large dogs.

"Halt! ye daring ones," she cried; "neither my life nor my treasure
will ever be at your mercy.  Let one of you move a step without my
permission, and this place and the ground beneath your feet' will
engulf you.  Ten thousand pounds of powder are in these cellars.  I
will, however, grant your pardon, unworthy though you are.  I will
even allow you to take these sacks filled with gold; they may
recompense you for the losses which my brother's enemies have
recently inflicted on you.  But depart this instant without a word,
and dare not to trouble me again; I have other means of destruction
at command besides gunpowder.  Life is nothing to me, remember that;
but your mountains may yet at my command become the tomb of your
wives and children.  Go!"

She ceased, and her would-be murderers fled terror.

Shortly after the plague broke out in these mountains, Chainitza had
distributed infected garments among gipsies, who scattered contagion
wherever they went.

"We are indeed of the same blood!" cried Ali with pride, when he
heard of his sister's conduct; and from that hour he appeared to
regain all the fire and audacity of his youth.  When, a few days
later, he was informed that Mouktar and Veli, seduced by the
brilliant promises of Dacha Bey, had surrendered Prevesa and
Argyro-Castron, "It does not surprise me," he observed coldly.  "I
have long known them to be unworthy of being my sons, and henceforth
my only children and heirs are those who defend my cause."  And on
hearing a report that both had been beheaded by Dacha Bey's order, he
contented himself with saying, "They betrayed their father, and have
only received their deserts; speak no more of them."  And to show how
little it discouraged him, he redoubled his fire upon the Turks.

But the latter, who had at length obtained some artillery, answered
his fire with vigour, and began to rally to discrown the old pacha's
fortress.  Feeling that the danger was pressing, Ali redoubled both
his prudence and activity.  His immense treasures were the real
reason of the war waged against him, and these might induce his own
soldiers to rebel, in order to become masters of them.  He resolved
to protect them from either surprise or conquest.  The sum necessary
for present use was deposited in the powder magazine, so that, if
driven to extremity, it might be destroyed in a moment; the remainder
was enclosed in strong-boxes, and sunk in different parts of the
lake.  This labour lasted a fortnight, when, finally, Ali put to
death the gipsies who had been employed about it, in order that the
secret might remain with himself.

While he thus set his own affairs in order, he applied himself to the
troubling those of his adversary.  A great number of Suliots had
joined the Ottoman army in order to assist in the destruction of him
who formerly had ruined their country. Their camp, which for a long
time had enjoyed immunity from the guns of Janina, was one day
overwhelmed with bombs.  The Suliots were terrified, until they
remarked that the bombs did not burst.  They then, much astonished,
proceeded to pick up and examine these projectiles.  Instead of a
match, they found rolls of paper enclosed in a wooden cylinder, on
which was engraved these words, "Open carefully."  The paper
contained a truly Macchiavellian letter from Ali, which began by
saying that they were quite justified in having taken up arms against
him, and added that he now sent them a part of the pay of which the
traitorous Ismail was defrauding them, and that the bombs thrown into
their cantonment contained six thousand sequins in gold.  He begged
them to amuse Ismail by complaints and recriminations, while his
gondola should by night fetch one of them, to whom he would

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