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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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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

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