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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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After several battles, in which his enemies had the a vantage, Ali
began negotiations with Ibrahim, and finally concluded a treaty
offensive and defensive.  This fresh alliance was, like the first, to
be cemented by a marriage.  The virtuous Emineh, seeing her son Veli
united to the second daughter of Ibrahim, trusted that the feud
between the two families was now quenched, and thought herself at the
summit of happiness.  But her joy was not of long duration; the
death-groan was again to be heard amidst the songs of the
marriage-feast.

The daughter of Chainitza, by her first husband, Ali, had married a
certain Murad, the Bey of Clerisoura.  This nobleman, attached to
Ibrahim Pacha by both blood and affection, since the death of Sepher
Bey, had, become the special object of Ali's hatred, caused by the
devotion of Murad to his patron, over whom he had great influence,
and from whom nothing could detach him.  Skilful in concealing truth
under special pretexts, Ali gave out that the cause of his known
dislike to this young man was that the latter, although his nephew by
marriage, had several times fought in hostile ranks against him.
Therefore the amiable Ibrahim made use of the marriage treaty to
arrange an honourable reconciliation between Murad Bey and his uncle,
and appointed the former "Ruler a the Marriage Feast," in which
capacity he was charged to conduct the bride to Janina and deliver
her to her husband, the young Veli Bey.  He had accomplished his
mission satisfactorily, and was received by Ali with all apparent
hospitality.  The festival began on his arrival towards the end of
November 1791, and had already continued several days, when suddenly
it was announced that a shot had been fired upon Ali, who had only
escaped by a miracle, and that the assassin was still at large.  This
news spread terror through the city and the palace, and everyone
dreaded being seized as the guilty person.  Spies were everywhere
employed, but they declared search was useless, and that there must
bean extensive conspiracy against Ali's life.  The latter complained
of being surrounded by enemies, and announced that henceforth he
would receive only one person at a time, who should lay down his arms
before entering the hall now set apart for public audience.  It was a
chamber built over a vault, and entered by a sort of trap-door, only
reached by a ladder.

After having for several days received his couriers in this sort of
dovecot, Ali summoned his nephew in order to entrust with him the
wedding gifts.  Murad took this as a sign of favour, and joyfully
acknowledged the congratulations of his friends.  He presented
himself at the time arranged, the guards at the foot of the ladder
demanded his arms, which he gave up readily, and ascended the ladder
full of hope.  Scarcely had the trap-door closed behind him when a
pistol ball, fired from a dark corner, broke his shoulder blade, and
he fell, but sprang up and attempted to fly.  Ali issued from his
hiding place and sprang upon him, but notwithstanding his wound the
young bey defended himself vigorously, uttering terrible cries.  The
pacha, eager to finish, and finding his hands insufficient, caught a
burning log from the hearth, struck his nephew in the face with it,
felled him to the ground, and completed his bloody task.  This
accomplished, Ali called for help with loud cries, and when his
guards entered he showed the bruises he had received and the blood
with which he was covered, declaring that he had killed in
self-defence a villain who endeavoured to assassinate him.  He
ordered the body to be searched, and a letter was found in a pocket
which Ali had himself just placed there, which purported to give the
details of the pretended conspiracy.

As Murad's brother was seriously compromised by this letter, he also
was immediately seized, and strangled without any pretence of trial.
The whole palace rejoiced, thanks were rendered to Heaven by one of
those sacrifices of animals still occasionally made in the East to
celebrate an escape from great danger, and Ali released some
prisoners in order to show his gratitude to Providence for having
protected him from so horrible a crime.  He received congratulatory
visits, and composed an apology attested by a judicial declaration by
the cadi, in which the memory of Murad and his brother was declared
accursed.  Finally, commissioners, escorted by a strong body of
soldiers, were sent to seize the property of the two brothers,
because, said the decree, it was just that the injured should inherit
the possessions of his would-be assassins.

Thus was exterminated the only family capable of opposing the Pacha
of Janina, or which could counterbalance his influence over the weak
Ibrahim of Berat.  The latter, abandoned by his brave defenders, and
finding himself at the mercy of his enemy, was compelled to submit to
what he could not prevent, and protested only by tears against these
crimes, which seemed to herald a terrible future for himself.

As for Emineh, it is said that from the date of this catastrophe she
separated herself almost entirely from her blood-stained husband, and
spent her life in the recesses of the harem, praying as a Christian
both for the murderer and his victims.  It is a relief, in the midst
of this atrocious saturnalia to encounter this noble and gentle
character, which like a desert oasis, affords a rest to eyes wearied
with the contemplation of so much wickedness and treachery.

Ali lost in her the guardian angel who alone could in any way
restrain his violent passions.  Grieved at first by the withdrawal of
the wife whom hitherto he had loved exclusively, he endeavoured in
vain to regain her affection; and then sought in new vices
compensation for the happiness he had lost, and gave himself up to
sensuality.  Ardent in everything, he carried debauchery to a
monstrous extent, and as if his palaces were not large enough for his
desires, he assumed various disguises; sometimes in order to traverse
the streets by night in search of the lowest pleasures; sometimes
penetrating by day into churches and private houses seeking for young
men and maidens remarkable for their beauty, who were then carried
off to his harem.

His sons, following in his footsteps, kept also scandalous
households, and seemed to dispute preeminence in evil with their
father, each in his own manner.  Drunkenness was the speciality of
the eldest, Mouktar, who was without rival among the hard drinkers of
Albania, and who was reputed to have emptied a whole wine-skin in one
evening after a plentiful meal.  Gifted with the hereditary violence
of his family, he had, in his drunken fury, slain several persons,
among others his sword-bearer, the companion of his childhood and
confidential friend of his whole life.  Veli chose a different
course.  Realising the Marquis de Sade as his father had realised
Macchiavelli, he delighted in mingling together debauchery and
cruelty, and his amusement consisted in biting the lips he had
kissed, and tearing with his nails the forms he had caressed.  The
people of Janina saw with horror more than one woman in their midst
whose nose and ears he had caused to be cut off, and had then turned
into the streets.

It was indeed a reign of terror; neither fortune, life, honour, nor
family were safe.  Mothers cursed their fruitfulness, and women their
beauty.  Fear soon engenders corruption, and subjects are speedily
tainted by the depravity of their masters.  Ali, considering a
demoralised race as easier to govern, looked on with satisfaction.

While he strengthened by every means his authority from within, he
missed no opportunity of extending his rule without.  In 1803 he
declared war against the Suliots, whose independence he had
frequently endeavoured either to purchase or to overthrow.  The army
sent against them, although ten thousand strong, was at first beaten
everywhere.  Ali then, as usual, brought treason to his aid, and
regained the advantage.  It became evident that, sooner or later, the
unhappy Suliots must succumb.

Foreseeing the horrors which their defeat would entail, Emineh,
touched with compassion, issued from her seclusion and cast herself
at Ali's feet.  He raised her, seated her beside him, and inquired as
to her wishes.  She spoke of, generosity, of mercy; he listened as if
touched and wavering, until she named the Suliots.  Then, filled with
fury, he seized a pistol and fired at her.  She was not hurt, but
fell to the ground overcome with terror, and her women hastily
intervened and carried her away.  For the first time in his life,
perhaps, Ali shuddered before the dread of a murder.

It was his wife, the mother of his children, whom he saw lying at his
feet, and the recollection afflicted and tormented him.  He rose in
the night and went to Emineh's apartment; he knocked and called, but
being refused admittance, in his anger he broke open the door.
Terrified by the noise; and at the sight of her infuriated husband,
Emineh fell into violent convulsions, and shortly expired.  Thus
perished the daughter of Capelan Pacha, wife of Ali Tepeleni, and
mother of Mouktar and Veli, who, doomed to live surrounded by evil,
yet remained virtuous and good.

Her death caused universal mourning throughout Albania, and produced
a not less deep impression on the mind of her murderer.  Emineh's
spectre pursued him in his pleasures, in the council chamber, in the
hours of night.  He saw her, he heard her, and would awake,
exclaiming, "my wife!  my wife!--It is my wife!--Her eyes are angry;
she threatens me!--Save me!  Mercy!"  For more than ten years Ali
never dared to sleep alone.




CHAPTER IV

In December, the Suliots, decimated by battle, worn by famine,
discouraged by treachery, were obliged to capitulate.  The treaty
gave them leave to go where they would, their own mountains excepted.
The unfortunate tribe divided into two parts, the one going towards
Parga, the other towards Prevesa.  Ali gave orders for the
destruction of both, notwithstanding the treaty.

The Parga division was attacked in its march, and charged by a

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