List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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communicate what more he had to say.  If they accepted his
proposition, they were to light three fires as a signal.

The signal was not long in appearing. Ali despatched his barge, which
took on board a monk, the spiritual chief of the Suliots.  He was
clothed in sackcloth, and repeated the prayers for the dying, as one
going to execution.  Ali, however, received him with the utmost
cordiality: He assured the priest of his repentance, his good
intentions, his esteem for the Greek captains, and then gave him a
paper which startled him considerably.  It was a despatch,
intercepted by Ali, from Khalid Effendi to the Seraskier Ismail,
ordering the latter to exterminate all Christians capable of bearing
arms.  All male children were to be circumcised, and brought up to
form a legion drilled in European fashion; and the letter went on to
explain how the Suliots, the Armatolis, the Greek races of the
mainland and those of the Archipelago should be disposed of.  Seeing
the effect produced on the monk by the perusal of this paper, Ali
hastened to make him the most advantageous offers, declaring that his
own wish was to give Greece a political existence, and only requiring
that the Suliot captains should send him a certain number of their
children as hostages.  He then had cloaks and arms brought which he
presented to the monk, dismissing him in haste, in order that
darkness might favour his return.

The next day Ali was resting, with his head on Basilissa's lap, when
he was informed that the enemy was advancing upon the intrenchments
which had been raised in the midst of the ruins of Janina.  Already
the outposts had been forced, and the fury of the assailants
threatened to triumph over all obstacles.  Ali immediately ordered a
sortie of all his troops, announcing that he himself would conduct
it.  His master of the horse brought him the famous Arab charger
called the Dervish, his chief huntsman presented him with his guns,
weapons still famous in Epirus, where they figure in the ballads of
the Skipetars.  The first was an enormous gun, of Versailles
manufacture, formerly presented by the conqueror of the Pyramids to
Djezzar, the Pacha of St. Jean-d'Arc, who amused himself by enclosing
living victims in the walls of his palace, in order that he might
hear their groans in the midst of his festivities.  Next came a
carabine given to the Pacha of Janina in the name of Napoleon in
1806; then the battle musket of Charles XII of Sweden, and finally--
the much revered sabre of Krim-Guerai.  The signal was given; the
draw bridge crossed; the Guegues and other adventurers uttered a
terrific shout; to which the cries of the assailants replied.  Ali
placed himself on a height, whence his eagle eye sought to discern
the hostile chiefs; but he called and defied Pacho Bey in vain.
Perceiving Hassan-Stamboul, colonel of the Imperial bombardiers
outside his battery, Ali demanded the gun of Djezzar, and laid him
dead on the spot.  He then took the carabine of Napoleon, and shot
with it Kekriman, Bey of Sponga, whom he had formerly appointed Pacha
of Lepanto. The enemy now became aware of his presence, and sent a
lively fusillade in his direction; but the balls seemed to diverge
from his person.  As soon as the smoke cleared, he perceived Capelan,
Pacha of Croie, who had been his guest, and wounded him mortally in
the chest.  Capelan uttered a sharp cry, and his terrified horse
caused disorder in the ranks. Ali picked off a large number of
officers, one after another; every shot was mortal, and his enemies
began to regard him in, the light of a destroying angel.  Disorder
spread through the forces of the Seraskier, who retreated hastily to
his intrenchments.

The Suliots meanwhile sent a deputation to Ismail offering their
submission, and seeking to regain their country in a peaceful manner;
but, being received by him with the most humiliating contempt, they
resolved to make common cause with Ali.  They hesitated over the
demand for hostages, and at length required Ali's grandson, Hussien
Pacha, in exchange.  After many difficulties, Ali at length
consented, and the agreement was concluded.  The Suliots received
five hundred thousand piastres and a hundred and fifty charges of
ammunition, Hussien Pacha was given up to them, and they left the
Ottoman camp at dead of night.  Morco Botzaris remained with three
hundred and twenty men, threw down the palisades, and then ascending
Mount Paktoras with his troops, waited for dawn in order to announce
his defection to the Turkish army.  As soon as the sun appeared he
ordered a general salvo of artillery and shouted his war-cry.  A few
Turks in charge of an outpost were slain, the rest fled.  A cry of
"To arms" was raised, and the standard of the Cross floated before
the camp of the infidels.

Signs and omens of a coming general insurrection appeared on all
sides; there was no lack of prodigies, visions, or popular rumours,
and the Mohammedans became possessed with the idea that the last hour
of their rule in Greece had struck.  Ali Pacha favoured the general
demoralisation; and his agents, scattered throughout the land, fanned
the flame of revolt.  Ismail Pacha was deprived of his title of
Seraskier, and superseded by Kursheed Pacha.  As soon as Ali heard
this, he sent a messenger to Kursheed, hoping to influence him in his
favour.  Ismail, distrusting the Skipetars, who formed part of his
troops, demanded hostages from them.  The Skipetars were indignant,
and Ali hearing of their discontent, wrote inviting them to return to
him, and endeavouring to dazzle them by the most brilliant promises.
These overtures were received by the offended troops with enthusiasm,
and Alexis Noutza, Ali's former general, who had forsaken him for
Ismail, but who had secretly returned to his allegiance and acted as
a spy on the Imperial army, was deputed to treat with him.  As soon
as he arrived, Ali began to enact a comedy in the intention of
rebutting the accusation of incest with his daughter-in-law Zobeide;
for this charge, which, since Veli himself had revealed the secret of
their common shame, could only be met by vague denials, had never
ceased to produce a mast unfavourable impression on Noutza's mind.
Scarcely had he entered the castle by the lake, when Ali rushed to
meet him, and flung himself into his arms.  In presence of his
officers and the garrison, he loaded him with the most tender names,
calling him his son, his beloved Alexis, his own legitimate child,
even as Salik Pacha.  He burst into tears, and, with terrible oaths,
called Heaven to witness that Mouktar and Veli, whom he disavowed on
account of their cowardice, were the adulterous offspring of Emineh's
amours.  Then, raising his hand against the tomb of her whom he had
loved so much, he drew the stupefied Noutza into the recess of a
casemate, and sending for Basilissa, presented him to her as a
beloved son, whom only political considerations had compelled him to
keep at a distance, because, being born of a Christian mother, he had
been brought up in the faith of Jesus.

Having thus softened the suspicions of his soldiers, Ali resumed his
underground intrigues.  The Suliots had informed him that the sultan
had made them extremely advantageous offers if they would return to
his service, and they demanded pressingly that Ali should give up to
them the citadel of Kiapha, which was still in his possession, and
which commanded Suli.  He replied with the information that he
intended, January 26, to attack the camp of Pacho Bey early in the
morning, and requested their assistance.  In order to cause a
diversion, they were to descend into the valley of Janina at night,
and occupy a position which he pointed out to them, and he gave their
the word "flouri" as password for the night.  If successful, he
undertook to grant their request.

Ali's letter was intercepted, and fell into Ismail's hands, who
immediately conceived a plan for snaring his enemy in his own toils.
When the night fixed by Ali arrived, the Seraskier marched out a
strong division under the command of Omar Brionis, who had been
recently appointed Pacha, and who was instructed to proceed along the
western slope of Mount Paktoras as far as the village of Besdoune,
where he was to place an outpost, and then to retire along the other
side of the mountain, so that, being visible in the starlight, the
sentinels placed to watch on the hostile towers might take his men
for the Suliots and report to Ali that the position of Saint-Nicolas,
assigned to them, had been occupied as arranged.  All preparations
for battle were made, and the two mortal enemies, Ismail and Ali,
retired to rest, each cherishing the darling hope of shortly
annihilating his rival.

At break of day a lively cannonade, proceeding from the castle of the
lake and from Lithoritza, announced that the besieged intended a
sortie.  Soon Ali's Skipetars, preceded by a detachment of French,
Italians, and Swiss, rushed through the Ottoman fire and carried the
first redoubt, held by Ibrahim-Aga-Stamboul.  They found six pieces
of cannon, which the Turks, notwithstanding their terror, had had
time to spike.  This misadventure, for they had hoped to turn the
artillery against the intrenched camp, decided Ali's men on attacking
the second redoubt, commanded by the chief bombardier.  The Asiatic
troops of Baltadgi Pacha rushed to its defence.  At their head
appeared the chief Imaun of the army, mounted on a richly caparisoned
mule and repeating the curse fulminated by the mufti against Ali, his
adherents, his castles, and even his cannons, which it was supposed
might be rendered harmless by these adjurations.  Ali's Mohammedan
Skipetars averted their eyes, and spat into their bosoms, hoping thus
to escape the evil influence.  A superstitious terror was beginning
to spread among them, when a French adventurer took aim at the Imaun
and brought him down, amid the acclamations of the soldiers;
whereupon the Asiatics, imagining that Eblis himself fought against
them, retired within the intrenchments, whither the Skipetars, no

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