Ali Pacha HTML version

Chapter 3
Having governed Thessaly in this manner during several years, Ali found himself
in a position to acquire the province of Janina, the possession of which, by
making him master of Epirus, would enable him to crush all his enemies and to
reign supreme over the three divisions of Albania.
But before he could succeed in this, it was necessary to dispose of the pacha
already in possession. Fortunately for Ali, the latter was a weak and indolent
man, quite incapable of struggling against so formidable a rival; and his enemy
speedily conceived and put into execution a plan intended to bring about the
fulfilment of his desires. He came to terms with the same Armatolians whom he
had formerly treated so harshly, and let them loose, provided with arms and
ammunition, on the country which he wished to obtain. Soon the whole region
echoed with stories of devastation and pillage. The pacha, unable to repel the
incursions of these mountaineers, employed the few troops he had in oppressing
the inhabitants of the plains, who, groaning under both extortion and rapine,
vainly filled the air with their despairing cries. Ali hoped that the Divan, which
usually judged only after the event, seeing that Epirus lay desolate, while
Thessaly flourished under his own administration, would, before long, entrust
himself with the government of both provinces, when a family incident occurred,
which for a time diverted the course of his political manoeuvres.
For a long time his mother Kamco had suffered from an internal cancer, the
result of a life of depravity. Feeling that her end drew near, she despatched
messenger after messenger, summoning her son to her bedside. He started, but
arrived too late, and found only his sister Chainitza mourning over the body of
their mother, who had expired in her arms an hour previously. Breathing
unutterable rage and pronouncing horrible imprecations against Heaven, Kamco
had commanded her children, under pain of her dying curse, to carry out her last
wishes faithfully. After having long given way to their grief, Ali and Chainitza read
together the document which contained these commands. It ordained some
special assassinations, mentioned sundry villages which, some day; were to be
given to the flames, but ordered them most especially, as soon as possible, to
exterminate the inhabitants of Kormovo and Kardiki, from whom she had endured
the last horrors of slavery.
Then, after advising her children to remain united, to enrich their soldiers, and to
count as nothing people who were useless to them, Kamco ended by
commanding them to send in her name a pilgrim to Mecca, who should deposit
an offering on the tomb of the Prophet for the repose of her soul. Having perused
these last injunctions, Ali and Chainitza joined hands, and over the inanimate
remains of their departed mother swore to accomplish her dying behests.