Ali Pacha HTML version

Chapter 5
After taking possession of Argyro-Castron, which he had long coveted, Ali led his
victorious army against the town of Kardiki, whose inhabitants had formerly
joined with those of Kormovo in the outrage inflicted on his mother and sister.
The besieged, knowing they had no mercy to hope for, defended themselves
bravely, but were obliged to yield to famine. After a month's blockade, the
common people, having no food for themselves or their cattle, began to cry for
mercy in the open streets, and their chiefs, intimidated by the general misery and
unable to stand alone, consented to capitulate. Ali, whose intentions as to the
fate of this unhappy town were irrevocably decided, agreed to all that they asked.
A treaty was signed by both parties, and solemnly sworn to on the Koran, in
virtue of which seventy-two beys, heads of the principal Albanian families, were
to go to Janina as free men, and fully armed. They were to be received with the
honours due to their rank as free tenants of the sultan, their lives and their
families were to be spared, and also their possessions. The other inhabitants of
Kardiki, being Mohammedans, and therefore brothers of Ali, were to be treated
as friends and retain their lives and property. On these conditions a quarter of the
town; was to be occupied by the victorious troops.
One of the principal chiefs, Saleh Bey, and his wife, foreseeing the fate which
awaited their friends, committed suicide at the moment when, in pursuance of the
treaty, Ali's soldiers took possession of the quarter assigned to them.
Ali received the seventy-two beys with all marks of friendship when they arrived
at Janina. He lodged them in a palace on the lake, and treated them
magnificently for some days. But soon, having contrived on some pretext to
disarm them, he had them conveyed, loaded with chains, to a Greek convent on
an island in the lake, which was converted into a prison. The day of vengeance
not having fully arrived, he explained this breach of faith by declaring that the
hostages had attempted to escape.
The popular credulity was satisfied by this explanation, and no one doubted the
good faith of the pacha when he announced that he was going to Kardiki to
establish a police and fulfil the promises he had made to the inhabitants. Even
the number of soldiers he took excited no surprise, as Ali was accustomed to
travel with a very numerous suite.
After three days' journey, he stopped at Libokhovo, where his sister had resided
since the death of Aden Bey, her second son, cut off recently by wickness. What
passed in the long interview they had no one knew, but it was observed that
Chainitza's tears, which till then had flowed incessantly, stopped as if by magic,
and her women, who were wearing mourning, received an order to attire
themselves as for a festival. Feasting and dancing, begun in Ali's honour, did not
cease after his departure.