Ali Pacha HTML version

Chapter 6
Ali had long cherished a violent passion for Zobeide, the wife of his son Veli
Pacha: Having vainly attempted to gratify it after his son's departure, and being
indignantly repulsed, he had recourse to drugs, and the unhappy Zobeide
remained in ignorance of her misfortune until she found she was pregnant. Then,
half-avowals from her women, compelled to obey the pacha from fear of death,
mixed with confused memories of her own, revealed the whole terrible truth. Not
knowing in her despair which way to turn, she wrote to Ali, entreating him to visit
the harem. As head of the family, he had a right to enter, being supposed
responsible for the conduct of his sons' families, no- law-giver having hitherto
contemplated the possibility of so disgraceful a crime. When he appeared,
Zobeide flung herself at his feet, speechless with grief. Ali acknowledged his
guilt, pleaded the violence of his passion, wept with his victim, and entreating her
to control herself and keep silence, promised that all should be made right.
Neither the prayers nor tears of Zobeide could induce him to give up the intention
of effacing the traces of his first crime by a second even more horrible.
But the story was already whispered abroad, and Pacho Bey learnt all its details
from the spies he kept in Janina. Delighted at the prospect of avenging himself
on the father, he hastened with his news to the son. Veli Pacha, furious, vowed
vengeance, and demanded Pacho Bey's help, which was readily promised. But
Ali had been warned, and was not a man to be taken unawares. Pacho Bey,
whom Veli had just promoted to the office of sword-bearer, was attacked in broad
daylight by six emissaries sent from Janina. He obtained timely help, however,
and five of the assassins, taken red-handed, were at once hung without
ceremony in the market-place. The sixth was the messenger whose arrival with
the news had caused such dismay at Ali's banquet.
As Ali reflected how the storm he had raised could best be laid, he was informed
that the ruler of the marriage feast sent by Moustai, Pacha of Scodra, to receive
the young bride who should reign in his harem, had just arrived in the plain of
Janina. He was Yussuf Bey of the Delres, an old enemy of Ali's, and had
encamped with his escort of eight hundred warriors at the foot of Tomoros of
Dodona. Dreading some treachery, he absolutely refused all entreaties to enter
the town, and Ali seeing that it was useless to insist, and that his adversary for
the present was safe, at once sent his grand-daughter, the Princess of Aulis, out
to him.
This matter disposed of, Ali was able to attend to his hideous family tragedy. He
began by effecting the disappearance of the women whom he had been
compelled to make his accomplices; they were simply sewn up in sacks by
gipsies and thrown into the lake. This done, he himself led the executioners into
a subterranean part of the castle, where they were beheaded by black mutes as