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you received, in regard to the events which sealed the fate of the Disdar Agà of Athens.
You already know that I had been only a short while returned from Constantinople,-whither I had been secretly despatched on a mission of such vast importance and danger, that, even to you, Panhel lenios, whose mind is spotless as the snow on Pindus or Ida, I dare not reveal its nature or object, -when some bickering took place between myself and the Voivode, concerning a fine Arab courser, which the ruffian had caused his people to remove from my stables, for his own use, with the unceremonious nonchalance of Turkish appropriation.
Furious at being robbed of my favourite steed by this hoary spoiler, I advanced to meet my enemy one day on the banks of the Ilissos, hard by the Enneakrounos. He was a man of small stature, feeble, cowardly, treacherous, and from excessive sensual indulgence, as nervous and hysterical as a Frenchwoman. Ignorant of my return to Athens, he looked as if he would rather have encountered Eblis himself; and had Azrael appeared before him with the fatal shaft from "his deadly quiver," he could not have exhibited the outward signs of greater terror and dismay. His vacant, fixed, stupid gaze, the cadaverous paleness that overspread his visage,—the ghastly glare of his hollow, half-glazed eye, the reluctant, intermitting quiver of his nether lip, and the strange fascination that for a while
chained him to the spot, as if under the potent spell of some redoubted necromancer,-all told plainly enough the force of the different conflicting passions suddenly awakened in his guilty soul.
He knew my history and character sufficiently well to be satisfied that he had done wrong in making me his enemy. Advancing to the miserable craven, I upbraided him with his act of barefaced robbery, and, in the uncalculating passion of the moment, threatened to pluck him by the beard, the most inexpiable insult that can be offered to a Moslemin. Awakened from his stupor by this galling menace, his dark eye rekindled and lowered with a dreadful expression of hatred and meditated revenge, such as the sons of Othman can alone assume; he began to grind his teeth, and mustering up a little courage, squeezed out perforce the words, Dog, Giaour, Greek; when, observing my hand on the hilt of my Damascus blade the gift of Ali Pacha, which had never failed me at my need, and which, to say the truth, was no stranger to Moslemin blood-he plunged his spurs in his horse's flank, and scampered off at the top of the animal's speed.
Forgiveness, it is well known, is not a Turkish infirmity; and it is proverbial, that the injurer is ever implacable.* Though he was too cowardly, and too precariously situated, to attempt public, I knew he would seek secret revenge, and accordingly took
* Humani ingenii proprium est odisse quem laeseris.—TACITUS.
measures of extraordinary precaution to baffle his purpose. I dismissed my servants, some of whom were Arnaoots, and not to be trusted; and having disposed of my more valuable property, I immediately withdrew to the Monastery of St. Spiridion, the papas Urban being an ancient friend of my family's. I never went abroad unless doubly armed, and carefully avoided a meeting with the Voivode when attended, which he almost always was. Signor Logotheti the British Consul, and an Englishman of the name of Tweddell, to whom I had rendered some services which he was pleased to consider important towards the prosecution of his plans, and whose frank, generous, and manly character I admired and loved, were, at first, the only persons I ventured to entrust with the secret of my retreat. Devoted to books and study, and occasionally cheered by the society and converse of those two admirable friends, now embalmed in my heart of hearts, time passed away, not merely tolerably, but pleasantly. My suspicions began to relax, and giving way to the natural temerity of my character, I reproached myself for taking such prudent measures of defence against the anticipated machinations of a petty despot, a dastardly oppressor, who now lived in terror, lest the inhabitants of the city and villages within his jurisdiction should transmit to the Porte a representation against his rapacity, cruelty, and injustice.
To speak the truth, such representations are
never overlooked or cast aside. The Porte listens with pleasure to accusations preferred against its old and opulent servants; sometimes, it is said, with a sincere desire to redress flagrant and notorious grievances, but much more frequently because such complaints afford the much-longed-for opportunity. of squeezing out of the inferior horse-leeches of despotism part of the marrow they had sucked from the vitals of a suffering people; a process, by the way, which, while it drives rapacity, extortion, and tyranny to their shifts, and seems to punish the misconduct of the inferior satellites of this barbarous government, envenoms every evil under which the people groan,-adds cunning to cupidity, treachery to cruelty, and by forcing tyranny to wear a mask, enables it to penetrate farther, and to inflict deadlier wounds. The Voivode was well aware of his danger, and as he had no particular predilection for serving as a spunge to the Divan, he was now trying, by forbearance, and some clumsy, ungracious acts which he intended should be popular, to appease, if possible, the just resentment of the Athenians, and to avert the retribution which he knew awaited him, if they persisted in carrying their complaints to Constantinople.
Reflecting on these circumstances, and having been born a stranger to fear, I soon began to discontinue the precautionary measures which I had been persuaded to adopt, and to wander over the city and the adjacent country in the reckless man
ner to which I had been accustomed. indulging this dangerous security, did any thing occur to revive my former suspicions. I travelled as far as Thebes, Corinth, and Misithra, visited Ægina and several of the Islands, and even ventured to ascend Pentelicon, to search for antique remains in the depths and recesses of its celebrated marble quarries. Still nothing occurred to indicate, that my motions had attracted the smallest observation. At length, emboldened by impunity, and a conviction that the critical position of the Voivode himself must compel him to digest the affront he had received, and smother his revenge as he best could, I, one day, had the temerity to ascend the Acropolis, in order once more to feast my eyes with the sight of the remains of that unrivalled edifice, which has been the admiration of all past ages, and which, but for the unhallowed spoliations of an English barbarian,* who dilapidated what Goths, Turks, and Time had spared, might have remained tolerably entire, to excite the wonder and delight of many ages to come. But I had scarcely crossed the gate of the garrison, and passed the drowsy smokers, nicknamed sentinels, when I observed the Voivode and the Disdar in earnest conversation. The eyes of both were instantly turned, with no friendly expression, towards the intruder. A diabolical delight appeared to shed gleams of light over the sombre
Quod non fecerunt Gothi, hoc fecerunt Scoti.