« 前へ次へ »
ns hitherto so
taken prisoner, and some few who had advanced with him into the plain, had been cut to pieces by the Delhis, the invariable fate of Greek infantry when opposed on level ground to Turkish horse. Among the slain were a few Franks-a gigan. lic Swiss, of the name of Du Gask, who was reported to have killed eleven Turks with his sabre before he was disabled : a certain M. Le Bon, the surgeon-major, who told me that his enthusiasm in the cause of liberty had made him abandon a lucrative situation with a ' pharmacien' in Paris, where his ó appointments' were of the full yearly value of 500 francs. He had registered a vow in heaven not to shave till the end of the campaign, but the inexorable Turks cut short his vow and his campaign together, by taking off his head, upon which one of his countrymen facetiously observed, il a été joliement razé.'
Thus, one half the expedition routed, there was no longer question of relieving Athens, but rather, whether we should not ourselves be driven into the sea by a sudden assault, or, at the best, be blockaded by the Seraskier. Our only supply of fresh water was derived from a well situated in the plain midway between the heights of Phalère and the convent of San Spiridion. ''his was a constant source of contention, inasmuch as it was equally necessary to the Turks as to ourselves, and for several days it was alternately in the possession of either party. There is a strange custom prevalent among the Albanians, of whom the army of the Seraskier was chiefly composed. It is, that of making a temporary truce with their enemies for the purpose of holding with them a little conversation. Two or three of them will advance in the night within earshot of the outposts, and call out • Bessa, bessa,' which means, in the Albanese dialect, faith for faith. The Greeks, who never neglect an opportunity of exhibiting their conversational talents, reply in the same words, each party deposit their arms, they advance to meet each other and the compact is complete; and, I believe, there is no instance on record of a treaty thus unceremoniously made ever having been violated. It would naturally be supposed that these nocturnal colloquies would have some relation to subjects of unutual interest which necessarily exist between nations connected as the Greeks and Albanians, such as the fate of prisoners, and so forth; but such is not the fact. The disputed well was frequently the scene of these meetings, wherein the Greeks were wont to exercise their ready wit with great effect upon the more obtuse Albanians. They generally begin by threatening each other with annihilation on the morrow, and then tax their invention for proofs of their power to carry their threats into execution. They call each other dogs, in. fidels, keratades,' ihat is to say, cuckolds, which is the ne plus ultra of Greek wrath, and after having used and received all the terms and abuse with which their language supplies them, they return to their posts, sometimes though, not without carrying with them valuable information, which, in their mutual indis. cretion, has been suffered to escape. It was in this way that we learnt the inten. tion of the Turks to attack us on the sunrise of the Sunday following the defeat of Bourbaki. The Greeks had taken down with them a particularly white loaf, which they had procured for the purpose : this they presented to the Albanian Turks at the well, telling them that there was plenty more of it on the heights, and inviting them to come and help themselves. This the Turks promised to do, and at last let out, that the Seraskier would make his appearance before them, on Sun. day morning, with 11,000 men. The Greeks replied, by saying, that if the Pacha came they would make such a use of his beard, as, I believe, beard was never put to yet, and they separated. That loaf fell into the hands of the Pacha, and was afterwards sent by him in a sack to Constantinople, together with poor Bourbaki's head, and one of the steamboat's sixty-eight pound shot, symbolically showing to the Sultan the difficulties he had to contend with, and what he had already done towards overcoming them.
As the Albanians had promised us, down came the Roumelie Valisee, on the Sunday morning, with all the power he could spare from before Athens, but we were prepared, and although we had no opportunity of performing the threatened vengeance on his beard, yet we gave him and his Delhis so warm a reception, that before nightfall he was glad to decamp, leaving, however, a considerable force on the opposite hill of Caritzena, which being just within range, we diverted our. selves by observing the alacrity of their motions, when we occasionally sent them
a messenger, in the shape of a six pound shot, which was done with great glee and wonderful precision by a Piedmontese carbonaro, named Rockavilla.
The Greeks being somewhat inspirited by the negative success of not being driven into the ocean, at last bethought them, that they had come to Phalère for the purpose of relieving Athens; and that, in order to effect this, it would be necessary to shorten the distance between them and the city. With this view, a tambouri was constructed in the plain, defended on one side by a morass, and behind by the sea; the only side on which the Turks could approach it, being flanked at half range by a battery of four six, and two eighteen pounders, on the extreme right of our position. A tambouri is a field fortification; the value of which is fully understood by both Turk and Greek. It is, as its name implies, a drum, or circle; the area of which is proportioned to the number of its defenders, inclosed by a wall of loose stones, breast high, having loop-holes just above the level of the ground, and a ditch on the inside, in which the defenders lie. An hour or two at most suffices for the construction of this simple defence; and unless cannon be brought against it, it is adequate to proteci its garrison against twenty times their number—that is, of Turks :-not that I mean to impugn their courage, but their system of attack. The tambouri was garrisoned by one bun. dred and fifty Cretans, commanded by Demetrius Kalergi, a young Greek of good fainily, no less remarkable on account of his personal bravery, than for his numerous escapes from the most perilous situations into which his adventurous, chiv. alrous spirit was perpetually leading him. The Cretans are men fit to be commanded by such a leader; brave, athletic, active as the antelopes of their own hills; inured to war, and better armed than either their compatriots or their enemies. Instead of the weak, badly-mounted guns, only valued on account of the richness of their ornaments, common to the Turks and Greeks, they carry the long deadly barrel of the Spanish mountaineers : and such is their dexterity in the use of this weapon, that they kill, with almost unvarying certainty, the smallest birds on the wing; and that with a single ball, and at a considerable distance. The Pacha was too good a general not to be aware of the advantages this post might give us ; and it was scarcely established, before he sent against it a force, which he, no doubt, thought sufficient to take it by a coup de main—but he was mistaken. After an hour or two wasted in unsuccessful attacks, the Seraskier did us the honor to make his appearance in person, attended by two or three thousand infantry, and five or six hundred horse ; and, from his gesticulations, easily observed by the telescope, we judged him to be in no very good humor.
It is curious to observe the way in which the Turks attack a tambouri. The bairakdars, or banner-men, taking advantage of the slightest rising ground be. tween them and the object of attack, throw themselves on their bellies, their standards in their hands, and their ataghans in their mouths, to be ready in case of a sortie ; wriggle along till they get perhaps within a few feet of the tambouri, then suddenly erecting their flags, they plant them firmly in the ground, still keeping their bodies under cover; so that you find yourselves on a sudden, by magic, as it were, surrounded by a forest of the enemy's colors, set up by invisi. ble hands. The main body then sends forward small detachments, as if to try the temper of the besieged. They advance with loud shouts of Allah! Allah ! ackbar! Alillullah!'-and nervous people might be excused for feeling some little alarm, at their discordant yells. Fortunately, however, for the defenders of a lambouri, the fall of a few of the foremost discourages the rest, and they return to the main body. The attack is renewed in the same way; and so the affair is kept up for hours, and frequently without the loss of a single man on the side of the attacked; whereas, a tolerably determined charge of the whole force would prove immediately successful; as the wall, being uncemented, would instantly give way to the foot, or the butt of a gun. But, as the Turks say, when any suggestion is thrown out to them, ' Inshallah, Buckallem,' which means 'Please God, we shall see,'-words ever in the mouth of a mussulman :-and while they are waiting till it please God for them to see, the opportunity of availing themselves of an offered advantage, it is already gone by. On this occasion, neither the presence of the Pacha of many titles and three tails, nor his · Ana sena sick dems, and · Pesivencklerris,' (favorite Moslem oaths; in the first of which, the abuse
levelled, not against the individual addressed, but against his mother,) produced the desired effect. The little tambouri held its own ; and many a bold Albanian was sent to behold the beard of the Prophet, (on which, by the bye, is eternal oil of roses ;—that is, if the creed be true.) by the fatal fire of the men of Crete. Five or six hours passed in these desultory attacks, when, during one of their most formidable charges, an individual was observed to snatch a standard from the ground, and run towards the tambouri, shouting, Eimai Romaios ! Eimai Roma. ios!'- I am a Greek! I am a Greek!' He cleared the wall of the tambouri at a bound, and alighted unhurt, amidst the astonished Cretans, although he had been exposed, during the whole of his run, to a double fire. We were for some time too much occupied, to pay much attention to our new visitor, as the Delbis now rode forward to the attack, followed by a dense body of foot. At this crisis, the little battery on our left showered its grape amongst the red caps with such effect, that, after leaving a hundred or two of their best and bravest men on the ground, the whole body, horse and foot. Bairackdars and all, made their way back to their
aster. with all the speed they could: and we had the satisfaction to see the Ser. askier clap spurs to his steed, and gallop off in the direction of Athens. The Cretans spread themselves over the field of battle, and in a short time every ves. tige of clothing had disappeared from the slain, horses and all- and from these last, even their skins. In the mean time, the hero of the standard was relating, to such an audience as he could collect, (Franks only, of course, the history of his adventure. He had been one of the garrison of the Acropolis, and had volan. teered, with a companion, to carry letters from the commandant to the Greek government. Having, on the previous evening, descended from the fortress into the town, which was in the possession of the enemy, he there found himself so situated, that he could not escape, without alarming the guard : his companion lost heart, and returned to the citadel. Not knowing what better to do, he lay down in the street, and (at least so he said) slept till he was disturbed, on the fol. lowing morning, by the passing of one of the detachments going to the attack of the tambouri. Being a Bulgarian by birth, and his native language Turkish, he immediately conceived the idea of joining the detachment-passing himself off for a Turk—and afterwards trusting to accident for his escape. All went on well till the hour of prayer, when he was obliged to imitate, as well as he could, the gesticulations of the Turkish ceremonial. He was a clever fellow, but his awk. wardness was remarked; and upon being questioned, he accounted for it, by say. ing he had been wounded in the arm. All went well, and he contrived to join in every charge, keeping in the rear, and amusing himself, by his own account, by shooting his comrades, pro tem, through the head, from behind; till at last, in what he believed to be the final charge, he seized the standard, and succeeded in joining his friends in the tambouri. He accompanied the whole of his recital with appropriate gestures, suiting the action to the word, and the word to the action; and after being liberally rewarded by the commanders, he went his way to Ægina, to lay before the government his letters.
The establishment of the tambouri led to no beneficial results; and three months afterwards, the iron twenty-fours, to the great annoyance of those who had blis. tered their hands in dragging them up, were dismounted, and thrown into an old dry well. Athens was left to its fate, and the Greeks abandoned the Heights of Phalere.
THE SAND BANK.
He who's born to be hang'd, can never be drown'd.
• The boat was now ready, and brought to a narrow causeway constructed for the convenience of landing and embarking at the fall of the tide. The party entered and seated themselves. It was manned liy a single rower, clad in the costume of his vocation, which was that of a fisherman. He had for this day adandoned his usual occupation, in hopes of a richer reward from the liberality of the gentry at the Hall, than he was likely to obtain from the capricious ocean. The laugh was loud, while the merry jest passed from mouth to mouth. Stanley was alone unhappy. His mirth was constrained, his thoughts abstracted. Restless and impatient, in a tone of fretful displeasure, he ordered the boatman to push from the shore. The order was instantly obeyed, and in a few moments the boat danced merrily upon the bounding waters. Her keel cut rapidly through the billows, leaving a trail of foam behind it, wbich at once indicated her track and the rapidity of her progress.
Every now and then the half-suppressed exclamation was heard from the more timid among her passengers, as she occasionally lurched from the force of the swell, the water being almost on a level with her gunwale. With suspended breath, accoinpanied by a half-stifled scream, the terrified Julia, his affianced bride, seized Stanley's arm with a tenacious grasp ; and this she repeated every time the boat rose upon the swell, or sunk into the hollows, caused by the agitation of a gentle breeze, which aided her progress through the sparkling element.
After a few minute's rowing, the boat reached her destination, and her passengers landed with great glee upon a large bank of sand within half a mile of the beach. Pots, kettles, and all the gastronomical appendages of a pick-nick, were displayed upon the sloping shore. A smile was on every cheek, and delight beamed from every eye at the prospect of enjoyment, new to many and delightful to all. Stanley alone was grave and silent. Not another hrow was clouded. Every heart but his was light and uosadened.
The day was beautiful. Not a vapor interrupted the clear azure of the heavens ; while the sun, bright as in his summer meridian, but his fervor cooled by the temperate breezes of autumn, had lost none of his splendor, though abridged of his power. Upon the highest part of the mound were some long piles, which had been driven into the sand as a mark at high tide to point out the shallow. Against these a rude shed had been constructed for the convenience of the cocklers, which, though considerably dilapidated by the constant flow and repercussion of the waters, afforded no contemptible refectory upon a spot which had evidently never been designed by nature to administer to the caprices of pleasure.
After tea had been prepared, during which there was no lack of noisy hilarity, some of the party related their common-place adventures with as much satisfaction, and the assumption of as much importance, as if they had gathered blackberries at the poles, shot white bears within the tropics, or been entrusted with the ashes of the Phænix. Sianley was not disposed to be so communicative as his more innocent, but more silly companions ; on the contrary, he listened with an air of dog
ged impatience, and not without an indignant, though unuttered, feeling of contempt at such vexatious trifling. They bantered him upon his gravity, but this only served to render him the more uncourteous and sullen. Julia simpered, yet was evidently discomposed ; this, however, was no serious interruption to the general harmony.
After some time had been harmlessly whiled away over their tea, toast, and cockles, the latter of which were supplied in abundance from the bank upon which they were regaling themselves, the party separated into sundry groups, and severally rambled over the extensive strand, in order to have a more varied enjoyment of the scene around them. The vast expanse of water undulating onward, until it softened into the distant line of the horizon ; the gentle curling of the crisp blue waves, as they were agitated by the passing breeze; the hoarse scream of the sea mew, as it blended with the lulling cadence of the billows; the occasional dash of distant oars, as the pleasure-boat or fishing smack glided gaily past upon the glassy surface before them; the cheerful note of the rower, as he timed the stroke of his oar to the rough measure of his song ; the distant shouts of yo heave ho from the small trading vessels, as they were unlading or taking in their cargoes on the opposite shore,all imparted a variety and picturesque harmony to the scene, producing those lively emotions, which make us forget for a while the progress of time, when the objects that surround us are such as to entrance our attention and to elate our feelings.
To a stranger's eye, the scene above described was of no common interest; and even those to whom it was familiar could not but enjoy a secondary, added to their primary pleasure, in witnessing the delight which objects so interesting produced upon the feelings of many to whom they were altogether new. The whole party, always excepting Stanley, who appeared determined not to be gratified, expressed their satisfaction in terms of unmeasured enthusiasm.
The sand island was of considerable extent, doubling a long promontory in the form of a deep crescent, the horns of which extended so far towards the land as to form nearly half a circle. The headland jutted a considerable distance into the water, reaching to within a hundred yards from the centre of this vast segment, when the tide was out. The extreinities of the sand-bank rounded the cape so far on each side, that they who were on the one could not be seen by those on the other. The extreme length of the strand at the ebb of the tide was about half a mile.
I have said that the visitors to this interesting spot had separated in order to amuse themselves as they might severally feel disposed. They had divided into trios, pairs, and single stragglers. Stanley, having left his fair charge to the care of her cousin, had wandered alone to one of the extreme points of the island, whence his companions were concealed from his view by the intervening cape. He had occupied himself some time in reflecting upon past occurrences, until his thoughts, taking their tone from the perturbations with which some very unwelcome recollections were accompanied, cast an additional gloom over his spirit which had been rather aggravated than subdued by the thoughtless hilarity of his companions. He really loved Agnes, a beautiful girl whom he had heartlessly betrayed under the most solemo promises of marriage-if that can be called love of which mere appetency is the only element and the paramount wish of his heart now was to renew that intercourse, which had already degraded her and dishonored him, As