LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece
Chapter X

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
‣ Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
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Application of Hataje’s mother to the author—Her introduction to Lord Byron—His adoption of her—Jealousy of Mavrocordato—Conduct of Lord Byron in respect to him.

When I passed to the Chane, where the apartments appropriated to the establishment of the dispensary were, the wife of Hussein Aga, one of the Turkish inhabitants of Mesolonghi, came to me, and imploring my pity, begged me to allow her to remain under my roof, in order to shelter her from the brutality and cruelty of the Greeks. They had murdered all her relations, and two of her boys; and the marks remained on the angle of the wall, against which, a few weeks previously, they had dashed the brains of the youngest; only five years of age. A little girl, nine years old, remained to be the only companion of her misery. Like a timid lamb, she stood by her mother, naked and shivering; drawing closer and closer to her side. Her little hands were folded like a suppliant’s, and her large beautiful eyes, so accustomed to see acts of horror and cruelty, looked at me now and then, hardly daring to implore pity. “Take us,” said she; “we will serve you, and be your slaves; or you will be responsible before God, for whatever may happen to us.” I could not see so eloquent a picture of distress unmoved; and from that day I treated them as relatives. Some weeks after, I happened to mention before Lord Byron some circumstances, relative to these individuals, and spoke with so much admiration of the noble fortitude displayed
by Husseinina in the midst of her calamities; of the courage, maternal love inspired her with on several occasions; of the dignified manner in which she replied to the insults of her persecutors; that he expressed the wish of seeing her and her child. On doing so he became so struck by
Hatajè’s beauty, the naivete of her answers, and the spiritedness of her observations on the murderers of her brethren, that he decided on adopting her. “Banish fear for ever from your mind,” said he to the mother; “your child shall, henceforth, be mine. I have a daughter in England. To her I will send you. They are both of the same age; and as she is alone, she will, no doubt, like a companion who may, at times, talk to her of her father. Do not shudder at the idea of changing your religion; for I insist on your professing no other but the Musulman.” She seized his hand, kissed it with energy, and raising to heaven her eyes, filled with tears of gratitude, she repeated expressively, “Allah is great!” He immediately ordered more costly dresses to be made for them, than those I had given them; and sent to Hatajè a necklace of sequins. Twice a week, I was desired to send them to his house. He would then take the little girl on his knees, and caress her with all the fondness of a father.

Nothing could surpass the jealousy of the Mesolonghiot women, when they beheld the manner, in which these former objects of their insults were now treated. One day the little girl, with eyes drowned in tears, entered his room; and, returning to him her necklace, asked for the clothes, she formerly wore. “They are not like these,” said she; “but when I wore them the Mesolonghiots did not tell me, they would kill both me and my mother.” Lord Byron burst into a violent rage, and, in order to spite
the Mesolonghiot population, ordered the most expensive clothes to be made for
Hatajè; and had the intention of covering her, according to the Oriental fashion, with golden pieces of money, to parade her on horseback through the principal streets of the town.

From the moment, I received Husseinina into my house, the other unfortunate Turkish women, that had miraculously escaped the general slaughter, learning from her how different were the feelings and treatment of the English towards their nation and sex from those of the Greeks, begun to feel hope enliven their despondency. They daily called at my lodgings; and by means of my servant, a Suliot who spoke Turkish as fluently as he did Italian, gave me a relation of their misfortunes, and the numberless horrors of which they had been spectators. Giul, a woman possessed of surprising natural talent and fluency of language, and once of great beauty, added one day: “Our fears are not yet over; we are kept as victims for future sacrifices, hourly expecting our doom. An unpleasant piece of news, a drunken party, a fit of ill-humour, or of caprice, may decide our fate. We are then hunted down the streets like wild beasts; till some one of us, or of our children, is immolated to their insatiable cruelty. Our only hope centres in you. One word of yours to Lord Byron can save many lives. Can you refuse doing it? Let him send us to any part of Turkey. We are women and children, can the Greeks fear us?” I hastened to give Lord Byron a faithful picture of the position of these wretched individuals. Knowing and relieving the distressed were, with him, simultaneous actions. A few days after, notice was given to every Turkish woman to prepare for departure. All, a few excepted, embarked and were conveyed at his
expense to Prevesa. They amounted to twenty-two. A few days previous, four Turkish prisoners had been sent by him to Patras. One of them had had his arm fractured during the affair off Ithaca. When I first saw him, his wound had remained ten days without being dressed; I continued to attend him till it healed entirely. Repeated examples of humanity like these, were for the Greeks more useful and appropriate lessons, than the finest compositions, which all the printing or lithographic presses could have spread amongst them.

If, even before his arrival in Greece, Lord Byron was a favourite among the people and soldiers; his conduct towards them, after he had landed, soon rendered him their idol. They soon perceived, that he was not a theoretical but a practical friend to their country; and the repeated acts of kindness and charity he performed, in relief of the poor and distressed, the heavy expenses he daily incurred for the furtherance of every plan and institution, which he thought might advance the general good, showed them, that he was not less alive to their private than he was to their public interests. “The green-eyed monster,” however, did not fail to show itself. Even Mavrocordato felt a slight attack of envy. He had imagined, when using every means, during Lord Byron’s stay at Cephalonia, to induce him to come to Mesolonghi, that he was preparing for himself a powerful instrument to execute his designs. That, placing himself entirely under his guidance, he would have become subservient to all his wishes; and, in fact, whenever he spoke of him to the Greeks, he gave them to understand, that Lord Byron and himself made but one personage; for he had him entirely at his disposal. Instead of this, he saw, in a few weeks, his own post become secondary; his consider-
ation and authority daily diminished; and heard already the Mesolonghiots (to whom Lord Byron had made a donation of 1000 dollars to repair their fortifications, besides a loan of 2000 for the payment of the arrears due to the Suliots) openly speak of the advantages, that would be derived by their town and Western Greece, were they to possess a governor like him.

Ambitious and suspicious by nature, Mavrocordato felt his authority aimed at. He began by seconding his supposed rival’s measures in a lukewarm manner, whilst he endeavoured in secret to thwart them. He was looked upon as the cause of the rupture between the Suliots and Lord Byron; from a fear that the latter might, with such soldiers, become too powerful. Notwithstanding his diplomatic physiognomy, Lord Byron well perceived the change in his conduct; and from that moment lost much of the opinion he had at first entertained in his favour. The plain, undisguised manner, in which he expressed himself on this subject; and the haughty manner, in which he received him; only tended to persuade Mavrocordato more intimately, that Lord Byron sought to supplant him.

Mavrocordato had allowed himself to be imposed upon by appearances. For, far from having ambitious views, Lord Byron would have refused, had the offer been made to him, ever to take a part in civil administration. He knew, too well, how little his impetuous character qualified him for the tedious and intricate details of Greek affairs. He had come to Greece to assist her sacred cause with his wealth, his talents, his courage; and the only reward he sought was a soldier’s grave.

Hurt by the injurious suspicions, and the ambiguous conduct of the governor-general, Lord Byron watched an opportunity of letting him know, that he
was no dupe to his intrigues. One evening while, as usual, the English gentlemen, then at Mesolonghi, were at Lord Byron’s house enjoying the never-failing charm of his society,
Mavrocordato entered the room, at a moment, the conversation was most interesting. His lordship received him in a very cool manner; and answered him, with some degree of peevishness; and, notwithstanding Mavrocordato’s artful manner of introducing the business, that interested him most, he constantly turned the conversation to another subject. Annoyed to see the prince returning again and again to the charge, Lord Byron got up, and began walking up and down the room. Finding that Mavrocordato persisted in not taking the hint, he could no longer refrain his ill humour; but addressing us, in English, begun by saying: he wished that d—d botherer would regale us with his absence; that he sat there with as much obstinacy, as the Israelites, who during the earlier part of his life had often made him unpleasant visits to solicit payment, &c. Although Mavrocordato understood every word, he judged it more advisable to overlook this affront; he continued the conversation, therefore, as if he had not heard a single word; and shortly after withdrew with as smiling and agreeable a look, as when he first entered the room.

On observing to Lord Byron, that the prince had undoubtedly understood every word he had been uttering, he merely replied; “I trust he has.” Had Lord Byron lived, the misunderstanding between these two distinguished individuals would, doubtless, have been merely temporary; their principles and love of order being similar; and the ends, they proposed attaining, the same; and however different the roads, they were certain of meeting at last.