LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece
Chapter XXIII

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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Peasants surprised by the Turks—Inhuman conduct of Macri—Jani Souka and his mistress.

The only undertaking of any note, which took place during the whole of this pretended campaign, was an incursion towards Vrachori. Encouraged by the boasting assurances of the capitani, some of the poorer inhabitants of this once flourishing town were employed in reaping the Indian corn, which forms their chief nourishment. The enemy, they were told, was so closely surrounded on every side, and so attentively watched, that he could not make the slightest movement without being instantly perceived; that, far from thinking of advancing, he was rather meditating how to retreat without danger—they might, therefore, continue their agricultural occupations in perfect security.

But to their surprise and horror, they, one morning at daybreak, found themselves surrounded by a large body of Turkish cavalry. All the men were put to the sword; the women and children led into captivity! We saw from our camp large droves of oxen and sheep, escorted by horsemen, proceeding in the direction of Caravansera. At this sight our palicharis, after vociferating a long litany of injurious epithets and ridiculous menaces against the enemy, contented themselves with discharging their guns and pistols in the air. No one offered to descend into the plain to rescue the booty out of their hands.

Many smaller villages were plundered also by the
enemy: and in that of Calyvia, Achmet Pasha, nephew of
Omer Pasha, surprised in the bed, which she occupied only for the third time, the lovely bride of a Greek Papa, who came shortly after to Ligovitzi, and endeavoured to excite the Greeks to fly to her rescue. His exhortations, however, were vain.

Towards the beginning of September, I was called to the assistance of two Anatolikiots, whom I found lying in an almost lifeless state; occasioned by a most inhuman bastinado, they had received from Macri and his men. The particulars of this fact will enable the reader to form some opinion as to the manner of administering justice in Greece. The establishment of juries was not even dreamed of. During a quarrel, which had arisen at Anatolico between some of the inhabitants and the lawless soldiers of Macri, some of the latter were wounded. As soon as this was reported to the capitano, he ordered his men to get under arms, and to accompany him to Anatolico. In vain did Mavrocordato, and the other chiefs, endeavour to soothe his anger, by representing to him, that the local authorities of Anatolico should be enjoined instantly to investigate the affair, and punish the delinquents with due severity; or to suspend his resolution, by pointing out the danger, to which he exposed the whole camp, by abandoning his position so suddenly when we expected daily to be attacked.

After a thousand difficulties, he consented to remain, on the promise that the Anatolikiots, who had wounded his men, should forthwith be brought to the camp, and tried before an assembly of capitani. The next morning an outpost, which he had purposely placed, came to apprize him of their approach. He went in person to meet them; and, without losing
time in cross questions, he constituted himself both judge and executioner. He caused the men to be extended on the ground, when he began, most unmercifully, to strike them with a ponderous club; till, tired of the exertion, he passed it into the hands of his soldiers, who continued, successively, to imitate his barbarous example; till these unfortunate men gave no longer any signs of life. Shortly after, one of them expired; and the whole integuments of the other’s nates sphacelated so deeply, as to expose the glutoeus muscle in its entire extent.

A considerable time elapsed before this terrible wound healed up. Macri then presented himself before Mavrocordato, and with the most Satanic grin, informed him of the manner in which he had taken revenge on the Anatolikiots. The general was not in a situation to resent the insult, or to express to their brutal chief the indignation, his conduct had excited. He, therefore, thought proper to turn the conversation to another subject, as if nothing had taken place.

A few days after this, Jani Souka, a handsome Albanian Greek, who had deserted from Caravansera with his company of a hundred and fifty Lachiots, arrived at the camp. From the beginning of the revolution, he had, on every important occasion, fought against his coreligionaries, and behaved with so much activity and valour, as to gain the entire confidence of Omer Pasha and other Albanian chiefs. He was, in fact, so well treated by them, and enjoyed so much consideration, that the voice of patriotism alone would never have made any impression on his interested mind, had he not, at last, been caught by the lips of love. While in the Turkish camp, his mistress unexpectedly entered his tent; disguised as an Albanian page, she had fled from
Arta, and accompanied one of the capitano’s men, whom he had sent to that town on an errand. She entreated her lover, in consideration of the irresistible motive that actuated her, to overlook her imprudence in taking such a step without first consulting him. She could not, she said, exist far from the man she loved. For his sake she had sacrificed every interest and consideration; and representing to him the danger, which would inevitably burst upon both their heads, were they to return to Albania, owing to the resentment of her relations, she urged him to join the Greeks. His qualities as a soldier would be as much prized and as well remunerated by them as they were by the pasha; and for the remainder of his days, he would enjoy, undisturbed, all the sweets of independence and love, the only real blessings of this life.

Jani Souka took her advice; and having fled to our camp, informed Mavrocordato with the state of the Turkish army; and at the same time dissipated our fears by relating to us the exaggerated ideas, the enemy entertained of our force. He informed us, too, that the interior of Albania was so much disturbed by dissensions and petty wars, that Omer Vrioni’s attention was entirely directed towards that quarter; and as he himself said, thought of extinguishing the fire that threatened his own house, before he could think of saving his neighbour’s. He judged it besides useless, to advance towards Mesolonghi before the arrival of the capitan Pasha’s fleet; which, according to late information, was still in the waters of Mytilene.