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4 pound of bad bread per day, and sometimes a little elped each other as long as we could, but at length all our d, and we began to feel the pressure of actual want.
some soldiers of the battalion died from insufficient food ning. The prince himself was in want of money, and could obody to lend him any. Colocotroni saw with the utmost crence hundreds of brave officers pining with want; he would not srd the slightest assistance either to the nation or to the prince, though he was in the greatest aflluence. He was consequently the object of universal respect and fear.
Prince Ypsilauti had assembled the general assembly in Argos; he used his utmost endeavours to establish a government, in spite of the opposition of Colocotroni and the chiefs, who wished for nothing settled. As, however, they did not choose openly to proclaim themselves enemies of their country and of the good cause, they made some concessions, and nominated Ypsilanti president of the senate of the Peloponnesus. The senate met, but nothing was done, as Prince Ypsilanti had neither money, nor the qualities to secure respect. Every member did just as he pleased, and the meetings were passed in talking and whispering three or four hours in a day, without coming to any conclusion. The prince proposed several projects, but nothing could be carried into effect for want of means. He once attempted to call Colocotroni to account for the millions he had taken at Tripolitza, but Colocotroni immediately replied, that he was not bound to give an account to any body; that Tripolitza was taken through his exertions, and that though there were very few true patriots in Greece, he (Colocotroni) was unquestionably one. * Ignorant and brutal as he was, he gained over a good many adherents by presents, and having secured these, he cared nothing about the hostility of the president. Prince Mavrocordato having learnt the election of Prince Ypsilanti, though he knew he had no weight whatever, was displeased at it, and went to Argos, after settling the affairs of Etolia and Acarnania. Mavrocordato had received a very superior education in Wallachia. Prince Karadia had committed to him the whole affairs of his government, as he knew that in spite of his youth he was perfectly competent to acquit himself of the highest duties. Repeated journeys into France and Italy had contributed to open his eyes to the real state of his country. On the breaking out of the revolution he quitted every thing, and hastened to the Morea with arms, mechanics, several officers, and, in short, every thing necessary for aiding in the war, thus devoting almost all his property to the service of his country. The blockade of Missolonghi furnishes one example of his firmness and attachment to his country. No writer has given a faithful account of this blockade, and I think that when I shall have occasion to speak of it, my readers will conceive a much more favourable opinion of Mavrocordato, though he unquestionably committed some very great mistakes, as will be seen. Prince Ypsilanti finding himself very little heeded, and knowing that Mavrocordato had great weight both from his talents and character, and his numerous friends, received him very
We see that however backward the Greeks may be in other respects, they are in possession of the true art of repelling inquiries or accusations in legislative assemblies. coldly. Mavrocordato's many good qualities soon attracted to him a large party among the chief captains, who deserted Ypsilanti, and only attended the meetings of the senate as a sort of pretext. I must relate a little anecdote to show the nature of the quarrels among the Greeks. One morning we were in our lodging not knowing what to do, and wasting away in poverty, when we heard the Greeks running from all parts, the firing of guns, the shouts of men, and cries of women. We seized our arms and ran out, thinking it was the Turks, who we knew made daily sorties. We all ran towards the piazza, asking everybody we met what was the matter. Nobody would answer us. All continued firing and running. When we reached the piazza, we found more than two thousand Greeks keeping up a brisk fire. We thought this was some fresh revolution. At length, after an hour's incessant firing, so that we could not see each other for smoke, it ceased, and the chiefs returned each to his lodging, followed by their men. We thought we should find at least two or three hundred dead upon the piazza; what was our surprise not to see even so much as one wounded ? Having inquired the cause of all the tumult, we were answered that the captains could not agree about the choice of the head of the government. One captain began by firing a pistol, in a minute the firing became general, but always in the air, according to the practice of the Greeks at the beginning of the revolution; they always turned away their heads when they fired, so that they expended a quantity of powder and shot without ever hitting any body. We returned to our lodging laughing at what we had seen, and thinking of home, where people do not amuse themselves with firing in the air.
The epidemic of Tripolitza had now extended to Argos, which, added to the misery of the people, caused a great mortality. The battalion suffered more particularly from their total want of the means of subsistence. Prince Ypsilanti, although president, had not a penny, and was quite disregarded. The primates of Argos, instigated by the chiefs, would no longer contribute any thing to the support of the Europeans, whom they hated for their superiority, and feared as means of strengthening and consolidating the government. Ypsilanti, annoyed at finding himself thus thwarted and set at nought, and mortified at having lost the favourable opportunity for accomplishing all that Colonel Balestra proposed, determined to set out for Corintbon. He was the more strongly inclined to this step from the fear that the Turks would make a general sortie from Napoli, as the troops commanded by Captain Nikitas were very insufficient to blockade the town; nor could he increase their number, while the primates of Argos refused to furnish pay or provisions. Prince Ypsilanti ordered his battalion to follow him, together with all the European officers. Colonel Balestra, however, fell ill of the epidemic fever; some of the chiefs took the European officers into their service, not from any love they bore them, but merely to weaken the hands of Prince Ypsilanti, whom they tried by every expedient to humble. Mavrocordato took thirty officers into his service, under promise of good pay. I should certainly have followed him, being heartily sick of the imbecility of Ypsilanti, but I was attacked by the epidemic, which detained me in Argos. Prince Ypsilanti saw clearly that the chiefs were using every means to strip him of all remains of power; he, however, set out with those who thought Sept. 1826.
fit to follow him. He was scarcely gone, when the captains began to hold meetings in the house of the Bishop of Patras, where they determined to remove the senate to Epidaurus, which, being in the mountain country, would be less subject to attack or molestation than Argos. In a few days the latter place was nearly deserted. My comrades, on setting out, recommended me to the care of Colonel Tarella, who was obliged to wait there for the arrival of his luggage from Hydra. They took leave of me, hoping that I should soon be restored to health. As I have laid it down as a law to myself to tell every thing that happened to me, I shall not shrink from the relation of the treatment I received during my illness, although I am quite aware that I run the risk of not being believed. The cruelty of the Greeks, and my own recovery,
in spite of such hardships, are, indeed, equally incredible. There are however persons now in London who can attest many of the facts connected with my illness. Although I had always entertained a great respect for the art of medicine, I am now convinced by my ownexperience, that nature and diet are the two greatest physicians, and shall trust to them during the rest of my life. The house in which I lodged had neither doors nor windows; we were obliged to sleep on the floor, wrapped in our cloaks, and with our valises for pillows. We had now slept in this way for months, and had almost forgotten the beds of Europe. My companions, at their departure, desired a soldier to nurse me. In spite of the lightness of my head, occasioned by the fever, I was conscious that my comrades had left me, and had taken away my arms. They told me they would put them in a place of safety, and that I might rely on Colonel Tarella's assistance. I cannot express my feeling of the desolation of my situation. Alone in a miserable house, suffering under a serious illness, I soon became quite delirious, and remained eight days unconscious of any thing that passed around me. While I was in this state, Colonel Tarella, seeing my clothes, and every thing I had of any value, exposed to sale in the streets, came to my lodging, and took away my valise, and all that the soldier who attended me, and who, in the daily expectation of my death, had taken possession of my property, had left. The colonel was now obliged to leave Argos for Corinth. Before he set out, he took an inventory of my effects, and delivered it to one of the primates of Argos, together with fifty Turkish piastres for my maintenance. At the expiration of eight days my senses returned sufficiently for me to feel the utmost impatience to see somebody. Towards night my attendant, the soldier, came, bringing me a very small black loaf and a little water, and, without saying a word, set it down near me, and went away. My tongue was so swollen that I could not articulate a word. I drank the water immediately, and ate the bread, after which my consciousness became more complete. Every day the soldier returned at the same hour, and without speaking a word. 'He evidently hoped that I should die, that he might take possession of the clothes I had on. I asked him to raise me up a little, but in vain; he would do nothing for me. Frequently other Greeks came into the room, looked at me, and went out again. They hoped to find me dead. At the expiration of a fortnight, the primate, to whom Colonel Tarella had entrusted my clothes and money, came to see me. He asked me in Italian how I did. I told him my situation, and the treatment I received, and begged him to take a
pistol and blow my brains out, to put an end to my wretched existence. My mouth was so parched and swollen with thirst, (for my allowance of water was very small,) that he could hardly understand me. He replied, however, that he was quite astonished; that he had sent me rice every day, and that he could not imagine why the physician, who had been ordered to visit me daily, had not come; that Colonel Tarella had left in his hands many things belonging to me, and that I might be assured that he thought of me. He recommended me on no account to take off my cloak, otherwise it would be stolen while I slept, and then left me.—The soldier came just after, and with a worse grace than ever.
He left me a pot with a little rice in it, bread, and water, and went away. I began to consider how I was to eat this rice, without a spoon or any utensil; however, though I spilled a great deal of it, I set to work on the pot. I cannot express with what avidity I ate it. On the following day, a man of middle age entered; he came up to me and felt my pulse, and without asking me a single question, told me to sit up. I was so weak I could hardly raise myself; with the physician's help, however, I raised myself a little. He then put on four leeches behind my ears, and left me. As I could not support myself in a sitting posture, I soon fell back again, leaving the leeches to take their chance, and so fell asleep. The next day I found the leeches lying by my side dead, and quite full of blood. All my clothes and linen were covered with blood. My head was somewhat relieved. The house was, as I have said, without doors or windows, so that the air entered on every side; I was almost all day shivering with cold. The straw under me had never been changed, and was become quite putrid. I lay on the bare boards, and my sides and back-bone were one continued wound ; so that, to avoid intolerable pain, I was obliged to lay with my face downwards. The soldier brought me sometimes rice, sometimes bread and water. I begged him to have compassion on me, but he never listened to me. I asked him only for more water, but he made no answer, and went away. Neither the primate nor the physician came near me again. Thus I passed another fortnight; I was now able to appreciate the horrors of my situation. I saw that it was hopeless, and that it was impossible I could regain strength; my ration was eaten the moment it was brought, and I then remained without sustenance for four-and-twenty hours. After the epimedic fever has subsided, it is succeeded by an appetite I cannot describe. It is said that hunger forces the wolf from his den ; so it was with me. Seeing that I should die of hunger, and that I was abandoned by everybody, I determined to crawl to the door on my hands and knees, and to try to get down stairs. I ought to mention that, during my delirium, I had been robbed even of my boots, and that I was barefooted. Nevertheless, I was so possessed by the idea that if I could but get out I should find food, and recover my effects, my arms, and the little money I had, that the vehemence of the desire gave me strength, and I dragged myself to the stairs. I knew the difficulty I should have in descending them, but hunger made me overcome everything; by slow degrees I reached the lower stairs, but they were broken. I felt the impossibility of making a jump of six stairs, but I reflected that there was a great heap of putrid straw at the bottom, and that if I fell I could not do myself any great harm. I therefore threw myself down, and remained nearly half an hour unable to raise myself at all. At length, reanimated by the hope of getting food, I began to crawl on all fours. As soon as I got out into the streets I knew where I was, and recollected the way to a shop I had dealt at. It was about half a mile off; but the thought of what awaited me there overcame the discouragement I felt at the distance, and I went on courageously. I met a Greek who had embarked with me at Leghorn, and had known my situation from that time to the present. I entreated him to assist me, and to lead me to the shop to which I was going. He looked disdainfully at me; said he was busy, and threw me four paràs as alms. This treatment quite overcame me. I fell flat on the earth, and could hardly breathe. The house in whick I had lodged was out of the way, and Argos was almost deserted. At length, however, I looked at this man with the contempt he deserved, and collected strength enough to continue my way. I am sure that I was more than two hours performing this half mile. What were my sensations on reaching the shop, at finding it in ruins, and deserted ? My strength was now completely exhausted ; all my hopes were annihilated; in short, I fell prostrate once more, and lay waiting for death, whom I ardently invoked. I can assure my readers that if a pistol had been within my reach, I should have terminated my existence.
I remained for a full hour thus completely exhausted by fatigue and famine: at length a Greek sailor who passed took compassion upon me, and raised me up; he asked me what was the matter with me; I explained my situation to him, and he immediately told me that, at a short distance, there was a little shop, where coffee was sold, and that he would take me there. He raised me up, and taking me almost in his arms, he led me to this shop. What was my surprise at recognizing, in the master of the shop, a serjeant of the battalion, named Mauro Amato, who having also been attacked by the fever, had remained in Argos, and on his recovery had taken to selling coffee for a subsistence. As soon as he saw me in this state, squalid, emaciated, and covered with vermin, he began to weep, and embracing me, made me sit down. He immediately made me some coffee with milk, and gave me some bread to eat. I fainted, and remained insensible for half an hour. On my recovery, I prayed Mauro Amato to send to the primate for the things Colonel Tarella had committed to his care.
The primate sent my valise, with an account of all the expenses incurred for me during my illness; among other items there was a charge of fifteen Turkish piastres for the visits of the physician and the leeches, and for food and medicines, whilst I had had nothing but a little rice and water seven or eight times. I exclaimed against this extortion ; but what was to be done ? Mauro Amato told me that all should be set right as soon as I had dressed myself. I gave him several things belonging to me, on the condition that he shonld give me food. I sent for the physician, who was greatly - astonished at the sight of me, as he had been told I was dead. It is needless for me to repeat what I said to the physician. I reproached him for his conduct; and told him, that if he did not restore the fifteen piastres immediately he should hear more-of me as soon as I was well. He gave me the money, and went out abusing the Franks,