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· On our arrival at Napoli, Gubernatis insisted upon my lodging at his house. I accepted his offer, and met several of my acquaintance, who all complained of the conduct of the colonel, and were in the greatest distress. The colonel repeatedly said to me, “ Had I joined the Turks, and rendered them half the services I have rendered the Greeks, I am sure I should have enjoyed great consideration, and have accumulated a large fortune: but I act from principle. In defence of the cause of liberty, I would fight to-morrow even against the Greeks."
After some days, I determined to continue my journey. I embarked for the island of Spezzia, where I found a captain of a ship, with whom I was acquainted. He conducted me to his house, and showing me a room—“ This,” said he,“ in the time of Napoleon, during the war with Spain, was filled with colonati. These times are now no more. One successful voyage, with a freight of corn, was then sufficient to make a fortune. We became rich, and built all the houses you now see.” I was much pleased with Spezzia, which is a very cheerful place.
My next visit was to the island of Hydra. On entering the harhour, the eye is struck by the curious aspect of the houses, built in the mountains. The ground upon which the houses stand is actually ent level in the solid rock, one above another; the streets are almost impassable; the whole island is solid rock, and unenlivened by cultivated fields; and the city, bounded by high mountains, is dull and monotonous. The inhabitants, who are very jealous of their wives, are not much pleased with the visits of foreigners. I resumed my voyage, passing to the island of Paros, and then to Egina. Here our attention was attracted by the ancient tombs and other antiquities.
On my return from visiting what was most remarkable, I observed, as I was walking in the piazzas, a young Greek, whom I recollected haring scen at Florence a few days before my departure. I asked him when he returned, and what he was doing. He replied, “ I have been here a year, and I am now practising as a physician. Surprised at this information, as I knew he had not studied previously to my quitting Florence, I asked what time he had devoted to preparation for his profession. “A year," said he, laughing ; " but I have bought the best books, which I am constantly studying; and as I practise on the poor, I hope in a short time to become a good physician.” I wished him success, but not without silently pitying the wretched victims destined to fall into his hands. The following morning we sailed for Athens, where, having a favourable wind, we arrived in a short time. The distance from the harbour to the city is six miles. There are always carriages and horses for the convenience of travellers, who, for a Turkish piastre, are conveyed to Athens. The surrounding scenery is wonderfully beautiful, the country is rich, and finely wooded. Whilst enjoying these views, my eyes were attracted by the celebrated temple of Theseus: “ Where," said I to myself, “are the times which witnessed the crection of this beautiful structure, and the existence of true patriotism ?"
On my arrival at Athens, I was set down at the house of a Roman physician, who had been many years established in that city. All travellers prefer his house, where they are treated with politeness, and, what is difficult to be found in these countries, provided with a
very good table in the Italian style. Being informed that I was a Roman, he paid me every attention. Here I staitt eight days, and thought myself at home. Notwithstanding the revolutions which had taken place in Athens, the physician had always been respected by both nations.
As many persons have described the blockade and the fortress of Athens, I shall not enter into a minute detail on those subjects. At the beginning of the revolution, the Turks in Attica, not being numerous, shut themselves up in Athens. The Greeks, after some months, concerted the means of obtaining possession of the city and the fortress. The former is simply surrounded by the sea, and by towers, without cannon; but it is defended by the fortress; at the foot of which the city is built. The Greeks, viewing from the mountains this fortress, which is built upon the still magnificent remains of the temple of Minerva, were more bitterly reminded of their ignominious expulsion from their native country, and determined to attack the city. Having, one dark night, scaled the walls, they surprised and massacred the sentinels, who were lying asleep, and drunk, by the side of some Greek female slaves. They were incapable of resistance, and were all massacred. The Greeks forced open the gates, let in the rest of the troops, and seized all the other posts. Instead of defending the city, they proceeded to the entrance of the fortress, thinking that they should surprise the enemy ; who, hearing the noise of their approach, and regardless of the city, and the Turkish inhabitants who were exposed to the fury of the Greeks, immediately directed their force to that point. The Greeks, with little difficulty, obtained possession of the city; but, being ill-officered and without discipline, their repeated attacks on the fortress were unsuccessful. The Turks had neglected to clean and fill the cisterns in the interior of the fort, before they closed the gates. They had depended upon a spring, at the foot of the rock, surrounded by a wall, but which was not very strong. Of this the Greeks easily took possession; and thus the Turks, although supplied with provisions, were destitute of water. They then prayed to Mahomet to send them rain; but as the prophet disregarded their prayers, they were obliged to capitulate. The Greeks, according to their usual practice, would have violated the treaty, had not the resident consuls interposed for the protection of the Turks, and compelled its fulfilment. The Greeks, stimulated by the hope of gain, wished to detain a great many girls, of respectable Turkish families, as prisoners. To this the German vice-consul consented, upon condition that they should be sent to his house, and maintained at his expence, till a merchant should be found to buy them. As, however, it was suspected that his intention was to send them home, the Greeks, who expected to take these sixty innocent victims to their own houses, were much disappointed when they saw them conducted to the house of the vice-consul.
During my residence in Athens I became acquainted with this gentleman, and went several times to dine with him ; I had thus an opportunity of seeing these young women, who had been sold for one thousand Turkish piastres each, to a captain of the Ionian islands. He intended to take them to their families in Smyrna, from whom he expected a much greater sum. These sixty thousand piastres fell to the lot of Captain Olifco.
I visited the fortress,
accompanied by the vice-consul, who is a man of talent, and a lover of antiquities. The extent and magnificence of the temple of Minerva forced the tears into my eyes. I saw with impressions of sorrow this precious monument rifled by the brutal rapacity of the Turks, who had thrown down columns of surpassing beauty for the sake of the lead which united the stones, and had defaced beautiful bas-reliefs and sculptures.
Having minutely examined every thing described by other travellers, I staid some days longer at Athens ; not, however, without constantly meeting with new fragments of antiquity worthy of admiration. I returned home the samo way I came, and presented myself to Mavrocordato, expressing my wish to retire from the service, as my health was not strong enough to allow me to continue a military life. He expressed regret that he was unable to pay what was due to me. I replied, that I did not doubt his desire ; but that I had sufficient money to carry me to Corfu, whence I could write home for more. I was really sorry to leave him, for he was a very good man, surrounded by unprincipled wretches. His errors proceeded from the goodness of his heart, which inclined him to think every one like himself. Things went on the same way; the same disorder prevailed; the government was merely nominal, and incapable of enforcing obedience to its decrees. Tired of witnessing such proceedings, I determined to leave Tripolitza, and, passing through Calavrita, to visit the southern part of the Peloponesus. I found a vetturale, who was going the same journey, with two inhabitants of Gastugni. I made my bargain with him; and having purchased the necessary provisions, I departed, hoping to see this part of the country. After three hours' travelling, upon a very unpleasant road, we arrived at Aloni, a little village, in a very romantic situation, surrounded by beautiful and lofty mountains. I was very thirsty, and got some milk. Continuing my journey for two hours, we at length reached the plain of Vitira, where the vetturale determined to pass the night. I walked about this little town, which contains about four thousand inhabitants. It is situated upon a hill, in the middle of a plain, which is surrounded by high mountains. The following day, one of our party being ill, we were obliged to defer our departure till noon. At first the road was very good, but it suddenly changed, and lay over loose, shingling fragments, washed down by the torrents. I was obliged to alight from my horse, in order to descend a steep precipice, the very sight of which was terrific. In proportion as we descended, our way was darkened by the number of oaks which overshadowed us. After ascending as much as we had descended, we reached a most beautiful plain. We left on the right the village of Dara, built at the foot of a very lofty mountain. We arrived at Pangradi, a small village, where we slept. At break of day we again set forward, descending through very bad roads. At length we reached the bottom, and found ourselves in a most beautiful plain, surrounded by very lofty mountains, presenting diversified and picturesque views. Numerous plane trees and willows, bending over streams of the clearest water, had a most soothing effect on my mind ; whilst Aocks, which came to allay their thirst, added to the variety of the scene, and beguiled my way till I arrived almost imperceptibly at the village of Plagnitero. I accompanied my fellow-travellers to see the source of the Alpheus, now called Kefalonrisi. It gushes out in great abundance, forming a jet d'eau as clear as crystal. Plane trees, of an enormous size, overbang this beautiful spring, and during the heat of summer afford the most delightful shade. With much regret I left this enchanting spot, to exchange it for a path of rapid ascent, surrounded by oaks, and leading to the plain of Sodiano. Crossing the passage of Mount Chelnos, we reached Calavrita. This city, which is the metropolis of the district, 'contains four thousand inhabitants, and had sustained no injury from the war; the Turks who resided in it having fled at the beginning of the revolution.
Being distant only two miles from the monastery of Mega Spileon, I was unwilling to lose the opportunity of visiting it. I proposed to my fellow-travellers to accompany me. Only one of them had the coriosity to visit this sanctuary. We passed near the banks of the Cerynite, which flows through a deer, narrow glen. We saw the monastery standing amid the rocks of Mount Cyllene. My companion, hearing the bells, crossed himself repeatedly. The dashing of the waters was like thunder, and the report of a musket resembled that of a large cannon. Several monks welcomed me very courteously to thcir singular abode.
A number of Greek families had taken refuge in this strong hold, at the beginning of the revolution, with their property. This corrvent resembles an immerse grotto. The rock forms three of the sides and the roof of the convent. There is only one wall, which is in the front, and contains a great number of windows. The entrance is closed by a massy door, covered with a plate of iron, and defended by a fort, with guns and mortars. The number of monks is very considerable, all capable of bearing arms. They are always provisioned for a siege of many years. They have acquired great riches by their affected sanctity, and receive voluntary tribute from the whole of Greece. The peasants work for them without pay, or even food, and carry the best of every thing to the monks, in the expectation of being rewarded by the Madonna of Mega Spileon. Having minutely inspected this convent, and made every inquiry respecting the monks, I can assure my readers that their manner of living is truly enviable: they have a profusion of whatever they can desire. They gave us excellent refreshments, thinking we should deposit a liberal donation in the almsbox of the Madonna ; but as I knew that they were rich, and that I was poor, I thought it more expedient to keep the money which I had gained with so much toil.
We departed, taking the road to Mount Olenos; and, passing from mountain to mountain, we revisited Pirgo, and early on the following morning arrived at Gastugni. I was anxious to go down to Clarenza to secure a passage for Missoloughi, where I had left some effects. I was also anxious to see what progress had been made in the building of the fort. I embarked at break of day; and on my arrival at Missolonghi I found the fort in a very advanced state. The work proceeded with vigour; their cruizers brought in prizes almost every day; and by the aid of the money these produced, the affairs of Missolonghi had, in a short time, undergone a considerable improvement. As the arrival of Lord Byron was expected, I determined to stay a fortnight longer, and gratify my wish to see a man of such endowments,
who was coming to devote himself to so glorious a causē. I was almost ashamed of myself for deserting it, and determined to wait his arrival; but at the end of a fortnight, I thought he had changed his intentions, and therefore proceeded to Zante, where, after my release from a quarantine of fifteen days, I learnt that Lord Byron was actually gone to Missolonghi. As I was unwilling to go back, I sailed for Corfu, intending to write home to know whether I might return to Rome. I arrived at Corfu at the time of the carnival: I entered into its gaieties, and forgot my past sufferings. I received letters from Rome, which brought me remittances, and encouraged my hopes of return.
I continued to amuse myself till the midst of Lent, when I received other letters, desiring me to go to Ancona. I therefore embarked in the first vessel bound to that port. On Maunday Thursday, after a quarantine of nineteen days, I waited upon Signor Masi, the director of the police, who said that I had permission to remain at Ancona, but that I was known. My intention was to reach Rome on Easter Sunday; but in this I was most unexpectedly disappointed. I staid some time at Ancona. One day I was sent for by the director of police, who said, with an air of authority, “ I told you that I knew you.
I have received an order from the governor of Rome to arrest you. As you are of a good family, I have procured you a comfortable prison." I remonstrated, but in vain. I immediately wrote to my mother, who, with great exertions, procured my release, after twenty days’ imprisonment, but on condition that I should not go beyond the gates of Ancona. I was detained in that city two months longer; nor could I obtain a passport, either for Rome or any other place. Thus I was obliged to spend my money in Ancona. Indignant at this delay, I went to the director of police, who had been commander of a battalion in the army of the viceroy of Italy, and said to bim: “I am surprised that you treat an officer who has been in the service of Napoleon in this way." He replied—“When I was commander of a battalion, I obeyed the orders of Napoleon: now that I am the director of police to Leo XII. I must execute his orders.” This director was one of those men who swim with the stream.
As the fair of Sinigaglia was approaching, I solicited permission at Rome to go there. This, with great difficulty, I obtained, but was closely watched by the police. The fair being over, the director of police received an order from
Rome to grant me a passport for Paris. I therefore departed for the French capital, without the expectation of ever again seeing my country. At Paris I was informed that my friend, who had left Foligno after the defeat of Napolcon, was in London. I was anxious to see and embrace him. I have now been sixteen months in this capital. Here, unmolested, I breathe the air of liberty; and here, unless any unforescen event should disappoint my expectation, I hope to end my days.