Imagens das páginas

to the south-west, beyond the level expanse of the plain, the gardens and domes of Monastir can be faintly discerned nestling under the shadow of the double peak of Mount Peristeri. From the summit of the pass, where a goodly detachment of troops, told off for patrol-duty along the postal road, were encamped on the hillside, we descended in sharp zigzags through a steep defile into the valley of one of the tributaries of the Czerna, the ancient Erigon, which, passing between Mount Nidjeh and the southern end of the Babouna chain, carries the waters of the Monastir plain into the Vardar. The scenery was lovely, the slopes of the wooded hills on either side being clothed with all the varied tints of autumn, while here and there the cliffs closed in upon the water-course, and scarcely left room for the road to wind beside the brawling torrent. But with the exception of the half-way han, we scarcely passed a human habitation during the whole of the long day's journey, till, about nine hours after leaving Perlepe, we reached the broad valley of the Vardar, and saw Graczko lying before us on the last spur of the mountain-range. Mr Tozer has identified

Graczko with the once important town of Stobi, which in Roman times was the meeting-point of the four great roads which intersected Macedonia. But its site is now occupied only by a squalid Bulgarian village. So without troubling ourselves to find the ford which leads to it across the Czerna, we made straight for the railway station, some two miles north of the village ; and having dismissed my escort, I spent the night in wrestling with the fleas, which seemed to be the only guests besides myself in the miserable Bulgarian han which did duty for a railway hotel. The next morning the solitary train which creeps wearily each other day from Uskub down to Salonica, came puffing and panting up to the platform; and in spite of persistent dawdling at every station, and sundry little untoward events, such as running over an unfortunate cow and waiting half an hour for a Pasha's harem, we reached Salonica by eight o'clock in the evening, having only taken eleven hours and a half to cover a distance of a hundred miles. The next day I took the steamer for Volo, and on the following evening was back again at Larissa.



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A SUCCESSION of severe storms which followed my return to Larissa warned me that, if I wished to carry into execution my plan of crossing the Pindus into Epirus, I should not tarry longer on the road, under penalty of being delayed, and perhaps driven back, by heavy snows and swollen torrents. My preparations were soon made—Hidayet Pasha, the Mushir in command of the troops in Thessaly and Epirus, and Khalil Bey, the Mutessarif of Larissa, vying with each other in making every arrangement which could conduce to the comfort and safety of my journey. The kindness and courtesy which they showed me, notwithstanding the bitter feeling which the policy of England to



wards Turkey was at that time calculated to excite—and in many cases, as I afterwards experienced, did excite-against Englishmen in general among the Turkish official classes, deserve to be specially acknowledged. Though belonging to different schools, both of which unfortunately have found but too few disciples among the officials of the Ottoman empire, both the Mushir and the Mutessarif were representatives of the best and rarest class of Turkish officials. Hidayet Pasha was an old Turk. Without powerful connections, without exceptional abilities, he had risen by sheer pluck, endurance, and honesty from the ranks to the highest military honours of the empire. He supplied his lack of education by sound commonsense; and though a fervent Moslem, his natural kindliness raised him above narrow sectarianism. Popular with the people, hospitable to his friends, and courteous to all men, he succeeded, by the simple exercise of that tact which is born not of diplomacy, but of the fulness of a generous heart, in gaining the respect and affection of a hostile population, who were inclined, both from political antipathy and from past experience, to look upon every Turkish official as the embodiment of tyranny. Khalil Bey was a young Turk. He had been attached for many years to the Ottoman Embassy in Vienna, and had visited most of the European Courts. He had spent those years profitably in gaining acquaintance not with the vices but with the virtues of Western civilisation, and he had returned to his own country imbued not with the hollow shibboleths but with the practical spirit of the nineteenth century. While residing in Austria, he had been able to study the means by which an empire composed of elements fully as heterogeneous as are to be found in Turkey can secure its unity without checking the individual development of its component parts. “Turkey,” he once said to me,“ is like unto a flock of sheep pent up in a stony field, which, finding nothing but rocks and weeds and brambles to feed upon, are continually trying to break through the fence in order to feed on the richer meadows of their neighbours; and as the shepherds in the adjoining meadows are always piping prettily to allure them over, while from their own shepherds they get only kicks and

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