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the other cabin, where our guards and muleteers were warding off the “ghosts” by uproarious song, and we were left to share the room with the children and the old crone, who never ceased all through the night to moan whenever a fresh gust of wind whistled through the rafters of the roof.

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CHAPTER XII.

“AND PARGA'S SHORE.”

In the morning the sky was once more bright and clear, and the big rain-drops on the trees and the brawling of the swollen torrents were the only signs left of the fury of the storm. A steep and slippery zigzag down the wooded slopes of the hill soon brought us to the dark ravine of the Acheron. The stream has carved itself a deep bed through the limestone rock which, gleaming through its pellucid waters, imparts to them a peculiar whiteness. On either side lofty cliffs tower over the watercourse, — on the one side the precipice down which the Suliote women took their heroic leap into eternity, on the other the bulwarks of the southern range of Suli, which stretches away almost as far as Prevesa. Dark gnarled oaks growing out of every fissure in the rock, project their spreading branches above the stream, and cast over it a gloom which even the rays of a vertical sun can scarcely dispel. A little further on another torrent descends from the northern hills of Suli, and the two rivers of Hell, mingling their accursed waters, disappear in a wild gorge whence we could hear the roaring of a distant waterfall. Our track lay over the wooded ridge above it, and for more than an hour we toiled painfully through a tangled forest of oaks, and ilex, and arbutus, and wild mulberry, twined and intertwined with countless wreaths of luxuriant creepers, and bright with the rich clusters of their berries :

... Arbuteos fætus, montanaque fraga

Cornaque et in duris hærentia mora rubetis
Et quæ deciderant patula Jovis arbore glandes."

On emerging from this almost virgin forest we found ourselves on the brow of a cliff overhanging the plain. For beneath us the Acheron, issuing triumphantly from the precipices of Suli, flowed with majestic dignity across the lowlands towards the distant haven of Glykys Limen, where its waters sweeten the briny sea. Down

the face of this cliff we now had to descend. The prospect was not inviting. It was to all appearances a sheer wall of rock, with here and there a patch of brushwood or a mass of loose rubble clinging to its interstices. But our guide said it was the Sultan's road, and people had travelled over it for generations—though, as he added in the same breath that he never recollected pack-horses having crossed the mountains of Suli, the latter statement somewhat detracted from the strength of his argument. We had, however, no option in the matter. So the zaptiehs' clever ponies showed the way, jumping like goats from ledge to ledge; then our own horses were driven down; and behind them, at a safe distance to prevent collisions, the pack-animals slipped and slid and stumbled, a zaptieh or a muleteer clinging on desperately to their tails and thus acting as a kind of break,

—and finally all the beasts were safely landed on a little plateau, beyond which the descent became less precipitous. Having watched the exciting operation from the top, we proceeded to rejoin our caravan ; and though we too had often to transform ourselves temporarily from

bipeds into quadrupeds, the mauvais pas was finally got over without accidents—but I shall always recollect that last bit of the descent from Suli as one of the most break-neck samples of imperial Ottoman roads which ever came within my varied experience of Eastern travel.

Near the village of Ghlyky, which seems to have usurped the name of the ancient harbour at the mouth of the river, there are still some scattered ruins of the oracle where the Greeks in the time of Herodotus used to call upon departed spirits, and even to this day the gloomy gorge of the Acheron is associated in the legends of the Greek peasantry with the dark kingdom of the dead. Although it is only a day's ride from Kako - Suli to Parga, we determined to break the journey in order to give our horses a rest after the feats of equilibrium they had been called upon to perform during the last two days; and we took up our quarters in the large Albanian village of Turcopaluro, which is built on a slight eminence out of the marshy plain. Here my faith in my Greek friends of Yanina, who had assured me that south of the Kalamas there were no Albanian communities whom at

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