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cation and promoting the interests of the national clergy, these committees are equally directed against the Mussulman landowners, and have taken against them the shape of a kind of Land League. Their object is, in theory, whenever a deed of oppression or injustice is laid to the charge of a Moslem, to visit upon him the punishment which no Turkish court of law can ever be found to inflict. But in reality their practice far exceeds even this code of savage justice, and seems more calculated, by fomenting disturbances and provoking reprisals, to give rise to an outbreak of fanaticism such as that which in 1876 precipitated the downfall of Turkish rule in Roumelia. Though they can be seldom accused of acts of plunder, these bodies of avengers wreak their cruelty and lust indifferently on the guilty and the innocent; and women, and children, and old men have to suffer in memory of ancient wrongs.
THANKS to Selami’s friendly convoy, I had reached Monastir pleasantly and safely. The question now presented itself of how I was to return to Larissa, and its solution was beset with the same difficulties which had met my desire to leave it. The most interesting route was without doubt to follow the direct road to Salonica through Vodhena to Yenidjeh, the royal city of the Macedonian kings and the birthplace of Alexander; and thence, skirting the eastern slopes of Mount Olympus along the shores of the Ægean, to re-enter Thessaly through the Vale of Tempe. But Ahmed Eyoub Pasha, who was then Military and Civil Governor of Western Macedonia, pleaded brigandage as an excuse to place an absolute veto
on that route, the real reason for which ought probably to be sought in certain earthworks which were then being erected along some portions of that road. I was too much indebted to Selami's kindness to be free to act in direct defiance of the Turkish authorities; and so there was nothing left for me but to conform to the Vali's wishes, and follow the ordinary and prosaic route, joining the Mitrovitza-Salonica Railway at Graczko, whence (inshallah !) the vapor would carry me in a few hours to Salonica, and I could there (inshallah !) catch another vapor for Volo. That steam locomotion was not to my mind, and that I had other objects in travelling than to be whisked from place to place with a minimum of physical exertion, were ideas far too incongruous to the Vali's nature—which had already too often asserted on the battle - field its antipathy to all forms of locomotion save, perhaps, that which is popularly ascribed to the crab — for me to question the transcendent advantages of the vapor, especially when enhanced by the promise of a free pass, with which his Excellency was good enough to clench the argument.
The sun was just gilding the domes and minarets of Monastir, and glinting through the foliage of the trees, already thinned by autumn winds and frosts, as I rode out of the northern gates of the town. The lofty table-land, studded with tree-girt villages, lay stretched out before us, a broad reach of fertile arable land, broken only here and there by the silver streak of an undrained morass. A good road runs across this plain to Perlepe, which lies at the eastern extremity of the plateau, at the mouth of the two gorges which lead through the chain of the Babona mountains to the valley of the Vardar; and the bell of a quaint old clock-tower in the market-place of Perlepe was only just striking six à la Turque (about noon, European time) as we cantered across the bridge which spans one of the headwaters of the ancient Lydias.
As, coming up south from Thessaly, Kosana was the last town we passed where the GrecoWallach element was unmixed, and beyond which we scarcely again heard either Wallach or Greek, except in the Greek quarter of Monastir, so, proceeding northwards from Monastir, Perlepe is the first large Bulgarian centre
where the Bulgarian tongue is almost exclusively spoken. Even the Mussulmans of the town, who form about a quarter of the population, know Bulgarian as well as Turkish, and only speak the latter in official circles or among their families; while the Moslem villagers of the district often speak the Slavonic tongue in preference to Turkish. Nor has Bulgarian much to fear from the competition of Greek or Wallach, for there are now only eighty houses left here where either of those tongues is still spoken. Perlepe affords one of the most striking instances of the rapid strides with which the Bulgarian national 'feeling is outgrowing both Turkish domination and the HelJenising schemes of the Orthodox clergy. In the elaborate returns of the Greek population in Macedonia and Thrace which the Hellenic Syllogos presented at the time of the Treaty of San Stefano to Sir Henry Layard, the Greek or Hellenised population of the district of Perlepe was set down at 40,000 souls, either resident in the town or scattered over ninety Greek and forty - seven mixed villages. Notwithstanding the evident exaggeration of these figures, it is