Imatges de pÓgina

names, which pass as proverbially describing them. Thus they say: “ Théaké malatraké” (Ithaca the unlucky); “ Zante, fior di Levante” (Zante, the flower of the Levant); “Paxo oxo” (Leave Paxo as soon as you can); “ Cephalonia melancholia” (Cephalonia the gloomy); “ Fra Cerigo a Firenze, poco di differenze" (There is a slight difference between Cerigo and Florence); “ Corfu, non più ” (There is no more to be desired in existence than is to be had in Corfu).

I well remember the circumstances of the first outbreak which occurred in the island of Cephalonia. I recollect particularly the unforeseen nature of the disturbance. I can carry back my fancy to the time when I was, of all others, most forcibly reminded of the lesson which in early years I had read, depicting in graphic terms the duplicity and treachery of the Ionian or Greek character. It so chanced that, during the autumn of 1848, at a time of the year when the climate and the country are most particularly delightful, a large party, composed of the officers of the Argostoli garrison, together with two or three families belonging to the military staff stationed there, arranged to visit the Black Mountain, a most picturesque locality, about twelve miles from Argostoli. Every vehicle of a nature fitted for conveying the ladies through the mountain roads was had in requisition, and owing to the length of the journey, which was to be carried through a series of roads which wound round the mountains in zig-zags, the party, by mutual consent, decided upon starting very early. To the best of my recollection on the 15th of September, about eight o'clock in the morning, the different Greek coaches, cars, gigs, calèches, and also horses saddled for the men, set off in procession from the town to cross the long wooden bridge (which spans the wide marsh running inland from the bay of Argostoli) over to the mountains which lie on the opposite side to it. So popular was the party, and so great the majority of the felicity hunters, that, amongst the gentry, the only individual who did not join it was the officer on duty. After crossing the wooden bridge, the work of ascent began in earnest. The roads to which the name of zig-zags is here usually given were all of them constructed during the time of Sir Charles Napier, and, similar to those of the same character which one invariably finds in the Alps, are such as are fitted for the carriage of goods, stock, furniture, lumber, and for the convenience of travellers who are not active and strong enough to walk; but the greatest number of the young people much prefer cutting off their circuitous ascent by climbing the rocks which lie straight before them in their course, and so arriving eventually at the end of their destination long before the several multifarious vehicles have circled round three-fourths of the way. The acclivity which the party had to ascend, so far as it led to the convent of St. Gerasmo, was only gradual. The last-named place was situated on a table-land, and lay about five miles from Argostoli. After leaving it, the different chains of mountains, of which the most part of the island is formed, were more lofty, rugged, and wild. Their sides were planted with the vines which the natives call the

uva passata,” and when the party reached a point within four miles from the top of the Black Mountain, the road took them through a very extensive pine forest, which stretched till within half a mile of its highest peak, or loftiest pinnacle of the island, which is the top of the Black Mountain. On reaching this, and viewing the different features of the scenery from the most favourable point of view, the party adjourned to a rustic cottage which lies on the margin of the pine forest, and where every enjoyment in the way of refreshment, cold collation, music and dancing, awaited them. I have generally observed about these parties of pleasure or pic-nics that the same characteristics prevail in all of them-dancing, flirting, indulgence in the greatest mirth with the juvenile portion of the party, and somewhat of lassitude and ennui with those more advanced in years. But, leaving this party to its enjoyment for a time, I must now turn to another part of the island, where a scene of a very different character was about to be enacted.

The population of the island of Cephalonia, numbering about sixty thousand, are disposed of either in the towns of Argostoli or Lixuri, which last place lies on the opposite side of Argostoli Bay, at its entrance, or reside in the numerous villages situated at intervals in the valleys or mountains of which the island is composed. By a lengthened route persons may come through Metaxata from the country parts to Argostoli, but as that village lies six miles from it, the long wooden bridge over the marsh shortens the route considerably, and is consequently a great thoroughfare.

Previous to the time that the party of pleasure had started for the Black Mountain, so little had been thought as to the liability of the Greeks breaking into insurrection, either by the commander of the garrison or by any other of the officers, civil or military, that even the rumour of a rising or of a discontent on the part of the natives had never entered into the conception of any individual among the English population of the island. There had not been even a report of any parties residing in the different villages having anything to complain of, and so secret, so silent, so reticent of speech, and so undemonstrative of demeanour had been the Greek population before the morning in question, that the first intimation that the military received as to what was likely to ensue, was given by a non-commissioned officer commanding a small guard on the Argostoli side of the bridge observing a tumultuous assemblage of Greeks, either with muskets, matchlocks, pistols, reaping-hooks, scythes, and some of them even with large sticks, coming from the mountains across the bridge. Their number was said to be about two hundred. Their object was evidently to enter the town of Argostoli, to seize on the government town-hall, and to proceed to every act of plunder and mischief which an evil-disposed rabble could be guilty of perpetrating. Doubtless they would, in the absence of all guard to the town, have seized on the commandant's house, and as the barracks were some little way from the town, they would have been able to hold their own for some time. But the sergeant in charge of the guard, on viewing the approach of this unlooked-for gang, at the suggestion of the corporal divided the small party under his command in such a manner that their force and their fire might best resist the entrance of the insurgents. He then called on them to retire. This was answered by loud exclamations and threats on their part. He again warned them; and on their still proceeding, he ordered the party most in advance to fire. The guard obeyed; and, on their firing, their shots took effect, and laid low four or five of the foremost of the gang. The insurgents then fired, and two or three of the soldiers fell. On this the whole of the soldiers got the command to fire, and their discharge was so effective

that eight or ten of the Greeks fell. After this, they became, no doubt, dispirited, and, although they made much clamour and outcry, they retreated, and effected their escape back to the mountain villages from whence they came. The sergeant, who had taken the precaution of sending a soldier to warn the officer in charge of the barracks of the disturbance, was speedily reinforced by a party which came from thence, bringing with them ammunition. The greatest credit of course was due to the non-commissioned officers who commanded the bridge-guard, for after the first onslaught of these desperadoes had been so promptly and courageously met by them and the men under their command, it only remained for the officer in charge of the barracks to sound the alarm, get his men in readiness, and send the earliest notice to the commandant of the garrison, who was with the party which went on the pic-nic to the Black Mountain. He also sent an escort to guard the party on their return from the mountain.

Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the chief and those who composed the party on hearing of this unforeseen step on the part of the islanders. They hurried back down the pine forest, rode their horses, placing the vehicles which carried the ladies in the centre, and, moving as fast as they possibly could allowing the escort to keep pace with them), arrived at the bridge of Argostoli in a very different state of mind from that in which they were when they crossed it in the morning.

The commandant sent an island steamer instantly to Corfu to inform the lord high commissioner of the news, and to ask for the assistance of more troops to keep the peace of the island. The message arrived at Corfu the next day at six P.M.; and just as the officers of the garrison had assembled for dinner, the colonel of their regiment came in and apprised some of them that, in place of dining, they must get ready and go down with two hundred men in the steamer to Cephalonia.

After the return of the pic-nic party to Argostoli, the commandant placed that town in a state of siege. All the officers were brought into the barracks, which was a very small building. All the guards were trebled, and the outposts of the town had additional guards planted, so as to be ready on the approach of any more of the insurgents. The opposite side of the bay where Lixuri was situated had also been attacked by a small force, which was turned aside by a party stationed there. This party was also reinforced.

The next day was a very busy one. All were occupied in various preparations. The third day was ushered in by the arrival of the reinforcements from Corfu. As soon as these came they were marched into a house which had been used as an hospital in the back part of the town. This lay on a hill. The officers took up such quarters as they could procure in the houses adjoining. Soon after this the whole of the regiment was ordered down to Cephalonia from Corfu, and shortly after its arrival the lord high commissioner came himself.

Previous to his arrival the principal duties of the officers had been patrolling the town streets and neighbourhood with their men, searching the houses in every direction for arms, and turning out at intervals during the night, whenever the commandant thought proper to have the alarm sounded. It seemed as if the spies employed by this commandant were indefatigable in bringing him rumours of the state of the villages,

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which induced him forth with to have the force under arms. I recollect, on one occasion, when they were all sitting at dinner, the alarm sounded, and the officers had to go out with their companies, and remain under arms till one o'clock in the morning, for no excuse whatever, in different parts of the island. Nothing could exceed the anxiety, the flurry, the fidgetiness, and the ubiquity of motion of this military functionary. The men composing the guards were obliged to mount guard with loaded muskets; and one night, when one of the sentries was walking on a post which was furnished from the barrack guard, a poor Maltese carpenter approached it. The sentry called to him in English for the countersign. The carpenter did not understand the sentry, and walked on in silence, upon which the sentry, without more ado, aimed at the poor carpenter, and shot him dead! The next morning, a person who acted as an overseer to the military stores, and was an Englishman of the yeoman class, a blunt, plain-spoken individual, came to the house in the barrack where the morning's military business was transacted, and seeing the sergeant in attendance there, said to him, “Why, you soldiers have been about a nice business last night-you have been and shot my carpenter!" On which the sergeant replied, " The sentry only acted according to orders, and did his duty.” The overseer answered, call this doing your duty, I call it committing murder !"

Of course there was a court of inquiry upon the transaction, and the exigencies of the case were taken into consideration, but the circumstance of its being an innocent individual who lost his life owing to his not understanding the English language, caused a great sensation. The extreme haste, the incessant haranguing of the soldiers, and the fussy demeanour of the martinet, earned him the title of “ Field-marshal Froth;” and until the opportune arrival of Lord Seaton himself, the harassing treatment which all under his command experienced was something unequalled in the history of military annals. But when the cool and steady experience of the old Peninsular soldier was brought to bear upon the question, those who served under him regained confidence, and also had their duties pointed out to them in a calm and rational manner; so different from the intemperate heat and uncertain passion of the hotheaded colonel who commanded before him, that joy and hope seemed to animate the looks of every individual, high and low. The lord high commissioner directed three parties to proceed to three different points of the island, and there to take up their stations. The first was sent to the convent of St. Gerasmo; the second to a small village five miles from Lixuri; and the third to Metaxata. Thus, in three different directions, the troops were stationed for the purpose of taking arms from the peasantry, or watching the state of the country. As may be imagined, these stations were all at the farthest points possible from each other. The Greeks, now finding themselves so well looked after, felt in no way disposed to make any open demonstration, and the country throughout was as quiet as any county in England during the whole time that the military remained detached in these localities. The troops succeeded in seizing a great number of arms, and during the remainder of that year nothing occurred to disturb the repose of the island.








August had come, and grouse and black game,

wild-fowl and snipe, salmon and deer, became the prominent ideas in my mind, and I longed for the advent of the 12th as fervently as any cornet for his moustaches, or young lady for her first ball. I had been bored to death by the season. I am not a marrying man, and the great Emporium of good matches is of no use to me; so, after concerts and crushes, déjeûners and dinners, the coulisses and the Commons, I was thankful enough when, after having eaten my customary whitebait, I was free to turn my thoughts to the bracken and the mist, the corries and the glens of the dear far-away Western Highlands.

I was impatient to be off. I had my guns browned, bought a new Enfield, overhauled my rods, got no end of new flies, and of course felt discontented with my kennel, though some of my pointers and setters are as good as any on the hill-side, and Ascot, Moustache, and Puseyite cannot be beat either among the turnips or the heather. My cousin Dyneley (Graham Cyril Beauchamp Vavasour, tenth Baron Dyneley, according to that gourmand for strawberry-leaves, Mr. Burke) had been asked to shoot over Steinberg's moor with him, but at the eleventh hour the poor old Viscount had a fit of apoplexy; some said from an excès in truffles and Tokay at a Star and Garter dinner he gave the Aquilina. He was ordered to “les eaux," and condemned to a regimen, and, bemoaning his bitter fate, despairingly told Dyneley to fill the box as he pleased. So Dyneley asked me to go down with him and Willoughby of the 14th (Light Dragoons)—we always call him Claude, because there are no end of Willoughbys in the army—and one or two other fellows, to make up our party to bag blackcock and stalk deer on poor Steinberg's moor at Glenmist, in Argyleshire.

Dyneley and I had thrashed Bargees, beat the Westminster, pounded the Harrow boys, and pulled to Putney together years ago when we were young bloods at Eton; and I have had many a day's sport with him since, here and there, among the stubble at home, sticking pigs in the jungle, buffalo-hunting in the prairies, going after elephants in Ceylon, and camping out to net ortolans in Scinde. "He has been fond of vagabondising (so have I, entre nous), and he is known all over the world as well as Wortley Montagu was, and can make himself equally at home in an Arab tent or in a European court; sleeping under his horse's legs in the wilds of the Pampas, or flirting with a Spanish doña in some luxurious palace in Madrid.

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