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AN ALBANIAN FftE. I 53

of whom are Italians. The Franciscan monks have a convent and schools. The Jesuits have tried their best to monopolize the education of the people, but are not much liked. It was difficult, standing in this bleak building, in the midst of so wild and outlandish though very devout a congregation, to imagine oneself attending a Christian service. The fierce-eyed shaven-headed Arnaut mountaineer jostled with the mild-looking Scutarine Christian and kilted Mussulman; for those of the other faith, curiously enough, offer their devotions on this day to the mother of the Christ whom they despise. Indeed though one half the Albanians call themselves Christians, and the other half profess to be Mohammedans, there is really little distinction between them. The Mohammedans worship the Virgin Mary; the Christians make pilgrimages to the sepulchres of Mussulman saints, and mingle all sorts of grotesque alien superstitions with their Christianity, which the priesthood in vain strive to eradicate. I was told that even some relics of the old Greek paganism linger in these mountains. I myself have seen the Arnauts attempt to read the future from the entrails of a sheep which they had slain for a feast. Before the service we had an opportunity of witnessing a Christian funeral. The coffin was borne on the shoulders of men, while the women followed at a distance, crying and wailing, as is and has been the custom, in all the East, for all time:– “He was strong in the chase, he was handsome, he was lovable, he was brave. Alas! no more will he be loved, no more will his swift feet carry him to the hunt. His enemies will rejoice, and throw away their fear. Alas! alas! he has gone from us ! he will be hidden in the cold earth.” In the evening a band played outside the church, and the jolly Franciscan monks tucked up their gowns, and proceeded to amuse the crowd with several balloons, which they filled with hot air and liberated, to the great delight of all. It was a good-humoured though savage-looking mob, and would set a good example to many a gathering of Western civilization. The streets were gaily lit with many-coloured Chinese lanterns. As we walked home after the termination of the proceedings, I noticed that there were one or two cases of drunkenness. There was one man, an Arnaut, pretty far gone. As I consider the different effects of alcohol on the brains of different races to be a very interesting and curious study, I stood and watched the mountaineer for some time, at a safe distance; for he bristled with arms of course; and if a drunken man, carrying with him two loaded pistols, a gun,

A DRUNKEN ARNAUT. I 55

and yataghan, should run amuck, or conceive a sudden dislike to the English foreigners, the consequences might be unpleasant. However, he did nothing of the kind. The sole effect of the raki was to make him exceedingly devotional. He knelt down, raised his hands, and prayed in a loud voice, and with a most intense and passionate earnestness. He swung backwards and forwards— wrung his hands, as he worked himself into a phrenzy of religious excitement. Then he kissed the .muddy ground over and over again with fervour, under the impression perhaps that he was still at the foot of the empty shrine of the Madonna. Lastly, he fell prone, face down in the mud, dead drunk, when his friends raised him and carried him off, with looks of shame on their faces, for drunkenness is considered to be a beastly and degrading vice in this uncivilized country. While we were breakfasting on the following morning, our friend the gendarme appeared, with a very downcast and despondent visage. “The beasts l’’ he said. “O, these Turks | I cannot go with you, friends. I had obtained leave, as you know, to accompany you on your journey through Albania. Well, late last night I was sent for, and told that I must stay at Scutari. They had seen me often in your company, and, as is their custom, became jealous and suspicious; so they have got up some idle excuse to prevent my going with you. This is the way they treat us. They give us no pay; and when we do get a chance of making a little money, do their best to get in our way.” Our poor friend was very cut up, and naturally so, for to be guard of a party of Inglezi was a rare windfall for him, and very acceptable in these hard times. The authorities sent us a passport, and a very strange-looking being, who was to be our escort on the morrow, one man being deemed a sufficient protection, for the first stage at any rate. He was a tall, miserable-looking zaptieh, in very ragged uniform. His face was of extraordinary length, and lantern-jawed. He was almost skeleton-like in his extreme thinness. He had evidently not known what a good meal meant for a very long time. We discovered him to be an intensely stupid and unintelligent being. This did not promise well. Here we were, two Englishmen, utterly ignorant of Turkish or Albanian, about to ride right across the country in the company of a man who would not be of the slightest use to us in any way. We gave him a good feed, in hopes that this might develope some traces of intelligence in his dense skull. All in vain. The only effect was, that after having thoroughly gorged himself, he

Two MORE BRITONs. I 57

closed his eyes, gave vent to a sort of choking sound, and fell fast asleep. Everything was ready; we had bid adieu to our Scutarine friends, left orders that our horses should be brought round early on the morrow— then we retired to our beds among the sausages. It was scarce dawn. There was a loud knock at our door—a rather violent knock. The door opened; we expected to see the smiling face of Toshli, who had come to announce the arrival of our ghostly zaptieh and our brave steeds; but to our astonishment there entered, boisterously, two bronzed and travel-stained Britons—in short, the long-lost Jones and Robinson, whom we had given up long ago. They stood laughing before us; but Brown and myself considered it incumbent upon us to receive them in a slightly distant and dignified manner as we sat up in our beds. We asked them to give an explanation of their great dilatoriness in catching us up. We found that they had started from England a fortnight after us, but had been delayed at Cattaro and other ports, in consequence of some extremely ingenious arrangement Robinson, the inventor, had made for receiving money at different places on the route. They had followed in our footsteps exactly—had taken boat from Trieste to Cattaro, and thence

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