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amenable to Ottoman justice. Such cases are tried by the tribe council of notables or elders, presided over by the tribal chief. Besides these permanent councils, there is a kind of general assembly in which every family is represented, and which meets periodically in spring and autumn for the discussion and settlement of questions of high import, chiefly concerning the foreign policy of the clan, that is, its relations with its neighbours. The subject most frequently under debate in these popular assemblies is the commencement or the cessation of a tribal blood feud.

Conscription is also carried on through the good offices of the Beys. The Albanians as a race have never recognised the Sultan's right to press them into the service. Yet, whenever the levying of troops is deemed necessary, the Sultan has only to appeal to the Beys, and a number of volunteers, as undisciplined and turbulent as they are brave, are ready to enlist under the imperial standard—drawn thither by the prospect of plunder. For long ages Albania has been the nursery of Mohammedan soldiers, a reserve from which the Sultans have always drawn the bravest defenders of the Crescent. Among the Turks themselves it is generally admitted that the blood of the Albanians has done much to cement the throne of the Osmanlis. To quote the pamphlet mentioned second at the head of this article: 'We Albanians have ever been the pillars of Turkey. Our 'bones are to be found scattered over Hungary, Roumania, 'Servia, Montenegro, and the Crimea; through Greece, 'Persia, Arabia, to the confines of India'—a statement which is more than a vain boast. These irregular troops, however, not unfrequently prove as dangerous to their own allies as to the enemy, and during the last Graeco-Turkish war Edhem Pasha, the Commander-in-chief, was only too glad to get rid of them at all hazards.

The relative importance of the patriarchal chiefs in question depends not, as that of the patriarchs of old did, upon the magnitude of their herds and flocks, but as in mediaeval Europe each baron's strength was estimated by the number of bows which he could put into the field, so the Albanian Bey's power is measured by the number of Martinis at his command. These weapons, when not required for imperial purposes, are employed in the conduct of the civil strife which constitutes the normal state of affairs in the interior of the country. The Albanian is a bred and born fighter, and, like the pickpocket who, in default of another victim, used to keep his fingers in training by practising on himself, when hard up for a foe he will gladly pick a quarrel with his nextdoor neighbour. So general is this rule that the cessation of hostilities is emphasised by the term 'peace,' or rather 'truce' (bessa), which in Albania is a synonym for ordinary friendship. There is hardly any clan, great or small, that has not a feud with some other clan. Some of these quarrels are of modern growth; others are of so long a standing that their origin is all but lost in the mists of immemorial antiquity. But though the cause may be forgotten, the quarrel continues as a matter of habit or tradition. Feuds are handed down in the aristocratic odjaks of Albania by one generation to the next, as games of chess are said to be handed down in the great families of Spain.

These feuds generally originate in the murder of some member of a clan. The rest of the clan consider themselves in honour bound to avenge the crime by 'taking 'back blood'—that is, by murdering the individual who shed their own friend's blood, or his next-of-kin. The task of vengeance is religiously transmitted from father to son in a direct line, and the nearest relative of the deceased is looked upon as dishonoured until he has performed it. On the other hand, the accomplishment of the sacred duty is celebrated by great festivities and boisterous rejoicings, and the avenger is lionised as befits the man who has saved the prestige of the odjak. The Turkish authorities do their clumsy best to suppress the vendetta, and the prisons are crammed with persons guilty of murder. But the fear of imprisonment has never yet deterred a true Albanian from 'taking blood.' In so doing he considers himself as acting in obedience to a time-honoured clan code, in comparison with which State legislation counts as a thing of yesterday. Moreover, the satisfaction which he experiences in carrying out the behests of this g«asi-divine law makes all other considerations sink into insignificance. How deeply rooted is the conviction in the sacredness of the duty of revenge is shown by the Albanian's every-day conversation: 'I have a • blood-feud {gyak) on, sir,' was an Albanian heard to say a short time ago. 'If I kill him now, well and good. If I 'miss him, and am arrested, I shall get, say, fifteen years. 'The Sultan is certain to let me off five. Very well, ten 'years hence I shall be set at liberty, and then, if he still is 'in the land of the living, I will kill him. If he is dead, I 'will kill his son or brother, please God (issha'llah)!'

The speaker was a mere humble retainer, but his point of view is exactly the same as that of any Albanian, no matter of what rank. When a few years since Djavid Bey, the son of the Grand Vizier, was shot dead in broad daylight, and in one of the busiest thoroughfares of Constantinople, everybody explained his murder as an act of vendetta on the part of the Albanians for the assassination of Gani Bey, an influential fellow-countryman of theirs, who a twelvemonth before had been murdered by one of Djavid's creatures. Nor did the avenger attempt to escape. Why should he? Had he not fulfilled 'the unwritten law of the gods'? Would not his name be ever remembered and revered by his clansmen, and bis deed celebrated in rugged mountain verse for the admiration of posterity? What is death itself, let alone mere imprisonment, when weighed against everlasting fame? In view of this state of things it is hardly to be wondered at that agriculture is not a favourite or flourishing pursuit. Maize is the only kind of corn cultivated, and it barely suffices for the subsistence of a small portion of the population. The deficit is made good by robbery. The ordinary Albanian farmer, after having gathered in his crop, and hung it up between the rafters of his cottage, considers the year's labours concluded. This grain, ground as it is wanted, a cow, and a small stock of fowls supply all his needs throughout the winter. A limited export trade in farm produce is carried on with Trieste, and tortoises, which require neither keeping nor tending, are largely exported to Italy. Despite the absence of peace, and the presence of poverty, the Albanian is a very hospitable individual. A stranger, just as among the Homeric Greeks and the modern Arabs, is looked upon as * one sent by God'—a sacred and inviolable person. In the smaller villages, where the patriarchal regime is especially powerful, the first rite of hospitality consists in the washing of the guest's feet by the mistress of the cottage. It is also her duty to sleep outside the door of the bedroom assigned to the stranger, in order to be ready at hand to offer assistance, should he chance to be taken suddenly ill during the night. Even the greatest personal enemy is perfectly safe under an Albanian's roof. The host will entertain him kindly, will feast him liberally, and on departing will conduct him half an hour's distance from his house. This is the limit of the forbearance imposed by piety. Once there, the obligation of respect ceases, and the host will proceed to shoot his ci-devant guest with the complacency of a man who feels that he is doing a meritorious deed. A redeeming feature of the Albanian's character is his warm gratitude for any kindness shown him. If he is slow to forgive an injury, he is still slower to forget a favour. This trait was not long ago vividly impressed upon a foreign consul at Durazzo. The gentleman in question was a qualified doctor, and during an epidemic had saved the lives of many of the inhabitants out of charity. When, some years after, he was transferred, his ex-patients went en masse to see their benefactor off, and, as a proof of their sincerity, they promised to kill his successor. They were not to be dissuaded from their purpose except by repeated assurances, accompanied by a solemn oath, that the consul's removal was of his own seeking, and had not been brought about by his successor's machinations, as they imagined. The loyalty and fidelity of the Albanians are proverbial throughout the Levant, and those who employ armed attendants (cavasses) of that nationality have many instances of self-sacrifice to relate.

The remarks concerning Albanian barbarism made above apply to the whole of Albania, but it should be added that the degree in which these features prevail is highest in the north and lowest in the south of the country. It is to the northern portion that the term 'Savage Land' (Yabani) is specially applied by the Turks—a term reflecting the wild and lawless character of the people no less than the rugged grandeur of the black and bare mountains amid which they live. This portion administratively constitutes the vilayet of Skutari, and is inhabited partly by Albanised Slavs and partly by Albanians of so-called Illyrian descent. Though both are commonly included in the name of' Ghegs,' the latter are easily distinguished by their peculiar physique, by the fierceness of their temper, and, above all, by the habit of shaving their heads so that only a lock or fringe of hair is allowed to grow on the crown and hang down upon the nape of the neck—a custom recalling to the spectator Fenimore Cooper's Indians despoiled of their plumage. One tribe of the Ghegs—the Mirdites—inhabiting the district between Skutari and Prisrend, among other relics of truly primitive culture, preserve the practice of exogamy, never marrying within the tribe, but habitually providing themselves with wives forcibly carried off from amongst their neighbours. The maid in many cases has no unconquerable aversion to being abducted, but her male relatives make it a point of honour to defend her, and, as a result, a Mirdite wedding is frequently ushered in by a series of funerals.

The language of the Ghegs is as rough and uncouth as their rocks, as little susceptible of rule as those who speak it, and as primitive as their manners, withal presenting a certain family resemblance to the speech of the ancient Hellenes and Latins in its rudest form. But it is only the resemblance of a half-faded ancestral portrait to its subject's remote descendants.

Such are the Ghegs and their land. The god of light seems to have forgotten to cast a ray to this benighted nook of Europe. History has almost disdained to record the life of a race which, by the caprice of fate, has been suffered to remain in a primordial state of infancy, while its cousins of the south grew, flourished, decayed, all but died, and rose to life again. And yet it is a race brimming with vitality. The continuous drain in men to which North Albania had been subjected for a long series of generations kept down their numbers. But as soon as the current of Ottoman conquest ceased, they began to multiply. During the latter part of the nineteenth century especially the Ghegs, who had been forced to withdraw before the advancing waves of the Slavs, overflowed the landmarks imposed by that movement, and in their turn began to press upon the newcomers. The Slavs were compelled to cross once more the Drin, and to retire further east. Hence the vilayet of Monastir, as well as the district known as Old Servia, presents the theatre of a constant struggle for existence between the Albanians and the Servians, who are gradually driven towards the banks of the Vardar.

To the south of these tribes lies the land of the Tosks, a milder and less uncivilised race of men, addicted less to fighting and more to farming than are their northern brethren across the Skumbi, though, like them, they are mostly armed cap-a-pie. The country still further south is inhabited by a group of clans known as Liaps and Tchams. These have little of the ferocity which distinguishes the other Albanians, and are rather more under the control of the Turkish authorities. Conscription and taxation, though practically matters of as little moment as among the Ghegs, are at all events theoretically admitted to be obligatory. The tribal division has, among them, in great measure been superseded by a corresponding local division into districts, each governed by a great landowner, and the vendetta hardly ever involves whole districts in hostilities, being as a rule confined to individual families. In a word, the further south the traveller proceeds the gentler the people grow, in harmony with their surroundings. The scenery in these parts is less

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