Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ciful to him. But children are left thee; thy days are few; thou hast spent them amidst wealth and splendour; the most High hath yet more in store for thee perhaps ; beware lest they be spent in misery and degradation. Thy lot, and that of thy children are in thy hands. Thou wert the Pasha's wife, say but one word and thou art the Pasha’s wife still. There is the key of the palace, no new foot hath yet entered it; return and restore to it its most precious ornament, and thy new lord will double thy riches and the number of thy slaves.” “O God of clemency and mercy," she exclaimed, “why didst thou not command thy angel Asrael to summon together at thy feet the soul of Jemna with that of Omar ? To expiate what crime hast thou ordained that I should hear these insulting proposals from the murderer of my husband? But thy will be done! As to thee, vile slave of a still viler master, depart instantly from the house in which I have found a refuge, for the air I breathe is poisoned by thy breath. Begone, cowardly assassin, and tell thy lord that the widow of Omar Pasha will live and die the widow of Omar Pasha; that his allurements are vain, for the things of this world are as nothing to her whose happiness is all in Heaven, and that his threats are emptier still, for he is but

a perishable creature doing the will of his Creator.”

For more than a week the new Pasha employed every means to seduce Jemna from her resolve. She remained inexorable. Avarice, the ruling passion of this prince, at last overruled every other sentiment, and he took possession of Omar's riches. He could not gloat long enough on this accumulation of gold and precious stones, and it was under the mollifying influence of all these treasures that he allowed the family of Omar to retire to Milianah, where the father of Jemna possessed some property.

Ali Pasha was assassinated a few months afterwards, and Hadj-Mohamed succeeded him. This was the first Pasha who took up his abode at the Casbah, braving the mysterious inscription foretelling the arrival of the Christians under a Pasha whose residence should be at the Casbah. Hassan Pasha, formerly iman to Omar, took the place of Hadj-Mohamed, who died of the plague. No sooner was he elected than he showed that his heart was not ungrateful. Jemna received magnificent presents, and the Bey of Oran was ordered to pay a tribute and make presents to the widow of Omar every time she came to Algiers for the dennech. His favours did not

na

end here; he attached Mohamed, the eldest son of Omar, to his person, and as the second son was too young, he kept him in the first instance in the palace, and then sent him to Mételin and to Egypt, to see his uncles and Mehemet Ali, who wished for him. At the end of two years he returned loaded with presents from Mehemet Ali. Hassan made him marry the daughter of one of the most venerated marabouts of Milianah. The family of Omar enjoyed at that period all the prerogatives of high functionaries without incuring their risks. Fortune had once more descended upon them, and Jemna's cares were exchanged for joy in the midst of her children, when came the year 1830, bringing with it the downfall of the Turkish rule, and the revolt of all the tribes which had so long bent beneath the yoke. Through its alliances with revered marabouts, the family of Omar was for a time respected; but Mohamed, its chief, who had been guilty of many acts of tyranny, was obliged to fly, leaving in Milianah his mother, his two wives, and his brother Omar, then fourteen years old. Old Baba Djelloull and the Ouled-Si-Ahmed-benYousefs were their protectors.

During the first six years of the French occupation, young Omar, the son of Omar Pasha, had

grown up in the midst of warfare continually existing between the inhabitants of the towns and the Arabs of the tribes. The most complete anarchy had succeeded the severe rule of the Turks; the strong devoured the weak; all communication was interrupted; and civil war raged throughout Algeria. The courage and the riches of Omar had won him a number of partizans, and in 1836 he was still in the foremost rank. At about this period, the storm began to gather which shortly afterwards burst upon this unfortunate family.

Mohamed-ben-Omar, who had retired among the French, had invariably refused to hold any command for fear of compromising his family; but in 1836, when Marshal Clausel proposed that he should accompany him to Milianah, he accepted the offer. Circumstances became altered, and Marshal Clausel proceeded to Medeah, where he installed a Turkish Bey. Shortly afterwards the Emir El-Hadj-Abd-el-Kader, who at the time of his first expedition to the east, had established important connections in that part of the old regency, and, under all circumstances, was always assured of aid and sympathy, suddenly appeared at Medeah, seized the Bey whom we had left there, threw sixty of the principal Coulouglis of the town into irons, and exacted a heavy fine from Omar, the son of Omar Pasha, whom he accused of holding communication with his brother Mohamed, who had entered into the service of the French. The following letter, written by Omar towards the end of 1837, will afford an accurate notion of the situation of the Coulouglis at that epoch :

“When in order to punish the Turks for their injustice, their cruelty and rapacity, God, whose precepts they had forgotten, sent the French upon the coast of Sidi Ferruch; when, by the will of Him who alone confers victory, the Mussulman armies fled disgracefully before the Christians ; when, finally, Algiers the impregnable, fell, in spite of two thousand cannons, into the hands of the infidel, all hope of happiness was for ever snatched away from every Turk, and every descendant of a Turk inhabiting Algeria. Better had it been, a hundredfold, for them to have perished on the plains of Sidi Ferruch and Staoueli: they would have won glory here below and glory above; but it was written otherwise.

“Our day is over, the day of the marabouts and of the shepherds is come. The French have lifted the yoke from the bull and they have taught him to fight. His fury has increased two-fold since his horns have dipped in blood, and he has

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »