Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/16

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at length the prisoner was taken to Prizren to be judged by the Pacha; but he did not return. Would they (Misses Mackenzie and Irby) intercede on behalf of the poor Serb? They promised to mention the story to the first consul they met; more they could not do. The woman who related the story said, "We do not know who you are, but ever since your coming was talked of the Arnaouts have not dared to meddle with us: they are quite hushed, and sit so," and she crossed her hands over her breast. "Ay," quoth Katerina (Katerina Simitch was a schoolmistress—one of the most remarkable persons they met in Turkey, and the bravest woman they knew anywhere: her school had been twice broken into by the Arnaouts), "that is what they always do when a consul is coming; but they make up for it afterwards, insulting and tormenting us, and exclaiming, 'Do not fancy your turn is come yet.'" With these words they left them, Katerina leading the way, her companions cowering behind her. Again, as to evidence:—Three horses which had been hired by the ladies were stolen when pasturing at night. The men in charge were Christians, but in order to prove they had been in possession of the horses over-night, they must call in the evidence of the cavass, "because his oath, as that of a Mussulman, would be received, and theirs would not." This state of things entirely destroys the basis of civil rights between man and man, and poisons the whole of life with fear and apprehension. Consequently, of these Servians outside of "Free Servia," there are but few who have courage remaining to hold up their heads like men.

With regard to the abuse of religion, the grievance is not altogether at the hands of the Turks. The clergy of these provinces belong very much to their own people, but their bishops unfortunately do not. I am sorry to say that the accounts given of them by the lady-writers from whose work I am quoting are rather disgraceful accounts. They frequently do not reside in their diocese. They think a great deal more about fleecing their flocks than feeding them. The clergy are called popes, and they appear to be closely attached to the people, and the people reciprocate their attachment. Misses Mackenzie and Irby found the people eager purchasers of the Bibles, or such portions of the Bible, as they had with them. For instance, at Velesa they sold all their store—especially the Old Testaments, of which the few books already translated into modern Bulgarian were bound together in volumes at 2s. 6d. apiece; and the priest was quite cross with them because they had not brought a larger supply. Again, at Prizren they gave Pope Kosta their last Servian Testament, little anticipating how welcome the gift would prove. He received the book without appearance of pleasure, and took it home with him; but next morning he reappeared radiant, together with his wife and another relative. He said that he had