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manners and demeanour of Constantine, who
might have felt at the moment something of
the curious, mixed feeling, difficult to describe,
but which many may have experienced, when
brought in contact with a former favourite, the
idol of the imagination or the heart, though
she be such no longer, and her place is occu-
pied by another.

Whatever might have been the nature of
what she saw, the short glance she caught
from behind her grated window, was fatal to
the peace, and almost to the life of Veronica.

Confined, cooped up, watched, and perse-
cuted from morning till night by her family
and her family's advisers, with the fire of a
youthful passion, eastern and intense, preying



THE ARMENIANS, 119

upon her hearty her health had again suffered,
and it was not surprising that with this super-
addition — with the pangs of jealousy — she
should retire from the ill omened window,
with distraction in her mind and fever in her
veins.

That night she grew worse; her mind, which
had several times verged to distraction, from the
incessant annoyances alluded to, now com-
pletely failed her, as the fever increased in
violence.

The next morning the parents saw their
child in a state of phrensy, which the violence
of the fever threatened soon to still in the
repose of death !

Veronica, the fairest of her race, was the
favourite child — her present condition might
reproach them, yet such was the bigotry of
the Armenians, that they would probably have



120 THE ARMENIANS.

seen her descend to the grave in her youth,
her beauty, and her gracefulness, rather than
unite her with the schismatic Greek.

The danger attending such an unusual con-
nexion as that of the family of an Armenian
Seraff with a Greek Hospodar — the fear of the
Turks — all mundane considerations might have ,
given way, but the spiritual held strong.^ In
their fanatical creed a union with a heretic^j^
would endanger her soul's safety, and it were ^
better to weep over the sod that covered hec, ^^^
than to permit her to enter on the path that led;., ^
to eternal perdition. They did not neglect
however, the means of preserving her "mortal.^
coil,'' and one of the family was dispatched ia = .
all haste to summon a European physician^
from Pera. ^ ,

The derangement of Veronica's mind — ^her
ravings but too plainly disclosed the origin of



THE ARMENIANS. 121

her perilous malady : she called on the name of
Constantine^ at times most tenderly, and at
times reproachingly : in her more violent ac-
cesses^ she drew her burning hands over her
throbbing eyes and brow^ and supplicated^ if
pity remained in the world, that they would
drive away the intruder that glared upon her
and burned up her brain — that they would
chase the form of that beautiful Greek girl,
her rival — away there ! from the foot of her
bed, where she stood mocking her with her
triumph !

At intervals her disorder rose to the wildest
pitch of madness, and it was fearful to behold
that youthful maniac, that delicate frail form,
writhing, Tjounding with a giant's strength.

Her shrieks were heard in the village ; and
at a later hour in the day, when Constantine
returned from Pera, whither he had gone in

VOL. III. G



122 THE ARMENIANS.

the morning, he was apprised of the dreadful
crisis which, though unwittingly, he had pro-
voked.

At the intelligence he became almost as
distraught as she ; nor could the representa-
tions of his friends, who really felt for his
condition, and dreaded what might be the
effects of his despair, prevent him from going
to the Armenian house, where he vowed he
would see Veronica if the sight cost him the
lives of half her race.

He flew to the door — without summoning,
he burst it open from its weak latch, with his
shoulder, and entered the hall. The attendants
who were there ran away affrighted and
screaming. He rushed up the stairs.

In the corridor, and before the door of the
sick chamber, the father, the uncle, the bro-
thers, and cousins, and a host of females,



THE ARMENIANS. 123

though trembling and speechless^ had posted
themselves, and seemed to form an impene-
trable wall to his farther progress.

^^ Make way," cried he, in a voice of thun-
der, ^^ make way, and do not tempt a desperate
man -, I wiU see Veronica whom I love — whom
you are killing !"

" Rash youth," said old Agop, ^^ retire, or
dread the consequences of this violence — we
are not to be treated thus with impunity ; I
^vill lay my complaint before the Porte !"

" I defy its anger ! I would risk the wrath
of a host of demons 3 but I will see my Ve-
ronica !" cried the Prince.

" Young man, again I say retire ! have you
not brought mischief enough on us already ?
The daughter of our house is in a dying state,
and you are the cause ! What further have
you to do with her or us ?" said old Agop.

g2



124 THE ARMENIANS.

At this moment a piercing cry — ^a thrilling
exclamation — his name — reached the ear of
Constantine from the sick room- — it roused
him to utter madness, and, drawing a brace
of pistols from his breast, he swore to shoot the
first who should attempt to stop his way. His
voice and gesture were sufficient to terrify the
timid Armenians, and, at the sight of the fire-
arms, they all took to flight.

He rushed into Veronica's chamber, where
his entrance sent Padre Tiraborsa, who, never
valiant, had preferred remaining by the pa-
tient, to seek for concealment under the bed,
whilst two sturdy Armenian maid-servants
abandoned their charge in alarm, and took
refuge in the gazebo, or projecting window.

But what a sight presented itself to the
eyes of the lover ! She whom he had seen so
lately in the possession of health, and in the



THE ARMENIANS. 125

touching placidity and softness peculiar to her
sex and time of life^ was now consumed by
fever of mind and body — furious and maniac
as the worst inmate he had ever beheld at the
Timar-hane,(2) qj. madhouses of Stambool.
Her delicate^ graceful frame was stiffened and
distorted ; her eyes were haggard and blood-
shot, and her over-fraught veins shewed like
hard blue cords through her thin and trans-
parent skin, that glowed as liquid fire.

Constantine was cut to the soul, but it was
still worse with him when, on approaching
her, and addressing her in the terms of ten-
derness and love, he saw that she did not know
him. And of all the agonizing incidents of
madness, the worst is certainly this ! the most
penetrating and awful ! To see the maniacs
repulse the objects of their heart's warmest
affections, and to shrink from the approach



126 THE ARMENIANS.

of a father^ a mother, a fond husband^ or
wife — their very offspring, and their bosom
friend, as from a deadly foe, or persecuting
fiend !

Veronica threw herself from the couch on
the ground, and burying her face in her hands,
exclaimed wildly, ^^ Why are you here again ?
Why do you haunt me thus ? Is it not enough
that you have deprived me of my Constantine ?
Must you still come to triumph over me ? Oh,
is there no mercy in this wide world to chase
this beautiful Greek from my presence ?"

" Veronica, my life ! my soul ! It is I !
your Constantine, your adorer — your tried and
faithful lover !'' and he stooped to raise her
from the floor.

When she felt herself in his embrace, her
frenzy increased 5 she uttered the most piercing
shrieks, and his whole strength was required



THE ARMENIANS. 127-

to prevent her bursting from his arms and
rushing out into the corridor.

Fortimately, at this moment the European
physician arrived j he knew the Prince, and
the condition he found him in was such as to
awaken as much sympathy for him as for the
Armenian maiden. He reasoned mildly and
humanely with him, and begged him to depart
from a spot where his presence could be pro-
ductive only of evil.

Constantine resigned the suffering girl to
the doctor, and to some servants and relations,
who now had found courage to enter the room
— but he would not go away. He stood by
the side of the bed while the physician at-
tended to Veronica, and questioned her terri-
fied family 5 and it was not until that friendly
man had consoled him with hopes, and used
persuasions and gentle force, that he would



128 THE ARMENIANS.

quit the room, in which he was considered as
the cause of all that woe.

The violent passion of grief, though it shapes
for the suffering bosom ten thousands of ar-
rows, and acts in infinite variety, is mono-
tonous in description. We will not attempt
to tell what Constantine suffered, but hasten
to the moment when those sufferings were
alleviated, and he was again permitted to look
forward through the dusky avenues of life, with
love and hope.

A lady, a native of the country, but possessed
of European education and ideas, chanced to
be at Belgrade. She was connected with the
Armenian family of the seraffs, and at times
visited in their house. On the alarming
ilhiess of Veronica, her favourite, as she
was of all who knew her, this lady was assi-
duous ; and feeling as she did for the young



THE ARMENIANS. 129

Greek, whom she also knew, and saw in a state
bordering on distraction, she reported to him
the improvements of his mistress's malady as
they took place, and in a few days was happy
to tell that the sufferer was out of danger, and
restored to reason.

But her mediation was more valuable still
on the other side : she had heard the jealous
ravings of Veronica ; she had seen Constan-
tine, and his despair ; she knew how unfounded
were the maddening doubts, which if they had
not solely produced the malady, had hastened
it on, and given it violence ; and when her
young friend was sufficiently recovered to com-
prehend the import of her words, she cheered
her with assurances of constancy, and of a
passion that knew no bounds.

She was aware of the obstacles that existed
in the Armenian family, and knew they

G 3



130 THE ARMENIANS.

would never permit that " true love to run
smooth;" she might at times, have doubted of
the propriety of acting as she did, but she
could not see the sufferer suffer as she did, and
withhold the words, that she felt would operate
like medicinal balm.

Their effect was even more prompt than she
could have imagined. From the moment she
had told her sincere tale to her friend, who
hung on her neck, and with tears and kisses
called her, her deliverer, Veronica began ra^
pidly to amend. The mind — her passionate
heart — had generated the evil, and it now
worked the cure.

Her attenuated form recovered strength, and
her eyes their brightness — she was happy ! —
but frequently in the sweet but melancholy
languor of convalescence, she almost wished to
die — to die, with the consciousness of his love



THE ARMENIANS. 131

strong upon her — to avoid pangs like those she
had just suffered, and the trials and uncertainty
of the future. And the season, the beauteous
scenery around her, and all the objects we have
attempted to describe, as cherishing love,
might have contributed, in the susceptible
frame of mind she was in, to rob death of its
terrors, and to beautify the grave. The green
sward, and the enamelling flowers — the warm,
lifeful sun, and the balmy breeze, were a veil
of loveliness to conceal the cold, the damp, and
the darkness of the tomb. Horror could not
exist there ! And would not the incessant choir
of turtle-doves tune their sweet and mourn-
ful anthem over her, and the nightingale pour
forth her essence in matchless melody, in the
thicket, by her last quiet resting place ? Weak
as she was, how slight and brief would be the
struggle, in the passage from life to death !



132i THE ARMENIANS.

She felt almost, as if by volition she could
breathe forth her soul, on the golden evening
air that invested the ^orious forest with hues
which seemed dipped in the founts of heaven.
The ripple echoing from the lake, the murmur
among the trees, was not more gentle than
might be the sigh with which she could cease
to be ! And in sooth such a death might be
more desirable than length of days, with cer-
tain sorrow — disappointment — and, perhaps,
with sin ! It is only in youth we feel this
enamourment of death — as life progresses, we
are entangled in its toils — we have fame, or
some other bauble, to acquire or to preserve^
we may have become responsible for the exist-
ence of others — the worldly hopes, though they
have betrayed so often, still delude us ; and
the confiding spirit, the reliance on heavenly
mercy, has given way to doubt and alarm, in



THE ARMENIANS. 133

proportion as we have departed from youth's
purity. The susceptibility^ moreover^ to the
beauty of external objects^ is gone — that exqui-
site susceptibility which forms the charm of
early life, and whose impressions and remem-
brances are the source of all the genius and the
poetry that may result from the efforts of
our after-years. (^^

But even in youth these feelings are fleet-
ing, and the instincts of the body seldom fail
to expel the dreams and aspirations of the
soul.



134



CHAFfER V.

Veronica grew daily better, and as the inti-
mation of the Prince's constancy had renewed
her relish for life, an occasional billet, which
he found the means of conveying to her
through a friendly hand, invigorated her spirits
and health.

Some of Constantine's notes, written at this
very interesting period, were afterwards seen
by certain persons, who could unravel their
double dijfiiculties. The impression they made
on the minds of the readers must have been



THE ARMENIANS,



136



deep, for at the distance of a considerable time
they have been seen affected to tears by their
recollection.

We may regret that we do not possess some
of these epistles, and the keys to them, as,
though expressed in Turkish, which will
scarcely be deemed the fittest vehicle for such
feelings, and though scrawled in the stiff an-
gular Armenian character, these eastern love-
letters might surpass the cherished specimens
we have of that style, and make Rousseau ap-
pear passionless and pedantic, and Mirabeau
cold and without sentiment.

By means of this re-established communica-
tion, for the person who took, received, and
Veronica's reply, though generally containing
but a few hurried words, was regular to each
letter, Constantine was duly informed of her
progressive amendment, and of all that in-



136 THE ARMENTANS.

terested him in the Armenian house. Some
of the sketches, in these notes, of her own con-
dition were interesting and sad enough, whilst
they conveyed a striking picture of the ma-
chinery that bigotry could resort to.

As soon as Veronica grew better, the fears
for her life gave place to apprehensions of the
Prince, and her family had scarcely taken more
care to save the one, than they now took to
preserve her and themselves from the other.
During the day she was scarcely ever free
from persecution, and at night she was not
left to herself; an old sister, and a starch
female cousin who had both (as already men-
tioned,) renounced the vanities of this world
— who, though living in the bosom of their
family, had adopted the dress and the peni-
tential severities of a rigid monastic order,
and had fallen into the utmost depths of



THE ARMJiNXANS. 137

fanaticism — slept one on each side of her, and
were as assiduous in her ear, as the Franciscan
monks who accompany the stupified culprit to
the place of execution.^^^

At the foot of her bed was a large wooden
crucifix, whose writhed attitude, agonized ex-
pression, and blood-stained members, were ex-
posed by the dim light of a lamp that burned
continually beneath it. A figure of the Ma-
donna, with seven real daggers with golden
hilts stuck in her bosom, to represent the se-
ven mortal pangs of the Virgin mother, stood
in a glass-case on one side of the room, and a
picture of the woes of purgator^^, with another
of San Lorenzo on the gridiron, with devils
blowing the coals under him, faced it on the
other side.

The mind of Veronica we have said was
strong — her passion for her schismatic lover



138 THE ARMENIANS.

was intense ; but still with her susceptibility of
outward impressions^ it will not seem extra-
ordinary if when in her sleepless nights, she
cast her eyes on the horrid objects around
her, and the spiritual admonitions of the day
recurred to her, she should shudder and at
times be lost in vague, wild fears.

To free herself from her intolerable annoy-
ances — perhaps with a hope of softening her
obdurate relations — she feigned a degree of
mental alienation ', but the continuance of
the persecution and the impression made on
her delicate nerves by objects from which
there was no escape, at last, for certain periods,
rendered the melancholy condition real, and
her madness, like that of Hamlet, was in part
assumed and in part sincere. Neither state,
however, tended to the desired end ; the mind
by which the Armenian family felt and rea-



THE ARMENIANS. 1^9

soned — the catholic priest — was as deter-
mined as ever^ and Padre Tiraborsa insisted
on the efficacy of his art to expel the evil
spirit from the bosom of the maiden.

That spirit was love ; but the Armenians
really expected to see him take his flight from
the mouth of Veronica in the shape of a devil,
with the accompaniment of sulphur and blue
flames.

At a short distance from the seraff's house
there stood a shady tree of the densest foliage.
As Veronica gained strength she was some-
times permitted to walk well attended^ and to
repose under the shade of that tree, which, like
those in the more eastern garden of Sultan
Shahriar, ^2) bore strange fruit — though of
somewhat better quality .than the Sultan's.

Constantine was often there, waiting long
hours for the happy moment, hid in the thick



140 THE ARMENIANS.

branches ; and from the turn the conversation
ahnost invariably took, Veronica, aware of his
concealment, could gladden his ears with
delightful assurances, and spirited protesta-
tions against the obstinate cruelty of her
family. There was much that was piquant in
these sylvan dialogues, particularly w^hen, as
would often happen, Veronica, in reply to the
representations of her friends, would vow that
their efforts were all useless — that she would
love the Prince, and none but him, until death
— and that if he were there she would tell
him so !

During all these irregular proceedings the
seasons kept their course with their wonted
regularity ; summer had come on, and the
heats of June, so delightfully mitigated on the
neighbouring banks of the Bosphorus, are felt
less pleasantly at Belgrade.



THE ARMENIANS. 141

The fear of fever and ague had already driven
away most of the Europeans and other visitors.
The illness and weakness of Veronica, with
some other circumstances_, had delayed the de-
parture of the serafFs. There was a sort of
poetical justice dealt out in this detention, for
where they had caused two persons to suffer
so incalculably, two of them caught the mal-
aria fever, with iti pleasant alternations of
cold and hot.

It was on the lovely morning of a day which
will henceforward be celebrated in the Otto-
man annals, as the Armenian family were
thinking to change at length their place of
abode for a more healthy one, that a mes-
senger arrived at their door, whose steaming
horse told the speed at which he had ridden,
while the anxious expression of his counte-
nance betrayed the importance of his mission.



142 THE ARMENIANS.

The courier was no other than our old friend
Melkon^ and^ strange as it was, he was again
employed by the Armenian family, whom he
had so exceedingly irritated 3 but for this very
simple reason — that the Seraff Yussuff, whose
message he bore, could find no one else at such
a moment, with courage enough to leave Pera,
(whither the banker had gone the preceding
day,) and to undertake the journey. Melkon
had an abundant share of impudence at all
times, and now ^the nature of the news he
bore, made him face his former employers
without one blush at the thoughts of his de-
tection and expulsion as a bearer of clan-
destine billets-doux.

" Sair-ola !" (may it be well with you) cried
he, presenting himself to the family, who were
nursing his friend, young Agop, then making
the wooden house shake with the cold fit



THE ARMENIANS. 143

of his fever. " Sair-ola ! but, sirs and ladies^
if you would not all have your throats cut, you
must be up and moving — inshallah !"

'^ What does the man mean ?" cried Vero-
nica's aunt, in great alarm.

^'^ What new mischief — the Prince?" said
old Agop.

^' The Janissaries,*' said Melkon, interrupt-
ing him.

" The Lord have mercy upon us ! what of
the Janissaries?'' cried the family with one
voice.

" Nothing — only there is such a jourbalik ^^^
among them as Stambool has not seen since
the last days of the Bairactar — ^that's all !" re-
plied the suridji.

" Misericordia ! But what are they doing ?
Yesterday Yussuf went to the Porte — they have
not killed him ?" cried the banker's wife.



144 THE ARMENIANS.

^^ Dead men write no letters^ and here is one
from SerafF Yussuf,'' said Melkon, fumbling in
the breast of his garment, and producing a
short scroll.

" It is true, it is too true,"'' said Veronica's
male cousins, glancing their eyes over the
short letter '^ the Janissaries have risen
against the Sultan, and Constantinople is in
flames. We are exposed and unprotected in
this village — should they be beaten and driven
out of the city, they will over-run the country,
and destroy all they encounter. We are ordered
by our father to return to Pera, which is
tranquil, and is likely to continue so — with-
out losing a moment's time."

Padre Tiraborsa had gone to Pera several
days before, having no taste for the fever at
Belgrade, but the native Armenian priest was
there, and exclaimed, ^^May all the Saints



THE ARMENIANS. 145

protect us ! or we shall meet the Turks on
the road^ and they will make kibaubs of every
woman's son and daughter of us !*'

^^ ITie blood that is to flow will not remain
in the vein,"^-*) said the philosophic horse-
jockey^ " but we have a chance of getting to
Pera before they have finished cutting one
another's throats in Stambool — ^the sleeve of
Hadji- bektash will surely not be driven in
an hour out of its strong hold — ^when I left,
the Janissaries were still carrying about their
pilaff kettles, ^^^ and gathering together from
aU quarters — surely they wiU make a stand
for it. Bestir yourselves, and we shall be
housed in Pera before either party win or
lose."

" The man speaks the words of reason/'
said some of his interlocutors, and orders
were immediately given to prepare for flight.

VOL. III. H



146 THE ARMENIANS.

The greatest confusion ensued — ^the different
members of the family, and the servants, male
and female, ran wildly about to get things
ready; even young Agop had forgotten his
fever, and was stirring — and in short, the
whole house appeared as if a fire had burst
out in some part of it.

Dresses and shawls, pipes, and images of
saints, gold coffee-cups, and rosaries, bags of
sequins and bags of coffee, were all bundled
up together in heaps strangely promiscuous ;
and in their hurry, the servants, who were
tumbling over one another, left some of the
most valuable objects in the house behind
them, and carefully packed up others that
were not worth a pinch of paras.

As the news of what was passing at Con-
stantinople soon spread from the Armenian
house through the village, and as several other



THE ARMENIANS. 147

persons thought it prudent to repair to the
Christian suburbs of the city, the means of
conveyance that could be furnished, fell rather
short ', and except three good horses the ban-
kers had in their own stable, they were not
calculated for speed.

An aruba drawn by a pair of grim-looking
black buffaloes, a charcoal burner's horse,
blind and broken kneed, and half a dozen
of donkeys, were all that could be procured.

Veronica, the females of the family, and the
sick, crammed themselves into the jolting wag-
gon. Old Agop, with a son and a nephew,
moimted the horses — the women servants the
asses — and the rest followed on foot.

As they departed from the village, they were
joined by the others, who were starting on just
as short a note of preparation. They crowded
close together on their way, like a flock of

h2



148 THE ARMENIANS.

frightened sheep, and with just as little idea of


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