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own ; but let our powers of acting be equal, our prerogatives the same.”
Carl Obers, with his youth and his vivacity, carried his auditors—a little knot of beer drinking liberty-mongers—with him, and for him, in all he said; and the orator would look round, with conscious power, and considerable satisfaction ; and flatter himself, that his specious arguments were as unanswerable, as they were then unanswered.
Many of our generation may remember the unparalleled enthusiasm, which, like an electric flash, spread over the civilised world; as Greece armed herself, to shake off her Moslem ruler.
It was one that few could help sharing.
To almost all, is Greece a magic word. Her romantic history—the legacies she has left usour early recollections, identifying with her existence as a nation, all that is good and glorious ;no wonder these things should have shed a bright halo around her, and have made each breast deeply sympathise with her in her unwonted struggle for freedom.
Carl Obers did not hear of this struggle with
indifference. He at once determined to give Greece the benefit of his co-operation, and the aid of his slender means. He immediately commenced an active canvass amongst his personal friends, in order to form a band of volunteers, who might be efficient, and worthy of the cause on which his heart was set.
He now first read an useful lesson from life's unrolled volume.
Many a voice, that had rung triumphantly the changes on liberty, was silent now, or deprecated the active attempt to establish it.
The hands that waved freely in the debating room, were not the readiest to grasp the swords hilt. Many who had poetically expatiated on the splendours of modern Greece; on reflection preferred the sunny views of the Neckar, to the prospect of eating honey on Hymettus.
Youth, however, is the season for enterprise ; and Carl, with twenty. three comrades, was at length on his way to Trieste.
He had been offered the command of the little band, but had declined it, with the sage remark, that “as they were about to fight for equality, it was their business to preserve it amongst themselves.”
A slight delay in procuring a vessel, took place at Trieste. This delay caused a defection of eight of the party.
The remaining students embarked in a miserable Greek brigantine, and after encountering some storms in the Adriatic, thought themselves amply repaid, as the purple hills of Greece rose before them.
On their landing, they felt disappointed.
No plaudits met them ; no vivas rung in the air : but a Greek soldier filched Carl's valise, and on repairing to the commandant of the town, they were told that no redress could be afforded them.
Willing to hope that the scum of the irregular troops was left behind, and that better feeling, and stricter discipline, existed nearer the main body; our students left on the morrow ;--placed themselves under the command of one of the noted leaders of the Revolution :—and had shortly the satisfaction of crossing swords with the Turk.
For some months, the party went through extraordinary hardships ;-engaged in a series of desultory but sanguinary expeditions ;—and gradually learnt to despise the nation, in whose behalf they were zealously combating.
At the end of these few months, what a change in the hopes and prospects of the little band ! Some had rotted in battle field, food for vultures ; others had died of malaria in Greek hamlets, without one friend to close their eyes, or one hand to proffer the cooling draught to quench the dying thirst ;-two were missing—had perhaps been murdered by the peasants ;-and five only remained, greatly disheartened, cursing the nation, and their own individual folly.
Four of the five turned homewards.
Now there was a Greek, Achilles Metaxà by name, who had attached himself to Carl's fortunes. In person, he was the very model of an ancient hero. He had the capacious brow, the eye of fire, and the full black beard, descending in wavy curls to his chest.
The man was brave, too, for Carl and he had fought together.
It so happened, that they slept one night in a retired convent. Their hardships latterly had been great, and the complaints of Achilles had been unceasing in consequence. In the morning Carl rose, and found that his clothes and arms had vanished, and that his friend was absent also.
Carl remained long enough to satisfy himself, that his friend was the culprit ; and then turned towards the sea coast, determined at all hazards to leave Greece.
He succeeded in reaching Missolonghi, in the early part of 1823, shortly after the death of Marco Botzaris—being. then in a state of perfect destitution, and his mental sufferings greatly aggravated by the consciousness, that he had induced so many of his comrades to sacrifice their lives and prospects in an unworthy cause.
At Missolonghi, where Mavrocordato reigned supreme, he was grudged the paltry ration of a Suliote soldier, and might have died of starvation, had it not been for the timely interposition of a stranger. VOL. II.