« AnkstesnisTęsti »
impaired by continuous fevers, and with faces that have malaria written upon them. Winter, in spite of the inclemency, was thus the safest season for the work of excavation.
The cause of all this unwholesomeness, from which, it must be known, Greece is comparatively free, are the swamps, close to the village, running down to the sea. Up to the present, whether from want of actual means or of energy, the proper steps for draining these swamps have not been taken. It is interesting to know that more than two thousand years ago, during the flourishing period of ancient Eretria, there appeared to be similar difficulties, with which the ancients coped successfully. Some twenty years ago an inscription was found at Chalcis which recites that a certain Chairephanes proposes to the Eretrians to drain the marsh. He himself will bear all the expense, on condition that he is allowed to cultivate the reclaimed land for ten years at a rental of thirty talents, to be paid to the city. The work is to be completed in four years. The citizens are to swear in the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros that they will observe these terms, which terms and undertakings are to be inscribed and set up in the same temple. In case of war the ten years are to be lengthened by a period equivalent to its duration. Provisions follow for compensation to private persons whose land is taken, and for the making of a reservoir and sluices for irrigation. The concession is to be continued to his heirs in case of his death. Penalties are fixed for persons interfering with the execution of the work. Chairephanes, on his part, is also to furnish sureties for the execution of what he undertakes. The recital of the terms is followed by the decrees and oaths necessary to give effect to them, and then follows a long list of names, perhaps of persons who took the oaths. The date of this inscription has been settled as between the years 340 and 278 B. C.
But the knowledge of the difficulties with which the ancients had to contend did not lessen those which stood before us. I felt that the demarch-who has more or less absolute authority, acting as judge, and often as tyrant, in this district-was the only person who could help us, and I was astonished that he had not come down to the harbor to meet me. As a rule, the arrival of a stranger, especially one engaged in official work, is a matter of considerable excitement, and there is a formal reception by the local authorities, who act with most unbounded hospitality, and, if treated in the proper way, are of great service. I felt that our guide was not too eager to take us to the demarch, and it was only upon my emphatic demand that I was brought to his house. After the customary cup of coffee and spoonful of
jam had been offered us, I at once noticed the exceptional coldness of the demarch, who looked like a venerable and kindly man, and I realized that some mistake had been made. It was not long before I fathomed it, and further acquaintance with circumstances and personalities made it all clear.
I do not think there is any other country where political feeling, both local and central, runs so high as in Greece. This warmth of litical passion is still more intensified by the fact that, in the choice of all candidates in this representative government, the family and its relations of kinship form the essential guide. And when it is borne in mind that nearly all the offices, local and central, down to the postmen and the attendants at museums, depend upon the success of each party, and that the family will at once run to their own member of parliament to help them in releasing one of their kinsmen who has been convicted of a crime, it will be understood how, in a small community where there are no industries but precarious agriculture and fishing, the political differences permeate every nook and cranny of daily life. This fact the foreigner who would excavate in Greece must always bear in mind. In dealing with it he must, from the very outset, manifest kindness, fairness, and firmness; and he must succeed in impressing these three qualities upon the people with whom he is dealing, so that they at once feel and are drawn out by the kindness, gain absolute faith in the fairness, and learn to realize and depend upon the firmness. The excavations of a sister institution in Greece have on several occasions been retarded, and almost completely suspended, owing to the charge (of course, unjustified) brought by the local authorities against the excavators that in the choice of their workmen they had been partial to that one of the two political parties which was not then in power. To mend matters, they made a further mistake in agreeing to see that half the workmen were chosen by a representative of one party and half by a delegate from the other, which of course led to further quarrels.
Now it soon became clear that Mr. Fossum's host, who had proved so affable and kind to him, was the brother-in-law of the previous mayor, and was himself aspiring to the mayoralty, and that there was an intense feud between the mayor in power and the party of his predecessor. When the mayor had been partly roused out of his mistrust and sulkiness he confessed that if we desired help and workmen we should go to the others, who, he informed us, were using us to gain popularity among the inhabitants. The difficulty was increased by the fact that, so far as practical help was concerned,
the mayor's enemy, with his influence over the greater number of the workingmen, and the greater practical readiness which he had acquired abroad, could not be dispensed with. It was, then, our aim, while acquiring the friendship of both parties, to turn their animosity into rivalry as to who could help us the more. We brought both parties together, and made them a simple speech, in which we told them that we had not come from America to practise Greek politics, and could assure them that we had enough of that kind of thing in our own home; that we were friends of both parties, and came to confer a boon upon the place, as many years ago our fathers had actively helped the Greeks in their struggle for independence. I may say that an appeal to these memories always strikes on fertile soil among the Greek people. They can never forget the ship-loads of provisions and clothing that were sent from America during their war for independence. We further assured them that they would always find us fair, and that what we wanted were good workmen of whatever party. If they worked well they would be retained; if they worked badly they would be rejected. If they suspected our foremen of unfairness they could always appeal to us, where they would meet with justice; but that dig we would, and that without delay, and we counted upon their help, and felt sure they would not belie the hospitality for which they were noted. That evening Mr. Fossum dined and slept with the anti-mayor party, and I dined and slept with the mayor, who, after a frugal dinner, with an ample provision of resinated wine, waxed more and more cordial, and gave us reminiscences of his former life as captain of a brig. All his ancestors had been seamen, and his father's brig was the first Greek sailing vessel to enter an American harbor.
The next day we found our workmen, and even two horses with carts, and at once began our excavations at the theater, which have since proved so strikingly successful in disclosing remains that have a most important bearing upon the much-debated question of the arrangement of the Greek stage. The work having fairly started, I soon returned to the School business at Athens, leaving Mr. Fossum in charge. Nearly a fortnight elapsed before I was able to return to Eretria, and it was then that our hardships really reached their extreme point.
On this occasion I was joined by my colleague at the School, Professor Richardson of VOL. XLIV. 55.
Dartmouth College, and by Mr. Brownson of Yale University, one of the students of the School. We sailed out of the Peiræus on the evening of Wednesday, February 18. weather had been somewhat stormy during the day, but seemed fairly settled when we set sail. Now the voyage from the Peiræus to Chalcis usually occupies from nine to ten hours. Although, during the night, we had every reason to be aware of the inclemency of the weather, upon awaking early in the morning we expected to be very near Chalcis. But we were much astonished to find the vessel rolling and pitching in a very violent manner, which we knew was quite impossible in the sheltered Euripus. It was by no means pleasant to be informed that we had not got further than Cape Sunium,— a few miles from the Peiræus,-and that, in fact, we were then engaged in an apparently futile effort to round that point. It was blowing a hurricane, and we were trying to sail right in the teeth of the wind. Our captain seemed somewhat uneasy, and for the present was confining his ambition to an attempt at reaching the harbor of Laurium, which is only a few miles by rail from Athens, there to await better weather, as it was impossible for the ship to cope with such a storm. With full steam on, and with much puffing and staggering of the vessel, which was fairly seaworthy, we succeeded, at ten o'clock in the morning, in reaching the harbor of Laurium. But even in this harbor we were not completely sheltered from the storm. It was impossible to send a boat ashore, or in fact to have any communication with the mainland, and we lay there tossing about, with some English and other coaling vessels close to us, in constant danger
of drifting into one another by the dragging of anchors. The whole of that day and night and the next day we remained in the harbor, and I really believe that we would have remained there for another day and night if our provisions had not given out, and we had not all joined in urging the captain to make a bold attempt at weathering the point, which would bring us into the Euripus. At one o'clock in the morning of the third day we steamed out of the harbor, and in six or seven hours suc
DRAWN BY W. H. DRAKE.
ceeded in reaching the Euripus, landing at Chalcis in the rain and wind at about eleven o'clock in the forenoon.
With a number of boys and men carrying our baggage, we walked through the rain and mud to a small cook-shop, where we proceeded to take what we then considered a very sumptuous meal. We were eager to push on, and at once began to seek for horses in order to continue our journey to Eretria, but we were informed that the roads were thick with mud, and that the stream at Vasilico, half-way between Chalcis and Eretria, was so swollen by the rain and snow that to ford it would be impossible—in short, we met with flat refusals wherever we asked for horse, mule, or donkey. At last the owner of a carriage told us that he would take us as far as the river of Vasilico, and assured us that there he would find for us horses or a cart which could carry us across, and thence to Eretria.
Having made our bargain, and acceded to his unusually high demand, we started on our drive about two o'clock in the afternoon. All went well until, after an hour and a half, the coachman pulled up in the middle of a muddy field, and blandly informed us that we had arrived at our destination. I had noticed that as we were nearing this point he had asked a rapid question of a stray shepherd, or of a peasant lounging in front of his hut, and when I asked him where the horses were which would take us across the river, and where the river was, he told us that the river was some five hundred yards further on, and that we must see whether we could get horses or not; that he
had fulfilled his part of the contract, and had taken us to the river of Vasilico; that now he wished to be paid, and that we must clear out. This, after much wrangling and exciting talk on his part, ended in our meeting him with MacMahon's words, "J'y suis et j'y reste" ("Here I am and here I remain"). We refused to leave the carriage until he had provided the horses. The other alternative was that he should take us back to Chalcis and make proper arrangements the next day. He angrily gave in, but assured us that we should have to pay the same large sum for each journey. We told him that this would be decided by the magistrate of Chalcis, and so we all drove back in the rain and at once proceeded to the police station. With some difficulty the judge, who was smoking his narghile in the adjoining café, was found, and, coming into the dingy court-room, proceeded to make and to offer us some coffee. We then sent for the irate coachman, who appeared on the scene, and seated about a small brazier, with several lounging and interfering Greeks standing about us, the legal proceedings began. We mustered up our best Greek, throwing in here and there a touch of Demosthenes and Æschines, which, I fear, was lost upon the unclassical Greeks; and, after allowing the coachman to lay his charge before the court with much gesture and vehemence, we opened our case, turning the defense into an accusation. We claimed that, owing to the breach of contract in not providing, as had been promised, means for the continuance of our journey at Vasilico, we had lost our day, and had suffered much discomfort; had to defray the expenses of a night's lodging at Chalcis, and had caused our friends at Eretria considerable anxiety. We were therefore justified in claiming heavy damages from the false coachman, who had dealt with us not as a Greek but as a Turkish brigand. But, considering his youth, and recollecting the friendly relations which subsisted between the American republic and the kingdom of Greece, and swayed by the affection which we felt for the whole Greek people, especially the inhabitants of Euboea, we should not press our suit, and should only demand that on the next day we be put in a position to continue our journey. We were prepared not only to waive our claim that any money should be paid to us, but we might even give the handsome remuneration which we had promised to allow for one journey as covering the two. When we had finished, the judge gave a long pull at his pipe, blew the smoke through his nostrils, and declared that there was much justice in what we had said, but that he knew the lad (who was over thirty years of age) well; that he knew his father and mother, and that he was a good lad; that we
were good and distinguished foreigners; and that he felt sure we would not deal hardly by the poor man. We answered that we had felt sure, from the first moment of gazing into the countenance of the youth, that he was a good man, but that his goodness had for once forsaken him; that as he was young there was time for him to make amends for his faults; that we should not press him hard; and that, if he would fulfil his contract on the next day, we would, if satisfied with him, give him a handsome present in addition to the pay we had agreed upon for the first journey. By this time the whole party were in good humor, the coachman himself humbly begged our pardon for his too emphatic insistence upon what he had erroneously conceived to
mails for Eretria had not been forwarded for more than a week, and so we insisted upon carrying the mails with us, among which we afterward found several letters written by us more than a week before, and which our friends were anxiously awaiting. The judge, joined by the chief officers of the city, came to our aid, and that evening insisted upon showing us great attention in the chief café.
The next morning our coachman arrived in good time and good spirits, and, having loaded the mails, our packages, instruments, and a large demijohn of good Chalcis wine upon our vehicle, we again drove through the fertile Lelanthian plain to the scene of the wrangle on the previous day. We walked to the bank
WHITE LEKYTHOI, GREEK FUNERAL VASES, OF FIFTH CENTURY B. C., FOUND IN GREEK GRAVE AT ERETRIA.
be his rights, and they all wanted to take us to the nearest café and to stand us drinks. This we refused, and, having sent a telegram to the demarch of Eretria to meet us next noon by the river near Vasilico, we arranged to make an early start the next morning. At the post-office we ascertained that the
of the river (where the two large piers of a very fine bridge which had been waiting for two years for the iron girders that are to span the river, and to make the new road between Chalcis, Eretria, and Batheia practicable, were still gaping in imposing solidity, but affording no help to us), and shouted and
shouted for half an hour for the man with horses or carts whom we expected to be there from Eretria, but with no success. Our coachman then hunted about for horses on the near bank, and assured us that he would procure them; but after wasting another half-hour he succeeded in finding only one little white horse that looked like an over-grown dog, and we were left with Hobson's choice. The sturdy lad who owned the horse said he could take us and our luggage over one by one on this poor beast. Each one of the party taking as much as he could carry, we packed the remainder of our baggage on the horse, and proceeded along the slippery and muddy fields to that part of the river-bank where there was a chance of fording. But even in this short distance we were not free from accident. Every member of the party slipped and fell with his load, and at last the poor little white horse rolled over on its side (fortunately not upon the demijohn), and stuck fast in the mud. Unloading what he had on him, the lad caught him by the tail, and two of us got him by the head, and we literally lifted the poor beast out of the mud. But it was out of the question that, with the rapid stream, we could trust either ourselves or our baggage to the precarious legs of the poor animal; and we at last had to accept the proposal of our sturdy guide that he should take each one of us in turn on his shoulders and carry us across the stream. And this he did successfully, bold Christopher that he was.
Proceeding up to the village, we there found, staying with the doctor, the coachman of the demarch of Eretria, who had insisted upon sending his own horse and coachman and a European-looking wagonette to meet us. We left our luggage to be brought by a cart, and as the day was drawing to an end, and was growing more and more chilly, we all huddled together in the wagonette and drove along the muddy road to Eretria, which we reached in two hours. Mr. Fossum and the anti-mayor had walked some way out of the town to meet us, and in the town itself the mayor and nearly all the inhabitants came to give us a hearty greeting. Immediately upon returning from my first visit to Eretria, I had sent to Mr. Fossum our trusty cook and master of all trades, Nikolaki, who had accompanied us on two of our previous campaigns. He was a carpenter by trade, but was, as most Greeks are, an excellent cook, and in every way a man of many resources. He had brought with him wood and tools, a store of provisions, camp-beds, and all the necessaries we could think of; had taken in hand one of the deserted houses; had cleaned it thoroughly, repairing the fireplace, so that wood. could be burned therein, though it smoked vigorously; had constructed a long table and benches with the boards he had brought, and now stood grinning at the door of the hut, telling us he had prepared a vasilico geuma, a royal feast. We at once invited the mayor and his opponent, who stood scowling at each