Open main menu

Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/134

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
126
RAVISHED ARMENIA

time. Even those who were nude were compelled to stand in the line which faced his table.

The pasha and the bey looked at us brutally when we stood before them. That which happened to those who went to the audience with me, was what happened to all the others.

“His Majesty the Sultan, in his kindness of heart, wishes to be merciful to you, who represent the girlhood of treacherous Armenia,” said Boukhar-ed-Din-Shakir, while Kiamil looked at us silently. “You have been selected from many to receive the blessing of His Majesty’s pity. You are to be taken to the great cities of Islam, where you will be placed under imperial protection in schools to be established for you, and where you may learn of those things which it is well for you to know, and forget the teachings of unbelievers. You will be kindly treated and given in marriage as opportunity arises into good Moslem homes, where your behavior will be the only measure of your content.”

Those were his words, as truly as I can remember them. No girl answered him. We knew better than to put faith in Turkish promises, and we knew what even that promise implied—apostasy.

“Those of you who are willing to become Moslems will state their readiness,” the bey continued.

Though I cannot understand them, I cannot blame those who gave way now. The Pasha and the Bey