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Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/158

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“Kah!” he grunted to his comrades. “This one will not do. She is no longer a maid!” They pushed her aside and sought further. But each girl they laid their hands on after that cried to them, “I, too, am not a virgin!” Each one was given a blow and thrust aside when she claimed to have been already shamed.

Soon the soldiers saw they were being cheated of the choicest prey. They turned upon some older women and seized three. One of them they forced to her knees and two of the soldiers held her head back between their hands until her face was turned to the stars. Another soldier pressed his thumbs upon her eyeballs, and said:

“If there be no virgin among you, then by Allah’s will this woman’s eyes come out!”

There was a cry of horror, then a shriek. A girl who must have been of my own age, and whom I had often noticed because her hair was so much lighter than that of nearly all Armenian girls, threw herself, screaming, upon the ground at the soldiers’ feet. Winding her hands about the legs of the soldier whose thumbs were pressing against the woman’s eyes, she cried:

“My mother! my mother! Spare her—here I am—I am still a maid!”

The soldiers seized the girl, guffawing loudly at the success of their plan. As they lifted her between them