Open main menu

Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/159

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

she flung out her hands toward the woman, who had fallen in a heap when the soldiers released her. “Mother,” the girl screamed, “kiss me—kiss me!”

The poor woman struggled to her feet and reached out her arms, but her eyes were hurt and she could not see. The girl begged the soldiers to carry her to her mother. “I will go—I will go, and be willing—but let me kiss my mother!” she cried. But the soldiers hurried her away.

The mother stood, leaning on those who crowded close to comfort her. Then, suddenly, she drooped and sank to the ground. When we bent over her she was dead. We sat by the body until the daughter came back—after the moon had crossed the sky, and it must have been midnight. The girl hid her face when she came near, until she could bury it in her mother’s shawl. She sat by the body until morning, when we took up our march again.

Every night such things happened.

Other parties along that road had fared the same. Sometimes I counted the bodies of exiles who had preceded us until I could count no longer. They lay at the roadside, where their guards had left them, for miles.

On the eleventh day we came to Shiro, the Turkish city where caravans for Damascus spend the night in a large khan and then turn southward. There are even more caravans now than there used to be, for