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CHAPTER IX


THE RAID ON THE MONASTERY


The women of the haremlik had retired, except the three who awaited our coming. These took us through a long, narrow corridor, lit only by a single lamp, to a separate wing of the house. Through a curtained doorway we entered a series of small stone-floored rooms, in which women were sleeping. At last we came to a wooden door, which one of the women opened, pushing us through. One of them lit a taper.

The room was barren, with not even a window. On the floor was a row of sleeping rugs, but there were neither cushions nor pillows. The women told us to remove our clothing, and took it from us as we obeyed. Without another word the women left us, taking the taper with them and locking the door.

Through the long night we waited—for what we did not know. We were afraid to sleep, even if we could.

We knew morning had come when we heard the faint call to prayer from some neighboring minaret. Soon the haremlik was astir. We trembled as we waited for the door to open.

It was a big negro who finally swung it wide, letting

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