Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/176

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

in Malatia. Many Armenian girls had found safety there, the Derder had said, as the Fathers in the monastery had not been molested, and their refuge was far off the track of the companies of deported Christians. Many years ago, the Derder told Arousiag, the monastery Fathers had saved the life of a famous chieftain, and there were legends about it which kept the Kurds from attacking the monastery. For some reasons the Turks had not molested it, either.

Arousiag confided to me that she had often planned to escape from the house and try to go alone to the monastery. There, she was sure, there would be safety—for a time at least. But each time her courage deserted her. Now she was willing to make the effort, since I, too, would rather risk everything than remain a victim of Hadji Ghafour.

The windows of the sleeping apartments were high, and were not barred, as they opened only into a courtyard. Arousiag knew of a passageway from the courtyard into the divan-khane, or reception chamber, which opened onto the street. Often the servants of the haremlik went into the street through this passageway.

A night came when Hadji Ghafour sent early for the girl he desired. It was long before the haremlik’s retiring hour. Arousiag and I slipped away and let ourselves down from a window into the courtyard. We hurried through the divan-khane and into the streets. We had veiled ourselves, and, with Turkish