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170
RAVISHED ARMENIA

prayer she had made to Allah while under the eyes of the watchful harem women in the house of Hadji Ghafour, she was happy again.

For two weeks we were safe in the monastery. Then, suddenly, our peace was ended. One night, long after every one in the monastery had gone to sleep, we were awakened by a great shouting and pounding at the gates. From our windows we could look into the yard, but we could not see the gate itself. While we huddled together in fright we saw the little company of monks, hastily robed, led by their aged prior, carrying a lighted candle, move slowly across the yard. When they had passed out of our sight toward the gate the shouting suddenly stopped, and we heard voices demanding that the gate be opened.

I think the monks refused. The shouting began again, and we saw the monks retreating across the yard. An instant later a horde of strange figures, which we recognized as those of Tchetchens, or Circassian bandits, pushed across the yard to the monastery doors. When the monks refused to open the iron gates they had climbed the walls.

Tchetchens are even more cruel and wicked than the Kurds. They are constantly at war, either with the Kurds and Arabs, or the Turks themselves. During the massacres the Turks had propitiated them by giving them permission to prey upon the bands of Armenian exiles in their district and to steal as many Christian