Open main menu

Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/182

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
172
RAVISHED ARMENIA

the door that opened into the rooms on the floor below us. We crowded into a corner and waited, trembling, too frightened even to pray.

The Tchetchens climbed the stone stairway. They were cursing their ill fortune at not having found us. One of them pushed in the door of the room in which we had gathered. The moon was shining through the windows and the bandits saw us. Then the spell of our silent fear was broken—we screamed. In an instant the Tchetchen band came pouring into the room.

They called terrible jests to each other. Arousiag and I were kneeling, with our arms around each other. A Tchetchen caught my hair in one hand and that of Arousiag in the other and dragged us down the stairway. The others were either dragged out in the same way or carried into the yard tossed across a Tchetchen’s shoulder.

About the steps of the chapel we saw the bodies of the monks. All had been driven out of the chapel into the moonlight and then killed. The Tchetchens dragged us outside the monastery gate. They then gathered up their horses and drove them into the yard, where they could be left for the night. Then the Tchetchens returned to us.

Each claimed the girl or girls he had captured and dragged through the yard. Those who were not satisfied with their prizes, in comparing their beauty with those who had fallen to the lot of others, quarreled.