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OLD VARTABED AND THE SHEPHERD’S CALL

recently into the hands of Bekran and were too downcast. When the hammal saw that we, who were late comers, did not eat, he said, “That is well. We will lose no time at the bath.” He then compelled us to cleanse ourselves as well as we could of the marks of our nights in the sand and in the donkey stable with water from a fountain in the courtyard.

Two men servants who came into the court while we were bathing joined the hammal. Together they made us stand in a long line. The girls who had been in the house when we arrived, saved us from the whips the hammal and his men carried by telling us what to do.

We were taken into a large room at the back of the house, barren of any furniture, save a pile of cushions on a rug in one corner. We were allowed to sit on the floor any place in the room, but in this corner where the cushions were. Before long Bekran Agha came in and sat on the cushions.

All morning purchasers came. As each one spoke to Bekran the porter would clap his hands and we were made to gather in a circle around the customer. Many girls were sold—but for only a few pennies apiece. There were too many in the market to demand large prices! When a girl was sold she remained until a servant came to take her away.

Late in the afternoon of the second day a customer to whom Bekran Agha paid great deference, entered the room. He was a servant, but from his clothes I