Open main menu

Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/242

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

The little slave led me to an apartment—a small room looking out upon tne inside court, with a divan. I asked her to leave the dress with me, that I might at least cover myself, but she said she could not do that without permission. When she had left me Nazim crossed the court from the selamlik and came at once to me.

He had the same gentleness as his father—and it hurt in the same way. He asked me to accept Mohammed that he might make me his “bride.” He told me my sufferings would be very hard to bear if I refused, but that I would have many luxuries if I consented.

I knew I could not escape. My thoughts went to my mother. I told Nazim that as long as my mother was an exile, doomed to die a wanderer, I could not speak of being a “bride.” I told him if he would save her, if he would bring her to me, I would ask her if she thought best that I sacrifice my religion in return for my life and safety—and if she would say it would be right, then, with her always near to comfort me, I would let my soul die that my body and hers might live.

“You will have to learn it is not the slave's privilege to bargain,” he said, as he strode away.

Hours went by, and I crouched on the divan—waiting. At every step I feared I was to be summoned again—this time for something I could only expect to be torture. At last a zaptieh who was one