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Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/244

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“It shall be as Nazim Bey desires,” the zaptieh said. I did not understand—I clung to him and prayed to him. I tried to touch my mother, but the zaptieh kicked me to the ground. Then, suddenly, I knew why they waited. Nazim Bey had come out of the house. When I saw him I crept to his feet and begged him for mercy. “I will be Turkish—I will pray to Allah—I will obey—just to save my mother,” I cried to him.

“That is well—but you shall not only be a Moslem but you also shall be the daughter of a Moslem—that will be better still”— said Nazim. “What does the old woman say?”

A zaptieh jerked mother to her feet again. He lifted his whip. “The creed—quick!” he said to her.

“Mother, please—God will forgive you—father is in heaven and he will understand!” I cried to her.

Mother was too weak to speak aloud, but her lips moved in a whisper: “God of St. Gregory, Thy will be done!”

The zaptieh’s heavy whip descended. Mother sank to the ground. I tried to reach her, but the zaptiehs held me. I fought them, but they held me fast. Again and again the whip fell. Mardiros screamed and tried to save her with his weak little hands. Another zaptieh caught him by the arm and killed him with a single blow from his whip handle. When