Open main menu

Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/91

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
83
THE CRUEL SMILE OF KEMAL EFFENDI

feet were bare. For a long time I lay quietly, fearing to move lest I attract attention and suffer as some of the girls already were suffering. When I could look around I saw that among the girls were several whom I had known, and some I recognized as young married women. Some I knew were mothers who had left babies behind.

On the ground near me was quite a little girl, Maritza, whose mother had been killed by the zaptiehs just after we left Tchemesh-Gedzak. She had carried a baby brother in her arms during all the long walk of the first day on the road. She was weeping silently. I crawled over to her.

“When they picked me up I was holding little Marcar,” she sobbed. “The Kurds tore him out of my arms and threw him out on the ground. It killed him. I can't see anything else but his little body when it fell.”

It was several hours before Musa Bey came back. A party of Turks on horseback rode up with him. They came from the West where there were many little villages along the river banks, some of them the homes of rich Moslems.

When they dismounted, Musa Bey began to exhibit the girls he had stolen to the Turks. Some of the Turks, I could tell, were wealthy farmers. Others seemed to be rich beys or aghas (influential citizens). Musa Bey made us all stand up. Those who didn't