Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/238

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226
RAVISHED ARMENIA

knew him to be the servant of a rich man. From those of us who were left he selected three—and I was one of the three. While we stood near he bargained with Bekran. At last the terms were agreed upon. I was bought for one medjidieh—85 cents!

Outside was an araba. The other two girls and I were placed in this. We were taken outside the city, to a country house occupied by Djevdet Bey, Vali of Van, then commander of the Turkish army operating against the Russians.

We were taken at once to the haremlik, where there were a number of other young Armenian women. Before evening the kalfa, or head servant, came in to us and we were asked, one by one, if we were willing to become Mohammedans. The kalfa explained that only those could remain in the care and keeping of Djevdet Bey, the mighty man, and have the honor of his protection, who willingly adopted the creed of Islam.

Though he was cruel and, as his deeds show, the most unscrupulous of all the Turks, Djevdet Bey desired, it was made plain to us, to keep within the provisions of the fetva issued by Abdul Hamid and still in effect, which pretends to prohibit the enslaving of Armenian and other Christian girls unless they first become Mohammedans.

I did not know what the kalfa would do with me if I refused to accept the creed of Islam. I feared the