Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/30

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22
PROLOGUE

one of them—perhaps one that is coming soon more than any other.”

The woman had no patience for the sententiousness of age, and the veiled threat of coming ill she put down for petulance. But her sharp reply fell upon unheeding ears. The shepherd crossed the garden without further parleys and entered the house.

The house of the Mardiganians was typical of the homes of the well-to-do Armenians of to-day. The wide doorway which opened from the garden was approached by handsome steps of white marble, and the spacious hall within was floored with large slabs of the same material. Outside, the house presented a rather gloomy appearance, because, perhaps, of the need of protection against the sometimes rigorous climate; inside there was every sign of luxury and opulence. The space of ground occupied was prodigious, as the rooms were terraced, one above the other, the roof of one being used as a dooryard garden for the one above.

In the large reception room, into which Old Vartabed strode, there was a great stone fireplace, with a low divan branching out on either side and running around three sides of the room. Beautiful tapestry covers of native manufacture, and silk cushions made by hand, covered this divan. Soft, thick rugs of tekke, which is a Persian and Kurdish weave built upon felt foundations, were strewn over the marble