Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/32

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24
PROLOGUE

Here the shepherd hesitated. He had spoken fast, and was nearly breathless. His employer had listened with the consideration due one so old, and so faithful, but not without a trace of amusement in his immobile face.

“It is a pity, Vartabed, your sleep was restless. This morning, of all others, you should be joyful. Tell me what it was you remembered at dawn, and then dismiss it from your mind.”

“Some things, Master, neither you nor I can dismiss from our minds. I remembered that once before our Saint appeared to me in my sleep with a warning of danger. I gave no attention then, for I was younger, and thoughtless. Those, also, were joyous times in Armenia, for there was peace and prosperity. But that very day the holocaust came out of the north; for that was twenty years ago.”

Now, the other man started. He was shaken by a convulsive shudder, and his face blanched. Twenty years ago—that was when a hundred thousand of his people were massacred by Abdul Hamid! Without a word he walked to a window, separated the curtains and looked out upon the house garden.

The banker, Mardiganian, was a true type of the successful, modern Armenian business man. He did not often smile, but his voice was kind, and his eyes were gentle. In the Easter morning promenades in any avenue in Europe or America he would have been