Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/33

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25
PROLOGUE

a conventional figure, passed without notice. When he turned from the window, after a moment, only a close observer could have detected in his face or manner that inexplainable, intangible something which, indelibly, marks a race cradled in oppression.

“What happened twenty years ago, my Vartabed, can never happen again. We Armenians have done nothing to rouse the anger of our over-lords, the Turks. On the contrary, we have proven our willingness to serve the state. Our young men have been called into this great war which is ravaging the world. Even though their sympathies are with the Sultan’s enemies, they have not shown it. They have freely given their lives in battle for a cause they hate, that the Turk may have no excuse to vent his wrath upon our people. Less than a week ago the Sultan’s minister, the powerful Enver, expressed his gratitude to us for the services we are rendering the Crescent. They dare not molest us again.”

“But the vision that came to me last night was the same that would have warned me that night in 1895 of the tragedy then in store for us.”

“This time, nevertheless, it was but an idle dream.”

The banker spoke with the finality of conviction. The shepherd was affronted by his calm disbelief in the sign of coming evil, as the shepherd considered it. The old man left the room and crossed the garden in high dudgeon. His hand was upon the gate, and in