Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/40

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32
RAVISHED ARMENIA

the Mutassarif. When this representative of the Sultan sees a pretty Armenian girl he would like to add to his harem there are many ways he may go about getting her. The way of Husein Pasha was to bluntly ask her father to sell or give her to him, with a veiled threat that if the father refused he would be persecuted. To make the sale of the girl legal and give the Mutassarif the right to make her his concubine it was necessary only for him to persuade or compel her to forswear Christ and become Mohammedan.

Three times Husein Pasha had asked my father to give me to him. Three times my father had defied his anger and refused. The Pasha was afraid to punish us, as my father was wealthy, and through his friendship with the British Consul at Harpout, Mr. Stevens, had obtained protection of the Vali, or Governor, of the Mamuret-ul-Aziz province. But now the British Consul was gone. The Vali was afraid of no one. And Husein Pasha could, I knew, do as he pleased. Instinctively I knew, too, that his visit to our house, with his escort of armed soldiers, meant that he had come again to ask for me.

I clung to my mother and Lusanne, with my two younger sisters holding onto my skirt, while we listened at the head of the stairs to my father and the governor talking. Husein was no longer asking for me—he was demanding. I heard him say: “Soon orders from Constantinople will arrive; you Christian