Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/41

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WHEN THE PASHA CAME TO MY HOUSE

dogs are to be sent away; not a man, woman or child who denies Mohammed will be permitted to remain. When that time comes there is none to save you but me. Give me the girl Aurora, and I will take all your family under my protection until the crisis is past. Refuse and you know what you may expect!”

My father could not speak aloud. He was choked with fear and horror. My mother screamed. I begged mother to let me rush downstairs and give myself to the Pasha. I would do anything to save her and father and my little brothers and sisters. Then father found his voice, and we heard him saying to the Pasha:

“God’s will shall be done—and He would never will that my child should sacrifice herself to save us.”

My mother held me closer. “Your father has spoken—for you and us.”

Husein Pasha went away in anger, his escort marching stiffly behind. Scarcely had he disappeared than there was a great commotion in the streets. Crowds began to assemble at the corners. Men ran to our house to tell us news that had just been brought by a horseman who had ridden in wild haste from Harpout.

“They are massacring at Van; men, women and children are being hacked to pieces. The Kurds are stealing the girls!”

Van is the greatest city in Armenia. It was once the capital of the Vannic kingdom of Queen Semiramis