Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/45

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37
WHEN THE PASHA CAME TO MY HOUSE

The principal men in the city waited on Husein Pasha to ask him if we were in danger. He told them their fears were groundless — that the trouble at Van was merely a riot. My father and mother clutched eagerly at this half promise of security, but Tuesday we knew we had been deceived. That morning Husein Pasha ordered the doors of the district jail opened, and the criminals — bandits and murderers — who were confined there, released and brought to his palace.

An hour later each one of these outlaws had been dressed in the uniform of the gendarmes, given a rifle, a bayonet and a long dagger and lined up in the public square to await orders. That is the Turkish way when there is bad work to do.

At noon officers of the gendarmes, or, as they are called, zaptiehs, rode through the city posting notices on the walls and fences at every street corner. My father had gone to Harpout early in the morning to confer with rich Armenian bankers there and to appeal direct to Ismail Bey, the Vali. Mother was too weak from worry to go to the corner and read the notices, so Lusanne and I went at once. The paper read:


ARMENIANS.

You are hereby commanded by His Excellency, Husein Pasha, to immediately go into your houses and remain within doors until it is the pleasure of His Excellency to again permit you to go about your affairs. All Armenians found upon the streets, at their places of business or otherwise absent