Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/50

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42 RAVISHED ARMENIA

the men who had been gathered that new word had come from Constantinople that the Armenians were not loyal to Turkey, and that they had been plotting to help the Allies. He demanded that the prisoners tell him what they knew of such plots. Every one of them assured him there had been no such plotting, that the Armenians wanted only to live in peace with their Turkish neighbors, obey the Sultan and do him whatever service was demanded of them. Husein seemed at last convinced and went away, saying the men could all return to their homes in the morning.

While the prisoners were congratulating each other upon their promised release, and hoping there might be some way to get word to their families in the meantime, gendarmes appeared and drove the men into one corner of the courtyard. While the others were held back by the levelled guns and bayonets one prisoner at a time was pulled into a ring of soldiers and ordered to confess that he had been conspiring against the Sultan.

As each one denied the accusation and declared he would confess to nothing, he was stripped of his clothes and the gendarmes fell to beating him on his naked back with leather thongs. As fast as the men fainted from the lashing they were thrown to one side until they revived, when they were beaten again, until all the soldiers had taken turns with the thongs and were tired. Eight of the older men died under the