On Thursday, Hannah, the wife of one of our pastors, reached us aftergreat suffering and exposure. They lived in Nazi, and heard the report thatthe Russians were leaving. They couldn't believe it, but on Sunday afternoonKurds from the west came and began plundering. The people all fled to awalled village, because they thought they might be safer there and becauseour preacher there, Kasha Oner (Preacher Abner), had many friends amongthe Kurds, being a mountaineer. On Monday, a Kurd visited them, pretendingthat he had been sent by the Turks from the city, telling them they needhave no fear, as they would be protected ; but it became evident thathe was a spy. Afterwards a band of Kurds came, demanded the guns, and dranktea with the people; then others came and they began robbing and killing.The people gathered together like a flock of frightened sheep, and manywere slaughtered. The greater part of them got through the great gatewaywhile the Kurds were plundering, and that night they spent in the mountainswithout food or shelter and with very little covering. One of our girls,Katie, who had gone home on Friday for her Christmas vacation, was amongthem. She saw her mother murdered and had to leave her body lying by thegate as they ran. The next morning more than four hundred of them startedtowards the city, cold, hungry, exhausted; many, having lost their shoesin their flight, had frozen and bleeding feet. Hannah came here, her feetwere dressed, and she is lying comfortably on a mattress on Miss Lamme'sfloor. Her husband and daughter were already here. The rest of the partywere taken in at our College compound, two miles west of the city.
Several families from Degala are camped in our parlour, and the nightbefore last Victoria, one of the women, came to me and said an old womanhad just come in who didn't seem able to answer anything she asked her.I found her crouched in a corner of the hall. She said she was so cold.At first she couldn't eat, but after drinking some tea she improved. Wehad absolutely no place but a stone floor for her ; but we took upa carpet from my bedroom, rolled her up in it in the upper hallway, andshe went to sleep. She was the janitress of our church in Barbaroud , fifteenmiles to the south. The Kurds did their worst there several days ago, andshe had escaped, barefooted, almost naked, and without food. She died aday or two later.
Mr. Allen returned last evening from his journey to the villages of theNazlu river. Several thousand fled towards Russia ; many have hiddenwith Moslems, who are now trying to force them to become Mohammedans andto give their girls in marriage to Moslems. In Ada perhaps as many as ahundred were killed, most of them young men. It is told that they were stoodup in line, one behind another, by the Kurds, to see how many one bulletwould kill. I went down to see the woman in the room under mine who hadreceived word of the killing of her brother in Karadjalu. Everywhere thereis wailing and sadness, and her lamentation for her dead brother is thewail of thousands of hearts :--
Lucy, daughter of Kasha (preacher) David of Ardishai, came in yesterdaywith her baby from Gulpashan, where they had been refugees for some time,living in terror of Kurds by day and night. They also feared the Moslemneighbours and the Turkish guards sent in to protect the village. Her ownvillage was Tehargousha. In terror the people fled to the roofs as the villagewas surrounded by Kurds, and there was no avenue of escape. The Kurds cameup on to the roofs and commanded the people to go down. Lucy, with one Kurdbelow her on the ladder and two above her, her baby on her back, got down.In the yard she saw her younger sister, Sherin, a pretty girl of about fifteen,being dragged away by a Kurd. She was imploring Lucy to save her, but Lucywas helpless. When she was telling me this with tears and sobs, she said:"Every night, when I try to sleep, I hear her entreaties, 'Oh, Lucy,I'll be your sacrifice. Save me, Lucy !' I called to her, 'Pull yourhead-kerchief over your face ; don't look into their faces.' She triedto conceal her face, and daubed it with mud, but she has such beautifuldark eyes and rosy cheeks! The Kurds grabbed the young women and girls,peering into their faces, till each one found a pretty one; for himself,then dragged her away. If they had only killed my sister we could say, 'Sheis dead, like many another---it is finished'; but that she should be inthe hands of a Kurd---we cannot bear, it ! " Some of these captiveshave been recovered, but there is no word of Sherin.
There are a great many people who have been accustomed to good livingheretofore, but for months have had no cooked food, so I invited a numberof these to dinner on Wednesday. We had a meat stew, bread, cheese, picklesand tea, all they could eat. There were thirty-five for dinner, and twentyfor supper. There was enough left over to feed fifty or more poor and sickones outside. The whole thing cost about four dollars and fed a hundredpeople. We spread long cloths on the parlour floor and ate with wooden spoonsfrom enamel plates borrowed for the occasion from the school. The matronand school-girls did the cooking and serving.
On Wednesday night, a still more horrible deed was committed at Gulpashan.This village and Iriawa had been shielded, partly through the efforts ofa German; but on Wednesday night a band of Persian volunteers, arrivingfrom Salmas or beyond, went there, took fifty men, and, according to reports,shot them in the graveyard near by. They then plundered the village, tookgirls and young women, outraged them, and acted in general as one mightexpect Satan to do when turned loose.
There was a great deal of anxiety lest something should happen here ;but we woke on Sunday morning in safety and saw a rainbow in the northernsky, though there was no rain. The reports of Mr. Allen from Gulpashan weretoo black to be written. The soldiers sent out by the Consul to protectthe villages against Kurds and Moslem looters left unviolated hardly a womanor girl of those remaining in the village, and a number of girls were carriedoff. It seemed quite apparent that they understood that the whole businessof protecting was to be a farce. When on Sunday morning Mr. Allen returnedand wanted to bring people with him, he was not permitted. Those who hadbeen murdered in the cemetery a few nights previously had been buried undera few inches of earth, and when he wanted to have them uncovered to identifythem and bury them deeper, he was refused. The soldiers had made them allsit down on the ground and then shot at them. They then looked them over,and any who were found to be breathing were shot the second time. The onlyreason for all this was that they bore the name of "Christian."What has the Christian world to say ?
Mrs. Cochran has typhoid, but so far in a light form. Mrs. Coan and MissCoan are taking on her work as best they can, and caring for her too, withthe help of the Syrian nurse, Miss George. Dr. Packard has been in bed twoor three days, but we do not know if it is typhoid or not. Mr. Allen wentto Gulpashan with permission from the Turkish Consul, to bury those whohad been murdered. He found fifty bodies. When he came back, a crowd ofsixty-four, mostly women and girls, came with him. Our yards and rooms,including the church, are crowded again, but with cleaner people. Most ofthe mountaineers are out. Two families of mountaineers who are friendlywith the Kurds started out yesterday for their homes. It is spring now,and time for ploughing and sowing, and unless the people can soon get totheir villages there will be a dearth of wheat and other grain next year.There are repeated reports of the approach of the Russian army, and someGermans here have said that they were soon expecting to go on a journey.If the Turks should have to flee, there is no telling what they might dobefore going ; but we do not dare to let our hopes of deliverance rise,for it makes the long wait harder.
A few days ago the ex-Turkish Consul sent word that if there were anygirls held captive that we wanted to get, he would find them for us. Thatlooks as if there had been a quarrel---or perhaps it is a trick to tripus into being unwise. It takes the wisdom of the serpent as well as thesimplicity of the dove!
This morning, a little after five, we were aroused by shouts and a commotionnear by. The askars with their officers had entered the English missionyard by climbing a ladder from the street over the wall into the yard ofa Mr. -------, who is a Syrian, but an English subject. The watchman gavethe alarm, and Mr. Müller and Mr. Allen were soon on the spot. Of coursethey couldn't do anything but reassure the women. Eight or ten men werearrested and taken away, probably to be held for ransom. That property hasbeen connected with ours from the .beginning of these troubles, and theAmerican flag has been over the entrance. Mr. Allen said to the officer:"You don't intend to respect the American flag ? " He replied :"The Turkish flag is also there." (It is under the American flag.)This makes one feel doubtful for the safety of our own yards. It is wonderfulhow quiet these thousands of people can keep while such things are goingon. A number of women and girls sleep in the parlour adjoining my room,and I opened the door and told them not to leave the room. They said: "No,we are only dressing" ; but it was evident that they were tremblingwith fear; and this is the state we have lived in for eleven weeks. 2b1af7f3a8