#30: Casualties of war (1919)

Some hundreds of unhappy Armenians who had registered as Moslems on invitation of the Turkish officials to save their lives, or often more truly to save the life and the honor of a wife or daughter, were issued fresh citizenship papers restoring their Christian names and nationality. Numbers of Armenian women and girls also were released from Moslem *harems* in accordance with the terms of the Armistice. With the gradual subsistence of warfare between Russia and Turkey, the College and Mission plant had been changed from a vast hospital with patients up to the number of 4,000 to a vast orphanage with real human children up to the number of 2,500, of which Miss Willard was given chief charge when American control was restored April 2nd. Dr. Pye took in hand the renovation of such parts of the plant and grounds as could be recovered from their use and abuse, their degeneracy and decay. The old main building, rambling and extensive, was almost beyond repair, and was ultimately torn down, as were some other smaller structures. In due season Dr. Marden came into his own, in rights and in service, at the Hospital, which had been commandeered and occupied by Turkish soldiers early in the war. The dawn of a new day was surely breaking after the dreary night of dreadful war. When my wife and I were given release from Constantinople to rejoin our associates old and new in Merzifon and re-enter our home, I asked some of my Turkish friends how many of the 3,800 men who marched away as the first levy of soldiers on the outbreak of the war, had come back, and the answer was,--six! Now at last the war was over! But was it? Probably this figure was not mathematically exact but it was certainly suggestive. And Turkey was still at war!


Another day there came to my office a young woman whose face was somewhat familiar. She had been one of the girls in our School before the war. She reminded me of herself and of members of her family whom I knew quite well, then told how she had been "taken" by one of the Mohammedans of the city to his home where she had lived as his wife. She had a child a few months old whom she loved as did the father; the husband and father was very anxious that she should remain. In general his treatment was kindly within the means at his disposal, yet she was a Christian with all that that meant in all the outlook of life and she could not bear to remain in those surroundings. So she said simply, "When he was not at home I put my baby to sleep, and I closed the door, and I came away. Will you admit me?" Mars was still driving the chariot.

NEXT: Starting again (1919)