This historical novel tells the story of what happened: their widows and orphans wandering about in cold and hunger—multitudes of orphans who had lost both parents, homeless, starving, hiding from the wild dogs in the streets: and every child might be safe and happy in the Mission houses if there were money to support them. The Turk respected the foreigner. In the height of the massacres, all who could crowd into Mission premises were safe under the American flag. And in those massacres, numbers of those who perished had their choice, and chose to die for Christ. Their orphan children were starving.
Miss Alcock started writing this book on July 29, 1897 with no characters, no plot, no scenery—nothing but the title, By Far Euphrates, and a vague idea of her hero—a young Englishman. A friend, Miss Mellinger, told her how the black Euphrates glows into gold at sunset. "The dark river turns to Light"—there was the motive for a martyr book; and among the host of soul-moving scenes and incidents related, the writer's practiced mind began to pick up the threads of a story.
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