They all looked at one another with perfectly blank faces, and all slowly shook their heads.
"'Nowadays it is not so strict,' said the odabashi, 'and all sorts of odds and sods get in, but when I was a little chap it was all by what we call the devshurmeh. It still is, but not so much, if you understand me. The tournaji-bashi goes round all the provinces where there are Christians, mostly Albania and Bosnia, the others being what you might call scum, and in each place he takes up a certain number of Christian boys, sometimes more, sometimes less, whatever their parents may say. And these boys are fetched away to a special barracks...and they are learnt to be Mussulmans and good soldiers. And when they have served their time as ajami, as we say, they are turned over to an orta of janissaries.'"