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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 60

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in the arrangement of the hair, but each head was tied up in a cloth, either white or some gaudy colour, which, once gay, had been sobered in its hues by dirt. In spite of this neglected exterior, the women had remarkably good manners ; they seldom approached my wife without presenting, with a graceful gesture, some , wild flowers, or a little bunch of sweet herbs, which they had purposely gathered, and we were quickly made rich in quantities of double narcissus, marigolds, and rosemary. Upon our arrival at a town or village the girls and boys would frequently run to their gardens and provide themselves with either a single flower, or rosemary, with which they would await us in the street and offer them as we passed by. Throughout Cyprus we have received similar wellmeant attention, and the simplicity and delicacy of the offering contrasts in an anomalous manner with the dirty habits and appearance of the people. Even Georgi's pretty wife was untidy about the hair, al , though she was in her best attire ; and a close inspection of all women and girls showed that their throats and breasts were literally covered with ancient and modern fleabites. Their dwellings are extremely filthy, and swarm with vermin, as the fowls, goats, or even a cow or two, generally increase the domestic party. It is well known that Paphos in Cyprus was the supposed birthplace of Venus, and that the island was at one time celebrated for the beauty of women and immorality : the change has been radical, as I believe no women are more chaste, and at the same time less attractive, than the Cypriotes of the present time. They are generally short and thickset ; they are hardly treated by the men, as they perform most of the rough work in cultivation of the ground, and,

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