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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 61

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from the extreme coarseness of their hands, they can! seldom be idle ; the men, on the contrary, are usually! good-looking, and are far more attentive to theirl personal appearance. Dali was an interesting spot to any agriculturist. The soil was exceedingly rich, as it had been formed.ij like all valleys in Cyprus, by the alluvium washed down from the surrounding hills; these were fromJ three to six hundred feet above the level of the! plain, and were composed of the usual hard speciesJ of chalk and gypsum ; thus the deposit from theirj denudation by rains supplied the chief constituents! for the growth of vines and cereals. There is a depressing absence of all recent improve-J ments in journeying through Cyprus ; even at Dali.l where the water from the river was used for irrigation,! and large farms in the occupation of the wealthy landowner, M. Richard Mattei, were successfully cultivated, I could not help remarking the total neglect1 of tree-planting. The ancient olive-groves still exist by the river's side, and, could they speak, those grand old trees would be historians of the glorious days oil Cyprus ; but there are no recent plantations, and the) natives explained the cause in the usual manner by attributing all wretchedness and popular apathy to< the oppression of the Turkish rule. This wholesale accusation must be received with caution ; there can be no doubt of the pre-existing misrule, but at the same time it is impossible to travel through Cyprus without the painful conviction that the modern Cypriote •is a reckless tree-destroyer, and that destruction is more natural to his character than the propagation of timber. There is no reason for the neglect of olive-planting, but I observed an absence of such cultivation which

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