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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 182

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low that one must stoop to mount two or three steps. They make their doors thus low so that Turks on horsebaek or an angry crowd may not enter. We landed and found on the beach a number of Turks who had come to see us. They all had in their turbans roses, violets and other flowers. After baring a good look at us they left on horseback with their Cadi, all carrying a sehnetar at their side, and a long dart or javelin in their hands : some had a bow and quiver, with an iron inace hung at their saddlebow, and in this array they paraded all the afternoon, managing their horses, as is their wont, with graceful dexterity. Then we walked about the village. There was nothing worthy of mark. About five years since an earthquake throw down all the houses, whieh have been rebuilt by the Turks after the fashion of pigsties. The poor Christians aro no better lodged than the Turks, or even worse. They have indeed built a little church fifteen feet high, where they say the mass of the Greek rite. You may see too the baths where the Turks bathe every day, and the sepulchres in which they are laid after they have descended to the Paradise prepared for them by their false prophet Mahomet. The sun was low in the west, and reminded us to return to supper and sleep on our vessel. I had dined with a Greek monk, a native of Cyprus, with whom I used often to talk on the ship—he spoke veiy good Italian, and was well disposed towards me—and begged hiin to take me to see what was most remarkable in the island. He agreed to do so, and we hired each an ass. The next morning early we landed, mounted our beasts and started, attended by a Janissary on horseback. Bnt first we had each a draught of good Cyprian wine, which in body, strength aud goodness surpasses malvoisie and other wines of the East, bnt it is so burning and corrosive that it should be drunk only in the morning, and then in small qnantity only. Even a little suffices to warm the stomach the day through, and yet the wine is extremely eheap. Beyond Limisso we crossed a beautiful plain full of olives, fig trees and notably carob trees. This is an evergreen tree, with a long fruit of delicious taste. There are also palms, orange and lemon trees, and some of a kind called cypress, which is used for fuel, the country producing only aromatic wood, whose smoke gives a strong scent. The peasants had already gathered in their wheat and barley. They sow, the monk told me, at the end of October, and reap generally in the following April. And so conversing together we arrived at the abbey of S. Nicolas. It is elose to the sea, and remains almost whole, having received no injury from the Turks when they took Cyprus from the Venetians in 1570. Bnt they slew or drove away the monks of S. Basil who occupied it, nor have they from that time forth allowed anyone to dwell there, so bitterly do they hate the Christian faith. My companion told ine that the said monks kept a number of eats on purpose to catch the snakes, whieh are found all about the plain in greater numbers than in any other part of the island. These snakes are black and white, at least seven feet long, and thick as a man's leg, so that J could scarcely believe that a eat could overcome so big a beast, or that they would have the patience to go to hunt them, and not to return until the bell rang for mid-day, and as soon as they had dined to resume their chase until evening, if it were not that the monk swore that he had seen it. His story was confirmed later by other persons of honour who had seen the same. The abbey is left deserted, and the eats are dead for want of food, but their memory lives in the name Cape delle Gatte, the Cape of Cats. Close to the abbey and the Cape is a large fishery, round, and nearly two leagues, or six Italian miles in circuit. There is one little entrance by which the sea-water and the fish enter. To take the fish they shut this entranee, and open it again to admit others. The Grand Signor gets six thousand ducats yearly from the farmers, who are obliged by ancient usage to give to the abbey all the fish 172 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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