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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 286

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is not one shower, that all the saline particles are left in the cake or crust which wo see. But I am not at all satisfied with this theory. Rain water cannot be supposed to be impregnated with snch a proportion of salt ; and I once observed that the water of the lake had risen since my last visit, although no rain had fallen during that interval. Others imagine there is a subterranean conduit, or communication with the sea : this hypothesis, however, seems to be contradicted by the simplest hydrostatieal principle; for if this was the case the hike or bason wonld, in spite of the exhalation, be kept as full and high as the surface of the Egyptian sea. It would therefore be more reasonable to suppose that the banks of the sea in this place are of such a porous quality as gently to imbibe the salt water, which may penetrate into the bason; the water of which, at its greatest height in winter, being nearly equal to the surface of the sea, this water may be distilled through these pores so slowly as not to supply the effect of the exhalation when the rays of the sun are most intense, so that what remains grows more and more salt. The difference of height in the water in the lake may be owing to clouds or a thickness in the medium, which impede the operation of the sun. The rain water which falls after the middle of ilarch maj- wash down from the surrounding lands those saline particles which have been left by the sea water which overflowed it in the winter. Nay, I have reason to believe the earth itself is impregnated with that mineral, the efflorescences of which appear in this spot, as well as in a great many other places. After all, this lake may be formed by a vast collection uf salt springs, like those that are found in Cheshire, aud other parts of England. A little further than this salt lake is a mosque called Hala Sultan Tekiye, whither the Moslem repair with great devotion, to offer up their prayers at the grave of Muhammad's grandmother, who, they believe, is here interred : though in what manner the good old lady was transported hither from Arabia, I have not yet been able to learn. Nor are the Greeks destitute of such another pious imposture. At Salines is a church dedicated to >S. Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by our Saviour, and afterwards interred in this place. The architecture is such as 1 never saw before; and now they can only show the precious hole in which his body was deposited. Tin's island abounds with a variety of noxious creatures. Tarantulas and serpents are common : of the last species the most deadly is the asp, the venom of which is said to be so deadly as to kill in less than an hour if the part is not instantly cut ont: in order to frighten away these, and other kinds of poisonous reptiles, the reapers, who are obliged to wear boots, always fix bells to their sickles. One serpent I saw in the fields was about two yards in length, of a blackish hue, with * sort of coronet npon its head, which it carried in a majestic manner, above a foot high, as it waved along. Locusts, which 1 have seen in incredible swarms, are so prejudicial to the farmers, as to destroy one third of the grain. I am now employed in making a collection of these exotic animals : but I am afraid I shall not be able to oblige my friends with any extraordinary trees, shrubs, plants, or flowers; for though I have made diligent enquiry 1 can hear of none worth preserving. ily female friends will undoubtedly expect that I should say something of the modern Cyprian ladies, as the ancient dames of this island were so remarkably distinguished. I shall only observe that even the Franc, or European, ladies dress in the Grecian mode, which is wantonly superb, though, in my opinion, not so agreeable as our own. Yet the ornaments of the head are graceful and noble; and when I have seen some pretty women of condition sitting upon a divan, this pari of their dress hath struck my imagination with the ideas of Helen, Andromache, and other beauties of antiquity, inspiring me with a distant awe, while the rest of their attire invited me to a nearer approach. 276 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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