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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 408

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understanding nor understood. Although Arabic is tho sacred language of Islam, there are probably not ten persons in the island who can understand it. I took satisfactory observa-tions, and determined the latitude of Nicosia 35" 13' 14" N., and the longitude 31° 6' 30" E., of the Observatory of Paris. It is remarkable that the gesture of negation, that is to say the native way of marking dissent, is to toss up the head just as one might do in Europe to indicate contempt or derision, while here contempt is shown by pushing the tip of tho tongue between the lips, and saying •pfou, as though une were spitting. To express dissent by shaking the head is a thing unknown in Cyprus. CHAPTER VI. I left Nicosia at eight o'clock on the morning of April 3 for Cythera. Travelling in a N.E. direction I passed at nine o'clock a village called Diamiglia, and three quarters of an hour later 1 had reached my goal. The great plain of Nicosia stretches to the outskirts of Cythera which is surrounded by mounds of clayey soil. How a poetic imagination would warm up at the sight of these spots consecrated of old to the mother of Love I I had met at Limassol an English traveller, Mr liooke, who had visited Cythera, and told me that his fancy had filled up the blanks of tho real scene, so that he had pictured to himself as present the goddess surrounded by her court. My brain, little given to illusions, failed here to supply mo visions in contrast with what offered itself to my senses: the Graces, Nymphs and Loves would not lend their charm to the view of poor Cythera, which I can only compare to the most wretched hamlet of the Comté Yenaissin, or the Limagne of Auvergne. It is jnst a slip of country of irregular shape, with orchards and mulberry trees, about a league from X. to S. but quite narrow. The existence of the place depends on a spring to the N. which divides into two streams and pours abundant water into the end of a valley lying between hills of pure clay, which arc quite bare, and have never been more fertile than they are now. A few houses are scattered about this valley, and some mills which supply Nicosia with flour. The soil is not particularly good, but the scarcity of water in the island makes it necessary to turn to account all possible modes of irrigation, and the valley, wherever the water can reach it, is well cultivated. There are vegetable gardens, and many mulberry trees; these trees are not isolated or planted apart, a.s in Europe, but crowded together into a kind of thicket, not unlike a nursery. They remain small and slender, but it is supposed that they produce more leaves, and these can be picked by hand from the lowest to the highest branch of the shrub. At the present timo what Cythera can show is a wood of mulberry trees for silkworms, a few carobs, olives, fruit trees and vegetables, in the hollow of a valley which the scant circulation of air, the reflection from the day hills, and the neighbourhood of a range of volcanic mountains on the north must render in summer a truly infernal hole. The natives say this is not a hot season, but as man is everywhere a creature of habit I trust rather to what I deduce from the situation of a place than to what I hear from its inhabitants. In this journey my only companions were a servant and Doctor Brunoni who acted as my interpreter and cicerone. At the request of the Archbishop we were lodged in the house of the parish priest, a kiud worthy old man. 1 should have been glad to see some of the women, who enjoy a reputation for beauty; bnt neither in the streets nor in their honses could I find one passably good-looking. The doctor pretended that there are some really beautiful, but that they are the most dissolute wretches in the island, and that they give rise to numberless lawsuits, which are taken for 398 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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