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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 442

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half we rode over a high plain, covered with heath and thistles, and entirely uncultivated, having onr road now and then varied by a stony path lying between low heath hills. Our last two hours lay over low mountains of naked sandy-coloured earth, in part clothed with heath, and through valleys of rich soil utterly uncultivated, but full of heath, wild flowers and thistles. What little cultivation there was in the neighbourhood of a village, was only that of vines, with a very few olive trees, and there were scattered along onr road some few bushes of laurei. We passed three villages on the read, Kalon Khonrgon, S. Anna, and Psefgas. Through the latter lay the passage of a considerable mountain-stream, now dry, there having this year been very little rain in the months of April and May, fortunately for Cyprus, as its fevers proceed from the exhalations of the marshes filled by those rains. Owing to the want of rain, all the land (which, when I saw it in February, was quite given) is now burnt up by the sun. At eleven we reached Thecla, where I was heartily welcomed by Signor P. into the Greek convent, in which I found also the old deaf Greek priest, whom I saw at Signor P.'s house at the Marina, seven months ago, and all Signor P.'s family, wife, two sons and two daughters, dressed out in gala. This convent was built by S. Helena, but has been renewed aud repaired several times since its original construction. The country round Thecla was beautiful ; it was a valley full of olive, fig and mulberry trees, and laid out in gardens, through which ran a small mountain-stream, whose banks were everywhere covered with oleanders in flower. The mountains around of grey rock and earth, of different, and some of very lofty height, were well clothed with brushwood, and plentifully scattered with wild pines. This rural amphitheatre was crowded with Greek peasants, abont 1500, in their best clothes uf different colours, sitting to dine aud drink, playing on their maudolina (a sort of guitar), singing, and dancing. About 500 were gone to their houses this morning, of whom we met many on the road. One of these peasants had taken such ample and repeated draughts of raki (white brandy of the country) that it gave him an oppression whieh his friends round thought betokened death ; and by making him swallow η draught of warm water, winch greatly relieved him, I got the reputation of being a learned doctor. After dining at the convent and taking an hour's sleep, I set off with Signor P. and his family for the convent of S. Barbara, which was higher up the mountain, on the road to the summit of Santa Croce, the mount of Olympus. We reached it at a quarter past five, after just an hour's riding through a fine hilly read covered with wild pine bushes, tamarisk bushes, and brushwood, but very little cultivated, and that only in vines, of which there were but few fields. S. Barbara is a recently built convent, small, but beautifully situated at the foot of S. Croce, and surrounded by the richest, land, which the caloyers cultivate and layout in vineyards. 1 ascended the mountain immediately, being decided to return to Larnaca to-morrow morning. The road was steep and abounded in precipices, bnt wildly beautiful, being covered with pine bashes and brushwood j and the valley below, which, in the rainy season, is the bed of a stream, abounds in laurel nnd oleander: it produces, too, many wild herbs which in any other conntry would be of medical utility. 1 reached the top in three-quarters of an hour. On the snmmit stands a convent built with great solidity, thongh small, by S. Helena. Under it are subterraneous chambers, of which three have been opened and found to contain rich priestly habits; of these the Turks took possession ; there remains a fourth unopened, of which the priests conceal their knowledge till they shall find an opportunity of opening it unknown to their tyrants. The door of the convent is guarded by a portcullis; the chnrch is small and mean. I found it full of about 150 Greek peasants, who were bowing aud praying to a cloth on which was embroidered a cross. One of the women fell down in a fit, which she was in the habit of doing, and the foolish Greeks laid her down in the church before the picture of a saint, stuffed 4'Λ2 EXCERPTA CYPRIA

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