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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 458

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are forced to give sixty-five paras to the piastre, though the regular change in the island is only forty. They live accordingly in the greatest wretchedness. Their houses in the central parts of the island, near the seashore they are more generally of stone, are of mud, and consist of two small rooms, with mud floors, and ceilings of plaited rush work, plastered outside with mud, with one half of the floor raised above the other, and generally with no other furniture than a ricketty wooden bedstead. Their food is of coarse wheatbread and herbs, with, at rare intervals, an occasional home-fed chicken, and the wine of tho country, wliich, fortunately for them, is bought very cheap : the sharp-tasted red at from six to eight paras the oke. The mud floors contract such immoderate quantities of vermin, that it would be utterly impossible fur the inhabitants to sleep if their skins had not by long practice become as tough as that of a horse. Their misery is sometimes increased by a sort of locust, which at intervals overspreads the island, and destroys entirely every species of vegetation. As their taxes are not diminished when this calamity occurs, in these disastrous years they are forced to sell their small stock of furniture, and frequently every disposable thing they possess, to satisfy the rapacity of their unfeeling tyrants. The red wine of Cyprns being brought from the villages in skins tarred inside has so strong a taste of tar that I could not drink it. The common white wine is very good, and not very sweet. It does not fetch the price of commander» till after being kept two or three years. It is called Coinmanderia because the district in which it is made, lying between Limesole, Baffo and S. Croce, formed part of the Couiuwmiery of the Knights Templars. When α peasant marries he takes his wife with nothing else than a box containing the few clothes she may have, and he is thonght uncommonly fortunate if his father-in-law be able to give hiin with her a mule or a donkey. The consequences of this misery are such as might be expected. The peasant is sunk in a state of apathy and snllenness which a philanthropist cannot contemplate without horror. Being constantly forced to serve others gratis, Iiis pride is to refuse the slightest favour when not forced. With his wretched wooden plough, dragged by two half-starved oxen, he hardly scratches the ground, and his harvest might frequently be doubled by a willing labourer. In many of the mountains of the island are mines of iron, of which the usual signs are visible on their surface. The peasants know this, but will not speak of it, lest their avaricious masters should make them work gratis at extracting the ore. Tho Venetians made sugar and vitriol in Cyprus. At Paphos are considerable quantities of the uninflammable mineral amianthus or asbestos. All these advantages are rendered useless by the rapacity of the government, which, as usual, is hurtful to its own interests. The peasants of Cyprus have a curious superstition, which seems to have descended to them from the time of the ancient Egyptians, viz. they never eat Hesli of oxen, cows or calves, nor even drink cow's milk. They nourish them however to sell to the ships at the Scala. Independent of the fevers produced by its uncultivated land becoming marshy, Cyprus is unfortunate iu its situation. It suffers from the cold of Cara mania, from the hot sirocs of Syria, and from the plague of Egypt, which never fails to infect it when prevalent there. The transit commerce of Cyprns is considerable, owing to the numerous vessels that come from other ports of the Levant, and from Malta. But this is only within a few years : Signor Vondiziano tells ine that the average of the consular duties in Larnaca for the last four years has been 30,000 piastres, of which he takes two-sevenths, according to the rules of the Levant Company, to which he sends the rest Having somewhere read (I believe in the Quarterly Review of Mr Clarke's Greece) that the dress of the Greek women in Cyprus differs from all the others, and approaches 448 EXCERPTA CYPRIA.

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