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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 173

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little of the more monstrous horrors of life. I had taken pleasure in noticing the honest faces of the peasantry, and their frank smiles, when one exchanged greetings with them on the road. I had heard much of their readiness to offer hospi-tality or help to strangers, and of the firm but gentle pride with which they always refused any payment for it. I now learnt that in this island of Cyprus there was more crime, in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, than in any other known country in the world. I asked from what classes the criminals mostly came, in especial the murderers, and how the murders arose. From what I was told I derived a little comfort. In the towns the Turkish murders nearly always originate in some ordinary fit of sombre but sudden passion, and the Greek murders in some half-drunken brawl. A number of these last have taken place at weddings. Wine has flowed ; quarrelling has risen out of laughter ; knives have flashed, and in a second or two one knife has been red. In the country districts the cause has generally some connection with sheep-stealing, or disputes about boundaries. and water rights, or matters equally simple. I saw, however, that this explained a part of the case only. Blood was shed in ways that left darker stains than these. One father whose son had been sent to prison for stealing considered that the lad had brought disgrace on his family, and deliberately murdered him on the 170 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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