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Cyprus, as I Saw it in 1879 by Sir Samuel W. Baker

Part 4 out of 7

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Even from this elevated point of view Morphu looked a long way off. The
sleepy Iiani was sufficiently wide awake to steer for his wife, and we
had made a long march already. I doubted the possibility of the loaded
camels ascending the steep slope, which had severely tried our mules,
and I felt sure that liani's old camel would either knock up or tumble
down with his load, should he attempt the ascent. It was of no use to
reflect, and as Morphu lay before us in the now barren and sun-smitten
plain, we touched our animals with the spur and pressed on. Descending
for some miles, we passed a garden of olives, that must have been
upwards of a thousand years old, upon our right; and still inclining
downwards, through ground cultivated with cereals completely withered by
the drought, we at length arrived at the broad but perfectly dry bed of
the river. Crossing this, we steered for a grove of ancient olive-trees,
which I at once selected for a camping-place, on the outskirts of the
town. We were now twenty-three miles from Lapithus, and I felt sure that
our baggage animals would not arrive till nightfall.

As we sat beneath one of these grand old olive-trees alone, Iiani having
taken his mules to his home, and probably at the same time having
advertised our arrival, throngs of women and children approached to
salaam and to stare. I always travelled with binocular glasses slung
across my back, and these were admirable stare-repellers; it was only
necessary to direct them upon the curious crowd, and the most prominent
individuals acknowledged their power by first looking shy and conscious,
and then confusedly laughing and retreating to the rear.

We had arrived at 2.20 P.M., and we waited beneath the olive-trees until
8 P.M., when the advance camels at length came in after dark. It was
9.30 before the tents were pitched and the camp arranged. The great
delay had been occasioned by Iiani's old camel, which had, as I had
expected, rolled down the steep bill with its load, and having nearly
killed itself, had mortally wounded the sacred copper kettle, which
every traveller knows is one of his Penates, or household gods, to
which he clings with reverence and affection. This beautiful object had
lost its plump and well-rounded figure, and had been crushed into a
museum-shaped antiquity that would have puzzled the most experienced
archaeologist. Metal water-jugs upon which the camel had rolled had
been reduced to the shape of soup-plates, and a general destruction of
indispensable utensils had inflicted a loss more than equal to the value
of Iiani's animal.

The following morning (12th April) exhibited the extraordinary change of
climate between the northern and southern sides of the Carpas
mountain-range. The average temperature of the week had been at 7 A.M.
57.5 degrees F, 3 P.M. 66.5 degrees. At Morphu the thermometer at 7 A.M.
showed 62 degrees, and at 3 P.M. 83 degrees! It was precisely the same
on the following day.

It was a distressing contrast to the beautiful Kyrenia and the
interesting north coast to have exchanged the green trees and rippling
streams for the arid and desolate aspect of the Messaria. The town of
Morphu has no special interest; like all others, it consists of houses
constructed of sun-baked bricks of clay and broken straw, with
flat-topped roofs of the same materials. There are fruitful gardens
irrigated by water-wheels, and formerly the extremely rich sandy loam of
the valley produced madder-roots of excellent quality, which added
materially to the value of the land. This industry having been
completely eclipsed by the alizarine dye, Morphu has to depend upon silk
and cereals for its agricultural wealth. The population is composed
almost entirely of Greeks. There is a monastery and a large school.

I rode to the bay, about four miles and a half distant, passing many
villages, which, as we neared the sea, were in the midst of magnificent
crops of barley and wheat, resulting from artificial irrigation by the
water that percolates beneath the sandy bed of the dry river at a
certain level, which has been led into numerous channels before it can
reach the natural exit at its mouth. It must be exceedingly unhealthy,
as, for several square miles upon the sea margin, the country is an
expanse of marsh and bulrushes, abounding with snipe during the winter
months. On 13th April I walked over the greater portion of this locality
with my three spaniels, but the snipe had departed, and we did not move
a bird.

On the right side of Morphu Bay to the east, by Kormachiti, there are
extensive sand-dunes, forming deep drifts, which extend for several
miles inland at the foot of the hill-range that we had descended. These
exhibit the prevailing wind (north). Many people upon observing
sand-dunes attribute the most distant limit of the sand to the extreme
violence of the wind; but this is not the case. It is the steady
prevalence of moderately strong winds that causes the extension of
sand-drifts. The wind of to-day deposits the sand at a certain distance
from the shore. The wind to-morrow starts the accumulated sand from that
depot to form a new deposit about equidistant; and thus by slow degrees
the dunes are formed by a succession of mounds, conveyed onwards by an
unchanging force; but the maximum power of a gale would be unable to
carry thousands of tons of heavy sand to form a hill-range at the
extreme distance from the original base of the material. At Hambantotte,
in the southern district of Ceylon, there is an extraordinary example of
this action, where during one monsoon a range of mounds is formed which
might be termed hills; when the monsoon changes, these by degrees
disappear, and, according to the alteration in the wind, a range of
hills is formed in an exactly opposite direction.

I was glad to escape from Morphu; the wind from the dry plain was hot,
and brought clouds of dust. We were surrounded by throngs of people
during the day, many of whom were blind, including young children. The
13th April was the Greek Easter Sunday, and we could not start, as Iiani
declared that the mules had run away during the night, and could not be
found; we knew this was only an excuse for remaining at Morphu, and he
at length confessed that the mules were caught, and we could start in
the afternoon if I would allow him to wait until he should have received
the sacrament together with his wife. Having thus brought the
theological and the domestic guns to concentrate their fire upon me, I
was obliged to yield, and liani appeared in such a jovial frame of mind
in the afternoon, and smelt so strongly of spirits, that I suspected his
devotions had been made at the raki-shop instead of the altar.

On 14th April we started, and were thankful to leave Morphu. The route
lay across the plain westward, and in some parts we rode along the sea
margin, eagerly hurrying our animals to turn the corner of the hills and
escape from the hot and dreary plain. The breeze was northerly, and a
heavy surf broke upon the coast, exhibiting the exposed position of
Morphu Bay from north to west. On the eastern side the beach is sandy
and the water deepens rapidly, affording good and safe anchorage near
the shore; but should the wind change suddenly to west or north, the
position would be dangerous. The bay is the most striking of all the
numerous indentations on the shores of Cyprus. The bold points of Cape
Kormachiti and Cape Kokkino form the chord of an arc twenty-one miles in
length, from the centre of which the bay enters the land about eleven
miles. It would be impossible to land from boats even during a moderate
breeze from the west to north without considerable danger; but I can see
no difficulty in arranging a floating breakwater that would afford
shelter for small vessels and add materially to the importance of the
roadstead. These are the necessary improvements which require an outlay,
and unfortunately under the existing conditions of our occupation the
revenue that would be available for public works is transferred to the
treasury of Constantinople; thus the Turk still hampers progress, as he
governs Cyprus in the uniform of the British official. We rounded the
base of the hills, which rose rapidly from the shore, and crossed
several small streams thickly fringed with tamarisk, that would be
impassable during sudden storms of the rainy season. Several villages
were distinguished by their bright green appearance among the hills,
which denoted the existence of springs or rivulets, and as we proceeded
we observed that all crops in the low ground had benefited by artificial

After a ride of two hours and a half we arrived at Caravastasi, and
halted in a very stony field at the back of the village, beneath an old
caroub-tree that had grown thick and shady by the merciless hacking of
its taller boughs, which had reduced it to a pollard. The village of
Caravastasi consists only of eight or ten houses, but is rendered
important by a Custom-house. It is situated on the most inland point of
Morphu Bay, and is slightly sheltered on the west by a promontory, which
forms a neat little cove for the protection of small vessels; but it is
completely open due north. Nothing would be easier than to construct a
small harbour, by extending a pier or breakwater from the end of the
promontory in the required direction; and the present unimportant
village would become only second in importance to Kyrenia.

The positions of ancient sea-port ruins attest the value that attached
to certain geographical points in former days, and although the vessels
of those periods may have been much inferior to ships of modern times,
they were sufficiently large for the commerce of the country and for the
capabilities of the harbours. The trade of Cyprus will always be carried
by vessels from twenty to one hundred and fifty tons, and there should
be no difficulty in providing shelter for ships of this small draught of
water. The ruins of Soli, on the west of the present village of
Caravastasi, prove that the Athenians, who founded the original city,
were thoroughly cognizant of the value of a position which is the only
spot upon the whole northern coast of Cyprus that will afford shelter or
a landing-place, excepting the harbour of Kyrenia. In the early period
of Cyprian history Soli represented one of the independent kingdoms when
the island was divided into ten, Amathus, Cerinea (Kyrenia), Citium,
Chytri, Curium, Lapithas, Marium, Nea-Paphos, Salamis, and Soli. The
Phoenicians, from their own southern position, naturally selected the
ports most convenient for their trade, and accordingly settled on the
south coast of Cyprus, their chief towns being Amathus, Citium, and
Paphos; these were important commercial ports at a time when Cyprus was
in its zenith of prosperity, and were sufficient for the requirements of
the period. If the British occupation is intended to be permanent it
will be highly necessary to determine the classes of harbours that
should be provided, as it would be a useless extravagance to expend
large sums upon the construction of ports beyond the necessities of the
trade. As I have already expressed an opinion that the commerce of
Cyprus will be represented by vessels of moderate tonnage, the necessary
protection for such vessels may be obtained at an equally moderate
outlay, and both Soli and Kyrenia may be made available as safe harbours
for all traders upon the northern coast. Famagousta would become the
arsenal and dockyard for ships of war; Larnaca and Limasol would be safe
roadsteads for all classes, and could easily be arranged to protect
small trading-vessels; while Baffo would, like Kyrenia and Soli, be
restored to its original position. All rudimentary harbour-works would
be planned with a view to future extension, as might be rendered
necessary by the development of trade.

Colonel White, 1st Royal Scots, who had been appointed chief
commissioner of the Lefkosia district from his former similar position
at Larnaca, arrived at Caravastasi upon the same day as ourselves. This
very painstaking and energetic officer was exploring his district and
investigating all the nooks and corners of the mountainous frontier
which bounded his authority; he was accordingly assailed with complaints
and lamentations concerning the endless water disputes among the
villages; those of the lower ground declaring that the streams to which
they were entitled by the rights of centuries had been diverted to other
channels, that the Turkish authorities had been bribed by the opposing
litigants; with the usual long list of grievances, the discussion of
which I shall defer to a special chapter upon "Irrigation."



Our tent was pitched upon rising ground, which formed the direct slope
from the sea, a quarter of a mile distant, to the mountain-top about
1500 or 2000 feet above us; the insignificant village of Caravastasi was
upon the sea-beach in our immediate front.

From our commanding position I had observed a peculiar mound with a
cliff-face half a mile to the west, which exhibited the unusual colour
of a bright lemon yellow in close conjunction with red of various
shades. Upon crossing numerous fields of barley, which the reapers had
just attacked (14th April), I descended a ravine at the foot of this
peculiar formation, which I carefully examined.

Since we had crossed the plain of Morphu and quitted the compact
limestone of the Carpas range we had entered upon an interesting
geological change. Eruptive rocks had burst through the marls and
calcareous sedimentary limestone of the coast and had produced very
curious examples of metamorphous rocks, where the marls and limestone
had been in immediate contact with the plutonic. The cliff above me was
about fifty feet high, as I stood at its base within a shallow gorge
that formed a brook during the rainy season.

The bottom upon which I stood was a mass of debris of bright colours,
varying from pure white to different shades of yellow and red. This
material appeared to have fallen recently, as the blocks did not exhibit
the dull exterior that would have resulted from atmospherical exposure.
I climbed up the steep face of crumbled matter with some difficulty, as
the sharply inclined surface descended with me, emitting a peculiar
metallic clink like masses of broken porcelain. On arrival at the top I
remarked that only a few inches of vegetable mould covered a stratum of
white marl about a foot thick, and this had been pierced in many places
by the heat that had fused the marl and converted it into a clinker or
sharply-edged white slag, mixed with an ochreous yellow and bright red.
I had never met with anything like this singular example of igneous
action upon marls. In the neighbourhood there were considerable masses
of the same clinker-like material exhibiting a honeycombed appearance,
that would have been well adapted for millstones. The natives informed
me that all the millstones of the northern coast were imported from
Athens. I had heard while at Kythrea that the stones for the very
numerous mills of that neighbourhood were supplied from Alexandretta,
and that none of native origin were employed. There can be no doubt that
some of the specimens I examined of this material combined the
requirements of extreme hardness, porosity, and sharpness of interior
edges around the honeycombed cavities. I walked over the mountain, and
quickly lost the marl in masses of plutonic rocks that had been upheaved
and entirely occupied the surface. Although vast blocks lay heaped in
the wildest confusion, they exhibited the peculiar characteristics of
all Cyprian rocks (excepting the calcareous limestone) in their utter
want of compactness. I have never seen in Cyprus any hard rock (except
jurassic limestone), whether gneiss, syenite, or others, that would
yield an unblemished stone to the mason's chisel of ten feet in length
by a square of two feet. This peculiarity is not the result of decay,
but the entire mass has been fractured by volcanic disturbance and by
the rapid cooling of molten matter upheaved from beneath the sea.

Red jasper is abundant in this locality, and is generally found in small
pieces embedded in the marls. I discovered a very compact specimen
weighing about 200 lbs., which I left at a house in Caravastasi until I
might have an opportunity of conveying it to Larnaca. Upon crossing the
mountain I arrived at a charming valley among the hills at an elevation
of about 1200 feet above the sea, at the narrow entrance of which,
between the sides of the gorge, was a Turkish village. I was quickly
observed, and being quite alone, with the exception of my dogs, a
Turkish woman, to whom I made a salaam, ran into a neighbouring house
and sent her husband with a chair, that I might sit beneath an
almond-tree. A few Turks gathered round me and insisted with much
politeness that I should enter the house of the owner of the chair. It
was a rough dwelling, but I was kindly welcomed, and cheese, bread, and
curds were quickly arranged before me, together with a gourd-shell of
clear cold water, from the spring which issued from the rocks in the
gorge about fifty feet below the house. To the disappointment of my host
I was obliged to decline all his offerings, except a draught of cold
water, as I had breakfasted before leaving the camp. The Turk now showed
me his gun, which he explained was of little use, as he could not afford
a game licence, but he offered to show me a spot where hares were
abundant. The shooting-season was long since closed, therefore
partridges and francolins were sacred, but I should have had no scruples
in bagging a hare for a stew. My guide conducted me over very likely
ground down into ravines with bush-covered sides, then upon the
hill-tops, and among patches of cultivation where the hares had played
sad havoc in nibbling the wheat and barley; but we found none. My dogs
hunted every bush in vain, and the burning sun had dried out every
vestige of scent. I believe the hares escape the sun by taking refuge
beneath the rocks, otherwise we must have moved at least one or two. My
guide was much disappointed, but as game was absent he hunted for wild
asparagus, which grew in considerable quantities beneath the thick
clumps of bushes upon the hill-sides. By the time that we arrived in
camp he had collected sufficient for a good dish. This variety is not
quite so thick as good cultivated asparagus, but it is superior in
flavour, although slightly bitter.

We rode to Lefka, about three miles distant. This is one of those happy
lands of Cyprus which is watered with unfailing streams from the Troodos
range, that have enforced prosperity. The town is important, and is
situated upon the sides of the hills, which form a valley, through
which, in rainy weather, a river flows; at other seasons, like all
Cyprian torrents, the bed is dry. The houses of Lefka are almost
concealed by the luxuriant foliage of the gardens and orangeries. We
rode through narrow lanes streaming with water, and shaded with the elm,
ash, maple, and innumerable fruit-trees. Mills, turned by water, the
masonry of the aqueducts being ornamented with the graceful maiden-hair
ferns, enlivened the otherwise dull lanes by an exhibition of industry.
The orange-trees and lemons were literally overweighted with fruit,
which in some instances overpowered the foliage by a preponderance of
yellow. Lefka supplies the whole western district with lemons, in
addition to the market of the capital, Lefkosia. As usual, I observed
that the fruit-trees were ridiculously crowded, thus preventing the
admission of the necessary air and light. I forbear at present to
describe the fruit, as none existed at this season, excepting oranges
and lemons, and I wish to introduce my readers to every scene and object
precisely as they met my eye in travelling through the country. The
lemons are some of the best I have ever tasted, but the oranges are full
of seeds, with thick skins, and although juicy and refreshing in this
hot climate, they would be rejected in the English market.

A very cursory view of Lefka was sufficient to explain its agricultural
importance, and to (for the hundredth time) awaken the reflection that
most portions of the island might equal such exceptional prosperity, if
special attention were bestowed upon the development of artificial

On 16th April we left Caravastasi, and rode over almost the worst road,
but one of the most picturesque in Cyprus. It was a succession of the
steepest ups and downs through and over mountain spurs, to cut off the
promontories which projected into the sea at right angles with our
route. It seemed impossible that loaded animals should be able to
traverse such steep and dangerous defiles, and I made up my mind that
Iiani's ancient camel would terminate its career, together with that of
our possessions upon its back, by rolling several hundred feet into the
dark angle of some precipitous ravine. Even Iiani kept awake, and
presently I heard a faint exclamation from behind, and upon turning
round I discovered Lady Baker upon the ground, the saddle having twisted
beneath her mule in descending a steep and rocky gulley; fortunately she
fell upon the wall-side of the path, instead of upon the edge of the
precipice; and she was unhurt.

Although the route was abominable it was most interesting. As the
drainage of the mountains was at right angles, we crossed a succession
of heights which afforded short glimpses of the sea some 600 feet
beneath, with the perpendicular rock-bound coast below us, and then
alternately descended into the depths of the intervening gullies. This
peculiarity exhibited to perfection the geological formation. We had
entered upon trap rocks and the greenstone, all of which showed traces
of copper. Notwithstanding the wild and dangerous route, every available
plot of ground was cultivated, although no villages were perceptible.
The peasants carried their light ploughs upon donkeys from considerable
distances, and with these exceedingly useful implements they ploughed
inclines that would have been impossible to cultivate with any European
implement except the hoe. At length we descended to the sea-beach, and
marching through heavy sand for about a mile, we arrived at Pyrgos, our
halting-place, twelve miles from Caravastasi.

This is one of the wildest portions of Cyprus. There is no village, but
the position is simply marked by the presence of one building above the
sea-beach, which has been a depot for the spars and poles of pine that
have periodically been delivered from the mountains by the torrents,
when heavy rains have swollen them sufficiently to enable them to force
the timber towards the sea. As the mountains upon this portion of the
coast descend in many places actually to the shore, while in no places
are they more than half a mile distant, the rivulets are numerous, as
there is no time, or area, sufficient for their absorption by the soil.
Within a hundred and fifty paces of the timber store beautiful streams
of clear water issued from the ground in three different places, which
converged into a brook abounding with water-cresses, and this, after
passing through a small and thick jungle of tamarisk-bushes, formed a
pool above the sea-beach which overflowed upon the shingle, and met the
waves. We ascended the stream for a short distance, until, tempted by
two or three large plane-trees, we halted for luncheon beneath their
shade. The river, which occasionally flooded sufficiently to bring down
heavy timber when felled among the mountains, flowed through an
extremely rich but narrow valley, which extended into a glen between
their precipitous slopes until it became a mere ravine. The mass of
mountains in this district, which form a succession of wild and
impassable steeps, is marked upon Kiepert's map as "unexplored." They
were originally pine-forests, but the destruction of timber has been
carried to such an excess that comparatively few trees remain. With my
glass I could distinguish large trunks that lay rotting upon the ground,
where they had pitched among the stems, and roots of trees that had been
already felled; these had been rolled from the steep heights above, but
having been caught in their descent to the torrent below by the opposing
stumps, they had been abandoned, and other trees had been felled in
their stead, where the inclination was more favourable for their

This portion of the coast should be thoroughly explored by practical
miners, as it is rich in minerals. I procured some fine specimens of
pyrites of copper, which the natives mistook for silver; and should a
mineralogical investigation be made by the authorities, I feel sure that
the metallic wealth of Cyprus will be discovered between Caravastasi and

It was late before our baggage animals appeared, and when they at length
arrived, Iiani's venerable camel was missing. It appeared that this
worn-out old creature had been performing acrobatic feats in tumbling
throughout the difficult journey, and had rolled, together with its
load, down several places that had threatened its destruction. It had
delayed the march several hours, as it had been many times released from
difficulties by unloading, reloading, and dividing the heavier portions
of baggage among the other camels which received a smaller pay. At
length, upon arriving upon the deep sand of the beach, about a mile
distant, it had fallen down, and given up everything except the ghost.

It was a natural annoyance to the owners of the other camels that Iiani
should be paid highly for a useless animal, while they had to carry its
load divided among them assisted by a division of the smaller weights
among the servants' riding mules. The evening was passed in grumbling:
everybody was in a bad humour. It was declared impossible to pitch the
tent upon the sandy beach by the pool of fresh water, as there was no
holding-ground for the tent-pegs. I quickly instructed them in making
faggots of tamarisk-boughs which, tied to the ropes and buried in the
sand, were much more secure than pegs in the hardest soil; and the tent
was at length arranged. A small species of curlew tempted its fate by
visiting the fresh-water margin just before our dinner-hour; I bagged
it; and as the cook was in a bad humour, I made a fire of driftwood,
with which the beach was strewed, and when the glowing embers had
succeeded to the flame and formed a red-hot heap, I cut two forked
sticks, which, placed on either side upright in the sand, supported my
bird upon a long skewer of green tamarisk-wood. A little salt, pepper,
and a smear of butter occasionally, produced a result that would have
beaten Christo's best attempts.

On the following morning we were all once more in good humour; the old
camel had not died, but had been brought into camp late at night. It now
formed the object for everybody's joke, and its owner liani was
recommended to "try and sell it," or "to make it a present to a friend,"
or "to ride it himself;" the latter course would have been a deserved
punishment. Iiani escaped further remarks by jumping upon his mule and
riding ahead, and we followed our guide without delay along the deep
sandy beach.

We rode for fourteen miles along cliffs bordering the sea, with the deep
hollows occasioned by the natural drainage causing a continual series of
ups and downs, which reminded me forcibly of the coast of South Devon
between Torquay and Dawlish. The difference lay in the rocks, which were
all plutonic, and in the scenery upon our left, which was a wild and
confused mass of mountains, scarred by deep and dark ravines, while the
more distant summits exhibited the still-existing pine-forests; these
had disappeared from the slopes which faced the coast, and had afforded
facilities for exportation. We halted in a deep glen between exceedingly
steep hills, through which a torrent-bed had cut its course directly to
the sea. In this secluded spot, far from all villages or inhabitants, we
arranged to encamp upon a flat and inviting plot of turf, which in
Cyprus is rarely met with. Some tolerable elms and other trees formed a
dense shade in a deep and narrow portion of the glen beneath the
over-hanging cliffs, and a beautiful spring of water issued from the
rock, received in a stone cistern beneath. An arch of masonry inclosed
the spring, which some kind person had thus carefully arranged for the
public good; this was richly clothed with maiden-hair ferns. The surplus
water, after overflowing the stone basin, formed a faint stream, which
trickled over the rocks between cliffs only a few feet apart, until it
emerged from this narrow cleft and joined the sea. I walked down this
natural alley to the beach and bathed, to the astonishment of my guide
Iiani and another Cypriote, who rushed to the top of the cliff as though
they thought I contemplated suicide; these people having a natural
horror of cold water. The name of this secluded glen was Symboli.

On the following morning we started for Polis, fourteen miles by an easy
route along the coast. The mountains upon our left were very
precipitous, and exhibited the same character of complete wilderness
which had marked them for the last two marches; the only difference
apparent was an increase in the remaining pines, which fairly clothed
their summits and ravines. The sea was perfectly calm, and for the first
time during our stay in Cyprus we observed many shoals of fish playing
upon the surface close to the beach. Two cormorants were in the bay, and
I made some fortunate shots, killing one with the rifle at upwards of
200 yards, and disabling the other at about 250. There appeared to be
more signs of game in this part of the country, as the cock francolins
were crowing in many directions throughout our route, until we arrived
at Polis, or, in full, "Poli-ton-Krysokhus."

This place was formerly important as one of the principal mineral
centres of the island, and the large accumulations of scoriae in several
mounds near the coast prove that mining operations were conducted upon
an extensive scale. A concession had recently been granted to a small
private company for the working of copper in this neighbourhood, and
should the existence of metallic wealth be proved there can be no doubt
that capital will be embarked in mining enterprises, and the locality
will recover its former importance. On the other hand, all mining
adventures should be conducted with the greatest caution. A common error
is committed by sanguine speculators in following the footsteps of the
ancients, upon the supposition that because in former ages a locality
was productive, it should remain in the same profitable condition.
Nothing can be more erroneous; it is generally poor gleaning after the
Phoenicians. The bronze of those extraordinary miners and metallurgists
was renowned above all other qualities; they worked the copper-mines of
Cyprus and the tin-mines of Cornwall, but the expenses of working a mine
in those days bore no comparison with the outlay of modern times. Slaves
were employed as a general rule: forced labour was obtainable; and the
general conditions of the labour-market were utterly at variance with
those of the present day. The ancient miners would seldom have abandoned
their veins of ore until they were completely exhausted, and the vast
heaps of scoriae which now mark the sites of their operations may be the
remains of works that were deserted as worn out and unproductive. It is
true that traces of copper are visible in many places throughout the
metamorphous rocks, and the greenstone from Soli to Poli-ton-Krysokhus,
but it remains to be proved whether the metal exists in sufficient
quantities to be profitably worked. It is generally believed that zinc
was formerly produced at Soli, where vestiges of ancient mining
operations are to be seen upon the surface, but for many centuries the
works have been abandoned.

A very careful scientific examination of the island has been made by
various explorers--M. Gaudry, Unger, and Kotschy: their reports are not
encouraging, but at the same time it must be allowed that they were not
practical miners. The work of M. Gaudry must always be accepted as a
most valuable authority upon the geology, mineralogy, and general
agricultural resources of Cyprus, but it will be remarked by all
practical men that the explorations of the country have been
superficial; no money has been expended; and is it to be supposed that
the surface of the earth will spontaneously reveal the secrets of the

Under the present administration it is quite impossible to say too much
in praise of the energy and painstaking devotion to the interests of
Great Britain and to those of this island by the High Commissioner and
every officer, from the commissioners of districts to the subordinate
officials; but according to the terms of the Convention with the Porte
the island is as completely denuded of money as the summits of the
cretaceous hills have been denuded of soil by the destructive agency of
weather. It is painful to an English traveller, whose life may have been
passed in practical development, to survey the country as it now is, to
reflect upon what it has been, and to see that even under the auspicious
reputation of an English occupation nothing can be done to awaken
resources that have so long lain dormant. Money is wanted--money must
be had. Without an expenditure of capital, riches may exist, but they
will remain buried in obscurity.

A responsible official would reply--"We will give you a concession, we
will give you every possible encouragement." The capitalist will ask one
simple question, "Is Cyprus a portion of the British Empire upon which I
can depend, or is it a swallow's nest of a political season, to be
abandoned when the party-schemes have flown?"

Any number of questions may be asked at the present moment, but in the
absence of all definite information no capitalist will embark in any
enterprise in Cyprus, which may be ultimately abandoned like Corfu; and
the value of all property would be reduced to a ruinous degree.

The mining interests of Cyprus must remain for the most part undeveloped
until some satisfactory change shall be effected in the tenure of the
island that will establish confidence.

Polis was a straggling place situated upon either side of a river,
through the bed of which a very reduced stream was flowing about three
inches in depth. A flat valley lay between the heights, both of which
were occupied by numerous houses and narrow lanes, while the rich soil
of the low ground, irrigated by the water of the river withdrawn by
artificial channels, exhibited splendid crops of wheat and barley.
Groves of very ancient olive-trees existed in the valley, and we halted
beneath the first oak-trees that I had seen in Cyprus. These were wide-
spreading, although not high, and I measured the girth of one solid
stem--eighteen feet.

We had hardly off-saddled, when crowds of women and children collected
from all quarters, with a few men, to stare at the new-comers; not at ME
personally, but at my wife. They were, if possible, more filthy than the
average of Cyprian women, and a great proportion of the children were
marked with recent attacks of small-pox. I regretted that I had not a
supply of crackers to throw amongst and disperse the crowd that daily
pestered us; any lady that in future may travel through Cyprus should
have a portmanteau full of such simple fireworks. It was in vain to
explain that the people were a nuisance if too near: when driven to a
moderate distance, they would advance shyly, by degrees; two or three
children would come forward and sit down a few paces in front of the
main body; after a few minutes several others would overstep this
frontier and sit down five or six yards in advance of the last comers,
and by this silent system of skirmishing we were always surrounded in
twenty minutes after the original crowd had been dispersed. I did not
mind them so long as they were not in personal contact, and were free
from recent small-pox; but some of the red-pitted faces were full of

There was nothing of interest to detain us at Polis, and we started
early upon the 19th April towards Baffo. The valley through which the
river Aspropotamo had deposited a layer of fertile alluvium divided the
mountain range, leaving the plutonic rocks to the east; and on the
western side we ascended a steep path over cretaceous limestone, broken
and disturbed at intervals by the protrusion of eruptive rocks. As we
increased our altitude we looked down upon a picturesque view of the bay
of Krysokhus, with two sails upon its blue waters beneath the dark
cliffs of the western shore. The ancient Marium or Arsinoe showed no
vestiges except in the modern village of Polis, which, from the
distance, looked better than the reality, as the foliage of numerous
trees shadowing the terrace-built houses upon either side the rich green
valley, backed by the lofty range of pine-covered mountains, completed a
lovely landscape.

An hour had passed, but still we ascended; the path was as usual rugged,
and we already looked down upon the sea and valley at least 2000 feet
beneath. I had serious misgivings concerning the camels and their loads.
General di Cesnola had examined the whole of this country in his search
for antiquities, but the neighbourhood of the ancient Arsinoe, where
much had been expected, was almost unproductive.

The path still rose; until at length we arrived upon an extensive
plateau about 2400 feet above the sea. The soil was chocolate-colour,
and the surface was covered with large stones of the sedimentary
limestone that surrounds the coast, and which forms the flat-topped
hills of the Messaria. In many places the natives had built these into
walls around their fields, in order to clear the ground required for
cultivation. We passed several villages, all squalid and miserable,
although the rich soil exhibited green crops far superior to anything we
had met with in the lower country. Extensive gardens of mulberry
explained the silk-producing power of this neighbourhood, and almonds,
figs, apricots, &c., throve in great numbers and luxuriance. This
peculiarly fruitful plateau occupies an area of about eight miles from
north to south, and four from east to west. We halted at the large
Turkish village of Arodes, from which we looked down upon the sea and
the small rocky island opposite Cape Drepano, on the western coast,
almost beneath our feet. This portion of Cyprus is eminently adapted for
the cultivation of fruit-trees, as the climate and soil combine many
advantages. The elevation and peculiar geographical position attract
moisture, while the lower ground upon the east is parched with drought.
The evaporation from the sea below condenses upon the cooler heights
immediately above and creates refreshing mists and light rain, which
accounted for the superiority of the crops compared with any that I had
seen elsewhere. Shortly after halting at Arodes we experienced these
atmospherical changes. The thermometer at Polis had been 57 degrees at 7
A. M., and it was only 56 degrees at 3 P.M. at this altitude of 2400
feet. Although the sky had been clear, mists began to ascend from the
chasms and gullies along the abrupt face of the mountain which overhung
the sea; these curled upwards and thickened, until a dense fog rolled
along the surface from the west and condensed into a light shower of
rain. The Turkish inhabitants of the village were extremely civil, and
made no complaints of scarcity from drought, as they fully appreciated
the advantages of their locality. The hawthorn-trees were only just
budding into bloom, while those in the low country had shed their
flowers, and had already formed the berries. In future an extensive
growth of fruit may supply the market of Alexandria, but at present the
total absence of roads would render the transport of so perishable a
material upon the backs of mules impossible. I had sent back our three
riding mules to meet and to relieve the camels, and by this precaution
the baggage animals arrived at a convenient hour.

The route to Baffo or Ktima, which is now the principal town, lay across
the plateau for about five miles to the verge which formed the
table-land, from which margin we looked down upon the deep vale below,
bounded by the sea at a few miles distance.

We dismounted and walked down the long and steep pass, the mules being
led behind. The entire face of the perpendicular cliffs was cretaceous
limestone, but the scaly slopes of a hill upon our left, about a mile
and a half distant, formed a loose heap of shale, which had slipped,
either during earthquakes or heavy rains, in great masses to the bottom.

After a long and tedious descent we reached the base of the pass, and
halted in a broad river-bed full of rocks and stones of all sizes, which
had been rounded by the torrent of the rainy season. There was no water
except in small pools that had been scraped in the sand for the benefit
of the travelling animals. Having watered our mules and remounted, we
ascended the steep banks of the stream and continued towards the sea,
feeling a sensible difference in the temperature since we had descended
from the heights.

The country was exceedingly pretty, as it sloped gently downwards for
three or four miles, the surface ornamented with caroub-trees, until we
at length reached the sea-beach and crossed the sandy mouth of the
river's bed. The crops of cereals were perished by drought in the
absence of irrigation; but upon continuing our route parallel with the
beach we observed an immediate improvement, as the water was conducted
by artificial channels to the various fields. This arrangement had been
effected by erecting a temporary dam in the river's bed far among the
mountains, and thus leading the stream into the conduit for many miles.
Small brooks intersected our path along the coast, and in several places
I remarked the ruins of ancient aqueducts. . . . There was nothing of
peculiar interest upon this route; the land inclined upwards from the
sea for six or seven miles to the foot of the mountain range, all of
which was either cultivated with cereals or was covered with caroub-
trees and olives. Many villages were dotted over the surface; these were
green with mulberry and various fruit-trees. With the sea upon our
right, and the waves dashing briskly upon the rocky shore, the scene was
agreeable; but the sun was hot, and we were not sorry to see the distant
minarets of Ktima after a ride of seventeen miles from Arodes.

We passed the ruins of ancient Paphos upon our right, and shortly
afterwards ascended the rocky slope upon which the capital of the
district, Ktima, is situated. It is a large town, and as we rode through
the bazaar the narrow street was almost blocked with huge piles of
oranges that had been imported from Jaffa, the season for the Cyprus
fruit being nearly over.

Iiani was exceedingly stupid in selecting camping-ground, therefore
upon arrival at a new place we invariably had to explore the
neighbourhood, like migratory birds landed upon strange shores. We
accordingly rode through the considerable town of Ktima amidst the
barking and snapping of innumerable dogs, who attacked our British
spaniels, keeping up a running fight throughout the way, until we
emerged upon open country beyond the outskirts.

We were now once more upon a flat table-top, about a hundred feet above
the plain between us and the sea, a mile and a half distant. The edge of
the table-land formed a cliff, choked from its base with huge fallen
blocks of sedimentary limestone, from the crevices of which trees grew
in great profusion, reminding one of hanging coverts upon hill-sides in
England. Descending a steep but well-trodden path between these
cottage-like masses of disjointed rock, we arrived at the prettiest
camping-ground that I had seen in Cyprus. This had formed the camp of
the Indian troops when the occupation had taken place in July, 1878, and
unfortunately in this charming spot they had suffered severely from

The sea and the town and port of Baffo lay before us, but immediately in
front of the rocky and tree-covered heights that we had descended were
great numbers of park-like trees which I had never before met with.
These were of large size, many exceeding fourteen feet in girth, with a
beautiful foliage that threw a dense shade beneath. The name of this
tree is Tremithia, and it bears a small fruit in clusters of berries
which produce oil: this is used by the inhabitants for the same purposes
as that obtained from olives. I had met with the bush in a wild state
for the first time at Lapithus, and had been attracted by the aromatic
scent of the young leaves, but I was not aware that it grew to the size
of a forest-tree. Springs of pure water issued from the rocks in the
cliff-side within a few yards of our position; these were caught in
large reservoirs of masonry from twenty to thirty feet square and six
feet deep, from the bottom of which the water could be liberated for the
purposes of irrigation. We selected a position upon a terrace beneath a
number of these splendid tremithias, which afforded a shade during all
hours of the day. The little stream rippled just below, passing by the
roots of the trees that sheltered us, and watered a rich and dark green
plot of about two acres of--neither roses, nor violets, but something
far better, which at once delighted our cook Christo--onions! According
to his practical ideas the Garden of Eden would have been a mere
wilderness in the absence of a bed of onions; but at length we had
entered upon Paradise; this WAS a charming place! For some distance
beyond this captivating plot the tremithias (which at a distance
resembled fine-headed oaks) ornamented the surface and gave a park-like
appearance to the country; but beyond them the plain was a gentle slope,
highly cultivated towards the sea. Long before the arrival of our
baggage animals we had visitors; Captain Wauchope, the chief
commissioner of the district, and several officers in official
positions, were kind enough to call. An old man and his wife, the
proprietors of the onions, who lived close by, brought us some
rush-bottomed chairs with much civility; and as the day wore on a long
string of visitors appeared, including the Bishop and some of the native
officials; and we were of course surrounded with the usual throng of
women and children: these were cleaner and better looking than those we
had hitherto encountered.

The camels did not appear until late in the evening, as they had
descended the steep pass from the table-land of Arodes with much
difficulty, and liani's "antique" had again fallen, repeatedly, and
necessitated a division of his load, which already had been reduced to
that of a donkey.

When the sun rose on the following morning I walked into Ktima by a good
path, that led through the rocks along the base of the cliff until it
ascended gradually to the town. Although the cyclamens were past their
bloom, their variegated leaves ornamented the white stones as they
emerged like bouquets from the crevices of fallen rock. There was little
of interest in the town, which hardly repaid a walk: it left the same
depressing feeling that I had so often experienced in our journey
through Cyprus: "The past had been great, and the present was nothing."

The little insignificant harbour exhibited a few small craft of about
twenty tons. There was a small fort and a British flag; there were also
the ruins of ancient Paphos; but there was nothing to denote progress or
commercial activity. In the afternoon Captain Wauchope was kind enough
to accompany us over the ruins. As I have before explained, there is
nothing of interest upon the surface of ancient cities throughout
Cyprus. Anything worth having has been appropriated many ages since by
those who understood its value, and beyond a few fallen columns and
blocks of squared stone there is literally nothing to attract attention.
Even General di Cesnola excavated in vain upon the site of ancient
Paphos, which from its great antiquity promised an abundant harvest.
There were two fine monoliths, the bases of which, resting upon a
foundation of squared stones, appeared as though they had formed the
entrance to a temple; these were pillars of grey granite (foreign to
Cyprus) about twenty-seven feet high and three feet two inches in

There were stony mounds in many directions, and fallen pillars and
columns of granite and of coarse grey and whitish marble; but beyond
these ordinary vestiges there was nothing of peculiar interest. As there
is no authority equal to General di Cesnola upon the antiquities of
Cyprus, I trust he will excuse me for inserting the following
interesting extract from his work, upon The Great Centre of the Worship
of Venus:--

"Although this spot [Paphos] was the scene of great
religious events, and was otherwise important in the
island, yet neither are there more than a very few
ruins existing above ground, nor have the explorations
I have directed there at different times succeeded in
bringing to light anything of interest. I believe that
this absence of ruins can be accounted for in the
following manner. Paphos was several times overthrown
by earthquakes. The last time the temple was rebuilt
was by Vespasian, on whose coins it is represented; but
as nothing is said of the rebuilding of the city it is
supposed that it was left in ruins; probably therefore
during the long period that Cyprus was under the Roman
and the Byzantine rule a great deal of the decorative
and architectural material of Paphos was transported to
the other city called Nea-Paphos, and used for its
embellishment. In the Acts of the Apostles it is spoken
of as the official residence of the Roman proconsul
Paulus Sergius, and was therefore the capital of the
island. By the time of the Lusignan kings Palaeo-Paphos
had disappeared, and its ruins under their reign were
extensively explored in search of statuary and other
objects of art, with which to decorate the royal castle
built in its vicinity. There is scarcely any ancient
tomb to be found of a date previous to the Roman period
which had not been opened centuries ago."

In page 207 General di Cesnola gives an illustration of "stone feet with
a Cypriote inscription, from the temple of Paphos," which would suggest
from their appearance that gout was not uncommon even within the temple
of Venus. In continuation he writes, page 210:--

"The great temple of Venus was situated on an
eminence, which at present is at a distance of about
twenty-five minutes' walk from the sea. Some parts
of its colossal walls are still standing, defying time and
the stone-cutter, though badly chipped by the latter.
One of the wall-stones measured fifteen feet ten
inches in length, by seven feet eleven inches in width
and two feet five inches in thickness. The stone is
not from Cyprus, but being a kind of blue granite,
must have been imported either from Cilicia or from

"The temple as rebuilt by Vespasian seems to have
occupied the same area as the former temple, and was
surrounded by a peribolos, or outer wall. Of this
a few huge blocks only are now extant. On the west
side of this outer wall there was a doorway still
plainly visible. Its width was seventeen feet nine
inches. The two sockets for the bolts upon which
the door swung are of the following dimensions:
length six inches, width four and a half inches, depth
three and a half inches. The south-east wall, I ascertained,
by excavating its whole length, was690 feet
long. The length of the west side I could only trace
as far as 272 feet, its continuance being hiddenbeneath
the houses of Kouklia. The length of the other two
sides I was unable to ascertain for similarreasons.
The walls of the temple itself, made of the kind of
stone previously mentioned, but not in such huge
blocks, I was able to trace correctly, bydint of
patience; and though very little is seen above ground,
yet, strange to say, the four corner-stonesare still
standing. The north-east corner-stone iscased in
a house in Kouklia, forming part of its wall; that
of the north-west stands in a cross-street of the village
by itself. Some European travellers have mistaken it
from its present shape for the emblematic cone of
Venus. The south-east corner stands also by itself
in an open field, where the Christian population of
Kouklia burn lamps and little wax-candles, but in
honour of whom, or for what purpose, I did not
inquire. The fourth corner-stone likewise forms part
of a modern dwelling-house.

"The temple was oblong and of the following
dimensions: the eastern and western walls measure
221 feet, and the two other sides 167 feet. I cannot
vouch for the exact measurement on account of the
difficulties I had to encounter, nevertheless the difference
can be of some inches only. The corner-stone of
the north-west side has a hole in it thirteen inches in
diameter; a similar hole also exists in the south-west
corner of the outer wall. As the temple at Paphos
possessed an oracle, these strange holes, which go
through the entire stone, may have been connected
with it. This at least was the opinion of Dr.
Friederichs when he came to pay me a visit at

"From this spot, if a person stand upon this huge
perforated stone, he can produce a clear and fine echo
of a phrase of three or four words, pronounced in a
hollow tone of voice."

It is quite possible that the tricks of acoustics may have been
practised by the priests who officiated at oracular shrines, which would
have awed the ignorant multitude; as in sacred groves a tree might have
been made to speak by the simple contrivance of a man concealed within
the hollow stem, which to outward appearance would have been considered
solid. The devices of priestcraft to bring grist to their mill are not
yet obsolete, as will be seen in many of the monasteries of Cyprus.

All the grandeur of ancient days was now represented by the heaps of
stones and the rock caverns which mark the site of Paphos. What became
of Venus after her appearance upon this shore may be left to the
imagination; why she is represented by the exceedingly plain women of
modern Cyprus surpasses the imagination. Perhaps the immorality
connected with the ancient worship of the goddess of beauty and of love
invoked a curse upon the descendants in the shape of "baggy trousers,
high boots, and ugliness:" to which dirt has been a painful addition.



We left Ktima on 23rd April for Limasol. The weather was now perfect for
out-door life, the thermometer 52 degrees at 7 A.M., and 70 degrees at 3
P.M. The route was agreeable, the crops were well irrigated by numerous
streams led from the mountains, and the country generally was green and
well wooded. After a march of fourteen miles, during which we had passed
the ruins of several ancient aqueducts, we arrived at a running stream
which issued from a narrow valley between cliffs and hills and emptied
itself upon the sea-beach. A number of tamarisks formed a jungle near
the mouth, and the banks were a bright rose-colour, owing to the full
bloom of thickets of oleanders. This was a charming halting-place, and
as the beach was strewn with dry timber that had been brought down from
the mountains during the season when the stream was powerful, we should
have a good supply of fuel in addition to fresh water. The route had
been along the flat parallel with the sea from Ktima, and I noticed a
wonderful change in the pace of the camels, as I had summoned Iiani when
at the capital of the district before the Cadi at the Konak, and the
chief commissioner had added his voice to the threat and monitions he
had received concerning his future conduct regarding early starting and
attention to my orders. Captain Wauchope had kindly furnished me with an
excellent Turkish zaphtieh, or mounted policeman, whose red jacket and
fez commanded a certain respect. This man was mounted upon a strong,
well-built, and exceedingly active pony, or small horse, which led the
way, as our new guide thoroughly knew the country.

While all hands were pitching the tent upon a sandy turf within a few
yards of the sea-beach I took the dogs for a ramble up the
thickly-wooded valley along the banks of the stream, as I had observed a
number of blue-rock pigeons among the white cliffs, and I thought I
might perhaps find a hare for the evening stew. I killed some pigeons,
but did not move a hare, although the dogs worked through most promising
ground, where green crops upon the flat bottom surrounded by thick
coverts afford both food and shelter. We were returning to camp when I
suddenly heard Merry and Shot barking savagely in some thick bushes upon
the steep bank of the stream. At first I thought they had found a
hedgehog, which was always Shot's amusement, as he constantly brought
them into camp after he had managed to obtain a hold of their prickly
bodies. The barking continued, and as I could not penetrate the bush, I
called the dogs off. They joined me almost immediately, looking rather
scared. It now occurred to me that they might have found a snake, as a
few days ago I had heard Merry barking in a similar manner, and upon
joining him I had discovered a snake coiled up with head erect in an
attitude of defence. I had killed the snake and scolded the dog, as I
feared he would come to an untimely end, should he commence snake-
hunting in so prolific a field as Cyprus. Since that time all the dogs
hunted the countless lizards which ran across the path during the march,
and Shot was most determined in his endeavours to scratch them out of
their holes.

I had called my three dogs together, and we were walking across a field
of green wheat, when I suddenly missed Shot, and he was discovered lying
down about fifty paces in our rear. Merry, who usually was pluck and
energy itself, was following at my heels and looking stupid and subdued.
This dog was indomitable, and his fault was wildness at the commencement
of the day; I could not now induce him to hunt, and his eyes had a
peculiar expression, as though his system had suffered some severe
shock. Shot came slowly when I called him, but he walked with
difficulty, and his jaws were swollen. I now felt sure that the dogs
were bitten by a snake, which they had been baying when I heard them in
the bush about five minutes before. We were very near the camp, and the
dog crept home slowly at my heels. Upon examination there was no doubt
of the cause; Shot had wounds of a snake's fangs upon his lip, under the
eye, and upon one ear; he must have been the first bitten, as he had
evidently received the greatest discharge of poison. Merry was bitten in
the mouth and in one ear, both of which were already swollen, but not to
the same degree as Shot, who, within an hour, had a head as large as a
small calf's, and his eyes were completely closed. I had not the
slightest hope of his recovery, as his throat had swollen to an enormous
size, which threatened suffocation. I could do nothing for the poor dogs
but oil their mouths, although knew that the poison would assuredly
spread throughout the system. The dogs had been bitten at about 3.40
P.M. At 8 P.M. (our dinner-hour) Shot was a shapeless mass, and his
limbs were stiff; the skin of his throat and fore-part of his body
beneath his curly white and liver-coloured hair was perfectly black; his
jowl, which now hung three inches below his jaws, was also inky black,
as were his swollen tongue and palate. Merry's head and throat were
swollen badly, and he lay by the blazing fire of logs half stupefied and
devoid of observation.

On the following morning Shot was evidently dying; he did not appear to
suffer pain, but was in a state of coma and swelled to such a degree
that he resembled the skin of an animal that had been badly stuffed with
hay. Merry was worse than on the preceding night, and lay in a state of
stupor. I carried him to the sea and dipped him several times beneath
the water; this appeared slightly to revive him, and he was placed in a
large saddle-bag to be carried on a mule for the day's march. Shot had
been quite unconscious, and when the men prepared an animal to carry
him, it was found that he was already dead. This was a little after 8
A.M., and he had been bitten at about 3.40 P. M.: about 16 and a half
hours had elapsed. My men dug a grave and buried the poor animal, who
had been a faithful dog and an excellent retriever. From Merry's
appearance I expected that we should have to attend to his remains in
the same manner before the evening.

Snakes are very numerous in Cyprus, but I cannot believe in any great
danger if these generally hated creatures should be avoided. If dogs
will insist upon hunting and attacking them, they must be bitten as a
natural consequence; in this fatal case there can be no doubt that the
dog Shot was the first to discover and attack the snake, and Merry, upon
hearing him bark, joined in the fight. It is quite unnatural for any of
the serpent tribe to attack, except for the purpose of devouring their
natural prey. As a general rule, the food of snakes consists of rats,
mice, frogs, or toads, beetles, and other insects; the pythons and
larger serpents feed upon such animals as hares, birds, and the young of
either antelopes, deer, pigs, &c. Although a snake if trodden upon might
by a spasmodic impulse inflict a bite, it would nine times out of ten
endeavour to escape. The idea of any snake wilfully and maliciously
premeditating an attack upon a man is quite out of the question, unless
it has been either teased or excited by a dog when hunting. The same
principle will hold good in the case of animals. No snake that feeds
only upon rats, mice, and such small animals would seek to attack a dog,
or any creature that was not its natural prey, and the actual danger
from such reptiles is quite insignificant. The stories that are
circulated of accidents are mostly exaggerated, or are perpetuated by
constant repetition. I have been in snake countries such as Ceylon and
Africa during many years, the greater portion of which has been passed
in practical explorations, and I can safely say that I never thought of
snakes until they met my eye, and no person that I ever knew was killed
by a poisonous bite. In Cyprus there are several varieties. I have only
seen three, a black species which is harmless, a mottled variety also
non-poisonous, and a grey snake that is supposed to be deadly; there may
be more, but I have never met with them. The stony nature of the
country, and the bush-covered surface of the hills, together with the
dryness of the climate, are all favourable to the development of snakes
and lizards. The latter are exceedingly numerous, and are most valuable
destroyers of insects; there are several varieties, but the most common
is the bright copper-coloured species with a smooth skin. The chameleon
also exists.

Although we had never taken the presence of snakes into serious
consideration, the horrible effect of the bite upon the dogs made every
one on the alert during the march over the rocky and bushy country from
our camp to Evdimu. Our guide scorned a beaten track, and after having
kept the regular path along the sea-coast for a mile, he struck
directly up the mountain, which descended in a steep cliff to the shore,
against which the waves dashed with violence. The country was
exceedingly wild for some miles as we ascended through bush of young
pines, dwarf-cypress, and mastic, occasionally passing pines of larger
growth, which had, as usual, been mutilated. We moved partridges in
several places, but these were old birds packed in considerable numbers:
a bad sign at this season, when they should have been sitting upon eggs.
At an elevation of about 1000 feet above the sea we came upon a park of
caroub-trees, in which was a spring of water; large flocks of goats and
cattle, together with many mules and horses, were roaming through this
verdant district, which afforded abundant pasturage in the shape of wild
artichokes, a variety of succulent thistles, and many plants suitable to
the native animals in the absence of actual grasses. This is a
distressing want throughout Cyprus; when the country is green, the
verdure is produced by cultivated crops of cereals, which quickly change
to yellow as they ripen; all the natural productions of the earth are
what in England we should term "weeds "--there is no real grass, except
in some rare localities where a species of "couch-grass" (the British
farmer's enemy) crawls along the surface, being nourished by its knotty
roots, which, penetrating into the deep soil, are enabled to escape the
burning sun.

Upon reaching the summit, about 1200 feet above the sea, we looked over
the richest landscape that I had seen in Cyprus. A succession of broad
valleys and undulating hills gradually ascended, until in the far
distance they terminated in elevated plateaux upwards of 2000 feet above
the sea. The whole of this district, as far and no doubt much farther
than the eye could reach, was richly wooded with caroub-trees and
occasional olive-groves, while the distant villages were marked by the
peculiar light-green of mulberry-clumps and other fruit-trees. The
bottoms of the numerous valleys were dark with well-irrigated crops of
cereals, and contrasted strongly with those of the higher ground, which
had depended solely upon the uncertain rainfall.

There were beautiful sites for country residences throughout this scene,
and it appeared strange that no house was visible except the ordinary
mud-built dwellings in the native villages. The route over this country
was abominable, as it was a succession of the steepest ups-and-downs
into valleys many hundred feet in depth, which necessitated a scramble
up a rocky zigzag for a similar height above, to be repeated after we
had crossed each shoulder that formed a spur from the distant mountains,
the drainage being at right angles to our path. Every plateau exhibited
the same lovely view of the sea, cliffs of snow-white cretaceous rock,
green hills, and deep vales, through which a stream of water had given
birth to a thick growth of foliage. After a march of fourteen miles we
halted in a deep dell beneath shady caroubs, a few yards from a brook of
clear water which irrigated some of the richest crops I had seen in
Cyprus. When the camels arrived Merry was very bad, and his skin beneath
the hair had turned black; he lapped water with difficulty, as his
tongue and mouth were swollen to a great size and were also black. As
the dog could not eat I poured a quantity of olive-oil down his throat.

The large village of Evdimu was about a mile above us, and was
distinguishable from the heights. A new and important church was in
process of construction, upon which some Italian workmen were employed,
and an air of prosperity in this neighbourhood contrasted favourably
with most portions of the island. The cock-birds of francolins were
crowing in all directions, and when rambling with Wise, my now solitary
dog, vainly searching for a hare, I found several pairs of red-legged
partridges, which of course at this season I respected.

The march on the following day was a continuation of the same beautiful
country, until we at length reached the table-top of a stupendous cliff
perpendicular to the sea, which washed its base. The path was in many
places only a few feet from the edge, and afforded a magnificent view.
The table-land upon which we rode was covered with evergreen shrubs and
young pines, and the same rich landscape that we had admired on the
previous day extended towards the mountains of the interior. The road
had been as rough as could be imagined, and we now descended the last
steep incline from the heights, which led into the plain below. The salt
lake, which adds an important amount to the revenue of Cyprus, lay
beneath us upon the right, in the heart of the peninsula of Akrotiri;
immediately below were the ruins of ancient Curium, but to us
invisible. . . .

We arrived at the town of Episkopi. Captain Savile thus describes it:--

"A pleasantly situated village, standing on the
Episkopi or Lycos river, and very abundantly supplied
with water. The houses are surrounded with
fruitful gardens, and there are fields of grain and
cotton in the vicinity. The inhabitants have however
very small holdings, and are, as a rule, miserably
poor. In former days Episkopi was a rich city, and
contained in the Venetian times large manufactories;
of its ancient greatness now remain the ruins of an
aqueduct, immense storehouses or vaults, and several
ruined Greek churches. The spurs from Mount
Troodos extend nearly down to the shore, and the
road follows the coast-line, traversing a very beautiful
country; the ground in spring is covered with flowers
and aromatic herbs, and the ravines are filled with a
luxuriant growth of cypresses, wild-olives, and flowering

There was nothing to induce a delay in Episkopi, but an addition may be
made to the above description in stating that the river which has
fertilised the spot and made it famous originates in the Troodos range.
Later on, during the summer months, I often rested at the faintly
dripping source of its first mountain affluent near the top of Troodos,
which by degrees acquires strength from the Olympus drainage to form an
important stream.

We passed quickly through Episkopi with its fruitful gardens, narrow
streets, and yelling curs. Poor Wise was now alone, and we could no
longer exhibit a combined front of three British lions to the snapping
curs of Cyprus, therefore the dog Wise-ly kept close to the heels of our
guide's pony and just before me, which, without the ignominy of retreat,
secured his position from all assailants. We passed below the ancient
aqueduct, which conveyed a powerful volume of water to the turbine-wheel
upon our right; and at length emerging from the town, we entered once
more upon the plain, and steering for a large square tower which we had
remarked when at the summit of the heights, we shortly arrived at the
thriving village of Kolossi, about a mile and three-quarters distant.

This large village was a waving sea of barley, some of the finest that I
had seen, and due to artificial irrigation. An ancient aqueduct of
masonry turned a mill close to the large square tower that we had
previously observed. We halted for luncheon beneath an olive-tree a few
yards distant from the aqueduct, in a garden of fruit-trees which were
in the brightness of a spring foliage.

The square tower of masonry must have formed a portion of defensive
works that have disappeared, as there is no flanking protection, but the
tower rises above the plain to a height of about sixty feet like a huge
block of stone. It is said to have been erected by the Knights Templars,
and is of great solidity; but such experienced soldiers would hardly
have constructed so important a work without due regard to the first
rules of fortification.

After luncheon, the camels having arrived, I would not allow them to
unload, but directed them straight to Limasol. Of course their owners
declared the distance to be a long day's march, but as the map showed it
to be six miles, I insisted.

From Kolossi the country was perfectly open and cultivated; the
peasantry were engaged in reaping barley, which was carried away upon
donkeys' backs instead of being conveyed by carts. The usual
caroub-trees, although plentiful upon the rising ground in the distance,
were few and far between, and from this to Limasol, which was now in
view, the beauty of the landscape had departed . . . . . I dislike the
approach to a large town in a semi-wild country; the charming simplicity
and independence of travelling is destroyed, and the servants become
more or less demoralised by a love of new associations which produces a
neglect of duty. Iiani was with us in addition to our guide the
zaphtieh, therefore, as an utter stranger to the locality, I ordered
them to lead us to a convenient camping-ground. As we approached the
town there were the usual minarets and date-palms, and several vessels,
including steamers, were lying in the roadstead. We halted near the
entrance in a forsaken garden, where the walls were broken down and the
unwatered orange-trees, although in faint blossom, were parched and
faded. Two very large apricot-trees promised a shade for the tent, but
the sakyeeah, or water-wheel, together with two powerful English
lifting-pumps that were connected with a large reservoir and aqueduct of
masonry, were in the last stage of rust and rottenness. I was not
prepossessed with the aspect of the spot, as it reminded me strongly of
an English property in charge of the Court of Chancery. The baggage
animals with the tents arrived while our people were employed in
clearing a space beneath the trees from the innumerable stones, which,
as usual throughout Cyprus, covered the surface. The servants were
busily engaged in erecting the tent, when a long, lanky individual, with
a repulsive countenance, marched through the little crowd and haughtily
inquired "who we were, and what business we had there?"

This was the first instance of incivility that I had met with in our
journey through the island. The man was a Turk, and was not the
proprietor, but only the agent for this wretchedly-neglected property.
The unfortunate owner was sleeping with his fathers, or he would, I feel
sure, have welcomed us with true Turkish politeness and hospitality but
having departed this life, some legal difficulties had occasioned
trouble, and the estate was in the hands of the uncivil agent, who, of
course, being nobody, assumed the airs of somebody, and endeavoured by
rudeness to exhibit his importance. We were travel-stained and dusty as
millers, therefore our personal appearance had not impressed him
favourably; he was in a thread-bare long black cloth habit that
combined the cloak, dressing-gown, and frock-coat in a manner
inexplicable, and known only to Turks. This garment was trimmed in the
front edges with rather mangy-looking fox-skin: loose pegtop trousers of
greasy-looking cloth, dirty and threadbare, completed the costume of the
great curiosity of Cyprus, "a rude person."

I was not at the time aware that he understood Arabic, and happily I
addressed Amarn in that language, expressing my surprise that in this
country, where we had travelled so widely and found civility upon all
sides, we should be subjected to such rudeness. My servants, who were
more annoyed than myself, spoke rather loudly, and assured him that if
he was a Turk, their master was a pasha of his Sultan, and we would at
once quit his miserable neglected ground and mention his inhospitality
to the chief commissioner. By this time the rear baggage animals had
appeared, and the imposing array of luggage and people seemed to impress
him with the fact that we were neither gipsies nor vagabonds. I
explained to him that we should not have presumed to intrude within a
walled garden, but as the old walls had disappeared and the place was in
an open and ruinous condition, we had trespassed innocently. He
disappeared with an apology, but upon the first opportunity after we had
examined the neighbourhood of Limasol we changed our camp to a good
position on the eastern outskirts of the town. This side was rich in
caroub-trees, and had grass existed it would have formed a park: the
ground sloped from the mountains, about six miles distant, gradually to
the sea, the surface was richly wooded by caroubs throughout, and the
soil was cultivated with barley, which was already in the hands of
reapers. There were six caroub-trees in a line which connected their
shade, and we soon cleared the cultivated, but withered, surface of the
large clods of earth, which, having been turned up by the plough, had
baked beneath the sun into the hardness of bricks; these were arranged
in a square to mark the limits of the camp, while the interior area was
pounded to produce an even floor; from this position we looked upon the
sea, about a quarter of a mile distant, and upon the town of Limasol
upon our right.

No town in Cyprus exhibited the results of a British occupation to the
same extent as Limasol. The chief commissioner, Colonel Warren, R.A.,
was an officer of great energy and ability, and he had grappled
vigorously with every difficulty and cleansed the Augean stables
thoroughly. The town is about a mile and a half in length, and faces the
sea in a position somewhat similar to that of Larnaca. The quay is
washed by the waves, which in stormy weather dash against the houses, at
which times it is impossible to land from boats, and crews must remain
on board their vessels safely anchored in the roadstead. Although not so
extensive as Larnaca, Limasol is more compact, and the houses and
gardens are superior. Owing to the active authority of the chief
commissioner, the streets were scrupulously clean, and all the refuse of
the town was conveyed to a safe distance. A public market had been
recently arranged, covered with corrugated galvanised iron, in which the
departments for meat, vegetables, &c., were kept separate, and the
appearance and organisation resembled a market-place in England. The
various open places within the town, instead of being receptacles for
filth, as is usual throughout the East, had been carefully planted with
young trees, most of which were exhibiting their first spring shoots and
leaves. The quay which faced the sea, although exposed to the
undermining action of the waves, had been repaired and was in fair
condition; from this a tolerable pier projected, upon which piles of
goods were being disembarked from the steamer that had just arrived from
Larnaca. Two small tugs ran upon alternate days, thus affording
facilities for passengers and goods between Limasol and Larnaca, which
was a great convenience recently established to avoid the difficulty of
the roadless land journey. H.M.S. Torch was in the roadstead, together
with about twenty vessels of various flags and tonnage. Some of these
were loading wine for Trieste, and it was interesting to watch the
system adopted to save the difficulty of embarking the heavy casks in
lighters, in the absence of cranes or winches. The barrels when full
were slightly inferior in weight to their displacement of sea-water;
they accordingly floated almost level with the surface, and were formed
into a chain of two casks abreast and about fifty yards in length. Thus
arranged, they were towed by boats until alongside the vessel, when they
were easily hoisted up on board. As boats could not lie against the
perpendicular wall of the quay except during a perfect calm, there was
considerable trouble in carrying on the commerce of the port according
to modern requirements; but the inventions of necessity had simplified
many difficulties at the expense of increased manual labour. Boats lay a
few yards off the shore, and were loaded by men who walked shoulder-
deep with the packages upon their heads. I saw lighters discharging
planks and baulks of timber, by shooting them into the sea with
sufficient force to follow the direction given towards the shore, while
the receivers stood in the water to capture them upon arrival.

The shops and stores along the quay-face closely resemble those of
Larnaca, but there was more activity among the people. The streets of
the bazaar were thronged with mules and donkeys bringing the produce of
the interior to the shipping centre, and the crush of animals had been
carefully modified by the arrangements instituted by Colonel Warren, who
had established a large walled court, or stable-yard, into which all
empty mules and asses were driven, instead of being allowed to block the
thoroughfare; each beast paid some trifle for this accommodation, which
added to the fund for municipal improvements.

The public offices were very inferior, that of the chief commissioner
himself being a small white-washed room, which exhibited an utter
disregard of personal comfort in the interests of government economy.
There is a curious old fort within the town which has been altered and
added to until it has become an absurdity; this would be utterly useless
as a defence, and the Turkish guns having been removed, it is now
converted into a prison; beneath the ground there are dungeons which are
no longer used.

The roadstead of Limasol is formed by the projection of the Akrotiri
peninsula, which affords protection from the west and south-west, but it
is directly exposed from the east to the south. The anchorage is safe,
with good holding-ground in ten fathoms. The peculiar shaped peninsula
of Akrotiri is about seven miles wide, and the lake in its centre, when
full, has a width of about four miles; but during the exhaustive heat of
summer it evaporates to the dimensions of a mere pool, and leaves its
deserted bed encrusted with a deposit of salt. This lake has no
connection with the sea, and its maximum depth is under three feet; the
salt is formed upon the same principle as that of the Lake of Larnaca,
and certainly not by the percolation of sea-water through the sand, as
the Limasol lake is considerably above the sea-level. There is a
lighthouse at Cape Gatta, which can be seen at a distance of fifteen
miles, as from its elevated position the lamp is 190 feet above the sea.
From this point to Limasol the beach is low and sandy, and has always
been accepted as the most favourable point for a disembarkation of
troops. With historical facts before us there is small excuse for the
blunder committed in landing our army of occupation, during the extreme
heat of July, at Larnaca instead of Limasol. At the former port there is
not a tree to throw a shade, and the miserable aspect of the surrounding
country must have had a most depressing effect upon the nervous system
of officers and men, while at Limasol the country is agreeable and the
shady caroubs exist almost to the sea-shore, in numbers that would have
sheltered an army of three times the force represented. I cannot
conceive of more deliberate cruelty inflicted upon all grades than an
unnecessary exposure to the burning summer sun of Cyprus in bell-tents,
when shady trees existed in so convenient a locality as Limasol. If the
root of the offence could be traced it would probably be discovered that
the advice had been given by some persons interested in the possession
of property at Larnaca, where rents of houses rose from nil to a
fabulous amount upon the disembarkation of the troops. Altogether this
military enterprise of occupation was effected with the usual British
confusion and lack of arrangement.

The commissariat of course broke down, although special pains had been
taken to supply the troops with luxuries that to a simple mind are
inconceivable; thus COPPER WARMING-PANS in great numbers were sent out!
As the thermometer was above 100 degrees Fahr., these fiery furnaces
were hardly appreciated. It is a reflection upon the want of resource
exhibited by the authorities that these peculiar utensils were not sent
out as regimental stew-pans, as there was a dearth of cooking-pots, and
the warming-pans might have added materially to the comforts of the
insides, instead of the outsides of the men, by reducing the
gutta-percha-like texture of Cyprian bullocks into a savoury stew.
Another comfort thoughtfully supplied by some more than usually insane
authority, who no doubt had passed a severe competitive examination, was
exhibited in countless coal-boxes of cast-iron! These curious devices
were about three feet six inches long by two feet and a half deep, and
the same in width. To my ideas they were only suitable for gigantic
foot-pans or hip-baths, or as an aquarium for a young seal; but their
real object was to contain coal for the supply of the various tents!
What is to become of our country, exclaims the British taxpayer, if this
frightful waste is to continue? What traveller or explorer ever carried
with him a copper warming-pan and a gigantic coal-box, weighing nearly
two hundred pounds? And these useless abominations are to hamper the
operations of our troops, and to wear out our sailors in the labour of
the disembarkment of such disgraceful lumber! Should we unhappily in
some future political annexation send a military force to Spitzbergen,
we shall probably omit the warming-pans and fuel, but supply a shipload
of refrigerators and "Family Ice Machines."

A number of these cast-iron coal-boxes had been converted into cisterns
by Sir Garnet Wolseley, which surrounded the wooden Government House at
Lefkosia, and were kept full of water in case of fire. So practical a
general would have been the first to condemn the palpable absurdity of
coal-boxes, even had coals been required; surely they could have been
laid upon the bare ground by the tent side, instead of causing the
inconvenience, labour, and ridicule of importing such outrageous

When the famous military invasions of Cyprus took place in historical
times there were certainly neither warming-pans nor coal-boxes, either
with Richard Coeur de Lion of England in 1191, or with the Turks under
Lala Mustafa in 1570.

Both these experienced warriors selected Limasol for the point of
disembarkation, and landed their troops and horses upon the sandy beach
in Akrotiri Bay. Richard I. was on his way to the third crusade; but his
fleet having been dispersed by a storm, several vessels had been driven
on the south coast of Cyprus, where, instead of receiving the
hospitality usually exhibited to shipwrecked mariners, his people were
robbed and thrown into prison at Limasol by the king, Isaac Comnenus.
One of the principal vessels of the fleet which conveyed Berengaria,
daughter of the King of Navarre, who was the betrothed of Richard and
was accompanied by his sister the Queen Dowager of Sicily, took shelter
in Akrotiri Bay and anchored. It appears that the wily Isaac Comnenus
endeavoured to persuade the ladies to land, in the hope of effecting
their capture, and probably extorting a heavy ransom; but suspicion
being aroused, the ship set sail and was shortly met by Richard's own

Upon hearing that his shipwrecked crews had been detained and imprisoned
Richard immediately steered for Limasol, and, with his well-known
impetuosity of character, lost no time in disembarking his troops, and
shortly brought the Greek army to action under Isaac Comnenus and
utterly defeated them. The Latin inhabitants of Limasol had already
thrown open their gates, and Richard, after his victory, returned laden
with spoils, including the imperial standard, which was eventually hung
in St. Edmund's Chapel, Suffolk.

This first battle took place at Kolossi, near to Limasol. After the
flush of victory an additional warlike impulse was given to his forces
by the arrival of the chivalrous Guy de Lusignan, ex-king of Jerusalem,
accompanied by the Princes of Antioch and Tripoli. The marriage of
Richard with Berengaria took place at Limasol; she was there crowned
Queen of England by the Bishops of York and Evreux. Richard, who did not
prolong his honeymoon when an opportunity of fighting was at hand,
immediately collected his forces, and, together with Guy de Lusignan,
marched for the interior, where Isaac Comnenus had re-organised his
army. Guy de Lusignan with a division of the troops marched upon
Famagousta, which surrendered without resistance, while Richard attacked
the Greek army under Isaac Comnenus in the plain of Messaria. Owing to
the disparity of force the battle was for some time doubtful, and at
length the two leaders engaged in personal encounter, resulting in the
capture of Isaac Comnenus and the total discomfiture of his army. The
city of Lefkosia at once threw open its gates to the victorious Richard.

The next disembarkation of troops at Limasol, on 1st July, 1570, under
the Turkish general Lala Mustafa, was upon a much larger scale, as the
expedition comprised 70,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, and 200 cannon.
With this force Lefkosia was assaulted, and taken after a few weeks'
siege; and the inhabitants were subjected to inconceivable atrocities,
20,000 of both sexes being mercilessly butchered during the sack which
followed the capture of the town. The Turkish forces then marched upon
the great stronghold of Cyprus, Famagousta. This powerful fortress was
invested by land and sea, and although defended by only 7000 Venetian
troops, under their gallant commandant, General Bragadino, it sustained
a vigorous siege for more than ten months, until the heroic garrison was
reduced by sickness and starvation. During this time an extraordinary
apathy was exhibited by Venice, which should at all hazards have
determined upon the relief of this important position. On 23rd January,
1571, the only effective expedition entered Famagousta with 1600 men,
provisions and ammunition, with a squadron commanded by the Venetian
Marc Antonius Quirini; but on the 1st August following, the provisions
and ammunition having been completely expended, it became absolutely
necessary to negotiate the terms of capitulation. A detailed description
of this interesting siege is given in the work of Richard Knolles, The
General History of the Turks, published in London in 1638.

The conditions of surrender stipulated that "The garrison should march
out with five guns and the horses of the commanders, and should be
conveyed to Candia in the ships and at the expense of the Turks; that
the inhabitants should be free to quit the town and take their property,
and that those who preferred to remain should be unmolested both as
regards their persons and their goods."*
(*Captain Savile's Cyprus, p. 22.)

General di Cesnola writes, page 39:--

"These conditions were eagerly accepted by the
treacherous Mustafa; hostages were exchanged;
Turkish vessels, as stipulated, entered the port of
Famagousta, and took on board all those who wished
to leave the island; nothing remained but the formality
of delivering the keys of the city to the victor.

"On 5th August General Bragadino, accompanied
by his lieutenants Baglioni, Martinengo, and Quirini,
went to the Turkish camp, and was politely received
by Mustafa. After the delivery of the keys, and
when General Bragadino had risen to take leave, the
vile Turk asked him for special hostages for the safe
return from Candia of the Turkish vessels which were
to convey him and his men thither; Bragadino refused
this, as not having been stipulated in the accepted
conditions of his surrender. Then Mustafa accused
him of bad faith, and of having put to death fifty
Turkish pilgrims after he had surrendered, which was
indignantly denied by Bragadino. The pasha, becoming
enraged, ordered the four Venetians to be put to death,
and in a few minutes Generals Baglioni, Martinengo,
and Quirini were executed in the presence of Bragadino,
for whom a more terrible death was reserved.
The executioner cut off his nose and ears; three times
he was made to lay his head upon the block, as if
to be beheaded, then, heavily chained, was thrown
into a dark dungeon, and left for nine days in that
miserable condition.

"On the tenth day, by order of Mustafa, Bragadino
was brought out of prison and made to carry earth
for the repair of the fortifications during several hours,
after which, more dead than alive, the heroic soldier
was tied to a stake, and, in the presence of the ferocious
Mustafa, was flayed alive. His skin, stuffed with hay,
was sent with the heads of the other three Venetians
as presents to the Sultan."

The two most important conquests of Cyprus have thus commenced from the
port of Limasol, which is destined to become of primary importance as
the great commercial representative town of this now poor island.

We remained sixteen days at Limasol, during which time we had the
pleasure of the society of Colonel and Mrs. Warren and their young
family, which we thoroughly appreciated after the exile from civilised
life and ladies since we had quitted Kyrenia and Lefkosia. The leading
officials and some Greek merchants of the town were good enough to call
frequently, and kindly afforded much information; at the same time they
did not conceal their disappointment at the terms of the occupation,
which, by draining the island of its revenue, completely paralysed the
good intentions of the English government; the best resolutions being
valueless unless supported by the necessary capital.

Although I received every politeness from the inhabitants, who appeared
to think I had some official mission, it was not difficult to trace a
general tone of complaint and dissatisfaction, which was perfectly
natural under the existing regime. Although nothing could exceed the
pains taken by Sir Garnet Wolseley and all his officials to introduce
reforms for the general welfare of the people, the task was simply
impossible where various interests were conflicting, and no HYBRID
government could at once destroy existing abuses and at the same time
establish laws suitable to all classes. This general reform required an
independent administration, untrammelled by mongrel relations with the
Turk, and equally free from the vexatious labyrinths of English
jurisprudence. I do not wish to catalogue the long list of grievances
which have been entrusted to my unwilling ears, but there are some which
are so utterly destructive to the interests of the country and the
government, that I have no hesitation in describing them.

The great trade of Limasol is wine, as the district exhibits the
industry first encouraged by the Venetians; this, as the great
money-producing cultivation, opposed to Mussulman prejudices, has been
burdened with extortionate taxation and restrictions, which have not yet
been relieved by the British administration.



In the fifteenth century the Cyprian vines were selected for the now
celebrated vineyards of Madeira; nothing can better exemplify the
standard of industry and consequent prosperity than the vine, when we
regard the identical plant in the hands of the Portuguese and in its
original home in Cyprus under the Turkish administration. The first
historical notice of the vine occurs when Noah, stranded upon Mount
Ararat, took advantage, upon the first subsidence of the waters, to
plant a vineyard; and, according to the curt biblical description, it
grew, produced, and the wine intoxicated the proprietor, all within a
few days. It may not have occurred to the wine trade that this biblical
fact proves that the consumption of wine had been among the first
assumed necessities of the human race; if Noah's first impulse upon
landing suggested the cultivation of the vine, he was restoring to the
world a plant that had been considered so absolutely important that he
must have provided himself with either buds or cuttings in great
quantities when he selected his animals for the Ark BEFORE the Deluge.
If this is true, the use of wine must have been pre-historical, and its
abuse historical; the two purposes having continued to the present day.
It may therefore be acknowledged that no custom has been so universal
and continuous as the drinking of wine from the earliest period of human
existence. The vine is a mysterious plant; it is so peculiarly sensitive
that, like a musical instrument which produces harmony or discord at the
hands of different performers, the produce of the same variety is
affected by the soil upon which the plants are grown. Thus ten thousand
young vines may be planted upon one mountain, all of the same stock; but
various qualities of wine will be produced, each with a special
peculiarity of flavour, according to the peculiarities of soil. The same
estate, planted with the same vines, may produce high class wines and
others that would hardly command a market, if the soil varies according
to the degrees of certain localities. It would now be impossible to
produce Madeira wine in Cyprus, although the plants might be imported
and cultivated with the greatest attention. When the vines were shipped
from Cyprus and planted in Madeira during the rule of the Venetians, it
must not be supposed that those vines had ever produced wine of the
well-known Madeira flavour and quality; that flavour was the result of
some peculiarity in the soil of the new country to which the vines had
been transplanted, and there can be little doubt that the rich and
extremely luscious variety known in Cyprus as "Commanderia" was the
parent vine of the Madeira vineyards.

It is well known that the costly experiments of a century at the Cape of
Good Hope have verified the fact that the vine is the slave of certain
conditions of soil, which impart to this extremely delicate and
sensitive plant a special flavour that is incorporated with the wine,
and can never be eradicated. The vines of the Cape, although of infinite
variety, produce wines with a family taint which is a flavour absorbed
from the soil. Any person who knows Constantia, the luscious wine of the
Cape of Good Hope, will at once detect the soupcon of that flavour in
every quality of wine produced in the colony. It may therefore be
accepted that the flavour of wines depends upon the soil; thus it would
be impossible for a vine-grower to succeed simply by planting well-
known superior varieties of vines, unless he has had practical
experience of the locality to be converted into vineyards.

This fact is thoroughly exhibited in Cyprus, where the peculiarities of
soils are exceedingly remarkable, and cannot fail to attract attention,
each of these qualities of earth producing a special wine.

If a planter establishes a vineyard he will naturally select a certain
variety of vine, and a corresponding situation that will ensure a
marketable quantity of wine; thus in Cyprus a comparatively small area
of the island is devoted to the cultivation of the grape, which is
comprised chiefly within the district of Limasol. No wine is made in the
Carpas district, nor to the north of the Carpasian range of jurassic
limestone; there are no vineyards of importance in the western district;
or yet in the plain of Messaria, except upon the western border, in the
neighbourhood of Dali, towards the Makhaeras mountain.

Although there are many varieties of Cyprus wines, there is one
prevailing rule: the white commanderia, a luscious high-flavoured wine,
is grown upon the reddish chocolate-coloured soil of metamorphous rocks.
The dark red, or black astringent wines, are produced upon the white
marls and cretaceous limestone. The quantity produced is large, and the
dark wines can be purchased retail in the villages for one penny the
quart bottle!--and in my opinion are very dear at the money.

According to the official returns kindly supplied to me by Mr. Robson,
the chief of customs, the following list represents the declared
duty-paid production from 1877 to 1879.

Spirits-- Commanderia-- Black Wines--
Okes 2.75 lbs. Okes 2.75 lbs. Okes 2.75 lbs.
1877-1878. . 155,451 117,000 2,500,000
1878-1879. . 430,000 300,000 6,000,000

Spirit is valued at about 2.5 Piastres the Oke
Commanderia " " 2 " " "
Black Wines " " 1.25 " " "
The rate of exchange: 9 Piastres to 1 shilling = 180 per
pound sterling.

It will be observed that an immense difference is represented in the
yield of the two years. This is to be accounted for by the
superabundance of rains in 1878-1879, which caused a great quantity, but
bad quality, of juice, and the wine of this vintage is so inferior that
a large proportion is turning to vinegar, and can be used for no other

The habit of calculating by low quantities, as "okes," as the French
reckon in "francs," is at first sight perplexing to the English mind,
and conveys an erroneous impression of the actual results. If the
population of Cyprus is about 200,000, the maximum wine-crop of
6,000,000 okes would only yield 30 okes, or 60 ordinary wine-bottles, to
each person during the year. The local consumption is exceedingly small,
which can only be accounted for by the general poverty of the

The exports are directed principally to the various ports of the Levant,
Constantinople, Smyrna, Alexandria, in addition to Trieste, and parts of
Southern Italy. Some of the dark wines are shipped to Marseilles, for
the well-known establishment at Cette, where they are used for mixing
with other wines. It should at once be understood that no quality of
Cyprus wines is suitable to the English market, as they are generally
shunned even by the English residing in the island, where their extreme
cheapness might tempt people into the bad taste of consuming them. At
the same time, these wines are well appreciated by the native
population, especially the dark astringent qualities.

The difficulty of introducing a new wine is well known to English
wine-merchants, and the mysteries of the trade would somewhat astonish
the innocent would-be connoisseur. There can be no doubt that the palate
must be educated to enjoy fine dry wines, precisely as the ear must be
instructed before it can appreciate classical music. There is a harmony
in the senses of hearing, smell, and taste which is the result of
civilised life; this may be right or wrong physically, as the nerves
become more delicate and sensitive, which may affect the brain more or
less directly. There can be no doubt that it affects the stomach.
Certain civilised persons prefer game in a state approaching to
decomposition; I have seen savages who enjoy flesh when actually putrid,
and above all horrors, fish when stinking! Such food would disgust the
civilised man who prefers his game "high," and would perhaps kill other
civilised people whose palates and stomachs have been educated to avoid
impurities. In the same manner the palate must be educated for wines or
other drinks. I gave an old priest a bottle of Bass's pale India ale; he
could not drink half a glassful but rejected it as picro (bitter); the
same old man enjoyed his penny-a-bottle black Cyprus wine, reeking of
tar and half-rotten goat-skins, in which it had been brought to
market--a stuff that I could not have swallowed! It must therefore be
borne in mind when judging of Cyprian wines, that "English taste does
not govern the world." Although the British market would be closed to
the coarse and ill-made wines of Cyprus, there are other markets which
accept them gladly, and would absorb them to a high degree, were they
improved by superior cultivation and manufacture.

At the same time that the produce of Cyprus is now a unsuitable to the
English market, there is no reason why it should be excluded at a future
time, when scientific culture shall have enhanced the quality. It should
be remembered that the poorer classes of Great Britain would be
immensely benefited by a beverage that should be within their reach in
price, and at the same time be sufficiently invigorating without the
direct intoxicating properties of spirits or the sleepy, heavy, and
thirst-increasing qualities of beer. If Cyprus is at some future time to
become a British colony, the wine trade will be the principal source of
industry, and should be developed by the government with every possible
encouragement to the proprietors of vineyards. An improved quality of
wine will not necessitate an additional price, but, on the contrary, the
wine-growing resources of the island are so irrepressible that they have
withstood the oppression of the past and present, and when relieved of
this incubus, not only should the quality improve, but the price should
be reduced. In this case, should the Cyprian produce be favoured by a
nominal import duty in England, the wine will be within the reach of the
poorer classes, and may ameliorate that crying evil of our country,
"intoxication," by weaning the spirit-drinker to a more wholesome

It must never be supposed by the most sanguine that Cyprian wines will
be fashionable among the upper classes in England. I do not think they
will ever surpass Marsala or many of the Cape wines. English people, as
a rule, object to cheap wines, or at least they are reserved concerning
the price, should cheap wine be upon their table. It is a dangerous
thing to mention the cost of any wine, even to your nearest friend;
although he might have enjoyed it when he thought it must have cost you
72 shillings the dozen, he will detect some unpleasant peculiarity when
you may foolishly have confided to him that it only cost you 36
shillings, or, worse still, 24 shillings. He will possibly suggest to
you on the following morning that "something disagreed with him during
the night, but he does NOT think it was the 24 shilling wine." Here is
the fault of HALF-EDUCATED palates; they expect too much, and are guided
by fancies. The same person might be beguiled into the belief that the
24 shilling wine was very superior if he had been deceived by an
assurance that it cost 72 shillings. There are really very few amateurs
who could value unknown wines by the test of their own palates; but the
chilly climate of England is adverse to light wines, and necessitates a
full body, with considerable strength.

The sherries are always fortified by an addition of between 30 to 40 per
cent. of alcohol before they are shipped to England, without which they
would be unsaleable; as to our taste, they would be empty and vapid. We
must therefore make a considerable allowance when judging of Cyprus
wines in their present extremely rude and uncultivated position.

Nothing is added, and the following concise description will account for
their disagreeable peculiarities.

There are no roads in Cyprus in the mountainous wine-producing
districts, therefore all agricultural products must be conveyed upon the
backs of mules up and down the steepest and most dangerous rocky tracks,
apparently more fitted for goats than other animals. A mule will travel
in this rough country with a load of 250 lbs. This serious difficulty of
transport will account for the rude and ancient method of conveying wine
in goat-skins. "No man will put new wine into old bottles," referred to
this system of employing skins instead of casks, or other receptacles
that could be cleaned and rendered tasteless. The goat-skin would
quickly rot, unless it was prepared by a species of tar; thus not only
is the naturally unpleasant flavour of the skin imparted to the wine,
but the mixture of tar renders it completely abominable to any palate
that has not been educated to receive it. Let any person conceive the
result of pouring ten or twelve gallons of Chateau Lafitte into an old
and dirty goat-skin thoroughly impregnated with tar, and carrying this
burden upon one side of a mule, balanced by a similar skin on the other
side filled with the choicest Johannisberger. This load, worth at least
70 or 80 pounds at starting, would travel for two days exposed to a
broiling sun, and would lie for several days before it would be turned
into the vat of the merchant at Limasol. By that time, according to
civilised taste, it would be perfectly valueless and undrinkable; if the
best wines in the world can be thus destroyed by a savage means of
transport, what must the effect be upon such inferior qualities as the
crude produce of Cyprus? Common sense will suggest that the first step
towards improvement will be the completion of roads throughout the wine
districts, that will enable the two-wheeled native carts to convey the
wine in barrels direct from the growers to the merchants' stores at

We will now commence at the beginning, "the cultivation of the vine,"
and trace its progress until the wine is ready for the consumer.

As I have already described, the commanderia and the black wines are
produced by the two different qualities of soils, but there is no
difference in the altitudes. The new British road from Limasol to
Platraes, thirty miles, cuts directly through the principal vine
districts of the country. From the deep valley and roaring torrent, up
to the mountain-tops exceeding 4000 feet above the sea-level, the
country is green with vineyards in the middle or latter end of May; not
a yard of available land is lost. When the shoots are about three feet
long and have shown the embryo bunches, a number of men enter the
vineyard with switches and knock off the tender ends of the runners,
which in a gentler method of cultivation would be picked off with the
finger and thumb-nail. Sometimes goats are turned in to nibble off the
shoots in order to save labour, and at the same time to feed the
animals; they of course damage the vines, but the Cypriote thinks the
system pays. The young vines are never staked and tied as in Europe, but
are allowed to take their chance, and the heavy bunches in many
instances rest upon the dusty ground.

There is seldom rain after May, but a few showers are favourable at this
particular season when the young bunches are in blossom. In the best
vineyards attention is given to clearing away the weeds after rain, but
usually the vines are left to nature after the grapes have formed, as
the hot sun and drying wind are sufficient to keep down adverse

The grapes ripen towards the middle or end of August. The commanderia
grapes are collected and spread upon the flat mud-plastered roofs of the
native houses, and are exposed for several days, until they show
symptoms of shrivelling in the skin, and the stalks have partially
dried: they are then pressed. By this time many of the grapes that have
been bruised by this rough treatment have fermented, and the dust and
dirt of the house-top, together with flies and other insects, have
adhered to the impure heap. It has been imagined by some travellers that
the grapes are purposely dried before pressing; on the other hand, I
have been assured by the inhabitants that their only reason for heaping
and exposing their crop upon the house-tops is the danger of leaving it
to ripen in the vineyard. None of the plots are fenced, and before the
grapes are sufficiently ripe for pressing they are stolen in large
quantities, or destroyed by cattle, goats, mules, and every stray animal
that is attracted to the fields. The owner of the vineyard accordingly
gathers his crop by degrees, a little before the proper time, and the
grapes are exposed upon the house-tops to ripen artificially in the sun.
In this manner the quality is seriously damaged; but the natives will
not acknowledge it any more than the Devonshire farmers, who leave their
apples in heaps upon the ground for many weeks, rotting and wasp-eaten,
before they are carried to the pound for the grinding of cider. The
grapes, having been trodden by men with large boots, are pressed, and
the juice of the commanderia is placed in jars capable of holding from
seventy to one hundred gallons. The refuse of skins and stalks is laid
upon one side to ferment for the manufacture of raki, or spirit, by
distillation. The fermentation of the juice proceeds in the earthen
jars, and is guided according to the ideas of the proprietor; when he
considers that it has continued to a degree sufficient for the strength
and quality of the wine, it is checked by the addition of powdered
gypsum. Here is one of the patent errors of the manufacture of
commanderia as a wine suitable to English tastes. The grape-juice is
naturally so rich in saccharine, that it is luscious and vapid to an
excess; this superabundant amount of sugar would be converted into
alcohol in the natural process of fermentation if unchecked, and by the
chemical change the wine would gain in strength and lose in sweetness.
Should this process be adopted, the result would no longer represent the
wine now accepted as commanderia, which finds a ready market in the
Levant, owing to its peculiar sweetness and rich flavour, although
disagreeable to Europeans; there would accordingly be a risk attending
such experiments, which the grower would consider unnecessary, as he
already commands the sale.

The large jars in which the wine ferments are porous and unglazed; the
usual waterproofing is adopted, in the shape of tar, with which the
inside is thickly coated. There are many jars of a century old, which
have lost the flavour by extreme age, and have become liquid-proof by
the choking of the pores with the crust deposited by the wine; these are
highly prized, and the wine after fermentation is left upon its own lees
to ripen; or, according to our ideas, it is entirely neglected. It is
never racked into other vessels.

There is an unusual peculiarity in commanderia; instead of the colour
becoming paler by great age, it deepens to an extraordinary degree. The
new wine is the ordinary tint of sherry, but it gradually becomes
darker, until after forty or fifty years it is almost black, with the
syrup-like consistence of new honey. Wine of this age and quality is
much esteemed, and is worth a fancy price. I was presented with several
bottles of the famous old Cyprus growths of commanderia, morocanella,
and muscadine, by the kindness of Mr. Lanites, who is largely interested
in the trade at Limasol. The old commanderia was sufficiently sweet to
occasion a roughness in the throat, and each quality was far too
luscious for English taste, but might have been agreeable to sip like
Tokay, by soaking a sponge biscuit. The utterly rude method of producing
native wines, which can scarcely be dignified by the term "manufacture,"
is a sufficient explanation of their inferior quality, but at the same
time it is a proof of the great wine-producing power of Cyprus, where,
in spite of ignorance and neglect, an extensive commerce has been
established, which adds materially to the revenue of the island. If
these badly-made wines have founded an important trade, there is every
reason to expect a corresponding extension when scientific principles
shall have resulted in a superior quality.

The black wines receive even less care than the commanderia; the grapes
are trodden, and are thrown into receptacles to ferment, together with
the skins and stalks. This bruised mass, after lying a certain time
exposed to fermentation, is pressed, and the muddy juice is stowed in
the large tarred jars to ripen for a few months, which, according to
Cyprian taste, are sufficient to prepare it for consumption. The stalks
and black skins, being extremely rich in tannin, have imparted to the
wine a powerful astringency and the exceedingly dark colour which so
disagreeably distinguish this common quality. The growers imagine that
the extra amount of tannin is preservative, without which, their wine
might deteriorate during the rough treatment to which it is subjected by
transport and exposure; and to their specially-educated palates this
astringency is agreeable, combined with the strong flavour of tar, which
completely excludes it from the consumption of Englishmen. Neither the
commanderia nor any other quality of wine is subjected to the process of
"fining;" when issued from the stores of the merchant, therefore, a
really bright clear wine is never met with. The black wines could be
considerably improved by allowing them to settle in large vats, and by a
series of rackings into other vessels, as they become clearer by
depositing their impurities. I have tried this experiment upon a small
scale with success, and there can be no doubt that the simple manual
labour of drawing off the clear wine to enable it to fine itself by
precipitating the albuminous matter that has been fixed by the
superabundant tannin, would render the "mavro," or black wine,
drinkable; always excepting the presence of tar, which can at once be
avoided by the substitution of casks for the earthen jars and

At the expiration of the vintage the vines remain uncared-for throughout
the autumn and winter, cattle and goats invade them ad libitum so long
as their leaves are attractive, and no operation is performed until the
month of March. At this time they are pruned close to the stocks, which
are generally about one foot above the ground, and two eyes are supposed
to be left upon each spur. But I have watched the cultivators during the
process, and observed the usual neglect; sometimes the spurs were shaved
off completely, without a bud for next year's shoot, and at others too
many buds were left, that would weaken and disfigure the parent stem.
The instrument for pruning was similar to a very small reaping-hook,
with a handle about a foot in length, and the delicate operation was
conducted with a rapidity that rendered the necessary care impossible.
After the clearing of the refuse the land is carefully ploughed and

I visited some large wine-stores in Larnaca, where casks of about 300
gallons each were arranged in long parallel rows, all filled with
commanderia of various ages and corresponding prices.

Having now traced the liquor from the original vineyard into the
merchant's store, it will be interesting to examine the network of
obstructions and extortions to which the unfortunate wine-grower is
exposed before he can deliver his produce into the hands of the
merchant, either at Limasol or elsewhere.

Consul Riddell reported officially in 1875 as follows:--

"The wine trade of Cyprus was last year
exceptionally large, owing to the abundant produce of
the vineyards in 1874. The outcome of grapes and
wines in 1875 did not exceed an ordinary average,
and growers still complain loudly that the imposts
upon wines, reckoning from the grape to the vat, are
so heavy--amounting to about 35 or 40 per cent.--and
their imposition and collection so very arbitrary and
unequal, that many vineyards are being abandoned.

"The government, it is said, have under consideration
the anomalous state of the wine trade in Cyprus,
with a view to relieve and redress the many grievances
of which consumers complain, and in the meanwhile
the collection of the imposts is suspended. Should
the result prove to be the elaboration of a fair,
reasonable, and consistent scale of duties, the revival
of the wine trade may be reasonably looked forward
to, and under sound regulations and intelligent
fostering the trade would undoubtedly become a large
and profitable one to this island."

In 1876, the year following the promised reform,
Consul Pierides reports:--

"The quantity of all sorts of wine produced was
much below that of 1875. The principal shipments
were made to Trieste and Venice. The collection of
the imposts, which was for a short time suspended, has
recommenced, and the manner in which it is conducted
is still arbitrary and vexatious, while remonstrances
have hitherto been of no avail. It is time for the
government to put an end to these grievances, which
indeed threaten to destroy one of the best resources
of the island."

In 1877 Consul Watkins reports:--

"The manufacture of wine here is greatly on the
decrease; for, owing to all sorts of unreasonable
regulations, and to the vexatious mode of their
application, cultivators now prefer making their grapes
into raisins."

Here we have consecutive official reports from three different British
consuls during 1875-1877. The British occupation took place in 1878--I
am writing in 1879--and although the grievances of the Cyprian
wine-growers were sufficiently aggravated to call for the vigorous
reports and protests of three different British consuls during the
Turkish administration, no amelioration of their condition has been
effected during twelve months of British rule.

Captain Savile, in his excellent digest of all that concerns this
island, writes:--

"The grievances connected with the culture of the
vines and the manufacture of wine which are alluded
to in the consular reports, existed as long ago as 1863,
and were then mentioned by Consul White, who says
that the peasants were even then beginning to find it
more profitable to sell their grapes, or to make them
into raisins, rather than, by turning them into wine, to
subject themselves to the duty lately imposed over and
above the tithe and export duties, which were collected
in a very harassing manner. The growers have had
to pay, under the tax called `dimes,' an eighth part of
the produce of grapes to the treasury; but this could
not be taken in kind, so a money value was fixed yearly
by the local medjlis, or fixed tribunal; but as the assessment
was based on the market-price at the chief town
of the district, instead of the value at the place of
growth, this tax, instead of being about 12.5 per cent.,
in reality amounted to over 20 per cent. Then again
when the wine was made, an excise duty of 10 per
cent. was levied, and on export, a tax of 8 per cent.
had to be paid. The natural consequence of these
excessive impositions has been the diminution of a
culture for which the island is particularly adapted.
Consul Lang suggests that it might be wise to free this
production from all tax, except a proper export duty."

How easy it is to be generous at the expense of others!--here are

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