Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/252

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NOTES AND QUERIES, [ii s. XL MAB. 27,


employed were of the native breed, with longish hair. The hunting party stretched in a line across country at a distance from each other of a dozen feet, and at each end of the line was a leash of greyhounds, the falconer being in the middle. When a hare was started a brace of hounds would be slipped, and the falconer, galloping after them, would throw off his hawk, which, of course, sealed the fate of the unfortunate hare.

Apropos of hare - hunting, there was formerly a curious epitaph in the Aleppo cemetery :

Viator nusquam tutum esse exemplo hoc docet te Robertus Burdet Armigeri Londinensis filius qui leporem inter venandum dum latebrae admoverit manum a serpente ictus infra 8 horas mortalis esse desiit. A.D. MDCLXXIII. Oct. ix. jetatis sure xxiii. disce.

The " garden season " of the Levant, as Dr. Russell calls the winter, was so delight- ful that with some reluctance the gentle- men removed to town towards the end of May. But although the nights continued cool, the ride to town during the daytime was found to be hot and unpleasant. Turkish turbans seem to have been worn out on the country roads instead of cocked hats at this season of the year.

In the course of the summer it was cus- tomary for the English gentlemen to dine together in a garden near the town, but the inconveniences arising from heat and flies, and want of proper accommodation for the customary siesta, very much marred their pleasure. The life was comparatively seden- tary, especially during the heat of summer, and much of the time was spent in indolent lounging on a sofa, although the merchants kept excellent horses, and riding was a favourite pastime.

Formal invitations between the different families were oftener given for supper than for dinner (dinner was, of course, in the middle of the day), and, the service of the table being the same at both, animal fooc was more eaten at night than would have been customary in England. According to an anonymous volume published in 1784 b;y an officer of the H.E.I.C., the life of the Europeans at Larnaca was of the gayest He mentions that his stay in Cyprus of about ten days' duration was one continuous scene of amusement at the different villas of the European gentlemen. But he com- plains of the great unhealthiness of the town, which occasioned his removal with his friends to the country house of the Venetian Consul, situated about ten miles away ; and


this change of air proving useless, he was

bliged to secure the first opportunity of

eaving the island in a Venetian ship, at the

risk of being made prisoner by a French

rigate in Larnaca Bay.

The gay entertainments offered by the Consuls and merchants afforded oppor- unities for the Frank ladies to disport them- selves in the Eastern costume ! Mr. Consul Drummond says in his ' Letters ' that the wives and daughters of the Frank merchants dress in the

Grecian Mode, \vhich is wantonly superb,, though in my opinion not so agreeable as our own. Yet the ornaments of the head are graceful and* joble : and when I have seen some pretty woman* of condition sitting upon a divan, this part of their dress hath struck my imagination with the ideas^ of Helen, Andromache, and other beauties of antiquity, inspiring me with a distant awe, while the rest of their attire invited me to a nearer approach."

This remarkable fashion of Englishwomen dressing themselves up in a native costume- continued throughout the eighteenth century. Amongst the old papers at the Public Record Office is a diary (anonjrmous) which gives such details of Consular entertainments as the following :

March 22,1753. "National Visit is paid to the- Dutch Consul (Mynheer Staanwinckel) this Even- ing. On these Occasions several Parties at Card* are formed, and about 8 o'clock a long table is laid to hold about 20 or 25 persons, including the- Drogerman of both Nations, (who, I forgot to tell you, wear a brown Furr Cap, well is called here the- Calpack, high and broad, and stiffened in such a manner as to be of equal Breadth from top to bottom), so many I say (these included being in> Company.) This table is spread with a great Variety of Dishes, and as every one has his Servant behind him, an Entertainment of this kind makes; no contemptible Figure. We give cheers to the- national Toasts."

It is not difficult to imagine the laborious punctilio of those tedious visits of ceremony between the representatives of the great European States, which were obligatory then even more than at the present time. Hey- man in 1720 observed with curiosity the freedom with which the English Consul was permitted to offer his hand to the wife of the Dragoman of the French Consul, a civility which would have been considered an undue condescension and familiarity at Smyrna. The etiquette of these Consular entertain- ments survived for many generations from the period of Louis XIV. , and the pompous days of flowing wigs and magnificent cos- tumes, of studied genuflexions and elaborate speeches. Something romantic seems to linger about this story of the English settle- ment in the famous " enchanted island " of