Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/253

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11 S. XL MAR. 27, 1915.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


two centuries ago. Could we but see our forefathers in their wigs and three-cornered hats, their womenkind dressed a la Turque, their slaves and retainers forming large households, what a remarkable contrast they would afford with the officials of the English administration of to-day !

William Turner (' Journal of a Tour in the Levant,' London, 1820), who visited Cyprus in 1815, stayed in the house of Signor Vondi- ziano, the Consul, who kept up the dignity of his position ; had the English Royal arms over his entrance door, at which two janis- saries mounted guard ; and lived in an im- posing style with six servants, a carriage and horses, and yet spent only about 200Z. per annum. SignorVondiziano was a little eccen- tric in his desires to preserve a certain state, for he always walked about with a large cocked hat on his head, which he even wore within doors.

Eight years later Capt. Ch. Frankland visited Signor Vondiziano, and gives a fuller account of the Cypriot Consul's house. He describes the Consular carriage in which he drove up from the Marina as "a caleche drawn by one horse, just such a one as Gil Blaz and his friend Scipio went in down to Andaluzia to take possession of his quinta at Leria." He was received with much polite- ness and urbanity by the Consul, who offered beds, &c., and introduced him to his five daughters, " but I looked in vain for a Haidee amongst them." Pipes and coffee employed the evening, and at nightfall he returned to his ship. The following day he dined with Signor Vondiziano and several of the other Consuls and their wives, " tutti illustrissimi signori." All these people appear to have been natives of the Levant, "or at least Levanteens, and the fair Consulesses had tinged their fingers with henna a la Turque."

One of the most successful actions in life of Mr. Consul Vondiziano appears to have been the conveyance across the Mediter- ranean from Egypt of three French prize ships laden with rice and corn, and their sale by auction at Larnaca at a good price. After this youthful enterprise about the year 1801, he was made the English Vice-Consul.

An uncertain road skirts the sandy shore of Larnaca Bay to Ormidhia, in places made artificially to some extent, but for the most part a mere cart track with deep mud-holes in winter -time, and covered over with drift- ing sand in the dry season of summer. A few ruined houses dot the coast-line, amongst which the shapeless remains of a guard- house are prominent ; and the farther away

one gets from Larnaca the more rocky becomes the coast, finally breaking into the cliffs of Cape Pyla. From this eastern- shore of Larnaca Bay a singularly beautiful! view is obtained of the great mountain range- of Troodos, forming a background to . the - distant Larnaca a view which is almost worth the afternoon's drive to see, whem there is a fine sunset to take place behindl the blue mountains, and across the gold and! sapphire sea.

A rocky creek formed by the stream which : passes through Ormidhia affords a landing- place for a few fishermen's boats and one or two little coasting vessels which load up with, grain here when the weather is fine. From, this creek the valley, protected by low hills on either side, stretches up inland for more than a mile, and at its extremity is the village clustering round the large modern church. Along the eastern side of the valley runs a cart road, overhung with trees and between high hedges of thick bushes and canebrakes,. for more than a mile. Within the different enclosures along its course are evident signs of long-continued habitation, and although the old ruinous outbuildings and a few broken walls are all that can positively be identified! with the merchants' villas of long ago, the place has a very considerable interest. Here undoubtedly once stood the English houses, removed at some little distance from, the native village, and sheltered from the terrible " scirocco " of the Levant by the- low range of hills on the east.

But, alas ! not more than two or three ancient structures, now fallen into a squalid state of ruinous neglect, serve to represent what the anonymo of 1784 describes as " the different villas of the European gentlemen," where " one continued scene of gaiety and amusement " occupied so much of his . time. One of these houses now belongs to the grandson of Consul Vondiziano. Even so late as the beginning of the nineteenth, century we have a record surviving of these old English merchants' villas and their com- parative luxury. A certain Capt. J. M. Kinnear of the Hon. East India Company published his ' Journal ' in 1818, and describes his adventures in approaching Larnaca from Famagusta :

" Thoroughly drenched to the skin, I took refuge in a Greek house in the valley of Ormidhia. As it was now nearly dark, and the storm continued to rage with increased violence, I resigned all thought of reaching Larnaca that night. In the house where I halted, several Greek mariners were making merry round a large fire in the middle of the hall, and on our entering opened their ring to afford room- for us near the fire ; but as this apartment was the