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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xxxv         A PROSPEROUS VALLEY                     395

good repair, the people are bright and cheery-looking, and
Greek villages with prominent churches on elevated spurs
add an element of Christian civilisation to the landscape.
The exceeding beauty of natural forests, of soft green
sward starred with the straw-coloured blossoms of the
greater hellebore, of abounding ferns and trailers, of " the
earth bringing forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and
the tree yielding fruit after his kind," of prosperous
villages with cheerful many-windowed houses and red-
tiled deep-eaved roofs, can only be fully appreciated by
the traveller who has toiled over the burning wastes
of Persia with their mud villages and mud ruins, and
across the bleak mountains and monotonous plateaux of
the Armenian highlands, with their ant-hill dwellings,
and their poverty-stricken population for ever ravaged by
the Kurd.

" Tilled with a pencil," carefully weeded, and abund-
antly manured, the country looks like a garden. The
industrious Greek population thrives under the rule of
the Osmanlis. Travellers on foot and on horseback
abound, and Khans and cafds succeed each other rapidly.
When the long descent alongside of the Surmel was
accomplished, the scenery gradually became tamer, and
the look of civilisation more emphasised. The grass was if
possible greener, the blossoming hellebore more abundant,
detached balconied houses with their barns and outhouses
evidenced the security of the country, the heat-loving fig
began to find a place in the orchards, the funereal cypress
appeared in its fitting position among graves, and there
was a briny odour in the air, but, unfortunately for the
traveller, the admirable engineering of the modern waggon
road deprives him of that magnificent view of the ocean
from a height which has wrung from many a wanderer
since the days of the Ten Thousand the joyful exclama-
tion, " Thalatta ! Thalatta !"