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 !"