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THE HALL OF SACRIFICE.
vase to collect the stream and enable the traveller to quench his thirst. This is the only part of the labyrinth that we found uncomfortably damp, and in no place was the air hot or disagreeable.
Another passage conducted us to a large chamber, which we were informed was the ne plus ultra in that direction—I think our guides called it the hall of sacrifice. The venturesome persons who, by the aid of flambeaux and twine, penetrate
" thus far into the bowels of the earth,” consider themselves entitled to lay claim to immortality by inscribing their names on the wall. Amongst others were those of Mustapha Pasha, and of a French lady, Madame C-, whom her tender husband described as being “enceinte de 5 mois.”
The purpose for which this labyrinth was formed is yet a matter of conjecture. There is not the slightest indication of its having been a place of burial, and the narrow entrance is very much against the supposition of its having been a stone quarry — indeed it
is quite unreasonable to suppose that the builders of Gotyna should have come here for stone when they had plenty of the same kind much nearer at hand.
It most probably was a natural cavern, which served in early ages as a place of refuge for the inhabitants of the plain below, against the marauding visits of their more powerful neighbours, and thus came to be enlarged to contain their stores of grain as well as their families, and, finally, to assume its present regular appearance.
Some doubts have been started as to this cavern being the famed labyrinth from which Theseus was delivered by the contrivance of the love-stricken Ariadne. Far be it from me to throw the shadow of a doubt on the truth of a tale of such true love, but I needs must confess that the locale but ill agrees with the account handed down to us of the Minotaur's abode, for veracious Greek authors state that it had an opening on the sea shore—now this certainly never possessed such a back-door, for it is, at least, six miles from the coast.
THE BAY OF MESSARA.
On leaving the labyrinth, we descended the mountain in the best way we could to regain the road in the valley, from which we had previously struck off, as by it we purposed gaining the pass on the western side of Mount Ida and proceeding to Retimo. The road soon quits the plain, inclining slightly to the right, and traverses a broken country, of which the gravelly surface is thickly clad with gorse, heather, and aromatic shrubs of infinite variety. On attaining the summit of a barren ridge, an agreeable view burst upon us. The beautiful village of Faneromegnie, nestled in the bottom of the ravine, lies below, shadowed by magnificent carob trees, and encompassed by orchards, bending under the weight of their own riches. From thence, a level country stretches all the way to the sea, but the road, when arrived at within a mile of the coast, inclines again to the right, keeping parallel to the eastern shore of the Bay of Messara, and crosses the beds of several mountain torrents. The soil of the plain is red clay and gravel, and it is covered with aromatic plants that give out a delightful fragrance.
On approaching Clima, which is about twelve miles from Agius Decea, the country again becomes hilly and wooded with carob, olive, and other trees, intermixed with patches
The village stands on the acclivity of a mountain, and is miserable in the extreme. The road zig-zags up the side of the steep ridge beyond Clima, and in the valley, on the reverse side, reaches as far as Santa, a wretched ruined hamlet that affords shelter to some sixty or eighty souls. Crossing another steep chain, and leaving on the right the picturesque village of Sanota, which nestles in the intervening valley, we passed a mass of ruins, once known as the village of Dafiaco, and, traversing a wild and partially wooded valley, arrived at Apodoulo, where a few decent houses, but more especially a litter of sucking pigs, tempted us to stay for the night. We sent our Greek servant forthwith in search of the owner of the unclean little beasts-our christian appetites craving strangely at a sight with which our eyes had not been feasted, during the whole of our residence in Egypt.
SITUATION OF APODOULO.
Apodoulo is about twenty miles from Agius Decea. It is agreeably situated on a knoll, projecting from the western side of Mount Ida, and commands a fine view over a wide and deep lateral valley, that stretches many miles into the interior of the island. The accommodation it offered was poor, but our tent rendered us independent of house-room, and our squeaker, placed on two blocks of stone, was soon crackling over a blazing fire; bread, fruit, and eggs we were able to procure in the village, and wine we had brought with us from Candia - for, whilst there, we had ascertained, that not a drop could then be obtained in the interior of the island.