Arrival at Cherronisos
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. . . we started at 4.30 [in the afternoon], with a good breeze, but so mild and warm that we did not care a bit for our wraps. Had we started early we might have made the passage in 2 hours but we took 8. It rained a little but we were becalmed quite near Siphnos. We tacked about, often rowing some time, and it was just like St. Brandon’s Isle, ‘sometimes behind us, sometimes before,’ but a little breeze carried us into the port or bay of Charónasos at 12.30 [after midnight].
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the old couple tried to prepare us a meal, which consisted of fish soup and onions, for onions, as appears from a proverb in these parts, are common enough in Siphnos. ‘Give a Siphniote an onion’ corresponds to ‘carrying coals to Newcastle.’
A man, we had 3 in all, went in a boat to seek admittance at a few cabins on the rocks and at last found some one to take us. We scrambled up the rocks in the dark and found an old potter and his wife just out of bed waiting for us. They were old and fearfully patched and poor and their home was one room with the potter’s wheel in the middle, some built seats, a few stools, one little low table and all the pots unbaked chiefly. Their bed was made of some boards fixed to the wall on 2 sides and supported by a rough bit of tree, with a small
branch left to help in climbing up 4 feet. Some hard woollen sheets and a grey hairy rug.
They implored us most kindly to sleep there and we made many civil refusals but finding they would be offended we took off our boots and climbed up all dressed. P [the Bents’ dragoman] and the old pair slept on the floor . . . In the morning we all washed in the same basin and towel: I first, no soap. Put on our boots and were ready for the day. Had to wait till 11 for mules and in the mean time breakfasted off fish broth and then the fish out of unglazed earthen cups. One glass was all the kind old people had – we gave them 5 dr. and a pair of scissors.
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The Bents’ journeys in XXX
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