A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.
or to moisten the roots of the grass.  But there are often prodigious showers of hail; insomuch, that by the sudden melting of one of these, at the time when the emperor elect was about to be placed on his throne, at which time we were at the imperial court, above an hundred and sixty persons were drowned, and many habitations and much valuable things were swept away.  In summer there are often sudden and intolerable heats, quickly followed by extreme cold.

[1] This strange personification of the East and North, as if they were
    stationary geographical terms, not merely, relative, only means that
    Mongalia lay in the most north-easterly part of the then known world. 

[2] Called likewise Karakum, or Caracorum, and said to signify the Black


Of the Appearance, Dress, and Manner of Living of the Tartars.

The appearance of the Mongols or Tartars is quite different from all other nations, being much wider between the eyes and cheeks, and their cheeks are very prominent, with small flat noses, and small eyes, having the upper lids opened up to the eyebrows, and their crowns are shaven like priests on each side, leaving some long hair in the middle, the remainder being allowed to grow long like women, which they twist into two tails or locks, and bind behind their ears.  The garments of the men and women are alike, using neither cloaks, hats, nor caps, but they wear strange tunics made of bucram, purple, or baldequin.  Their gowns are made of skins, dressed in the hair, and open behind.  They never wash their clothes, neither do they allow others to wash, especially in time of thunder, till that be over.  Their houses are round, and artificially made like tents, of rods and twigs interwoven, having a round hole in the middle of the roof for the admission of light and the passage of smoke, the whole being covered with felt, of which likewise the doors are made.  Some of these are easily taken to pieces or put together, and are carried on sumpter-cattle; while others are not capable of being taken to pieces, and are carried on carts.  Wherever they go, whether to war, or only travelling to fresh pastures, these are carried with them.  They have vast numbers of camels, oxen, sheep, and goats, and such prodigious multitudes of horses and mares, as are not to be found in all the rest of the world; but they have no swine.  Their emperor, dukes, and other nobles, are extremely rich in gold and silver, silks, and gems.  They eat of every thing that is eatable, and we have even seen them eat vermin.  They drink milk in great quantity, and particularly prefer that of mares.  But as in winter, none but the rich can have mares milk, they make a drink of millet boiled in water; every one drinking one or two cups in the morning, and sometimes having no other food all day; but in the evening, every one has a small quantity of flesh, and they drink the broth in which it was boiled.  In summer, when they have abundance of mares milk, they eat little flesh, unless it is given them, or when they catch venison or birds.

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