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.

From this place post-horses were appointed to conduct us with all speed to duke Baatu, under the guidance of three Tartars.  This Baatu is the most powerful prince among them, next to their emperor.  We began our journey to his court on the first Tuesday in Lent, and riding as fast as we could trot, though we changed our horses twice or thrice every day, and often travelled in the night, it was Maunday Thursday before we accomplished our journey.  The whole of this journey was through the land of Comania, which is all an uniform plain, watered by four large rivers.  The first of these is the Dnieper or Boristhenes; on the Russian side of which the dukes Corrensa and Montij march up and down, the latter, who marches on the other side of the plains, being the more powerful of the two[1].  The second river is the Don, or Tanais of the ancients, on the banks of which a certain prince, named Tirbon, sojourns, who is married to the daughter of Baatu.  The third and largest is the Volga or Rha, on which Baatu resides.  The fourth is the Jaik or Rhymnus, on each bank of which a millenary commands.  All these descend southwards in winter to the sea, and travel in summer up these rivers, towards the northern mountains.  All these rivers, especially the Volga, abound in fish, and run into the great sea, from which the arm of St George extends past Constantinople[2].  While on the Dnieper, we travelled many days upon the ice; and on the shore of the sea we found the ice three leagues broad.  Before our arrival at the residence of Baatu, two of our Tartars rode on before, to give him an account of what we had said to Corrensa.

[1] It is difficult to understand the ambiguity here used, unless we
    suppose that the station of Montij was on the right bank of the
    Dnieper; while certainly that of Corrensa was on the left or
    north-east bank.—­E.

[2] The Euxine and Caspian are here confounded as one sea.  It is scarcely
    necessary to observe, that the Dnieper and Don run into the Euxine,
    while the Volga and Jaik, or Ural, are discharged into the Caspian. 


The Reception of Carpini at the Court of Baatu.

When we arrived at the residence of Baatu, in the land of Comania, we were ordered to pitch our tent a full league from his station, and when we were to be introduced at his court, we were informed that it was previously necessary for us to pass between two fires.  We refused this at first, but were told there was no danger, and that it was only precautionary, in case we intended any mischief to their lord, or should have brought poison along with us, as the fire would remove all evil.  On which we complied, that we might remove all suspicion of any such sinister intentions.  After this, when we came to the orda, we were questioned by Eldegay, the agent of the prince, respecting the gifts we meant to offer; and making

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