The Papal Envoys receive a Licence to depart.
These Tartar ministers informed us, that the emperor proposed to send envoys along with us; and it seemed to us, that they wished we should ask this from the emperor, and one of the principal among them advised us to make that request. But this did not appear at all convenient, and we answered, that it did not become us to make any such petition; but if it were the pleasure of the emperor to send envoys, we should use our utmost endeavour, with God’s assistance, to conduct them in safety. We were averse from this measure, for the following reasons: Lest, seeing the wars and dissensions which subsisted among the Christians, they should be the more encouraged to make war upon us: We were afraid that the messengers were meant to act as spies, to examine the approaches to our land: We dreaded that they might be slain by the way: for when the servants which attended us, by desire of the cardinal legate of Germany, were on their return to him, they were well nigh stoned to death by the Germans, and forced to put off that hateful dress: And it is the custom of the Tartars, never to make peace with those who have slain their messengers, till they have taken a severe revenge. Fourthly, we feared their messengers might be taken from us by main force. And lastly, because no good could arise from them, as they were to have no other commission or authority, except merely to deliver the letter of the emperor to the pope and princes of Christendom, which letter we already had.
The third day after this, being the feast of St Brice, 13th November, we received our passport, and a letter sealed with the emperor’s own seal; and going to the emperor’s mother, she gave each of us a gown made of fox-skins, having the hair outwards, and a linen robe; from every one of which our Tartar attendants stole a yard, and from those that were given to our servants, they stole a full half. We were perfectly aware of this knavery, but did not think it convenient to take any notice.