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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

The river Tanais, at this place, is as broad as the Seine at Paris; and before arriving on its banks, we had passed many goodly waters full of fish:  but the rude Tartars know not now to catch them, neither do they hold fish in any estimation, unless large enough to feed a company.  This river is the eastern limit of Russia, and arises from certain marshes which extend to the northern ocean; and it discharges itself in the south, into a large sea of 700 miles extent, before falling into the Euxine; and all the rivers we had passed ran with a full stream in the same direction.  Beyond this place the Tartars advance no farther to the north, and they were now, about the first of August, beginning to return into the south; and they have another village somewhat lower down the river, where passengers are ferried over in winter.  At this time the people were reaping their rye.  Wheat does not succeed in their soil, but they have abundance of millet.  The Russian women attire their heads like those in our country; and they ornament their gowns with furs of different kinds, from about the knees downwards.  The men wear a dress like the Germans, having high crowned conical hats made of felt, like sugar loaves, with sharp points.

At length, after representing that our journey was intended for the common benefit of all Christians, they provided us with oxen and men to proceed upon our journey; but as we got no horses, we were ourselves under the necessity of travelling on foot.  In this manner we journied for three days, without meeting any people; and when both our oxen and ourselves were weary and faint with fatigue, two horses came running towards us, to our great joy:  Our guide and interpreter mounted upon these, and set out to see if they could fall in with any inhabitants.  At length, on the fourth day, having found some people, we rejoiced like seafaring men, who had escaped from a tempest into a safe harbour.  Then getting fresh horses and oxen, we passed on from station to station, till we at length reached the habitation of duke Sartach on the second of the kalends of August[2].

[1] In the Latin this fish is named Barbatus, which both Hakluyt and Harris
    have translated Turbot, a fish never found in rivers.  It was more
    probably a Barbel, in Latin called Barbus; or it might be of the
    Sturgeon tribe, which likewise has beard-like appendages, and is found
    in the Don.—­E.

[2] This, according to the Roman method of reckoning, ought to be the last
    day of July.  Yet Rubruquis had previously mentioned the 1st of August
    a considerable time before.—­E.

SECTION XVI.

Of the Dominions and Subjects of Sartach.

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