From the audience we were conducted to the dwelling of a person who was ordered to provide us in lodging, food, and horses; but as we had no presents to give, he treated us with great neglect. We travelled along with Baatu, down the banks of the Volga for five weeks, and were often so much in want of provisions, that my companion was sometimes so extremely hungry as even to weep. For though there is always a fair or market following the court, it was so far from us, that we, who were forced to travel on foot, were unable to reach it. At length, some Hungarians, who had for some time been looked upon as priests, found out, and relieved our distresses. One of these was able to sing with a loud voice, and being considered by his countrymen as a kind of priest, was employed at their funerals; the other had been decently instructed in the Latin grammar, so that he understood whatever we spoke to him deliberately, but was unable to make answer. These men were a great consolation to us, as they supplied us with flesh and cosmos. They requested some books from us, and it grieved me much that we could not comply, having only one bible and a breviary. But I made them bring some ink and paper, and I copied out for them the Hours of the blessed Virgin, and the Office for the Dead. It happened one day that a Comanian passing by saluted us in Latin, saying Salvete domini. Surprized at this unusual salutation, I questioned him how he had learnt it, and he told me he had been baptized in Hungary by our priests, who had taught him. He said, likewise, that Baatu had inquired many things at him respecting us, and that he had given him an account of the nature and rules of our order. I afterwards saw Baatu riding with his company, who were the whole of his subjects that were householders or masters of families, and in my estimation they did not exceed 500 men.
At length, about the Holyrood, 14th September, or festival of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, there came to us a certain rich Moal, whose father was a millenary or captain of a thousand horse, who informed us that he had been appointed to conduct us. He informed us that the journey would take us four months, and that the cold was so extreme in winter, as even to tear asunder trees and stones with its force. “Advise well with yourselves, therefore,” said he, “whether you be able to endure it, for otherwise I shall forsake you by the way.” To this I answered, that I hoped we should be able, with the help of God, to endure hardships like other men; but as we were sent by his lord under his charge, and did not go on any business of our own, he ought not to forsake us. He then said that all should be well, and having examined our garments, he directed us what we should leave behind in the custody of our host, as not useful for the journey; and next day he sent each of us a furred gown, made of sheep skins, with the wool on, and breeches of the same, likewise shoes or footsocks made of felt, and boots of their