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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.
within the former wall of the city; but the great khan subjected the city and province to his dominion.  Through this city and its environs there run many rivers, some half a mile over, and some an hundred paces, all very deep; and on these there are many handsome stone bridges, eight paces broad, having marble pillars on each side, supporting wooden roofs, and on every bridge there are houses and shops.  After passing this city, all these rivers unite into one great river called the Quian, or Kian, which runs from hence one hundred days journey before it reaches the ocean; having many cities and castles on its banks, with innumerable trading vessels.  Proceeding four days journey farther, we pass through a fine plain, containing many cities, castles, and villages, and several beautiful green lawns or pastures, in which there are many wild beasts.

Beyond this last mentioned plain is the wide country of Thebet, or Thibet, which the great khan vanquished and laid waste; and in it there are many ruined cities and castles, for the space of twenty days journey, which has become an uninhabited wilderness, full of lions and other wild beasts.  Those who have to travel through this country must carry victuals along with them, and must use precautions to defend themselves against the ferocious animals of the desert.  Very large canes grow all over this country, some of which are ten paces long and three palms thick, and as much between the knots or joints.  When travellers take up their quarters for the night, they take large bundles of the greener reeds or canes, which they put upon the top of a large fire, and they make such a crackling noise in burning as to be heard for two miles off by which the wild beasts are terrified and fly from the place; but it has sometimes happened that the horses, and other beasts belonging to the merchants or travellers, have been frightened by this noise, and have run away from their masters:  for which reason prudent travellers use the precaution of fettering or binding their feet together, to prevent them from running off.

[1] Owing to the prodigious revolutions which have taken place in the East
    since the time of Marco, and the difference of languages, by which
    countries, provinces, towns, and rivers have received very dissimilar
    names, it is often difficult or impossible to ascertain, with any
    precision, the exact geography of the relations and descriptions in
    the text.  Wherever this can be done with any tolerable probability of
    usefulness it shall be attempted.—­E.

[2] The Pei-ho, which runs into the gulf of Pekin, near the head of the
    Yellow sea.—­E.

[3] Kathay, or Northern China, contained the six northern provinces, and
    Mangi or Southern China, the nine provinces to the south of the river
    Kiang, Yang-tse-Kiang or Kian-ku.  Tain-fu may possibly be Ten-gan-fu: 
    Gouza it is impossible to ascertain, unless it may be Cou-gan, a small
    town, about thirty miles south from Peking or Cambalu.  I suspect in
    the present itinerary, that Marco keeps on the north of the Hoang-ho. 
    —­E.

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