A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.

On the 5th of April 1475, we embarked, and departed from Derbent, being thirty-five persons in all, including the master of the boat and the crew.  The rest of the passengers were merchants, carrying rice, silk, and silken goods to Citrarchan[4], where they proposed to sell their commodities to the Russians and Tartars, or to barter them for other articles.  Having coasted along during three days, with a favourable wind, always keeping about fifteen miles from the shore, the wind became contrary on the third evening, and increased during the night to so violent a tempest that we expected to have been lost.  Although we had all reason to believe our bark would be dashed to pieces on the shore, we made every effort to gain the land, and fortunately our vessel ran into a kind of ditch or dock between sand banks, very near the beach, where she stuck fast, impelled by the united force of the winds and waves, and of our oars.  Between us and the shore there was a pool, through which we had to wade, carrying our baggage on our shoulders; and we were almost perished with cold, owing to the wind, and our being drenched with water; yet we unanimously agreed to refrain from making a fire, lest that circumstance might attract the notice of the Tartars, whom we feared to meet with.  At day light we noticed traces of horses having been on the spot, and the recent fragments of a ruined skiff, from which we were led to conclude, that some persons must have been here; but some other circumstances gave us reason to believe that the Tartars were not near the shore.

We remained undisturbed at this place till the 14th of April, when the wind and weather becoming favourable, we got our bark from the creek, and again resumed our voyage, and advanced near thirty miles the same day.  Towards evening the wind became again contrary, but we avoided the dangers of an impending storm, by taking refuge amidst some reeds, among which our mariners hauled the boat, so as to be out of danger from the waves, and we made our way to the land through the reeds, in doing which we were much fatigued and thoroughly drenched in water.  We rested here all that night and the day following, which was Easter day, having nothing on which to commemorate that festival, except some butter, and a few eggs which we fortunately gathered on the sandy beach.  The mariners and passengers were often inquisitive to know who I was; and, pursuant to the advice of Marcus Ruffus, I passed myself among them as the physician and servant of Despima, the consort of the grand duke of Moscovy, to whom I was going.  A short time after this, one of our mariners happened to be afflicted by a large boil, and came to consult me in my assumed character; and as I had the good fortune to discover some oil in our bark, I made a poultice for him with bread and flour, by which he was soon cured.  From this circumstance they actually believed me to be a physician, and were very anxious that I should remain among them; but Marcus drew me out of this difficulty, by saying that I had no medicinal preparations with me, but would soon return from Russia with a proper assortment.

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