One day, while Marcus was absent, the khan or prince of the Tartars, broke open the door of our hut, and endeavoured to compel me by threats to deliver up the pearls which he believed I was possessed of, and I had infinite difficulty to escape out of his hands, and to persuade him not to put me to death. The Tartars used often to come to our hut in the night, when drunk with mead, demanding with loud outcries to deliver up the Franks to them, and the bravest among us were terrified at the dangerous situation in which we were among these savages. In this horrible situation we remained from the 1st of May to the 10th of August. The city of Citracan belongs to three brothers, who are sons to the brother of the Tartar emperor, and the inhabitants often make plundering inroads into the plains of Cinassia, and along the borders of the Don. During the height of summer they travel with their flocks in search of pasturage, to the northern parts of Russia, and hardly spend above a month every year in Citracan. That city, which stands on the banks of the Wolga, is by no means large, its houses being built of earth: It is surrounded by a slight wall, and does not appear to have had any better buildings for a long time past. It is said to have had a very considerable fair formerly, and that the perfumes and spiceries which used to be brought to Venice, came first to this place from the east, whence they were carried to the Tanais or Don, which is only eight days journey from the Wolga. The prince of Citracan, whose name is Casinach, sends every year an ambassador to the grand duke of Muscovy, on purpose to extort a present; and on this occasion, several Tartar merchants accompany the ambassador, carrying silk, silken vestments, and other articles of trade, which they barter for saddles, furs, and other things which are in request among their countrymen.
The only way of travelling into Russia from this place, is through extensive deserts, on which account travellers have to go in large bands or caravans for mutual security, and to carry provisions for the journey. The Tartars care little for the latter precaution, as they have always plenty of spare horses, and kill one when needed, as they live entirely on flesh and milk, without caring for any other food. They use no bread, and only a few of their merchants who have been in Russia know any thing of this article. Previous to the commencement of our journey, we provided provisions for the journey as well as we could. In this view we procured some rice with much difficulty, which, boiled in milk, and then dried in the sun, makes, when afterwards boiled in water, an excellent and nourishing food. We had likewise some onions, a small quantity of biscuit, and some other trifles, and I bought, during the journey, the salted tail of a sheep. The usual road from Citracan to Russia lay between two branches of the Wolga, but the roads were then exceedingly dangerous, as the