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.

After travelling for fifteen days along the eastern bank of the Wolga, we came to a small forest, where the Tartars and Russians of the caravan cut down trees to construct rafts for crossing the river.  While they were at this work, we discovered a small bark which was by no means in good repair, by means of which our company proposed to convey our baggage across.  Marcus crossed over with a part of our baggage, leaving me in charge of the rest, and sent back the boat when he was landed.  In my trip with the remainder of our baggage, the boat began to leak when we were about half way over, the breadth of the river at this place being about two miles.  Stephen and two Russians accompanied me in the boat, leaving Demetrius, my interpreter, and John Ungar in charge of the horses.  We had much ado to bale out the water, but by the blessing of God, we got over in safety.  After our baggage was landed, the Russians put off, to go back for the rest of our people and the horses; but the boat fell to pieces.  This necessarily delayed our other servants and the horses from getting over till next day, during which interval they were badly off, as all our provisions were on our side.  It was fortunate that I now examined the state of our provisions, which I found diminished much beyond expectation, so that we were under the necessity of abridging our allowance for the remainder of the journey, that we might not run short altogether.  Our principal food consisted of millet, with garlic and onions, and some sour milk; and we found some wild apples at this place, which we roasted.  In the course of two days, the whole baggage of the caravan was transported to the western side of the river by means of seven rafts, drawn by horses, and directed by the Tartars, the horses swimming and having the rafts tied to their tails.  The sight of this was very amusing, but seemed very dangerous to those who were employed.  After resting some time, we quitted the banks of the river, and resumed our journey.  This river Wolga is certainly the largest and deepest river in the world, being, as well as I could judge, two miles broad, and has very high banks.

[1] Called Citrarchan in the former section, but certainly what we now
    call Astracan, then the capital of a Tartar principality, which now
    forms one of the provinces of the vast Russian empire.—­E.

[2] These are large shallow ponds, in which sea water is exposed to
    evaporation, to procure salt.—­E.

[3] In the original this person is called the cham of the Camercheriens
    The Tartar government of Astracan belonged to one of the Mongal tribes
    of Kipschak; but the word used in the original may have been a local
    term, not now explicable.—­E.

[4] Perhaps the kingdom or province of Cazan, higher up the Wolga.—­E.

[5] Contarini has forgot to give us any account in what manner he procured
    leave to quit Astracan.  Perhaps, by means of Marcus, he was permitted
    to pass for one of his attendants.—­E.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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