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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.

[6] It may be necessary to remark, that the tails of a peculiar species of
    sheep, O. Platyurus, or the broad-tailed sheep, common among the
    Tartars, and other parts of the world, are said sometimes to weigh
    twenty-five pounds.—­E.

[7] Probably an error for 2000.—­E.

SECTION VIII.

Contarini, after crossing European Sarmatia, arrives at Moscow, the capital of White Russia, and is presented to the Grand Duke.

After recommending ourselves to the protection of God, we continued our journey, through immense and terrible deserts, sometimes towards the north, and sometimes westerly[1], always resting at noon, and taking up our quarters for the night on the bare ground, without any protection against the weather.  To prevent us from being surprized in the night by the wandering Tartars, outguards were placed every night in three directions around our resting-place.  During the greater part of this long and dreary journey, we were very ill off for water both for ourselves and our cattle, and we never saw any wild animals.  One day we saw about forty horses, which we were told had escaped from a caravan of merchants the year before.  We fell in one day with a small horde of Tartars, having twenty waggons, but I was not able to learn where they were going.  As our provisions decreased rapidly, we were forced to use the remainder very sparingly, and were consequently reduced to a very short allowance.

On the 22d of September 1475, we entered Russia, and discovered a few huts in the middle of a wood.  On the inhabitants learning that Marcus, their countryman, was in our caravan, they came to see him that he might protect them from the Tartars, and brought him a present of honey and wax, a part of which he gave to us.  This was a most providential supply, as we were so much reduced by fatigue and spare diet, that we were hardly able to sit on horseback.  The first city we came to in this country was Rezan[2], the prince of which place had married a sister of the Grand Duke of Russia.  The castle and all the houses of this city are built of wood.  We here procured bread and meat, and mead in abundance, to our great comfort and satisfaction.  The next city we came to was Kolomna, passing a very large bridge over the Monstrus[3] which flows into the Wolga.  At this place, Marcus quitted the caravan, which travelled too slowly in his opinion, and pushed on for Moscow, where we arrived on the 26th of September, after a journey of forty-seven days through the desert, from the 10th of August, on which day we left Citracan.  In a great part of this journey we found no wood, and were forced to cook our victuals with fires made of dried cow dung.  We returned thanks to God on our arrival, for our preservation through so many and great dangers.  On our arrival, Marcus procured a dwelling for us, consisting of a small stove-room and some chambers, with stabling for our horses.  Though small and mean, I felt as if lodged in a palace, when I compared my present state of tranquil security with the dangers and inconveniences I had been so long subjected to.

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