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0312 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 312 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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    made then inquisition of all those who had been guilty of doing such treachery z VB and were the chief supporters of this crime. And they all being brought into the presence of the z great Kaan all those who are found [hoc] guilty were by his order cruelly put to death FB FB by the two barons. And all the other lesser people he pardons and did them no harm VB FB and took them into his army; and afterwards they were always very faithful to their lord..

z   You ought to learn too that the girls of the province of Catai are beyond others pure and keep

the virtue of modesty. They do not indeed skip and dance, they do not frolic, they do not fly into a passion, they do not stick at the windows looking at the faces of passers nor showing their own faces to them, they give no ready hearing to unseemly talk, they do not frequent feasts and merry-makings. And if it happens that they go to some proper place, as perhaps the idol temples [or]to visit the houses of kinsfolk and relations, they would go in the company of their mothers, not staring improperly at people but wearing on the head certain pretty bonnets of theirs which prevent an upward look, so that in walking they always direct the eyes on the road before the

feet. Before their elders they are modest; they never speak foolish words, nor indeed any in their

presence, except when they have been asked. In their rooms they keep at their tasks and rarely show themselves to fathers and brothers and the elders of the house. And they pay no attention to suitors. And we say in the sanie way of the boys[and] young gentlemen that they never presume to speak in the presence of their elders unless they are asked. And what more? So great is the modesty between them, namely between kindred and relatives that in no way would two try to go to the baths or stoves together. If however anyone wishes to give a daughter in marriage, or she is asked for himself by another, the father offers the daughter to the future spouse as a virgin. And in this point the father and spouse will agree together with obligations and bonds; for if the opposite were to be found the marriage would not hold. When the bonds also and agreements have been duly made between them and confirmed, the girl is taken for the testing of her virtue to the baths or stoves, where there will be the mothers and relations of herself and of the spouse, and on behalf of either party certain matrons specially deputed for this duty who will first examine the girl's virginity with a pigeon's egg. And if the women who shall be on behalf of the spouse are not satisfied with such a test, since a woman's natural parts can well be contracted by medicinal means, one matron of the aforesaid will cunningly insert a finger wrapped in white and fine linen into the natural parts and will break a little of the virginal vein so that the linen may be a little stained with virginal blood. For that blood is of such a nature

and strength that its stain can be removed by no washing from cloth where it is fixed. And if it be removed it is a sign that she has been defiled, nor is that blood of her proper nature. When the test has been made also, if she is found a virgin the marriage is valid; but if not, not. And the father of the girl is punished by the government' according to the agreement which he

1 dominium The Milan copy reads denarium.