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0421 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 421 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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off from this quarrel and if you did not make peace together, I shall kill myself immediately and first of all I shall cut off the breast from my chest, that with

which I gave you my milk. And she says that she will disembowel herself . And when the z

sons see the great mourning that their mother makes and that she prays them about it so tenderly, and also because they know that it is better for them, they agree

together and make peace. And this is come to pass several [87b] times. But yet I tell you that it cannot fail that when their mother shall be dead they make great quarrel together and that they destroy one the other. Moreover you may know that. z

all • these people • of this city, • and • also • all of • the whole of • Indies have a custom 1 ike this, R—z

namely that from a habit and pleasure they almost always carry in the mouth a certain leaf called tambur. And they go chewing this leaf and spit out the spittle which is formed. And nobles and magnates and kings especially do this. They have those • said • leaves made up with R z

camphor and other • sweet-smelling • spices; and so they go continually chewing them, and also • R z

quick • lime mixed together .2 And • I was told that • this keeps them very healthy . • And • if moreover R—Z

anyone does an injury to anyone and wishes to scorn him & to insult him, when he meets him on the road he takes that chew from the mouth and throws it in his face' and says, Thou art not worth this, namely what he throws. But he regarding it as a great injury and insult immediately •runs and • complains to the king how such an one has scorned and made nothing R Z

of him, and asks him to give him leave for revenge; namely that if the aggressor has scorned him and his people he will ask leave • and says • that he wishes to try his own person and people R Z

with the person of him who did the injury and with his people, and to show whether he is worth[that]or not. But if he has scorned his own person only, he will ask leave for man to man. And then the king grants leave to either party. If however it must be a battle of people to people each one with his people is prepared for the battle; and the armour which they put on and wear for defence is the skin which their mothers gave them at the beginning. When they are on the field they begin the battle and strike, wound, and kill one another; for their swords lightly pierce them and each of them is open to easy attack. The king will be there and a multitude of people to watch the fair; and when the king sees that many on either side have been killed and that one of the sides seems to have the better position and to overcome the other, he will put one end of a cloth which he will have round him to the teeth, and from the other side he will hold Eit]with the hand, and then the fighters cease immediately from the fight nor is another blow delivered. And it often happens thus. If it is a matter of man to man they will both be naked,

1 The words or phrases in this line

2 See p. lxxxvii and note there.
alternately, from quick (R) to if (Z).

3 R: come l'incontra gli sputa nel viso

are from R and Z alternately, from all (R) to Indie (Z). The Nvords or phrases in this line are from R and Z

di quella foglia, ó spuma,