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0483 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 483 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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it were not for the many stoves which are there the people could not escape from perishing by

the too great cold. But there are very frequent stoves, which the noble and powerful piously

cause to be built just as hospitals are built with us. And to these stoves all the people can

always run when there is need. For cold so intense prevails at times that while men go through

the land towards home or from one place to another for their business, when they go from one

stove they are almost froKen before they reach another, though the stoves are so frequent and

one near the other that it is said that one is separated from another by sixty paces. And so when

a man goes away warmed from one, as he proceeds farther he is frozen before he reaches another;

and then he enters it immediately and is warmed, and being warmed he departs and goes to

another and there is warmed again, doing thus until he reaches home or other place at which

he is aiming. And they always go running, that from one stove they may quickly reach another

and that they may not be too much frozen. And it very often happens that if a man who is

not well clothed, or cannot travel so fast because he is old, or is of weaker constitution and

nature than others, or because his house is too far of falls to the ground frozen by the too

great cold before from one stove he can reach another, and would die there. But others passing

by take hirn immediately and lead him to a stove and strip him, and when he is being warmed

there his nature is restored and he comes back to lífe. The stoves indeed are made like this,

namely that they are made with thick beams placed in a square one above the other, and they

are so closed up together that nothing could be seen between one and another, and between the

joints they are very well caulked with lime and other things so that wind nor rain can come in

anywhere. Above at the roof they have a window by which the smoke goes out when fire is

lighted in them to warm them. Logs indeed are kept there in abundance, of which the people

put many on the fire and make a great pile, and while the logs burn and give out smoke the

upper window is opened and the smoke goes out of it. But when they no longer give out smoke

then the window is shut with a very thick felt, and very great embers remain which keep the

stoves very hot. But in the lower part, namely in the side of the stoves, there is a window

closed with very good and thick felt, which window indeed they open if ever they wish to have

light and the wind is not blowing. But if the wind blows and they wish to have light, they

open the upper window. The door indeed by which one enters is in the same way of felt. And

in this way these stoves are made. But every noble or rich man has a private stove. All the

houses are very well shut, to keep off the cold. We will tell you indeed a certain fashion which

they observe. They make indeed most perfect wine, which is called cerbesia, of honey and panicle;

and with that cerbesia they make very great drinkings in this way, namely that many companies

are gathered together of men and women, and specially of nobles and magnates, in some of

  • 218•

LA' ends in the same place (quod vix potest ibi viuere homo uel animal) with no mark of being unfinished.