Monday, May 01, 2006

Day 17 - 29th April 1483

"On the 29th, which is the feast of St. Peter Martyr, of the Order of Preaching Friars, I took my lords to the church of St. John and St Paul, where there is a great and exceeding stately convent of Preaching Friars, and there we heard service, which was performed with great solemnity. There is an exceeding great rush of people on that day to the church of these friars, because there is a festival there, and people are crowded together even up to the horns of the altar. The people run thither from the whole city to hear service, to kiss the relics of the holy martyr, and to drink the water of St. Peter, which water, after being blessed in the name of God, and touched by the relics of the holy martyr, is believed to be of value as well for the body as for the soul. Wherefore in most parts of the world the faithful take this water of St. Peter, and give it to women in their time of peril to drink, and they are saved from their peril. It is likewise given to those sick of a fever, that they may be made whole. Mariners also carry it to their ships and pour a little of it into the vessels wherein water is kept, and by its virtue the other water is preserved from becoming foul, and however old the water may be, it does not stink or become corrupt if some of this be poured upon it. This mariners learn by daily experience to be true. So after we had heard service, and kissed the relics of the saint, and tasted a draught of his life-giving water, we returned to our inn for a meal. After dinner we took a boat and rowed through the streets of the town as far as St. Mark's, and there we rode to the palace of the Doges of Venice on the Grand Canal, whereon lay the galleys of both captains, in order that we might see [34 a] them both. So first we rowed to the galley of Master Peter de Lando, climbed on board the galley out of our boat, and at first sight both their lordships and I were pleased with the appearance of the vessel, for it was a three-banked galley, large and broad, and besides this new and clean. While we were walking about the galley Master Peter Lando, the captain, came on board in a boat, and welcomed us with great respect, and set out a collation on the poop of the vessel, where he offered us Cretan wine, and comfits from Alexandria, and in all respects treated us as persons whom he would wish to take with him as passengers. After this he led us down some steps into the cabin to the place where the pilgrims were installed, and put so large a space in the cabin at our disposal that we might choose berths for twelve persons on whichever side we pleased. Having inspected this galley, we told the captain that we would let him know on the morrow whether we meant to sail with him or with anyone else, and so got into our boat again, and rowed away to the other galley, that of Master Augustine Contarini, whom we found sitting on board of it. He received us with great humility, and led us round his galley, and gave us our choice of a place for twelve people, and also gave us a collation of wine and sweetmeats, and assured us that he would deal loyally with us. He knew me well, and referred to me as a witness to his good faith and honesty, saying, 'Lo, here is Brother Felix, your chaplain, who knows how I deal with pilgrims; I beg of him that he speak the truth, and you will make up your minds to stay with me.' We looked all through the galley, and she did not please us as much as the other, for she was only double-banked, and less roomy, and withal old and stinking, as I knew from having myself crossed the sea on board of her and suffered many hardships in her. After viewing this galley we returned in the boat to our inn."

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