The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa











































 -  The midrib of
these leaves is a very strong, but extremely light and straight pole....
These poles are often twenty - Page 1070
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The Midrib Of These Leaves Is A Very Strong, But Extremely Light And Straight Pole.... These Poles Are Often Twenty

Feet or more in length, and the leaves proper consist of a great number of fine and long pinnate leaflets,

Set at right angles to the midrib, from eighteen to twenty inches long, and about one and a half broad," etc. (pp. 74, 75).

When Sir John Kirk came home in 1881-1882, I spoke to him on the subject, and he felt confident that the rofia or raphia palm-fronds were the original of the ruc's quills. He also kindly volunteered to send me a specimen on his return to Zanzibar. This he did not forget, and some time ago there arrived at the India Office not one, but four of these ruc's quills. In the letter which announced this despatch Sir John says: -

"I send to-day per s.s. Arcot ... four fronds of the Raphia palm, called here 'Moale.' They are just as sold and shipped up and down the coast. No doubt they were sent in Marco Polo's time in exactly the same state, i.e. stripped of their leaflets, and with the tip broken off. They are used for making stages and ladders, and last long if kept dry. They are also made into doors, by being cut into lengths, and pinned through. The stages are made of three, like tripods, and used for picking cloves from the higher branches."

The largest of the four midribs sent (they do not differ much) is 25 feet 4 inches long, measuring 12 inches in girth at the butt, and 5 inches at the upper end.

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