yet all evidently spring from one common stock. But that common stock is not the modern Mandarin dialect, but the ancient form of the Chinese language as spoken some 3000 years ago. The so-called Mandarin, far from being the original form, is usually more changed than any. It is in the ancient form of the language (naturally) that the relation of Chinese to other languages can best be traced; and as the Amoy vernacular, which very generally retains the final consonants in their original shape, has been one of the chief sources from which the ancient form of Chinese has been recovered, the study of that vernacular is of considerable importance.'
Note 7.—This is inconsistent with his former statements as to the supreme wealth of Kinsay. But with Marco the subject in hand is always pro magnifico.
Ramusio says that the Traveller will now "begin to speak of the territories, cities, and provinces of the Greater, Lesser, and Middle India, in which regions he was when in the service of the Great Kaan, being sent thither on divers matters of business: and then again when he returned to the same quarter with the queen of King Argon, and with his father and uncle, on his way back to his native land. So he will relate the strange things that he saw in those Indies, not omitting others which he heard related by persons of reputation and worthy of credit, and things that were pointed out to him on the maps of mariners of the Indies aforesaid."