two guides to be in readiness to escort us to Koko-nor, or even to Tibet if we wished to visit that country.
In the meanwhile our interview with the prince was put off from day to day under the pretext of his indisposition; the real cause of the delay being his fear lest I should insist on being allowed to depart with the caravan of Tangutans. Nor did we see the eldest son; the Gigen and Siya came frequently to visit us, without, however, inviting us to their house as formerly. In fact, our reception was far less cordial than last year.
On the other hand, our finances were in a worse plight than before. Of 87 lans (22l.) which we had when we started, only 50 (12l. 10s.) remained, and we had to buy six new camels and two horses to continue our journey. Three of the eleven camels with which we had left Kalgan, and both our horses, had died on the road. The only way of raising money was by the sale of our merchandise. Had the prince only known of our circumstances, he could have detained us without the slightest difficulty by refusing to buy our goods and forbidding any of his subjects from purchasing of us. If wе let slip this opportunity, and the caravan were to leave Din-yuan-ing without us, we must for ever despair of reaching Koko-nor even with money. Here was a nice state of affairs caused by a beggarly want of funds.
Good luck again came to our rescue in the most extraordinary way. The Gigen agreed to give us