FORTUNE BEFRIENDS US.
sessed, amounted to 500 lans (125l.) and fourteen camels.
We were certainly very fortunate. The departure of the Tangutan caravan was positively fixed for the morrow; and although we had received no intimation from the prince of his consent to our journey, we were no longer told that we must stay, and his family seemed to be aware of our plans, the Gigen having sent us a pair of horses as a present.
It would be difficult to express our satisfaction as we worked till late at night making preparations for a start the next day. Before sunrise the following morning all our party were astir loading the camels. Half of them were ready when a Tangutan suddenly appeared with the news that the caravan would not leave that day, a band of Dungans having been reported to have been seen in the vicinity of Din-yuan-ing. Unwilling to believe the Tangutans, I sent M. Pyltseff and a Cossack to enquire if the report were true; they soon returned and told us that the caravan was quite ready to march.
Sordji now appeared with his version of the story, which he reiterated at length: my patience was completely exhausted, and I abused him in round language. He then explained that the Tangutans did not wish us to accompany their caravan, and that they were bad people, although hitherto he had always praised them.
At this moment I heard that the caravan was leaving the town. Accordingly, we finished loading the camels, and, escorted by the mob, marched out of the