The T‘ung Tien reads 缶, which is much the same as 缻, and the Yü Lan 箠, which is manifestly wrong.
over the camp-fires, showing that they will not return to their tents,
For 返, the T‘ung Tien and Yü Lan both read 及.
you may know that they are determined to fight to the death.
For 窮宼, see VII. § 36. I may quote here the illustrative passage from the Hou Han Shu, ch. 71, given in abbreviated form by the P‘ei Wên Yün Fu: “The rebel 王國 Wang Kuo of 梁 Liang was besieging the town of 陳倉 Ch‘ên-ts‘ang, and 皇甫嵩 Huang-fu Sung, who was in supreme command, and 董卓 Tung Cho were sent out against him. The latter pressed for hasty measures, but Sung turned a deaf ear to his counsel. At last the rebels were utterly worn out, and began to throw down their weapons of their own accord. Sung was now for advancing to the attack, but Cho said: ‘It is a principle of war not to pursue desperate men and not to press a retreating host.’ Sung answered: ‘That does not apply here. What I am about to attack is a jaded army, not a retreating host; with disciplined troops I am falling on a disorganised multitude, not a band of desperate men.’ Thereupon he advanced to the attack unsupported by his colleague, and routed the enemy, Wang Kuo being slain.” The inferior reading of the T‘u Shu for § 34 is as follows: 殺馬肉食者軍無糧也懸缻不返其舍者窮宼也. The first clause strikes me as rather shallow for Sun Tzŭ， and it is hard to make anything of 懸缻 in the second without the negative. Capt. Calthrop, nothing daunted, set down in his first edition “When they cast away their cooking-pots.” He now has: “When the cooking-pots are hung up on the wall.”
35. The sight of men whispering together
諄諄 is well explained by Tu Mu as 乏氣聲促 “speaking with bated breath.”
in small knots
The Shuo Wên rather strangely defines 翕 by the word 起, but the Êrh Ya says 合 “to join” or “contract,” which is undoubtedly its primary meaning. Chang Yü is right, then, in explaining it here by the word 聚. The other commentators are very much at sea: Ts‘ao Kung says 失志貌, Tu Yu 不眞, Tu Mu 顚倒失次貌, Chia Lin 不安貌, Mei Yao-ch‘ên 曠職事, Wang Hsi 患其上.