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[[underlined]] Chapter XIV. [[/underlined]] 304. Before we turned in for the night, however, Mr. Tung went out to scout around in the village; for we both thought that we had detected an attitude of tenseness and disquietude among our late visitors. These had made no overt gesture of hostility; but it was clear that something was brewing; and it occurred to us that they had come to call on us merely as a pretext, to see that we did not stir abroad. In half an hour Mr. Tung returned, and reported that the assembled elders of the 18 hamlets composing the township were holding a rather stormy nocturnal conference in one of the larger houses, in regard to us and our plans. For they feared that our proposed excavations, if carried out, would ruin the local [[underlined]] fêng-shui [[/underlined]], on which they believed that their prosperity depended. They were accordingly, Mr. Tung had been able to learn, preparing to send a deputation of protest to the district magistrate at Ta T'ung. If [[strikethrough]] they [[/strikethrough]] we tried to commence operations in the meantime, they would ring the bell in the temple to collect their people, and would prevent us by force, if necessary. [[underlined]] Awaiting Developments. [[/underlined]] Next morning it was 48° in our quarters, but freezing outside. The weather was beautifully clear, though a cold and rather high northwest wind was still ^[[b]]lowing. We learned that the delegation chosen to wait on the magistrate had set out for Ta T'ung during the night. Evidently the peasantry were in serious earnest; though I could not but feel that, considering their way of thinking, they displayed very commendable restraint throughout. I question very much, in fact, if an Occidental group of a similar social grade would have shown as much. Their mood was one of grim determination; but save on the one point, that they would not let us dig, our relations were from first to last cordial and friendly, and there was no manifestation whatever of ill-feeling or excitement.
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