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[[underline]] Chapter XIV. [[/underline]] 292. tain things which my own abrupt departure had complelled me to leave undone there; while Mr. Tung and I prepared to ride out to the Fang Shan with our companions, to try conclusions with the aroused peasantry and see what we could do toward allaying their superstitious fears about our carrying on excavations there. During the night of October 17th, however, there began a cold driving rain which changed toward daybreak into squalls of sleet and snow that at times blotted out the landscape. Accompanying these was a piercing wind from the north---the direction of the Fang Shan---which blew in fierce gusts sometimes too strong to stand against. In places ice had begun to form; while underfoot everything was wet, slippery, and deep in half-frozen mud and slush. Winter, which sets in fairly early along the scrap of the Mongolian plateau, seemed to have begun in earnest. I found my little party the reverse of enthusiastic about undertaking a twenty-mile ride in the teeth of such wild weather, with uncertain reception from a crowd of embattled farmers awaiting us at its end. Moreover our carters, whom we had told the night before to be in readiness to start, assured us that they would never be able to get their animals to face the wind and sleet. Half the forenoon went by in fruitless discussion that brought us nowhere. At last, taking my cue from the [[underline]] De Bello Gallico [[/underline]] , I declared that thought the rest might be afraid of a little bad weather, I knew that Mr. Tung would start out with me, as he and I were of sterner stuff. Mr. Tung, thus singled out, of course rose to the occasion; but he said that he would need Mr. Wang out at the site to help look after things. If looks could kill, the one Mr. Wang, on hearing this, hurled at Mr. Tung would have slain him then and there; but so, at last, matters were arranged. While Mr. Tung and I, with a [[underline]] mafoo [[/underline]] or groom to attend us, set
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