Rumours of War.
characteristic seemed to be a desire to make himself as disobliging as possible. Fortunately, although lie might be very disagreeable, he could not do me any material harm, for his authority was of very limited extent; so much so that, as I had been informed at Chengmai, I did not need a special letter of introduction to him, that to the chief of Kiang Hai covering the chief of Kiang Tsen as well.
I asked his chiefship to let me have some men to hunt in the surrounding forests, where, judging from their size, and from the fact that the population hereabouts was sparser than ever, I hoped to get some zoological specimens. His curt reply was that he had no men. I should have thought, from the long array of titled officers in the placearanging from Chow Hluang and Chow Operat to Radjawong and Radjaput
and of plain Chows innumerable, that there were not only men but officials enough to run a first-class empire, as the Americans would say. But the Chow was neither to be reasoned, norawhat was a passing strange99aeven to be bribed, into being courteous, and still refused when I made it clear to him that I would not only pay the men, and supply them with powder and shot, but would give him a present into the bargain.
So I tried to make friends with the people, but the times were not propitious. Menas minds were unsettled by a rumour that a force of 2000 Burmese had joined the Ngious, and had settled in the mountains a few miles off, where they were busy making powder and bullets, with the intention of making a swoop down on Kiang Tsen, and recapturing itaa rumour which entirely confirmed what the Chow Hluang at Kiang Hai had told me.
This expectation of imminent hostilities completely precluded all possibility of entering the Ngiou States.This expectation of imminent hostilities completely precluded all possibility of entering the Ngiou States.