Journeys to Keng Tung

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March 17th

March 17th.—Fugitives just arrived saying the English are in Mone; this is rather rough on us, but I hope to get off to-morrow. I have been waiting for a party of Yunnans, the only safe way of getting out of this. It is difficult to imagine a more precarious position than our little party is in at present with bad news and fugitives from the front coming in daily; of course it would be all up if they knew who we were.

It appears that Kiang Tung paid tribute—gold, silver, and ponies up to eight years ago; and it was then stopped on account of King Thibaw murdering the Prince’s sister, one of his wives. That ill-looking servant of Margary’s is constantly hanging about, and trying to pump my servants about what money and valuables I have. Of course, Judh Bir is as staunch as any Goorka that ever stepped, but the Madrassi is such a cursed funk that he would sell the two of us to save his own skin. Judh Bir and I do sentry to turns, and never leave the others alone a minute. He is a famous little fellow, always merry and on the spot. I could not have had a better man of any nation. He is good for five of these evil-looking scoundrels if it comes to a row. His broad, good-natured smile, and sturdy mien is just what is wanted to keep back the unsavoury crowd which surrounds my billet at intervals during the day. Any ill-temper, or the overbearing manner of a Pathan, would at once kindle the spark which would bring out a hundred knives and be the end of us. We have Chinamen’s clothes for the road to avoid being such conspicuous travellers as we were before. Can’t hear a word more about Margary or of the French in 1866, though the latter are shown on the map to have passed this place. Next Entry