As on previous occasions in Peking my own work came to consist chiefly in the managing of an extensive correspondence with the widely scattered field-workers in the expedition, in planning future tasks, and in a more or less chronic hunt for money to finance the huge undertaking, that not without a certain justification I used to call »a wandering university ».
On July 16th, for example, I wrote to Dr HAUDE in Berlin regarding his new plans for another meteorological journey of exploration in the interior of Asia, and to HÖRNER with instructions to conclude the survey of the quaternary of the Ghashun-nor basin and the Khara-nor basin and then to try to ascertain whether the River Su-lo-ho in ancient times had been connected with Lake Lop-nor. Furthermore, he was during the coming winter to proceed to the eastern edges of Lop-nor to map them. My instructions were to the following effect: Go to Lop-nor eastward through the desert without coming into contact with the authorities of Sinkiang. Map the whole of new Lop-nor, including those parts of it which lie nearest to Qara-qoshun, but do not go to Qara-qoshun, where there would be risk of meeting people from Miran or Charkhliq. Take note of the ramifications of the river east of Lou-lan, and ascertain whether there are any ramifications south-west of Lou-lan. Without archaeological obligations, keep your eyes nevertheless open for finds en route. Do not make any exploration of the terraces at the foot of the Quruq-tagh, because this task belongs to NoRIN's program. If possible get out again without having visited any settlement in Eastern Turkistan.
Both of these letters were in due course to give rise to two extensive and very successful separate expeditions.
THE POLITICAL SITUATION
When I met Professor Stu PING-CH'ANG and Professor Liu Fu they were both rather nervous about the political situation, that had not yet in any way cleared up.
A good friend who had discussed these questions with Mr LENOX SIMPSON, the well-known political expert, most familiar under his nom-de-plume PUTNAM WEALE and at that time head of the customs in Tientsin, considered that the civil war would last for another two months, and that things were not looking so bright for the northern side. But he did not think that the southern forces would manage to get up as far as Peking, though there was a good prospect of a state of anarchy breaking out in the city in the autumn. Such external circumstances made the drawing up of travelling plans rather a dubious business.