In "Leiningen Versus the Ants," what preperations does Leiningen make for his dash to the dam?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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At the climax of "Leiningen Versus the Ants," Leiningen undertakes a last-ditch effort to stop the ants by flooding the plantation; he runs to a dam in the river, knowing that it will destroy his crops but leave him and his men alive. Knowing how fierce the ants are, he takes precautions:

He pulled on high leather boots, drew heavy gauntlets over his hands, and stuffed the spaces between breeches and boots, gauntlets and arms, shirt and neck, with rags soaked in petrol. With close-fitting mosquito goggles he shielded his eyes, knowing too well the ants' dodge of first robbing their victim of sight. Finally, he plugged his nostrils and ears with cotton-wool, and let the peons drench his clothes with petrol.
(Stephenson, "Leiningen Versus the Ants," classicshorts.com)

Leiningen also drinks an herbal tonic designed to dull the sting of the ant bites, and allows a medicine-man to cover his clothing with a crushed beetle salve that, the medicine-man claims, will drive the ants away. Despite these precautions and his speed, Leiningen barely makes it to the dam, and then is overcome by the ants as he returns; however, the river floods and the ants drown, and Leiningen is saved by his men to oversee reconstruction.

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