The 39th parallel of latitude lies just south of Tientsin; followed westward, it crosses the toe of Italy's boot, leads past Lisbon in Portugal, near Washington and St. Louis and to the north of Sacramento on the Pacific. We were leaving a country with a mean July temperature of 80 deg F., and of 21 deg in January, but where two feet of ice may form; a country where the eighteen year mean maximum temperature is 103.5 deg and the mean minimum 4.5 deg; where twice in this period the thermometer recorded 113 deg above zero, and twice 7 deg below, and yet near the coast and in the latitude of Washington; a country where the mean annual rainfall is 19.72 inches and all but 3.37 inches falls in June, July, August and September. We had taken the 5:40 A. M. Imperial North-China train, June 17th, to go as far northward as Chicago,--to Mukden in Manchuria, a distance by rail of some four hundred miles, but all of the way still across the northward extension of the great Chinese coastal plain. Southward, out from the coldest quarter of the globe, where the mean January temperature is more than 40 deg below zero, sweep northerly winds which bring to Mukden a mean January temperature only 3 deg above zero, and yet there the July temperature averages as high as 77 deg and there is a mean annual rainfall of but 18.5 inches, coming mostly in the summer, as at Tientsin.
Although the rainfall of the northern extension of China's coastal plain is small, its efficiency is relatively high because of its most favorable distribution and the high summer temperatures. In the period of early growth, April, May and June, there are 4.18 inches; but in the period of maximum growth, July and August, the rainfall is 11.4 inches; and in the ripening period, September and October, it is 3.08 inches, while during the rest of the year but 1.06 inch falls. Thus most of the rain comes at the time when the crops require the greatest daily consumption and it is least in mid-winter, during the period of little growth.
As our train left Tientsin we traveled for a long distance through a country agriculturally poor and little tilled, with surface flat, the soil apparently saline, and the land greatly in need of drainage. Wherever there were canals the crops were best, apparently occupying more or less continuous areas along either bank. The day was hot and sultry but laborers were busy with their large hoes, often with all garments laid aside except a short shirt or a pair of roomy trousers.
In the salt district about the village of Tangku there were huge stacks of salt and smaller piles not yet brought together, with numerous windmills, constituting most striking features in the landscape, but there was almost no agricultural or other vegetation. Beyond Pehtang there are other salt works and a canal leads westward to Tientsin, on which the salt is probably taken thither, and still other salt stacks and windmills continued visible until near Hanku, where another canal leads toward Peking. Here the coast recedes eastward from the railway and beyond the city limits many grave mounds dot the surrounding plains where herds of sheep were grazing.
As we hurried toward the delta region of the Lwan ho, and before reaching Tangshan, a more productive country was traversed. Thrifty trees made the landscape green, and fields of millet, kaoliang and wheat stretched for miles together along the track and back over the flat plain beyond the limit of vision. Then came fields planted with two rows of maize alternating with one row of soy beans, but not over twenty-eight inches apart, one stalk of corn in a place every sixteen to eighteen inches, all carefully hoed, weedless and blanketed with an excellent earth mulch; but still the leaves were curling in the intense heat of the sun. Tangshan is a large city, apparently of recent growth on the railroad in a country where isolated conical hills rise one hundred or two hundred feet out of the flat, plains. Cart loads of finely pulverized earth compost were here moving to the fields in large numbers, being laid in single piles of five hundred to eight hundred pounds, forty to sixty feet apart. At Kaiping the country grows a little rolling and we passed through the first railway cuts, six to eight feet deep, and the water in the streams is running ten to twelve feet below the surface of the fields. On the right and beyond Kuyeh there are low hills, and here we passed enormous quantities of dry, finely powdered earth compost, distributed on narrow unplanted area over the fields. What crop, if indeed any, had occupied these areas this season, we could not judge. The fertilization here is even more extensive and more general than we found it in the Shantung province, and in places water was being carried in pails to the fields for use either in planting or in transplanting, to ensure the readiness of the new crops to utilize the first rainfall when it comes.
Then the bed of a nearly dry stream some three hundred feet wide was crossed and beyond it a sandy plain was planted in long narrow fields between windbreak hedges. The crops were small but evidently improved by the influence of the shelter. The sand in places had drifted into the hedges to a height of three feet. At a number of other places along the way before Mukden was reached such protected areas were passed and oftenest on the north side of wide, now nearly dry, stream channels.
As we passed on toward Shanhaikwan we were carried over broad plains even more nearly level and unobstructed than any to be found in the corn belt of the middle west, and these too planted with corn, kaoliang, wheat and beans, and with the low houses hidden in distant scattered clusters of trees dotting the wide plain on either side, with not a fence, and nothing to suggest a road anywhere in sight. We seemed to be moving through one vast field dotted with hundreds of busy men, a plowman here, and there a great cart hopelessly lost in the field so far as one could see any sign of road to guide their course.
Some early crop appeared to have been harvested from areas alternating with those on the ground, and these were dotted with piles of the soil and manure compost, aggregating hundreds of tons, distributed over the fields but no doubt during the next three or four days these thousands of piles would have been worked into the soil and vanished from sight, to reappear after another crop and another year.
It was at Lwanchow that we met the out-going tide of soy beans destined for Japan and Europe, pouring in from the surrounding country in gunny sacks brought on heavy carts drawn by large mules, as seen in Fig. 203, and enormous quantities had been stacked in the open along the tracks, with no shelter whatever, awaiting the arrival of trains to move them to export harbors.
The planting here, as elsewhere, is in rows, but not of one kind of grain. Most frequently two rows of maize, kaoliang or millet alternated with the soy beans and usually not more than twenty-eight inches apart, sharp high ridge cultivation being the general practice. Such planting secures the requisite sunshine with a larger number of plants on the field; it secures a continuous general distribution of the roots of the nitrogen-fixing soy beans in the soil of all the field every season, and permits the soil to be more continuously and more completely laid under tribute by the root systems. In places where the stand of corn or millet was too open the gaps were filled with the soy beans. Such a system of planting possibly permits a more immediate utilization of the nitrogen gathered from the soil air in the root nodules, as these die and undergo nitrification during the same season, while the crops are yet on the ground, and so far as phosphorus and potassium compounds are liberated by this decay, they too would become available to the crops.
The end of the day's journey was at Shanhaikwan on the boundary between Chihli and Manchuria, the train stopping at 6:20 P. M. for the night. Stepping upon the veranda from our room on the second floor of a Japanese inn in the early morning, there stood before us, sullen and grey, the eastern terminus of the Great Wall, winding fifteen hundred miles westward across twenty degrees of longitude, having endured through twenty-one centuries, the most stupendous piece of construction ever conceived by man and executed by a nation. More than twenty feet thick at the base and than twelve feet on the top; rising fifteen to thirty feet above the ground with parapets along both faces and towers every two hundred yards rising twenty feet higher, it must have been, for its time and the methods of warfare then practiced, when defended by their thousands, the boldest and most efficient national defense ever constructed. Nor in the economy of construction and maintenance has it ever been equalled.
Even if it be true that 20,000 masons toiled through ten years in its building, defended by 400,000 soldiers, fed by a commissariat of 20,000 more and supported by 30,000 others in the transport, quarry and potters' service, she would then have been using less than eight tenths per cent of her population, on a basis of 60,000,000 at the time; while according to Edmond Théry's estimate, the officers and soldiers of Europe today, in time of peace, constitute one per cent of a population of 400,000,000 of people, and these, at only one dollar each per day for food, clothing and loss of producing power would cost her nations, in ten years, more than $14,000 million. China, with her present habits and customs, would more easily have maintained her army of 470,000 men on thirty cents each per day, or for a total ten-year cost of but $520,000,000. The French cabinet in 1900 approved a naval program involving an expenditure of $600,000,000 during the next ten years, a tax of more than $15 for every man, woman and child in the Republic.
Leaving Shanhaikwan at 5:20 in the morning and reaching Mukden at 6:30 in the evening, we rode the entire day through Manchurian fields. Manchuria has an area of 363,700 square miles, equal to that of both Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa combined. It has roughly the outline of a huge boot and could one slide it eastward until Port Arthur was at Washington, Shanhaikwan would fall well toward Pittsburgh, both at the tip of the broad toe to the boot. The foot would lie across Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and all of New England, extending beyond New Brunswick with the heel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Harbin, at the instep of the boot, would lie fifty miles east of Montreal and the expanding leg would reach northwestward nearly to James Bay, entirely to the north of the Ottawa river and the Canadian Pacific, spanning a thousand miles of latitude and nine hundred miles of longitude.
The Liao plain, thirty miles wide, and the central Sungari plain, are the largest in Manchuria, forming together a long narrow valley floor between two parallel mountain systems and extending northeasterly from the Liao gulf, between Port Arthur and Shanhaikwan, up the Liao river and down the Sungari to the Amur, a distance of eight hundred or more miles. These plains have a fertile, deep soil and it is on them and other lesser river bottoms that Manchurian agriculture is developed, supporting eight or nine million people on a cultivated, acreage possibly not greater than 25,000 square miles.
Manchuria has great forest and grazing possibilities awaiting future development, as well as much mineral wealth. The population of Tsitsihar, in the latitude of middle North Dakota, swells from thirty thousand to seventy thousand during September and October, when the Mongols bring in their cattle to market. In the middle province, at the head of steam navigation on the Sungari, because of the abundance and cheapness of lumber, Kirin has become a shipbuilding center for Chinese junks. The Sungari-Milky-river, is a large stream carrying more water at flood season than the Amur above its mouth, the latter being navigable 450 miles for steamers drawing twelve feet of water, and 1500 miles for those drawing four feet, so that during the summer season the middle and northern provinces have natural inland waterways, but the outlet to the sea is far to the north and closed by ice six months of the year.
Not far beyond the Great Wall of China, fast falling into ruin, partly through the appropriation of its material for building purposes now that it has outlived its usefulness, another broad, nearly dry stream bed was crossed. There, in full bloom, was what appeared to be the wild white rose seen earlier, further south, west of Suchow, having a remarkable profusion of small white bloom in clusters resembling the Rambler rose. One of these bushes growing wild there on the bank of the canal had over spread a clump of trees one of which was thirty feet in height, enveloping it in a mantle of bloom, as seen in the upper section of Fig. 204. The lower section of the illustration is a closer view showing the clusters. The stem of this rose, three feet above the ground, measured 14.5 inches in circumference. If it would thrive in this country nothing could be better for parks and pleasure drives. Later on our journey we saw it many times in bloom along the railway between Mukden and Antung, but nowhere attaining so large growth. The blossoms are scant three-fourths inch in diameter, usually in compact clusters of three to eleven, sometimes in twos and occasionally standing singly. The leaves are five-foliate, sometimes trifoliate; leaflets broadly lanceolate, accuminate and finely serrate; thorns minute, recurrent and few, only on the smaller branches.
In a field beyond, a small donkey was drawing a stone roller three feet long and one foot in diameter, firming the crests of narrow, sharp, recently formed ridges, two at a time. Millet, maize and kaoliang were here the chief crops. Another nearly dry stream was crossed, where the fields became more rolling and much cut by deep gullies, the first instances we had seen in China except on the steep hillsides about Tsingtao. Not all of the lands here were cultivated, and on the untilled areas herds of fifty to a hundred goats, pigs, cattle, horses and donkeys were grazing.
Fields in Manchuria are larger than in China and some rows were a full quarter of a mile long, so that cultivation was being done with donkeys and cattle, and large numbers of men were working in gangs of four, seven, ten, twenty, and in one field as high as fifty, hoeing millet. Such a crew as the largest mentioned could probably be hired at ten cents each, gold, per day, and were probably men from the thickly settled portions of Shantung who had left in the spring, expecting to return in September or October. Both laborers and working animals were taking dinner in the fields, and earlier in the day we had seen several instances where hay and feed were being taken to the field on a wooden sled, with the plow and other tools. At noon this was serving as manger for the cattle, mules or donkeys.
In fields where the close, deep furrowing and ridging was being done the team often consisted of a heavy ox and two small donkeys driven abreast, the three walking in adjacent rows, the plow following the ox, or a heavy mule instead.
The rainy season had not begun and in many fields there was planting and transplanting where water was used in separate hills, sometimes brought in pails from a nearby stream, and in other cases on carts provided with tanks. Holes were made along the crests of the ridges with the blade of a narrow hoe and a little water poured in each hill, from a dipper, before planting or setting. These must have been other instances where the farmers were willing to incur additional labor to save time for the maturing of the crop by assisting germination in a soil too dry to make it certain until the rains came.
It appears probable that the strong ridging and the close level rows so largely adopted here must have marked advantages in utilizing the rainfall, especially the portions coming early, and that later also if it should come in heavy showers. With steep narrow ridging, heavy rains would be shed at once to the bottom of the deep furrows without over-saturating the ridges, while the wet soil in the bottom of the furrows would favor deep percolation with lateral capillary flow taking place strongly under the ridges from the furrows, carrying both moisture and soluble plant food where they will be most completely and quickly available. When the rain comes in heavy showers each furrow may serve as a long reservoir which will prevent washing and at the same time permit quick penetration; the ridges never becoming flooded or puddled, permit the soil air to escape readily as the water from the furrows sinks, as it cannot easily do in flat fields when the rains fall rapidly and fill all of the soil pores, thus closing them to the escape of air from below, which must take place before the water can enter.
When rows are only twenty-four to twenty-eight inches apart, ridging is not sufficiently more wasteful of soil moisture, through greater evaporation because of increased surface, to compensate for the other advantages gained, and hence their practice, for their conditions, appears sound.
The application of finely pulverized earth compost to fields to be planted, and in some cases where the fields were already planted, continued general after leaving Shanhailkwan as it had been before. Compost stacks were common in yards wherever buildings were close enough to the track to be seen. Much of the way about one-third of the fields were yet to be, or had just been, planted and in a great majority of these compost fertilizer had been laid down for use on them, or was being taken to them in large heavy carts drawn sometimes by three mules. Between Sarhougon and Ningyuenchow fourteen fields thus fertilized were counted in less than half a mile; ten others in the next mile; eleven in the mile and a quarter following. In the next two miles one hundred fields were counted and just before reaching the station we counted during five minutes, with watch in hand, ninety-five fields to be planted, upon which this fertilizer had been brought. In some cases the compost was being spread in furrows between the rows of a last year's crop, evidently to be turned under, thus reversing the position of the ridges.
After passing Lienshan, where, the railway runs near the sea, a sail was visible on the bay and many stacks of salt piled about the evaporation fields were associated with the revolving sail windmills already described. Here, too, large numbers of cattle, horses, mules and donkeys were grazing on the untilled low lands, beyond which we traversed a section where all fields were planted, where no fertilizer was piled in the field but where many groups of men were busy hoeing, sometimes twenty in a gang.
Chinese soldiers with bayonetted guns stood guard at every railway station between Shanhaikwan and Mukden, and from Chinchowfu our coach was occupied by some Chinese official with guests and military attendants, including armed soldiers. The official and his guests were an attractive group of men with pleasant faces and winning manners, clad in many garments of richly figured silk of bright, attractive, but unobtrusive, colors, who talked, seriously or in mirth, almost incessantly. They took the train about one o'clock and lunch was immediately served in Chinese style, but the last course was not brought until nearly four o'clock. At every station soldiers stood in line in the attitude of salute until the official car had passed.
Just before reaching Chinchowfu we saw the first planted fields littered with stubble of the previous crop, and in many instances such stubble was being gathered and removed to the villages, large stacks having been piled in the yards to be used either as fuel or in the production of compost. As the train approached Taling ho groups of men were hoeing in millet fields, thirty in one group on one side and fifty in another body on the other. Many small herds of cattle, horses, donkeys and flocks of goats and sheep were feeding along stream courses and on the unplanted fields. Beyond the station, after crossing the river, still another sand dune tract was passed, planted with willows, millet occupying the level areas between the dunes, and not far beyond, wide untilled flats were crossed, on which many herds were grazing and dotted with grave mounds as we neared Koupantze, where a branch of the railway traverses the Liao plain to the port of Newchwang. It was in this region that there came the first suggestion of resemblance to our marshland meadows; and very soon there were seen approaching from the distance loads so green that except for the large size one would have judged them to be fresh grass. They were loads of cured hay in the brightest green, the result, no doubt, of curing under their dry weather conditions.
At Ta Hu Shan large quantities of grain in sacks were piled along the tracks and in the freight yards, but under matting shelters. Near here, too, large three-mule loads of dry earth compost were going to the fields and men were busy pulverizing and mixing it on the threshing floors preparatory for use. Nearly all crops growing were one or another of the millets, but considerable areas were yet unplanted and on these cattle, horses, mules and donkeys were feeding and eight more loads of very bright new made hay crossed the track.
When the train reached Sinminfu where the railway turns abruptly eastward to cross the Liao ho to reach Mukden we saw the first extensive massing of the huge bean cakes for export, together with enormous quantities of soy beans in sacks piled along the railway and in the freight yards or loaded on cars made up in trains ready to move. Leaving this station we passed among fields of grain looking decidedly yellow, the first indication we had seen in China of crops nitrogen-hungry and of soils markedly deficient in available nitrogen. Beyond the next station the fields were decidedly spotted and uneven as well as yellow, recalling conditions so commonly seen at home and which had been conspicuously absent here before. Crossing the Liao ho with its broad channel of shifting sands, the river carrying the largest volume of water we had yet seen, but the stream very low and still characteristic of the close of the dry season of semi-arid climates, we soon reached another station where the freight yards and all of the space along the tracks were piled high with bean cakes and yet the fields about were reflecting the impoverished condition of the soil through the yellow crops and their uneven growth on the fields.
Since the Japanese-Russian war the shipments of soy beans and of bean cake from Manchuria have increased enormously. Up to this time there had been exports to the southern provinces of China where the bean cakes were used as fertilizers for the rice fields, but the new extensive markets have so raised the price that in several instances we were informed they could not then afford to use bean cake as fertilizer. From Newchwang alone, in 1905, between January 1st and March 31st, there went abroad 2,286,000 pounds of beans and bean cake, but in 1906 the amount had increased to 4,883,000 pounds. But a report published in the Tientsin papers as official, while we were there, stated that the value of the export of bean cake and soy beans from Dalny for the months ending March 31st had been, in 1909, only $1,635,000, gold, compared with $3,065,000 in the corresponding period of 1908, and of $5,120,000 in 1907, showing a marked decrease.
Edward C. Parker, writing from Mukden for the Review of Reviews, stated: "The bean cake shipments from Newchwang, Dalny and Antung in 1908 amounted to 515,198 tons; beans, 239,298 tons; bean oil, 1930 tons; having a total value of $15,016,649 ". According to the composition of soy beans as indicated in Hopkins' table of analyses, these shipments of beans and bean cake would remove an aggregate of 6171 tons of phosphorus, 10,097 tons of potassium, and 47,812 tons of nitrogen from Manchurian soils as the result of export for that year. Could such a rate have been maintained during two thousand years there would have been sold from these soils 20,194,000 tons of potassium; 12,342,000 tons of phosphorus and 95,624,000 tons of nitrogen; and the phosphorus, were it thus exported, would have exceeded more than threefold all thus far produced in the United States; it would have exceeded the world's output in 1906 more than eighteen times, even assuming that all phosphate rock mined was seventy-five per cent pure.
The choice of the millets and the sorghums as the staple bread crops of northern China and Manchuria has been quite as remarkable as the selection of rice for the more southern latitudes, and the two together have played a most important part in determining the high maintenance efficiency of these people. In nutritive value these grains rank well with wheat; the stems of the larger varieties are extensively used for both fuel and building material and the smaller forms make excellent forage and have been used directly for maintaining the organic content of the soil. Their rapid development and their high endurance of drought adapt them admirably to the climate of north China and Manchuria where the rains begin only after late June and where weather too cold for growth comes earlier in the fall. The quick maturity of these crops also permits them to be used to great advantage even throughout the south, in their systems of multiple cropping so generally adopted, while their great resistance to drought, being able to remain at a standstill for a long time when the soil is too dry for growth and yet be able to push ahead rapidly when favorable rains come, permits them to be used on the higher lands generally where water is not available for irrigation.
In the Shantung province the large millet, sorghum or kaoliang, yields as high as 2000 to 3000 pounds of seed per acre, and 5600 to 6000 pounds of air-dry stems, equal in weight to 1.6 to 1.7 cords of dry oak wood. In the region of Mukden, Manchuria, its average yield of seed is placed at thirty-five bushels of sixty pounds weight per acre, and with this comes one and a half tons of fuel or of building material. Hosie states that, the kaoliang is the staple food of the population of Manchuria and the principal grain food of the work animals. The grain is first washed in cold water and then poured into a kettle with four times its volume of boiling water and cooked for an hour, without salt, as with rice. It is eaten with chopsticks with boiled or salted vegetables. He states that an ordinary servant requires about two pounds of this grain per day, and that a workman at heavy labor will take double the amount. A Chinese friend of his, keeping five servants, supplied them with 240 pounds of millet per month, together with 16 pounds of native flour, regarded as sufficient for two days, and meat for two days, the amount not being stated. Two of the small millets , wheat, maize and buckwheat are other grains which are used as food but chiefly to give variety and change of diet.
Very large quantities of matting and wrappings are also made from the leaves of the large millet, which serve many purposes corresponding with the rice mattings and bags of Japan and southern China.
The small millets, in Shantung, yield as high as 2700 pounds of seed and 4800 pounds of straw per acre. In Japan, in the year 1906, there were grown 737,719 acres of foxtail, barnyard and proso millet, yielding 17,084,000 bushels of seed or an average of twenty-three bushels per acre. In addition to the millets, Japan grew, the same year, 5,964,300 bushels of buckwheat on 394,523 acres, or an average of fifteen bushels per acre. The next engraving, Fig. 205, shows a crop of millet already six inches high planted between rows of windsor beans which had matured about the middle of June. The leaves had dropped, the beans had been picked from the stems, and a little later, when the roots had had time to decay the bean stems would be pulled and tied in bundles for use as fuel or for fertilizer.
We had reached Mukden thoroughly tired after a long day of continuous close observation and writing. The Astor House, where we were to stop, was three miles from the station and the only conveyance to meet the train was a four-seated springless, open, semi-baggage carryall and it was a full hour lumbering its way to our hotel. But here as everywhere in the Orient the foreigner meets scenes and phases of life competent to divert his attention from almost any discomfort. Nothing could be more striking than the peculiar mode the Manchu ladies have of dressing their hair, seen in Fig. 206, many instances of which were passed on the streets during this early evening ride. It was fearfully and wonderfully done, laid in the smoothest, glossiest black, with nearly the lateral spread of the tail of a turkey cock and much of the backward curve of that of the rooster; far less attractive than the plainer, refined, modest, yet highly artistic style adopted by either Chinese or Japanese ladies.
The journey from Mukden to Antung required two days, the train stopping for the night at Tsaohokow. Our route lay most of the way through mountainous or steep hilly country and our train was made up of diminutive coaches drawn by a tiny engine over a three-foot two-inch narrow gauge track of light rails laid by the Japanese during the war with Russia, for the purpose of moving their armies and supplies to the hotly contested fields in the Liao and Sungari plains. Many of the grades were steep, the curves sharp, and in several places it was necessary to divide the short train to enable the engines to negotiate them.
To the southward over the Liao plain the crops were almost exclusively millet and soy beans, with a little barley, wheat, and a few oats. Between Mukden and the first station across the Hun river we had passed twenty-four good sized fields of soy beans on one side of the river and twenty-two on the other, and before reaching the hilly country, after travelling a distance of possibly fifteen miles, we had passed 309 other and similar fields close along the track. In this distance also we had passed two of the monuments erected by the Japanese, marking sites of their memorable battles. These fields were everywhere flat, lying from sixteen to twenty feet above the beds of the nearly dry streams, and the cultivation was mostly being done with horses or cattle.
After leaving the plains country the railway traversed a narrow winding valley less than a mile wide, with gradient so steep that our train was divided. Fully sixty per cent of the hill slopes were cultivated nearly to the summit and yet rising apparently more than one in three to five feet, and the uncultivated slopes were closely wooded with young trees, few more than twenty to thirty feet high, but in blocks evidently of different ages. Beyond the pass many of the cultivated slopes have walled terraces. We crossed a large stream where railway ties were being rafted down the river. Just beyond this river the train was again divided to ascend a gradient of one in thirty, reaching the summit by five times switching back, and matched on the other side of the pass by a down grade of one in forty.
At many of the farm houses in the narrow valleys along the way large rectangular, flat topped compost piles were passed, thirty to forty inches high and twenty, thirty, forty and even in one case as much as sixty feet square on the ground. More and more it became evident that these mountain and hill lands were originally heavily wooded and that the new growth springs up quickly, developing rapidly. It was clear also that the custom of cutting over these wooded areas at frequent intervals is very old, not always in the same stage of growth but usually when the trees are quite small. Considerable quantities of cordwood were piled at the stations along the railway and were being loaded on the cars. This was always either round wood or sticks split but once; and much charcoal, made mostly from round wood or sticks split but once, was being shipped in sacks shaped like those used for rice, seen in Fig. 180. Some strips of the forest growth had been allowed to stand undisturbed apparently for twenty or more years, but most areas have been cut at more frequent intervals, often apparently once in three to five, or perhaps ten, years.
At several places on the rapid streams crossed, prototypes of the modern turbine water-wheel were installed, doing duty grinding beans or grain. As with native machinery everywhere in China, these wheels were reduced to the lowest terms and the principle put to work almost unclothed. These turbines were of the downward discharge type, much resembling our modern windmills, ten to sixteen feet in diameter, set horizontally on a vertical axis rising through the floor of the mill, with the vanes surrounded by a rim, the water dropping through the wheel, reacting when reflected from the obliquely set vanes. American engineers and mechanics would pronounce these very crude, primitive and inefficient. A truer view would regard them as examples of a masterful grasp of principle by some, man who long ago saw the unused energy of the stream and succeeded thus in turning it to account.
Both days of our journey had been bright and very warm and, although we took the train early in the morning at Mukden, a young Japanese anticipated the heat, entering the train clad only in his kimono and sandals, carrying a suitcase and another bundle. He rode all day, the most comfortably, if immodestly, clad man on the train, and the next morning took his seat in front of us clad in the same garb, but before the train reached Antung he took down his suitcase and then and there, deliberately attired himself in a good foreign suit, folding his kimono and packing it away with his sandals.
From Antung we crossed the Yalu on the ferry to New Wiju at 6:30 A. M., June 22, and were then in quite a different country and among a very different people, although all of the railway officials, employes, police and guards were Japanese, as they had been from Mukden. At Antung and New Wiju the Yalu is a very broad slow stream resembling an arm of the sea more than a river, reminding one of the St. Johns at Jacksonville, Florida.
June 22nd proved to be one of the national festival days in Korea, called "Swing day", and throughout our entire ride to Seoul the fields were nearly all deserted and throngs of people, arrayed in gala dress, appeared all along the line of the railway, sometimes congregating in bodies of two to three thousand or more, as seen in Fig. 207. Many swings had been hung and were being enjoyed by the young people. Boys and men were bathing in all sorts of "swimming holes" and places. So too, there were many large open air gatherings being addressed by public speakers, one of which is seen in Fig. 208.
Nearly everyone was dressed in white outer garments made from some fabric which although not mosquito netting was nearly as open and possessed of a remarkable stiffness which seemed to take and retain every dent with astonishing effect and which was sufficiently transparent to reveal a third undergarment. The full outstanding skirts of five Korean women may be seen in Fig. 209, and the trousers which went with these were proportionately full but tied close about the ankles. The garments seemed to be possessed of a powerful repulsion which held them quite apart and away from the person, no doubt contributing much to comfort. It was windy but one of those hot sultry, sticky days, and it made one feel cool to see these open garments surging in the wind.
The Korean men, like the Chinese, wear the hair long but not braided in a queue. No part of the head is shaved but the hair is wound in a tight coil on the top of the head, secured by a pin which, in the case of the Korean who rode in our coach from Mukden to Antung, was a modern, substantial tenpenny wire nail. The tall, narrow, conical crowns of the open hats, woven from thin bamboo splints, are evidently designed to accommodate this style of hair dressing as well as to be cool.
Here, too, as in China and Manchuria, nearly all crops are planted in rows, including the cereals, such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. We traversed first a flat marshy country with sandy soil and water not more than four feet below the surface where, on the lowest areas a close ally of our wild flower-de-luce was in bloom. Wheat was coining into head but corn and millet were smaller than in Manchuria. We had left New Wiju at 7:30 in the morning and at 8:15 we passed from the low land into a hill country with narrow valleys. Scattering young pine, seldom more than ten to twenty-five feet high, occupied the slopes and as we came nearer the hills were seen to be clothed with many small oak, the sprouts clearly not more than one or two years old. Roofs of dwellings in the country were usually thatched with straw laid after the manner of shingles, as may be seen in Fig. 210, where the hills beyond show the low tree growth referred to, but here unusually dense. Bundles of pine boughs, stacked and sheltered from the weather, were common along the way and evidently used for fuel.
At 8:25 we passed through the first tunnel and there were many along the route, the longest requiring thirty seconds for the passing of the train. The valley beyond was occupied by fields of wheat where beans were planted between the rows. Thus far none of the fields had been as thoroughly tilled and well cared for as those seen in China, nor were the crops as good. Further along we passed hills where the pines were all of two ages, one set about thirty feet high and the others twelve to fifteen feet or less, and among these were numerous oak sprouts. Quite possibly these are used as food for the wild silkworms. In some places appearances indicate that the oak and other deciduous growth, with the grass, may be cut annually and only the pines allowed to stand for longer periods. As we proceeded southward and had passed Kosui the young oak sprouts were seen to cover the hills, often stretching over the slopes much like a regular crop, standing at a height of two to four feet, and fresh bundles of these sprouts were seen at houses along the foot of the slopes, again suggesting that the leaves may be for the tussur silkworms although the time appears late for the first moulting. After we had left Seoul, entering the broader valleys where rice was more extensively grown, the using of the oak boughs and green grass brought down from the hill lands for green manure became very extensive.
After the winter and early spring crops have been harvested the narrow ridges on which they are grown are turned into the furrows by means of their simple plow drawn by a heavy bullock, different from the cattle in China but closely similar to those in Japan. The fields are then flooded until they have the appearance seen in Fig. 12. Over these flooded ridges the green grass and oak boughs are spread, when the fields are again plowed and the material worked into the wet soil. If this working is not completely successful men enter the fields and tramp the surface until every twig and blade is submerged. The middle section in this illustration has been fitted and transplanted; in front of it and on the left are two other fields once plowed but not fertilized; those far to the right have had the green manure applied and the ground plowed a second time but not finished, and in the immediate foreground the grass and boughs have been scattered but the second plowing is not yet done.
We passed men and bullocks coming from the hill lands loaded with this green herbage and as we proceeded towards Fusan more and more of the hill area was being made to contribute materials for green manure for the cultivated fields. The foreground of Fig. 211 had been thus treated and so had the field in Fig. 212, where the man was engaged in tramping the dressing beneath the surface. In very many cases this material was laid along the margin of the paddies; in other cases it had been taken upon the fields as soon as the grain was cut and was lying in piles among the bundles; while in still other cases the material for green manure had been carried between the rows while the grain was still standing, but nearly ready to harvest. In some fields a full third of a bushel of the green stuff had been laid down at intervals of three feet over the whole area. In other cases piles of ashes alternated with those of herbage, and again manure and ashes mixed had been distributed in alternate piles with the green manure.
In still other cases we saw untreated straw distributed through the fields awaiting application. At Shindo this, straw had the appearance of having been dipped in or smeared with some mixture, apparently of mud and ashes or possibly of some compost which had been worked into a thin paste with water.
After passing Keizan, mountain herbage had been brought down from the hills in large bales on cleverly constructed racks saddled to the backs of bullocks, and in one field we saw a man who had just come to his little field with an enormous load borne upon his easel-like packing appliance. Thus we find the Koreans also adopting the rice crop, which yields heavily under conditions of abundant water; we find them supplementing a heavy summer rainfall with water from their hills, and bringing to their fields besides both green herbage for humus and organic matter, and ashes derived from the fuel coming also from the hills, in these ways making good the unavoidable losses, through intense cropping.
The amount of forest growth in Korea, as we saw it, in proximity to the cultivated valleys, is nowhere large and is fairly represented in Figs. 210, 213 and 214. There were clear evidences of periodic cutting and considerable, amounts of cordwood split from timber a foot through were being brought to the stations on the backs of cattle. In some places there was evident and occasionally very serious soil erosion, as may be seen in Fig. 214, one such region being passed just before reaching Kinusan, but generally the hills are well rounded and covered with a low growth of shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Southernmost Korea has the latitude of the northern boundary of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, while the northeast corner attains that of Madison, Wisconsin, and the northern boundary of Nebraska, the country thus spanning some nine degrees and six hundred miles of latitude. It has an area of some 82,000 square miles, about equaling the state of Minnesota, but much of its surface is occupied by steep hill and mountain land. The rainy season had not yet set in, June 23rd. Wheat and the small grains were practically all harvested southward of Seoul and the people were everywhere busy with their flails threshing in the open, about the dwellings or in the fields, four flails often beating together on the same lot of grain. As we journeyed southward the valleys and the fields became wider and more extensive, and the crops, as well as the cultural methods, were clearly much better.
Neither the foot-power, animal-power, nor the wooden chain pump of the Chinese were observed in Korea in use for lifting water, but we saw many instances of the long handled, spoonlike swinging scoop hung over the water by a cord from tall tripods, after the manner seen in Fig. 215, each operated by one man and apparently with high efficiency for low lifts. Two instances also were observed of the form of lift seen in Fig. 173, where the man walks the circumference of the wheel, so commonly observed in Japan. Much hemp was being grown in southern Korea but everywhere on very small isolated areas which flecked the landscape with the deepest green, each little field probably representing the crop of a single family.
It was 6:30 P. M. when our train reached Fusan after a hot and dusty ride. The service had been good and fairly comfortable but the ice-water tanks of American trains were absent, their place being supplied by cooled bottled waters of various brands, including soda-water, sold by Japanese boys at nearly every important station. Close connection was made by trains with steamers to and from Japan and we went directly on board the Iki Maru which was to weigh anchor for Moji and Shimonoseki at 8 P. M. Although small, the steamer was well equipped, providing the best of service. We were fortunate in having a smooth passage, anchoring at 6:30 the next morning and making close connection with the train for Nagasaki, landing at the wharf with the aid of a steam launch.
Our ride by train through the island of Kyushu carried us through scenes not widely different from those we had just left. The journey was continuously among fields of rice, with Korean features strongly marked but usually under better and more intensified culture, and the season, too, was a little more advanced. Here the plowing was being done mostly with horses instead of the heavy bullocks so exclusively employed in Korea. Coming from China into Korea, and from there into Japan, it appeared very clear that in agricultural methods and appliances the Koreans and Japanese are more closely similar than the Chinese and Koreans, and the more we came to see of the Japanese methods the more strongly the impression became fixed that the Japanese had derived their methods either from the Koreans or the Koreans had taken theirs more largely from Japan than from China.
It was on this ride from Moji to Nagasaki that we were introduced to the attractive and very satisfactory manner of serving lunches to travelers on the trains in Japan. At important stations hot tea is brought to the car windows in small glazed, earthenware teapots provided with cover and bail, and accompanied with a teacup of the same ware. The set and contents could be purchased for five sen, two and a half cents, our currency. All tea is served without milk or sugar. The lunches were very substantial and put together in a neat sanitary manner in a three-compartment wooden box, carefully made from clear lumber joined with wooden pegs and perfect joints. Packed in the cover we found a paper napkin, toothpicks and a pair of chopsticks. In the second compartment there were thin slices of meat, chicken and fish, together with bamboo sprouts, pickles, cakes and small bits of salted vegetables, while the lower and chief compartment was filled with rice cooked quite stiff and without salt, as is the custom in the three countries. The box was about six inches long, four inches deep and three and a half inches wide. These lunches are handed to travelers neatly wrapped in spotless thin white paper daintily tied with a bit of color, all in exchange for 25 sen,--12.5 cents. Thus for fifteen cents the traveler is handed, through the car window, in a respectful manner, a square meal which he may eat at his leisure.