"As to that," said Doctor Bronson, "much depends upon what you would call frequent. In former times a man might lose his head for a very slight reason, or, perhaps, no reason at all. Crimes that we would consider of small degree were punished with death, and there was very little time wasted between the sentence and its execution. As the Japanese have become more and more familiar with the customs of Western nations, they have learned that we do not remove the heads of our people for trifles, and they show their good sense by following our example. Of late years, executions by decapitation are much less frequent than formerly, but even now there are more of them than there need be.
"The man who brought the bundles of grain to the thresher had them slung over his shoulder, as they carry everything in this country; two bundles made a load for him, and they were not large bundles either. Such a thing as a farm-wagon is as unknown as a threshing-machine, and would not be useful, as the paths among the fields are very narrow, and a wagon couldn't run on them at all. Land is very valuable in the neighborhood of the towns, and they would consider it wasteful to have a wide strip of it taken up for a road. And, as I have just said, labor is very cheap, especially the labor of the coolies who carry burdens. All the men I saw at work in the field were barefooted, and probably[Pg 334] the wages they receive do not leave them much to spend on boots, after they have supported their families and paid their taxes. They must have a hard time to get along, but they appear perfectly cheerful and contented."
"I am his clerk." In the car a flash of joy and then great decorum.
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