SOCIETIES FOR WATCHING mE CROPS
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IN a country where the poor are in such a majority as in China, and where the fields are altogether open, it is de-
sirable if not necessary to have some plan by which property so unprotected can be effectively watched. In every orchard, as soon as the fruit begins to show the smallest sign of ripeness, the owner keeps some of his family on guard day and night, until the last apricot, plum or pear is removed from the trees. The darker and the more rainy the night, the more is vigilance required, so that a family with a bearing orchard is under the most absolute bondage to this property for a part of every year. During the months of July and August the fields are dotted with little booths some of them overrun with climbing vines, and each of these frail tenements is never for a moment deserted until the crops have all been removed. In some regions the traveller will observe these huts built upon a lofty staging &0 as to command a wide view, and they are often put up even in fields of sorghum, which would not seem likely to be stolen. But the lofty growth of this stalwart plant is itself a perfect protection to a thief, so that it is much more difficult to watch than crops far less elevated from the ground. Growing to an altitude of from ten to fifteen feet, it completelyobscures the horizon, and practically obliterates all landmarks. So far as knowing where one goes, a traveller might as well be plunged into an African jungle. Even the natives of a region sometimes get lost within a few /i of their own village on a cloudy day. The autumn crops of Shan-tung consist of the innumerable kinds of millet, sorghum, (which, though called "tall millet," has no affinity with real millet;) beans; Indian
com, or maize j peanuts j melons and squashes j sweet-potatoes and other vegetables (the others mostly in small patches); hemp j sesame j and especially cotton. There are many other items, but these are the chief.