Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/153

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

In the cities and towns the Shantungese shows himself a shrewd business man, for the Chinese have a good claim to be known as a nation of shopkeepers. Markets are held in most large villages at intervals of live days, and are so arranged that salesmen can move from one to another without loss of time. These afford opportunities for the preacher of the Gospel also, for the men at least of the surrounding district attend these markets very frequently, and when work is slack in the fields the number present is often very large.

The Chinese divide men into four classes, according to their occupation—the literatus, the agriculturist, the artisan, and the merchant; and the order is ideal—the thinker, the producer, the worker, and the distributor. There are few families, however, that are not more or less interested in the land. In late May and early October the schools are closed, the streets and shops deserted; the workman leaves his bench, the fisherman his nets, and the scholar his books, that all may help to gather from the fields the precious harvest which is to keep the wolf of hunger from the door for another year.

Thou providest them with corn . . .
Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness.

Psalm lxv.

He left not Himself without witness . . .
Filling your hearts with food and gladness.

Acts xiv.

The population of Shantung varies in density, and the presence of so many hills and mountains lowers the average of inhabitants to the square mile. By actual count, in a district in the west of the province, not including any city in its area, as many as 1300 people were found to the square mile. In the neighbourhood of Weihaiwei, in the east, the British surveying party estimated a population of 500 to the square mile; throughout the province generally, the average population per square mile is given as 557.

Shantung has contributed to China the best-known