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"The term hari-kari means 'happy despatch,' and for the Japanese it was a happy form of going out of the world. It is still in use, the custom as well as the expression, but not so much so as formerly. The Japanese ideas of honor have not changed, but they have found that some of their ways of illustrating them are not in accordance with the customs of Europe. There are cases of hari-kari now and then at the present time, but they are very private, and generally the result of the sentence of a court. At the termination of the rebellion of 1877, several of the officers concerned in it committed hari-kari voluntarily just before the surrender, and others in consequence of their capture and sentence.
"Oh, I wish I had noticed him!"
"Suppose it wasn't either."
"The coolie-trade," said he, "does not exist any more. It was very much like the slave-trade, of which you have read; in fact, it was nothing more than the slave-trade with the form changed a little. In the African slave-trade the slaves were bought as one might buy sheep and cattle. In the coolie-traffic the men were hired for a term of years at certain stipulated[Pg 394] wages, and were to be returned to their homes at the end of that term, provided all their debts had been discharged. The plan was all right on its face, but it was not carried out. When the period for which he was engaged was up, the coolie was always made to be in debt to his employer; and, no matter how hard he might work, he was not allowed to free himself. He was a slave to his master just as much as was the negro from Africa, and not one coolie in a thousand ever saw his native land again.