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Time Smuggling Starting From The Year 2000 - Chapter 16

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Chapter 16: Blank

Translator: Kim Guo Editor: Tehm

Since ancient times, there had been a lot of talents in Jiangnan1, especially in the Ming and Qing

Dynasties. According to the records of the successful candidates in the highest imperial

examination in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, from the first subject in the fourth year of

Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty (the year 1371) to the last subject in the thirtieth year of

Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty (the year 1904), there had been 201 subjects in the final

imperial examination. In addition to learned and extensive subject2, excluding translation

subject and Manchu successful candidates subject, there had been 51681 successful candidates,

24866 in the Ming Dynasty and 26815 in the Qing Dynasty. There had been 7877 successful

candidates in Jiangnan, accounting for 15.24% of those of the country, 3864 in the Ming

Dynasty, accounting for 15.54% of those of the country and 4013 in the Qing Dynasty,

accounting for 14.95% of those of the country. On the whole, more than one out of seven

successful candidates in the Ming and Qing Dynasties were from Jiangnan, which was

marvelous. In the opinions of modern people, the advanced culture of Jiangnan was closely

associated with its developed economy. In the northwest, people went hungry even though tens

of mu3 of lands had been allocated to each person, while in regions of rivers and lakes, several

mu of lands were enough for a family to cultivate a scholar, in which case, a cultural

atmosphere was naturally cultivated.

Once a scholar became rich, besides finding a wife and buying some houses, he would more or

less buy some books as well, even if it was just for pretension. Thus, a great many precious

block-printed editions had existed in Jiangnan. What was more, Jiangnan and Jiangxi provinces

in the early Qing Dynasty were full of wealthy families. With the effort of numerous people, the

collected books in Jiangnan had increased gradually until the reign of Emperor Xianfeng of the

Qing Dynasty. The loss of the books had been a pain to many book collectors.

Zhou Shuming looked like a scholar, but it was not known whether he had taken the imperial

examination of the last subject or got any position. Hearing that Huang Xuan was troubled

about buying books, he laughed and said, waving his hand, ’’It's easy. Our city Jiaxing may be

famous for few things, but books are one of them.’’

’’But I am new ’’

’’I will take care of it,’’ Zhou Shuming continued, ’’Our city Jiaxing ’’

Before he could continue bragging, Huang Xuan interrupted and said seriously, ’’My father has a

lot of book collections. This time I'd like to buy some rare editions and best editions. The only

existing edition would be the best.’’ All best editions had been carefully proofread. Usually, both

rare editions and best editions were old editions. Therefore, the Qing Dynasty best editions

were not necessarily the Ming Dynasty best editions. In modern times, of course, the best

editions of the year 1927 should include the Qing Dynasty block-printed edition. However,

considering Rolin's abnormal restraints on weight, he had to look for better editions.

Zhou Shuming smiled and said, stroking his beard, ’’Which books do you like, Mr. Huang?’’ Since

ancient times, book collection had seldom continued for three generations in a family. With

China's political turbulence, more and more old books had been scattered on the market in

Jiaxing. Tangled warfare going on among warlords, the government was too busy to deal with

this situation, hence, compared to other times, more old books could be bought in this time.

Huang Xuan shook his head lightly, pointed to the warehouse and said, ’’I have carried more

than 15 million dans of grains and 200 dans have been sold to Xieqiao Rice Shop. If you can, take

all of the rest. All I want is 10 books.’’

The chant on the dock was very loud. Zhou Shuming stood there as if he was just hit by a

thunderbolt. 15 million dans of grains were worth more than 20,000 silver dollars. In other

words, this young man would rather spend 2,000 silver dollars on one book. Obviously, this was

a great deal. Boss Zhou clicked his tongue and said loudly, ’’Mr. Huang, please give me a few

days. I will buy all these grains.’’

’’That will be great,’’ Huang Xuan laughed loudly and said, ’’But I will stay at most 5 more days.

Boss Zhou, don't be late.’’

’’Deal.’’

’’Deal.’’

While Huang Xuan was working hard to protect human cultural heritage, the shopkeeper had

been run off his feet for the funds. There wasn't enough capital in the shop. After he had

reported to his boss, he and the butler of the Zhu family withdrew 1000 silver dollars from the

warehouse and contacted some rice shops quietly that had kept a good relation with Xieqiao

Rice Shop, hoping to work together with them to buy all of Huang Xuan's grains. He knew well

that those were all first-class seed grains, the price of which would go much higher than 12

bucks; and according to Huang Xuan, more grains were on the way. Even his boss, who hadn't

spent much time on business, was considering making a fortune in this deal.

However, in the afternoon, the news that a lot of grains had arrived in Jiaxing was already

flying on the streets. The whole rice market of the city was reacting to it. At first, shopkeeper

Zhu tried to find out who had spread the rumor. Of course, it was to no avail. Then he was more

in a hurry and brought the silver dollars to the dock even before the due time.

After counting the money, Huang Xuan asked the assistants to put the chests filled with silver

dollars to his room. Then he moved them to the entrance of the plane passage, walked out of his

room and said to shopkeeper Zhu, ’’Now that the transaction is done, the grains in the

warehouse all belong to Xieqiao Rice Shop.’’

’’Great! Great!’’ Shopkeeper Zhu rubbed his hands excitedly and watched his assistants make an

inventory of the grains again. His excitement wasn't past until a gust of cold wind blew. He ran

to Huang Xuan and said, bending, ’’Boss Huang, I have heard that another batch of grains of

yours is arriving. Isn't it?’’

Certainly it wasn't heard but guessed. Huang Xuan twitched his lip with disdain. The rest of his

grains was in the plane passage. How was it possible for him to hear anything like that? Still, he

said with a smile, ’’Yes, I have another thousand dans, but a boss named Zhou Shuming has said

that he will take them all. I am going to agree to it.’’

’’That old man,’’ Shopkeeper Zhu said, baring his teeth, ’’Boss Huang, we have both enjoyed

doing business with each other. Our shop has been very sincere and is hoping that we can do

business again about this a thousand dans of grains.’’

’’I'm not saying no,’’ Huang Xuan repeated what he had said to Zhou Shuming, ignoring the

dazed shopkeeper Zhu and continued, ’’If so, I will wait for your information in the hotel in

town.’’

Merchants had all along valued profits, so had Chinese national capitalists. The boss of Xieqiao

Rice Shop, the current head of the Zhu Clan, Zhu Hongren, picked up his walking stick and

started to walk around the garden as soon as he heard the news from the shopkeeper. Other

shops that had been one step behind Xieqiao Rice Shop got even busier inquiring for

information.

A thousand dans of grains were not a lot. Even in days like today when there was a grain

shortage, they were just topics of conversation after meals. However, if a thousand dans of

grains had been traded for just 10 books, the huge profit in it made the shopkeepers and bosses

of vegetarian business feel as if they were the ferocious sharks smelling blood and the starving

wolves moving greedily towards their prey.

Notes:

Jiangnan: areas south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, which was divided into Jiangsu

and Anhui provinces after the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty.

Learned and extensive subject: one of the subjects of the imperial civil examination system.

Mu: a traditional unit of area in China, equaling to 0.0667 hectare or ⅙ acre.



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