Time Smuggling Starting From The Year 2000 - Chapter 51
Chapter 51: In Germany, in 1866 (Part Three)
Translator: Kim Guo Editor: Tehrn
The Port of Ludwigshafen was the second biggest port of the Rhine River. Because it was inland, it had become a distributive center of cargo. It was also a regional hub with a great number of shops, prosperous commerce and an ideal import and export market. Ports had all along been the means of transport of bulky goods. A lot of human resources had been conserved thanks to the application of water power, and whenever there was an enormous amount of goods, ships were the main means of transport. Modern ships could carry as many as ten tons while each train carriage could carry only 60 tons. A train with 30 carriages couldn't carry as much as a regular ship of the 19th century. In 1825, when the British Stockton-Darlington railway, the first permanently public transportation facility carrying a steam engine, which was made up of the engine, the coal slime car, 32 freight cars, and one passenger car, the traveling train had had a carrying capacity of only 90 tons.
Ever since Huang Xuan had got off the carriage, he had noticed that he was surrounded by people passing by hurriedly. Except for the different dress and environment, it seemed to be a port city with a busy lifestyle. In the yard where the carriage was parked, there were countless huge logs, only when seeing which, could one understand how many trees the Germans had cut down. Maybe even the Germans couldn't count the number themselves.
That Prussian man named Fisher disappeared after he had got off the carriage. The horses were neighing. Huang Xuan walked on tiptoe to avoid the dung. After he had got out of the yard, he started walking toward the dock. Only the workers in short jackets, who received the minimum wages, kept looking at Huang Xuan. The Junkers walked as quickly as they could when passing by Huang Xuan, and the ladies even covered their noses.
Huang Xuan was furious. He would have kicked his ass if anybody had dared to treat him like this back at home. However, now, since he was abroad, he had to put up with it.
Rolin was confirming the locations of the grain trading companies. In this region, the chamber of commerce from Hamburg was the most powerful. Although the legendary Hanse Alliance had been over for a long time, the merchants from Hamburg still held a strong position in the circle, who could only be evenly matched by the French.
Frankly speaking, the atmosphere of the commerce in Prussia at the time wasn't favorable. It had more than 300 vassal states and 6,000 kinds of currencies. There were over 30 passes which levied different taxes from Hamburg to Ludwigshafen. In the 21st century, the Americans are asking for free trades and the abolition of the tax system, while in the 19th century, the Prussians were paying 30 kinds of taxes for their happy business. Thus, psychological qualities formed by cultivation.
Unexpectedly, there were nearly 100 grain-trading companies in Ludwigshafen, which made Rolin's search very easy. Thanks to Bismarck, in the 1850s, the industry of Germany was developing rapidly;the supply of agricultural machinery and fertile was increased by a lot, and the export of grains was much more than before. Meanwhile, Russia was defeated by the Crimea Republic, revolution was taking place in Poland, and France was adopting military actions in Mexico. All these countries had become Germany's importers.
In comparison, the trading companies purchasing lumber were much more. Ludwigshafen was the only port in the Pfalz State, the biggest forest in Germany, which would become the biggest timber producer in the world 200 years later.
A great deal of produce and logs would be loaded at the port and transported to Hamburg and London, and then to the other parts of the world. The French merchants were wandering in Ludwigshafen where two-thirds of the grapes in Germany were grown, most of which would be loaded on ships and exported, becoming the cornerstone of the Blood and Iron Policy of Bismarck. The gentlemen behind the counter were also making hundreds of thousands within minutes.
Huang Xuan looked at a man busy writing something on the account contemptuously. Then he knocked at the desk and asked, ’’Do you take grains?’’
’’Of course.’’ The Prussian man looked up in excitement and saw a person who apparently wasn't European and was even dirtier than the local farmers.
Huang Xuan had been walking all day, and next had been on the stinky coach for half a day, then he had stayed in a shabby hotel where there had been no hot water for a shower or wash. And Rolin was so stingy that he wouldn't be willing to use energy to clean Huang Xuan up. Maybe he would when seeing Huang Xuan be thrown out. But the Prussian man didn't do that because in Prussia, there were a lot of farmers sending grains here after a day's hard work, and they all looked like Huang Xuan. Although Huang Xuan's clothes were like rugs, and there was more mud on his feet, a business was still a business.
’’What are you selling?’’ The man put down the goose quill pen in his hand and looked behind Huang Xuan.
’’Do you take wheat? And at what price?’’
’’50 Talers every 1,000 pounds,’’ the Prussian man answered honestly but didn't raise his head. The average yearly income of a Prussian family at that time was 150 Talers;for poor peasants, maybe 50 Talers. Since it wasn't in a reap season, the man probably didn't believe Huang Xuan had 1,000 pounds of wheat.
The Taler was the silver coins of Prussia. Compared with that of other principalities, its value was steady. About three years later, Bismarck would take advantage of the reparations from France to reform the currency and establish the Mark system. Right now, Germany was mainly using Talers, pounds, and francs.
The francs here weren't the French currency but a kind of gold coins possessing the same value as the French francs and circulating in Europe, forming the Alliance of Latin Currencies, which was the foundation of the European Union.
Huang Xuan shrugged and said, ’’Then 4,000 pounds of wheat will be 200 Talers, won't they?’’
’’Sure.’’ The man finally raised his head and sized Huang Xuan up. ’’Do you have 4,000 pounds of wheat?’’
’’Yes. Do you want to take them?’’
’’Where are they?’’
’’I put them in the lane ahead,’’ Huang Xuan lied.
’’Kamps, go with him and get the wheat,’’ the accountant said to behind him, then he looked at the account book on the desk. It seemed that 4,000 pounds were just a little episode to him.
Huang Xuan smiled and stepped away from the door beside the accounter. A young man growing a whisker walked out. ’’Where is the wheat?
’’Ahead.’’ Huang Xuan pointed casually.
Rolin put about 4,000 pounds of wheat without packaging in the lane. Kamps was surprised to see the grains were piled up like that. ’’You just put the wheat on the ground? It will get damp.’’
Huang Xuan instantly changed his opinion on this young man. ’’Not bad. He knows about getting damp. It's a shame that he doesn't know the existence of time machine in the world.’’
Huang Xuan shook his head and said, ’’There was an emergency at home. I was in a hurry. So I had to just put it like that.’’
’’I will ask somebody to move it.’’ Kamps still felt it unbelievable. He turned and then said, ’’You stay here to make sure the grains are safe.’’
Huang Xuan agreed and sat on a pile of wheat from 200 years later.