The next time he heard news of Xu Shouhui was in March of the following year. The capital of Tian Wan, Qishui was breached. Xu Shouhui’s capable subordinate Peng Yingyu died in battle. Xu Shouhui could only lead his people to retreat to Huangmei County to fight a protracted battle with the Yuan army.
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At this time, it was the 14th year of Yuan Shun, and the news received was from the end of last year.
“Liu Futong’s situation is not bad.” Lin Yuan said with a smile.
The Yuan army assembled the troops stationed in several provinces to deal with Xu Shouhui, which was enough to prove that the Yuan army attached great importance to Xu Shouhui.
But in other respects, the Yuan army did not gain as much of an advantage.
In the 12th year of Yuan Shun, 300,000 Yuan troops attacked Liu Futong’s area of Runing prefecture, but the result was repeated defeats and heavy losses on the imperial court’s side.
In the 13th year, a 100,000 army came to attack Gaoyou but was defeated, losing nearly 60,000 toops.
There were not many people under Xu Shouhui’s command, but the court still failed to annihilate him in one fell swoop.
Zhu Yuanzhang said at this time: “The Yuan imperial court is now exhausted of most resources so it is the perfect time to take a step further this year.”
Lin Yuan smiled at him: “I have this intention too.”
They now occupied Taizhou, Gaoyou, Changshu, Changzhou and Songjiang. Lin Yuan stood in front of the map and said to everyone: “Everyone put forth your opinions.”
Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong’s opinions were very unified. They both felt that currently both soldiers and morale were at its peak in strength. The original 50,000 soldiers had been increased to 300,000. Even now, Lin Yuan felt that this increase was very terrifying. Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong were responsible for recruiting troops. These two people did not show much eloquence in front of him, but judging from this number, their eloquence must be very good.
Or perhaps their own staff and advisors were very good.
Both felt that Pingjiang Lu could be taken directly now.
However, Song Shizhao believed that instead of just taking Pingjiang Lu, it was better to split in half and take two roads, one to take Pingjiang Lu and another to take Pingjiang.
Pingjiang Lu was an administrative division of the Yuan Dynasty, which included Kunshan, Changshu, Wujiang and Jiading.
Pingjiang was a separate place name, which would later be known as the modern day Jiangsu and Suzhou.
Brother Dao didn’t understand, the whole time he was looking at his fingernails. Lin Yuan glanced at him, and he quickly said, “I can do any, I’m not picky!”
Everyone in the room laughed.
Yang Zi’an said: “I can lead the way to Pingjiang.”
Zhu Yuanzhang: “I can go to Kunshan.”
Chen Baisong: “Jiading.”
Brother Dao: “……Then, only Wu Jiang is left?”
Lin Yuan smiled and said: “It’s handed over to you. If you feel that it is not possible, just tell them and ask them to exchange with you.”
Brother Dao waved his hand: “That’s not necessary.”
Lin Yuan set the time of the battle campaign at the end of the year, which would be during the winter.
Although it seemed that this time was not conducive to war, it was actually advantageous for them. Now, most of the financial expenditure was on the purchase of cotton. Lin Yuan did not let the people under his rule grow cotton, and would rather spend money to buy it from outside.
He must ensure the people’s food sources and ensure that his soldiers had sufficient food supplies.
Before winter arrived, they had to work overtime to prepare.
The clothing workshops were all busy now.
Women now worked almost six hours a day and this was just the base number. Sometimes they worked even more than seven hours. If this was in the modern times, someone would definitely sue Lin Yuan for overwriting his employees.
But during this emergency period, no one would feel like it was too difficult. The women sat in warm houses protected from the cold wind outside.
In summer, there was even an ice basin placed inside.
The ancients had long been making ice and saltpeter ice had always been there. But poor people had never seen ice in the summer. Fortunately, Lin Yuan now had a lot of saltpeter. He didn’t want to have people getting heatstroke on top of all the hard work they had to do.
He did not want to lose a single person now.
Soldiers had to train outdoors and Yang Zi’an and the others had each led a team out to raid mountain bandits and bandit villas.
Not even the larger stockades were able to escape their raids. Now, practically all the wild lands in the places under Lin Yuan’s rule had almost no danger.
Merchants also liked to come to Gaoyou to do business more and more, and many of them even came to Gaoyou to settle down, bringing with them the great wealth they had accumulated.
So long as someone came, someone spent money, and someone earned money, then the economy would develop.
Qian Daniang was currently sewing the cotton-padded clothes. The weather was getting hot so she only wore thin cloth clothes, but she still felt stuffy. The sweat on her forehead soon dripped down, dampening a spot on the cotton-padded clothes. Fortunately, it was only a small spot.
Just as Qian Daniang was so hot she gulped down a cup of cold tea——though it was called cold tea but in truth, the tea was still warm no matter how long it was left to cool.
Finally, the sound of girls cheering came from outside.
“The ice is here! Today’s ice is here!”
“We need at least three blocks!”
“Come on, how many of you are there? Our side have more than 30 people! I need five blocks!”
The young person driving the ox cart to deliver ice was very familiar with them, and smiled at this time: “Ladies, please have mercy on me, the manager said, only three blocks for more than 10 people but less than 30 people, and those more than 30 people but less than 60 people get five blocks.”
The women began to haggle: “My girls are all big!”
“One can fill in three!”
The young man said with exasperation: “It’s useless to say it to me. The manager would flay a layer of my skin if I act without permission.”
Seeing that the manager did not come along to send the ice, the women could only each bring their alloted ice back to the house.
As soon as the ice arrived, the women in the house felt much cooler. They pulled up their long hair and pinned it with hairpins. The work under their hands was also faster. Every room had a female teacher who taught needlework as well as supervise. She could get a lot of rewards if the people under her did a good, but if she took advantage of her position and oppressed the employees, then a complaint would be lodged against her using the anonymous complaint box in the manager’s office. Once verified, she would not only have to be dismissed, but she might also spend time in jail and be paraded in a public humiliation display.
Just for avoiding the shame no one dared to do it, especially as women had thinner skin than men. Besides, now life was only getting better and the income of female teachers was not low, so the complaint box had yet to receive any anonymous complaint.
The room was full of snow-white cotton and navy blue fabrics. The stitches made by the women were very well done, and the cotton clothes they made only got better and better.
The previous use of grass stuffing had been replaced. After all, it was not as good as cotton and was only used when cotton wasn’t enough.
They chatted while working, and there were also work-study children serving them tea and water.
“These days are truly wonderful.” Qian Daniang said to the young girl next to her, “I didn’t even dare to imagine living this kind of life before. At that time, I couldn’t even have enough to eat. Who would have the energy to care about hot or cold?”
The young girl smiled at her: “My wages can also buy some ice for my family.”
“How is your father?” Qian Daniang asked her.
The girl’s father fell and broke a leg a year ago and became lame. He couldn’t walk on the ground and could not do heavy work. The pain would be unbearable even just taking a few steps. Fortunately, both mother and daughter could earn money so life was not too difficult.
The young girl said: “My father can now walk around the yard.”
Qian Daniang sighed: “Fortunately, the South Bodhisattva came, otherwise……”
The girl was also thankful: “Otherwise, my family would have starved to death long ago.”
The working house was always very lively. There was a fireplace in the house so winter was better than summer. As soon as the fireplace was burned in winter, the whole house would be warm, the only downside being that it used up a lot of wood.
“Time to eat!”
When it was time for lunch, the women all stopped their work one after another, though some were still working on the finishing touches. They all walked out of the house in groups of twos and threes towards the cafeteria to get their meal trays.
Now the staple meal was sweet potatoes and potatoes, cooked in many different ways. Their favorite was mashed potatoes, which could be eaten with some salt and sauce.
Vegetables dishes were stir-fried. There were now special oil factories for manufacturing oil. Now a lot of rapeseeds were planted in the fields outside the city. After the rapeseeds were harvested, the oil supply had become even larger. The owners of these oil factories were basically all merchants. Lin Yuan did not directly monopolize these channels. If the merchants wanted to do this business, then he would let them so long as they paid taxes.
And because of the presence of the Merchants’ Guild, the local oil prices under Lin Yuan’s rule were all the same. No one maliciously cut prices, nor did they maliciously drive it up.
Lin Yuan didn’t care how much they sold it for outside. In any case it was enough so long as the taxation was good.
The people who could still afford oil in these times were basically big influential families. The poor people were still struggling to fill their stomachs.
“This taste good.” Qian Daniang said to the young girl, “You only just came so you don’t know. This kind of wild vegetable is the most delicious when fried.”
The young girl grabbed a plate of wild vegetables, ordered a bowl of mashed potatoes as well as a bowl of sweet potato rice before sitting down at an empty table with Qian Daniang.
When they ate they would always be in their best mood.
Qian Daniang ate very slowly. She was over starved before so now her stomach always felt uncomfortable if she ate too fast.
The young girl ate very quickly. She ate very cleanly without wasting anything at all. If it weren’t for the fact that it would not look good, it was likely that she would even lick the dishes.
Qian Daniang was surprised and said: “You look so thin but you can eat so much.”
The girl’s face was a little red: “I always had a bigger appetite than others.”
Qian Daniang hurriedly said: “What’s wrong with that? When I was your age, if it wasn’t because I didn’t have much to eat, I might have eaten more than you.”
“You look to be fifteen this year?” Qian Daniang suddenly asked.
The girl nodded: “Just turned fifteen years old.”
Qian Daniang looked at her in the kindly manner of an elder: “Have you been betrothed yet?”
The girl shook her head and said a little shyly: “My family still needs me.”
If her family did not have her anymore, her mother alone would not be able to make ends meet.
If she still sent money to her natal family after marrying to someone else’s house to be a wife she would be criticized.
Qian Daniang hurriedly said: “I have a nephew. His parents passed away on the way to Gaoyou. If you are willing, I can make a match between the two of you. Then you can ask him to come live with you. As long as you have a son that takes his surname to continue his family name, all the other children can follow your family name.”
The girl was taken aback for a moment, obviously she didn’t expect to have this kind of choice.
She thought that her future would be to become a spinster and then find a random person to marry.
Qian Daniang looked at her expression, and said, “It’s also possible if the children all follow your family name. I’ll talk to him again.”
The girl lowered her head, her voice was very small: “Daniang, why don’t you go to my house for dinner tonight.”
Qian Daniang repeatedly said: “No problem, no problem. I will definitely stop by after I get off work.”
The girl was the only child in her family. Her father hurt his body when he was on the road and could no longer have more children. He had a headache about this matter for a long time now. But now he heard that he could have a son-in-law at home, and except for one child all the other children would follow their family name he agreed almost immediately.
It was her mother who was more cautious and asked Qian Daniang, “Don’t know what kind of personality that child has? I’m afraid that my daughter is too soft-tempered. If she found a husband with a bad temper……”
Qian Daniang: “My nephew is a solid and honest young man. He has great strength, eats anything and speaks very little. It is not that I am bragging but he is now an apprentice blacksmith, and his teacher has said that next year he will be able to become an official blacksmith.”
Her mother: “I’m afraid my family won’t be able to keep such a good man.”
Qian Daniang smiled and said: “His parents are gone. Nowadays, he is living alone and just want to find someone who could take care of him, start his own family. If nothing else, he is very filial. If Zheng Niangzi is still not assured, I can take you tomorrow to go and see him.” (TN: daniang and niangzi are both used to refer to a woman, usually one already married)
Only then did her mother say: “It’s better to meet.”
The girl blushed on the side.
If she could find a husband to become part of her family, then she wouldn’t have to leave home and could support her parents without being criticized.
At the beginning, recruiting son-in-laws to become part of the wife’s family was not as prevalent. After all, people adhered to the belief of raising children to prevent old age, the more sons, the better. Even if everyone in the family starved to death together, they must still have a son. If the baby was not a son, then they must continue to keep trying until they had one. As long as they lived then they must continue to have children, they must have a son no matter what.
Even in the modern times, many impoverished mountainous areas and places still valued sons and belittled daughters.
In order to have a son and avoid fines for exceeding the one child pilicy, many people who worked in the city tried all kinds of ways to give birth to a son.
Only when the economy was more developed, the society was more stable, people’s thinking was more advanced, and the workplace was more equal to men and women, would there be less of this kind of thinking.
Lin Yuan still remembered reading a scholar’s argument before.
The origin for valuing men and belittling women, apart from the patriarchal society, was that in ancient times, there was no machinery and everything relied solely on manpower. Men were born with greater strength than women, so their right to speak in the family came from their ability to make money.
The regions that had less valuing men and belittling women was because most of these regions were not farming regions. Most of the people in these regions relied on handicrafts to make money. Handicrafts had the lowest differentiation between men and women, and women could also earn money to support their families.
The economy determined the status of both sexes.
The more developed the economy, the smaller the difference between men and women in earning ability, then the more equal men and women were.
In Gaoyou, the difference between men and women was getting smaller and smaller because women could now find work. In additon, Lin Yuan also gave them the right to own private property.
Once women had private property, they would also have higher requirements when choosing a partner.
And many families only had one daughter, so these families often chose to recruit a son-in-law.
Thus, recruiting son-in-laws was becoming a prevailing trend.
But probably to prevent men from being too reluctant the men didn’t have to change their surnames, and they could also have a child that would take the man’s surname. So, everyone was happy in the end.
The people had their own wisdom. In order not to allow the children who did not follow their own family name but took their father’s surname to inherit everything, they had also stipulated that the division of the inheritance must be as even as possible, and no one could have more or less.
This wind first blew in Gaoyou, and then it blew to several other cities.
The Zhao family in Changshu was the first family to recruit a son-in-law in Changshu.
Father Zhao originally had three sons and two daughters, but all three sons died, and only one of his two daughters survived. He himself was already fifty years old now. He was faced with a difficulty as he could not give birth to a son anymore and his bloodline was about to end with him. Furthermore, the option of adopting an orphaned relative was closed to him since he had no remaining relatives left. But if he were to adopt an orphan that was not related to him he would also feel that his wealth had been given to outsiders.
His daughter was getting older and was old enough to get married so he often couldn’t sleep at night nor stay focused at work.
Seeing his troubles, his fellow workers asked a few words and as he was not a person who could hide his thoughts he ended up revealing all of his problems.
The workers said to him: “Then you might as well recruit a son-in-law. I heard that there are many households in Gaoyou recruiting son-in-laws. By that time, your daughter will have a child with your family name, and your family name will not end with you.”
Father Zhao: “Can this be done?”
Since ancient times, not many men had been willing to “marry” into women’s homes.
Workers: “Why can’t it be done? Look at those poor families who have seven or eight sons and can’t support them. If you give them a betrothal gift, won’t it be done?”
The worker said this casually, but father Zhao remembered it in his heart and at night he said to his old wife: “Er Niang is all grown up, it’s time to talk about her marriage.”
Old wife: “I can’t bear to let her leave……it’s just her remaining. Whenever I think of her getting married and being bullied by her in-laws my heart feels as if it is being roasted over a fire……”
Father Zhao’s eyes lit up: “I also can’t bear it either. I only have this one daughter, say, how about we recruit a son-in-law?”
The old wife was a little scared: “Our family only has us old couple and a weak girl. If we find a bad person, wouldn’t we……”
Father Zhao hadn’t thought of this. He was now also a little worried when he heard this from his old wife. He sighed, “I’m going to ask the matchmaker tomorrow. I heard that there is a matchmaker who just arrived from Gaoyou. Gaoyou has a lot of families who recruited son-in-laws so she may have a solution for us.”
The matchmaker naturally had a solution for them. She smiled and said to father Zhao: “You don’t have to worry about it. There were divorced wives in ancient times, and now we have divorced husbands. If your family is not satisfied with him, you can just divorce him. What are you afraid of? And now we even have a women’s federation. If he dares to harm your daughter, then just send him to prison, have him get a beating with a board. I guarantee you he will be obedient then.”
“Gaoyou has a lot of families recruiting a son-in-law, and there was a case where a husband was divorced.”
Father Zhao was taken aback: “Then could that lady still find a new husband?”
The matchmaker: “Why can’t she find a new one, aren’t men easy to find nowadays?”
Father Zhao whispered: “She won’t be chaste anymore!”
The matchmaker was surprised: “How long has it been seen such things mattered now? How much is chastity even worth now? Those bachelors have never even seen a woman. They complain that the lady is not chaste, well the lady might not even think all that highly about them either. Tell me, isn’t it true that there is no shortage of men now, only a shortage of women.”
“In the past, there were even two families who married a single girl.” Seeing that the odds were high in making a match for this family, the matchmaker naturally babbled on, “If you trust me, I will find one for you and guarantee that he will be an honest one.”
Father Zhao quickly said: “Then I will bother you with this, also……”
Matchmaker: “What else?”
Father Zhao looked around and after making sure that no one else could hear him, he then whispered: “It would be best if his assets are big, big assets will be able to give birth to a son.”
The matchmaker covered her mouth and chuckled: “That’s natural. When the time comes I will ask my son to go check, I guarantee that you will be satisfied.”
So the market for men with “big assets” changed for the better. So long as it was not the eldest son, the families were all basically willing to marry off their sons. After all, there was a betrothal gift for the groom which was quite a lot! Besides, there were so many sons in the family who couldn’t marry a wife. If the son stayed with the family for a long time, it could also lead to disharmony in the family.
Not to mention there were some bachelors who had no father and no mother and were even more willing to marry into the woman’s family.
The matchmaker quickly found someone and led him to father Zhao.
“This kid is surnamed Li, fourth in his fsmily, and is the most honest person I could find.” The matchmaker first praised, and then said, “His family does not want a betrothal gift as long as your family treats him better.”
Father Zhao first looked at the other person’s height and then the person’s physique. Although he was thin, he did not appear weak.
He whispered to the matchmaker: “Have you seen that thing?”
The matchmaker also whispered: “My son has seen it, and said that it is one and a half fingers long.”
Father Zhao was satisfied.
Li Si probably guessed what they were talking about and his face blushed.
There were six brothers in his family. Although life was getting better now, he still couldn’t marry a wife.
Even his eldest brother in the family had no wife.
Although the matchmaker came to offer the option of marrying into the wife’s family this time, his father ended up agreeing after smoking a few shots of dry tobacco.
He was also afraid that his parents would refuse. He was eighteen this year, and he was at the age to begin thinking about women. Besides, with so many brothers in the family, he was not as valued as much.
Although it was being “married off” to his wife’s family, but there was still a son who would have his surname. Moreover, there was no need to change his surname so it was not all that different from the normal way of marrying a wife, the only difference being that the new married couple wouldn’t be living with the husband’s family.
But with the size of his family’s home, even if he married a wife they wouldn’t be able to live there without feeling cramped.
Not to mention if it was even possible to find a wife to marry into his family in the first place!
The wedding was nothing too fancy, just inviting relatives and neighbors to have a meal. After that the young couple moved into their own room.
Li Si was very satisfied with his wife. She had a good temper and earned a lot of money. She was also gentle and considerate to him, and she didn’t look down on him because of his marrying into her family.
After they were married for six months, his wife became pregnant with a child.
The first child was a boy, and his wife, regardless of her parents’ obstruction, had the boy follow his surname.
Li Si was even more in love with his wife.
Thus, Changshu also had many families marrying off their sons.
However, in the past, it was the women who were afraid of being divorced, and no matter how hard it was they would endure it. Now it was the men who were afraid of being divorced. If a man was divorced, then he could forget about marrying into a new wife’s family. Find a wife who would marry into his family? Currently, there were so few women, what were the chances that he could find a wife to marry into his family? Better prepare himself to be a bachelor for a lifetime!
So the families who recruited son-in-laws now had a pretty good life.
When Lin Yuan learned about this, he actually felt that his thinking was too outdated in comparison——he was a man so he understood the psychology of most men. He had thought many men would not be able to accept this kind of thing.
But looking at it now, they were actually perfectly accepting of it.
There was even a case where two men fought over who would marry into a woman’s family. And these two were actually blood related brothers.
Lin Yuan now understood. The men had already all gone crazy thinking about women.
Brother Dao said next to him: “How come no one comes to matchmake for me?”
Brother Dao frowned. He said, “I am a bachelor too!”
No one introduced him a wife to marry, and no one recruited him to be a son-in-law. He asked Lin Yuan, “A good man like me is actually disregarded by them?”
Lin Yuan: “……Maybe they think you already have a woman?”
Brother Dao: “……”
He might have boasted to his soldiers, saying that he was quite popular with women on many occasions.
While he might still be a virgin, brother Dao had a very tall and muscular physique and add to the fact that he was a general, everyone believed that he would definitely not lack women. What was more, brother Dao himself liked to make false boasts, practically describing himself as having been with countless women.
Heavens knew, he was just speaking casually.
After hearing this, people who originally wanted to marry their daughters to him all stopped their original intentions.
After all, apart from brother Dao, there was still Zhu Yuanzhang, Chen Baisong and Yang Zi’an, all of whom seem to be much more reliable than him.
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Brother Dao: “……Can’t they tell that I was just bragging?”
Lin Yuan looked at him.
Lin Yuan said to him: “You truly relied on your own capability to remain a bachelor.”
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