“Brother Zhao!” The scholar walked over quickly and cupped his fists to Zhao Lin. When he was twenty years old, with red lips and white teeth. Holding a folding fan, he imitated the debonair style of Wei and Jin. “Tomorrow is the exam, brother Zhao is much more learned than I, I hope brother Zhao can give some pointers.”
Zhao Lin smiled bitterly: “What pointers…..”
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
He himself had not been studying books recently, all his time was spent helping Zhou Rong to compose simplified characters. His family had sent servants to scold him many times, didn’t he dare not even go home despite the imperial examination being tomorrow?
Who still idled out in the streets now?
Perhaps only such “debonair” scholars had such a carefree life.
The scholar sighed and said, “Then let’s find a restaurant to sit in? I finally found an excuse to leave the house. Brother Zhao, take pity on me.”
Zhao Lin didn’t dare to go home either, so the two of them could only find a teahouse.
There was also a pennant at the entrance of the teahouse, which read “A Merchant With Integrity”.
They just walked to the door when a waiter hurriedly welcomed them in.
The name ‘waiter’ only showed up at the end of the Yuan Dynasty. It used to be ‘tea academician’.
The waiter smiled wide: “Where does the customer want to sit? There are also seats upstairs.”
Zhao Lin: “Let’s go upstairs, what kind of tea do you have here?”
“Longjing, Huqiu, Biluochun, there are also others.” The waiter led them upstairs.
Zhao Lin: “Biluochun.”
Waiter: “Right away! These two customers, please have a seat and wait a moment longer.”
The scholar stopped him and asked strangely, “What’s that pennant at your door?”
The waiter said proudly: “It was given by the imperial court, because our teahouse has a good attitude, sells good tea, and we never reuse tea dregs. If customers forget their belongings here, we will also keep a hold on it until the customers can come back for it.”
“A customer wrote to the district business administration department to praise us, and the imperial court gave this pennant.”
A merchant with integrity! Certified by the imperial court! This was a golden signboard, which many merchants could not help but envy.
Moreover, the imperial court would organize meetings of honest business owners in each district every quarter.
Since receiving this pennant, the business of their teahouse has improved day by day. In order for this pennant to not be taken away, the owner especially reminded them not to steal even a single coin, and if they were found to be dishonest, they would be beaten out of the teahouse.
Who would steal a few coins these days?
If the teahouse’s income every month increased, then they would also get bonuses!
The more the owner earned, the more bonuses they would get! Honestly, the workers wanted nothing more than to place the customers on pedestals.
But it seemed that after their customer attitude became better, the attitude of the customers who used to be bad-tempered had also changed, and they were not as difficult as before.
After the waiter left, the scholar touched his chin and said, “His Majesty values merchants too much.”
Although the status of merchants in the Yuan Dynasty had improved a lot, the status of merchants was even higher now.
Zhao Lin said with a wry smile: “In His Majesty’s eyes, people are not divided into low, middle, or high.”
The scholar’s eyes widened in surprise: “How can that be?”
Zhao Lin thought about it for a while, he had helped Zhou Rong for so long, and he had his own opinions, so he said, “How many servants do you have in your family?”
The scholar didn’t understand why Zhao Lin asked this, so he said, “I haven’t counted. Some of the former ones have left, and some have been newly hired. There should be more than 100?”
Zhao Lin: “Will you divide your servants into low, middle, or high levels? Maybe the servants can divide themselves, but will you?”
The scholar was shocked: “It’s not possible that His Majesty sees us as servants!”
Zhao Lin smiled and said, “Not servants. His Majesty only regards us as useful people. The common people are also useful people, so are the merchants, and so are the soldiers. Everyone has their own use.”
The scholar was speechless for a while, lowered his head to think for a long time, suddenly stood up and bowed again: “Listening to your words is better than reading ten years of books.”
Zhao Lin didn’t expect the scholar to figure it out so quickly. When he had finally thought it through, he had broken out in a cold sweat, and it was only now he could regard it as normal: “I thought you would…..”
The scholar said seriously: “I won’t hide it from brother Zhao, I also thought about it when I was young, if the people of the world each perform their own duties and manage their own affairs, the emperor knows how to make good use of them, and would not despise them because of their humble origins, nor regard them because of their noble origins. Only then could the people and the country become stronger.”
“It’s just that what thoughts I had were vague. But when I think about it now, isn’t what His Majesty is doing in line with what I thought when I was young?”
Zhao Lin felt even more admiration so he put aside his contempt, and said, “I have been arrogant.”
The scholar smiled and said, “Unfortunately, just how many people in the world are able to see through to the heart of the matter?”
Zhao Lin also said, “We understand that this is the way to enrich and strengthen the country, but…..”
Aristocratic families might be able to see through the emperor’s thinking, and they might know that this was a good thing for the country and the people.
But this good thing meant that their entire social class would have to step down from the altar.
How could it not pain them?
What they couldn’t see through was where their future lay.
The scholar said: “Tomorrow on the exam, I know how I’m going to answer.”
Zhao Lin looked at him strangely, because he knew that in the past the other was just an ignorant and incompetent son of an aristocratic family. Whether it was composing poems or writing essays neither was of any worth. Even his calligraphy could not be considered good enough.
When the two parted, the scholar surnamed Li also said to him: “When we win top marks on the imperial examination, I will drink with brother Zhao again!”
After all, it was the first imperial examination, and many scholars from all over the empire had made their way to the capital.
They have all taken the county and provincial exams, and children from aristocratic families didn’t need to pass the county and provincial exams, but this kind of preferential treatment was only available just this once.
Therefore, the children of the aristocratic families felt that they should not be treated the same as the scholars of common origin.
On the other hand, they were trying their best to trample the scholars of common origin under their feet.
In terms of those who possess true talents and real learning, how could those commoners be better than those from aristocratic families who have grown up with poetry and books from sages since childhood and have a scholastic family background?
Song Shizhao looked at the exam subject.
The subject of this imperial examination was chosen several times, and finally it was decided on “the people’s livelihood”.
He sat with Song Lian, and Song Shizhao was laughing at Song Lian: “You look quite old.”
Song Lian sighed, “I’ve been tired!”
Then again seriously: “When serving the country, no matter how tired, I can endure it!”
Song Shizhao smiled profoundly: “I have something good to tell you.”
Song Lian looked at Song Shizhao and didn’t believe it. Song Shizhao never gave him any good news.
Song Shizhao: “Liu Bowen has answered the imperial summons, and he should be here within three days. The way I see it, His Majesty’s intention is to hand over the matter of compiling the Civil Code to him.”
Song Lian knew about Liu Bowen. Just now he was complaining about being tired, but now his feelings were conflicted.
Like raising a tree, just as he saw that the tree was about to grow and mature under his hand, it was suddenly moved to someone else’s backyard.
Although compiling a dictionary was also a good thing for the country and the people, the Civil Code…..
Song Shizhao saw Song Lian’s entanglement and said with a smile, “I’m joking with you. His Majesty sees your hard work, so he is likely to ask Liu Bowen to compile it with you. The greatest credit is naturally yours.”
Song Lian was not annoyed at being seen through: “Then that’s good, I can also have it easier.”
Song Shizhao: “I wonder if talents can be found this year.”
Even if there were no talents among the poor commoner students this year, in order to set an example for students of such background all over the empire, a few would still be selected.
Song Shizhao sighed and said, “I think it will take several years for the imperial examination to fully take shape.”
The first session was always the most chaotic.
Song Lian: “What are you afraid of? Afraid you won’t be able to live until then?”
Song Shizhao pretended to be old and feeble, huddling his neck as he said, “I’ve become old.”
He was quite old already, and now he was even older, but he felt that he was still a young man.
He felt like he could live another fifty years!
“By the way, have the inns been arranged?” Song Lian asked.
Song Shizhao nodded: “It’s all arranged.”
Because many scholars came to Beijing this time, and many of them were poor, the imperial court rented out a lot of inns. Of course, there were also inns that didn’t want money, but the imperial court still gave the money.
Scholars come to live in the inns, and naturally they still have to give money, but they could afford the money, and the inns would not drive up the price.
Han Ling was a member of the army of scholars who traveled to Beijing to take the exam. His family was both a farming and scholarly family. Though it was said that to be both farming and scholarly. In fact, the family could only afford to support him in studying. He had three younger brothers who so far could only recognize some characters, and could only recite some beginner texts such as the Three Character Classic.
This time, the family gave him almost all the money in the family for him to go to Beijing.
But before Han Ling came, he heard that everything was expensive in the capital, and nothing was cheap.
He carried on him the whole family’s money and hope, but when he entered the city, he kept thinking, if he didn’t pass the exam, and the money given by his family ran out as well, what face would he have to go back?
It was better to just kill himself.
The same was true for most of the scholars from his hometown.
Scholars from wealthy families would not be like them, several people renting one ox cart together to travel to Beijing.
Only daring to eat cheap food on the road.
“I heard that renting a small courtyard in the capital costs 5 taels a month. Now it should be 10 taels, and only two people can live there.”
“Staying in an inn costs 8 taels a month. And that’s the price when no one came to take the exam before…..If we go now, I’m afraid the price will have increased to 20 taels.”
For ordinary commoner families, 10 taels were enough for one or two years of daily expenses.
Now there were more ways to make money, and people’s expenses were rising. In the past, 2 taels were enough to get by a year.
When they entered the city, the soldiers guarding the city gate checked their belongings. Seeing that they were all dressed as scholars, they asked, “Are you all coming to Beijing to take the imperial exam?”
The several people quickly said yes.
The soldier smiled and said, “When you enter the city, you can find the inns with the red flags hanging. They are prepared by the imperial court for the scholars.”
“One tael of silver a month, if you have relatives and friends in the capital, then forget I said anything.”
The several people were speechless in shock.
It was Han Ling who said first: “Thank you, my lord! We’ve been worried about this!”
The soldier hurriedly said: “I am not any kind of lord, everyone, come into the city, I wish you all top marks on the imperial exam, and soar high in your careers!”
The scholars also had excited faces.
The driver drove the ox cart into the city, the roads in the city were smooth, and the sections for pedestrians and vehicles were separated, so there was no need to worry about trampling on passers-by.
The scholars were all very moved.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
“His Majesty…..His Majesty is benevolent!” There were scholars in the cart crying bitterly, “Now I know that the imperial court will even take care of such trivial matters for us, in the future, I shall definitely repay such kindness, no matter if I have to shatter my bones to do so!”
“Yes! Before I came, I was worried that we might not be able to rent a courtyard even if we put our money together.”
Han Ling lifted the curtain of the cart and looked at the street vendors selling on the roadside, the men and women walking by, and his heart was filled with fervor and lofty ambitions!
If you like the content (or want more ;p) then please consider supporting the translator! ლ(⌒εー)ლPrevious