When the several great generals arrived in the capital, the capital became lively and noisy. After all, these were all generals with great military exploits. They followed His Majesty when His Majesty first stepped onto the path to the imperial throne. After several battles and guarding the borders, they returned to Beijing under the highest standard of courtesy.
Let’s talk about the houses first. They were all large manors that were seized and confiscated from before. The Ministry of Internal Affairs had already started to clean them up. According to the people in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the ponds were all running water, and would not stink even after more than ten years, unless the source was dried up.
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Speaking of the manor, it was equivalent to pushing it down and being rebuilt. The wood was all good materials, not to mention the furniture which was made with old craftsmanship by carpenters, so don’t mention splinters, there was no flaw at all, even the parts that touched the ground were flat and smooth.
They were all done in the current fashionable styles, with three-door wardrobes. Except for the room where the servants lived, the rooms where the general and his family would live were all large, as big as the main room of an ordinary family. There were tables and chairs inside, and the floor was also covered with carpets woven with coarse wool.
The floor was even tiled——that was porcelain tiles!
Tiles were also a new thing which was made by some young master of a wealthy family. It was easy to break when dropped, but it would not once on the ground, so as long as the carpet was laid over it, it would be very beautiful, easy to clean and good-looking.
Moreover, it was cheaper than ordinary porcelain firing. Don’t know how much a big kiln could make at a time. According to rumors, the young master’s family made a lot of money with this, and now they could live in a big manor in Beijing.
The people from the Ministry of Internal Affairs were very excited, and the listeners were also excited.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also said: “Just speaking of the porcelain, now that was all good porcelain. If you ask for white porcelain, there is absolutely no variegated color. If you ask for painted porcelain, the color must be correct. As for pots, bowls, and pans, these are all prepared, although they are all bought, they are all fine goods.”
In the end, the people from the Ministry of Internal Affairs also summed up: “If I could live in that house for a few days, my life would be worth it!”
The listeners were also envious: “His Majesty’s heart is thinking of them!”
“Who say it isn’t so? They have followed His Majesty since many years ago. I heard that His Majesty was only a farmstead owner at that time, with 180 people working for him.”
“Our Majesty is the true Son of Heaven!”
Zhu Yuanzhang brought his family to Beijing and was about to find an inn to stay in. He expected that he would arrive early, and that the manor bestowed by His Majesty would have to be cleaned. But as soon as he entered the city, there were officials outside the carriage asking to see him, so Zhu Yuanzhang simply jumped out of the carriage.
The inner court official was a handsome man with a white face and no beard. He aged well, with only a few fine lines at the corners of his eyes. He smiled and said with a smile on his face, “This lower official, Chu Lin, greets the general.”
Zhu Yuanzhang didn’t put on airs, he just came to the capital, and he hadn’t figured out this place yet: “Does Lord Chu have something important to discuss?”
Chu Lin smiled and said: “His Majesty ordered this lower official to take you to the manor, everything is already prepared.”
Of course, not having to go make do in an inn was a good thing, Zhu Yuanzhang nodded. Chu Lin mounted the horse and led the way, and Zhu Yuanzhang’s carriage followed behind.
After reaching the front gates, Chu Lin said to Zhu Yuanzhang, “His Majesty said that the plaque will not be put up until the other two generals arrive.”
Zhu Yuanzhang nodded: “I know.”
He understood what that meant, it would definitely not be hung with the general’s plaque. This plaque would only be hung when His Majesty had given them titles.
Zhu Yuanzhang took his wife and daughters inside first, and the servants entered the courtyard through the back door, carrying down the luggage first.
As soon as she entered the courtyard, Zhu Da Niang exclaimed. She grabbed Ma shi’s hand and stared with a pair of almond eyes that had widened: “Mother! This house! I have never seen such a house!”
The floor was covered with carpets, and walking on it was very soft. Where there was no carpet, there were bright tiles. The furnishings in the main room were all high-quality goods. The tables and chairs were all styles that she had never seen at the borders. She found a chair to sit on, and found that that was very soft too, padded with cotton pads inside.
“Xiao Niang! Let’s go to see the rooms!” Zhu Da Niang led her sister to the inner courtyard to find her boudoir.
Pushing them open one by one, every room looked good, but when they pushed open two adjacent rooms together, they could hardly breathe.
“This room…..must be just for us!” Zhu Da Niang closed her mouth, remembering what her friend said, that all the young ladies in the capital spoke in a low voice, walked in small steps, and ate in small bites. Although she felt that it was too tiring, she also felt that maybe they could integrate into the capital by learning from them.
Speaking of which, Zhu Da Niang actually felt a little inferior.
She heard the storyteller say that girls from big families, they all had slender willow waists, cherry blossom lips, and willow leaf eyebrows. They should speak softly, be generous and decent when dealing with people, and have the restraint of a lady from a big family, as well as be proficient in music, chess, calligraphy and painting. Learning how to manage the household should also be learned from an early age. Studying to read with their brothers at a young age, and though they did not have to be proficient in the Four Books and Five Classics, but they also should have read it.
There was also female skills, when embroidering flowers it must be able to attract butterflies, and the food they cooked must be able to attract praise.
Zhu Da Niang felt that she would not be able to learn all of this even if she was reincarnated again. It was too difficult. How was that a lady, that was simply a demon spirit who began to cultivate in their mother’s womb.
Just speaking of embroidery that attracts butterflies, Zhu Da Niang couldn’t do it. She didn’t like this kind of stuff. Zhu Yuanzhang and Ma shi also didn’t force the girls to learn it. They didn’t think of it when the girls were still young, and when the girls grew older they planned to find husbands to marry into the family instead. And since that was the case, there was no need to learn these things, with their father here, how could they be lacking in clothes and jewelry and makeup?
Instead, Zhu Yuanzhang hoped that they would be strong enough to control the family, and not to be controlled by their husbands who married into the family in the future. If they were coaxed by men, the Zhu family’s wealth would become another family’s, and the grandchildren might not follow the Zhu family’s surname. If that happened, even if he was already dead at the time, he would still sit up from the coffin angrily.
Zhu Da Niang looked at the room in front of her. It was very bright. The windows were pushed from side to side, pulleys were installed, and there were curtains. The curtains were made of cotton, but they were well woven and dyed in dark blue. If they were drawn when the sun was shining, the room would look like it was washed in pale blue light.
The desk was made of wood, but it had also been coated with a layer of paint, which was so well painted that nothing of the original wood color could be seen.
Especially the bed, there were no four-cornered pillars, and there was no canopy on the top, just a big bed, and the sheets and bedding were all neatly arranged.
Except for the pillows and cushions, one could see that it was incredibly soft at first glance. Zhu Da Niang turned to look at her sister, walked to the door of the next room, and found that there was no difference between the two rooms except for the color of the curtains and the color of the sheets and bedding. The floor was covered with carpets, which were thick and soft, and were very comfortable to sit on if one wished to.
“Let’s go see our parents’ room?” Zhu Da Niang asked excitedly.
Zhu Xiao Niang was also curious and nodded again and again.
The two found the largest room, and when they opened the door, they were shocked by the scene in front of them.
This room was bigger than the two of theirs combined!
The brightness was only a second thought, the room had a bed, a bookcase, and a carved wooden table that pictured the Eight Immortals crossing the sea, each of which was very lifelike.
Everything silently told them that someone had spent a lot of energy on the decorations.
When Zhu Da Niang and Zhu Xiao Niang had almost finished touring the place, they ran back to the main room, only to see that their parents were already eating some snacks.
It turned out that it was Chu Lin who heard that they were entering the city, and had already asked someone to go to the cake shop to buy the cakes that had just come out of the pot. It was very soft but did not stick to the teeth, and was just perfect when paired with tea.
“Come, the capital’s cakes.” Ma shi waved to her daughters.
Zhu Da Niang and her sister went over and ate one with Ma shi’s chopsticks, and were immediately overwhelmed by the taste.
No matter how good the borders were, they couldn’t make such cakes and pastries. The capital was indeed the capital.
“Mom, I saw your room!” Zhu Da Niang said, “It’s almost bigger than this main room!”
Ma shi said with a smile: “Speaking nonsense, whose bedroom is bigger than the main room?”
Zhu Da Niang quickly said: “I’m not talking nonsense, really, you can see for yourself. There is also a table, you can see it is good wood at a glance, I could smell the fragrance of the wood, and there are carvings of the Eight Immortals crossing the sea on it.”
Zhu Da Niang felt that she had lived in vain for the past few years!
She drank a sip of tea and couldn’t sit still with excitement. She already got used to being afraid when she was on the road, but now she was no longer afraid. Everything felt novel to her. The wind and sand in the borders were strong and everywhere, and there were few vendors on the streets, afraid the strong wind would blow away their goods. Women all wore practical clothes, which were easy to move in.
In the early years, there were many widows in the border city, their husbands having left in the early years, whether they were dead or alive there was no news at all.
After waiting for several years and more, until there was no hope remaining, the soldiers arrived. Many soldiers married the widows or girls in the local area, and they have been stationed at the border all their lives.
Even though Zhu Da Niang was a young lady from the general’s family, she didn’t have the habit of not leaving the door and remaining in the boudoir. Her mother made a good role model. When her father was busy her mother would go help out in the barracks so she and her little sister would take care of affairs at home.
Some of the servants hired were quite bold, wanting to coax the two sisters while the mistress of the house was away and embezzle some money from them.
The two sisters were inexperienced at first, and they fell for it several times. Later, they finally established prestige and sent those people to the government. Not only did they spit out all they took, but they were also jailed for two years for the crime of theft of huge amounts of money.
The servants thought that a big family like them cared about having face, and even if they found out, they would most likely just fire them and send them away. They were only contract workers so if they were really discovered they could just quit. In any case they’ve taken enough money from them.
Zhu Da Niang had known from then on that it was not a good thing to be a pushover and to place more importance on having face. Just like her father, who always meant what he said, this way others would not dare to coax and trick her and would be afraid of her instead.
Zhu Yuanzhang was drinking tea and looking at the scenery of the garden outside the main room, his eyes were a little dazed. After so many years, even his daughters had also grown to marriageable age, but occasionally, he still felt that he was still the same person who just came out of Huangjue Temple back then. The little monk who lived in a turbulent world who just wanted to eat fully.
If it wasn’t for the kindness of another landowner when his parents died, he wouldn’t even be able to find a piece of land to bury them.
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Who would have thought that he would actually become a general now, living in such a luxurious manor and drinking freshly brewed tea?
Zhu Yuanzhang turned his head to look at Ma shi. Ma shi seemed to have sensed it, and she raised her head and met Zhu Yuanzhang’s eyes, pursed her lips and smiled.
Having a wife and daughters, wealth and status.
In this life, he knew contentment.
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