Old father Lin and the rest did not arrive with any money or valaubles as they were either lost or used to buy food when passing by villages. The only things remaining were some pieces of Yang shi‘s dowry jewelry which she carried on her person, the rest being lost.
Their group was quite large but they had to avoid the bandits as well as refugees in their travel south. It was impossible to bring too many things. It was old father Lin who bit his teeth and decided to throw the rest away. After all, life was more important than money.
Si Niang went to make dough drop soup in the kitchen. The dish was quite easy to make, just add water to white noodles, stir it for awhile before pouring it into boiling water slowly. Put some soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl, add some sesame oil and the dough lumps, and then a spoonful of the white noodle soup. Si Niang also added some vegetable leaves into the broth, in all it could be considered rather savory.
Old father Lin in the past would never eat this kind of food. But now just seeing the white noodles, he would unconciously start salivating.
Lin Yuan also dared not speak with him at this time, afraid that he would bite his tongue the way he ate so fast and fiercely.
Yang shi however, ate in small bites. On the way south she came down with an ailment from starving for too long. Now even if she saw food she would still not have much of an appetite.
The little girl was called Guo’er. She was born in the autumn when the trees were hanging fruits so she was given this nickname. It had quite a good meaning.
Other than the three of them, the servants ate out in the yard. They did not have white dough drops and noodles instead they had mixed grain buns made in large sizes with a bowl of porridge. Though the porridge was slightly thin but at least there was white rice which was very filling.
“We have finally made it alive.” The servants could finally feel they had left the gates of hell intact, feeling more relaxed. After eating two big buns they finally began to smile and chat with each other.
“I thought I would die on the way here.” Another person said, “I’ve never seen so many dead people before.”
“Thank goodness master has the foresight.” A servant said, “predicting what will happen, fortunately, having young master go south, otherwise…..we would be like the refugees outside Wu City.”
“This winter will definitely see the death of many people.”
“I just looked at the rooms, the bed has a hay mattress and cotton blanket.” A servant said excitedly.
Their treatment back at the Lin family farmstead was similar. They had thought taking shelter with young master the conditions would become inferior.
Old father Lin was currently complaining to Lin Yuan, exaggerating the hardships they went through. It was already quite terrible but with old father Lin’s exaggeration it became even worse. The death of his two daughters had been a blow to him. In total he had four children but the current times believed in the more children the more fortune one had. Old father Lin also spoiled his daughters, but now he lost two of them. Only he knew how painful it was.
Er Liang carried hot water in. Seeing him, old father Lin called him over.
“Where is Niu Dan?” Old father Lin asked about the driver that left with Lin Yuan and Er Liang.
Er Liang sniffed, answering honestly: “On the way here, we encountered refugees and they stole our carriage and the things in them. Brother Chen had us run first while he stayed behind. We haven’t seen him again.”
Old father Lin paused, after awhile he let out a sigh.
“Then where do you have the money to buy property?” Old father Lin asked suddenly.
Lin Yuan responded: “Mama hid 200 taels underneath the soles of my shoes.”
Yang shi takes a sip of soup, expression indifferent: “Preparedness averts peril.”
Old father Lin took a white bun to chew on. On the side there were pickled vegetables made from soaking cowpeas and white radish in saltwater, very appropriate as a side dish.
Yang shi lost quite a lot of weight. She originally was not as plump as old father Lin so once she lost weight she appeared as skinny as a skeleton. Her neck was especially thin and made people worry that it could not hold the weight of her head, maybe breaking in the next moment.
Lin Yuan recalled how original owner treated Yang shi then said to her: “Mama, rest well, leave everything else to me.”
Hearing this, Yang shi‘s eyes reddened and moistened. She immediately closed them, saying softly: “Yuan’er, set up a headstone for your sisters so on holidays they can also eat some incense.”
Old father Lin: “That’s not possible, their ages are too young, considered to be dying prematurely. They cannot have a headstone or a memorial tablet.”
Yang shi sat there without saying anything.
This couple would never understand each other their whole lives.
Old father Lin was an uneducated person, a roughneck of the landowning class. As a result he didn’t mind Yang shi‘s age and insisted on marrying her due to her scholarly family background.
But after marriage, old father Lin discovered that he could not understand anything Yang shi said.
As for Yang shi, she discovered that she married a man she could not even have a decent conversation with.
The early days of marriage still had a bit of newlywed honeymoon feel.
But once that phase passed, the both of them discovered the other to not be suitable.
But what could they do? In the end they just had to make do and spend the rest of their lives together. Yang shi no longer desired to share the same room with old father Lin and was indifferent towards old father Lin sleeping with servant girls. Although the children would be living with her but she did not stop their birth mothers from coming to see them.
These days, although masters could not beat and kill servants according to the law, but selling them away was very simple. Just one word and they could be sold far away to never come back.
Yang shi was an extremely kind female master, otherwise she would not have treated Lin Yuan that well.
The three daughters all had birth mothers still living, only Lin Yuan’s birth mother died at childbirth. It could be said that Lin Yuan and Yang shi, though they were not blood related, were truly mother and son.
Lin Yuan agreed immediately: “Fine, I will set up a memorial tablet.”
Yang shi nodded: “I am tired.”
Er Liang immediately moved forward: “Lady, the servant girls are still setting things up, I will serve you in cleaning up.”
Er Liang was still young so it was still acceptable that he served in place of servant girls.
Yang shi nodded and walked into the inner chamber.
Old father Lin, seeing that Yang shi had left, said quietly: “Dad also brought some money with me, most are ample weight.”
Lin Yuan: “……Where do you hide them?”
Old father Lin: “In the undetgarments. I had the servant girls sew a pouch, when leaving I filled it with quite a lot, now only 300 taels remain.”
“Take them all.” Old father Lin dug the money out and put it on the table.
Lin Yuan said: “Dad, you keep it.”
Old father Lin shook his head however: “I only just arrived, even if I have money there is no place for me to spend it. You use this money to buy some more food, just buy old grain is fine, it’s cheap and cannot kill people.”
Lin Yuan did not refuse: “Alright.”
It was not that he wanted to be a blackhearted master but because when the food was not enough, the larger amount of old grains will be more useful than the fewer amount of new grains. Between staying alive and taste, no one would choose taste.
This year’s early harvest was not bad but that was only when compared to other farm fields. But if compared with modern rice paddies it would definitely look meager. But crops that had high output was too little. Lin Yuan even especially asked Yang Zi’an who said soy beans were easy to plant and the harveat was not bad either.
As a result, Lin Yuan had them open up all the surrounding lands that could be opened and used it to plant soy beans.
In any case, Wu City would not send anyone to come and check.
Lin Yuan thought, if by the time the first cannon of rebellion sounded and his foodstuffs had not been stocked up enough, then that was basically game over.
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