Compared to Qinghe Town, which was basically just two intersecting streets and a smattering of other buildings nearby, the Qingyuan County Seat was really too prosperous. After all, it was the largest and wealthiest population center in the whole county. There were a total of five main sections that divided the whole Qingyuan County Seat into districts.
Today, Su Tang was headed toward East Street, where the Qingyuan County Seat Brokerage Office did business. In the Qihuang Kingdom, all Brokerage Offices needed to apply for certain official certifications before they were allowed to start operations, and they were responsible for the rental and sale of houses and land, the sale of slaves, and generally just worked as middlemen to facilitate various kinds of transactions.
Because they were under the supervision of the county government, these Brokerage Offices could be considered to be relatively official and reliable. Basically, almost all land transactions within Qingyuan County would have to go through them first. Of course, for very small transactions or transactions in relatively distant areas, there would be local brokers appointed who would take charge.
Meanwhile, all the individual brokers would also need a qualification issued by the brokerage office, or else they would not be able to work as brokers by law.
When Niu’er finally brought his carriage to the front of the Brokerage Office, he turned back and said, “Young miss, we’ve arrived at the Brokerage Office.”
Su Tang tossed her small hand stove into her space’s storage and pushed open the doors of the carriage before stepping outside. Looking up, she could see ‘Qingyuan County Brokerage Office’ written on the building’s sign. The front gate was full of people coming and going, and the atmosphere was very lively.
“Alright, go to the side and let the horse rest and get yourself something to eat too, but don’t go far.”
Because Su Tang had set off relatively late in the day, it was already almost time for lunch. Su Tang felt that if the broker she talked to recommended a plot of land, she would need to go inspect it herself. Thus, while there was still time, Niu’er should get himself something to eat. That way, they wouldn’t be delayed later on.
Niu’er had been following Su Tang for a while already and had some grasp of her character, so when she dismissed him he didn’t say any nonsense and just hastened to agree, not daring to delay the work of his employer.
After sending off Niu’er, Su Tang went directly inside the Brokerage Office. Inside, there was a wide lobby that had many counters with workers behind them.
It seemed to be divided into three sections. Respectively, there was a section concerning the sale of real estate and land, a section concerning the sale of servants, and finally a section concerning the sale of other miscellaneous valuables. At a glance, it was clear that the section for the sale of land was the most crowded of the three.
As Su Tang was looking around, she happened to see a middle-aged man sitting behind one of the counters who had a white flower pinned obviously to his clothes. Clearly, he, like Su Tang, was currently in a mourning period.
All the other counters had many people lined up in front of them, but for some reason, this middle-aged man’s counter didn’t have a single person in front of it. After thinking for a moment, Su Tang realized that now, so soon after the new year, everyone would be paying more attention to good omens and good luck.
And to be served by a person wearing mourning clothes, although it was their own business, and although everyone had relatives who died sometimes, it would still create a sense of discomfort and unease in the customers. Thus, they would just choose to find someone else to help them.
The name of this middle-aged man was Hu Sande, and his mother had died shortly before the new year, thus he could only come to work in his mourning clothes. Of course, he was naturally aware that dressing in mourning clothes at this time of year, when everyone was hoping for good fortune, would cause the customers to avoid him. However, he was just an ordinary person who needed to make a living, so it wasn’t like he could just stop working.
It was already the second day since he had returned to work, and he still hadn’t been approached by a single customer. He couldn’t help but sigh deeply. He really didn’t know when he would be able to do business again…
Out of boredom, he looked down and readjusted his clothes as he continued to sit and wait. However, he suddenly sensed that there was a person nearby, so he looked up again. What he saw was a delicate little girl in front of him.
Hu Sande quickly straightened up and asked: “Little miss, what do you want to ask about?”
After coming in and seeing there was no line at this counter and that the man behind it was wearing mourning clothes, Su Tang had immediately walked over. After all, she didn’t believe in superstitious nonsense like ‘bad luck’, and since they were both wearing mourning clothes they complemented each other anyway.
tl begging corner:
tl note: So I threw ‘Brokerage Office’ around a lot in this chapter, and that’s not really accurate. The term the author used is ‘牙行’ and I can’t find an accurate way to translate it, but from my research, functionally what they did in ancient times was similar to the work of brokers.
According to google:
“A brokerage company’s main duty is to act as a middleman that connects buyers and sellers to facilitate a transaction.”
Meanwhile, according to baidu:
“A ‘牙行’ is a business firm or middleman that makes deals for buyers or sellers, introduces transactions between parties, and draws commissions.
Seemed similar enough to me that the translation is functional, but if anyone more familiar with ancient China novels knows what people normally translate ‘牙行’ as, let me know and I’ll change it.