When Su Tang entered the Qingyuan County Brokerage Office again, Hu Sande, this idle broker, immediately spotted her. Before any of the other broker’s could react, Hu Sande quickly trotted over and greeted: “Miss Su, so good to see you again! Are you here to buy more farms this time?”
“I just bought a lot of land, I feel I don’t really need any more right now.” Su Tang replied jokingly.
Hu Sande nodded without seeming surprised. He was a broker who specialized in selling land, so he had to ask, but he hadn’t had any expectations. After all, Su Tang had bought thousands of taels of farmland just a few days ago. It would be shocking if she was really buying more.
“Then may I ask what the young miss needs? I’m familiar with the industry, so I can definitely recommend you a reliable broker.” Knowing that Su Tang was a big customer, Hu Sande was very attentive.
Normally people wouldn’t buy so many farms at once because after buying them there would be a lot of work that still needed to be done. Taking into account Su Tang’s young age, Hu Sande felt that she probably didn’t have her own people who could handle those things, so he felt that maybe there would be plenty of further opportunities for cooperation in the future.
“En, in fact, I had wanted to ask you about this. You already know that I recently bought all of those farms. Some of them are under-manned, some of them already have tenant farmers, some of them have slaves… anyway, I want to buy some reliable farmers to watch my fields. On top of that, I’d like to find a broker to follow me to take a look around and sell off any of the farmers from the Zhang family that aren’t suitable.”
Su Tang didn’t bother to hide her purpose in coming and directly told Hu Sande everything. After listening to her, Hu Sande’s eyes flashed subtly. This wasn’t a small piece of business.
He thought for a moment and then said, “Well, I’m not a broker who deals in servants, let me introduce you to a person who works in this area.”
Thus, he took Su Tang to find a certain middle-aged woman. This middle-aged woman was a well-known broker in the Qingyuan County Brokerage Office. Her husband’s surname was Zhou, so everyone called her Mrs. Zhou.
Mrs. Zhou and Hu Sande were neighbors and their two families got along fairly well. Plus, Mrs. Zhou had a good reputation, so Hu Sande didn’t hesitate to introduce her to Su Tang. Once Mrs. Zhou heard Hu Sande’s introduction and understood that Su Tang was here to both buy and sell, she knew that she had run into a big customer this time.
Mrs. Zhou hurriedly gave Hu Sande her thanks and then graciously welcomed Su Tang. Hu Sande saw that his part was done, so he said goodbye and quietly excused himself.
“The young miss is interested in buying servants capable of farm work, correct?” Mrs. Zhou guided Su Tang to sit down and then sat down across from her and began to chat.
Su Tang nodded then clearly stated all of her conditions this time. Mrs. Zhou really deserved her good reputation, because after hearing all of Su Tang’s requirements she quickly replied: “Don’t worry, there are plenty of people who can meet your requirements in our Brokerage Office. However, I need to mention something about the slaves on the Yang and Zhou Farms. Since they’ve already been sold once, if the young miss doesn’t find any of them suitable to work for you then it will probably be cheaper to just directly sell them somewhere far away.”
“Moreover, for those farms with tenant farmers renting the land, this old woman thinks it’s probably not necessary to make any arrangements for them yet. After all, none of them are too far away, so you might as well just go over and ask them if they are willing to sell themselves to you. Otherwise, if you arrange for people to take over their farms then those tenant farmers with nowhere else to go won’t be able to make a living anymore and will probably have to sell themselves as slaves anyway. That being the case, the young miss might as well just buy them directly, since they’re the ones most familiar with the land anyway.”
This was how Mrs. Zhou advised Su Tang.
However, after hearing her recommendations Su Tang hesitated and replied, “But those tenant farmers are decent folk. If they sell themselves like this, then they will always…”
Su Tang had some sympathy for those tenant farmers. After all, although they were peasants who didn’t own any land, they could still take the imperial examinations or else improve themselves in other ways. However, once they sold themselves, they would then be slaves, maybe forever. If their master never sold their deed, then they would be slaves for their whole lives, and even their children and grandchildren would also be slaves.
In her opinion, it was much better for them a stay as ordinary peasants than for them to sell themselves into slavery.
That was why Su Tang’s first idea was to just buy some people to farm the land and let those innocent peasants go about their own lives. She had never had the thought of just buying those tenant farmers directly.
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