66 Raising fund
With the sixty liang, she can use it to buy land. An ordinary one is four liang per mu[mu, a traditional unit of area(1 mu=0.0667 hectare)]. So, they can buy fifteen mu, and all these are just for planting cotton! Although it is a difference from her original plan, she could only make do with this for now.
Next year, the whole family will have to suffer a bit. After that, they will be much better off.
When Lian Fang Zhou said she wants to put all of the money, including the earning that they have yet to receive from charcoal, to buy land to grow cotton, the whole family was shocked.
Third Aunt was the first to object. Full of anger and agitation, she spoke, "Fang Zhou, don't be silly! Everyone has been deliberating over this matter these few days. They wish to avoid it as much as possible, and none would step forward. If it were a worthwhile matter, the government would have already passed it to those big landlords and influential squire. How could us ordinary citizen have a chance? Hmph, I heard those wealthy landlords had already gone to negotiate with the county council. Some already planned to throw away the seeds through selling and pay the tax like usual during harvest, while others didn't even bother with selling. Hmph, the governments are just bullying us, ordinary citizens. Who told us not to have money or connections. Buying lands isn't a bad idea, but you can't plant whatever flower! How could flower possibly turn to clothes to wear! What a joke, are they treating people as a fool!"
"Sister, Third Aunt's words are reasonable. So why do you want to grow cotton?" Lian Ze questioned.
Lian Che and Lian Fang Qing were still young, so they only silently watch at the sideline.
Lian Fang Zhou responded, "I want to give it a try. I have a feeling that the government isn't trying to trick people! This isn't a small matter! Look how many common people have been dragged in, aren't they afraid of causing chaos? As for cotton can make clothes, even if they want to fool people they won't use this kind of lie, no? I believe its the truth. Hemp could be spun into yarn and turned into cloth. If you just look at the field of hemp, you can't connect it to cloth, right? Let's give it a try! Anyway, we need to buy the land and if we been fooled next year, then the year after we won't grow them anymore. The only problem is that we'll be poorly off next year."
As always, Lian Ze complied to his sister, and readily agreed. "I can see the logic in Sister's words. It won't hurt to give it a go. And also next year, when the weather is warm, we can go to Mount Xian Teng to pick mushrooms to sell! I can also go hunt! Big Brother Ah Jian said there's no time now with the charcoal business. When we have more free time, he'll take me to Mount Xian Teng."
"I heard that Mount Xian Teng was a bountiful place and want to go see for myself!" Ah Jian gave a faint laugh and explained. As to the cotton matter, he has no opinion as he isn't part of the family.
"Who's talking about that!" Third Aunt anxiously persuaded Lian Fang Zhou with all her might, but Lian Fang Zhou had settled on this plan and wouldn't change her mind. Lian Ze also supported her. At the end of her wits, Third Aunt pointed out, "Even if you want that many cotton plant, have you thought of the number of seeds? There aren't that many seeds!"
"That's simple! Look for Li Zheng, since there are so many people who don't want to plant them!" Lian Che answered. "Our sister did send charcoal to Li Zheng Uncle, so Li Zheng Uncle will definitely help!"
"Oh, you rugrat!" Third Aunt shot him a pointed glare at his words.
Lian Fang Zhou's eyes flashed and rushed to ask, "How did you know I sent charcoal to Li Zheng's home?"
Although that day she had brought the two little one with her to pack the charcoal, she hasn't told them it was for Mrs. Niu. There was no need to announce it everywhere as she only needed Mrs. Niu to remember her good point.
As well as that, if announced, it would turn bad instead. After all, her family consisted of orphans!
"I know! I know!" Lian Fang Qing snatched to say. "It was Zhang Yan who told someone else!"
Zhang Yan? Li Zheng's daughter? Lian Fang Zhou paused. Then there's nothing she can do about it.
After some contemplation, she instructed, "Qing-er, Che-er, in a bit pick a basketful of charcoal to send over to Uncle and Aunt!"
"Why? I don't want to!" Lian Fang Qing pouted. Lian Che also disagreed.
"It's okay. Our family had collected that many charcoal pieces back. It's more than enough for this winter. So it doesn't matter if we send down some to them! Be good! Lian Fang Zhou gently coaxed.
"I understand, Sister! In a while, I'll pack some with fourth sis!" Lian Che yielded.
Lian Fang Qing kept pouting and no longer spoke.
"You being so generous!" Third Aunt glowered at Lian Fang Zhou. As she was about to follow up with more, it came to her. Is Lian Fang Zou purposely changing the topic by giving this order? Third Aunt then threw away her currents stream of thoughts and continued moaning. "Fang Zhou ah, you really can't step up on the cotton matter! What if it failed? You'll waste the field and the money and also get laughed at by others! How about just trying with the amount requested and if it succeeds, then you can plant more the year after!"
Her words sounded practical. Lian Ze enquiringly turned to Lian Fang Zhou. If Lian Fang Zhou insist on doing that, he would also support her.
"Third Aunt, the matter is settled like this!" Lian Fang Zhou sighed. "What do you think I have been doing the last few days? I wanted to borrow money to buy more land to plant more. But sadly wasn't able to! So for now, we can only plant ten mu!"
Once her words were out, everyone was surprised.
"You really are-" Suddenly an idea came to Third Aunt. "You really want to borrow money?"
"Yes!" Lian Fang Zhou nodded, answering her last question.
Third Aunt continued. "Look, others aren't willing to lend. That means this matter isn't reliable! But you refuse to come to your sense! There is one person you can try asking. If that person is willing as well, then that clearly means this project isn't doable. Then how about getting rid of that idea?"
"Who do you have in mind, Third Aunt?" Lian Fang Zhou blocked out her persuasion, grabbed onto the part before it and urgently asked. Maybe she can really give it a try! As long as there's hope, she would fight for it.
Confound, Third Aunt replied, "You don't remember? You have a cousin called Fang Qing. Four years ago, she married into neighboring Shuang Liu county town's Su Family! That Su Family is very wealthy. In that family, there's one son, your cousin-in-law and one daughter. They have numerous amount of farmland and a countless number of shops! Completely overspilling with wealthy. Her mother and your mother were cousins. Your maternal grandmother and hers are blood-related!"
Lian Ze's expression shown sudden realization. "I kinda recall Mother telling us about it. She said that Aunt lived with her at Grandma's place for some time when they were young. Aunt and Mother were pretty close! However, she had already died from sickness a few years ago. Aunt only has one daughter, cousin Fang Qing. Mother had helped her out, but later on, her family has moved. Hear she supposedly married into Shuang Liu's rich family. Because they're quite a distance from us, we couldn't stay in contact."
Lian Fang Zhou was slightly confused from listening, but she did understand a part of it. One, the two households have a family connection but haven't got together for a long time. Two, this family connection is quite far away...
To borrow from a relative that they haven't connect with for a long time is quite tricky, even if there's some relationship with the previous generation.
Lian Fang Zhou's mind turned. She decided to give it a try--Maybe, by some tiny chance, it will work out?