Chapter 21: Handing Over the Family Expenses
Speaking of this, Liu Miantang took a deep breath, “Fortunately, the Old Princess Consort has a birthday banquet every year. Although our Jade Porcelain Workshop missed this year’s event, we still have another one in the coming year. It’s just that The Prince is prestigious, we would not know when he would arrive at Lingquan Town. Why don’t I find out his itinerary, stop him on the way and offer the treasures of our store. If The Prince happens to appreciate our porcelain, I can create a porcelain plate for the Old Princess Consort next year by painting the portrait of The Prince. On top of that, I can design a small mystery of the word “longevity” in the eyes of The Prince to favor the Old Princess Consort…”
Cui Xingzhou laughed at Miantang’s ingenious approach with the birthday gifts, but the laughter was meaningful.
However, this smile of his has made Servant Li and Mo Ru, who were on the other side, secretly break out a cold sweat for the ignorant Lady Liu.
Cui Xingzhou smiled slightly and said gently, “You are not a bandit who robbed families. How can you stop an official chariot rashly? I’m afraid that by the time you can present the porcelain plate up, you will get beaten with a few sticks of floggings. Then what you said about the painting with longevity in the eyes… I’m afraid that even if The Prince is willing to accept the gift, that solitary Mr. Chen is unwilling to follow the customs!”
Miantang’s idea was refuted, but she respectfully peeled another shrimp and added it to her husband’s bowl.
Although her husband usually doesn’t ask about mundane affairs, he can analyze problems with clarity and thoughtfulness, which is admirable!
According to Servant Li, her husband is educated. However, being in the merchant’s family has delayed her husband’s career path. Otherwise, just by depending on her husband’s calmness and intelligence, he can easily pass the examination for being a county official.
The reason why Cui Jiu laughed was that he thought that the woman had injured her head badly. Sometimes she acts boldly and doesn’t look like a boudoir woman raised by an official family.
Now she nodded to himself in agreement… But what if she turned back and stopped the sedan of The Prince?
Besides, Lady Liu was once in a bandit’s den. Sometimes her words were contaminated with banditry. He’s afraid she can’t change it in a short time. If he doesn’t cut off her thoughts completely, maybe she would block him unexpectedly in front of his carriage like she was at the entrance of the restaurant last time.
Thinking of this, Cui Jiu drank his delicious fish porridge and said in a leisurely manner, “Shi Yikuan, the Commander-in-Chief of the State of Qing, will hold a tea party to appreciate calligraphy and painting in a few days. He loves painting masters the most of his life. If Mr. Chen can enter this tea party and present the porcelain plate to him, he will certainly get his recognition.”
Since Lu Wen wants to be under Shi Yikuan’s command, he might as well ask Miantang to walk around the State of Qing and see if she can attract Lu Wen to appear.
But what surprised him was that Miantang did not hesitate to answer, “I’ve also inquired in the morning. Husband, you may not know that Shi Yikuan also has a hobby of collecting beautiful women in addition to collecting calligraphy and paintings. He has nine concubines… In my opinion, it’s better to intercept the chariots of Prince Huaiyang! At least I had never heard of anything about Prince Huaiyang oppressing and bullying its people, seizing any women, and doing any evil businesses except for being decrepit and muddleheaded…”
Previously, because of her beautiful features, she led thieves into the courtyard wall which made her come to realize. After her injury, Liu Miantang no longer had those skills and agility like before…
As soon as she finished her sentences, there came another sound from the young servant, Mo Ru, at the low table who started coughing again. Apparently, he was choked on the other half of the stewed eggs.
In fact, Cui Jiu was not sure whether he should be gratified that Lady Liu approved of his conduct, or should he punish her because she said that he was “decrepit and muddleheaded”.
His eyebrows did not move and said gently: “That famous calligraphy and painting fairs are not what ordinary people can easily go to. They must be recommended by distinguished personages. You are just joining in the fun and see if you can have a chance with presenting the porcelains… Even if you can’t go to the formal calligraphy and painting tea party, there is also a gala market before the tea party, which is very lively. You can set up a stall there and maybe you will be able to sell some of the goods. Moreover, the Xi Village in the State of Qing has good cloth. Now it’s the season to reel off raw silk from cocoons and weavers. If you happen to see any good cloth you like, it will be good to make some new clothes for yourself.”
Liu Miantang felt soft in her heart and thought that her husband was considerate! He was even thinking about taking her out to play and she softly thanked her husband by saying, “I’m happy enough just with your thoughts, husband. But I have a lot of clothes and we don’t have to spend money on making clothes for me.”
Cui Xingzhou glanced at her half-worn-out sleeve and said, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve won several games of chess these days. I’ll just buy you some good cloth.”
With these words, he put a bag of silver money prepared by Mo Ru for him on the table.
According to Mo Ru, this is called “handing over the family expenses” in ordinary families. The money a man earns when he goes out to make a living should be given to the woman in charge of the family. If he doesn’t pay the money all the time and constantly spends countless amounts of money at home, this will make Liu Miantang suspicious about it.
Such an astute person like her, after hearing that he made money playing chess, she never once opened her mouth to ask him for money. It can be seen that she was used to being controlled by the leader of the rebel and dared not ask for money.
Now that Mo Ru had reminded him, he naturally gave her some money, so that she won’t have a hard time.
Therefore, Cui Xingzhou asked Mo Ru to prepare in advance.
However, when he looked at Lady Liu, who was overwhelmed by an unexpected favor for the money bag, he still felt that she was too worked up. Her eyes were red and tearful.
It shouldn’t be that… Because his family expenses were handed in too late and she felt wronged?
Miantang took the silver money that her husband had handed home. She only felt that it was heavy and not easy to wield, and she could hardly hold it in her weak palm.
She had heard Mo Ru say that her husband had made money by playing chess. She thought she had only earned some pocket money. Unexpectedly, it was such a big and heavy bag!
When Liu Miantang was free, she chatted with the neighbors while eating melon seeds. She heard about the bad preferences of many merchants in the neighborhood, such as going on a brothel boat, drinking wine at night… And those who made a lot of money outside, but didn’t hand it over to their families, and blindly gave the mistress outside the allowances, such as Official Zhang who was hooked by the vixen prostitute in the rice shop.
Originally, her husband could spend the money he earned that was not in the account book freely. But it was all handed over to her. It can be seen that although her husband has the appearance of a peach blossom on his face and looks provocative, he is an honest man for a living.
Liu Miantang could not help feeling ashamed of her suspicions about her husband a few days ago. A gentle gentleman like her husband, if one is to think of him as a bad man, It will also be an act of heart and lungs being dirty and having broken intestines. This kind of person should deserve a spanking!
For a moment, she looked at Cui Jiu’s eyes and burst into tears of shame.
At this moment, her husband even opened his mouth with warm words: “Is it that I have handed over the amount too little… I will give you more in the future.”
Listen to this. It made her feel so guilty that it is already incapable of further increase! She cannot believe that her husband is still feeling guilty that he didn’t have enough ability to support his family and has given too little!
Miantang could no longer resist the excitement in her heart. She just hugged him, buried her face in his broad chest, and choked with sobs: “What are you talking about, husband? It’s me who has no ability that has made you unable to rest assured while learning chess and always worry about the family’s livelihood!”
On the other side, Mo Ru didn’t know why. His voice suddenly narrowed and seemed to choke again.
Cui Jiu looked at the woman like a cat snuggling in his arms in silence. Her hair with a light scent of osmanthus fragrance was piled up on his chin. The fine hairs made his breath seem slightly itchy.
After pausing for a moment, Cui Jiu stretched out his arm expressionless and gently patted Lady Liu, who was sobbing and choking. He suddenly understood why those ordinary men had to hand over the expenses to their families. After working hard for a while, one can get his own woman’s tears of joy. It can surely add a sense of satisfaction to its ordinary life which is like a nobody?
Because her husband is capable, Liu Miantang’s trousseau jewelry box has once again become full. It made her full of expectations for her upcoming trip to the State of Qing.
In order to learn how to call for business for the shop, she inquired about all the famous high-ranking government officials within a hundred miles of the State of Zhen earlier in the day. She listed them on a piece of paper and compared them carefully. Therefore, when her husband mentions this calligraphy and painting tea party, she can speak out about its shortcomings.
Although Shi Yikuan was not as famous as Prince Huaiyang, he was indeed a better choice to socialize than Prince Huaiyang. What if she did find a way to attend the calligraphy and paintings tea party with her porcelain plate in the State of Qing, a bright prospect will be lying ahead!
Her husband worked so hard for the sake of the store, she naturally had to do her best too!
If her shop’s porcelain is appreciated, it can be regarded as opening up the circle for officials. It can be expected soon for her porcelain to be sold at a high price.
The most gratifying thing for her is that her husband had finally become interested in his own business. It can be seen that his previous escape was all because he could not bear the failure and bankruptcy. Now that the shop business has improved, her husband has finally roused his spirit, which is gratifying.
A few days before the State of Qing calligraphy and painting tea party, Cui Jiu hired a carriage to send Liu Miantang, the servants and workers to the State of Qing first.
However, Cui Jiu was not with her. According to her husband, he’s very busy with the chess lesson these days and he’s afraid that he can only wait for the tea party to begin before he could come.
Miantang’s long-cherished wish to travel with her husband can’t be fulfilled for the time being, but it can’t extinguish her joy of visiting the downtown streets of the State of Qing for the first time.
She is only eighteen now. It is the time when a girl likes to play.
It was just that she had a hard time in the capital before, so it was not easy to go out and spend money. When she arrived in the State of Zhen, her family business was waiting to prosper, and she had to take care of everything herself. Naturally, she also reduced her mind to play.
Now, Miantang has a bag of silver money from her husband hanging around her waist, and she has a lot of free time. She is confident enough. Naturally, she needs to shop the stores one by one thoroughly to enjoy herself fully.
Although she wanted to buy things, she didn’t only want to buy for herself alone. Mr. Chen’s coat is too old to meet anyone. She choose two pieces of navy blue cloth from the cloth shop and made a long gown for Mr. Chen.
Naturally, her husband also has to have one. Miantang chooses for a very long time, but she still felt that the moon white material set off the calm and elegant temperament of her husband most.
As for herself, it was only under the constant persuasion of Servant Li that she gritted her teeth and chose a thinned cotton so that she could make a skirt in summer.
The summer here is much hotter than in the capital. If she doesn’t prepare for some lightweight ones, she’s afraid she’ll be covered with prickly heat in the hot summer.
In addition, Miantang accidentally saw a chess board made of jade when she passed by a jade shop.
The chessboard is made of suet white jade. The same delicate texture of white chess pieces is transparent, while the black chess pieces are carved with precious black jade.
Miantang looked at the chessboard, and could not help imagining the elegant appearance of her husband’s slender fingers, gently twirling and making a move in the game. For a moment, her mind wandered. She just felt that this chessboard should be the right one for her husband.
But when Miantang couldn’t wait to ask and got the pricing, she was silent.
The shopkeeper said that this pair was reserved and had not been taken away in time. The price was shocking. She couldn’t afford it at all.
However, Miantang was not discouraged. She was seldom discouraged from a young age. Although her father doesn’t pamper her, what she wanted could be still achieved one by one in the end. Sometimes her father was shocked by her boldness and always scolded her for being contaminated with her mother’s spirit of living in the river and lake. If she got married in the future, she would be rejected by her husband and her husband’s family.
Fortunately, her father’s curse did not come true. Her married husband was gentle and considerate, and never restrained her with those unnecessary and overelaborate formalities. The desire to grow old together for a long time makes her look forward to it.
Miantang looked at the chessboard reluctantly again. She decided that after the shop made money, she was going to save up to order another jade chess board for her husband.
However, just as Miantang was reluctant to leave, a tall, handsome man came out of the door, his eyes were like fire, and he stared at her back figure distant away.
TL/Notes: Oh my, poor Mo Ru 🤣