Home Post 1684-chapter-3


Qing Shu looked at Old Madame Lin and asked, “Grandmother, can I go back to the county tomorrow?” 

Old Madame Lin nodded and said, “If you obediently take the medicine, I will let your aunt take you to the county tomorrow.” 

When did her grandmother become so easy to talk to? Although she was quite puzzled, Qing Shu didn’t dare to show it, fearing that she might arouse Old Madame Lin’s suspicion again. 

Taking the bowl of medicine, she drank it in big gulps. 

The bitterness of the medicine made her want to vomit, but Qing Shu endured the nausea and managed to drink more than half of the bowl. 

Soon after finishing the medicine, the vomiting stopped. 

After a day of turmoil, everyone was exhausted, especially Old Madame Lin, who was not in the best of health. Seeing that Qing Shu’s stomachache had subsided, she was supported back to her room by Qi Pozi. 

Zhang Shi, too, yawned endlessly, and while stroking Qing Shu’s head, she said, “Good child, let’s go to sleep!” 

Qing Shu was too excited to feel sleepy, but she obediently nodded and said, “Okay.” 

Lying in bed, her mind wandered for a long time until the crowing of the roosters finally made her close her eyes. 

By the time the sun had risen to about three poles, Qing Shu woke up. 

Zhang Shi brought a bowl of porridge, but Qing Shu refused to eat, saying, “I want to go to the county to find my mother.” 

Old Madame Lin said, “You can go after you recover.” 

Old Madame Lin’s decisions were often inconsistent, but Qing Shu wasn’t surprised. Thinking about how her grandmother had unexpectedly compromised, she quickly changed her approach. With a sulking tone, she deliberately knocked the meal Zhang Shi was holding out of her hand and shouted loudly, “I want my mother!” 

Old Madame Lin couldn’t tolerate any disobedience from her grandchildren. Anyone who dared not to obey her was either scolded or punished.  

Qing Shu had been scolded and punished numerous times in her previous life, and there were times when she was locked in a shed without food for a whole day. However, now she wasn’t afraid.  

So what if she was scolded or punished? Right now, she was desperately eager to see her birth mother. 

Old Madame Lin frowned and said sternly, “Look at what you’ve become due to indulgence? Qiao, let’s go out and leave her be.” 

Watching Old Madame Lin’s retreating figure, Qing Shu’s eyes flashed. Based on what she had done just now, her grandmother’s temperament would have usually warranted a slap. But not only was she not slapped this time, she wasn’t even scolded. This situation was quite peculiar. 

Qing Shu refused to eat, and she wouldn’t even drink the medicine or water. By noon, her face had turned so pale that it frightened everyone who looked at her. 

Old Madame Lin was worried about Hongdou’s condition and had no choice but to let Zhang Shi take her to the county. Otherwise, if Qing Shu became seriously ill from starvation, the old lady at the Gu Family might tear her apart. 

Seeing Old Madame Lin’s compromise, Qing Shu became suspicious. Old Madame Lin seemed to be considering her mother, but wasn’t her mother from a fallen family? That’s what the people in the Lin family had said, that her birth mother had a good fate to marry into the Lin family. 

With this doubt in her mind, Qing Shu was carried out by Zhang Shi. 

The Lin Village was surrounded by beautiful mountains and clear waters, and it was only about twenty miles from the county. If they took a horse-drawn carriage, it would take more than two quarters of an hour to reach the county. However, if they took a boat, it would take just over a quarter of an hour. 

Sitting on the boat, Qing Shu looked at the fertile fields on both sides of the river, extending to the foot of the mountains. Her mood brightened considerably. A child with a mother was like a treasure, and a child without a mother was like a wild plant. No matter what, her mother was still alive, and that was better than anything else. 

Zhang Shi looked at the smile on Qing Shu’s face and cautiously asked, “Hongdou, would you like to have something to eat?” She wasn’t sure who this child resembled; with such a strong temper, she even dared to contradict Old Madame Lin. 

After not eating anything for so long, Qing Shu was already hungry, but she had been enduring it. Now that her wish had come true, she naturally wouldn’t stubbornly starve herself anymore. 

Zhang Shi smiled and took out a bowl of minced meat tofu and a plate of stir-fried potato shreds from the food container. 

When Qing Shu ate, she not only didn’t make a sound but also maintained a graceful posture. 

Looking at Qing Shu’s eating demeanor, Zhang Shi couldn’t help but say, “Hongdou, you look so elegant while eating. Could you teach Ru Die and Le Wei next time?” Over the past four years, Zhang Shi had given birth to a son and a daughter: Ru Die and Lin Le Wei. When these two children ate, not only did they devour their food, but they also made smacking sounds. 

Qing Shu was taken aback and nodded, saying, “Sure.” When she was fourteen years old, she had been taken to the capital, where her stepmother, Madam Cui, had hired a nanny to educate her for a year. After she married into the Hou Mansion, the rules were strict and over time, her behavior had changed somewhat under the influence. 

However, Zhang Shi’s words also rang an alarm bell in Qing Shu’s mind. Before, she had been suspected of being possessed just for touching her face in front of the mirror. If she were to do anything inappropriate again, she didn’t know how Old Madame Lin would punish her. 

Just as she was thinking about it, her stomach began to churn again, making her extremely uncomfortable. Unable to endure it any longer, she vomited everything she had eaten. 

Zhang Shi panicked, shouting, “Da Jin, Da Jin, hurry, Hongdou is vomiting again!” 

Da Jin, who was rowing the boat, increased his speed, and they soon arrived at the county. 

Da Jin shouted, “Sister Chengzhi, get closer to the dock. Get ready to disembark.” 

Taifeng County had many rivers, making water routes more convenient than land routes. So, most of the supplies were transported to the county by boat. The three boats docked at the pier were loaded with fruits, vegetables, and other goods. 

The bustling scene on the dock, filled with the shouts of porters and vendors and the laughter of children, was familiar yet unfamiliar to Hongdou. In her previous life, she had seen this scene every time she came to the county with Old Madame Lin. However, after she went to the capital, these scenes had become memories. 

Zhang Shi carried Qing Shu off the boat and said to the boatman, “Go to Sanyuan Street.” 

Sanyuan Street wasn’t called that before. The name was changed after a prominent scholar, Xu Wenchang, who lived here, passed the highest imperial examination three times. Despite being distantly related, Qing Shu had blood ties with Xu Wenchang. Her great-grandmother was Xu Wenchang’s granddaughter. 

The relationship was quite distant, but Grandfather Lin was proud of it and often mentioned it. 

After getting off the carriage and turning a corner, they arrived at a house with red bricks and blue tiles. 

This house wasn’t unfamiliar to Qing Shu; her second uncle Lin Chengzhong’s family lived here in her previous life. Out of the three times she had come to the county with Old Madame Lin, two of them had been to visit Lin Chengzhong’s family. 

She knocked on the door, and soon someone inside asked, “Who’s there?” 

“Chen Mama, it’s me.” 

Chen Mama1, dressed in a brown fine cloth robe with a silver hairpin in her bun, opened the door and smiled, “Third Madam…” 

Before she could finish her sentence, she noticed Qing Shu’s face, pale as a sheet of paper, and her smile froze, “Miss, Miss, what happened to you?” 

Zhang Shi explained, “Hongdou had a fever for two days, and today she felt a bit better, so I hurriedly brought her back.” 

Chen Mama called out loudly from inside the house, “Jianmu, the young lady isn’t feeling well, quickly go and get Doctor He.” 

A boy of seven or eight years old responded, and he dashed out of the alley. 

Chen Mama took Qing Shu from Zhang Shi and hurriedly led her inside. 

Once inside the courtyard, Qing Shu’s doubts were confirmed. What caught her eye was a grape trellis with a swing hanging from it. Beneath the trellis, there was a small camphorwood round table and two rattan chairs. On the round table was a blue-and-white porcelain tea cup with a lotus motif, giving it an exceptionally elegant appearance. 

In her previous life, this courtyard had been filled with vegetables by her second aunt. Compared to now, it was like night and day. 

Qing Shu couldn’t help but grow suspicious. If her mother’s family was truly fallen, they should have been frugal in their living, just like her second aunt’s family. But the arrangement of this courtyard and the jewelry on the dressing table indicated otherwise. Her mother’s family was not only not fallen but also very wealthy. 

  1. 嬷嬷: while it is pronounced mama, it refers to old female servants, and is used similarly to pozi.