Home Post 1701-chapter-9


In the summer month, Xia Yue brought a plate of freshly washed cherries over and placed it on the small red lacquered table next to the bed before leaving. 

Qing Shu couldn’t hide her surprise. 

Old Madam Gu took one and put it in Qing Shu’s mouth, smiling warmly as she said, “Grandmother knows you like to eat cherries, so I specially brought some back from the capital city for you.” 

Qing Shu’s eyes sparkled with joy as she said, “Delicious.” 

Gu Xian said, “Mother, this is too expensive.” Cherries were quite costly due to their difficulty in preservation. When they first appeared in the market, they cost twenty taels of silver per jin1, and even now they were priced at two or three taels of silver per jin. The extravagance of it all made her hesitate to buy them. 

Old Madam Gu dismissed her concern with indifference, saying, “What’s the cost? When you were little, you used to eat them as well.” 

Gu Xian continued, “Mother, did you leave any cherries at home?” 

Old Madam Gu knew the implied meaning in her daughter’s words: “No. I brought back only two jin (around 500g). If they found out, my Hongdou wouldn’t even have a chance to eat the pits.” 

Whatever good things they had, Gu Heping wanted to take them to please the Yuan family. As for Yuan Shan Niang, she wished she could snatch everything and keep them for herself. 

Gu Xian understood this situation very well and sighed, “Mother, if my younger siblings find out about this, they’ll definitely talk behind my back.” 

Old Madam Gu’s expression turned stern, “That shameless woman, why do you bother with her?” 

She held a deep disdain for Yuan Shan Niang, her daughter-in-law. Unfortunately, Gu Heping believed her own mother, Yuan Shi, and insisted on marrying her cousin, Yuan Shan Niang. Despite Old Madam Gu’s objections, Gu Heping managed to force the marriage to happen. 

After marrying into the Gu family, Yuan Shan Niang initially acted subservient and respectful, but once she gave birth to a son, she began to assert herself and desire control over the household. It was ridiculous—she wanted to be the mistress of the house even before Old Madam Gu’s passing. 

Qing Shu was surprised by the tense atmosphere. She had never realized that her grandmother and aunt had such a strained relationship. 

Gu Xian sighed helplessly, “Mother, even if my younger siblings are unbearable, they have given you a grandson and a granddaughter. For the sake of these two children, please consider saving some face for them.” 

The mother and daughter had argued about this topic many times before, each time ending without resolution. Old Madam Gu was tired of the topic and didn’t want to discuss it anymore. “I’m here today to see Hongdou. Don’t bring up things that upset me.” 

Gu Xian felt it necessary to remind her mother, even if she didn’t like to hear it: “Mother, you’ll have to rely on them in your old age. Sometimes, it’s better to turn a blind eye to certain things.” 

Old Madam Gu’s disappointment was evident as she looked at her daughter and said, “If I give them anything, that scheming woman will twist it and say you’ve emptied your natal family’s house. Do you think I can rely on them in the future?” 

She had observed that even when she gave something to her own daughter, Yuan Shan Niang would manipulate the situation and make it seem like Gu Xian had taken everything from her natal family. Old Madam Gu knew she couldn’t depend on such people. She couldn’t fathom how Gu Heping could trust Yuan Shan Niang so much and help her instead of his own mother. 

“Mother, you’re being too extreme. Regardless of how Yuan Shan Niang is, Gu Heping is still filial to you.” 

Old Madam Gu glanced at Gu Xian and smiled, though her smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Filial to me? If he were truly filial, I wouldn’t have to endure the constant nagging of that little Yuan family. His real intention is to please his birth mother, not me.” 

Qing Shu suddenly understood. So this uncle wasn’t even a blood relative. No wonder her grandmother had never visited her since her mother’s passing. 

Gu Xian found her mother’s stance too extreme, “Mother, Third Aunt is Ping’s birth mother after all. He has to consider her feelings to some extent.” 

Seeing Old Madam Gu’s expression darken, Gu Xian knew she had said the wrong thing. “That shameless woman,” Old Madam Gu muttered. 

Old Madam Gu wasn’t very concerned about Gu Heping’s relationship with Yuan Shan Niang, as he was just an adopted son. However, Gu Xian was her biological daughter, and it hurt her to see Gu Xian hesitate to come home because of an outsider’s opinion. Fortunately, Qing Shu’s filial behavior brought her great comfort. 

Gu Xian felt helpless, realizing that even though Qing Shu was just a child who could say anything, she couldn’t. 

Old habits die hard, and Old Madam Gu understood what her daughter was thinking from her expression. However, she blamed herself for raising Gu Xian in such a way. 

Qing Shu, sensing the tension, changed the topic intentionally, “Grandmother, Mother is teaching me how to read and write. Grandmother, can you take a look at the characters I’ve written?” 

Seeing the clumsy, worm-like characters on the paper, Old Madam Gu smiled brightly, saying, “You write well, my clever one. You’re smart and better at everything than others.” 

Qing Shu felt a warm glow inside. Her grandmother truly cherished her, making her feel good about herself no matter what she did. 

Observing how indulgent Old Madam Gu was toward Qing Shu, Gu Xian worried that Qing Shu might be spoiled. 

Old Madam Gu patted Qing Shu’s head, asking, “How did Hongdou get sick?” She had rushed over after hearing from the housekeeper that Qing Shu was unwell, but she still didn’t know the details. 

Gu Xian offered the explanation she had already prepared, “She caught a chill from kicking her blanket off at night.” 

Taking care of a child was an exhausting task, and occasional lapses were inevitable. Old Madam Gu didn’t doubt the explanation and merely complained, “I’ve been telling Chen Mama that she’s getting older and has limited energy. I wanted to have Jiao Lian take care of Hongdou, but you disagreed. Otherwise, my darling Hongdou wouldn’t have suffered like this.” 

Jiao Lian was Old Madam Gu’s personal maidservant, and she appreciated her attentiveness and reliability. Even after marrying, Jiao Lian still served in the main courtyard. 

Seeing that Old Madam Gu wasn’t suspicious, Gu Xian breathed a sigh of relief. However, her relief was short-lived. 

Qing Shu deliberately appeared frightened and said, “Grandmother, I won’t dare to get sick again.” 

“Silly child, no one wants to get sick. But in reality, you can’t prevent it just by wanting to avoid it!” Old Madam Gu said, concerned that Qing Shu might fall ill again. 

Qing Shu shook her head and said, “No, Grandmother, you don’t know. When I was sick, my maternal grandmother had people dance and sing in front of my bed. They even stuck red paper on my forehead, and then they forced me to drink a bowl of water mixed with paper ashes. Grandmother, that water had a strange smell and was so hard to drink. If I refused, they’d pour it down my throat.” 

Old Madam Gu’s heart trembled, and she stared at Gu Xian, asking, “What really happened? Tell me the truth.” 

  1. around 500g