Home Post 1770-chapter-27


Qing Shu deliberately changed into a set of red brocade Hangzhou silk robe that Grandma Gu had brought back from the county seat. She styled her hair into two buns, with five small golden plum-shaped hairpins on each side, securing her hair. Around her neck, she wore the jade necklace. 

As Qing Shu walked out, she saw Yuan Shanniang turn around, and she quickly called out, “Aunt.” 

Yuan Shanniang turned her head and stared intently at the jade necklace. 

Grandma Gu couldn’t help but furrow her brow. Yuan Shanniang acted as if she had never seen anything good in her life. Fortunately, they were at home; otherwise, people would mock her if she behaved like this at a social event. 

In reality, Grandma Gu wasn’t overly strict with Yuan Shanniang. She received eight sets of clothing every season and two pieces of jewelry. In addition, Yuan Shanniang received a monthly allowance of twenty taels of silver, and her two children also received twenty taels of silver each per month. 

In the county of Taifeng, ten taels of silver would suffice for an ordinary family’s expenses for a whole year. Even in a family of five or six living in the county, a monthly living allowance of ten taels of silver would ensure that there was meat on the table for every meal. 

However, Yuan Shanniang was not satisfied. For her, sixty taels of silver weren’t enough to buy a piece of jewelry. She had always wanted Gu Heping to take over the family business, so she wouldn’t be controlled by Grandma Gu anymore. That way, she could buy whatever she wanted without having to just admire things when she went shopping. 

Qing Shu called out again, “Aunt.” 

Yuan Shanniang snapped out of her trance and said with envy, “Mother-in-law, this necklace is so beautiful. Please give one to Baozhu too!” 

Qing Shu gained a new understanding of Yuan Shanniang’s audacity. 

Grandma Gu’s eyes showed a hint of disgust as she replied calmly, “This jade necklace was not bought by me; it was a birthday gift from Madam Qi to Qing Shu on her third birthday.” 

Madam Qi owned a jewelry store in the county, and she had accumulated quite a few precious items. She had known Grandma Gu for over twenty years and was well aware that Qing Shu was the most important to her. Naturally, she wouldn’t skimp on Qing Shu’s birthday gift. 

Yuan Shanniang didn’t believe a word of it. This necklace was worth seven or eight hundred taels of silver, and there was no way Madam Qi would give such a precious item to that thieving maidservant. 

Seeing Yuan Shanniang’s disbelief, Grandma Gu didn’t bother explaining further, saying, “You can go back and take care of Fugui and Baozhu.” 

When Fugui was just over three months old, Yuan Shanniang fell ill. Grandma Gu had been worried that she would infect the child, but Yuan Shanniang thought Grandma Gu was trying to take her son away and vehemently disagreed. Since then, she hadn’t dared to bring her son to the main courtyard.  

Later, when she gave birth to Baozhu, she had wanted to leave her daughter in Grandma Gu’s care. However, at that time, Grandma Gu was already tired of this husband and wife, and with Qing Shu’s birth, she had no intention of raising more children for them. 

Grandma Gu had little affection for the two children, as she rarely saw them. 

Yuan Shanniang left with a heart full of resentment. 

Qing Shu, seeing her aunt’s departure, quickly returned to her room and replaced the jade necklace with a pure gold longevity lock. 

Grandma Gu asked with curiosity, “It looked quite nice, why did you change it?” 

Qing Shu shook her head and said, “Hua Mama said this necklace is quite valuable. What if I lose it?” 

Grandma Gu chuckled, “It’s not so easy to lose. But if you don’t want to wear it, that’s fine too.” 

Qing Shu shook her head and said, “Grandmother, wealth can be tempting. Let’s be cautious; it won’t hurt.” 

Items like longevity locks and gold necklaces were not considered rare for wealthy families in the county seat. However, this ruby necklace might be something that even the richest families in Taifeng County might not possess. So, it’s better to keep a low profile. 

Grandma Gu smiled and said, “You’re right to think so.” 

Yue Xiangxiang, who had accompanied Qing Shu to the County Magistrate’s wife’s birthday celebration, noticed how happy Qing Shu was and said, “Why did you arrive so late? I’ve been waiting for you for ages.” 

Qing Shu replied with a good temper, “There was a lot of traffic on the road, which delayed me a bit.” 

The two of them chatted quietly for a while before joining the adults to watch the play. 

The first play chosen by the County Magistrate’s wife was “The Tragic Tale of Qingxuan,” a story about a wealthy young lady who eloped with her lover, only to suffer a tragic and cruel fate. 

This play was adapted from a story in Empress shixian’s “A Dream in the Floating Life,” and it served as a warning to young girls about the dangers of human nature. Sweet words of love under the flowers and moonlight could easily turn into a death sentence in the blink of an eye. 

Listening to the sorrowful cries on the stage, Yue Xiangxiang whispered to Qing Shu, “I wonder what the County Magistrate’s wife was thinking, choosing such a play?” 

In Yue Xiangxiang’s opinion, birthdays should be celebrated with joyful and lively performances. Who would have thought they would watch such a play! 

Yue Xiangxiang had seen this play several times before, and she didn’t like Chen Qingxuan at all. Despite being loved by her parents and brothers, she had eloped with her lover against her family’s wishes. She didn’t consider what her family would face after her elopement. Given the tragic end she met, Yue Xiangxiang felt she didn’t deserve any sympathy. 

Qing Shu, hearing her words, smiled and said, “I also think she brought it upon herself.” 

Seeing that Qing Shu shared her thoughts, Yue Xiangxiang was delighted. She had expressed her opinion to the girls from the Xu family earlier, but they said she lacked empathy. “Qing Shu, you truly understand me!” 

After the performance of “The Tragic Tale of Qingxuan,” many of the ladies and girls in the audience were in tears, including Grandma Gu, who had wiped her eyes several times. 

Fortunately, the second play chosen by Madam Li was “The Five Daughters’ Birthday Celebration,” a lively and cheerful play that dispelled the previous gloom and depression. 

After having lunch at the County Magistrate’s house, Qing Shu accompanied Grandma Gu back home. 

At the front gate, Yue Xiangxiang said, “Qing Shu, come to my house to play tomorrow!” 

Qing Shu politely declined. 

Hearing that Qing Shu wanted to stay home to read and write, Yue Xiangxiang said, “What’s fun about reading? It’s so dull.” Every time she tried to read, she ended up falling asleep. 

Qing Shu smiled and said, “I find it quite enjoyable.” Even though Yue Xiangxiang didn’t like studying, she knew that when she reached a certain age, Auntie Lan would definitely send her to the girls’ school. So, she didn’t want to sound too sophisticated about the benefits of studying for the future. 

In the carriage, Qing Shu noticed that Grandma Gu seemed a bit down. She asked, “Grandmother, what’s wrong?” 

In truth, Qing Shu knew that Grandma Gu’s mood had soured after watching “The Tragic Tale of Qingxuan.” 

Grandma Gu gently touched Qing Shu’s head and said in a soft voice, “Grandmother is fine, just a bit tired.” 

Back at home, Qing Shu took a nap. 

With Qing Shu not around, Grandma Gu dropped her pretense and sat on a soft couch, looking weary. She said to Hua Mama, “Tell me, what should we do if Lin Chengyue mistreats Ah Xian and Qing Shu in the future?” 

Today’s performance of “The Tragic Tale of Qingxuan” had touched a sensitive nerve for Grandma Gu because Ah Xian and Lin Chengyue were also privately engaged. Just this fact could lead to the other party looking down on her. 

Hua Mama understood the reason behind Grandma Gu’s concern and said, “Madam, Lady Xian is here in a legitimate marriage arranged by Young Master, not like this Chen Qingxuan. Furthermore, Young Master achieved success in the imperial examination, all thanks to you. He wouldn’t act heartless and cruel like that.” 

Lin Chengyue had married Gu Xian not long ago and had gone to the county seat’s Bailu College to study.  

On the outside, it was said that a respected scholar recommended him to attend the academy. In reality, Grandma Gu had enlisted Madam Qi’s help and paid a hefty sum to have that respected scholar recommend him. 

Lin Chengyue studied at White Egret Academy for four years before passing the imperial examination. It was clear that he didn’t possess exceptional talent, but he was diligent. 

Grandma Gu said firmly, “If he dares to be ruthless and heartless, I won’t let him off easily.”