Home Post 1852-chapter-34


In the Lin family, when it was time for meals, the male members would sit at the main table and have their food. Female family members were not allowed to sit at the main table and had to eat at a smaller table placed below. 

Gu Xian was quite displeased with this tradition, but she had to adhere to it since it was the local custom. 

Today, the entire family gathered for lunch, and the dishes were relatively abundant. There was roast goose, sour fish with pickled vegetables, braised bamboo shoots, mapo tofu, and a dish of stir-fried loofah with eggs. 

Rutong looked at the array of dishes with shining eyes. Normally, the meals for the female family members consisted of only one meat dish at most, nothing like the variety they had now. 

Gu Xian frowned when she saw all these dishes, “Younger sister, didn’t I mention that we should prepare a simple soup?” 

Old Madam Lin immediately scowled, “With so many dishes, isn’t it enough for all of you?” She found it exasperating that every time Gu Xian came back, she would prepare such a feast and still complain. 

Gu Xian explained, “Mother, Qing Shu’s stomach and spleen were injured during her illness last time. The doctor specifically advised her to eat light and easy-to-digest food, avoiding spicy and stimulating dishes.” 

Although they said it was an injury to the stomach and spleen due to illness, everyone present knew it was because of that magical water Qing Shu had drunk. 

Zhang Qiaoqiao quickly put down her chopsticks and said, “I forgot about it because I was busy just now. I’ll go make a soup for Qing Shu right away.” 

“Why make soup? We have stir-fried loofah with eggs, and she can eat that.” 

Gu Xian was in a dilemma, “Mother, Qing Shu doesn’t like loofah.” Qing Shu had never liked eating loofah since she was little, and this trait had clearly been inherited from her mother. Gu’s grandmother didn’t like it either. 

Old Madam Lin slammed her chopsticks onto the table with a loud noise, “Then she can choose not to eat. If she’s so picky, it’ll spoil her.” 

Gu Xian couldn’t argue with Old Madam Lin, so she had to comfort Qing Shu, “Qing Shu, would you like to eat the eggs?” 

Qing Shu no longer had a picky appetite now, but Gu Xian wanted to advocate for her. She was still pleased when her mother stood up for her. 

Seeing Qing Shu eat a bowl of rice with the loofah, Old Madam Lin snorted, “Look, she’s eating just fine now. Don’t spoil her by indulging her pickiness in the future.” 

Gu Xian looked at Qing Shu in surprise, then nodded, “Yes, Mother.” 

Back in their room, Gu Xian asked in puzzlement, “Qing Shu, didn’t you used to find loofah too sweet and not eat it?” 

Qing Shu had prepared an excuse in advance, “Grandfather said we shouldn’t be picky eaters; being picky won’t make us grow taller.” 

Gu Xian hugged Qing Shu and said with satisfaction, “My Qing Shu has grown up.” 

Qing Shu nestled in Gu Xian’s arms and said softly, “Mother, I don’t like it here.” 

Regardless, her mother could fight for her, proving that she cared about her. Having this much was enough; she didn’t need to ask for more. People should cherish their blessings; asking for too much would only lead to unhappiness. 

“After Dragon Boat Festival, we’ll return to the county.” Gu Xian didn’t like it here either, but as a daughter-in-law, she couldn’t stay in the county for the festival. 

After taking a nap, Gu Xian taught Qing Shu the Three-Character Classic. Although she had only been learning for a few days, Qing Shu had already learned most of it, and she could recite what she had learned. 

“Big Sister…” 

Hearing Wei shi’s call, Gu Xian put away the books and placed them on the table, “Please come in, Second Madam.” 

Wei shi brought Rutong with her and, looking at the books on the table, asked, “Big Sister, are you teaching Qing Shu to recognize characters?” 

Gu Xian nodded. 

Seeing Rutong not speaking, Wei shi spoke up, “Big Sister, can you also teach Rutong to recognize a few characters?” 

Rutong nervously twisted her clothes and looked at Gu Xian, afraid that she would refuse. 

Although Gu Xian felt sorry for Rutong, she shook her head and said, “Second Madam, I won’t be staying at home for long. This matter, you should find someone else to teach!” Teaching children might not be physically demanding, but it was tiring. With her current pregnancy, she couldn’t afford to get tired. 

“But neither I nor Rutong knows how to read.” Otherwise, why would she have come to beg Gu Xian? 

Qing Shu, pretending to be naive, asked, “Second Aunt, don’t you recognize characters? Second Uncle can read characters, he’s a tongsheng, he must be able to teach Big Sister well.” 

At the age of twenty-five, he was still a tongsheng, which was a clear sign that he had no talent for studying. Unfortunately, he didn’t give up and still wanted to take the exam, and her grandparents even supported him. 

Wei shi’s expression looked somewhat unnatural as she said, “Your second uncle is busy with his studies and doesn’t have time to teach Rutong.” 

Qing Shu rolled her eyes. After spending so many years in the Lin family, how could she not know that her second uncle, like her grandparents, heavily favored males and believed that women should be virtuous rather than talented? In her previous life, Wei shi had argued for a long time to send Rutong to school, but she had never succeeded. 

Seeing that Gu Xian still didn’t relent, Wei shi’s eyes turned red, “Big Sister, I don’t want Rutong to end up like me, blindly ignorant.” 

Qing Shu understood why Wei shi was so eager to teach Rutong how to read. It was because Wei shi wanted to marry Rutong into a prominent family and make her a Old Madam Gu of nobility. This way, Rutong could enjoy a life of luxury and privilege in the future. 

Thanks to Lin Chengyu’s influence, with him being an official in the capital, Rutong was later betrothed to a young master from the Tang family. Although the young man hadn’t achieved any official status, it was said that he had some talent for studying. When they got engaged, Rutong couldn’t have been more proud. 

Gu Xian shook her head, “Younger sister, I have a heavy workload now, and I don’t have that much time and energy.” 

Qing Shu was her daughter, so no matter how she taught her, it didn’t matter. But teaching Rutong would bring complaints if she didn’t do it well. She didn’t want to engage in such a thankless task. 

Wei shi was getting anxious and said, “Big Sister, you don’t have to teach her separately. Just teach Rutong while you teach Hongdou.” 

Gu Xian continued to shake her head, “Qing Shu has already learned over a thousand characters, and Rutong can’t keep up with her progress.” 

With a loud thud, Rutong knelt down, “Aunt, I want to learn how to read. Aunt, please teach me!” 

Before coming here, Wei shi had told her that this was Rutong’s only chance to learn how to read. If Gu Xian didn’t agree, Rutong might be blind for the rest of her life. 

Being blind would make it difficult for her to marry into a good family in the future. Although Rutong was only five years old, Wei shi often reminded her of this fact. So, she matured early. 

Qing Shu looked at Rutong with a newfound respect; she was adaptable and knew when to yield. Qing Shu felt that she should learn from her. 

Gu Xian, seeing a child begging on her knees, couldn’t refuse any longer, “I’m only home for a few days, but I’ll teach you as much as I can.” 

Wei shi said, “Learn as much as you can.” 

Since the child had knelt down and begged, Gu Xian couldn’t refuse any longer, “Then let Rutong learn alongside Qing Shu.” 

Qing Shu showed a reluctant expression but didn’t voice any objections. 

Wei shi, knowing Qin Shu’s mother character well, was confident that making Rutong kneel and beg would achieve the desired result. So, she didn’t bother arguing any further. 

Wei shi pulled Rutong and said, “What are you dawdling for? Hurry and thank your aunt.” 

Rutong kowtowed three times, “Thank you, Aunt.” 

Gu Xian noticed that Rutong’s clothes were still dirty with mud and said, “Go change into clean clothes before coming back.” If she was going to teach her, Rutong needed to be neat and tidy. 

This time, Gu Xian had only brought the Three-Character Classic with her and hadn’t brought other books, so she would have to use this book to teach Rutong. 

Since Rutong was a beginner, she couldn’t be taught at the same time as Qing Shu, “Qing Shu, write the characters I just taught you.” 

Qing Shu obediently complied. 

“Man is naturally good; society corrupts him. He becomes distant from his innate goodness through habit…” 

Rutong had a good memory, and she quickly memorized the short passage that Gu Xian had taught her. 

Gu Xian nodded slightly. It was good that the child was intelligent; she couldn’t stand dealing with someone slow-witted.