Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 112: Nacai

(TN: I mixed the titles of Chapter 111 and 12. This is the correct chapter title. Nacai 1In Chinese culture, “纳采” (Nàcǎi) is one of the traditional steps in the marriage process. It refers to the formal proposal and acceptance of a marriage, where the groom’s family sends a matchmaker or representative to the bride’s family to formally propose the marriage. This step typically involves presenting gifts and betrothal money as a token of the groom’s family’s sincerity and commitment. “纳” means “to receive” or “to accept,” and “采” refers to “gifts” or “betrothal gifts,” so “纳采” essentially means “receiving the gifts” that signify the engagement.)

The four members of the Liu family were eagerly waiting for the day. Wei Shi smiled and said, “Congratulations.”

Dozens of villagers had gathered to watch the event. Lin Jiuniang, naturally fulfilling her duties as a matchmaker, raised her voice and said cheerfully, “I am here today on behalf of the proprietor of Lufeng Cloth Shop to propose marriage for their third young master!”

Wei Shi’s face was full of smiles, and Chen Shi greeted warmly, calling out, “In-laws.”

Everyone then realized that the well-dressed rich lady was actually the wife of the owner of Lufeng, which made them even more excited.


Wei Shi welcomed Chen Shi and the others into the house.

Liu Yanqing opened the courtyard gate wide, and the servants from the Lu family carried in the betrothal gifts. The one at the front carried a red basket with a goose inside. Since wild geese couldn’t be found in July, a goose was used instead.

Six sets of gifts were carried into the main hall of the Liu family’s outer courtyard, followed by dozens of curious villagers. The clan leader’s wife, Tian Shi, had arrived early to help the three Liu brothers with the reception. The betrothal ceremony was set up in the main hall according to tradition, allowing the villagers to watch.

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It’s really her?


It actually worked!

Oh heavens, she knew what this girl was after. Suddenly, the matchmaker’s fee felt hot in her hands.

Lin Jiuniang recognized Liu Yu, and Liu Yu naturally recognized her too. A flash of surprise crossed her eyes, followed by a smile. She stepped forward to serve tea to Wei Shi and Chen Shi, and then with both hands, served the last cup to Lin Jiuniang, smiling, “I didn’t expect the main matchmaker to be Aunt Lin. What a coincidence.”

Lin Jiuniang’s heart was racing, but she managed to respond. Shouldn’t they pretend not to know each other at a time like this?

Sure enough, Chen Shi and Wei Shi both looked over.

“Yu’er knows Jiuniang?” Chen Shi asked.

Liu Yu knew the reputation of a matchmaker was crucial, so she smiled and said, “We met once, and Aunt Lin helped me.”

Chen Shi, knowing Liu Yu’s hardships in Liu Village, smiled and said, “That is a coincidence, perfectly suited for her to be the matchmaker.”

Lin Jiuniang, relieved that Liu Yu didn’t elaborate, still couldn’t gauge if Chen Shi knew Liu Yu’s intentions. She smiled and said, “I didn’t realize this was Miss Liu Yu. She is indeed well-matched with the third young master.”

Chen Shi, unaware of Lin Jiuniang’s anxiety, found the remark pleasant and pulled Liu Yu over, taking out a gold hairpin from her sleeve and pinning it in Liu Yu’s hair, saying, “This is from your aunt.”

Placing a hairpin on the girl during the betrothal ceremony symbolized great satisfaction with the future daughter-in-law. The Lu family’s hairpin was made of solid gold, dazzling the villagers of Yangshan Village. Even Tian Shi couldn’t help but be envious, though Wei Shi remained calm but pleased.

Liu Yu thanked Chen Shi and then retreated to the inner courtyard.


After the betrothal ceremony came the name-exchange ceremony. The birth dates had been prepared in advance and were exchanged. Lin Jiuniang instructed, “Madam Liu, place this birth record under the incense burner in the main hall. On the ninth day of July, give it back to me for the auspicious date ceremony.”

Wei Shi nodded, accepting the Geng Tie (birth record) from Lin Jiuniang. This exchange signified consulting the ancestors for blessings.

With the completion of the betrothal and name exchange ceremonies, Chen Shi whispered to Wei Shi, “Let’s talk in the inner courtyard.”

Wei Shi could guess that they were likely going to discuss the bride price.

She asked Tian Shi to help with the hospitality and led Chen Shi to the inner courtyard to talk.

Once they walked through the corridor and reached the inner courtyard, Wei Shi asked, “Why was the betrothal gift so generous?”

Though she understood that the Lu family was very pleased with the marriage, the set of six silver jewelry pieces alone was valuable enough to be an excellent dowry, which seemed a bit too extravagant.

Chen Shi suppressed a smile and said, “I came to tell you about this.”

Entering the flower hall, she explained that Lu Chengxiao had voluntarily increased the bride price. She said, “Although our household is divided, his marriage is still handled by the family. My first two daughters-in-law had a bride price of ninety-nine taels each, but Chengxiao is very fond of Yu’er. After discussing it at home and with his siblings, he decided to add the money he earned from his business trip, making it a total of two hundred and twenty-nine taels. He asked me to bring two hundred taels as the bride price and use the remaining twenty-nine taels to buy that set of headpieces for Yu’er.”

Chen Shi’s eyes curved into crescents with her smile, the fine lines at the corners of her eyes showing, while Wei Shi was left speechless. “Two hundred taels for the bride price? That’s too much.”

She then worried about the Lu family’s situation and asked anxiously, “Won’t your other daughters-in-law have opinions about this?”

Chen Shi laughed and patted Wei Shi’s hand, saying, “There won’t be any issues. Chengxiao spent his own money to care for his bride-to-be. No one can find fault with that. I see my daughters-in-law are quite envious. We are also very happy to see Chengxiao cherish Yu’er so much.”


Wei Shi could hardly speak, “This is beyond words, that child…”

She was truly overjoyed, “Yu’er is very fortunate. Marrying Chengxiao and entering your family is like falling into a nest of blessings.”

“Your family is also a nest of blessings. Our Yu’er deserves such a fate.” Chen Shi sincerely believed Liu Yu was blessed, with even greater blessings to come. In the three months since Liu Yu returned to Yangshan Village, the Liu family’s situation had improved. Recalling Wei Shi’s wish to keep Liu Yu for a longer period, Chen Shi thought about her youngest son’s affection for Liu Yu and suggested, “Since the two children are fond of each other, shouldn’t we consider a nearer wedding date?”

Wei Shi, surprisingly, shook her head. “We need to wait a bit longer. Since you’ve mentioned the bride price, I’ll be honest about the dowry.”

She explained the family’s plans to Chen Shi, leaving Chen Shi stunned. Though they had entered the flower hall, she paused in her tracks, too surprised to sit down.

“Half of the shop in town will be part of Yu’er’s dowry?”

Chen Shi could hardly believe it.

Wei Shi nodded, “Not just that shop. According to the brothers’ agreement, any new branches of the embroidery shop will also give fifty percent as Yu’er’s dowry.”

Chen Shi was speechless for a long moment. When she finally found her voice, she said, “How can this be?”

Wei Shi laughed, “It’s the bond between siblings. Besides, it’s an empty promise unless we can actually open those branches. But the children have this intention, so I’m sharing it with you. In addition, we can harvest another batch of ramie in July. Once it’s processed into cloth, the brothers will make another trip to the Jiangnan region. The money from that trip will also be used for Yu’er’s dowry. Silk and special items from Jiangnan will be purchased there. We need to match up the furniture with your family to see what needs to be added. So, we can’t rush the wedding. The trip to Jiangnan in August means they won’t be back until September. I suggest we set the wedding date for after September.”

Chen Shi was already stunned. This was practically giving Liu Yu almost all the family assets and then going on another trip to earn more for her dowry. Yet Wei Shi was just her aunt.

“Sister Wei,” she forgot to call her in-law, “I don’t know what to say.”


“I once heard that it’s a great tale when a family ruins itself to marry off a daughter. It’s a great tale because it’s so rare. Your care for Yu’er is more than what most parents and siblings can offer. I have to say, it’s really unnecessary to put so much pressure on your family. I was already surprised by the half-shop dowry. How could I agree to you making another trip to Jiangnan to add more? Chengxiao has considered your recent shop opening and the financial strain, which is why he insisted on a generous bride price to ensure Yu’er isn’t wronged.”

Wei Shi’s face hardened. “Chengxiao is Chengxiao. What your family gives is what your family gives. This is from our family and Yu’er’s brothers.”

She wasn’t truly angry; she only put on a stern face to show her seriousness. Holding Chen Shi’s hand, she said, “In-law, we only have one daughter, and we treasure her like a precious gem. No amount of care is too much. Let’s not dwell on such words. The days ahead are long, and this is just the beginning. As long as the two children are happy, that’s what matters most.”

Chen Shi gripped Wei Shi’s hand and said, “To have in-laws like you is truly a blessing for our family.”

Wei Shi smiled, “We are both blessed.”

Without needing the matchmaker to relay messages, the two women had a warm, personal conversation and settled the details themselves. Wei Shi brought out an almanac, and together they looked for an auspicious day in September. With a date chosen, the later formal invitations would just be a formality.

Not knowing if Liu Yanping might encounter delays on his trip to the Jiangnan region, they avoided selecting a date at the beginning of September, instead focusing on the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Lin Jiuniang couldn’t stop thinking about Liu Yu’s situation. With Wei Shi and Chen Shi talking privately, she found an opportunity to head to the inner courtyard. Liu Yu hadn’t returned to the west wing; she was in the kitchen. Seeing Lin Jiuniang approach, Liu Yu greeted her with a smile.

Lin Jiuniang pulled her into the kitchen and looked her up and down several times. “Good girl, I never would have thought that both of Lu’s proposals would be for you. Does the Lu family know about that matter?”

Seventy percent of her concern was for herself, and thirty percent was genuine concern for Liu Yu.

Liu Yu smiled and said, “Aunt Lin, don’t worry. The Lu family, including their third son and the elders, know. At that time, I had no choice but to protect myself.”

Hearing this, Lin Jiuniang finally understood. “Yes, yes, when I went to propose in Liu Village, they said you were sold. Mrs. Lu said this was your biological father’s home?”

Realizing it wasn’t appropriate to discuss being sold on such a good day, she slapped her mouth lightly. “Don’t mind me, girl. Everything is good now, and there are great blessings ahead.”

Liu Yu wasn’t particularly superstitious but said, “Yes, thank you for your kind words.”

Lin Jiuniang felt completely reassured. “So, I truly am the main matchmaker.”

She laughed, “The well-deserved main matchmaker.”

Indeed, she was right. Reflecting on it, Liu Yu’s connection with Lu Chengxiao had started with Lin Jiuniang. Lin Jiuniang pointed skyward and said, “It’s a match made in heaven.”

Liu Yu smiled and bowed to her. “Thank you once again, Aunt Lin. I will definitely prepare a generous gift to thank you properly in the future.”

Lin Jiuniang happily helped her up. “No need for that. I consider this a great act of virtue.”

With her mind at ease, she didn’t stay long and returned to the outer courtyard.

She felt increasingly delighted about the match she had inadvertently helped create. It truly felt like a great act of virtue, just as she had said to Liu Yu.

Wei Shi and Chen Shi privately chose September 28th for the wedding date and then emerged from the inner courtyard together.

The betrothal gifts required return gifts, and there was a custom that the return gifts couldn’t include any items from the gifts sent by the groom’s family, as that would be seen as a rejection. Therefore, Wei Shi, having consulted Tian Shi in advance, was well-prepared. She gave six types of cloth, six boxes of pastries, six boxes of preserved fruits, and six jars of wine as return gifts.

The gift cart didn’t return empty, symbolizing a reciprocal exchange, leaving both families delighted.

Sansukini: So generous!

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