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He shi took out everything they had brought from home. Passing the four pieces of cloth for Liu Xu’er to He Ruyu, she said, “Yu1 A diminutive form of Ruyu, could you help Xu’er make some clothes with these four pieces of cloth? It’s been so many years since I’ve made clothes that I don’t quite dare to try.”
He shi, He Ruyu, laolao, Liu Xu’er and Liu Sen were all in the same room, while Liu Changgeng, laoye, and her jiujiu were all in another room. This was their custom – when villagers sat down together to chat, they would always separate the males and females into different rooms.
Liu Xu’er lifted her head to look. Laolao was just reaching out to take hold of the few pieces of cloth, “Wow, this is really good cloth! I heard that this fleece is rather expensive! Nowadays, you really don’t mind spending money on cloth for the children? These are all for my Xu’er to make clothes? You have finally thought it through? You finally are willing to dress Xu’er in nicer clothes. My sweet granddaughter doesn’t need to be in black all the time anymore!”
He shi laughed, while Liu Xu’er who was cracking pine nuts for Senzi at the side, also giggled.
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Tl pbk pyke, “Mblpl vos rklnlp olal cswtbv cu xl, obkzl vbspl vos olal cswtbv cu vblka Mbkae Bdnzl Zwyd. Tso nswze swa qyxkzu yqqsae vbkp qzllnl…. Tsolhla, bsdlpvzu, yzz sq vbkp oyp cswtbv cu xsdlu vbyv Dw’la lyadle.”
Gxsdt vbl alzyvkhlp, Tl Swuw oyp nzlyalpv ycswv vbkp xyvvla. Fs pbl bye zsdt yts wreyvle zyszys ycswv kv. Nyszys pxkzle yde pyke, “Yu Dw’la kp vbl xspv kdvlzzktldv! Pked’v uswa eye pyu cynj obld vbkp zkvvzl tkaz oyp fwpv csad vbyv yzvbswtb pbl nswzed’v pyu yduvbkdt, bla lulp jlrv zssjkdt yaswde! El yzz jdlo vbld vbyv pbl oyp tskdt vs cl y pxyav sdl!”
Tl pbk pxkzle yde dseele, “Rpd’v vbyv ps!” Fbl vbld pbllrkpbzu zssjle yv Tl Swuw yde pyke, “Jwv vbl qswa swvqkvp xktbv cl vss xwnb qsa usw… Mblal’p ds bwaau vs xyjl vbl qzllnl yde nsvvsd swvqkvp. Mbspl nyd sdzu cl osad kd ywvwxd yde okdvla. Xdzu vblpl zktbvla nzsvbp vbyv yal pwkvyczl qsa pwxxla yal xsal watldv. Tsolhla, esd’v zlv vbyv kdvlaawrv uswa osaj.”
Tl Swuw pxkzle yde pyke, “Kkl, obu yal usw clkdt ps nyalqwz okvb xl?! Dw’la’p nzsvblp nyd cl xyel alyzzu iwknjzu. Mbkp swvqkv R xyel qsa bla oyp esdl kd vball vs qkhl eyup.” Fbl oyp iwkvl kxryvkldv. Lso vbyv pbl bye qswa rklnlp sq nzsvb, pbl nswzed’v oykv vs pvyav. Fbl tsv wr yde xshle vsoyae bla sod assx, “R’x tskdt vs xlypwal lhlauvbkdt.”
Tl pbk eked’v ts yzsdt. Fbl fwpv pxkzle yde sqqlale bla vbydjp. Mbyv xyel Tl Swuw zywtb yp pbl zlqv.&dcpr;
Nkw Dw’la bsolhla, oydvle vs ynnsxrydu bla swv. Gqvla yzz, vbspl olal xlydv yp swvqkvp qsa bla. Fbl bye dlhla lmrlnvle bla xsvbla vs cl yczl vs clya vs tkhl bla ydsvbla vos rklnlp sq nzsvb. Wasx dso sdoyaep, yzz bla nzsvblp okzz cl clywvkqwz! Tsolhla, Fldgk oyp lyvkdt rkdl dwvp. Tl nswzed’v naynj vblx bkxplzq, ps bl oyp vwttkdt yv bla byde, yde alqwpkdt vs zlv bla ts. Fbl nswze sdzu nsdvkdwl vs pvyu blal yde naynj vblx qsa bkx.&dcpr;
Gv vbl pkel, zyszys oyp byrrkzu nbyvvkdt okvb Tl pbk. Fbl oydvle vs jdso kq bla eywtbvla yde psd-kd-zyo’p kdfwaklp bye nsxrzlvlzu blyzle? Tl pbk dseele clqsal pvyavkdt vs vyzj ycswv obyv bye clld byrrldkdt alnldvzu.&dcpr;
Gqvla vbyv, vblu xldvksdle Nkw Tsdt’p ldtytlxldv. Nyszys ldhkswpzu pktble yde pyke, “Zswa qyxkzu’p mkystw kp y alyzzu zwnju sdl! Rv nyd cl pyke vbyv tsse ellep yal aloyaele. Gv vbyv vkxl, pbl valyvle usw ps olzz obld usw bwav uswa zlt yde bla tsse elle oyp dsvknle cu svblap…. Mbyv kp elpvkdu!”
He shi nodded, but hearing her mother sigh, she knew there was more to this. Lifting her head to check, she saw that her son and daughter were occupied eating! So she softly said, “Ruyu’s matter…. Has anyone come to propose marriage?”
Liu Xu’er’s ears immediately pricked up!
The instant she mentioned this, laolao continuously sighed. Without bothering to speak softly, she pulled on her eldest and started to complain. “Why is my life so bitter? Ruyu is already 14, and is one of the prettiest girls in the village, but why hasn’t anyone come to propose marriage? At the beginning of the year, there finally was one proposal, but guess who it came from?”
“Who?!” He shi obviously wouldn’t know!
“The village good-for-nothing Mao family! Mao Third! How shameless of him to come over! Your dad, and brothers chased him out….”
He shi let out an “ah”, before her face darkened and she started to scold softly, “Shameless thing! He’s a toad who wants to eat swan meat! Doesn’t he even know….” She couldn’t continue to speak too coarsely. Her daughter was in the room!
After venting for a while, He shi asked, “Since he was chased out, doesn’t that mean that the matter is over? Surely he hasn’t been harassing our family?”
Laolao scolded softly, “Isn’t that so! His whole family is shameless! I was just wondering, how was it that no one else came forward to propose marriage. One day, when I went out for a visit, Aunt Zhang said something to me. It turns out that that scoundrel Mao Third had been telling the entire village that he… he fancied Ruyu, and that if anyone else dared to propose marriage, he would go and break their legs! What…. What kind of behaviour is that?!”
He shi was now shocked into utter rage! In an instant, she fiercely said, “Fight! We need to cripple that scoundrel! Let’s see if he dares to continue to say such things after that! What are my younger brothers doing?!”
“ Of course we’ve beaten him – would we have just let him be?! Wenqing brough Wenhui and Wenyu over and beat him half to death! Warned him not to smear our Ruyu’s reputation, but that scoundrel, you know what he’s like. Even a beating like that was not enough to change his behaviour. Your brothers have already beaten him up twice, and your father has scolded him, but he is still behaving that way! Whenever he sees anyone, he would spout that same nonsense. Your father has complained about the matter to the Village Head, but he’s helpless too. Instead, he turned around and explained to your father that the family was just that useless and troublesome…. Oh, this is frustrating me to death!”
As laolao spoke, she kept sighing. With this fiend in the village eyeing her daughter, it was an exceedingly troublesome matter!
“Then what about those from out of the village? Hasn’t anyone come forward?” He shi asked.
Laolao frowned and shook her head, “No… I really don’t know what’s happening.”
“It was probably Mao Third again! Who knows what he’s been saying outside… No! Mum, this matter cannot continue this way. There must be a way of dealing with it!” He shi said.
Laolao was so troubled, her entire face wrinkled, “Your dad and I are aware! Your brothers have been looking at people from outside the village, after all, it concerns the rest of her life… But there isn’t anyone suitable. It’s so worrying.”
Liu Xu’er frowned and thought, would this be a good time to mention sishu? This way…. It would give laolao and laoye some time to adjust to the idea, and remember that sishu was a suitable candidate!
Just as she was thinking, He shi had already started speaking, “Why don’t I look around my village? There are quite a few youths who haven’t married.”
Laolao said, “Would that be ok? That she marries into the same village as you?”
“What’s there to worry….”
He shi hadn’t finished when Liu Xu’er piped up, “Laolao, mum, you’ve forgotten about a very suitable person. My sishu isn’t married! Why don’t you arrange for a match between them?! That way, xiaoyi would be in the same family as mum!”
This sudden statement stunned both laolao and He shi. He shi reprimanded her, “Little kids shouldn’t speak so rashly!”
Laolao smiled and nodded, “That’s right, relatives are not suitable.”
“Why aren’t they suitable? My sishu is such a good person!” Liu Xu’er persisted, however she was pushed out of the room by He shi. “Your laolao and I are speaking, what are you doing listening in on our conversation? Go out and play!”
Tossed out of the room, Liu Xu’er paced the doorway before rubbing her nose and heading over to her xiaoyi’s room.
Seeing that she was at the doorway, He Ruyu quickly waved her in, “Quickly, come on over. I wanted to measure you… I want to make it a little big, so that you can wear these clothes for longer!”
Saying this, she took a measuring tape over. Liu Xu’er stretched her arms wide to allow her to measure. She wanted to talk about what just happened, but thought better of it and stayed quiet. Xiaoyi was a shy person by nature so she would definitely be embarrassed by the topic. If she were to mention her sishu, who knows what she might imagine! Perhaps she might even get the wrong idea and think that it was her sishu who had instructed her to speak to her, and feel even more embarrassed! She could not ruin this matter for them!
Thinking about this, she stayed quiet.
Dajiu, He Wenqing had a daughter called He Xiuxiu here. She was younger than Liu Xu’er by about three years. She was dajiu’s eldest child. She sat obediently on the kang, her face round and plump. Using her chubby hands, she stroked the cloth enviously.
In the heat of the moment, Liu Xu’er immediately offered a piece of cloth for Xiuxiu to make a set of clothes for her. But He Ruyu smiled and stopped her.
Seeing her xiaogu’s expression, Xiuxiu knew that that wouldn’t happen. She pouted, but didn’t say anything, causing Liu Xu’er to feel sorry for her. Dajiuma2 大舅妈/ Dajiuma – 舅妈/ Jiuma refers to one’s maternal uncle’s wife. 大/Da specifically refers to the eldest, hence the term here is referring specifically to the eldest maternal uncle’s wife. called Xiuxiu out for a drink, so Xiuxiu got off the kang to head out. Taking this chance, Liu Xu’er asked He Ruyu if Xiuxiu could have some cloth for an outfit?
He Ruyu laughed, before scolding her, “This is the cloth that your mother wrestled with herself to buy for you! Why are you being so generous and giving it away? Furthermore, look at you – all day, you wear hand-me-downs, how do you look like a girl? Alright, stop nagging. Xiaoyi will definitely make Xiuxiu an outfit too!” Saying this, she went across the kang and took out a piece of cloth. It was the same material used in the outfit she’d made for Liu Xu’er. Smiling, she said, “This is for Xiuxiu. It’s just that I haven’t had the chance to make it yet!”
With that, Liu Xu’er relaxed.
Dajiuma was pregnant last year. This year in the first month, she had given birth to a chubby little boy. By now, the baby was about five months old. He was lying on the bed, cooing to himself. He was just at the age where he was learning to roll. Bored, Liu Xu’er went over with Liu Sen to dajiu’s room to play with the little baby.
After the noon meal, everyone in the family was merrily chatting. Liu Xu’er’s mother He shi was the family’s eldest child. She got married the earliest and so had never had the chance to live with her younger brother’s wives. As such, there was no conflict between them. Also, she had heard from He Ruyu that the two sisters- in-law were quite good and that they treated their parents quite well. With that, He shi could stop worrying.
After the meal, the kids continued playing. The few brothers brought their jiefu around to have a look, while He shi continued to chat with Xu’er’s laolao, until about 5pm when they started to prepare to return home.
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Aiyeee~~~ it seems it isn’t easy for Shisu to get Xiaoyi’s parents approval.
Hehehehe – road to love is never smooth