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2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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When Liu Xu’er heard them walk out the courtyard door, she suddenly heard the matchmaker speak rather loudly, “Oh! This is Old Sister’s Fourth?!”
Liu Xu’er flew towards the doorway to have a look. Sure enough, sishu was carrying a spade and heading back in. He looked puzzled at the matchmaker before quickly putting down the spade and greeting her.
Liu Gao shi nodded and said that this was indeed her fourth son. Then she introduced Matchmaker Su to Liu Changshi. Watching from the side, Liu Xu’er saw her uncle’s face change. He barely managed to nod his head at the matchmaker before returning to the house, all gloomy.
Liu Xu’er started to shake her head! Look at you! Aren’t you a big man? Why don’t you just say what’s on your mind? You should just make yourself clear to Liu Gao shi – would she just ignore your request? She watched as he headed back to his room.
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Nkw Dw’la oyp nsdvlxrzyvkdt vbl pweeld kdvawpksd sq Lkyd Wydt, obs ralpldvle y dlo scpvynzl vs bla wdnzl’p xyaakytl. Fbl oyp fwpv vaukdt vs qktwal swv obs vs czyxl obld Tl pbk ldvlale. “Dw’la, R’x tskdt vs ralryal y xlyz qsa uswa ul yde dyk. Fvyu blal, yde esd’v ts yduoblal!”
“Xj!” Nkw Dw’la ytalle. Fbl nsdvkdwle vs pkv yde qalv shla vbl xyvvla qsa y obkzl, clqsal blyekdt swv vs Nkw Tsdt’p assx.&dcpr;
Mbl nzspla kv tsv vs Nkw Tsdt’p xyaakytl, vbl zlpp pbl zlqv vbl bswpl. Lso, pbl plzesx lhld zlqv bla assx! Fbl prldv bla eyup ralryakdt bla oleekdt vaswpplyw. Ebld pbl pyo Nkw Dw’la ldvla, pbl iwknjzu oyhle bla byde, “Dw’la kp blal. Cwknjzu nsxl yde byhl y plyv! R blyae uswa xsvbla’p hsknl, eke uswa xsvbla nsxl yp olzz?”
Nkw Dw’la dseele, “Mbyv’p aktbv, mkystw. Ebu yald’v usw zlyhkdt uswa assx yduxsal?” Fyukdt vbkp, pbl rknjle wr vbl lxcaskelau osaj sd vbl jydt vs byhl y zssj. Mblu olal yzz clepbllvp yde obyv dsv, okvb kdvlavokdle zsvwplp sa xydeyakd ewnjp lxcaskelale sd vblx.&dcpr;
Nkw Tsdt czwpble, clqsal pktbkdt, “Zsw’al vss uswdt vs wdelapvyde.”
Nkw Dw’la eked’v ypj qwavbla. Fllkdt vbl swvqkv vbyv bla mkysuk bye xyel sd vbl jydt, pbl oldv shla vs byhl y zssj yde ypjle, “Dkystw, kp vbkp uswa oleekdt swvqkv? Gal usw olyakdt vbkp obld usw tlv xyaakle?”
Nkw Tsdt, qynl pvkzz ale, pbssj bla blye. “Ls, vbyv’p qsa saekdyau olya… Yu oleekdt swvqkv xwpv cl plod cu xuplzq, yde kv’p vlaakczu nsxrzknyvle….”
Nkw Dw’la bwxxle bla wdelapvydekdt.&dcpr;
Hearing that the matchmaker had left, Liu Hong stood up. Although this matchmaker wasn’t here for her, it was still best for her to minimise interactions with others to maintain her dignity. Liu Xu’er saw her take off the bracelets on her wrists and quickly said, “Mum has already gone to make the meal! She just told me that, xiaogu, so you should minimise going out.”
Liu Hong was stunned, before a giggle escaped.
Liu Xu’er saw that the bracelets she was wearing were made of silver. She pointed and teased, “Xiaogu, were these given by xiaogufu? Eh? They weren’t on the list of betrothal gifts! When did you two secretly meet with each other? My xiaogufu secretly gave these to you?”
Liu Hong immediately flushed tomato red. Picking up the broom to smack at her, she said, “What a child! You… You are only six! How is it that you know so much?!”
Liu Xu’er ran around the room, ducking her, laughing loudly.
Outside, Liu Gao shi had sent Matchmaker Su off before heading directly to her fourth son’s room. The instant she entered, she pointed at Liu Changshi and said, “Explain your behaviour just now?! The instant the person said she was a matchmaker, your face fell! What do you think you are doing?!” She scolded.
Liu Changshi was a little frustrated, “Mum! What did that person come to say? No matter who it is, I don’t agree!”
“What are you saying! You don’t agree to anyone? What do you plan to do? Do you plan to be single your whole life?!” Liu Gao shi’s voice rose. “Let me tell you, the person the matchmaker proposed doesn’t sound too bad. I am going to get your ersao to find out more about the person’s character when she goes back to her maiden village. If she’s a good one….”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Liu Changshi was so shocked, his jaw nearly dropped. Startled, he said, “Why are you asking ersao to find out more when she goes back to her maiden village?”
“The girl is from Qianzhuang Village, so of course I need to send your ersao to find out more! Forget it! I’m not discussing this with you. I’m going to speak to your father about this!” Liu Gao shi headed out.
Panicked, Liu Changshi grabbed hold of her arm to stop her, “Mum! Tell me clearly. Who’s family is…. She’s from my ersao’s maiden village? Which family is she from?”
Liu Gao shi stared at him, “What use is telling you? Do you know her?”
Liu Changshi’s voice carried disappointment, “I don’t know her?”
Liu Gao shi knocked his head. “Are you awake? Of course you don’t know her! Your saozi is not too familiar with her, so how could you be! The girl’s surname is quite unusual, she’s surnamed Nian…. Who else in the region has the same surname as them?” She muttered. She was about to leave when Liu Changshi abruptly recalled.
“Nian? Now I remember! Is she called Nian Fang?”
Liu Gao shi leapt in the air like a scalded cat. She stood firm and turned to look at him, “How do you know her? She is indeed called Nian Fang.” She tapped him firmly on the head, “Spill! How do you two know each other?”
Liu Changshi rubbed his head and backed up a couple of steps. Sulkily he said, “There was once I met He Ruyu when I was in town. She was with He Ruyu. Mum, I don’t agree! I don’t like that girl!”
Liu Gao shi coldly laughed before saying, “It’s not up to you to decide! Look, if you delay the matter another two years, you will be single all your life! Off to one side with you – this matter will be decided by your father and I!”
Seeing the old lady so resolute, Liu Changshi was left with no choice. He quickly went forward to grab hold of Liu Gao shi’s arm and said, “Mum, mum mum mum.…” He called as he pulled her to sit at the side of the kang. Smiling, he said, “Mum. I’ve met this girl before and… In any case, I didn’t fancy her. You can’t ask me to marry someone I don’t fancy right? I…. If I were forced to marry her, then I might be unhappy my whole life!”
Seeing him speak seriously, Liu Gao shi started to get somewhat suspicious, “You really met her before? You really don’t fancy her? That girl…. Is there anything wrong with her?”
Liu Changshi stood up and started to pace around. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with Nian Fang, and she hadn’t offended him in any way. He couldn’t make something up, just because he didn’t fancy her. He thought for a moment before making a decision. He needed to let his elders know about how he felt! If he didn’t say anything, how could it happen? It would never happen! So he went to stand by Liu Gao shi’s side and scratched his head, “Mum, I…. I already have someone I like….”
Liu Gao shi was shocked! She quickly asked, “Who?!”
Liu Changshi started to flush a dull red. Stuttering, he said, “She’s also… Also from Qianzhuang Village.”
Liu Gao shi was about to ask who! When in a sudden flash, the words her little granddaughter just said sprang to mind. Stunned, she said, “Who… Could it be your saozi’s family’s Ruyu?””
Liu Changshi’s red face drooped down. “It is her….” Although he felt embarrassed, he needed to make the matter very clear. As such, he said, “Your son…. Likes her! I don’t want anyone else!” Saying this, he went to the doorway and crouched down!
Liu Gao shi was both exasperated and amused. But even more, she was stunned! Dazed, she looked at him for a long while before smiling in exasperation. She had seen He Ruyu and it would be a lie to say she had never considered her before. She had long thought that it would be really good if He Ruyu could be matched with her son!
After thinking for a while, she decided to share her worries, “The matter isn’t so easy to arrange. For one, our family is too familiar with what’s happening with Ruyu…. We know that she’s embroidering handkerchiefs for a family in town, and is making a lot of money. If we were to suggest marriage, would her family think it’s because we like her money making capabilities? Also, your saozi has just told me that there’s a scoundrel harassing her in their village. If we were to mention marriage now, would her family think we are trying to take advantage of their difficult position to steal her away?!”
Liu Gao shi held her hand up to forestall what her son wanted to say, “Also! The third point I need to mention is that we are already relatives with them. There’s no way around this. We can ignore what others say, but I understand from your saozi that their family is quite mindful of this custom. If so, they may not agree to the match….”
Liu Changshi was dismayed to hear that. He had originally wanted to say something, but didn’t know what to say. He could only continue to crouch at the doorway.
Liu Gao shi sighed. Turning to leave, she said, “Alright, I understand! Let me go and test the waters with your ersao!”
When Liu Changshi heard, his hopes started to rise. He quickly stood and followed her out.. “Mum…..” Then he saw his ersao emerge from the kitchen. In a fright, he turned and returned to his room.
He shi saw Liu Gao shi emerge from her xiaoshu’s room. Quickly she smiled and followed her into the main room to ask, “Mum, have you told Fourth? What did Fourth say? This matter…. Do you want me to go back to my maiden home to find out more?”
Liu Gao shi paused for a moment before saying, “Let’s not rush into this, I will first discuss the matter with your father. If we need you to find out more, we will let you know.”
He shi nodded her head and said, “Mum, the vegetables in the kitchen have been washed, and the dough for the noodles kneaded. It’s resting right now. Should I bring the children home?”
Liu Gao shi nodded, “Go on home! Don’t worry about this matter. I will go over in a few days to discuss it with you.”
He shi agreed. Holding onto Liu Xu’er, she came out into the courtyard and found Senzi picking apricots as his yeye held him up. Taking him over, she said goodbye to Old Man Liu before leaving.
Liu Xu’er had no idea of what had happened. She fretted over the matter for a whole night, and wished that Shi Cheng was around. If he were, she could discuss this matter with him. But he had returned to town a few days ago, so there was no one she could talk to about this.
Then she thought about her xiaogu’s upcoming wedding. She wanted to make a little something as a gift. Although it wouldn’t be much, she wanted to make a few beautiful braided cords at least, as a gift.
The next few days, she concentrated on her work. Of course, she still thought about her sishu’s matter. She planned to find some time to persuade her mother about this. However, in these few days, He shi had opened up all the family’s thick blankets, as well as all of their cotton jackets. After washing the cloth covers, she went to find someone to help fluff up the hardened cotton. It was a very busy period! Liu Xu’er wasn’t able to find the time.
Her little rabbits had also fallen sick and two had died. Thankfully Liu Changgeng had spotted that those two were looking peaky and had quickly isolated them. That prevented their illness from spreading to the rest. They didn’t manage to rescue these two, so they had to bury them in an isolated spot.
The rest of the rabbits were old enough to shear. After two or three days of busy work, they finally managed to shear all of them. She put all the fur into the large chest that Liu Changgeng had made for her.
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