Chapter 64 – One-Month Celebration
Shi Qi Shan quickly discussed what he had learned today with his confidant. In the evening, he and his wife also talked about the Lin family.
The prefectural magistrate’s wife, Mrs. Shi, came from an influential family. After hearing the news, she quickly analyzed the situation with her husband. She felt that they could stand to get closer to this Lin family.
In her head, she sort through all of her interpersonal relationships and recalled that she previously had some friendly relations with the Qin family that Lin-xiaozhu’s biological sister had married into. And she had also invited Mrs. Qin to attend several gatherings of upper-class women’s families in Xu Province. In the future, they could start to create relations with the Lin family from this angle.
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Shi Qi Shan discussed with his wife for a long time, and finally decided on what to give as a present on the day of the one-month celebration.
The following day, Shi Qi Shan invited the county head magistrate of Pei County, Du Xiang Heng, to talk with him about the Lin family.
When County Head Magistrate Du heard the news, he was also overjoyed. After all, a noble person had originated from their county. He also knew about the Lin family. The eldest child of the Lin family passed the county level imperial exam, and he had once praised him for it.
Shi Qi Shan said to County Head Magistrate Du: “This Lin family is under your jurisdiction. You should watch over them more often.”
County Head Magistrate Du didn’t need the prefectural magistrate to tell him twice. He promptly agreed.
Upon returning, County Head Magistrate Du immediately invited his old teacher to discuss with him. He planned to go in person to Lin Jia Wen’s son’s one-month celebration and present a gift.
Within a day, news that a noble person originated from Pei County spread among the upper-class families in Xu Province. All those families secretly planned to make friends with the Lin family.
In the blink of an eye, Bo Ge Er’s one-month celebration day arrived. The Lin family specially invited a chef from the village who specialized in making noodles, and had six round tables set up for guests. Then they invited all the people from the village that they were familiar with to come celebrate the event.
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Early in the morning, Zhou Hai’s family came over to help out. The Qin family also arrived early. Mrs. Qin greeted Zhang Hui Niang in a cordial manner, and Lin Jin Er helped her mother welcome the incoming guests together.
Taking the chance before the start of the festivities, Wu-shi’s mother talked to her daughter in her room.
[T/N: Reminder, Wu-shi (Wu Qiao Lan) is Lin Jia Wen’s wife and Bo Ge Er’s mother.]
Upon seeing Wu Qiao Lan’s ruddy complexion, she knew that her daughter was well taken care of during her one-month confinement period.
“Seeing that you are living your days well, Mother is also happy for you. Your mother-in-law treats you well. In the future, you must be filial to them.”
“Mother, I will…” Wu Qiao Lan replied.
Wu Qiao Lan was very happy right now. Her mother-in-law and father-in-law were kind. Her husband treated her very well and he also had ambitions to improve himself. Now, she also gave birth to a son. Everything was going well.
“Is Jia Wen working hard? Your father said, Jia Wen’s scholarly knowledge is already very good. His chances of passing the provincial level imperial examination this time are very promising. You have to urge him well in his studies, and remember not to let him become complacent and lazy.” Wu Qiao Lan’s mother said to her daughter.
“Mother, please don’t worry… Husband is very hard working. He studies till late every day…” Wu Qiao Lan replied with a smile.
Today, the Lin family received a lot of gifts, and Lin Jia Cai helped out by recording all of the gifts down on a list. Lin Jia Cai was ten years old this year. He started his education two years ago, and he has already finished studying the Three Character Classic* and The Book of Family Names*. His talent for studying and reading was not as high as his elder brother, Lin Jia Wen, but he was an assiduous learner.
[*T/N: 三字经 Three Character Classic is a 13th century reading primer consisting of Confucian tenets in lines of 3 characters. (In present day, it is also slang for “swearword.” Lol.) 百家姓 The Book of Family Names is an anonymous Song dynasty reading primer that listed 438 surnames.]
Lin Jia Cai was gradually becoming more and more sensible. He knew that the family’s current goods days were thanks to his elder brother’s hard work, and his second brother’s efforts in the palace.
His family was exempted from the land tax because his elder brother studied hard and became a candidate for the county level imperial exam. And this year, his elder brother had even passed the county level imperial exam. And because of this, his entire family would be exempted from military service and corvee.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Lin Jia Cai also wanted to study hard like his elder brother, and give his family even better days in the future with his own efforts.
“Elder Brother, this Landlord Jin sent a hundred taels of silver as congratulations.” Lin Jia Cai said to his elder brother, Lin Jia Wen.
There were carriages coming into the courtyard one after another to present all sorts of gifts. Lin Jia Wen didn’t even recognize many of the gift givers, and he gradually realized that something was wrong.
A team of bailiffs (of feudal yamen) arrived outside the Lin family courtyard. With gifts in their hands, they sang as they walked: “Here comes Xu Province’s prefectural magistrate’s congratulatory gifts!”
The people in the village were all watching the excitement. They were surprised to hear that the prefectural magistrate had also sent a congratulatory gift. They were thinking how honored this Lin-xiucai* must be to even receive a present from the prefectural magistrate.
[*T/N: 秀才 xiu cai means “a person who has passed the county level imperial exam,” which is referring to Lin Jia Wen.]
A while after came another horse carriage.
“County magistrate… it’s the county magistrate.”
A few sharp-eyed villagers have already recognized the county magistrate.
Official* Lin Yu Quan hurried forward to greet him.
[*T/N: I am translating it as simply “official” but the precise term is 里正 li zheng, which was a title that came into use during the Spring and Autumn Period (from 770 to 476 BC). 里正 li zheng is a basic level, grassroots, official position and is mainly responsible for managing household registration and paying taxes.]
“County Head Magistrate Du, for you to come visit, it is a supreme honor for our Lin Village. County Head Magistrate Du, please [come in]…”
County Head Magistrate Du did not step forward, but instead let the young person beside him go first, “Hu-daren, please, you first…”
Only then did everyone notice the young person beside the county head magistrate. That person’s attire was impressive and exquisite, and it could be seen at a glance that it was no ordinary person.
Hearing the commotion outside, the Lin family came out.
Lin Da Zhuang and Lin Jia Wen stepped forward to greet them. Lin Jia Wen bowed (with his hands held in front) to County Head Magistrate Du, “For the county head magistrate to come to this student’s home… your presence brings light to our Lin family’s humble dwelling…” Lin Jia Wen turned his attention to that young person, and asked County Head Magistrate Du: “Who might this daren be…?”
Hu Si Zhan introduced himself to everyone, “Lin-laoye*, there is no need for you all to be so courteous. I am the crown prince’s sheren. By His Royal Highness’s command, I have come today to present a one-month celebration gift to Lin-xiaozhi’s nephew.”
[*T/N: 老爷 lao ye – a respectful term of address for the oldest male in the family, in this case that would be Lin Da Zhuang. It can also mean “lord” or “master.”]
What Hu Si Zhan said was like a thunderclap that exploded in the hearts of everyone in the Lin Village. The people of Lin Village discussed spiritedly. His Royal Highness, ah… this was a character only ever heard of in operas. Where else could they hear of such a noble person, ah…
Everyone in the Lin Village congratulated the Lin family. Amongst them were some who had also sent their children into the palace. Those people admired and envied the Lin family’s good luck even more, and wondered how come their child didn’t catch the attention of some noble person.