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Chapter 66 – Relatives and Friends (21.1)
Although Lin Da Zhuang’s family had closed their doors to guests, it was still difficult to completely get rid of all of them.
In just the past few days, Zhang Hui Niang has received multiple flower-viewing invitations from the aristocratic families in the city proper of Xu Province. Amongst all the invitations were ones from the madams of the prefectural magistrate and county head magistrate. They had even arranged for a horse carriage to come pick her up and drop her off.
It was hard for Zhang Hui Niang to refuse the invitations of these madams [due to their status], so she could only bring her youngest daughter, Lin Xiu Er, to attend with her. Fortunately, these madams had also invited Madam Qin and Lin Jin Er, so Zhang Hui Niang felt a lot more at ease with them around.
Upon arriving home that day, Zhang Hui Niang and Lin Xiu Er heard a hubbub going on in front of their house, and there were even a good deal of people gathered to watch the show.
When they got closer, they saw that it was Ke Mei Li and Lin Da Li. Ke Mei Li was crying out loud at the entrance to their courtyard: “Dage*, we were wrong. Dage, please forgive us. Da Li and I know that we are wrong. We came here sincerely to ask for your forgiveness. Dage, we’re begging you, ah…”
[*T/N: 大哥 da ge = “big brother / elder brother.” She’s calling for Lin Da Zhuang, who is Lin Da Li’s elder brother. The standard term of address for the older brother of your husband is “大伯 da bo,” but you might be invited to call him “大哥 da ge” if your relationship with him is good, which is what Ke Mei Li is trying to imply here by calling him “大哥 da ge.”]
Official Registrar Wang learned from the country district magistrate that Lin Jia Bao became the crown prince’s xiaoshi, and he suddenly felt like his own prestige was also elevated. Regardless of how you look at it, they were still considered in-laws to the Lin family.
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Upon returning home, Official Registrar Wang spread the news to his family members. Lin Chun Er gritted her teeth in agony when she heard this news. How could this Lin Jia Bao be so lucky…?
Official Registrar Wang said to his daughter-in-law: “Chun Er, ah… when your cousin’s son had his one-month celebration, why did you not go to congratulate them?!”
Lin Chun Er murmured: “I have not been feeling well these past few days, therefore… I did not go.”
Madam Wang also asked: “Did you send someone to give them a present?”
“I did [send someone], I bought some [presents] myself.”
Lin Chun Er did not dare to say that she did not give any gifts at all. Her monthly allowance was not high. Official Registrar Wang’s family was not as wealthy as she had thought. The family mainly depended on the salary of her father-in-law. Although her husband could be considered literati, it was just effete language without substance, and he did not do anything productive at all. Her mother-in-law was in charge of the household and was very tight with money.
Previously, Lin Chun Er had used the money that she had saved to send gifts to Lin Da Zhuang’s family several times in order to repair their bonds, which would be helpful to herself. But each time, her gifts would be returned. This made Lin Chun Er feel that her uncle’s family was not tactful, so gradually she started to dismiss them.
But who would have thought that Lin Jia Bao would be so lucky that he could even make His Royal Highness send someone to present a gift for his nephew’s one-month celebration? This one act made Lin Da Zhuang’s family very impressive in the eyes of others… The more that Lin Chun Er thought about it, the more jealous she felt…
Madam said with dissatisfaction to her daughter-in-law: “Chun Er, it’s not that I want to criticize you, but your cousin’s son having a one-month celebration is such a great event, why did you not tell me about it? If you had told me, our family would have prepared a present. Like this, right now, it’s so discourteous. You, child, are really not sensible…”
“Mother-in-law, I know I was wrong.”
Lin Chun Er did not dare to refute, thinking to herself that she must reconcile with Lin Da Zhuang’s family no matter what, so that she could live better and more prominently in the Wang family in the future.
The next day, Lin Chun Er returned to her maternal family.
In the past two years, Lin Da Li and Ke Mei Li found their days to be unsatisfactory in the Lin Jia Village. The people in the village did not pay much attention to them, but Lin Da Li’s family felt that they were worthy people, so they somewhat looked down on the other people in the village.
A year ago, Lin Da Li and them felt that living in the village was boring, so the entire family moved to Pei County. In the country town, they opened up a grocery store. Business was not good but not bad either.
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“Chun Er, why are you back?” When Lin Chun Er came, Lin Da Li just so happened to be delivering goods, and Ke Mei Li was left in the shop to direct the shop assistants in sorting out the merchandise.
Ke Mei Li’s second daughter, Lin Xia Er, was also in the store that day. She hurriedly poured tea for her sister and said fawningly: “Big Sister, drink some tea. The clothes you’re wearing today are really beautiful, ah. It suits your complexion so well!”
Lin Xia Er took after their mother, Ke Mei Li. Her beauty is evident even at her young age. When she grew up, she would definitely become a beauty.
Lin Chun Er was enjoying the compliments and envy of her younger sister. Her younger sister Lin Xia Er looked like their mother and she knew how to speak sweet words. When they used to live together, she was treated much better than Lin Chun Er.
“I have some leftover materials from making this dress. Next time, I’ll have someone send them to you. It should be enough to make a skirt.”
Lin Xia Er thanked her elder sister sweetly. She knew that the good life she had at home now was due to her elder sister.
Lin Xia Er was envious of her sister for being able to marry into an official’s family, but with her beauty, she would be able to marry a better family than her sister in the future.
“Big Sister, the next time the county head magistrate’s wife has a flower-viewing party, can you also bring me along?”