You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 010 – Laying Plans (b)

Higher Level Wife – 010 – Laying Plans (b)

Chapter 10: Laying Plans (2)


Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou


Fu Qiuning sighed, returning to her chair and sitting down facing her maids. Gently, she said, “Now that all three of us understand the situation, you must know that it will be very difficult for us to pass our days well. However, it is still not impossible. First, I need to clarify something. Yu Jie, when you sold those things, how did you do it and through whom? Will others be able to find out?”

Yu Jie quickly replied “Madam need not worry. This maid has entrusted the matter to Aunt Zhang’s son. Both he and his mother are honest people, otherwise, they would not be entrusted to watch the back door. They get a little money as an errand fee and are both very grateful to us. Moreover, they know of our situation here and would not reveal anything.”

Suddenly, her back straightened and she lifted her chin with a cold harrumph, “So what if the main house finds out? If anyone comes and questions us, this maid has plenty to say to them. They were the ones who dock our allowance to the point that we have to sell our property just to stay alive. If this comes to light, let’s see whose face would fall first.”

Fu Qiuning sneered and said: “You sure know how to talk big. I wonder, who hid in the kitchen like a frightened turtle when the Young Marquis came here earlier?”

Yu Jie’s brave countenance deflated and her neck shrank back as she glared helplessly at the table.

Fu Qiuning laughed and said, “Pei! You’re just a scoundrel who only knows how to talk but dare not act. Still dare to speak such heroic words in front of me?”

She shook her head and sighed, “Regardless, Yu Jie’s thoughts are wrong. We are now the people of this estate. If others discovered us selling things, they might not be able to label us as thieves but they could still cast the blame of ruining the reputation of the marquisate. Do you believe the Old Madam, Old Marquis, Young Marquis as well as those numerous secondary wives and concubines would care why we sell our things?

Don’t be silly, they cannot wait for an excuse to cast us out. We are eyesores and the world has never been fair. This is something that the two of you should have known by now. If not, remember it and keep it in your heart. You say the Zhang family is reliable? I should think so seeing how you have been selling off bits and pieces through them for the past ten months. Have there really been no questions?

Aunt Yu suddenly spoke up, “Madam, if this one may. There should be no need to worry about the Zhang family. This maid used to be neighbours with them and… if not for this maid’s parent’s greed for money, this maid would have…” 

Just as suddenly as she had begun, she stopped speaking. However, her reddened eyes were very eloquent and Yu Jie cried out, “Surely not! The reason why Brother Zhang still refuses to marry… is because of Aunt Yu?”

Aunt Yu nodded. Fu Qiuning and Yu Jie could not help but sigh together for her misfortune. How terrible to be saddled with gold-digging parents. Aunt Yu’s original happy life was destroyed thanks to their greed. 

Nevertheless, Fu Qiuning felt that much more at ease after knowing about Aunt Yu’s connection with this Aunt Zhang and her son. If the son was devoted enough to stay single until now…

Yu Jie added,” They normally don’t such things, but, because they pitied Madam’s situation…”

“They made an exception for us?” finished Fu Qiuning. “Well, since there are no problems on that side, we only need to concern ourselves with what to sell. We can’t just depend on these little ornaments and brocades, what would we eat once the house is empty? Are we to survive by drinking the northwest wind?”

When Aunt Yu and Yu Jie began to frown with concern, she smiled and continued: “I have a few plans at hand. Why don’t you listen and think about it? Firstly, as women, we should all be skilled in those womanly arts. We can sell some embroidered handkerchiefs or pouches. That’s one source of income.

Then, when the season comes, we can collect flowers from the courtyard to make perfumes and scented bags for sale. I have spoken to Yu Jie about it earlier and even with my limited knowledge, I manage to identify roses, Chinese roses, chrysanthemums, Moutan peonies and Chinese peonies. In fact, we can even sell these as cut flowers too. Our second way to make money will depend on these flowers.

Thirdly, well, we have some good quality papers, brushes and ink in the study. I believe during our slow days we can spend some time drawing landscapes, flowers and birds, attach them with some good poem or other and sell them to some painting or calligraphy stores. Thus, securing our third source of income.

With these three ways to make money, we should be able to cover our food and clothing expenses. Nevertheless, we should not just rely on money for food. I plan to plant corn, soybeans, potatoes and sweet potatoes in the backyard. It should also be possible to raise chickens, ducks and geese and supplement Feng’er and Jiao’er with their eggs. We may start with a few and hatch more for future meat and eggs.”

Finally, she took a breath and saw Yu Jie and Aunt Yu sitting together with stunned expressions on their faces. After a while, Yu Jie suddenly laughed, “After hearing Madam’s words, what had once been a dead-end road is suddenly filled with willows that give shade and flowers that give light. Just how did Madam bring up so many plans in a blink of an eye? This maid suddenly felt as though the future is bright with opportunities.”

Aunt Yu also nodded, “This maid feels the same.”

“If you think it’s good, then let’s do it. Now that spring has just begun, there is no need to rush just yet. We still have rice and flour and a bit of silver left. I think it’s better to quickly make two sets of clothes for Feng’er and Jiao’er tomorrow. When the Young Marquis came just now, my face fairly burned when he saw the children. With so many things happening today, I have been remiss about their clothes.

It’s possible that the Young Marquis thought that I had intentionally let the children look poor in front of him. Nevertheless, I still have a bit of pride. I might not be talented, but I do not wish to give him the wrong impression.”

“If this maid may say so, Madam might have been overly concerned. Why would the Young Marquis pay attention to Young Master or Young Miss?” Aunt Yu’s laughter was a little cold. She despised Jin Fengju’s ruthless and neglectful attitude to the point that she forgot her station.

Fu Qiuning sneered, “If he does not pay attention then let it be. Who knows how many hidden struggles are happening within this distinguished family? If the children had received the Young Marquis’ favour, who knows whether they would live long enough to grow up? Now that I have fallen out of favour and am cast out to this isolated courtyard, I am now safe from those hidden struggles.

Let us all consider this a blessing in disguise. I am too stupid for those cloak and dagger schemes. I’ll probably fall for someone’s tricks and die a miserable death without knowing the culprit of my death.”

Aunt Yu and Yu Jie both smiled and said. “But of course, Madam has spoken to us at length about this. Madam has seen through the truth behind this rich and powerful family into the true danger behind the noble facade. To be honest, we cannot believe that Madam really does not care for the Young Marquis’ favour. After all, how can there be a woman who does not want or expect adoration from their husband?

However, as Madam said, a noble family is different. Favour invites trouble from unexpected sides. On the other hand, being cast out like this may look bad from the outside and life might be a little difficult, but we can at least protect our lives. After all, while it’s not unheard of for the man to ‘Favour the Concubines and Abandon the Wife’, the stories of the ‘Wife Torturing the Concubines’ are just more prevalent.”

The three of them continued to talk for a little before Fu Qiuning finally said, “Let’s go to bed, we have many things to do tomorrow.” She slept at the end of the kang bed, which was not as hot as the head of the bed, but it was still warm enough. After all, spring was coming and it was not as cold as winter.

She slept soundly.

The next morning, she woke up just a little after dawn, about seven o’clock in modern terms. Now that she has come into this world, she wanted to get started on going to bed early and waking early as well as exercising every day. It would not do to get sick in this era with limited funds and a lack of modern medicine.

Otherwise, she would still be sleeping under the covers if she was still in the modern world.


Pill Bug TL Notes:


[1] 老太君 Old Madam? Google translate threw out ‘Old Prince’ but further googling says ‘Old Madam’.

Gumihou: I used ‘Old Madam’ in the Feast. We could stick to that.


[2] 蔷薇,月季,菊花,牡丹,芍药 You know, a flower is a flower to me, without a degree in herbology, google translate tells me they are roses, roses, chrysanthemums, peony, peony. And I probably can’t tell the difference. Gah.

Gumihou: 蔷薇 Multiflora Rose, not to be confused with 月季 Chinese Rose

Generally speaking, the Chinese rose is a highly cultivated species of rose. The image you have in mind with the word ‘rose’ comes from this variation. The Multiflora rose has single petal blooms and are much more hardy. To the point that it is considered a noxious weed in some parts of North America though it was introduced there originally to help with soil conservation measures.

菊花 = Chrysanthemum, duh. lol.

牡丹 is the famous Moutan Peony that often appeared in Chinese paintings. It’s bred through a combination of different variations to achieve the many petal versions loved by scholars, painters and embroiderers.

芍药 or Chinese peony is probably the Peonia lactiflora that comes in deep pink with double petals and are likened to the ‘minister of flowers’ whereas the Moutan is often associated with the empress.


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hamster

    It must be one immense backyard to have room for an adequate quantity of those crops. I assume arable land is valuable in China (the land of famines), so if the backyard was equipped with irrigation ditches and it was already cleared of brush, weeds, and rocks, then someone else was probably farming that land to maintain production. They would resent the MC exerting her authority and taking the prepared land away from them. I hope the author deals with the cultural parts of Chinese agriculture instead of ignoring them.

    Corn and soybeans are annual crops in China with maturation of 90 to 150 days. I better not see food suddenly becoming available until harvest season!

    1. Gumihou

      I had… a moment of crisis where a single courtyard, belonging to an ex-concubine mind you, not only has gardens but actual forests!!! inside it. I was mind-boggled. Just how f*cking huge the marquisate is with courtyards for:

      Secondary wive A
      Concubines (unknown number)
      A communal garden
      The actual marquis (and wife)
      Actual marquis’ concubine/secondary wife, if any
      Actual marquis’ brother (the uncle)
      The Mother-in-Law
      ML’s older brother (Second Master)

      A concubine’s courtyard (no matter how favoured) is already this luxurious, what the heck are the actual master’s places like?

  2. Reader

    I like her, she thinks.

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