Chapter 17: Rejoice
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
“The two children drink this too?” Jin Fengju carefully sipped a mouthful. The taste was not particularly good, but it was not as bad as he imagined. After tasting it carefully, he discovered a touch of residual fragrance under the bitterness.
Fu Qiuning nodded her affirmation and took a sip too.
Jin Fengju lowered his cup of tea and looked at Changfeng and Changjiao, who were still standing in the middle of the room, “Were you two the ones reading and playing the guqin in the courtyard earlier?”
Changfeng and Changjiao huddled together a little fearfully and replied with voices as loud as a mosquito’s, “Yes,”
“You’re the one who usually taught them?” Jin Fengju turned to Fu Qiuning, who calmly nodded in response.
There was neither the slightest pride nor joy in her expression. He could not help but feel her restraint quite laudable. He turned to the children again, “You seemed to have familiarised yourself with the essay. For seven or eight-year-old children, though it is not particularly difficult, it still quite taxes your attention. What books have you studied so far? How many have you memorized?”
Changfeng knew that the questions were aimed at him and quickly supplied his answer in a respectful manner, “To answer father, sister and I studied together. Of the Four Books , we have just finished learning <<Analects>> and <<Mencius>>. We can recite both from memory but there are passages we have yet to fully understand.”
“This much is already rare.” A smile bloomed on Jin Fengju’s face, he was obviously very happy. When he thought of his other children, though brought up surrounded by wealth, rich food and an excellent environment, their ability to study were a little lacking. Though their talent with poetry, guqin, and chess was passable, none show true promise when it came to the sages’ writings.
Of the lot, the best one was a five-year-old son, who had just memorized the <<Thousand Character Classic>> . Though it would not do to demand too much from a five-year-old, he could tell from Changfeng’s speech that the twins must have been doing more than just reciting the <<Thousand Character Classic>> at five.
“This humble woman’s knowledge is shallow and could only give crude explanations to the sage’s words. This humble woman only thought of letting Feng’er and Jiao’er read and understand words, we’ve let the Young Marquis seen something absurd.”
Fu Qiuning lowered her head slightly but Jin Fengju waved his hand generously and said, “You’re being too humble. It’s not easy to have studied to this degree. You must have been very attentive.”
Jin Ming thought: How many years has it been since I’ve seen the Young Marquis so happy? Even the year he won third place at the Imperial Exams and rode through the streets in glory, the master had been calm and indifferent. However, after thinking about it, the master’s happiness is quite reasonable. There are several young masters and young misses in the family but none of them has half as much interest in studying.
They had all been spoiled by their mothers and the Elder Madam. Only the Old Madam understood that ‘A Spoilt Child Courts Death’ However, so what if she understood this? Though she wishes to show strictness to the little grandchildren, it would look as though she sided against her child. The Young Marquis famously ranked third at the Imperial Exam and yet his children are not as good as their father in studying the sages’ writings.
It would be difficult for these children to achieve significant accomplishments in their studies. In the future, they might even end up living off the grace of their ancestors and inheritance. How could he not be depressed?
To suddenly see a pair of well-read children of his own blood, how could he not be happy? Moreover, although that Fu Qiuning woman was not much of a beauty, she was a fresh and dignified woman with a stable temper and elegant manners.
Seeing the two children call such a woman ‘mother’ so affectionately also dispelled the shadow left by the original woman who had left a stain on the Young Marquis’ heart in his youth.
Even as he pondered over these things, Jin Fengju continued to test the children over what they have read. He spoke a few more words to Fu Qiuning and instructed Changfeng to show him some of the words and lines he had written. The children brought out their homework together and Jin Fengju found himself nodding over the quality of their writing. However, the fact that both sides of the paper were used made his brows crease slightly.
Just how bad was the condition within this courtyard that noble-born children had to write on both sides of the paper in this marquisate?
“Young Marquis, it’s getting late, this humble woman’s sisters might be starting to worry… perhaps…” Fu Qiuning was starting to feel anxious: Oh my, Young Marquis, the sky is already darkening. Why are you still here asking this and that? Are you planning to eat here? We don’t have anything good to serve you, so why do you insist on making things difficult?
Helpless to do anything else, she could only voice out a reminder.
Instead of playing his part, Jin Fengju laughed. “What’s this? Is this your way of hinting at an unwanted customer to leave? Still, you’re right. It is getting late. I have yet to greet them today, so, it’s likely they are probably looking for me.”
At this, he stood up and walked towards Changfeng and Changjiao. He patted their little faces, “Your father will return first. Make sure to study well. When father has time, I will come and see you again. I shall also test you on your knowledge on my next visit, so study well, yes?”
“Yes,” Changfeng and Changjiao dutifully echoed his words. Jin Fengju noticed that although their mouths were quick to reply, there was no excitement in their eyes. Clearly, they did not believe that he would ever visit them again. To be fair, his last visit was five years ago. How long ago was that? It was more than half the years they had lived. It’s no wonder the children do not believe him.
However, this was not the time to give excuses or explanations. Jin Fengju believed that so long as he continued to visit when he said he would, the children would no longer be indifferent or unfamiliar with him.
He got up and left. When he reached the courtyard door, he turned back. The little children hidden behind the door were looking at him with anxious eyes. Sudden heat gripped his heart, the pain and shame of guilt wrenched at him and he cursed himself, “Inhuman.”
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com ~
“Young Marquis, this lowly one could see that young master and young miss are both very fond of Young Marquis. After all, the bonds of blood and flesh cannot be denied so easily. Only, that woman’s teaching is a little too strict. To think that while Young Marquis is leaving, she still did not have the self-awareness to come and send you off. At least the other young masters and young misses knew to curry favour and show some reluctance when the master was leaving.”
On the way back, Jin Ming studied Jin Fengju’s slightly gloomy expression and decided to use this opportunity to carefully alleviate his master’s mood by inviting him to vent about the people they had just visited.
As expected, he heard the sneer in Jin Fengju’s voice, “Yes, those other children are very good at currying favour and helping their mothers plead for me to stay. Aside from tricks like this, I have no idea what is being taught to those children. Not a single one of them is as good as a shu daughter of Eldest Prince Zhenjiang.”
After saying this, he glanced over at Jin Ming, “Also, what did you say just now? ‘That woman’? Is that something you can say? No matter what, she is my official wife in name. Stupid thing.”
Jin Ming quickly threw himself to his knees and said, “Yes, yes, yes, this servant is stupid.” He received a light kick to his side, followed by Jin Fengju’s admonishment of, “Get up. What are you doing kneeling here? Are you afraid that no one can see you kneel?”
Jin Ming stood up and trotted after his master. Privately, he thought: Before we entered that courtyard, who was it that said it was time to divorce someone? That someone also said that they don’t like trouble and yet, what happened? After we stepped out of the courtyard, not to mention divorce, I even have to address her as Madam now. Master, aren’t you flipping your attitude too quickly?
Despite his private grumblings, Jin Ming was also happy for Fu Qiuning and the two children. So long as the Young Marquis has a good impression of them, all else aside, the marquisate will continue to see peace. If she is really divorced and thrown back to Zhenjiang Palace, the Imperial Family would never allow the humiliation of raising a divorced woman in their hands. Even if she refuses to commit suicide, they will find other ways to kill her. No matter what the ending, the two children would lose their safe haven and no longer have a peaceful life.
“On my next visit, remind me to bring them some brushes, inkstone and papers,” Jin Fengju’s mild stated order came suddenly.
Jin Ming hastily agreed, despite reeling from further shock: What? Young Marquis, are you planning to not neglect them anymore? Is surnamed Fu going to make a comeback?! I-impossible, all Young Master did today was speak to the children a bit and maybe that lightened his disdain for the mother, but it’s impossible for him to suddenly like her. He must be planning to spoil the children a little. Perhaps he had some guilt over neglecting those children and intends to compensate them. Yes, that’s probably it.
[Gumihou: Even your personal servant found it impossible to believe…]
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 Four Books of the “Four Books and Five Classics (四书五经)” : “Great Learning”, “Doctrine of the Mean”, “Mencius”, “Analects”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Books_and_Five_Classics
 This thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_Character_ClassicMy god, ancient children had to memorise this? The length is like memorising a modern pop song, you expect a 5 year old to do this perfectly? (Gangnam style has about 1500 words)
If you love my translations, do consider dropping a comment at novelupdates!
Gumihou loves reading your comments, so gimme, gimme ~
( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ