Matchmaker Zhao stormed back to town and walked to the east end of town. She went to a small courtyard in an alley and banged on the door. A woman who looked like Chen Zhaodi opened the door.
When Matchmaker Zhao saw her, her face darkened and she complained, “I listened to you and went to the Li family. As soon as I raised my head, I was chased out by that girl. She didnt even give me a sip of water. Didnt your family inform anyone beforehand”
Madam Chen handed over a string of money in embarrassment. “Im sorry, Sister-in-law. I thought that girl cant wait to get married. I dont like someone who has been rejected before. Since shes unwilling, forget it!”
After receiving the money, Matchmaker Zhao was no longer angry. She chuckled and said, “Its time for your Chunsheng to get married. That girl is only so young. Im afraid she hasnt even arrived yet. If you want to have grandchildren after marrying her, youll have to wait a few years. Ill help you look for more.”
Madam Chen smiled. “Sister-in-law, Ill have to trouble you.”
“Whats the big deal Just look for me in the future.” Matchmaker Zhao walked away happily.
After Matchmaker Zhao left, Chen Zhaodi walked out of Madam Chens room. Madam Chen looked at her and said indifferently, “Cousin, did you hear that Its not that Im unwilling, but the Li family doesnt agree.”
Chen Zhaodi looked at Chen with some impatience. “The last time I came, I told you to ask Chunsheng to go personally. That girl has liked my son since he was young. Your Chunsheng also looks a little like him. She will definitely be tempted.”
Madam Chen glanced at her cousin and lowered her head, thinking, Your son is precious and my son is also my treasure! Why should I get him to marry someone your family doesnt want
Seeing Madam Chen lower her head in silence, Chen Zhaodi gritted her teeth and said, “Discuss it with Chunsheng. After this matter is over, Ill give 20 taels of silver to your family.”
Chens heart skipped a beat and she smiled. “Cousin, how much money did you pay her family”
Chen Zhaodi said resentfully, “80 taels of silver. Ive already compensated her with all the money meant for buying goods in the autumn. Forget it, its useless to tell you. Wait for Chunsheng to come back and discuss it with him.” Chen Zhaodi looked at Madam Chens unwilling expression and curled her lips. “Its not that I look down on your Chunsheng, but look at him, hes guilty of everything from gluttony to seeking prostitutes and gambling. Which daughter would be willing to find such a husband That girl is also well-groomed and diligent. If you marry her, youll get 20 taels of silver and a wife.”
Madam Chen brushed Chen Zhaodi off unhappily. “Alright, Ill discuss it with Chunsheng when he comes back.”
After sending Chen Zhaodi off, Chen closed the courtyard door and spat. She thought to herself, “My family contributed by sacrificing Chunsheng. Yet we are only getting 20 taels while you reap 60. Are you the only ones that know how to settle scores”
Madam Chen went back to the house to get the key, locked the door, and went to the casino in town. She found her son, Qi Chunsheng, and told him what Chen Zhaodi had said when she got h
Qi Chunshengs eyes lit up when he heard that. “Mother, why are you only taking 20 taels of silver out of 80 taels of silver If I can really deceive that girl, she and the silver will be ours.”
Chen looked at Qi Chunsheng worriedly. “Son, Chen Zhaodi and her in-laws are cunning and ruthless. Im afraid that their family will cause trouble for us.”
Qi Chunsheng looked disdainful and slapped the table. “Mom, what are you afraid of They are not good people themselves. When the time comes, that girl from the Li family and I will be family. What right does the Zhang family have to split our money”
Madam Chen said happily, “Thats right! My son is still the smartest.”
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After Qi Chunsheng thought about it, he said to Chen Shi, “Mom, why did Chen Zhaodi plot against our family We cant let her family get away with it like this. Go look for Chen Zhaodi tomorrow morning and tell her that I can seduce that girl. Let them buy me two sets of clothes. I cant possibly seduce her like a beggar!”
The mother and son hit it off immediately. “Thats true. Ill go to the county to look for Chen Zhaodi tomorrow morning.”
Li Yu still did not know that for the sake of those dozens of taels of silver, the Chen sisters were using her familys silver as chips to scheme against each other.
Li Mei had bought the bathtub, bamboo plaque, and bamboo basket from the village potter and carpenter. She had also bought a bamboo cupboard. When she heard from Zhaodi that a matchmaker had come and was chased away by Li Yu, she was a little worried that Li Yu still couldnt forget Zhang Guisheng.
Laidi picked up the needle and thread and started working with Zhaodi. She looked at her. “Mother, are we really not going back”
“Do you want to go back” Li Mei looked at Zhaodis thin body and felt sorry for her. “Your cousin is so thin because she suffered in the Zhang family, but you and Laidi are with your mother. Youre also yellow and thin. I dont have the ability to make you suffer.”
Zhaodi looked at Li Mei and smiled gently. “Mother, as long as were with you, we wont be afraid. Im just worried about Father…”
Li Mei looked at Zhaodi angrily. “Why are you worried about him Hes your grandmothers biological son. When I leave, shell find him a son.”
Li Yu and Li Qing carried a bundle of bamboo while Lidi carried a full load of Chinese mugwort. When the three of them reached home, Li Mei asked Li Yu, “Yuer, which family hired a matchmaker to propose marriage Did they say what kind of family it is”
“Im afraid the Zhang family found someone to do it. Aunt, I wont consider marriage for the next few years. At most, Ill just be an old maid at home.”
“Nonsense. My Yuer is so beautiful. When she recovers in a few days, the matchmakers will break our doorstep!” As she spoke, she pointed at the bamboo poles. “Why did you guys cut so many bamboo poles”
“When the tweezers are picked, itll be used for the ingots.” Li Yu said as she tied the bamboo frame with vines with Li Qing. Li Mei also put down her needlework and helped.
The few of them tied five rows of four-story bamboo frames and placed them in the courtyard. Li Yu went to tidy up the side room and laid out straw, a mattress, and a mat. When she came out of the house, she called out to Li Mei, “Aunt, when you send Ah Qing to school tomorrow morning, go to town and buy a mosquito net. The three of us will sleep together tonight.”
“Didnt you say you were going up the mountain to pick that so-called goji berries Im afraid itll be too late when I get back from town. Just send the prey and bring it back!”
Li Yu thought about it and agreed. “Alright, Ill cook.” After dinner and washing up, the few of them rested early.
Li Yu woke up early in the morning and Li Mei had already prepared the food. After dinner, Li Qing looked at Li Yu and instructed, “Sister, when I go to school, you have to be careful when you go up the mountain. Dont go deep into the mountains.”
“Alright, dont worry and just focus on studying. I know my limits.” Li Yu sent Li Qing to the door and watched him walk towards the village with Li Mei.
After an hour, Li Mei returned. Li Yu asked curiously, “Aunt, why are you so fast”
Li Mei smiled and said, “Ah Qing made me come back. He made me watch you, afraid that you would run into the deep forest.”