ROHYX Chapter 85 : Marquis Taining’s Residence (2)

When girls got together, they mostly ate, drank and be merry. Sometimes they went to watch a play or played some games together. However, today was somewhat different, and Heshou Xianzhu smiled towards Yuchen and said, “I have heard that Miss Chen is proficient in qin, chess, calligraphy and painting. I wonder if I can have the privilege to listen to one or two songs today?”

From the first time Yuchen saw Heshou Xianzhu, she could confirm one thing, that Heshou Xianzhu was acting very hostile to her. She replied with a smile, “Xianzhu is overpraising me. Being proficient is out of the question, it's just that I have nothing to do to pass the time at home.”

Qingxia Junzhu heard this with a smile and stepped into the conversation, “Biaojie, your qin skill is also excellent. Why don’t you and Miss Chen play a piece of music separately and let us have a good time?”

“Miss Yuchen and Miss Yuxi have learned from Teacher Song together. Fourth Miss also should not refuse, right?” Heshou Xianzhu said with a smile. She had some doubts about Yuxi, so she tried to probe her with one thing or another.

Yuxi responded with a decent smile, “Xianzhu, I have limited qualifications and I don’t have the right to acknowledge Teacher Song as my teacher.” When she saw Heshou Xianzhu’s face looking surprised, she smiled and continued saying, “Though I did obtain a bit of Teacher Song’s affection. So, I learned painting and calligraphy from Teacher Song. As for music theory and poetry, I didn’t learn them because I didn’t have the talent.“

Heshou Xianzhu said nothing after hearing this. Since Yuxi could say it in front of so many people, she definitely wasn’t lying to her.

Yuchen played ‘Three Stanzas of Plum Blossoms’. This song praised plum blossoms for defying cold and frost. It was considered a tenacious character for fighting against the wind, so it was also used to praise people with noble sentiments. Yuchen in essence was noble in her nature and moral character, so, once she played this piece of music, it left a lasting appeal to those who listened to her song.

Three Stanzas of Plum Blossoms

Meanwhile, Heshou Xianzhu played a song called ‘Song of Early Spring’. The first half of this song showed a kind of mood where on a spring morning, people were tired and kind of lazy in combing their hair. After entering the second half, the rhythm turned lively and bright. The mood was happy, with flowers blooming like a piece of brocade, showing that spring was very much in the air! At the end of the song, it gave people another kind of spring scenery. Although it was beautiful, it would never last forever. After thinking about how short life was, people would obviously feel sorrowful. [+]

Song of Early Spring

After Heshou Xianzhu done played her song, the scene at the banquet immediately became quiet.

After a few seconds, Yuchen returned to herself. She then went to Heshou Xianzhu and commented, “Xianzhu’s qin sounds are like the sounds of nature. Yuchen feels ashamed of her inferiority.” Although she lost, she didn’t feel any shame. She knew that there were many people outside who could play much better than her.

Heshou Xianzhu replied with a smile, “I am two years older than Yuchen Meimei, and I have taken advantage of it.” She knew that Yuchen was the most arrogant, as ordinary people could not easily enter her eyes. Only in this way, she could shorten the distance between the two of them.

Qingxia Junzhu felt that today’s opportunity was rare as she said, “Biaojie, today’s weather is so good, why don’t we write some poems?” She was actually not very popular among the ladies. It was not because she was hard to get in touch with, but she always wanted to write poems every time, which made people around her feel that her obsession was a bit too much.

Peony Tree
This is for my own reference since I have never seen a peony tree. I thought it would be a big tree.
Image Source | Cricket Hill Garden
Heshou Xianzhu knew that her biaomei loved for poetry was in a state of insanity. If this was before, she would have refused it tactfully. But now, she wouldn’t spoil Qingxia’s fun. She happened to see several peony trees blooming nearby and said, “What does Biaomei think about peony?”

Qingxia Junzhu felt pretty good, “Peony is the king of flowers. Using peony as the topic is naturally extremely good.”

In the presence of Qingxia Junzhu and Heshou Xianzhu who had the highest status in the banquet since both of them had decided it this way, other people naturally unable to refute their words. To refute their words was the same as showing that they didn’t give any face to Qingxia Junzhu and Heshou Xianzhu.

Zhou Shiya was not good at poetry. She was racking her brains just to write a single poem. She thought for a long time, but she still couldn’t come out with anything. When she looked up, she saw Yuxi was very leisurely eating some snacks. Zhou Shiya lowered her voice as she asked, “Are you going to write a poem?”

Yuxi was preparing to hand in a blank white paper later. “I can’t write it.”

Zhou Shiya also didn’t want to write, but she didn’t dare to do so. She eagerly said, “If you don’t write one, you will be laughed at by others later on, and when you return home, you will surely be punished.” By just handing over a blank sheet, wouldn’t it prove that a young miss of the Duke of the State Residence was really a disappointment!

“If they want to laugh at me, I can’t do anything about it. I already said just now that I am not good at poetry. I didn’t even attend Teacher Song’s poetry class. So, it doesn’t matter even if I've been called out for sending in a blank paper,” replied Yuxi. In the beginning, Momo Quan also advised her to learn poetry and musical instruments, by saying that these two skills would help in keeping her appearance and would stop people from making a joke of her when she married out in the future. But what could she do when she simply couldn’t learn them? Without any talent, it was useless for her to force herself. [+]

Zhou Shiya thought for a moment and then asked, “If you lose the face of the residence, won’t you be reprimanded by your aunt and grandmother when you go back?”

Yuxi answered indifferently, “If they want to reprimand me, then I will just let them reprimand me. I really can’t write any poem, and I can’t resort to deceit! Besides, the residence has my San Jie, who is enough to keep up the appearances.“ She was not a perfect person like Yuchen, and it was unlikely for her to be like Yuchen. She also believed that there was nothing shameful about that. She also did not believe that all the girls present here were masters of poetry and painting.

Two-quarters of an hour later, more than 20 girls handed in their poems. In the end, Yuchen was chosen as the one who wrote the best and won the first prize. The worst naturally fell on Yuxi, who handed in a blank paper.

Qingxia Junzhu was somewhat surprised. Even if one could not write poetry, one would rack one’s brain to write a poem just to complete the task on this kind of occasion. It was the first time for her to see a person handed in a blank paper. “Please invite Miss Yuxi to come over,” said Qingxia Junzhu to a maid nearby. Yuxi was busy whispering to Zhou Shiya at a corner of the garden.

Yuchen was not surprised that Yuxi would hand in a blank sheet of paper. Yuxi had that kind of temperament where she would not say it straight, would not go round the curves and skirting the corners nor would she resort to deceit.

Qingxia Junzhu took out a blank paper which only written with the words ‘Yuxi’ on it and asked, “Miss Yuxi, did you hand this?”

Under everyone's peculiar eyes, Yuxi frankly admitted that it was hers. Now that she dared to hand in a blank paper, she was ready to be laughed at.

Yuchen did not want to lose the reputation of the residence over this matter, so she smiled and said, “This meimei of mine has never been good in music theory and poetry since she was young, but she paints very well, especially peony and chrysanthemum.” She brought up this matter to give a face to Yuxi.

Qingxia Junzhu frowned.

Heshou Xianzhu interjected with a smile, “Since Chen Meimei said that Miss Yuxi’s peony paintings are excellent if Miss Yuxi doesn’t mind, how about painting one instead of poetry?”

Being asked to compose a poem, but instead handed over a blank paper could also be said that she had no talent. Now Yuchen had said that her peony painting was good. If she pushed this off, she would not only lose the face of the residence but also Yuchen’s face. Of course, being scolded was a trivial matter, but she was afraid that if she carried the reputation of a straw bag in the future, then her future marriage would have to fall several grades. So, she nodded and said, “Okay. But I draw very slowly and it will take a long time.” [+]

Heshou Xianzhu laughed heartily, “No harm, we will wait.” This person was clearly different from the hearsay, and she didn’t know what kind of secret this person had.

Maids and old women servants of Marquis Taining’s residence immediately brought over brushes and various colours of paints. Yuxi also didn’t act melodramatic. She just spread open the rice paper and began to draw on the table.

The most important thing in painting peony was colouring. If there was no good colour, no matter how good her skill was, it would end up useless. However, Yuxi was very sensitive to colour and had never made any mistakes in this area.

Yuxi drew the painting slowly. People around her had become impatient and started to look around. They got together in twos and threes to talk and gossip. Heshou Xianzhu and Qingxia Junzhu were happily chatting with Yuchen. Even Zhou Shiya was wool-gathering.

A maid walked up to Chen Xue and said, “Miss, the dishes are already served on the table. It’s time to invite all the girls to have their meals.”

When Yuchen heard that they were going to have meals, she looked over at Yuxi who was bowing her head while painting and said, “Let’s have a meal first! When our meals are over, Yuxi’s painting should be finished.“ If she let everyone wait for Yuxi, they would surely be dissatisfied.

After lunch, most of the girls went home with their elders, and only a small part went back to the garden with Qingxia Junzhu and Heshou Xianzhu.

When they arrived at the garden, Yuxi just finished painting the peony.

It took several times longer than other people for Yuxi to paint a painting. Today, to save time, she only drew a peony bloomed brilliantly surrounded by green leaves. On the upper right corner of the painting, there was a poem by Liu Yuxi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty: ‘Wild herbaceous peonies grow with exuberant colours, pond lotuses are pure and free of passions, only tree peonies epitomize the essence of beauty, whose blooming presence decorates Peking City.’

Yuxi’s peony was exquisite in brushwork and bright in colour. Though it couldn’t be compared with famous artists, it also had its own characteristics.

Qingxia Junzhu smiled and said, “This peony is a good painting, but unfortunately there is only one.” Although Yuxi was good at painting flowers and plants, she was extremely lacking in drawing things that moved. Her painting was unique but not of high standard. However, Qingxia Junzhu had seen a lot of good things, so, Yuxi’s painting still didn’t manage to enter her eyes. She could get a pretty good one, which already had received a very high evaluation.

Heshou Xianzhu gave Yuxi an unexpected look. With this kind of painting, a person couldn’t be this mediocre. She wondered what made her feel that Han Yuxi looked like a different person. She said with a smile, “Miss Yuxi just said that she painted slowly. If she was given more time, wouldn’t she be painting till evening?”

Qingxia Junzhu laughed, “I was too happy that it slipped through my mind.”

Yuchen took advantage of that moment to raise the feeling of interest towards Yuxi by saying, “Junzhu, in fact, my Si Meimei are not that good in painting, but embroidery. Among us sisters, our Si Meimei’s embroidery is simply the best.“ If it were not for the fact that Yuxi had not yet completed her set of double-sided embroidery, Yuchen would have long ago publicised Yuxi’s ability to create double-sided embroidery.

Heshou Xianzhu looked at the pouch at Yuxi’s waist and asked smilingly, “Miss Yuxi, your pouch is looking especially exquisite. Did you embroider it yourself?”

Yuxi took off the pouch from her waist and said, “Well, I embroidered it myself. I like roses very much, so I embroidered roses on the pouch.”

Heshou Xianzhu looked at Yuxi’s clothes which were also embroidered with roses, and her pieces of jewellery were also made with rose patterns. How could this be considered common love? This was an obsession. Just like Qingxia Junzhu infatuation with poetry, who had become obsessed with it. Qingxia Junzhu took the purse, looked at it carefully and nodded, “Yuxi Meimei’s embroidery work is better than the best embroidery lady in our official residence.”

The smile on Yuxi’s face remained the same as she responded, “I only embroider when I have nothing to do on weekdays. It’s just to pass the time.” She was unwilling to be mentioned in the same breath with an embroidery lady.


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