ROHYX Chapter 108 : Ke Minjie (1)

Yuxi was currently practising calligraphy with a cantilever in her study. Now, the cursive script that she kept copied began to take shape. Although Teacher Song said that she could not reach everyone's standard, Yuxi was never discouraged. If she couldn't reach everyone's standard, then it would be good for her to reach the second-tier level.

After Yuxi finished practising her calligraphy, she walked out of her study.

Kufu came over and informed her, "Miss, Madam Ye has come to visit Da Nainai." Madam Ye had long received news that her daughter had lain in bed because of an unstable foetus. Just before the Lantern Festival, she had many things to do in the Ye Residence, so she was unable to leave. After the Lantern Festival, once she had dealt with the matter at hand, she quickly came to visit Ye Shi.

Yuxi casually asked, "Did Madam Ye come alone?" As far as she knew, both Madam Ye and Ye Shi were very good to Ke Minjie. As for Ke Minjie, once she became a concubine, she started to go against Ye Shi, and this matters, Yuxi didn’t want to comment much. According to her, Ke Minjie was brought in by Ye Shi herself, and even if Ye Shi suffered afterwards, it was all self-inflicted.

Kufu shook her head and said, "No, Madam Ye brought a girl with her. This girl seems to be Madam Ye's niece."

Yuxi was very quick to perceive as she asked, "What is her name?" Could it be the one who followed Madam Ye was Ke Minjie? This woman was not a good person.

Kufu replied, "Her surname is Ke. As for her specific name, I really don’t know."

Yuxi said without thinking, "Let’s go to Songxiang Courtyard." Without thinking much about it, she knew that person was Ke Minjie. It wasn’t a good thing to have this woman as a company. It was better to go there and have a look.

Kufu was somewhat surprised, "Miss, Da Nainai is entertaining Madam Ye!" Other people would surely talk about the two of them, about what was going on with her Miss.

Yuxi smiled and said, "It doesn't concern me who she currently entertains."

Kufu was puzzled, but she knew that her Miss was not a person who did not understand etiquette. At this moment, she must have her own reason.

This time, Yuxi brought Zisu. When the two arrived at Songxiang Courtyard, Old Woman Hua immediately welcomed her in.

Madam Ye was sitting on the edge of the bed, talking to Ye Shi, and standing next to her was a petite, charming girl. With just a glance, Yuxi could immediately recognise that this person was Ke Minjie.

Ke Minjie was very beautiful. She had a small and lovely snow-white face, with a headful of jet-black shiny hair, and a slim well-proportioned figure. She also had the gentleness and graceful temperament of a noble lady. This kind of appearance was very popular with men. In her previous life, Yuxi’s Dage was particularly fond of Ke Minjie.

Stories from a Ming Collection: Translations of Chinese Short Stories Published in the Seventeenth Century, Volume 3
It took 3 stories plus 5 additional stories from Feng Menglong's collection, Stories Old and New (originally published in 1624) and translated to English by Cyril Birch. The 3 main stories include “The Pearl-Sewn Shirt”, “Wine and Dumplings” and “The Canary Murders.”
Image Credit | Grove Atlantic
Seeing Ke Minjie, Yuxi once again had a profound understanding of what had been said by Momo Quan, ‘a man’s face may be known, but how can you know his heart?’. This woman had malicious ideas that were hidden too deep. Yuxi restrained all her emotions, and she greeted Madam Ye as she called her out with a smile, "Hello, Eldest Aunt Ye."

Madam Ye also knew that it was fortunate that Yuxi helped in inviting a physician that day. Otherwise, her daughter's foetus would have been impossible to protect, and she would also like to have a good look at Yuxi. After giving Yuxi a few words of praise, which made Yuxi's small face turned shy to the colour of an apple, she pulled Ke Minjie over to introduce, "Fourth Miss, this is my niece, Minjie."

Ke Minjie looked at Yuxi and happily greeted, "Hello, Yuxi Biaomei." Ke Minjie was from Suzhou. She spoke in soft Suzhou dialect, which was very pleasant to hear.

Yuxi looked at Ke Minjie but did not respond to her words. Instead, she frowned and said, "*Biaojie, Dasao cannot smell any fragrant right now. Biaojie, please take out the perfume sachet."

There was a flash of panic in Ke Minjie's eyes, but she soon recovered to how she was before. Then she gave a small laugh and said, "Yuxi Biaomei must be joking, I didn't wear any perfume. Inside the sachet are some dried petals and herbs for calming the mind." As she finished saying this, she removed the sachet she had and prepared to pass it over to her maid.

Yuxi had made great efforts in weighing up Ke Minjie's words and observing her facial expression. Although she could not say that her skill was top-notch, she was still more than able to see through the present Ke Minjie. Ke Minjie’s expression just now had been seen by her eyes, and her heart was already certain that there must be a problem with the sachet. For this reason, Yuxi impolitely and quickly took the sachet from Ke Minjie and said with a smile, "Biaojie has embroidered beautiful flowers on this sachet. Can you give me this sachet?" Once she finished saying this, she specially put the sachet in front of her eyes, as she looked at decorative patterns on the surface. In fact, she was trying to smell the fragrance inside. [+]

Yuxi had also been in constant contact with drugs over the years and was relatively more sensitive to such things. After only one sniff, she could feel that it had a very special essence. Yuxi didn’t have to guess that this sachet was 100% defective. Since there was a problem, how could it be returned to Ke Minjie?

Ke Minjie's whole body was stiff.

Ye Shi smiled and helped Yuxi explained, "Minjie, don't mind about it. Yuxi has liked embroidery since she was a child. She just couldn't take her eyes off when she saw beautiful designs. Since Yuxi likes it, Minjie, just give it to her!" A pair of butterflies were embroidered on the sachet worn by Ke Minjie, which was lifelike and very beautiful. Yuxi had used this reason to get it, although it was a bit disrespectful, it still made sense.

Yuxi said with a face full of smile, "Thank you Dasao, also thank you Biaojie." After saying that, she gave the stuff to Zisu.

Among Yuxi’s several maids, Zisu had the most tacit understanding regarding Yuxi. She knew there was a problem when she looked at Yuxi's behaviour. Thus, she took the purse and stuffed it into her sleeve**.

Madam Ye was quite disgusted with Yuxi's behaviour. She just robbed her niece of her things like a robber. What’s more, she was even a young miss of state official residence. Even those from small households wouldn’t snatch other people's things. Madam Ye silently cursed in her heart, but she couldn't say anything in front of her daughter. After all, Yuxi was the most beloved child of the wife of the Duke of the State. Plus, she had done a huge favour towards her daughter this time around. "Since Miss Yuxi likes it, then, just take it," she said with a smile. This was equivalent to Madam Ye directly taking charge of Ke Minjie, to keep her from getting it back from Yuxi.

When Ke Minjie heard this, it wouldn't be good if she still wanted to request the sachet back.

The knowledge of Yuxi studying pharmacology had not been publicized. The main reason was, Old Lady Han thought that it was not an honourable thing for Yuxi to study pharmacology, so she had ordered the people in the residence that they were not allowed to discuss this matter outside, so outsiders rarely knew about it. While Ye Shi, even as a daughter-in-law, seldom met her mother-in-law. Even when they met, they usually talked about their matters. Where could they specifically talk about Yuxi learning pharmacology?

Yuxi came and went hastily.

After Yuxi left, Madam Ye said, "I’m not saying that Fourth Miss isn't highly cultured and steeped in propriety person, but how could she be so unruly?"

Ye Shi also didn't know why Yuxi behaved so strangely today. If it was about embroidery workmanship, Yuxi could even do double-sided embroidery. How could she value Biaomei's sachet that much? Except that, it was not appropriate for her to tell her mother about this, so she changed the subject.

Madam Ye continued to chat with Ye Shi. Ke Minjie didn’t go anywhere as she stood quietly behind Madam Ye all the time.

Once Yuxi and Zisu were out of Songxiang Courtyard, Zisu asked, "Miss, what's wrong with this sachet?"

Although Yuxi had recited so many medical books and had been personally taught by Momo Quan, it was all theoretical and they had never been practised. "Let’s go back to Rose Courtyard first."

When they arrived at Rose Courtyard, Yuxi said to Zisu, "Didn't you ask what's the problem with it? Why don’t you put it in front of your nose and smell it?"

Zisu sniffed at it and immediately felt refreshed. "What has been put in here? Although it doesn't smell that much, it is particularly comfortable." After that, her face changed as she asked, "Miss, is this harmful to Da Nainai?"

Yuxi nodded, but she did not explain much.

Zisu had some doubt, thus she asked, "Miss, can it be just a misunderstanding?" Just now, she was chatting with people outside the yard and got a lot of information. Among this information, there was a lot about Ke Minjie.

Yuxi smiled, "Can it be you’re harbouring a suspicion that I’m framing Ke Minjie?"

Of course, naturally, Zisu won't harbour any suspicion. It was just that, there was no relationship between Ke Minjie and her Miss. She was just worried that Yuxi tried to be clever and ended up with an egg on her face. At that time, her Miss wouldn’t be able to turn around. "Miss Ke is trusted by Madam Ye and Da Nainai. I heard from a maid that Miss Ke took shelter with Madam Ye three years ago. It seemed that her stepmother wanted to take her dowry and then married her out randomly. Therefore, she brought along her confidant, an Old Woman, to the capital, to seek protection from Madam Ye. In recent years, Madam Ye has treated Ke Minjie like her own daughter, and Da Nainai has also loved her like her own sister. Miss, if you don't get this right, it’s going to be a big mess." Zisu would say that she had seen Ke Minjie herself and she felt that Ke Minjie was not a vicious person. Most importantly, she couldn't find out why Ke Minjie wanted to harm Da Nainai. [+]

If there was no previous life experience, Yuxi would surely feel that Ke Minjie was a very pure and kind woman. However, she had more memories than others and knew more than others. "Zisu, the human heart is the hardest thing for people to see through."

Zisu wanted to persuade Yuxi again, but Yuxi only shook her head and said, "You ask someone to have a lookout at Songxiang Courtyard. When Madam Ye leaves, ask Old Woman Hua to come over by saying that I have something to tell her." She didn't want to make too much noise about the sachet. One’s own family matter should be handled by one’s own family, thus she didn’t want to interfere.

Madam Ye only stayed in Songxiang Courtyard for half an hour before she went back. Ye Shi's health was not good, and she couldn't be overworked. After all the long conversation with her guests, she felt sleepy.

Old Woman Hua sent Madam Ye out of the second gate. When she turned her head, she heard a little maid say to her, "Mama, Fourth Miss asked you to come to Rose Courtyard."

Old Woman Hua went to the Rose Courtyard after checking on Ye Shi in her room and saw that Ye Shi had fallen asleep.

Yuxi also did not go round the curves and skirting the corners with Old Woman Hua, "Zisu, give the sachet to Mama Hua." Whatever issue could be found in this sachet later on, Yuxi would not interfere.

Looking at the sachet in her hand, there were questions all over Old Woman Huan’s face, "Miss, isn’t this the sachet that Miss Biao Ke wore at that time?"

Yuxi nodded and said, "Mama also knows that I had studied pharmacology. When I smelled the sachet, I could sense that there was something wrong. That was why I snatched it."

Old Woman Hua's face kept on changing, "Miss, can there be a mistake? Miss Biao and Da Nainai are like sisters. How could she harm Da Nainai?"

Yuxi didn't want to dwell too much on this problem. "I only know that there is a problem with this sachet. You can check it yourself. I haven't opened the sachet anyway, so you can ask a physician to see what's in it."

Old Woman Hua was silent for quite a while before she said, "Okay."

Noob Translator's Notes

*In raw, Yuxi called Ke Minjie 于表姐 (Yú biǎojiě). I don't know if the author intentionally used , or she had mistakenly used it, and actually wanted to use Ye or Ke. I don't know. So, I skipped that word and only use biǎojiě. Please correct me if I was wrong.

**All I know, ancient Chinese clothing didn't have any pockets, inside or outside. The only way Zisu could use her sleeve as a pocket is by putting it under her armpit, and put her arms closer to her body, to avoid it from falling down. Or maybe there was another way for her to accomplish it.


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