Zhao Jinge stood there blankly, not daring to respond.
Zhao Liu added, “If you felt cold why did you not tell me? You should not let Jiang Zhen burn all this coal in the house. Even if he is rich now, he should not be so wasteful . . .”
Zhao Jinge still did not answer and moved slowly to the bed, intending to lie down for a while. Jiang Zhen closed the door when he went out, but that was all. If the door bolt inside were not fastened, the door could be opened with a simple push.
Fortunately, after saying her piece, Zhao Liu left without hearing a response. She only thought that Zhao Jinge was still asleep, so she didn’t want to disturb her son’s sleep.
Zhao Jinge sat on the bed and sighed in relief when he found his mother was gone. Only then did he discover that the quilt he was wrapped up in was covered in black ash.
After Jiang Zhen lit the fire last night and did simple cleaning this morning he did not sweep all the dust off the ground. He was a little frightened just now, so he accidentally dragged the quilt to the ground.
The quilt was dragged to the ground, so inevitably it was stained by a lot of ash, so it’s corner turned black . . .
After wrapping himself with the quilt again and got his clothes. He then removed the quilt, got dress and was preparing to wash the quilt.
Meanwhile, Zhao Liu discovered that, last night, Jiang Zhen seemed to have lost more than a few earthen pots . . .
There were fewer eggs, bacon in the kitchen, and the leftover rice was missing as well as bag of charcoal that they bought. She did smell a faint smell of cooking coming from her son’s room last night. Did the two of them cook at night? That’s really too much!
Zhao Liu couldn’t stand being idle, so she took initiative to winnow the rice. The cooking was all done by Cook Li, the fire was prepared by Jiang Xiaomei, and Ruo’er helped wash vegetables. Zhao Liu had the leisure time, so she went outside only to see her son washing the quilt cover.
“Jinge, I just washed this quilt cover for you before. Why did you wash it again?” Zhao Liu asked, frowning.
“It was a little dusty,” Zhao Jinge said.
Zhao Liu took a look and found that the washing water was black, so the quilt was probably stained with ash “Today Jiang Zhen came out to wash the sheet in the morning also because it was stained with ash, right? Did you knock the copper foot stove on the bed? You should be more careful in the future.”
“Yes.” Zhao Jinge bowed his head and answered, becoming secretly relieved to hear that Jiang Zhen had washed the sheets.
“Also, don’t let Jiang Zhen wash the sheets in the future. People will definitely think that we treat our son-in-law too harshly, letting such big men wash the sheets,” Zhao Liu said as she moved a small stool over, intending to help Zhao Jinge wash. When she found that the water was cold, she frowned again. “Why are you washing with cold water? Are you not afraid of freezing on such a cold day?”
Zhao Jinge was driven back to the house, and Zhao Liu asked Ruoer to wash the blanket with her. Both of them had little strength, but each of them held one end of the sheet and slowly wrung it. Then they both put it together with Jiang Zhen’s washed sheets to dry on the sun.
When Jiang Zhen returned, he saw the sheets and covers being dried together, fluttering in the wind.
Hexi Village did not pay much attention to morning meals. In the past, Zhao Liu’s breakfast was always porridge. But ever since she was replaced by Cook Li, the dishes were changed and became more varied. For example, this day they were eating rice porridge with green vegetable buns. The green vegetables were kneaded by hand with salt last night and pickled all night. So now they not only had the fragrance of fresh green vegetables.
Zhao Jinge liked this steamed bun very much so he ate them together with porridge.
Jiang Zhen also liked the steamed buns and ate a lot. After eating, he told the story of himself and Zhao Jinge going to Fucheng.
“Those goods should be sold as soon as possible.” Zhao Fugui nodded without any objection.
However, Zhao Liu blamed Zhao Jinge, “Why do you still want to take Zhao Jinge with you? Is he pestering you to go? It’s outrageous for a ger to run outside with such a big belly!”
“Mother, it’s just going to Fucheng. It’s all right.” For Jiang Zhen, it was not appropriate for Zhao Jinge to go if they were to go far away, but it was only Fucheng, which was only a day’s journey, so there would be no problem at all.
Zhao Jinge: “. . .” Mother, it was you who told me to follow . . .
After saying a few words to Zhao Jinge, Zhao Liu began to tell him what he should bring. “It’s cold now, so you better bring more quilts. Mother will find someone to make you some quilts. You should also take some food and drinks . . .”
Zhao Liu did what she said, and after breakfast, she called familiar people from the village to make quilts.
Every family in Hexi village raised silkworms, but they didn’t grow much cotton. The quilts were all silk, but the silk was not suitable to make mattresses and so were all basically made from cotton.
When Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge got married, Zhao Liu paid people to make cotton mattresses as well as two silk quilts.
Most of the silkworms raised in Hexi were sold for money after these produced cocoons, but some of them would be kept for their own use. They would cook the cocoons in pots and soak them in water for a few days.
After a few days, women or gers would peel off the soaked-soft cocoon and dig out the silkworm pupa inside. After pulling them open, they would place them on their hands, and after garnering several layers, they would pull it into square silk pieces.
After drying, this thing would become a cotton bag by the villagers. When making a quilt or silk-padded jacket, they would take it out and lay one or two cotton bags on door panels, and two people would stand on a cotton bag to pull the cotton pocket apart. Layer by layer, they would cover the door panel with a quilt cover, making a silk quilt.
The Zhao family had not raised silkworms for many years, so Zhao Liu not only did not prepare cotton bags, but also forgot all about the skills of pulling quilts. So she had no choice but to spend money to buy some cotton bags and then find several people to help pull quilts.
Although silk was very expensive in the north, in Hexi, the price of cotton bags was not lower. Wanting to find someone to help pull the quilt was not only about money but also about taking care of their meal.
In view of the fact that the food of the Zhao family was very good, the women in the village were scrambling to come.
The Zhao family immediately became lively, and after Zhao Liu found a few cotton-padded jackets, she asked people to prepare new ones.
“Big Sister Liu, your life now has really become better and better.” Seeing that Zhao Liu was actually wearing a gold hairpin, someone began to sigh.
“Yes,” Zhao Liu said and couldn’t help but smile.
“Although your Jinge’s marriage came late, he is blessed. His life will definitely be better and better in the future,” another person said.
Hearing this, Zhao and Liu immediately nodded in agreement. Originally, she didn’t want to show off, but after a few compliments, she couldn’t help but say, “My Jinge is really lucky. Before Matchmaker He said he would have children easily . . . but look at how long he is married! He got pregnant very fast! But even so, he became more and more delicate. Last night, he was so cold that he asked Jiang Zhen to lit a fire and even used a bag of charcoal. In the middle of the night he also ate pork and eggs. Ordinary people would not stand him.”
. . .
Zhao Liu was talking happily when someone suddenly nudged her with his elbow.
“What’s the matter?” Zhao Liu asked.
“Zhao Liu, Jiang Zhen is very kind to Zhao Jinge. We also know it. But . . . I will just tell you the truth . . . Jiang Zhen is a big man and promising one. You should be kind to him.”
“Yes, I heard you asked him to do the laundry . . . It’s so inappropriate.”
“Don’t treat him badly, or he will run away . . .”
. . .
Zhao Liu suddenly felt a little wronged.
Zhao Liu was pulled by several of her friends and wanted to say something when Jiang Xiaomei suddenly rushed from outside excitedly. “Auntie Zhao, my brother got a horse back! A horse! This is the first time I’ve seen a horse! “
“Horse?” Zhao Liu became surprised. The other people who were originally pulling a quilt were also curious.
“The horse has already entered the village!” Jiang Xiaomei said again.
The people in the room immediately swarmed out, and after going out, they did see a majestic horse standing not far from Zhao house.
Cattle could still be seen in the countryside on this side of Hexi. Although there were no cattle in their village, some people in the next village raised cattle. But horses were very rare, and they could only occasionally see them pulling carriages in the county town.
Also this horse in everyone’s eyes was a very precious thing. But Jiang Zhen unexpectedly brought back a horse!
The people stood at a distance, not daring to go near the horse at all but still reluctant to leave. This horse was brought back by Jiang Zhen.
After bringing horse and carriage back to Hecheng County, Jiang Zhen suddenly found that the carriage couldn’t be used here at all. Not only that, the horse became very uneasy after spending so much time on the ship, but there was no one under his hand who could take care of the horse. After thinking about it, Jiang Zhen simply put the horse in the Zheng family and chose one of the people who had been rescued by him to learn how to take care of a horse from one of the Zheng family grooms.
Half a month later, the horse had been taken care of, and the men became familiar with the horses and were able to take good care of it, so Jiang Zhen brought the horse from the Zheng family to Hexi. As for the carriage . . . it could not be used for the time being, and he did not want to use such a good carriage to load the goods, so it was still left in the Zheng family.
Jiang Zhen unexpectedly got a horse back from the capital! Zhao Liu looked at the horse and felt very proud but was still afraid of the horse as it was much taller than her, so she did not dare to go forward . . .
Before leaving for Fucheng, Jiang Zhen did a lot of things. In addition to bringing the horses home from the county town he also taught the two families a lesson. One of them was Zhao Liu’s maternal family.
After Zhao Liu’s family made trouble at Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge’s wedding, they were beaten by Jiang Zhen and Jiang Zhen asked them to pay them compensation . . . But they insisted on not returning it.
Jiang Zhen didn’t take care of them before because many things were happening at that time, and later, when he went to the capital, he cared about them even less, letting them live a comfortable life for a period of time. But after hearing that Jiang Zhen earned a lot of money, Zhao Liu’s maternal side even tried to visit the Zhao family and ask Zhao Liu for money. Although Zhao Liu was sold by her family at the beginning, they still felt that Zhao Liu should take care of her maternal family when she had money.
Edited by: Faro