Pearl in the Palm: Chapter 7, Part 1

Chapter 7, Part 1

On the second day, the first thing Ye Jiayou did when he woke up was to call out “Zhuzhu”, and a maidservant hastily went over to cover his mouth: “Don’t shout, young miss is still asleep.”
  
Ye Jiayou sat up and asked the maidservant to dress him. He said, “What time is it now?”
  
The maidservant said: “It’s three-quarters in the hour of the rabbit.[1] The kitchen has prepared breakfast for you. You quickly eat some and go to school.
  
After Ye Jiayou dressed and washed, he ate breakfast outside. While he ate, he kept listening to the movement inside and heard a mama[2] say: “Young miss is awake, bring water and medicine quickly! Keep the medicine from getting cold and prepare some honey.”
  
A few maidservants picked up the curtains to serve tea, water, and medicine, hurrying about with their feet not touching the ground. Ye Jiayou took a few more bites and walked inside: “Zhuzhu!”
  
Ye Lizhu smiled and said, “come in.”
  
She changed clothes, washed, and sat by the mirror, letting a maidservant comb her hair.
  
Ye Lizhu wore a lotus root pink brocade dress patterned with harmonious clouds. Her hair was black and thick, falling loosely but not messily, and draped softly over her shoulders. It was even more lustrous and beautiful than a golden brocade. Her face was small and because she’d just woken up, her lips were pale, giving off a sickly appearance.
  
Ye Jiayou said from the side: “Zhuzhu, you don’t need to pay your respect to Madam. The two aunts will definitely come as well, and these two have cheap mouths. If they say something that makes you unhappy, just let a mama teach them a lesson. You just came back, don’t fight too much, and you can’t kill people at home.”
  
The maidservant put down the sandalwood comb, held a jade hairpin before Ye Lizhu’s eyes. She pointed a finger and said: “I’m not that fierce, how can I scold people that easily.”
  
Ye Jiayou said, “mama knows how to do it, just give them a slap in the face. Zhuzhu, I have to go to school. Later tonight, I will eat here in your courtyard.”
  
Another maidservant brought the medicinal soup, and the mama took it from her. She was about to feed Ye Lizhu when she caught a glimpse of the honey and scolded the maidservant: “Not linden tree honey, it’s jujube nectar. Don’t change it!”
  
The maidservant hurried out.
  
In another courtyard, while Wu-shi was eating breakfast, her maidservant, Xing’er, said: “It’ll soon be past the hour of the rabbit, why hasn’t the young miss come over to greet you? Although the young miss is honorable, she has to see you, Madam, since you are the mistress of this home.”
  
Wu-shi smiled, saying: “She is not in good health and the master spoils her. She won’t come here.”
  
Xing’er walked out of the courtyard and asked around. A quarter of an hour later, she came back. By this time, Wu-shi was also done eating her breakfast.
  
Xing’er sat next to Wu-shi and massaged her leg: “She didn’t come, wanted us to please her instead. How can there be such a thing in the world where mothers should please their daughters instead! Aunt Liang and Aunt Zhou eagerly came, but her face cannot even be seen! She even let the mama beside her beat people back.”
  
The last time Wu-shi saw Ye Lizhu was nine years ago. At that time, Wu-shi was still just a concubine. Ye Lizhu was like cut from jade and ice. She appeared squeamish yet she was quiet and well-behaved.
  
She didn’t know what happened to Ye Lizhu after all these years.
  
Wu-shi said: “I will go see young miss, let people prepare two different exquisite pastries.”
  
Xing’er pouted: “Why? The master spoils her. If you show her a weakness, she will only look down on us. In the future, she will climb all over us and will not be able to tolerate us in this home”
  
Xing’er was the maidservant who was the closest and most reassuring to Wu-shi. Wu-shi stroking the turquoise gem on her finger said: “What about her, she’s already stepped half a foot into the coffin.”

Notes:

1) 卯时 (māo shí): 5 am to 7 am

2) mama (māmā) and pózi are both old female servants but the former is ranked higher and holds a more respectable position while the latter does menial labor. They’re the servants who carried Ye Lizhu inside the inn. Starting from now, I will be referring to them as “servant women” to distinguish them from “mama”.

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