Title: Eight Treasures Trousseau
Author: Yue Xia Die Ying
Everyone in the City of Jing thinks that bestowment of marriage between Xian Junwang and the di daughter of the Yi’an Marquis House is to insert a fresh flower into manure.
Xian Junwang was that fresh flower and the di daughter of Yi’an Marquis House was that manure that was not liked.
It is said that what is heard is false, seeing is believing. Who knows what the truth really is?
My book review: This is To Be A Virtuous Wife 2.0 in the simplest sense. If I read this first, I might have liked this more because there is less of a need to think and ruminate to connect all the implications and hints. The author seems to have a better grasp between stating things out right and having everything hidden in hints and shadows. There is time-travel and a woman used to entertainment circles in a new life. At the same time, this is a darker story and touches on some different aspects that TBVW never examined because of the character setup. It is bloodier and TBVW in comparison seems to have been “washed/edited.”
This story is about a modern actress becoming the noble miss of the Marquis House. Because she is lazy and does not like to go outside, outsiders suspect she does not have beauty. Unexpectedly, an imperial decree marries her into the Xian Junwang Fu. Xian Junwang is the handsome gentleman spoken of by the noble females of Jing City, and a nephew that the Emperor is wary of. The imperial decree causes these two lives to entangle together, but the flower is not a flower, the mist is not the mist, the truth is frequently hidden behind the splendour. [–cut off because of spoilers]
For each chapter, there is a mini-glossary of the pinyin that appear in the chapter. Any new terms that have not come up in the story before will be in bold and the definition will be linked to its first appearance in the text.
- 府 fu: compound, estate or mansion; usually the residence of a noble or powerful family
- 义安侯府 Yi’an Hou Fu: Yi’an is the name associated with the title. Hou means that the rank of the title is a marquisate. Hou Fu (侯府) is therefore the marquisal compound, the Marquis Fu.
- 夫人 furen: mistress or madam/lady. This appellation is used for both married women and titled women.
- 氏 shi: clan/maiden name. A married woman is known by her maiden name of __ with a shi (氏) after it to show she is married.
- 太太 taitai: married woman, madam. In the novel, this is used to signal that either the person is very old or that she is untitled.
- 郡王 junwang: literally County-King. In this story, junwang (prince of the second rank) is a rank below qinwang (or wang ye, prince of the first rank).
- 嫡 di: child born of the wife, not of a concubine
- 王妃 wang fei: the wife of a wang or prince; equivalent to the position of princess consort in Western culture
- 大嫂 dasao: older brother’s wife, usually of the eldest brother.
- 弟妹 dimei: younger brother’s wife
Chapter One: The House of Hua has a Daughter
府 fu: compound, estate or mansion; usually the residence of a noble or powerful family
Winter had left and spring had arrived. The first-ranked servant girls of Yi’an Marquis Fu took off their thick cotton jackets and put on their tender green girdled dresses. This caused the entire marquis fu to look alive and filled with the presence of spring.
Inside the green silk curtains, the cotton blanket was raised. The person inside seemed to have gone through a long conflict before a pale white arm came out of the blanket. The servant girls waiting outside the silk canopy were joyful and assumed that the person on the bed was going to come out of bed. Then they saw the arm pat around the border of the bed and then retreat again.
夫人 furen: mistress or madam/lady. This appellation is used for both married women and titled women.
“Miss, it is three quarters after seven.” Bai Xia confirmed that the person on the bed did not have any intentions of coming up and bowed slightly, her voice holding mirth. “Furen has ordered that you need to rise early today. She said that the dressmakers of the Fragrant Spiral Pavilion are going to measure you for spring attire.”
“Didn’t the people of the Cloth-making Room in the fu make a few sets for me already a fortnight ago?” The person on the bed sat up with the blanket wrapped around her, her hair spilling down following her actions. Even though it had not been combed, it was still as smooth as silk.
Hong Ying who stood next to Bai Xia raised her silk curtain for her and explained with a smile, “Furen has said that the cloth of Fragrant Spiral Pavilion is not the best, but their handiwork is exquisite, so it is not important if some clothing is made.”
Hua Xi Wan rose up from the bed and allowed the servant girls to serve her in washing her face and rinsing her mouth. She sat in front of the mirror and covered her mouth as she yawned. She put her chin in her right hand and said lazily, “They say spring sleep is ‘til the morning, do not let down sleep. Bai Xia, you are disturbing my dreams.”
“Bai Xia is asking for forgiveness from Miss.” Bai Xia put down the wood comb in her hand and bent her knees in a curtsey to Hua Xi Wan. However, the smile on her face did not disappear. “Please do not be angry.”
The four chief servant girls had followed her for a few years, and Hua Xi Wan knew that they were not people to act of their own accord. There probably was something going on this morning that Mother would have them wake her up early. Therefore, she curled her fingers to indicate for Bai Xia to stand before continuing to prop her chin on her hand and allowing the servant girls to serve her in dressing.
The servant girls knew that their miss was of a lazy personality that would say as little as necessary. After dressing her, they carried out several boxes of hairpins and jewelry for Hua Xi Wan to pick.
Hua Xi Wan reached out to point at a few before standing and letting the servant girls change her clothing. She took over the brow liner from Hong Ying’s hands to draw her brows before saying lazily, “Let’s go.”
氏 shi: clan/maiden name. A married woman is known by her maiden name of __ with a shi (氏) after it to show she is married.
Coming out of the small yard, Hua Xi Wan took her servant girls along to the main yard. Entering the door, she saw her mother Lu shi flipping through a long list. She seemed to find there was not enough on the list and was ordering the people beside her to add more.
“Daughter bids good morning to Mother. Did Mother have a good sleep last night?” Hua Xi Wan walked towards Lu shi with a smile. Before she could bend down, Lu shi’s most used servant girl caught her.
Seeing Hua Xi Wan come in, Lu shi put the list to one side. She walked next to Hua Xi Wan and reached out to caress the center of her palm. After testing the temperature, her worries were satisfied. “Even though it is just spring, females need to pay attention to not get cold. It will not be good if sickness takes root in the future.”
Supporting her mother to sit down, Hua Xi Wan smiled and said, “Mother, do not be anxious. I definitely will not make you worry.”
Lu shi sighed and then said hatefully, “If it wasn’t for the people from Third Branch, you wouldn’t have had that great illness that year. Thinking about them, my heart feels suffocated.” Lu shi was descended from a martial family. The last two generations had produced several literary officials, but the misses of the clan were still bolder than average. That year, the heir of the Yi’an Marquis Fu had begged to marry her. He had kept his reputation of being afraid of his wife for more than two decades and never taken a concubine.
Seeing Mother become angry, Hua Xi Wan carried a cup of tea in front of Lu shi. “Mother, do not sink to their level; isn’t that lowering your own status?” Her father had two younger brothers and one younger sister. The youngest brother and sister had been born from the second wife, so their own family was closer to Second Uncle while their relationship with the other two families was just on the surface.
“That is true, I blush when I see them act like jumping clowns.” Lu shi picked up the tea that her daughter had delivered. Half of her anger dissipated. She said with a snort, “They keep passing on those rumors outside every day and think that this will show how capable their branch is. But the Heavens watch what people do and know what people should get or not.”
The smile on Hua Xi Wan’s face dimmed slightly and then she changed to a slightly bashful expression. “Mother, what are you saying?”
“Fine, we won’t speak of this.” Lu shi saw that her daughter had become embarrassed, so she smiled and took the list she had just been looking at. “The imperial decree from the Emperor came so suddenly. Fortunately, I started preparing for you a few years ago. Otherwise, this would slight and neglect my daughter.”
Sweeping a look across the list, Hua Xi Wan finally understood what her mother had been looking at. She stopped reading the list, turned and said, “Mother, didn’t you say that people are coming to measure me for clothing?” In the past, her mother had never had outsiders come to measure her. Why was she being allowed to see outside cloth-makers now?
太太 taitai: married woman, madam.
“They are just outside cloth-makers, how can I let them get near you? I have already had the servants tell them your measurements. Later, I will take you to see the old taitai to give morning greetings.” As a mother, Lu shi could see that her daughter did not feel much happiness about the marriage decree from the Imperial One, but since the imperial decree had been sent down, nothing could be done no matter what was said.
郡王 junwang: literally County-King. In this story, junwang (prince of the second rank) is a rank below qinwang (or wang ye, prince of the first rank).
Xian Junwang was of high status in the Imperial Clan and his appearance was also outstanding. He was the first pick for a husband for many noble misses in Jing City. However, in Lu shi’s mind, this kind of person was the one least suited to be her daughter’s husband. Not speaking of how many unspeakable matters there were behind that person, Xian Junwang was a handsome man that easily attracted the attention of females. It would be worrisome for her daughter to marry this kind of man.
Today, she had just used the excuse to get her daughter to get up early so they could give morning greetings at Third Branch to the old taitai.
Their primary branch was not very close to the old taitai. It was not because Marquis Yi’an was not filial but because this old taitai had been the second wife of the old marquis. The primary branch and the second branch had been born from the original wife. After the old marquis passed away, the three brothers had divided up the family. Primary Branch and Second Branch only had a shallow relationship with the old taitai. If there were any mother-son feelings to be spoken of, even if outsiders believed it, they wouldn’t believe it.
In the year when Hua He Sheng and Lu shi had gotten married, this old taitai had done too many things that caused unhappiness. Lu shi was not a timid person. After causing the old taitai to lose face a few times, the old taitai stopped her actions. Lu shi was not a relentless person. These years, they maintained the appearances, but they really did not get close.
Hua Xi Wan knew a bit of the past of the previous generation. However, judging by her mother’s valiant personality, even when she married and left, she didn’t need to worry that the old taitai and the people from Third Branch could bully her mother. Even more, she had two accomplished older brothers. No matter what, Yi’An Marquis Fu would not end up in a position without a successor.
The old taitai lived together with the third branch, so every time they had to see the old taitai for morning greetings, Yi’an Marquis Fu had to prepare sedans and then walk along the street towards the west for two to three quarters before they reached the compound of the third branch.
Hearing from inside the sedan the sounds of the merchants outside hawking their wares, Hua Xi Wan raised the curtain slightly. She saw the sun had come out. The sunshine was slightly blinding, so she put down the curtain and closed her eyes to rest. In her last life, she had filmed day and night, and never gotten a major role until she worked herself to death. This life, she had become a noble miss. If she did not enjoy this, then she would really be wasting this life.
After the sedan from Yi’an Marquis Fu passed, the passerby started to discuss which family this was. That Eight Treasure crystal sedan was really beautiful.
“How many females of the prestigious families in Jing City are able to use this kind of sedan?” A passerby pointed at the two ends of the east street and then raised his eyebrows. The people in discussion instantly had expressions of understanding that were slightly complex.
It was rumored that the wife of Yi’an Marquis was very valiant, but her reputation among the common people of Jing City was very good because this Marquis’ wife usually donated silver to the poor. Her paternal family, the Lu Family, was virtuous in their conduct, so even though this furen’s valiant name spread, no one said anything bad about her.
“Such a pity…” The one that spoke shook their head and did not say the rest. It was a pity that the daughter born from this furen was not as good as the one from the third branch. Third Branch’s Graduate Hua was not as accomplished in the court as his two older brothers, but he had a daughter that was both accomplished and beautiful and who received innumerable praises. This marquis fu’s miss never left the compound to play and never attended the gatherings in Jing City. Even though the people in the marquis fu said that their miss’ body was weak, no one had ever seen the marquis fu search for famed doctors.
嫡 di: child born of the wife, not of a concubine
So after some back and forth, everyone speculated that this di miss of the marquis fu’s appearance was too average. She was not willing to meet others because she was afraid of being laughed at, but she was afraid people would suspect so she used the excuse of being frail.
王妃 wang fei: the wife of a wang or prince; equivalent to the position of princess consort in Western culture.
Even though many people outside knew that this marquis fu’s miss did not have any beauty, her life was very good. She had been bestowed in marriage to Xian Junwang. This matter was the envy of many females in their chambers. Many people even felt pity for Xian Junwang. With Xian Junwang’s talents and appearance, his wang fei should be a virtuous wife with both talent and beauty. How could it be a female of no beauty that had a valiant mother?
But no matter what the outside said, Yi’an Marquis Fu never paid any attention to these rumors, as though the person of interest was not their miss but someone unconnected to them. This attitude caused many people to stop their mockery, and they would just sigh for Yi’an Marquis Fu.
Just as Hua Xi Wan was going to fall asleep, she felt her sedan stop and then she heard Bai Xia’s voice inviting her to step off the sedan.
Hong Ying picked up the curtain and Hua Xi Wan gave her hand to Bai Xia. She followed behind Lu shi to walk towards the main room. Before they entered the door, servant girls and older female servants circled around, opening the curtains, carrying in tea. Other people also came out to bow and caused Hua Xi Wan to feel dizzy.
大嫂 dasao: older brother’s wife, usually of the eldest brother.
“Dasao, you have arrived. Come in, the old taitai has been waiting for you.” The third Hua Master’s furen, Yao shi, came out in large strides from the room. She first bent down in a greeting to Lu shi before she warmly took Lu shi’s hand. She looked at Hua Xi Wan and said, “Third Miss, come in too.”
弟妹 dimei: younger brother’s wife
Lu shi imperceptibly took her hand out of Yao shi’s hand and said with a smile on her face, “It was trouble for Dimei to personally welcome us. Our daughter is fragile and has come late. Do not be offended.”
Yao shi smiled and said it was fine as she guided them into the room. However, there was indiscernible awkwardness in her smile. However, when Lu shi sat down, she still personally brought a cup of tea to Lu shi’s hand.
“Many thanks, Dimei.” Lu shi nodded politely and then said to the old taitai that was sitting at the front, “Old Taitai, has your body been well recently?”
“Good, everything is good.” The old taitai smiled and nodded. She then looked at Hua Xi Wan who was sitting silently by the side and said, “Third Girl is even growing more and more beautiful to the point that this old woman sees her and does not want her to marry.”
The old taitai’s feelings with Lu shi and Hua He Sheng were faint, but she did not have any bias towards her granddaughter Hua Xi Wan. Hua Xi Wan was at least the granddaughter of her husband. Her attitude was not as warm as towards Hua Chu Yu, who was her own son’s daughter, but it was much warmer than her attitude towards Hua Yi Liu from Second Branch.
The old taitai had never seen such a beautiful girl before, and everyone liked beauty. She was old now and naturally did not feel any jealousy towards young and beautiful girls. What was left was admiration.
Translator Ramblings: This is the first and only translated chapter at the moment. I’m going to say I’ll update once a week. I’m completely stuck on the modern romance to be honest. It doesn’t flow. I love that story but translating it is so slow and killing me. I’m not sure if my frustration is making it harder to translate but there definitely is a cycle going on. Back to lots of footnotes … … I think I like TBVW a tiny tiny bit more than Eight Treasures Trousseau because I read that one first and I finished translating it.