Chapter 52: The search for one’s mom second spring 20/For the sake of my mother’s remarriage 20
During these four years of silence, the previous Imperial examination’s champion had become a great editor of the Hanlin Academy.
Following the previous liberation of the widow’s group, he now set his sights on the young girl who had not yet left their maternal house and founded a women’s college which was a shock move in the eyes of the literati. This woman’s college was headed by Jiang Liu’s wife who is also the daughter of Jiang Shendao of the Hanlin Academy.
This academy is known as Fu Liu which was estimated a homonym from both Jiang Liu and his wife’s name aimed to teach the young ladies on the female etiquette, music, calligraphy, drawing, chess, equestrian archery, numeracy and needlework. Compared to six arts of the average academy, this academy offered a lot more courses specifically for a woman.
In addition to Jiang Furong position as the head of the academy, Fu Liu Academy also employed seven other teachers who were also well-known personnel.
One of them was the Qu Ling Junzhu. She is the only daughter of the deceased Linjiang Wang. Lijiang Wangfu had a sparse heir. There is usually only one heir in each generation. Without having a male heir, LinJiang Wang died on the battlefield 24 years ago when she was a mere 9 years old girl.[T/N: Wang: Prince; Junzhu: Princess of the Third Rank. It was usually granted to the daughter of a qinwang. Literal meaning “lady of a prince of the blood”.]
Later the title of her family was inherited by another child from the royal family. Despite that, as the real descendent of Linjiang Wang, Qu Ling Junzhu was also favoured by the emperor at that time. Now the new emperor had succeeded the throne, he is also very generous to this aunt of his. Perhaps because of the pampered from two generations of the emperor, this Junzhu was completely unbridled and totally different from the ordinary well-bred young lady. Instead of doing needlework, she prefers equestrian archery as well as hunting. Among the well-bred young lady of the capital, she could be considered as an exotic flower.
Qu Ling Junzhu’s husband was the eldest son of General Jianwei. Both husband and wife had a similar hobby that they were also rather quite affectionate with each other. At present, Qu Ling Junzhu was already blessed with a pair of son and daughter. Since then her temper had been a bit restrained.
No one thought that this Fu Liu academy will invite Qu Ling Junzhu as a teacher to teach the student on the skill of equestrian archery. And no one thought that this proud Junzhu will actually agree to the offer and even sent his young daughter to the college to study.
There is also the granddaughter of the former left-wing prime minister. Because of the death of her fiancée who was also her childhood sweetheart, she willing to remain single and guard the door.
Over the years, she has been living in a nunnery outside the capital and ready to die in order to preserve her chastity. This has elevated her fame in the capital and many literati had dedicated countless poems for her on the honour of her deep devotion.
But such a woman who should be a model among the women actually act in an absurd manner similar to that Qu Ling Junzhu. What could they even teach at that so-called women’s academy? Her action had angered many literati that they end up tore all the poems that had been written for her.
Apart from these two, the most annoying one is Jiang Shendao.
As the principal of the Hanlin Academy who should be worshipping the teaching of Confucius along with thousand others scholars, they did not know what kind of soup ** he was forced to eat that instead of obstructing his daughter and son-in-law’s plan, he actually started a new job by being a guest lecturer at that academy.
To think that as a great Confucian he actually went to teach a class for a woman. He was simply a scum and a shame to the scholar community.
However, no matter what, Fu Liu Academy was opened normally. However, because many people opted for a ‘wait and see’ attitude, the first admission to the college unable to reach the ideal hope.
In addition to the daughter of Qu Ling Junzhu, only a few young ladies from official’s house come to sign up. However, an unusual number of young ladies from the merchant’s household did come to sign up for the classes.
Since ancient times, among the four classes of ancient China (i.e Scholar, farmers, artisans and merchants), merchants had always been regarded as the lowest profession with a lowly status. Therefore, the rules within the merchant’s family were not as rigid as others. However, the reason why they were eager to send their daughter for learning was not that they were being open-minded or particularly loved their daughter. It was all due to the gimmick done by the Fu Liu Academy.[T/N: Even though merchant is a rich profession, but ancient Chinese people regarded them as vulgar since they live to drown in silver, manipulating the market price and etc]
As the daughter from a merchant class, it could be considered as lucky to be taught by a Junzhu and ladies that come from a prominent household. With this, the status of these girls will be uplifted and making them appear more special than the others. Moreover, this will let them have bigger marriage options in the future.
In addition, many of the commoner’s daughter also came to sign up.
Rather than the fame that came from being taught by a Junzhu, what these commoners were looking at was the benefit of the college had in providing free tuition and food for its students.
Not everyone can send their children to school. But with the Academy opened by Jiang Liu which offered free education for women who passed the exam, the girl can come to learn and then taught their brothers at home. This will save them a lot of money.
Regardless of their intention, the life of these women who were sent to this school has changed. Everything that they learn in the next six years will be of great use to their future lives.
“How could the Junzhu agree to the ridiculous request of the Jiang family?”
The husband of Qu Ling Junzhu was very puzzled. These days, whenever she went out to meet someone, the most frequent topic being discussed was this. At one hand he felt embarrassed that his wife is going to become a teacher. While in another hand, he felt unsettled to let her daughter be in the same class as those civilian girls.
“I’ve made up my mind, so stop persuading me anymore, Fuma.” [T/N: Fuma = Husband of a Junzhu]
Yes, ah. What could be the reason that makes Qu Ling Junzhu accepted Jiang Liu offer that she deigns herself to become a common teacher? This is all purely because, at that time, Jiang Liu’s remark had touched her most hidden pain.
At that times, when her father died in the battlefield, the imperial clansman at once adopted another royalty to be under her father’s name so that he could inherit her father’s Linjiang Wang’s title as well as everything that came with the Wangfu.
At that time Qu Ling Junzhu was still in a lot of pain of missing her father.
Why clearly she is the only child of her father. However, as a result, everything left by her father was deemed to be inherited by an outsider just because she is a daughter and not a son?
But on the other hand, everyone but her took it for granted, including her mufei, who, when alone, sadly asked her why she wasn’t a boy when on the outside she happily accepted the adopted younger brother. [T/N: All children of the Emperor has a di mother, the Empress, who they refer to as much and for those born of concubines, who is their shu mother, they will call them mufei.]
Just because she is a daughter, her excellence is not important, her more orthodox blood is not important.
Just because she’s a daughter!
Except for men, there are also women in this world. Why should women be inferior to men?
Jiang Liu’s word touched Qu Ling Junzhu’s heart, but she also knew that Jiang Liu’s words in the vast majority of people will be considered as absurd and rebellious against the orthodoxy, especially against the norm conduct of a woman. However, Qu Ling Junzhu could not be reconciled. Therefore, despite the excessive words, she felt that Jiang Liu’s word was pleasant to listen to.
All along, society has long demand that a woman’s virtue is to have no talent. Yet, Qu Ling Junzhu could not help but felt that all this was maybe a man’s conspiracy against them. This is because, with the absence of talent, it means to be stupid, and if the vast majority of women are stupid, the world’s power will naturally hold by these men.
But if women were starting to learn the same things as man, then their eyes will no longer be fixated on the one-acre and three-cent plot of the backyard. Then, won’t their status as a woman can be promoted?
Qu Ling Junzhu does not know whether this small change could compete with the world, but she expected this small change, can counter this so-called male superiority and female inferiority.
Perhaps she wouldn’t be able to see the changes in her lifetime, but after her death, when the women’s college and women’s learning are more open to the public, then, perhaps her grandchildren will be able to see it.
She did not tell these words to her husband. Although they were respectful to each other, Qu Ling Junzhu knew that her husband was also like most men and did not want to see women getting wiser and competing with the men.
She was afraid that in this entire land under heaven, it was only this outlandish Jiang Liu who will stand on the perspective of women and think about them.
Qu Ling Junzhu felt a little envious of Jiang Furong for having such a husband who will make her the happiest woman in the world.
Today is the birthday of the editor of Hanlin Academy, Ouyang Rong. He had invited many colleagues including Jiang Liu.
Speaking of this Ouyang Rong, He is the old-timer of Hanlin Academy. However, due to his upright and bigotry disposition, he was too rigid thus offending a lot of people. Consequently, he has been sitting in this position since forever and has never been promoted to a higher position.
Despite this, he is still a good teacher and likes to teach the new officials of The Hanlin Academy.
Today is his birthday. He has long thought well and wanted to teach this deviant colleague of his, Jiang Liu.
Of course, he also did not dare to do too much. After all, Jiang Liu is the son-in-law of Jiang Shendao. Ouyang Rong know that Jiang Liu was not that good in poetry, so he decided to add impromptu poem recitation to liven things up at his party. With this, he can use this opportunity to humiliate Jiang Liu.
“Editor Jiang is the favourite disciple of Jiang Daren. It may assume that when it comes to a poem, you will be far better than all of us. Why don’t we all ask Editor Jiang to write a poem with lotus pond as its theme?”
With a malicious intention, Ouyang Rong said those words to Jiang Liu.
The people on the side could also his malice, but they have no intention to help Jiang Liu to speak.
“Hehe, poetry! Well, I dare not compare with all Daren here. However, it is not good for me not being able to respond to this magnificent hospitality. Here I have a poem that coincidentally complies with the topic.”
A few years have passed, Jiang Liu was no longer young and inexperienced. Furthermore, after he got married, he had also calmed a lot.
Today he wore a blue-green scholar gown, with a jade crown on the head which complements his delicate white porcelain skin. His pair of peach flower eyes which he inherited from his mother was shining but fortunately, his double-edge sword eyebrow suppressed his feminine eyes. This time even though he has a smile on his face, but his temperament faintly somehow started to press on the surrounding people.
“I still recall that sunset gathering at Brookside Pavilion;
We got so drunk, too drunk to tell our bearings home.
By dusk, our gay mood spent, the boats we turned
Only to stray straight into the depths of the lotus groves.
Oh, on, we rowed!
And on, we rowed!
Startling to flight, herons and gulls of the sandy shallows”[T/N: Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發 18 February 2019 (revised 19.2.19; 20.2.19; 21.2.19; 22.2.19; 25.2.19; 26.2.19; 27.2.19)]
Jiang Lu did not write the poem, but instead, recite it.
Although this is not in keeping with the pit that Ouyang Rong had dug for him, it still leads people to ponder.
“Good words! Good words!”
As they carefully digest the poem, even Ouyang Rong, who was deliberately trying to embarrassed Jiang Liu could not say it was a bad one.
“Editor Jiang really has a deep ability. “
Several of his colleagues at the side couldn’t help but praise him.
“You boast the wrong person, what kind of ability do I have? To be honest, this poem was recently composed by my wife.”
Jiang Liu laughed and then signalled the attendant behind him to bring the collection of the poem that he had prepared: “These are the poem collection of my wife. Just now I recite one of the poems in this book, this poem could not be considered as a masterpiece, however, if my wife knew that you all appreciate her poetry so much, she surely must be very happy.”
These days, Jiang Liu had printed all his wife’s poems and distributed them as gifts to all his colleagues.
Good thing must be shared together in order to be happy ah.
Ouyang Rong immediately becomes stiff. He wished that he could take back his praise. A woman should put his vocation to bear and raise children and at the same time show filial respect to her parents-in-law. There is no need for them to write articles and meddle with the matter of the men.
But this is indeed a good poem, Ouyang Rong dare not say that he could write a better poem than the one recited by Jiang Liu just now.
Most of the colleagues present also think so. It just that Jiang Liu also said that this poem was only the most ordinary works in this collection of poems. As for those that can be called fine poetry, how amazing will it be they wonder?
For a while, the collection of poems on their hand seemed a little hot.
As a man, they do not want to read a poem written by a woman. However, as literati, they could not help but be curious about the contents of these poems’ collection.
Jiang Liu drank alcohol in his cup and looked at his conflicted colleagues. He smiles but decided to say nothing.
The author has something to say: Because the author can’t write a poem that capable of making people slap the table and shout with praise, so this chapter’s poem was borrowed from Li Qingzhao’s Reminiscence [T/N: Ling Qingzhao (1084-c. 1151), southern Song female poet]
T/N: Jiang Liu throwing dog food while slapping other people’s face lol~
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