GNU sponsored chapters (3/3) by Caerie, Carthun and Wstphl at ko-fi. Thank you for your support!
The first part of today’s sponsored chapters is Ch.30 Part 3.
Tonight was a sleepless one for many people. Qingfu Junzhu stayed up late to check the account books. After finished checking, she was a bit incredulous. It wasn’t that the Old Master’s properties were unprofitable, but it was much worse than they imagined. The couple initially thought that Old Master Cheng’s private properties should be at least tens of thousands taels of silvers. However, after dividing, their share only amounted to around five to six thousand.
Qingfu’s dowry mama brought a cup of hot ginger tea. When the mama went in, she saw the light in the inner room was still on, and Qingfu was sitting under the light, frowned deeply. The mama couldn’t help but feel distressed: “Madam, the night already late. Please take a rest. You’ve been reading those account books all night. What if it hurts your eyes?”
Qingfu was indeed tired. She massaged her temple slightly before taking the cup from the mama. She opened the tea lid and slowly blew the hot tea. The mama put a pillow behind Qingfu’s waist, then stood behind the reclining couch to massage Qingfu’s shoulders with familiar movements.
Qingfu leaned back on the couch tiredly and complained: “The writing on the account book is too small and dense. Reading it at night makes my eyes hurt.”
The dowry mama persuaded: “Junzhu, you shouldn’t make yourself too tired. Although you are the madam in charge of the manor, now the first and second branch hasn’t been separated. Every money gained from the manor’s property has to be returned to the public account for everyone’s use. Not only you have to work hard for others, but if something goes wrong, the second branch will blame you. Why bother?”
“Of course I know.” Qingfu said, “Having the housekeeping right truly only looks glamorous from the outside. At first, I never knew that housekeeping is so complicated. Only after marrying into Yichun Marquis manor I understand the difficulty. Especially because I have to take care of a family as big as this one. My mother-in-law looks generous, but in fact, never relinquishing her power. Every major thing in the family has to be done with her approval, but she let me headaching alone over the trivial ones. Every day, I have to wrangle with the servants below, make the Old Madam satisfied, and prevent the second branch from picking faults. My Eldest Madam status looks impressive, but in fact, it is nothing. If not for Bao ‘er’s sake, why should I be willing to do it?”
The dowry mama didn’t reply. What Qingfu said was half-true, half-wrong. Qingfu was the madam in charge of the whole Yichun Marquis manor. She complained all the time that managing the household was a difficult and unrewarding job. But without the money she siphoned from the public property, how did Qingfu manage to save thousands of silver taels and almost doubling her dowry over the years? For example, the fabrics that Yichun Marquis manor used to make clothes every year were purchased from the workshop owned by Qingfu. The workshop was hers; the buyer was also her; she could set the price as high as she wanted and also buy as much as she wanted. It was hard to tell exactly how much public money had landed on Qingfu’s hand over the years.
Qingfu Junzhu kept complaining about doing an arduous and thankless job. But if she were asked to give up the housekeeping right, she would be unwilling.
The dowry Mama didn’t voice her opinion and just giving the answer Qingfu wanted to hear: “Madam is right. You have paid too much for the whole family.”
After saying many bad things about her in-laws, Qingfu felt more comfortable. Her gaze turned to the account books on the table. Still not reconciled, she flipped the pages quickly. However, no matter what she thought, the annual profits recorded on the ledger wouldn’t change.
Qingfu stared at the numbers on the page. Her eyebrows frowned: “The Old Master’s income is only this much? I always think that he has more. Over the years, he spent so much money buying farmlands and paintings and calligraphies. Moreover, there are also two houses and Cheng Yuanjing’s expenses. Paying for ten more years of study isn’t cheap, not to mention Cheng Yuanjing’s official career. Although no one knows exactly how much money the Old Master spent for him, it should be thousands of taels each time. Yet the annual income doesn’t even reach three thousand?”
The mama reminded: “Madam, half of the property is now in the second branch.”
“I know. But their share should be even less. No matter what, it still so strange.” Qingfu closed the ledger and frowned, “Mama, do you think the Old Master secretly gave most of his properties to other people?”
If Cheng Yujin was present, her answer must be “Yes.” The most profitable shops under Old Master Cheng’s name, as well as the cash he accumulated over the years, were now on her hands. The income from other properties wasn’t that much. Moreover, every time the Old Master had a surplus, he would convert the silver into lands and gold to preserve its value. The gold accidentally fell into Cheng Yujin, and the lands that the Old Master bought in Jinling were also in her hands now. All excess cash on the properties has been taken away. No wonder Qingfu felt the number on the account books was so small.
In fact, the dowry mama felt that three thousand taels of annual profit were not small. After all, Qingfu lived in the marquis manor. All her basic needs, such as food and clothing, were provided by the manor. Plus, there was also the monthly allowance paid from the public account. At the end of the year, when the farmlands under the manor’s name sent the rental income, Qingfu also took a share. Money only entered her pocket but never left. And no matter how much income the public properties generated, some would enter her private account. Now the first branch had an additional two shops and one farmland left by the Old Master, there would be an additional two to three thousand taels every year. No matter what, it wasn’t a small amount.
What’s more, these were unexpected fortune given by the Old Master for his two sons. Even if Qingfu wasn’t satisfied, it was purely out of unsatiated greed.
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