The Little First Grand Secretary in My House

2020-04-29 08:28:31
Chapter 14

This bookstore called “Dongliju” is not big. There are only two doors in this bookstore, one is used to sell the four treasures of the study, and the other is filled with bookcases which is next to the wall. 

The books in the bookcase are new, old and hardcover, which are worth a lot at a glance. There are also thread-bound ,but they look a little rough. However, most of them are various transcripts. Generally speaking, if this book is not sure to be hot doubtlessly, the owner of this bookstore will ask someone to copy it. Because if it is opened, it is printed from thousands of copies.

Zhao’er is familiar with the boss, she enters the door and greets with a smile. The strange thing is that the boss recognizes her unexpectedly. When the boss sees her, smilingly asks about whether she came to buy paper for her younger brother.

When it comes to this, there are some old things.

At first, Zhao’er cared about Xue Tingxiang, then saved some money to buy paper for him to practise calligraphy. But this paper was more expensive than she thought. Even the most inferior yellow bamboo paper costed forty cents. However, Zhao’er collected all the money on her body that day, there are only thirty cents.

In order to let the boss sell the paper cheaper to her, Zhao’er spent a long time with the boss. The boss responded to sell the paper cheaper to her when she made a tragic story that her younger brother was diligent and eager to learn knowledge, but unfortunately her parents died and her family was poor. Later, she came to buy paper several times at the previous price. But she became familiar with Mr. Chen.

Mr. Chen praised her for her high moral character, earned money hard, but still offered her younger brother to study. Therefore, He almost sold the paper to her in very good deal.

When these words are used as usual, Zhao’er had a cheek to listen. But today Xue Tingxiang is here, she is a little cramped inevitably. She is afraid that Mr. Chen says something and those words would make the little man look down on her.

Zhao’er have suffered, so she knows the skills of survival. But the little man doesn't understand, especially he is still a scholar who is pedantic excessive. Therefore, if there are conflicting views between the two people, she will always avoid these subconsciously.

Within a day, two people said that he was her younger brother, which made Xue Tingxiang very displeasure. He doesn’t find Zhao’er’s obscure thoughts naturally. When he recovered, Zhao’er had already talked to the boss, and showed him the copy of "Chinese Surnames" he copied last night specially.

"This is your younger brother? He looks handsome, but a little thinner." Mr. Chen is a middle-aged man over forty years old, with a lock of goatee and full of elegance. He wears  a scribe shirt, this makes him looks like a scholar, but not a businessman.

"He was sick the other day, and he has been better recently."

"No wonder I haven't seen you for a long time." Mr. Chen is talking while takes the handwritten copy from Zhao’er which is very poor whether it is bound or paper.

He knows this kind of farmer's children can't write good words, but he really admires Zhao’er, so he plans not to criticize even if it is really bad, and just refuses to say something politely.

If the level is not too bad, the words are also still readable, giving him some temporary job is available, just as the help.

But when Mr. Chen see the words on the yellow bamboo paper, he is astonished.

"He wrote these words?" Mr. Chen looks at Xue Tingxiang in surprise, then looks through the handwritten copy again.

His expression is so weird, it makes Zhao’er has a bad feeling. She couldn't help thinking whether the little man’s words are too bad. After all, no one has ever praised the words of the little man. Even Xue Qingshan had said that his writing was clumsy in calligraphy. 

Although Zhao'er didn't understand what was a clumsy in calligraphy, but she knew that it meant bad writing form the sad expression of the little man.

But she didn't think it was the little man's fault. Even the paper on which you practice your words had to be selected, can you write it well? Maybe in that time, she was angry. She collected the vegetables and sold them in town, and saved a sum of money to buy paper for Xue Tingxiang which is the first paper in his life.

A whole pile, instead of giving a few paper from Xue Qingshan or Xue Juncai.

Zhao’er’s head feels cold, and she couldn't help thinking whether she was too unquestioning or she praises the little man too excessive. She is  afraid of nothing, but is afraid of the bad words from Mr. Chen, that the little man would not be able to bear. 

Thinking about it, she makes a gesture to Mr. Chen with her back, and led him aside. Then she whispers to him very quietly: "Uncle Chen, if my younger brother’s words are really not very well, can you ..."

“Can what?” Soon, Mr. Chen understands. Then he laughs in spite of himself:" So are you. Even if you care about him, you should not deceive him. On the contrary, you should point out his shortcomings, so that he can make progress in the future. "

His voice is a little loud, so Xue Tingxiang over there must have heard it. Zhao’er blushes, but she doesn't know what to say.

Mr. Chen says again:" But your younger brother's words are really good, and he must learn from a famous teacher."

He walks to Xue Tingxiang in a few steps, makes a bow with hands folded in front and says: "I want to know who is your teacher in earnest?" As soon as he finishes speaking, he feels a little hesitation in his eyes. Because the poor young man in front of him has a rough cloth. It really doesn't look like someone who can follow a famous teacher.

But his words...

Since Mr. Chen is running a bookstore, this is either his hobby or his ancestry. In fact, Mr. Chen has both, that is also a family history. When he was young, he also took a few exams, but he stopped at scholar. However, he is not enjoy to be an official, then he took care of his ancestry. It is also a great thing in life for him to meet a few literary friends, play chess and drink tea together. 

From his point of view, although this handwriting is immature, it has a strong character.

Form is easy to get, but charm is hard to find. Master Yan and Master Liu are called "muacle of Yan style and bone of Liu style ", which is enough to see the characteristics of the Yan Zhenqing style. Xue Tingxiang's words already has its roots. As long as it doesn't go wrong, it will be a calligraphy master in the future.

He doesn’t know that in order to hide himself, Xue Tingxiang deliberately hid his writing style. It takes him half the night to finish it, which should be finished at most half an hour. If it is written in that kind of words, it will definitely make Mr. Chen think it is a master’s work.

When Mr. Chen is thinking, Xue Tingxiang asks:" I don’t have a teacher."

" Just copy it?”

" I have copied Yan Qin Li Stele."

Xue Tingxiang didn’t lie. He really only copied Yan Qin Li Stele. This set of copybooks is Xue Qingshan's favourite, which is never touched commonly. The reason why he was lucky enough to see it and touch it is Xue Juncai, who was still young, took it before him at that time.

Because of this, he was extremely impressed with "Yan Qin Li Stele" and even became obsessive. Later, after having some money at home, Zhao’er bought a set for him. The first typeface he practiced is the Yan Zhenqing style.

"Only Yan Qin Li Stele?"

Xue Tingxiang nods his head.

In the eyes of Mr. Chen, the light is more intense. He takes a long time to sigh: "Maybe you have a talent on this aspect that is difficult for others to catch up with. I hope you to practice hard, don't be lazy. Anyway, let’s talk about the serious things. Your words are very good. It is passed by me."

He goes to the counter and takes a book to Xue Tingxiang.

"I have a copy of" University of Chapters". You can take it back and try it out. The brushes and ink come from me. After copying, the finished can't below the level of this book. I will pay you one tael of silver."

"One tael of silver? Uncle Chen, is this a bit too much?" Zhao’er wonders.

He laughs in spite of himself:" Do you know how many words there are in this book? Do you know how much money I sold this book? "

After he finished, he continues to say to Xue Tingxiang: "It is reasonable to say that it should be copied in my bookstore. If you take the book back to copy it, you need to pay some silvers or other things. I know your brother well, so that is fine. How long can you finish it? "

Xue Tingxiang hesitates and says, "Since Mr. Chen has the rules here, so could I copy here? But I have a small request and hope Mr. Chen can agree. Can I read the book here in the spare time? "

Mr. Chen is stunned for a moment, and immediately understands. Then he takes a deep look at this thin but be neither humble nor pushy young man. 

“I agree.”

"Then thank Mr. Chen first, you can rest assured that I will not damage the books here."

Zhao’er keeps silent all the time. Until they talks here, she pulls Xue Tingxiang aside to speak.

“Are you really going to copy books here? How good it is to take home. If you are afraid that Mr. Chen will not allow it, I still have some silver to pledge. "

“Don't you think this is a good place?”

Xue Tingxiang looks back at the room full of books. The books he has read are limited, and in the memory of 'Xue Tingxiang', many memories in this respect are blurred.

But life is his, he has to go forward step by step. It does not mean that he had a dream, he will definitely be the first assistant in the future. It does not mean that he had a dream, he will definitely pass the highest imperial examination in the future. After all, even in the dream he has made a lot of efforts and walked many detours to reach the highest official rank step by step.

Zhao’er certainly understands what he means, but she feels very uneasy to left the little man alone outside. She is thinking about whether to find an excuse to accompany him here. Mr. Chen says: "Well, you don’t have to worry about your younger brother. Can he be lose in here? You don’t have to sell vegetables today? Go quickly. "

In the eyes of Mr. Chen, Zhao'er is a hard-working brother who supported his younger brother by selling vegetables in the town.

“Uncle Chen, I’m leaving now.”

She quickly takes out a dozen copper coin from her arms and hands them to Xue Tingxiang: "I should come to you for lunch at noon, if I don't come, you buy it by yourself in ..."

“ If copy the book here, there are a lunch for him freely.” Mr. Chen interjects.

Zhao'er is still nagging: "You still hold the money to buy whatever you want. I will pick you up in the afternoon."

“You still pick up your work first and rest assures that your brother will not lose here.”

This Uncle Chen!

Zhao’er couldn't talk anymore, and runs out of the bookstore almost as rapidly as her feet would move.

When Zhao’er is leaving, Mr. Chen smiles and teases:"Your brother is very good to you."

Xue Tingxiang responds a sigh, it is really very good, like a little hen who is worried about her children. Somehow, this sentence comes to his mind.

Later, under the guidance of the guys in the bookshop, he goes to a room behind the shop.

The layout of this room is simple, but the elegant also can be seen, and it can be seen that Mr. Chen is an elegant person form this. The most convenient place for this house is a large window facing the outside yard, and a set of tables and chairs, which is completely different from Xue Tingxiang's imagination hidden in a dark room in the dark.

The man brings a pot of water for him to clean his hands, prepares writing brushes, ink sticks, paper and inkstones etc., says that he could call him if there are something , and then he leaves.

Xue Tingxiang comes to the basin, immerses his hands in the water, rubs it a few times gently, dries it with a towel next to it, then sits down after the desk.

He grinds the ink firstly. Grinding ink can adjust people's emotions very well and reaches a “quiet” state.

After the ink is polished, at this moment his heart is clear. He holds his sleeves and be ready to write, but his hands are empty. Only then does he realize that he is wearing a short rough cloth . There are no sleeves. Naturally, he is not afraid of staining his sleeves.

All this is just a matter of time. He doesn't care and writes quietly.

However, Mr. Chen, who is standing outside the door, is a little skeptical. He couldn’t help thinking whether this boy is a famous one not a poor one, but it is a pity that his family had fallen. His words, behaviors, and his temperament, does not seem to be a poor boy.

After thinking for a while, he can not think of it. Mr. Chen shakes his head and goes back to the front.

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