Dream of the Red Chamber by Zhang Xiugui

By Zhang Xiugui

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In Chapter 68, Hsi-feng sets her devious scheme in motion. First, she orders workmen to have three rooms decorated identically to her own. Then she goes to visit Second Sister Yu in her new house and invites her to come live with the Chia family; she promises to treat Second Sister as an equal. Hsi-feng 's fraudulently sweet tongue and her high-sounding phrases convince the credulous and inexperienced Second Sister to move into the newly decorated rooms of the Chia family's mansion during Chia Lien's absence.

Then Mother Ho arrives, looking for her daughter Chun-yen. Seeing that the place is getting messy, Mother Ho gives Chun-yen a good beating. Going to Pao-yu for help, Chun-yen meets Hsi-jen, who tries to pacify Mother Ho, but Mother Ho is reluctant to take her advice, so they send for Ping-erli, hoping that she can cope with her. Ping-erh says that Mother Ho should be given forty strokes and driven out. At last, Mother Ho is forced to admit her mistake and pleads to stay, which Pao-yu promises her that she can do.

However, note that the quarrel between Mrs. Liu and her daughter Wu-erh, and the quarreling between the other slaves are similar to the quarrels between the masters and servants in the Chia family. All of these conflicts shake the rules of existence of the big aristocratic family. Thus, in order to maintain their control, the aristocrats must always try their best to suppress all rebellion and get rid of unfaithful servants so as to consolidate authority. These incidents over rose-flavored juice and Pachyma Cocos powder are small and insignificant, but they are portents of stormy emotional crises, as well as social crises, in the future.

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