On a certain spring day after a number of years, Zhao Shi Cheng returned to ShaoXing with Tang Wan to play.
The couple’s big affection was already widely known in the South. As a result, few people ever mention her past with Lu You again. However, that didn’t mean that she forgot about it. When she and Zhao Shi Cheng arrived in front of a temple and saw the “Yu Ji Temple” horizontal inscribed board, she raised her arched eyebrows as if she remembered something. The couple strolled past Spring Ripple bridge and arrived inside the Shen garden that had fine scenery and numerous flowers that contended in beauty. Sure enough, they could see the shadow of a person from a distance.
That was Lu You. He was currently standing on the shore of a lake, looking over the heart of the lake in a trance. It was unknown what he was thinking about.
Meanwhile, Tang Wan was thinking in her heart, Phoenix Hairpin, oh, Phoenix Hairpin, was this love poem, that has been circulated throughout all ages, about to appear today?
At this point, Lu You was reminiscing about his past relationship. When he discovered that someone entered the garden, he shifted his gaze and suddenly saw Tang Wan standing erectly over there like a fresh and fine heliotrope. He practically had to hold his breath and pat his chest with his hands, feeling his intense heartbeat, to actually believe that this wasn’t an illusion.
When he also noticed Zhao Shi Cheng at her side, his astonished expression instantly vanished and his heart concealed his unparalleled gloom. But he covered up the sorrow in his heart and still kept his manners, going over there to greet the two of them.
Zhao Shi Cheng understood Lu You’s pain. On top of that, he had absolute faith in Tang Wan now. Therefore, he said magnanimously, “The two of you live so far apart, but actually met in your hometown. This can also be considered as luck. I won’t disturb you guys as a non-local person. I’m going to go and prepare some food and let you guys properly chat.”
After saying this, he really left like that and let Tang Wan and Lu You spent time alone.
Normally, with the two’s past relationship, if it wasn’t reluctance to part now, then it would be meeting each other dazedly. Nevertheless m under Lu You’s fervent gaze, Tang Wan was expressionless.
That’s because she was currently thinking, according to the Phoenix Hairpin’s story, Zhao Shi Cheng should be preparing yellow wine 1 as well as some fruit for the two of them to enjoy and confide in each other. However, yellow wine and fruits and vegetables were all things she didn’t like. When she thought about it, she couldn’t help but creased her eyebrows.
Yet Lu You mistook her expression and thought that she also more or less had the same melancholy as him. He sighed, “Wan mei, how are you doing?”
“Not good.” Tang Wan said sulkily.
“Why isn’t it good? Did Zhao Shi Cheng Great you badly?” He hastily asked again.
“I’m just hungry…”
Tang Wan just finished talking and a group of servant girls came in, carrying dishes. At first, Lu You also thought that Zhao Shi Cheng would at most prepare some dessert. To his surprise, it was actually about a dozen main courses, filled to the brim on a stone table. Lu You gaped while Tang Wan beamed with joy.
She really married the right husband. He understood her appetite as expected. Away with the fruits and vegetables! Away with the yellow wine!
After Lu You was stunned for a short time, he stammered, “Zhao, Zhao Daren really bought a lot.”
Tang Wan definitely didn’t care about Lu You’s shock. She sat down without asking anyone and even beckoned towards him smilingly. “Come, come, come. Eat quickly! The dishes are all prepared. It would be such a pity if we didn’t eat it.”
After Lu You was scared like this, the tender regards he originally wanted to pour out immediately became weak in half, but he needed himself to keep calm and brew that sorrowful feeling just now that had love mingled with sadness again. When he felt like it was good enough and turned towards Tang Wan and was just about to say some words that contained lovelorness, he was scared silly by her terrifying appetite again and his cheeks constantly twitched.
He recalled that there was originally about a dozen dishes that came. Now, there was seven or eight places that were already empty and she was still happily holding a spoon and eating a big serving of fish soup elegantly.
Please take note that it was one big serving, not one small bowl!
Tang Wan sensed his attention and turned her head around, asking puzzledly, “Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I, I’m not hungry…” Lu You smiled forcefully.
She shrugged her shoulders and continued to fight bravely with those delicious food. It would be best if he wasn’t hungry so as to avoid competing with her for the food.
His appetite completely disappeared as he watched. His heart was filled with confusion. The Tang Wan he used to know would cry out that she was full after eating several mouthful of food. Why was it that she became so gluttonous now? That appetite seemed like a bottomless pit.
What tender regards would he still express at this time? The words he wanted to say was already spooked out of his mind. There was not a single bit of inspiration left.
Hence, this sad and beautiful love story that achieved immortal fame ended hastily under the circumstances of Tang Wan eating to her heart’s content and Lu You suffering greatly from shock.
After they finished eating, no, to be exact, it was after Tang Wan finished eating, Zhao Shi Cheng appeared in good time. After he let people clear up the scene and greeted Lu You, who was beside himself, he left first with Tang Wan and before she left, that content smile she directed towards Zhao Shi Cheng attacked Lu You even more ruthlessly.
That beautiful smile should originally belong to him solely…
Lu You was in a daze for quite a while. He realized sorrowfully that the love he held towards Tang Wan might only be placed in his memories. For a moment, his emotions rose and fell and he had a strong urge to write poetry. He ordered someone to prepare pen and ink and wrote down the well known line for all eternity next to the plaster wall in the Shen garden—
Soft rosy hands, yellow sealed wine, the city brimmed with the colours of spring as willows lined the palace walls.
East wind devastates, happiness wears thin. A cupful of melancholy, several years of separation.
Wrong wrong wrong!
Spring remains the same, but her frame grew thin, tears washed away the rouge and dampened her silk handkerchief.
The peach blossoms are falling, by the empty waterside pavilion. Our oath to each other still remains, yet I can no longer profess my love.
Don’t don’t don’t!2
This ci poem expressed the deep sorrow and emotions in his heart vividly and incisively. He cried loudly and laughed heartily in the Shen garden and lamented his sorrow for a while. In the end, he still left with a broken heart.
Not long after, Tang Wan abruptly pulled Zhao Shi Cheng back to the same place and suddenly discovered that there was an extra ci poem on the plaster wall.
Zhao Shi Cheng admired the poem on the wall and exclaimed in astonishment at Lu You’s skilled calligraphy as well as literary talent. Although this poem spoke of his sorrow of parting with his wife, but he still couldn’t help but admire Lu You, who was indeed the number one scholar. This kind of artistic attainment was absolutely not something ordinary folks were capable of doing. Those people, who usually proclaimed themselves to be of great talent, had no choice but to lower their heads when they saw Lu You’s ci poem.
Tang Wan, on the other hand, curled her lips in contempt and said with disapproval, “I just knew Lu You didn’t have a single bit of public spirit. He actually scribbled on the wall. I’m going to let someone wash it clean.”
She was just about to call someone, but he stopped her. “Don’t wash it off. Just let this ci poem stay on the wall. Our dynasty produced such a big, literary giant. It’s just right to set aside for the later generations to gaze at with reverence.” After saying this, he was also deeply moved and could seem to imagine how depressed and lonely he was in his heart when Lu You was writing this ci poem. If it was him who parted with Tang Wan, maybe his pain was even more serious than Lu You.
Consequently, he was also in an exalted, poetic mood and ordered someone to fetch the writing brush. On one side of the plaster wall, he also composed a ci poem in reply—-
The world is fickle, its people are cruel, twilight shower bids fragile blossoms adieu.
Dawn wind dries, though tear marks remain, wishing to scribe my thoughts, I ruminate aloud against the leaning balustrade.
Hard! To! Leave! 3
Conceal! Conceal! Conceal!
To each their own, yesterday is no more, my ill soul quivers like the swinging rope.
Piercingly frigid sound of horns, the night is waning away, fearing people’s questions, I swallow the tears and feign happiness.
Tang Wan watched as Zhao Shi Cheng nimbly wrote down this ci poem at loss for words. The preposterous and comical feeling she had inside her heart couldn’t be mentioned. She suddenly felt a little sorry for the Tang Wan she had replaced. This ci poem should originally be the work of her and Lu You expressing their feelings for each other.
If the later generations knew that Phoenix Hairpin, this poetic masterpiece throughout all ages, was essentially produced by two men, who knows what expression they would have on. Not to mention, the phoenix hairpin Lu You gave to Tang Wan at first that served as their love token, was simply in Zhao Shi Cheng’s hands now…
T/n: Lol, when your ex husband and current husband write a love poem together…
This is the end of Pampering Big Cat Wife, yay. Thank you for reading this novel. I really enjoyed reading your comments and translating this novel. There’s also an author’s note at the end. Do you guys want me to translate that as well?
If you’re interesting in the original poem: here
- Yellow wine is mulled rice wine, according to Pleco.
- This poem wasn’t translated by me. I got the translated poem from this website: https://bearbeartranslations.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/poetry-translation-phoenix-hairpin-钗头凤/
- This part is different from bearbear’s translation of the poem because the author changed the tough tough tough part to hard to leave. Also, there was the conceal, conceal, conceal part right after the hard to leave part in the novel, but in the original poem, the conceal part was at the end of the poem.