The Jin brothers were happy at their wife's delighted reaction to their village.
Honestly, they were apprehensive that she would hate it here and cannot adapt. They thought she would pine for the comforts of the capital and disdain the rural environment.
Looking at her amazed expression though, the hanging stones in their hearts were finally put down.
If Mei Li heard their thoughts, she would have told them, "guys, I am really not from the capital. Not even this time period!"
Mei Li and her husbands continued their leisurely stroll.
They showed her where the village square was and where the village chief lived. They even pointed out some of the houses of people they were often acquainted with.
For example, there was the hunter family downstream where they often bought wild game if Haoran wasn't available to hunt. Shufen also pointed out where the village doctor, his master, lived. There were also a few households selling vegetables and the pork seller family.
Mei Li was super curious about everything. This was like a wonderful dream come true for a used-to-be archaeologist like her. Instead of digging buried bones and fragmented remains, she was actually seeing and experiencing an authentic rural village from the Tang dynasty!
The brothers also showed Mei Li where their family's farmlands were.
As it turned out, the Jin family had around 85 mu of farm plots at the western part of the village and around 30 mu at the northern side.
Most of these were rented out to the other villagers though and the Jin brothers only kept 5 mu for their personal uses. That's actually where Haoran and Weimin run off to every day the past few days. They were plowing.
As for Shufen and Longwei, she learned that they had to make several visits to the village doctor's place the past few days. That was because Longwei had a weak constitution since he was born. The almost month-long journey to and fro the capital to fetch Mei Li took a toll on his body.
Longwei had to go through several treatment sessions when he returned. Shufen always went with him to make sure his brother was alright and to learn more medicine from his master as well.
When Mei Li asked Mingyu where he went the past few days, he just said he visited the nearby county town for certain matters but did not elaborate. She did not press him. Everyone was entitled to their secrets. Didn't she have an explosive secret of being a transmigrator and time traveler?
Fu Mei Li also asked about the conditions of the villagers. It turned out that their Jin family owned the largest farmland area of 115 mu. Next, there was the Sheng family who they were indebted to. The Sheng family had around 70 mu of farm plots.
As for the other villagers, they either own a few mu of land or rent plots from the Jin and the Sheng families.
There were around 50 to 60 households in Shenghuo, and a total of about 700 residents. As such, they were considered a small village. Larger villages had around a thousand or two thousand inhabitants.
The villagers here owned or rented an average of two to ten mu of land per household.
When Mei Li's group came near the central riverbend, they came across a few village matrons who were washing their laundry.
Only a few households here could afford to dig their own well like the Jin and Sheng family. The rest of the villagers get their drinking and cooking water from the two communal village wells located Upstream and Downstream.
As for washing clothes, mostly everyone goes directly to the riverside to do that.
When the matrons looked over to where they were, the brothers' expressions darkened perceptibly. Jin Longwei tensed and looked like he wanted to leave immediately. Mei Li didn't notice though as she was busily taking in the sights.
"Yo, aren't these the Jin brothers?" A village matron with a thin and sharp face called out sneeringly.
"Is this your wife from the capital? Look at that fair skin and delicate figure. Who knew our village would have the honor to receive such a noble lady ah." Her tone was dripping with sarcasm and the other matrons beside her sniggered.
This was Old Lady Yun, one of the well-known shrews in the village.
Mei Li looked towards the women. Was she being disdained for being someone from the capital just now? Didn't those novels from her past life always had bullies hating the transmigrators for being ignorant and lowly peasants? Now, she was being ridiculed for her noble background? How funny!
Mei Li didn't realize that she already caused a sensation when she first arrived in the village. Many people were all talking about how the Jin brothers got themselves a wife from the capital.
When she arrived extremely sick, the gossip swirled. People said she was too delicate for the village life.
Those who liked the Jin brothers lamented that the brothers should have married a strong and healthy village woman to help the household.
Those who didn't get along with the brothers said that they were toads trying to eat the swan's flesh but this swan might just wither away soon.
"Look at her arms and body. She looks so scrawny. How is she going to help with the laundry and with the fields?" Another village matron remarked.
"Yeah, for sure she'll just sit at home and let the brothers do all the work. She wouldn't dare to dirty those fine clothes of hers, right? Our village girls look way healthier and more reliable than her; good for birthing lots of children! Ah, poor Jin brothers."
"Bah! What do you know? The Jin family isn't like before. Won't our daughters just become a workhorse for them so they could pay their debts?"
The village matrons clamored among themselves without paying heed to the fact that the subject of their gossip could hear them loud and clear.
The Jin brothers were looking angrier by the minute. But they were taught well by their late parents. They did not have to descend to these gossipy women's levels. So they just told Mei Li that they should leave.
Before they could go far though, Old Lady Yun shouted at Mei Li again.
"Yo, wife of the Jin family, you better be careful in the Jin household. If I were you, I would leave right away and go back to the capital lest you get more bad luck from that disaster star!" Old Lady Yun looked at Longwei hatefully as she said that.
Shufen, who was always protective of his younger twin brother, couldn't take it anymore. "Shut your dirty mouth you old hag lest you contaminate the air with your filthy breath!"
"Damn brat, who are you calling an old hag?!" Old Lady Yun shook her fists in anger.
"Is anyone here looking old and shriveled except you? You should wear a veil. Your ugly face ruins people's moods!" Shufen didn't know the meaning of restraint nor respect for the elders at all as he lambasted Old Lady Yun.
What he hated the most was people calling Longwei a disaster star. Just because his brother was born sickly doesn't mean he was the harbinger of bad luck. Dare to ridicule his brother? Who gave this damn old lady the right?
"Damn brat, if your brother isn't a disaster star, then what is he? Would you deny that your Jin family experienced one tragedy after another after he was born?" Old Lady Yun wasn't giving up.
The other matrons also added oil to the fire.
"That's right, their mother got sick after he was born and never recovered until she died."
"He even affected his oldest brother. Why else would he be dismissed from his post in the capital? Not long after that, their fathers died and so did their mother. Such bad luck!"
Another woman chimed in while looking at Mei Li. "Listen to sister Yun, lass. Didn't you already get sick the first time you entered the Jin household? Don't wait for it to get worse; go back to the capital."
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