Chapter 203 – Solicitude for the common people (2)
However, when Ji Man left the estate in a sedan chair to check on the situation the next day, she encountered a mob of people at the congee stand. This was the juncture point where people had originally been praising the crown prince after getting their food. This mob looked very dirty and was one step away from looking like a group of beggars. They were shouting that their family members had died after eating the crown prince’s medicine and wanted the crown prince to compensate them.
Ji Man was very familiar with this type of scene. It was the same as when someone deliberately bumped into you, then fell over and tried to blackmail you for his or her self-inflected injuries.
There were people guarding the congee stand. They were the guards that had been recently sent over by the crown prince. Looking at these scoundrels in front of them, they were about to step forward to push them to the ground.
“Stop!” Ji Man hurriedly shouted. With a hand protectively covering her stomach, she stepped down from the sedan chair. How could anything good come from shoving these people? It would just give them the perfect opportunity to spread rumors that the crown prince’s guards were rude and unreasonable.
The guards looked at the sedan chair. Seeing that the sedan chair was decorated with golden flowers at the top, they knew that this graceful woman with luxurious clothing and jewelry had to be from a family that was third-rank or higher.
A sharp-eyed person called out, “It’s Marchioness Moyu.”
The crowd was silent for a while before resuming their clamoring for money again.
Ji Man took a few steps forward. Gancao and Dengxin followed after her and carefully guarded her. They were scared that someone would rush forward and knock over their master.
“Who are these people that got sick after eating the medicines that were distributed here? Bring their corpses here, and a coroner will examine their bodies. If they had really died from eating the wrong medicine, then the crown prince will naturally compensate their families.”
Back and forth, the group of people looked at each. It was obvious that they had been sent here to temporarily cause trouble. They hadn’t thought about creating props to back up their false accusations.
Ji Man serenely said, “The medicine here is everyone’s life-saving medicine. So many people have already been saved from dying because of the crown prince’s benevolence. Why did you guys come here to deliberately cause trouble?”
This was a group of a people that didn’t even regularly have enough food to eat. Faced with a beautiful married woman that was patiently persuading them, they weren’t sure how to respond. They had come here to knock over the congee and medicine stands, but seeing that this woman was pregnant, they felt hesitant with proceeding forward with their original plan.
Ji Man thought; humans did have an inherent goodness to them. These people had consciences. Even thought they were on opposing sides, everyone had a mother and that gave them a shared commonality.
And so, she continued to persuade them, “There’s a congee stand right here. If you’re feeling hungry, you can get a helping of congee. Then, let’s sit down together. We can discuss while you’re eating if you want. If you wait a bit, I’ll have my servant girls go and buy some pickled vegetables. Eating just congee by itself is a bit strange. Also, isn’t it about time for you guys to change out your clothes? The crown prince is also handing out linen clothing for free. Later on, after you returned home and washed your face, how about replacing your current clothing with a new set of clothes? Doing this will also help prevent the spread of smallpox.”
The people that were standing in line and waiting for the congee and medicine had all looked over here in Nie Sangyu’s direction. They were all thinking that although this woman was a bit too talkative, she was truly kind-hearted.
Looking at the troublemakers, whose expressions showed that they were at a loss, Ji Man persisted with her speech. “If you’re truly having a hard time making a living and feel as if you won’t be able to continue living, you can tell me. I happen to have some loose change with me today. Come here, I’ll distribute them to you. In the future, you guys have to strive to be good-hearted people. Don’t do anymore bad things, like trying to ruin your fellow people’s means of subsistence.”
After saying this, she really did hand over a small purse to Gancao, so that she could hand out the silver taels to them.
Gancao hastily flung the money at them, and someone in the group foolishly caught the purse in reflex.
After Ji Man returned to her sedan chair, she stretched her head out and said, “Marquis Moyu has received the crown prince’s order to continue providing disaster relief in the form of food and warm clothing for the common people. His Highness hopes that everyone can live a comfortable life.”
Marquis Moyu had assigned an agent by the stand. The agent immediately used this opportunity to stir up emotions. “His Highness is truly a compassionate person that cares about the common people!”
“May the crown prince live for a thousand years!”
Hearing these words, Ji Man sat back into the sedan chair. She had the bearers place the sedan chair down on the side of a nearby street. This way, she could eat her snacks and observe the situation at the congee stand at the same time.
The group of people that had taken her money left with their tails between their legs. However, it only took a short period before a large group of people came and lined up to ask for medicine and congee.
At this rate, there wouldn’t be enough congee in the stand to feed everyone. The cost of food had recently become very expensive. Very soon, the congee ran out and the people that had been waiting in the line started to complain.
This was just human nature. Once people were used to getting a handout, they would think that it should continue forever. If the handout ever stopped, they would actually blame the kind person that had helped them.
The person in charge of the congee stand came over and asked with a smile, “Madam Ning, what should we do? There’s not enough congee.”
“That’s okay. Go back and calm the crowd down. I’ll bring people to buy food and medicine.” Ji Man light-heartedly waved her hand and ordered the bearers to head towards Yongning Street.
Wasn’t this merely a problem that could be solved with money? Out of everything, money was her least lacking resource. So what if the price for food and medicine had skyrocketed? She still had her private savings stored away in Shuiji Rouge Shop. What was there to worry about?
And so, even though the prices for food and medicine had increased to a point that people were clicking their tongues in disapproval, Ji Man was still able to take out a large sum of money to buy enough supplies. She ordered people to watch the stand and make sure that everyone got his or her portion, but no one was allowed to take an extra helping.
It was very obvious that someone had arranged for the two groups of people to come over and start trouble.
Seeing that Nie Sangyu had defused the conflicts one after another, they reported this matter to one of the third prince’s servant.
Hearing this news, the servant thought there had to be something wrong. Wasn’t Madam Ning the third prince’s cousin? Why would she do something to help an outsider instead of her relative? And so, he immediately reported the matter to the third prince.
As Ji Man was happily watching the congee being distributed, she saw a servant from Marquis Moyu’s household running over here from a distance.
In a loud voice, the servant said, “Madam, an important guest has come to Marquis Moyu’s residence. Old Madame wants you to hurry back.” 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far