Chapter 160: Incognito Visit to Guilin Restaurant (1)
Chu Lian had come down to make an incognito visit today, so she dressed very plainly. Even the carriage she took lacked the House Jing’an insignia.
Together with the rest of the party, most people would just assume that she was the wife of a low ranking official.
Guilin Restaurant was situated deep in the old west market. Ever since the bounds of the west market had been redrawn by the Ministry of Transport, this whole area had become a part of Anle Lane.
Anle Lane was a housing district for civilian families. Back then, a majority of the shops here had been bought, and the land they stood on had been turned into small homes meant for commoners. Never mind the only restaurant, Guilin Restaurant was probably the only business left in the area.
Although the ordinary folks on Anle Lane weren’t poor, the number of families who could afford to eat at a restaurant wasn’t enough. During this period, the cost of having a meal at a restaurant was equivalent to several sumptuous home-cooked meals of fish and meat.
Guilin Restaurant didn’t have a large customer base to begin with. To make matters worse, its food was so ordinary that it even fell short of the street food outside. Business was obviously very poor.
If not for the special meaning this restaurant held to Matriarch He, it would have most likely closed down over ten years ago. How could a business be allowed to continue operating at a loss?
The carriage steadily rode along the alleyways on Anle Lane. It was close to noon, so there was smoke coming out from the chimneys of the houses on the street. There were kids playing in the open and adults carrying bamboo poles loaded with items as they walked by. They had faces full of sweat, but they carried bright and happy smiles.
Chu Lian slightly lifted the carriage’s curtain and took in the scene of how commoners of the Great Wu Dynasty lived with her eyes wide open. It was so fresh and vivid that she couldn’t take her eyes off it; she was completely immersed in this reality.
When Wenqing noticed that Chu Lian was entranced with the view outside, she thought Chu Lian was running out of patience, so she said, “Third Young Madam, we’re just two alleys away from Guilin Restaurant.”
Wenqing and Wenlan used to live in a manor together with Senior Servant Zhong. As Wenqing’s home was close to Anle Lane, she was the most familiar with this area. She had also passed by Guilin Restaurant several times, but she had never gone in before.
Chu Lian let down the blinds and took a sip of the honey water in the teacup before her. She tilted her head to one side and said, “When we reach Guilin Restaurant later, all of you are not to reveal my identity. Understand?”
Although Wenqing and Wenlan were curious about the reason behind Third Young Madam’s order, they were smart enough not to question it. They nodded and agreed in unison.
As expected, the gently shaking carriage reached the entrance to Guilin Restaurant in just a moment.
Guilin Restaurant was situated at a bend in the corner of the street. In the original west market, it was a great position, but after it became a residential area, the surrounding businesses closed one after another and Guilin Restaurant was the sole business that remained.
There was a certain quaint charm to Anle Lane, but it was a pity that there was very little human traffic. The people who did pass by were mostly commoners who ate at home.
Chu Lian got off the carriage with Wenqing supporting her.
She raised her head slightly to take in the sight of Guilin Restaurant.
Perhaps due to the uniform buildings of the west market in the past, Guilin Restaurant’s entrance wasn’t that big, and it only had a single floor.
The sandalwood signboard had the words ‘Guilin Restaurant’ drawn on it with black ink, and the calligraphy looked bold and charismatic. It was inviting and gave off the feeling of being free with the wind.
However, the signboard was also aged and mottled, with peeling paint all over, making the restaurant look decrepit.
This was obviously due to the restaurant being poorly maintained.
Chu Lian’s gaze shifted from the signboard to the restaurant itself.
It was close to noon, but the entrance of Guilin Restaurant was barren, devoid of any life except for a few small sparrows. No one was behind the counter either, but there was a short wooden stool next to it. A young man dressed in coarse fabric who looked about fifteen or sixteen was sitting on the stool. He was snoring in his sleep and drooling all over the counter.
Seeing Guilin Restaurant in such a lazy state, Chu Lian furrowed her brows together. Wenqing was so angry that her expression turned grave.
Chu Lian stepped forward and entered Guilin Restaurant. The sleeping young man didn’t wake up, not even when she walked right up to him.
Wenqing moved up and pushed him. The young man tilted over and finally woke up from his dreams with an abrupt start.
“Who was it! Who pushed me!”