Yu Zecheng was a trustworthy and well-educated young man.
Because of his trustworthiness, youth and intelligence, his superior favored him and entrusted him with many highly charged governmental secrets as well as personal ones. Yu always managed to complete all assignments to his satisfaction. Therefore his superior trusted him even more and gave him ever higher levels of secrets and he still managed to accomplish everything well. As time went by, his superior regarded him as if he were his own nephew, and ordered him to bring his wife to be reunited and also arranged for their accommodations and household necessities.
In actuality, Yu didn’t really have a wife in his hometown, not even a girlfriend. However, in his profile, he was a married man. Six years ago, when he signed up for the officers training program for the Investigation and Statistics Bureau of the National Military Commission in Chongqing, the communist party had prepared a detailed profile on him, in which he had a wife in a Japanese-occupied province in northern China. That was because married men were considered more trustworthy by the Nationalists, especially the young well-educated ones.
Now that the Japanese had been defeated, he had followed his superior to set up a branch of the Military Statistics Bureau in Tianjin. Yu’s superior became a major general and the branch chief while he became a lieutenant adjutant and the director of the classified information unit. In anticipation of the wealthy and prosperous future after throwing out the Japanese, the branch chief, married three wives in a row and built three mansions, one for each of them. Because of his care and concern of his right-hand man, Yu, who had left his wife back home six years ago, the branch chief arranged for this reunion.
因为余则成近几年的身份、职位过于重要，组织上考虑到他的安全，甚至连与他的单线联系也掐断了，现在他只能通过秘密联络点把这个新情况向党组织汇报。他与组织上的同志们已经一年多没见过面，虽然心中时时思念，但他知道必须得抑制住这份感情， 革命毕竟是一项有纪律的事业。很快，组织上回信说需要他的一张旧照片和五天的准备时间。到了第六天，他在联络点拿到了一个大信封，里边有一张已略显破旧的 大红婚帖，另外一张是印着“百年好合”金字的结婚证，角上贴着贰元陆角的印花税，下边盖着当年日伪县政府的大印和县长的私章。结婚证中间贴着照片，男的是 他的那张旧照片翻印的，女的粗眉大眼的不难看。一番检查过后，他发现这个证件制作得极其精致，联银券的印花税票是真品，县政府公章的雕工无可挑剔，照片的 翻印和修版也做得非常地道，不会被任何人看出破绽。他很感激组织上为他的安全费尽心力，军统局的那班技术人员相当厉害，如果留下一丝破绽，他连逃跑的机会也没有。
Due to his rise in rank, the communist party, for the sake of his safety, had ended any personal communication with him but arranged a drop for necessary communication. He hadn’t contacted his comrades for over a year, even though he had wanted to. He had suppressed his desires due to his understanding of the importance of discipline to the cause. Soon thereafter, he received a request from the party for an old picture of him and five days in which to complete his request. On the sixth day, he received a large envelope from the drop, which contained a frayed red wedding invitation and a marriage certificate with gilt lettering which said “A good union for a hundred years”, with a tax stamp of 2 Yuan 6 Jiao on the right top corner and seals of the Japanese puppet government and the county chief at the bottom. In the middle, there were pictures, the male one was of him that was sent and the female one showing a woman with thick eyebrows and large eyes, not bad looking. Upon detailed examination, he discovered how sophisticatedly the certificate was fabricated: the tax stamp was authentic; the government seal was perfect; and the reprint of the pictures was genuine. It was impossible to detect any flaws. He was appreciative of the efforts that the party had made on his behalf, because it would be thoroughly scrutinized by the technicians at his bureau. Had there been any flaws, he wouldn’t even have a chance to escape.
到了第七天，站长说要给余则成派个司机，让他见面后踏踏实实地与太太说说话，边开车边说 话毕竟危险。不想，特勤队的队长老马听见了，立刻自告奋勇，说是往日没机会巴结小余，今日总算逮着个茬口，不可放过。然而，余则成平日里防范最严密的就是 这个老马，他是出了名的鹰犬，站里跟踪、搜查、抓捕、刑讯、暗杀等所有可怕的工作都归他负责，而且他是中校军衔，没有替余则成当司机的道理。站长却挺高 兴，说你们俩都是我的心腹，正应该多亲近亲近。
On the Seventh day, the branch chief expressed his desire to assign a chauffeur for Yu so that he wouldn’t have to drive and talk with his wife at the same time. Upon hearing this, old Ma, head of the Special Missions Team, willingly volunteered to be the chauffer. He said he wouldn’t pass this rare opportunity to do this favor for Yu. However, Yu was especially wary of this man, because he was well-known for his ruthlessness and he was in charge of all the horrible tasks at the branch such as stalking, searching, arresting, interrogating and assassinating. Further, he was a lieutenant colonel and realistically too high up to be a chauffeur. However, to his dismay, the branch chief was happy that both of his right-hand men would have the opportunity to get to know each other better.
Thus, the intelligence head and the communist undercover agent went together to pick up the wife who didn’t exist.
The car arrived at Lintingko in Baodi County, where a horse carriage was waiting by the roadside. The driver, clutching a whip, was napping behind the carriage. Within the carriage, were two women, one older, and one younger. The younger one, holding to her breast a parcel, had thick eyebrows and large eyes, but not as pretty as her picture. Yu got out of the car and addressed the older one, “Mother”, and then introduced her to Old Ma as his mother-in-law and to her, Old Ma as his colleague. The old woman, carrying a big pipe, shook her hands in greeting. Old Ma bowed to her politely in greeting and offered her two boxes of deserts and four bottles of wine, saying “This is a gift of respect.”
The carriage driver came from behind and loaded the luggage into the jeep. Yu yanked the carriage driver’s shirt and said “you have to be more careful”, but he was trying to pull down the driver’s shirt to cover the gun in his waistband. Earlier when the carriage driver was hidden behind the carriage, his hand must have been on the gun stuck in his waistband.
On their way back, Yu introduced his wife, Cuiping, to Old Ma and Cuiping called him elder brother. Old Ma asked why no one in Yu’s family accompanied her. Yu answered that there was no one left in his family. Old Ma cursed the Japanese and kept silent after that.
在后座上，余则成伸手去握翠平的手，翠平瑟缩了一下，便任由他握着。于是，余则成在她的 手掌中摸到了一大片粗硬的老茧，也发现她的头发虽然仔细洗过，而且抹了刨花水，但并不洁净；脸上的皮肤很黑，是那种被阳光反复烧灼过后的痕迹；新衣服也不 合身，窝窝囊囊的不像是量体裁衣。除此之外，她身上还有一股味道，火烧火燎的焦臭，但绝不是烧柴做饭的味道。汽车开出去二十里之后，他才弄明白，这是烟袋 油子的味道。于是，他便热切地盼望着这股味道仅只是他那位“岳母大人”给熏染上的而已。
In the backseat, when Yu tried to hold Cuiping’s hand, she resisted at first and then gave in. Yu, holding her hand, rubbed her hand and discovered calluses. Although, her hair had been washed, perhaps even with some sort of soap, it was still not clean. Her complexion was dark, as if sunburned. Her clothes were ill-fitting, and she emanated a burnt smell, although not from cooking. After 20 miles, he realized it was from the “mother-in-law’s” pipe and hoped that she had not taken up that habit.
Yu only had one hobby, which was collecting the four treasures (tools of Chinese calligraphy), and the one thing that he hated most and was renowned for was his dislike of smoke. Even the branch chief would put out his cigar whenever he was around, and Old Ma, who was a chain smoker, refrained from smoking during the whole trip. It was probably because he hadn’t been in touch for so long that the party leaders had forgotten his likes and dislikes.
虽说领导可能不了解他的生活习惯，但还不至于不了解他的其他情况。翠平很明显没有文化， 只是一名可敬的农村劳动妇女，这样的同志应该有许多适合她的工作，而送她到大城市里给一个特务头子当太太就很不适宜了。他转过头来看翠平，发现她也在偷偷 地看他，黑眼珠晶亮，但眼神却很执拗。于是他问你饿了吗?她却立刻从包袱里摸出两只熟鸡蛋放在他的手中，显然她很紧张。这时老马在前边打趣道，我这抬轿子的可还没吃东西啊!老马从后视镜中可以看到他们的一切，这也是余则成不得不做戏的原因。
Although the party leaders didn’t know Yu’s likes and dislikes very well, they should have known about his current station. Cuiping was a field woman and obviously uneducated. They could have found many other tasks more suitable to her abilities than sending her to be a wife of an intelligence official in a big city. He turned to inspect her further and found her surreptitiously checking him out. Her eyes were dark, bright and possibly stubborn looking. “Are you hungry?” he asked. She immediately whipped out two hard boiled eggs from her parcel and put them in his hand. She was obviously nervous. Jokingly, Old Ma cut in with “I am the one who is carrying the wedding carriage, and I haven’t had anything to eat yet.” Old Ma had been able to see everything from the rearview mirror, and that was why Yu had to pretend.
That evening, the branch chief held a welcome banquet for Cuiping at the very expensive western style Shunde Restaurant. The invited colleagues, trying their best to impress both the branch chief and his right-hand man, brought Cuiping many expensive gifts. Just after the Japanese had been ousted, money was ill-gotten and freely spent.
余则成很担心翠平会像老舍的小说《离婚》里边那位乡下太太一样，被这个阵势给吓住，或是 有什么不得体的举止。如果他的“太太”应酬不下来这个场面，便应该算是他的工作没做好。任何一件小小的失误都会给革命事业带来损失，他坚信这一点。不想， 等站长演讲、祝酒完毕，开始上菜的时候，翠平突然点手把留着金黄色小胡子的白俄领班叫了过来。众人的目光一下子都集中到她身上，只听她大大方方地说道，有面条吗?给我煮一碗，顺便带双筷子过来。站长听罢哈哈大笑，说我就喜欢你这样的孩子，好孩子，够爽快，我至今生了六个混蛋儿子，就是没有个女儿，你做我的 干女儿吧!过几天还是这些人，去我家，我这姑娘那天正式行礼改称呼，你们都得带礼物，可别小气啦。众人哄然响应。余则成发现，翠平的目光在这一阵哄闹中接 连向他盯了好几眼，既像是观察他的反应，又像是朝他放枪。他向她点点头，传达了鼓励之意。他猜想，翠平在这个时候最需要的应该就是鼓励。
Yu was worried as to whether she would be intimidated by the grandeur of the banquet and the surroundings and act clumsily, like the country bumpkin in Lao She’s story, ‘Divorce’. He felt that if his ‘wife’ didn’t act properly, it would be his fault that he had not prepare her sufficiently. He believed that any mistakes would damage their cause in the revolution. However, after the branch chief delivered his speech toasted his welcome, while the food was being served, unexpectedly, Cuiping, waved over the mustached white Russian waiter. As everyone watched her intently, she unabashedly ordered a bowl of noodles and a pair of chopsticks. Upon hearing this, the branch chief laughed out loud, and said to her, “you are the kind of child I would like to have had. Good girl, you are so straightforward. I have six spoiled sons and no daughter. How would you like to be my god daughter? Why don’t we have an adoption ceremony at my house in a few days and everyone here is invited.” And to them, he added, “You all have to bring gifts and don’t be stingy.” Everyone cheered unanimously. Yu noticed, during all this, Cuiping glanced at Yu several times, as if she was either observing him or looking for signs of his approval. Yu nodded to her and acknowledge her conquest. He felt that more than anything else at this moment, Cuiping needed his encouragement and approval.