The Crab-Flower Club is the second volume of Cao Xueqin’s 1791(ish) The Story of the Stone; also known as (perhaps better known as) The Dream of the Red Chamber. David Hawkes’ translation is from 1977.
The scion of a well-placed family of Chinese bureaucrats, young Bao-yu must one day pass the exams, gain a position, serve the emperor, and ensure his family’s continued prosperity. That day is not today. The young man has other concerns.