Chapter 51 (V2): Old Mistress Zhuang’s Invitation
“Lass, aren’t you going to see your father off?” Gu Jin received the banknote from Nanny Jiang and nodded gleefully before shooting a grin at Gu Fangzi.
“Go! Send him out of this place.” Wang Shi waved her tired hand.
Gu Fangzi softly accepted and glare at Gu Jin grudgingly before leading him out.
Right at the household’s gate, Gu Jin again begged for the few broken pieces of silver which Gu Fangzi took out from before, claiming that he had not eaten lunch and had no money to hire a carriage home. When Gu Fangzi was not paying him much attention, he pulled down the gold hairpin on her head and forcefully pulled off the jade bracelet from her wrist. “The Shi family is rich, just have Shi Fengju that lad buy a new one for you!”
Gu Fangzi’s whole body trembled angrily but she held that anger in as she watched him swagger home whistling a small tune.
Fortunately, she was foresighted after having seen him pawn all the good ornaments.
“What should we do! This matter cannot be delayed any further!” Wang Shi frowned and sighed.
It was not that Gu Jin had never come to create a ruckus to obtain gifts of money, but the conversation this time around was the first ever. Truly, was it him who came up with it, or was there someone instigating from behind? In any case, his appetite had gotten bigger than before.
In the past, a few dozens of silvers, or a hundred silvers was enough to make him leave. But this time, he was given five hundred silvers and might want more in the future.
If he was not given the amount which satisfies him, he would take Gu Fangzi away. If that happens, even she would not be able to stop him! After all, they were father and daughter! It would be his win even if this case reaches the government officials! However, she could not just turn a blind eye and watch Fangzi get taken away to suffer!
“This is not an easy matter to handle. In any case, Miss Gu and the young master is a matter that’ll soon happen, admitting her to the family and all will be solved! As the saying goes, a married daughter is just like water that has been poured. When that time comes, his ruckus will have a limit!”
Nanny Jiang saw through Wang Shi’s heart and spoke with a smile.
“But,” Wang Shi spoke with difficulty, “My new daughter-in-law came not more than two months ago! Sang Wan is a good child, really, I really am fond of her and wish not to hurt her. Also, there’s the Sang family. They’re a literary family, there’s no way they would let us do as we please. My son really made a mess this time!”
Wang Shi snorted and directed all her anger to Shi Fengju. If he had not been dissatisfied with the engagement with the Sang family and dragged the marriage all the way until this year, Sang Wan would be able to enter early, which means Fangzi would be able to enter soon after, right? Then nothing like today would have happened!
“From this old servant’s perspective, the key for this matter lies in Young Mistress’s hand.” Nanny Jiang smiled. Seeing Wang Shi listening attentively, she went on, “If Young Mistress is the one to suggest letting Young Master have a concubine, then that would be Young Mistress’s virtuousness. No one else, not even the Sang family, can say anything to it!”
“Look at what you just said, you think Sang Wan would do it?” Wang Shi laughed and rolled her eyes at Nanny Jiang, “Well, unless she’s foolish enough!”
“Keke,” Nanny Jiang just continued, “The daughter-in-law cannot disobey her mother-in-law! Hasn’t that always been the case!”
Wang Shi’s face stiffened and she hesitated for a moment. It was true that if she were to direct from behind the scenes, Sang Wan would have no way of objecting.
But on the thought of Sang Wan’s graceful smile, her actions, her gentleness and respectfulness she had towards her, Wang Shi again found it unbearable to do so and sighed, “It can be put that way, but that would be just, just very bad for Sang Wan! From the looks of it, Fengju actually do quite like her. The affection they have towards each other is positive and the family is also at harmony. Even my life has become more comfortable! If her heart does happen to start growing thorns of hatred, followed by unhappiness between the couple and turning the entire household upside down, wouldn’t it all be my fault?”
Nanny Jiang went silent.
Seeing that she had remained silent, Wang Shi leaned her head and scolded, “What else do you want to say, spout it all out in one breath quickly!”
Nanny Jiang laughed and spoke without restraint, “These words are not all that nice to hear, but which daughter-in-law had never suffer under a mother-in-law? Just how many out there have a mother-in-law as generous and kind as Old Mistress! Till this day, Young Mistress has such a mother-in-law who does not need her to greet in the morning, no need to serve like under the tradition, and no need to cook in the kitchen. She’s able to wear comfortable clothes, with food served up to her, silk clothings and embroidered clothes to wear with many gold and silver ornaments, servants to serve her and flatter her, and she can do anything she wants, like sleeping in her chamber and no one can fault her for that! If such a small matter is considered bad, then this old servant does not know what is worse!
What’s more, Miss Gu entering the family was a matter that was ironclad and I’m sure You g Mistress should have known about it. You should let Young Mistress do the favor, and I’m sure Miss Gu will be very grateful towards her. Who knows, maybe their relationship would become better? And one more thing! If you deem that it would hurt Young Mistress, then wouldn’t it just be fine to treat her better in the future? If Young Mistress blindly cares only for herself and not for the sake of this family, the young master, and you, then her virtuousness is nothing but a false one! This old servant has spoken too much, this old servant shouldn’t have berated a master!”
After saying those words, Nanny Jiang took a step back and bowed to seek forgiveness.
“At ease!” Wang Shi smiled and said, “When the door’s closed, there’s nothing we can’t say! What you said is right, then from what I see, we shall go with it! However, this matter will only be decided by Fengju once he returns, but I’ll first notify Sang Wan of this.”
“Old Mistress is truly thoughtful!” Nanny Jiang added a praise hurriedly.
At this moment, a maidservant arrived with news: The Zhuang family had someone sent an invitation!
Hearing the word “Zhuang family”, Old Mistress Wang became anxious, but after hearing that it was just a servant who had sent it, and not Old Mistress Zhuang herself, she heaved a sigh of relief and gently patted her chest. “Damned lass, frightened me for a moment there! But thankfully, thankfully!” She had thought that Old Mistress Zhuang got wind of Gu Jin making a ruckus in the household and had come to make fun of her! But thinking again, when had Old Mistress Zhuang’s intel been well-informed? It was clear that she had frightened herself and she could not help but laugh.
The servant greeted and handed the invitation. In three days time, Old Mistress Zhuang would be hosting a banquet and had invited her over. Wang Shi did not give much thought and accepted it happily.
“I heard that Old Mistress Zhuang’s sister-in-law brought her sister-in-law’s or whatever relative’s daughter over. I heard that she’s quite a talented girl, isn’t it so?” Wang Shi placed the invitation aside and asked.
“Should be so.” Nanny Jiang nodded and added easily, “Not sure how many of those relatives she had kidnapped, but I heard that Old Mistress Zhuang even called her nieces over one at a time! Most probably she’s doing this for her son! Qie, what talented girl! From what I see, that girl definitely won’t be better than our Young Mistress!”
“I think so too!” Wang Shi suddenly had a gain in morale and she spoke, “Have someone invite Sang Wan over!” This daughter-in-law of mine, whether she has talent or not, the outcome will soon be clear. If she lost to that Old Mistress Zhuang’s relative, then mentioning Gu Fangzi entering the family would be a little easier; and if she wins, then she would get some good words from me and better treatment towards her in the future!
Wang Shi made up her mind and spoke with Nanny Jiang, “What we discussed just now, do not tell Young Mistress about it yet. Wait until after the banquet!”
Nanny Jiang found it funny and laughed before speaking quickly, “Had this old servant ever gossiped about matters regarding my masters? Other than you, no one else has the qualifications to say!”
It was true and Wang Shi smiled before nodding.
Fortunately, at this day, Second Old Mistress Shi and her daughter-in-law were having a quarrel which turned the atmosphere there foul. Judging by Second Old Mistress Shi’s temperament, she would always blow her frustration and anger towards Second Young Mistress Shi. Second Young Mistress Shi would then solemnly slip away to hide at Sang Wan’s place. The two wives were thus discussing the way the servants drew the flowers while gossiping and eating melon seeds.
Upon hearing that Wang Shi wishes to see her, Sang Wan patted on her skirt before getting up. Grabbing a hand full of sugared melon seeds, she gave it to the messenger and asked, “Has any guest came to visit?”
The messenger received the seeds with thanks and laughed, “No, a servant from the Zhuang family came with an invitation to invite Old Mistress to a banquet. As such, Old Mistress ordered this servant to call Young Mistress over.”
“I understand!” Sang Wan smiled and nodded, “I’ll change my clothes before going!”
Wang Shi loved to see people dressed nicely. The plain upper garment she had on was a little too plain, better have a change of clothes first.
Sang Wan then looked over at Second Young Mistress Shi who quickly smiled, “Since it was Aunt Wang who called, go ahead. I’ll be here to watch these servant girls finish the two pictures before going back!”
Despite the fact that when the owner is away, the guests should take their leave. However, Second Young Mistress did not want to return to her turbid life so soon, and even if she had to return, it would be after Second Old Mistress Shi had calmed down. It was all written on her face.
The way she phrased it, she knew Sang Wan would not inconvenience herself to chase her away. Sang Wan smiled at her and told her to do as she please before glancing at Hong Ye. But seeing that she had already invited the messenger to have a seat and chatting softly while drinking tea and having snacks, she then called for Liu Ya before going to the innermost area of the chamber to have a change of clothes.
After a short while, Sang Wan had changed to a red narrow-sleeved satin beizi with primrose painted patterns strewed around it, and a pink blossom long skirt. Her hair was also readied differently with a headdress embedded with pearls in three different points, and her empty wrist was dressed with a creamy white jade bracelet. Sang Wan called for Nanny Li, and together with two maidservants, they followed the messenger from behind.
Wang Shi was especially warm and enthusiastic today. After meeting Sang Wan’s eyes, she smiled, which made Sang Wan feel secretly surprised and at the same time suspicious as well.
The banquet would be held by the Zhuang family and Sang Wan naturally could not refuse. Smiling softly, she nodded and asked humbly, “Your daughter-in-law had never attended such a banquet before and knows not how to dress. Your daughter-in-law is not afraid of others laughing at her because of that, but still wishes to learn a few pointers from mother!”
Wang Shi was elated upon hearing so and laughed, “Don’t worry! I’ve already thought of that. Later on, a tailor, best in the city, will come to make clothes tailored just for you. There’s two to three days, enough to produce a brand new clothes! The clothes must also have matching jewelry, so a jewelry professional will also come to do the matching. When everything’s done, I’ll have someone send it over to you!”
Sang Wan put her heart at ease and said with a smile, “There’s nothing better than that! Mother truly is thoughtful, your daughter-in-law is ashamed of not being able to do so!”
Wang Shi smiled and waved her hand before saying, “What we have here in this house is money, so that much is nothing! Sang Wan, Mother had heard that Old Mistress Zhuang’s distant niece is a talented girl! When that time comes, you’ve to be at your mother’s side and suppress that woman!” Tell everyone who’s present to know who’s the real talented one!”
The pressure is strong on this one! Sang Wan secretly cried bitterly. Although she was knowledgeable in reading excerpts, in such a large world beneath the skies, there would definitely be someone more talented than her. Since the other person was claimed to be a talented woman, she was not one to be trifled with. Not saying anything else, but Old Mistress Zhuang had always fought with Mother-in-law. If that woman had no talent, Old Mistress Zhuang would definitely not show her off, or even hold such a large banquet!