Legend of Concubine’s Daughter Minglan - novelonlinefull.com
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After Minglan had seen Gu Tingye off, she started to listen to the reports from those Mamas: The walls between the two mansions had been demolished. As long as the wood and bricks were delivered, the construction work could start… The wages have already been distributed. A few accounts seemed wrong… The cotton and the cloths had already been purchased. The servant in charge of this asked Minglan to check the products. The servant who did the needlework told Minglan that tomorrow was the time for making winter clothes for everyone in the mansion… The servants who worked in the construction site came to report the expenses… There were also some people asking for Dui cards as usual. All those trivial matters were handled by Minglan one by one patiently.
As she turned around, she saw Danju checking the accounts by the window. These years, Danju had got more and more masterly in reckoning by the abacus. It only took her a short while to finish checking the accounts.
Liao Yong's wife had lots of acquaintances, so she had already chosen several young men who were great choices for husbands. Then, the engagement of the maids was put on the agenda. Some of the young men were from the rich families, some were from the peasant families which possessed lots of farmland, while some were the sons of the stewards in the mansion. The maids who married into those families would have their own servants after getting married. After the New Year's Eve, the shopkeepers in other cities would also come to the Gu's mansion. By then, Minglan would try to find if there were anyone among them who was outstanding or had outstanding sons.
This really gave Minglan a headache. When she wanted to ask Danju's personal opinion, the latter only blushed and ran away. Minglan then caught the girl and forced her to answer, but Danju got angry at once and refused to talk.
“Madam, it's your fault. No girl in this world will comment about her future husband and marriage.” Mama Cui laughed.
Minglan, face wrinkled, said, “She'd better tell me that. Otherwise I would not know what kind of man she likes, the gentle ones, straight-forward ones, steady ones, talkative ones or considerate ones. This matters most in her life, why is she so shy about it?”
What if Danju and her husband didn't get along after they got married? Eh… maybe Minglan had thought too much.
“At that time, Old Madam Sheng also worried about the marriage of her maids too. Madam, you and Old Madam are so alike. The maids in this mansion are truly lucky.” Mama Cui looked at Minglan with a gentle and kind look in her eyes. Minglan who was inexperienced in this area was afraid that she couldn't pick a good guy for Danju, so she had asked Mama Cui to help. Judging from the men Mama Cui had chosen for her own nieces, she had certain dependability in this area.
“Madam, don't worry. I have watched her and Xiaotao grow up. I won't let you down.” Mama Cui said.
After Mama Cui dismissed herself, Minglan lay on the Xiangfei couch with an account book in her hand, seeming to be reading a collection of poems, while falling in a daze with her eyebrows knitted. Actually, Qinsang was the one who saved Minglan a lot of work. A few days ago, Qinsang's family came over from the countryside far away and asked the steward to tell Minglan that Qinsang was old enough to get married. They wanted Minglan to allow them to buy Qinsang's freedom back. Then Minglan agreed to meet them right away.
Qinsang's parents and her elder brother all looked honest in frugal and clean clothes. At first, they walked into the room with terror. The moment they saw Minglan, they knelt on the ground and started to cry bitterly, which frightened Minglan at once.
Then, Minglan asked them what kind of man they had found for Qinsang. As she knew the character and the family background of the man, she finally let out a sigh of relief.
“… Thank G.o.d, Qinsang has met such a great madam. Now only is Qinsang well-fed and well-clothed, but she could learn to read and write.” Qinsang's mother's swarthy and wrinkled face was covered with respect and grat.i.tude and she looked kind and innocent, “Our family will forever remember the great kindness from Madam and Old Madam Sheng. Even in our next lives, we will still repay your favors.”
She said that she had sold her daughter because she really had no choice at that time. After the family separation, she didn't know where her daughter was sold or what her daughter had been through. The rest of her family really felt as if a knife had been piercing their hearts at that time. Qinsang's father and brother were both frank people who weren't good at speaking. So they only kowtowed to Minglan while crying. It took Minglan quite a long while to persuade them to stand up. Then the two men stood aside timidly.
When Minglan told them that they did not need to pay anything to buy Qinsang's freedom, they went down on their knees again while expressing their great grat.i.tude by saying thanks continuously in a sobbing voice and kowtowing. Minglan had never seen so many people kowtowing to her before and only felt her blood freezing. After she chatted with them for a short while, she asked someone to bring them to Qinsang right away. Since Minglan had agreed to their requests, Qinsang's family then left gratefully. After that, they would prepare for Qinsang's room and her wedding. Next year, they would come here to pick Qinsang up and this girl's marriage would be settled then.
“I wonder what family Qinsang would marry into or what that man's character is like.” Minglan muttered to herself while resting her head on the pillow.
Lvzhi came in with two cushions which sent out a pleasant smell after bathing themselves in the sun. Heraing Minglan's words, she said with a smile, “Madam, don't worry. Before you get married, you have allowed Qinsang to go back to her hometown to visit her family. Her mother has already brought her to meet that man at that time.”
Minglan was a bit surprised, “Qinsang has already met that man?”
“Yeah!” Lvzhi placed the soft and fluffy cushion under Minglan's waist and said with a smile, “That man is from a rich family in his village. His family are all honest and kind people. They have lots of tenants and farmlands. Also, that man is very handsome.”
“That wicked girl, she only tells you guys about this, but never mentions a single word to me!” Minglan, feeling a bit relieved, said in a soft voice, “… what if they look down on a girl who used to be a maid?” Qinsang had been sold at a young age and staying in the capital for ten years, so she was actually not very familiar with her family. Minglan was only afraid that she would not be able to help that girl since she was not familiar with the family Qinsang would marry into.
Lvzhi chuckled and then argued, “Madam, what are you talking about? They already know that Qinsang used to be the personal maid of the lady from an official family in the capital and now is the first-cla.s.s maid of the Madam of Marquis Ningyuan's family. Also, our Qinsang has the most graceful manner and never puts on airs. How would they look down upon such a gentle and kind girl! More like cherishing her a lot! That man is nothing like those stubborn scholars!”
Minglan rolled her eyes to Lvzhi, knowing who the latter was implying. Lvzhi was capable and decent but had one shortcoming: a lack of generosity. She never went easy on others in her speech. Neither did Ruomei. So the two girls always had conflicts with each other. However, they never dared to quarrel with each other aboveboard, afraid that Miinglan would scold them. Then they only competed with each other secretly. Meanwhile, they also acted like the kids by never admitting the conflicts between them. Minglan only found them both irritating and funny.
Lately, Minglan felt her brain not so efficient. Not long after she had got up, she felt drowsy again. Then, she, head drooped, fell asleep on the bed. Lvzhi was cleaning the room with her head lowered while talking to Minglan, but suddenly heard no response. After she saw what happened, she chuckled secretly and tucked Minglan in. Then, she walked out of the room gently.
Minglan felt her body aching and limp in her sleep and her dream was endless. Not until the Si Hour (around 10 a.m.) did she wake up. Danju happened to lift the curtain and come in. With a beaming smile, she said, “We have a guest. Madam, please get up now.”
“We have just left the Royal Palace. When we were there, we didn't dare to move, afraid that we would make any mistakes. Then we decided to have some tea at your place.” Little Shen shi laughed vigorously in a voice as sweet as the little girls, looking quite charming.
There were a table of fruits and snacks in the waterside pavilion. Right now was the best time to watch the charming autumn scenery with the fresh air and the glittering water. There were maples by the pool which had been transplanted from the West Mountain. Sometimes a few red leaves would be blown off by a breeze and fell on the green and yellow gra.s.sland or the surface of the water. Watching scenery like this was able to make people relaxed and pleased.
“You were well-behaved and dared not move a bit?” Madam Geng who was peeling the orange said with her eyes wide open, “when you were a girl, you climbed on the mountain or rolled in the mud pond but were never reproached by our Empress!”