Chapter 8 The scheme
There were four kinds of delicate dishes on the table as well as a small pot of porridge.
The porridge was very fragrant. It was just that Shu Huan didn’t seem to have much appetite. She poked with the chopsticks in the bowl of porridge with a frown on her face. Suddenly, she put her face closer to Gu Xiran’s and whispered, “Your excuse was so bad. Would old madam and mistress believe?”
Gu Xiran swept disapprovingly over her and asked, “Do you have a better excuse?”
“No,” Shu Huan shook her head.
“Then, isn’t it enough?” Gu Xiran pushed the empty bowl to her. “Pour another bowl for me.”
Shu Huan looked at the bowl twice but didn’t move.
Gu Xiran looked at her and added a word, “Please.”
Shu Huan was helpless, she could only pick up the bowl and got up to get the porridge for him. She didn’t expect that concubine Yun who was standing at the side would rush over immediately and took the bowl over from her. She smiled slightly, “Second young mistress, be careful of burning your hands. Let me do it.”
- Concubines couldn’t sit on the table when the masters are eating. They have to stand on a side and serve. However, if the master likes her very much, an exception could be made.
She didn’t object that someone was willing to do her work. She sat down and continued to eat her porridge. Just now, Gu Xiran had said that they consummated their marriage just out of the blue and didn’t prepare the handkerchief of consummation. What kind of bad excuse was that…?
While she was thinking, her head was knocked by chopsticks, “Still thinking? If they don’t believe it, no matter what you say they won’t believe you. Or are you planning to do it on spot for them to see?”
How could that be?!
Shu Huan’s face got red and glared at him.
Gu Xiran was unconcerned. He picked up a side dish and whispered, “Even if they think I’m lying, what can they do?”
It could only be like this!
However, when old madam left, the gaze she looked at her with was like looking at a fox (temptress). Lin shi instructed for her to be more careful since second young master’s body wasn’t well.
- Shi: clan
She got blamed for no apparent reason. She really couldn’t accept it. Now, when she recalled the things from last night, everything seemed to have an explanation. He expected she would be in trouble. Was that why he prepared in advance? The maids could also testify and say that she bathed and slept in the main chamber last night.
This kind of careful protection made Shu Huan feel grateful. She whispered, “Thank you.”
Gu Xiran didn’t understand, “Thank me for what?”
“For today’s matter.”
A basin of cold water poured down on her.
“No need to thank me. Whether I divorce my wife or not is my business. I don’t like it when others intervene.”
She mistook his affection.
Shu Huan then lowered her head and silently ate the porridge.
After the two of them finished eating, concubine Yun was able to sit down and eat.
Shu Huan looked at the cumbersome rules of this wealthy family and felt sick and tired. Just when she wanted to go take a walk outside, Xiangqian came in with tea. She was studying what kind of tea it was, when she heard Gu Xiran ask faintly, “Who went out of the yard early in the morning?”
Xiangqian didn’t know and shook her head.
Concubine Yun put down the chopsticks and said awkwardly, “When I woke up in the morning, I found out that there was no more of the bird nest that second young master used to eat, so I sent Qiaoyun out to get some. Is there something wrong?”
Gu Xiran didn’t answer and just put the cup of tea on the table. “Call her.”
Qiaoyun was at the small tea room at the moment to boil medicine. In her heart, she was rejoicing that she was lucky. Originally, old madam was angry and wanted to punish them, she didn’t expect that when second master mentioned the consummation of the marriage, she forgot about the punishment…
While she was thinking, she heard that Gu Xiran called for her. She let a small maid watch over the fire before she went to the main chamber. When she entered, she laughed, “Second master, did you call me?”
Gu Xiran looked at her, “Did you let the matter of last night’s fire out?”
Qiaoyun paled, quickly lowered her head and said, “This slave hasn’t…”
“Hasn’t?” Gu Xiran smiled slightly, “The fire happened at midnight and didn’t broke out. Only the people of this yard knew. If it wasn’t you who let it out, how would old madam have rushed over early in the morning?”
Qiaoyun was stubborn and refuted in a low voice, “There are so many servants in this yard. When there are many people, words get out quickly. Who knows who had spread it…?”
Gu Xiran rubbed his temples tiredly, “Whether it was you or anyone else, listen well. In the future, no one is allowed to let what happens inside of this yard to spread out. If something gets out, I won’t beat nor scold you. I will only deduct one month of your salary. If something gets out again, I will deduct three months. If it continues to happen, I will deduct a year and two years and so on. If one of you think that you have too much salary, you can continue to spread things to the outside world.”
Qiaoyun bit her lips and didn’t dare to say more.
Concubine Yun stood up with a face full of apology, “The matters of this yard are my affairs. I didn’t manage the maids well and let second young master worry.”
She didn’t expect that Gu Xiran didn’t bother with her and only gazed at Shu Huan, “Remember?”
“Ah?” Shu Huan was only a spectator and felt that his gaze was like a torch and his insights were clear. She secretly admired him. However, how could she know that he would suddenly turn to her? She said confusedly, “Remember what?”
“Rules,” Gu Xiran said faintly. “In the future, these are your affairs.”
Shu Huan was speechless and secretly glanced at concubine Yun. Sure enough, her face got red like being so ashamed to show one’s face. She (SH) couldn’t help but sympathize with her. Although she sympathized with her, she didn’t act rashly. She couldn’t defend concubine Yun against injustice and scold Gu Xiran for liking the new and hating the old!
- Like the new and hate the old: enamored with a new person and bored with the old one.
What like the new one? Wasn’t a cold basin of water poured over her just now?
Seriously speaking, the face she had lost in these two days were a lot more than concubine Yun. It was just that her face was thicker. She would forget it after the embarrassment and wouldn’t put it in her heart.
Concubine Yun was certainly someone thin-faced. While speaking, her voice sounded like crying, “Yan doesn’t feel that well and will retire first.”
After that, she was even negligent with the etiquettes she always followed. She didn’t wait for Gu Xiran to agree, turned and left hurriedly.
Qiaoyun and Xiangqian also used an excuse to leave after they saw that the atmosphere wasn’t right. Only Gu Xiran still had a face that nothing was the matter. It was as if whether concubine Yun was sad or not had nothing to do with him…
Shu Huan glanced twice at him and couldn’t help but mutter, “Heartless and lacking in feelings.”
Gu Xiran raised an eyebrow, “What?”
“Even if she’s only a concubine, after all she took care of you for a year. You treating her like this really let her feel bitterly disappointed.”
Laughter flashed in Gu Xiran’s eyes, “I didn’t expect that I took someone so highly principled, virtuous, warm and kind as my wife. She even began to fight justice for the concubine.”
Was this sarcasm?
No matter which one, none of the three words virtuous, warm and kind was suitable to describe her!
She sympathized with concubine Yun because she didn’t see Gu Xiran as her husband. As for Gu family, she also didn’t plan to live here for a long time. She was waiting to find out the situation here and think of a way to make a living. Then, she will get out of here. Being on the outside, she naturally wouldn’t take concubine Yun as someone who would threaten her status and love. This was a separate matter from the Confucian moral injunctions for woman which stated to not be jealous!
- Confucian moral injunctions for women, namely: obey in turn three men, father, husband and son, plus the four virtues of morality, physical charm, propriety in speech and efficiency in needlework.
It was just, she couldn’t say this out loud. She could only thick-facedly accept it, “If you didn’t take a concubine, then forget it. But since you took one, you should treat her better.”
“And treat you a bit badly?”
Shu Huan choked on her words and retorted strongly, “Are you treating me very well now?”
“Is this still not well enough?”
The topic had a suspicion of changing in the amorous direction.
Shu Huan made the killer move. She stood up and walked towards outside. While she was walking, she said, “I won’t talk with you any longer.”
Gu Xiran didn’t stop her and only said slowly, “Fool! You have been sold by the person and still speak up for her.”
Huh? Shu Huan turned confused, “What do you mean?”
Gu Xiran lowered his head and drank tea. After a while did he say, “Qiaoyun is a maid from my chamber. Xiangqian is the one who usually follows her (Y). Why didn’t she let Xiangqian go get the bird nest early in the morning?”
Because Qiaoyun’s mouth didn’t have a lock and could say everything without hesitation?
Shu Huan recalled the conversation of the maids in front of the room before the fire. Her heart jumped. But she still didn’t believe that concubine Yun, a woman who looked so gentle and kind would also scheme. She couldn’t help but argue for her (Y), “Perhaps Xiangqian was busy with other things at that time and only Qiaoyun was idle!”
“Really?” Gu Xiran laughed, “Qiaoyun isn’t a diligent person. Troubling for half night, presumably she was still sleeping in this morning! Go think about the other things yourself.”
After he said this, he seemed tired. He closed his eyes to rest and no longer spoke.
Shu Huan froze on spot. She thought and thought. In the end, she sighed helplessly.