Chapter 10 Paying respect
Gu Xiran was reading a book while lying on bed and Concubine Yun was in the West Chamber. She (SH) didn’t know what she (Y) was doing there. Only when it was time to eat did she (Y) show her face. Her eyes were red. It could be seen that she had cried.
Shu Huan didn’t know how she spend such a dull day. First, she teased the birds and then she fed the fish. When she didn’t have anything else to do, she asked Huiyun to bring her the game ‘Go’ and taught Liangchen and Meijing how to play five-in-a-row game.
It was a very popular entertainment game. It was simple and easy to understand.
At first, she won every battle. She didn’t expect that when Gu Xiran saw that they were having a good time, he’d also came over for some fun. Then, Shu Huan lost every battle. When there was no more money, the bet changed to melon seeds and candied fruits. At the end of the game, the master and her two servants lost everything. They could only watch Gu Xiran who was half lying on the rocking chair while he leisurely drank tea, eat melon seeds and candied fruits.
This was really too much. He spat the shell of the melon seeds all over the floor and declared that those who had lost should clean up…
The time went by like this and it was finally time to light the lights.
Ancient people slept early. After dinner, they ate two slices of melon and looked at the moon for a while, then it was time to go bed.
Shu Huan used an excuse to go see the East Chamber. The door was locked again. Presumable, she had to sleep in Gu Xiran’s room again tonight.
She knew that this was the best and that it was equivalent as having a talisman, but her heart still felt some resistance. As for what she was resisting, she also didn’t know. So, she could only enter the room with a gloomy face and hugged that incense burner while she went to bed.
Gu Xiran found it very funny, but he didn’t say anything and let her be. It was concubine Yun who cast two glances at it when she came to deliver medicine. Then, she lowered her face. It couldn’t be seen whether she was happy or angry.
Gu Xiran frowned when he saw the bowl of medicine, “I said that I don’t want to drink this medicine anymore. From tomorrow on, don’t bring it.”
Concubine Yun said with difficulty, “This medicine was prescribed by a famous doctor in the city. He said that you need to drink it for a whole month. If second young master doesn’t drink it, your illness will act up again.”
Gu Xiran said displeased, “Every medicine has thirty percent of poison. After drinking medicine for so many years, even if it was a healthy person, he would die from drinking so much.”
Concubine Yun still wanted to speak but he already lay down and gestured with his hand, “There’s nothing to do here anymore. Go rest.”
Concubine Yun looked at the bowl of medicine and helplessly went out with it.
After she left, Shu Huan snorted, “It would be a wonder if you can be cured without drinking medicine!”
Gu Xiran turned and stared at her for a long while. Then he suddenly smiled, “If I can’t be cured, isn’t it to your wish?”
Under the light, his eyes were as bright as the stars and his smile was very seductive.
Shu Huan had lost her senses for a moment. She finally understood why she resisted to sleep in the same bed with him.
This person was too dangerous. If she became too close with him, she may lose her soul. She didn’t want to be entrapped in a household and become a virtuous and good wife.
After thinking of this, she couldn’t help but look away and timidly retreated to the inside of the bed. When she thought about his words, she couldn’t help but feel shocked….
He already knew?
Was she too obvious?
Indeed, she vaguely hoped in her heart for his illness to not get better so soon. Then, of course, she wouldn’t have the danger of having to consummate the marriage. However, it was only just a thought. She didn’t have such an ugly heart as wishing for him to die from the illness…
“I…,” She wanted to explain.
Who would’ve thought that Gu Xiran didn’t want to hear it? He sat half-up and blew the candle at the bedside. He said, “I’m tired. Sleep.”
With last night’s lesson, Shu Huan naturally didn’t dare to bother his sleep. She lay down, closed her eyes and didn’t say more.
Early in the next morning, it was still Huiyun who combed her hair. Liangchen was studying at a side. Xuyu and Meijing brought in a red yarn skirt for her to change into.
Shu Huan was startled, “Such a colorful color!”
Huiyun inserted a ruby hairpin in her hair and smiled, “This is the rule. Although, it’s not the next day of the wedding, but when second young mistress go pay your respect later, you have to pour tea for the elders and give the younger generation money when meeting for the first time. It’s more appropriate to dress more formally. If you dress too casually, not only would you break the rule, perhaps old madam would remember something. Then, you would have to suffer again.”
Money when meeting for the first time!
Mentioning money really hurt her feelings. Shu Huan was penniless. She could only look helplessly at Gu Xiran who was still lying in bed and looking smilingly at her dress up.
She looked at Gu Xiran. Gu Xiran looked at Huiyun.
Huiyun laughed, “Concubine Yun had already prepared it. When second young mistress go over, let Liangchen and Meijing bring it (money).”
Really a capable person.
After being schemed by concubine Yun, Shu Huan wasn’t so angry anymore. She still wished that she (Y) took over the management work. It would be easier for her then and she also wouldn’t be a thorn in other’s eyes.
After dressing up, Shu Huan looked in the mirror while she frowned at herself who was full of make-up. “Isn’t the powder too thick?”
“This will make the skin look white.”
“There’s too much blush. It’s like a monkey’s butt.”
Huiyun held in her laughter and said, “Second young mistress, don’t wipe it. It is the sign of joy.”
No matter what she said, Huiyun had a reasoning.
Shu Huan turned her eyes and glared at Gu Xiran who was laughing at a side. Then, she lifted her skirt and went outside.
She hadn’t gone out yet, when Gu Xiran remined, “When you go over, talk more cautiously. If there’s something let Liangchen and Meijing come back to tell me.”
The tone was faint as if he just spoke it casually, but it couldn’t hide the concern.
Shu Huan felt a warmth in her heart. She couldn’t help but nod.
The residence of Gu family was very large. There were many mountains, stone and flowers covering the road. They didn’t walk for a long time and Shu Huan already didn’t know where southeast or northwest was. Fortunately, there was Liangchen and Meijing who led the way so that they wouldn’t go the wrong way.
The two maids were young and spoke relatively straightforwardly. Along the way, Shu Huan also got some news from them. She got to know that old madam lost her husband at a young age. She had to take care of the household and the business. She also had to raise a pair of legitimate children and one illegitimate child. So, at Gu household everything she said was like a decree. No one dared to violate it. Even till now when master Gu encountered troubles in the business, he still had to go find her and humbly ask for advice.
No wonder the maids were respectful and nervous when mentioning her. They feared that they would accidentally offend this old madam and wouldn’t have good days in the future.
After hearing these, Shu Huan could only smile bitterly. She could foresee that she wouldn’t be fine when paying respect later. However, she had to go.
Old madam lived in Pine Crane Hall. There were five main chambers. It looked a lot more impressive than Plum Flower Pavilion. There was an old pine tree in the middle of the hall. The branches were thick and vigorous. Under the pine tree, a pair of cranes were raised. She didn’t know whether it was because they got used to people, but when seeing people, they didn’t fly away. They still walked quietly in an elegant posture.
Two maids sat on the steps. When they saw Shu Huan, they quickly stood up and raised the curtain. One reported, “Reporting to old madam, second young mistress has arrived.”
Old madam just woke up. She was being groomed by Lin shi and several concubines. Gu family’s eldest grandson Gu Xitian’s newly wedded wife Fang shi was also picking flowers for old madam’s hair.
- Shi: clan
Originally, they were talking and laughing. When the maid reported Shu Huan’s arrival, old madam’s laughing and kind face immediately turned serious. As soon as Shu Huan came in, the others had observed old madam’s attitude, so they also closed their mouths. The room became dead silent.
Gu family’s hierarchy till now:
Old madam, her husband died when she was still very young.
Her son master Gu has a second wife Lin shi.
Master Gu has four sons. The eldest one is Gu Xitian who has the same mother as Gu Xiran. Gu Xitian had taken Fang shi as wife.
Gu Xiran is the second son of master Gu. He had taken Shu Huan as wife a concubine, concubine Yun.