Chapter 21 The reason of the visit
Concubine Yun also regretted in her heart, but she didn’t show it on her face. While she led the Shu couple to the living room of the main chamber, she called the maids to serve tea.
It was really a farce!
Shu Huan had suppressed the feeling of nausea and let out a sigh of relief.
She looked up and saw that the smile on Gu Xiran’s face was a bit mischievous. Her face reddened. She didn’t ask if he wanted to see the guests together and walked to the living room by herself.
Before she entered the living room, she saw that Xu shi held concubine Yun’s hand and asked how many years it had been since she entered Gu household and whether she had any children. She also kept praising, “That son-in-law of mine is really lucky. Even the concubines are so good looking. See how pretty you are…”
- Shi: clan
Shu Huan wasn’t a very eloquent person. Xu shi’s speech made her feel that it was untimely, so she coughed twice to interrupt her.
Concubine Yun was someone astute. She took this opportunity to quietly retrieve her hand and laughed, “Second young master’s body is not well. Someone has to take care of him. I will go out to take a look.”
While talking, she left with all the maids, leaving only Shu Huan and the Shu couple to talk in the room.
She didn’t know what to say and she felt awkward calling them father and mother.
Shu Huan looked at them. They looked young and seemed to be in their thirties.
Shu Fu looked very honest. Now, there was no outsiders in the room anymore, but he still had his body slightly bend and was ill at ease. It seemed the he was used to nod his head and bow at people. He couldn’t change his habit of lowering himself. From time to time, he would steal a look at the furnishing in the room. It seemed like he was scared by it. He retrieved his gaze flustered. Even the smile on his face was very stiff. It had the awkwardness of not knowing what to do.
Xu shi wore a brand-new fine hemp clothing. Her eyebrows had been finely done. The corners of her eyes were slightly slanted. It could be seen that she was pretty when she was young. She (SH) didn’t know whether it was because she (X) was poor or something else, but when she reached middle-age, she gave a feeling of someone who came from the haunts of common people. That was the feeling of tackiness and shrewdness intertwined together. It couldn’t be hidden and revealed itself.
While she was looking at them, that Xu shi walked to the door and looked out of the curtain. Only after seeing that concubine Yun was truly talking with Gu Xiran did she turn and come back. She looked once at Shu Huan and her gaze fell on her flat belly. She frowned while she said, “Did you get pregnant?”
Who would’ve thought that the first thing she asked was this?
Shu Huan immediately became speechless.
Fortunately, it seemed that Xu shi just asked. It didn’t seem like she was waiting for her to answer. Then, she lowered her voice, “I think that that concubine is someone clever and astute. Not to mention that she is beautiful and charming and have the gentleness that men like. You should take out a bit of your status as the main wife and put her in her place. Then, think of ways to hold onto son-in-law’s heart and quickly give birth to a child. Only after that will you enjoy the luxurious life forever!”
While talking, she asked, “I saw that son-in-law’s body doesn’t seem so weak as rumored. Did he sleep in your chamber these past few days? He didn’t get hooked away by that concubine, right?”
How should Shu Huan answer these questions? She really didn’t want to continue this topic. So, she vaguely skipped over it. She wanted them to sit and have tea. Then, she would leisurely ask why Shu Fu thought about coming today to visit her.
Shu Fu hasn’t answered yet when Xu shi angrily said, “We’ve long came over to send gift on the third day of the marriage. Those hateful housekeepers acted like a snob and looked down on us. They send us away by saying that old madam didn’t want to see us. That we could come in today was because of the faces of you two (SH&GXR). We thought that since son-in-law’s birthday was getting closer, we came to congratulate him to fulfil the etiquette requirements. If not, then if by chance son-in-law got angry, then your days won’t be great anymore! As for the faces of those little servants, let’s not mention them. For you, we will bear it!”
The tone of Xu shi made people feel very uncomfortable.
Shu Huan slightly frowned and was a bit confused.
From the looks of it, it didn’t seem like the Shu couple knew about the original owner committing suicide by hanging. She didn’t know whether it was because Gu household didn’t sent people to pass the news or that they deliberately kept this news a secret. The chance of the latter was higher. After all, it wasn’t a decent matter. If it was spread, it would be easy for Gu household to become a joke.
Xu shi didn’t see that she was elsewhere with her thoughts. She kept complaining, “This time, when we entered, your father gave that keeper half a penny for him to go have a drink. Half a penny, ah. If you bought rice with it and add some other grain crops to it, it would be enough to last for two months!”
Hearing her mention money, Shu Huan snapped out of her thoughts. While she was calculating the price of here, she casually said, “Right.”
When Xu shi saw that she’d answered, she became more energetic. She let her see the food box she brought with her. “This is the gift we prepared for son-in-law. Fresh fruits, the four styles pastry of Wen family, the peaches of immortality and also a top-notch ink stone! These things are worth more than two silver liangs. Three to four months of our household expenses was spent!”
- Liang: ancient Chinese currency. A liang is 37.8 grams. A tael is 50 grams. A penny is 5 grams.
Shu Huan said embarrassed, “In fact, it would be fine if you’ve just made a pair of shoes for him. Gu household already has these things. There was no need to buy them!”
Xu shi raised one of those finely shaped eyebrows and objected, “How could that be fine? No matter if our family is very poor, we will even borrow money to let you hold your face high! How could we only give a simple pair of shoes?”
Shu Huan sighed privately. Who in this Gu household didn’t know that she came from a poor family? Even if Shu couple hollowed their house, Gu household may not necessarily fancy the things they gift. It was better to just honestly admit that they were poor and whole-heartedly make a pair of shoes. That would have more value. It was better than to swell one’s face up by slapping it to look imposing.
- To swell one’s face up by slapping it to look imposing: to seek to impress by feigning more than one’s abilities.
Xu shi glanced twice at the door. She came closer to her and asked, “What did you prepare for son-in-law? You must not let that concubine Yun come up with a better gift!”
“I?” Only now did Shu Huan remembered that there was something important that she hasn’t asked, “When is his birthday?”
The look Xu shi gave her was that of fuming with rage between gritted teeth. “Ever since young, you had the character of sand not being able to be put on the wall! You can even forget such an important thing? When the two families exchanged the age cards, wasn’t it clearly written on it? The twenty-second of June! Remember it well!”
- One can’t put sand on the wall: worthless/ useless
- Age card is a card with the horoscope of the boy or girl sent as a proposal for betrothal
She scolded her again, “Do you know how many people want to marry into Gu household? If it wasn’t because I gave money to matchmaker Jiang, would it have been your turn? Second young mistress of Gu household! Such an honorable identity! In the future, the moment Gu household’s old madam closed her eyes and the household is divided, then the one who would be in charge of the household is you! Listen carefully, don’t be like a dough anymore that everyone can grasp! First, think of a way to firmly tie the man in your bed. As for that concubine, with one look you would know that she is a temptress. Catch an opportunity to quickly send her away. Even if you take two more for son-in-law, it would be better than putting a temptress here.”
Was this her mother? This was her mother!
Compared to her genuine mother of the modern times, they really were people from two different worlds!
Shu Huan was completely speechless.
Fortunately, the original owner seemed to be someone of few words. Xu shi didn’t find that anything was out of the ordinary and she also didn’t seem to want her to answer. She continued to prattle without a care for other, “You don’t have other skills. Only your hands seem to be skillful. Today is already the twentieth of June. Even if I let you prepare something else, you won’t have enough time. Just make a pair of shoes! Remember to use good quality material. Carefully make it. Even if you have to stay up late, you have to finish it before son-in-law’s birthday!”
While talking, she picked up the tea on the table that had already turned cold. After she finished it, she stood up and said, “I and your father won’t bother you anymore. Don’t dawdle anymore. Quickly go make the shoes.”
After the speech, she pushed Shu Fu, “Why aren’t you moving? Drink the tea and then let’s leave!”
From the moment he entered till now, Shu Fu hasn’t said a word. After being pushed by Xu shi, he picked up the tea and drank it. Then, he rubbed his mouth with his sleeve. He took the food box and left. However, after taking just a few steps, he felt that something was not right. He smiled embarrassed at Shu Huan and stuffed the food box in her hands.