Chapter 28 The sachet
The wind of this night was particularly violent. When it was in the middle of the night, it began to rain. The raindrops hit the window and the plantain in the yard, making miserable sounds.
Shu Huan’s sleep had always been good. She belonged to the kind of person that would fall asleep very quickly when her head touched the pillow. However, tonight she didn’t know whether it was because the rain was too heavy or that the porcelain pillow underneath her head was too hard, in short, no matter how she slept, it felt uncomfortable. She turned around for the whole night. When the sky got a bit light, she couldn’t lie down anymore. She quietly rolled out of bed and pushed the window open.
Fresh air with drops of water immediately blew in and reduced her tiredness and sleepiness by half.
Shu Huan then propped up her chin at the window and stared at the lotus pond outside.
The raindrops dripped down the leak. From time to time, they would fall into the tank and frighten some red dragonflies.
She was just starting to find it interesting, when she suddenly felt something heavy on her shoulder. She turned and saw that Gu Xiran had gotten up and put a coat on her shoulder.
“Where did you go last night?”
Shu Huan moved her eyes away, “Didn’t go anywhere. Just took a walk in the residence.”
Gu Xiran frowned slightly. Suddenly, he pulled her sleeve and sniffed, “What kind of scent is this?”
Shu Huan laughed, pulled back her sleeve and answered, “I don’t understand about fragrances. You ask me, how would I know? Presumably, it’s the fragrance that concubine Yun burned yesterday. It was sweet and pleasing to smell, but I also don’t know the name of that fragrance.”
“Yun Yan?” Gu Xiran raised an eyebrow with an expression of wanting to say something but hesitated. He walked to the incense burner and looked at it. He shook his head and said, “It’s not this scent.”
Shu Huan was surprised. She took two deep breaths. Suddenly she remembered that this was the scent of Wonderful Redwood of Yingge. It was cool and elegant and not something other fragrances could mask. No wonder there was a quote that was called “Redwood perfume to dye clothes”!
The two just said a few words when they were interrupted by a maid. After, they washed up, Shu Huan went to old madam’s to pay her respects in the rain.
This was a rule that even thunder couldn’t break not to mention rain. Even if it was snowing or there were knives pouring down, she couldn’t not go. However, the mood of walking slowly in the rain with a paper umbrella was very classical. It was just that they didn’t have shoes for the rain. The embroidered shoes were soaked and felt uncomfortable.
Old madam had probably become accustomed to her (SH) early retreat. Plus, the fact that recently there wasn’t any news that Gu Xiran’s illness got worse, she probably thought that this granddaughter-in-law wasn’t too unlucky. Hence, she turned a blind eye and wasn’t as stern as before. Therefore, after she paid her respect and had breakfast with old madam, she retreated and walked out of Pine Crane Hall.
Surprisingly, when she walked to the entrance, she was called by Gu third miss Gu Xuan. She timidly handed her a pair of shoes and said in a low voice, “Tomorrow is second big brother’s birthday. I think that he presumably doesn’t want people to go bother him because he needs to take care of his health. I need to bother second sister-in-law to give these shoes to him. It’s my kind feelings for him.”
Shu Huan took over the shoes and looked at them. She saw that the stitches were meticulous and well-shaped. Although, she didn’t know embroidery, she could see that this was done with the heart. She couldn’t help but thank her in Gu Xiran’s stead and laughed, “If you have free time tomorrow, you can come over for a while. Your second big brother is already bored from taking care of his health. If he had someone to talk to, his mood will turn brighter.”
Gu Xuan accepted with her head lowered. Then, she didn’t speak anymore.
She could see that this little girl was shy and introverted. Shu Huan didn’t take her for a chat and after saying goodbye, she went straight to Plum Flower Pavilion.
When she returned to the yard, she explained the matter of the shoes to Gu Xiran. After that, she went to concubine Yun’s West Chamber for the first time. She also had no other way. Ever since young, only her parents celebrated birthdays with her. She had never planned a birthday for another. She had to ask concubine Yun how to do it to avoid that there are some cumbersome rules that she didn’t know about and to avoid doing a bad thing with good intentions.
Concubine Yun seemed to be very leisured. She smiled and said, “Second young mistress doesn’t have to worry about this matter. In the past, on this day, old madam would send a festive dinner over. The other yards would also send some things. However, they knew that second young master was ill and likes it to be quiet, so most of them didn’t come to visit. Those who came would just accompany second young master to eat some bites and sit for a while. You can just let the maids prepare some good tea and treats.”
It seemed that there was nothing for her to do.
Shu Huan said that she got it and wanted to leave. She didn’t expect that concubine Yun would stop her from leaving. She said with hesitation, “Second young mistress, please give me a moment. Yan has something to say.”
Concubine looked at the maid at her side, Xiangqian.
Xiangqian very tactfully said that she was going to get tea and went out. Liangchen and Meijing also knew the rules. They also went out and even closed the door for them.
Shu Huan felt somewhat uncomfortable with this situation. It was so secretive that she felt there was some conspiracy, so she couldn’t help but be vigilant.
Concubine Yun was also not in a hurry to talk. She first invited her to take a seat. She added incense to the incense burner and then picked up the tea. Then, she hesitantly pulled a sachet from her sleeve, put it on the table and gently pushed it to her (SH).
“What is this?” Shu Huan frowned. She picked up the sachet and looked at it. “The birthday gift you want to give second young master?”
Although, she asked, she herself felt that it doesn’t seem to be the case.
There was a pair of mandarin ducks playing in the water embroidered on the sachet. The embroidery method was very fine, but the material used was obviously rough material. It seemed to be made from those cheap red cloth. Concubine Yun would never give this kind of thing to Gu Xiran. Also, even if she wanted to give it, she would certainly not let her (SH) give it instead.
Concubine Yun was somewhat puzzled at her reaction. She lowered her voice and said, “Second young mistress, look once again at it. Do you really not recognize this thing?”
This was strange. Should she have recognized it?”
Shu Huan didn’t have the patience to play riddles with her and put the sachet on the table. She said, “I’ve never seen it before.”
Concubine Yun didn’t spoke. Her gaze was just fixed on her (SH) face.
Concubine Yun never had this kind of behavior before. Usually, she always avoided Shu Huan’s gaze and tried not to look at her (SH) eyes. Therefore, Shu Huan became more puzzled, “If you have something to say, just be more direct.”
Only now did concubine Yun lower her gaze and smiled slightly, “It’s me who was rude, second young mistress.”
While talking, she picked up that sachet and said faintly, “I sent people to buy this sachet from a young scholar for five silver liang. This scholar happened to be a close neighbor of yours before you married. The one who taught you to read…”
Speaking till here, she paused. She raised her eyes and looked at Shu Huan, “Now, did second young mistress remember something?”
Mandarin ducks playing in the water embroidery, young scholar, close neighbor, taught to read…
- Mandarin ducks playing in the water is figurative for making love.
When these clues were put together, even if Shu Huan was very stupid, she could guess the origin of the sachet.
This sachet must’ve been personally embroidered by the original owner. She (SH) didn’t know whether she wanted to express her feelings or her gratitude to give such an amorous thing to that scholar. Perhaps, it was given before she married. No wonder concubine Yun bought it so eagerly.
The question was naturally why it was so coincidentally!
She said that an old scholar taught her how to read. Suddenly, a young scholar appeared that received a sachet from the original owner.
Was it a sham?
Unlikely. Concubine Yun didn’t know that she wasn’t the original owner. What was the use of using a sham to muddle her (SH)?
What made her more dejected was Huiyun!
When she said that she had learned to read from an old scholar, she had only said that to Huiyun. She didn’t know whether it was because the walls have ears or that Huiyun said it inadvertently or intentionally…
While the room was silent, concubine Yun said, “Second young mistress remembered? This is a sachet you personally embroidered. You shouldn’t not recognize it. Besides, madam-in-law told me that you studied two years with that scholar…”
This was meant to threaten her!