TLNote: I will post all of the chapters of this week today because of exams.
Chapter 82 Discussing in private
The courtyard of Heavily Scented Building was exquisite and small. There wasn’t a large distance between the gate and the main hall. Therefore, the moment Huiyun probed, a sharp-eyed old maid saw her. She took advantage that no one was paying attention to her and slipped out and went to the other side of the wall of the courtyard.
Huiyun recognized that this was the eldest of the four old maids. She didn’t dare to neglect her and respectfully called, “Aunty Ding.”
Old maid Ding narrowed her eyes and nodded, “If there is nothing, don’t come here. It’s very difficult to serve that one inside!”
Huiyun wasn’t gossipy like Qiaoyun. She usually put aside the matters that had nothing to do with her. Hence, she also didn’t ask why Zhang Hanfang was angry and smashing things. She only rushed to ask how the birthdays of Gu household’s concubines were organized.
“Did you come especially for this?” Old maid Ding twitched her mouth and said, “I say, second young mistress is too cautious. She is just a concubine without an offspring. What does it matter if her birthday is celebrated or not? If second young mistress wants to beguile her, make her some brightly colored clothes and gift her some jewelries. If she didn’t want to beguile her; then, why should she (SH) bother?!”
Huiyun didn’t know how to respond to that. She only said that she got it and also quietly put the small piece of silver that Shu Huan let her bring over into old maid Ding’s hand and said laughingly, “Second young mistress said that it is hard on you here. This money is for you to have a drink.”
The moment old maid Ding touched it; she knew that this silver was the weight of one liang. Her old face immediately bloomed like a chrysanthemum, “Doing things for second young mistress is part of my job. There nothing hard about it. This money…forget it, since it is a reward from second young mistress, it would be disrespectful to not accept it. I will thicken this old face and accept it. I have to bother you to say thanks for me when you go back.”
When people get old, they would talk much more. After, finishing the business, old maid Ding began to prattle about Zhang Hanfang, “I have never seen a master with such a bad temper! Every few days when she encountered something not according to her wishes, she would throw things. No matter if they were plates or vases, she would throw what she could touch! You have to know that these things are our Gu household’s. She just threw them and didn’t even feel a bit of heartache. Instead, it made us, the servant’s eyelids jump from looking at it.”
Huiyun was a bit surprised, “Why didn’t aunties report this matter?”
Old maid Ding snorted from her nose, “Who has the patient to report this matter for her?! If we had reported it, it would’ve put second young mistress in a difficult position. Could it be that she (SH) should sent some other good things over for her (ZHF) to continue smash? There were only a few things in this part of the resort. It’s fine if she had smashed them all. Later when she lacked something, I want to see whether she could pull down her face to go ask second young mistress for another one!”
She talked again, “Being a guest in our resort, I didn’t see her act as a guest. Not to mention that she didn’t went to see second young mistress once and say that she (ZHF) would trouble her (SH) for a few days. Instead, she put on airs all day and waited for second young mistress to come visit her! Fortunately, second young mistress didn’t come. Now, she couldn’t stand it anymore and yelled at a maid to go explore at Japanese Rose Building. How could I not understand the meaning? She was just waiting for second young mistress to see her maid, feel apologetic and come over to see her! It happened that our second young mistress is busy. Usually, second young mistress would go to Bamboo Pavilion or Double Ninth Yard. That maid hadn’t met her once. After she came back and reported to her (ZHF), she felt that she was slighted and throw things to vent.”
Now, even Huiyun couldn’t listen to it anymore and said, “Why is she causing so much trouble? It’s of no interest.”
“Who would know?!” Old maid Ding sneered, “Presumably she wanted to get the face she lost last time at second young master’s back! Unexpected, the more trouble she causes, the less people liked her.”
Huiyun sighed, “I was used to listen to how old madam praised her at the residence for being beautiful, good-tempered, educated and well-balanced girl…”
“Who doesn’t know how to pretend?” Old maid Ding said with disdain, “For example this one. After she threw a fit inside the room, when she come out, isn’t she again that delicate, elegant and gentle daughter from a wealthy family? She would cry when she sees flowers wither. When she looked at a waning moon, she would sigh. When she had the interest, she would also make poems about flowers and the moon. If she had the interest to feel sad for the flowers and moon, why didn’t she treat the servants around her better?”
Huiyun came out for a long time and was eager to go back to report on completion of the errand. However, it happened that when this old maid began to prattle, she didn’t stop. She was afraid that if this gossip was heard, it would cause trouble, but it was also not right to just leave. She could only say half-heartedly, “Aunties had suffered here.”
After this was said, old maid Ding immediately smiled proudly, “This old woman didn’t live for nothing till this age. I always have a way to let her vent her anger on her own maids. In order to inquire about news, she would even pay us from time to time!”
After having said that, she felt that those words weren’t appropriate and quickly continued, “We are members of Gu household. Naturally, we will think about the main masters on everything. Go back and tell second young mistress that things we shouldn’t say, this old woman hadn’t said any.”
Huiyun laughed, “Is there still need for old maid to remind? Second young mistress knew very well!”
“Second young mistress is someone understanding,” While old maid Ding talked, she nodded. Then, she got emotional and sighed, “When you get to the age of this old woman, there is nothing more to hope for. I can only look forward to spend the next half of my life peacefully and get to eat rice of retirement at Gu household!”
While talking, she looked at Huiyun and said, “Little girl, you are still young. Remember to serve well at second young mistress’s side. By then, naturally, you would have benefits.”
How could Huiyun not understand the meaning behind old maid Ding’s words? She became sad…
She had nothing to count on anymore in this life!
At first, when she saw that second young master and mistress didn’t hurry to marry her off, she thought that the matter would turn for the better. But, after these few days, she understood that they were only soft-hearted and didn’t want to send her away to any reckless person. They asked her to pay attention. As long as she could find someone who more or less matched with her, they would support her and ask old madam to let her marry to that person.
However, wasn’t every manservant in the residence the same?! No matter who she chose, she wouldn’t get away from being a servant her whole life! She could only say that she didn’t see anyone she liked and delay for the time being. But, as she gets older, she was afraid that she couldn’t delay for a long time…
While she thought about it, she couldn’t help but cry on her way back to Japanese Rose Building. While she lowered her head to wipe her tears, she didn’t pay attention to the road. Unfortunately, she slipped because of the moss on the stones. She didn’t stand steady and fell.
A pair of strong hands grabbed her arm and gave her support when she was about to fall to the ground. She looked up after just having recovered from the shock and faced a pair of red phoenix eyes. That pair of eyes was filled with the smiles of concern. It made her couldn’t help but be startled for a moment. Then, she took a step back and respectfully paid her respect, “This slave thanks cousin young master.”
- Red phoenix eyes: eyes whose outer corners incline upwards.
This person was that biological big brother of Zhang Hanfang, Zhang Zirong. Huiyun had seen him once from far away. She didn’t expect to encounter him at this moment.
Zhang Zirong gestured with his hand and said, “What is there to thank about? It was just the exertion of lifting one’s hand. But you, did you fall?”
- The exertion of lifting one’s hand: a very slight effort
“No…no…,” Huiyun felt embarrassed and awkward. Her face reddened. She lowered her head and said, “Forgive this slave for being rude, this slave have to…leave first…”
While she talked, she left in a hurry.
Zhang Zirong looked at her back and smiled slightly. Suddenly, he shouted, “What is your name?”
It was reasonable to say that when an honorable guest asked a question, she should answer. But she didn’t know why, she felt that this question of Zhang Zirong was poking fun at her. She didn’t dare to think deeply about it. Her steps just paused for a moment. Then, she lifted her skirt and ran away.