Published at 22nd of September 2019 10:06:20 AM

Chapter 146

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The Discussions About the Dowry (3)

Yuan Wenying knew exactly what her mother was thinking. Then she fell on her knees and persuaded, “Mother, I know you only want the best for me. But mother... just think about it. My aunt (Countess Shoushan) is also a girl from Yuan family. Don’t you think she already knows about how many properties we have in our family?! If I bring my second sister-in-law’s manor or the silvers which I receive from selling the manor, my aunt will rather despise me because of that!... Ever since my second sister-in-law married into our family, she always treated me like her own sister. Every time she received some good stuffs, she would present them to me first! Mother, if you still do things like before, you will only hurt her feelings! And how can I and my second sister-in-law get along well afterwards?”

Seeing all the people were in favor of Hualan, Madam Yuan couldn’t spit a single word as if there was a coptis (Note: a very bitter Chinese medicine) in her mouth.

Yuan Wenshao felt relieved that his sister was still a sensible person. Master Yuan also looked at his daughter delightedly and sighed deeply. Suddenly, he remembered that Yuan Wenshao still had something to do at night. Then Master Yuan winked at his son hurriedly. After making eye contacts with Master Yuan, Yuan Wenshao went out slowly along the door. However, he didn’t head toward the front door. Instead, he went straight to the west yard where Hualan stayed.

The moment he stepped into the room, he saw Hualan wearing a half-old green floral brocade cotton coat embroidered with fluff. That brought self-reproach to him. Because he remembered the whole box of the brand-new clothes Hualan had brought here when she had just married to him. But now... Hualan was sitting on the edge of the bed with her elbow resting on the table. Seeing Yuan Wenshao coming in, she said blandly, “It’s done?”

Yuan Wenshao nodded.

Hualan smiled bitterly, “It’s always the same. Why do we have to stir up those things in our family? I really want to ask our mother what I have done wrong to deserve that! If she really couldn’t bear to see me, just write me a divorce letter. And I’ll ask to leave by myself to save me from the daily sufferings!” As she was saying, tears were falling down along her cheeks.

Yuan Wenshao stepped forward and held his wife immediately while comforting her in a soft voice, “What nonsense are you talking about! We are going to grow old together! I won’t let you go!”

Hualan who had burst into tears said, “Forgive me for being unfilial to our mother. But I have to ask when all of this will stop? I already lost all the silvers in my dowries. Also, the expensive clothes and stuffs in my box were extorted by our mother. Now she even wanted my manor... Mother, what on earth does she want?! Has our family really come to the end of our resources?”

On these words, Hualan fell into her husband’s arms with a stream of tear. Yuan Wenshao was also super angry about his mother too. He was well aware about his mother’s thought. Actually, Madam Yuan only asked for the manor because she felt herself inferior in front of Hualan since Sheng family was getting more and more prospering lately while Hualan was favored by Master Yuan as well as Yuan Wenshao.

Without knowing what to say, Yuan Wenshao could only comfort his wife with affectionate words. Suddenly, Hualan straightened up from his arms and said loudly with a determined look, “Wenshao, if there’s only the two of us, I won’t say anything even if we have to eat scanty meals! But... but...” She wept again and said, “But what about our kids! They... they are still too young!”

Seeing his wife almost crying her heart out, Yuan Wenshao also felt as if a knife was piercing his heart. Hualan continued with tears, “Your elder brother will inherit the title. And I don’t see any chance your mother would leave any properties to us. How can I not be worried for our children! Last time my mother came, she already got suspicious. I lied to her that I felt comfortable wearing the old clothes. But I couldn’t fool her anymore when she saw the shabby clothes Zhuang wore. After she went home, she sent me two pieces of red brocades! It’s still reasonable for her to give some presents to her granddaughter. But what if I need her to send something else to help me out in the future? That is like a slap on Yuan family’s face!”

Her words alarmed Yuan Wenshao. Then he held down his chin with two streaks of light shot from her eyes, saying, “... Don’t obey our mother on everything afterwards. If she asks something from you again, just tell me! And...” He paused a bit and said firmly, “If you don’t feel uncomfortable with your body, don’t forget to sell Qiuniang and the other three girls!”

Hualan was stunned and said in a trembling voice, “Those... those girls are presented by mother, I can’t...”

With anger showed vaguely in his eyes, Yuan Wenshao sneered, “Hasn’t mother said that we are having a rough time at home right now? Since she already is hard up on the preparation of my sister’s wedding, what do we keep those girls for? Just sell them and give the money from that to mother! Let’s see if she would complain about the shortage of money anymore!”

Hualan was overjoyed by his statement but she didn’t want to show her feelings, so she only murmured, “Could… could I really do this?”

“Why not?! I have been fed up with those coquettish girls for a long time!” Yuan Wenshao still had the military style with him. So the thing he had determined on would never be changed.

Only until then did Hualan wipe away all her tears. She knew that her husband was just trying to be thoughtful. So she snuggled up to him tenderly. After they enjoyed the intimacy for a while, Hualan pushed her husband away and said with a smile, “Didn’t you say that Lord Dou is going to hold a feast tonight? Don’t let me drag you down. Go ahead!” As she talked, she pulled out a heavy little package from the bed and put it in Yuan Wenshao’s hand, saying gently, “Take it.”

The moment Yuan Wenshao took it over he knew that it was a package of silver. Then he realized something and looked Hualan up and down, asking right away, “Where is your gold necklace?”

Hualan blushed and said smilingly, “I’m already a mother. I don’t need that kind of thing anymore.”

Knowing that each of the girls in Sheng family had the same gold necklace, Yuan Wenshao detested Madam Yuan even more since it was all Madam Yuan’s fault that Hualan had to sell her own stuff to help him with his career. Then he said decidedly, “Don’t worry! I’ll make it up to you little by little!”

Hualan laughed mildly, “I know you are a man of his word. Never have you broken your promise.”

After they said goodbye to each other, Hualan watched her husband leave with a smile. As he walked far away, the smile on the corner of her mouth gradually faded away. Then she sat down with a serious look. In a little while, a young girl lifted the curtain and stepped in while saying smilingly, “First lady, master is out.”

Hualan nodded. Then the young girl helped Hualan lie on the bed blandly and made the bed before she said, “You won again, first lady. These years, when you had conflicts with Madam Yuan, master backed you up every time. Old Madam Sheng would be so happy to know that.”

With an indifferent look on Hualan’s face, she said slowly, “It has been ten years. I could finally see the hope. Come here, Cuichan, my legs are a bit aching.”

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Having walked over quickly, Cuichan kneaded Hualan’s legs gently by the bed. Hualan asked with her eyes half-closed, “Have you already pried into anything?”

Cuichan knew what Hualan was asking, so she said in a low voice, “It didn’t take me so hard on that. Master Yuan spoke very loudly. A lot of people have heard of their conversation. I heard that Master Yuan had scolded Madam Yuan fiercely. Also, Lady Wenying tried to persuade Madam Yuan. Also... that’s right. There is a divorce letter.” Then Cuichan told Hualan the story about Master Yuan having written a divorce letter to Madam Yuan.

Hearing that, Hualan flashed a beam of light from her eyes, asking, “Is that true?!”

Cuichan nodded heavily and giggled with her mouth covered, “This time Madam Yuan was really humiliated. See how she’s gonna throw her weight about in front of you, my lady.”

Having lay down with a smile on her face, Hualan closed her eyes and said breezily, “Maybe she would quiet herself down for a little longer than before. My grandmother is quite right. A woman has to use her brain to live her life. We can’t be bullied in a fog, nor can we lose our temper and act rashly.”

Cuichan listened to Hualan with smile and kept massaging Hualan’s legs. Seeing the look of tiredness on Hualan’s face, Cuichan couldn’t help but wipe her eyes with her sleeves, whispering, “You have been through so much, my lady. Every time we go back, Mama Fang would ask me for a long time if you have a good time here.”

As Hualan thought of Old Madam Sheng, her eyes welled up with tears. She wept and said, “I’m such a disobedient girl and only gets my grandma worried. She must be annoyed at me this time because of Minglan’s marriage.”

Cuichan comforted her at once, “How’s that even possible?! Old Madam Sheng will only be in a sulk for a short period of time. Afterwards when she sees that the sixth lady is well off, she won’t stay in anger anymore. Don’t you remember that last time madam (Wang shi) was here, she told us that Old Madam Sheng was having a better expression on Gu family?”

Cuichan had used to work in the Hall of Peaceful Ages. When Hualan had got engaged, Mama Fang picked Cuichan to go to Yuan family with Hualan. After that, Cuichan had married to a steward who took charge of Hualan’s dowries. And nowadays, Cuichan was Hualan’s most reliable maid.

Hualan melted into smiles, saying, “That’s right. Gu Tingye really is an impatient man. It’s just been a few days after he presented the marriage proposal invitation, he already gave New Year’s gifts to our family. Those boxes of precious cloths include not only the delicate silk and satin from the Jiangnan Region, but also the fur of the lynx, the purple lamb, the fox and the snow bear. He even presented a half-feet long snow ginseng. My mother has never seen that many of gifts. It seems that Gu Tinghe has already prepared those things long time ago and only waited my family to accept.”

Cuichan opened her mouth out of admiration as she heard that, “Those really are a lot of good stuffs. Even if Old Madam Sheng doesn’t think highly of those worldly possessions, she will still be able to recognize the earnest intention from Gu Tingye.”

Hualan nodded and said with a smile, “That’s right.” As she lowered her head, she saw the half-old clothes on herself. Then she became downcast right away.

Chuichan glimpsed at Hualan’s face and knew what she was thinking, so Cuichan leaned over and said softly, “My lady, don’t be so sullen. Sixth lady hasn’t married to Gu Tingye yet. Come to think about it, Gu family also has its own family issues. We don’t know how many things sixth lady might run into. She also has her own problems to deal with. However, you have already gone through all of that. I remembered Old Madam Sheng had told you to observe what kind of person your husband was. She said that if your husband was a heartless person, you should save all your money to take care of yourself. However, if your husband is still a conscientious and caring man, don’t stint your money and only focus on helping him.”

Hualan got enlightened with a joyful look on her face. She pulled Cuichan’s hands and said gently, “It’s so lucky that Old Madam Sheng let you come with me. You are the only one who have comforted me over these years. That’s right! After all, I haven’t lost all my dowries... Now Shi’s dad could finally learn to be considerate and wouldn’t give all the money to his mother. As long as he could always support me, I won’t grudge any silvers. After he gets promoted, we will be better off.”

Hearing that, Cuichan teased Hualan, “Hasn’t he just been promoted to be the vice commander of the armed forces of five cities? It looks like my lady truly is an ambitions woman who never gets satisfied!”

Hualan flicked on Cuichan’s forehead and laughed, “You little wench! Now you know how to make fun of me!” After Hualan goggled at Cuichan, she sighed softly with a slightly worried look on her face, “Speaking of this, now I only feel that I owe my grandma a lot, but...”

With her eyes turning watery again, Hualan murmured, “It is really hard to be a daughter-in-law! Especially my mother-in-law is like that! I didn’t mean to set Minglan up. But luckily Gu Tingye is a handsome man in a high position and well deserved to be the husband of the lady of Sheng family. I even wanted to marry the legal daughter of our family to him. Alas... I only wish my sixth sister could live a good life. Otherwise I won’t be able to see my grandma again.”

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