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Published at 3rd of October 2019 06:20:45 AM


Chapter 148

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After the whole family had kept low key until the Lantern Festival finished, Wang shi packed her luggage and went north to Fengtian. Then Hai shi took charge of everything in the family. Since Hai shi had already been familiar with dealing with those affairs, the handing over procession got on well. Even there were one or two bold servants who wanted to make difficulties for her, she would just vomit in time and asked Rulan who had always helped Wang shi with the family matters to lend a hand.




Maybe it was because the great personality of Rulan’s Sweet Yanjing had had influence on her or she had really grown up, not to mention that she had been filled with pent up anger due to Sheng Hong and Wang shi’s fierce rebukes, she just opened fire to those servants,

“You bold-faced thing! How dare you retort my eldest sister-in-law?! Did you answer my mother in this way when she was here? Maybe we should just ask you to leave!”

“I remember you were from Wang family. My grandmother’s family always takes the accounts seriously. Do you think you can fool us by showing us this number? You are such a shame for the Wang family!”

“I don’t want to hear anything else! You are dismissed right now! And maybe I should teach you a lesson by beating you fiercely!”

……

After she had scolded enough, Hai shi stopped vomiting instantly. Rulan was also in a good mood and went back to embroider her handkerchief from her dowry. Minglan was stunned by what Rulan had done. After a long while, she couldn’t help saying, “Fifth sister, you are about to get married. At least you should show some mercy on them, or...”

Minglan didn’t know how to continue, so Rulan picked up the words naturally, “Or they will speak ill of me at the outside, right?” Hearing her words, Minglan only stared at Rulan with surprise and thought, ‘Since you’ve already known about this, why did you...”




Rulan looked at the half ‘Mandarin Duck tumbling among the lotus leaf’ pattern handkerchief lovingly without raising her head. Then she said something abruptly, “You have followed me to see Old Madam Wen last time. What do you think of her?”

Minglan, trying to dodging Minglan’s eyes and stammered, “Eh... she looks voluble, invigorating and straightforward...” Actually, Minglan wanted to describe Old Madam Wen as a noisy, edgy and loud woman. However, she couldn’t say those words about Rulan’s future mother-in-law in front of Rulan’s face.

Then, with Rulan’s head raised, she rolled her eyes to Minglan and said bluntly, “She’s tough to deal with.”

Minglan was speechless. Meanwhile Rulan kept talking, “I’m not stupid. I know exactly who’s meant good for me and who’s not. When I was a young girl, I came to our old house in Youyang. At that time I saw how that old bigoted woman treated our sister Shulan. And I still remember what that bastard Xiucai Sun has done. Sixth sister, I did have taken in your reminding words. And I have thought about if Yanjing was sincere to me.”

Minglan watched at Rulan’s serious look and listened carefully. Rulan continued in a lower voice, “The reason why I speak those sweet words about Yanjing is because he never hides his family affairs from me. I know about his mother’s preference to his brother. I know about his brother’s lack of ambition. I also know that his marriage has been delayed for a long time! He has told me in the first place that it would be hard to be the eldest daughter-in-law in his family.”

“But you still...” Minglan said lightly.

Rulan interrupted her, saying firmly, “I told Yanjing that I would be obedient to my mother-in-law and treat my sister-in-law nicely. However, I only asked him to promise me one thing, which is supporting me all the time. As long as he can do that, I won’t be afraid of anything!”


Minglan was reminded that she had heard of something like that from Hualan before. Minglan fell into silence. It looked like the history of Wang shi suffering a crushing defeat from Concubine Lin because of her conflicts with Sheng Hong had been buried in Hualan and Rulan’s minds deeply.

Suddenly Rulan laughed cheerfully, saying, “Yanjing promised me that he would never be partial to his families when I was bullied by them. At the worst we could just move out and avoid them! So I decide to exercise my guts and my speaking tone from now. In case I would lose the battle after I marry into their family!”

Minglan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so she just shook her head. She had assumed that Rulan would have to pretend to be fragile in order to deal with her tough mother-in-law. Now it seemed that it was uncertain who was going to be the fragile party.

“Fifth sister, you are going to live a happy life there!” Minglan said that earnestly.

Rulan rolled her eyes to Minglan and snorted, “Of course! All of you have married or will marry into the prestigious families. I am the only one who will marry with the left hand. I have to live a happy life. Or you girls will laugh at me for life!”

Minglan really had nothing to say now. That was who fifth lady of Sheng family was. Every time Minglan had a slightly good feelings such as fondness, admiration or sympathy to Rulan, the latter always had a way to destroy that within five minutes.

……


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As time went by, there were only a few coats for Rulan to embroider for herself. Wang shi had prepared almost all of Rulan’s dowry. However, the preparation work of Minglan’s dowry was far beyond finishing. Old Madam Sheng had planned to hold Minglan’s wedding ceremony half years after Rulan’s wedding. Now things had changed so fast, so Old Madam Sheng had to speed up all the process.

A few days ago, words had come from Youyang that Pinlan had already got married with Taisheng at the beginning of December. They had already received the wedding gifts which had been sent from the capital and everything had been fine. When Yun’er had come over on the Spring Festival, Old Madam Sheng inquired her carefully about Pinlan’s dowry. After that, Old Madam Sheng put herself together and buried herself into preparing for Minglan’s dowry.

The dowry was really important for the ladies from the dignitary families in the ancient times. Some elders from the families which lived in extravagant and exquisite lives would prepare the dowry for their valued legal daughters since their childhood.

Even the dowries which were worth the same amount of money might conform to the different principles. There were the simple ones and the complete ones. If the family chose to make the dowry a complete one, they had to prepare the furniture such as the beds, the tables, the cabinets and the boxes as well as the clothes for all seasons. Even the rosewood golden hoop closestool and the bathtub would be in the list. Some families, as dramatically as it might sound, would also prepare the shrouds. Old Madam Sheng and Hai shi had got a whole set of complete dowries when they had got married.

However, those were only rare cases. Most of people of the public officials’ families still needed to focus on their career and didn’t have time to stock all those dowries. Moreover, some of the people didn’t possess the powers and positions at the beginning of their lives. So under no circumstances would they prepare all those complicated dowries. Thus, they had thought of a way to solve the problem.

The silver!

After thinking it over again and again, Old Madam Sheng realized that she could present everything to Minglan other than the antique porcelain from the old family house in Jinling. She had to reserve that antique for Changbai in order to hand it down to all the generations of Sheng family. Then Old Madam Sheng took out her title deeds for lands and stores, saying in detail,


“... This manor is situated in the suburb by the Baitong river. The area of this country estate is about five to six hundred acres. The steward of the manor is Mama Cui’s husband. They seem like an honest couple to me. After you got married, I will let them go with you. There is also a mountain forest nearby the manor. The land is not so large, but its location is perfect. I have bought it together with the manor two years ago and sent Steward Cui’s sons to plant some fruit trees there.” It was rare to see Old Madam Sheng doing so much talking. As she talked, she didn’t forget to ask, “Don’t be in a daze!... You still remember your tasks I have told you about, right?”

Minglan reacted rather fast and answered fluently, “Yes! Only hire the people who’s faithful and never forget to do the inspection! No matter how faithful a servant is, the lack of inspection will still falter his loyalty. And I should never be too suspicious in case I would hurt the servants’ feelings.”

Having nodded with satisfaction, Old Madam Sheng sighed and said, “There is also a large piece of land with the area of thousands of acres which is owned by the convicted officials. But it is too close to the royal manor, so I didn’t buy it considering it would be inappropriate. If I knew that you would get married so early, I would have... alas!”

“Grandma, it’s already enough, enough!” Minglan said in a hurry. Molan had only got a paddy field with an area of two hundred acres and a plot of dry farmland. Even the area of the manor in Hualan’s dowry was only seven hundred acres. Of course, that didn’t count what Wang shi had added into.

“What do you mean by it’s already enough?!” Old Madam Sheng glared at Minglan. Then Minglan shrank her neck right away. Being reluctant to see Minglan in a fuss, Old Madam Sheng continued, “Also, there are a few stores in Jinling and Youyang. Your eldest uncles is taking care of those stores right now. Also, I have prepared the stock dividend of a few businesses for you...”

“Grandma!” Minglan couldn’t hear that anymore. The country estate and the mountain forest would already cost seven or eight thousand ounces of silver. So Minglan couldn’t help but chip in, “Even the lady from a Duke’s family can only get that much of the dowry. I really don’t need that much!... Also, you still need to have some savings! There is a saying goes, nothing is more reliable than the silvers beside you... Ouch!”

Having received a clout on her head, Minglan retreated to her quilt with her hand covering her head. Old Madam Sheng reproached her loudly, “You stupid girl! Do you think your life at Gu family would be easy? You will have to deal with your mother-in-law, your sisters-in-law, the servants and the maids! I’m telling you, there will be tons of places for you to use your money!”

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