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Published at 18th of January 2017 07:53:58 PM


Chapter 15.2

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Chapter 15 Part 2




 

Sheng Hong was enlightened and apologetically said towards Governess Kong “Governess’ self-restrain and knowledge are all at the epitome and an example for us all. When you were in the palace, you were asked to and those noble families. What more these few evil creatures, there is no harm in Governess asking.”

Governess Kong swept a look across the four kneeling girls and said “Do you girls know how you have wronged?” The little Lans immediately chorused that they knew their mistakes. Governess Kong then asked “Where have you wronged?” The girls’ expressions changed. The one chewing her lips, chewed harder. The one wiping her tears, wiped harder. The one acted rashly, acted rashly.1 The one that was dazed, was still dazed. Hualan bit her lips and was the first to speak “This daughter knows her mistake. I should not have reprimanded younger sister and stirred up this matter. I apologise for allowing Father and Mother to be angry and worried.”

 

Wang shi did not know what his reaction would be and looked over at Sheng Hong, his face did not betray any expression. Governess Kong turned a cold gaze and looked at Molan. Molan trembled like willows blowing in the wind, obviously feeling scared and wronged. She choked “This daughter also knows her mistake. I should not have talked back so rudely to old sister.”

The corners of Governess Kong’s eyebrows rose slightly. Next was Rulan, she was unwilling and only spurted “I should not have quarrelled with older sister.”




Finally, came Minglan’s turn. Minglan really wanted to cry tears did not come. She racked her brains but still could not think of anything and remained silent for a long time, her face gradually turned red. She timidly said “I, I… I really do not know.”

Sheng Hong suddenly caught his breath. He thought back on the recount of the affair by the young maid but he had to agree Minglan was not at fault. She did not join the quarrel, was not the instigator, did not fan the flames but rather tried to advise her sisters, now she was also implicated, kneeling on the ground. Seeing his youngest girl falling to a pitiful fate, he sympathised with her but then his eyes swept across Molan who was crying sorrowfully. Thinking about Hualan and Rulan’s cold and sarcastic words, his anger was lit again, pointing at Hualan, scolding her “You are the eldest, you are also so much older than them. Initially, we thought we could depend on you to take care of your younger sisters and be a role model for them. I did not expect that you were actually this ruthless, not a single drop of love for your younger sisters. When you get married in the future, you will also bring shame upon the Sheng family name!”

Hualan’s anger was like a raging fire in her heart, she dug fingers deeply into her palms and lowered her head reluctantly and did not refute a single line. Sheng Hong then pointed his finger at Rulan and scolded “At such a young age and yet you still do not have a good behaviour. Merely spouting nonsense and you dare accuse ‘where did you learn such underhand methods’, ‘like to snatch others belongings’? Little Girl Mo is your older sister, is there any younger sister who would speak in this manner to her older sister? Seeing your older sister cry and yet you do not know how to relent. Have I never taught you the story of Kong Rong giving up the pears?2 Uncultured ones!”

Rulan’s temper was naturally explosive, when she heard what was said, she immediately refuted. “Why must every good thing first be given to her? Last year, my maternal uncle delivered a good piece of jade for me to make a jade lock but when Fourth Older Sister saw it, she immediately cried. Crying that she did not have a living blood uncle, Father then gave that jade to her! There was still the time when Father specially brought a square larderite stone for Big Brother to make a seal but then it was given to Third Older Brother! Father, why must we always give in to her? I refuse to accept this! I refuse!”

Sheng Hong’s anger boiled over until his arm couldn’t help but tremble and was about to slap Rulan on the spot. Wang shi hurried to stop him, she hugged Sheng Hong arm and pleaded in tears “Master, how are you so biased. This time all the children have erred, Governess Kong has treated them all fairly while you’ve only scolded the two that I gave birth to. If Master truly detests me, why not I just seek death instead?”

For a while the room descended into chaos. Concubine Lin lowered her head and gently wiped tears from the corner of her eyes and Molan cried broken heartedly. Governess Kong glanced at both mother and daughter. Her gaze seemed to carry scorn, she put down her teacup and stood up, smiling towards Sheng Hong “Firstly, Master please do not get angry. This is not after all a serious mistake. My job as governess is to ensure that everything must be reasonable and appropriate. To allow Master and Madame to be so angered, is indeed my fault.”


Sheng Hong waved his hands “Governess, what words are this you speak of, it is all because I am lax in the governing of my household and has made Governess laugh3 at us. Fortunately Governess and the Old Madame are old friends, therefore you are akin an elder to us. It is still better to have Governess speak your mind.”

Governess Kong stood from her seat and said clearly to the girls “Most things in this world cannot escape logic. I have never liked duplicity, it is not my style to say one the thing in front of someone and say another behind their backs to cause misunderstandings. Today I will say it once and for all before the accused little girls and before their parents. You have all said that you know your mistakes, but I see that it may not be so, now let me ask…”

The four girls did not make a sound. Governess Kong continued “Let us start from the cause. Fourth Young Lady, raise your head, let me ask you this. Fifth Young Lady accused that you were stealing First Young Lady’s limelight and further hampered First Young Lady’s learning. Do you acknowledge this?”

Molan’s eyes brimmed with tears, she said in a sad and dismayed tone “It is all because I am immature. I thought that it is a rare chance that Governess Kong could visit and wanted to learn more to win honour for Father and increase the reputation of the family. I did not expect to make Older Sister and Younger Sister to be so unhappy, it is all my fault…”

Sheng Hong could not help but think of Wang shi’s complaints over the past days and looked at Hualan with dissatisfaction in his heart.

Hualan raged in her heart and almost couldn’t resist throwing herself onto this eloquent younger sister of hers. Wang shi nearly grind her teeth into dust. Governess Kong laughed softly for a while and replied “Fourth Young Lady, you are clever and quick-witted and have thought things through when you speak. However let me warn you, this day do not rely on your little smarts and treat others as fools. It is a general rule that one can be too clever for their own good.”


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Once the words came out, Molan stopped crying. She widened her round eyes, looked at Governess Kong implausibly and looked again at Sheng Hong, her eyes protesting that she had been wronged. Sheng Hong also did not understand the Governess’s words.

Governess Kong acted like nothing happened and continued “You have two faults. The first fault is with a fault of words, you should not bicker with your sisters. You should not speak of matters of legitimate and concubine-born every time you speak. Although it has not been long since I arrived at this house, but Fourth Young Lady feel your conscience4 and tell me how favourably Master Sheng treats you. Must every time you not agree with something, you immediately cry about dying and make such an unreasonable scene. Is this the proper conduct of a young miss from an established family?”

Molan softly sobbed and Concubine Lin grew nervous, fidgeting her body. She looked pleadingly at Sheng Hong but ignored her, appearing to be persuaded by Governess Kong and carefully listened on.

Governess Kong said “Secondly, your intention was dishonest. You kept saying that you want to win honour and reputation for the family. Could it be that the whole Sheng household only has one young lady? Is it so that if your reputation increases only then can the Sheng household can be considered splendid? What about your sisters, need not they increase their reputation? Not to mention, my original purpose of visiting is for your Big Sister. Did you not think on how many more days your Big Sister will still live with you? In a few months time she will be marrying out. The family that she is marrying into is a count household where there is heavy emphasis on rules and etiquette. Why did you not once consider your sisters giving in to each other and think of your Big Sister’s upcoming difficult circumstances. I’ve heard that Concubine Lin is also from an official background, did she not teach you that whether it be older or younger, legitimate or concubine-born, there is always a need to have a sense of propriety?”

Sheng Hong was originally an understanding person but because of his extreme fondness towards Concubine Lin, his heart was more than a little biased towards Molan. Now when he heard Governess Kong’s words put things in perspective, his heart thud loudly and thought ‘These words are correct, looking at things this way, it seems like Molan is narrow-minded and selfish’. The look he gave Molan and Concubine Lin then became a little complex. From Minglan’s position kneeling on the floor, she secretly peeked at Concubine Lin and saw her pair of hands tightly clutching a handkerchief to the point where veins popped out on the back.

Governess Kong carried on “Fourth Young Lady, I know you usually push yourself to the forefront but everyone has their own fate. At first glance, today’s matters seem to be First Young Lady nitpicking but in truth you have a great deal of culpability. These past ten days you have been competitive in all areas, scrambling over everything. When something does not go your way, you wail and whine lamenting that you are concubine-born. This behaviour of yours, have you once thought of the slightest bit of affection between sisters, have you once thought of half of your father’s kindness?”


This series of questions seems to be innocuous but hit the mark in every point. Molan was left speechless and tears still rolling down her cheeks. Tongue-tied and unable to form half a word, she turned her eyes pleading at Sheng Hong and was dismayed that he was not looking at her. Reproving him with her gaze she then turned to Concubine Lin to find that the other was angry but could not open her mouth to help. Molan insides turned cold and dejectedly plopped to the floor, lightly wiping her tears.

1. 赌气 (Du Qi): Acting rashly due to injustice
2. 孔融让梨 (Kong Rong Rang Li): Moral story used to teach courtesy, Kong Rong allowed his older siblings to pick the big pears whereas he picked the small pears 
3. 笑话 (Xiao Hua): Carries the idea of mocking
4. 摸良心 (Mo Liang Xin): Basically to search your heart

Translated: alpenglowpaled
Edited: Eers

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