Published at 20th of October 2019 12:21:26 PM

Chapter 159

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On the rosewood round peony carving table placed lots of dishes. A trayful of steaming hot stuffed buns was set out in the center, around which were the red bean maize flour steamed cakes, the goose grease fried rice balls with sweet bean paste, the four-colored green onion flavored steamed bread rolls, the fried dough twist and the jujube paste Chinese yam cake. There were also two kinds of porridge on the small table by the side, which were the millet pumpkin porridge of sweet flavor and the mushroom chicken porridge of salty flavor.

Minglan had an appetite immediately. However, she had to keep reminding herself that she was in her husband’s family now and should pay attention to her manners.

Old Madam Qin took a seat at first. As she looked around, she asked with a smile, “Where is Tingcan? Her sisters-in-law were already here. Why doesn’t she come out?”

Mama Xiang who was serving the porridge right now turned around and answered, “Seventh Lady said that she would have breakfast with Lady Xian and Young Master. She will visit Second Madam when she comes back.”

Madam Shao sat beside Old Madam Qin with a faint smile on her face, saying, “I’m so grateful for Seventh Sister-In-law that she could accompany Xianjie’er these days.”

Zhu shi, having pulled Minglan to sit down with her together, was asking softly what kind of porridge Minglan liked. Hearing that, Zhu shi grinned and said, “Our Seventh Sister-In-Law has the best temper among us. She’s respectful, filial and likes kids a lot. I wonder which lucky guy will marry her in the future!”

Old Madam Qin scolded lightly, “Don’t talk rubbish. You are letting your Second Sister-In-Law laugh at you.”

As Minglan took over the mushroom chicken porridge and smelt the faint scent, she chuckled and said, “Old Madam, please don’t say that. I have already heard that Seventh Lady’s literary talent ranks the top among all the ladies in the capital. Today I finally acknowledge that not only does Sister Tingcan have a talent in literature, she’s also a kind-hearted and virtuous lady. Those qualities are so precious.” Minglan hadn’t made up those compliments. Once she had heard Lianjie’er and Molan quarreling with each other. At that time, Lianjie’er had exclaimed loudly, “My Seventh Aunt in Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion is so much better than you in poetry and painting!”

Old Madam Qin showed a pleasant look while saying, “Don’t spoil her with those flattery words! She’s still an innocent girl!”

Minglan lowered her head with a smile and started to eat her breakfast. When she ate her salty and fresh porridge together with the fried dough twist and the fried rice balls, she just felt her mouth was full of tasty smell.

If Minglan hadn’t remembered wrong, this Lady Tingcan was actually a few months older than her. Normally, a lady from a noble family which had settled in the capital for a long time would already get engaged. Why hadn’t Lady Tingcan been betrothed to a man yet? If she had to mourn for the last emperor, delaying a year of her marriage already seemed quite fair. However, it seemed that Gu’s family hadn’t even pick a family for Lady Tingcan yet.

There was only one reason. Those families which had been chosen before had been through too many changes. Some looked down upon Gu’s family, the others were looked down upon by Gu’s family. During the two to three years when the last Emperor had died and the new Emperor had ascended the throne, more than half of the noble families in the capital had been involved in the mutiny cases. Therefore, it was not strange to see the noble families experiencing violent ups and downs.

When eating, do not converse. When in bed, do not speak. Gu Tingye was not able to follow the latter rule but his step-mother did carry out the former one. Old Madam Qin didn’t utter a single word during the rest of the time of their meal. After all the women had finished eating, the maids came in succession with basins, jars, cups and handkerchiefs. Minglan washed herself and rinsed her mouth. Then she started to sip the tea slowly.

Minglan had raised her hand, twisted her fingers, dipped her fingers in the water, rinsed her mouth and held the tea cup to form the complete set of the action. Her movements seemed gentle and fluent, which made her looked elegant and graceful. Zhu shi who was beside Minglan observed the whole procedure and got surprised secretly while thinking, ‘This illegal daughter from a fourth-grade official’s family really has been taught well. She is not impressed by those luxurious display or the solemn etiquette and always remains calm and leisured. When she stands there, she smiles warmly. When she sits down, she looks breezily.’

It was said that Old Madam Sheng was the legal daughter from Earl Yongyi’s mansion who used to be the most dignified and proudest girl. Right now Xu’s family was not in a good condition, but back to the old days, Old Madam Sheng’s parents’ family had been very influential. Thinking of that, Zhu shi was enlightened. She heard that this new bride had been raised by Old Madam Sheng from her childhood. No wonder Minglan’s behavior and manners would look so decent and graceful.

On the other side, Minglan was using three of her fingers to hold the tea saucer with difficulty while still had to show a bashful smile. At the same time, she thought, ‘At that time when Momo Kong has taught us the manners and behaviors in Sheng’s family, she wouldn’t have thought that three of her four students would actually use the things she has taught.’

Momo Kong, as an elite educator, really was an efficient person!

Perhaps they had eaten for too long, Mama Xiang turned around to look at the hourglass and reported softly, “Old Madam, it’s about time. Fourth Old Master must already be waiting there. How about I asking Seventh Lady to go there first. It’ll take less time for them to get there than us.”

Old Madam Qin thought about it and then nodded, saying, “You are right.” She turned around and smiled to Minglan and the others while saying, “We all have good appetites when a happy event happens in our family. Look how long we have eaten the breakfast. Let’s go there now. We cannot let everyone wait for us.”

Minglan and the other two sisters-in-law stood together with their heads lowered while answering Old Madam Qin’s words. After that, they all followed Old Madam Qin out.

After they had walked a few steps, they saw Gu Tingye and another young man standing in the yard. As everyone came closer, Minglan saw that the young man looked like Gu Tingyu a lot with a pair of attractive eyes, two rose lips and pretty white teeth but was more masculine. When he saw Old Madam Qin and the other women, he bent down and made an obeisance right away with a beaming smile on his face, “Mother, I was talking about the garden with Second Brother just now. You know, we should also plant full of locust trees in the garden like Marquis Jingning’s family.”

Old Madam Qin couldn’t help smiling when she saw her youngest son. Then she scolded gently, “You lazy boy. All you care about is amusing yourself. When will you focus on studying and practising martial arts? Didn’t your Second Brother laugh at you?!”

Gu Tingwei put one of his arms on Gu Tingye’s shoulder and said with his eyes dancing with joy, “Mother, I have always been like this since I was a little boy. When have you seen my Second Brother ridicule me? Remember when I climbed a tree to mess with a nest and then was stuck there? I was afraid of being punished so I never let you know about that. Every time it was Second Brother who carried me down! Right, brother?”

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Gu Tingye glanced at Gu Tingwei with a smile, saying, “You are a father now. It’s time for you to consider about your career.”

Old Madam Qin smiled even more brightly and said to Gu Tingye, “I feel more relieved if you could supervise your naughty brother.” Then, she turned around and introduced to Minglan, “This mischievous man is your Third Brother-In-Law.”

Minglan moved her legs slightly and took half step forward while looking down with her head lowered, saying softly, “Third Brother-In-Law.”

Gu Tingwei changed into a serious look while making an obeisance, “Second Sister-In-Law.”

The two groups of people joined together. Zhu shi walked to her husband consciously meanwhile Minglan stayed put in a daze. Gu Tingye, having waited for a long while, had to walk toward Minglan and stood by her side. Then he couldn’t help glaring at Minglan but only saw those two big watery eyes blinking innocently. Right now the morning fog had just dispersed, which made her long eyelashes a bit wet. With Gu Tingye’s heart getting a bit softened, he asked Minglan gently, “Have you eaten your fill?”

Minglan shook her head lightly with an indignant expression on her bitter face.

Gu Tingye said in a low voice, “Let’s eat other things when we go back.”

Minglan nodded immediately, showing a fawning look. If she had a tail right now, she would definitely wag it. Gu Tingye turned around slowly with the corner of his mouth hanged up slightly and put on a serious look again.

Old Madam Qin walked ahead of everyone with the support of Madam Shao. Behind them were the two couples. All the people went around the crabapple flowering pattern door and walked along the macadam path beside the front door of the east yard. In no time, they entered the main yard from the side door. After they had bypassed a tall and majestic ten thousand steeds galloping carving marble screen wall, the view in front of them suddenly became open and clear. There was a broad paved path around fifty steps long leading to the spacious hall. All of the sixteen vermillion doors had been opened. On the horizontal inscribed board was a regular script which was read ‘Auspicious Lily Hall’ with firm strokes.

Minglan then raised up her head and looked around the surroundings. Then she found the furniture and decorations around her being quite simple and modest. When compared to Marquis Xiangyang’s mansion which looked overly extravagant, this place possessed a low-pitched luxury style and seemed even more magnificent.

As everyone approached the door, a steward-look man around forty stepped forward to make a bow with his head lowered. He said loudly with a vigorous look, “Old Madam, Madam, Second Master, Second Madam, Third Master, Third Madam, please come in. The Old Masters have already arrived.”

Old Madam Qin nodded slightly. Madam Shao took a look at Old Madam Qin and then turned around, saying, “Steward Qin, thanks for your service. You can go report our arrival now.”

Steward Qin answered and got in.

Meanwhile, Minglan who was standing beside Gu Tingye suddenly felt the cold air around this man. Then she couldn’t help but glance at him secretly. At the present, the look on his face still remained indifferent while his eyebrows were raising up lightly. However, when Minglan looked down, she saw that he had already clenched his fists in his sleeves with the knuckles of his hands turning a bit white. Luckily the coat he was wearing today had two wide sleeves, so his hands were mostly covered.

Minglan was suddenly alarmed and got more prudent.

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