Published at 25th of October 2019 05:33:19 AM

Chapter 160

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When they entered into the hall, they saw that there were already full of people chatting in the room. The males and females were sitting in two rows on both sides while their seats were arranged according to their ages. There were two old couples sitting on the seats above and the empty seat in the middle should be left for Old Madam Qin. After all the people in the room had seen Old Madam Qin and others coming in, they all stood up to give their welcome. Old Madam Qin smiled and said, “Uncles, please don’t ridicule us. Women just like to chatter. I’m so sorry that we have delayed so much of your time.”

A middle-aged woman on the right stood up and saying smilingly, “Sister-in-law, don’t talk like that. We have only waited for a short while, there’s no need to apologize.”

Old Madam Qin then stepped forward to sit on her seat. Meanwhile, Madam Shao sat on the first seat of the female’s row on the right and Zhu shi sat next to her. After that, Gu Tingwei sat on the seat of the male’s row on the left. Then it were Gu Tingye and Minglan’s turn to give their obeisance to the elders. The maids and the servants had already finished preparing the cattail hassocks and the tea. While Gu Tingye and Minglan were kneeling down in front of the elders to make their obeisances, Old Madam Qin introduced the elders to Minglan tenderly.

Since the two old couples were not the immediate families of Gu Tingye, Minglan only needed to serve tea and call their titles instead of kowtowing this time. Of course, the less strength she put forth, the less reward she received. Therefore, she only got two small pouches.

After that, they stood up to greet Gu Tingye’s brothers, sisters and cousins. Minglan made bows to the ones who were older than Gu Tingye meanwhile received the obeisances from the ones who were younger than him. This time the commentator’s duty was given to Zhu shi, who did her job perfectly by explaining everything clearly with her fluent speech.

As a matter of fact, long before Minglan got married, Old Madam Sheng had already told Minglan Gu’s family structure. Minglan, as studious as she was, had taken notes carefully---- Right now, there were three families in Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion, which were the first, fourth and fifth family.

When the Old Master Gu’s father had died, the Gu’s family property had been divided up and the other illegal sons or daughters of the family had already moved out. Some still lived on the Ningyuan Street to live their lives with the support from the legal branches of the family. Others who had made achievements in their lives chose to buy their own mansions to live far away from Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion.

At first, the fourth and fifth families had wanted to move out too. However, Old Master Gu had been garrisoned to the frontiers throughout the year and couldn’t take charge of the affairs in the mansion. Therefore, his two brothers still remained in their old residence. After Old Master Gu had returned to the capital with his families on imperial orders, the three families got along well in the mansion and lived together happily.

Fourth Old Master was portly and stocky who looked exactly like a rich country gentleman. It was just his eyes looked a bit muddy. Fifth Old Master dressed like a scholar and looked very elegant with his long beard. Being one of the few scholars in Gu family, he had passed the provincial imperial exam when he had been young but never passed the national exam. Before he was unemployed at home, he had stayed in the position of the basic official for a few years. Now his daily life was filled with chanting poetry and painting pictures, which gained him a cultured reputation in the capital.

Minglan tried her best to remember them.

Then, she greeted a serial of male or female ‘Gu Ting X’s and their families. There were too many names for Minglan to recite, which made Minglan got completely confused. The only thing she remembered was that she had given away eight gourd shape and five lotus shape pouches with an addition of a large packet of gold and three or four jade jewelries. Deep down, Minglan felt that she was bleeding when sending away those rewards.

At the end of Zhu shi’s commentary, she held up her tea cup to take a sip while MInglan only figured out who her immediate families were in Gu’s family. Old Master Gu had three sons who had been given birth by his three wives (Minglan admired that Old Master Gu had been able to treat all his wives equally) and two daughters. The illegal daughter, Gu Tingyan had already been married and didn’t come today. As for the legal daughter, Gu Tingcan, who hadn’t been betrothed yet was gorgeous with an oval face and two enchanting eyes. She was intelligent, demure, and reserved while having the lofty character of a talented girl.

Besides, Minglan also knew that Sister Xuan-In-Law who had made jokes on the day of her wedding was Fourth Old Master’s eldest daughter-in-law.

In the meantime, Danju was standing on one side of the hall with blue veins standing out on her forehead. Her eyes opened widely because she had tried to remember all those relatives with all her strength in order to help Minglan go over all those names when they came back. Minglan was heartbroken for the money she had spent today while also felt sorry for her own muddled state. She lowered her head and murmured something. Xiaotao who stood next to Minglan heard that and encouraged Minglan right away, “Lady, you are that kind of person who are able to know one’s subornates and make good use of them.”

“You mean subordinates.” Hearing that, Minglan was comforted immediately.

After the recognizing relatives procedure had been finished, several maids came in with tea, fruit and snacks. All the men were still sitting in the hall to have tea and chat with each other while the women all stood up and walked toward the inside. The hall was super spacious and was divided into two rooms by the flower carving lacquer wood partition board. People could still hear the voices and see the faces of the ones who were at the other side.

In the inner room, there were lots of colorful tea and fruits being placed on several round tables. Minglan was pulled over by the warm-hearted Zhu shi and sat next to her. A few young ladies and madams came forth to have a chat with Minglan. However, Minglan who didn’t recognize anyone of those women could only smile shyly. It was the first time she met those women anyway, so the conversation between them was quite meaningless.

When someone praised about Minglan’s clothes, Minglan laughed and replied, “Thanks a lot.”

When someone praised about Minglan’s delicate jewelries, Minglan laughed again and replied, “I’m so flattered.”

When someone praised about her gorgeous appearance, Minglan continued laughing with redness on her face and replied, “That’s so kind of you.”

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... And so on.

After they had talked for a while, all those ladies and young madams all found Minglan a boring girl who couldn’t make jokes or talk enjoyably. Then those women all left to have their own conversations together. There were only Old Madam Qin, Fourth Old Madam, Fifth Old Madam, Madam Shao, Sister Xuan-In-Law and Zhu shi sitting at the table with Minglan.

“... I have to say that our eldest sister-in-law is the luckiest one among us. All her daughtesr-in-law are so outstanding. Look at Tingye’s wife! What a goddess like beauty! Even I am attracted to her!” Fourth Old Madam said that with a beaming smile on her face while sizing Minglan up. The violet golden brocade coat she wore today seemed very expensive. “My daughters-in-law are so not presentable when compared to Tingye’s wife!”

Sister Xuan-in-law swallowed the tea in her mouth in a hurry and said, “Hey, my dear mother-in-law, I have no objections that you want to praise my sister-in-law who looks like a fairy. She’s beautiful indeed. But don’t wound your own daughter-in-law’s pride!” As saying this, she fell into Fourth Old Madam’s arms. Then Fourth Old Madam grinned and scolded, “You cheeky little monkey, since when do you start to mind about your pride?”

Everyone burst into laughter while Minglan put on a shy look and smiled with her head lowered——Seeing the close relationship between Sister Xuan-In-Law and Fourth Old Madam, it was hard to believe that Fourth Old Madam was actually Gu Tingxuan’s stepmother.

By contrast, Fifth Old Madam was the quieter one. She only pulled Minglan’s hand and said softly, “Since you just came here, you might now know that your mother-in-law has worked herself too much over these years. She treats all the people in our family nice and tenderly. She often gives helps to the poor, respects the old and cherishes the young. I’m telling you, she’s the most decent woman among us.”

Fourth Old Madam followed her words, “That’s so true. She has to take care of Tingyu who’s suffering from the illness, help Tingyu’s wife with the family affairs and look after Xianjie’er. It’s so hard for a woman to be concerned over all the ones in the family!”

Old Madam Qin smiled and said, “Look at you two. Aye... fine, I have a thick hide and don’t know what shyness is. Just continue making compliments about me.”

Her words made everyone laugh again. Meanwhile, Madam Shao looked at Old Madam Qin with appreciation in her eyes.

Fifth Old Madam had a meagre face and seemed very cultivated. She then continued to talk to Minglan in a low voice, “Don’t listen to all those rumors. You mother-in-law really lives a tough life. Now that you have already married into our family, you should persuade Tingye in future. Family harmony is always the most important thing for us.”

Fourth Old Madam went along with her, “That’s right, that’s right.” And Minglan nodded heavily.

When all those women were chatting and laughing, they suddenly heard dispute from the other side. Fourth Old Master said in anger, “... Gu Tingye, good for you! Now you have made some progress in your career so you think you can assault your uncle?! It’s not like I have asked you to climb a mountain of swords or plunge into a sea of flames. It’s just a dinner at night! And I have meant for your own good. How dare you despise me like that?”

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