Published at 21st of November 2019 06:44:28 AM

Chapter 175

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Mingyue flushed at once. She turned around to look at the woman beside Mama Lai with reluctant expression in her eyes. Lvzhi didn’t care about that and continued to ask straightaway,

“How old are you?”

“Fifteen and a half years old.”

“You were born in your own family or bought from the outside?”

“In my own family!” Mingyue said that proudly, “My mother is Mama Diao, the maid of Fifth Old Madam. My father is...”

Lvzhi interrupted her again, “Are they also in this mansion?”

“Of course!” Mingyue turned around and pointed to the crowd with pride. The woman beside Mama Lai and a middle-aged man behind her stepped forward and bowed.

“Then you don’t need to introduce them. They’ll tell us about themselves then.” Lvzhi spoke like a judge, “Is there anyone else in your family? Where are they now?”

“Yes, there is.” With her teeth gritted, Mingyue continued, “I have a sister and two brothers. My sister is serving Lady Tingling. My brothers... They haven’t been assigned to anything yet, waiting for Second Master and Second Madam to give orders.”

Qin Sang wrote down Mingyue’s words with serious look on her face. Lvzhi was still wearing a poker face, saying, “Which means, not all your families have come, right? Fine, what about you? Have you done any jobs before?”

Mingyue answered with complacency, “I was chosen to serve Lady Tinghui...”

“In which class?” Lvzhi had already got used to interrupt her.

With an awkward look appearing on Mingyue’s face, she replied, “Third... the third class. But I always worked by Lady Tinghui’s side...”

“How old were you when you started to serve in the mansion?”

“Thir... Thirteen; But I...”

“It means that you have only served one or two years, right? When have you been promoted to the third class?”

“... It was... half of a year ago. But Master Yang always praised me...”

“Do you know how to read?”

“A little bit...”

“How many words can you recognize? Be clear! Have you read Three Character Primer before? What about One Thousand Character Primer?”

“... I have read half of the Three Character Primer. But nothing else except that...” Mingyue looked at Qin Sang who was writing swiftly and Ruomei who had sat there before, with her face turning extremely red.

“Have you been awarded anything during this period? Silver? Jewelry? Clothes?”

“Yes!” Mingyue answered quickly with her deadly red face, “Eldest Madam has rewarded me lots of new clothes. She also told me that I should serve Second Madam and Second Master well. She praised me that...”

“Have you been punished before? Or criticized? Or beaten? For what reason?”

“Definitely not!”

“Think twice before you speak!” Lvzhi said coldly, “You are going to leave your fingerprints here. It doesn’t matter if you have made some mistakes before. After all you have already moved to a new place. But if you lied the first time you saw Madam, you can not work here anymore!”

Mingyue felt quite embarrassed being questioned like this in front of everyone. She turned around to look at Mama Diao for a few times with her face gradually turning pale. Then she said in a soft voice like a mosquito, “I have only been scolded by Eldest Madam for a few times because I have broken some stuffs of Lady Tinghui. And that’s all...”

“Done!” Lvzhi clapped her hands as a sign of finishing the questioning.

After Mingyue had left her fingerprints with a gloomy look on her face, she stepped back slowly. There seemed to be tears rolling in her eyes. The moment she came back to the crowd, she held Mama Diao right away while sobbing slightly.

Minglan nodded to Lvzhi to show her satisfaction. She had already mentioned that it would take so long if each of the people all told a long story. Therefore the main principle of this enquiry was being concise and serious. The most important thing were their personal records. As for their difficulties or their miserable histories, that should be put aside for the moment and could be asked about again when it was necessary.

Then, she saw a familiar figure standing by the side of the hall. As she pondered with her head lowered, she felt that quite ridiculous.

After Xiazhu and Mingyue had been questioned, the rest of the servants all knew about Minglan’s intention. Some were indifferent about the inquiry, some showed angry looks on their faces, some looked quite furtive. Anyway, the enquiry had risen clamours of comments.

As Minglan thought it was time to say something, she stood up right away. Then everyone fell into silence immediately. Minglan smiled and said, “You have seen the whole process, right? Most of you will serve in the mansion. Since I’ll hire you, I have to know about your abilities, your previous jobs and how you did your job? It’s called letting everyone do his best. Do you understand?”

After she had said that, most of the people gradually became quiet. A few of them even started to look confident, especially Liao Yong’s wife and some other women beside her. Because they thought that Minglan’s decision was even more beneficial to the people who came from the outside like them.

Liao Yong’s wife stepped forward and went along with Minglan, “Madam is right! This is an efficient and simple way! Madam didn’t know about us before. So it’s better for us to answer the questions honestly in front of everyone rather than sounding out each other’s intention in a muddleheaded state!

The people who stood in Mama Lai’s group showed sullen looks on their face. However, they didn’t dare to refute Liao Yong’s wife for the moment. So they could only wink at each other with their head lowered.

Having smiled at Liao Yong’s wife, Minglan took a few steps forward and looked down on those servants while speaking in a same mild tone, “After this thing was done, I’ll begin to assign tasks for you. Before that, I have to say this first. I think the most critical thing of the relationship between us is loyalty. We will get along with each other for a long time. It’s important for us to respect each other. Therefore, I hope that no one would get confused right now. Remember this, anyone who’s caught lying to me shall be kicked out of our mansion! Pardon me for speaking so frankly!”

The elegant and gorgeous young madam stood there while speaking slowly and politely, seeming quite gentle and graceful. However, no one in the crowd dared to underestimate her.

The people in Mama Lai’s group gazed at each other, being at loss. They had wanted to arrogate power to themselves ever since they had arrived at this place .However, they had run into the devil-like Gu Tingye who had put on a cloudy face all the time and forbidden them to ask about anything. At that time, Old Madam Qin had asked a few questions to him, he had just refuted her fiercely in front of everyone in the mansion that the family affairs should be handled only by the madam of the family. However, there had been no madam at that time!

Thus they had waited and waited. Finally, Minglan had married into the Gu family. They had assumed Minglan to be an inexperienced and subtle girl so that they could ask for everything they had wanted since they could take advantage of their seniority as the servants who had served in Gu family for a long time. However, at first, Minglan had hidden in her own room for two days. And after she had come out, the first thing she had done was doing the background checking instead of allocating assignments.

The look on Mama Lai’s face kept changing. At last, she couldn’t help but argue loudly, “Madam is so considerate. The people who are from the outside must be questioned carefully. But we have served the people of several generations in Gu family. There is no need to ask us. Madam, if you have anything you don’t know about us, you may ask Old Madam Qin, Fourth Old Madam and Fifth Old Madam!

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Hearing that, Minglan took back her smile while staring at Mama Lai calmly with a bright but also cold expression in her eyes. Sweats were slowly oozed on Mama Lai’s forehead. She just couldn’t understand why such a young girl would look so threatening!

There was only silence in the hall. Everyone was expecting to see what would happen next.

Minglan stared at Mama Lai and said slowly, “Mama Lai, this was the second time you retorted me today.”

Mama Lai knelt instantly while saying in a trembling voice, “I dare not. I just wanted to give you some advice, Madam.”

Minglan said coldly, “I have thought that Old Madam Qin has sent you here to be my helper instead of my elder.”

Mama Lai, with sweats all over her back, said repeatedly, “I dare not, I dare not...”

Minglan squinted her eyes slightly while saying slowly with a ice-cold voice, “Mama Lai, when you retorted me this morning, what have I told you?”

Mama Lai raised her eyes with fear showing in her eyes but didn’t dare to say anything. Minglan smiled and added in a low voice, “Don’t tell me that you have forgotten about my words. It was not long before I spoke to you. Since you have such a short memory, you should go back home and enjoy your retirement.”

Mama Lai was tingled by her words and said in a hurry, “Madam has said... Madam has said that I should do things as you told!”

Minglan gave a beaming smile with dimples showing on her face, looking extremely beautiful, “Good memory, Mama Lai.” After that, she took back her smile and said softly, “Don’t ever forget next time.”

Mama Lai kowtowed over and over again. When she went back to her place, she was already covered with sweats.

Minglan seemed to be a bit tired, then she said lazily, “Liao Yong’s wife, tell me, who is the most respected person in the mansion.”

“It’s, it’s Master, of course.” Liao Yong’s wife answered right away.

Minglan asked again, “And who am I?”

Liao Yong’s wife responded in a loud voice, “You are the Madam in charge of this mansion!”

“... Perfect.” With a slightly tired look showing on Minglan’s face, she sat on the high-back large chair slowly. Then she took a sip of the tea while saying, “Anyone who is not able to remember that, shall never work here.”

With these words, no one dared to argue anything. Danju, Lvzhi and other maids of Minglan all felt overjoyed and specially proud. They even started to look at other servants with imposing manner. Before, they had worried that as an illegal daughter of an official of the fourth class, Minglan would be bullied and disdained in a prestigious family. So they had also been worried all the time.

Little did they know that Minglan was calm, fearless and unperturbed. She smiled gently and criticized lightly. Without losing her temper or speaking too much, she had already managed to hold everyone in awe-- Danju and other maids couldn’t help flashing lights in their eyes.

Next, the servants began to answer the questions in turn. Then the place outside of the hall gradually became empty. At the present, only Xiaotao and Xiazhu were by Minglan’s side. Also, there were a few accountants who had been called over just now and some pageboys standing beside Minglan.

While Minglan was sitting on the chair lazily, she turned around and said in a tender voice, “Sir Gongsun, have you seen enough?”

A middle-aged scholar who had stood in the corner of the hall then stepped forward tardily. He made an obeisance and bowed to Minglan while saying with a smile, “Pardon my rudeness, Madam.”

Minglan stood up and bowed to him to return the obeisance. Then she asked Gongsun Baishi to sit on the first seat.

“Why did Madam do that?” Gongsun Baishi held her tea cup while giving out a crafty smile, “I thought you were going to give assignments.”

Minglan stared at him for a while and then said slowly, “I have heard of a story when I was a little girl. There was an emperor who wasn’t too fatuous. However, he happened to have a bunch of deceitful officials. When the emperor only wanted to pick two beauties for himself, the officials began to search beautiful girls recklessly in a national scale, which raised a popular discontent. When the emperor only wanted to build a small garden, the officials began to extort money from the citizens, which made the people live in misery... After a few years, the country ruined. As for that emperor, he still felt himself quite undeserved when he was beheaded.”

Gongsun Baishi looked at Minglan with great interest, waiting for Minglan to continue. Then Minglan said, “In all ages, many good things were ruined because of four words ‘employing the wrong people’. Sometimes the master refers to the east, but the servants head to the west. Therefore, investigating the crews before dealing with the family affairs is really necessary. No matter what I want to do, I will always need reliable and suitable people to help me. Otherwise, I would only make plans in vain!”

Minglan turned around to look out of the hall with a leisure look, saying, “Since I need them to work for me. At least I should know what kind of persons they are.” It was really necessary to possess a precise and detailed personnel files to manage an enterprise. Also, if some of the servants lied to her, she would then have an excuse to drive them away.

The look on Gongsun Baishi’s face gradually turned serious. After he had gazed at Minglan for a while, he made an obeisance to Minglan reverently and said in a low voice, “Commander Gu is so lucky to have you as his wife, Madam.”

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