Published at 28th of November 2019 06:21:06 AM

Chapter 177

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After the lunch, Minglan touched her poor skinny body, feeling that it was necessary for her to have a rest and gain some weight. That would also help improve her endurance on the bed, right? Then she rolled into her bed while yawning right away. While she was in a daze, she was still recalling the things she had seen and thought over these two days one after another.

The cost of living was super high in the capital. Ever since Hai shi had married into the Sheng family, there had been ten of the masters and madams, three concubines, four Tong Fangs, which meant a total of seventeen hosts in the family. And the number of the servants including the maids, the elder female servants, the male servants and the stewards added up to fifty eight. After Hai shi had started to deal with the family affairs, Minglan had often helped take care of Quange’er. Sometimes she had been able to overhear a few words about the household spending. The yearly spending including the social expenses for a big family like the Shengs was around four thousand ounces of silver. Wang shi kept to a strict budget and Hai shi always encouraged frugality. Therefore, the income of Sheng family had always been enough and to spare. Including the profits which were brought by the manors and the stores of the Sheng family and the Fenli (T/N: Fenli means for salary in ancient times) from Youyang, Sheng family could save lots of money every year for the dowry of the younger generation.

As for Minglan’s new home, Gu Tingye, as a second class official, earned one hundred and fifty ounces of silvers and sixty one dan rice per year (T/N: dan is a unit of dry measure for grain). However, the rice which was presented to the officials had been stocked for many years. Even the servants in the Sheng family didn’t eat that. So normally, the rice would be converted into silvers in the rice store. Since Gu Tingye had another identity as a military officer, he had an extra income from the military supply, which was two hundred and twenty ounces of silvers. In short, Gu Tingye was able to gain a total of five hundred ounces of silvers every year. According to the tradition, there would also be Ice Presents and Charcoal Presents. (T/N: Ice Presents and Charcoal Presents are the presents which are given by the officials in the low level.)

According to the estate book in Minglan’s hand, Gu Tingye possessed two manors next to the Yan Mao River in the suburb, one of which called Black Mountain Manor and occupied more than eighty acres of farmland. The other manor called Ancient Stone Manor and occupied the farmland which covered an area of hundreds of acres. What’s more, the emperor had granted Gu Tingye the land on half of the West Mountain in the capital as well as a manor with hot spring. The profits of all those estates could add up to five thousand ounces of silvers.

PS: no commercial properties had appeared on the estate book yet.

On that day when Minglan had asked Gu Tingye how much money in the mansion was she able to spend, Gu Tingye hadn’t given her a precise number. But he had mentioned that not only had Minglan been able to dispose all those real estates as she had wanted, he had also put fifty thousand ounces of silvers in the counting house for Minglan to spend. Also, he had claimed that if those money was not enough, Minglan could ask for more from him anytime.

Minglan, an illegal daughter who had only had one and a half ounces of silver as her monthly spend, now was able to dispose such a huge amount of money. Suddenly she felt herself having leaned on a moneybag. Suddenly, she would like to ask for three bowls of cubilose porridge every day. She would eat one of them, watch at one of them and pour the last one of them at the same time.

With such a small population in Gu’s mansion, Minglan didn’t even know how to spend that much of money! She had to kept reminding herself that she only had the right to use the money instead of the right to own it. So under no circumstances could she squander the funds... Nevertheless, could she take a small sum as the, eh, management salary?

Thinking of that, Minglan started to disdain herself. It seemed that she really had the potential to be a embezzler.

Gu Tingye, Minglan and Rongjie’er were the master, the madam and the lady in the family. Besides them, there were also two concubines as well as Lady Fengxian in the family. According to the Fenli rule in Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion, Minglan, as a madam, had a wage of thirty ounces of silvers per month (After she had got married, her wages had been fifteen times as much as before). The young madam (Minglan’s future daughter-in-law), would have a wage of twenty ounces of silvers per month. As for Rongjie’er and the other concubines only had two ounces of silvers as their monthly wage.

The problem was the wage for Lady Fengxian. Usually the Tongfang would have one ounce of silver per month. However, Gu Tingye had no intention to deal with her. At the time when Minglan had asked him about Lady Fengxian, he had even got confused for a while. After Minglan had reminded him, he had only put on a sullen face.

After that, only after Minglan had asked Xiahe had she known that Lady Fengxian had been distributed to the Jiaofang Department (T/N: A place which cultivates the prostitutes especially for the officials) as a family member of a guilty official (Qinsang had clenched her fists tightly while hearing that). Because Lady Fengxian had still been a virgin at that time, she had been sent to Gu’s mansion half a year ago by Old General Gan. (Through legal process, in Xiahe’s words)

At first, this lady who was said to be accomplished in lyre-playing, chess, calligraphy and painting finally couldn’t bear Gu Tingye’s days of ignorance to her. One night, she had played the music piece ‘Clear Winding River’. Unfortunately, such an elegant master piece had been intolerable for the ears of that playboy. Gu Tingye had only learned how to fight in his childhood and was good at fistfights on the street and kill enemies in the battle. As for his artistic accomplishment, there was none.(Minglan thought secretly that if Lady Fengxian had sung a popular song, Gu Mingye might have been able to beat time for her). Also, Gu Tingye had been overly exhausted that night. Being awakened in his dream really had irritated him. He had kicked down two of the doors right away with his roar reverberating through half miles. 

The second day in the morning, Gu Tingye had ordered someone to move Lady Fengxian’s stuffs to the house which was in the most remote corner in the west of the mansion.

After several months, Lady Fengxian had finally realized that the visual effect might be straighter and more important than the auditory effect for men. Then at one night, she had delivered the evening snacks to Gu Tingye in a white and scanty coat. Unluckily for her again, she hadn’t run into Gu Tingye who had been supposed to deal with the official business at that time. Instead, Momo Chang who had been cleaning the room at that moment had met Lady Fengxian by accident.

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Momo Chang, as a wet nurse in a salt merchant’s family, had no refined genes in her at all. This fretful woman with a sharp tongue who was said to have used a butcher’s knife before decided to rant and rave Lady Fengxian right away. She had cursed Lady Fengxian with ugly words and even compared the latter to the girls in the whorehouse in a vivid description, which had attracted all the servants to gather around there and watch the fun.

At last, Momo Chang still hadn’t had enough scolding that poor girl. She had even followed Lady Fengxian to the House of Thorns Leaf to cry out her swearwords. Lady Fengxian really couldn’t take it anymore. Being ashamed and resentful, Lady Fengxian almost hanged herself on the ceiling.(But finally failed to do that. Since she hadn’t suicide in the Jiaofang Department, she must be a tough girl). Minglan assumed that Lady Fengxian must have changed the place she lived to House of Ling Ding after that.

Also, Minglan seriously doubted that Gu Tingye had incited Momo Chang to do so. After all, he had been in a close relationship with those ruffians and loafers, which meant his mind was sneakier than the one of the masters of the prestigious families. Lady Fengxian was a gift from his old superior so he couldn’t mistreat her or kick her out. So he had chosen to find an elder Momo to insult her, making her feel so ashamed to step out of her room.

As it turned out, that was quite an efficient method. Lady Fengxian had seldom gone out of her room for over half a year.

So, how much monthly wage should be paid to her? The longer Minglan thought of that, the sleepier she got. After a short while, she fell right into asleep. The sun gradually went down while still giving out warmness. Minglan didn’t know how long she had slept. It was Xiaotao who waked her up.

“What happened?” With her eyes still squinted, Minglan looked at the hourglass and found that it had already passed twelve o’clock.

Xiaotao, with excitement all over her face, approached to Minglan and said softly, “Fifth Old Madam is here!”

“So soon?” Minglan opened her eyes widely right away, fully awaken, “Just her alone?”

“And two of her daughters-in-law, Eldest Madam Yang and Second Madam Di.” Xiaotao whispered and chuckled, “Exactly like you have predicted, my lady. I have asked the doorkeepers to keep noticing on the servants. And there really were someone who have gone out. And that person is from the Diao Family!”

Minglan sat on the bed in a daze while sighing slightly, “Since we live so close to each other, how can they not come.”-- She finally realized that she had to charge the management fee, considering of her hard work!

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