Published at 6th of December 2019 05:40:07 AM

Chapter 181

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With a pleased look on Gu Tingye’s face, Gu Tingye held Minglan together with the brocade quilt in his arms and kissed on her warm and smooth face. Minglan, being too tired to open her eyes, only mumbled something in a daze while sliding her head into the quilt. Gu Tingye really enjoyed watching her being like this. Then, after he had called the maid to help him get dressed in the court suit, he left the mansion. The ground outside the room was still wet due to the nightlong rainstorm. Only until the daybreak did the rain stop. The weather of the March was quite refreshing. The raindrops drew hyaline arcs on the windowsill and the drip of the water under the roof sounded super lively.

After an hour and a half, Danju came into Minglan’s room. She, with great strength, dug out that small girl who was curling up in the brocade quilt. Then Danju helped Minglan take a bath and get dressed while trying not to look at those bruises on Minglan’s snow-white waist and legs as well as the blue and red hickeys all over half of Minglan’s body. She only opened the windows to disperse the erotic smell in the room.

Minglan tried her best to ignore the pitiful expression in Danju’s eyes with her burning face. As the saying went, labour was the glorious. Physical labour was as glorious as the brain work!

After the personnel matters had been sorted out yesterday, Minglan needed to assign works to the servants today.

The servants in Gu’s mansion were more than enough to serve Gu Tingye and Minglan. However, the huge mansion still required more people to manage. The plants and pool as well as the large wood forest in the back garden alone would need at least ten people to take care of them. Also, though there were nobody living in the plenty of the rooms in the main yard, the side yards, the wing houses and the guest houses right now, some young maids were still needed to be assigned to the empty rooms in case those places would be deserted. 

Afterwards, Rongjie’er, Concubine Gong and Lady Hongxiao would live in the mansion as well. So they should also have their own servants and maids. Moreover, Minglan still needed someone to guard the storeroom, be on night duty, do the needlework, do the cleaning and starching job, purchase goods, work in the big and small kitchens. She also needed the first, second and third class maids in the main room, the factotums, the elder servants who did the heavy jobs, the stewards of the inner yard, the stewards of the outer yards, the servants in the stable, the gatekeepers, the messengers, the pageboys... After Minglan counted the servants in the mansion twice on her fingers, she still found the number not enough. Therefore, she had written a letter to Hai shi to ask the latter to introduce some reliable human traders to her.

Hai shi was about to give birth to her child and couldn’t move too much all day long, which made her feel really bored. After she had received Minglan’s letter, she began to find the traders right away. Early in the morning today, two human traders who had the recommendation letters in their hands brought lots of boys and girls to Gu’s mansion. Minglan told someone to open the side hall of the outer yard to let the newcomers wait there. After that, she walked over there in a low speed.

The human traders were both middle aged women who were around thirty to forty in neat clothes and spoke with polite words reverently. Obviously, they had always made contacts with the officials’ families since they had senses of propriety during the conversation. They never made a boast of the people they had brought, nor did they glance at the room furtively. There were two to three rows of boys and girls standing behind them, who were in different ages from ten to thirteen or fourteen. Right now they were all standing deferentially with their head lowered.

Minglan felt quite satisfied. She had known that Hai shi who was from a prestigious family like Hai family would definitely introduce good human traders to her.

Every trade had its master. In ancient times, the human traders were also in various grades and ranks. The low-class traders were more like the pimps and only did the dirty business. Some evil ones of them even abducted and trafficked lost children (For example, the poor Zeng Yinglian who had been abducted). The children from unknown resource were all sold by those traders without any formalities. Therefore, some accidents might happen at any time. (Like Childe Feng who was even poorer)

When a real influential family needed to buy servants from the outside, there would be fixed human traders to handle the affairs. The background of the children must be clean. The formalities should be complete to avoid any worries behind. More superior human traders would even teach those children whom they had bought from the poverty-stricken area first. Only after those children knew about the basic rules would the traders sell them. Right now, nearly all the children who were standing in the side hall of the Gu’s mansion were already quite disciplined.

So Little Yanzi could only made her living as a performer. The human trader wouldn’t even bother to sell her. (T/N: Little Yanzi was a character in a Chinese drama)

At the moment, Mama Cui was pressing her lips tightly together while glancing at those boys and girls with fierce expression in her eyes. She also asked a few questions. According to Mama Cui’s standard, she wouldn’t keep the ones who were too eloquent, pretty or furtive. Also, she preferred the ones who could speak clearly, act quickly and do great needlework. Above all, the honest and diligent ones would always be accepted as long as that child was not too inferior. At last, Mama Cui picked nine girls and five boys.

Minglan stared at Mama Cui smilingly while pretending not to see those children looking at her with flattering or suspicious expression in their eyes. Although she really liked a few tame girls among the new servants, she still needed to follow the rules. Then she ordered Mama Cui to bring those children away. All those children together with the other kids who were already in the mansion and the elder servants’ children would start working in the basic position first. After they had been taught well, they would then be assigned to different places.

After this thing had been settled, Minglan called all the servants and maids together to assign jobs to them in the back garden. Some jobs offered handsome salaries, some didn’t. In theory, Minglan should leave the beneficial positions to ‘ the people on her own side’. But she was not willing to do that. Because she felt that the most important thing was being able to control the crucial departments. Also, what did people on her own side mean? Heshen was extremely loyal to Qianlong Emperor, but it didn’t stop him from embezzling large sum of money. Therefore, one’s loyalty wouldn’t let him be free from corruption.

Let facts speak for themselves. Minglan could only acknowledge who were the reliable ones after they had worked for a while. So she decided to assign the jobs to them according to their specialties.

At the moment, Minglan was sitting in the bamboo sadan which was carried by two people. Meanwhile, Danju was walking beside the sedan with two maids who were carrying booklets behind her. After the crowd walked across all the places in the mansion, Minglan started to assign tasks. She had already done her homework yesterday. So she just divided the garden and the pool into several zones clearly according to her original thoughts. After that, she began to appoint people to take charge of each zone one after another.

The people who used to grow bamboos would take care of the bamboo forest. Minglan required that the forest should be tall and look elegant. The persons who were in charge of this place also needed to hand in some fresh bamboo shoots and mushrooms. It would be better if a shady and cool place could be opened up in the forest to set up a summer resort yard with bamboos. The people who used to grow flowers would take charge of the flower garden. Besides presenting flowers of the four seasons to the masters and mistresses in the mansion, the servants here should also guarantee the beautiful appearance of the garden. Minglan was looking forward to see a garden covered with blooming flowers during the whole year, except for the winter... After that, Minglan also designated people to the rest of the places such as the pool, the plum blossom forest and the back house. The next procedure was assigning people to all the empty rooms, the storerooms, the night-watch duty, the inner yard and the outer yard.

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After all the servants had their own duties, not only were the servants which had been presented by the emperor shocked, even the people of the Lai, Hua, Diao and Tian families got anxious and terrified secretly.

As a matter of fact, Minglan’s appearance and behaviors showed no sign of her sophistication or shrewdness-- After all, those tough madams all started to work before the daybreak. Because they needed to send out the Dui cards, check the accounts, hand over the silvers and inspected the affairs of all the places.

However, Minglan was more like a high-fed lady. She was gorgeous and tender. She always talked slowly and treated people with a kind countenance. In her daily lives, she even seemed a bit lazy. She had to sleep for ten hours and take a walk after the meal for one hour every day. She also knew all kinds of seasonal soups and stews. In a word, she devoted particular care to her food, her rest as well as other things which might affect her health. As a result, she nursed herself so well that she was always in a good look with her tender skin and rosy cheeks. As for the family matters, those things could wait until she was in a good mood.

Thus, although all the servants hadn’t looked down on Minglan yet, they still began to neglect this ‘lazy’ madam. Some shrewd ones of them even began to have evil thoughts. However, when Minglan had questioned about their backgrounds and punished Mama Lai in front of everyone, those servants finally realized that this madam couldn’t be fooled so easily.

And today, Minglan had assigned the jobs in a clear and logical way. In the meantime, every servant had been appointed to the jobs which they were best at. What’s more, Minglan wasn’t partial to the people who were close to her. Only Liu Mangui who was from the Sheng family was appointed to be the steward of the outer yard. At last, Minglan even reserved some money as the reward to stimulate the keepers of the places like the garden or the forest to make profits.

Finally, Minglan reaffirmed one of the family rules clearly, which was ‘One shall never work in a critical position in the inner yard while his or her families work in the critical positions in the outer yard.’ Since Mama Cui was in charge of the inner yard, her husband would keep taking care of the manors and forests from Minglan’s dowry outside of Gu’s mansion. Also, Jiqiang, as honest as he was, would help look after the sedan, coach or the stable.

As a result, everyone there respected Minglan right away.

“Time reveals a man’s heart. You abilities will gradually revealed.” Minglan leaned on the flower caving wall while smiling lazily, “I’m still too young and might not have made the most appropriate arrangement. So I’ll let you start working for a year first. If you feel the position is not suitable for you, you can still ask for a change or come to me straightly...”

Hearing that, all the servants were startled. Until now, they had no guts to underestimate Minglan anymore and even started to have reverence toward her. After they had been assigned  tasks, they patted on their chests and guaranteed to fulfil their duties. Then all the servants dismissed themselves.

The Lai, Hua, Tian and Diao families had been overwhelmed the most. They had thought that Minglan had been a young and shy girl. Also, there was no elders of the Gu family in the mansion who could overawe all the servants. Furthermore, the servants who had come from the guilty officials’ families might not be reliable while the new servants were not able to start working right away. So at this understaffed moment, the people of the four families above had been very confident that they would occupy the positions which provided the greatest profits. However, their seemingly pretty and delicate but useless madam hadn’t been panicky at all and had assigned the jobs orderly according to her own plan. Never had Minglan made a fool of herself or been flustered from the beginning to the end.

If there was anything she didn’t understand, she would ask questions. After that, she would verify the answers she got. And the next day, she would come up with a complete solution. She didn’t need helps from Mama Lai and the other three women at all. After Minglan had gradually finished sorting out the affairs in the mansion, each servant began to perform his or her own duties. When the four women saw the other servants being busy doing their jobs and the huge mansion being in perfect order, they finally started to get alarmed.

If all the positions had been occupied, what could they do? Mama Lai and Mama Diao regretted deeply that they had offended Minglan in the beginning. At present, Mama Hua was in charge of cleaning the House of Cardamon Fragrance where Rongjie’er would live. Mama Tian was also assigned a plain task. Only Mama Lai was unemployed and Mama Diao was forced to ‘recuperate’. What were they going to do?

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