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Published at 13th of November 2016 07:07:36 PM


Chapter 3.1

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The Legend of the Concubine’s Daughter Minglan Chapter 3 Part 1




 

Quan Prefecture is located at Minnan1, people great things abundant. Sheng Hong took post here in the government sub-prefect for many years, managing the division of salt, food, river conservancy works, irrigation works as well as tidying up military records, pacifying the people etc.

 

There are many achievements, these few years, changed position thrice in the prefecture magistrate and he rose in rank. Sheng Hong knows how to conduct himself with integrity, and get along with the local officials. News came that His Excellency2 Sheng is to be promoted, everyone is vying to arrange a feast to send him off these few days. It is not convenient for Sheng Hong to evade, dinner parties day after day, packing up and dressing the family for travel is entrusted to Madame Wang shi.

These few days, the household’s servants and housekeepers are as Crucian Carp shuttling between Wang shi’s residence and the east courtyard. Wang shi’s melancholy for several years swept away, extremely busy. This afternoon, Wang shi roughly arrange the matters, called a few personal servants to check on the remaining item names and then entered into the inner side room to speak with Housekeeper3Liu Kun.

A big square couch leans against the wall, spread with a delicately weaved blanket, a mass of thin silk brocade. On top, two about five years old girls are deep asleep side by side, two first class maids keep watch by the side of the couch, on the low stools gently fanning them. Upon seeing Wang shi entering the room, they immediately stood up to greet. Wang shi waved her hands, signifying not make noise disturbing the two girls’ afternoon nap. Walking directly to the couch, seeing a girl round and plump, lovely and innocent while sleeping, very likeable. Wang shi cannot help but relax her brows and looked at the other girl, unexpectedly her feature are born elegant, just pale in the face, obvious that she is lacking in spirit and blood, the whole body is utterly frail. In a dream yet wrinkling the brows, Wang shi lightly sighed and tucked the two girls in, thin brocade blanket afterwards walking to sit at angle on the rattan chair.  




Housekeeper Liu Kun called the two maids to go outside and watch the door, she then walked before Wang shi. Searching for a round stool to sit down but was halted by Wang shi and invited to sit by her side on the rattan chair. Housekeeper declined and then sat down.

“Madame have put into a lot of trouble these few days, busy in and out. Looks like things are more or less packed. This morning, Dengzhou sent a letter saying that the household has been tidied up, only waiting for Master and Madame to move in. I must say, this First Master Wei and my family’s Master although are cousins4, actually closer than usual blood brothers. Also do not know how much money did First Master Wei spent, this sentiments is greatly expressed.” Housekeeper Liu Kun lively said.

“Master Wei’s father and my late father-in-law that passed away are brothers born from the same parents. The ages between Master and Master Wei are similar, formerly studied together at Duke Ling’s home study5. After the home study, they again accepted under Cabinet Yang. Oh at that time Cabinet Yang was still a scholar at Hanlin Academy. Also at that time Old Master Uncle6 was pampering a concubine, completely ignoring the misery of Master Wei and mother. My family’s Old Madame rather watched over that sister-in-law and nephew. Because our Master is originally concubine-born, was not raised before Old Madame also was not easy. This caused him and Master Wei to empathise with each other as fellow sufferers, the two brothers’ thick bond cannot be more. Although Master Wei has not taken up an official post yet managing the house appropriately. Extremely thick family wealth, not attaching importance to money. Master and my maiden family’s older brother are officials, able to look after his descendants, spending some money on him it is nothing.” Wang shi considerably pleased with herself.

“Madame thinking in your heart this way, by all means must not say such words in front of Master. Must be extremely grateful towards Master Wei’s generous intentions and do not always mention Madame’s maiden family. Do not forget that time, how Concubine Lin fan the flames, stirring up trouble.” Housekeeper Liu Kun sees that Wang shi’s old weakness is acting up, hurriedly reminded.

Wang shi displeased “That hateful slanderous fox!”

It is not good for Housekeeper Liu Kun to continue, then changing topic, smilingly said “How is Sixth Young Lady at Madame’s place? Heard that that day Master personally carried her all the way from the lotus pond. I immediately knew Sixth Young Lady must be following Madame.”


Wang shi took a glance at the girl on the couch “This girl lost her biological mother, sooner or later must be taken care by me, this I also know but still unable to swallow this breath. That time that lowly surnamed Lin gave birth to sons and daughters, why did Master not think of me as the legitimate mother, why did he not put the children at my place to be raised, saying what affection of blood relations are hard to give up and then allow Concubine Lin to raise them by herself. Today, once Concubine Wei died, he then remembered that I am the legitimate mother. Originally I wanted to hold him off, delay for a few days before saying. Who knows that day immediately after the decree was passed, Master overbearingly brought this child into my room. Without a word, put the child down, I was scared and then did not dare to say anything and accepted this child.”

Housekeeper Liu Kun recited a few scripture, smilingly said “Madame’s heart is merciful. This is the right truth, no matter how many concubines Master has, Madame will always be the legitimate mother, this status can never be climbed over. Previously Concubine Lin used her foxy charm to deceive Master, that is why the rules are mixed up. Madame only needs to manage the house and children. I see that this time Master wants to correct Concubine Lin, Madame this time round has to be settled. Putting on a manner fit for a legitimate madame, by any means must not mess up your position.”

“Correct what? Merely just thunders and heavy rain, that lowly slut is his treasured darling, how he bear to?”

“Madame must not say it like this, I see that this time is fishy.” Housekeeper Liu Kun shook her head, moving her body forward, closer “Madame still remember that Die’er, Concubine Wei’s close aide?”

Wang shi nodded “That maid is unexpectedly strong, actually dare to interrogate Concubine Lin. She stood up for the master in this way, Concubine Wei’s sisterhood with her was not in vain. Do not know what happened afterwards.”

Housekeeper Liu Kun said in a low voice “My man asked about from outside, said Concubine Lin expelled Die’er to the village. Later, Master’s aide Laifu then took the person away. After that placed in the west courtyard, when Master was free, he detailedly interrogated Die’er for a whole hour. Afterwards Old Madame made the decision regarding her, do not know where she was sent.”

Wang shi was very interested, asked “These words are true? Since it is like this, how is Master completely without any activity.”


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Housekeeper Liu Kun arose to get a fan, standing beside Wang shi and lightly fanned her, said “Only afraid that Concubine Lin with the gift of gab, simply coaxing Master to be softhearted. However even if it is just selling off several servants, killing Concubine Lin’s might is also good. Just right for Madame to seize this opportunity to be regarded.”

Wang shi did not speak, inwardly planning. Housekeeper Liu Kun saw Wang shi’s look, hesitantly opened her mouth “Merely some words, this servant does not know whether it is appropriate to say. Afraid that Madame would blame me for not having rules if I were to say, if I did not speak, I would be ashamed towards the task that the Old Lady7 has entrusted me, my heart uneasy.”

Wang shi hurriedly held onto Housekeeper Liu Kun’s hands, softly saying “What words are you saying? I grew up and ate of milk from the same person with you, originally close like sisters. You married a few years earlier than I, should have originally brought your whole family as dowry8 with me. But your husband’s family is mother’s capable stewards, that is why we were separated for several years. Whatever your words, say them to the end.”

Housekeeper Liu Kun smiled and sat before Wang shi “Look at the words of Madame, the Old Lady loved Madame the most. When Madame got married, how many capable people were sent over as dowry, only my family’s father-in-law was accustomed elderly helper of the Old Lady, that is why they retired at the Wang household. That year when Old Lady heard that Concubine Lin gave birth to a young master, worried the entire night, unable to sleep. That very night, found me and detailedly instructing and entrusting me for a long time. Afterwards sent us husband and wife bringing along a few small ones over. For whose sake it was, Madame’s heart is unclear? Was it not precisely because she is afraid that Madame would be bullied at the husband’s family, afraid that Young Master Bai would be treated coldly? Truly have pity on the heart of caring mothers under heavens.”

Wang shi sighed “All because I am unfilial, still making mother worry at such an age. Thanks to you who came, advising me everyday that is why I sorted out my bad-temper and made peace with Master. You also taught me to take in a concubine for Master, obstructing Concubine Lin’s arrogance. Speaking of which, that Concubine Wei was also found by you, you have a good eye for people. Pretty yet not to the point of seductive, she entered the house for several years and Concubine Lin was considerably stopped. This time is still thanks to you that that lowly slut would have fault.”

1. South of Fujian


2. 大人 (Da Ren): Title of respect towards one of position
3. 家的 (Jia De): Old wife; not too sure of the exact role but it seems to have a more notable role thus translated as housekeeper, a little help?
4. 堂兄弟 (Tang Xiong Di): More specifically cousins from the paternal side
5. 家学 (Jia Xue): Learning handed down in a family, there was no established school at that time among the nobility so usually what happens is that usually only the influential families will hire a teacher for their sons and the other boys will join in the class 
6. 伯老太爷 (Bo Lao Tai Ye): Wang shi’s father-in-law’s brother; Master Wei’s father
7. 老夫人 (Lao Fu Ren): Old Madame, this would not mean Old Madame Sheng but Wang shi’s mother
8. This practice known as 陪房 (Pei Fang) is when a maidservant follows her master when she married into her husband’s house as a personal maid, in a sense it is like a dowry therefore translated as such


 

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