Published at 20th of March 2019 09:38:10 AM

Chapter 53

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The Occupational Quality of an Amateur Eavesdropper (2)

Li shi responded no more and stopped sobbing. Minglan supposed she was moved. First Old Madam sighed out a long breath, and spoke with tangible sorrow in her tone, “My daughter-in-law, you didn’t experience what I went through at that time when everyone in the family was manipulated by a bitch. I had not a single person to help me. My firstborn daughter, who caught a cold and should have been recovered with one dose of medicine, was tortured to death! Thus, I made my decision and took your husband and Sheng Yun to countryside to hide from them. Luckily, your second aunt gave me a hand, stopping your father-in-law, my husband, from repudiating me. We three suffered all kinds of hardships in the countryside. It’s not easy for us to get rid of those…”

She seemed to choke with sobs, which made Minglan really sad. She thought of the many over-aged wrinkles on First Old Madam’s withering face. How many hardships and sufferings were hidden in every one of the wrinkles? Pinlan, next to Minglan, seemed to be biting her teeth slightly.  

Li shi gently responded, “I know everything you said. Shulan is flesh from my own body, so seeing her suffer hurts me like being stabbed. But…but, I’m just afraid that Pinlan might be held up for marriage since she is no longer a little girl. What if no family want her for this?”

Suddenly, Minglan felt a blow of a wind next to her. It turned about Pinlan couldn’t draw back anymore. She slightly pushed Minglan inside and rushed out, lifting the thick curtain and announcing loudly, “I don’t fear! Let sister get a peaceful divorce! Even if I don’t get married my whole life, I can’t see her suffer in Sun family!”

Minglan squatted on the ground like a dog, only feeling that the hair on the back of her neck all stand up. Scared to death, she repeatedly called Pinlan a pig to herself, her hands and feet turning icy cold. If she was caught…Emm, there wouldn’t be serious consequence. Minglan forced herself to calm down, still squatting there unmoved like a dog.

Fortunately, she cuddled up in the inner corner of the wooden compartment with a layer of curtain and a layer of tassels sheltering her. The two didn’t noticed that there was another person inside and were just shocked by Pinlan who had jumped out all of a sudden. Then Li shi began to scold Pinlan out of rage while Pinlan talked back. Of course, she wouldn’t say there was another person inside and Li shi and First Old Madam also wouldn’t expect that.

Then Pinlan seemed to be slapped in the face, but she was a tough girl who didn’t cry a bit but just decisively kneeled down, announcing out loud, “A person’s fate is determined by heaven. If I’m blessed, my big sister’s peaceful divorce won’t affect me. If big sister suffers, I won’t be happy even if to be a fairy!” Then she kept kowtowing to beg Li shi.

Minglan didn’t get the rest clearly due to panic. It seemed that at last the mother and daughter cried in each other’s arms.

When Minglan managed to calm down, Li shi had already left with Pinlan, deciding to wage war with Sun family. Minglan squatted there with sweat all over her body. It was very quiet outside, so she didn’t dare to make any noise but only kept praying that First Old Madam wouldn’t chant Buddhist scripts today and that she would go back to rest at once, so that she could sneak away.

To her surprise, after a while of tea-sipping, First Old Madam still didn’t intend to leave. Minglan only heard the sound of prayer beads being thumbed and felt that her kneels were getting numb with sweat cooling down and quivering cold took over her. She was complaining to herself when Sheng Yun came in.

Both of them were straightforward people and hit right to the topic after greeting. Sheng Yun asked, “Mother, did you tell my sister-in-law?” 

First Old Madam didn’t speak. Minglan guessed that she should be nodding, then Minglan heard Sheng Yun continuing, “At the very beginning, sister-in-law got it wrong. She didn’t want to depend on cousin’s family just because sister-in-law Wang shi gave her a cold face several times! But so what? Wang shi even dared to treat her own mother-in-law with little care, let alone us businessmen. Besides, second aunt and cousin are nice people; they never hesitated when we need help. What’s bad for us two families to connect with each other? Yet sister-in-law insisted to have an official in her family, so she tolerated Sun family to such an extent! …. Alright, forget it. Mother, when are you going to take action?”

First Old Madam sighed, “Everything is ready. It should be in two or three days. Afterwards, let Shulan move to your place. Educate her that if a woman is weak and useless, she will be looked down upon wherever she goes! If it’s proper, send her to Guilan’s husband’s place in Cangxiang. I knew her mother-in-law long ago; that old madam is more than nice and won’t turn a cold shoulder to Shulan, so just let Shulan take a break there in the countryside.”

Sheng Yun seemed to snort a bit, “Shulan was alright when she was little, climbing mountains and grazing buffalos with my Guilan. She was daring and straightforward. Afterwards, her nature was restricted by sister-in-law to learn the manner of a noble young lady. At last, she turned out to be so useless! Look at my Guilan. Her husband and in-laws are all nice and honest people; everyone is intimate with one another. She really enjoys a happy life!”

Sheng Yun sounded quite satisfactory, so First Old Madam smiled, “That’s because she has a good belly. Her husband’s family has only one son for nine consecutive generations. Once Guilan moved in, she gave birth to three sons in four years and now she is pregnant again. Of course the family treats her like a goddess. Yet, you should remind her not to be arrogant for this, otherwise in the future, she might suffer!”

Seeing that her mother was amused, Sheng Yun told a few other jokes about her daughter Guilan, then she asked suddenly, “Right, mom, does second aunt know this?”

First Old Madam replied, “Of course! You really believe that we insist her presence for the wedding only to deal with your third uncle’s family? Though your third uncle has run wild, we’ve been tolerating him for so many years. Can’t we deal with him? I invited her for Shulan. Ever since the bastard Sun had mistresses outside, I’ve been planning this. This time your second aunt brought a letter written by your cousin to county magistrate and Jinling is her hometown with long-established connections all over. I don’t believe the bastard can get away from it!”

Sheng Yu said with resentment, “Hem, those bastards of Sun family! After Shulan gets rid of them, let’s see how they could put on airs. Anyway, second aunt is really a nice person.”

First Old Madam seemed to approve, saying, “This is how relatives should treat each other. We can rely on ourselves and deserve the good etiquettes of your second aunt’s family, so we treat each other nice and help each other, but your sister-in-law didn’t get it. You, on the other hand, don’t pretend! Your second aunt didn’t come just to enlist Minglan to our family tree. Don’t think I don’t know what you have in mind! Be careful your sister-in-law might be upset to you!”

Sound of porcelain striking rippled off. It seemed Sheng Yun leisurely poured herself a cup of tea, “I know your plan; you want Changwu to get married first and then drive him away to the capital, so there is only Pinlan left. She is just in her teens, too young to get married, so you want to seize this opportunity to allow Shulan get a peaceful divorce. A few years later, people forget about this event, and it’s easier for Pinlan to find a husband. Actually, it will be alright even if this event might affect Pinlan because I have a son Taisheng!”

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First Old Madam seemed to be annoyed and raised her voice, “To whom are you displaying this look? Isn’t it great that Pinlan is matched to your son—relatives getting more intimate? Are you unwilling to have our Pinlan?” Sheng Yun burst into clear laughter, “Oh, mother. You get it wrong. It’s not I don’t want Pinlan but my sister-in-law don’t want our Taisheng!”

First Old Madam stopped talking while Sheng Yun seemed to be blowing her hot tea and continuing, “Speaking of marriage, there is indeed few people willing to marry Pinlan due to her wild nature and undisciplined manner, but after all she is my niece, I’m willing to have her as my daughter-in-law and treat her nicely even if she is used to bossing Taisheng around. However, my sister-in-law aims high and looks down upon my husband’s farmer origin. She wants to climb to the league of Li Yu! Yet Li family doesn’t want Pinlan, so my sister-in-law begins to feel that Taisheng is not bad. Hem, what a snobbish woman! No matter how bad our Teisheng is, he has both wealth and good character. For Pinlan, we’ve rejected heaven-knows how many proposals in these years. On the contrary, how sister-in-law regards Taisheng, constantly changing her mind like picking vegetables? This time, I won’t do as she wishes!”

Sheng Yun seemed to get irritated, casting down the teacup on the table.

Silence hovered the room for quite a while before First Old Madam said gently, “So you wrote a letter of praising Taisheng to your second aunt?” Sheng Yun admitted immediately, “Yes! I know there are several girls in cousin’s family. I don’t dare to consider sister-in-law Wang’s well-cherished baby, but can’t I think about the girl raised up by second aunt?”

Minglan inside was frightened by Sheng Yun’s words and couldn’t help starting to curse Pinlan again: You deserve it for being unable to hold in and only listened half of the conversation! You missed the latter part about your life-determining marriage! You deserve it! I won’t tell you anything!

Over there, First Old Madam asked coolly, “What about now? Your sister-in-law panicked and gives you smiling face every day. Are you happy now?”

Sheng Yun smiled, “Well, it’s true that the purpose I invited second aunt was to intimidate sister-in-law; however, mother, I don’t want to hide it from you that I now really have the idea in my mind. The child educated by second aunt is really nice, never putting on airs to act like a lady and always behaving properly to a desired extent. Her well-disciplined manner…mom, did you saw how she eats, walks and bows? No wonder she is educated by mama from the imperial palace. Every movement of her is both elegant and enjoyable; she treats people amiable and excels in needlework and domestic affairs. Mom, don’t give me this look. If Taisheng is a son of your son not your daughter, who would you choose to be his wife?”

Minglan was a bit complacent listening to other people praising her. Speaking of it, Taisheng was a good man, but…but…groan…why…why was he also a blood relative within three generations? Pinlan, you really wanted to marry him? It would be genetically unsafe for next generation.

First Old Madam seemed to fall silent again. After a while, she sighed in a low voice, “But what about Pinlan?”

Sheng Yun laughed care-freely, “Mom, don’t be bothered. This thing is far from on agenda. Though I like Minglan, it only counts when second aunt likes Taisheng. Right, mom, did you notice that Li family is also interested in Minglan?” 

First Old Madam replied, upset, “Even you monkey girl could see it, let alone others. Not just Li family, I heard that in Jinling your second aunt met with one of her old confidants who also has a boy in the family. Your second aunt seems to really like his character.”

Sheng Yun wasn’t at all annoyed, “That’s right! As I said, it’s yet to be decided in the future. If our Taisheng is blessed and second aunt likes him, that would be great. If second aunt has other intentions, it’s okay for me. I have Pinlan, after all! Hahaha is this so-called every dog has its day?”

First Old Madam scolded, “Aren’t you annoyed for your second aunt’s picking this time?”

Sheng Yun replied casually, “That’s not the same thing. Second aunt treats us with generosity. I’m all okay as long as she doesn’t eat our Taisheng!”

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