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After exchanging polite remarks and flattery, the topic returned to the younger generation. One madam took Cheng Yujin’s hand, had a closer look, and said to the person next to her: “It’s just a few days. Why do I think that eldest Miss Cheng looks thinner?”
The madam next to her replied, “How can she not? The grandfather who doted on her the most is gone. She must be very sad. I heard the Old Madam says that their eldest girl kept vigil for the Old Master for several nights. What a pitiful child. Look at her thin wrists, I don’t know how did she hold it.”
The madam echoed one another, then wiped their tears with handkerchiefs. Cheng Yujin was proud and self-centered, and her disposition was inherently cold. It was hard for her to shed tears. Even after practicing hard, she often had to resort to some tricks and props. With so many people looking at her, it wasn’t easy to use the handkerchief, so instead of crying, she pretended to hold back her grief and said: “Madams, the deceased is gone forever. Grandmother finally just stopped crying. Let’s not make her sad again.”
One madam wiped her tears and repeatedly nodded: “You are right. We shouldn’t make the Old Madam cry.” As soon as she finished her sentence, the madam’s tears immediately stopped. Looking it up close, even Cheng Yujin was almost convinced.
The madams sat and chatted friendly. Now that Cheng Yujin was here, they have found a new topic and began to talk about her. Before his death, Old Master Cheng personally said that he had raised Cheng Yujin like the eldest grandson, so he wanted her to stay home to observe his mourning. Regardless of the truth or falseness of this matter, Cheng family’s attitude was evident. Cheng Yujin was still their unparalleled eldest granddaughter. Even after her engagement was canceled, Cheng family’s treatment towards her wouldn’t change.
It’s enough. No one was idle enough to check whether Old Master Cheng really left behind that statement or not. No matter what, Cheng Yujin was still connected to Yichun Marquis manor’s resources, and knowing this was enough for these madams. Marriage was a way to connect two different surnames. It was the integration and mutual sharing of wealth, contacts, and prestige of two families. The more resources Cheng Yujin carried over, the more valuable she was in the eyes of prospective in-laws.
If Cheng Yuanxian inherited the title smoothly, then Cheng Yujin would become the eldest daughter of a Marquis, which heightened her status. What’s more, Cheng Yujin still had the virtuous name personally commended by the Emperor. After one year, she would have another layer of filiality, which was even more remarkable.
Anyway, there was still another year. These madams were willing to wait and see. If one year later, the marriage between Cheng family and Huo family indeed brought over real power and benefit, and Cheng Yujin’s reputation was also improved, these madams were willing to let Cheng Yujin marry into their home. Anyway, Cheng Yujin was beautiful. Even if she didn’t do anything, she was pleasing to look at.
Therefore, the female guests treated Cheng Yujin very nicely. They were praising her repeatedly, holding her up almost as high as the sky. Old Madam Cheng still hoped that Cheng Yujin could marry high, so she didn’t say anything. But Cheng Yumo, who stood by Ruan-shi, was feeling desolated.
Ruan-shi has taught her early this morning, so she was smarter today and always following behind Huo Xue-shi. Whenever she had the opportunity, Cheng Yumo would serve Huo Xue-shi, showing her filial piety. As a result, she was busy all morning, serving tea and accompanying chat. She was so tired that her calves were cramped. While others were not paying attention, Cheng Yumo complained to Ruan-shi in a low voice. She just wanted to act coquettishly to her mother, but Ruan-shi sighed after listening to her complain.
Ruan-shi said, “My child, it’s just standing for one morning, and you are already crying for being tired. After you married, you have to follow your mother-in-law and serve her every day. Daily greetings, morning ablution, pouring tea, serving dishes. All has to be done by a daughter-in-law. At that time, who can you complain to?”
Cheng Yumo was dumbfounded. In her previous life, she heard from people who served her sister that Huo Xue-shi was a difficult mother-in-law. But when people didn’t see it with their own eyes, they always felt that it wasn’t a problem. Cheng Yumo remembered that after she married into Huo family, although Huo Xue-shi never showed Cheng Yumo a good face, she didn’t make too many demands either. Therefore, Cheng Yumo thought that Cheng Yujin was exaggerating. Now, because Cheng Yumo didn’t get any consolation from her mother, she was upset. However, she immediately laughed and said to Ruan-shi: “No problem, mother. I can always let Brother Changyuan speak for me.”
Hearing this, Ruan-shi was helpless. It was originally a very outrageous remark, but Ruan-shi pampered Cheng Yumo and was reluctant to admonish her. Ruan-shi only knocked her daughter’s forehead lightly: “You, ah.”
After the mother and daughter finished their talk, they came back to wait on their respective mother-in-law. Cheng Yumo dropped her hands dutifully and stood behind Huo Xue-shi. When the madams saw her, they just rolled their eyes quickly and no longer paid her attention. However, when Cheng Yujin came in, they immediately fawned upon her, showering Cheng Yujin with attention and praises.
Cheng Yumo was a little bit sad, but she was even more resentful. Before, Cheng Yumo was inferior to Cheng Yujin. Whether it was family members or guests, everyone’s attention was on Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yumo tolerated it. Who let Cheng Yujin’s adoptive mother be a noble Junzhu? But now, the situation was different. She was about to become Marchioness Jingyong, so why did these people still ignore her?
Cheng Yumo was not reconciled. She felt that these people had no eyes. In this life, Cheng Yujin was destined never to go higher, but she was going to soar with Huo Changyuan. These people missed a real pearl today and instead regarded the fish eye as a treasure. Just wait, even if they came to her in the future, she wouldn’t give them a good face.
After lunch, the female guests were either going home or resting, leaving Shou’an Hall empty. Cheng Yujin was still staying in the main hall. She soon noticed that Old Madam Cheng was holding a prayer bead without speaking. Ruan-shi glanced at Cheng Yujin from time to time, and Huo Xue-shi also showed a faint impatience. Cheng Yujin understood. She thoughtfully made an excuse and left.
Both the front and inner hall were busy, and Taoist prayer could be heard throughout the manor. All over the places, there were so many people. Many were outsiders. Even the inner courtyard was full of noise. Cheng Yujin didn’t want to go to crowded places, but she couldn’t go too far either, so she just strolled in the garden.
Cheng Yujin was so bored. She sat in a pavilion hidden by trees, pulling leaves one after another. After a while, Cheng Enbao’s voice suddenly rang from outside: “I have given you my golden collar, you should give me the dog to play with.”
The opponent spoke back. It was a child’s arrogant and haughty voice, obviously very much spoiled by his family: “You are too ugly, I won’t give it to you. Go, Xiaotian dog1, take the pendant on that servant girl.”
Cheng Yujin’s face suddenly sank. Where did this little bastard came from, dare to run wild in Yichun Marquis manor?
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