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Old Madam Zhai nodded deeply in agreement: “Exactly. In the future, the title will belong to Qing ge’er. If she fulfilled her duty and raised Qing ge’er properly, we can distribute more family properties to her son. What’s worrying me if she got fascinated by wealth and honor, and harbored the idea of competing with Qing ge’er for the title.”
Zhai Yanlin frowned and said: “I think eldest Miss Cheng isn’t that kind of person. She has clear eyes and a subtle way of thinking, not narrow-sighted like ordinary women.”
Old Madam Zhai glanced at Zhai Yanlin. She wanted to say something, but finally swallowed her words back. Her son has grown up, and there were many things she couldn’t easily say anymore. Just like this one, Old Madam Zhai didn’t think it was necessary. Before they even got married, Zhai Yanlin already defended eldest Miss Cheng. Later, after Zhai Yanlin got along all day and night with his sweet and beautiful new wife, would he still remember Zhai Qing?
This thought frightened Old Madam Zhai.
Even so, the Old Madam didn’t speak out her worry. Now that her son has made it clear that he liked eldest Miss Cheng, saying unnecessary words would only result in arguments. After Zhai Yanlin passed the period of freshness, it wouldn’t be too late to persuade him slowly. Instead, Old Madam Zhai said to her son: “Duke, since you are interested in Cheng family’s daughter, you’d better go to Yichun Marquis manor to show your face when Huo family deliver the betrothal gift in a few days.”
“What?” Zhai Yanlin was once again shocked. “Today is only Old Master Cheng’s 49th day of passing. Even if the second Miss is a granddaughter, she cannot marry before one year, no?”
Old Madam Zhai shook her head and said with a flat tone, “Marquis Jingyong is no longer young. Huo family has been impatient about his heir. It’s not strange for the second Miss to be married off during the mourning period.”
Zhai Yanlin paused and asked, “What about eldest Miss Cheng?”
His mother smiled meaningfully and replied, “That’s why I said it is a good thing for her to marry into our house.”
Zhai Yanlin understood. For a while, he opened his mouth but didn’t know what to say: “Old Madam Cheng…is too impatient. They are still in mourning. Getting married at this time, if said to be improper, it is improper. Say eldest Miss Cheng, even if she has made a marriage arrangement in private, won’t be able to do the six rituals1. If the second miss getting married first, won’t it completely destroy eldest Miss’ name?”
Having the exact same thought, Old Madam Zhai lazily said: “Cheng family found an honorable excuse, saying that the Old Master loved his eldest granddaughter dearly and wanted her to observe the mourning for him. We don’t need to know whether it is true or not. Since Cheng family has made such an announcement to the public, we only need to believe it. Anyway, after one year passed, Cheng Yujin will get the reputation of filial piety, and both granddaughters can marry well. There is enough prestige in having Cheng Yujin marry into our family. Everyone is mutually benefitted, and there is no need to cling to the truth.”
There were so many tacit understanding among the high-ranking families. Even if everyone in the capital knew the real reason why Cheng Yujin’s marriage was delayed for a year, as long as no one was stupid enough to tell the truth, it didn’t matter. With this cover, everything was concluded perfectly. Zhai Yanlin has seen many similar things. If it were in the past, he would be too lazy even to listen properly. But now, for some reason, he felt aggrieved for Cheng Yujin.
Such a beautiful woman had done nothing wrong, so why should she suffer such humiliation? But in the end, thought was just a thought. If he were at odds with Jinyong Marquis manor for a woman, he would become a total joke. Not to mention that Cheng Yujin still had nothing to do with Cai Duke manor, even after they exchanged birthdates and finished the matrimonial ceremony, Zhai Yanlin wouldn’t let a woman influenced his relationship in the court.
So Zhai Yanlin just sighed and said: “I understand. Then, I will visit Yichun Marquis manor on the day Huo family sends their betrothal gifts.”
Sure enough, not long after Old Master Cheng’s 49th day of passing, Huo family came to deliver the betrothal gifts, and Cheng Yumo’s wedding date was suddenly rushing in.
Old Madam Cheng’s courtyard was full of people. At this time, the guests were almost gone, and Ruan-shi finally found an opportunity to talk about her daughter’s dowry with the Old Madam.
“…Mother, Mo’er is going marry into a marquis household after all. She is still young, and she will be a marchioness once she was married. If her dowry is not enough, how can she handle the people in the manor? How can we block the gossips of the people in the capital? Mother, Huo family’s betrothal gifts are totaling three thousand taels. If we send less dowry, wouldn’t Huo family look down on us?”
When Huo family came to deliver the betrothal gifts today, many people were watching. Servants from all kinds of ranks surrounded the main courtyard. Every single item was brought inside under the public’s gaze. How many were valuable, how many were useful, everyone saw it with their own eyes. Huo Xue-shi was very concerned about reputation, and the betrothal gifts she prepared were all excellent. Ruan-shi and Cheng Yumo’s face was beaming with pride. But as soon as the guests left, they hurriedly came to the Old Madam to discuss the dowry.
The betrothal gift from Huo family was so glamorous. If Cheng Yumo married poorly, wouldn’t it make everyone in the capital laugh? Originally, Old Master Cheng gave Cheng Yumo two thousand taels of dowry before he passed away, and Ruan-shi was very satisfied with the amount. But now, she began to be restless again.
The money in the public account was limited. If Cheng Yumo took more, the first branch would definitely demand the rest. Eldest branch’s son Cheng Enbao was young, and his marriage was still more than ten years in the future. Cheng Yujin wouldn’t necessarily marry a good family, so it was better to transfer part of her share to Cheng Yumo first, and after one year, they would pay it back.
Only two chapters this week, because I’m still busy. Enjoy!
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