Cheng Yujin was also part of the accompanying party. Although it was exhausting, she didn’t have to do anything at all. It wasn’t her role to accompany the Empress Dowager to chat or listening to the sutra. Those positions had been filled with Yang family’s relatives and other prominent people. Yichun Marquis Manor had no sense of existence and also with no prominent relatives or friends. Even if they joined the procession to Xiangji Temple this time, their only role was just adding the numbers.
Cheng Yujin couldn’t help but sigh in her heart. She was the dignified young Miss of a marquis manor, yet she had been this tired. She couldn’t imagine how hard it was for the officials in charge and the servants below.
The one on the top opened their mouth, and the people below had to rush until their legs were broken. But there was no way. Cheng Yujin didn’t dare to express any complaint. She still smiled politely and went to the lounge to pay respect to Old Madam Cheng.
Xiangji Temple occupied a vast area, but it was still not an easy job to arrange the places for so many madams and young misses. Because of the limited space, the largest and most spacious prayer room was naturally reserved for the Empress Dowager, followed by the Yang family’s madam, the wife of Senior Grand Secretary Yang Qian-shi. Afterward, there came Yang family’s daughters-in-law and married daughters. Only then came imperial relatives and powerful official madams. When it came to ordinary nobles, only second-class rooms with five to six people per room were left.
However, it was good enough to be able to crowd in a prayer room. Some lesser-ranked madams didn’t get a room and had to stay outside. On top of that, they were not allowed to sit outdoor on this kind of important occasion and could only stand all the time. Old Madam Cheng was fortunate enough to enter a guest room to rest because of her old age and seniority. As for Qingfu Junzhu, although her husband was useless, she was still an imperial Junzhu after all. With the honor of an imperial clan member, she also had a seat.
This occasion probably saw the highest concentration of imperial family, nobility, and high-ranking official families all in one place. The madams who usually were pampered in daily life had to endure being crowded in small rooms. When juniors from the families came to pay respect to their elders, everyone naturally began to comment together.
This exactly was Cheng Yujin’s purpose. She especially made a visit to show her face to the madams. Taking advantage of today’s good opportunities, she could show her talents and build her reputations. Maybe, this would lead to some good marriage chances.
Following an apprentice monk’s direction, Cheng Yujin walked to the room where Old Madam Cheng was sitting. Today was an excellent social platform. No one would give up such a great opportunity. Everyone stayed in small groups, socializing. Old Madam Cheng also moved from group to group. Cheng Yujin followed Qingfu Junzhu and was separated from Old Madam Cheng. When she wanted to go back now, she had to ask an apprentice monk for direction.
As she walked along, Cheng Yujin passed by many praying rooms. If she met an acquaintance, she had to stop and have a chat. Halfway through, she happened to see Cheng Yumo.
Cheng Yujin didn’t want to waste time with Cheng Yumo. Old Madam Cheng has a high level of seniority. Other high-ranking old madams would direct their juniors to Old Madam Cheng for a greeting. It was such a great opportunity. If she stopped by to talk to Cheng Yumo, it would delay her time to meet people and also affected her chance to choose a prospective mother-in-law.
However, it was too late for Cheng Yujin to avoid Cheng Yumo. Cheng Yumo was attending to Huo Xue-shi. Her mother-in-law was chatting, while she stood behind and had to stay silent. Cheng Yumo was bored. She turned her eyes and saw Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yumo was stunned for a moment before calling: “Eldest sister?”
Cheng Yujin sighed. It seemed that she couldn’t pretend of not seeing. No matter what she thought, however, Cheng Yujin always put on a perfect smile. She turned her head upon the call, as if just seeing Cheng Yumo, then walked over and greeted amiably: “Second sister.”
Huo Xue-shi and other madams who were talking just now paused and looked back at the person who came over. Cheng Yujin slowly approached, and the madams finally saw her face clearly. They were surprised, and curiously waited for Huo Xue-shi’s introduction.
Huo Xue-shi was a little annoyed that Cheng Yumo interrupted her chat. When she looked over, Huo Xue-shi saw it was Cheng Yujin, and her expression became even uglier. Everyone was looking at her. It wasn’t good for Huo Xue-shi to not give Cheng Yumo a face in front of so many eyes, so she said insipidly: “This is Cheng family’s eldest young miss. My daughter-in-law’s clan sister.”
“Cheng family? Is it the Cheng family of Yichun Marquis Manor? ”
Cheng Yujin answered elegantly: “Exactly.” She then proceeded to salute the madams one by one. “Greetings to the Madams. This little girl pays respect to you.”
Cheng Yujin’s tone, movements, and manners were impeccably perfect. The madams looked at each other in shock: “So you are Cheng family’s eldest miss. Your family’s second young lady married into Jingyong Marquis Manor. Why doesn’t eldest miss come to Jingyong Manor often? We never saw you there.”
Cheng Yujin’s smile was unchanged: “Madam is correct. However, my second sister is just get married, and there are many things she doesn’t understand and needs Madam Huo to teach. Grandmother afraid that if our family visits too often, it will trouble Madam Huo, so we don’t go.”
This rhetoric was brilliant. In fact, the madams’ circle in the capital was not that big. Everyone had heard about what happened between the Cheng family and the Huo family, including why Cheng Yujin, the eldest sister, was still unmarried when Cheng Yumo, the younger sister, had been married into the Huo family. These madams all had their own understanding. However, everyone held onto the pretense and tacitly didn’t mention a word.
In fact, the Madam who made the question already regretted her words. Why did the Cheng family’s eldest Miss never come to Jingyong Marquis Manor? It clearly was because of her canceled engagement and also because she had to observe mourning. However, none of these reasons could be said out blatantly. The Madam asked this, was no different than making it difficult for Cheng Yujin.
However, Cheng Yujin’s reply was unexpectedly very clever. She didn’t mention anything about broken engagement or mourning period and instead used the reason of Cheng Yumo having to serve her mother-in-law. This way, Cheng Yumo didn’t lose face, and Huo Xue-shi also looked good. Moreover, Cheng Yujin also accidentally revealed Cheng Yumo’s filial piety, serving her mother-in-law wholeheartedly after getting married. As Cheng Yumo’s natal family, this gained Yichun Marquis Manor a good reputation.
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