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Old Madam Cheng also wondered why she suddenly had this idea. She threw out the messy thoughts and asked Cheng Yujin: “Eldest girl, what actually going out between you and Marquis Huo?”
The smile on Cheng Yujin’s face dimmed. Shou’an hall, that just until a moment ago still bustling with warm conversation, suddenly became quiet. Everyone’s eyes fell on Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yuanjing also glanced at her with a rare pity.
Although this niece had a deep mind and handled things crookedly, in this matter, she was indeed a complete victim. For example, now, it was clear that Huo Changyuan was the one who destroyed the engagement. Still, everyone interrogated her as if she did something wrong that made her fiance refused to marry her.
Cheng Yujin lowered her head. Covered by her long lashes, others couldn’t clearly see her expression. After a while, she whispered: “This granddaughter doesn’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Old Madam Cheng was full of doubt. “If you don’t know, why did Marquis Huo cancel your engagement? If you really don’t know, why did you run over and tear up your marriage contract in front of everyone?”
So Cheng Yujin personally tore up the marriage contract. Cheng Yuanjing raised his eyebrows, feeling surprised. His mind recalled the scene when he first saw Cheng Yujin and slowly filled in the cause and effect.
Early in the morning, Ruan-shi heard the news that the Huo family came to cancel the engagement. When Cheng Yujin and Huo Changyuan first became engaged, Ruan-shi was genuinely happy for this eldest daughter of hers. But soon, she began to feel distressed for her less fortunate younger daughter. Obviously, they were twin sisters, their destinies should be the same, but because Cheng Yujin was given to the first branch, her Mo’er was being suppressed everywhere. Even the newly-acquired brocades in the manor must be chosen by Cheng Yuanjing first before Cheng Yumo got her turn.
Old Madam Cheng was famous for being strictly adhered to order and seniority. But Ruan-shi was sourly thinking that her mother-in-law simply being biased towards the first branch. Just because the eldest master married a wife with a powerful backing, the entire Cheng clan had to allow their blood to be sucked by the first branch.
Her husband, the second master, was obviously more diligent and smarter than Cheng Yuanxian and also a better academic achievement. Still, old Madam Cheng gave all the resources to Cheng Yuanxian, buying an official post and social relations for him. While on the other hand, the second master had to stay in the lower post for five years. Obviously, with some opportunities, he could be promoted quickly. Yet the old Madam turned blind eyes and only focused on the first branch.
Eldest master was the eldest son after all, and he also had the shizi title. In the future, he would take over the whole Yichun marquis manor. So the old Madam being partial to him, Ruan-shi could still bear it. But what about Mo’er? What did her daughter lack, so that she should always be suppressed and had to wait until her sister finished choosing before she even had a chance?
This was the case with their clothing and jewelry, and now even with their marriage. Heaven knew how jealous Ruan-shi was when she heard about the marriage proposal from Jingyong marquis manor. She even thought, her Mo’er was so sensible and smart, never vie nor fight, always being considerate for her parents in anything she did. So many people loved her dearly. Huo Changyuan was a military man. Shouldn’t a hot-blooded youth like him match more with the gentle and charming Mo’er? Cheng Yujin was taught by that kind of mother, too conforming with the rules and regularity, not a bit lively and cheerful like Mo’er. Even if she married in, could she please Marquis Jingyong?
No matter how sour she was, Ruan-shi couldn’t say anything on the surface. She later heard that Huo Changyuan’s proposal was due to the life-saving debt when they went to the estate. Thus a good marriage fell on Cheng Yujin’s lap. Ruan-shi and her daughter were also there at that time, why was heaven had to be so partial? Why didn’t such thing fell on Mo’er?
For two months, Ruan-shi was entangled with happiness and jealousy, until she was called out early this morning, and heard that Huo family came to cancel the engagement with Cheng Yujin.
Ruan-shi was shocked. What, it was canceled?
Both old Madam Cheng and Qingfu Junzhu rushed to the main hall, but Ruan-shi didn’t have the right to join them. She could only wait impatiently, staring at the main hall. After old Madam Cheng finally returned to Shou’an hall, she immediately came to visit and wanted to inquire further. Now the old Madam finally talked about the matter of the engagement being canceled and even said that Cheng Yujin personally tore up her marriage contract.
For a while, Ruan-shi’s mood was tense and bitter. She didn’t know what to say. Finally, she turned to Cheng Yujin and said: “Eldest girl, you have such a good engagement, do you know how many girls envy you? Why do you tear up the marriage contract?”
Cheng Yujin still bowed his head. As an unmarried woman, it was embarrassing to be asked this kind of question in front of so many people. Qingfu Junzhu didn’t have any affection towards Cheng Yujin, but Ruan-shi’s action was stepping on the head of their first branch, so she sneered and mockingly said: “Why cannot she tear it up? Our eldest girl’s identity was special. She can choose any husband she wants. Unlike some people. If they dare to do the same thing, they won’t be able to find a good marriage.”
Qingfu Junzhu faintly glanced at Ruan-shi, eyes full of sarcasm. Ruan-shi instantly got angry. She bit her lips for a while before finally let out a weak laugh: “Eldest sister-in-law is right. Eldest girl is your daughter, her identity is noble, of course she is different.”
Qingfu Junzhu and Ruan-shi sharply opposing each other, neither side was willing to give an inch. Both were secretly clenching their teeth when suddenly a small and weak voice called from outside: “Grandmother, mother.”
Everyone turned their heads. Cheng Yumo was standing at the door, wearing a light purple coat. Her chin was thin and sharp, almost as pale as the fabric she wore. Cheng Yumo lowered her head and coughed a little. Soon she raised her head again and smiled, “Is it a bad time for me to come?”
“Second girl is here.” Old Madam Cheng glanced lightly. “Your illness hasn’t recovered yet. Come in first and sit down.”
The servant girls inside the hall quickly prepared a stool. But Cheng Yumo glanced at Cheng Yujin and hurriedly waved her hand: “This cannot do. Eldest sister is still standing, how can I sit? ”
“Your body is weak, and still not recovered from the illness last winter. Quickly sit down.” Old Madam Cheng said.
Cheng Yumo looked at Cheng Yujin again. Cheng Yujin smiled generously and said, “Grandmother has spoken. Second sister shouldn’t mind me. Grandmother is worrying about you, so you should sit down.”
Cheng Yumo held the hand of a servant girl and sat down. Another servant with good eyesight brought a wooden chair to Cheng Yuanjing. One of the mama(1) smiled and said, “Ninth master shouldn’t keep standing. Quickly pour a cup of tea for ninth master.”
This was the food chain inside the manor of a high ranking family. One sentence from the old Madam could decide the treatment for her daughter-in-law and granddaughters. Cheng Yuanjing had just been returned from an outside post. Even if this shu son was disliked by old Madam Cheng, no one dared to keep him standing.
(1) Mama : High-ranking middle age servant woman. Unlike servant girls, they might have been married and usually held higher authority.
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