Cheng Yujin hurriedly walked out of the room, no longer bothered to play a mother-daughter’s loving act with Qingfu Junzhu. She went straight to Old Madam Cheng’s Shou’an Hall. The servant girl who was guarding the door was very surprised upon seeing her and asked: “Eldest Miss, you just came to pay respect in the morning, why are you here again? Did you forget something behind?”
It was no wonder that the servant girl thought this way. Cheng Yujin came in empty-handed and with a solemn face. It was not like she was coming to show filial piety to her grandmother. On the contrary, it seemed like…
The servant girl didn’t dare to continue her thought, and convinced herself that Cheng Yujin was simply losing something. Cheng Yujin’s expression was so grave because she was anxious to retrieve the item she forgot.
Being reminded by the servant girl’s words, Cheng Yujin took a deep breath, adjusted the expression on her face, and then pushed the door in.
Old Madam Cheng was reclining on the luohan couch. Two servants girl knelt on her sides and massaged her legs. Hearing the door opened, the Old Madam lazily squinted her eyes. Seeing it was Cheng Yujin coming, she said: “So it is the eldest girl. Why are you here?”
A sharp-witted servant girl had quickly moved an embroidered stool for Cheng Yujin. The mama next to Old Madam Cheng smiled eagerly: “Isn’t it because eldest Miss is so filial? In this manor, eldest Miss is the most attentive to Old Madam, running here all day along. Eldest Miss, please sit down. Huang Li, go and pour tea for Eldest Miss.”
Unlike the usual, Cheng Yujin didn’t reply with nice-sounding small talk. She stood still on the carpet. Her pair of beautiful eyes looked quietly at Old Madam Cheng: “Grandmother, I have something to talk to you.”
Old Madam Cheng was a little surprised. The mama on the side was feeling awkward, and immediately pretended that nothing happened. “It is this old servant who is being confused. Eldest Miss and Old Madam are grandmother and granddaughter. You two should want to talk intimately from time to time. This old servant shouldn’t be here like a wooden statute. Today, the small kitchen prepares sesame curd that Eldest Miss likes the most. This old servant will go to the small kitchen and take a look.”
The mama immediately went out, followed by the other two servant girls. Soon, only Cheng Yujin and Old Madam Cheng were left inside the room.
Cheng Yujin took the massage hammer left behind by the servant girls and sat on the luohan couch, pounding Old Madam Cheng’s legs gently. Cheng Yujin bowed her head and said nothing, and the Old Madam also didn’t urge her to talk.
In fact, Old Madam Cheng had guessed why Cheng Yujin came to see her. Qingfu Junzhu and Ruan-shi always fought incessantly. Even Old Madam Cheng was bothered by them, let alone Cheng Yujin, who was caught in the middle. It must be Qingfu Junzhu who went back and said something to Cheng Yujin after having another fight with Ruan-shi.
Old Madam Cheng was not in a hurry. She reclined on the soft pillow, half-closing her eyes in serenity. Cheng Yujin pounded for a while, then finally whispered: “Grandmother, after mother came back today, she spoke to me. Mother’s personality is a bit impatient. Even if she meant well, sometimes what she said is easy to be misunderstood. Mother didn’t mean to grab the phoenix on the peony branch brocade with second aunt, but she was worried that second aunt’s attire might be over the rules. She couldn’t help but to give a few reminding words, but ended up being in a misunderstanding with second aunt. Mother regretted it after she went back, and especially sent me to see grandmother and apologize if you were disturbed.”
Cheng Yujin’s words were delightful to the ears. Old Madam Cheng listened comfortably. She didn’t believe a word that Qingfu Junzhu was regretting her action and sent Cheng Yujin to apologize on her behalf. But this was the way of the world. Since the words were pleasant, the Old Madam was willing to believe.
Old Madam Cheng squinted her eyes slightly: “It is you who are sensible. Eldest and second daughter-in-law have lived in this manor for almost twenty years. I’ve seen them grow up to this age, and in my eyes, they are no different from my daughter. It is inevitable for family members to quarrel, and there are times when the left foot will stumble with the right foot. But in the end, a good talk will end any quarrel. I am their mother. How can I put this small matter into my heart? Since they hold no grudges to each other, then it’s okay.”
Finished speaking, Old Madam Cheng sighed: “Harmony is the only way for the family to flourish. A family must be peaceful and harmonious.”
“Grandmother is right.” Cheng Yujin responded. Then, as if unintentional, she said casually: “In the end, this matter is still caused by this granddaughter’s incompetence. After mother calmed down and talked heart-to-heart with me, I understand that mother is anxious after seeing first younger brother got the recommendation to enter the Imperial Academy. Second younger brother has also been transferred to a better private school. In her anxiety, mother rushed to speak. Mother didn’t intend to offend anyone. She was just anxious about third younger brother’s future.”
Old Madam Cheng understood. So this was the crux of today’s matter. She had always known that the first and second branch didn’t get along with each other. The conflict that happened today was not only stemmed from the accumulation of past grudges, but also the problem of the two branches competing for resources.
The eldest son had a nobility title, and his wife Qingfu was also a titled imperial Junzhu. As soon as she entered the manor, Qingfu became the eldest madam. Over the years, her life went smoothly. Her temper was naturally proud, and she couldn’t stand being suppressed by others.
Ruan-shi was indeed a bit high-profile recently. However, their second branch had produced a daughter that married well. It was a matter of course for the second branch to rise with the tide. It wouldn’t be good if the first branch’s couple kept refusing to acknowledge this reality.
Seeing Old Madam Cheng’s contemplative expression, Cheng Yujin continued to speak slowly: “It is tough to be parents. Parents want to give their children the best, and this is natural. Unfortunately, I am not as capable as second sister and unable to recommend my younger brother to the Imperial Academy.”
Old Madam Cheng was startled at first, but she soon smiled: “Eldest girl, I know you always have a strong sense of responsibility since you were a child, but you don’t have to take this matter on yourself. A man’s future has to be earned by himself. A girl like you should be pampered and enjoy the blessing inside the house.”
“How can this be? Grandmother, father, and mother love me so much. I have seen it over the years. How can I just stay relaxed and do not contribute anything to the family?” Cheng Yujin bit her lips, seemingly reluctant to speak but had no choice except for burning the bridge: “Grandmother, you elders shelter me from wind and rain, and I shouldn’t bother you with my problems anymore. However, I am older than second sister. Second sister has been married, and after a year, maybe I can hug a little nephew, but I am still staying at home. I always blame myself for this. Grandmother, you don’t have to consider my feeling. Please answer honestly, am I causing trouble to the family?”
Old Madam Cheng sighed. She stretched out her hand, wanting to sit up. Cheng Yujin put down the massage hammer and helped the Old Madam up. Old Madam Cheng switched position from reclining to sitting, and said solemnly: “Eldest girl, you shouldn’t burden yourself. The broken engagement is not your fault. You don’t need to worry about your marriage. If worst coming to the worst, our family is still capable of taking care of you for a lifetime.”
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