GNU sponsored chapters (5/5) by Nebulae and Amber Crosby at ko-fi. Thank you for your support!
The first part of today’s sponsored chapters is Ch. 91 Part 1.
With four female officials watching over her, could Cheng Yujin maintain her perfect form all day and night?
The fact proved that she really could.
People always had times when they relaxed their guard, but Cheng Yujin didn’t seem to need it. She ate, drank, and even slept with perfect movements, up to the smallest details. Even the position of her wrists was not too high or too low. It was as if her very being was taken out from the etiquette book as a living standard.
Today, Zheng Gugu instructed Cheng Yujin to practice the formal curtsy and deliberately made her maintain a half-squatting posture. Zheng Gugu and her three colleagues stood around Cheng Yujin, each with a wooden ruler in their hand, preparing to hit her without mercy at the slightest trembling.
This trick had done well to beat countless imperial concubines and palace ladies into submission. Except for Empress Yang, who was the proud daughter of heaven, all the Emperor’s women had experienced this nightmare. Zheng Gugu stared at Cheng Yujin for a long time without blinking. However, let alone moving, Cheng Yujin didn’t even tremble or shake. Moreover, her face was still very relaxed. It was as if Cheng Yujin could maintain this posture forever even if they didn’t call for a stop.
Zheng Gugu had no choice but to allow Cheng Yujin to get up. If Cheng Yujin didn’t make any mistakes, they couldn’t give her a ‘teaching’ either. The tricks used to intimidate the newcomers in the palace were useless to her.
Therefore, Zheng Gugu changed to another tactic and made Cheng Yujin do a series of etiquette movements: saluting, bowing, kneeling, kowtowing…each was performed smoothly and perfectly by Cheng Yujin. Speechless and at a loss, the four female officials looked at each other in despair.
Zheng Gugu, who originally was dismissive of Cheng Yujin, slowly became taut. This new Crown Princess, who was young and without a strong backing, didn’t seem to be as simple as she initially thought.
This level of endurance and patience was out of normal people’s league. Not to mention Empress Yang, even Zheng Gugu, who was in charge of teaching rules and etiquette, was not a match.
When it was first known that the Crown Prince who had been missing for many years was found, the entire palace was shaken to the ground. Even the Crown Princess, who had yet to appear in public, was suddenly pushed to the center of the storm. People in the palace didn’t dare to say anything about the Crown Prince, but they actually looked down on this newly-appointed Crown Princess.
Especially after they knew that this woman also had a past broken engagement. No one talked openly about it now, but the female officials still had a subtle contempt in their hearts. A noble family’s daughter with ordinary family background, an ordinary reputation, and who had never entered the palace was actually so lucky to have the crown princess position fall on her lap. What qualifications did such a person compare with Miss Dou, who often stayed in the palace?
When Zheng Gugu departed from the palace, she even guessed that this Crown Princess might be a bumpkin who had no idea about how the palace etiquette should be done. When kneeling, did she know whether to withdraw her left or right foot first?
However, the reality was different from imagination. At this moment, Zheng Gugu and her colleagues felt that their faces had been slapped hard. They all sullenly kept their mouth shut, and no one dared to speak.
Since Cheng Yujin got engaged, she no longer went to pay daily respects to her elders. But after the arrival of the female officials, she suddenly became very filial and never skipped going to pay her respect to both Old Madam Cheng and Qingfu Junzhu. The same was true today. After copying the Domestic Lesson1 for a while, Cheng Yujin put down the brush.
Zheng Gugu, who was supervising from the side, immediately said coldly: “Eldest Miss Cheng, you have not finished copying the Domestic Lesson twice today, so you cannot go out.”
“I know.” Cheng Yujin put down her brush and smiled. “‘Filial piety is the ultimate virtue of the way of humanity. To be filial, one respectfully and diligently works day and night and does not neglect or disobey parents’ instructions. One’s sincerity and reverence even manifest themselves in taking care of parents’ canes and shoes. In preparing delicacies for them, care is even extended to their leftovers’.2Translation is directly taken from a book, as classic Chinese is beyond this poor translator.3 When copying this section, I am very touched and suddenly want to pay respect to my grandmother and mother.”
Zheng Gugu frowned. If Cheng Yujin went out, it would take a long time until she returned again. Moreover, it was not as easy to discipline her in front of public eyes. However, Cheng Yujin directly used the content of Domestic Lessons as an excuse. If she said no, wouldn’t it be against the same lesson she made Cheng Yujin learn?
Seeing this, Cheng Yujin added another paragraph: “‘At the time when a woman begins to have the prospect of starting her own family, she should extend the way she serves her father and mother to her in-laws, with nothing to add or subtract.’ By looking at how a woman is filial to the elders in her natal family, one can infer how filial she will be to her in-laws after marrying. Zheng Gugu stops me from fulfilling my filial piety to my elders. Are you also going to stop me from fulfilling my filial piety to Her Majesty the Empress?”
This last sentence completely blocked Zheng Gugu’s protest.
Wants more chapters?
- One of the Four Books for Women, a collection of material intended for use in the education of young Chinese women. In the late Ming and Qing dynasties, it was a standard text read by the daughters of aristocratic families. The four books are Lesson for Women, Women’s Analects, Domestic Lesson, and Sketch of a Model for Women. (source: Wikipedia)