Apparently, Nanny Jiang had already handled the situation. Seeing so, Sang Wan was secretly relieved. As she observed Nanny Jiang’s body language, she noticed that Nanny Jiang was being a little uneasy but, for the sake of the situation, she did not ask her directly.
Instead, she smiled at Nanny Jiang and gave her thanks, “Thank you for the courtesy!” With that, she glanced at Liu Ya and continued, “That girl is prone to running into trouble when doing her tasks. Since she had been gone for quite some time and had not returned, I decided to take a look to see if she had run into any troubles. And you, nanny?”
After finishing, Sang Wan looked at Nanny Jiang with uncertainty.
“Uh, this old maidservant was just passing by when she saw them arguing over a small matter and stepped up to tell them off. Everything is alright now! This old maidservant needs to return to serve Old Mistress, so do return to your chamber.” Nanny Jiang hurriedly replied.
“I see, since the matter is small, let us all disperse and return to our tasks, shall we?” Sang Wan nodded gently before sighing at Liu Ya, “You really are a girl who simply doesn’t let things off. However, this is a family with different rules, where such matters are handled by the maidservants from the household department! Just look at you, because of this small matter, you had Nanny Jiang here at the scene you’ve created. Fortunately, Nanny Jiang is a warm-hearted and friendly person who doesn’t argue over small things.”
Whatever happened here, since Nanny Jiang had deemed it a ‘small matter,’ it would remain a small matter and not something else! Though Sang Wan was still doubtful of the fact that Nanny Jiang was just passing by, as she was a busy person who served her mother-in-law, the old maidservant had Mother-in-law Wang Shi supporting her. Nanny Jiang’s judgments were her mother-in-law’s judgments.
Since this was just a small matter, Sang Wan had no need to pursue it any further. Otherwise, it would just be deemed as her going against her mother-in-law openly.
Liu Ya understood Sang Wan’s purpose and did not attempt to worsen the situation. Lowering her head, she admitted, “It is all this servant’s fault and ended up troubling Nanny Jiang. This servant hopes that nanny wouldn’t take this incident to heart!”
“Ah, of course, I won’t! Such praise doesn’t befit me!” Nanny Jiang immediately smiled and was finally at ease.
Seeing that, Sang Wan smiled. “Since everything is alright now, let us not delay Nanny Jiang any longer. Nanny, please!”
“Young Mistress, do retire too.” Nanny Jiang bowed.
Sang Wan did not stay to chat any longer. Instead, she nodded a few times and instructed Liu Ya to carry on with her task before leaving together with Zhide and the group of maidservants that she had brought along. Upon seeing Sang Wan leave, Nanny Jiang turned and left.
Once the dowry arrived at Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, it was all kept inside a small storehouse that was a stone’s throw away from the garden. When the matter regarding the dowry was settled, Sang Wan had Liu Ya explain the ins and outs of what had happened just then.
Turned out, while the group was carrying the dowry down a flight of stairs, due to the carelessness of two manservants, a few of the boxes carried by the two fell to the ground. The fine cotton fabric, cambric paper, and white silk came rolling out of one of the boxes.
Seeing the mess, Liu Ya had instinctively given them a scolding and instructed them to recover the dropped goods. After being told off, the two manservants showed a face of unwillingness but done as instructed. However, while they were recovering the goods, they had purposely scraped the fabric goods on the floor and even ‘accidentally’ left footprints on them. Once again, Liu Ya became furious and scolded them to be more careful with the goods.
Upon hearing her, the two manservants flipped and coldly murmured behind her back, saying how the fabrics were more suited for the horsekeeper or used as rags for wiping. Why be so serious when such fabrics would just be left in the corner to collect dust? The two manservants even mocked Sang Wan in front of Liu Ya, “Well, unless Young Mistress wears clothes made from such fabric!”
Liu Ya was then at her limit. With the other servants mocking and adding even more nasty words to her, Liu Ya’s anger exploded and she shot back at them; the hurtful words had made Liu Ya so angry that she almost cried.
Sang Wan slightly trembled as she listened to Liu Ya with her fists clenched tightly. The handkerchief in her palm was crumpled badly. The people in Shi family sure were snobby; even the servants dared to mock her only personal maidservant. Who knows, they might one day even openly mock their mistress!
“Young Mistress, this servant really wishes to go back to our Sang family!” Liu Ya said with teary eyes. With a glance at the exquisite items within the room, she continued, “No matter how great this place is, it is not our home!”
Sang Wan felt troubled and depressed. However, they had already entered into the Shi Family, so, without a choice, they had to continue to live in this household.
There were only two choices. She could either follow the path of her past life and take one step at a time into desolation before dying coldly in a corner or create a new path for herself through hard work with the new life given to her. She could become a butterfly and break free from the cocoon that had once shackled her.
“Enough! The matter will just become some irrelevant nonsense within the family. I do not take it to heart, so why do you feel wronged?” Although deep down Sang Wan was feeling low and bitter, she kept her spirit up and forced a smile on her face to persuade Liu Ya. Although she said it for Liu Ya, those words were also to
provide confidence for herself.
“Young Mistress,” Liu Ya looked gently towards Sang Wan and said bitterly, “This servant was only standing up against the injustice on behalf of Young Mistress! Our Sang family may not be rich, but we can still provide all the basic necessities for ourselves. Young Mistress, when have you ever received those senseless and cold words? What those people said was even sharper than a knife! The people here really are no good!”
Amused, Sang Wan giggled and tightly held Liu Ya’s hand. “It doesn’t matter. We’ll live our own lives, and not for them. Do not keep that irrelevant nonsense in your heart. Liu Ya, however they want to judge us is not important; what’s important is that we must never look down on ourselves because of it! The day when we can be proud will be the day we show them!”
“Yes! I’ll never put what they say to heart! What they said just then was nothing. For all I care, they can even look down on me for a lifetime! Hmph, if they were in our shoes, I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to even endure this much!” Liu Ya said, with her chin held high and her chest puffed out.
“That should be the mindset!” Sang Wan exclaimed. “Go back and reflect on what you did wrong just then. If a similar incident were to happen again, think about how you should handle it.”
Upon seeing Liu Ya’s unwillingness, Sang Wan sighed and corrected herself. “Go and reflect whether what you did just now, arguing with others, was beneficial.”
Liu Ya suddenly became very sluggish. It was true that she should stand up against injustice. However, she should also have considered the who, when and where; otherwise, she would just be digging her own grave! The best example would be the incident just then. She was so weak and pathetic during the argument that chances were, she might have become the joke of the household!
“This servant will keep Young Mistress’s words to heart!” Liu Ya said softly.
Sang Wan nodded and had her return to rest. Alone, Sang Wan thought further about the incident and subconsciously, she suspected the cause of it to be Gu Fangzi. Who could blame her for being suspicious of Gu Fangzi? In fact, that woman was truly worth her suspicion!
In the courtyard, Wang Shi sat listening to Nanny Jiang’s report. After hearing the report, she sighed, “Good riddance!”
The Sang family might not be similar to the Shi family, however, Sang Wan had married into the Shi family and was the wife of the family’s head! If her face were lost, the Shi family would also lose its face.
“No doubt she is wise and questioned the incident no further. Otherwise, the situation would have worsened!” Wang Shi sighed as she said it.
She felt uncomfortable that her own daughter-in-law was ridiculed by her servants. Worst, if outsiders were to get wind of this, the Shi family would be ridiculed by all of Qingzhou! And especially that Zhuang merchant family’s old mistress; she would definitely make fun of Wang Shi until she ended up rolling on the floor!
That woman had always been jealous of the Shi family. Even on a normal day where nothing was out of the blue, that woman would come around to find trouble. For that reason alone, if she were to hear a rumor about the incident, she would definitely exaggerate it to humiliate the Shi family!
“Are the underlings instructed? If anyone dares to utter a single word about this incident, I’ll definitely have them killed! And as for those two foolish manservants, have them sent to work as coolies! If they remain stubborn, send them into the Chuan Shu Forest to work as loggers! Hēng, have them tamed!” Wang Shi instructed before grinding her teeth angrily.
“Rest assured, Old Mistress, I’ve already given out the necessary instructions to them. Young Mistress is an understanding lady. She’ll definitely not mention this incident.” Nanny Jiang answered hurriedly.
With the way Nanny Jiang had handled things, Wang Shi was finally assured. Upon hearing those words, she nodded her head and her face gradually relaxed. Again thinking about the incident, Wang Shi was not content. Coldly, she groaned, “Still, my daughter-in-law is right! Those servants in the household department, what were they even doing? How did our household have such unruly things? Today’s incident may be small, but if those troublemakers were to create bigger troubles, it would be too late! Tell those underlings to be more mindful of themselves! And I want to meet with the servants from the household department. I need to talk to them personally to make things clear!”
“Yes, Old Mistress!” Nanny Jiang knew that her mistress was someone who looked highly upon reputation. Naturally, because of the incident, she needed some people to pass that anger to. Too bad for those who were out of luck.
After letting out the hate in her heart, she regained herself and continued, “Because of this incident, my daughter-in-law was ridiculed. What do you say? Should I compensate her with something to help her get over the shock?”
Nanny Jiang suddenly became speechless. Deep down she pondered a little. Yesterday, Old Mistress had received the tea from her daughter-in-law and rewarded her with a gift. As for this small misunderstanding, since Old Mistress did not handle the matter personally, there was no need for any reward. If she were to do so, wouldn’t that just find trouble?
“From what I observed, Young Mistress has a great temperament and a vast amount of general knowledge. Perhaps… hēhē, oh right, Young Mistress will be preparing the dinner tonight! It isn’t too late to reward her with praise if you like her cooking!”
It is a Qingzhou custom for the newly wedded daughter-in-law to prepare dinner for her mother-in-law. This custom was to show the daughter-in-law’s ingenuity, virtuousness, competency, and capability.
“Yes, yes! I almost forgot! Then for tonight, we shall do that!” Wang Shi gently tapped her head and continued, “Later on, help me ready some high-quality gold hairpins!”
Nanny Jiang accepted and left.
In the end, Wang Shi was impatient and couldn’t wait until night. She had someone call for two concubines’ daughters, Shi Lian and Shi Rui, and have them head to Ning Garden to accompany Sang Wan.
Upon seeing both Shi Lian and Shi Rui, Sang Wan had a big surprise.
Starting a conversation with Shi Lian wasn’t difficult, but would be for Shi Rui. Shi Rui was just an eleven-year-old child who had yet to be sensible. However, as a daughter-in-law, how could she cast aside the little girl?
Sang Wan, with a broad smile on her face, personally went to welcome them both and invited them into the chamber to sit.
Shi Lian, whose biological mother, Concubine Rou, had already passed away. As such, she was raised by her father’s first wife (Wang Shi), who had the tendency to be affected by others’ words, and was both temperamental and paranoid. Thus, she grew up as a cautious child.
Normally, she would spend the majority of her time shut indoors doing needlework, making clothes and shoes for her stepmother and two brothers, and rarely visiting the garden, much less visiting others.
Shi Rui was also born from a concubine, named Fang, who was favored by Second Uncle Shi. Shi Rui was very attractive and though young, she had a very lively personality.