Staying up all night, Yaoniang fell asleep after returning to the room.
She felt she did sleep a few minutes before she was woken by the knock at the door.
There was an urgent knock at the door, while Yaoniang stumbled to open the door.
Before walking to the door, she suddenly reacted, and then she went back to put on her outer shirt. And she scattered her long hairs around the shoulders arbitrarily and made a sole bun on her head before opening the door.
Yaoniang never combed any other buns but common sole buns since she came to the small lateral yard.
She opened the door. It was Lv’e.
There was not only Lv’e, but also the second-class maid Qiuju in Liuchun Pavilion.
Qiuju smiled, followed by a little girl with a tray in her hands.
The tray was covered with a red cloth, and it was impossible to see what was inside.
“This is the reward given by the side consort Hu to wet nurse Su.”
After they entered the room, the little girl uncovered the red cloth. There were two ingots of silver, a jade bracelet and a gilding hair clasp on the tray.
Yaoniang was cramped and wanted to reject. Qiuju said with a smile: “The side consort said thanks to wet nurse Su. You solved the important issues for the side consort. The side consort didn’t eat and sleep well these days, because they have tried all the methods but still can’t cure the little princess’s night crying disease.”
“This is the duty of mine.”
Qiuju nodded, “Since wet nurse Su is going to sleep, I will not disturb you any more. I will go back to reply to the side consort.”
“Take care, Maid Qiuju.”
Yaoniang sent Qiuju and others to the door, while she just happened to meet Cuizhu back to the house.
Cuizhu got used to coming to the Liuchun Pavilion, so she recognized Qiuju. She knew that she is a girl around side consort Hu. Therefore, when she saw that Yaoniang and Qiuju were laughing together, what else did she not understand? She didn’t dare to be angry at Qiuju, but she stared at Yaoniang with anger and resentment.
Yaoniang pretended to not see her. She sent them away and closed the door.
She came to the table and looked at the things on it.
To be honest, the masters were really generous to servants in Jin Wang Mansion. These things were worth at least one hundred liang fine silver, which was worth half a year’s salary of Yao Niang.
The silver was less, only twenty liang. Although the jade bracelet and gold hair clasp were good things, they couldn’t be exchanged for silver.
Yaoniang picked up the gold hair clasp, and obviously there was the emblem of Jin Wang Mansion in a place which was not eye-catching. No one in the whole Jin Zhou dare accept this kind of things made in Jin Wang Mansion, which meant that these things could only be worn by herself, and it was impossible to change the silver.
If she could change all things to silver, Yaoniang even had the urge to leave Jin Wang Mansion immediately.
Because she could feel that the confrontation in this backyard was not what she can handle. What’s more, after meeting with Jin Wang yesterday, Yaoniang found she was more afraid of him than she thought.
What was she afraid of? In fact, she didn’t understand. She just wanted to hide away, the farther, the better.
After going through this, Yaoniang couldn’t sleep. So she took advantage of today’s fine weather to wash her clothes she changed yesterday.
In this small lateral yard, sometimes she was busy, but sometimes she was idle. She just needed to take good care of the little princess. It was lively in the back room at this moment. Several rough women were sitting under the shade of the tree. They were doing some chores while talking with each other. Other two girls sat under the eave holding needles and threads in their hands and laughing from time to time.
Yaoniang felt that time passed quickly, while she was listening to them and washing clothes by the well.
Some old womans who had much experiences in the mansion asked about Yaoniang’s family. She just told them a story without details that people couldn’t find a mistake.
They all showed mercy when hearing that Yaoniang’s husband died as she was pregnant and her son was a posthumous child. They all said something to comfort Yaoniang.
This was almost impossible situation in the past. It seemed that Mammy Mu promised to let Yaoniang serve the little princess to give a signal to everyone.
A signal that they could be regard her as their own person.
Since she was their own person, they had no worries when they were talking something. It was inevitable that some people would say something bad about Cuizhu, just because she was flexible in the past.
It seemed that they wanted to please Yaoniang intentionally, and they were a bit displeased to Cuizhu. They talked about how Cuizhu fawned on people in Liuchun Pavilion, and all kinds of seductive attitudes were vividly described. For example, they said Cuizhu fawned on a woman called Mao, who had a double face. To put it plainly, she was good when there were some benefits to her. But when someone asked her to do things, she turned against her friends.
“You just wait and see. She will suffer and be deceived.” said a woman.
Another woman laughed and teased her: “It’s because she took a plate of pea and didn’t give it to you last time. Instead, she went to Liuchun Pavilion and gave it to woman Mao. so you just got mad at her.”
Obviously it was just a joke. That woman was unambiguous. While speaking of Cuizhu, she did not forget to fawn on Yaoniang: “Who would be angry because of a dish of pea? I can’t bear that she always jumps ups and downs and fawns on others. Wet nurse Su is not like her.”
Why did they talk about her?
As Yaoniang was thinking, suddenly she saw everyone changed their face. She saw that Cuizhu was coming.
Cuizhu’s face was darken, and her eyes glowed with resentment. She was shaking with anger.
“Well, you are a group of old witches who come to table to eat and scold their mothers after leaving. You still said bad words after having my food. How greedy you are…”
She made a mess because this was an indiscriminate attack. Suddenly several women stood up and quarreled with Cuizhu angrily.
Even if Cuizhu was rude and unreasonable, she was not an opponent against to several people, finally she cried and ran away.
“Look, look at her! She is a maid but she just likes to pretend to be a lady. And she always calls someone to wash clothes and fetch water for her. She wants to order about everyone by giving us some snacks. Who cares about her snacks? It only because everyone cares our faces and we don’t want to quarrel with her. But she even makes unfounded counter charges.” The woman who ridiculed Cuizhu just now clapped her hands and said in an indignant tone.
After what she said, it was all Cuizhu’s fault.
In fact, regardless of right or wrong, Cuizhu did a lot of ridiculous things. Otherwise people would not say that behind her.
Yaoniang was most reluctant to deal with this kind of thing. She hung up the clothes and then left in a hurry.
But Cuizhu was angry and faceless.
Although she was born as a servant, she hadn’t suffered such anger since she was a child. Especially when she entered the mansion, she always felt that things were not going well. First, Ghost in the machine. Then she was rejected and repelled by others. Now several women scolded her in front of her and she hadn’t suffered that before.
She hated this place now, obviously she didn’t want to stay in this small lateral yard at all. She went out of the yard along the way and planned to go to find her aunt, woman Cao to ask her if she could find a chance to give a lesson to these women. As soon as she stepped out of the door, she was stopped by a little girl named Meizhi in Liuchun Pavilion.
“Sister Cuizhu, where are you going? Anything happened?”
Recently, Cuizhu got along well with Meizhi, a second-class maid in Liuchun Pavilion. But she was young and greedy. Cuizhu occasionally took some snacks for her, and she coaxed the little girl to call her sister.
In fact, Cuizhu was very cunning. Since she was arranged by consort Jin to pander to Jin Wang, of course, she must do it well. Maybe she could be doted by Jin Wang and the consort Jin would regard her with special respect.
She didn’t know anyone and anything when she just arrived. She naturally had to bribe two capable people as her scouts. For example, he wanted to know when will Wangye come to the Liuchun Pavilion and what is his favorite. There were a lot of opportunities.
Meizhi was one of the people that Cuizhu wanted to bribe.
With tears on Cuizhu’s face, it was obvious that she was bullied. Seeing that she was silent, Meizhi came up to take her hand and said, “Someone bullied you?”
Cuizhu always told Meizhi that she was bullied in the small lateral yard, so Meizhi knew a little bit about it.
“Nothing.” Cuizhu wiped her tears. After all, she was older than Meizhi. How could she cry in front of a little girl? In fact, she wasn’t much older than Meizhi. She was only eighteen.
“What’s wrong with you? I don’t need to work today, what about you going to my room for a while? I can talk with you.”
Cuizhu thought about it. She used to be strong outside, if she went out in such situation, many people would discuss about her, so she nodded her head.
The two went to Meizhi’s room together.
As a second-class girl, Meizhi’s room was naturally not as spacious as Cuizhu’s. There were four canopy beds in a common room, and the inner bed was Meizhi’s.
There was no one in the room, and maybe most of them were on the duty.
Meizhi closed the door and led Cuizhu to sit at the table, and then she poured a cup of tea for her.
Cuizhu looked like a little bit embarrassed. The makeup on her face was all gone. Meizhi went to fetch a basin of water to let Cuizhu wash her face. She suddenly felt that Meizhi was a good friend.
In such a mood, she couldn’t help but complained.
After listening to her bitter words, it turned out that Meizhi scolded those women with resentment as well, and then she looked at Cuizhu with anxiety and said, “Sister Cuizhu, don’t think that I talk too much. You are a wet nurse in the mansion, but they bullied you like that. You may be not able to do this errand any longer.”
This was exactly what Cuizhu was most afraid. For her, she was going to ride a donkey while looking for a horse. While she was working as a wet nurse, she did not forget to do something else. This was also the main reason why she always wanted to be around the little princess before.
Unfortunately, wet nurse Su suddenly showed up now, and she stood firm with an almost unstoppable posture. Compared with the other two wet nurses, she came after them. There was no position for her around the little princess.
“Sister Cuizhu looks so beautiful. It’s a pity to be a wet nurse.” Meizhi sighed.
Yes, Cuizhu thought so, too!
For various reasons, she immediately held Cuizhu’s hands: “My good sister, you must help me.”
Meizhi was surprised and wondered: “What can I do for you? I am just a maid.”
Cuizhu moved to Meizhi’s ear and said a lot of things, which made Meizhi startled.
Cuizhu said: “Good sister, if you help me, I will never forget your kindness, and I will help you at any time.”
“Do you want to be a maid for life?”
Nobody wants to be a maid for whole life!
Although they were subordinates, the treatment to servants around masters was not worse than that of ordinary wealthy ladies. But they had to marry someone when they reached a certain age. If they can’t reach a high status, their masters won’t make a good marriage for them. But they were not willing to marry with man-servants or horse-keepers to live a poor life. The only way was to put themselves under the patronage of a higher-up.
“Let’s join hands to help each other.”
The author has something to say:
Jin Wang: Um, Your man was dead? Was Xiaobao a posthumous child?
Yaoniang: Crying. He was dead. But where were you from?