“Just listen to that!” Wang Shi smiled at what he said before saying to Sang Wan, “Alright, alright, you may leave now! Go and give a sincere apology to your third aunt and let her know of the punishment you’ve set for the three servants. Make sure you punish them properly because servants who do not respect their master should not be forgiven!”
“Yes, Mother!” Sang Wan replied at once. She let out a sigh of relief and left promptly.
Not long after leaving Wang Shi’s place, she saw Nanny Li with two servants waiting under the shelter of the corridor. When they saw Sang Wan, they hurried over to her. The two servants each carried a gift box in their hand.
Upon asking, Sang Wan understood that Shi Fengju had ordered them to wait for her and then accompany her to Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress. Sang Wan felt touched, with all sorts of feelings welling up in her heart.
“Young Mistress, let’s go over there now!” Nanny Li said as she glanced at Sang Wan. Seeing that Sang Wan’s expression remained calm, Nanny Li was secretly relieved. It was only natural for a mother-in-law to scold her daughter-in-law when they make a mistake; Nanny Li did not feel that Sang Wan did not deserve the scolding. If Sang Wan felt aggrieved, then she had looked too highly upon her.
“Eh,” Sang Wan nodded her head and asked as they walked, “What gifts are we bringing with us?”
Nanny Li followed closely and answered with a smile, “Inside one of the boxes is two cans of premium tea leaves. The other box has twenty exquisite pouches decorated with gold and silver for Third Old Mistress to reward others!”
Sang Wan nodded in silence as she sighed softly in her heart. The servants were practical without a doubt; if Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress had rewarded her servants, those servants would not have stood at the side and watched! However, Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress must have forgotten that none of the maidservants liked to stir trouble for themselves…
When Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress saw Sang Wan, she smiled and nodded her head, “Ah, Sang Wan, you’ve come. Have a seat! Nanny Gui, serve the tea!”
Her tone was dull and she sat without moving; it was obvious that she was still feeling angry.
“I’m here to visit Third Aunt!” Sang Wan came forward and bowed. Signaling to Nanny Li and the two other servants to pay their respect and then put down the gifts, Sang Wan said with a smile, “It was because of my carelessness that Third Aunt had suffered! In light of my naivety, please forgive me this once!”
At this moment, Nanny Gui served the tea and could not help but say, “It’s fortunate that our old mistress didn’t suffer any major injury. If this were to happen again, it’d be hard to say for certain!”
Sang Wan hurriedly replied, “This will not happen again! Third Aunt and Nanny Gui, please do not worry! In spite of my lack of experience, I will not dare to repeat the same mistake after this lesson!”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress quickly stopped Nanny Gui before smiling at Sang Wan, “I will let it pass this once; I’m not that petty to continue harping on this incident! Speaking of which, you don’t have it easy too. We returned so abruptly yesterday; there’ll surely be lots you’d have to settle in the household, a few mistakes are unavoidable. Also, the servants stepping over their master’s head cannot be entirely blamed on you! Enough, come and have a sit!”
Since Sang Wan did not try to push the responsibility away by saying things like “My servants are unsensible and do not know the rules”, Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress was not as angry as before. Instead, she empathized with her! However, if Sang Wan had pushed the responsibility away, it would have angered Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress.
As the wife of an official, she couldn’t be more familiar with all sorts of excuses and those disgusted her the most. Should Sang Wan have used such an excuse, it would not work on her!
Despite having forgiven Sang Wan, it did not mean that the incident could be swept under the rug. If that were the case, how would her servants respect her as their master? Not just her, even her family and the servants they brought over would be despised! Even more so when they had to return after her husband resigned from being an official. Regardless of the reason for his resignation, a resignation was no different from a dismissal in the eyes of others; a lost in authority. Even if she had a good temper, how would she get by in the years to come?
Sang Wan understood the meaning behind her words and couldn’t help but shudder in her heart; comparing the old mistresses in the Shi household, none could be compared to Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress. Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress’ words were like sharp spears hidden in the dark.
Sang Wan replied, “Third Aunt, please do not worry. Sang Wan will give Third Aunt an explanation for this! By right, the servants in this household needed some discipline, however, Mother finally had some peace and Sang Wan couldn’t bear to bother her with these small matters! Sang Wan is young and has not been in the household for long, there are some matters that aren’t appropriate for Sang Wan to take charge of so Sang Wan could only turn a blind eye to them! But who knew that this would turn them arrogant and leave them with no respect for their master! Just now, Mother had asked me about this and said that I was foolish for turning a blind eye, else such an incident would not have occurred! This time, the rules will be strictly enforced and those who break it would be ruthlessly punished! This will be my answer to Third Aunt and will also cleanse the household of any spitefulness.”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress smiled after hearing those words and she praised, “No wonder your mother-in-law and Fengju dote on you. You are really good with your words! Have a seat, there’s no need to be so courteous here!”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress and Nanny Gui felt relieved at the thought that the few servants were not intentionally against them, but rather, due to the lax of rules in the household. At least, she no longer had to be angry due to the humiliation she suffered.
Sang Wan answered with a smile before taking a seat and receiving the tea offered by Nanny Gui.
Sang Wan took a quick glance around and said, “It is really is inconvenient for Third Aunt, Third Uncle, and my two sisters to stay here. The house has been swept and cleaned yesterday. Today, the curtains will be put up and the papers on the doors will be replaced. The furniture can be moved in tomorrow and the day after. I’ll have to ask for Third Aunt and Third Uncle to bear with it for a few more days; the house will be ready for you to move into soon!”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress was most concerned about it and after hearing Sang Wan’s words, she felt relieved, “That’s great! We’ve really troubled you! We aren’t very particular, so if there are any small things we need for the house, we’ll let you know. For now, we just want to move in; it is fine as long as it’s almost ready!”
“Yes, yes!” Nanny Gui eagerly said, “Not to hide from Young Mistress but staying here is a little inconvenient; having our own place to call home is the best. It’s enough to have the beds and blankets ready, everything else can be added slowly in the future!”
Sang Wan did not expect them to be in such a hurry and could only agree with a smile. At that thought, it was inevitable for everyone to work harder as getting the house ready was of utmost importance!
Nanny Gui was not satisfied with Sang Wan’s answer and smiled, “Young Mistress, please see if this is possible, but about changing the curtains and papers today and move the furniture in tomorrow, tomorrow is a good day, how about we move in tomorrow night?”
Why the hurry? Sang Wan was stumped. She gave a quick glance at Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress. Seeing that she was drinking the tea in silence, Sang Wan understood that this was also her desire. It seemed the incident today had made her displeased and she was doing this to warn Sang Wan that she was no pushover.
Sang Wan sighed at her misfortune. She would have to increase the manpower, make use of the afternoon period to shift the bigger furniture in, and work overnight to change the curtains and papers. Hopefully, she would be able to make it in time before tomorrow night, but there were just so many rooms! Also, it wasn’t just Ji Cui Tower but also Han Shuang Pavillion! Even though Third Aunt and Nanny Gui mentioned “Nearly there would be fine as long as the beds and blankets are ready,” she would be a fool if she took those words for real!
Not only must the furniture be moved, the big and small decorations must also not be overlooked.
“Understood…” Sang Wan showed a troubled face and she pondered deeply. After a brief moment, she forced a smile and nodded, “I will do my best. However, by any chance if I fail and am not able to complete it, I hope Third Aunt will be able to understand!”
There was no way she could give a quick response. Otherwise, it would only add trouble for her in the future if they ever blame her for not being able to complete such an easy task without any mistakes!
“I’m relieved after hearing your words!” Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress was smart too. Even though Sang Wan gave herself an alternative course of action by not giving a definite answer, it still meant acceptance to their request in any case.
“Third Aunt knows that you will do your best, so would I blame you?” Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress laughed, and exclaimed, “It isn’t that Third Aunt wants to make things difficult for you, but it really is inconvenient to stay here! It’s okay to just clean up the house, there really isn’t a need for anything else!”
Sang Wan agreed with a smile and asked her third aunt if she had any other requests she would like to make. Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress naturally said no, and afterwards, saw her off.
“What a character that young mistress has! Really hard to come by!” Nanny Gui said as she saw Sang Wan leave.
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress let out a deep sigh and spoke with a hint of jealousy, “Big Sister-in-law is such a fortunate person!”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress did not believe in fate, but there were times when she just had to! For instance, Wang Shi did not recognize words, wasn’t scheming, not very intelligent, and did not think before she spoke. However, she was said to bring luck to her husband. After she married into the Shi Family, their business indeed flourished, and her in-laws and husband were fond of her.
With her in-laws and husband treating her well, a capable and filial son, and now a great daughter-in-law, the only thing she had to do in her entire life was to enjoy.
That was very much unlike her. Even during her prime as the wife of an official, there were various social events which required much of her efforts and she was always on her toes.
Back in Ning Garden, Sang Wan ordered Nanny Li and Zhide, each taking charge of Ji Cui Tower and Han Shuang Pavillion. They had to increase the manpower and finish tidying promptly. She also ordered Liu Ya to take the storeroom key and bring some men to shift the big furniture out to air them before moving them into the house in the afternoon.
Sang Wan clenched her teeth and said to all those who were involved: After these two days of hard work, everyone will be greatly rewarded! Any idlers will be punished severely!
Nanny Li, Zhide, and everyone else went to work. For a short while, there were a few servants who brought tabs to exchange for items and some matters which required a follow up. Sang Wan settled them all before calling for Hong Ye to ask whether the incident in front of the guest house was thoroughly investigated and what happened there.