Chapter 195: Decide
Concubine Fang became slightly awkward when she saw Shi Fengju the moment she entered the house. She heard that Old Mistress Hu wouldn’t be able to come today and deduced that Sang Wan must be at home, so she used every possible means to obtain Second Old Mistress Shi’s permission to come with a huge goal in mind. All she intended to do was to speak what was in her mind once and for all! But who’d have thought that Shi Fengju would be present as well.
Concubine Fang never saw it coming. After all, it was the beginning of a new year; what sort of men would not be drinking and watching troupes outside for the entire day? Who knew that the young master would actually be at home.
“Ah, Young Master is here as well!” The smile on Concubine Fang’s face stiffened.
Sang Wan laughed to herself before gesturing politely, “Concubine Fang is a rare visitor, quickly, have a seat please!”
“You flatter me! Young Mistress is being too polite!” Concubine Fang forced a smile and sat down while feeling discomposed. Shi Fengju was the nephew of Second Old Master Shi, even if his niece-in-law was present, it was not appropriate for a concubine to remain too long with his nephew without his company.
After exchanging a few rounds of greetings, Sang Wan smiled and asked, “What brings Concubine Fang here? Please let me know if there is anything that you need my help with!”
Sang Wan was the young mistress managing the family, as such, she definitely had the right to say so.
Concubine Fang looked at Shi Fengju hesitantly and forced a smile, “I do have something to discuss with Young Mistress, it’s just that… heh heh…”
Concubine Fang had made herself clear enough. She did have something to say, but she wouldn’t say it in front of Young Master Shi, so she hoped that he could leave them alone for a while.
Of course, Shi Fengju understood what Concubine Fang was trying to hint at, but he understood Sang Wan as well. Since his wife did not wish for him to leave, of course he would not leave. So he pretended not to understand Concubine Fang with a smile, “Concubine Fang, there’s no need for you to be so courteous, you can just say if there’s anything!”
Concubine Fang’s lips twitched a little and she swallowed the bitterness in silence.
There were words that could be said in front of Sang Wan, but definitely not Shi Fengju. Concubine Fang dawdled for quite a while without telling them the purpose of her trip, and asked vaguely about whether she could bring Fifth Missy out to watch the lanterns on the night of the Lantern Festival before she reluctantly excused herself.
She would not be able to explain herself in front of Second Old Mistress Shi if she stayed for too long!
After seeing Concubine Fang leave, Shi Fengju then asked Sang Wan, “Why was Concubine Fang looking for you?”
He had been asking himself that question countless times just now, but could never figure it out. What made Concubine Fang look for Sang Wan? Why couldn’t she tell Second Uncle even if she didn’t want to tell Second Aunt? Would Second Aunt be happy if she heard her come all the way here just to find Sang Wan instead of her?
Of course, Sang Wan had nothing to hide from him, and he might actually be able to resolve the headache for her, so she laughed and sighed, “It is a long story! I actually have no idea where to start!”
Shi Fengju laughed, “That’s strange, why does her coming to find you make you so worried?” He became even more interested.
Sang Wan then sighed, “It was a while ago when I accidentally overheard Concubine Fang’s servants’ conversation. They said that Concubine Fang wanted to marry Fifth Sister to my second brother. I didn’t take it seriously at first, but who knew Concubine Fang would actually come and find me a few days later? I could tell from her expression that what I had overheard wasn’t a joke, so I threw her off with other topics whenever she attempted to find me about it. After the visit, we’ve met outside twice, but I didn’t give her a chance to speak her objective. Who knew she’d come and find me here again today!”
Her voice felt angry yet funny at the same time when Shi Fengju heard her, and he said, “Concubine Fang actually had such a thought? How daring of her. When was it her turn to decide on Fifth Sister’s marriage when Second Uncle and Second Aunt are still around? What’s more, Fifth Sister is still so young, a child to be exact, if your second brother were to…”
Shi Fengju didn’t know whether to be angry or to laugh out loud. He was stricken from the thought of himself calling his little sister “Second Sister-in-law”.
Sang Wan rolled her eyes at him and said plainly, “Concubine Fang won’t be so careless, even if we don’t know whether Second Aunt knows about it, how could Second Uncle not know?” To act behind her old master and old mistress, she definitely would not have the courage to do so!
Shi Fengju was taken aback for a moment before he raged and simply slammed his palm on the table. He frowned and said, “How can Second Uncle be so silly?”
Sang Wan remained quiet. Second Old Master Shi only had his eyes on his precious pet goldfish and birds; he did not care much about his children so it was not difficult for Concubine Fang to instigate him as she had always been good at making him happy.
Moreover, if the marriage came true, it would not be a bad thing for them as well!
“This had been worrying me a lot. There’s a huge age gap between them, a person like my second brother would definitely not marry a wife who is so much younger than him, not to mention that I have no rights to make decisions for his marriage as a married sister! My eldest brother and sister-in-law wouldn’t agree to it as well!
How could Shi Fengju not understand? Now that Sang Yufei was already a top escorted examinee, if he performed brilliantly in the next examination held this year, he would become an advanced scholar at least and have a bright future ahead! He would never marry someone who was not born by a legal wife from a merchant family.
“Then don’t give Concubine Fang any chance to mention it! I suppose Second Aunt doesn’t know about it, or else it wouldn’t be her chance to initiate! Concubine Fang must’ve turned silly, so don’t take it too seriously!” Shi Fengju said.
Sang Wan laughed, “Since when was I bothered by her? The only thing that I’m afraid of is that as the examination gets closer, what if Concubine Fang can’t wait anymore and asks Second Uncle for help?”
Shi Fengju thought for a while and laughed, “Of course Second Uncle will look for me if he is really going to help her, but there’s no way I am able to intervene in my brother-in-law’s marriage. It’ll be alright as long as I can explain it away! Don’t you worry! If nothing works, we’ll just tell them that we heard from your eldest brother and sister-in-law that they have already decided on someone already!”
Sang Wan was pleased and quickly smiled at his suggestion, “This is a good idea!”
Shi Fengju laughed, “If Concubine Fang ever comes back again, try to avoid her. It’ll be enough to let the servants deal with her! She is a concubine of Second Uncle after all so Second Aunt wouldn’t be too happy seeing the two of you getting too close! There’s no need for us to be involved in their family’s matters as the first family!”
Sang Wan rolled her eyes and laughed, “Who would want to be involved? I have never actively invited Concubine Fang over! She doesn’t even give me the chance to avoid her!”
“I was only saying, of course my wife is clever enough!” Shi Fengju smiled and could not restrain himself from pinching her cheek.
Sang Wan shifted her body away to avoid his hand before she laughed, “There’s something that I’ve always wanted to tell you about but I keep forgetting to do so. It’s about Zhide’s marriage. Although she had already told me that she is willing to serve me for two or three more years before she gets married, I don’t find it appropriate of me. And because it is my request, I hope to help her set her marriage with Head Servant Jin’s son and they’ll get married three years later. What do you think?”
Shi Fengju naturally would not have any objections to such a matter, so he smiled and said, “I say that’s a good thing as well! Since you, the young mistress, will be taking the reins, not only would Zhide’s family feel honored, even Head Servant Jin won’t dare to renege on the marriage as well. In the future when Zhide is married, her status will be raised as well!” If she was grateful, she would definitely serve you more faithfully as well.
Sang Wan nodded and sighed, “She has been serving you ever since the two of you were still young, and she remains as a faithful servant serving me now. She deserves this honor!”
Shi Fengju couldn’t agree more after hearing her and nodded, “You’re right. If that’s the case, how about we call her mother and Head Servant Jin’s wife here right now and tell them about it?”
There was nothing wrong with it, so why not settle it now? Sang Wan nodded and agreed as well. She called Nanny Li in and told her about it. She then instructed Nanny Li to invite the wife of each family over.
Nanny Li smiled when she heard about it and said, “It’s an honor for Zhide to receive this favor from Young Mistress! Her parents will definitely be happy about it! This old servant will send people to invite them over now!”
It did not take too long for the news to spread throughout the entire Ning Garden1. Zhide was happy yet shy at the same time, so she hid herself in her room and did not want to come out. Every one of the servants envied her as Young Mistress Shi was basically acting as a matchmaker. It was considered rare among all the servants in the household!
Shortly after, Zhide’s mother and Head Servant Jin’s wife arrived. How could they not be satisfied when the two families had already been considering the marriage? Head Servant Jin’s wife was worried about Zhide not willing to get married soon at first, but she could finally ease her mind now. All she wished for now was for Zhide to serve her young mistress well in the next three years and become her closest servant. Wouldn’t that be much better than just casually taking on another position when she marries over?
The two wives kowtowed to show their appreciation. Sang Wan then awarded Zhide’s mother a set of golden head ornaments, a pair of jade bracelets, two pieces of red thin silk brocade, two rolls of begonia red gauze and told her that those were rewards for Zhide’s dowry. Once the time comes for her to get married, Sang Wan promised there would be more.
The two wives became even happier and they left after expressing their gratitude countless of times.
Unexpectedly, Wang Shi suddenly asked about it the next day when Sang Wan and Shi Fengju went over to greet her. Sang Wan then informed her respectfully even though she found it surprising.
Wang Shi laughed and said, “Zhide has been serving in the Ning Garden for so many years; she deserves such a reward! She has always been a calm and sensible one, and she always does her tasks seriously and carefully, I have always liked her as well! How about this, let’s call her over later, I have something to award to her as well!”
Sang Wan quickly smiled and agreed, and did not forget to thank Wang Shi on Zhide’s behalf as well.
After returning back to Ning Garden, Sang Wan sent a servant to inform Zhide about it. The rest envied Zhide even more when they heard about it and couldn’t stop congratulating her. Their eyes almost lit up and they thought to themselves that once the luck was upon someone, it became unstoppable! Zhide’s effort of serving Ning Garden for so many years did not go unnoticed and she was finally getting rewarded!
Not only was there an excellent marriage, but both the young mistress and old mistress were supportive of it as well.
On the surface, Zhide kept a smile and expressed her thanks to the rest. However, she secretly found it strange. It was her job as a servant to serve her owners well, so she had never found it worthwhile to be praised. Moreover, she was already extremely honored to have her young mistress’ support in her marriage; there was no need for her old mistress to join in as well! After all, her contribution to the Shi family was not even as great Nanny Li who had poured her entire heart into serving!