Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 43
The back house of the prefect’s yamen.
There was a square yellow pear wood table in the main room, Chen Bozong sat at the main seat and Yu Xiu sat on his lower right.
Yu Xiu gave birth to a daughter the year after she married him. Since then, the couple rarely seemed to eat alone like this.
Eating without a sound or a word, Yu Xiu lowered her head and quietly picked up the dishes in front of her.
Chen Bozong glanced at her several times.
She would be visiting the princess’s Ningyuan later, and would also follow the princess to entertain Princess Consort Xiang and others. In order not to lose face, she, who usually dressed modestly, deliberately changed into a red brocade dress with embroidered flowers today. She wore a golden hairpin adorned with red gemstones on her head, and a pair of white jade earrings dangled from her earlobes. With her originally fair complexion, these accessories added a lot of brilliance and charm to her appearance.
She was frugal by nature. After marrying into the Chen family, she had a monthly allowance of five taels of silver, but she never seemed to buy anything for herself. She was so simple that his mother even asked him to keep some private money from his salary that should be transferred to the public account to buy jewelry for her. But he didn’t keep it, so his mother specially gave him twenty taels of silver before her birthday to buy her a gift. He was not allowed to enter the door without bringing a gift.
Alternatively, when the emperor bestowed rewards, father would bring them home and mother would distribute them. A portion of silk and satin would be set aside, and some would be used to make clothes for the family. This way, she could receive new clothes made of fine fabric, including a few pieces of good jewelry.
This was because his mother loved her. Mothers-in-law were usually penny-pincher, holding onto everything and reluctant to give good things to their daughters-in-laws. With her temperament, even assembling this outfit today was hard to come by.
After finishing the meal and rinsing his mouth, the maid brought over Chen Bozong’s official hat.
Yu Xiu took it and personally helped her husband put it on.
The official robe of the fourth-grade Prefect was bright red, with a patch embroidered with flying goose in the middle. Yu Xiu quickly glanced at her husband, and then looked at the flying goose spreading its wings, and really felt that her husband was as handsome and noble as a flying goose.
“When you get there, listen to the Princess and don’t be too restrained.”
When she stepped back, Chen Bozong thought for a while and instructed her.
Yu Xiu was already nervous, but when he said it, she became even more nervous. She subconsciously wanted to lower her head, but then realized that this was exactly what her husband told her not to do. It was not right to lower her head, but she also could not look at him head-on.
Chen Bozong shook his head slightly and walked out. He had already stepped out of the door when he stopped again, looked at her and said: “If the Princess lets you have dinner there, you don’t have to refuse. I will pick you up when I get off duty, it just so happened that I have something to talk about with Fourth Brother.”
When Yu Xiu heard that he wanted to see her brother-in-law for something, she stopped politely refusing and asked, “If the princess keeps me for dinner, do I say that you will also come in the evening?”
Chen Bozong: “No need, I’ll eat before I go over.”
Yu Xiu understood, he didn’t dare to treat the princess as an ordinary sibling and just gather together for dinner casually.
Watching Chen Bozong went to the front Yamen, remembering that the princess told her to go there earlier, Yu Xiu didn’t delay anymore, and took her maid Bi Tao out of the house through the side gate and got on the carriage.
The two houses were only three streets away, so she arrived quickly.
When Yu Xiu got out of the carriage, she saw four guards guarding outside Ningyuan. There were also tall and straight guards lined up at a certain distance outside the huge courtyard wall, the whole mansion was heavily guarded.
At this time, Chao Yue walked out from the inside, followed by a clean and elegant gonggong.
“Eldest Lady is here. The Princess has been looking forward to you all morning.”
Chao Yue saluted with a bright smile.
Seeing a familiar face, Yu Xiu calmed down a little.
Chao Yue then introduced Wu Run to her.
Yu Xiu knew that princes and princesses were always surrounded by eunuchs, but she didn’t expect that a eunuch could be so outstanding. But then again, the princess was so beautiful, and the people around her should be like Wu Run, Chao Yun and the others, so as not to bring any disgrace to the princess.
There was a reception pavilion in Qifeng Hall dedicated to entertaining guests. At this time of year, the plum blossoms and peach blossoms had not yet bloomed, but the camellias were in full bloom, with petals the size of a bowl, delicate and bright.
What Yu Xiu first saw was Hua Yang sitting on the chaise longue. The complicated and gorgeous bright yellow skirt surrounded the divine fragrant beauty, making it difficult for people to look away.
Then, the beauty smiled and called her: “We’ve seen each other just two days ago, and Sister-in-law already doesn’t recognize me?”
Yu Xiu came to her senses and stepped in like she was drunk.
The beauties in this world were like mountains, there were always one higher than the others. All her neighbors used to praise her beauty, but when Third Sister-in-law, Luo Yuyan, married in, she felt that her horizons had been opened. When the noble princess married in, Yu Xiu thought that her vision had been stretched to the maximum. There would never be anyone more beautiful than the princess in this world.
She was amazed by Hua Yang’s new look. Hua Yang also noticed Yu Xiu’s clothes and jewelry, which looked familiar. In the First Month of last year, before the news of the death of the Chen family’s old lady reached the capital, she seemed to have seen Yu Xiu wearing it.
Hua Yang had a lot of unused jewelry, and boxes of silk and satin were piled up in the warehouse. She was willing to give them to Yu Xiu, but she was afraid that Yu Xiu would regard them as charity and feel uncomfortable.
“Sister-in-law, sit over here. It’s just you and me. What are you doing so far away?”
Hua Yang pointed to the empty seat on the other side of the chaise lounge and said affectionately.
Yu Xiu blushed and moved over closer.
Chao Yun served tea and Hua Yang smiled while chatting with her: “Sister-in-law, how is the arrangement over there? Are all the maids in the Yamen obedient?”
With something to talk about, Yu Xiu became relax, and said, “I still have Bi Tao and Bi He around me. The other maids are only doing menial work. So far, they all seem to be doing their jobs.”
Hua Yang nodded: “How about Eldest Brother, is he busy with yamen errands?”
Yu Xiu sighed: “There are a lot of things to do. He only came back from the front after it got dark yesterday.”
It was always like this when a new official took office. Chen Jingzong has so much to do even if he was not the head of the military station. Chen Bozong was in charge of the affairs of the government, so he definitely busier. However, Chen Bozong had worked in Dali Temple for six to seven years and had extensive experience as an official. He was the least of the three Chen brothers to worry about.
Hua Yang asked Yu Xiu again: “Apart from Princess Consort Xiang, does Sister-in-law know the origins of the other two guests I will entertain today?”
Yu Xiu smiled and said, “I wasn’t sure at first. After I showed the invitation to the master, he told me about them. Only then I know that the Bai family is a prominent local family, and although Lingyuan County Lady is only in her thirties, her seniority is quite high. It seems Prince Xiang supposed to call her Great Aunt.”
The so-called great aunt referred to the sister of the grandfather. This grandfather could be a biological grandfather or a cousin from another branch. Sisters also include cousins.
There were too many imperial clansmen living in various places in this dynasty. For example, Hua Yang should call Prince Xiang her uncle, but in fact the blood relationship between the two was very weak. The same was true for Lingyuan County Lady and Prince Xiang.
It was still early, so Hua Yang invited Yu Xiu to visit the garden.
At noon, Princess Consort Xiang, Lingyuang County Lady, and Old Madam Ji from the Bai family arrived one after another, all bringing gifts.
After greeting each other, Hua Yang sat alone in the main seat, Princess Consort Xiang and Lord Lingyuan sat on the left, and Yu Xiu and Old Madam Ji sat on the right.
After receiving Hua Yang’s intimacy between sisters-in-law for two hours, Yu Xiu had nothing to be nervous about when she saw Princess Consort Xiang, who was far less powerful than Hua Yang.
Hua Yang didn’t need to worry about her, she focused her attention on Princess Consort Xiang and Lingyuang County Lady.
Of these two people, one was the wife of Prince Xiang, and the other was a poor woman who was killed by Prince Xiang in her previous life.
Princess Consort Xiang was around forty-six or forty-seven years old, about the same age as her mother-in-law, Sun shi. However, Sun shi’s figure was round, both plump and gentle, but Princess Consort Xiang was very thin, and there was a little coldness between her eyebrows, making her smiles towards Hua Yang appeared more deliberate.
Lingyuang County Lady was ten years younger than Princess Consort Xiang.
She was not very beautiful, at least she was not stunning at first glance. However, her many years of widowhood had left Lingyuan County Lady with a hint of sadness between her eyebrows. Occasionally when she lowered her head and bent her eyes, she was like a snow-white magnolia the was about to fall off the branches after being beaten by the rain, which was quite pitiful.
It was precisely because of this fragility that she gave up her life after being insulted by Prince Xiang and did not hesitate to hang herself from a beam.
Thinking of the tragic end of Lingyuan County Lady, Hua Yang’s impression of Princess Consort Xiang became even worse.
It was true that Prince Xiang was the culprit, but Princess Consort Xiang was also an accomplice. If she had not come forward to invite Lingyuan County Lady, would Lingyuan County Lady, a widow living in the inner house, rashly visited a clan relative with whom she was not familiar with? Since it was Princess Consort Xiang who invited her, why did she let Lingyuang County Lady stay alone? Apparently Prince Xiang had inform her in advance, and the couple worked together to lure Lingyuang County Lady into his net.
Although she was unhappy inside, Hua Yang didn’t show it at all on her face. She was acting like a favored princess from the capital, lukewarmly entertained two distant relatives.
Old Madam Ji was the first to leave.
Hua Yang did not keep her, and only invited her sister-in-law to have lunch with Princess Consort Xiang and Lingyuang County Lady in Ningyuan.
After the meal, Lingyuang County Lady also left, and Princess Consort Xiang continued to drink tea.
Hua Yang saw what she meant and said to Yu Xiu: “Sister-in-law, you must be tired. You go to the guest room to rest first. I will talk to Princess Consort here.”
Yu Xiu followed Chao Yun sensibly.
As soon as she left, Princess Consort Xiang smiled and said to Hua Yang: “Princess came from afar. The Prince and I have specially prepared two gifts for you to show our affection.”
Hua Yang smiled and said, “You and Uncle Prince are too polite.”
Previously, she addressed the couple as “Prince” and “Princess Consort”, but she changed her words when she heard there were other gifts.
Princess Consort Xiang thought, this beautiful princess was really greedy for money.
Whoever thought they have too little money? Even the emperor was greedy for money, let alone the princess.
Princess Consort Xiang was confident, and the maid waiting by the carriage brought the gift over. Princess Consort Xiang personally introduced it to Hua Yang: “This is the “Finches and Bamboo” painted byof the previous dynasty. The old prince got it by chance. The prince said he is a layman, doesn’t know how to appreciate calligraphy and painting, so it would be a waste to keep this painting in the prince mansion. I heard that the princess likes paintings, so why not give it to the princess for appreciation.”
Hua Yang took an unnoticeable breath when Princess Consort Xiang slowly unfolded the “Finches and Bamboo”.
Princess Consort Xiang just pretended not to hear, and when Hua Yang spent a quarter of an hour to retract her gaze from the painting, Princess Consort Xiang opened the second gift.
This box was divided into two layers. The upper layer was a unique rosewood base, and the lower layer was a foot-high standing statue of Guanyin made of mutton-fat jade.
For Hua Yang, such a large piece of mutton-fat jade was not unusual, but this Guanyin statue was exquisitely carved, with delicate, smooth and lifelike lines from beginning to end, making people reluctant to touch it.
Each of these two gifts was a rare treasure that could be placed in the imperial treasury.
After admiring it, Hua Yang said meaningfully to Princess Consort Xiang: “Uncle Prince is so generous. If you ask for nothing, I will be embarrassed to accept it.”
Princess Consort Xiang apologized and smiled: “Since the Princess said so, I won’t hide it anymore. To be honest, the Prince have a little trouble.”
Then she tactfully explained that Prince Xiang was in the middle of building a mansion and had to temporarily deploy soldiers from the military station because he was in a hurry to complete it before the rainy season this year.
“We only need to use them for about four more months. Please ask the Princess to inform Prince Consort and ask Prince Consort to be accommodating.”
Hua Yang looked relaxed and said with a smile: “It’s simple. I will scold him when he comes back tonight. He is also stupid. Although, he should not set fire to our imperial people.”
Princess Consort Xiang breathed a long sigh of relief. She was afraid that the errand would not be completed and the prince would take it out on her when she returned.
The matter was settled and Princess Consort Xiang no longer stayed.
The carriage left in front of Ningyuan’s gate, bypassed a few streets, and finally stopped in front of Prince Xiang Mansion.
Prince Xiang had been thinking about giving gifts for a long time.
His generous gift was worth far more than those guards who could only sell their labor, and it was even enough to buy a few more mansion.
Prince Xiang resolutely parted with something he cherished in order to completely bribe the princess from the capital, so that even if she heard that he had done something illegal, she would not find fault with him.
Local officials were afraid of him and did not dare to expose his crimes to the court. Even if it was exposed to Emperor Jingshun, he would probably let it go for the sake of his clan, but if Hua Yang insisted on confronting him, it would be troublesome.
“How is it, the Princess accepted it?”
When the husband and wife met, Prince Xiang couldn’t wait to ask.
Princess Consort Xiang smiled and said: “She accept it, Your Highness has good eyes. The Guanyin statue is nothing unusual to the Princess, but she gasped when she saw the “Finches and Bamboo”.”
Prince Xiang smiled proudly. He knew the value of that “Finches and Bamboo”, but he wasn’t particularly refined in taste. To him, it was just an old painting, so he gave it away without much thought.
“The Princess also said that she will scold Prince Consort tonight and not allow him to interfere with your soldiers transfer again.”
Prince Xiang thought about the word “scold” and felt better. He knew that the most favored princess treated the prince consort just like he treated the princess consort at home. He was simply a plaything. If you’re in a good mood, you can tease, if you’re in bad mood, you can hit or scold.
His gaze swept contemptuously over Princess Consort Xiang’s face, which was no longer young and beautiful. Prince Xiang sat down next to her and asked another matter: “How is the Princess’s beauty? Is it as heavenly as rumors said?”
Princess Consort Xiang lowered her eyes and nodded dully.
Prince Xiang looked forward to it for a moment, and then sighed regretfully. No matter how bold he was, he did not dare to stretch his hand to Hua Yang, unless Hua Yang was a romantic and fell in love with him first.
The Author has something to say:
Fu Gui: You stupid pig!. The Princess even ignores our Prince Consort, how can she like you!
Old Four: ….