Eldest Daughter, without a Mother to Teach Her
Although this courtyard was not bad, it could not compare to the Water Pavilion, where the lotus pond reflected light beautifully. There was no way Yang Shuwan could let it go just like that. “Old Madam, the Water Pavilion is shady, with great water streams and the best scenery. It is the place with the best Feng Shui in the residence and also the most suitable place for healing. Since Jia Jia isnt in good health, wouldnt it be better for her to stay there”
Old Madam Yu paused and looked up at her. “Do you remember how the Water Pavilion came about”
Yang Shuwans face stiffened and her smile froze in place awkwardly.
Old Madam Yu said calmly, “Madam Xie was the one who paid for it.”
“But, its just that Jia Jias body isnt good and her bones are weak…” Yang Shuwan tightened her grip on the handkerchief in her hands. Madam Xie had been dead for many years. Now that she was the head of household matters at the Yu Residence, why couldnt Jia Jia stay in the Water Pavilion
Madam Yang had failed to show any tact although everything had already been spelled out for her. Old Madam Yu frowned and said, “Jia Jias health isnt good, so the Residence has always been taking care of her with the best medicine and has never let her down, but…”
When the word “but” was added, it made Yang Shuwans eyelids twitch.
Twisting her prayer beads, Old Madam Yu went on to say, “Yao Yao is the eldest daughter of the first wife. No one in the residence can beat her.”
Yang Shuwans face fell.
She thought of the day she had married into the Yu Residence. Because it hadnt been a hundred days since the passing of Madam Xie, the wedding wasnt done properly. Everything was simple and basic. She wore a plain wedding dress and a small white flower on her head, entering the Yu Residence quietly.
In the evening, Yu Zongzheng entered the room and took off her veil. After drinking a cup of wine with her, he went off to his study. He could not consummate their marriage as it was still within the mourning period for his first wife.
The next morning, she had gone to pay her respects to Old Madam Yu. Nanny Liu sat on the first wifes seat with Madam Xies memorial tablet in her arms. After serving tea to Old Madam Yu, she still had to kneel down and kowtow to the original first wife.
Madam Xie was the first wife, while she was only the second.
Therefore, she could not compare to Madam Xie.
And Yu Youyao, the daughter of Madam Xie, was the eldest legitimate daughter of the first wife.
Her daughter, Yu Jianjia, was also a legitimate daughter, but strictly speaking, she was still beneath Yu Youyao.
Early in the next morning, the Water Pavilions name had been changed to “Jade Courtyard.” The meaning of this move was obvious.
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At the thought of this, the resentment in Yang Shuwans heart exploded. “Yu Youyao, you little wretch, why dont you go and die”
Beside her, Nanny Li was shocked. She rushed to the window and craned her neck to look out. When she saw that no one was in the courtyard, she heaved a sigh of relief. She then ducked in and closed the window tightly.
In the courtyard next door, Third Miss, Yu Jianjia, stood in front of a desk in plain white clothes. She gently rolled up her wide sleeves with one hand and held a pen in the other. On the pure white paper, there were neat rows of small, exquisite words that looked lively and graceful like dancers, or like beautiful women lined up on a stage, elegant and stylish.
She was practicing calligraphy on the third chapter ofAnalects of Women, which she had just learned from her female teacher, about proper etiquette.
“All women should know the proper etiquette and rules. Arrange seating for female guests. Straighten your clothes and walk slowly. Keep your hands together and your volume low as you lead them in.”
“When exchanging greetings, start from the top. Answer politely and speak softly. Prepare tea and serve it. Do not learn from others to be boastful.”
Yu Jianjias personal maidservant, Hui Xiang, was still full of indignation. “Why is Old Madam just so biased”
Eldest Miss was arrogant, foolish and pigheaded.
By contrast, her Young Mistress was far more outstanding than Eldest Miss in terms of looks, talent, manners, and conduct.
She truly did not understand what Old Madam was thinking—choosing to cherish the fishs eyeball instead of the precious gemstone.
Yu Jianjia paused for a moment, then with a curl of her lips, she said with a smile, “Big Sister has never had a mother to teach her anything, so naturally, shes different from me.”
Her gentle words meant no malice at all. After all, she was just telling the truth. Old Madam was especially biased towards Yu Youyao merely because she had lost her mother. Everyone knew this.
Hui Xiang rolled her eyes and added, “She didnt have a mother to educate her, so its natural that she doesnt have a proper upbringing, right No wonder Old Madam wanted to find a nanny from the palace to help teach her.”
Hearing this, Yu Jianjia looked up at Hui Xiang with a meaningful smile on her lips. “Big Sister is not young anymore. She should indeed learn some of the rules. Most good families have conditions for marrying into their family, one of which is not to be without a mother to ensure proper upbringing. Grandmothers heart aches for her, so of course she has to make more plans for her.”
It seemed to be a casual, innocent statement, but still, interpretation depended on the listener. Hearing that, Hui Xiang had a sudden understanding. “Doesnt that refer to Eldest Miss No wonder Old Madam has hired a nanny from the palace to help Eldest Miss. She must have been worried that Eldest Miss would not be thought worthy to get married into a good family in the future.”
Yu Jianjia frowned slightly and scolded softly, “Shut up! How can you say that!”
It took Hui Xiang a moment to realize that shed spoken out of turn. She dropped to her knees and quickly said she wouldnt dare to do it again.
Although Eldest Miss was young, she never hesitated in hitting the servants, so it was obvious that she was ruthless. If she had heard about this, the lightest punishment would probably be 30 strokes of the paddle.
Yu Jianjia seemed to be angry. She held the handkerchief and coughed lightly, and her face was also flushed. “My body is weaker than most. Since its usually hard on you being my servant, I often cant bear to be too harsh on you, which has indulged you into developing a temper and a habit of gossiping in front of me. If Grandmother finds out that Im not strict with those under me, she will scold me, and you wont be able to avoid punishment either.”
Hearing this, Hui Xiang realized that she had almost implicated her Young Mistress, so she felt guilty and blamed herself. She raised her hand and slapped herself twice, producing loud slapping sounds. “Its all my fault. Young Mistress, dont be angry, its not good for your health.”
Yu Jianjia coughed again and said hoarsely, “What are you doing Im angry at you, but I didnt ask you to hit yourself. Im just worried that if you speak without thinking and follow in Zhi Zis footsteps, our many years of relationship as mistress and servant will have to come to an end.”
Hui Xiangs eyes filled with tears as she remembered what had happened to Zhi Zi. “I know youre always the kindest, Young Mistress.”
Yu Jianjia looked a little tired. “Get up. Ill let it go this time, but it happens again, I wont let you off easily.”
Hui Xiang hurriedly stood up and helped Yu Jianjia into the inner room, then poured her a cup of water.
As Yu Jianjia took a sip of water, she still looked a little concerned, so she added a last line, “Its a good thing that Grandmother found a nanny from the palace for Big Sister. Were all sisters of the same residence. I believe she wont mind if Fourth Sister and I go to her courtyard and learn from her nanny either. In the future, you need to gossip less.”
Hui Xiangs eyes twinkled. If there were things to learn, they could all learn together. As expected, Young Mistress was wiser.
After helping her Young Mistress lie down, Hui Xiang called a young maidservant into the room and whispered something into her ear.
The girl ran out of the room and went straight to the Clear Autumn Courtyard.