[TYCDTN] – Chapter 16 Part 2
Translated by: oinkoink
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Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):
-永乐侯府 (Yǒng lè hóu fǔ)- Marquis Yongle manor
-苦慧大師 (Kǔ huì dàshī) – Great Master Ku Hui
-承嗣 (Chéng sì) – The Crown Prince
-靖國公 (Jìng guó gōng) – Duke Jingguo
-杜氏 (Dù shì) – Duke Jingguo’s main wife
-常雅芙 (Cháng yǎ fú) – Yu Pin Yan’s prenatal betrothal, Duke Jingguo’s 2nd daughter
The Empress then looked over at the two not too far away little girls laughing merrily and felt an extreme fondness before she smilingly waved her hand, “Let’s go. Just let them play carefreely. Cheng Si and Pin Yan stay behind to keep an eye but do not follow too closely for them to notice.”
The Crown Prince and Yu Pin Yan bowed to undertake the task.
Old Madam Yu received a lot of envious gazes when she followed after the Empress and the Crown Princess to Nuan Shui Pavillion to join the gathering of the other official wives. The Empress took a seat in the pavilion for a short moment before she left to take a rest with the Crown Princess danced to the tune to send her off.
The atmosphere in the pavilion was much relaxed at once. A luxuriously dressed beautiful round figured lady came over and seated next to the Old Madam before she softly said, “Old Madam, shouldn’t we discuss the marriage of Fu’er and Pin Yan? As you can see, they are not young anymore.”
Old Madam’s amiable expression immediately turned sombre when she saw her.
The Old Marquis fixed a marriage alliance with the Old Duke Jingguo before Yu Pin Yan was born which could also be regarded as a prenatal betrothal. Later, their daughter-in-laws both gave birth to a boy and a girl respectively who were exactly Yu Pin Yan and Chang Ya Fu, the second Di daughter of Duke Jingguo manor. Duke Jingguo was a first class official and highly distinguished by the emperor. By comparative, the family status was higher than the Marquis Yongle manor.
Old Madam was very satisfied with this marriage that it was regarded as a well-matched arrangement. However, the Old Marquis died in the battlefield then her son died in the hand of banditry where soon after, the Marquis manor declined rapidly and was thrown into a precarious situation. This was exactly when the assistance from the in-laws was needed.
People of this period of time didn’t pay particular attention to the marriageable age so it was extremely common for an eleven or twelve years old to get married. It would have been a great assistance to Yu Pin Yan if he was to marry the Di daughter of the Duke Jingguo manor. Old Madam had requested Duke Jingguo manor several times wishing to bring forth the wedding of both children but was declined by the newly succession Duke Jingguo at that time. As the Old Duke Jingguo was suffering from the stroke attack, he naturally was unable to help as he had lost the ability of speech and movement.
How could the astute Old Madam not understand the petty thought of Duke Jingguo. He was waiting for the curtains to drop in the usurping control of the Marquis Yongle manor and would betrothed his daughter to whoever that ultimately succeeded the title. In other words, he wouldn’t allow his daughter to marry a downtrodden person who had declined in the social standing and failed to succeed the title.
It truly was selfish and heartless!
Old Madam was very angry, henceforth she broke off the connection with the Duke Jingguo manor. Who would have expected that Yu Pin Yan had the ability to defeat the group of paternal uncles at such a young age and was selected by the Emperor to be the Marquis Yongle, he was definitely not lacking at all compared to his grandfather! He even successively handled several errands remarkably well after joining the royal court and in merely more than a year, he was getting more valued by the Emperor.
He was only sixteen this year and had yet to reach adulthood, what kind of situation might he be in if he tempered for several more years and also what kind of prospect might he get if the Crown Prince was to ascend the throne someday as the Crown Prince’s most trusted subject?
As Duke Jingguo was getting anxious now so he ordered his wife, Du Shi to carry along some generous gifts to discuss the wedding but was shut out by the Old Madam. The marriage certificate was still in the hands of the Old Madam while Yu Pin Yan had received immeasurable favors of the Emperor and the Crown Prince, hence Duke Jingguo dared not compelled yet he also dared not betrothed his second Di daughter to other people. They were in dilemma as the Old Madam was dawdling so they tried seizing the opportunity to demand but instead was solemnly granted by this old saying – karmic retribution.
“It’s still too early as Yan’er has yet to reach adulthood.” Old Madam casually waved her hand.
Could a girl be the same as a boy? They were both sixteen, one had not reached adulthood while the other was already considered a spinster and wasn’t able to dawdle much longer! Du Shi was uncomfortably anxious but she daren’t utter a single harsh word and could only do her utmost to act warily.
Old Madam closed her eyes and coldly snorted after a while, “You held the Marquis manor in contempt that year, now I am also holding the Duke Guo manor in contempt. Unruly in social etiquette while having no distinction between Di and Shu as well as no achievement for all these years. Merely relying on the military glory of the Old Duke to just sit idly and depleting the mountain of wealth. This marriage is indeed not well-matched anymore.”
This implication meant that Chang Ya Fu was not worthy of Yu Pin Yan. These words were truly vicious compared to the words when Du Shi used to taunt the Old Madam that year, yet Du Shi was unable to retort back. The Duke Jingguo manor was indeed getting worse by the day after the Old Duke fell seriously ill. Duke Jingguo was a mediocre person who only knew to idle his time away in pleasure.
It was excessively important for Duke Jingguo manor to forge a marriage with formidable in-laws. This was also the reason why they were unwilling to easily allow Chang Ya Fu to marry Yu Pin Yan that year.
How would they have known that a youth of fourteen or fifteen could be this shrewd and resourceful, only four words to describe their feeling – regret their past deeds!
Du Shi forced a smile and said, “As the saying said; to marry a wife, one must marry the virtuous. Fu’er is nevertheless extremely virtuous. She is well-versed in all four arts since young and her etiquette are specially taught by the palace momo. She is also sensible, filial as well as competent. She began helping me managing the family affairs when she was ten and the most profitable shops under the Duke Jingguo manor are all single-handedly managed by her. The livelihood of several hundred people in the Duke manor is supported by her alone without any mistake these past six years. It will be the blessing for whichever family that marries her. Old Madam doesn’t have to make it definite yet, it will not be too late for you to decide after you meet our Fu’er.”
Old Madam was getting older. It was indeed rather strenuous to manage the Marquis manor. Lin Shi couldn’t be counted on as well as Yu Si Yu, who harbored evil designs while Yu Xiang was young and physically disable. She really had to plan getting her grandson a virtuous wife as there wasn’t anyone in the manor who she could hand the household management over so she could enjoy several years of retired life. What Du Shi said had truly struck the chord in her heart.
As the marriage certificate was already drawn up and it was indeed troublesome to break off the engagement, she might as well just go to take a look. She grudgingly nodded her head after pondering over it.
Du Shi was very elated as she hastily supported the Old Madam to her feet and walked towards the rear garden.
Four Arts ( 琴棋書畫-Qín qí shūhuà) – zither, Go, calligraphy and painting