It was the start of May. A fine and sunny day, the weather was warm, suitable for marriage. The bride escorting procession blew and hit1 as they came to receive the bride. Flowers were hanging and there was red everywhere within the Sheng household, decorated to show joy. Minglan was pulled to dress up by Mama Cui early in the morning. Her hair was rolled into two round butterfly buns and held up by a pair of red coral bead embed on the gold hairpin. She was dressed in a crimson buttoned lilytree brocaded long sleeved coat with gold embroidery and a white cloud patterned satin skirt, exposing the knees. Looking at the reflection, the little fat cheeks bulged into a smile, small small dimples at the corner of her mouth, remarkably like a festive doll.
When she went to Weiru Pavilion, Minglan saw Molan and Rulan were also in the same red and cheerful getup. On their chests hung the pearl necklace that Sheng Wei gave them. Afterwards, they said their goodbyes to Hualan in order.
Molan: “Wishing Big Sister to have happiness like the mandarin duck. Bonded in marriage in four seasons. Perfect happiness. Gloriously devoted to one another.”
Rulan: “Big Sister to have an opportune connection with the marriage partner. Hope Big Sister and Brother-in-law to be in perfect harmony, live a ripe old age together, prosperous in descendants like the luscious leaves on the many branches.”
Minglan: “…… The air in the capital is dry. Big Sister drank water often, good for the skin.” She really could not think anymore, can they just leave some idioms for her to say?
Hualan looked at Minglan, blinking, the little tears that she had a hard time brewing has disappeared.
After Wang shi instructed a few more words, a mama that Minglan has not seen before walked out. She was dressed in a deep purple round embroidered apron. Hualan looked at her mother confused. Wang shi’s expression seems to be a little evasive, she stammered “Inviting this Momo to give our young lady some words regarding the ceremony between husband and wife.”
Having said that, she led everyone to leave Weiru Pavilion. Minglan immediately understood, her heart suddenly thud, is it not x education? Thinking back to that year when Yao Yiyi’s older male cousin was sent on a penal sentence to develop Africa. When he left hurriedly he forgot to bring his vitality food— no less than ten g’s x videos. He let his little younger female cousin mail it over. Based on the habit of seizing any opportunity and the meticulous mind of a law professional, Yao Yiyi seriously watched it from the start to finish once through.
It is justified by that sentence— When one learns 300 Tang poems by heart, one is sure able to write poetry. It is possible that she can speak deeper and clearer than that momo. But seeing Molan and Rulan are all looking ignorant, it was not good for Minglan to seem intelligent, she could only pretend to be naive.
Quite a few ladies have arrived, Wang shi then went to entertain the guests and conveniently brought along the girls to meet people. They were led in circles by the mamas in front of the female guests. Crimson coats reflecting that snow white tender small face, they were like the brightly-coloured flowers. Attracting others to sing high praises. Stretching their hand to cop a feel and then examining it close up.
It is merely a year since Sheng Hong took office at Deng Prefecture. The Sheng household and the local gentry are still acquitances. All the female guests vaguely know that one of the young ladies is a legitimate one but they just had to be dressed the same. It was also not good for Wang shi to clearly indicate in front of everyone at this busy time. Thus every lady could only touch whoever that they were interested in. Those who likes delicate and pretty ones, all went to see Molan. Those who likes dignified and haughty all went to chat with Rulan. Everyone saw that Minglan is the youngest and born with jade snow cuteness, her movements and rules are natural and relaxed but her young body was round and short short limbs. Her actions lovable and childish, making others very fond of her and was expectedly touched the most.
Do not know how many of these old little match girl coped a feel Minglan’s little face. Not only can she not scream molest, she still has to act out like she was very honoured. However being a little child was not entirely bad, at least Minglan could see the legendary Big Brother-in-law Yuan Wenshao before the bride.
The groom is twenty-years-old this year and belongs to the group that married late. He is born with a healthy appearance, his face is a little pale, reckon that he shaved last night thus there was only a bit of light green on his cheeks. He was dressed in crimson garments from head to toe and his appearance graceful. His eyes bright, manner steady. Standing beside His Excellency Father-in-law Sheng Hong who was ten over years older but fair and clear, he seems to be of the same generation.
Wang shi pulled Yuan Wenshao’s hands to look at up and down for probably about half an incense. She looked at her son-in-law’s cheeks felt numb before letting go and then spoke to him about ‘taking responsibility’ and ‘entrusting’ for another half an incense.
After the ceremony, Yuan Wenshao brought his new bride up the boat, followed by Uncle Sheng Wei and the oldest Younger Brother Sheng Changbai to send the bride. Wang shi cried and wet a few handkerchiefs at the front door of the Sheng household. Sheng Hong also felt his eyes ache a little.
That day, the Sheng household opened ten over tables for the banquet and added several tens of tables at Deng Prefecture’s famous Hongbin House. They were bustling with excitement until midnight then the guests left. The children have no part in the ancient time’s nightlife. Minglan was brought by the mama to Shou’an Hall early in the morning, her little fat hands covering her little mouth that repeatedly yawned. After Danju and Mama Cui got her into the bed properly, Old Madame Sheng and her little granddaughter lied on the bed together. She listened to little Minglan idly talk about the wedding situation outside. As she listened on, Old Madame Sheng hurriedly said “Ming’er, recite a marriage poem for Grandmother.”
Minglan was recently was at《Classic of Poetry》2 She thought for a while and picked the simplest poem and recited in a clear voice “The peach tree is young and elegant, brilliant are its flowers. This young lady is going to her future home and will order well her chamber and house.The peach tree is young and elegant, abundant will be its fruits. This young lady is going to her future home and will order well her chamber and house. The peach tree is young and elegant, luxuriant are its leaves. This young lady is going to her future home and will order well her family.”3
“Ming’er recited it really well.” In the darkness, Old Madame Sheng seems to softly sigh. Her voice is plastered with sadness and seems to be talking to herself “Ming’er do you know, when Grandmother was young, my favourite was that poem《Cypress Boat》4 Really memorised it in the morning and the night. But thinking of it now, it is not as real as《Peach Tree》A woman in her lifetime is really like a peach tree. Brightly-arrayed peach flowers, smoothly producing countless peach fruits, then that is a truly good fortune.”
Minglan was sleepy already, basically did not hear clearly what Grandmother said. Probably talking about planting peach, therefore, she replied in a daze “…… The peach tree is fine, if it cannot produce peaches, it must be because that soil is not good. Just change places to plant and earth, fertilise and water it again. It will work out in the end, unless the peach tree is dead, if not still able to continue planting ah…….”
When Old Madame Sheng heard it, she cannot help but be stunned. Thinking for a while and had a little smile. She looked at her little granddaughter and realised the little plump girl was already in a deep sleep. Her little face delicate and captivating, pouting her little lips and still softly exhaling. The Old Madame liked to watch the sleeping face of her little granddaughter, gently patting her one at a time.
That very night, Wang shi drank a bowl of soup to soothe her nerves, her heart filled with worries for her daughter and dizzily went to rest. As for the intoxicated Sheng Hong, Concubine Lin has already bribed someone to help him to Linqi Pavilion. There she has already prepared hangover soup and hot towel. After resting for a while, the two xx. Concubine Lin saw that Sheng Hong’s mood is pretty good. According to her experience, Sheng Hong right now is the best time to speak to him and thus she prepared arguments to stage a play.
1. In Chinese wedding, the groom will come pick the bride up with a huge entourage. It is really a boisterous affair where there is blowing of trumpet and hitting of the gong.
2. It is a repertoire of 300 poems and majority of them are written in the Western Zhou period.
3. Credits to http://bs.dayabook.com/poetry/the-book-of-poetry-by-james-legge/shi-jing-with-notes/page-4
4. Those who are interested in reading 柏舟 can look it up here: http://bs.dayabook.com/five-classics/shijing/shi-king-by-james-legge/lessons-from-the-states/the-odes-of-yong#_Toc126464791
Granny made me sad when she was alluding a woman as a peach tree but I am glad Minglan could bring her some joy. Next up, we intrude into Sheng Hong and Concubine Lin, no worries, it is after their xx!