The next day while paying respects, predictably both brother and sister, Changfeng and Molan ‘recovered’. Wang shi inquired about the siblings’ health, asking the nature of the illness and to the progress of their recovery. Changfeng maintained his poise but Molan couldn’t help blushing crimson. After everyone greeted the Old Madame in order, both Changfeng and his sister begged for forgiveness from the Old Madame.
Old Madame Sheng appointed a new old female servant for Minglan, surnamed Cui. She was plump and not of many words but gave off a friendly atmosphere. When she carried Minglan she was extremely gentle. Old Madame noticed Xiaotao and Minglan, both servant and master, one more foolish than the other, so she appointed a young maid, Danju from her side to Minglan. Once Danju began serving, Xiaotao immediately felt inferior. She was merely just a year older than Minglan but was very earnest and attentive towards Minglan’s needs. Xiaotao was bought from outside whereas Danju was raised in the household. Her parents tended to land on the outside, but because there were too many children they were unable to manage. Thus she entered the household at a young age, after that she caught the eye of Mama Fang and was selected to serve in the Shou’an Hall.
Minglan was not always this introverted and quiet, thinking back on those times when she was a good child diligently keeping the Five Disciplines and Four Beauties.1 Whether it was wearing the Red Scarf, entering into the Girl Scouts or into the Communist Youth League, each time she would be ranked first. Although she was never chosen as the class representative but she has always been elected as a representative for various committees. When she was in the publicity committee, she was praised ingeniously for using the blackboard. When she was in charge of the organisation, she led everyone to visit sick teachers. When she was the English Language representative, she led morning reading everyday. When she was in the homework committee, she even successfully organised and streamlined the process to copy homework. Except for that one time in 5th Grade, when she became the cultural recreation committee member and was inexplicably forced to step down halfway. Even then she was still almost always a good student that teachers liked and trusted.
Everyone is bustling around, Hualan sat upright dignified on the heated bed. Minglan sat on a small stool, listening to Big Sister give instructions— not allowed to sleep in, not allowed to be lazy and not work out, not allowed to be late when paying respects, not allowed to be bullied…….each sentence Hualan said, she answered. She was sleepy in the morning but unfortunately Hualan was like Xuanzang1 chanting on and on. Minglan was puzzled, she was just a fourteen fifteen years old young lady and unexpectedly nags more than the manager auntie in the dormitory when she was a student. Really an exotic flower.
After Old Madame Sheng finished asking the three granddaughters, she said she was tired and allowed the descendants to return to their houses, the old person wants to go to bed already. Originally Sheng Hong wanted to speak a few more words for Molan, only have to hold back and return.
When they returned and still yet to have change and wash up, Mama Fang from the Old Madame side suddenly arrived. Sheng Hong couple hurriedly invited her inside. Mama Fang is a veteran at the Sheng household, her words nimble and explained her coming clearly in a few words— Old Madame wants to bring Minglan over.
Right when they were chattering, the door curtains was flipped. A maid carrying a tray entered in and by her side followed a small small shadow. Wang shi took a quick look, it was actually Molan. The smile on her face immediately turned half-stiff.
Only saw that Molan smiled sweetly as she timely came forward. Taking a cloud patterned with a white base lotus bowl from the tray in the maid’s hands and smiled “Old Grandmother, this is the freshly stewed porridge with jujube, warm and sweet as well as soft. Moreover it will not cause indigestion, it is good to moisten your lungs before you sleep.” Saying that and she carried it to Old Madame Sheng’s side, Mama Fang received it.
“Caihuan, quickly go hurry Big Young Miss. Do not waste time any more, Master is already waiting.” Wang shi stood in front of a full length brass dressing mirror, turning aside to allow two maids to tidy her up. She wore a red buttoned jacket with gold and silver threading, her hair bound up by a bee dangled hairpin1.
“Mother, do not rush. I am here.” A laughter followed and Hualan lifted the curtains. The same ruby embed Eurasian magpie on a plum hairpin inserted on her parting, the same one on her mother’s. She wore a red rose thick silk coat with rat fur on the edges, reflecting the beautiful and rosy face of the young girl. “Mother, I saw the mamas by Ming yatou’s side rushing into the house just now, could it be that you also want to bring Ming yatou along? It is better to avoid it, her body is not good. After dinner, she has to rest and it is possible that she is dozing off this moment.”