Xianggong, Please Divorce Me!

Ch. 11: Lady of the House Doesn’t Want to Manage the Household

TL’ed by snowflake_obsidian

[1] 1 mu is about 0.165 acres.  6.7 mu is about 1.1 acres or a bit over 4400 square meters.

[2] The text has 拢 (lǒng) though I believe that 聋 (lóng) is meant.

[3] 嫡母; Di mu is the term used by the children of concubines to address their father’s official wife.

[4] 神诸葛转世; This is saying that someone is as smart as 诸葛亮 (Zhūgě Liàng) aka 孔明 (Kǒngmíng) who was a historical figure in the Three Kingdoms period.  Zhuge Liang was a statesman and military strategist. He is also a character in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  Equating someone to Zhuge Liang is saying that person is a mastermind and sage.

Ch 11 – Lady of the House Doesn’t Want to Manage the Household

Jin Xiu continued to speak, “If you inquire then you will know. Yesterday, Mu Dan wanted to go there to you. On the way over she was stopped by young Lady Ru Yi who gave her a weaved gold silk garment to mend. Mu Dan has the most nimble hands in the manor.  What were originally good clothes were ruined due to not being careful. Each and every garment is passed to her for mending. Mu Dan understood the degree of seriousness and initially wanted to go to you and Xi Que to talk. Nevertheless, young Lady Ru Yi would not comply and merely had Mu Dan, in all haste, do the mending. Mu Dan didn’t dare not comply and was forced to enter Xi Yuan. As soon as she went, it became the entire night.  She was not even allowed to go out the door….”

So that’s what happened, Su Tang was keeping the score in her heart. If what Jin Xiu said wasn’t false, then she originally truly misunderstood this master and servant. However, ha ha, wasn’t this explanation given too late? They knew early on about Xi Que’s matter, but all along didn’t bring it up. They waited until she asked and then began to explain….as well as this jab, and by accident or design pointed to Xi Yuan.  Again, Su Tang made a mental connection with lao taitai just now wasting a lot of words raising the Xi Yuan matter, along with she and Jin Xiu smiling with the appearance of “exhausting everything in one’s grasp”.  Su Tang was also missing some brains if nothing was detected.

But Su Tang kept calm to the end. Lao taitai hadn’t yet made this idea clear and then she pretended to be confused. She softly blew on the tea and sipped a mouthful.  Su Tang leisurely said, “Then I really want to greatly thank that Xiang Lan”.

Jin Xiu spoke some polite banal words, neither soothing nor indignant that Xi Yuan intentionally or otherwise provoked. There was just one sentence avoiding the important, and dwelling on the trivial.  Contrarily, (I) would like to see what medicine you both are selling inside this gourd bottle.

For a while you, lao taitai, were as angry as thunder. For a while, you had a benign countenance. For a while, you exaggeratedly showed me generous consideration. For a while, you bluntly brought up Xi Yuan again using a new direction….giggle, making it difficult to grasp what is real or a falsehood!

A long time passed, but Su Tang didn’t wait for lao taitai to speak again and couldn’t help but raise her head to take a glimpse.  Who would have expected lao taitai to meet her eyes. Two sets of eyes looked at each other. Su Tang hastily smiled, lowered her head, and mulled in her mind, why did lao taitai’s smile have the appearance of being completely satisfied?

“In the final analysis, he is an intelligent child.” Lao taitai finally gave instructions, “Regardless whether intentional or not, these matters of Xuan Zi and Xi Que have already occurred. We will not bring these up again.” She paused a bit, “Now you are already married into my Song family, and are a Song family person.  Afterward this general’s manor will be given to you!”

“What?” Su Tang didn’t understand what she heard, “Grandma, your meaning is?”

“In the future you will be in charge of the general’s manor and will be the lady of the house!”

In charge of the household! Family mistress!  Su Tang was flabbergasted, her eyes wide open. She originally thought lao taitai wanted her to fix those few lamps wasting oil in Xi Yuan. Who knew she’d entrust Su Tang with the general’s manor, this big sun. Ai you! She by no means will do this matter of strenuous work but get little result.  She hastily said, “Grandma, Su Tang is young and not equal to the task.”

Lao taitai seemingly earlier foresaw Su Tang would say this.  “Although you’re young, the fact is you’re able to do it. These past few years, you neatly and orderly sorted out the Su family. Grandma has counted all these.”

Su Tang understood. Presumably lao taitai probed and was perfectly clear about exact details. However, it was understandable as the general was taking a wife.  Even though the emperor picked the partner, being the grandmother, how would she again be unable to ignore (matters).  Anyhow it was ordering someone to exhaustively make discreet inquiries.  Su Tang’s scalp was somewhat numb. The things she did these years went far beyond what was reasonable. To say universally shocking was correct, plus add that batch and that bunch of unhappy love affairs along with a pile and another pile of criticism….

Thinking of all this, Su Tang was a little anxious and fearful.  This sensation was humiliating, absolutely unfitting, rather like being stripped bare, exposing the body ….

Lao taitai saw Su Tang’s state of mind and patted her hand a bit.  Displaying a tender affectionate gaze, “Child, although my old Song family is reckoned as a good pedigree, it’s old-fashioned and inflexible, which is difficult to cure.  These matters of yours are not worth mentioning.  Grandma never took these to heart and you also don’t need to.  What’s more these things cannot be blamed on you.  This matter of fate is always difficult to ponder. Just say that you were destined to be a Song family person and in the same way those prior matters are not a part of fate.”

These spoken phrases were extremely sincere. Listening, Su Tang eyes throughout were somewhat moist.  These recent years, this pile of ruined peach blossoms caused her to suffer from many lies and slanders.  Outwardly, she did not care, but in the final analysis she is still a woman. In the bottom of the heart, how can one not suffer the effects.  However, the bitter water going toward her stomach was swallowed and then afterward she put out an impenetrable defense with a fearless appearance. If other people gossip, then let it pass.  The most difficult thing was that her own family, from time to time, would sarcastically ridicule her. It was to the extent that her own elderly father would sigh, shake his head and assume an appearance of being helpless. Su Tang saw no need to mention more vexing matters. Now, one just saw an aspect of the grandmother of her husband’s family who unexpectedly spoke these consoling phrases. No need to mention that Su Tang was very touched.

Anyway, it was all talk, so Su Tang stubbornly did not show the least bit of willingness to be the head of the family.

But it was very obvious that lao taitai wouldn’t give up on this.  “It’s said that the general’s manor is big and not big, small and not small. There are 100 or so people. Song Shi An let grandma be in charge before he was married.  Since you now have come, grandma must unload the burden on this body.  Grandma is old and should be living a comfortable life. You are filial and certainly must be willing to share the responsibility with grandma.”

Su Tang listened to these words with a suffering face. To be filial she should answer and also not answer, right. Lao taitai being like this means that she highly regards and firmly believes in this granddaughter-in-law. Su Tang also didn’t know what lao taitai’s reaction would be if she was aware of the one month allotted time for being grandson’s wife — Su Tang was that worried!

“Grandma,” quite a while later Su Tang finally squeezed out words.  She also didn’t dare raise her head, afraid she wouldn’t be able to stand the eager expression in lao taitai’s eyes. “Su Tang is from a poor humble family background. The answer is that I am able to manage a store with difficulty but overseeing a general’s manor is absolutely unworkable.  To say nothing of I don’t have the slightest inkling about the affairs of a manor. Just say that I’m at a loss about the situation of the residence’s guests. Cold…uh no, xianggong is a court official.  What if Su Tang improperly handles matters and disgraces xianggong.  Therefore, uh, grandma, you still have to be involved a bit.  Wait until the time when  Su Tang has an approximate idea and we’ll talk again about the matter of being the head of the family. Do you think that’s alright?”

Sigh.  Can only execute these delaying tactics. In this short period of time, cold noodles will be divorcing me. When that time comes, even if she wants to be the lady of the household and manage its’ affairs perhaps lao taitai will not consent!

Su Tang was very troubled. As before, lao taitai’s entire face was pleasantly warm. “Child, you don’t need to be modest. Grandma knows you are up to the task. This matter is decided!”

Su Tang really wanted to cry now! She truly was not being modest! She really did not want to be the mistress of the manor managing the household affairs! My aspirations lie in the capital! In the world, not inside this very small general’s manor! Right, it simply is a teeny general’s manor. Even though it covers 6.7 mu [1], it’s a tiny little place and can’t compare with the vast world!

The most tragic thing in life is to be coerced to marry a person that you loathe. Nothing can surpass it. Ruined and still forced to be the old mother managing the household!  Wail—my life is very bitter!

“Grandma, does this matter still have leeway to maneuver?” Su Tang’s face was unresigned, her mouth sunken.

She was deaf [2] toward Su Tang, the side with the good ear heard fragments. Lao taitai didn’t answer and just said, “Jin Xiu will help you.”

This is to mean what one says!

“Furthermore….” Lao taitai wished to speak though still refrained.

Su Tang eyes glistened. What, still another shift in the course of events?

“Furthermore, feel free to set your mind at ease. This general’s manor doesn’t have a lot of established rules.  You are the general’s furen. You are the Song family mistress. You’re here. You set the rules!”

Voice flat to ease the tension, but forceful and resounding, Su Tang suddenly raised her head. Her heart couldn’t help but quiver upon seeing lao taitai’s burning gaze.  This, this, this lao taitai delegates powers, but in doing so, also makes people quake with fear.  How can this be! Isn’t domestic discipline countless strict regulations! Wail, in the final analysis what is lao taitai scheming!

Su Tang thought a lot about (this) back and forth and went full circle. After that a bright idea appeared, managing household affairs was extracted from the matter of Xi Yuan, again came the matter of thoroughly transfer power, isn’t that ….

Su Tang gave lao taitai as quick glance. After the shrewdness and wisdom in one’s own eyes flashed brilliant for an instant stirring the old person’s emotion, the doubt became even deeper — is or is not lao taitai in the final analysis using her as the hatchet man putting her in an awkward position!

Regardless, this old lady is not at all simple!

Being the case that things are like this, it can also be assumed that refusing is not permissible. As a result, Su Tang was not long-winded and just said “Granddaughter-in-law will try her best.”

“Good child.” Lao taitai nodded her head in satisfaction and again spoke, “From now on this old woman can live in ease and comfort. You don’t have to come over each day and pay your respects, it’s bothersome. You just need to properly take care of your body.  Even more, grandma looks forward to soon embracing a di grandson!”

Su Tang noticed that lao taitai said the two words “di grandson” louder. This made her again recall Xuan Zi and his mother.

“As for Xuan Zi, from now on you are his di mu [3]. Teach him well.” Lao taitai’s tone again became indifferent.

Su Tang was still confused about this connection, and therefore merely nodded her head in response.

The transfer was completed, so they again conversed for a while.  Su Tang soon afterwards asked to withdraw.

Jin Xiu watched Su Tang leave. She was supported by the arm, her steps awkward. Excessively smiling, she said to lao taitai, “It appears that before long lao furen will hold a di grandson.  It looks like shao furen’s body is good for bearing children.”

“I hope so. Shi An hasn’t gotten close to another woman after that one died. When all’s said and done, I want to thank His Majesty.  If it weren’t for him pressing, this old woman still wouldn’t know when I’d be able to drink this tea cup showing filial respect.”  Speaking, lao taitai carried the cup of fragrant tea that Su Tang offered just a moment ago in both hands. She wasn’t concerned that it had already cooled down and drank it.

Jin Xiu carefully weighed her words, smiled with pursed lips said, “It looks like lao furen is indeed satisfied with shao furen.”

“Why wouldn’t I be satisfied? Beforehand I didn’t dare believe those preposterous allegations from the person that you sent to make inquiries.  Today, what I saw really gave this old woman a pleasant surprise.  Intelligent, decisive, knows how to advance and retreat, doesn’t bother with trifles and yet has a sense of propriety. She is someone who shields shortcomings to the utmost. She has one servant girl, who she still wants to protect. From now on this general’s manor passes to her charge, still able to be undependable?”  Lao taitai spoke with tone of praise.  “I’m just afraid she does not have the general’s manor in her heart!”

Jin Xiu slightly changed color, “Your meaning is?”

She is a restless person, her heart is unrestrained.  She had no other choice but to slowly accept. I handed this general’s manor over to keep her under control .”

Lao furen has gone to a lot of trouble.” Jin Xiu audibly sighed, turned and again smiled saying, “Lao furen you’re truly clever. You did not let nubi first mention the matter of Xi Que, and said to wait for shao furen to first bring it up. At first nubi didn’t believe (that would happen) and thought why would she, a newly married woman, invite trouble for one maid servant.  And shao furen brought it up naturally, not the least presumptuous or suspicious when asking. Your insincerity made shao furen restrain herself toward Xi Yuan’s four young ladies. Given shao furen’s reaction, she takes seriously everything you say and is not an easy person to go against.  She’s a person who is not willing to suffer losses….lao furen, you are like Zhuge Liang [4]!”

Lao taitai hearing these words, patted Jin Xiu’s arm and smiling said, “You, a youngster and saying this nonsense.”

“Jin Xiu’s words all come from inside my heart. Anyway lao furen, you said shao furen is able to deal with the four young ladies in Xi Yuan?”

“Don’t underestimate her. Those four girls don’t have any accomplishments.  They were previously overlooked which allowed Ru Yi to stir up this much trouble today.  However, returning to our main topic, if this hadn’t occurred then (we) would not have seen new daughter-in-law’s depth.  Anyway, originally (we) were just able to tolerate them. Now unexpectedly there was a plan using Xuan Zi. And that woman was mentioned, just unable to put up with their troublesome antics….”

Jin Xiu saw that lao taitai words hid a needle inside silk floss. Then even more cautiously, “The four young ladies don’t know proper limits for speech and action, (you) ought to at your convenience teach them a lesson. Lao furen, you capitalized on your status and didn’t fuss with them. Otherwise, how were they still able to do as they pleased and cause trouble.”

Listening, lao taitai laughed and again there was a drawn out sigh.  “(I’m) old and was already earlier fed up with tussling.  Even if my new daughter-in-law plays these tricks, the days of luxury mansions with massive gardens are difficult.  This old lady always must let her have a little fun, right?”

Speaking, lao taitai closed her eyes.  The exposed corners of her mouth had an unfathomable smiling expression. Also, one didn’t know whether or not she was recollecting her younger days in a large family mansion, jockeying for power, a scene of carnage ….

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