Wanting to Treat Cousin Well
The two old women wailed desperately again.
At the side, there were two other old servants who were holding the paddles. They stood still and stole uncertain glances at the fuming Eldest Miss, unsure of whether to start hitting or not.
Yu Youyao’s eyes widened incredulously and her face turned red with anger. “What? My words don’t work anymore? You don’t have to listen to me?”
“This…” The two old servants looked at each other and hesitated. “Miss, should we report this to Old Madam first?”
Yu Youyao stomped her feet in anger.
Outside, Old Madam Yu entered the courtyard with a dark expression. “Eldest Miss asked you to beat them. Why aren’t you doing as told?”
The two old servants jumped, dropped to their knees, and greeted, “Old Madam.”
Old Madam Yu glanced sharply at the two old maids who were sprawled on the ground and said sternly, “Listen up, from now on, anyone in the residence who doesn’t do their job well and only gossips about their masters will be punished with 30 strokes of the paddle.”
Upon hearing the Old Madam’s words, the two old servants immediately raised their paddles to hit them hard. The two old maids on the ground knew that they were doomed and wailed loudly again.
Feeling offended and aggrieved, Yu Youyao rushed into her grandmother’s arms. “Grandmother.”
Old Madam Yu patted on her back andforted her. “Just dealing with a few insensible servants has made you feel so hurt? Weren’t you quite fierce and impressive just a second ago?”
“They were too much. They actually said that Cousin, he, he… I was angry for a moment, so…” Yu Youyou stomped her feet. She hesitated and trailed off when she recalled how they had gossiped among themselves saying that Cousin was just a cripple who hade to visit, unable to finish her sentence as she felt ufortable and terrible about it.
Of course Old Madam Yu understood what she was trying to say. She said reassuringly, “Yao Yao, you did the right thing today. You should reward and punish clearly when dealing with the servants.”
Yu Youyao nodded and listened.
At this moment, Yang Shuwan had also received the news and immediately rushed over with Nanny Liu. She bowed to Old Madam Yu deferentially.
Old Madam Yu said coldly, “You’ve been the one in charge of this household, and Nanny Liu has never subverted your authority either. But look at all of them—how are they behaving? If you’re really incapable of managing everyone, you shall not be in charge anymore.”
With that, she ignored Yang Shuwan’s pale face and let Yu Youyao help her out of the side courtyard.
Yang Shuwan stood rooted to the ground as she pulled at her handkerchief furiously.
No matter what, she was the mistress of the household and Yu Youyao’s mother. The servants in her residence were tied up, beaten up, and instructed to be sold off without anyone even informing her. They really didn’t take her seriously.
If it were Old Madam who’d given the instructions, she could let it go. After all, there was still something called ‘filial piety.’ However, Yu Youyao was just a little girl who relied on the Old Madam’s authority to climb over her head and abuse her power.
What was this incident supposed to mean?
Could it be that she was already trying to interfere in the management of household matters?
Thatmotion in the courtyard had caused a huge scene. Yu Youyao supported her grandmother as they walked along the corridor towards An Shou Hall.
“I’m old and have limited energy. All I hope for is harmony at home, so I try to close one eye to everything and let things go. Your stepmother was raised by a concubine and wasn’t taught well. All day long, she’s either scheming to possess everything in the house or jockeying for power with the others. She doesn’t have the demeanor of a proper first wife at all. I really can’t stand to watch her behavior.”
In the past, her granddaughter still seemed too naive and innocent, so Old Madam Yu naturally wouldn’t have said such things to her.
But today, when she saw her granddaughter dealing with the servants, her words and actions seemed to have be more principled. Thinking about it carefully, she now felt an urge to teach more rules and principles to her granddaughter.
Yu Youyao’s expression had be calmer. Upon seeing this, Old Madam Yu changed the topic. “Yao Yao, you are not young anymore. You should start learning the ropes to managing some household matters. Let Nanny Liu teach you more, she’s very wise. No one in the residence is as capable as her. If you can pick up just 10-20% from her abilities, it will already be much more useful than you reading the ‘Analects of Women’ or the ‘Female Virtue’. I guarantee that it will help you boundlessly.”
It was fine if Yao Yao couldn’t study well; after all, a woman who labored well wouldn’t suffer. She already had plans for Yao Yao for when she’d grown just a little older, to let Nanny Liu teach her how to manage the household. That was the serious business for women.
Yu Youyao did not care much about managing the household, but since her grandmother wanted her to, she would try to learn a little to make her grandmother happy. However, there was something else that was making her much more concerned at the moment.
“Grandmother, Cousin uses a wheelchair to move and go around and doesn’t have great mobility. Although The Green House is good, it’s still a little inconvenient…” Yu Youyao hesitated to continue.
Old Madam Yu looked at her granddaughter for a long time before saying, “You’re being very concerned about your cousin.”
Yu Youyao stuck out her tongue sheepishly. “Cousin is handsome and his handwriting is beautiful. I just think that someone like him should live a good life, and shouldn’t be underestimated by others. Plus, the moment I saw Cousin, I felt very close to him, as if I’d known him from before. I want to treat him well.”
Old Madam Yu, who believed in Buddhism, smiled and said, “The relationships between people depend on fate. You probably have fate with him!”
Yao Yao was just like her mother—anyone whom she liked, she would try her best to treat well.
However, if she didn’t like someone, she wouldn’t pay much attention to them even if she had plenty of free time.
Zhou Linghuai had a physical disability, but he had an extraordinary temperament. He didn’t seem to be an ordinary person, so it was also a good thing that Yao Yao was on good terms with him.
“Then, Grandmother, I…” Yu Youyao was very happy that her grandmother did not object to her getting close to her cousin.
Old Madam Yu dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “I won’t interfere in the matters between you young people. Go and play to your heart’s content.”
After hearing her grandmother’s words, Yu Youyao happily returned to the house and called all the servants over. She rummaged through the house and picked out many things.
Chun Xiao didn’t know what her young mistress was doing. Even when she asked, Yu Youyao would look mysterious and behave secretively.
Soon, it was already noon. Chun Xiao came over and said, “Young Mistress, Old Madam has instructed us to have dinner at her house, to wee Young Master Zhou. Everyone in the residence has to be present. For lunch, you can have it on your own here.”
The maidservant began to set the dishes out on the table. Although it was a simple lunch of about four to five small dishes, they were delicious, and were all Yu Youyao’s favorite food.
Yu Youyao opened the lid of one of the blue-and-white porcelain bowls. Inside was a glazed swallow that had been stewed for hours.
Recalling how she had almost caused her cousin to fall today, Yu Youyou felt guilty. She secretly condensed half a drop of spiritual dew and added it into the swallow. She then instructed Chun Xiao, “Send this to Cousin’s room.”
Chun Xiao agreed with a smile, but she wondered in her heart, ‘Eldest Miss had just met the young master today. Why is she so concerned about him?’
In The Green House, Zhou Linghuai was also having his lunch.
The kitchen staff had asked Chang An about Young Master Zhou’s food preferences and prepared a few light dishes of Huaiyang cuisine that would suit his palate. They were exquisite and delicious, but it was a pity that Zhou Linghuai did not have much of an appetite. After eating a few mouthfuls, he put down his chopsticks.
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