Noble Daughter | Chapter 6: Birthday Greetings

He shi immediately saw Ge shi thoughts and felt that she was also pitiful. Before giving birth to Wei Qu, she had prayed to countless Buddhas and worshiped Bodhisattva. She watched her elder sister-in-law Mu shi give birth to her second child, but there was still no movement in her stomach. Even someone as open-minded as the old lady couldn’t help but give Wei Jun a room of concubines. This had been a source of deep pain for Hé Shì, and now, witnessing her daughter-in-law’s distress, those memories resurfaced. How could she bear to let her go through a similar ordeal?

“Stop crying. Accept the shops. I’ve already informed the shopkeepers, and starting next month, you’ll receive the monthly account books. Dōng Xuě will teach you how to manage them,” Hé Shì said, sighing. “As for the matter of a child, don’t let it weigh on your mind. It’s not unusual to have difficulty conceiving, especially with Wèi Yue preparing for the imperial examinations and being away from home for most of the year. Things will naturally improve in the future.”

Ge shi didn’t know how she walked out of Lanyi Court. Her heart was filled with emotion and gratitude, and she vowed to honor her parents-in-law, respect her husband, and take good care of her sister-in-law.

Gě Shì didn’t know how she walked out of Lán Yì Courtyard. Her heart was filled with gratitude and determination to filially serve her in-laws, love her husband, and care for her younger sister-in-law.

Returning to her room, Gě Shì’s maid, Lǐu Mèi, noticed the box in her hands and asked, “Madam, why did you return so soon? Oh, did the madam give you a birthday gift?”

Gě Shì replied with a simple “yes.”

“Let me put it away for you. What did the lady give you?” Lǐu Mèi inquired.

Ge Shi handed the box to Liu Mei. Liu Mei opened it and took a look. She was as shocked as Ge Shi was at that time. Finally she murmured: “Madam is so generous.” But soon, Liu Mei said again: “But I heard that Madam’s dowry is extremely large, so two shops might not mean much to her, right?”

Ge Shi glared at Liu Mei, “It means nothing to mother, but it still represents her feelings towards me. In this city, have you ever seen a mother-in-law give a shop to her daughter-in-law?”

Liu Mei shook her head and then came to her senses, “I’m just being petty. Madam treats the young mistress so well, Aunt Ge’s illness will probably be cured without taking medicine.” Aunt Ge is Ge shi’s mother. When she married into the Wei family, the Ge family bought her, and she also liked to affectionately call Ge’s mother Aunt Ge.

Gě Shì smiled. She wasn’t someone who held grudges. While she couldn’t avoid spending the money, she was determined to repay her mother-in-law’s kindness.

Lǐu Mèi asked, “But why did the madam suddenly decide to give you those shops? It’s been three years, and this change is quite unexpected. There’s something I haven’t mentioned—why such a significant shift now? Madam doesn’t usually have a good relationship with Third Young Madam, so what could have prompted this change? It must be someone’s influence, but who? The people from the main house are unlikely, and on this side, neither the master nor the young master is around. It’s only the madam and the young miss.”

When Ge Shi opened her eyes, she couldn’t believe it was Wei Heng, but besides her, she really couldn’t find anyone else. But regardless of whether this person was Wei Heng or not, Ge Shi was determined to show her gratitude to Hé Shì with full sincerity.

In fact, Ge Shi was not uninterested in Wei Heng before, but she didn’t dare to get close. But now, in order to repay the He Shi, she made up her mind that even if Wei Heng was not nice to her, she would have to endure it. In short, she would have to help Zhuzhuer and succeed in getting her into the women’s school.

But it was obvious that at this moment Zhu Zhu Er-Wei Heng’s thoughts were not on women’s school. She was writing a letter to her grandmother who was far away in Hangzhou.

“Why did you suddenly remember to write a letter to your grandmother?” He shi asked Wei Heng, who was kneeling and writing in front of the kang table.

Wei Heng moved the bamboo-jointed arm of the ivory fish and lotus leaf sideways and continued to write, but his mouth was not idle, “Anyway, I have to practice calligraphy every day, so writing letters can be regarded as practicing calligraphy. I can kill two birds with one stone.Isn’t it convenient?”

Hé Shì was speechless. Wèi Heng’s way of handling things was quite clever. Despite this, Hé Shì couldn’t blame her since she found a practical reason. She asked, “So, what made you think of writing a letter to your grandmother?

Wei Heng said: “Not only did I write letters to my grandmother, I also wrote letters to my uncle and cousin a few days ago. When I finish writing to my grandmother, I will trouble mother to help me send them away. I just miss them, being so far apart , if I don’t write again, I’m afraid grandma won’t even remember Zhuzhu’er.”

He shi said: “Nonsense, every time your uncle writes back, he always says that your grandmother misses you very much.”

The He family was originally also in the capital, but later He shi’s father went to Hangzhou to serve as an official and passed away while in office. He shi’s mother and brothers stayed in Hangzhou and never returned to the capital. The He family in the capital is from a different branch, not particularly prominent.

When she gave birth to Wei Heng, Wei Heng’s maternal grandmother had returned to the capital and lived there for a while. However, she had already become accustomed to life in the south, and returned to Hangzhou within half a year.

“Let me see the letter you wrote to your uncle and the others.” He shi said.

Wei Heng pouted, “I don’t want to, these are my letters.”

Hearing what Wei Heng said, He shi became more and more suspicious and teased her : “What did you write and you didn’t let me read it? Are you reporting me?”

“Mom, you are judging a gentleman with a villain’s heart. Besides, if you haven’t done anything, I wouldn’t report anything, right?” Wei Heng asked.

He shi was manipulated by Wei Heng’s words, so it was hard to ask for a letter, “Such a young age, yet so cunning”

After Wei Heng finished writing the letter, He shi said, “Let’s go. Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year. Your grandmother should have finished reciting the sutra. Let’s go to Ruiyun Courtyard.”

Wei Heng put the letter into an envelope and specially sealed it with fire paint.

“Hey, what kind of confidential letter is this, and it uses fire paint?” He shi said with a hint of sadness, with a tinge of bitterness, expressing the sentiment of a daughter growing up and hiding thoughts.

Wei Heng smiled at He shi, changed the subject and said, “Mother, did you find a match for sister-in-law tonight?”

“Found it.” Speaking of this, He shi became angry, “Isn’t it just her twentieth birthday? It’s not enough to give her a shop. Why bother to prepare a banquet? Not to mention, you actually asked me to give it to you. What kind of daughter are you?”

Wei Heng took He shi’s hand and smiled and said: “Daughter also wants to join the festivities. Besides, with the strict rules at home, if it weren’t for Sister’s birthday, where would Daughter get a taste of the dishes from Lu Yang Pavillion? Oh, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.”

Wei Heng hasn’t eaten dishes from here for a long time. The boss of Luyang Pavillion is also a figure. After he was forty years old, he closed Luyang Pavillion and traveled around the world. As a result, Wei Heng hasn’t tasted the unique dishes for several years. The steamed duck with fermented rice wine, stewed turtle dove with coriander, Ruyi abalone soup and so on.

The first dish is just fine, but the last two dishes are said to be learned by the owner of Luyang Village from a blue-eyed businessman from overseas, and they cannot be found anywhere else.

He shi smiled and said: “I know, you just have the word ‘fun’ in your mind, right?”

Wei Heng playfully stuck out her tongue, “Not exactly. Life is short, and one should seek joy wherever possible.” Reflecting on her experiences, Wei Heng had come to understand that one shouldn’t force things, and too much insistence often led to unhappiness. It took her a lifetime to realize this, and although some knots were difficult to untie, encountering Wei Xuan still stirred a bit of resentment in her.

“How old are you and why do you sound so old-fashioned?” He shi asked.

Wei Heng was shocked. She had forgotten about this. It seemed that she would have to work hard to be a little girl from now on.

At dinner time, Qiuyang in He shi’s house went to invite third young lady Ge to have dinner at Shuyu Hall.

Ge shi was a little surprised, “What’s going on?”

Qiu Yang smiled and said, “You will know when the third young madam goes there.”

Ge Shi felt something in her heart. She had guessed a little bit, but she couldn’t believe it. When she arrived at Shuyu Hall, the hall was already brightly lit and crowded with people.

Gu shi’s eyes were sharp. When she saw Ge shi, she came over to pull her, “Hey, today’s birthday girl has arrived.”

“Congratulations to the third young madam on her beautiful birth.” The servant girls in the room congratulated Ge Shi in unison.

Gu shi pulled Ge shi to go inside. Ge shi looked up and saw not only Madam Jiang, Madam Gu, and three young misses, but also the Old madam, the eldest Madam and her mother-in-law. They were all present. Everyone was here.

Ge Shi paid greetings to the elders, and the old lady said: “Sit down quickly. Today, thanks to Wei Yue’s wife, we have the banquet from Luyang Pavillion to eat, and our daughters and sons to tell stories. It’s a blessing. It’s lively.”

The old lady Zhang was in high spirits, and everyone had smiles on their faces.

Ge Shi was so excited that she couldn’t let go, “This is, this is…”

“Don’t worry about it here or there. It’s a waste of your sister-in-law’s heart. Early this morning, you invited us one by one to celebrate your birthday. Look at you, you didn’t tell us in advance that it was your twentieth birthday. If Zhu Zhu’er hadn’t come to invite us, would you have passed your twenties silently like this?” Jiang complained about Ge shi, who seemed to be extremely affectionate to each other, but in fact, Jiang shi and Gu shi were just competing with each other.

“Yes, you will have to drink three glasses of wine as a penalty.” Gu shi pushed Ge shi to the table and sat down, calling loudly: “Hongxian, come and fill up the wine for your third young madam.”

Hong Xian is the most favored maid by Gu Shi. She hurriedly responded and helped Gu Shi pour three cups of wine for Ge Shi.

After the toasts, starting with the Old Madam, everyone presented birthday gifts to Ge Shi. When it came to the Senior Madam, she gave Ge Shi a hairpin adorned with pearls and gold, with pearls the size of soybeans but exquisitely round and lustrous.

Jiang Shi exclaimed, “Oh, this pearl hairpin is so delicate, the wings are translucent like cicada wings. Such craftsmanship is truly priceless.”

Gu Shi also stepped forward to examine it closely, “It looks like the work of Ruyi Workshop in Jiangnan. Indeed, it’s priceless. I heard that families who want their jewelry made by them have their slots filled for the entire year.”

Jiang Shi playfully complained, “Mother is truly generous. Even the daughter-in-law only has a few pieces from Ruyi Workshop.”

“Because the third young master’s wife is so lovable,” Mu Shi said with a smile.

“Third young lady, please put it away quickly, this is a good thing.” Gu Shi said with a smile.

Hearing this, He shi frowned slightly. Jiang shi and Gu shi loved to use words to criticize Ge shi. While flattering Mu shi for her generosity, they also stepped on Ge shi’s valuables, which she had never seen before. Especially the Gu shi, who is younger and comes from Xi Ping Marquis family, it is inevitable that she will be frivolous.

Ge Shi, however, maintained her composure, offering a gentle smile and expressing gratitude to Mu shi.

He shi gave Ge Shi with a pair of ruby earrings, acknowledging her as her legitimate daughter-in-law. However, Ge shi did not expect that He shi would give her a gift, and a precious one at that. She looked at He shi, Seeing her shaking her head invisibly, she knew that she didn’t want others to know about her gift of the shop. In fact, this is for Ge shi’s sake. The daughter-in-law’s family is so poor that she needs her mother-in-law to provide a shop. It is a matter of reputation, especially for Ge. As for He shi, if this matter is publicized, people will only talk about her. Ge Shi appreciated He shi consideration and simply smiled in acknowledgment.

“What a beautiful ruby.” Jiang shi praised.

Gu shi added: “I remember that third sister-in-law also has a pair of ruby ​​jewelry like this, but the gemstones don’t seem to be as big as this one.”

Gu shi’s words were very mean, and she was obviously trying to sow discord between Wei Heng and Ge shi. In fact, she didn’t have any malicious intentions, she just couldn’t bear to see Ge shi being so proud. Celebrating a birthday party, dishes from Luyang Pavillion, and  sister-in-law personally invited people. How could she, who came from a small family, be on an equal footing with me.

This time, not to mention He shi, even Madam Mu frowned.

2 thoughts on “Noble Daughter | Chapter 6: Birthday Greetings”

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