Their Own Servants
Seeing Feng Yu Heng receive the silver, An shi finally relaxed a little. She had no intention of currying favor, as she had prepared this silver yesterday. She had not anticipated that Prince Yu’s contingent would come and deliver betrothal gifts, which made it seem as if she were trying to curry favor.
“Concubine mother, don’t worry, A-Heng will be kind to third sister.” Feng Yu Heng had no intention of promising An shi anything. She knew that for An shi, Xiang Rong’s well being was what she cared most for.
Sending off An shi and Xiang Rong, Yao shi pulled Feng Yu Heng and asked her: “Do you remember the matter from that year of medicine being changed?”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “I originally did not remember too much, but speaking with concubine mother An for a bit jogged up some memories from childhood.”
Yao shi told her: “You concubine mother An is someone who is very understanding. When your mother was the head wife, she did not try to curry favor, and when the Yao family ran in to trouble, she did not kick me while I was down. Instead, when we were about to leave, she secretly hid some silver in to Zi Rui’s collar.”
“Good people will have good returns.” She handed a cup of tea over to Yao shi, “Mother, drink some tea. There’s no need to think too much. In a few days, we will move in next door, then there will be many things for mother to take care of.”
Yao shi had been the family’s head wife, and although her personality was a bit weak, taking care of a small courtyard was more than manageable. She immediately responded: “A-Heng, don’t worry. You do not need to concern yourself with the miscellaneous matters of the family. As for Zi Rui, he should start learning rudimentary knowledge soon.”
Only after she reminded Feng Yu Heng, did she remember, that’s right, Zi Rui was still only six years old. He had reached school age.”
“A-Heng has really been careless about this matter. It’s good that mother has remembered it. But the current attitude of the Feng family still needs some improvement. Let’s just wait and observe for a few days, then when we find an opportunity, we can bring it up with the manor.”
As mother and daughter spoke, granny Sun came in with granny Zhao. Behind granny Zhao was an elderly woman and a group of female servants. Originally, it had been filled with betrothal gifts, but now that Willow courtyard had seen these people enter, it was truly filled to capacity.
Granny Sun brought granny Zhao around the various chests and arrived at the main hall with much difficulty. Granny Zhao’s face sported a ridiculing smile. As she entered the room, she raised her voice to say: “Second young miss really is fortunate. Truly very fortunate!”
Feng Yu Heng snorted internally. Who was it earlier that, along with her master, did not even bother looking her in the eye?
“Granny Zhao’s words, I am but a concubine’s daughter, how do I have good fortune? All of the fortune in this manor are with my eldest sister and elder bother. Granny is older now, you should pay attention to the words you say.”
Her words had rendered granny Zhao speechless. The old lady did not understand. It was clearly just some small talk, so why did the second young miss seem to not at all understand.
But she only dared to belittle her in her heart. Currently, she did not dare display even a hint of displeasure in the face of Feng Yu Heng. As a result, she smiled even more widely. Since she had no way to respond earlier, she could only gloss over it and directly change the subject- “This old servant has invited a famous servant merchant from the capital. I brought some girls for the second young m
iss to choose. Also, the matriarch ordered this old servant to go to the best ready-made clothing store in the capital to pick some clothes for the second young miss, the second young master and concubine mother Yao. The clothes were also brought along, second young miss, please take a look!”
As she finished speaking, she waved her hands and the servant girls behind her brought in multiple sets of clothing.
The clothing that was brought this time was naturally good. The material was good, the design was good and there were none of the little tricks like before. Feng Yu Heng roughly glanced over them before having Huang Quan and Wang Chuan bring them in to the inner room.
Following that, the servant merchant, with a mouth full of yellowish teeth, also entered the hall followed by twenty or so young girls.
Very quickly, the small hall was also filled. Feng Yu Heng randomly looked around the room. Seeing that they were all around thirteen years old, she became a little annoyed, but there was nothing she could do. In this era, aside from working as a servant, the children of poor families did not have any better paths to choose from. Moreover, girls could be married out at age fifteen. Those that went out to work after ten years old could be found everywhere. She had always wanted to do something but never had the ability.
She bit the bullet and looked over the servant girls. Feng Yu Heng eventually ended up picking five who had slightly sturdier bodies to help with the cleaning. She then chose another three as attendants. One would follow granny Sun and attend to Yao shi. Another would work with Huang Quan and take care of Zi Rui. The last one would work with Wang Chuan and stay at her side.
Granny Zhao saw that Feng Yu Heng had no intention of picking any more and asked: “Will just these few be enough? After you have moved in to the neighboring house, there will be many places that need servants.”
She shook her hand, “Just these will be sufficient. I don’t like having too many people.”
Granny Zhao nodded her head, “All will be done according to the second young miss.” Then she turned to the servant merchant and gave her a look. That woman quickly pulled out eight contracts from the pile and handed them to Feng Yu Heng, “Second young miss, these are the contracts for the eight girls you have chosen. They have all been recorded by the government. I hope the second young miss can rest assured.”
Feng Yu Heng was very satisfied with this.
Seeing that she did not have any other requests, granny Zhao took the remaining people and left. The remaining eight girls stood in the hall awaiting their orders.
Feng Yu Heng did not have much experience in this field, so she looked towards Yao shi.
Yao shi was very familiar with this and took over this matter. She began to ask: “Did you have names originally?”
One of the braver girls replied: “I did, but it was a lowly name. I fear that speaking it would dirty madam’s ears. I hope madam will grant me a name.”
Yao shi thought for a while and said to the five sturdier girls: “I grant you the name Ruo. After Ruo, just add your former names.”
The five girls gave their thanks in unison.
As for the other three girls, Yao shi wanted Feng Yu Heng to make a decision. At the same time, she told Feng Yu Heng: “According to the rules, without exception, all the attending servants are first-rate. Accordingly, there should also be some second-rate, like those who take care of bringing tea and such, but A-Heng does not like having too many people. Just having this many is also enough.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded. She truly did not understand very much about this sort of thing. Thankfully, Yao shi was there by her side.
Looking at the three girls she chose, she did not have any interest in picking names, thus she asked them: “What were you called in the past?”
The girls replied in unison: “This servant’s name was Qian Lan. This servant Ling’er. This servant Han Yu.”
“Not bad.” She was quite pleased with these names. “No need to change them. I will continue to call you as such.”
Who knew that upon hearing these words, the three would immediately kneel- “We beg the young miss to allow these servants to stay! We beg the young miss to allow these servants to stay!”
Feng Yu Heng did not understand, “When have I said I want to chase you away?”
Yao shi explained to her: “Servants recognize their owners. Granting them names is the first reward for them. Granting them a name allows them to cut off all ties from their past. From today in to the future, they are their new master’s servants.”
Feng Yu Heng finally understood. It seemed that changing their names was considered respecting the other party. She had completely misunderstood. She thought that names given by parents should not be randomly changed.
Thinking for a moment, she came up with an idea: “Then how about this. You will keep the same name, but at the front I grant you the name Qing. Is this good?”
The girls finally breathed a sigh of relief and replied: “Servant Qing Lan thanks madam for the name. Servant Qing Ling thanks madam for the name. Servant Qing Yu thanks madam for the name.”
“Good.” Feng Yu Heng looked at the room full of servants, then looked at the contracts. This large and unloving Feng manor finally gave her a sense of belonging. “In the future, you will be considered our servants. In a few days, we will be moving from this small courtyard to the residence next door. Although the residence is not large, it will be less cramped than it is now. I personally prefer the quiet. I will trouble you a little bit more. As for monthly allowance, aside from the one given by the Feng manor, I will also provide you with a monthly pay.”
Hearing these words, the eight servant girls became very happy. They earnestly gave their thanks in unison.
Feng Yu Heng waved her hand, her gaze traveling to the door, where granny Li, Man Xi and Bao Tang stood. “As for your three, your master will soon provide you with new assignments, presumably. My Willow courtyard is very small and can not fit you in.” Finishing speaking, she sent a glance towards Man Xi, who was looking towards her, that said don’t be impatient. Seeing this, Man Xi let out a sigh.
Because there were newly arrived servants, the tiny Willow courtyard simply did not have enough places to live. The yard was filled with chests of betrothal gifts, Huang Quan and Wang Chuan took the initiative in taking shifts guarding them. The others were arranged by granny Sun to live in the wing rooms and the second room.
In regards to granny Li and company, it was unknown just what they were thinking, but they would rather squeeze in with the new servants. They did not even mention returning to Jin Yu courtyard.
Since they did not mention it, Feng Yu Heng did not chase them away. She still called Man Xi to prepare her bath.
This was, in granny Li’s eyes, just Feng Yu Heng deliberately causing trouble for Man Xi. Bao Tang even felt bad for Man Xi. Only Man Xi understood, the second young miss must have something she wanted to tell her alone.
Receiving Feng Yu Heng’s instructions, Wang Chuan brought Qing Yu with her to the yard and continued to take inventory. Man Xi continued to bring basin after basin of water in to the room, preparing the bath.
Feng Yu Heng had taken out a medicine for fungal infections from her space a long while ago and removed the outer wrapping. Then, finding a small porcelain bottle, she filled it with the medicine. It looked no different than something of this era.
After she had changed for the bath, she called Man Xi over to the table and first removed the nail polish. She had her bring both hands forward, as she personally applied the medicine with the nail brush.
Man Xi naturally did not know what was being applied to her nails, but she felt very comfortable. It had a cooling feel, and the area on her fingers that had itched soon began to stop.
She was extremely surprised and looked towards Feng Yu Heng and saw her serious gaze. Feng Yu Heng did not explain too in-depth about the medicine and just asked: “Did granny Li tell you when she plans to return to Jin Yu courtyard?”
“She has.” Man Xi told Feng Yu Heng: “She said that we will stay for tonight and see if anything happens. If nothing does happen, then we will return first thing tomorrow morning.”
Feng Yu Heng snorted, “She wants to see what I plan to do with the betrothal gifts right?”
Man Xi nodded, “Definitely right. The head wife has always cared the most about wealth. Second young miss has pulled out so many nice things from thin air, so she is definitely wanting to acquire them for herself.”
“Then let her mess about.” Feng Yu Heng did not speak further. Seeing the medicine on Man Xi’s hands was dry, she re-applied it once more then said: “Then you will follow them back tomorrow morning. Everything will return to the way it was. Pay extra attention to Chen shi. If I need something, I will naturally look for you.”
Man Xi was very intelligent and immediately understood what Feng Yu Heng meant, “Second young miss, don’t worry. This servant will stay on that side and definitely coordinate well with the second young miss.”
“Un.” She was very pleased, “Every five days, I will send you some medicine. Stay in this room for a while. After half an hour, I will apply some nail polish for you.”