Chapter 21: Dressmaking
Regardless of what kind of turmoil that rose in the capital, or whatever undercurrent that was forming, from the surface there would always be singing and dancing… The annual Chrysanthemum banquet was approaching and since Guang Wen Tang’s academy examinations was very close to the Chrysanthemum banquet, both event were done together.
Unlike previous years, with this, the academy examination had become a big event as all the noble families would attend the banquet.
Early in the morning, Old Shen Furen sent her maid, Xi-er, to the West courtyard saying that she had invited the tailor for the Chrysanthemum banquet clothes and also invited Shen Miao to take a pick.
Shen Miao nodded her head in agreement.
In previous academy examinations, Shen Miao would wear normally as she usually end up at the bottom so others would laugh if she were to wear something prominent. Now with the combination of the academy examinations and the Chrysanthemum banquet, it would not be logical not to make new clothes.
During the Chrysanthemum banquet, many officials and their furens would be there, mostly to look for their future daughters-in-law. So for families with daughters, would not only attend but also to dress up to portray their beauty. Even though Old Shen Furen did not like the First household, she still have to do it on surface. Moreover for Old Shen Furen, who would only look out for her own interest, would definitely use Shen Miao’s marriage to exchange for power and may even sell her off.
Bai Lu appeared to be somewhat happy as she accompanied Shen Miao towards Rong Jing Tang, “Did not expect that the Chrysanthemum banquet would be here so soon. Young Lady like the Chrysanthemum banquet and at that time, there would be opportunities to enjoy the flowers.”
Shen Miao like the Chrysanthemum banquet but not because of enjoying the viewing of the flowers. Whenever there is such a banquet, she would be the faintly discernible and would be isolated and that was of course fuelled by Shen Yue and Shen Qing. She was also stupid and dull and would not dressed appropriately so she would be laughed at without even knowing.
She loved the Chrysanthemum banquet but it was because of Fu Xiu Yi.
At the Chrysanthemum banquet a year ago, Fu Xiu Yi was also present. At that day she was also being laughed at and alone. The Chrysanthemum gardens were filled with beautiful purples and brilliant reds thus everyone when to look for the reddest and brightest while she walked to a corner where she saw a pot of white Chrysanthemum.
The white Chrysanthemum was most likely used during funerals and would naturally not a joyous thing moreover this Chrysanthemum blossomed quite miserably. Some of the petals were withered and one would not know if it was the rain or wind that did it, as it stood alone in a corner without any one’s attention.
Most likely fellow suffers empathised with each other, Shen Miao felt that she herself and that chrysanthemum were exactly the same. Just one person all alone, where no one would see. Just as her heart was lamenting, she saw a formal dressed male walking to the front of that chrysanthemum.
He reached out to the spray of blossom and gently stroke the petals. The person by his side asked, “Ninth Younger Brother, this flower is just miserable, what is there nice to look at?”
The male smiled, “Pity that it is delicate without anything to depend on.”
It was this sentence ‘pity that it is delicate without anything to depend on’ that made Shen Miao have a favourable impression of that man. When that male turn over, she was even more captivated by this handsome appearance.
Afterwards Shen Miao learned from the women that that was His Majesty’s Ninth Prince, Fu Xiu Yi.
Perhaps there was no reason to why one would to admire another during their youth. Fu Xiu Yi’s words was clearly about the chrysanthemum but she felt that it was empathizing her. She thought that if she were to marry such a gentle person, he would also feel tenderness towards her just like he did to that lonely flower.
Unfortunately, it was all her wishful thinking. Fu Xiu Yi feel tender towards frail flower, feel tender to the entire world, feel tender towards Mei Furen but would never feel tenderness towards her. As for her who gave her everything, from him it was just what a wife’s ‘responsibilities’ was. Those days of mutual respect between spouses were all an act of toleration from Fu Xiu Yi.
He did not really pity that Chrysanthemum but only made a casual remark which she then took it for real.
“Young Lady?” Unwittingly she was lost in thought and did not realise that she had reach the doors of Rong Jing Tang. Bai Lu quickly called out as a reminded and Shen Miao then followed Xi-er to step inside.
Shen Yuan Bo was not present today and Old Shen Furen was wearing a green and white long embroidered robe. She was already seventy years of age and should not be wearing such a fresh green in colour and with that straight and serious face, she look just like a female ghost. But she herself completely did not realise it.
Shen Yue and Shen Qing stood beside their mothers. There was two more Shu daughters in the Second household but Ren Wan Yun was too strong and overbearing so for such a banquet, she did not allow the Shu daughters to go to steal the limelight. As for the Third household, Shen Wan only have a Tongfang other than Chen Rou Qiu so there was no need to mention of any Shu sons or daughters.
So in this way, only the Di daughters of each household received the invitation for the Chrysanthemum banquet.
After Shen Miao greeted Old Shen Furen, Ren Wan Yun looked at Shen Miao and smiled, “Little Five is here. Quickly select the clothing materials. Li Liang will then take the measurements later.”
Shen Qing giggled, “Second Younger Sister and me had made our selection and now waiting for you to pick.”
It was obvious that it was Xi-er who came late but it seemed that it was her fault to make the entire crowd in Rong Jing Tang wait. Shen Miao could not be bothered to argue with her and walked to the couch where the clothing materials were place.
Li Liang was a thirty plus middle aged female. Shen residence would purchase all the new clothe from her shop. When she was young she learned some embroidery techniques from the female officials who served in the Palace so her clothes were extremely good.
There were about five or six blots of clothes that were spread in front. One Begonia and one misty pink colour were already placed at a side, obviously chosen by others. Needless to say it was Shen Qing’s and Shen Yue’s.
The previous lifetime’s scene flashed vividly in her eyes. That day during the Chrysanthemum banquet, Shen Qing wore a Begonia coloured dress and looked warm and magnanimous which make her more beautiful than the flowers. Shen Yue wore a pink with white embroidered pear flower which made her look delicate and feminine. And she wore a light yellow dress and Old Shen Furen’s golden neckless and jewellery, looking like a joke that she did not know about.
And that light yellow fabric was the one that the Shenshens and older sisters abet her to pick.
Shen Yue smiled, “Fifth Younger Sister’s skin is fair thus is compatible to pick this shade of light yellow for clothes. It would look lively and lovely on you.”
Shen Qing repeatedly nodded, “That’s correct, seeing the rest of the materials, it seems that the light yellow complement Fifth Younger Sister more.”
Chen Rou Xiu had a smile on her lips as she kept quiet. There was also a trace of ridicule in Ren Wan Yun’s eyes.
Shen Miao did not know how to choose clothes.
Shen Furen was not at the residence all year round. When the mother is not around, the child would inevitably have lots of disadvantages. The other people in the Shen residence all have ulterior motives and how would they teach this young girl how to mix and match sincerely? Thus in the long run, Shen Miao could only follow Shen Qing and Shen Que and pick what they say were nice.
For example, that light yellow material was indeed complement to her skin but it looks too cheap and somewhat childish. Coupled with those golden jewellery, she look like some daughter of a landlord.
Gu Yu and rest of them persuaded her to throw away those jewelleries but she was subconsciously stubborn and rushed to be humiliated.
This was indeed hilarious.