Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 25: Jin Miao Went Crazy (Part 2)
Chu Jin Yao paused. Although Third Young Lady added a lot of emotions, there were no issues in matters before and after the event thus she could only reply, “It is as such.”
Seventh Young Lady immediately turned around to ask Madam Yan, “Mother, isn’t it obvious that she tore up another’s collection of poems? Otherwise, would Chu Jin Miao tear it up herself?”
Third Young Lady added on hurriedly, “When we left, the collection of poems were shown to others and at that time, it was perfectly fine.” Third Young Lady turned to look at Sixth Young Lady, “Sixth Younger Sister, you were also present. Is it correct?”
Sixth Young Lady glanced at Chu Jin Yao hesitantly. There seemed to be a thousand words in her eyes, but she sighed in the end, “Yes.”
Sixth Young Lady’s actions further corroborated everyone’s speculation and the whispering in the room became louder. Chu Jin Yao’s eyes were looking at her nose, her nose was pointing to her heart as she remained unmoved. Old Furen slammed the table forcefully and her tone of voice sounded particularly fierce, “Fifth Young Lady, did you tear the collection of poems?”
“No.” Chu Jin Yao’s reply was bright and loud, her neck straight. She suddenly thought of a loophole, “There was only me in the rear room and I cannot argue about it, but I really did not touch her poetry collection. I have a clear conscience on this point. Fourth Young Lady said that her collection of poems is torn, but who would know if she only has one collection of poems? What if she has another copy? One copy was long torn and she had another perfectly fine copy. In the beginning, she showed us a perfectly fine copy and upon her return, she exchanged it with a torn one. To be this secretive, who would know if it was her that tore it up or someone else?”
“You falsely accuse me!” Chu Jin Miao’s heart jumped and she was inexplicably flustered. She said in a sharp tone, “On what basis do you say I tore it myself? Why would I do that? Do you have any evidence to even falsely accuse me as such?”
“Then do you have evidence? You dared to falsely accuse me and said that I tore your poem collection up.” Chu Jin Yao fixed her eyes on Chu Jin Yao and argued tit for tat, “Did anyone see me tearing your things up? No, then on what basis do you say that it was me? Who knows if you have a copy or not.”
“I do not have!” Chu Jin Miao shouted, “I have only one sole copy and my maids and Momos can prove it!”
“You also said that those are your maids and Momos, so of course, they will side with you!”
“You…” Chu Jin Miao was so angry. Chu Jin Yao looked like one who loved talking and laughing so she had an amiable personality, how could she be this fierce when quarrelling!
Lin Xi Ning was also secretly stunned into silence. Fifth Younger Sister had an appearance of a wealthy flower and would usually smile sweetly, he did not think that she would not even give a little in when quarrelling and was even fiercer than the common shrew. The rest of the Furens also thought that she indeed grew up among the common folk. Look at this quarrelling stance, which young lady would be as articulate and sharp as her?
“Everybody stop.” The Old Furen scolded angrily, “All these noises, do all of you still have the image of a lady?”
Chu Jin Yao glared at Chu Jin Miao fiercely before retracting her gaze. Chu Jin Miao was so angry that her fingers were trembling, but in front of Old Furen, she dared not make trouble and could only tolerate it.
Old Chu Furen asked, “Fourth Young Lady, let me ask you. How many copies of the collection of poems do you have?”
Chu Jin Miao’s heart shuddered but she gritted her teeth, “There is only one copy.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am sure.”
Old Chu Furen sighed. “Fifth Young Lady said that she did not tear the collection of poems up and she was alone. This cannot be proven.”
Chu Jin Miao and Third Young Lady were overjoyed but they immediately heard Old Chu Furen continue speaking, “However, Fourth Young Lady said that she only has a single copy of the collection of poems, this also cannot be proven except by herself. The three of you are ladies of Marquis lineage but made a big fuss over something so small. Not mentioning throwing things around wilfully, to even bite one another and sow discord among sisters. From an outsider’s perspective, who would not laugh at our Marquis Chang Xin for not being proper? A family should unite to deal with the world but you all only fight with one another. This makes one’s teeth cold*. Gu Momo, bring the family discipline (aka the rod/stick) over.”
*Last 2 words taken from the idiom 唇亡齿寒, literal translation without the lips the teeth feel the cold. It means that all parties are intimately interdependent.
Gu Momo looked at the delicate young ladies and was hesitant, “Old Ancestress…”
“I said bring the family discipline over!” Old Chu Furen hit the table hard. Gu Momo no longer dared to speak and she quickly went to retrieve the family discipline.
Old Chu Furen stood up from the TaiShi chair and picked up the ruler, speaking to the entire hall of grandchildren, “Today, I’ve retrieved the family discipline, not only to discipline the three of them but also to let you all bear it in mind. It is always said that when brothers are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal. If you continue to use wicked thoughts on your own family then you will likewise be waited upon by the family discipline!”
Everybody was already standing with bated breaths when Gu Momo brought the family discipline earlier on and upon hearing Old Chu Furen words, they did not dare to even breathe loudly and said in unison, “Sincerely comply with Old Ancestress’ teachings.”
Upon seeing that these people were all intimidated, Old Chu Furen then walked to Chu Jin Miao and asked, “What were your mistakes?”
When Old Chu Furen brought the ruler out and stood in front of the three of them, their heads were lowered as they knelt. When Chu Jin Miao saw that Old Chu Furen questioned her first, she cried even harder. She had never suffered any physical pain since young and could not even take a harsh word, much less being hit on her palm. She cried till she hiccupped and said breathlessly, “I should not throw the bracelet and should not speak about returning home.”
And more? Chu Jin Miao thought for a while and said reluctantly, “I should not have said that Fifth Young Lady tore my things up without any evidence.”
“Yes.” Old Chu Furen nodded in satisfaction and continued, “Since you know that you are wrong, then your failure of etiquette will no longer be looked into. However, in front of so many people, without harsh punishments, it would not convince the masses. Stretch your hand out.”
Chu Jin Miao cried and refused to stretch her hand out. Madam Zhao also knelt on the ground in accompaniment, “Mother, Miao-er has been weak since young, so don’t use the family discipline? If you spare her this once, I will definitely discipline her upon returning.”
“No. If she is not beaten, she will not remember. Stretch your hands out!”
Chu Jin Miao stretched her hand out trembling and Old Chu Furen hit it firmly. Chu Jin Miao immediately retracted her hand. She was unable to straighten her fingers and refused to stretch her hand out.
Madam Zhao kept on begging for mercy while Lin Xi Ning could no longer watch on, standing out to speak, “ZuMu, Young Biao Sister knows her mistake, so please spare her this time.” He then muttered softly, “It is after all not her fault.”
Chu Zhu secretly reached out and pinched Lin Xi Ning, signalling him not to speak. However, upon seeing Chu Zhu’s expression, she obviously felt that Old Chu Furen’s punishment for Chu Jin Miao was too severe.
It was obviously someone else that should be beaten.
Old Furen had originally planned to hit Chu Jin Miao twice. She had wanted to hit Chu Jin Miao to show that everyone had equal treatment and rectify this air of internal fighting. She had no intention of punishing Chu Jin Miao harshly. However, Chu Jin Miao refused to extend her hand after one hit and she was openly challenging Old Chu Furen’s authority. Old Chu Furen felt somewhat annoyed in heart and that this granddaughter was spineless and could not be seen in public. Her face turned darker. Gu Momo saw that the situation was not right and quickly stood out to smooth out the situation, “Old Ancestress, you must not be angry. It would be our wrongdoings if you get angry. If Old Ancestress does not mind, why not give the ruler to this old servant and let this old servant discipline the young ladies.”
Madam Yan and the rest echoed and Old Chu Furen said in passing, “Alright.”
Gu Momo took the family discipline from Old Chu Furen’s hands and said to Chu jin Miao, “Fourth Young Lady, you should suffer one more time but in consideration of your weak health, this hit will be retained. Hope that you will remember Old Ancestress’ teachings and not disappoint Old Ancestress’ expectations.”
Madam Zhao responded in compliance and even though there were streams of tears on both of Chu Jin Miao’s cheeks, she nodded repeatedly in tears. Gu Momo was rather satisfied with Chu Jin Miao’s attitude of admitting her mistakes and walked to the next one, speaking to Third Young Lady, “Young Lady, please stretch your hand out.”
Third Young Lady could not stop scolding in her heart. She really had eight lifetimes of bad luck to even encounter such an event. Chu Jin Miao and Chu Jin Yao, the real and fake lady, were quarrelling, so what did it have to do with her? On what basis should she be beaten? There were so many people present so no matter how thick her skin was, Third Young Lady knew not to act like a spoilt child and could only stretch her hand out. Gu Momo’s arm moved a bit and Third Young Lady quickly stepped back to dodge.
Old Furen was unable to put up with Third Young Lady’s action anymore, “You are the same. You are the older sister but still let the two younger sisters quarrel. This is your mistake as an elder sister. You are hit today so you remember that two Chus cannot be written in a stroke. A family of sisters’ glory and losses are tied together. It is a big mistake for you to think of watching the fire burn at the side.”
Old Furen sat on the chair and after she finished teaching Third Young Lady, Gu Momo then stepped up to hit her palm. Even though Gu Momo was doing it on Old Furen’s behalf, she was after all a servant and was not qualified to speak of the young ladies’ misgivings. She could only take action after Old Furen finished speaking.
Third Young Lady dodged and was hit once before she withdrew her hands and was unwilling to be hit again. She was not stupid. Chu Jin Miao was only hit once even though she had the most serious mistakes, but she was only the fish in the moat*, so on what basis should she be hit twice?
*Taken from the second half of the idiom 城门失火 殃及池鱼. Literal translation: A fire in the city guest is also a calamity for the fish in the moat. It means that the bystander will also suffer.
Upon seeing this, Gu Momo could only put a pretense and say a few words to pass it over before walking over to Chu Jin Yao.