Chapter 138 Part 1The Funeral at Wen Fu, Handling Ruo Xue
Having heard what was said, Yun Qian Meng gently lifted up the curtains and looked at gates of Wen Fu. This time there were a few hundred scholars kneeling down beside the gates of Wen Fu. Everyone was wearing hemp mourning garments and shedding painful tears facing Wen Fu, and this situation appearing in the doorway of Wen Fu seemed to be an extremely normal thing, as it did not attract too much attention from the guests who came by to send their condolences.
“Let’s park the carriage here! Let’s walk over there!” But judging by this kind of situation, Imperial Tutor Wen’s expert in literary skills were truly genuine, not to mention all those scholars who voluntarily came to bow down before him, even those high officials in the imperial court, as well as their furen and xiaojie also did not dare to put on their usual arrogant appearance in front of Wen Fu. All of them quietly came down from their carriages in a distant place. Afterwards they quietly stepped inside Wen Fu to light up the incenses, showing their ultimate respect to Imperial Tutor Wen.
“Yes!” Xi Lin responded in a low voice, afterwards he found a place with fewer people, settled down the horse carriage, then lifted up the curtains allowing Yun Qian Meng to come down from the carriage.
“You can just wait here. Yuan Dong and Mu Chun will be sufficient enough to accompany me.” Xi Lin being the personal bodyguard of Chu Fei Yang, it was inevitable for him to bring sword with him. His body also contained the murderous spirit which had been cultivated during his expeditions in the battlefields. Perhaps it will be disrespectful towards the deceased person. Yun Qian Meng allowed him to stay behind, in which he could also protect Ying Xia and Ying Qiu inside the horse carriage.
“Yes, furen!” As for Yun Qian Meng’s commands, Xi Lin usually followed them. Then he held the long sword in his arms then stood beside the horse carriage, not allowing anybody to have the chance to get near the horse carriage.
And Yun Qian Meng led Yuan Dong and Mu Chun as they turned around and proceeded to Wen Fu.
Because there were quite a huge number of scholars kneeling down before the doorway of Wen Fu, some of them had already reached the long road. Forget about horse carriages being able to pass through. Even if the people wanted to walk towards Wen Fu, they could only walk through the sides and edges of the long road, and the number of scholars were still continuously increasing, more scholars continuously came running from a distant place, joining the queues of people bowing and kneeling down.
Being her very first time to witness such scene, Yun Qian Meng could not help but admit that ideology had a lot of influence on others. The Wen family did not have any of their clan sitting in the imperial court, nor any of their woman in the imperial harem, yet they could stand in a lofty position for so many years without collapsing. Perhaps Emperor Yu Qian also very well aware of the lofty status and great respect that Imperial Tutor Wen had earned from all the scholars in the world. If he was being unfavorable to the Wen family, perhaps it will only cause all the scholars in the world to go against him and attack him.
Before approaching the Wen Fu, a middle aged man wearing hemp mourning clothes came rushing out from inside Wen Fu, his facial complexion was slightly sallow, both eyes flushed, eyes swollen, two thick brows were tightly knitted together, giving the observer a calm and sophisticated feeling upon looking at him.
And behind him the two manservant followed, although they were still young, but their faces appeared to be so tired, perhaps since the moment Imperial Tutor Wen passed away, no one inside Wen Fu was able to take a good rest.
That middle aged man stepped out of the threshold Wen Fu’s main gate. Facing those scholars who were kneeling down before the door while he cupped his hands and said “Everyone, I am the steward of Wen Fu. We are unfortunate these days, with Imperial Tutor’s passing away, I represent all the masters inside this house, to thank all of you for coming here to send off Imperial Tutor! But, my masters had said, now that it is too cold outside, the ground had been covered by a thick layer of snow, it is the most freezing moment, everyone please return to your homes after lighting the incenses for Imperial Tutor, please do not kneel down for too long, so as to avoid hurting your both knees!”
“Imperial Tutor……” When the steward of Wen Fu stopped, all the students cried and called out for Imperial Tutor Wen, one after another they sounded too tragic, making other people to shed their tears while hearing them.
“Mu Chun!” During this time, Yun Qian Meng had already arrived in front of Wen Fu’s gate, within the crying sound, Yun Qian Meng called out for Mu Chun in a lowered voice. Mu Chun immediately took the hints, she fetched out an envelope and handed it over to the steward of Wen Fu who was guarding by the doorstep.
After receiving the post the steward opened the envelope and looked, suddenly an expression of respect flashed through his face. Facing Yun Qian Meng he bent his waist and bowed, afterwards facing the doorkeeper he yelled “The Chu Xiang’s Furen has arrived!”
When the doorkeeper heard the voice, he immediately took out a writing brush, writing down Yun Qian Meng’s identity on a thick book of registry.
“Chu Furen, please come in!” Chu Fei Yang’s position was greatly recognized in Western Chu, of course the steward of Wen Fu will have to personally entertain Yun Qian Meng.
This time the entire Wen Fu was immersed in a huge sorrow. Although Imperial Tutor Wen had passed away last night, but the entire Wen Fu was already being covered by a layer of white cloth, it proved that their work was carried out quite efficiently. The garden in the lobby was already packed with people who came to console them, yet it didn't seem messy, every servant girl and manservant were handling their tasks orderly, it may be assumed that the masters Wen Fu were quite strict in disciplining their servants.
“Chu Furen, our old master’s mourning hall is in the main house of the lobby” The backyard was the dwelling place of the masters, naturally it would not allow anybody to easily go in and out of it, so as to avoid some unnecessary misunderstandings. In addition to that the Wen family had already known about Imperial Tutor Wen’s status, which was why they moved his mourning hall to the spacious lobby, so as to avoid being overly crowded.
Looking at the mourning hall before her eyes, Yun Qian Meng nodded her head at Yuan Dong and Mu Chun, hinting the two of them to wait outside of the door. She herself followed behind the steward of Wen family as they walked inside. Taking the incense sticks given to her by a servant girl she bowed down before Imperial Tutor Wen then personally inserted them inside the incense burner, afterwards she approached the furen who was crying beside the coffin, consoling her in a low voice “Furen, the deceased has been gone, please don’t be sorrowful.”
The old furen in front of her seemed to be more than seventy years of age, and assisting beside her were a few middle-aged women of around forty or fifty years of age, they were hanging down their heads shedding tears, they seemed very sad, yet they were still bearing noble demeanor.
“Old madames, furens, this is Chu Furen!” This time the steward of Wen Fu went ahead, then introduced the few persons one by one “Chu Furen, this is our Elder Furen, she is the daughter-in-law of Imperial Tutor, then the rest are the Elder Furen’s daughters-in-law, the wives of the few masters!”
“Oh, it’s actually Chu Furen, good to see you!” Hearing the steward’s explanation, that elderly Wen Furen immediately wiped of the tears in the corner of her eyes, as she spoke politely.
“Don’t be sad, Elder Furen, please be careful of your health! Being sad like this, if Elder Imperial Tutor saw that, he will also feel sad!” Standing in the midst of the mourning hall full of crying sounds, Yun Qian Meng could not help but also feel the melancholy.
The furen of Wen family simultaneously looked at Yun Qian Meng, all were amazed by Yun Qian Meng’s calm nature in such a young age, and the old furen seemed to be a bit lack of energy, she just simply smiled at Yun Qian Meng, afterwards she pointed at a daughter-in-law beside her and said “Pei Wen, you shall accompany Chu Furen then! Chu Furen, I am very old, forgive me for being unable to accompany you further!”
“No need to mention that, Elder Furen, I am the one who should be apologizing for disturbing you.” Seeing Elder Furen being very polite, Yun Qian Meng replied with a simple smile, then she nodded her head at everyone, then she walked out of the mourning hall guided by that Wen Furen.
“Chu Furen, I am the first wife of the second young master of Wen family. We didn't expect Chu Furen to personally come here today, please accept our apologies for not being able to entertain you appropriately.” That Er Furen was quiet, her body contained a strong smell of books, perhaps only Wen family will be able to nurture such kind of woman!
Seeing her simple smile, Yun Qian Meng’s eyes brightened. She knew that this Wen Er Furen was a noble and educated person, then she smiled and replied “Er Furen, what are you talking about! I saw the servants had taken care of things well-organized, how can it be inappropriate? But since Elder Imperial Tutor has passed away, perhaps the furen will have to endure the hardships for a while.”
Seeing Yun Qian Meng’s face being sincere when she said those words, that Wen Er Furen’s eyes flickered with honesty, although there was a huge age difference between the two of them, but in her heart she liked this Chu Furen.
Although the Wen Fu did not interfere with the worldly affairs for so many years, but with regards to their status in the imperial court, every person in every official residence clearly knew about it. For Chu Fei Yang to be able to plead for marriage in a palace feast and married the eldest young lady of Yun Xiang Fu, perhaps this lady had an extraordinary character, or else with Chu Fei Yang’s strategic talents, will it be quite easy enough for him to marry any woman he likes?
Both of them were chatting to each other, without noticing they had already reached a courtyard in Wen Fu that was especially prepared for the women. This time the courtyard was already packed with all the women who came to condole. Seeing Wen Er Furen had personally led Yun Qian Meng to this area, they were a bit astonished. Afterwards, they regained their usual expression, a few ladies who were close to Yun Qian Meng and Qu Fei Qing during normal days were smiling as they nodded their heads acknowledging Yun Qian Meng, while those who were jealous of Yun Qian Meng’s luck were gathered together while they whispered to each other secretly.
“Sister-in-law!” Stepping inside the courtyard, she heard Chu Jie’s voice echoed from far away to a nearby area.
Yun Qian Meng and Er Furen turned their eyes to look at the same time, Chu Jie was dragging the Xie sisters with her one hand, behind her Madame Xie followed shaking her head while smiling wryly as they approached.
“Greetings to Er Niang, and to my three sisters!” Unexpectedly, Madame Xie had already brought the three of them to condole, particularly bringing along the two sisters of Xie family, that was truly peculiar.
Madame Xie smiled as she looked at Yun Qian Meng, seamlessly pulling Yun Qian Meng closer beside her, smiled and said “We came here together with Wang Ye. I initially planned to fetch you at Chu Xiang Fu, but Wang Ye said Chu Xiang will not be around the capital for these few days, it would be better for you to come over to attend this occasion, then we came here in advance! Have you taken your breakfast already, Meng’er? Don’t let yourself get hungry!”
With Madame Xie’s concerned look, and the sincere and credible eye expression, just like a loving mother, and Chu Jie and Xie sisters were smiling as they stood aside, they all looked kind, exhibiting a joyous scene in front of everybody.
Seeing Madame Xie being polite, Yun Qian Meng was filled with gratefulness as she replied “Thanks for your concern, Er Niang! But Qian Meng is all good!”
Madame Xie was scrutinizing Yun Qian Meng’s facial complexion and expression, seeing her rosy face, she nodded her head. Her gaze immediately shifted towards Wen Er Furen beside her, immediately bent her knees “Chu Wang Fu’s Madame Xie is here to meet the Furen!”
Wen Er Furen was initially standing aside, this time seeing Madame Xie introducing herself and also being polite, she immediately recognized that this person was certainly the second wife of the ambassador of the frontier region Chu Pei, Xie Shu Yi. Then she immediately greeted back “Chu Er Furen, don’t be too courteous. Today we are having too many guests, forgive forgive us for not being able to fully entertain you.”
Seeing Er Wen Furen talking to her, Madame Xie politely smiled and said “What makes you say that Er Furen, the things inside the house were being handled in an orderly manner, a while ago these ladies were praising you for that! But unfortunately, Elder Imperial Tutor was gone too soon, me and my husband were initially planning to visit Elder Imperial Tutor after the new year, but now it was already two worlds apart!”
While speaking, the smiling expression in Madame Xie’s face gradually faded away. The expression of gloominess was shown on her face, the tears in her eyes slided down from the face without any explanation, feeling very sorry for not being able to see Imperial Tutor Wen before it's too late.
Hearing her mentioned about her own grandfather, the sadness that Er Wen Furen had been trying hard to suppress was rose up again.Tears began to gradually form again in her both beautiful eyes, yet she restrained them back from falling down, then with a simple smile she replied “You are being thoughtful Chu Er Furen, grandfather will also know about it in heaven!”
Seeing the member of the host family tried hard to endure all the pain to comfort herself, Madame Xie immediately wiped dry the tears on her face. With a simple smile she said “Look what I’ve said, Er Furen, please do not bear it in mind! Lao Imperial Tutor actually had a long life, such kind of luck no one will ever be able to have it. This funeral was actually a happy event! After a while I shall get a bowl and chopsticks of food for Wang Ye, I believe Imperial Tutor Wen’s longevity will be able to bring the same to Wang Ye!”
While speaking, Madame Xie glanced at the women of four younger generation standing beside her, she smiled and said “Meng’er, you may also go ahead and greet the other furen and xiaojie, perhaps my conversation with Er Furen won’t be interesting for you! Jie’er, you must help your sister-in-law, don’t let her get hurt!”
Yun Qian Meng heard Madame Xie was quite concerned about her, she even allowed her very own daughter to assist her, then she smiled and said “There’s no need for that, Er Niang, Meng’er isn’t a child, why will I need to allow Jie’er to assist me. But on the contrary Wen Er Furen has already been standing for a long time, why don't we invite her to sit with us inside the hall for a little while, don't let her get too tired!”
While speaking, Yun Qian Meng moved aside, her beautiful eyes smiled as she looked at Wen Er Furen. Wen Er Fu Ren saw herself standing exactly in the doorway of the courtyard, afraid that she might block other people's path, also being instructed by her own mother-in-law to entertain Chu Furen, she then nodded her head and smiled, leading the few people as they entered the hall.
This time, the inner hall was already full of furen and xiaojie, even the four Lao Tai Jun from the four huge influential families and Yuan De Tai Fei were already impressively seated inside.Tthat proved the great importance of Wen family in everyone's heart.
Wen family treated everyone equally well, whether it was the royal families or the ordinary families of the officials, all were invited inside this hall, neither flattered nor despised, perhaps this was the aspect where it earned everyone's respect.
Seeing Yun Qian Meng and the others came in, the people who were sitting inside the hall glanced at them with different gaze one by one, Gu Lao Tai Jun and Chen Lao Tai Jun exposed smiling and kind faces, but Lin Lao Tai Jun’s eyes looked colder, Jiang Lao Tai Jun’s expression was indifferent, almost seemed as if she had never detected the slightest changes in the atmosphere.
As for Yuan De Tai Fei, her facial expression was even colder, her eyes were like cold blades as they glared at Yun Qian Meng, her face looked cold, so intimidating that no one dared to approach her.
“Qian Meng is pleased to meet Tai Fei, and a all the Lao Tai Jun!” Considering the usual etiquette, Yun Qian Meng simply bowed down before the few of them, her voice sounded loud and crisp, and it sounded sweet in the ears.
Come over here quickly!” Gu Lao Tai Jun was the one who loved Yun Qian Meng the most, before her voice dropped, she then gestured her to approach beside her, her warm hands immediately held on to Yun Qian Meng’s, checking to see they were frozen.
Feeling the faint warmth in Yun Qian Meng’s both hands, Gu Lao Tai Jun then nodded her head in satisfaction, afterwards she looked at Wen Er Furen, then she kindly smiled and said “Thank you for the trouble, Er Furen.”
Wen Er Furen was faced with so many highly respected Lao Tai Jun, also with the presence of this honorable Tai Fei like Yuan De Tai Fei, yet smiling lightly at her, in a calm expression she replied “Lao Tai Jun you are being too polite! Chu Furen is a person who gets along very well with others.”
Yun Qian Meng was observing Madame Xie’s facial expression. Since she had messed up Madame Xie’s plan earlier, this time she did not seem the slightest bit of unhappy, even if all the people were not focused on her, her smile was still decent and dignified, not in the slightest intention of bringing disgrace to her status as the Er Furen of Chu Wang Fu.
But, thinking about her actions earlier, Yun Qian Meng suddenly realized something inside her mind.
She was actually being personally led by Wen Er Furen into the court, Madame Xie naturally was not able to publicly let her leave, but instead she found an excuse to let her go leaving no trace and also let Chu Jie look after her, but she did not let the two Xie sisters leave, this in turn hooked up Yun Qian Meng’s interest.
And during this time all the people's eyes shifted towards the two Xie sisters standing in the middle of the hall, perhaps the slightly exotic beautiful faces of the Xie sisters had attracted everyone's attention.
“These two girls are quite exquisitely beautiful! Such kind of beauties are actually quite rare in ou Westerni Chu!” This time, Jiang Lao Tai Jun simply smiled as she spoke, her gaze shifted from the Xie sisters to Madame Xie and Chu Jie “I presume this must be Governor Chu’s furen!”
Hearing Jiang Lao Tai Jun asking about it, Madame Xie immediately smiled and bent her knees “Madame Xie of Chi Wang Fu is pleased to meet Tai Fei, and all the elders! These two girls, are my nieces, since they were orphaned, I had allowed them to stay with me!”
Madame Xie told them Xie Wan Wan and Xie Yuan Yuan’s family history one more time, yet she failed to mention her own daughter Chu Jie.
Yun Qian Meng raised her brows as she stood beside Gu Lao Tai Jun, the corner of her mouth raised up a into a light but decent smile. Gu Lao Tai Jun lifted her eyes and glanced at her own granddaughter, with one hand she gently tapped Yun Qian Meng’s hand, giving her the silent support.
“They are actually natural beauties! That was very pitiful for the two children, but fortunately they have an aunt like you, or else they would be even more pitiful!” This time, the wife of the Ministry of Personnel who was accompanying and talking to the few Lao Tai Jun inside the hall spoke with a sigh.
Currently, Han Ying Bo is the third rank Jie Yu inside the palace. Han Furen’s status had actually promoted greatly, from her original position of being the fourth rank Gao Ming Furen, now she is already the second rank Gao Ming Furen, consequently she also had the right to speak.
“The Xie family’s Wan Wan, Yuan Yuan are here to meet all the elders, greetings everyone!” This time, Xie Wan Wan and Xie Yuan Yuan stepped forward at the same time, lowering down their heads as they slightly bowed down before all the people, the etiquette was comparable to the imperial family's princess and Jun Zhu, in addition to their charming faces and exquisite figures, they won over everyone's love even more.
“Chu Er Furen is very lucky, although you only have one daughter like Chu xiaojie, but if you didn't mention it, we will certainly think that the two Xie sisters are also your daughters!” Wen Er Furen retreated aside, then sat beside Han Furen, smiling as she spoke.
Seeing Wen Er Furen praising her like that, Madame Xie just humbly spoke “Er Furen, you have overpraised me! No matter how these two children look, I will still be their aunt, how can I allow them to be lonely and not to care anything about them! But after being together all these years, I feel like I am no different than their own mother!”
Having heard these words, all the people just nodded their heads and smiled, and during this time a servant girl quickly walked inside, her clever eyes took a glimpse at all the people inside the hall, then she immediately approached Wen Er Furen, after bowing down she respectfully reported “Er Furen, the Elder Furen asks you to proceed to the front yard. An imperial decree has arrived from the palace, it is waiting for all the masters to receive it.”
Having heard what was said, Wen Er Fu Ren was a bit stunned, yet she immediately calmed down, she slowly got up, bending her knees before the few elders seated in front, she apologized “I shall proceed to the front yard, please entertain yourselves!”
After speaking, Wen Er Fu Ren led the servant girl out of the hall.