To go or not to go?
Ah Luo hesitated for a while, “Father invited a gentleman tutor for me, tomorrow he’ll come over…”
In fact, she wanted to go. In her previous life she had missed too many things, so in this life she wanted to make up for all of it. Moreover, there was also Song Hui. Song Hui was the legitimate eldest grandson of Count Zhongyi’s residence and was doted on a lot. To Count Zhongyi’s wife, he was the apple of her eye and the joy of her heart. Normally, she couldn’t even bear to scold him. Even Madam Du had to treat him courteously whenever she saw him. Nevertheless, Song Hui was very good to Ah Luo, he loved her as if she was his own younger sister.
Ah Luo hadn’t thought much about it before, but now she had to wonder, how much of Song Hui’s feelings for her had been sincere? Probably not too much, otherwise he wouldn’t have immediately turned around to marry Wei Zheng.
Wei Changxian waved her worries away, his manner like someone who had been around the block a few times: “Tomorrow is his first visit, he definitely won’t start teaching you anything. After you’ve seen the gentleman, you should meet up with me again so we can go. Little sister Ah Luo, this dog contest will be really fun, if you don’t see it, you’ll regret it later…”
Ah Luo’s lips lifted in a smile, lowering her head gently, “Alright then, I’ll come. Third elder brother must protect me, I’m afraid the dog will bite me…”
Wei Changxian was nodding repeatedly, “Very well, I’ll protect you.”
From the youngest generation in Duke Ying’s residence, there were altogether five young ladies. The eldest miss was out with the eldest madam. She was going to marry next year. Her husband, Sun Ying, was the son of a great general. The eldest miss had recently been busy making her bridal clothes and embroidering her veil. Finding her at rest was highly unlikely. The second miss, Wei Di, was timid by nature, and didn’t like to play with them. The third miss Wei Ya and the fifth miss Wei Zheng got along well. Their ages were also close to Wei Luo, but Wei Changxian didn’t enjoy taking them out to play. He thought the both of them were too noisy, bringing them together, they would chirp endlessly, even worse than sparrows. In comparison, he preferred the cute as a flower Wei Luo, especially her quick-witted, clever eyes. One could immediately tell she was a spirited girl. From all the younger sisters, she was the one he was happiest to hang out with. In addition, the fourth madam was more intimate with Ah Luo, so Wei Changxian and Wei Changchi’s relationship with Ah Luo was much better compared to the rest of the young girls. Like for this dog contest, Wei Changxian wished to bring Ah Luo, rather than Wei Ya and Wei Zheng.
Ah Luo had just nodded in agreement, when she felt a hand tugging at her sleeve from behind. Turning to look, she saw Changhong pursing his tender pink lips into a line, looking at her with his big reticent eyes, not saying a word.
He clearly didn’t want her to go.
Changhong disliked speaking in front of others. Even though they lived in the same residence, he was not that familiar with the third or fourth elder brothers. Meeting them, he basically wouldn’t even utter a greeting. Today, if it wasn’t for Wei Luo coming over, he also wouldn’t have run over to the fourth branch house.
Ah Luo could see what he was thinking and asked with a grin: “Does Changhong also want to go?”
Wei Changhong gaped, unconsciously shaking his head. He didn’t like Song Hui, and didn’t like Count Zhongyi’s residence. He was definitely not going, so he was naturally hoping that Wei Luo wouldn’t either.
Ah Luo pretended not to notice. Since she had already witnessed Song Hui’s personal character, she wasn’t going to involve herself with him too much in this life. As for their marriage, she was absolutely not going to marry Song Hui, but she wanted to feel him out… Ah Luo said to Wei Changxian: “Third elder brother, can Changhong also go? I’ll look after him well.”
Wei Changxian nodded in agreement, thought for a bit and added: “Let’s call third and fifth younger sisters to go as well, it’ll be livelier with more people.”
Although he didn’t like playing together with Wei Ya and Wei Zheng, having many people to cheer for him during the key moment was also good. He wanted to show off in the contest, he couldn’t always lose to Song Hui.
Wei Luo rolled her eyes, her pursed lips breaking into a smile, “Alright, I’ll tell Wei Zheng as soon as I go back.”
With everything settled, Ah Luo and Changhong remained at the fourth branch house for a while, staying over to eat with the fourth madam at noon, and returning to Pine courtyard in the afternoon. Ah Luo told Wei Zheng of their plan to visit Count Zhongyi’s residence tomorrow. Count Zhongyi’s house could be partly considered as Madam Du’s maternal home, so Wei Zheng, certainly willing to go, immediately agreed.
Once Wei Kun returned in the evening, Ah Luo spoke to him about this matter. Thinking that the gentleman wouldn’t start teaching tomorrow, he allowed the children to go play. Just a few days ago Ah Luo had experienced something frightful, so it was a good idea to let her relax her mind.
The next morning, Wei Kun brought the three of them to meet the tutor.
Teacher Xue was an old man in his fifties, with the air of a scholar about him, full of wisdom and experience. When he spoke, his dangling mustache would jump up and down, looking very amusing. The female teacher on etiquette was Mrs. Han. Mrs. Han was over 40 this year. Rumors said she used to be a palace maid serving the Dowager Consort, before leaving the palace. The Dowager Consort was deeply fond of her for her great accomplishments and graceful temper, as well as her secret method of maintaining her appearance. Despite her age, she still looked like a young lady in her twenties, with an exquisite white skin, an elegant figure, earning the envy of a great deal of madams. During those days, because the Dowager Consort had her by her side, she was most favored, frequently receiving the Retired Emperor’s love.
Wei Luo knew of Mrs. Han’s past, and looked at her with shining eyes. It would be great if she could learn that secret of hers. Not only a beautiful appearance, but also the finest temperament, how could she not take advantage?
Once Wei Luo was done making plans, she obediently stepped forward to greet the two teachers. She showed respect to Mr. Xue and Mrs. Han, by serving them individually a cup of tea, saying in a sweet small voice: “Teacher, please have some tea.”
Mr. Xue nodded, and Mrs. Han also showed a faint smile, evidently satisfied with this student.
Though a little stiff, Wei Changhong still followed Wei Luo’s example by serving tea.
On the other hand, Wei Zheng pouted from start to finish, her whole face showing reluctance. Eventually, Wei Kun had to call her over, before she slowly went to pour tea, greeting the teachers.
Having this contrast, it highlighted Wei Luo’s sensibility all the more. Although Mrs. Han was a palace maid, she was close to the Dowager Consort, so many people had to show her courtesy. When Wei Kun had sent people to ask her to act as a teacher, she hadn’t wished to agree, but in order to preserve Duke Ying’s dignity, she had nodded. At first, she had believed the two delicate misses were pampered and spoiled since childhood, their ages also young, with poor discipline. She hadn’t expected to find among them such a well-behaved child, whose laughing face showed two shallow dimples on her cheeks, looking charming. Mrs. Han liked Wei Luo at a glance, and didn’t feel that the job would be hard.
The two teachers decided on a good schedule. Mr. Xue would give lessons in the morning, and in the afternoon Mrs. Han would teach etiquette. The classes would officially start tomorrow. They said a few words explaining the rules, as Wei Luo kept nodding. Half an hour later, they let them go.
Wei Changxian already couldn’t wait, he’d ordered people to check on Pine courtyard several times. As soon as they came out, he eagerly led them to Count Zhongyi’s residence.