A Dream of Red Mansions – Chapter 73


Chapter 73

A Foolish Maid by Chance Picks up

a Pornographic Pouch

A Timid Young Lady ignores the Loss

of Her Gold Phoenix Tiara

Concubine Zhao’s conversation with Jia Zheng was interrupted by a crash outside. Upon inquiry they found that one of the shutters of the outer room, not being properly secured, had clattered to the ground. Con­cubine Zhao reprimanded the maids and got them to fix it in place, then helped Jia Zheng to bed.

Meanwhile, in Happy Red Court, Baoyu had just gone to bed and his maids were thinking of turning in themselves when someone knocked at the gate. An old woman opened it to admit Xiaoque, a girl working for Concubine Zhao, who would not state her business but went straight in to find Baoyu already in bed, with Qingwen and some other maids sitting chatting beside him.

‘What’s happened?’ they asked. ‘What brings you here at this hour?’

Addressing herself to Baoyu, Xiaoque announced, ‘I’ve got some news for you. Just now my mistress was talking to Lord Zheng and I heard your name. So look out tomorrow if he sends for you.’

This said, she turned to leave.

Xiren urged her to stay for some tea, but for fear that the Garden gate would be closed she went off.

Baoyu instantly felt as distraught as Monkey King on hearing the incanta­tion to tighten the magic band around his head. Staggered, he racked his brains but could think of no way out except to cram in readiness for a test the following day. He fancied that if he could give correct answers from his books, other lapses would be overlooked and he might muddle through. Throw­ing a jacket round his shoulders he got up to study, thinking remorsefully, ‘I was sure he wouldn’t test me these first few days, so I let things slide and got rusty. If I’d known, I’d have done some revising every day.’

Now, the only ones of the Four Book he knew by heart together with the commentaries were the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean and the Analects. His knowledge of the first half of Mencius was so sketchy that if suddenly give one sentence from it he would be unable to recite what followed, and the whole of the second half had slipped his mind. When it came to the Five Classics, while writing poems himself he had browsed quite often through the Book of Songs and if questioned on that should be able to get by. It did not matter that he had forgotten the rest, as his father had never told him to study them. As for classical prose, in the past few years he had read several dozen works includ­ing the Zuo Annals, Anecdotes of the Warring States, the commen­taries of Gongyang and Guliang, and some writings of the Han and Tang dynasties no more than a few score works in all; but he was quite unable to quote from them, for he had only glanced at them when at a loose end and in the mood. Never having studied them hard, he had since forgotten them and if tested on them now would be floored.

Then there were the fashionable eight-section essays which he had always loathed, taking the view that as these were not written by sages or worthies they could not expound the wisdom of sages or worthies and were simply ladders by which later examination candidates climbed up to bureaucratic advancement. Jia Zheng before his departure had set him over a hundred essays of this kind to study. Baoyu had skipped through these, noting here and there a well-written paragraph or argument or certain digressions, amusing anecdotes or poignant sentiments. But this again was only when the mood took him. He had never given his mind to studying whole essays. If he prepared one now, tomorrow he might be examined on quite another; and it was out of the question to revise the whole lot in one night. These reflections made him more and more frantic.

While Baoyu was dilly-dallying over his studies, none of the girls in his place could go to bed either. It goes without saying that his chief maids Xiren, Sheyue and Qingwen trimmed candles and poured tea for him. The younger ones, however, were all so sleepy that they kept dozing off.

‘Little bitches!’ Qingwen scolded. ‘You all sleep like the dead every day ‘ are you so short of sleep that you can’t even sit up late for once? If you drowse off again I’ll jab you with a needle.’

Just then they heard a thump in the outer room and rushing out to look found that one young maid, falling asleep in her chair, had banged her head on the wall. She woke up with a start to hear this scolding and in her dazed state imagined that Qingwen had struck her.

‘Good sister,’ she cried tearfully, ‘I promise not to do it again!’

The others burst out laughing.

‘Don’t punish her,’ put in Baoyu hastily. ‘You should have sent them all to bed. And you must be tired yourselves. You’d better take it in turns to get some sleep.’

‘Just get on with your work, Little Ancestor,’ urged Xiren. ‘You’ve only this one night; so give your mind to those books for the time being. You’ll have plenty of time once you’ve passed this test to attend to other things.’

As she spoke in such earnest Baoyu had to comply. He went on read­ing. But presently when Sheyue poured him more tea to moisten his throat, he noticed that she was wearing a short jacket but had taken off her skirt.

‘It’s cold so late at night,’ he warned. ‘You should put on a gown.’

With a smile she pointed at his books.

‘Just forget us for the moment and concentrate on those.’

At this point Venturina dashed in through the back door declaring ex­citedly that someone had just jumped down from the top of the wall.

‘Gracious! Where?’ cried the others.

At once they called people out to search everywhere.

Qingwen saw how wearisome Baoyu found this cramming, and knew that if he wore himself out tonight he was likely to make a poor showing the next day. She had been wanting to find some way out for him and this alarm provided her with a pretext.

‘Take this chance to sham ill,’ she advised him. ‘Just pretend you’ve had a fright.’

Baoyu snatched eagerly at this suggestion.

The matrons on night duty were summoned to search everywhere with lanterns.

When they failed to find anyone they said, ‘The girls, going out half asleep, must have taken some branches tossed by the wind for a man.

‘Stop farting!’ retorted Qingwen. ‘You’re trying to shift the blame for not making a proper search. More than one person saw someone break in. Some of us had gone out with Baoyu, and we all saw it. It gave him such a fright that he turned white and now he’s feverish. I’m going to the mistress to get a sedative for him, and when she asks what’s happened I’ll have to report it in full. So how can you give up search­ing?’

At this the matrons dared not raise any further objections. They made a more thorough search while Qingwen and Venturina went off to fetch medicine, loudly spreading the news that Baoyu had fallen ill as a result of a shock. At once Lady Wang sent some of her own attendants to give him medicine, besides ordering those on night duty to search every nook and cranny of the Garden and check on the men on duty at the inner gate outside it. So they ransacked the Garden all night with lanterns and torches, and when dawn came the stewards were instructed to make careful investigations. They questioned all the matrons and men-servants who had been on night duty.

When the Lady Dowager heard of Baoyu’s fright and asked the rea­son they dared not hide it from her.

‘I guessed as much,’ said the old lady. ‘It shows how careless they are on the night watch nowadays. And what’s more serious is that some of them may even be thieves themselves. You can never tell.’

Lady Xing and Madam You had come over to pay their respects and were waiting on her with Xifeng, Li Wan and the girls. They all remained silent after this remark until Tanchun stepped forward.

‘It’s true that with Cousin Xifeng unwell the servants in the Garden have become much more disorderly,’ she said. ‘At first, they used to gather in threes or fours to dice or play cards for small stakes in their spare time, or to keep themselves awake when on night duty. But re­cently they’ve grown bolder. They’ve actually formed gambling clubs with someone acting as banker, and the stakes are as high as thirty, fifty or a hundred strings of cash. A fortnight ago they even started a fight.’

‘If you knew this why didn’t you report it before?’ demanded the old lady.

‘As Her Ladyship was busy and out of sorts and Cousin Xifeng was ill, I just told my sister-in-law and the stewardesses. I also reprimanded the servants several times, and lately they’ve behaved better.’

‘You unmarried young girls can’t be expected to know how serious this is. To you gambling is nothing much; you’re only afraid that it may lead to quarrels. But this gambling night after night leads to drinking and unlocking the gates to buy this, that and the other or send to look for someone. At the dead of night when few people are about, thieves may hide themselves there and debauchees and bandits can easily be smuggled in, and then anything could happen! Besides, in those places where you girls live in the Garden the maids are a mixed lot, some good and some bad. Pilfering isn’t of much consequence, but if worse trouble came of it there could be a scandal! This isn’t something we can pass over lightly.’

After this harangue Tanchun resumed her seat in silence.

Xifeng, though not fully recovered, was feeling a little better today. Having heard what the old lady said, she remarked, ‘It’s too bad my falling ill again at this time.’

She sent at once to summon Lin Zhixiao’s wife and three other stew­ardesses in charge of the maids and reprimanded them in the presence of the Lady Dowager, who ordered them to fetch the culprits forthwith, promising rewards to those who voluntarily gave information and threat­ening to punish any who withheld it. Seeing how angry she was, Mrs. Lin and the others dared not shelter their friends. They hurried to the Garden to summon and question all the servants in turn. Though at first everyone denied ever having gambled, in the end inevitably they arrived at the truth; there were three main bankers, eight minor ones, and more than twenty people involved in the gaming.

Haled before the Lady Dowager they all knelt down in the courtyard, kowtowing to beg for mercy. First she ascertained the names of the chief bankers and the sums of money involved. One was no other than a rela­tive of Lin Zhixiao; another was the younger sister of Mrs. Lin the cook in the Garden; the third was Yingchun’s nurse. These three were the ring-leaders. The rest need not be enumerated here. The Lady Dowager ordered all the dice and cards to be burned and all the winnings confis­cated and distributed among the other servants. The chief culprits were given forty strokes of the bastinado apiece then dismissed from service, with orders never to set foot there again. Their followers received twenty strokes apiece, were fined three months’ wages and demoted to clean the privies. Lin Zhixiao’s wife was also reprimanded.

Her relative’s disgrace mortified Mrs. Lin, and Yingchun too was embarrassed. Daiyu, Baochai and Tanchun sympathizing with her rose to beg the old lady to forgive her nurse.

‘That nanny never used to gamble,’ they pleaded. ‘She must have been drawn in accidentally. Do let her off for Cousin Yingchun’s sake.’

‘You don’t understand,’ said the Lady Dowager. ‘Those nannies are privileged because they nursed you. As a result they’re worse than anyone else when it comes to making trouble, setting their mistresses against each other and covering up the faults of their favourites. I’ve experience enough of that. I’ve been meaning to make an example of one of them and now, luckily, she’s presented me with the chance. So don’t interfere. I know what I’m doing.’

Then Baochai and the others could say no more.

Presently the old lady lay down to have a nap and the others with­drew; but knowing how angry she was they did not go straight home. Madam You chatted for a while in Xifeng’s place, and when Xifeng looked tired she left to pass the time with the girls in the Garden. Lady Xing after sitting a little with Lady Wang decided to take a stroll in the Garden too. She had just reached the gate when Sister Numskull, one of the Lady Dowager’s maids, came along chortling to herself over some gaudy object in her hands, and as her head was lowered bumped into Lady Xing. She looked up then and halted.

‘What outlandish toy have you got there that you’re so pleased, silly creature?’ asked Lady Xing. ‘Let me see it.’

This Sister Numskull, who was fourteen or fifteen, had recently been chosen to do rough jobs ‘ fetching water or sweeping the yard ‘ for the Lady Dowager. She was plump with a round face and big feet, a good, fast worker. And being ignorant and simple-minded she behaved and talked quite unconventionally. Since the old lady liked her rough-and­-ready ways and her ability to make people laugh, she gave her the nick­name Numskull and when she felt bored would make fun of her, letting her behave in any way she liked. For this reason she also called Numskull her crazy maid. So when the girl did anything wrong no one took her to task for it, knowing the old lady’s partiality to her. And this emboldened her when she was free to go and play in the Garden.

Today she had been catching crickets there when she saw behind a rock a gaily embroidered sachet. It was exquisitely made and very charm­ing, but on it in place of the usual flowers or birds were two naked figures locked in embrace, and on the other side some characters.

Not knowing that this was pornography the silly girl wondered, ‘Are these two monsters fighting? Or maybe a husband and wife tussling to­gether?’ Unable to make it out she had started back, chuckling to her­self, to show it to the Lady Dowager. In reply to Lady Xing’s question she said:

‘Yes, this really is very strange, madam. Do have a look.’ She handed her the pouch.

One glance at it so horrified Lady Xing that she clutched it tight.

‘Where did you find this?’

‘Behind a rock when I was catching crickets.’

‘Mind you don’t tell anybody! It’s something very wicked. You’d be beaten to death for picking it up if you weren’t such a fool. But you mustn’t mention it to anyone else.’

Numskull turned pale with fright.

‘I won’t!’ she promised, then kowtowed several times and went off quite bewildered.

Lady Xing looked round and saw some girls about. She stuffed the pouch into her sleeve to conceal it from them, wondering where it could have come from, then hiding her consternation went on to see Yingchun.

Yingchun was vexed and depressed by her nurse’s disgrace. When Lady Xing was announced she invited her in and tea was served.

‘You’re no longer a child,’ scolded Lady Xing. ‘Why didn’t you take your nurse to task for carrying on in that way? Other people’s ser­vants don’t misbehave, only ours ‘ how do you account for that?’

Yingchun lowered her head to play with her sash.

‘I did speak to her twice but she paid no attention,’ she muttered after a pause. ‘What more could I do? Besides, she’s my nanny. It’s for her to scold me, not for me to speak sharply to her.’

‘Nonsense. If you do wrong, of course she should pull you up; but when she breaks the rules like this you should assert your authority as mistress. If she wouldn’t obey you, why not report it to me? Once out­siders hear about this what fools we shall look!’

‘Another thing, to raise money for her bank I daresay she wheedled you, soft and spineless as you are, into lending her some trinkets and clothes to pawn. If she’s swindled you I haven’t a cent to help you redeem your trinkets and clothes for the coming festival.’

Yingchun, her head lowered, just fingered her clothes in silence.

Lady Xing laughed scornfully.

‘Your fine brother and sister-in-law, Master Lian and Madam Lian, are high and mighty. They control this household and run everything but pay no attention to you, their only younger sister. If you were a child of my own and discriminated against, there’d be nothing we could do about it. Yet you’re not my own child. But even though you and Lian didn’t have the same mother, at least you have the same father; so he ought to show a little consideration instead of making people laugh at you.

‘It’s a mystery to me the way things turn out. Your mother was Lord She’s concubine, Tanchun’s mother Lord Zheng’s concubine, and by rights you two should have the same status. When your mother was alive she was ten times better than Concubine Zhao, so you should be superior to Tanchun. How come, then, you’re not half as good? Isn’t it strange? Well, I’m thankful I’ve no children of my own to make a laughing-stock of me.’

Some servants waiting on them interposed, ‘Our young lady’s good-hearted and honest, not like Miss Tanchun who talks so glibly and likes to score off her cousins. She knows very well how it is with our young mistress but never shows the least concern for her.’

‘What can you expect when her own brother and sister-in-law treat her like that?’

Just then the arrival of Xifeng was announced.

Lady Xing snorted.

‘Ask her to go back and rest to get over her illness. I don’t need her services here.’

Then another maid came to report that the old lady had woken up, whereupon Lady Xing took her leave.

‘Now what’s to be done?’ asked Xiuju when Yingchun came back from seeing off Lady Xing. ‘The other day I told you, miss, that gold filigree phoenix tiara inlaid with pearls was missing, but you wouldn’t even ask what had happened to it. When I said nanny must have pawned it to raise money for gambling, you didn’t believe me and told us to ask Siqi where she had put it. I did. And though she was ill she remembered quite distinctly that it hadn’t been put away but left in a case on the bookshelf for you to wear during the Moon Festival. You should have asked nanny about it, only you’re too soft and afraid of offending people. Now it’s missing, won’t it look odd if you’re the only young lady not wearing one tomorrow?’

‘There was no need to ask,’ said Yingchun. ‘Of course she took it to tide her over. I thought she’d smuggled it out and would smuggle it back again in a day or two, but apparently she forgot. It’s no use asking her now that she’s in trouble.’

‘How could she have forgotten? She knows you too well and was simply taking advantage of you, miss. I’ve just had an idea. Why not let me go and report this to Madam Lian? She can either send to demand it back or just get it out of hock for her with a few strings of cash. What do you think?’

‘Don’t do that,’ demurred Yingchun hastily. ‘Let’s not make any fuss. I’d rather lose it than stir up more trouble.’

‘How can you be so soft, miss?’ protested Xiuju. ‘If you’ll never stand up for your rights, some day you’ll be spirited away yourself! Bet­ter let me go.’ She started off and Yingchun had no way to stop her.

Now the wife of Wang Zhu the old nurse’s son had come to beg Yingchun to intercede for her mother-in-law, but she stayed outside when she heard this talk about the gold phoenix tiara. Yingchun was so weak that none of the servants were afraid of her. If Xiuju reported this to Xifeng, however, it would be serious. So Mrs. Wang came in, with an ingratiating smile, to make her appeal.

First she begged Xiuju,’Please don’t go, miss, to stir up trouble. My mother-in-law, being old and muddle-headed, borrowed your young lady’s phoenix tiara because she’d lost some money and had no means of win­ning it back. She meant to redeem it in a day or two, but she didn’t recoup her losses and that delayed her. Then, as ill luck would have it, someone told tales and landed her in trouble. Still, we can’t keep some­thing belonging to your mistress. We’ll redeem it without fail.’ She turned to Yingchun. ‘Do us a favour, miss. As she nursed you at her breast when you were small, go and ask the old lady to let your old nanny off.’

‘It’s out of the question, sister,’ replied Yingchun. ‘Even if I pleaded for a year it wouldn’t be any use. Just now Cousin Baochai, Cousin Daiyu and the other girls tried to beg her off, but the old lady wouldn’t hear of it. How much more could I do alone? Besides I’ve been humili­ated enough. Why should I go asking for another snub?’

Xiuju put in, ‘Redeeming the tiara and asking a favour are two quite different things. Don’t mix them up. Or do you mean you won’t give it back if our young lady doesn’t get her off? Go and fetch the tiara first.’

Yingchun’s refusal and Xiuju’s taunt left Wang Zhu’s wife at a mo­mentary loss. Then, in her mortification, she took advantage of Yingchun’s good temper to round on her maid.

‘Don’t be so smug, miss!’ she cried. ‘In all the different young masters’ and mistresses’ households, which nurse or nanny doesn’t get certain perks. Why expect us to be so scrupulous? Are you maids the only ones allowed to filch things on the sly? After Lady Xing’s niece came here, Her Ladyship ordered us to save one tael of silver a month for her sister-in-law; so here we are spending more on Miss Xiuyan while getting one tael less. And when you’re short of this or that we have to provide it. Who goes to ask for more money? We just make do some­how. We’re out of pocket by at least thirty taels. Now it seems we’ve been spending our money all for nothing…

Not waiting for her to finish, Xiuju spat in disgust.

‘On what have you spent thirty taels for us? Let’s work it out. What has our young lady asked you for?’

As the woman had cast aspersions on Lady Xing. Yingchun hastily interrupted, ‘That’s enough. If you can’t produce my tirara, at least don’t drag in other things and raise this rumpus. I don’t want that tiara. If Their Ladyships ask about it I’ll tell them I’ve lost it, so as not to involve you. Better go back and rest now.’ She told Xiuju to bring her some tea.

Instead the girl exploded, ‘You may not mind, miss, but how about us who are supposed to be looking after you? After filching your things they even accuse you of sponging on them and want their money back! If Her Ladyship asks you why and how so much was spent, people may think we’ve been squeezing you! That would be dreadful!’ She burst into tears.

Siqi could not let this pass either and dragged herself out of bed to take Xiuju’s side. Unable to stop their dispute, Yingchun picked up Retri­bution for Good and Evil and started reading it.

It so happened that Baochai, Daiyu, Baoqin and Tanchun had agreed to come together to cheer Yingchun up, guessing that she must be mop­ing. They reached the courtyard as the three servants were squabbling. And Tanchun peeping through the window was amused to see Yingchun sitting on the couch reading, oblivious of the row. A small maid hastily raised the porti ‘ re and announced the young ladies’ arrival. Yingchun put down her book and got up while Mrs. Wang, seeing Tanchun among the visitors, quieted down of her own accord and prepared to slip out.

Tanchun sat down and asked, ‘Who were talking in here just now? It sounded like a quarrel.’

‘Not really,’ Yingchun told her. ‘They were making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s nothing to worry about.’

Tanchun smiled.

‘I heard something about a gold phoenix and ‘sponging on us ser­vants.’ Who’s been asking the servants for money? Have you, cousin? Don’t you get your monthly allowance just like the rest of us?’

‘Of course she does,’ cried Siqi and Xiuju. ‘All the young mistresses get the same and their nurses and nannies make free with their money, never keeping any account, just asking for what they need. But now she claims that our young lady overspent and they had to make it up. When did our mistress ever ask them for anything?’

‘If my cousin hasn’t, they must mean we have. Call her in. I want to get this clear.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ protested Yingchun. ‘This doesn’t concern you, so why involve yourself with her?’

‘That’s not so,’ retorted Tanchun. ‘We’re in the same boat, cousin, so your business is mine too. If she’s rude to you, she’s rude to me as well. You’d feel the same if you heard someone in my place complaining about me. Of course, as mistresses we don’t worry about trifling ex­penses, just ask for whatever we want ‘ yes, that does happen. But what was that about your gold phoenix tiara?’

Wang Zhu’s wife hurried in now to defend herself before Xiuju and Siqi could accuse her. And Tanchun seeing this smiled.

‘How stupid you are!’ she sneered. ‘As your mother-in-law’s in trouble you should beg Madam Lian to redeem the tiara with some of the winnings still left, to settle the matter. It’s not as if we don’t know about this, so we could have covered it up to save her face. Since she’s already lost face, whatever crimes she’s charged with she can only be punished once ‘ nobody has two heads to be chopped off. So if I were you I’d appeal to Madam Lian. It’s outrageous to make a scene here.’

The woman could not deny the truth of this, but she dared not go to confess the theft to Xifeng.

‘If I hadn’t heard about it that would be different,’ Tanchun contin­ued. ‘But now that I know about this I shall have to help you out.’

She signalled to Shishu, who slipped out of the room. And the others went on talking until suddenly Pinger came in.

‘Cousin Tanchun must have magic powers,’ giggled Baoqin clapping her hands. ‘She can summon goddesses.’

‘This isn’t Taoist magic,’ Daiyu chuckled. ‘It’s the first rate mili­tary tactic called ‘guarded as a virgin, swift as a hare’ to catch your opponent off guard.’

Baochai shot them a warning glance and they dropped the subject.

‘Is your mistress any better?’ Tanchun asked Pinger. ‘Her illness has really made her lose her wits. She’s let everything slide, and we’re the ones who suffer.’

‘What do you mean, miss?’ asked Pinger hastily. ‘Tell me who’s dared to offend you.’

Wang Zhu’s wife stepped forward, very flustered, to urge her, ‘Please take.a seat, miss, and let me explain.’

‘Who are you to butt in when the young ladies are talking?’ de­manded Pinger sternly. ‘If you had any manners, you’d wait outside till you were sent for. It’s unheard of for servants from outside to enter the young ladies’ rooms without any reason.’

‘You should know we have no manners here,’ put in Xiuju. ‘People barge in whenever they please.’

‘That’s your fault,’ retorted Pinger. ‘Your young lady is good-na­tured, but you should put people out and then report them to Her Lady­ship.’

Seeing that Pinger was red in the face with anger, Mrs. Wang finally withdrew.

Tanchun resumed, ‘Let me tell you: if anyone else offended me I’d not make an issue of it. But this woman and her mother-in-law, because Yingchun’s so sweet-tempered and she’s her nanny, smuggled out her trinkets so that she could gamble and then cooked up a false account to blackmail Yingchun into getting her off. Wang Zhu’s wife had a big row with these two maids in the bedroom, and Yingchun couldn’t control her. It was too much for me: that’s why I asked you over. Tell me, has that woman, coming from another planet, no sense at all? Or has someone put her up to this to get Yingchun to knuckle under first, and after that Xichun and me?’

‘What an idea, miss!’ declared Pinger with a smile. ‘How could our mistress stand up to such a charge?’

Tanchun smiled cynically.

‘As the proverb says, ‘Everyone feels for his fellow creatures.’ And ‘When the lips are gone the teeth will feel the cold.’ How can I help being alarmed?’

Pinger asked Yingchun, ‘What’s your opinion, miss? A little business like this is easy to handle, but she’s your nanny’s daughter-in-law after all.’

Yingchun, reading Retribution for Good and Evil with Baochai, had not even heard what Tanchun was saying.

‘Why ask me?’ she replied. ‘There’s nothing I can do. They brought this on themselves. I can’t get them off but I shan’t blame them either. If they bring back the tiara I’ll take it; if not I won’t demand it. If the mistresses ask about it and I’m able to cover up for them, they’ll be in luck; if I can’t, there’s no more I can do. I can’t lie to the mistresses for their sake ‘ I have to tell the truth. If you say I’m too soft and can’t make up my mind, while you have a good plan to please all parties with­out annoying the mistresses, just go ahead with it ‘ I don’t need to know it.’

This answer amused them all.

Daiyu chuckled, ‘This is really a case of ‘descanting upon religion while tigers and wolves gather at one’s gate.’ What would happen to this household if you were a man and had to keep it in order?’

‘Many men are the same, so why laugh at me?’ answered Yingchun.

As she was speaking a new arrival walked in. If you want to know who it was read the following chapter.

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