Our household’s Second Young Master was a rich, spoiled brat, and the whole of Hangzhou City knew it.
The Yang family ran the biggest silk shop in the country and was extremely wealthy. There were two young masters in the household. Everyone would talk about the eldest son, Yang Yifang, with admiration. He was a genius in Hangzhou City, having achieved the highest academic qualification, and his good looks only added to his grandeur.
The second son, Yang Yiqi, was an interesting character - not many people could make people frown when they heard their name. He was a year younger than his elder brother, but his intelligence and moral character were far inferior. It was said that you could tell a man's character when he was three years old, and sure enough, during the New Year's banquet at the Yang household, a long line of tables and chairs were set up, and the most famous theatrical troupe in the capital was invited to perform. Halfway through the show, the actors suddenly screamed, and everyone saw a figure crawling out from under the actress' skirt - it was none other than our Second Master.
So that day, almost everyone in the city knew that Yang Yiqi, at three years old, had already been climbing into the skirts of actresses. The old master and madam were so embarrassed they almost fainted. Later, the old master invited four or five teachers, old and young, strict and kind, but none of them could handle him.
But luckily, the eldest son was very ambitious, and the old master and madam gradually stopped paying attention to the second son. They gave him some money every month and let him do whatever he wanted, while they focused all their attention on the eldest son.
Oh, I haven't introduced myself yet. Since I call Yang Yiqi "our Second Master", I must be from the Yang household. That's right, I'm the Second Master's maidservant, sold to the Yang household when I was eight. I started off in the kitchen, but later I was transferred to the Second Master's courtyard to help out. I was transferred there personally by the madam - if you think it was because of my beauty that I was transferred to be the Second Master's maidservant, then you're wrong. In fact, it was because of my ugliness.
I don't think I'm that ugly, I'm just a bit short, my face is a bit round, my eyes are a bit small, and my arms are a bit thick. Other than that, I'm still a pretty decent girl.
But when I entered the Second Master's courtyard, I knew I was wrong. My looks weren't even human there - I was like a monkey, or even a wild monkey from the mountains who wasn't groomed.
Later, someone told me that the reason I was transferred there was because the Second Master had slept with all the women in his courtyard. The maidservants were all jealous and backstabbing, and no one was doing their job properly.
The first day I went to greet the Second Master, he was drinking tea. When he saw me, his expression was so ugly it was terrifying. He waved his hand and told me to go do my job.
I thought, did you have to go so far.
But that was the first time I saw the Second Master. I could understand why the maidservants all ran to him - he was really good-looking. I had seen the eldest son before, and he was good-looking too, but he seemed a bit wooden compared to the Second Master. The eldest son was well-read and popular, but he just didn't give me the same impression. The Second Master was different - everyone in Hangzhou City knew that Yang Yiqi was the most fun, his eyes were always sparkling, and he would always wear loose clothes, fanning himself as he strolled along the West Lake, and all the girls in the street would look at him.
The courtyard of the eldest son and the courtyard of the second son were far apart in the large Yang household, but everyone knew that the people of the two courtyards didn't get along. The servants of the Second Master thought the servants of the Eldest Young Master were ugly, and the servants of the Eldest Master thought the servants of the Second Master were ill-mannered.
As the person who dragged down the overall level of beauty in the Second Master's courtyard, my life there was not very comfortable. I had to do all the dirty and tiring work, which was fine, but I was also randomly blamed for various misdeeds.
I heard the story that the Second Master recently accepted a maidservant, Chunxue. One day, when they were viewing flowers in the garden, she accidentally stepped on a beloved willow tree. The two girls started a fight over this small incident. I was sweeping the floor nearby, and feeling bored, I wanted to watch the commotion.
The Second Master arrived, and the two girls who were fighting like tigers suddenly became as docile as sheep. They clung to the Second Master's sides, each one crying and pleading their case. The Second Master hugged them both, consoling one and then the other.
The girls insisted on being judged, claiming that each had taken a few hits. The Second Master didn't want to hit either of them, so he looked around and his eyes fell on me.
When his autumn-water eyes met mine, I felt a sudden dread.
Sure enough, the Second Master walked over to me with a light step and slapped me. It wasn't a light slap, nor was it a heavy one. To describe it, it was probably the most effort the Second Master was willing to put into disciplining his monkey maidservant.
Being a clever monkey, I immediately knelt down and apologized after being slapped. the Second Master, in his usual lazy voice, said to the two girls, "That's enough."
The matter was settled.
To this day, I still don't understand why the Second Master slapped me.
It might have been a deterrent, a consolation, or maybe he just didn't like me and wanted to do it.
But that was the first time the Second Master ever touched me. I often heard the other maidservants whispering about how powerful the Second Master was, especially when it came to this slap. After getting slapped, I couldn't help but think that it really was powerful.
One day, the Madam paid a visit and had a long conversation with the Second Master. The maidservants huddled together and grieved. Out of curiosity, I went to ask them what was wrong. Usually, they wouldn't talk to me, but this time they were so sad that they didn't even bother to look down on me and just told me the story.
It turned out that the Madam was looking for a bride for the Second Master. His father had been married for more than three years, and his brother already had a son. The Second Master had been playing around and hadn't taken care of his own affairs. His father had been gradually handing over the family business to his elder brother, and the business was almost taken care of, so the Madam remembered the Second Master's marriage.
Although the Second Master was a spoiled playboy and had a bad reputation, the Yang family was powerful and had plenty of money, so there were still many families who came to seek marriage.
The Madam asked the Second Master's opinion, but he only said to choose a pretty one. The Madam sighed and left.
Later, the Second Master's father and Madam chose a daughter from a tea merchant family. This tea merchant family was also quite influential in Hangzhou. Their daughter was sixteen, a flower-like age. The two families arranged a meeting. The Second Master was late and didn't dress up, but the young girl was attracted to his dashing demeanor. The girl's parents were hesitant at first, but when they thought of the Yang family's wealth, they agreed.
So the Madam started to clear out the Second Master's maidservants.
For half a month, there was wailing and howling in the courtyard. I couldn't sleep for several nights, and my face became even more monkey-like.
But thanks to my monkey face, the Madam didn't even glance at me when clearing the inner court. I stayed in the Second Master's courtyard safely.
In addition to me and an old servant in his fifties, there was not even a single female in the courtyard. All the servants, guards, and stewards were all men.
Second Master was very dissatisfied.
One should know, our Second Master had a very big temper. When there were women around to coax him, he was still alright, but when there were no women around, it was like an unleashed wild dog - no, I mean wild horse.
Feng Po, the old servant in her fifties, had her bad hearing, leaving me to be tortured by the Second Master all day.
I had been in the Second Master's courtyard for more than two years, but I was still not as familiar with him as I was in the two months of contact. Even when he played with birds in the courtyard, he would kick me twice when he got bored.
I dared not resist, of course.
So I was always used by the Second Master to vent his temper, and in my heart just counting the days until the New Year.
Why did I look forward to the New Year? Because the Second Master's wedding date was at the end of the year. After the New Year, the female master arrived in the courtyard and the Second Master had no time to kick me.
Just when I was counting the days, the Second Master had an accident.
Strictly speaking, it was not the Second Master who had an accident, but the Yang family.
That time, the old master went to Jiangsu for business, and the Second Master couldn't help but go out to visit the red-light district and was caught back. The old master was so angry that he pulled the Second Master away with him.
That's how it happened.
What exactly happened, I, a small maidservant, could not possibly know. That day I was washing clothes, and I heard a loud noise from the outer courtyard. I was wondering what was going on, and then a group of officials and soldiers rushed in, turning the room upside down.
They were rough and many of Second Master's treasures were smashed.
That night, after the officials and soldiers left, I heard the family members in the mansion crying together.
The cry was so sad that it lasted all night.
I don't know what happened, I just know that from that day on, the Yang Mansion was gone.
The big house was sealed up, and we all went to a small courtyard that the old master had previously set up in the suburbs. The Madam gathered the servants and gave each of us some money to leave.
I saw the Madam wearing the clothes of a poor person for the first time, but she was still a Madam, and she looked beautiful in anything.
When I was receiving the money, I asked a strange question - "Madam, where is our Second Master?"
As soon as the Madam heard my words, her eyes turned red and she burst into tears.
Translations during sleepless nights. I can sleep when I'm dead! ...Please let me sleep. Happy readers keep me awake, and lots of love and a huge thank you for supporting my hobby!
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