Lady Feng promptly gave orders to send for something to eat. In a short while Chou Jui's wife had called for a table of viands for the guests, which was laid in the room on the eastern side, and then came to take goody Liu and Pan Erh over to have their repast. "My dear Mrs.
But as he suddenly caught sight of Chou Jui's wife appear outside the door, and call out to the young boys; "Don't sweep now, our lady is coming out," Chia Yuen eagerly walked up to her and inquired, with a face beaming with smiles: "Where's aunt Secunda going to?"
Chou Jui's wife, therefore, on this occasion came first to these rooms as they were on her way, but she only found a few waiting-maids assembled in the antechamber, waiting silently to obey a call.
Another one nearer exclaimed: "You've broken my fan." And they chatted and chatted, and talked and laughed with such incessant volubility, that Chou Jui's wife had to go backward and forward calling them to task. "Girls," she said, "this is the street. The on-lookers will laugh at you!"
When they saw Chou Jui's wife approach, they forthwith surmised that she must have some message to deliver, so they pursed up their lips and directed her to the inner-room. Chou Jui's wife gently raised the curtain-screen, and upon entering discovered madame Wang, in voluble conversation with "aunt" Hsueeh, about family questions and people in general. Mrs.
Lady Feng nodded her head in token of approval, when she perceived Chou Jui's wife come back.
But as they were talking, they saw Hsiang Ling draw near smirkingly, and Chou Jui's wife at once seized her by the hand, and after minutely scrutinizing her face for a time, she turned round to Chin Ch'uan-erh and smiled. "With these features she really resembles slightly the style of lady Jung of our Eastern Mansion." "So I too maintain!" said Chin Ch'uan-erh.
"I'm off now to invite our venerable mistress," nurse Lai smilingly remarked. "And if her ladyship also agrees to come, I shall deem it a greater honour than ever conferred upon me." Having said this, she went on to issue some injunctions; after which, she got up to go, when the sight of Chou Jui's wife reminded her of something. "Of course!" she consequently observed.
"Go and have a look," said lady Feng; "but, should there be any one there, or should she be busy, then don't make any mention; but wait until she's free, when you can tell her about it and see what she says." Chou Jui's wife, having expressed her compliance, went off on this errand.
"Better keep them and give them to your daughter Pao Ch'ai to wear," observed madame Wang, "and have done with it; why think of all the others?" "You don't know, sister," replied "aunt" Hsueeh, "what a crotchety thing Pao Ch'ai is! she has no liking for flower or powder." With these words on her lips, Chou Jui's wife took the box and walked out of the door of the room.