Not that Yu Wen wanted to oppose her mother’s will, but Yu Wen could never forget the very first time when she met Mrs. Dzo. She looked at Yu Wen. Yu Wen wasn’t sure if Mrs. Dzo had looked at her face at all. She felt that Mrs. Dzou’s eyesight quickly dropped down to her feet then slowly moved upwards to her dress. Then skipped her face and landed on her hair. It seemed that Mrs. Dzo first was measuring the size of her feet first. Then to check if her dress was properly worn. Then to see what kind of jewelry Yu Wen wore in her hair. Yu-Wen got goosebumps all over her while Mrs. Dzo’s sights were moving up and down on her. But that was not al!
Every time when Mrs. Dzo came to visit them, she brought her royal power and prestige with her. She comments the workers to work for her as if she was at her own home. She told this one to do this and that one to do that with a rather Her Highness manner. Mrs. Dzo always wore a black long gown inform people that she was a widow. Her gray hair combed up high to the back of her head and ended up with a bun and a piece of jade pen stick in the bun. Yu-Wen was thinking if she wanted to embroider Snow White’s stepmother as Chinese, Mrs. Dzu would be the best model. YuWen thought:”Whoever be Mrs. Dzu’s daughter-in-law, will end up to hang herself to death.”
Wong Ma worried and think to herself:”Mrs. Dzo was a widow ever since she was young. Mr. Dzo is her only child. Mr. Dzo is a good young man all right, but as a widowed mother who has only one son, would she be a good mother-in-law? Nice to her daughter-in-law? Would she think that her daughter-in-law will get all the attention from her son, take her only son away from her?”
Yu-Wen said to Wong Ma: “You know what epoch is it now, Mrs. Dzo still acted as a royal madam. Even when she is visiting us she acts like as if she were at home.” She continued:”I had a high school classmate. Married to a nice young man under the commitments of both sides parents. Her husband loved her dearly. Behind him, his mother abused her with her best. My schoolmate didn’t want mention anything to her husband to hurt his feelings. He did not know what was going on at all. Until one day when her endurance was over the limitation, she hung herself and died.”
But Yu Wen hadn’t ever even dreamed of that her own mother was planning to have her to married to Dzo Yau Dzung.
One day Wong Ma heard that the Dzo’s family will send someone to come to propose the marriage!
Wang Ma knew that her lady was not very fond of Mrs. Dzo. She knew also that Yu Wen had some good impressions with that “Young Idiot”. If she really going to have Mrs. Dzo to be her mother-in-law, what kind of life her poor lady is going to have.
Wong Ma was sitting in Yu Wen’s bed while she was thinking of these, her tears flow down her cheeks and cried quietly. Yu-Wen came in at that moment. She was taught that a lady should always walk quietly. Therefore when Yu Wen came in like a cat, Wan Ma didn’t notice it at all until Yu Wen taped on her shoulder gently.
“Wong Ma, what had happened to you?” Even Yu Wen’s voice was very soft Wong Ma was startled. She wiped off her tears and said: “No! Nothing, nothing.”
“Tell me, Wong Ma, who bullied at you? Was it my mother?”Yu-Wen asked her.
Wong Ma was a very honest person she could never lie but tell the truth.
Yu-Wen heard that the Dzo’s will sent someone to propose the marriage, she was very worried. What should she do now? If she is really going to marry to Mr. Dzo, what kind of life will be for her? But she was not panic.
“What am I going to do?”Yu-Wen calmly asked herself. “I must let my parents know that I don’t want to marry Mr. Dzo.” She dared not to go to her mother, she knew her mother would not support her at all. She could only go to her father.
After she made up her mind, Yu-Wen walked into her father’s workshop.
Mr. Lyan wore a single lensed magnifying glass on one of his eye, concentrated in carving a stone seal. Yu-Wen didn’t want to surprise her father with a sudden drop in. It might cause a slip of his carving blade which may cut her father’s fingers. So she softly said: “Pa!’
Mr. Lyan raised up his head looked at Y Wen. The magnifying glass dropped off his eye and landed on the floor. Quickly Yu Wen picked it up and handed back to her father. Then Yu Wen acted like a spoiled little child, rocking her father’s shoulders with both hands, and said: “Pa! pa! I don’t want to marry to the Dzo’s . Each time when Mrs. Dzo came to visit us she always looked at me from the top of my head down to my feet which makes my spine tickled and numb. It will drive me nuts if I have to live with her for the rest of my life.”Tears began to pour down from her eyes.
“Wait a minute my silly child!” Mr. Lyan laughed.”Who said you are going to marry to the Dzo’s? How come I’ve never heard of it?”
Yu-Wen grabbed the chance and said:”Wong Ma told me that one of Dzo’s servants, Chwen-Mei said her mistress will send someone to come to proposed for the marriage.”
“Is that right? I’ll find out what’s going.” Mr. Lyan became serious. “But…..after all, this Dzo Yau Dzung is a nice young man.”
“No! No! Pa! I would rather die to marry to the Dzo’s.”Yu-Wen cried harder and harder.
“My good child! Don’t cry, don’t cry. We’ll see until I find out what’s going on first. All right?”
After Mr.Lyan talked with his wife, he got the whole picture. He opposed it firmly because their daughter is still too young to be married. It should wait for a couple more years later.
Mrs. Lyan in charge of everything at Lyan’s house. But the most important matters, Mr. Lyan’s decision was always honored and respected. Thus it came as a heavy storm but ended up with a few small little raindrops.
Mrs. Lyan took her husband’s advise and broke off the engagement, but she was enraged. No one knows her daughter more than a mother. She knew that this girl is interested in that Young Idiot. She knew how much her husband loved their daughter. If she insisted the marriage, it would lacerate the harmony of the relationship between she and her husband. And also give other people a chance to make up stories. Therefore she was calm on the surface but a plan was simmer in the dark.
For his job necessity, Mr lyan often traveled back and forth from Pei-Jing and Tyan-Jing. Once he decided to take the whole family with him. Even taking the servants and the cook with them to stay there for a while. Dz Yun was a poor student at Pei-Jing University. He couldn’t afford to travel too often. One of Lyan’s long-term young worker voluntarily to be the messenger to pass their love letters between the young lovers. Actually, nothing could be hide from Mrs. Lyan. She concerned about a good life of her daughter’s, she should not allow Yu Wen to marry to that impoverished student.
The best way Mrs. Lyan could think of was to hire some thugs to give that Young Idiot a good lesson. So that he will leave her daughter alone. Mrs. Lyan made up her mind, without letting anybody know in the family, she hired some thugs to deceive Dz Yun to one of the old deserted collieries in Tang-Shan, TyanJing where no one would be around. But nothing could be hidden unless it has never happened! The terrible news came to the young messenger. He was a very loyal long-term worker at Lyan’s family. He came to Lyan’s home as an orphan when he was only six years old. Yu-Wen was very nice to him. She always helped him. Especially with money in his time of need. He told Yu Wen what he had heard on the very first day.
Quickly Yu Wen ran to her father for help. She told her father that someone will use her name to cajole Ho Dz Yun to one of the deserted coal mines at Tang-Shan. Over there, they will teach Dz Yun a good lesson to let him know that he should never see her again.
Mr. Lyan understood what is going on. Nothing he needㄎ to ask.
He contemplates how could he get to Tang-Shan as soon as possible? It is more than 100 kilometer from Tyan-Jing to Tang-Shan, the fastest horse will take at least a day and a half to get there. That would too late!
Suddenly Mr. Lyan remembered that he bought a motorbike from one of the Bei-Yang warlords. He had never had a chance to try it yet. Now is the right time! He told his adjutant to fill it up with gas and bring it over to him. He was worried about how to ride on it. But when he saw it all the worries were released. It looked a bicycle! The only thing that a bike doesn’t have was the engine, a one wheel box-car attached to its side, you can put something in it or have one person sitting in it.
Mr. Lyan mounted on the bike and started the engine, the bike roared and dashed forward to its destination.
That was one of the hottest days in summer. Even the motorbike was much faster than a horse, but running under the burning sunlight, you could get a sunstroke. Yu-Wen was very worried that how much heat her father could endure? This is the first time her father ever ride on a motorbike, could he manage it? The long hours of riding would it cause her father fatigue? could her father make it on time before the party started?
Next day at noon, about 24 hours later since Mr. Lyan left home yesterday, Mr. Lyan came home. The very first thing he said to Yu Wen was: “My daughter, I saw Ho Dz Yun, he is OK! I had a long conversation with him and understood that he loves you. I was thinking since you cared about Ho Dz Yun’s safety that much, Ho Dz Yun loves you. Why don’t I have him to be my son-in-law? That will save all the trouble in the future. And Ho Dz Yun promised that he’ll take good care of you all his life with all his heart. That was all I waited for him to tell me. So I told him to select a good date and then come to our house to propose for the engagement.”
Mr. Lyan said all these without any break. Then he took his pocket watch out from the pocket and handed to Yu Wen and said:”Touch it, my child!”
Yu-Wen didn’t sleep the whole night last night. She was still half sleeping. Now her father came home safely with this sudden good news. It was just too much for her to take them at the same time. She was not in her senses yet. She didn’t understand why her father asked her to touch his pocket watch. Senselessly she stretched out her hand to hold the watch.
“Oh! How come it’s so hot?” The pocket watch dropped down from Yu Wen’s hand. It was too hot for her to hold. As hot as a piece of burning rock! Fortunately, the watch was chinned to her father’s pocket. Otherwise, it would be dropped on the floor and could be broken.
“It’s so hot outside, not as cool as in the room with a big chunk of ice and fan. Wong Ma, give me a big cup of water with some crushed ice.”
Now Yu Wen was totally wide awakened now! Her father loves her so he loves Dz Yun as well. To ward off regret of being late, her father rode on the motorbike without any stop. Even at night in order to have enough time to stop the incident. And to relieve the anxiety of his beloved daughter, again with a nonstop riding on the motorbike came home under the burning sun. If the pocket watch could be that hot, as hot as a burning rock, what would be for a human being? She burst out in tears. Speechless she grabbed a piece of towel wipe off the sweat from her father’s face and neck. With a fan, she fanned all over on her father. In her heart, she prayed: “Thank God. Everyone is safe and well.”
But to Mrs. Lyan, after she heard what her husband had told her, her whole being was a blowout and fainted kept unconscious for almost a whole day.
Mrs. Lyan lost a lot of weight even under the good care of the doctor. Her health condition made Mr. Lyan’s heartache. But a promise is a promise! It can’t be changed! Mrs. Lyan had just let it be.
Upon this Marriage Revolution, the relationship between Yu Wen and her mother dropped down under 0 degree. Right after Yu Wen heard that her mother regained consciousness, she ran to her mother’s bedside. But as soon as her mother saw Yu Wen, she closed her eyes and turned her head away from her. Ever since that each morning and evening when she went to her parent’s bedroom with her best regards as she usually did, Mrs. Lyan would not say a word. While her father was not around her mother would not even look at her. Yu-Wen stood in front of her mother until Wong Ma pulling her sleeve to imply her it’s time to leave. Her mother treated her as a stranger. At Yu Wen’s childhood, when she was learning the Princesses Etiquette, her mother was very strict on correcting her postures, but their relationship was never being as bad as strangers.
Yu-Wen understood that her mother loved her. Her mother wished to see her only daughter married to a matched marriage to have a good life. But she herself knew that she would never want to become a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Dzo. and ended up the same way as her high school classmate. Yu-Wen aspired to a blissful marriage. Nevertheless, she couldn’t drop her mother’s love as well.
Her mother could only see that Dz Yun was an impoverished student. But she never learned the Dz Yun was born in a scholarly family for generations. Some of Dz Yun’s ancestry were officers at the imperial court. The Ho’s family was one of the most famous celebrities in He-Nan. But to Mrs. Lyan scholarly family for generations would never be compared to a blue blood family.
Struggling between the love of her mother and a blissful marriage, tolerated with her mother’s coldness every day, Yu-Wen couldn’t take any more. She was devastated and her health collapsed. Every day after 12 noon, Yu-Wen began to have some fever not too high but coughed a lot. Traditional Chinese Doctor diagnosed Yu Wen of Non-communicable TB.
—To be continued.
- The Engagement is on the way —