And like that, Su Tang followed Madam Qin back to Su Yongshun’s home. As soon as they stepped inside, Madam Qin called over her two daughters-in-law, Madam Wen and Madam Tong, and asked them to prepare refreshments. At the same time, she led Su Tang into the house and sat down.
Su Nuan cheerfully went into her room and then came out with a needle and thread, ready to start making hairbands for Su Tang.
Watching this scene, Su Tang asked Madam Qin, “I was just talking to Nuan’er and she happened to mention Zhou Xiaocao. Is that girl still doing all right?”
Su Tang remembered that the last time the orange cat had gone out and gathered rumors around the village, the tug-of-war between the Wang family and the Sun family had still been going on. At that time, Wang Changhe had been determined not to let Sun Guihua marry into his household and, even if she had to come in, she could only do so as a concubine. However, the Sun family had been planning this move for many years. They, obviously, weren’t willing to settle for just a concubine position.
Anyway, neither of the two children was yet old enough to get married, so the back-and-forth was expected to continue on for quite some time. Meanwhile, Zhou Xiaocao was the most unlucky one.
Su Tang had briefly met Wang Xiaotian and Zhou Xiaocao before, and she had seen that he seemed to have some feelings for her. But in this era, there was nothing strange about that, it was considered normal for cousins like them to get married. And, indeed, when Wang Xiaotian learned that he might have to marry Sun Guihua, he had told his parents that he liked Zhou Xiaocao instead.
This news had been like a bolt from the blue to Wang Changhe and his wife. To them, this news was even worse than the way the Sun family had been trying to cling to them. After all, the matter with the Sun family was just outsiders trying to create trouble, but this matter was regarding who Wang Xiaotian himself said he liked.
Therefore, Wang Changhe and his wife were determined to stomp this trouble out in the cradle. The same day Wang Xiaotian told them, they immediately went to find the Zhou family and said a bunch of unkind words in front of everyone in the village, basically insinuating that the Zhou family’s daughter had seduced their son.
The Zhou family were upright people. They were not shameless and thick-skinned like the Sun family, and they had already made it clear that they had no such intentions and did not intend to let their daughter marry into the Wang family. They had always just treated themselves as distant relatives of the Wang family, and they were annoyed when people tried to stir up gossip.
But when Wang Xiaotian himself suddenly said such a thing, Zhou Xiaocao was put in a very difficult position. Even though she had never done anything, it was already impossible for her to wash herself clean of the matter. In the following days, there were a lot of prying eyes and malicious gossip in the village, and Zhou Xiaocao could only stop going outside entirely to avoid it.
As for Su Nuan’s involvement in the matter, it was simple. She had used to spend her time playing with Su Tang, but then Su Tang suddenly left to go to town. After that, Su Nuan slowly became familiar with Zhou Xiaocao and started playing with her instead. But now Zhou Xiaocao never came out of her house anymore and there were bad rumors going around the village, so Su Nuan felt sorry for her friend.
As for the reason why Su Tang inquired about this matter, on the one hand, the rumors about Wang Xiaotian and Sun Guihua which had been spread by the Su family had been her idea, and on the other hand, she had once saved Zhou Xiaocao’s life before. So they could be said to have some connection.
And from what Su Tang could tell she seemed to be a good girl, so she didn’t want anything to happen to her.
But when Madam Qin heard Su Tang’s question, she just sighed and said, “Zhou Xiaocao is very pitiful. She was originally very aboveboard with her actions and had nothing to fear, but then Wang Xiaotian suddenly told his father that he liked her. And what kind of person is Wang Changhe? As soon as he heard the news, he directly went to the Zhou family’s door and said a lot of things in front of everyone. Now she hasn’t gone out for many days and the last time I went to visit I found that she had already been reduced to skin and bones. It’s really a terrible matter ah.”
As a matter of fact, Madam Qin’s family and the Zhou family were not very close. After all, the Su family was the biggest family in Sujia Village so they didn’t associate with outsiders too much, but this time the rumors had really been spread by the Su family so, to some extent, it was their actions which had implicated Zhou Xiaocao. Thus, Madam Qin had gone to visit the girl.
Of course, the Zhou family were also reasonable people and knew that this matter couldn’t really be blamed on the Su family. It was clearly Wang Xiaotian himself who had talked nonsense. Obviously, if the boy had just kept his mouth shut then there wouldn’t have been any problem. But he didn’t, and so their daughter’s reputation was ruined.
Su Nuan’s eyes also reddened and she said, “Sister Xiaocao has even said that she doesn’t want to live anymore. That Wang Xiaotian is really a beast.”
“We all know what kind of parents he has. A crooked tree will produce a crooked shadow.” Su Tang could only say this.
If Wang Xiaotian really liked Zhou Xiaocao, that would have been fine. He could have just told his parents and, if his parents agreed, he would then naturally go to her door and propose marriage.
And if his parents didn’t agree, then they should have quietly gone over to talk about the situation with the Zhou family. The two families would have been able to quickly separate their children and allow the budding romance to quietly disappear.
But looking at this situation, just how did the Wang family actually handle the matter in the end?
tl begging corner: