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Saturday, August 31, 2013


Two Outfits to wear, one each day!

It was early in the morning when Lo Mei woke Cheri and told her to quickly bathe and put on her clean clothes.

After her bath she was told to wash her dirty clothes and dry them for tomorrow.  Cheri couldn’t believe that people washed so often.  She seldom had taken a full bath; she only did what you might call a sponge bath.

She knew there was the absence of the smell of the docks in this home and it was different, even pleasant.

None of the smell of rotting fish, and other offensive smells she was used to.

She went to the kitchen and the cook looked her up and down with a scowl on her face and told her this was her domain and for her to respect it as so.

Cheri politely agreed to do as she wished, at the same time she wondered if the cook’s scowl was permanently fixed of her face or was something she reserved for people she looked down upon.

Lo Mei came in and explained who Cheri was and how she was to be respected and treated.

After that the house-cook, Jia softened her tone toward Cheri.

It was going to be a couple of hours before Martha would begin to get up so after breakfast Lo Mei began to show Cheri the house and explain what each room was used for.

Lo Mei then told Cheri to spend time in each room acquainting her self with the furnishings and d├ęcor after which she was to ask what everything was for and why it was there.  

After breakfast Cheri was to be presented to Martha and Lord Malborne.

Lo Mei brought Cheri in where she made the appropriate bows and kept her eyes down.  Lord Malborne looked up from his paper and cast a glance toward her then went back to his paper.

Martha called her over and asked her some questions that would test her intellect and her grasp of the English language.

She dismissed her and gave her evaluation of Cheri to Lo Mei.  

She then gave Lo Mei a list of things that needed to be worked on.  

She said for a while she must be tutored by the man that taught you to fit in our society.  She must be able to move among us without being noticed.

Her one flaw is; she is much too pretty and doesn’t look like a full bloodied Chinese.  

Lo Mei said her mother earned some extra money when they were starving by being friendly with a ships captain which might explain it.

“Then she is Eurasian and not full Chinese?”

Lo Mei said, “That is possible.”

Martha said, “No matter she will either work out or it will be back to the docks for her.”

Later in the afternoon she summoned Cheri to her sitting room and had her sit while she observed her.  With very little conversation they began to get acquainted.  

The thing Martha wanted the most was a comforting feeling that someone was near whom she cared for and someone who respected and cared for her as a person.  

She realized they were a long way from being there but over time - - perhaps.  Their first time together went well though neither said much.

The one thing that came out of that was they were able to figure out when Cheri’s birthday was and how old she was.  

She wasn’t quite ten years old as of yet.

Over the next few weeks Cheri’s time was spent being taught the right protocol for living in the home of a Lord and Lady.

Much of that was laid aside when Cheri was alone with Martha.

Martha envisioned Cheri becoming her personal secretary and her training was directed toward that end.

There were times when communicating with Chinese society women using Chinese instead of English would be more intimate and personal.

Over and again she thought “What a bright child” and how quickly she learns."

Cheri had now put aside her first wardrobe and now was dressed in upscale dress for Chinese ladies.

Martha didn’t want her to look like she was trying to be an English lady.

A year passed and now when Martha went out she was accompanied with Lo Mei and Cheri where before it was only Lo Mei.

There was no conflict between them for each knew their place and kept to it.

More than once at tea time someone would mention how beautiful Cheri was and where could they could find such a refined companion.

Martha would remark, “I don’t know for they don’t grow on trees.”

To be Continued


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