She can't remember much of her life in China. She only knows that her father owed a lot of money to a gambling den, and he sold his own little girl to an old woman. Lin Mei cried and shrieked; her mother cried, but the old woman bought her and put her on a ship to America. I guess the old woman promised Lin Mei's parents that she would have a much better life in the Golden Mountain (America). Can you believe that? Little Lin Mei became a Mui Tsai, which translates "little sister" but really means "slave."
I met Lin Mei while I was attending Miss Whitaker's Academy for Young Ladies (a whole other subject!). She was a kitchen servant. I had no idea she was a slave. The Chinese man in charge of the school's kitchen was passing her off as his niece. Jenny (my roommate) and I felt so badly for this miserable, overworked little girl. We decided to befriend her, little knowing what terrible things would happen because we did!
You can read all about my adventures with Lin Mei in Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers, coming out fall 2008.
I hope to post some entries in the "Old West" category about the true, historical facts about the "Yellow Slave Trade" in the west, many years after the Civil War was fought and slavery was abolished. Stay tuned!