I can abide neither a liar nor a cheat, but you may be wont to think me such while I here relate my little tale. Were I not your humble narrator, even now I would scarce believe it anything but mere fiction. I take pen in resolute hand to assure you that what I am about to recount is truth, not the least of which involves heartbreak, joy, a Chinese translation of the Gospel According to St. Luke, and, oh yes, a rather large sword.
Perhaps it is best that I start where my journey of a thousand miles began, not with a single step, but with the dearest pair of pink silk slippers. Soft as rose petals they were and embroidered with a bit of curious white design on the toes. They looked quite lovely, peeping from beneath my new white muslin dress with a pink ribbon encircling just below… oh dear, let me simply say high above my waist. My modiste assured me the dress was the finest in the county and that during the Christmas parties none would be my peer. I was, after all, preparing for social battle.
Excerpted from ALL THE TEA IN CHINA © Copyright 2011 by Jane Orcutt. Reprinted with permission by Revell. All rights reserved.