Yellow Lotus looked at her lady mother’s rigid spine and sighed inwardly. She bowed three times to the ancestors in their ceremonial vessels then spoke quietly.
“Lady Chi,” she said, “we will not last the winter without money.”
Mother winced, but inclined her head.
“If there was not need to provide a dowry for me there would be food until Cherry Blossom comes of age.” Lotus paused. “The lord Lao would take me as his principal concubine.”
Chi’s pencilled brows drew together. “Do you know what you are proposing?”
It was agreed, and Lotus began her glittering career.