– A sixteen-year-old gi
rl Brave Orchid
bought from Canton market shortly after she became a doctor. Brave Orchid recalls that the girl had a “strong heart” which “sounded like thunder within the earth, sending its power into her fingertips.” Brave Orchid tells her daughters that she “would not have sold a daughter such as that one.” Brave Orchid recalls the girl’s quickness, and her ability to write a word from memory without leaving out “a single stroke.” Brave Orchid tested the girl’s quickness with a series of riddles and a question about weaving. Brave Orchid pretended to be dissatisfied with the girl’s answers so that she could buy her for a lower price, and the girl, instinctively playing along, pretended to know less about weaving so that she could be sold to Brave Orchid at the asking price. Brave Orchid buys the girl and decides to train her to be her nurse. Kingston notes that her mother’s enthusiasm for her own daughter is duller than that for the slave girl whom she bought for fifty dollars. Brave Orchid notes that she paid the doctor two hundred dollars to give birth to Kingston who, it seems, she perceives as less useful and less dutiful. Kingston’s younger sister, also sensing her mother’s favor for the slave girl, said, “When I grow up, I want to be a slave,” a confession that both amuses and pleases her parents.