Unlike Jialing, the Eurasians in these photographs belonged to educated, prominent families. It was easy to find accounts of Eurasians who belonged to the upper-classes. Literate and successful, their lives were documented in private and public records. But only in missionary journals and memoirs could I find references to orphaned Eurasians and they sketched a grim picture. The closest modern parallel we have are the children of American servicemen in Korea from the 1960s.
Ancient texts spoke of Foxes as attendants to the heavenly Queen Mother of the West. Fox spirits were also sages, counselors to rulers, but contemporary Chinese pop culture has reduced Foxes to troublemaking seductresses.
Over thousands of years, China has assimilated a diversity of religions and folk beliefs. One of these is the existence of immortals, humans who attain minor deity status.
Some people and scenes typical of the era.
Even today, pre-War Shanghai exerts glamour and fascination for Westerners.
There's no doubt that missionary life in China could be difficult and discouraging but many female missionaries found satisfying careers in China, where they had more authority and freedom than they did at home. Even after the Qing government mandated public schools for girls, women's education faced obstacles. The government lacked funding (and any actual will) while traditional Chinese families felt girls weren't worth educating.
Throughout the novel, Fox shares memories of her travels with Jialing. They are all real places in China. Here is a mini-travelogue in pictures.