Welcome to Dr. Ryan. Glad to have you aboard.
We get rid of Frau Drescher for a little while and provide a little more interesting levels to the story. Remember, in this time and culture, you don't introduce servants. So here we go.
Frau Drescher’s brow rose, but she nodded and curtsied to Aksinya then left toward the dormitory.
The Reverend Mother let out a sigh, “Will you all please come with me. I’ll show you around our school and answer any of your questions.” The Reverend Mother gestured Aksinya to her side and Natalya stepped right behind her.
Aksinya halted and turned toward Natalya, “Reverend Mother, this is my lady-in-waiting, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska. I address her as the Lady Natalya. She is my confidant and my friend. She will be attending Sacré Coeur with me.”
The Reverend Mother’s smile widened. She turned her gaze to Natalya, “That is very interesting. Is there something wrong with your eyes, Lady Natalya?”
Natalya blinked the moisture from her eyes.
Aksinya repeated the question in Russian to Natalya.
Natalya blushed and ducked her head, “No, Reverend Mother.”
Aksinya continued, “The Lady Natalya doesn’t speak German yet. She is very conversant in French. Though she serves me, the Lady Natalya is to be treated with the same respect as any other student.”
The Reverend Mother nodded and continued in atrociously German accented French, “Then for her benefit, as well as yours, we shall use French.”
Aksinya barely constrained a laugh. She glanced at Natalya, and they shared a smile. Aksinya whispered to her, “Perhaps I shouldn’t worry about my German.”
From the beginning, the RM (Reverend Mother) is happy to get rid of Frau Drescher--she sighs, and we move on with Aksinya, Natalya and the rest on the school tour.
So, there you have it. First Aksinya, introduces Natalya--that means she is not a servant. Further, Aksinya called her "confidant" and "friend." In the aristocracy, this is very important. A friend is one thing, a confidant is entirely another. Aksinya goes on to tell RM Kluge that she, she Aksinya calls Natalya, Lady Natalya. Already, Aksinya has called Natalya, friend, confidant, and said she holds her in such high esteme she calls her Lady (that is a title reserved for an aristocrat). It should not suprize you that the very emotional Natalya's eyes moisten. She would cry outright, but that is never acceptable in high society. The RM kindly reminds Natalya of that. This is a nice admonition in this culture and time (remember Frau Drescher). And so, Natalya blushes and ducks her head.
Aksinya goes on to instruct--did you get that? She instructs RM Kluge that Natalya is to be treated like any other student. She didn't say, "to be treated like me." Such words wouldn't come from a Countess. She also "suggests" that they use French, for Natalya's sake. Can't you see Natalya in your mind. She understands what is happening. Aksinya even gives her such a compliment, "Natalya doesn't understand German--yet." The implication is that she will and very quickly.
Then we see the break and the level of the RM's French. This is intentional. Though the Austrians and the Germans taught French, they didn't see much purpose in it--(sarcasm) it was only the language of gentility and diplomacy at the time. It was also the language of the Russian Court. It was not the language of the German or the Austrian Courts. Ah, the prejudice of their betters flows down to the people. The break is the smile that Aksinya and Natalya share at the RM's poorly accented French. This also cements the Aksinya/Natalya bond. Finally, Aksinya's comment about her own German ends this piece.