So, with the description over and the scene set, we may move to the more direct points of the storyline. We know their current environment. We know how they live, now we see the story take off.
Before supper, Natalya dressed Aksinya and fixed her short hair. Frau Drescher and the Reverend Mother came to retrieve them for supper. In their sitting room, the Reverend mother held Aksinya’s arms and looked her over carefully. She grinned and spoke in French, “You look very nice, Countess.” She glanced over at Natalya, “Lady Natalya did you adjust the clothing?”
Aksinya answered for her, “Of course she did. She does everything for me. She is very skilled, isn’t she?”
“You both look perfect. She also made your hair look wonderful.”
Aksinya turned her face away.
“Don’t be pained. Your aunt told me what she knew about that.” She whispered, “You may desire the comfort of confession at some time, Countess. You may consider me your confessor any time you wish. I will attempt to comfort you as much as I can.”
Aksinya was breathless, “What if that isn’t my sin?”
“Sin isn’t the only reason for confession, Countess. You might wish to share something that hurts your heart and soul.” She smiled, “I would be pleased to listen to anything you desire to share.”
Aksinya mumbled, “Thank you.”
The Reverend Mother is really a nice person. She tries her hardest because she is pleasant and because she doesn't want to offend her new Countess border. Still we get a repeat of the previous comments about the uniforms. We see that Natalya is praised again, and Aksinya answers for her. This will not continue, but we see that this is the proper setting and the proper response. Aksinya speaks for Natalya--it must be.
Then, bang, the hair again. Will no one let the hair alone? It can't be. The hair is a key point. RM will not let it go and the conversation turns to the worst place Aksinya could ever imagine--confession. RM offers Aksinya confession, but note Aksinya's answer, "What if that isn't my sin?" Do you see, Aksinya isn't certain that she has sinned--yet she knows she has sinned. This is the paradox within the brains of all men--all men assume their actions are never sin. They always believe they are right. maturity comes when a man understands that he is a sinner and that his actions are not always right.
The RM realizes this too, thus her response. Can you see Aksinya's mind working. She desires to be confessed and she wonders just what she can confess. We would say--everything, but she can't do that yet. She isn't to that point--yet. We also see the beginning of the mumbles. Aksinya has shown a tendency to speak her mind but quietly where she assumes others can't understand her. She will show a continuing tendency to mumble when she psychologically wants the words to get out, but does not want to be understood.
I just finished chapter 13 and I'm going on to chapter 14--everything is mapped out and ready to write, but I'm going to take a break this evening.