The Reverend Mother's introductions complete, the ladies at Aksinya and Natalya's table may now address them. Notice that correct protocol has not been completed. The ladies should now appropriately introduce themselves to Aksinya and Natalya. Aksinya is forgiving, Natalya not so much...
Around Aksinya and Natalya’s table sat seven other young women who were from sixteen to twenty-one years old plus an elderly nun. The sister watched Aksinya and Natalya with as rapped an expression as the girls.
After the soup was served, one of the older girls asked in French, “Are you really a Countess?”
Natalya almost leaped out of her seat, “What do you mean asking such a question? My mistress is the Countess Golitsyna.”
Aksinya pulled Natalya back into her seat, “I am the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna. You may call me Aksinya if you wish. This is the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska. I insist you address her as the Lady Natalya. She is my friend and confidant. She is also the daughter of a Prince.”
Natalya sucked her lip and stared back at Aksinya, “And the Countess is the daughter of a Princess and a Count. She…she…rescued me.”
“Hush, Lady Natalya.”
Aksinya gave the ladies a second chance to introduce themselves, but they didn't take it. Aksinya makes her confidence in Natalya very clear--friend and confidant. She also gives them leave to call her by her first name, a bit of latitude they would never be low enough to take. She insists they address Natalya as Lady Natalya. She demands respect for Natalya, but not herself.
Notice, that Aksinya then throws down the gauntlet. She tells them Natalya's rank--she is the daughter of a Prince. Natalya knew this. Earlier, the demon led us to believe that Natalya didn't know who her father was--he left the answer ambivalent. Now we know that she knows this. We also get a repeat of an important point. Aksinya is the daughter of a Russian princess.
Then the confession: she rescued me. This is never far from Natalya's mind and should never be far from ours. I reminded you because I don't want you to forget--it's like Aksinya's hair.
Aksinya's response a gentle, hush. Aksinya realizes what is in Natalya's mind, or she thinks she does.
I just finished writing the pivotal scene in the novel. It happens in chapter 15. It is chapter 15. I've been thinking about this scene and driving toward it for weeks. I have many notes that I must now resolve with it and improve it. It is specifically the scene that will lead to the resolution of the novel.