Finally, we get some commensurate introductions from the other girls at the table. We will find three girls are the main conversationalists at the table and in the school. Only two of those today.
The older girl who spoke already to them introduced herself, “I am Fraulein Anna Pfaff.” Anna had a round and gentle face. A sweet smile filled her features pleasantly. Her hair was blond. Fraulein Pfaff continued, “Since the Lady Natalya doesn’t speak German, what country is she from?”
Aksinya grinned, “Is my German that good. You didn’t ask what country I am from.”
One of the other girls rolled her eyes, “Anna, are you so slow? They are Russian. That’s obvious from their names. I’m Dieter Vogt. You are both Russian, aren’t you? You escaped from the civil war?” Dieter Vogt wore an immaculate uniform. Her short coat and blouse looked as if they had been pressed just moments before dinner. Her long dark brown hair was brushed to perfection, and her face was beautiful and slender.
Aksinya and Natalya nodded.
Dieter pressed her hands together, “That’s so romantic. Where is your family?”
Lady Natalya came out of her seat again. Aksinya didn’t stop her this time, “That is not a subject that may be discussed.”
Dieter almost fell out of her chair, “I’m sorry. I do apologize. I understand.”
Aksinya’s voice was a little tense, “There is no reason to apologize. My parents, brother, and sister were murdered on the front lawn of our estate. Only I escaped. That is why I am the Countess Golitsyna. The situation is equally difficult for the Lady Natalya. You would be the best of friends not to mention it a second time.”
The table immediately became quiet again.
Anna introduces herself, and we get a description of her. Did you note, Anna isn't very bright. That's the point of her question--she's just a little slow. On the other hand, Dieter is very bright. We find out later that her father is a politician. Her description should point out some of these details already.
Dieter is well informed about politics and the world. She will give us information in the future about Austria and the world. That is part of the point of introducing important secondary characters. The point of the characters is not that they are just characters, but that, by their backgrounds, they can provide important information within the novel. This is a critical idea in any novel--you don't introduce characters extraneously, they have purpose beyond their existence. Their purpose is to propel the storyline, plot, and theme.
Dieter goes on to ask a simple question that is a minefield for Aksinya and Natalya. Aksinya allows Natalya to go off on Dieter. Aksinya herself then gives a slight attack. We get to hear a synopsis of Aksinya's history that is communicated to the girls at the table. We can guess this information then gets out to the rest of the school. Look carefully at Aksinya's reply she places Natalya in her camp and by association specifies that any question against her is a question against Natalya. Simple ideas to communicate, but done easily with this little dialog.
Tomorrow the completion of chapter 6. I am refining chapter 15, the pivotal chapter. I would hope that by that time, you would be able to guess what happened, but in any case, I still want it to be a surprise.