This is the beginning of the next chapter (chapter 11). We need to set the scene for the entire chapter and for the characters. I didn't mention the kicker at the end of chapter 10--it was the point about Aksinya calling for more wine. The result...
Aksinya woke with a terrible headache. She had waited up late with the hope that Asmodeus would make an appearance. She wanted to ask him many questions, but the demon didn’t interrupt her that evening. That, in itself worried her more than anything.
She and Natalya attended a late Mass with the Freiherr and Freifrau Bockmann. Natalya was ill, but hid it well until the end. Natalya rushed her out of the nave just in time.
Because of the work at Grossbock to clean up the house following the Advent party, Aksinya and Natalya returned to Sacré Coeur early before dinner.
As usual, during dinner, Aksinya sat next to Natalya. Aksinya had barely spoken a word since the party. One of the young women, Frieda Trauen, across the table, finally plucked up enough courage to ask, “How was your Aunt and Uncle’s party last night. It is always the event of the season.”
Natalya smiled brightly.
Aksinya shrugged her shoulders and slouched a centimeter lower.
“Did you dance?” the girl continued.
Aksinya sighed, “There was dancing, but no one asked me.”
Fraulein Trauen face displayed amazement. She turned toward Natalya, “Surely someone asked you to dance, Lady Natalya.”
Natalya smiled and raised her shoulders, “They were mostly older men and married.”
“The young ones come later in the evening. I heard the toast of the town were there. Don’t tell me that the Countess scared them off.”
Aksinya smiled a little smile, “They did seem afraid to approach me. That is, except one.”
All the faces at the table turned toward her. The question they didn’t speak was evident in their features. Finally, Fraulein Trauen asked breathlessly for them all, “Who was it?”
“Ernst von Taaffe. Do you know the name?”
“Who doesn’t in Wien? His father is the Graf von Taaffe. That would be a good match for you.” She looked down, then back to Aksinya, “And he didn’t ask you to dance?”
“He said it was too late, and I had drunk too much wine anyway. What do you know of him?”
All the young ladies sat up straight. Fraulein Trauen sat the straightest, “Too much wine. You should be more careful. You don’t want to let the young men slip through your fingers and neither do you wish to get within their grasp.”
All the ladies nodded almost as one.
Aksinya’s voice dripped with sarcasm, “I quite understand your meaning. So I ask you again, a little more clearly, what is the reputation of this Ernst von Taaffe.”
The setting at the beginning of this chapter is simple. I've already described all these places to you--I just have to set the characters and you in them. The rest is the setting of the overall chapter--Ernst von Taaffe.
The results of Aksinya's evening is a hangover. I didn't hide her drinking from you before. You might have guessed that Aksinya likes to drink and that wine is her especial temptation--this is all related to her problem with luxuria. We will see how this manifests itself in the future.
Asmodeus is not hanging around as much. The implication here is that he doesn't have to. This is why Aksinya is so worried. She is concerned that she is accomplishing the demon's work without any instructions or encouragement. I give you an indicator of Aksinya's problem. She can't hold down her breakfast during the Mass. How much of this is due to her hangover and how much to her use of sorcery is up in the air. Aksinya and Natalya return to Sacré Coeur early because of the cleanup. You can imagine Aksinya's impatiance too. I want you to detect this.
It is unusual for them to be at dinner on Sunday evening, so they are automatically the center of attention for the young ladies. This is part of a writing technique (if you couldn't tell). An author uses the tools of the setting that he creates. In the setting of Sacré Coeur, I have developed the evening diner conversation as a means of giving the reader information and also providing a relief scene. This is related to the timing of scenes.
The setting here is simple, and I remind you of the position of the two principals at the table. Aksinya has been especially quiet. She receives a question from Fraulein Trauen. Natalya thought the party was wonderful--she was able to serve Aksinya and she didn't have to put up with anyone else (hint). Aksinya was very distrubed by the party--especially Ernst von Taaffe. Aksinya confesses without thinking. You know what she was thinking about--Ernst has her book and no one danced with her. Remember, Natalya is much better looking than Aksinya, thus the question turned to her and from Aksinya.
Then comes the cut against Aksinya, and again Aksinya reveals more information than she should. Everyone around the table, including Natalya wishes to know who approached Aksinya. Aksinya wants information about Ernst. We discover that Ernst's father is a Graf. This means Ernst is the son of an Austrian Count. That's why the ladies say Aksinya is well matched with him.
I give you an indication of Aksinya's drinking issue. She openly tells the ladies that she had drunk too much. Fraulein Trauen then gives Aksinya a sermon. It is a sermon all the other girls understand well. Aksinya is very sensitive to critisism. She doesn't want a sermon, she wants information, so she asks again.
Who is this Ernst von Taaffe? We'll have to wait until Aksinya gets a clear answer tomorrow.