Aksinya is being backed into a corner. Natalya wants something from her. Ernst wants something from her. Many others want something from her. Asmodeus wants her to do evil. The pressure is about to be ratcheted up...
In the morning, Aksinya and Natalya walked to Sacré Coeur with Sister Margarethe in tow. They attended chapel and classes. When they returned that evening, one of the novice sisters brought Aksinya a sealed envelope. She curtsied as she handed it to her, “Countess, this afternoon a letter was delivered to the door.”
Aksinya took the envelope and went up to her rooms. Natalya and Sister Margarethe followed her.
Natalya blocked Sister Margarethe at the door, “Please prepare tea for us, Sister.”
Sister Margarethe didn’t move for a moment, she appeared as though she was not going to leave then she bobbed her head, “Yes, Lady Natalya.”
Aksinya stood under the gaslight near the fireplace with a preoccupied expression on her face.
Natalya shut the door, “I can’t read German well yet, but that seems to be from your young man.”
Aksinya didn’t turn toward her, “It is from Ernst von Taaffe and addressed to me.”
Aksinya just stood with the envelope. She turned it over in her hands.
Natalya grasped it from her, “Mistress, you must read it.”
Aksinya’s face was distraught, “If it from him, what will I do?”
Natalya squinted at the return address, “It is certainly from him. You must see what his invitation is then you can decide.”
“I am afraid.”
“Afraid? You have never shown fear of anything before.”
“I am afraid of this temptation.”
Natalya cleanly opened the seal and removed the letter inside. She glanced at it, “It is in German. I can’t read it to you, so you must. Or would you rather have Sister Margarethe read Ernst von Taaffe’s letter for you.”
Aksinya sighed and took the proffered letter. She shook it open it and read it out loud. “It says:
Ernst Franz von Taaffe
15 December 1918
Dearest Lady Golitsyna
You enchanted me from the first moment I heard your name spoken. I was honored to come to your help when you were in need. Thank you for hearing me out at your honorable uncle and aunt’s party. As I discussed with you then, I would like to make your further acquaintance this week. Would you please save time for me this Thursday evening? I would be delighted to escort you to dinner and to the ballet. I will come for you at six. I can assure you, I will be a pleasant companion. I would be pleased if you would not concern yourself about your possession. I will keep it safe for you. If it is the only reason you will take time for me, then that is reason enough. I will send my servant tomorrow to receive your answer.
Ernst Franz von Taaffe, heir to Graf von Taaffe
Aksinya sighed again, “What am I to answer?”
From Aksinya and Natalya's conversation, we have a short transition to set the next scene. Remember, although many events might occur during a period of time for all the characters involved in the novel, only those events that move the story, plot, and theme should be included in the writing.
From the conversation of the evening, we move with a short transition to the communication of the next evening.
I like to use letters to communicate information. I especially like to use letters when there is a letter mentioned in a novel. If you have a letter, email, text, or a telegram etc. show it to us. Many writers are afraid to just show the documents they mention. Just like introductions etc. don't short your readers by abbreviating the conversations and information by synopsising. There is a point where you might--I'll try to show you that tomorrow.
Aksinya receives a letter from Ernst. She realizes what will be in it, and she is unwilling to confront his requests. Natalya acts responsibly. She responds as though she is very experienced with these things. She gets rid of Sister Margarethe.
Aksinya is afraid to open her letter. She is completely unused to this kind of attention. She has not been entertained by a gentleman before. She has not had any experiences with men beyond her family. Natalya obviously has. Aksinya is afraid and Natalya rightly responds that Aksinya has never shown Natalya fear before. Aksinya realizes that this is a temptation. She knows the origin of the temptation.
Natalya's criticism is humorous. She threatens to have Sister Margarethe read the letter to Aksinya. That certainly wouldn't do. Aksinya finally opens and reads the letter.
The great thing about letters is a writer can show the date and the location of the writing. This is a wonderful marker to your readers. When you give your readers a letter, put in the normal address information, date, and signature.
Well, from Ernst's letter, we find he isn't very romantic. He is straightforward and right to the point. He simply invites Aksinya to dinner and the ballet. We also learn that Ernst is the heir to the Graf (Count von Taaffe). Tomorrow, we will see Aksinya's answer.