For those who haven't been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a wondrous sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Wien, Austria.
Ernst has come to take Aksinya and Natalya to dinner and the ballet. He made it through the first barrier, Sister Margarethe. He made it passed the second barrier, Aksinya took his arm. Now, to the carriage and out on the town...
The horses and driver turned their heads toward Aksinya and Ernst as then exited the house. Aksinya still held the wonderful bouquet in her free hand.
The driver immediately leapt down from the landau. He uncovered his head, bowed, and presented his arm to Aksinya. She placed her gloved fingers on his arm and stepped into the carriage. Herr Taaffe aided from the other side. Both of them handed Natalya into the carriage.
Inside, Aksinya sat facing forward and Natalya took the seat across from her. Ernst entered and sat next to Aksinya. When they were all settled, he tapped on the front of the carriage and the horses started slowly and gently increased their speed.
Almost immediately, Ernst slouched in his seat so he partially faced Aksinya. He laughed, “You have made me a very happy man, dear lady.”
Aksinya frowned, “How have I made you so happy?”
“Why, you accepted my invitation and are now accompanying me.”
Aksinya turned toward him, “I want you to return my book.”
“You aren’t in any way pleased to be escorted by me?”
Aksinya returned her head to the front. She didn’t say anything.
“Ha, I take that to mean, you are not completely displeased that I am your escort.”
“I am not entirely displeased, but I do wish my book returned.”
“If I return your book will you promise to go out with me again?”
“I will take your request under consideration.”
“Then I will take into consideration the return of your book. I want to court you. I am in love with you, and I wish to tempt you on every occasion to come with me to dinner and entertainment.”
Aksinya turned her head toward the outside of the landau. There was no window, only an opening that was covered with a leather flap. She scowled but didn’t look back at him, “I wish the return of my book. What reason could you have to love me or even want my attention?”
“My father isn’t opposed. I admit, I haven’t had much experience with women or love, but only a woman of equal rank would please him. He desires to meet you, but I’m holding that off a bit.”
Aksinya’s voice had a tinge of sarcasm in it, “Why would you do that?”
“Because I don’t think you are too keen on the idea yet.”
“Still, your father’s approval shouldn’t be enough to excite your ardor.”
“Excite my ardor,” Ernst smiled, “You have no idea. I find you dazzling…”
“Because of sorcery?”
He laughed, “Because I am ensorcelled or because you are a sorceress. Does your lady-in –waiting know?”
“Of course she knows. I wouldn’t have brought it up otherwise.”
“Have you ensorcelled me?”
Aksinya snorted, “Do I act as if I wished such a thing?”
“You are mistaken if you believe I have ensorcelled you.” She turned toward him and her eyes widened. She said a couple of Latin words and leaned back with a sigh.
“Am I ensorcelled?”
“I didn’t think so.” He took a deep breath, “The scent of your enchantment is very strong. You are absolutely magnificent.”
Aksinya scooted closer to the other corner of the landau.
A reminder of the times, the driver and the horses. Notice that Aksinya clings to her bouquet--it is likely the only one she has ever received from a man before. The driver acts with perfect decorum. Herr von Taaffe acts like a gentleman. They settle in their seats and the carriage takes off at Ernst's signal. You might not notice, but if you compare the way the Bockmann's coupe started and the way Ernst's landau began to move, Ernst was slow and the speed gently increased. This shows Ernst's driver is an expert and the horses are well trained. All of this indicates how disciplined and well bred Ernst is.
Ernst feels comfortable enough to slouch. This is really the easiest way to face someone in a carriage or an automobile. Ernst can't hide his happiness. He is so happy to finally be able to escort Aksinya; Aksinya just wants her book. Aksinya is melting a little. She doesn't like the fact that Ernst has one up on her, but she enjoys his attention. They are already making arrangements for their next meeting.
Note, Aksinya wants to move her attention away from Ernst. She can't. There is no window in the landau. Because of her irritation, the conversation turns personal. She really wants to know what Ernst sees in her. Ernst is coy and tells her about himself and his father. Already, both Ernst and his father are interested in Aksinya. Aksinya doesn't like herself and sorcery is what she is. Because Ernst professes to admire her because of her sorcery, she sees that as completely negative. Because Ernst is so interested in Aksinya, she comes to the conclusion he might have a spell cast on him--when she checks; she finds he does not. She had worried that the demon cast a spell on Ernst. She should know better than that, demons can't do sorcery. Aksinya moves away from him because he again associates something good with her sorcery. Tomorrow, their conversation continues.