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 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 Austria.
Dobrushin and Aksinya married. Aksinya and Dobrushin are in Boston, and Aksinya has come to an Orthodox girl's school looking for a job...
Aksinya pulled the bell. After a couple of minutes a matronly woman dressed as a chamber maid answered the door. She was pleasant looking. Aksinya smiled and announced in English, “I am Mrs. Aksinya Andreiovna Lopuhin.”
The maid responded in broken English, “This is a Russian academy, are you certain you are at the right place? We don’t accept married students.”
Aksinya changed to Russian, “I am here to apply for the position of English and linguistics teacher. You posted it with the Russian exchange office.”
“Yes, so we did.” The woman frowned and looked Aksinya up and down.
“Is there a problem?”
“None at all.” The woman’s tone of voice said there was. “I’ll take you to see the headmistress. She is also the wife of the owner of this school.”
The building was similar to many of the row houses Aksinya was familiar with in
. The foyer wasn’t large. It opened to a stairway that led up into the building and a hall that led to the rear. A parlor was on the right and a classroom on the left. Aksinya could hear the teacher lecturing through the closed door. Boston
The maid didn’t lead Aksinya into the parlor or upstairs but rather headed down the hall on the first floor. They passed a second and a third classroom on the left and right and finally arrived at a large dining room and kitchen. They were also on the left. On the right was a door labeled Office of the Headmistress. The door was closed. Outside the door sat four hardback chairs in a row. A girl of about twelve slumped in one of the seats. She didn’t seem very happy.
The maid turned a stern look at the girl then pointed to the seats. Aksinya sat next to the girl. The maid knocked at the office, entered and closed the door behind her. She exited just a moment later, “The headmistress will call for you in a moment.”
Aksinya answered “Thank you.”
The scene setting is complete and notice I move directly into conversation. Aksinya announces herself in such a way that she doesn't give her title or her rank. She uses her husband's name. This might catch the modern reader off guard. A noble woman would continue to use her title. Aksinya has given up her nobility--just as Dobrushin gave up his profession and Church rank.
The maid responds in broken English--this way you know she is Russian. I don't have to tell you this--I show it to you. The maid mistakes Aksinya for an American, and she punctuates Aksinya's fears by thinking Aksinya is seeking to be a student there. This is another reminder of Aksinya's appearance. Notice the advanced writing technique used to show this.
Aksinya changes to Russian--another reminder of the maid's language. She announces her intentions. I give you a little historical knowledge. There were no Russian embassies. The USSR was not acknowledged by the USA. The best there were was exchange offices. The maids attention to Aksinya builds the tension. The woman finally decides to take Aksinya to the headmistress, but she isn't happy about it. I give you a little information as a foreshadowing that the headmistress is the wife of the owner of the school. A little history here too--men usually owned the property of their wives.
Now, I give you scene setting of the inside of the building. It is a typical row house that incorporates a school. The rest is a tour of the lower floor to the headmistress' office. Outside the office are chairs for waiting and a girl is sitting in one of the chairs. You can guess already why the girl is there. I don't tell you anything--I show you: she is slumped and not happy, and the maid gives her a stern look.
Aksinya sits next to the girl. You knew Aksinya would--that is her personality. The maid announces Aksinya. Tomorrow, conversation with the girl.