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. She is waiting for the headmistress to call on her, but she happens to be sitting next to a girl named Stacy...
The girl, Stacy asked, “Are you going to go to school here? Where are your mother and father?”
Aksinya laughed, “I’m applying to be a teacher here.”
The girl’s eyes widened, “You look so young.”
“I’m married,” Aksinya held out her right hand.
Stacy admired Aksinya’s plain golden ring, “Mother told me they married young in the old country. Just how old are you?”
Aksinya laughed again, “I’m twenty-three. I just graduated from Radcliffe.”
“Do you like school that much?”
“Yes, I like it very much. I never was able to go when I was young.”
“You’d hate it if you were my age.”
“Why is that?”
Stacy held out her red hand, “Sister already used her ruler on my hand, and now I have to speak to the headmistress. If she tells my mother, I’ll get the strap for sure.”
“Perhaps you should tell the headmistress you didn’t know what the words meant and beg her forgiveness.”
“I truly didn’t know what the words were, and I still don’t know what they mean.”
“Then tell her that.”
“Sister wouldn’t listen.”
“Sometimes they are like that.”
The door cracked open, and a call came from inside the office. It was Russian accented English and sounded very pleasant, “Miss Anastasiya please come inside.” To Aksinya, the voice seemed slightly familiar.
As Stacy passed Aksinya, she whispered in Russian, “Don’t let her voice fool you, she is quite strict.”
More advanced techniques. At the beginning of this dialog, I describe Aksinya to you through the eyes of Stacy, but I don't use a single word of description. Stacy asks if Aksinya is going to school there and where are her parents. This indicates that Aksinya still looks like a teen to Stacy, plus there is just so much wrapped up in this comment. It drives to the core of Aksinya's previous lack of confidence. Look how she handles it now--she simply answers the girl as though nothing were amiss. This indicates her maturity.
Perhaps Aksinya gets this kind of reaction all the time, because she answers it in an interesting way. She shows her ring and indicates she is married. Note, the ring is on the right hand and not the left. In general in Europe, the wedding ring goes on the right hand, in the US, it is the left hand.
Stacy attributes this to the old country, but notice the admiration--all women (and girls) in this era admired those who were married--it indicated a level of maturity, worth, and wealth. This lets me move on to give Aksinya's age and again that she graduated from Radcliffe. The reason for this is a setup to give the point about school. Aksinya loves school--she never got to go except in Wien for a few short months, and then Radcliffe. That idea is a lead in to Stacy's complaint about the Sister. I show you Stacy's hand and Stacy tells you that the sister struck her with a ruler--this was a common punishment for girls at the time. Poor Stacy knows that the headmistress will tell her mom and Stacy will get the strap. Again, not an uncommon punishment at the time.
Aksinya's advice comes directly from her own experience. This is supposed to be a small parallel. This sets up the conversation for a couple of jokes, one about the sister not listening and the other about Stacy not knowing what the dreaded words meant.
Then, the headmistress calls for Stacy. She speaks English. The fact that the voice is familiar is a foreshadowing. Stacy has accepted Aksinya as an intimate--she passes on some advice herself. Tomorrow, the result of Stacy's interview.