Monday, July 15, 2013

Notebook: The Countess and the Artist

The Countess and the Artist
By Blake Tan

Reclining in a lounge seat in her parlour, her crimson shawl draped carelessly over her shoulder, Varvara Golovina did not look the commanding, imperial presence she seemed at court. She looked distraught, fanning herself with her free hand while she sipped from a frosted glass.

“Louise,” the countess said when she noticed the French exile standing in the doorway. “Oh, my darling Louise, I’m sorry for you to see me in such a state. I’m a mess.”

“Nonsense,” the painter said, coming into the parlour and taking a seat across from the countess, folding her hands in her lap. “You look beautiful as always, Varvara.”

“Louise,” Varvara said, burying her face in her crimson shawl. “I think Nikolai is cheating on me.”