When the world turns upside down, those who are thrown together can feel like all barriers and differences have been erased in the common struggle. At least, it can feel that way to those who don't worry as much about consequences once the crisis is past. I picked this scene because it illustrates Roz and Iuli's different takes on potential consequences. Iuli thinks she can make everything right once the crisis is over. Roz knows that some people are held to stricter standards of accountability than others. Iuli is certain that Roz's highest aspiration is to return to being her maid and confident that she can make it happen. Roz...has other ideas. And yet old habits die hard, and Roz's reflex is to look after her, as if nothing had changed.
* * *
Maisetra Iulien had been quieter than usual that day, just asking what was needed. She only brought out her sweet-talk to assure Mefro Dominique there’d be no trouble from letting her stay. I couldn’t say she was right about that. I remembered how sharp Maisetra Sovitre’s words had been forbidding me to come here. Would she blame Mefro Dominique for not sending her back? Or would she understand it was beyond any of us to change Maisetra Iulien’s mind?
It was a habit for me to do for her as we got ready for sleep, hanging her dress up as neat as I could and plaiting up her hair.
“Oh Roz,” she said, “you needn’t. You aren’t my maid here.”
I made a little noise. I meant it to be a never-mind, but it came out like a sob.
“Don’t worry, Roz. I’ll put in a word for you when this is all over. I don’t know how much good it’ll do. Cousin Margerit may lock me in my bedroom again when all this is over. But I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have taking care of me to face a Rotenek season.”
It was nice to hear her say it. But I thought she was right. Not even Princess Anna putting in a word for me could get me hired back at Tiporsel House now.