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Elza in Small Victories

A reader asks, "Wait, is the woman in the red dress in the story Small Victories the main character of The General's Mistress? Or am I all confused?"

YES! You are correct and unconfused! The woman in the red dress, who Victory does not yet know, is Elza -- the main character of The General's Mistress. This is from the ball scene.

They had been joined by an enormous man with sideburns and a long moustache, who had a silver flask openly in his hand. He offered it to Honore, who drank and then passed it to the fourth member of their party. She took it, laughing, and Victory's stomach clinched. Her blonde hair was piled on top of her head and fell in charming ringlets, and her red velvet and brocade dress showed every curve. She must be thirty or so, but she put her hand on the small man's arm with graceful familiarity, tilting the flask back and drinking before she gave it back to its owner....

The blonde glanced in her direction, then put her hand on Honore's, leaning toward him to say something in a low voice.... The gavotte was ending. Honore broke away from the group, the blonde looking after him encouragingly, and made his way around the room.


At that moment Victory is perceiving her as a rival, but she isn't. She and Honore are entirely just friends and she is absolutely otherwise involved. Actually she's telling Honore to go talk to the girl he just danced with!