One evening I was listening with pleasure to her playing when, for no apparent reason, she began the same piece four times over. She seemed increasingly vexed by errors only she could hear, and I did my best to reassure her, crying–

“Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

I did not at all wish her to be discouraged, so the next day I asked her to play again.

And this time, I was sorry to say, she had indeed gone off a little.

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” She bit her lips, “Twenty francs, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather.” I tried to laugh a little to lift her mood. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

I spent most of the next day asking around, and couldn’t wait to tell her what I had discovered.

“I went to Barfucheres today! Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

But she merely she shrugged her shoulders, and did not open her piano again. I thought perhaps it had all been a passing whim, yet I often heard her saying–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

A few days later I fell into conversation with the chemist, and the subject arose of Emma’s piano playing. He said he was sorry to hear she had given it up, and was convinced something more must be done.

‘One should never let the faculties of nature lie fallow,’ he said. ‘Besides, just think, my good friend, that by inducing madame to study; you are economising on the subsequent musical education of your child. For my own part, I think that mothers ought themselves to instruct their children.”

Well, of course I did not wish for Emma’s talents to go to waste, or for anyone to think I was not dedicated to musical education. So once again I

But Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell the poor piano! Well, this I could not bear. This piano, which had so pleased her delicate vanity – to sell it would be like killing off a part of her own self!

I made up my mind.

“If you liked,” I said, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

To my relief this brought her back to herself: it seemed we had finally found the solution.

“But lessons,” she added thoughtfully, “are only of use when followed up.”

She was quite right of course.

And so it came about that she diligently travelled in to town to see me (REMOVE) each week. And it was quite clear what natural talent she had, for though we never seemed to do much playing in the lessons, at the end of a month she had made considerable progress. (THIS SEEMS TO SWITCH POV FROM THE HUSBAND TO THE PIANO TEACHER. IF YOU AGREE, EASILY CORRECTED)

About this time I determined to alert Charles to my great passion for music.

One evening, as he listened, I began the same piano piece four times over and complained loudly of my vexation. He, however, declared he could hear no difference, crying-

“Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

The next day he begged me to play again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time I deliberately played so many wrong notes that Charles had to confess I had gone off a little.

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bit my lip, “Twenty francs, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling in a way I felt was rather stupid. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” I said.

The next day he fidgeted about until I asked him what was wrong.

“I went to Barfucheres today,’ he said excitedly. ‘Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

That did not please me at all. I decided not to open the piano until he came round to my way of thinking. Whenever I passed and he was nearby I let out a heavy sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And I did not hesitate to let my visitors know I had given up music. When they asked why I spoke vaguely of an ‘important reason’.

“What a pity!’ they said. ‘You have such talent!”

They even approached Charles directly. Indeed, from what the chemist told me, it seems they quite put him to shame for letting my talents go to waste.

Well, after that Charles was quite insistent. But I had no interest in playing for playing’s sake! I told him it would be better to sell off the piano than play when I was so untutored.

Charles seemed quite aghast. To sell something so important to my self-esteem and pleasure? Why, he declared, it would be like killing off part of my very self!

I did not contradict him in the slightest, but remained silently forlorn until he spoke again.

“If you liked,” he said at last, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

I tilted my head as if considering this offer most carefully.

“But lessons,” I said, “are only of use when followed up.”

Well, he could not disagree with that, and so at last we were quite of accord.

Thus I obtained my husband’s permission to visit Charles [my lover?] every week. And so that no-one should think otherwise, I was careful to show at the end of a month that I had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Excellent work. You have, seeming with great ease, mastered the changes in POV very well. For me, your Emma is strong in that it gives the reader a definite insight into her character, which is stronger than the original in many ways. In the husband’s point of view, I was confused at the end. Still, you created the switch very effectively . . . and note how the irony of her improved playing is different in his point of view. In his point of view, it is dramatic irony to the extreme, with resultant sadness more than humor that was in the original.

You’ve demonstrated considerable skill. I hope this assignment will open up new possibilities for you in your own fiction. Thanks for submitting. WHC

CORRECTED

About this time I determined to alert Charles to my great passion for music.

One evening, as he listened, I began the same piano piece four times over and complained loudly of my vexation. He, however, declared he could hear no difference, crying–

“Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

The next day he begged me to play again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time I deliberately played so many wrong notes that Charles had to confess I had gone off a little.

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bit my lip, “Twenty francs, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling in a way I felt was rather stupid. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” I said.

The next day he fidgeted about until I asked him what was wrong.

“I went to Barfucheres today,’ he said excitedly. ‘Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

That did not please me at all. I decided not to open the piano until he came round to my way of thinking. Whenever I passed and he was nearby I let out a heavy sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And I did not hesitate to let my visitors know I had given up music. When they asked why I spoke vaguely of an ‘important reason’.

“What a pity!’ they said. ‘You have such talent!”

They even approached Charles directly. Indeed, from what the chemist told me, it seems they quite put him to shame for letting my talents go to waste.

Well, after that Charles was quite insistent. But I had no interest in playing for playing’s sake! I told him it would be better to sell off the piano than play when I was so untutored.

Charles seemed quite aghast. To sell something so important to my self-esteem and pleasure? Why, he declared, it would be like killing off part of my very self!

I did not contradict him in the slightest, but remained silently forlorn until he spoke again.

“If you liked,” he said at last, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

I tilted my head as if considering this offer most carefully.

“But lessons,” I said, “are only of use when followed up.”

Well, he could not disagree with that, and so at last we were quite of accord.

Thus I obtained my husband’s permission to visit my lover in town every week. And so that no-one should suspect me, I was careful to show at the end of a month that I had made considerable progress on the piano.

 

About this time she was seized with great musical fervour.

One evening I was listening with pleasure to her playing when, for no apparent reason, she began the same piece four times over. She seemed increasingly vexed by errors only she could hear, and I did my best to reassure her, crying–

“Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

I did not at all wish her to be discouraged, so the next day I asked her to play again.

And this time, I was sorry to say, she had indeed gone off a little.

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” She bit her lips, “Twenty francs, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather.” I tried to laugh a little to lift her mood. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

I spent most of the next day asking around, and couldn’t wait to tell her what I had discovered.

“I went to Barfucheres today! Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

But she merely she shrugged her shoulders, and did not open her piano again. I thought perhaps it had all been a passing whim, yet I often heard her saying–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

A few days later I fell into conversation with the chemist, and the subject arose of Emma’s piano playing. He said he was sorry to hear she had given it up, and was convinced something more must be done.

‘One should never let the faculties of nature lie fallow,’ he said. ‘Besides, just think, my good friend, that by inducing madame to study; you are economising on the subsequent musical education of your child. For my own part, I think that mothers ought themselves to instruct their children.”

Well, of course I did not wish for Emma’s talents to go to waste, or for anyone to think I was not dedicated to musical education. So once again I exhorted her to play. 

But Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell the poor piano! Well, this I could not bear. This piano, which had so pleased her delicate vanity – to sell it would be like killing off a part of her own self!

I made up my mind.

“If you liked,” I said, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

To my relief this brought her back to herself: it seemed we had finally found the solution.

“But lessons,” she added thoughtfully, “are only of use when followed up.”

She was quite right of course.

And so it came about that she diligently travelled in to town each week for lessons. And it was quite clear then what natural talent she had, for at the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Great work!

  1. Dear WHC

    Thank you very much for your feedback. In terms of the confused endings, I stupidly was confused into thinking Charles was the lover (I am very embarrassed at my ignorance). I have re-posted my assignment having corrected this, and I am now reading Madame Bovary so I won’t make the mistake again!
    The exercise was very helpful, and I am using this experimentation with point of view in tackling Assignment 2.
    I have found your website as a whole extremely helpful, and it has provided me with ideas and techniques which I have not found elsewhere.
    I look forward to completing more assignments.

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