Emma 1st person POV

My plan required patience and persuasion. First, I feigned great musical fervour.

I played all the time. One evening with Charles listening, I began the same piece four times over, making a show of fretting over small errors. Charles cried, “Bravo! Very good. You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

The fool hadn’t noticed my mistakes. “Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

The next day he begged me to play him something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time I played notes that distorted the melody to ghastliness. Charles confessed I had gone off a little.

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

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling stupidly. “But it seems to me that one might be able to do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation, and who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them, I countered.”

The next day when he came home he bellowed,

“How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

I suppressed a smile, shrugged my shoulders but did not open the piano. But when I passed by it (if Charles were there), I sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I made certain to inform them that I had given up music.

People commiserated, “What a pity! She had so much talent!”

As I expected, they spoke to Charles about it. They put him to shame, especially the chemist whom I overheard in the study.

“You are wrong. One should never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. 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. That is an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but that will end by triumphing, I am certain of it, like mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

So Charles asked me once again, about the piano. I replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it, looking away as if it mattered not at all.

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

I released the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding, but an occasional respite would never do. “But lessons are only of use when followed up.”

My darling husband acquiesced. With his witless permission, I travelled to town weekly to be with my lover. At the end of a month Charles made mention to my considerable progress.

“The pinnacle of my passion,” I said.

Charles 1st person POV

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that Emma seemed seized with great musical fervour.

One evening as I listened to her, she began the same piece four times over, for no apparent reason that I could discern.

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

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

The next day I begged her to play again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to admit she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered; then, stopping short, she said,

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

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said with a chuckle. “But it seems to me that one might be able to do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation, and who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

And so I did. The next day when I came home I looked at her cautiously until I could no longer keep back the words.

“How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

She shrugged her shoulders and did not open her piano again. But when she passed by it, she sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see her, she did not fail to inform them she had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons. Then people commiserated her–

“What a pity! she had so much talent!”

They even spoke to me about it, putting me to shame, especially the chemist.

“You are wrong. One should never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. 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. That is an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but that will end by triumphing, I am certain of it, like mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

I asked Emma once more this question of the piano. She replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would be like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

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

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

And thus I gave her permission to go to town once a week for lessons, with happy results, for at the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Hello Russ. Thank you for your submission.

Excellent! You have worked through the change of point of view. And the details give a very different interpretation, I think. You might put this aside for a few weeks, return to it, reread for a new perspective on how the changes, often subtle, make the passage interpretation regarding the characters different. But even if you don’t do this ever again, take away the importance of choice of POV and its effect on story and characterization. Then, as you create characters, ask yourself: Is this POV right for what I’m trying to achieve? (This is useful in revision too.) You might next choose an assignment where you’re creating scene(s). You can think about POV choice then for practice.

All the best with your writing.

WHC

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