Emma’s POV

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I conceived a plan I felt had some merit.

One evening when Charles was listening to me, I began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while he, not noticing any difference, cried–

“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 him something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

And Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I played wrong notes and blundered; then, stopping short–

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bit my lips 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 challenged him.

The next day when he came home he looked at me shyly, and at last burst out, “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 shrugged my shoulders and refused to open my piano again. But I made certain when I passed by it (if Bovary were there), to sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them I had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons.

“What a pity!” they might say. “She had so much talent!”

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put him to shame, especially the chemist. I was pleased to hear him take Bovary to task one evening:

“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 returned once more to this question of the piano. I replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given me such satisfaction–I felt certain that to see it go would be unbearable to Bovary.

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

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

And thus it was I obtained my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month he even told me I had made considerable progress.

Charles’ POV

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

One evening when I was listening to her, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, but I, not noticing any difference, cried–

“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 me something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

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

“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,” said I, in some shock. “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!” Emma pouted.

The next day when I came home I hesitated, watching her, but at least burst out,

“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 I observed her passing it, she often 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 chastised me, I felt, 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.”

At last I felt I must return once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano—she loved it so–to see her let it go seemed too cruel.

“If you liked,” I finally relented, “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.”

Thus I granted my permission for her to go to town once a week for regular lessons. At the end of a month I was delighted to observe that she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Fine. I hope you’ve learned about the effects of different POVs. If you’re up to it, try writing this short scene from three different points of view: the teacher, the student, and the parent.

Scene: A fifty-five-year-old spinster piano teacher giving lessons to a fifteen-year-old girl is angered by her lack of practice and lack of progress. She also resents the girl’s beauty, intelligence, and youth. She lays into her, her voice strident, berating her, humiliating her, making critical remarks not only about her playing and musicianship, but about her dress, her choice of schools, her interest in boys, etc. The parent (father or mother) sits outside the room and hears through the open door. He or she is outraged and comes in to give the teacher what for.

Write the scene from the three points of view. I’d enjoy seeing what you can do with it. (Submit through workshop.)

Best regards,

WHC

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