It was in the beginning of winter I gave the illusion of being seized with musical fervor. 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!” I turned my head so as not to see his face.

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

The next day he begged me to play him something again. And after much cajoling I did so, my cheeks aflame with embarrassment.

Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I’d 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, “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 said.

The next day when he came home he looked at me shyly, and at last 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!”

I shrugged my shoulders and did not open my piano again. But when I passed by it (if Bovary were there), I sighed–

“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. Then people commiserated me–

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

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put him to shame!

“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 economizing 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. This poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–the thought of loosing it was as an indefinable suicide of a part of my own self, at least that is how Bovary behaved when addressed with the option.

“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 set about obtaining my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I was even considered to have made considerable progress.

 

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

One evening when I was listening to her, each time she started a piece seemed to crease her forehead more and more over the pages she played. I could not understand what was vexing her so and merely sat in awe.

“Bravo! Very good! 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 something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to confess she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered.

“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 agreed. “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.

The next day when I came home I looked at her shyly, and at last 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. When she saw me walking by 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. They put me to shame!

“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 economizing 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 I reluctantly returned once more to this question of the piano. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would have been to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I told her, “a lesson from time to time…”

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

So she went into town once a week. At the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

It was in the beginning of winter I gave the illusion of being seized with musical fervor.  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!”  I turned my head so as not to see his face.

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

The next day he begged me to play him something again.  And after much cajoling I did so, my cheeks aflame with embarrassment.

Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I’d 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, “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 said.

The next day when he came home he looked at me shyly, and at last 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!”

I shrugged my shoulders and did not open my piano again. But when I passed by it (if Bovary [Charles] were there), I sighed–  [In Emma’s POV she would say “Charles,” I think.)

“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. Then people commiserated me–

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

They even spoke to Bovary [Charles] about it. They put him to shame!

“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 economizing 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. This poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–the thought of loosing it was as an indefinable suicide of a part of my own self, at least that is how Bovary [Charles] behaved when addressed with the option.

“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 set about obtaining my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I was even considered to have made considerable progress.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­——————————————————————

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

One evening when I was listening to her, each time she started a piece seemed to crease her forehead more and more over the pages she played.  I could not understand what was vexing her so and merely sat in awe.

“Bravo! Very good! 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 something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to confess she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered.

“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 agreed. “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.

The next day when I came home I looked at her shyly, and at last 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.  When she saw me walking by 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. They put me to shame, especially the chemist! [The chemist is her lover.]

“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 economizing 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 I reluctantly returned once more to this question of the piano.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would have been to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I told her, “a lesson from time to time…”

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

So she went into town once a week. At the end of a month she had made considerable progress. In Charles’s POV, this irony seems stronger than Emma’s, even Flaubert’s narrator POV. Did you find that true to as you rewrote?

Excellent. The purpose of this is to discover the effect of POV on story and presentation. Flaubert, of course, uses dramatic irony to, for many, very humorous effect. He uses third-person “narrator” view and much of what happens in the piece occurs with undertones the characters are unaware of (Charles doesn’t know Emma’s real purpose), and ironies. I think to be in Emma’s point of view deadens the irony a little. What do you think? At least something happens to the cumulative effect. You might also try an alternative for experiment and practice. You could switch points of view between Charles and Emma [third-person multiple], which could enhance the ironies with more specificity, but it might also not work from a reader’s satisfaction and comfort staying in one point of view.

For your own stories, use the excellent work you’ve done to remember to choose POV carefully to attain the effect you want. Today most writers use first person for all stories. It’s the easiest to write. But it isn’t the right choice for all stories. It’s good to practice and choose different points of view to give your stories their maximum potential.

Thanks for the submission. And all the best.
WHC

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