Emma:

It was the beginning of winter that I became annoyed with his regular efforts to engage me.  I tried playing the piano to tune out his presence, but he pinned himself to my side.

One evening I played the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, yet he cried–

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

His flattery was nerve racking if not pathetic.  I mustered a response –  “Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”   That worked and he leaned away.

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

 “Very well; to please you!” I said through my gritted teeth.

I banged my fingers against the ivory then stopped short and hung my head.  “Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but– twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” he responded with a laugh. “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 replied.

The next day when he came home he hesitated.  I thought it was back to the drawing board.  My fingers were too numb to play any harder.

Finally he came out with it.

“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 off his suggestion, although it was the perfect plan. I made a point to pause by the piano when he was looking – “Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I solicited pity which drew the attention I was anticipating–

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

They spoke to him 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 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 he returned to this question of the piano.  I begged him to sell it.  He took a deep breath then said “If you’d like a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons, are only of use when followed up.”   I said with my eyes down.

And thus it was set – he sent me to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I demonstrated what a great investment he had made by playing him a masterful piece.

Charles:

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

One evening when I stood listening, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.  One note, one chord, another chord, it all sounded like the same noise she always played.  I dared not sit for I would have slept.  I responded with good timing –

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

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

The next day, I asked her to play.  I preceded the session with gulps of liquor.

“Very well; to please you!” she said.

One chord and I was already dozing where I stood.  Just when I thought she was playing a piece, she wasn’t.  My eyes popped open.   She sat staring with her hands clawed above the keys.  Just as I was to suggest another form of relaxation she came out with –

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but – twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said and giggled at her suggestion.  “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!” she said.

The next day I had hoped she had forgotten about it.  She hadn’t.  How obstinate she could be.  So I told her about the cheapest lessons I could find.

 “Ah! my poor piano!” was her reply.

She broadcasted her plight.  Then people commiserated her–

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

They broached the subject with me and spoiled the taste of my glass of brandy.  I tightened my lips and listened –

“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 put down my glass, hugged her and stated the piano was a symbol of our love.

Her reply was to sell it.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–

“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.”

I gave her permission to go to town once a week to have the lessons.  I was amazed at the transformation.  I had never seen her fingers flow so smoothly and her body sway so gracefully,  and the sound – made me sink into my chair –  and she did it all with a glowing smile.

Instructor Response

Excellent work. I’ve made comments in red:

Emma:

It was the beginning of winter that I became annoyed with his regular efforts to engage me.  I tried playing the piano to tune out his presence, but he pinned himself to my side. Nice.

One evening I played the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, yet he cried–

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

His flattery was nerve racking if not pathetic.  I mustered a response –  “Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”   That worked and he leaned away.

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

 “Very well; to please you!” I said through my gritted teeth.

I banged my fingers against the ivory then stopped short and hung my head.  “Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but– twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!” Good.

“Yes, so it is–rather,” he responded with a laugh. “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 replied.

The next day when he came home he hesitated.  I thought it was back to the drawing board.  My fingers were too numb to play any harder.

Finally he came out with it.

“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 off his suggestion, although it was the perfect plan. I made a point to pause by the piano when he was looking – “Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I solicited pity which drew the attention I was anticipating–

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

They spoke to him 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 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 he returned to this question of the piano.  I begged him to sell it.  He took a deep breath then said “If you’d like a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons, are only of use when followed up.”   I said with my eyes down.

And thus it was set – he sent me to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I demonstrated what a great investment he had made by playing him a masterful piece.

Nicely done. In this last sentence, I would have maybe changed the syntax a little. You have Emma telling of her success. What if you let her relate Charles’s folly? Something like:
At the end of the month, Charles said to me with great pride, “You’ve made considerable progress, my dear. Considerable.”

Charles:

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

One evening when I stood listening, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.  One note, one chord, another chord, it all sounded like the same noise she always played.  I dared not sit for I would have slept.  I responded with good timing –

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

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

The next day, I asked her to play.  I preceded the session with gulps of liquor.

“Very well; to please you!” she said.

One chord and I was already dozing where I stood.  Just when I thought she was playing a piece, she wasn’t.  My eyes popped open.   She sat staring with her hands clawed above the keys.  Just as I was to suggest another form of relaxation she came out with –

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but – twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said and giggled at her suggestion.  “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!” she said.

The next day I had hoped she had forgotten about it.  She hadn’t.  How obstinate she could be.  So I told her about the cheapest lessons I could find.

 “Ah! my poor piano!” was her reply.

She broadcasted her plight.  Then people commiserated her–

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

They broached the subject with me and spoiled the taste of my glass of brandy.  I tightened my lips and listened –Good!

“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 put down my glass, hugged her and stated the piano was a symbol of our love.

Her reply was to sell it.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–

“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.”

I gave her permission to go to town once a week to have the lessons.  I was amazed at the (her?) transformation.  I had never seen her fingers flow so smoothly and her body sway so gracefully,  and the sound – made me sink into my chair –  and she did it all with a glowing smile. Yes! Nicely done. Here the irony remains, all dependent, I think, on Charles being totally unaware of Emma and her schemes, and the reader being fully aware.
You’ve easily mastered the object of this assignment, demonstrating the different effects of different POVs on the same scene. This is valuable in choice of POV for a scene, chapter, or story, and also, as you’ve demonstrated, accents how the prose changes in effect with POV change. This is especially useful in incorporating humor, often in the form of dramatic irony, in the writing

Thanks for the submission and all the best! WHC

  1. Thanks for the critique. Thanks in general for this website, it is the only one of its kind — for literary fiction writing. I appreciate your help and generosity with your time.

    Yes the ending is more lively as you suggested for Emma’s version. Mine fades into a dullness of ‘telling’.
    The most difficult part of doing this assignment was limiting it to 500 words. Good thing, though. I had written it first without considering the # of words and had to go back and edit (sacrifice) some of the writing. That too, is an exercise that is useful.

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