pablogcc (pablogcc) wrote,

Critique - Soulsong Ch4 Pt 3

Hey all!

I’m terribly sorry I’m posting the redlines at this time. I had exams week and was busy studying/drinking coffee and it seems the critiques slipped my mind completely. I remembered about them earlier today, after finally waking up. Better late than never, so here they are. Also, thank you for the redline on my fragment :)

Before she could gather her wits to ask who it was, the door opened to reveal Fiona, with Gale close behind.

“Jane me girl, yer up.  Very good.”  Fiona burst into the room and filled the place with her exuberance.  “We’ve ‘ad quite a time of keepin’ the rest of the students at bay.  They’re anxious to meet yeh and get a good look at yeh.”  She pointed at the tray of uneaten food sitting on the desk.  “What, you don’t like shepherds pie?  There’s no other in this guildhall that’ll pass up me famous shepherds pie.”

            “Well, I–” Jane was completely mowed over by the sudden influx of energy and could hardly get a word in. 

            “I s’pose there’s nothin’ for it.  We’ll just ‘ave to get yeh another big breakfast like yesterday’s instead,” she said as she began to tidy up the bed covers.  Gale took this as her cue to begin laying out clothing for Jane to put on.  Jane noticed Fiona’s eyes were red and swollen and realized she had been recently crying.  She looked at Gale and saw she had been crying too.  What’s going on?  What’ve I missed while I’ve been asleep?  Then, Fiona’s words registered.

            “Breakfast?  Are you saying I slept clear through the night?”(This bit confused me. Maybe it’s because of the length of the fragments we read, but I had pictured Jane going to bed at night, so this question felt odd)

            Fiona stopped and turned her large brown eyes on her.  “Ye’ve been through quite an adventure, me girl, and earned a much needed rest.”  She touched Jane’s arm, and tears welled in her eyes.  She looked away quickly and cleared her throat.  “Well, I best be gettin’ back to the kitchen.  Gale, you get ‘er fixed up and come straight away for breakfast.”  She took up last night’s dinner tray and, as quickly as she came into the room, she left it; and all seemed strangely quiet.  Gale finally broke the silence.

 “I heard you playing just now.  I am very much impressed.  Master Troubere will be glad to have you here.  There is finally someone as capable on the keyboard as himself,” she said.  “He has long yearned for someone with whom to play duets.”

“Thank you,” Jane replied.  “He plays the piano too?  I’ve heard him sing, but didn’t know he was a pianist as well.”

“Yes, he plays many instruments, and speaks several languages.”  There was a lull so Jane worked up the courage to ask Gale why she had been crying.

“Master Troubere called a convocation before breakfast and announced that our teacher, Miss Tambour, whom I suppose you already know about, was killed yesterday.”  She snuffled as tears brimmed in her pretty blue eyes.  She wiped them away on the back of her hand. (So far we’ve had both Gale and Fiona with tears in their eyes. I assume the ceremony where Tambour’s death was announced was an event on the emotional side, so I’d try to heighten the sense of loss to add more impact to Tambour’s passing.)

“When you say ‘piano,’ are you referring to the pianoforte?” she asked, changing the subject.  Though Jane wanted to know more about Tambour, she went with the change.

“Oh, that’s right.” She tapped herself on the forehead.  “I need to remember when I am,” she said, more jovially than she felt.  “Yes.  In my time, we’ve shortened the name for convenience.”

“Hmm,” Gale said, nodding her head.  She was young, Jane guessed only about sixteen years old, but seemed very observant and level-headed.  Her eyes conveyed youthful energy yet a sense of cleverness and good judgment as well. 

“Let us get you dressed, shall we?” Gale said.  “I noticed your clothing is very different from what we wear.  Shall I help you with these?” she asked, pointing to the array of things she had lain out on the bed.

“Um, yeah.  I think that’s a good idea” Jane replied, flushing as she remembered the confusion over underwear.  She eyed the garments Gale brought and did not recognize some of them.  Things were going to be vastly different than she was used to.  These people had not even gone through the industrial revolution yet.  Realization came crashing down and a surge of panic enveloped her.  Where am I?  Is this place even real?  Is this really the past, or am I hallucinating?  (Alright, this reaction of hers is excellent, however I feel it’s out of place. By now we’ve read many a time what seems to be Jane accepting her current situation to have this ‘crisis’ drop down on her so suddenly. Maybe moving it back a couple of sections could enhance them). She couldn’t think of going through this sort of thing again, especially without Glenna.  Her palms became cold and clammy and her face went pale.  She turned away and pleaded with her lungs to slow down.  Gale was instantly at her side, wrapping her arm around Jane’s shoulders.  Her arm was warm and… real.  Gale’s touch brought emotion to the surface and Jane sobbed.

“You go right ahead and let those tears fall, you’ve earned them,” Gale said.  “I would be a right jumble of emotions if it were me in your shoes.  Thus far, I think you have been quite brave.”  (Hmm I’m not so sure this bit works out for me. They seem to be very emotional in this fragment whereas in the past they all acted as if it were any other day; a common thing. I’d say diluting all this emotion regarding Jane’s ‘adventure’ across both the sections we’ve read and the upcoming ones would suit the story better.)

After a moment Jane wiped her eyes and turned back to her.  “Thanks.  I’ll be all right.  I appreciate all you have done to help me.”  She sniffed and smiled then wiped her nose with the handkerchief Gale gave her.  “So, tell me what this is and how I wear it,” she said, lifting an extremely uncomfortable-looking item.

“That is a corset.  It goes around the top half of you.  Take off your night dress and I’ll show you.”   Jane obeyed and soon the heavy, whale bone-lined contraption enclosed Jane’s torso.

“This reminds me of Madonna,” Jane said as she squirmed.  “Hard to believe she’d willingly wear this.”

“The Madonna?” Gale asked, clearly confused.  “The Virgin Mary in her undergarments?” (I like how you keep mixing Jane’s ‘futuristic’ comments with the story’s setting in the past. Nice!)

Jane blinked.  Then she giggled.  She tried to contain it, but it only seemed to make things worse, and once she got started she couldn’t quit.  Jane looked at Gale, who only stared back, which sent Jane into convulsions. 

“What?  What have I said?” Gale asked, giggling now herself.  Jane, in the throes of laughter, could only shake her head.  Before long, they were both in a heap on the floor holding their stomachs.  (Hmm… well seems a big change going from being on the verge of crying to laughter –although I agree it happens in reality.)

 “I know not at all what I said to put you in such a state,” Gale finally said, breathless.

“And I don’t know the first place to begin to explain,” Jane said, wiping tears.  “But, thank you. I needed that.” 

 “Well, if what I said made you feel so fine then I am glad for it,” Gale said.  “We should get you dressed.  We have yet to get you cinched up,” she said, pointing to the corset hanging loosely around Jane’s waist.

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.” She looked down at herself.  “You know, in my time this is considered sufficiently dressed.”  Jane chuckled at the look Gale gave her. 

“Be still now,” Gale said.  She took out her pocket flute and played a soft little tune.  Jane stood in amazement as the corset slowly tightened on its own.  Her amazement soon turned to astonishment, however, when the corset continued to tighten and began to hinder her ability to breathe.  Finally, the tightening ceased and the laces tied themselves. (Nice use of ‘musical magic’ however, I’d like to know the limitations they have. Since they can grow crops, move lifeless objects, etc. with magic, then it would all be easy, and because you’re dealing with the real world here, I’d be very clear regarding what they can/can’t do)

“Is this how tight it’s supposed to be?” Jane asked, her shoulders rising and falling with the effort to draw in air.

“It cuts a lovely figure,” Gale replied. 

“Yes, but I can’t fill up my lungs!”

“You will become accustomed to it,” Gale said dismissively.  “We had better get breakfast before Fiona returns looking for us.”  Gale began pulling a dress over Jane’s head and pushing stockings and shoes into her hands.

“Here, put these on while I help comb out the tangles in your hair.”  Jane winced as the comb caught on snarls that had amassed through the night.  “You should wear a night cap to bed,” Gale said as she furiously worked large snarls from the ends of Jane’s hair.  Jane used the large hair clasp she had worn from the future to keep her hair up and out of her eyes, and finally, she was dressed.  She inspected herself in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised. 

“Now I look like Fanny Price,” she marveled. 


Jane waved her hand dismissively.  “Oh, just a character from a book I’ve read.  She wondered how much of Jane Austen’s books she should reveal before they have even been written.  She turned from side to side to get a full view of the dress.  The skirt was full and gathered low at the waist and the bodice straight and simple, with buttons running down the back.  The sleeves came just past her elbows ending with long lace around the cuff.  The fabric was a sturdy homespun material of a soft slate blue color.  Although it was made for everyday wear, but Jane thought it looked elegant.  She would never have worn a dress like this in her own time, but here in the eighteenth century, she could allow herself to enjoy the aura of femininity it evoked. 

“I do believe you are ready,” Gale said, and heaved a sigh.  She looked fairly worn out from the effort of getting Jane fully clad.  

Tags: soulsong
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