Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Okay, this is the 1st draft of the 1st page of 'Emma'.

It's taken a few efforts to find the right place to start from.
I've decided to start not at the very beginning but still early on, where Emma meets Ernest.I chose this point mainly because he is a largely hostile witness to her story.

Any comments are most welcome

Emma was enchanting, that is why I stole her from Mephistopheles. I confess that my acquisition of her services was not based solely on the prospect of financial gain. She had unearthly looks, not great beauty but it was hard to take your eyes off her. She looked ethereal but her character was that of a scheming minx. I found that combination of fragility and deviance irresistible and fell in love with her.
Having told you that my emotions were involved you may understand why my later judgement in regard to Emma Butcher was flawed.

I saw her for the first time on stage at the Alhambra. She made a brief appearance each night as a Fairy captured by that incompetent illusionist.
Mephistopheles, such an arrogant stage name, placed the girl in a box and made a vast bother with chains and padlocks, even throwing the keys away before her cries from captivity softened his heart and he ‘magically’ freed her.
It was a tedious climax and the applause was directed to the pretty assistant rather than the Conjurer.

I sat through this performance on three consecutive nights before I confirmed my first impression; that he had no right to the girl and that I owed it to her to rescue her and make her a central part of my own superior act.

I had learnt that she was not his daughter; back stage gossip said that he’d fetched her home with him one night to the great annoyance of his wife. Apparently Emma had attempted to pick his pocket and instead of beating her he chose to make her his new assistant. He told Flossie his wife that the girl was very agile, she’d wriggled like a worm on a hook when he caught hold of her.

This wiriness was not obvious because people tended to be held by Emma’s large eyes and silvery hair and failed to see that her thin body was muscular and lithe.
Flossie had reluctantly agreed that the girl could squirm into the small compartments used in Mephistopheles stage paraphernalia and so Emma had been a part of the act for several weeks.
I went to visit Flossie.
The conversation had run along these lines;
‘ I wanted to visit you Madam to offer my praise for your husband’s act. He is a master of illusion. I have seen him often in years past and always admired his skill, but I am concerned. May I ask is he quite well?’
Flossie looked puzzled and I went on.
‘It’s only that I feel his assistant may be failing him; she does prance about a lot and her shrieks from the box are really quite irritating. He almost dropped the magic curtain too soon last night. I was right side in the wings and she was still clambering up on the box, she is clumsy I fear.....’
The lady was looking discomfited now.
‘ Please don’t think Madam that this is a criticism of your husband I only fear that he may be too close to the girl to see her faults and that perhaps he is sickening for something?’
‘Yes Sir you may well be right.Thank you for your kind words. I shall speak with him.’

I made my goodbyes and left feeling quite smug. The very next day Emma was thrown out and was running down the street pursued by a furious Flossie when I stepped out from an alley and pulled Emma into a doorway.

‘Hush keep still. If the old girl catches you she’ll knock you senseless.’

Emma struggled in my arms, but I had the measure of her.

‘ You are back on the streets my girl and that’s not the place for you.’

She tossed her head ‘ And you’d be knowing where I should be do you? If you want a personal whore you’ve got the wrong girl here.’

‘Emma, dear girl. I am offering you a good position. You will be on a stage alone with all eyes on you.’

‘You think that’s where I ought to be ?’ She’d relaxed a little.

‘I do and so do you. Come with me and I’ll explain over some pie and mash.’

That did the trick, Emma admitted to being ravenous. Flossie had half starved her while she’d lived with them.


Next section Ernest explains act and they start out on life tog.

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