Mlle. Reisz is delighted that Edna has called to see her. She too has
received a letter from Robert in Mexico, but the contents are almost entirely concerning Edna, which cheers Edna up. She has been depressed recently and that is what prompted her to seek out Mlle. Reisz.
In Robert’s letter, he asks that Mlle. Reisz should play a special piece of
music for Edna – Chopin’s impromptu.
Edna tells her hostess that she wishes to spend more time with her
sketching, and wants to become more adept in this art form. Mlle. Reisz tells Edna that she must be courageous and if so, she will be successful.
competent pianist starts playing the Chopin piece whilst Edna reads
the letter from Robert. The moving music brings tears to Edna’s
eyes and this is compounded by Mlle. Reisz playing ‘Isolde’s Song’.
Mlle. Reisz tells Edna that she is always welcome in her home.
This is an important Chapter.
It signifies a change in allegiance by Edna from her former friend Ad'le to
the free and understanding Mlle. Reisz.
Edna became alienated from Ad'le when she last visited and could not abide
the thought of becoming like her, as L'once had suggested.
Edna wishes to become like Mlle. Reisz, obligated to no-one, pursuing her art for her own gratification and to entertain others. Edna hopes that her artistry will also provide her with the same benefits.
We read, “Edna did not know when the Impromptu began or ended.
She sat in the sofa corner reading Robert’s letter by the fading light. Mlle. had glided from the Chopin into the quivering love notes of Isolde’s Song, and back again to the Impromptu with its soulful, poignant longing.” Edna realizes she is at a crossroads in her life, and Robert’s words concerning her, plus the music, bring out her full emotions. We realize, therefore, that as the letter was addressed to Mlle. Reisz, she will be aware of Robert and Edna’s secret love, but we also wonder whether this will be an unfulfilled love.
Our author, Chopin, has specifically picked these two pieces of music
symbolizing the almost unworldly relationship between Robert and Edna, which is far removed from the society that they are from.
Also, Isolde’s Song comes from Wagner’s opera ‘Tristan and Isolde’, which is a tragic love story, and we therefore assume that Edna and Robert’s story will also be tragic in its conclusion. Tristan was a single man in love with a married woman, and their relationship was to have fatal repercussions.