George Sand.

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T E V E R I N O :




3}ingriijr!itral Ifetrlj nf ik BistmgmHliA antlmrm





Entered, according to Act of Congres*, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and fifty-five, %

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of Ne-w York.





One fine morning, in the first years of the Restoration, the
aristocratic convent of the " Dairies Anglaises,'^ which at that
period' monopolized the education of the daughters of all the
patrician families of Paris, opened its doors to a new, young,
and most interesting pensionnaire.

The new-comer, who was scarcely fourteen years old, had
just arrived from Berry : her religious education seemed to
have been much neglected, for the good sisters remarked with
a holy horror, that she made the sign of the cross with a phi-
losophical awkwardness, denoting a total want of practice.
She was, nevertheless, a fine and noble-looking-girl : her fea-
tures, very decided and strongly marked, breathed an air of
native pride : she bore, without the least embarrassment, those
glances, which, at the convent as at the college, are never
spared to freshly arrived provincials, and in her every move-
ment there was such an impress of rustic brusquerie, that in
a few days her noble companions, sportively, but unanimously
had given her the nickname of " the little hoyP But this young
girl, in point of birth, was the peer of the most illustrious
heiresses of France : for if, on her father's side, she was related
only to a wealthy financial family, Amantine-Aurore Dupin^



afterwards Madame Dudevant, but now known by her pen
and by her genius as '• George Sand," is a descendant of Au-
gustus II., king of Poland.

She was born in the year of the coronation of Napoleon, the
twelfth year of the French Republic (1804). Her name is not
Marie- Aurore de Saxc, Marchioness of Dudevant, as several
of her biographers have discovered; but Amantine Lucile
Aurore Dupin, and her husband, M. Franfois Dudevant, bears
no title : he is only a sub-lieutenant of infantry, and at the
time of his marriage was but twenty-seven years old. In
making him an old Colonel of the Empire, he has perhaps
been confounded with M. Delmare, a character of one of the
romances of his wife : for it is, in truth, only too easy to write
the biography of a novelist by supposing the fiction of her
works the reality of her existence. It requires no great out-
lay of imagination.

Her birth, which has so often and so singularly been made
the subject of reproach, by both branches of her family, is a
fact in itself most curious, and one that affords much food for
reflection upon the question of genealogy.

We are not alone the children of our fathers : we are, I
think, fully as much the children of our mothers. I even
believe that we are a little more so, and to her who has borne
us we hold a more immediate, a more powerful, and a more
sacred relation. Though, therefore, the father of George Sand
.was the great-grandson of Augustus II. King of Poland, and
though thus she was, illegitimately, perhaps, but still most
nearly related to Charles X. and Louis XVIII., it is no less
true that she was connected as nearly and as directly with
the people ; perhaps even more so, for on this side there was
no bastardy.

Her mother was a pogr .girl^f the old ^vf fif_ Pa^^ whose
father, Antoine Delaborde, was a master bird-seller j that is,
he sold wrens and canary-birds on the Quai des Oiseaux, after
having kept a little billiard-room in some out-of-the-way cor-
per pf Paris, where^ indeed, he did not pay his expenses. Her


mother's godfather, it is true, stood high in the bird-trade ; he
was named Barra, and this name may still be seen on the
Boulevard du Temple, over a store where bird-cages of all sizes
are for sale, and where a crowd of feathered songsters are ever
warbling. These little birds George Sand, to quote her own ]
words, " has ever regarded as so many godfathers and god-
mothers, mysterious patrons with whom I have ever had a

particular affinity I have even written a romance \

wherein the birds play an important part, and wherein I have /
endeavored to say something on this affinity and this occult /
influence. This is Teverino, to which I refer my readers. I /
know well that I do not write for the world at large ; man-
kind, in general, has far more important occupations than
reading a collection of romances, or caring for the history of
an individual, a stranger to the busy world. People of my
profession write only for a certain class, placed in situations
or lost in reveries analogous to those with which they are

" Thus, in Teverino, I have imagined a young girl possess-
ing power, like the first Eve, over the birds of creation, and I
wish to observe here, that it is not purely a fictitious creation ;
no more than the wonders told of the poetic and admirable
impostor, Apollonius of Tyana, are fables contrary to the
spirit of Christianity. We live in an age in which the natu-
ral causes, which have heretofore passed for miracles, are not
as yet wholly explained, but in which it is already undenia-
ably established that on earth there are no miracles, and that
the laws of the universe, though not all as yet fathomed and
defined, are not, on that account, less conformable to eternal
order." But it is time to return to the chapter of her birth.

Augustus, King of Poland, after having conquered Stanis-
laus, and secured himself in the possession of the throne, re-
posed from the toil and torments of politics in the arms of
love. By the beautiful Countess of Koenigsmark he had one
son, who under the name of Maurice, Count de Saxe. was
destined to rival the Duke de Richelieu in gallant adventures,


and to surpass him in warlike heroism. He was the acknow-
ledged lover of a celebrated actress, and by her he had one
daughter, Mario Aurore, recognized as legitimate by a decree
of parliament, and who married, in 1793, the Count de Horn,
formerly President of the Diet of Sweden. At the end of three
years of married life, the Countess de Horn was left a widow,
and retiring to the Abbaye-aux-Bois, in that sanctuary destined
in after years to shelter a glory of beauty, immortalized by
grace and goodness, she presided over one of the most distin-
guished of those bureaus d^ esprit, so famous in the French his-
tory of the eighteenth century. Young and remarkably beau-
tiful, it was not long ere the beauteous widow inspired M.
Dupin de Franceuil with a most ardent passion, and accepting
the offer of his hand, she went with him to reside at Chateau-
roux, from whence they afterwards removed to the Chateau
de Nohant. One son, Maurice Dupin, was the offspring of this
union, who, marrying at an early age, was the father of the
celebrated woman whose biography we are writing.

We have mentioned that Antoine Delaborde, the maternal
grandfather of George Sand, finding the proprietorship of a
small billiard-room inadequate to his support, took to the sale
of Jbirds. George Sand's knowledge of this relative is very
vague, for it seems that her mother herself knew very little of
him. But more definite recollections are entertained, by the
mother of George Sand, of a good and pious grandmother, who
brought up her and her sister. It appears that this venerable
lady was a staunch royalist, and instilled into the minds of
her grardchildrcn a proper sentiment of abhorrence for the
Revolution. When the eldest, who was named Sophie- Vic-
toire- Antoinette, (the latter name being in honor of the unfor-
tunate Marie- Antoinette.) was fifteen or sixteen years of age,
Wr grandmother, dressing her in white, and garnishing her
head with powder and roses, conducted her to the Hotel-de-
Ville, where, having previously been taught a pretty speech
in verse, by the actor Collot-d'Herbois, she was instructed to
deliver it to the citizens Bailly and Lafayette, a task which


she accomplished with great eclat and self-gratification at
being the only one among a bevy of pretty girls present on the
occasion, selected for the honor.

She was accompanied by the good dame Cloquart, and her
sister Lucille, and after having delivered her poetic compli-
ment, and presented the crown of flowers to the citizen La-
fayette, all delighted at the honor the distinguished man
conferred upon her by placing the garland upon her head, the
young gill, with her sister and grandmother, proceeded to par-
ticipate in the banquet that was prepared. But the press of
the crowd was so great that the worthy dame Cloquart and
Lucille became separated from Sophie- Victoire, and, being
alarmed, left the scene, to wait for her without. After a long
and anxious waiting, as the young girl did not return, her
sister and grandmother were fain to return home without her.
The rest of the day was spent in much sorrow and anxiety,
happily dispelled at night-fall by the appearance of the young
girl, escorted in triumph by a band of patriots of both sexes,
who, such was their respect for their protegee, had not suffered
even her robe to be rumpled by the profane contact of the
multitude. Although much doubt existed in the family rela-
tive to the precise nature of this political event, we are in-
clined to believe that it must have been the occasion of La-
fayette announcing that the king had decided to return once
more to his good city of Paris. This event probably gave the
young girl a taste for the Revolution, though it may be
imagined that her enthusiasm was somewhat damped when
subsequently she beheld the lovely features and beautiful
blond hair of the Princess de Lamballe paraded through the
streets upon the point of a pike-staff. They were at this
period so poor that Lucie took in needle- work, and Victoire
helped to eke out their scanty subsistance by her duties as
a supernumerary at a small theatre. Lucie denied this latter
fact, but George Sand states that it was true, for her mother
frequently mentioned the circumstance to her, in certain con-


nections which fixed the truth of the matter and stamped it
indelibly upon her memory.

From this period, all trace of the mother of George Sand is
lost for a long time, nor is it known with certainty how the
_youns and wealthy patrician, Maurice Dupin, became ac-
quainted with the poor and humble daughter of the people.
But the chapter of their loves is all a romance. It .seems
most probable that in some way they had first met at Milan,
where Maurice had loved her, and afterwards at Asola, where
his passion became most ardent, and where his love was re-
turned. In a letter written to his mother at this time ho
says :

" You know that at Milan I have been in love. You have
guessed it because I have 7iot told you. Sometimes I thought
that I was loved m return, and again 1 saw, or thought 1 saw,
that I was not. I sought to forget her. I went away, striv-
ing to think of her no more.

" But this charming woman is here : we had scarcely
spoken, scarcely looked at each other, for I was vexed at I
know not what, and she seemed to have for me an air of pride
and coolness, though her heart is most tender and passionate.
But this morning at breakfast we heard afar off the firing of
cannon. The general ordered me to go and seek the cause. I
arose, and in two bounds had descended the stairs and ran to
the stable. As I mounted my horse, I cast one glance behind
me, and saw this dear girl blushing, embarrassed, regarding
me with eyes expressing fear, interest, love. I could have
pressed her to my heart, but then it was impossible. When
I returned, she was still there. Ah ! how I ^s received, and
how gay and pleasant was that dinner! How many little
delicate attentions she had for me !

" In the evening, by an unhoped-for chance, I found myself
alone with her. Everybody, tired out with the excessive labors
of the day, had retired. I lost no time in telling her how
much I loved her, and she, bursting into tears, threw herself into
my arms. Then, disengaging herself from my embrace, she


ran and locked herself in her chamber. I wished to follow
her. She begged, prayed, and conjured me to leave her to her-
self, and, like a submissive lover, I obeyed. Ah ! how sweet
it is to be loved !"

For the first time Maurice Dupin had experienced a true
passion. This charming woman, of whom he speaks with a
mingled enthusiasm and levity, this fascinating amour which
he thought to forget as he had forgotten so many others, was
henceforth to take possession of his soul, and to involve him in
a strife against himself, which was all the happiness, all the
despair, all the grandeur of the last years of his life. Yes,
this lovely woman, whom he had sighed for at Milan, and
conquered at Asola, was no other than the pretty daughter of
the people, whom we have seen presenting to Lafayette her
garland of flowers, and who was destined to be the mother of
George Sand,

But as the course of true love never did run smooth, so
Maurice Dupin met with the most violent opposition on the
part of his mother, a mother whom he dearly loved, and
whose slightest wish he had ever been accustomed to regard
as law. By all sorts of endearments, and by the most touch-
ing letters, she sought to recall her son to herself, to separate
him from this love which she regarded as a rival to her own.
Great, indeed, was the torture, many were the hours of an-
guish and suffering that poor Maurice was fated to experience ;
but true love overcomes all obstacles, breaks down all barriers.
Maurice acted like a true and loyal gentleman, and though it
cost him much to disobey his mother's wish, yet he owed a
higher duty to her who had sacrificed all for him, and whera
he had given his heart, there he hesitated not to give his hand.
And Sophie Delaborde, though she was but the child of -the
people, and though her youth had been given up, by force of
circumstances, to the most frightful hazards, from which she
had perchance not come forth all undefiled, still was a noble
woman,_and made a fond, a loving and devoted wife. She
had even strength of mind to urge Maurice not to disobey his


mother's wishes, though she knew her o-vvii shame must bo
the consequence of such obedience, and, at the last moment,
clad in a little muslin dress, and having only a little fillet of
gold upon lier finger, for their finances did not allow the ex-
travagance of a real wedding-ring, Sophie, happy and trem-
bling, most interesting from her approaching confinement, and
careless of her own future, offered to forego the marriage-rite,
which, she said, could, in no way, add to or change their
loves. But Maurice was resolute, and when they had returned
home after the performance of the ceremony, he buried his
face in his hands, and gave an hour to his sorrow for having
disobeyed the best of mothers. He tried to write to her, but
was able to pen only a few lines, which express his grief and
his remorse. Then, asking pardon of his wife for this moment
given to nature, pressing her fondly to his heart, and swear-
ing that he would ever love her, he departed for Nohant,
intending to avow all, and hoping that all would be forgiven.
But his resolution and his hopes were all in vain ; and he
returned to Paris without having dared to betray his secret.
His wife's sister Lucie was on the eve of marriage with an
officer, the friend of Maurice, and in his quiet and retired
house some friends of the family were one day assembled in
honor of the approaching nuptials. As Maurice was playing
on his violin a contradance for the amusement of the guests,
Sophie, who, on that day, wore a pretty rose-colored dress,
feeling a little unwell, left the dance, and passed into her
chamber. As her figure was not perceptibly altered, and as
she went out very quietly, the dancing w^as continued. At
the last chassez-all Lucie entered her chamber, and imme-
diately exclaimed : " Come, come Maurice ; you have a
daughter !"

" She shall be named Aurore, for my poor mother, who is
not here to bless her, but who will one day bless her," said
Maurice, taking the babe in his arms.

It was the 5th of July, 1804, the last year of the Republic,
the first year of the Empire.


" She was 'born among the roses, to the sound of music ; sho
will be fortunate/' said Lucie.

The old violin to the sound of which she came into the
world, George Sand still possesses, a most precious relic.

On the 5th of July 1804, George Sand came thus into the
world, her father playing on the violin, and her mother wear-
ing a pretty rose-colored dress. She came into the world a
legitimate daughter, thanks to her father's resolution in not
yielding to the prejudices of his family ; and though his mo-
ther was for a long time much incensed at his act of filial
disobedience, she at length relented, and, at the death of
Maurice, Amantine-Aurore was entrusted to her care.

This child, who was destined to become the famous George
Sand, was at first brought up after the manner of Jean- Jacques.
She was a little Emile, sporting all the day on the banks of
the Indre, chasing the butterflies along the winding ravines
of the '' Dark Valley, ^^ and who, returning at night-fall from
her poetic wanderings, listened to marvellous tales, told of the
pomps of Versailles, the pleasures of Trianon, the mysteries
of the Parc-aux-Cerfs, the roues and the philosophers of the
olden time. These recitals were not lost, and by the aid of
reminiscences of this kind, we may perhaps explain how a
talent so original, so subdued in style, and ordinarily so pro-
foundly impassioned, has sometimes been able, in such charm-
ing sketches as " The Marchioness,^^ for instance, to go back,
and to reproduce in all their truth the elegant customs, the
flowery passions, and the sparkling language of the eighteenth

At the age of fifteen, Aurore was perfect in the use of the
gun and the sword, and danced and rode with an irresistible
grace. She was an adorable and petulant little amazon, a
charming little feminine demon, who, like her beautiful grand-
mother, could have well borne her part in a hunt in the woods
of Marly, but who knew not how to make the sign of the cross.
But the religious reaction which followed the Restoration
having rendered the doctrines of Jean- Jacques most unpopular,



Madame Dupin thought it time to sacrifice her philosophical
method of education to the new and more "wholesome system
of ideas which was then received with favor, and to give to
her grand-daughter an education analogous to the situation
which both her birth and her wealth called her to occupy
in the world. Then it was that the beautiful child of the
country was forced to leave her " Dark Valley " for the con-
vent " Des Anglaises,^^ at Paris, where we have already seen
her enter, there to receive her religious education, of which as
yet she had not the least knowledge.

This separation from her grandmother was most painful,
and the contrast to her former life very great, — that life in
which she was so free, and which she has so charmingly de-
scribed, when, after a day spent in the fields, she is suddenly
overtaken by the shadows of night and must return.

" Yes, it is so. The lambs are bleating, the flocks have
returned to the fold, the cricket is chirping in the fields : you
must return.

" The way is stony, the stepping-stones are wet and slip-
pery, the hill-side is rough.

" You are covered with perspiration ; but all in vain : you
will arrive too late ; supper has been served.

" In vain the old servant who loves you has kept it back as
long as possible : you will have the humiliation to enter the
last, and the good grandmother, inexorable on all points of
etiquette, with a voice at once sweet and sad, will reproach
you very lightly, very tenderly, — a reproach which you will
feel more than the most severe punishment.

" But when in the evening she will demand how and where
you have passed the day, and when you, all blushing, shall
confess that you have been absorbed in reading in some
meadow, and when you shall be summoned to produce the
book, you shall, all trembling, draw from your pocket, what ?
Estelle and Nemorin !

" Q}i ! then, grandmother smiles.



*' Calm yourself : your treasure will be restored to you; but
you must not again forget the supper-hour.

" Oh, happy time ! oh, my Dark Valley ! oh, Corinne ! oh,
Bernardin de Saint-Pierre ! oh, Atala ! oh, willows by the
river's bank ! oh, my past youth ! oh, my old dog, who did
not forget the supper-hour, and who answered to the sound of
the distant village clock, by a mournful howl of mingled re-
gret and gluttony !"

Truly these little details are delicious, and, in comparison,
the convent life was indeed gloomy. Yet, scarce had a month
elapsed ere the young girl was no longer recognizable : that
ardent and mobile imagination which will afterwards shine
through the most abrupt eccentricities of the great authoress,
began to develop itself in all its power. The pomp and
majesty of the Catholic ceremonies, the uniform life, the pious
and peaceable atmosphere of the cloister, produced a complete
revolution in her soul. Like Saint Theresa, she passed whole
hours in ecstasy, at the foot of the altar; the rules did not
appear to her sufficiently severe, and the superior was often
obliged to moderate her religious exaltation through /x)nsidera-
tion for her health.

Six years later, in the Chateau de Nohant, there was a
woman who was dying of sadness and ennui : it was the pious
pensionnaire of the convent " des Anglaises," weeping over her
lost liberty, and deploring a yoke which she was soon to break.
Scarcely had she bade farewell to convent life, when she was
called to mourn the loss of that dear grandmother whom she
had so much loved : and then, alone, without a guide, without a
counsellor, young, rich, and an orphan, she had been forced to
marry a man whom she did not love. Lively and impression-
able as Indiana, candid and enthusiastic as Valentine, haughty
and indomitable as Lelia, she found herself united to M. Fran-
fois Dudevant, a gentleman farmer, like the many others with
which old Aquitaine is full, considering the refinements of the
heart as so much folly and nonsense, taking life for what it
is worth, not too learned, but well versed in the raising of


cattle. Never, indeed, could a marriage be more discordant with
a nature at once so proud and tender as that of the young
wife. But she had a fortune of nearly half a million, and her
husband, in touching this dowry, hastened to extend his agri-
cultural operations. He filled his sheep-folds with pure-
blooded merinos, bought magnificent bulls, doubled the num-
ber of his ploughs, and occupied himself with every thing except
his wife, and did not appear to perceive that Aurore, with her
seventeen years, her delicate soul, and her extreme sensibility,
was dying by inches in the midst of this prosaic existence.

But the first few years of her married life, if not happy,
were at least peaceable. Madame Dudevant supported her
sorrows with the resignation of an angel : two beauteous chil-
dren stretched out to her their arms, and consoled her by their
smiles. But soon, says the author of a sketch, traced some
fifteen years since in the Galerie de la Presse, she found herself
forestalled in the affections of her children. Then she could
endure no longer, she became seriously ill, and her physicians
prescribed a journey to the springs of the Pyrenees. M. Du-
devant, wholly engaged with his merinos and his ploughs,
could not accompany his wife.

At Bordeaux, where she first stopped, and where she was
eagerly welcomed by the old friends of her family, Madame
Dudevant could at last know the world. She was over-
whelmed with attentions, the praises of the rare qualities
with which she was endowed, were heard on every side. A
thousand homages, a thousand adorations, unceasingly sur-
rounded her. One of the first shipping merchants of Bordeaux,
a young man of merit and distinction, fell desperately in love
with the young wife : but she had sufficient power over her
heart not to yield to this passion. In the valley of Argeles,

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