George Sand: Her Life & Writings HTML version
Marriage And Freedom--The Arrival In Paris--Jules Sandeau
We must now endeavour to discover what the future George Sand's experiences of
marriage were, and the result of these experiences on the formation of her ideas.
"You will lose your best friend in me," were the last words of the grandmother to her
granddaughter on her death-bed. The old lady spoke truly, and Aurore was very soon to
prove this. By a clause in her will, Madame Dupin de Francueil left the guardianship of
Aurore to a cousin, Rene de Villeneuve. It was scarcely likely, though, that Sophie-
Victoire should consent to her own rights being frustrated by this illegal clause,
particularly as this man belonged to the world of the "old Countesses." She took her
daughter with her to Paris. Unfortunately for her, Aurore's eyes were now open, and she
was cultured enough to have been in entire sympathy with her exquisite grandmother. It
was no longer possible for her to have the old passionate affection and indulgence for her
mother, especially as she felt that she had hitherto been deserted by her. She saw her
mother now just as she was, a light woman belonging to the people, a woman who could
not resign herself to growing old. If only Sophie-Victoire had been of a tranquil
disposition! She was most restless, on the contrary, wanting to change her abode and
change her restaurant every day. She would quarrel with people one day, make it up the
next; wear a different-shaped hat every day, and change the colour of her hair
continually. She was always in a state of agitation. She loved police news and thrilling
stories; read the Sherlock Holmes of those days until the middle of the night. She
dreamed of such stories, and the following day went on living in an atmosphere of crime.
When she had an attack of indigestion, she always imagined that she had been poisoned.
When a visitor arrived, she thought it must be a burglar. She was most sarcastic about
Aurore's "fine education" and her literary aspirations. Her hatred of the dead grandmother
was as strong as ever. She was constantly insulting her memory, and in her fits of anger
said unheard-of things. Aurore's silence was her only reply to these storms, and this
exasperated her mother. She declared that she would correct her daughter's "sly ways."
Aurore began to wonder with terror whether her mother's mind were not beginning to
give way. The situation finally became intolerable.
Sophie-Victoire took her daughter to spend two or three days with some friends of hers,
and then left her there. They lived in the country at Plessis-Picard, near Melun. Aurore
was delighted to find a vast park with thickets in which there were roebucks bounding
about. She loved the deep glades and the water with the green reflections of old willow
trees. Monsieur James Duplessis and his wife, Angele, were excellent people, and they
adopted Aurore for the time being. They already had five daughters, so that one more did
not make much difference. They frequented a few families in the neighbourhood, and
there was plenty of gaiety among the young people. The Duplessis took Aurore
sometimes to Paris and to the theatre.