George Sand: Her Life & Writings HTML version
A Case Of Maternal Affection In Love
We have passed over George Sand's intercourse with Liszt and Madame d'Agoult very
rapidly. One of Balzac's novels gives us an opportunity of saying a few more words about
Balzac had been introduced to George Sand by Jules Sandeau. At the time of her rupture
with his friend, Balzac had sided entirely with him. In the Lettres a l'Etrangere, we see
the author of the Comedie humaine pouring out his indignation with the blue stocking,
who was so cruel in her love, in terms which were not extremely elegant. Gradually, and
when he knew more about the adventure, his anger cooled down. In March, 1838, he
gave Madame Zulma Carraud an account of a visit to Nohant. He found his comrade,
George Sand, in her dressing-gown, smoking a cigar by her fireside after dinner.
"She had some pretty yellow slippers on, ornamented with fringe, some fancy stockings
and red trousers. So much for the moral side. Physically, she had doubled her chin like a
canoness. She had not a single white hair, in spite of all her fearful misfortunes; her
dusky complexion had not changed. Her beautiful eyes were just as bright, and she
looked just as stupid as ever when she was thinking. . . ."
This is George Sand in her thirty-fifth year, as she was at the time of the fresh adventure
we are about to relate.
Balzac continues by giving us a few details about the life of the authoress. It was very
much like his own, except that Balzac went to bed at six o'clock and got up at midnight,
and George Sand went to bed at six in the morning and got up at noon. He adds the
following remark, which shows us the state of her feelings:
"She is now in a very quiet retreat, and condemns both marriage and love, because she
has had nothing but disappointment in both herself. Her man was a rare one, that was
In the course of their friendly conversation, George Sand gave him the subject for a novel
which it would be rather awkward for her to write. The novel was to be Galeriens or
Amours forces. These "galley-slaves" of love were Liszt and the Comtesse d'Agoult, who
had been with George Sand at Chamonix, Paris and Nohant. It was very evident that she
could not write the novel herself.
Balzac accordingly wrote it, and it figures in the Comedie humaine as Beatrix. Beatrix is
the Comtesse d'Agoult, the inspirer, and Liszt is the composer Conti.
"You have no idea yet of the awful rights that a love which no longer exists gives to a
man over a woman. The convict is always under the domination of the companion