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Famous Women: George Sand   By:

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[Illustration: FAMOUS WOMEN ]

GEORGE SAND.

BY

BERTHA THOMAS.

BOSTON: ROBERTS BROTHERS. 1883.

Copyright, 1883 , BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.

UNIVERSITY PRESS: JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.

PREFATORY NOTE.

The authentic materials available for an account of the life of George Sand, although lately increased by the publication of a large part of her correspondence, are still incomplete. Her memoirs by her own hand, dealing fully with her early life alone, remain unsupplemented by any entire and detailed biography, for which, indeed, the time seems hardly yet come. Hence one among many obvious difficulties in the way of this attempt to prepare for English readers a brief sketch that shall at least indicate all the more salient features of a life of singularly varied aspect.

Much, though of interest in itself, must here be omitted, as beyond the scope of the present study. There are points again into which, as touching persons still living or quite recently deceased, it would be premature to enter. But none seem of such importance as to forbid the endeavor, by a careful review of those facts in the life of George Sand which most justly represent her character as a whole, and were the determining influences on her career and on her work, to arrive at truth and completeness of general outline, the utmost it is possible to hope to accomplish in this little volume.

BERTHA THOMAS.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

EARLY YEARS

CHAPTER II.

GIRLHOOD AND MARRIED LIFE

CHAPTER III.

DÉBUT IN LITERATURE

CHAPTER IV.

LÉLIA ITALIAN JOURNEY

CHAPTER V.

MENTAL DEVELOPMENT

CHAPTER VI.

SOLITUDE, SOCIETY AND SOCIALISM

CHAPTER VII.

CONSUELO HOME LIFE AT NOHANT 149

CHAPTER VIII.

NOVELIST AND POLITICIAN 170

CHAPTER IX.

PASTORAL TALES

CHAPTER X.

PLAYS AND LATER NOVELS

CHAPTER XI.

ARTIST AND MORALIST

CHAPTER XII.

LATER YEARS

GEORGE SAND.

CHAPTER I.

EARLY YEARS.

In naming George Sand we name something more exceptional than even a great genius. Her rise to eminence in the literature of her century, is, if not without a parallel, yet absolutely without a precedent, in the annals of women of modern times.

The origin of much that is distinctive in the story of her life may be traced in the curious story of her lineage.

George Sand was of mixed national descent, and in her veins ran the blood of heroes and of kings. The noble and the artist, the bourgeoisie and the people, all had their representatives among their immediate ancestors. Her grandmother, the guardian of her girlhood, was the child of Maurice, Marshal Saxe, that favorite figure in history and romance, himself son of the famous Augustus II., Elector of Saxony, and King of Poland, and the Swedish Countess Aurora von Königsmark. The Marshal's daughter Aurore, though like her father of illegitimate birth her mother, who was connected with the stage, passed by her professional name of Mlle. Verrieres obtained after the Marshal's death the acknowledgment and protection of his relatives in high places, notably of his niece, the Dauphin of France, grand daughter of Augustus of Poland, and mother of the three kings Louis XVI., Louis XVIII., and Charles X.

Carefully educated at St. Cyr, Mlle. de Saxe was married, when little more than a child, to the Count de Horn, who was also of partly royal but irregular origin. He very shortly afterward fell in a duel. His widow, at thirty, became the wife of M. Dupin de Franceuil, an old gentleman of good provincial family and some fortune. Maurice, their only child, was the father of George Sand.

Madame Dupin (the suffix de Franceuil was afterwards dropped by her husband) appears to have inherited none of the adventurous and erratic tendencies of her progenitors. Aristocratic in her sympathies, philosophic in her intellect, and strictly decorous in her conduct, throughout the whole of her long and checkered life she was regarded with respect. Left a widow again, ten years after her second marriage, she concentrated her hopes and affections on her handsome and amiable son Maurice... Continue reading book >>




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