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This is the only philosophy for a conception of life which treats love as everything for man. He not only pardons now, but he is grateful
Je ne veux rien savoir, ni si les champ s
fleurissent, Nice quil adviendra di., simulacre
humain, Ni si ces vastes cieux eclaireront demain
Ce qu' ils ensevelissent. heure, en ce lieu,
Je me dis seulement: a cette
Un jour, je fus aime, j'aimais, elle etait belle,
Jenfouis ce tresor dans mon ame immortelle
Et je l'em porte a Dieu.
This love poem, running through all he wrote from the Nuit de Mai to the Souvenir, is undoubtedly the most beautiful and the most profoundly human of anything in the French language. The charming poet had become a great poet. That shock had occurred within him which is felt by the human being to the very depths of his soul, and makes of him a new creature. It is in this sense that the theory of the romanticists, with regard to the educative virtues of suffering, is true. But it is not only suffering in connection with our love affairs which has this special privilege. After some misfortune which uproots, as it were, our life, after some disappointment which destroys our moral edifice, the world appears changed to us. The whole network of accepted ideas and of conventional opinions is broken asunder. We find ourselves in direct contact with reality, and the shock makes our true nature come to the front. . . . Such was the crisis through which Musset had just passed. The man came out of it crushed and bruised, but the poet came through it triumphant.
It has been insisted on too much that George Sand was only the reflection of the men who had approached her. In the case of Musset it was the contrary. Musset owed her more than she owed to him. She transformed him by the force of her strong individuality. She, on the contrary, only found in Musset a child, and what she was seeking was a dominator.
She thought she had discovered him this very year 1835.
The sixth Lettre d'un voyageur was addressed to Everard. This Everard was considered by her to be a superior man. He was so much above the average height that George Sand advised him to sit down when he was with other men, as when standing he was too much above them. She compares him to Atlas carrying the world, and to Hercules in a lion's skin. But among all her comparisons, when she is seeking to give the measure of his superiority, without ever really succeeding in this, it is evident that the comparison she prefers is that of Marius at Minturnae. He personifies virtue a l'antique: he is the Roman.
Let us now consider to whom all this flattery was addressed, and who this man, worthy of Plutarch's pen, was. His name was Michel, and he was an advocate at Bourges. He was only thirty- seven years of age, but he looked sixty. After Sandeau and Musset, George Sand had had enough of "adolescents." She was very much struck with Michel, as he looked like an old man. The size of his cranium was remarkable, or, as she said of his craniums: "It seemed as though he had two craniums, one joined to the other." She wrote: "The signs of the superior faculties of his mind were as prominent at the prow of this strong vessel as those of his generous instincts at the stern." In order to understand this definition of the "fine physique" by George Sand, we must remember that she was very much taken up with phrenology at this time. One of her Lettres d'un voyageur was entitled Sur Lavater et sur une Maison deserte. In a letter to Madame d'Agoult, George Sand tells that her gardener gave notice to leave, and, on asking him his reason, the simple-minded man replied: "Madame has such an ugly head that my wife, who is expecting, might die of fright." The head in question was a skull, an anatomical one with compartments all marked and numbered, according to the system of Gall and Spurzheim. In 1837, phrenology was very much in favour. In 1910, it is hypnotism, so we have no right to judge the infatuation of another epoch.
 Histoire de ma vie.
Michel's cranium was bald. He was short, slight, he stooped, was short-sighted and wore glasses. It is George Sand who gives these details for his portrait. He was born of peasant parents, and was of Jacobin simplicity. He wore a thick, shapeless inverness and sabots. He felt the cold very much, and used to ask permission to put on a muffler indoors. He would then take three or four out of his pockets and put them on his head, one over the other. In the Lettre d'un voyageur George Sand mentions this crown on Everard's head. Such are the illusions of love.
The first time she met Michel was at Bourges. She went with her two friends, Papet and Fleury, to call on him at the hotel. From seven o'clock until midnight he never ceased talking. It was a magnificent night, and he proposed a walk in the town at midnight. When they came back to his door he insisted on taking them home, and so they continued walking backwards and forwards until four in the morning. He must have been an inveterate chatterer to have clung to this public of three persons at an hour when the great buildings, with the moon throwing its white light over them and everything around, must have suggested the majesty of silence. To people who were amazed at this irrepressible eloquence, Michel answered ingenuously: "Talking is thinking aloud. By thinking aloud in this way I advance more quickly than if I thought quietly by myself." This was Numa Roumestan's idea. "As for me," he said, "when I am not talking, I am not thinking." As a matter of fact, Michel, like Numa, was a native of Provence. In Paris there was a repetition of this nocturnal and roving scene. Michel and his friends had come to a standstill on the Saints-Peres bridge. They caught sight of the Tuileries lighted up for a ball. Michel became excited, and, striking the innocent bridge and its parapet with his stick, he exclaimed: "I tell you that if you are to freshen and renew your corrupt society, this beautiful river will first have to be red with blood, that accursed palace will have to be reduced to ashes, and the huge city you are now looking at will have to be a bare strand where the family of the poor man can use the plough and build a cottage home."
This was a fine phrase for a public meeting, but perhaps too fine for a conversation between friends on the Saints-Peres bridge.
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George Sand, Some Aspects of Her Life and Writings -by- Rene Doumic