She was already challenging public opinion, starting a campaign against false prejudices, showing a tendency to generalize, and to make the cause of one woman the cause of all women.
We must now bear in mind the various traits we have discovered, one after another, in Aurore’s character. We must remember to what parentage she owed her intellectuality and her sentimentality. It will then be more easy to understand the terms she uses when describing her fascination for Rousseau’s writings.
“The language of Jean-Jacques and the form of his deductions impressed me as music might have done when heard in brilliant sunshine. I compared him to Mozart, and I understood everything.”
She understood him, for she recognized herself in him. She sympathized with that predominance of feeling and imagination, that exaggeration of sentiment, that preference for life according to Nature, that emotion on beholding the various sights of the country, that distrust of people, those effusions of religious sentimentality, those solitary reveries, and that melancholy which made death seem desirable to him. All this was to Aurore Dupin the gospel according to Rousseau. The whole of her psychology is to be found here.
She was an exceptional being undoubtedly; but in order to be a genial exception one must have within oneself, and then personify with great intensity all the inspirations which, at a certain moment, are dispersed in the atmosphere. Ever since the great agitation which had shaken the moral world by Rousseau’s preaching, there had been various vague currents and a whole crowd of confused aspirations floating about. It was this enormous wave that entered a feminine soul. Unconsciously Aurore Dupin welcomed the new ideal, and it was this ideal which was to operate within her. The question was, what would she do with it, in presence of life with all its everyday and social realities. This question is the object of our study. In the solution of it lies the interest, the drama and the lesson of George Sand’s destiny.
BARONNE DUDEVANT 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