We have followed Chopin from his birthplace, Zelazowa Wola, to Warsaw, where he passed his childhood and youth, and received his musical as well as his general education; we have followed him in his holiday sojourns in the country, and on his more distant journeys to Reinerz, Berlin, and Vienna; we have followed him when he left his native country and, for further improvement, settled for a time in the Austrian capital; we have followed him subsequently to Paris, which thenceforth became his home; and we have followed him to his various lodgings there and on the journeys and in the sojourns elsewhere—to 27, Boulevard Poissonniere, to 5 and 38, Chaussee d’Antin, to Aix-la-Chapelle, Carlsbad, Leipzig, Heidelberg, Marienbad, and London, to Majorca, to Nohant, to 5, Rue Tronchet, 16, Rue Pigalle, and 9, Square d’Orleans, to England and Scotland, to 9, Square d’Orleans once more, Rue Chaillot, and 12, Place Vendome; and, lastly, to the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. We have considered him as a pupil at the Warsaw Lyceum and as a student of music under the tuition of Zywny and Elsner; we have considered him as a son and as a brother, as a lover and as a friend, as a man of the world and as a man of business; and we have considered him as a virtuoso, as a teacher, and as a composer. Having done all this, there remains only one thing for me to do—namely, to summarise the thousands of details of the foregoing account, and to point out what this artist was to his and is to our time. But before doing this I ought perhaps to answer a question which the reader may have asked himself. Why have I not expressed an opinion on the moral aspect of Chopin’s connection with George Sand? My explanation shall be brief. I abstained from pronouncing judgment because the incomplete evidence did not seem to me to warrant my doing so. A full knowledge of all the conditions and circumstances. I hold to be indispensable if justice is to be done; the rash and ruthless application of precepts drawn from the social conventions of the day are not likely to attain that end. Having done my duty in placing before the reader the ascertainable evidence, I leave him at liberty to decide on it according to his wisdom and charity.
Henri Blaze de Bury describes (in Etudes et Souvenirs) the portrait which Ary Scheffer painted of Chopin in these words:—
It represents him about this epoch [when “neither physical nor moral consumption of any kind prevented him from attending freely to his labours as well as to his pleasures"], slender, and in a nonchalant attitude, gentlemanlike in the highest degree: the forehead superb, the hands of a rare distinction, the eyes small, the nose prominent, but the mouth of an exquisite fineness and gently closed, as if to keep back a melody that wishes to escape.
M. Marmontel, with, “his [Chopin’s] admirable portrait” by Delacroix before him, penned the following description:—