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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
George Sand
By Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)
 
To Elizabeth Hoar

From ‘Memoirs’: Paris, ——, 1847

YOU wished to hear of George Sand, or as they say in Paris, “Madame Sand.” I find that all we had heard of her was true in the outline; I had supposed it might be exaggerated….  1
  It is the custom to go and call on those to whom you bring letters, and push yourself upon their notice; thus you must go quite ignorant whether they are disposed to be cordial. My name is always murdered by the foreign servants who announce me. I speak very bad French; only lately have I had sufficient command of it to infuse some of my natural spirit in my discourse. This has been a great trial to me, who am eloquent and free in my own tongue, to be forced to feel my thoughts struggling in vain for utterance.  2
  The servant who admitted me was in the picturesque costume of a peasant, and as Madame Sand afterwards told me, her goddaughter, whom she had brought from her province. She announced me as “Madame Salère,” and returned into the ante-room to tell me, “Madame says she does not know you.” I began to think I was doomed to rebuff among the crowd who deserve it. However, to make assurance sure, I said, “Ask if she has received a letter from me.” As I spoke Madame Sand opened the door, and stood looking at me an instant. Our eyes met. I never shall forget her look at that moment. The doorway made a frame for her figure; she is large but well formed. She was dressed in a robe of dark-violet silk, with a black mantle on her shoulders, her beautiful hair dressed with the greatest taste; her whole appearance and attitude, in its simple and ladylike dignity, presented an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar caricature idea of George Sand. Her face is a very little like the portraits, but much finer; the upper part of the forehead and eyes are beautiful, the lower strong and masculine, expressive of a hardy temperament and strong passions, but not in the least coarse; the complexion olive, and the air of the whole head Spanish (as indeed she was born at Madrid, and is only on one side of French blood). All these I saw at a glance; but what fixed my attention was the expression of goodness, nobleness, and power that pervaded the whole,—the truly human heart and nature that shone in the eyes. As our eyes met, she said, “C’est vous,” and held out her hand. I took it, and went into her little study; we sat down a moment; then I said, “Il me fait de bien de vous voir,” and I am sure I said it with my whole heart, for it made me very happy to see such a woman, so large and so developed in character, and everything that is good in it so really good. I loved, shall always love her.  3
  She looked away, and said, “Ah! vous m’avez écrit une lettre charmante.” This was all the preliminary of our talk, which then went on as if we had always known one another…. Her way of talking is just like her writing,—lively, picturesque, with an undertone of deep feeling, and the same happiness in striking the nail on the head every now and then with a blow…. I heartily enjoyed the sense of so rich, so prolific, so ardent a genius. I liked the woman in her, too, very much; I never liked a woman better…. For the rest, she holds her place in the literary and social world of France like a man, and seems full of energy and courage in it. I suppose she has suffered much, but she has also enjoyed and done much.  4
 
 
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