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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Budding Author
By George Sand (1804–1876)
 
From ‘Convent Life of George Sand’: Translation of Maria Ellery Goodwin MacKaye

I BEGAN, of course, by writing verses; rebelling against the Alexandrine, which however I understood perfectly. I tried to preserve a sort of rhythm without attending to the rhyme or the cæsura; and composed many verses that had a great success among the girls, who were not very critical. At last I took it into my head to write a novel; and though I was not at all religious at that time, I made my story very pious and edifying. It was more of a tale, however, than a novel. The hero and heroine met in the dusk of evening, in the country, at the foot of a shrine, where they had come to say their prayers. They admired and exhorted each other by turns. I knew that they ought to fall in love, but I could not manage it. Sophia urged me on; but when I had described them both as beautiful and perfect beings, when I had brought them together in an enchanting spot at the entrance of a Gothic chapel under the shade of lofty oaks, I never could get any further. It was not possible for me to describe the emotions of love: I had not a word to say, and gave it up. I succeeded in making them ardently pious;—not that I knew any more about piety than I did about love; but I had examples of piety all the time before my eyes, and perhaps even then the germ was unconsciously developing within me. At all events, my young couple, after several chapters of travel and adventure that I have completely forgotten, separated at last, both consecrating themselves to God,—the heroine taking the veil, and the hero becoming a priest.  1
  Sophia and Anna thought my novel very well written, and they liked some things about it; but they declared that the hero (who rejoiced, by the way, in the name of Fitzgerald) was dreadfully tiresome, and they did not seem to consider the heroine much more amusing. There was a mother whom they liked better; but upon the whole my prose was less successful than my verses, and I was not much charmed with it myself.  2
  Then I wrote a pastoral romance in verse, still worse than the novel; and one winter day I put it into the stove. Then I stopped writing, and decided that it was not an amusing occupation, though I had taken infinite delight in the preliminary composition.  3
 
 
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