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sures, and then considered the subject of sacrifice. To take the life of any small animal in Corambé's honour could not by any means gratify his benevolent heart. She adopted a different mode of paying spiritual homage. She took little birds, cockchafers, lizards, frogs, &c., captive, and kneeling down before the altar, she gave each and all their liberty. The place was held in the highest reverence by her till it was accidentally discovered by a favourite farmservant, who cried out in ecstasy when he saw it-"Ah, Mam'selle, the beautiful little altar of God's Festival!" After that she never freed another captive; she dismantled altar and adjuncts, and never paid it another visit. Some birds forsake their nests if human beings have touched them or human breath has blown on them.
It is little to be wondered at that our heroine should assume virile habits when a wife and mother, for in her girlhood she was a determined tomboy when not rapt in her reveries. She was a great favourite with all the little Berrichon herds and labourers, boys and girls. She helped them in their gleanings on her grandmother's corn-fields, contriving to throw into their aprons much more than was left by the reapers. There is a charm in her pictures of country scenes and country occupations which can scarcely be paralleled. Her grandmother wondered at the pleasure she could find-she who could write such descriptions, and send her moon in her silver pinnace through the sea of clouds-with those mudbespattered peasant children, and their turkeys and their goats. Still she and they
"Deserted distaffs, sheep, and baskets, to give ourselves up to a disorderly series of gymnastics, climb trees, and throw ourselves from top to bottom of hay-cocksdelightfully mad play, and which I would love still if I dared. These excesses of movement and gaiety made me find -a greater pleasure in my contemplations; and my brain, physically excited, became more rich in images and fantasies.
"Another friendship, which I cultivated with less assiduity, and which was brought
about by my brother's means, was with a swineherd rejoicing in the name PLEASURE I have always dreaded pigs, and held Plaisir in estimation for the subjection in which he held these wicked and stupid animals. It of swine. They have a strange instinct of is a dangerous thing to get among a herd solidarity among themselves. If an insulated individual is offended, he utters a certain cry, which gathers the whole troop together at once, and they hem in the offender, who must seek refuge in a tree. Saving himself by flight is out of the question, for the lean pig, as well as the wild boar, is the most fleet and indefatigable courser known. with the talents befitting his rough condition. "Plaisir was a primitive being, endowed He struck down birds with finger-stones, chiefly magpies and crows, which in winter formed society with the pigs. They would steal in among them, watching in the clods turned up for worms or seed-grains. Hence great altercations among these quarrelsome birds. He who took prey hopped on the next pig's back to devour it at his leisure; others followed to dispute possession; and
the back or the head of the indifferent and callous animal would be the theatre of most determined fights. Sometimes they perched on the swine to warm themselves, or to inspect the rooting by which they were to profit. I have often seen an old grey crow thus fixed, on one leg, with a melancholy air, while the pig was deeply ploughing the soil, and thus giving shocks to his rider, which so disturbed and vexed him that he would viciously drive his beak into the poor
hide of the swine.
"Plaisir was in all seasons clad in blouse and trousers of hempen cloth, which, as well as his hands and feet, had acquired the colour and hardness of the clay. Armed with his triangular weapon of iron, he would spend his days coiled up in hollow nooks, or groping under the bushes for weasels or
serpents. When the pale winter sun was making the hoar frost sparkle on the huge ridges turned up by the swine, I could fancy him the gnome of the soil-a sort of demon, between the man and the wehr-wolf, the animal and the plant. He became more fantastic still when he sung the song of the swineherds-one of great antiquity-intermingled with cries and calls to his herd. It is sad, splenetic, and almost as frightful as a sabat of the old Gaulish divinities. The words are without fixed rhythm, and are abitrarily given by different performers. These verses occur in nearly every version.
"Quand les porcs ont l'ailland (gland), Les mait'e avont l'argent, Les porchers le pain blanc.†
* A wretched rendering of "Ah, Mam'selle, le joli petit reposoir de la Fete Dieu!" but there is no help for it. The reposoir is the convenience in which images or relics are carried along in a festal procession.
"When the pigs find the acorn, the masters get the money, the herds the white bread."
"Que le diable et la mort
"On the border of the field where Plaisir spent one season, the dyke was covered with fine herbage. Under the drooping branches of the old elms and the interlacing of the briars, the children and I could walk in the pleasant shelter, and there were dry and sandy pits, with the sides covered with moss and dry herbage, where we were out of the reach of wind and rain. I took great pleasure in these retreats, especially when alone, and when the wrens and the redbreasts, emboldened by my stillness, came very close to peep at me. I loved to creep under the natural arches formed by the hedges, as I seemed to be penetrating into the regions of the earthgnomes."
grass land which are never tilled any more than the interior of the old raths in Ireland. The peasants can give no more reason for the non-tilling of these Pâturaux than that their ancestors never thought of such a thing. These waste grounds are resorted to at night by the traditionary Bête, who probably lies at the bottom of pools by day. He is invulnerable, and of a strange form, which those peasants who have seen him feel themselves unable to describe with accuracy. He browsed in these wild meadows before the long-haired kings paid their first visit to Gaul. We quote Aurora's notions about country. superstitions :
does not resemble that of the dweller in
cities. He possesses the faculty of transmitting to his senses the perception of the objects of his belief, his reverie, or his meditation. It is thus that Joan of Arc really heard those heavenly voices that addressed her. It would be impious to humanity to accuse her of imposture. She was subject to hallucination, but yet was not mad. The peasants who have related their visions to me, and whom I knew from childhood, are neither mad nor cowardly. Many are very practical and very courageous, some even sceptical in many respects. There are among them old soldiers who fought in the days of the Empire, and whose intellect was developed in the service, who knew how to read, to write, and make accounts. All this did not prevent them from having seen the Beast, or from seeing him still.
"The peasant animal has not the same Notwithstanding the rebellious and organization as the animal more civilized unbelieving spirit of the grandmo- and more reasonable, but less poetical and ther, she was as weak as an infant less sincere. The peasant has no other hisin the hands of her domestics. Des-tory than legend and tradition. His brain chartres, Aurora's tutor, a self-opinionated man, could not endure Rose, the woman in power. One day while she was sweeping Mam'selle's chamber, and he was passing in the corridor, she flung dust on his highly-polished shoes. He called her an awkward slut. She called him picklock. The war commenced, and she, flinging the brush between his legs as he was going down stairs, was near breaking his neck. From that day their quarrels were frequent, occasionally degenerating into fistic encounters. Somewhat later he had quarrels with Julia, another domestic, of a crafty and insincere character, less demonstrative but more envenomed. Then the cook and Rose were at drawn daggers, and quoited plates at each other's head. The said cook also inflicted corporal chastisement at certain seasons on her aged husband, St. John; and the valets had to be changed ten times, because none of them could agree with Deschartres or Rose. And all this turmoil sprung from the indecision of the mistress. She would not part with any of her old dependents, neither would she take the trouble of deciding their disputes.
There are or were in the French village communes, certain pieces of
"I was witness to one of these instances of hallucination. The curate commissioned one of the lads of his choir to accompany me home from Chartier with a couple of pigeons in a basket. It was about three o'clock in summer on one of the finest days that could be. I spoke to him of his studies and he gave me the most rational replies. He stopped at a little thicket to arrange his sabot, and requested me to walk on-he would soon overtake me. I had not gone twenty paces, when I saw him come running, his face pale, his hair standing on end. He had left behind sabots, panier, and pigeons, on the spot where he had stopped: he had seen in the ditch a frightful-looking man who threatened him with his stick, 'It is,' said I to the boy, 'some poor vaga
"May death and the devil run away with the pigs!—the small and the large-the mother and her young!
bond, who is dying with hunger and has been tempted by the pigeons. Let us go and see what it is.' 'No,' said he, if I were to be cut into pieces.'' How!' replied I, 'a great strong boy like you, to fear a single person! Come, cut a stick and come back with me to recover our pigeons. I do not intend to leave them there.' 'No, no, Demoiselle, I will not go, for I should see him again, and I do not wish to see him. Neither courage nor sticks would be of any use: he is not a "human man ;" he is made more like a beast.'
"I began to comprehend the case, and insist on his coming back, but nothing could induce him. I returned to see if the man had walked off with our pigeons, but there stood the basket and the sabots of my companion, and there was no sign of a person in path or field, far or near. I had told my young attendant to keep his eyes on me to convince himself that he was only dreaming. He promised to do so, but before I got back with my pigeons and the sabots, he had taken flight, and left me to carry all to the nearest house of the village. I thought to shame him out of his cowardice, but he mocked my incredulity, and said I was a fool to face the wehr-wolf for a couple of wretched pigeons."
Our heroine, though listening to tales of diablerie with much gusto, and even indulging in ghostly creations of her own fancy, was never selfduped. She could shake off ghostly terrors in a moment. Here is a sketch of her primitive and credulous peasant neighbours, whose easy belief she probably envied at times :
"When the hemp-breakers came to do their business in the evening, our people, to get rid of the noise and dust, and especially as the villagers came in crowds to listen to their tales, stationed them at the little door of the court which opens on the Place. This is near the cemetery in which the crosses may be seen by the light of the moon over the low enclosure. The old women relieved the hemp cleaners with stories of their own. Many, many were the wonderful and idle tales which they listened to with such emotion, and which had all the character of the locality, or the professions of those who related them. The sacristan was not without his own poetry, which lent a character of the marvellous to his particular domain -the tombs, the clock, the screech-owl, the steeple, and the steeple-rats. All the mysterious sorceries that he bestowed on the rats would fill a volume. He knew them all, and had given them the names of the principal dwellers in the burgh, who had died within the last forty years. At every death a new rat attached itself to his footsteps, and tormented him by its grimaces. To appease these bizarre manes he carried
food into the steeple; but when he returned the next day, he found the strangest characters traced with the very grains which he had brought to them. One day he found all the white kidney-beans ranged in a circle, with a cross of red ones in the centre; next day it was the contrary arrangement. Another time alternate white and red beans formed linked circles or characters unknown, but so well designed that you would have sworn they were the work of a 'human person.' There is no inanimate object, no animal so insignificant, that the peasant does not admit into his world of fantasy."
It pleases George Sand to fancy that the pure peasant race eminently possesses the gift of hallucination. Her half-brother, being a rustic on the mother's side, was terribly subject to ideal terrors, though a constitutionally brave man. Her love of the country She thus has never lost its force. gives her opinion on the abuse of the seasons by the fashionable world :—
"I have always passionately loved winter in the country, and could never understand the taste of the rich, who have made Paris the seat of festivals in that season of
the year most inimical to balls, toilettes, and dissipation. It is to the fireside that life, and it is in the open country that nature invites us in winter to enjoy family the few fair days of the season can be felt and enjoyed. In the great cities of our climate the frightful mud, fetid and glistening, scarcely ever dries. In the fields a short glimpse of sunshine or a few hours of wind renders the air healthy and the ground dry. The poor prolétaires of the city know this well, and it is not for their own pleasure that they remain in this vast sewer. The factitious and absurd life of our great folk exhausts itself striving against nature. The English nobility know better: they spend the winter in their castles."
It is not probable that our own little people have ever thought of the following profitable occupation of their compeers the little Berrichons :
"In winter, grandmother allowed me to install my society in the large dining-room well heated by an old stove. The society was a score of children of the commune who had with them their saulnées. The saulnée is an endless pack-thread furnished with horse or cow-hairs on which are made running knots to catch larks and the small birds of the fields in time of snow. A good saulnée surrounds a whole field. It is rolled up on spindles, and they stretch it in the suitable locality before sunrise. They sweep away the snow in its track, and scatter corn in the furrow, and two hours after, they find the birds taken by hundreds. We
always went to gather in this crop with sacks, which our ass carried back full. In order to prevent disputes I established the 6 community of property' as well as the 'community of labour.' The saulnées were obliged to be mended once in two or three days, especially the knotted hair. This article was obtained by a species of communistic robbery. The children resorted to the meadows and stables, and pulled all the hair from the manes and tails of the horses, which they would afford without rebelling. We even succeeded in despoiling the young colts without ever getting a kick. After the capture came the division. We put the larks on one side, and the birds of less value on the other. We selected a lot for our Sunday's feast, and sent one of our society to sell the rest. I divided the money equally, and every one was satisfied. Our community was daily enlarging, and no one thought of rising early to plunder the saulnée of his comrades. On Sunday we cooked our birds. Rose was in good humour on these occasions, for she was goodnatured and pleasant when not in one of her frenzies. The cook turned up her nose at our performances. Father St. John put on a grimace, and said that the white horse's tail was growing thinner and thinner every day. We knew that as well as he."
Of the convent superintended by English ladies she gives, on the whole, a favourable impression. A little rustic amazon like her must at first have felt herself ill at ease with the starched young ladies of London and Paris, already disciplined to some purpose. However, the grounds were extensive, and she was at first interested in making herself familiar with all the buildings and nooks, and delighted at finding that she would be allowed a little bit of land to cultivate after her own taste. Very finely she illustrates the effect of liberty and restraint in common things:
"We were really in prison, but one with a large garden, and enlivened by a large society. The precautions taken not to allow anyone to go outside, were the sole stimulants to the desire of liberty. The Rue-desFosses Saint Victor, and the Rue Clopin were not tempting either for a walk or a prospect. They that would never think of crossing the home-threshold, watched the gaping of the cloister door, or darted stealthy glances through the slits by the window blinds. To disconcert the vigilance of the porter, to run down three or four steps, to catch a glimpse of a fiacre passing, was the ambition and the dream of forty or fifty wild and mocking young girls, who, the next day, would traverse Paris with their relations without the slightest plea
sure to pace the flags and look at the passers-by being no forbidden fruit outside the convent."
For the romantic spirit of the new pupil the convent had its peculiar charms.
"The cells of the nuns were delightfully neat, and filled with all these knick-knacks which a delicate sort of devotion tricks out, formalizes, frames, illumines, and be-ribbons. In every corner the vine and the jasmine concealed the age of the walls. The cocks crowed at midnight as in the open country. The clock had a nice silvery sound like a woman's tones. In every passage a niche held a Madonna, with the plumpness and mannerism of the seventeenth century. In the work-parlour fine English engravings presented the chivalrous countenance of Charles I. at every period of his life, and all the members of the papist" royal family. In fine, everything, even to the little lamp which swung at night in the cloister, and the massive doors which, every night, were closed at the entrance of the corridors with a solemn sound and a dismal grating noise of the bolts, everything was marked by a certain charm of mystic poetry to which, sooner or later, I was to become sensible."
The following just remarks are worthy the attention of the heads of colleges and schools. They show the powers of good common sense that were united with so much poetry and romance in the intellect of our authoress.
"My first impression on entering the class was painful. Thirty of us were crowded in a hall, too narrow and too low. The walls covered with a salmon-coloured paper, the ceiling dirty, a floor broken in many places, the forms, the tables, and the stools in a grimy state; an ugly stove that smoked; the united odour of charcoal and a poultry yard! There we were to pass twothirds of the day-three-fourths indeed in winter, and just at the time we were in winter without mistake.
"I know of nothing in worse taste than this custom in houses of education, to make the study-room the most shabby and sadlooking in the house. On pretence that the children would injure the furniture and spoil the ornaments, they put out of their sight everything which might act as a stimulus to the thought or a charm to the imagination. They assert that engravings, ornaments, nay the very designs on the room-paper would cause disturbance. They will have it, that children are afflicted with dirty and awkward habits; they fling ink about; they love to destroy. These tastes and habits however they do not bring from
their homes, where they are taught to respect everything useful or beautiful, and where from the time they come to the use of reason, they never think of committing those injuries, which would not have such an attraction for them in seminaries and colleges, if they did not wish to revenge themselves on the negligence and parsimony
with which they are treated. The better you lodge them the more careful they will be. They will look twice before they soil a carpet, or break a frame. Those ugly naked walls in which you enclose them are objects of horror, and they would tumble them down if they could. You wish that they should work like machines; that their intellects, detached from all preoccupation, should mechanically go on, and be inaccessible to everything which composes physical or intellectual life. It is all false and impossible. The child should breathe a pure air, it should be comfortable, it should be influenced by pleasing appearances around it. External nature is a continual spectacle to it. In shutting it up in a naked, unhealthy, and dismal room, you stifle its
heart and its mind as well as its body. I would wish that everything should smile around the children of cities. The country child has the heaven, the trees, the herbage,
"Why are Italians born, as it were, with a perception of the beautiful? Why does a mason of Verona, a little dealer of Venice, a peasant of the Campagna, pause in contemplation before fine works of art? Why do they appreciate fine pictures or good music so justly, while our prolétaires, more intelligent in other respects, and our citizens more carefully educated, love the false, the vulgar, the ugly even, in the arts, if a special education has not subdued their instinct? It is that we live surrounded by ugliness and vulgarity. It is because our parents have no taste, and we transmit the traditional want of it to our children."
Let us be thankful that the voyages of George Sand have not taken in the free exhibitions of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin.
For this life-history as she terms it, after she quitted the convent we care little. Three-fourths of it consist of words and nothing else. She is certainly sparing in evil-speaking against individuals; but she will persist in being judged by the world according to a standard invented specially for her own case. She is a believer in a Supreme Being, or rather Universal Soul, and she will have nought to do with any body of professing Christians, and turns and turns on the defects she finds in Chris
tianity and its social scheme, till she loses herself in the perplexities of her oft-repeated tirades, and tires and disgusts her readers, unless they happen to be of that sect, whose ministers are Latouche, Sue, Feydeau, Renan, and Co.
Those curious persons who desire to know some particulars of her separation from her husband, her intimacy with Jules Sandeau, Alfred Musset, Chopin the Musician, &c., had better search elsewhere for information. She will inform them of her adopting male attire on entering among the literary Bohemians of Paris, and how she mystified grave old counsellors by her literary and artistic knowledge, they all the while taking her to be a romantic youth of sixteen. But generally when she is not occupied with accounts of her travels, delightfully given, or vague and eloquent declamation, her personal reports are of the very flimsiest description. All this occupies twenty volumes, 8vo, the delightful little rivulets of clear print, meandering through large white meadows of charming paper. We conclude with the edifying deathbed confession of her grandmother; but for the exact truth of the details, we do not suppose the good old country Curé would vouch:
"Sit down my old friend,' said she. You see that I am too old to leave my bed, and I wish my granddaughter to assist at my confession." Very well, dear lady,' answered the Curé, troubled and trembling all over. 'Go on your knees for me, my child, and with your hands in mine, pray for me. I am going to make my confession. I would wish that all my friends and servants were present at this public recapitulation of my conscience; but after all, the presence of my grandchild will be sufficient. Repeat the formulas, Curé; I either never knew them, or I have forgotten them. When that is over I will accuse myself.' She repeated the forms, and then began. I have never either wished or done evil to a human being, and I have done all the good in my power. I have not to confess falsehood, nor severity, nor impiety of any kind. I have always believed in God; but attend to this, my child-I have not sufficiently loved him. I have failed in
courage there's my offence; and since the day I lost my son I have never taken on
me to bless him, nor invoke him in any
sort. I judged him too severe for having struck me beyond my strength. He gave me my child, he removed him; but