George Sand

51

George Sand : biography

01 July 1804 – 08 June 1876

After the death of Aurore’s father daughter-in-law and mother-in-law became closer for some time. But soon madam Dupin decided that mother wouldn’t be able to give her daughter worthy education to a heiress of Nohant, besides, he didn’t want to see in the house Sophie’s daughter Caroline. After long hesitations Aurore’s mother agreed – she didn’t want to deprive her of a big inheritance and left her with grandmother. She took Caroline and moved to Paris. Aurore felt separation keenly.

Aurore and her stepbrother’s teacher was Dechartres, a caretaker of the farmstead, a former teacher of Maurice Dupin. She was taught to read, write, she studied maths and history, besides, her grandmother, a brilliant musician, taught her to play the harpsichord and sing. The girl also inherited her grandmother’s passion for literature.

As male clothes were more comfortable for riding, Aurore used to dress it since childhood.

The girl saw her mother very seldom, when she visited Paris with her grandmother. But madam Dupin tried to minimize the influence of Sophie and shorten these visits. Aurore decided to escape from her grandmother but soon her intention was revealed and madam Dupin decided to send the girl to a monastery. Aurore came to Paris and met her mother who approved this plan of further education. Aurore was stricken with this coldness who was regulating her personal life. Afterward Aurore learnt to do without her mother who was neither a friend nor an advisor for her anymore, but she never broke off with her and remained external respect.

On the 12 of January in 1818 the girl was accepted in Augustine monastery where she became familiar with religious literature, and she was seized with mystical mood. She decided to become a nun and made the most difficult work. But her confessor thought that a person could do his duty in wordly life and he dissuaded Aurore from this intention.

Her grandmother endured the first heart attack and decided to marry the girl, as she was afraid that he could stay under mother’s guardianship. Aurore left the monastery which became a paradise for her. Soon grandmother decided that she was too young for family life. Aurore tried to reconcile mother and grandmother but failed. She suggested mother staying with her but Sophie didn’t agree. In 1820 Aurore returned in Nohant. Though she was a rich heiress, she wasn’t consider as a good match because of several extramarital births in her family and low birth of her mother.

After the second heart attack madam Dupin was paralyzed and the girl had to rule the farmstead. Dechartres was a mayor of Nohant and also worked as a pharmacist and surgeon, Aurore helped him. At the same time she got interested in philosophical literature, she admired Rousseau.

She often rode her horse wearing male clothes. Everyone reproached her for her way of life, her freedom was inconceivable for a girl of her age, but she didn’t pay attention. She got friends with her peers, sons of father’s friends. She got an affair with one of them, but this youth love didn’t led to anywhere. For his father Aurore was a daughter of a common woman, and the girl’s grandmother would allow her to marry because of his poverty.

Aurore’s grandmother died on the 26th of December in 1821, before the death she agreed to receive the last rites and communion to her religious granddaughter’s surprise. Grandmother insisted that Aurore should be present at her confession. The last words of this woman were “You are losing your best friend”.

Marriage

According to the will of madam Dupin, a seventeen year old girl’s tutor should be the duke and she should live with his family. But Aurore’s mother insisted that duke’s family kept from tutorship – they didn’t want to deal with “adventuress” of low birth. Aurore obeyed to her mother because of her sense oа duty and justice, but she was a stranger to class narrow-mindedness. Soon there was a conflict between mother and daughter, Sophie-Victoria forced daughter to marry a person, whom the girl didn’t like at all. Aurore revolted and mother threatened that she would send her to a monastery.