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installed the meters and became meter man, in order that

source:Supplements and supplements networkedit:hottime:2023-11-30 00:28:43

Sophie-Victoire took her daughter to spend two or three days with some friends of hers, and then left her there. They lived in the country at Plessis-Picard, near Melun. Aurore was delighted to find a vast park with thickets in which there were roebucks bounding about. She loved the deep glades and the water with the green reflections of old willow trees. Monsieur James Duplessis and his wife, Angele, were excellent people, and they adopted Aurore for the time being. They already had five daughters, so that one more did not make much difference. They frequented a few families in the neighbourhood, and there was plenty of gaiety among the young people. The Duplessis took Aurore sometimes to Paris and to the theatre.

installed the meters and became meter man, in order that

"One evening," we are told in the _Histoire de ma vie_, "we were having some ices at Tortoni's after the theatre, when suddenly my mother Angele said to her husband, `Why, there's Casimir!' A young man, slender and rather elegant, with a gay expression and a military look, came and shook hands, and answered all the questions he was asked about his father, Colonel Dudevant, who was evidently very much respected and loved by the family."

installed the meters and became meter man, in order that

This was the first meeting, the first appearance of Casimir in the story, and this was how he entered into the life of Aurore.

installed the meters and became meter man, in order that

He was invited to Plessis, he joined the young people good-humouredly in their games, was friendly with Aurore, and, without posing as a suitor, asked for her hand in marriage. There was no reason for her to refuse him. He was twenty-seven years of age, had served two years in the army, and had studied law in Paris. He was a natural son, of course, but he had been recognized by his father, Colonel Dudevant. The Dudevant family was greatly respected. They had a _chateau_ at Guillery in Gascony. Casimir had been well brought up and had good manners. Aurore might as well marry him as any other young man. It would even be preferable to marry him rather than another young man. He was already her friend, and he would then be her husband. That would not make much difference.

The marriage almost fell through, thanks to Sophie-Victoire. She did not consider Casimir good-looking enough. She was not thinking of her daughter, but of herself. She had made up her mind to have a handsome son-in-law with whom she could go out. She liked handsome men, and particularly military men. Finally she consented to the marriage, but, a fortnight before the ceremony, she arrived at Plessis, like a veritable thunderbolt. An extraordinary idea had occurred to her. She vowed that she had discovered that Casimir had been a waiter at a _cafe_. She had no doubt dreamt this, but she held to her text, and was indignant at the idea of her daughter marrying a waiter! . . .

Things had arrived at this crisis when Casimir's mother, Madame Dudevant, who had all the manners of a _grande dame_, decided to pay Sophie-Victoire an official visit. The latter was greatly flattered, for she liked plenty of attention paid to her. It was in this way that Aurore Dupin became Baronne Dudevant.

She was just eighteen years of age. It is interesting to read her description of herself at this time. In her _Voyage en Auvergne_, which was her first writing, dated 1827, she traces the following portrait, which certainly is not exaggerated.

"When I was sixteen," she says, "and left the convent, every one could see that I was a pretty girl. I was fresh-looking, though dark. I was like those wild flowers which grow without any art or culture, but with gay, lively colouring. I had plenty of hair, which was almost black. On looking at myself in the glass, though, I can truthfully say that I was not very well pleased with myself. I was dark, my features were well cut, but not finished. People said that it was the expression of my face that made it interesting. I think this was true. I was gay but dreamy, and my most natural expression was a meditative one. People said, too, that in this absent-minded expression there was a fixed look which resembled that of the serpent when fascinating his prey. That, at any rate, was the far-fetched comparison of my provincial adorers."

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