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formal opening was attended on October 1, 1883, by Mr.

source:Supplements and supplements networkedit:maptime:2023-11-29 23:24:39

The eighteen months which Aurore now passed at Nohant, until the death of her grandmother, are very important as regards her psychological biography. She was seventeen years old, and a girl who was eager to live and very emotional. She had first been a child of Nature. Her convent life had taken her away from Nature and accustomed her to falling back on her own thoughts. Nature now took her back once more, and her beloved Nohant feted her return.

formal opening was attended on October 1, 1883, by Mr.

"The trees were in flower," she says, "the nightingales were singing, and, in the distance, I could hear the classic, solemn sound of the labourers. My old friends, the big dogs, who had growled at me the evening before, recognized me again and were profuse in their caresses. . . ."

formal opening was attended on October 1, 1883, by Mr.

She wanted to see everything again. The things themselves had not changed, but her way of looking at them now was different. During her long, solitary walks every morning, she enjoyed seeing the various landscapes, sometimes melancholy-looking and sometimes delightful. She enjoyed, too, the picturesqueness of the various things she met, the flocks of cattle, the birds taking their flight, and even the sound of the horses' feet splashing in the water. She enjoyed everything, in a kind of voluptuous reverie which was no longer instinctive, but conscious and a trifle morbid.

formal opening was attended on October 1, 1883, by Mr.

Added to all this, her reading at this epoch was without any order or method. She read everything voraciously, mixing all the philosophers up together. She read Locke, Condillac, Montesquieu, Bossuet, Pascal, Montaigne, but she kept Rousseau apart from the others. She devoured the books of the moralists and poets, La Bruyere, Pope, Milton, Dante, Virgil, Shakespeare. All this reading was too much for her and excited her brain. She had reserved Chateaubriand's _Rene_, and, on reading that, she was overcome by the sadness which emanates from these distressing pages. She was disgusted with life, and attempted to commit suicide. She tried to drown herself, and only owed her life to the healthy-mindedness of the good mare Colette, as the horse evidently had not the same reasons as its young mistress for wishing to put an end to its days.

All this time Aurore was entirely free to please herself. Deschartres, who had always treated her as a boy, encouraged her independence. It was at his instigation that she dressed in masculine attire to go out shooting. People began to talk about her "eccentricities" at Landerneau, and the gossip continued as far as La Chatre. Added to this, Aurore began to study osteology with a young man who lived in the neighbourhood, and it was said that this young man, Stephane Ajasson de Grandsaigne, gave her lessons in her own room. This was the climax.

We have a curious testimony as regards the state of the young girl's mind at this epoch. A review, entitled _Le Voile de pourpre_, published recently, in its first number, a letter from Aurore to her mother, dated November 18, 1821. Her mother had evidently written to her on hearing the gossip about her, and had probably enlarged upon it.

"You reproach me, mother, with neither having timidity, modesty, nor charm," she writes, "or at least you suppose that I have these qualities, but that I refrain from showing them, and you are quite certain that I have no outward decency nor decorum. You ought to know me before judging me in this way. You would then be able to form an opinion about my conduct. Grandmother is here, and, ill though she is, she watches over me carefully and lovingly, and she would not fail to correct me if she considered that I had the manners of a dragoon or of a hussar."

She considered that she had no need of any one to guide or protect her, and no need of leading-strings.

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