with the exhaust of an engine across the alleyway, and

Such are the famous episodes of the _tea-cup_ and _the letter_ as Buloz heard them told at the time. { The end of footnote [20]}

with the exhaust of an engine across the alleyway, and

Musset returned in March, 1834, leaving George Sand with Pagello in Venice. The sentimental exaggeration continued, as we see from the letters exchanged between Musset and George Sand. When crossing the Simplon the immutable grandeur of the Alps struck Alusset with admiration, and he thought of his two "great friends." His head was evidently turned by the heights from which he looked at things. George Sand wrote to him: "I am not giving you any message from Pagello, except that he is almost as sad as I am at your absence." "He is a fine fellow," answered Musset. "Tell him how much I like him, and that my eyes fill with tears when I think of him." Later on he writes: "When I saw Pagello, I recognized in him the better side of my own nature, but pure and free from the irreparable stains which have ruined mine." "Always treat me like that," writes Musset again. "It makes me feel proud. My dear friend, the woman who talks of her new lover in this way to the one she has given up, but who still loves her, gives him a proof of the greatest esteem that a man can receive from a woman. . . ." That romanticism which made a drama of the situation in _L'Ecole des Femmes_, and another one out of that in the _Precieuses ridicules_, excels in taking tragically situations that belong to comedy and in turning them into the sublime.

with the exhaust of an engine across the alleyway, and

Meanwhile George Sand had settled down in Venice with Pagello-- and with all the family, all the Pagello tribe, with the brother, the sister, to say nothing of the various rivals who came and made scenes. It was the vulgar, ordinary platitude of an Italian intimacy of this kind. In spite of everything, she continued congratulating herself on her choice.

with the exhaust of an engine across the alleyway, and

"I have my love, my stay here with me. He never suffers, for he is never weak or suspicious. . . . He is calm and good. . . . He loves me and is at peace; he is happy without my having to suffer, without my having to make efforts for his happiness. . . . As for me, I must suffer for some one. It is just this suffering which nurtures my maternal solicitude, etc. . . ." She finally begins to weary of her dear Pagello's stupidity. It occurred to her to take him with her to Paris, and that was the climax. There are some things which cannot be transplanted from one country to another. When they had once set foot in Paris, the absurdity of their situation appeared to them.

"From the moment that Pagello landed in France," says George Sand, "he could not understand anything." The one thing that he was compelled to understand was that he was no longer wanted. He was simply pushed out. George Sand had a remarkable gift for bringing out the characteristics of the persons with whom she had any intercourse. This Pagello, thanks to his adventure with her, has become in the eyes of the world a personage as comic as one of Moliere's characters.

Musset and George Sand still cared for each other. He beseeched her to return to him. "I am good-for-nothing," he says, "for I am simply steeped in my love for you. I do not know whether I am alive, whether I eat, drink, or breathe, but I know I am in love." George Sand was afraid to return to him, and Sainte-Beuve forbade her. Love proved stronger than all other arguments, however, and she yielded.

As soon as she was with him once more, their torture commenced again, with all the customary complaints, reproaches and recriminations. "I was quite sure that all these reproaches would begin again immediately after the happiness we had dreamed of and promised each other. Oh, God, to think that we have already arrived at this!" she writes.

What tortured them was that the past, which they had believed to be "a beautiful poem," now seemed to them a hideous nightmare. All this, we read, was a game that they were playing. A cruel sort of game, of which Musset grew more and more weary, but which to George Sand gradually became a necessity. We see this, as from henceforth it was she who implored Musset. In her diary, dated December 24, 1834, we read: "And what if I rushed to him when my love is too strong for me. What if I went and broke the bell-pull with ringing, until he opened his door to me. Or if I lay down across the threshold until he came out!" She cut off her magnificent hair and sent it to him. Such was the way in which this proud woman humbled herself. She was a prey to love, which seemed to her a holy complaint. It was a case of Venus entirely devoted to her prey. The question is, was this really love? "I no longer love you," she writes, "but I still adore you. I do not want you any more, but I cannot do without you." They had the courage to give each other up finally in March, 1835.

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