George Sand, again.
1839.—When I first knew George Sand, I thought I found tried the experiment I wanted. I did not value Bettine so much; she had not pride enough for me; only now when I am sure of myself, would I pour out my soul at the feet of another. In the assured soul it is kingly prodigality; in one which cannot forbear, it is mere babyhood.. I love abandon only when natures are capable of the extreme reverse. I knew Bettine would end in nothing, when I read her book. I knew she could not outlive her love. But in Les Sept Cordes de la Lyre, which I read first, I saw the knowledge of the passions, and of social institutions, with the celestial choice which rose above them. I loved Helene, who could so well hear the terrene voices, yet keep her eye fixed on the stars. That would be my wish, also, to know all, then choose; I ever revered her, for I was not sure that I could have resisted the call of the Now, could have left the spirit, and gone to God. And, at a more ambitious age, I could not have refused the philosopher. But I hoped from her steadfastness, and I thought I heard the last tones of a purified life:—Gretchen, in the golden cloud, raised above all past delusions, worthy to redeem and upbear the wise man, who stumbled into the pit of error while searching for truth. Still, in Andre and in Jacques, I traced the same high morality of one who had tried the liberty of circumstance only to learn to appreciate the liberty of law, to know that license is the foe of freedom. And, though the sophistry of passion in these books disgusted <*>