There's a sense of deep feeling about the story, not feelings that can be articulated but the feeling an animal has for it's partner when it dies, though without the condescension that one might attach to the feelings of our four-legged peers.
you really must make up your mind about finding a new wife.
La Mare au Diable is a short novel, part of a series that is referred to as George Sand's "champêtre" novels, set in the countryside of her native Berry region which was dear to the author. Since Germain has no financial wealth of his own and that his three children are being raised by their aging grandmother and Catherine's sisters and sisters-in-law, he accepts to go and meet this woman, who's also a widow and who lives several kilometers away. Germain and Marie are delayed by the appearance of little Pierre, German's eldest son who is about seven years old. As the boy falls asleep, Marie and Germain start chatting and the reader can only presume that the characters have reached the pond that is referred to as the devil's pool. Germain spends a difficult night torn between his growing feelings for Marie, which has turned out to be very resourceful during this trip, taking care of Little Pierre, all the while putting together a decent meal when all is thought lost. The novel takes drastic turn, while during its first half, Germain's quest seemed to be dominated by reason, the second half sees his feelings taking over. This is perhaps pure speculation on my part as I have not read nearly enough titles published around that period to properly claim this, but it certainly feels like George Sand is somewhat feminizing the traditional quest by adding Marie's perspective and personal growth to the narrative. By the time Germain reaches his destination (he's parted ways with Marie and left Little Pierre in her care for a few hours), his quest has clearly changed and we don't expect him to find anything where he's headed. I admit that while I understand the reasons why the widow has to be depicted in a negative light so as to make the reader regret Mary, I grew slightly annoyed at what Germain's held against her. If he is the devil, Marie appears as the Virgin and Germain as the figure of Saint George.
I knew I was in for a treat when I thought that this story would be based on that picture. Germain is a widower with three children. He sets out to the home of a widow who is entertaining thoughts of re-marriage.
As one can guess, Marie begins to enchant Germain, especially as the trio becomes lost in the forest, and must stop for the night beside the "devil's pool," where local folklore kicks in, and the mist, fog, and local sprites appear to fill Germain's head with a love he hasn't known in a long time.
If you are interested in family history, and have family who lived in the provinces of France 200 or more years ago, the appendices are essential reading.
When I read that Poet Charles Baudelaire had this to say about George Sand, I knew I would in all likelihood enjoy her book.
Poet Charles Baudelaire was a contemporary critic of George Sand: "She is stupid, heavy and garrulous. The fact that there are men who could become enamoured of this slut is indeed a proof of the abasement of the men of this generation." However, other luminaries in the world of arts and letters did not necessarily agree with Baudelaire, a few quotes will suffice: "She was a thinking bosom and one who overpowered her young lovers, all Sybil a Romantic." V.S. Pritchett (writer) "What a brave man she was, and what a good woman." Ivan Turgenev (novelist) "The most womanly woman." Alfred de Musset (poet) George Sand died at Nohant, near Châteauroux, in France's Indre département on 8 June 1876, at the age of 71 and was buried in the grounds of her home there.