To the description of this highly ingenious, perfectly 룸알바 artistic and most entrancing of entertainments Mme. Adam devotes six pages of her Souvenirs. The spectators were encouraged to express their opinions audibly as the play went on. Each had his favourite actor or actress. Mme. Adam, having declared her preference for a certain Coq-en-Bois, he from the stage invited her to dine with him in a cabinet particulier at the Café Brébant. “Ah! no, I protest!” cried Adam; and led by the queen of the festival, the whole audience was convulsed with laughter.

In theory, and in practice during her early days, always a rebel against order and discipline, in her home George Sand had ever been the personification of orderliness. Perfect tidiness reigned in her simply furnished study. In her desk and her large cupboards, every drawer and shelf was furnished with a label indicating the contents. Equally precise was the arrangement of her bedroom, opening out of the study, with its fine old furniture and its hangings of blue—the colour of the Golfe Juan, as she said to Juliette. In her gardens, where she had acclimatised an immense variety of plants, collected during her travels, Mme. Sand took great delight. But no one was allowed to cut the flowers. Those used for house decoration were all gathered in the woods and fields.

Serious conversation, profound discussions, Mme. Sand reserved for her tête-à-têtes. The general talk at Nohant [Pg 130] was of the mirth-provoking order, that intelligent nonsense which clears the brain and sharpens the wits. If any one was inclined to be too serious, he was immediately prodded into liveliness by one of those practical jokes in which the mistress of Nohant revelled. The unhappy Edmond Adam had all his worst prejudices against country-house parties confirmed when he was roused from his slumbers by the crowing of a cock, which Maurice had hidden in the wood-chest of his bedroom. The wretched victim’s vociferations, mingling with the voice of chanticleer, as in night attire this much-tried guest searched for his tormentor, afforded intense amusement to the household assembled in the passage, as well as to Juliette, who, being in the secret, was cowering beneath the sheets, trying to suppress her laughter, and to Alice in the adjoining room.

Several days of the Nohant visit were occupied in excursions to places of interest in the neighbourhood, to the Druidical monuments of Crevant and to La Mare au Diable.

After they had left Nohant the Adams continued to see a great deal of George Sand. In the autumn of 1868 they accompanied her on a tour to the Meuse Valley, which she intended to make the scene of her next novel, Malgré Tout. The great George was a valiant traveller. None of the discomforts of country tours in days when inns were close and filthy disturbed her. With what she called the poltronnerie of Juliette and Alice, who complained of sleepless nights spent in hunting vermin, their friend had no sympathy. She only jeered at them for not following her example and keeping the pests away by smoking cigars and cigarettes.

Mme. Sand returned with her friends to Paris. There she established herself in a flat in the Rue Gay-Lussac, from the windows of which she could see her beloved Luxembourg. Her chambermaid, who had not the remotest idea of her mistress’s distinction, always addressed her as “Madame de Cendre,” and George forbade any one to enlighten her.

Mme. Sand had come to Paris to assist at the rehearsals at the Porte-Saint-Martin of her play Cadio. This indefatigable old lady of threescore years and more, went every evening to the theatre, where she stayed from six till two. In her company Juliette for the first time penetrated “behind.” She was also present on the first night. But [Pg 131] the play was a failure. According to the author, this was chiefly because the principal actor, one Roger, persisted in wearing a hat with a white feather instead of a battered and weather-stained cap. As the curtain was about to rise Mme. Sand tore out the feather and broke it. But swift as lightning Mme. Roger, an ex-milliner, sewed it together again. The actor entered beplumed. “La pièce est perdu!” cried the authoress.

The next year the Adams were staying at Pierrefonds. There George Sand joined them, and they spent together a delightful fortnight there. In all that concerned her young friend, in Juliette’s spiritual, professional, domestic and physical welfare, Mme. Sand took the deepest interest. She marvelled at the numerous activities Juliette continued to crowd into her life.

“J’admire q’étant ‘mondaine’ et toujours par monts et par vaux,” she writes, “et très occupée de la famille et du ménage, vous ayez le temps d’écrire et de penser. Au reste, cette activité est bonne à l’esprit, mais n’usez pas trop le corps.”[161]