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The Devil’s Pool

By: George Sand

George Sand (the pen name of Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin 1804-1876) is famous for flaunting the conventions of behavior expected of women of her standing in France at the time and for her numerous romantic liaisons including her long standing affair with Frédéric Chopin. The Devil’s Pool (published in 1846 as La Mare au Diable) is one of several short pastoral novels drawn from her childhood experiences in the rural French region of Berri. It tells the story of a young widower, Germain, who, at the insistence of his father-in-law, sets out to remarry so that he will have someone to help raise his three young children.

The Père Maurice is talking to German, his 28-year-old young son-in-law, about German taking a new wife. Germain has been a widower for two years, and his wife left behind three young children. (Père means Father and is used in ancient oral Language.) Maurice wants Germain to go visit his friend, Père Leonard, at a farm about half a day's ride away, to visit Leonard's daughter, a rich widow who is looking to remarry. Her name is Catherine Guerin and it appears she is a good person. Germain does not really want to remarry, but Maurice tells him that two years is long enough to be in mourning, that he is grateful for Germain having been good to his daughter, and that the children need a mother. He and his wife cannot continue to take care of the three young children, and his son and daughter-in-law are expecting a baby, so will not be able to help. Germain finally agrees. Maurice tells Germain to take a present of game to Leonard and the widow and to leave Saturday, spend the night at the widow's farm, and come back on Sunday.


He leaves with his son, Pierre, and Mary, a young and beautiful 16 year old girl who needs to find a job in town. They stop near the Mare au Diable and spend the night. Germain and Mary begin to fall in love with each other, but neither shows it. The next morning Germain goes to see the widow and leaves his son with Mary. When he comes to fetch him, disappointed by the widow, he learns that Mary has fled her employer (who tried to rape her) with Pierre. Germain finds them both at the mare au diable and they all go back to the village.


Several months passes. They don't talk to each other.


They finally talk to each other, find out they're both in love, and marry.

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Sand's writing was immensely popular during her lifetime and she was highly respected by the literary and cultural elite in France. Victor Hugo, in the eulogy he gave at her funeral, said "the lyre wa...

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