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An Interesting Aspect of the Romances of Frederic Chopin.

By BEULAH WINTON SICKLES
 
Much has been said about Chopin's love affairs, but the truth is he was never really in love in his life. He had many infatuations but preferred his dreams and ideals of the beautiful ladies, who pleased his fancy, to the reality. The first woman of any note to attract his attention was Constantia Gladowska, whom he met when she was studying singing at the Warsaw Conservatoire. She was a sweet and pretty girl, but Chopin, while seeing her every day and easily able to secure an introduction, preferred to embody her in his music and to write of his passion for her in romantic fashion—"He will fly! No! To fly will be to die among strangers in a foreign land." At last he decides to die at home and have his friends carry Constantia the message—"Even after death my ashes shall be strewn beneath thy feet." It is a well established fact Constantia gave Chopin a ring, but this was probably given to help the bashful lover a little. It failed to accomplish its intent for Chopin could not be allured from his dreams, and, during the Revolution he wrote of Constantia—"What happened to her? Poverty stricken! Perhaps in the hands of the Muscovite soldiers! Ah, my life! Here I am, alone, come to me, I will wipe away your tears, will heal your wounds of the present by recalling the past;" as for Constantia, she was neither murdered nor strangled by the Muscovites and the following year she married a more practical lover, a Warsaw merchant.
 
Marie (sister of Count Wadzinski, of the Polish colony in Paris) next won Chopin's heart, but he was content to dedicate a few waltzes to her and to allow her image to inspire his improvisations. The last one is George Sand, that strange attachment between two people of such different natures and characters. George Sand was neither beautiful nor pleasing in manner, but she possessed traits of character which were wholly lacking in Chopin—strength of will and decisiveness. Moreover, she was his senior, and her affection for Chopin was rather that of a mother than that of a woman for her lover. It may have begun, on her part, with an impulse of conquest, but it deepened into a close relation of comradeship and pity for the poor artist—poor in the sense of failing health not worldly goods.
 
MANDOLINS AND CAMELIAS.
The visit to the island of Majorca has generally been spoken of as a sort of honeymoon spent by the sighing lovers, amid the music of guitars and mandolins and the perfume of sweet scented flowers. In truth, George Sand took her son and daughter to Majorca, hoping the warm climate would cure her son of rheumatism. About the same time Chopin's physicians ordered him to winter in the South to arrest his growing chest trouble. The journeys were combined to allay the lonesomeness of traveling among strangers. To George Sand, Chopin was a companion, an adult with whom she could converse; to Chopin, George Sand was a sort of parent and guardian. This supposed flight of tender lovers was probably preceded by as much foresight on George Sand's part for Chopin's baggage as for the trunks of herself and children.
 
The hotel where Chopin stayed became a place of horror to him (used as he was to every luxury), and the landlord finally turned him out when he could stand Chopin's complainings no longer. George Sand took him in, cared for and nursed him, but even she gradually grew tired of him on account of his variable temper and unreasonableness, caused by sickness. When Chopin interfered with the marriage of her daughter, she tried to pour oil on the troubled waters and was rewarded with the first bitter words Chopin had ever spoken to her; she accordingly seized the opportunity to end a friendship which had become distasteful to her.
 
Chopin had by this time become so dependent upon her, that deprived of her sustaining presence he gradually grew worse, the affair, undoubtedly hastening his death.
 
Some say Chopin never forgave her but on his dying bed he said, "she promised I should die in no arms but hers." She did come to see Chopin while he was dying but was excluded by his jealous pupil, Gutman. who held the master while he drew his last breath.
 

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