Marquis was a high-spirited little dog who lived in France in the 1840s. According to legend (and a few paintings that supposedly depict him), he was a Havanese-Bichon, but it’s impossible to know for sure. What’s indisputable is that Marquis had the distinction of being loved by two of the 19th century’s most innovative artists: George Sand and Frédéric Chopin. And even now, almost 200 years later, his spirit lives on in music.

When George Sand learned in July 1846 that the fluffy white canine was living unhappily in Paris, she decided to have him brought to her country estate, some 300 kilometers away, near the tiny village of Nohant in the Indre Valley. She dispatched Chopin’s servant, a loyal man named Pierre, to fetch the little toutou, as dogs are affectionately known in France.

In those days, sending a horse and carriage on a 60-odd-hour round-trip to pick up a dog was…

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