Sunday, February 14, 2010
How Very... Romantic
Happy Valentine's Day, Gentle Readers! The Amateur Historian will admit to preferring February 15th over February 14th, as, on the 15th, one can purchase pink-wrappered candy for 50% off. It is a very pleasant way to boost one's endorphin levels (and one's cholesterol, but no matter).
In honor of a very romantic holiday, the Amateur Historian would like to offer up quite possibly one of the most Romantic (in the sense of the literary and philosophic movement where one's demise was considered a perfectly reasonable subject of conversation, as long as one did not adhere to classical meter while doing so) gestures ever made by The French Romantic himself, Victor Hugo. The portrait of Hugo, to the left, was drawn by his then wife-to-be, Adèle Foucher, whom the young Hugo adored beyond reason. When his mother died and Hugo began spending his days standing across the street from the Foucher household, waiting to see Adéle come to the window, Adéle's parents became understandably alarmed. They whisked Adéle off to Dreux, ostensibly to visit a relative, but really to put a 25 franc coach ride between her and her poetic stalker.
A week later, Hugo arrived in Dreux, having marched on foot for fifty miles from Paris. After bathing in a river, he went to the Hôtel du Paradis, where the Fouchers were staying, and wrote a note to them about the remarkable coincidence that they should also be in Dreux, since he just happened to be there "in search of Druidic monuments".
M. Foucher was, to his credit, extremely impressed and invited Hugo to stay with them and write Gothic odes, provided they were about their rented holiday home instead of Adéle. Hugo and Adéle were married a year later.