A Blupete Biography Page

Notes To The Life Of
Adele Hugo

[1] Great Novelists & Their Novels.

[2] Chesterton, A Handful of Authors.

[3] Roche, p. 29.

[4] Chambers.

[5] Louis Napoleon, Napoleon III, led France for a period of time known as the "Second Empire." Louis Napoleon had a knack of reading the temper of the French people and France was to experience, but to a much lesser degree, the glory that Napoleon Bonaparte had brought to her. The price of bread was regulated and public works were undertaken, including a complete remodeling of Paris. International exhibitions and the promotion of commerce led to internal peace. Like his famous uncle, Louis Napoleon aspired to an international reputation by going to war; but unlike his uncle he was not too successful at it. Louis Napoleon's reign came to an end when he surrendered to the Germans in 1870. He lived out his last three years in exile.

[6] This is the mother of Mary Wollstonecraft (1797-1851) who became Shelley's second wife. Shelly and his romantic crowd, a very interesting story in itself, has little to do with our story of Adele Hugo, except for this: there existed in the early 19th century those thinkers such as Shelley who believed fully in rational thinking and the perfectibility of man; and those who did not, such as the German thinker, Goethe, who, instead, had an interest in the natural, organic development of things, rather than in any idealistic schemes. Goethe was introduced to the readers of English by Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle was Scottish born and became deeply imbued with the belief in the depravity of the human race. An interesting mix of a man: while believing in the power of the individual, especially the strong, heroic leader (the romantic beliefs of the time); he distrusted democracy: and while he hated laissez-faire, and feared what the machines of industrialism would do to man, he distrusted social legislators even more. Could it be that the relationship between Adele and her father was profoundly effected because they were on opposite sides of the philosophical fence, so to speak. Certainly it is not difficult to figure out where Victor Hugo stood in this debate, -- one need only read his works.

[7] Though it would appear she never met the man, George Sand did not much like Victor Hugo. To her Hugo was "a man of genius who has been lost by praise ..." Certain of his works, according to Sand, were stupid, absurd and idiotic and "his heart lacks fire." (As quoted by Dow, p. 41.)

[8] Johnson, p. 492.

[9] Both of Victor's parents had affairs. Indeed, in the year of Victor's birth, 1802, his mother, Sophie, was having an affair with her husband's friend, Victor Lahorie. In 1815, Victor Hugo's father and mother were divorced. It is thought that Victor and his two brothers had a "stormy upbringing." (Dow, p. 29.)

[10] "In his twentieth year fortune came to him in triple form: he brought out a book of poems that netted him seven hundred francs; soon after the publication of this book, Louis XVIII., who knew the value of having friends who were ready writers, bestowed on him a pension of one thousand francs a year; then these two pieces of good fortune made possible a third -- his marriage." (Hubbard.)

[11] Thomas.

[12] Eugene's father, General Hugo had him confined in an asylum in 1823: there he died in 1837. (Dow, p. 28.)

[13] Leopoldine and her husband of seven months, Charles Vacquerie, died in a boating accident on the Seine. Leopoldine was at the time three months pregnant.

[14] A Classicist is a upholder or imitator of classic style or form, one who advocates the school study of the Latin and Greek classics. The Romanticist is usually an enthusiastic champion of the Ideal against Realism.

[15] Thomas.

[16] Thomas.

[17] Chambers.

[18] "Unlike her self-centered husband, Sainte-Beuve was also interested in Madame Hugo's opinions and intellectual musings; his ability to listen and absorb information was one of his strengths." (Dow, p. 25.)

[19] As it was, Victor Hugo had his mistress, Juliette Drouet, "Fire Bird." (To Juliette, Victor was known as "Toto.") She came into Victor Hugo's life shortly after the writing of Notre Dame de Paris. No longer would he be torn by passion in his marriage. Juliette was an actress who devoted herself to Hugo and he to her for fifty years. His marriage to Adele, however, was kept up and continually and, apparently, on a very high plane. "... Victor Hugo remained passionately devoted to Juliette Drouet. Not that he had ceased to love Adele. His affection for her remained steadfast. But it was the affection of a son for a mother rather than that of a husband for a wife. And Adele seemed to be satisfied with that quiet sort of affection. Her feelings toward Hugo - and, for that matter, toward Sainte-Beuve - had always been platonic rather than possessive. Love to her was a distant sun. She enjoyed its slanting warmth and was content to stay out of its vertical blaze." (Thomas, p. 143.) In any event, back in the days under review, marriages were often loveless affairs. Blackstone, the 18th century jurist, defined marriage as follows: "By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law, that the very being or existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband, under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything."

[20] It was during this time that the affair between Madame Victor Hugo and Sainte-Beuve was most intense, and rumours were that he, not Victor, was the father of Adele. Interestingly, so ignorant of the goings on at the time, Victor asked his friend, Sainte-Beuve to be the godfather to his youngest daughter. (Dow, p. 26.)

[21] This is his great novel and only one of the two he wrote; thirty years separated their appearances, though all the time he wrote (plays, verses, essays and pamphlets). Hugo's besieging publishers could not get him to write another novel; it seems it took a great upset in Hugo's life before he would turn to fiction. Notre Dame de Paris (1830) had come about just after his wife had an affair with his literary rival, Sainte-Beuve. What was it that drove him to write his most famous work, Les Miserables? Was it the great loss of his daughter who had run off to foreign lands to chase an English officer! Maybe!

[22] "Hugo played an active part in political life. Serving as a peer under the monarchy of Louis Philippe, he transfered his loyalties to the republicans in 1848 and was elected to the popular Empire ... His love of liberty and his hopes for mankind were regarded, however, as a poet's dream and Hugo had little real political influence during this period." (Benets.)

[23] Hubbard.

[24] Hauteville House was reported to have been haunted, and likely looked it, painted black by a former occupant, a "great, dark, gloomy edifice situated at the top of a cliff," reached by climbing a narrow street. A large multi-storied mansion, Hauteville House had on the main floor a dining-room overlooking the garden, a reception-room, library and a smoking room. "On the next floor are various sleeping apartments, and two cozy parlors, known respectively as the red room, and the blue." On the third floor was a ballroom (one in which the Hugo family entertained at times, such as Christmas when all the local children were invited there to be "fed on turkey, tarts, apples, oranges, and figs; and when they went away each was given a bag of candy to take home." This ballroom wherein the Hugo family entertained was known as the Oak Gallery. Five large windows furnished a flood of light. In the center of the Oak Gallery was an enormous candelabrum with many branches, at the top a statute of wood, the whole carved by Victor Hugo's own hands. In addition to being a writer, he was a painter and a whittler; there was always close at hand a supply of pens, brushes and jack-knives. When observed at the turn of the century it was described as "a regular museum of curiosities of every sort -- books, paintings, carvings, busts, firearms, musical instruments. A long glass case contains a large number of autograph letters from the world's celebrities written to Hugo in exile." But the most intriguing place in this most interesting house is the part that perched on top Hauteville House: Victor Hugo's study and workroom. Three of its sides and its roof are of glass. "The floor, too, is one immense slab of sea green glass. Sliding curtains worked by pulleys cut off the light as desired."

[25] Thomas, p. 145.

[26] See Carol McLeod's article. Once the circumstances of Pinson's relations with Mademoiselle Hugo becoming known to the father of the new new woman, all social intercourse with Pinson was at once terminated by the young lady and her family.

[27] Auguste was the brother of Charles Vacquerie. Charles had married Adele's older sister, Leopoldine. The pair, Charles and Leopoldine, in 1848, tragically died in a boating accident.

[28] "At the age of thirteen, Adele had been described by Honore de Balzac as the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen." (As quoted by Dow, p. 83.) "Mademoiselle Hugo was handsome, of accomplished manners, unusual talents and fiery temperament." (Longley.)

[29] Dow, p. 60.

[30] Dow, pp. 36-7.

[31] Dow, p. 39.

[32] Longley.

[33] Not much is known about Pinson's life. Dow wrote: "In the summer of 1854, he had been forced to flee his homeland, leaving behind a stack of unpaid gambling debts and an equal number of disgruntled creditors. Meeting the gullible, rich and beautiful Adele was the the answer to his prayers." (Dow, xix, p. 70 & p. 182.) Longley wrote that he appeared "to have been rather more of a dandy." And that certain of his acquaintances "reported that he was under conditions which indicated that he was not in affluent circumstances."

[34] Dow, p. 136.

[35] Longley.

[36] As quoted by Dow, p. 66. Dow wrote that Pinson could speak French fluently. (Dow, p. 66 & p. 129.)

[37] Dow, p. 67.

[38] Dow, pp. 70-1.

[39] A month after that, during November, 1854, Pinson joined the British Army (West Yorkshire Militia).

[40] In March of 1858, having been promoted to lieutenant, Pinson was sent with his regiment (Sixteenth Foot Bedfordshire) to Ireland. In April of 1861, Pinson was posted to Aldershot, England.

[41] They certainly were corresponding with one another and met each other, at least twice, at Brighton at times (1859-60) when he was on leave. (Dow, p. 91.) Adele, in 1861, had slipped away from her family, and while every one thought she was going to meet her mother in Paris who was temporarily there, she went instead (with her maid, Rosalie) to the Isle of Wright where she meets up with Pinson who was then at Aldershot (not very far away). (Dow, p. 92.) In December, 1861, just a month or so before he shipped out to Halifax, Pinson spent Christmas with the Hugo family at Guernsey. At this time Adele's father was agreeable to a marriage at her urging, though it would not appear Pinson had made a commitment (Dow, pp. 92-3.) "... After her initial rejection of him, Pinson had never formally courted Adele, and he had never asked her father for permission to marry her. (Dow, p. 96.)

[42] Longley, p. 299. The previous paragraphs on Lieutenant Pinson, just above, have been adapted by your writer from Longley's 1889 account.

[43] Dow, p. 95.

[44] Dow, pp. 98-100. Your compiler wrote of the Great Eastern in his work on Samuel Cunard. Described as the largest steamship afloat it was used in 1865 in laying the first telegraph line across the ocean floor from England to America. I can only suppose this was the ship that Adele had taken in 1863.

[45] Adele did initially stay with the Saunders, however, she did not stay in any one place during the time she was at Halifax, approximately two years. Another place she stayed was at the home of her lawyer's (Robert Motton) parents, Robert and Ellen Motton.

[46] Dow, p. 108 & p. 113.

[47] Longley, p. 301.

[48] Longley. We see also where Adele took to lugging around her manuscripts (as urged by her father, she wrote daily) as she feared that a fire might destroy them. (Dow, p. 134.) "At night Adele would stalk the streets lurking in the public balls, entertainments and banquets. She often dressed in male clothing, complete with high silk hat for these nocturnal rambles, no doubt to assure some means of safety in the dark streets." (Harvey, p. 250.)

[49] Longley.

[50] Longley. In the nineteenth century, people wrote a vast number of letters. On any writing desk there was a quantity of quills, a penknife and blotting paper. It was in 1851, when the first postage stamps went on sale in Nova Scotia.

[51] All along, Adele, while communicating less with them, continued to receive financial support from her family; support which became more substantial when her mother died in 1868.

[52] Harvey, p. 253.

[53] Dow, p. 156.

[54] Her name was Celine Alvarez Baa. After Pinson left Barbados, Baa took Adele in and provided for her care. Baa corresponded with the Hugo family, and, eventually, accompanied Adele back to France. (Dow, p. 156.)

[55] As quoted by Dow, p. 160.

[56] Those around Victor Hugo, suffered from his "capriciousness and his megalomania." (Dow, p. 35.)


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