*Missing Works Cited*
"Oh Memories! Treasures in darkness born! Murky horizon of our ancient dreams! Dear brilliance of a past that brightly beams! Casting a radiance on things dead and gone" (Hugo 116)!
In a foreign land, in a foreign era, an extinct sound resides in the atmosphere. It's the sound of a world that has never experienced or conceived of anything like an automobile or a jet, a television or a radio, a microwave or even an alarm clock. It's the sound of a small population, people that live on the amusement they find in polite conversation, art, theatre, and primarily literature. When night falls, the only illumination casting a glow on this world comes from the flickering of a lantern or a small bedside candle.
In the midst of this existence a war was brewing amongst the citizens of France, and the peaceful simplicity is interrupted. Republican armies in conflict with the aristocracy lace the country in tents and encampments by night and in battlefields by day. Soldiers regularly intrude upon the homes and properties of rural citizens to stay for weeks or even months. Life is one interruption after another.
On one fateful occurrence a charming young general led his troops across the French countryside in search of temporary shelter. They came upon a small farm, home to a family of devout royalists by the name of Trebuchet. Here the troops would stay for over a year.
Over the course of that time the young general became infatuated with the young daughter of the household, Sophie. Sophie was strong willed and opinionated. She could hold her own ground in the midst of masculine politics and war. But despite their differences the two were married. They would become the parents of three children -- Abel, Eugene, and Victor.
A small, quiet house lay nestled amid the commotion of Paris. Its décor was the reflection of a woman independent of her husband. Young Victor was enveloped only in the life that his mother created for him. He barely knew his father, but the meaning of the General's perpetual absence was unbeknownst to the small boy at the time. The only male figure present in his life was his mother's "friend" General Lahorie. He lived his childhood with the world as his playground. The family frequently moved, spending one moment in France and hopping to Italy or Spain the next. He breathed the culture that surrounded him taking in ever detail with his childish eyes, as he always would. In his later years Victor would write beautiful poetry about childhood. He cherished this time in his life, and he held a great deal of gratitude for the life that his mother provided for him and his brothers.
Victor spent his adolescent years studying law in the home of the Foucher family. His brothers resided there as well. Monsieur Foucher was not a kind man, especially toward Victor, and Victor had no ambition in law. He missed the life that he had had with his mother, and he wrote to her of the Fouchers.