Hugo was displeased with the judgment of the Academy, which had not given him the prize for his first verses, and he wrote for an Academy at Toulouse, won several prizes, and was honored with a degree in the presence of Chateaubriand. He lived during this time in Paris, with his mother, who loved him to idolatry, and the affection was as warmly returned on the part of her son. She was a royalist and suggested his first poems. When she died he was overwhelmed with grief, and wrote a sad romance entitled Han d’ Glande, which was severely attacked by the critics, many of whom knew his youth. But he triumphed over them all, as genuine genius is always sure to do. He now fell in love with a beautiful young girl, named Mademoiselle Foucher, and they married. He was twenty, and she was but fifteen years of age. They loved each other fondly, and if they were poor in gold, they were “very rich in virtues.”
The publisher who brought out Hugo’s romance, says that he visited the young family to purchase the second edition, and found them living in a pleasant little dwelling with two children to grace their fireside. Here came troops of friends, for Hugo had already made them among the wise and great. The politicians of the day, Thiers and others, were his companions. He often took his wife and children and went out to saunter in the public gardens or on the Boulevards, and wherever they went they carried happiness with them.
Hugo was still a royalist. It was more a sentiment than a principle with him, for he had not yet regarded politics with conscientious study. In 1826 a publisher made a collection of his poems, and issued them in one volume. It brought him wealth and renown. But though all this while Hugo was very happy in his family, yet the critics were bitter in their attacks upon him. He was accused of plagiarism, and especially when a new romance of his came out, he was accused of stealing it from Walter Scott.
The poet lost his first-born, and Madame Hugo took it so much to heart that he thought it wise to close their residence. Besides, changes had been made in the street so as to render it less pleasant as a residence. After one or two changes he finally settled down in the Place Royale, where he spent many years of his life. This dwelling was furnished to suit the taste of a poet, and was beautiful in every respect. It was filled with statues, paintings, and exquisite furniture, and his study, especially, was a charming apartment. Here his friends came—and they were numerous as the leaves upon a tree. Young authors flocked to his rooms and received counsel, and old men came to enjoy his conversation.