She married at Plassans an attorney’s clerk, named Touche, and together they went to Paris, setting up business in the Rue Saint-Honore, as dealers in fruit from the south of France. The venture was unsuccessful, and the husband soon disappeared. At the rise of the Second Empire, Sidonie was thirty-five; but she dressed herself with so little care and had so little of the woman in her manner that she looked much older. She carried on business in lace and pianos, but did not confine herself to these trades; when she had sold ten francs worth of lace she would insinuate herself into her customer’s good graces and become her man of business, attending attorneys, advocates, and judges on her behalf. The confidences she everywhere received put her on the track of good strokes of business, often of a nature more than equivocal, and it was she who arranged the second marriage of her brother Aristide. She was a true Rougon, who had inherited the hunger for money, the longing for intrigue, which was the characteristic of the family. La Curee.
In 1851 she had a daughter by an unknown father. The child, who was named Angelique Marie, was at once sent to the Foundling Hospital by her mother, who never made any inquiry about her afterwards. Le Reve.
She attended the funeral of her cousin, Claude Lantier, the artist. Arrived at his house, “she went upstairs, turned round the studio, sniffed at all its bare wretchedness, and then walked down again with a hard mouth, irritated at having taken the trouble to come.” L’Oeuvre.
“After a long disappearance from the scene, Sidonie, weary of the shady callings she had plied, and now of a nunlike austerity, retired to the gloomy shelter of a conventual kind of establishment, holding the purse-strings of the Oeuvre du Sacrament, an institution founded with the object of assisting seduced girls, who had become mothers, to secure husbands.” Le Docteur Pascal.
ROUGON (VICTOR), son of Aristide Saccard and Rosaline Chavaille. Brought up in the gutter, he was from the first incorrigibly lazy and vicious. La Mechain, his mother’s cousin, after discovering his paternity, told the facts to Caroline Hamelin, who, to save Saccard annoyance, paid over a considerable sum and removed the boy to L’Oeuvre du Travail, one of the institutions founded by the Princess d’Orviedo. Here every effort was made to reclaim him, but without success; vice and cunning had become his nature. In the end he made a murderous attack upon Alice du Beauvilliers, who was visiting the hospital, and having stolen her purse, made his escape. Subsequent search proved fruitless; he had disappeared in the under-world of crime. L’Argent.
“In 1873, Victor had altogether vanished, living, no doubt, in the shady haunts of crime—since he was in no penitentiary—let loose upon the world like some brute foaming with the hereditary virus, whose every bite would enlarge that existing evil—free to work out his own future, his unknown destiny, which was perchance the scaffold.” Le Docteur Pascal.