The True Love Story of Hilaire Belloc and Elodie Hogan
Written by Reely | Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:15
"The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth" - William Shakespeare
Much attention is focused upon the love stories of Edgar Allan and Virginia Poe and Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning when discussing great love stories of the 19th century, while the love story of Anglo-French writer, Hilaire Belloc and his Irish-American wife, Elodie Hogan, is often overlooked. It is, however, a touching and romantic tale and the Bellocs actually faced more obstacles than the Poes and the Brownings. For one thing, they lived on two different continents when they met.
In the meantime, Ellen Hogan passed away, but even so, by April 1895, Elodie decided to join a Maryland convent and to set Hilaire free once and for all. It only took a few weeks for Elodie to realize she was not where she belonged and that her love for Hilaire was far from infatuation. The following year, Hilaire sailed to America again. He worked his way to California only to find Elodie seriously ill upon his arrival. He collapsed himself at the prospect of losing her after all they had been through. The couple recuperated and were married on June 15, 1896 in St. John the Baptist Church in Napa, California. It was a long road of joys, sorrows and close calls from the spring meeting in 1890 when Cupid's arrow first pierced Hilaire's heart. That same year, Hilaire published "The Bad Child's Book of Beasts," which included such gems as:
"The Big Baboon is found upon
The plains of Cariboo:
He goes about with nothing on
A shocking thing to do."
The book was an instant financial success, making Hilaire Belloc as popular as Robert Louis Stevenson with a "Child's Garden of Verses." The first edition sold out in 4 days and is one of his books that remains popular to this day.
In a novel, Hilaire and Elodie would have lived happily ever after but true life is often more harsh than fiction. They did enjoy a full and happy marriage for 18 years and had 5 children together. Elodie became seriously ill towards the end of 1913 and passed away at age 45 in February of 1914. Like Robert Browning, Hilaire survived his wife by a great number of years but never remarried.