HAVING just attended another brilliant performance of Les Miserables at the Mayflower, I thought readers would be interested in the importance of Southampton in the publication of Hugo's book.

Because of the unpredictability of French censorship under the Second Empire and his strong opposition to the regime, he chose as his primary publisher the Belgian company, A Lacroix Verboekhoven & Cie - asking and receiving the highest price ever paid for a novel.

Everything - proofs and proof corrections - had to travel in the thrice weekly mailboat from Guernsey to Southampton.

Then from there it went to London, Dover, Ostend and Brussels.

Material from the publishers took the reverse route!

The first two volumes sold out in two days.

Mike Tudor Pole

Southampton tourist guide