Erckmann returned to Paris to study law, which at times he gave up for the pursuit of literature, from which in course of time he returned to the law. Meanwhile he and Chatrian had jointly written a play called Alsace. It was presented, was successful, but was suppressed (1848). This disappointment delayed for two years Chatrian's removal to Paris to join Erckmann. They wrote a volume of stories, of which L'illustre Docteur Mathéus was the principal one. When this volume appeared, they were on the verge of need. The capricious public bought three editions of the volume and gave the "name" that meant permanent fame for the authors.
Chatrian finally reached Paris, and the collaborators wrote on busily. In 1858-1861 they worked on subjects drawn from their usual pastoral sources, and made from them