The Honor of the Name
After his son's confession, M. d'Escorval was prudent enough to make no allusion to the
hopes he, himself, entertained.
"My poor Maurice," he thought, "is heart-broken, but resigned. It is better for him to
remain without hope than to be exposed to the danger of another disappointment."
But passion is not always blind. What the baron concealed, Maurice divined; and he
clung to this faint hope as tenaciously as a drowning man clings to the plank which is his
only hope of salvation.
If he asked his parents no questions it was only because he was convinced that they
would not tell him the truth.
But he watched all that went on in the house with that subtleness of penetration which
fever so often imparts.
Not one of his father's movements escaped his vigilant eye and ear.
Consequently, he heard him put on his boots, ask for his hat, and select a cane from
among those standing in the vestibule. He also heard the outer gate grate upon its hinges.
"My father is going out," he said to himself.
And weak as he was, he succeeded in dragging himself to the window in time to satisfy
himself of the truth of his conjectures.
"If my father is going out," he thought, "it can only be to visit Monsieur Lacheneur---then
he has not relinquished all hope."
An arm-chair was standing nearby; he sank into it, intending to watch for his father's
return; by doing so, he might know his destiny a few moments sooner.
Three long hours passed before the baron returned.
By his father's dejected manner he plainly saw that all hope was lost. He was sure of it; as
sure as the criminal who reads the fatal verdict in the solemn face of the judge.
He had need of all his energy to regain his couch. For a moment he felt that he was dying.
But he was ashamed of this weakness, which he judged unworthy of him. He determined
to know what had passed--to know the details.