The Honor of the Name
The clock in the tower of Sairmeuse was striking the hour of eight when Lacheneur and
his little band of followers left the Reche.
An hour later, at the Chateau de Courtornieu, Mlle. Blanche, after finishing her dinner,
ordered the carriage to convey her to Montaignac. Since her father had taken up his abode
in town they met only on Sunday; on that day either Blanche went to Montaignac, or the
marquis paid a visit to the chateau.
Hence this proposed journey was a deviation from the regular order of things. It was
explained, however, by grave circumstances.
It was six days since Martial had presented himself at Courtornieu; and Blanche was half
crazed with grief and rage.
What Aunt Medea was forced to endure during this interval, only poor dependents in rich
families can understand.
For the first three days Mlle. Blanche succeeded in preserving a semblance of self-
control; on the fourth she could endure it no longer, and in spite of the breach of "les
convenances" which it involved, she sent a messenger to Sairmeuse to inquire for
Martial. Was he ill--had he gone away?
The messenger was informed that the marquis was perfectly well, but, as he spent the
entire day, from early morn to dewy eve, in hunting, he went to bed every evening as
soon as supper was over.
What a horrible insult! Still, she was certain that Martial, on hearing what she had done,
would hasten to her to make his excuses. Vain hope! He did not come; he did not even
condescend to give one sign of life.
"Ah! doubtless he is with her," she said to Aunt Medea. "He is on his knees before that
miserable Marie-Anne--his mistress."
For she had finished by believing--as is not unfrequently the case-- the very calumnies
which she herself had invented.
In this extremity she decided to make her father her confidant; and she wrote him a note
announcing her coming.