The Honor of the Name
The secret which approaching death had wrestled from Marie-Anne in the fortification at
the Croix d'Arcy, Mme. d'Escorval was ignorant of when she joined her entreaties to
those of her son to induce the unfortunate girl to remain.
But the fact occasioned Maurice scarcely an uneasiness.
His faith in his mother was complete, absolute; he was sure that she would forgive when
she learned the truth.
Loving and chaste wives and mothers are always most indulgent to those who have been
led astray by the voice of passion.
Such noble women can, with impunity, despise and brave the prejudices of hypocrites.
These reflections made Maurice feel more tranquil in regard to Marie- Anne's future, and
he now thought only of his father.
Day was breaking; he declared that he would assume some disguise and go to
Montaignac at once.
On hearing these words, Mme. d'Escorval turned and hid her face in the sofa-cushions to
stifle her sobs.
She was trembling for her husband's life, and now her son must precipitate himself into
danger. Perhaps before the sun sank to rest, she would have neither husband nor son.
And yet she did not say "no." She felt that Maurice was only fulfilling a sacred duty. She
would have loved him less had she supposed him capable of cowardly hesitation. She
would have dried her tears, if necessary, to bid him "go."
Moreover, what was not preferable to the agony of suspense which they had been
enduring for hours?
Maurice had reached the door when the abbe stopped him.
"You must go to Montaignac," said he, "but it would be folly to disguise yourself. You
would certainly be recognized, and the saying: 'He who conceals himself is guilty,' will
assuredly be applied to you. You must go openly, with head erect, and you must even
exaggerate the assurance of innocence. Go straight to the Duc de Sairmeuse and the
Marquis de Courtornieu. I will accompany you; we will go in the carriage."
Maurice seemed undecided.