The Honor of the Name
Though among the first to be arrested at the time of the panic before Montaignac, the
Baron d'Escorval had not for an instant deluded himself with false hopes.
"I am a lost man," he thought. And confronting death calmly, he now thought only of the
danger that threatened his son.
His mistake before the judges was the result of his preoccupation.
He did not breathe freely until he saw Maurice led from the hall by Abbe Midon and the
friendly officers, for he knew that his son would try to confess connection with the affair.
Then, calm and composed, with head erect, and steadfast eye, he listened to the death-
In the confusion that ensued in removing the prisoners from the hall, the baron found
himself beside Chanlouineau, who had begun his noisy lamentations.
"Courage, my boy," he said, indignant at such apparent cowardice.
"Ah! it is easy to talk," whined the young farmer.
Then seeing that no one was observing them, he leaned toward the baron, and whispered:
"It is for you I am working. Save all your strength for to-night."
Chanlouineau's words and burning glance surprised M. d'Escorval, but he attributed both
to fear. When the guards took him back to his cell, he threw himself upon his pallet, and
before him rose that vision of the last hour, which is at once the hope and despair of those
who are about to die.
He knew the terrible laws that govern a court-martial. The next day-- in a few hours--at
dawn, perhaps, they would take him from his cell, place him in front of a squad of
soldiers, an officer would lift his sword, and all would be over.
Then what was to become of his wife and his son?
His agony on thinking of these dear ones was terrible. He was alone; he wept.
But suddenly he started up, ashamed of his weakness. He must not allow these thoughts
to unnerve him. He was determined to meet death unflinchingly. Resolved to shake off
the profound melancholy that was creeping over him, he walked about his cell, forcing
his mind to occupy itself with material objects.