The Honor of the Name
of the inhabitants of Sairmeuse knew, except by name, the terrible duke whose arrival
had thrown the whole village into commotion.
Some of the oldest residents had a faint recollection of having seen him long ago, before
'89 indeed, when he came to visit his aunt, Mlle. Armande.
His duties, then, had seldom permitted him to leave the court.
If he had given no sign of life during the empire, it was because he had not been
compelled to submit to the humiliations and suffering which so many of the emigrants
were obliged to endure in their exile.
On the contrary, he had received, in exchange for the wealth of which he had been
deprived by the revolution, a princely fortune.
Taking refuge in London after the defeat of the army of Conde, he had been so fortunate
as to please the only daughter of Lord Holland, one of the richest peers in England, and
he had married her.
She possessed a fortune of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, more than six
Still the marriage was not a happy one. The chosen companion of the dissipated and
licentious Count d'Artois was not likely to prove a very good husband.
The young duchess was contemplating a separation when she died, in giving birth to a
boy, who was baptized under the names of Anne-Marie- Martial.
The loss of his wife did not render the Duc de Sairmeuse inconsolable.
He was free and richer than he had ever been.
As soon as les convenances permitted, he confided his son to the care of a relative of his
wife, and began his roving life again.
Rumor had told the truth. He had fought, and that furiously, against France in the
Austrian, and then in the Russian ranks.
And he took no pains to conceal the fact; convinced that he had only performed his duty.
He considered that he had honestly and loyally gained the rank of general which the
Emperor of all the Russias had bestowed upon him.