The Honor of the Name
That Martial de Sairmeuse was to marry Mlle. Blanche de Courtornieu did not surprise
the inhabitants of Montaignac in the least.
But spreading such a report, with Lacheneur's execution fresh in the minds of everyone,
could not fail to bring odium upon these men who had held absolute power, and who had
exercised it so mercilessly.
Heaven knows that M. de Courtornieu and the Duc de Sairmeuse were now doing their
best to make the people of Montaignac forget the atrocious cruelty of which they had
been guilty during their dictatorship.
Of the hundred or more who were confined in the citadel, only eighteen or twenty were
tried, and they received only some very slight punishment; the others were released.
Major Carini, the leader of the conspirators in Montaignac, who had expected to lose his
head, heard himself, with astonishment, sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
But there are crimes which nothing can efface or extenuate. Public opinion attributed this
sudden clemency on the part of the duke and the marquis to fear.
People execrated them for their cruelty, and despised them for their apparent cowardice.
They were ignorant of this, however, and hastened forward the preparations for the
nuptials of their children, without suspecting that the marriage was considered a
shameless defiance of public sentiment on their part.
The 17th of April was the day which had been appointed for the bridal, and the wedding-
feast was to be held at the Chateau de Sairmeuse, which, at a great expense, had been
transformed into a fairy palace for the occasion.
It was in the church of the little village of Sairmeuse, on the loveliest of spring days, that
this marriage ceremony was performed by the cure who had taken the place of poor Abbe
At the close of the address to the newly wedded pair, the priest uttered these words,
which he believed prophetic:
"You will be, you must be happy!"
Who would not have believed as he did? Where could two young people be found more
richly dowered with all the attributes likely to produce happiness, i.e., youth, rank, health,