The Honor of the Name
Terrible as Martial imagined the scandal to be which he had created, his conception of it
by no means equalled the reality.
Had a thunder-bolt burst beneath that roof, the guests at Sairmeuse could not have been
more amazed and horrified.
A shudder passed over the assembly when Martial, terrible in his passion, flung the
crumbled letter full in the face of the Marquis de Courtornieu.
And when the marquis sank half-fainting into an arm-chair some young ladies of extreme
sensibility could not repress a cry of fear.
For twenty seconds after Martial disappeared with Jean Lacheneur, the guests stood as
motionless as statues, pale, mute, stupefied.
It was Blanche who broke the spell.
While the Marquis de Courtornieu was panting for breath--while the Duc de Sairmeuse
was trembling and speechless with suppressed anger, the young marquise made an heroic
attempt to come to the rescue.
With her hand still aching from Martial's brutal clasp, a heart swelling with rage and
hatred, and a face whiter than her bridal veil, she had strength to restrain her tears and to
compel her lips to smile.
"Really this is placing too much importance on a trifling misunderstanding which will be
explained to-morrow," she said, almost gayly, to those nearest her.
And stepping into the middle of the hall she made a sign to the musicians to play a
But when the first measures floated through the air, the company, as if by unanimous
consent, hastened toward the door.
One might have supposed the chateau on fire--the guests did not withdraw, they actually
An hour before, the Marquis de Courtornieu and the Duc de Sairmeuse had been
overwhelmed with the most obsequious homage and adulation.
But now there was not one in that assembly daring enough to take them openly by the