The Honor of the Name
This name Lacheneur awakened no recollection in the mind of the duke.
First, he had never lived at Sairmeuse.
And even if he had, what courtier of the ancien regime ever troubled himself about the
individual names of the peasants, whom he regarded with such profound indifference.
When a grand seigneur addressed these people, he said: "Halloo! hi, there! friend, my
So it was with the air of a man who is making an effort of memory that the Duc de
But Martial, a closer observer than his father, had noticed that the priest's glance wavered
at the sound of this name.
"Who is this person, Abbe?" demanded the duke, lightly.
"Monsieur Lacheneur," replied the priest, with very evident hesitation, "is the present
owner of the Chateau de Sairmeuse."
Martial, the precocious diplomat, could not repress a smile on hearing this response,
which he had foreseen. But the duke bounded from his chair.
"Ah!" he exclaimed, "it is the rascal who has had the impudence-- Let him come in, old
woman, let him come in."
Bibiaine retired, and the priest's uneasiness increased.
"Permit me, Monsieur le Duc," he said, hastily, "to remark that Monsieur Lacheneur
exercises a great influence in this region--to offend him would be impolitic----"
"I understand--you advise me to be conciliatory. Such sentiments are purely Jacobin. If
His Majesty listens to the advice of such as you, all these sales of confiscated estates will
be ratified. Zounds! our interests are the same. If the Revolution has deprived the nobility
of their property, it has also impoverished the clergy."
"The possessions of a priest are not of this world, Monsieur," said the cure, coldly.
M. de Sairmeuse was about to make some impertinent response, when M. Lacheneur
appeared, followed by his daughter.