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The Honor of the Name

Chapter 42
To quit Sairmeuse without any display of violence had cost Blanche an almost
superhuman effort.
The wildest anger convulsed her soul at the very moment, when, with an assumption of
melancholy dignity, she murmured those words of forgiveness.
Ah! had she obeyed the dictates of her resentment!
But her indomitable vanity aroused within her the heroism of a gladiator dying on the
arena, with a smile upon his lips.
Falling, she intended to fall gracefully.
"No one shall see me weep; no one shall hear me complain," she said to her despondent
father; "try to imitate me."
And on her return to the Chateau de Courtornieu, she was a stoic.
Her face, although pale, was as immobile as marble, beneath the curious gaze of the
servants.
"I am to be called mademoiselle as in the past," she said, imperiously. "Anyone forgetting
this order will be dismissed."
A maid forgot that very day, and uttered the prohibited word, "madame." The poor girl
was instantly dismissed, in spite of her tears and protestations.
All the servants were indignant.
"Does she hope to make us forget that she is married and that her husband has deserted
her?" they queried.
Alas! she wished to forget it herself. She wished to annihilate all recollection of that fatal
day whose sun had seen her a maiden, a wife, and a widow.
For was she not really a widow?
Only it was not death which had deprived her of her husband, but an odious rival--an
infamous and perfidious creature lost to all sense of shame.
And yet, though she had been disdained, abandoned, and repulsed, she was no longer
free.
 
 
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