The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 20
Ah! ambition is a fine thing!
The Duc de Sairmeuse and the Marquis de Courtornieu were past middle age; their lives
had been marked by many storms and vicissitudes; they were the possessors of millions,
and the owners of the most sumptuous residences in the province. Under these
circumstances one might have supposed that they would desire to end their days in peace
and quietness.
It would have been easy for them to create a life of happiness by doing good to those
around them, and by preparing for their last hours a chorus of benedictions and of regrets.
But no. They longed to have a hand in managing the ship of state; they were not content
to be simply passengers.
And the duke, appointed to the command of the military forces, and the marquis, made
presiding judge of the court at Montaignac, were both obliged to leave their beautiful
homes and take up their abode in rather dingy quarters in town.
They did not murmur at the change; their vanity was satisfied.
Louis XVIII. was on the throne; their prejudices were triumphant; they were happy.
It is true that dissatisfaction was rife on every side, but had they not hundreds and
thousands of allies at hand to suppress it?
And when wise and thoughtful persons spoke of "discontent," the duke and his associates
regarded them as visionaries.
On the 4th of March, 1816, the duke was just sitting down to dinner when a loud noise
was heard in the vestibule.
He rose--but at that very instant the door was flung open and a man entered, panting and
This man was Chupin, the former poacher, whom M. de Sairmeuse had elevated to the
position of head gamekeeper.
It was evident that something extraordinary had happened.
"What is it?" inquired the duke.
"They are coming!" cried Chupin; "they are already on the way!"