The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 24
Having penetrated the mystery that enveloped his son's frequent absence, the Baron
d'Escorval had concealed his fears and his chagrin from his wife.
It was the first time that he had ever had a secret from the faithful and courageous
companion of his existence.
Without warning her, he went to beg Abbe Midon to follow him to the Reche, to the
house of M. Lacheneur.
The silence, on his part, explains Mme. d'Escorval's astonishment when, on the arrival of
the dinner-hour, neither her son nor her husband appeared.
Maurice was sometimes late; but the baron, like all great workers, was punctuality itself.
What extraordinary thing could have happened?
Her surprise became uneasiness when she learned that her husband had departed in
company with Abbe Midon. They had harnessed the horse themselves, and instead of
driving through the court-yard as usual, they had driven through the stable-yard into a
lane leading to the public road.
What did all this mean? Why these strange precautions?
Mme. d'Escorval waited, oppressed by vague forebodings.
The servants shared her anxiety. The baron was so equable in temper, so kind and just to
his inferiors, that his servants adored him, and would have gone through a fiery furnace
for him.
So, about ten o'clock, they hastened to lead to their mistress a peasant who was returning
from Sairmeuse.
This man, who was slightly intoxicated, told the strangest and most incredible stories.
He said that all the peasantry for ten leagues around were under arms, and that the Baron
d'Escorval was the leader of the revolt.
He did not doubt the final success of the movement, declaring that Napoleon II., Marie-
Louise, and all the marshals of the Empire were concealed in Montaignac.
Alas! it must be confessed that Lacheneur had not hesitated to utter the grossest
falsehoods in his anxiety to gain followers.