The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 28
The abbe had been right in feeling he could trust the officers to whose care he had
confided Maurice.
Finding their entreaties would not induce him to leave the citadel, they seized him and
literally carried him away. He made the most desperate efforts to escape; each step was a
"Leave me!" he exclaimed; "let me go where duty calls me. You only dishonor me in
pretending to save me."
His agony was terrible. He had thrown himself headlong into this absurd undertaking,
and now the responsibility of his acts had fallen upon his father. He, the culprit, would
live, and his innocent father would perish on the guillotine. It was to this his love for
Marie-Anne had led him, that radiant love which in other days had smiled so joyously.
But our capacity for suffering has its limits.
When they had carried him to the room in the hotel where his mother and Marie-Anne
were waiting in agonized surprise, that irresistible torpor which follows suffering too
intense for human endurance, crept over him.
"Nothing is decided yet," the officers answered in response to Mme. d'Escorval's
questions. "The cure will hasten here as soon as the verdict is rendered."
Then, as they had promised not to lose sight of Maurice, they seated themselves in
gloomy silence.
The house was silent. One might have supposed the hotel deserted. At last, a little before
four o'clock, the abbe came in, followed by the lawyer to whom the baron had confided
his last wishes.
"My husband!" exclaimed Mme. d'Escorval, springing wildly from her chair.
The priest bowed his head; she understood.
"Death!" she faltered. "They have condemned him!"
And overcome by the terrible blow, she sank back, inert, with hanging arms.
But the weakness did not last long; she again sprang up, her eyes brilliant with heroic