The Honor of the Name HTML version
Ah, well, there was one woman, a fair young girl, whose heart had not been touched by
the sorrowful scenes of which Montaignac had been the theatre.
Mlle. Blanche de Courtornieu smiled as brightly as ever in the midst of a stricken people;
and surrounded by mourners, her lovely eyes remained dry.
The daughter of a man who, for a week, exercised the power of a dictator, she did not lift
her finger to save a single one of the condemned prisoners from the executioner.
They had stopped her carriage on the public road. This was a crime which Mlle. de
Courtornieu could never forget.
She also knew that she owed it to Marie-Anne's intercession that she had not been held
prisoner. This she could never forgive.
So it was with the bitterest resentment that, on the morning following her arrival in
Montaignac, she recounted what she styled her "humiliations" to her father, i.e., the
inconceivable arrogance of that Lacheneur girl, and the frightful brutality of which the
peasants had been guilty.
And when the Marquis de Courtornieu asked if she would consent to testify against
Baron d'Escorval, she coldly replied:
"I think that such is my duty, and I shall fulfil it, however painful it may be."
She knew perfectly well that her deposition would be the baron's death-warrant; but she
persisted in her resolve, veiling her hatred and her insensibility under the name of virtue.
But we must do her the justice to admit that her testimony was sincere.
She really believed that it was Baron d'Escorval who was with the rebels, and whose
opinion Chanlouineau had asked.
This error on the part of Mlle. Blanche rose from the custom of designating Maurice by
his Christian name, which prevailed in the neighborhood.
In speaking of him everyone said "Monsieur Maurice." When they said "Monsieur
d'Escorval," they referred to the baron.
After the crushing evidence against the accused had been written and signed in her fine
and aristocratic hand-writing, Mlle. de Courtornieu bore herself with partly real and
partly affected indifference. She would not, on any account, have had people suppose that