The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 6
Maurice and Marie-Anne had loved each other for many years.
As children, they had played together in the magnificent grounds surrounding the
Chateau de Sairmeuse, and in the park at Escorval.
Together they chased the brilliant butterflies, searched for pebbles on the banks of the
river, or rolled in the hay while their mothers sauntered through the meadows bordering
the Oiselle.
For their mothers were friends.
Mme. Lacheneur had been reared like other poor peasant girls; that is to say, on the day
of her marriage it was only with great difficulty she succeeded in inscribing her name
upon the register.
But from the example of her husband she had learned that prosperity, as well as noblesse,
entails certain obligations upon one, and with rare courage, crowned with still rarer
success, she had undertaken to acquire an education in keeping with her fortune and her
new rank.
And the baroness had made no effort to resist the sympathy that attracted her to this
meritorious young woman, in whom she had discerned a really superior mind and a truly
refined nature.
When Mme. Lacheneur died, Mme. d'Escorval mourned for her as she would have
mourned for a favorite sister.
From that moment Maurice's attachment assumed a more serious character.
Educated in a Parisian lyceum, his teachers sometimes had occasion to complain of his
want of application.
"If your professors are not satisfied with you," said his mother, "you shall not accompany
me to Escorval on the coming of your vacation, and you will not see your little friend."
And this simple threat was always sufficient to make the school-boy resume his studies
with redoubled diligence.
So each year, as it passed, strengthened the grande passion which preserved Maurice
from the restlessness and the errors of adolescence.
The two children were equally timid and artless, and equally infatuated with each other.