The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 8
Only those who, in the bright springtime of life, have loved, have been loved in return,
and have suddenly seen an impassable gulf open between them and happiness, can realize
Maurice d'Escorval's disappointment.
All the dreams of his life, all his future plans, were based upon his love for Marie-Anne.
If this love failed him, the enchanted castle which hope had erected would crumble and
fall, burying him in the ruins.
Without Marie-Anne he saw neither aim nor motive in his existence. Still he did not
suffer himself to be deluded by false hopes. Although at first, his appointed meeting with
Marie-Anne on the following day seemed salvation itself, on reflection he was forced to
admit that this interview would change nothing, since everything depended upon the will
of another party--the will of M. Lacheneur.
The remainder of the day he passed in mournful silence. The dinner- hour came; he took
his seat at the table, but it was impossible for him to swallow a morsel, and he soon
requested his parents' permission to withdraw.
M. d'Escorval and the baroness exchanged a sorrowful glance, but did not allow
themselves to offer any comment.
They respected his grief. They knew that his was one of those sorrows which are only
aggravated by any attempt at consolation.
"Poor Maurice!" murmured Mme. d'Escorval, as soon as her son had left the room. And,
as her husband made no reply: "Perhaps," she added, hesitatingly, "perhaps it will not be
prudent for us to leave him too entirely to the dictates of his despair."
The baron shuddered. He divined only too well the terrible apprehensions of his wife.
"We have nothing to fear," he replied, quickly; "I heard Marie-Anne promise to meet
Maurice to-morrow in the grove on the Reche."
The anxious mother breathed more freely. Her blood had frozen with horror at the
thought that her son might, perhaps, be contemplating suicide; but she was a mother, and
her husband's assurances did not satisfy her.
She hastily ascended the stairs leading to her son's room, softly opened the door, and
looked in. He was so engrossed in his gloomy revery that he had heard nothing, and did
not even suspect the presence of the anxious mother who was watching over him.