The Honor of the Name HTML version

Chapter 12
"No, never in my whole life have I met a woman who can compare with this Marie-
Anne! What grace and what dignity! Ah! her beauty is divine!"
So Martial was thinking while returning to Sairmeuse after his proposals to M.
At the risk of losing his way he took the shortest course, which led across the fields and
over ditches, which he leaped with the aid of his gun.
He found a pleasure, entirely novel and very delightful, in picturing Marie-Anne as he
had just seen her, blushing and paling, about to swoon, then lifting her head haughtily in
her pride and disdain.
Who would have suspected that such indomitable energy and such an impassioned soul
was hidden beneath such girlish artlessness and apparent coldness? What an adorable
expression illumined her face, what passion shone in those great black eyes when she
looked at that little fool d'Escorval! What would not one give to be regarded thus, even
for a moment? How could the boy help being crazy about her?
He himself loved her, without being, as yet, willing, to confess it. What other name could
be given to this passion which had overpowered reason, and to the furious desires which
agitated him?
"Ah!" he exclaimed, "she shall be mine. Yes, she shall be mine; I will have her!"
Consequently he began to study the strategic side of the undertaking which this resolution
involved with the sagacity of one who had not been without an extended experience in
such matters.
His debut, he was forced to admit, had been neither fortunate nor adroit. Conveyed
compliments and money had both been rejected. If Marie-Anne had heard his covert
insinuations with evident horror, M. Lacheneur had received, with even more than
coldness, his advances and his offers of actual wealth.
Moreover, he remembered Chanlouineau's terrible eyes.
"How he measured me, that magnificent rustic!" he growled. "At a sign from Marie-Anne
he would have crushed me like an eggshell, without a thought of my ancestors. Ah! does
he also love her? There will be three rivals in that case."
But the more difficult and even perilous the undertaking seemed, the more his passions
were inflamed.