"The commissary took Vincent's escape too easy," remarked M. Desormeaux. "He must know some way to catch him again."
At last Mme. Favoral found herself alone with her children and free to give herself up to the most frightful despair.
She dropped heavily upon a seat; and, drawing to her bosom Maxence and Gilberte,
"0 my children!" she sobbed, covering them with her kisses and her tears, - " my children, we are most unfortunate."
Not less distressed than herself, they strove, nevertheless, to mitigate her anguish, to inspire her with sufficient courage to bear this crushing trial; and kneeling at her feet, and kissing her hands,
"Are we not with you still, mother?" they kept repeating.
But she seemed not to hear them.
"It is not for myself that I weep," she went on. "I! what had I still to wait or hope for in life? Whilst you, Maxence, you, my poor Gilberte! - If, at least, I could feel myself free from blame! But no. It is my weakness and my want of courage that have brought on this catastrophe. I shrank from the struggle. I purchased my domestic peace at the cost of your future in the world. I forgot that a mother has sacred duties towards her children."