May God accept my atonement in the preservation of these two existences!
Alas, what would become of me who can only atone for evil by doing good?
I fancied that I still heard faint moans, and imagining that the unfortunate jeweller might not be quite dead, I determined to go to his relief, by way of atoning in some slight degree, not for the crime I had committed, but for that which I had not endeavored to prevent.
"Madame," replied Villefort, with a mournful smile, "I have already had the honor to observe that my father has—at least, I hope so—abjured his past errors, and that he is, at the present moment, a firm and zealous friend to religion and order—a better royalist, possibly, than his son; for he has to atone for past dereliction, while I have no other impulse than warm, decided preference and conviction."
There are no more uses of "atone" in the book.
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To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
Approved forms of faith, practice, and conduct were laid down as consistent with orthodoxy, and deviation from these standards had to be confessed and atoned for by a prescribed form of penance.
Dictionary of the History of Ideas -- http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-50(retrieved 05/20/06)