Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 14, 1779


It having been three days since my last entry I have much to report. We did make it to the lake at last on the twelfth and a pleasant day was spent feasting and playing games, until late in the afternoon when a sudden rainstorm caused us to run for the carriages. No one paid much attention to which carriage they occupied and with whom, and so it was that I found myself alone in the equipage of Msr. Saint Mikkael; or rather not alone, but with only him.

We commented briefly on the weather and how well the outing had been going. He paid me some trifling compliments, which I thought I answered with appropriate grace and formality. He sat across from me, and when the rain had ceased helped me to descend from the carriage. I felt almost badly for ignoring his advances, but some men, it seems, need more brutal rebuttals.

It was decided soon thereafter that we should return to Beau Monte, and in the course of preparing to go mine was the last carriage to depart, with only myself inside. On the way back we fell behind the others, and as fate would have it one of the traces broke, necessitating a stop to fix it. Being hungry and in the vicinity of a smaller village I determined to rest there while the replacement was attended to. It was due to this delay that I arrived back well after the others; at which point I was met by Msr. SM who offered to escort me to my room with a candelabra. Having enjoyed my day prior to the accident and feeling gracious I accepted his offer, which I realize now I should not have done.

We reached the door to my room, which I opened with one hand, and turned to say good night, only to find him descending upon me. In short, we stumbled backward into the room, his arms around me and his lips seeking a kiss I was most unwilling to give. In a panic I called for Marianne, who thankfully appeared in a prompt manner; at which point I extricated myself from the unwanted embrace and bade Msr. SM a good night, indicating therefore that he should leave. Mercifully, he did.

Somewhat shaken, I sat down precipitously and let Marianne fetch me a cordial from the decanter in my room. After a little while I retired to bed, but did not sleep well, fancying myself secure from further insults by only a door and one lock.

The morning of the thirteenth I rose early, dressed, and found Msr. SM breakfasting with some others. After we had all retired to the parlor to think on the day’s activities I inquired as to whether he would be amenable to a walk in the gardens. His demeanor was perhaps humbled, but if so I did not perceive it. He agreed.

We walked a little ways from the house, and when I was certain that we would not be seen, I faced him and did what I have never done before in my life, never having found it necessary. I slapped him across the face. My fingers being slightly curled at impact left small scratches from the nails. At first he looked angry, but I gave him no time to speak. I told him that I had never sought nor encouraged his company in any particular, and that I was not in the habit of suffering such inexplicable breaches of propriety or courtesy. In short, that I was a lady and entitled to be treated as such. I strongly suggested that he should in the future avoid my company, unless he was prepared to be vastly more civil. He stammered an apology and returned to the house, and I did not see him for the rest of the day.

He left this morning, early, and Msr. Lamotte commented that he may have gone to see a young lady to whom he is intending to propose marriage. If that is indeed true, I feel for her, as I doubt he will be a constant husband. It made me miss Thierry and wonder anew about our future. A letter full of romantic enthusiasm came, as if in response to my concern, and has brightened my day considerably. I hope that this is the last such incident I shall have to handle.

Marianne seems to feel that I should be flattered by the passionate manner of his attempt, but I find it more frightening than anything. What would have happened had she not appeared? He hardly gave me a chance to speak, and I cannot think how I have encouraged him to think that such a demonstration would be well received. These country parties are, I think, just as dangerous and provide more opportunities for clandestine behavior than anything Paris has to offer. I wonder at the company he has previously kept, to encourage him to think such manners acceptable.
Olympe, Comtesse

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