Tuesday, June 30, 2009

*June 17, 1779 Spain enters the war!


Two pieces of news came today, one of which concerned me and the other which concerned everybody. The most important thing was the announcement that, as rumored, Spain has declared war on England. This will lend further pressure, and help us in our war against them in the Americas. Poor England has enemies everywhere, and she must turn her attention home to Europe, I think, or be torn to pieces. I hope this indicates that our brave soldiers will be returning home shortly. It will not, I fear, help T- to gain the commission he was hoping for, as there will be more qualified men returning to occupy them.

The lingerie shop writes that my chemises are finished and they would like to know whether to send them at once, or wait for my complete order to be ready and send everything then. They have not yet received the latest order as I only sent it two days ago, and this letter was sent to me four days ago. I think I will have the chemises sent here, as I do hate to wait for new things, and I do not know how long it will take them to complete the order for my other clothes. I could use new chemises as it is.

The other news which concerned me was that one of the Polignac set is interested in the same land I am, and being so close to the royal family one doubts very little but that they shall have it. I pray that the information is incorrect, but regardless my mind is made up and I shall attempt to make my case to the best of my abilities, and if I fail then I shall be no worse off than I was, or at least very little. I have sent my steward very specific instructions, and am taking advice from a friend already at court on the appropriate people to bribe. There is little that I would not do to ensure that all of Auvergne returns to and remains in the hands of my own family.

One's province is like a child. You nurture it, love it unconditionally whether crops grow or fail, seek to improve it in a hundred different ways, and it is ever present in your heart and mind. Wondering constantly whether I have made the right choices for Auvergne and its people, I nevertheless flatter myself that I have been good to them all. When the land is restored to us, I think it likely that I shall be able to do more. I will create more schools and be more charitable, but really my own finances are so strained that I can barely support all that I do now. I look forward to more prosperous and fertile days, personally.

I have been so maternal lately, dreaming, again and again, of a daughter of my own with Thierry’s brilliant green eyes. Of course a daughter is not what is needed, a son to carry my name and make our heritage more secure is what I should hope for, and yet more than anything I wish to hold my own daughter in my arms. In the quiet moments of the day and night I think of her name, and I think of the kind of mother I would be. I see no reason to educate her less thoroughly than a boy, but only to add to a man’s accomplishments that of music and embroidery and the running of an estate. I would show her everything, tell her everything, and she would be my gift to the world. Maybe she would have her father’s gift for true compassion; but were she unintelligent, unrefined, and less than beautiful I know that I would love her no less, for she would be mine.

Oh, when will life truly begin? The things I wish for I am forever waiting to come to me. I reach out my hands to receive them, but they are just beyond my fingertips. I do not ask for much; only my home to be in one piece again, the man I love, and a family of my own. I seek not diamonds, or kingdoms, or the fame of discovery, nor additional titles, position, or the favor of kings. Yet I feel that I want the world. I want there to be no time so that I might not fear its passing, or land that I might not be encumbered by it, or money that I might not owe it, or age that I might not feel it. My heart is weighed down by its own desires. When my mother was my age my father had already died.

It stormed today, and this evening I put on an old caraco and went bare-headed into it. Just to feel the water seep into my skin, warm and heavy, as if I could hold it in my hands like a string of pearls. It was beautiful, and I laughed and laughed to feel it so. The world can be beautiful in all kinds of weather. And I can no more grasp my dreams and ambitions than I can hold onto the rain. I will simply wait, for there is nothing else I can do.

Olympe, Comtesse

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