Tuesday, June 30, 2009

May 18, 1779

May 18, 1779

Arrived at the estate shortly after noon, and was surprised to find no one here to greet me. A letter had been left with instructions and my room key, but sans even the housekeeper to show me around, as if I were a boarder. Expected little from my rooms and was not disappointed. Country houses that have not been much cared for in many years can only hope to be comfortable, but I will hang some of the pictures I brought with me tomorrow to brighten things up.

Unfortunately am located near to some foul odor, so one of my first acts was to find some flowers to mask the smell, and secondly to request some herbs to burn in the fireplace. Things are much nicer now. Explored the library and found it typically provincial, but picked up a book called La Nouvelle Heloise, which ought to be a diverting romance at least.

In the course of finding the flowers walked down into the village. There is a charming old cemetery which I hope to visit in a day or two. Wrote a letter to dearest Christine and sent it, hoping she is not too unhappy for the lateness of my reply to her last letter of some weeks ago. Also sent word to my steward about the management of those acquisitions while I am absent, am hoping the business with the adjoining land will come to a firm and expedient close.

My maid, Marianne, is convinced that being away for a few months will
encourage Monsieur D to finally ask for my hand. Having the title, but little money, and no male relatives to keep it all from the Crown I am beginning to be concerned that I am growing too old for matrimony and heirs of my own body. Have no doubts that some peers of the realm would never consider a member of the Third Estate for themselves or their daughters, but titles will not sustain forever in the same way that coin does, and his star is rising.

Having had only a few biscuits before my walk into town I nevertheless waited until five in the evening to order supper in my room. Simple, it came accompanied by tiny, puffed cakes of which I regret to say I ate far too many. Read comfortably in my room until sundown, and played cards alone. Being tired from the journey I will retire shortly to bed.

Tomorrow I see my hostess, Adrienne, and a few other guests in the party, but beyond that I am uncertain what to expect. The weather promises to be fine for at least a few more days, which is just as well since I seem to have forgotten my heavy shawl, and the nights can be cold in this part of the country. I may send for it from home as well as for my painting supplies and that face cream I love so well.

I admit to some heartache at being so far from T- but it is born of fatigue and boredom and may soon pass as divertissements present themselves. Perhaps he will be able to join me in a while.

Olympe, Comtesse d’Auvergne

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