Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 1779

It is has been a day full of important letters, two days, in fact. The most important coming yesterday, the first was from T- confirming his arrival on Saturday the 23rd. Much to Maman's displeasure he will be staying here at the Hotel de Sully, in the guise of a messenger from my steward. He does bring word from Monsieur Ficheux, as he is traveling directly from Saint Saturnin. I suggested that he stop in Riom on his way north to visit his sister Eleanore and her first-born son delivered safely a week past, but he remains uninterested in the expansion of his family.

The other letter yesterday was by far the most exciting as it was a summons to court. I dressed quickly as soon as I received it (you may only imagine the uproar!) and arriving at court was conducted into His Majesty's presence. Apparently when I received word that the reacquisition could not be determined until after the surveyors had completed their tasks in Auvergne and Limousin he had not finished reading my case. The surveyors will complete their task, but in the meantime an intriguing proposition has been made.

In 1651 my cousin, Henri de Turenne, the most illustrious general of our nation, was promised the title of Duc de Bouillon. Objections from other very powerful Dukes prevented him from ever taking true posession of the title or lands, but the King has made a suggestion. If I rescind my claim to the land in Limousin, and marry within a year a peer with the King's blessing it is within his gift to grant me the Duchy of Bouillon for my heirs. I do not know if he is aware of my intended marriage to Thierry, who is not a peer, and I have never sought to grasp that title when so many other blood relatives have a greater claim to it. If I do not accept his offer I can marry Thierry, go back to Auvergne, and probably will never have the reacquisition after all. If I accept, I must give up Thierry, or become like those Lords and Ladies who bow their heads at breakfast and sup with sin come night.

Even if I were to be a chaste wife and dutiful subject, the Duchy would never be mine. I would have a husband who would outrank me and control all that I now call mine, and there is no more guarantee that the promise for my heirs would be upheld than it was for Turenne, as great and good a servant as he was well known to be. It seems I cannot win either way, nor can I remain still and make no move for an answer must be given.

As if in answer to my concerns the first person at my lever today was M. Poisson. He offered to lodge T- at his home in Paris, in the hopes that it would allow him to better seek employment and not cast dispersions on my good name. I will speak with T- about this when he arrives, but I hope he will accept. I begin to feel that a quick marriage would be best, without the pressures of a disapproving society.

A letter from Christine in answer to mine has also offered consolation, at time when I needed it the most, though she cannot have known it when she wrote the words. She encourages me to remain steady in my aim, and to not allow the will of others to overcome my own strength. The question is, can I win anything in this situation, or am I fated to lose what I most want? I never sought a Duchy, I came only for a parcel of land. Not a title, or a lord, or kingly promises. I only wanted to better my own small province, but glory it seems will be thrust upon me, or misery. I should be most interested to know what lordly husband would be foisted upon me, should I chose the path of fortune.

Olympe, Comtesse

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