Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21, 1779

The trouble with Society is that it is hard to know whom to trust. S-, who showed great favor last week, has not been seen at my lever for days, yet I know that he is in town.
I was at R-'s salon yesterday and had been losing terribly at cards, when the Marquis de M- declared he could play no more, and left me his money to play with while he and another gentleman went into a different room. My luck turned after that, and having won back much that I had lost I took M-'s money to give back to him, in a fine humor. The door to the other room was open, but there was a screen just inside, preventing me from seeing them, or them from seeing anyone approaching. The rest of the group was in the midst of another game, so being occupied in the salon they were quiet enough that I accidentally overheard M-'s conversation. I stopped short at what I heard
"Well, women are hardly ever any good at cards."
"True, so you may reasonably assume you'll never get the money back."
"Undoubtedly, but that wasn't really the point."
A pause followed before the other gentleman said "She does have many charms."
"And a charming inheiritance."
They laughed and their footsteps echoed across the floorboards towards the door. I froze between fleeing and confronting him. In the end I fled back to the other room. When M- returned he slid beside me and inquired as to how I had fared. I hid my disdain and held his hand out for him, being careful to touch him lingeringly with my ungloved fingers, and dropped the money into it with my other. Then I smiled and walked away. The surprise on his face was almost worth the effort it took to be sweet.
Sometimes I think I should like to learn fencing, then at least I could dream of what it would be like to stab men like him.
Olympe, Comtesse

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