Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 1779

These are words which I had hoped not to have to write. I have arranged for an interview with the King, so that I might accept his offer of the Duchy of Bouillon, and in return I will marry within a year a man of my own class and with his permission, giving up any hope of self-reliance.

I am calm, I have cried all of my tears for this fact, and those events which have brought me to it. I am merely weary now. The interview is on Friday next, so I have nearly a week to prepare myself for a new life. As to my lord and master, I shall at least try to find a kind one. Perhaps S- will have me after all.

I should like to say that it all stems from the duel, but really there were doubts before that. Thierry, whose christian name I shall use no more after this, was not someone who could exist in my world. Happy though we undoubtedly were in Saint Saturnin, even in Riom we were always hiding our true relationship, and so much more so in Paris that he had to appear as my servant! Yes, it might have been possible for me to marry him, but society would never have accepted us, my own friends could no longer associate with me. I have seen enough of the happiness that such a marriage may offer from the example of my own mother, and enough to know she could never go back. I may attend anything, everything, but she is not the dowager Countess of Auvergne anymore, only Madame Cordelay. I do not wish to lose the life I know.

For my children also, this is a wise choice. I may say that I have given them a dear gift, a duchy, and the hope for a happy future, whatever the cost to myself. It would be selfish of me to deny them that so that I alone may be happy. The fact that I may one day have to counsel my own daughter toward an unpleasant duty, is somewhat harder.

The duel was only the finale to a realization which has been assailing me for months, which is that Thierry and I are not the same. I can be calm, I can be sensible of my duty and my best interests. I need not consult an unruly heart to find my course. He may chastise "my people" for how we spend our time, and lament the failure to attain that which I came for, but by doing this I will have attained so much more, only for someone else. If he is so unimpressed with us, then he will not feel much affect at being thus freed to pursue someone closer to his own nature.

I will be content with future I have thus chosen. I refuse to allow regret to steal my happiness away.

Olympe, Comtesse

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