There has been an unexpected turn of events. This morning as I was preparing for my audience at Versailles, F&R arrived (R being much recovered from his wound). I was not in a mind to have a formal lever, but as they are such dear friends I instructed Pauline and Marianne to admit them.
Scarcely had Pauline opened the door, when in they burst and pulled me up from my dressing table. "We have an early birthday present for you!" they cried, and insisted on me dressing hurriedly without attending to anything else. In a very plain caraco rather than my court gown, they proceeded to grasp my hands and direct me to the Orangerie, despite my protests.
There, amidst the plants, was Thierry. He saw me, drew himself up, and then dropped to one knee. "Madame," he began. "Others may offer you titles and riches, but these you already have. I may only offer you a faithful and loving heart, but once those were riches enough. If you would have me, I am yours today, or else I shall trouble you no more."
He looked up at me with pleading eyes, and a stony expression. I, for my part, struggled for composure. Seeing him again made me long for the comfort of his arms. There was only one answer. "If you can still love a fool, then it is I who am yours."
We embraced, and F- said "There is nothing so cruel as not being able to have the one you love." This suddenly reminded me of my audience with the King, and I wondered aloud what to do. Together the four of us developed a plan.
I continued to prepare, being laced into my bodice with instructions to Marianne to make it increasingly tight; a duty I am sure she was only too happy to perform. Leaving T- at home the three of us took my carriage to Versailles.
Standing for a while in an antechamber, I made great show of fanning myself, and spoke to my companions of a heat which they denied. Admitted to the King's presence I took the prescribed steps, curtseyed, and promptly fell over as if I had fainted. I was, of course, quickly helped out of the room, and F&R fussed over me. Reviving slightly, I again pretended to faint dead away, whereupon my carriage was called for, and it was insisted that I return home to recover, as I had not been feeling well all day. Fearing an illness greater than a tightly-laced corset I was permitted to leave.
Returning home to T- we celebrated another successful plot with champagne, dancing, and much laughter in my rooms. When F&R left it was already past midnight, and T- and I retired to enjoy our own company and discuss our future together.