Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8, 1779

It has turned quite cold here, in fact there was snow on Sunday, and even some tonight. The weather waited just long enough, however for me to spring my plan on the unsuspecting M-. I had some suspicion that this would bring me guilt, especially as it is the season of Advent, but I did not guess at how different things might return to haunt me.

The weather being fine on Saturday, which was the 4th, I informed M- that I had planned for a walk in the Tuileries Gardens, and I even gave him an hour. I had intrigued with F- and R- to convince him that I could only be swayed by a man who was willing to make known his affection for me. Naturally there was only one conclusion the poor man could make.

In the afternoon I, along with both of my co-conspirators, took to the gardens, and there went also Menars. Finding us at last amongst the many promenaders, he proceeded to bend at the knee and offer verses of his own concoction in praise of my beauty. I did not immediately stop him, and so he continued to plead his love and beg of me release. Finally, seeing that we were the subject of some interest, I begged of him what encouragement I had given him that he might think me disposed to his suit, so much so that he would debase himself in public in such a way.

His blood drained from his face and then returned in force, as he realized that I never had publicly encouraged him, at least not more so than many others. He then turned on my companions and charged them with misleading him, but they also denied such things and professed astonishment at his words.

Then he made the mistake of saying to F- that he would demand satisfaction if he thought F- capable of holding a sword. R- stepped in quickly and said that he would answer for his friend, if M- sought satisfaction. Though aware of R's reputation as an excellent swordsman, M- addressed his challenge anew. The man named their seconds on the spot, and we withdrew in haste to Sully.

With some great trepidation I tried to convince them both to call it off, but they would not hear of it, and instead called for merriment, with many over-boastful jests in the manner that they should not look to live past the next day. I for my part could not pretend to be jovial, but instead found that I had no appetite for either food or laughter and retired to my rooms.

For the last few days now the duel has been postponed for the weather, but should it cease to rain, snow, and be terribly cold I know they will continue, for they talk of nothing else. I pray that it will come to a bloodless end.

Olympe, Comtesse

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