Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 1779



Though it threatened rain again today, it became merely clear and cold by afternoon. F- and R- were with me discussing the duel, when R- became impatient. He declared that the weather was caused by M- who was beleaguring God with prayers for delay. He swiftly sent a note by his man to the Marquis de Menars, accusing him of stalling, and saying that the weather was quite fine enough to die under if he would hazard it; or else that he could admit himself mistaken, take back his words, and all would be forgiven. By and by word came back that Menars would attend R- outside the city where there was less chance of being discovered.

Knowing this to be all the fault of my own petty game, I could not let them go without me. Nor could I in truth remain waiting for some fatal word to come. We took F's carriage, as they did not want to risk mine being recognized, and met with M- outside the gates, and thence some distance further into the country. I was ill at ease when I saw that we were near a church, but reasoned that at least there would be a priest at hand should one be needed.

Menars allowed one of his seconds to introduce himself, and then asked R- who his seconds were. F- was there, but in all of our haste we had not noticed the absence of Comte d'Antraigues who had agreed to stand as well. M- smiled condescendingly and inquired if we had at least remembered a sword. Flustered R- ordered that they begin.

The words exchanged, agreements to fight as gentlemen, though one man short they began. The first pass brought a wound on the hand for Menars, but when R- tried to call the duel on first blood he insisted that it was merely a scratch and that they must continue. The second exchange found Menar's sword tangled in R's sleeve. The third I did not see well, it happened so quickly, but after a flurry of action both men closed, and then slumped to the ground. F and I rushed to R who's shirt was soaked with blood and perspiration. He had a gash under his arm, but Menars was worse with a slash to the throat. The seconds met briefly and called the duel a draw as neither party could continue, and we rushed back to Paris to get a doctor for R.

Returning to Sully I was glad of the privacy of my living arrangements, for we were able to transport the weakened R- inside with very little chance of anyone seeing him. Duly the doctor was sent for, and while waiting for him to arrive I was greeted with the most unexpected news. Thierry was in Paris!

Unannounced he had come to Sully, and finding me out had agreed to come back later in the afternoon. I had, of course not informed my servants where I had gone or why, and so when Thierry returned he found the doctor hard on his heels. I had the doctor shown to R's bedside, and drew T- aside to explain what had happened.

Telling him the whole story, I was most suprised when he evinced anger and even blamed me for the entire event. There was an argument, and I suggested that he leave, but to my greater surprise he would not, he insisted on seeing R-. Feeling bewildered by his request I nevertheless did as he asked, and to my very great surprise, though he had not moments before condemned the practice of dueling, calling it "idiocy", he thanked R- for taking upon himself my own guilt.

This I was not, and am not still, inclined to like; and I was heartily embarassed that I should have made such an introduction. R- tried to be jovial, and teased me about my lover, but he was pale and breathed with difficulty. Finally the doctor left instructions for his care with my servants, and I paid him for his services as well as for his silence.

Thierry attempted some affection, but I have shut myself up in my room. His words will not leave me "This is how your people spend their time. What of your grand plan?" Word has come that Menars looks to survive, so that is something. I doubt that I shall sleep well tonight all the same.

Olympe, Comtesse

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