Friday, April 30, 2010

After three long years...

Let the celebrations begin! I am the proud recipient of a shiny new Masters of Fine Arts degree! Now I can return to having time for my blog, my research, my sewing, and my writing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And I Quote...

"The pleasures of the world are deceitful; they promise more than they give. They trouble us in seeking them, they do not satisfy us when possessing them and they make us despair in losing them."

- Marquise de Lambert

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23, 1780

Word at last from F- who arrived himself to tell me of it. One look at his face and I suddenly realized how serious it truly was, I think until now I have been determined not to think about it. He suggested we speak as privately as possible, and once safely away from prying ears he said that they had found the person responsible for poisoning me, and yet had not found him. I must say it was a very confusing way to reassure me.

They caught the footman Robert leaving this morning with a bottle in his pocket. He claimed to be on an errand to the laundress, but no one had sent him, and the discovery of the bottle only confirmed their suspicions. The bottle has been sent to an apothecary to determine it's contents, as Robert insists it's a medicine of some kind. This does explain why I fell ill following the meals that Pauline brought to me, the only question is whether her husband tricked her, or if she is complicit.

I had thought that this was the end of it, but F- insists that there may be something or even someone yet to blame. I have been unable to do anything but worry ever since, but F- has remained with me much of the day and assures me that soon I can return home. After this I feel the pull of Auvergne calling me back, perhaps even as far as Saint Saturnin instead of stopping in Riom for a while. I just suddenly want to flee far away from Paris, from this separation from Thierry, from this danger, from duels and poisons, and problems with my servants, and the gossip and the expense, and the problem of the King's offer.

I only came to press my suit for the land, but it has all become very complicated and I wish I hadn't come. I feel that I am complaining too much. Right now I should be glad merely to be alive. If the bottle really is medicine then we should see if Robert is inclined to take some himself.

Olympe, Comtesse

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Green

In honor of the spring and the upcoming Earth Day let's shop the museums for a green-themed outfit...

I've always been really fond of this c.1775-80 green print polonaise currently in the Kyoto Costume Museum collection. It's the perfect thing for a stroll in the sunshine.

If we get too warm we can cool off using this painted fan with plenty of green trees on it. The fan depicts the surrender after the Battle of Culloden and is dated to 1746.
Of course we can't forget about the shoes, so here are a pair of brocade heels in green and cream in the style of the 1760s.
At the end of the day we can relax in this green ladies banyan and write in our journal about the events of the day.

April 19, 1780

A week almost has passed and I have begun attending meals with my cousins, though I think I would prefer to continue taking them in my room where the atmosphere is less strained. A letter from Thierry at last informs me that he struggled with the impulse to rush back to Paris, but in the end stayed in Lille long enough to receive word of my recovery. I confess myself surprised by his restraint, one which I do not think I could have shown if our situations were reversed.

Doctor Couvillion and my dear friends F&R ascertained that Marianne was not at fault for my poisoning and so she has been sent to attend me, though to my great surprise Pauline is still suspected. I cannot believe that she would be to blame, but it appears that it was after the meals which she brought to me that my sickness worsened. The kitchen staff is also believed to be innocent as I would certainly have died if any of them had a hand in it. That leaves only a few servants to examine, and I suspect they are taking harsh measures to gain the truth of it. After this I will either have to make ammends to those who are guiltless, or else hire all new servants. Of great concern is the fact that my housekeeper, Mme le Sang-Boeuf, is still under suspicion, as it was she who hired all of the servants I did not bring myself.

Today I think I will try to take my mind off of things by reading and playing with Reinette. I know that were I to embroider my mind would only wander back to the same concerns, and I am not in posession of my paints to attempt anything else.

Olympe, Comtesse

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13th, 1780

Being much recovered I can now pick up my pen to recount the latest happenings. I was removed to the Hotel d'Evreaux, and though it is the Duke's prefered home he is not present. His wife and son, Jacque, are however and they do not seem happy to have me here. I think it is that fear that ever since the accident Jacque cannot have children and their line will pass to my branch. Not that I am proving to be any more fruitful in my unmarried state.

That is all beside the point though. I requested this morning of the doctor when I could return home, and reluctantly he informed me that my illness was the result of a poison. Asked if he was certain he insisted that he was, and that until the culprit was proven it was not safe for my whereabouts to be known. I think it likely that Paris is well-aware of my current residence, as the gossip will be running high both on account of my illness, and due to the nature of the inheiritance issue.

I have sent a letter to F- to ask for details, as I know the doctor has been in close contact with him about this matter, and one to Thierry to inform him of my situation. I hope that now that it is spring he will hurry back, for I do miss him dearly. I think that I am only calm in light of this most startling revelation because he is not here for me to lean on. Were he here, then I would have someone for whom I need not pretend to be strong. I hope that F- will come soon with news.

Reinette at least is with me, but none of my servants are free of suspicion and so I am attended by the Duke's alone. I'm not sure I feel safer for that. Maman, hearing that I am much recovered has gone back to Riom and her husband, but she sends to ask after my health all the same.

I do little but wait for word and rest, I cannot seem to shake a terrible malaise and hope that the effects of this poison are not lasting.

Olympe, Comtesse

Friday, April 9, 2010

Some Things Never Change- Star Spangled Banner

This may not have much to do with France, but I just learned that during the War of 1812 when the British were marching on Baltimore, Maryland, Lt Col. George Armistead paid a local seamstress named Mary Pickersgill $405.90 to sew a small storm banner and an enormous American flag. The flag was so large that Mary had to request the use of a local brewery's floor to lay it out for stitching. Her daughter later recalled that many nights she sewed until past midnight to make sure the comission was ready in time. That flag would come to inspire The Star Spangled Banner, America's National Anthem.

These days as I work in the costume shop until 4am on my Master's Thesis I find this story to be very comforting, because what seamstress has not experienced the late-night time crunch as a deadline looms? It's nice to know there is something empathic in this.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 3, 1780

I was fine for the party, and then I thought that the rich food after so little had made me ill, but after some days that does not seem to be the case. The doctor does not know what is wrong with me, but my mother delayed going home to her husband to heed his advice. We go momentarily to my cousin, Godefroy, the Duke of Bouillon's residence just outside of Paris. I wonder if he knows of the king's offer, and if so he may wish me dead more than usual, since I must take his title or he will inherit mine. Maman is coming, I must put down my pen. There is such a rush to remove me. What if Thierry should arrive and find...