Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11th, 1780- The Comte de Rodez

A black day. A letter this morning from F- confirms my greatest fears; Henri-Phillipe "Le Plus Juste", Comte de Rodez, is dead. Le plus juste, the most just, the most fair. He took his own life.

His mother arrived, R- recalls, and the doctor was with him, bleeding him. The doctor stepped out of the room to speak to R's mother and left his tools next to the patient's bed. When they re-entered the room, only moments later, he had cut himself deeply in several parts of the arm. They attempted to staunch the bleeding, but he threw off the doctor twice before F- restrained him. "Do not touch me!" he spat, and turn his face away. They could not stop the bleeding, and he quickly died.

How could F- write the words?! He makes no accusations, but I do not even know if our marriage is still intended, how will he even look at me now? I read the letter and got to my feet so quickly I upset my dressing table. In shock and unable to speak I stumbled out into the hall, crossing to the gallery; the portraits of my ancestors stared disapprovingly down at me. I paced, hands at my head, my heart, my mouth, my eyes. Still no tears have come, they are locked inside, a grief too great to be expelled.

It is my fault, say what comforting words he may, F- must know that. Had not I avoided marriage there would have been no cause for the Marquis' comments, but even then I need not have involved my friends in his humiliation, and had he not been humiliated R- need not have dueled him, and had he not lost the duel the Marquis would not have tried to poison me, and had I not nearly succumbed to the poison F- would not have thought it necessary to undertake to protect me with his plan for marriage, and even so I need not have accepted it! I let others protect me, fight for me, and after first risking his life in the duel for me R- has now died for me! I am to blame, it is me.

I ask God for forgiveness but receive no answer, the saints of Auvergne have forsaken me and heaven is quiet and cold and empty. My selfishness has left me quite alone and I am right to feel it. Yet still my evil nature prevails in thinking that I have lost a champion, as if he were mine and I some lady to command men with a white hand and flowery words. If I write to T- it will only be to bring him here that I may be comforted, and that I do not deserve.

Olympe, Comtesse

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