Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 15, 1780

Last night I hosted a small party of supper and cards, the Comte and Comtesse de R- were there, Mme M-, Msr P-, and of course F- and T- as well as a few others. At first the conversation, and the wine, flowed freely and merrily, but after a time I came to notice an unpleasant pattern.

There were two tables set up at which the guests were playing, and I myself moved between them. F and T were at one with four others, and every time T- laid a card down or made a move F- would speculate on his hand, inviting the other guests at the table to do the same. To his credit T- remained visibly unconcerned by this attack, but I was puzzled by it and suggested some alternate amusement. At this T- suggested forfeits be added to the game, which the others enthusiastically seconded.

For a while the game continued pleasantly, with the other table soon joining our group to see what the amusement was that had us laughing so heartily. Mme M- lost an earring to Comte R-, and Comtesse R- was forced to show us her impersonation of Choiseul. At last I was pressed to play a hand myself against T-, which I lost, and in forfeit of which he requested a kiss. An innocent kiss upon the cheek or hand would have been enough, but he knew that it would anger F-, which it did, and he promptly invoked his right as my betrothed to deny such a request. A song was agreed upon instead, and the rest of the guests made their excuses soon after, the awkwardness being palpable.

So now there is enmity between my lover and my husband-to-be, where once there was intended to be friendship and cooperation. I do not like this feeling of being owned, and wonder if it was not a terrible mistake to consent to this lie. Would this have been any different had R- not died?

For now wedding plans must continue. Maman arrives Monday to aid in the preparations. I must seem cheerful, and T- must remain out of sight. The King's answer to the reacquisition is still that it must wait on the surveyors to be determined, and that the Duchy du Bouillon will be granted to me and my heirs only upon the death of my cousin, who is like to live forever with such encouragement before him. I feel most ungrateful since it was he that took me in when I was ill, but he will not understand that it was the King's will and not mine that made offer of the duchy. I long for a simpler time, everything is so muddled, and my steward writes that the money is running out, but it always is. There is nothing to be done, but to go forward with our plans, all else is unchangeable.
Olympe, Comtesse

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