Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 5, 1781

My estate agent has been notified and Chateaugay should now be on the market, or very soon will be. In reality I ought to give up more of my estates, but I love my dear Saint Saturnin too much to sell it, Opme is where I was born, Maman would never forgive me for selling Lespinasse, and I need Portaberaud to be my seat in Riom. It would never do for the people of Auvergne's most prominent city to see me sell my estate there.

If Chateaugay sells quickly then all will be well, but if it takes some time then I do not know what I shall do. I was expecting some money from home, but instead this letter informing me that we have almost nothing has put me into a difficult situation, for I cannot pay my servants here.

A bookseller came to my Lever this morning with some selections that he thought I might like, and often I have patronized his shop so he is familiar with my tastes. Indeed I liked one of the books so well that I could not restrain myself from exclaiming over it, and could not then feign disinterest and avoid purchasing it. I'm afraid to admit that I accepted the selection, and then sent the man away with the promise that I would send a servant with payment later. This is a habit which I try never to indulge, though some I know do so regularly. It is a dangerous way to live without a sure income. I have not spoken to either Thierry or F- about matters, and having delayed in the selling of my jewelry I must do one or the other soon. The jewelry I think will go today or tomorrow, and I will send Marianne with it for the sake of my own shame.

There is little enough of other note. Thierry continues to toil away at the Ferme and tells me that he must away on business in a week, this time north to Calais, but does not expect to be gone long. Pauline's little Hercule is walking and I shall look forward to seeing him when I return to Auvergne in the Spring. The war in the American colonies continues with no end in sight, despite our brave Lafayette. Oh, and the Comte and Comtesse de Rochechouart have decided to hold a ball to celebrate the end of the Christmas season on the 12th. It will be a masquerade, though no one seems to keep masqued until the very end. I wonder if there is a way to re-make my old costume into something new, or if I should simply wear a nice gown.

Olympe, Comtesse

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