Monday, March 21, 2011

February 15th, 1781

I am lost! All is lost! But I will be calm enough now to recount what has happened. I was summoned this morning by a note to F-'s home in town, and accordingly I went, suspecting nothing amiss. There was I met by he and his solicitor.

After introductions and the usual exchange of pleasantries I was informed that a contract had been drawn up in accordance with our impending union, and that it was desired that I should sign it. Naturally I insisted on reading the document first, and it was a good thing that I did.

The document stated that not only would we marry and join our titles, as agreed, but that OUR heirs would inherit both etc etc. I felt it necessary then to clarify this muddled language, and asked what was meant. To his credit, the solicitor showed no surprise, but when he used the phrase "heirs of my body" I was forced to interrupt him.
"Heirs of my body?" I repeated.
"Yes, Madame." He said.
I looked at F- who said nothing. "Heirs of my body, or heirs of our bodies?" I queried him. For a moment he said nothing still, but then responded with "Madame, it is a marriage, you can hardly be unaware of all of the duties which that entails." I asked to speak with him in private, but he insisted that his solicitor was privy to all of his concerns.

Feeling piqued I said "Very well. It was my understanding that this 'marriage' was to enable both of us to be free to pursue those whom we are currently unable to be with openly."
"I'm sure you will agree that such a thing is hardly possible now." Ignoring him I continued.
"It was also my understanding that this would be a temporary arrangement, and children, mine or yours, will necessarily complicate the matter of an anullment."
"We are both in need of an heir, it is the obvious solution."
"Unless you are prepared to accept an heir of my body alone, it is not a solution with which I am comfortable."
"That is not a condition which any husband could allow."
"You are expecting me to give up everything, what will I gain in return?"
"An heir, protection, money; you cannot pretend that this is without any advantages."
"But I will lose everything I care about..."
"Only a man."
"And was it only a man that you lost?!"

At that he went silent and rigid. "I'm sorry..." I stammered, but he held up a hand.
"You will accept the terms. You will accept them because they are, in fact, generous; I do not ask you to give up control over your lands in Auvergne nor to quit your associations with various people, nor do I deny you your freedom and if you will be discreet then perhaps after an heir has been provided you may resume your affairs. You will accept the terms because you have already informed the King of your decision; and you will accept the terms because I have lost more in pursuit of this alliance than you can even imagine. Do not presume to know the depth of my pain. I am owed your compliance at the least."

I was shocked at the force of his assertions, and making my excuses I left, barely sensible to anything but my own thoughts. I have shut myself into my library, and am not at home to visitors nor to any letter that does not come from T-, for I have sent to him for advice; but I am in despair and know not what to do.

F- is right, I have answered the King and cannot change my mind now, but this is not what I thought we had agreed upon all those months ago in Riom.

Olympe, Comtesse

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