Thursday, March 31, 2011

February 28th, 1781

 Before I give any of my own news I feel I must record that the Queen is at last pregnant again. Naturally everyone hopes and prays for a little dauphin (all except for the King's brothers, I should say), and there is a cautious kind of rejoicing. No one is completely willing to celebrate until he is here, since last time it was a little princess we received.

I received a letter from Maman yesterday morning, who was in a state about a letter she had in turn received from a "concerned" F-, who feared I may be having thoughts of abandoning our nuptial plans. Naturally he appealed to her as a mother to sway my heart and good sense. She is coming to Paris, and nothing I say will stop her. She has also heard of the sale of Chateaugay and somehow feels neglected in not having been consulted about my decision to do so; as if it were hers of which to dispose. She says that next I will be "throwing away" Lespinasse, her childhood home. I naturally wrote to comfort her and allay such fears, but I do not know what I shall say to her about the wedding when she arrives, as F-'s fears are entirely founded upon truth.

Still no word from T- in Calais. I begin to wonder if my letters can have gone astray, for now I have sent several with no answer.
Olympe, Comtesse


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shoes! New from American Duchess!

Aren't these gorgeous?! Wouldn't you love to own a pair like this? Good news! After a long development process Lauren, at American Duchess, is releasing the first in (hopefully!) a series of 18th-century-style shoes. This pair is called "Georigiana" after the famous Duchess of Devonshire, and is available for pre-order starting April 1st at midnight. I will be huddle beside my computer at midnight, I can tell you, ready to pounce.

If only they were customizable...They are! They are made in dyeable satin, and you can latch with either a buckle or ribbon, for a truly authentic look and feel, or doll them up any way you like with trims and findings to match your outfits.
If only they came in a wide range of sizes...They do! Lauren polled everyone to find out what sizes people needed and if you pre-order you can be guaranteed your size will be available.
If only they were on sale...They are! But only if you pre-order, so get them Friday at the special price of $85. Really now, that's a great deal for shoes this historically-accurate and customizable, not to mention beautiful; is it not?

Is there a down side? YES! Be forewarned that if you pass this deal up waiting for the next one, that the manufacturer will not complete the order. Not Lauren, the guys who make the shoes, need 100 orders to actually put them into production. Cost of operating, etc etc etc, but surely there are enough of us who need/want/crave lovely 18th century shoes to make this happen. If you order and not enough other people do your money will be 100% refunded, so what do you have to lose? If we can make this happen it could be just the start of a whole line of delicate, professionally-made, historically-inspired shoes...

For more information on where to order them, and where to get those adorable buckles, visit American Duchess.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favourites

La Comtesse d'Egmont Pignatelli en Costume Espagnol, 1763 (by Alexander Roslin)

Another example of "fancy dress", and those adorable little spaniels. I love the good view of her shoes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

February 20th, 1781

No word yet from Calais, but it is probably too soon to expect anything from T-. I remain shut up in l'Hotel de Sully, and have sent a myriad of notes to explain my absence, for I do not wish to air my private concerns even to my dear friends.

I have forgotten in all of the turmoil to record the sale of Chateaugay at last. The money from the sale will aid me greatly in settling my debts, but the lawyers have not completed their part as of yet, and so I must wait to receive the funds I so desperately need.

I pace, and pet Reinette, and try to read, but I am uneasy, restless. I feel as if something is coming for me and I cannot escape. I am afraid of my own dreams, that they should be nightmares.
Olympe, Comtesse

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

And I Quote- Empress Maria Theresa

"At any moment I may be called before my Judge. I don't want to be surprised, I want to see death come." - Empress Maria Theresa, mother of Marie-Antoinette

The Empress refused to sleep, and died finally on the 29th of November, 1780; asserting her formidable will to the last.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fit for a Queen (or a Countess)

Dear readers, allow me the pleasure of introducing you to The Bella Cottage, which is sort of shabby-chic-meets-Marie-Antoinette. Offering all manner of temptingly lovely things, from baby blankets to furniture, home decor to crockery and candles, there is something with which to furnish any salon.

I personally adore this shield-backed chair in pink linen with a white-washed finish, it's so light and feminine; but I think my fiance would complain if I brought it home, so it's good that it's already been sold.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shopping the Museums

Between working on four shows in three different states, finding a new apartment, and planning a wedding, I have been quite remiss in posting. Thanks for sticking with me, I shall now punish reward you with a plethora of posts.

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so let's find the perfect outfit for a long-awaited spring day!


Let's start with this simple green and yellow striped polonaise. With its shorter skirt and petticoat it's the perfect thing for a walk in the park to smell the daffodils.
Anyone have shoes in their closet from ten or twenty years ago? I know I do, because sometimes those brocade slippers and designer heels are just too cute to get rid of. These embroidered yellow shoes with green bows may be from the 1750s but they are too perfect not to wear with the 1770s polonaise ensemble.
For money and treats and who-knows-what-else, these dainty little pockets will keep everything accessible and out of sight under our skirts.
To complete our outfit we need a hat, something big and shady, like the Comtesse de Segur is wearing in her portrait. Now we are ready to go out and enjoy the sunshine!