Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13th, 1782

Such a note as this I must rouse myself to record. Word has come that the war in the colonies is over, and that the British have surrendered! This will only add to the celebrations still being held for the birth of the dauphin. Elizabeth is in confinement and expects to be delivered soon, while the Duke and Duchess de Polignac have a new daughter, Camille. Perhaps my friend too will have her dearly wished for girl.

Mlle de Rodez' presentation has been approved, so I must prepare for that soon, but I lack the will to make any effort. I know I should convince myself to try, I'm just unsure to what end my work will lead. Without Thierry, or even the hope of his return, I feel myself devoid of interest in the world around me. I wish only to return to Auvergne, and to shut myself away against all society. Food has no taste, music no pleasure. It is as if life were a painting which is only rendered in gray and black; some shadows deeper than others, but shadows all the same.

I wonder at the purpose of all my life. Would it have been better to have married in my youth some well-weighted Comte or Marquis, or even a Duke? To grant unto him all of my estates, all of my worth in the world, and to hope that he would treat me with kindness. Allow me my transgressions, my follies, my thoughts? Would he have granted that I may be my own person with my own mind and will and plans? Thierry does, and I know of no other like him. Perhaps I am naive, but at one-and-thirty I should think not. I have moved in society long enough to know that men like him are rare and precious. More precious than gold and titles to a woman who may be bought and shackled as soon as the documents are signed. Young girls wedded and sent away to convents, while their supposed husbands gamble and whore their way through their own dowries. I have seen it, and I did not wish that to be my fate. Oh God, was that so much to ask?

I should have been the happiest of women. I had the prospect of a husband who loved me, who asked for none of my inheritance, but only the pleasure of my company and conversation. A man of kindness, charity, wit, and, yes, wisdom even. Rare in so many ways. These other men who sought me; fickle, usurous, dismissive, even deadly on occasion, they are as like to him as a candle is like the sun, and yet they would seek to extinguish him. They are powerful and I know not how I may thwart them. I would wish to believe that innocence will prevail, but I am no child to trust in fairy stories.

I want my husband back, I want him here with me, and if I cannot accomplish that, then I must find a way to be where he is. I will not see all of the years of waiting, wasted. Life is brief.

Olympe, Comtesse

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