Friday, May 4, 2012

April 21st, 1782- The Presentation at Court

Exhausted as I am by the events of the day I feel compelled to recount them before retiring to bed. Despite her brother's death being nearly two years ago now (how fast the time does fly!), the Dowager Countess insisted that Clementine should at least wear a white gown for her presentation, which was very becoming on her with it's silver and gold embroidery. I told her I would loan her some pearls, but I ended by giving them to her as a present for the occasion. We had, of course, also procured for her use a set of diamonds on loan for her hair and her throat, this by the courtesy and influence of cousin Godfrey.

By further use of the Duke de Bouillon, a change was made in the presentation arrangements five days prior to the event, and Clementine's mother was convinced that it would be better to allow my cousin, the Princess de Guemene, to take her place as Patroness. This meant that no one actually related in any way to Clementine presented her, but so it is for many ladies. It is better to have a personage of the highest standing possible, provided that the lady being presented will not falter. The Dowager Countess was still in attendance.

Clementine did not falter. We introduced her into the room where she made her obeisance to the King. He performed his part by granting her the single kiss on her cheek which is proper for a lady of her station, and she passed on to the Queen. Bowing in the same manner to her, she deftly removed her glove, moved to kiss the hem of the Queen's robe, and was raised up by the Queen instead as is customary. Clementine managed her train with good grace as she stepped backwards, curtsying at the appropriate intervals, and with relief evident on her youthful features was then subject to the scrutiny of those assembled.

I must mention that the Queen did speak to me, an occurrence which I was not prepared for, and she commented that I had not been seen at court in a long time. I replied that I hoped to be in attendance more in the future. She said that she hoped that I would. That was all that passed between us. In truth, like most courtiers, I vastly prefer Paris to Versailles, and unlike some I even more greatly prefer the countryside of Auvergne to Paris. The Queen also exchanged words with the Princess de Guemene, but as she is Governess to the Royal Children it was all to do with them.

We have only just returned, though it is very late, from the "jeu" (gaming) at Versailles, and tomorrow will be another big day for Clementine, as Godfrey is to hold a ball in her honor. There we shall really see how much of an advantage her presentation has wrought. After mine I could have had my pick of Dukes and even a few Princes, but I did not want to run straight from the convent of St. Cyr into a marriage. I wonder what it is that Clementine really wants.
Olympe, Comtesse

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