Saturday, March 9, 2013

February 20th, 1783

Perhaps it is not only the Americans who lack the ettiquette needed to navigate the halls of Versailles. I have found myself embarassed by small mistakes several times of late, though Madame Elizabeth is kind enough to take no notice of them. I had heard that she was a pious and gentle lady, but had not thought to find her so informal.

Common though it is to keep to a regimented schedule at Court, she keeps one even in private, preferring to dedicate certain hours to riding or walking, study, prayers, and even to music. I regret that I have not practiced with my harp in some time as I have been called upon to play twice now, and encouraged to play Madame's harp anytime I may wish.

This does not serve to illustrate the informality of her character, but though the hours and activities may be somewhat strictly observed, there is some frivolity to be had, and on occasion, especially when joined by the Queen, there has been such sport as would make our elders blush. Such chasing, such laughter, such light-hearted merriment, that it is more like a company of friends; which is what my mistress seems to wish.

Versailles is, as ever, crowded with onlookers and intriguers and gossips, and my cramped quarters are not to be envied. It makes me miss l'Hotel de Sully and Saint Saturnin very much, especially now that I feel spring is not so far. I can hardly complain that my charge is heavy, though, and as Mme de Vergenne's delivery of her son was not an easy one, I may well be asked to stay a while longer. I can hardly refuse if asked, but I do long to return to Auvergne, and have sent word that Sully is to be given up. I will not continue to lease it if I am to remain at Versailles and never live there, or if I return to Auvergne.

Olympe, Comtesse

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