A new year begins, and we can look back on the old with some satisfaction, even though some troubling news came at the end of the old. There is a peasant saying about a death and a birth in the turning of the year, and while I give no credence to such things we did experience both in some measure. The child of my maid Pauline, the one we called Little Hercule, was suddenly seized by a fever while I was in Riom and died a few days later. I have done what I can to express my sympathies and to cheer Pauline, but her grief is considerable and it is hardest of all when a child is taken. I was reminded strongly of my feelings following the death of the Comte de Rodez, my dear friend, and have resolved all the more to find out the truth.
As to the birth, it is yet to come, but as I have feared since her marriage, Clementine, now the Marquise de Menars, is expecting her first child. This will only show more starkly against my own barren state as I grow older still. My birthday passed in a mood of some somberness as I had just received word of Hercule's death, which affected me more than I could anticipate. The Marquis, having no great connection to our servants as of yet, was not himself shaken, but did his best to cheer me though I cannot say that he succeeded.
It seems that great events will happen in threes, and we travel tomorrow to Briancon to the home of my friend Adrienne whose eldest daughter, Emiline, is to be married on January 4th. I know almost nothing about the man she is marrying, who is of an old family, though not ennobled and has some business in lace and wine, but that is all that I can really say. No doubt seeing the child of a friend married, though the friend be somewhat older than I, will cause me to fall into a disagreeable temper. I do so dislike the winter.