Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 25th, 1784

I only seem to tire more and more easily, and most of what I must report is of no consolation. My step-father has been forced to relinquish his position as Magistrate in Riom, and Maman is in a state over their prospects. I have invited them to visit us at Saint-Saturnin in April, but hope that they will not stay long as I must to Versailles.

Although, that is not completely certain. Msr. Poisson writes that a rumor says my position as Lady to Mme Elisabeth is opposed by some at court. A letter from the Princess herself confirms my fears as she urges me not to hurry from Auvergne at present. This might be mere kindness on her part, were it not for the rumor.

No sooner had I sent my package of sweets to Christine with a letter, than a letter and a package from her arrived for me. She sent a necklace, and continues to urge a visit to Sweden as soon as may be. The Marquis relents a little, and says I might go to see her after his much-anticipated journey to England.

For the moment, we wait for kinder words from many quarters, wait for Spring, and enjoy the pleasant fog of wine and books. There is a country dance in a few days time, and I think I must appear, if only for a few moments.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 4th, 1784

A brief letter is all that I have received from Christine in these few months past, and for a time I was quite concerned about her health. Indeed, in its brevity there was much sadness to her missive. Her step-children tire her, and her new husband is much absent; though that at least seems a blessing. She reads as much as possible and retires early. She says little else and I suspect that there is little else to say of any consequence. I tried to convince Thierry to travel to Sweden to visit her, but he says the expense cannot be borne. Instead he suggests a visit to England to see friends of his, former colleagues really, but I am very wary of that venture. I am putting together a package of delicacies for her, which will travel slowly but safely this time of year.

We have also heard little from the Marquis and Marquise de Menars since the news of her expectation came. I imagine they are preparing for their little one and are not concerned as nearly with old friends. My own Maman writes almost daily of her trials and worries since her husband's injury. He will lose his position as magistrate in Riom if he cannot recover soon, and the family's fortunes will suffer. They will look to me then, as ever, thinking that I have the means to save them, which I do not. They could live at Portaberaud, my home in Riom, but I have few servants there to wait upon them, and little money to run a household of so many in addition to my own. Lespinasse is sold, and Opme has tenants, and I will not suffer having them here at Saint-Saturnin with us, or at least not my step-father who, in any case, dislikes leaving Riom.

It remains, even so, that we go to Versailles in the Spring so that I may attend Madame Elizabeth as requested. We will likely have apartments at the Palace, but be they ever so cramped and dismal, they will cost a tremendous amount to keep, in addition to the other expenses of our servants, food, clothing, and entertainments. The burden will only be lessened if Thierry is also able to receive a charge, but nothing is very promising yet.

While we wait for Spring to arrive I busy myself with finding ways to cut expenses, freshening and replacing what is disused, learning more about the workings of our kitchens, reading, riding, and cataloging the library left to me by my late father. Some of the books are in need of much attention, and a woman in the village was recommended to me as the person to restore them, so she is to come and look at them soon. Tomorrow I believe I will sew, write some letters, and try to better understand the register of tenants and servants who live by my largess. The list is long and complicated, and I suspect that I will need the assistance of my steward and his son, Saint-Dennis.
Comtesse et Marquise

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February 28th, 1784

This year continues very ill for us. Caught between his family's reluctance and his own inclination, Thierry waited too long and we were not yet in Riom when his grandmother passed away. In the end she barely knew any of her own friends or relations, but she had asked that little fuss be made over her remains, only that she be remembered in the spring when the flowers were in bloom.

I had some hope of expecting a child this last month, but it also came to naught, and as I had not confessed my thought to my husband he is not in the least concerned with what might have been. Instead he worries without ceasing, over what might be if we do not find either an increase in our income, or a manner of relieving our expenses. Meanwhile I feel that we live comfortably, though not lavishly, and have myself been far more troubled by such worries in the past. My step-father continues very ill, and does not speak after his accident, which has Maman quite distressed though Andre does his best to soothe her, being again at home in Riom with them and Matthieu. My cousin, the Duc de Bouillon, writes that he has papers about which we must speak, and he urges me to travel to Paris, but does not state their purpose.

Indeed, I may soon have reason to travel there in any case, as Madame Elizabeth, the King's sister, requests my return to serve her once more. I need not come at once though, which is well as the roads are especially treacherous at this time of year, and only today we had snow. The charge at court may present more income, but would bring attendant expenses which could vastly outweigh the gain.

As ever, the way forward is fraught with shadows.
Comtesse d'Auvergne
Marquise de Mercoeur