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.
Olympe
Comtesse et Marquise

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