Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6th, 1784

We have only just returned from the wedding of Adrienne's daughter, Emiline, which I must say was very lovely. The young couple seemed genuinely fond of one another, which is a pleasant start to any marriage, though it is no guarantee of happiness later in life. We arrived home to news from Thierry's family in Riom that his elderly grandmother, his father's mother, is gravely ill. The family suggests, in their often rather odd way, that he need not trouble himself to travel to Riom to see her, and in the next sentence hint that she may not last much longer. Naturally he is in a state of bewilderment over how to proceed.

Maman writes as well that my step-father has suffered a fall and severely injured his head to the extant that he has not spoken since, although it has been several days. She says that he appears confused, and that the doctor is waiting for what he thinks is brain swelling to abate before trying any further action.

To complete our rather dismal beginning to the year, Thierry confessed to me on the journey home from Briancon that we have been living slightly above our means, and that without his income from the Ferme being replaced by the end of February, we will need to make some adjustments. It seems that good fortune never can last. I am, this time, determined to remain cheerful, and more to the point I shall endeavor to be resourceful. If we stay in Saint-Saturnin there will be no need to spend as lavishly as we would were we in Paris or at Versailles. We shall entertain seldom, travel very little, and put off those renovations which we had discussed. Thierry reminds me, though I had not needed to be told, that children are an expense themselves, and it is good that we have none at present. I do believe that the money for them could be found if needed, but of course there is little need for concern in that regard at the moment. 
Olympe

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2nd, 1784

Faced with indecision at the beginning of last month, I chose to travel part of the way to Paris with my dear husband, and to remain in Riom at Portaberaud near to my mother and half-brothers. Thierry meanwhile wended his way north to meet with Msr. Poisson; but, alas, when he reached Paris the charge had already been given to another. He then found his way back to Riom, where we chose to spend a rather quiet Christmas with my family. My step-father was in a wretched temper, as he so often is, and we were all too glad to return to Saint-Saturnin.

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.
Olympe