Monday, February 27, 2006

The Baron and I

Last night I returned from Saint Gilgen as the future wife of Johann Baptist von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg and step-mother to his five children. I drank three or four glasses of elderflower wine with Papa, who is half-pleased and half-pained that I will be off his hands, no longer to endure a life in service to the Archbishop. We played duets, talked a great deal about the past and all was well until I got to bed, quite swollen and vertiginous.

What caused the commotion was not so much the effect of the wine as the prospect of my life in a different harness. We are drawn together like post-horses from different carriages, the baron and I, obliged to gallop together for the next few miles. No doubt I have delayed this event as if it were a great dessert that will put an end to the merry-go-round inside my head.

I have swallowed the black powder that Papa has mixed for me and said goodbye to the scarlet coat and white silk stockings of my dreams. I have written a letter to my future husband that begins, 'My Dear Johannes,' and ends, 'Your loving, N.'


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