La Maréchale d’Aubemer, Nouvelle du XVIIIème Siècle, or The Widow of Field Marshal d’Aubemer: A Novella of the 18th Century, posthumously published in 1867, is a novel by the author and memoirist Madame de Boigne, born Adélaïde d’Osmond (1781-1866). Mine is the first English translation, available here for the first time anywhere.
In Chapter 1, the Maréchale d’Aubemer, a wealthy, worldly-wise widow of a certain age, weary of the social round, gives a ball and receives an unexpected letter.
THE WIDOW OF FIELD MARSHAL D’AUBEMER
The Pleasures of Being a Hostess
“My God, this noise is annoying!” said the Maréchale1 d’Aubemer rising out of the armchair in which she’d been reading, rather inattentively, the latest speech given at the Academy. She placed it on a gold-ornamented Boulle etagere, the various shelves of which were already filled with a history book, a new novel, several pamphlets, needlework, and a voluminous knitted vest.
“Who is making all this racket?” she asked one of the servants who answered her bell. “I’ve been deafened for an hour already.”
“It’s the workmen taking up the carpet of the big salon, Madame la Maréchale, and taking down the doors that open into the gallery.”
“Will they be finished soon?”
“I don’t think so, Madame la Maréchale, they’ve only just started.”
The Maréchale sank back into her armchair with an air of melancholy resignation.