Wednesday, 27 February 2019 00:06

From Émilie to Maupertuis, 23 October 1734

At last, monsieur, you’ve recalled my existence. I now have your letter from Basel, just when I’d given up hope of ever receiving another. I was ready to start hating geometry, which would have been no great loss to it but very unjust to you.

I’m here [at Cirey] in profound solitude [actually Voltaire was hiding there too], which suits me quite well; I divide my time between stone masons and John Locke—because, like any other woman, I want to get to the bottom of everything.

I wouldn’t have written to you about Voltaire this time, but you ask, so I must give you an answer. His affairs are in better shape at the moment than his health, which is the one thing that could prevent his going to Basel. However, the season is unfavourable for a hypochondriac. I’ve let him know that he ought to take my advice and travel to Paris with you when you go back. Please note that I want us all to be together there for midnight mass on Christmas Eve. By that time at least, his affairs should all be resolved.

Rameau was gallant enough to invite me to a rehearsal of Samson [libretto by Voltaire]. I realise I owe the invitation to you and truly my gratitude is in proportion to the pleasure the opera gave me, which is saying a lot. I particularly admired the overture, a chaconne, several violin passages, and the third and fifth act. If Voltaire is allowed to rejoin us this winter, he’ll give us an opera and a tragedy. He tells me he’s revised the opera and made Delilah a fine, upstanding character, despite the way she’s portrayed in Holy Scripture.

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 00:10