Tuesday, 14 May 2019 22:51

From Émilie to the Duc de Richelieu, October 1735

The river Blaise at Cirey The river Blaise at Cirey

I’d begun my letter intending to give you a long list of all the dangers you’d face on coming here [to Cirey]: being poorly housed, finding a hundred labourers in the place—in the end, being poorly received, if ‘poorly’ is what you feel when you’re urgently awaited with the tenderest friendship. But here I am mentioning it all again, and I imagine you’ll forgive me for the messy organisation of my colony. Voltaire says I’m just like Dido—or an ant …

You can well believe that if love hadn’t called me here, I’d have stayed in Paris. But amongst everyone I know, yours is the only company I wish for. Just being with your friend is enough to put me off other men; so you can judge what his love does to me. I’m sending you a letter [in verse] that he wrote to a Venetian, Count Algarotti—I couldn’t resist it. I might have sent it to you as President of the Academy of Sciences but I much prefer sending it to you as my intimate friend. Only a few days pass here without Voltaire writing a few little stanzas, not to mention whole narratives: I’m thinking of making up an Emiliana of all his poetry from Cirey; it would form a lovely collection. Come and see us, then—what are you doing under canvas [on the Rhineland campaign] in weather like this? I very much hope they’re not going to start sending you on new forays. They’ve sent the battle sergeants off; I’d much rather know the date when you leave yourself.

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 23:00