Wednesday, 22 May 2019 02:06

From Émilie to Count Algarotti, October 1735

It’s only fair, monsieur, that since I’ve just come searching for you in Paris, you should come and do the same for me. It would be very remiss of you to leave for the North Pole [Algarotti considered joining Maupertuis on his expedition] without making a visit to the Champagne, and my constant hope is that you’re incapable of doing me such a bad turn.

You’ll find my château still unfinished, but I hope you’ll be happy with your accommodation and especially with the pleasure it will give me to welcome you. Voltaire, who shares that pleasure, and who longs for your coming with the eagerness inspired by your friendship, is getting ready to sing your polar exploits in verse: you can tune your instruments together … My library is attractive enough. Voltaire’s is full of narratives, mine is all natural philosophy. I’m learning Italian for your visit, but the labourers in wood and weave make it very difficult. I’m busier than a state minister and a great deal less anxious; which is pretty much what one needs to be happy. Your company will greatly enhance the charms of my solitude. Please come, monsieur, and be assured of the extreme pleasure it will give me to welcome you.

The image shows the little river flowing through the village of Cirey-sur-Blaise.