Monday, 15 July 2019 00:03

From Émilie to Count Algarotti in London, 10 April 1736

I’ve sent you, monsieur, an in-folio manuscript of mine, much less to be valued than the four printed pages enclosed here [Voltaire’s dedication to Émilie of his play, Alzire]. I would never dream of letting you read the excessive praise lavished on me in those pages, if they didn’t also do such sound justice to you. The play itself is not yet in print, and anyway it would have made the package too large. I implore you to make sure that the Queen of England sees it—she reads French perfectly—and also to make sure that, if Alzire is translated and printed in England, the Dedication is likewise …

I beg you to send me your news, so that I’ll know where to write to you next, since I believe England is about to lose you … I’ve had one letter from our two Laplanders [Maupertuis and Clairaut] just as they boarded ship. Farewell, monsieur, and write to me. Voltaire is still in that big nasty city [Paris] enjoying his triumph [at the theatre]—they’re mad about him. I should be very annoyed if these high honours in any way lowered your conduct—you are both made to love Cirey, and Cirey is where you are loved.

Image: the river running through the hamlet of Cirey-sur-Blaise.