After analyzing the text of the following letters addressed to Marie-Louise Denis, rue du Bouloir, in Paris :
At Commercy, this 27th (July 1748), ... But I shall come for you alone e se il povero stato della mia salute me lo permesse mi gittarai alle vostre genochia e baccarei tutte le vostre Belta. In tanto io figo mile baccii alle tonde poppe, alle transportatrici natiche a tutta la vostra persona che m’ha fatto tante volte rizzare e m’ha annegato in un fiume di delizie. “ (Translation : ... and if the unfortunate state of my health allows it, I shall throw myself at your knees and I shall kiss all your Beauties. In the meantime I plant a thousand kisses on the round breasts, on the enchanting buttocks, on your entire person who had me roused so often and who plunged me into a stream of delights) ;
and At Strasbourg 3 September 1753, ... My heart is penetrated by everything you do. I have no heroine like you in my tragedies. I not loving you ! My child, I shall adore you to the grave. I love you so much that I shall not go into this castle where there is a third one who also loves you : I become jealous to the same extent that I weaken, my dear child. I would like to be the only one who had the good fortune of fucking you and I wish now to have never had favours but yours and to have discharged with you only. I am roused as I am writing to you and I kiss a thousand times your beautiful tits and your beautiful buttocks. Well, will you say that I don’t love you ! Pagnon would be surprized indeed if he read this. These are pleasant words, he would say, for an ill person ! But an ill person to whom you give back life like that,
can one still affirm that Voltaire was really an adept of the Allée Noire, as maintained by a former pupil of the lycée Febus and Chevalier of the Contre-Allée ?
NB : it must, however, be made clear to the candidates that according to the Mémoires Secrets, Madame Denis was ugly and big like a barrel and of bad health and that in a second marriage she was to be wife to a former regimental hair-dresser unable to give her the pleasures which ordinarily incite widows to remarry. “
Epistolarian Voltaire (contd.) - See first of all his letter to Monsieur Barnewal, in Guyenne, dated in Lunéville 27 February 1748 - and published in Russia since our Sorbonne would do well to pay a visit to Moscow and to stay there, as judiciously recommended by François Marie Arouet. Still unbeknown to the editors of his so-called
Complete Correspondence, Voltaire sends a letter to abbé Richard, a poet of Millau, who had sent him a poem on ‘Philosophy’ :
10th January 1768, at Ferney castle
For nearly two months, Monsieur, I have been owing you a reply. My heart gave it you every day, but my age, my illnesses, the threat of losing my eyes, forced me to renounce all correspondence. I make the most of a moment of respite granted by my ills to tell you how sensitive I have been to your poems, your sentiments and your inclination for literature.
I believe you have heard about the Sirven affair, it will soon be reported to the king’s Council. If M. de Carbon still remembers me, allow me to address to him my compliments.
I have the honour to be with all the esteem you deserve,
your very humble
and very obedient servant
Ordinary Gentleman of the king’s chamber
Monsieur de Carbon, distinguished bibliophile, friend of the men of letters, that is to say of the philosophers of the time, was President at the Law Court of Toulouse which - above all other judicial bodies of the ‘ancienne France’ - had the renown of particular severity, if not auto-severity. Thus the Court Councillors Coras, Ferrières and Latger were hung in red robe on the Court’s elm-tree as suspects of heresy (October 1572 ?), the philosopher Vanini suffered the torture of the wheel (which Mme de Sévigné found less vivifying than hanging ; “ 60 Burghers were arrested ; hanging will start tomorrow ... we’re not wheeled much any more ; only one in 8 days for the sake of justice : the hanging business now seems a refreshment to me “) for a philosophical opinion contrary to official theology, thus preluding the sombre affairs Calas, Rochette, Grenier Brothers (1762) or other Sirven, these latter as here mentioned by Voltaire, reviving the souvenir of Caturce (or Cadurque), doctor in utroque, professor at Toulouse university, who came from Limoux (o, Hagrège !) where, according to rumour, he is supposed to have mixed with the heretics, and who was, on the night of Kings’ day in the year 1732, invited to a meeting of friends where he talked about things temporal and religious and who, instead of ending these observations with the habitual le roi boit ! , had the audacity to state : Jésus-Christ règne dans nos coeurs (Jesus Christ rules in our hearts), which earned him to be burnt alive in Toulouse in June 1732 before 21 other condemned, among them a priest, who were all eager to recant publicly their errors. Rabelais, by the way, takes care not to forget the lesson when he writes :
From there he came to Thoulouze, where he (Pantagruel) learnt to dance very well, and to play with the sword with both hands as is the custom among the pupils of the said university; but he did not stay there at all, when he saw that they caused their masters to be burnt alive like roasted herrings, saying : " God forbid that I die like that, for I am by nature thirsty enough without heating myself any more. "
Claude d’Esplas (Les Merlufleaux)
All rights reserved
Translation : Dagmar Coward Kuschke (Tübingen)