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A Chronology of Françoise de Graffigny xxxvii 1735 First performance of Rameau’s The Gallant Indies (Les Indes galantes). Departure of Bouguer, Godin, and La Condamine for Peru to measure the length of a degree at the Equator. 1736 First performance of Voltaire’s Alzire; and publication of his Man of Society (Le Mondain), an outspoken defence of luxury. Publication of d’Argens’s Jewish Letters (Lettres juives). 1738 The Treaty of Vienna brings an end to the War of the Polish Succession, and to this happy period.

Who can promise me that? I no longer know where I am, perhaps it is far from you. But if we are to be kept apart by the vast spaces inhabited by the children of the Sun, the weightless cloud of my thoughts will never cease to hover about you. 24 Letter Four LETTER FOUR However great our love of life, my dearest Aza, suffering reduces it, and despair snuffs it out. The scorn which nature seems to have for our being by abandoning us to despair may appal us at first; but then, our inability to free ourselves of it is such humiliating proof of our inadequacy that we are driven to despise ourselves.

You have not been robbed of your freedom, yet you do not come to my rescue; you know of my fate, yet it has not changed. No, my dearest Aza, these brutal people whom you call Spaniards do not leave you as free as you think. I can see as many signs of servitude in the honours they bestow on you, as I can in the captivity to which they subject me. Your goodness deceives you. You believe the promises which these barbarians make you through their interpreters, because 18 Philosophers of the Indies.

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