11 May 1759
Enlightenment philosopher, writes to Sophie Volland
"At eight o'clock yesterday we set out for Marly. We arrived at half past 10, ordered a large dinner and wandered out into the park, where I was impressed by the contrast between the delicate art of the pavilions and arbours and the natural wildness of a dense mass of tall trees in the background. These pavilions, set far apart and half hidden by forest, seem the dwellings of subordinate sprites, whose master lives in the central one. This gave the place a fairy-tale feeling which pleased me.
"I wandered aimlessly through the park in a melancholy frame of mind. The others had gone striding ahead of us and we followed slowly, the Baron von Gleichen and I. I was happy to be with the baron, for we both felt within us the same emotion. It is strange how sensitive spirits can understand each other almost without speaking. A chance word, a fit of absent-mindedness, a vague disjointed expression, a tone of voice, a way of walking, a look, a moment of attention or of silence, all these give them away to one another. We said little; we felt a lot; we were both suffering; but he was more to be pitied than I. I looked from time to time towards the city; his eyes were fixed on the ground; he was searching for someone who no longer exists."
Ian IrvineReuse content