• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 07

Love in Five Volumes

Paris 1683
My very dear Henriette,
I was touched by your charming words about my attempt to describe the Universe as we know it and felt compelled to write. Yes, I have had the great good fortune to see many wild and exotic places and sample the customs which many never have the opportunity to see. My love of cartography, which cannot of course match my ardent love for you, has been a passport to my adventures. It lead me into my youthful career in the Artillery and then through knowledge of fortifications to serve the King of Portugal. I know war is such an unromantic topic for one such as you protected by court life, but if it had not been for my background I would not have ending up teaching Mathematics for our patron Louis. However, I had not at my advanced age taken into account the new equation that was to tumble into my life with this Royal appointment, which is that of love. Your ravishing smile, your gentle humour and desire to learn about the world outside the round of social frivolity were factors that I had not predicted.

It is I admit a problem without a mathematical solution, or indeed the possibility of any satisfactory outcome.Suffice it so say that I will always cherish you kind words about my attempt to capture your kindly smile and beautiful face cloaked in Syrian raiments. I can draw harbour scenes, rural landscapes and maps of the stars, but to capture your beauty is an impossible task for a humble map maker such as I am. At least we will now be able to be seen in a book together (although not on the same page) for as long as books exist or until readers no longer find my images and words entertaining. Then when the pages of my account crumble into dust we will be at last joined together forever.


Love in Five Volumes

In your heart I hope that you know that for me you will always be the brightest star in the firmament and the greatest treasure in the Universe.

Your devoted servant,
Alain Manesson Mallet,
Teacher, Court of Louis XIV, Paris