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The Aga, being very fond of women, took his whole seraglio with him, and lodged us in a small fort, with two black eunuchs and twenty soldiers for our guard. Our army made a great slaughter among the Russians; but they soon returned us the compliment. Azov was taken by storm, and the enemy spared neither age, sex, nor condition, but put all to the sword, and laid the city in ashes. Our little fort alone held out; they resolved to reduce us by famine. The twenty janissaries, who were left to defend it, had bound themselves by an oath never to surrender the place. Being reduced to the extremity of famine, they found themselves obliged to kill our two eunuchs, and eat them rather than violate their oath. But this horrible repast soon failing them, they next determined to devour the women.

AWe had a very pious and humane man, who gave them a most excellent sermon on this occasion, exhorting them not to kill us all at once. >Cut off only one of the buttocks of each of those ladies,= said he, >and you will fare extremely well; if you are under the necessity of having recourse to the same expedient again, you will find the like supply a few days hence. Heaven will approve of so charitable an action, and work your deliverance.= By the force of this eloquence he easily persuaded them, and all of us underwent the operation. The man applied the same balsam as they do to children after circumcision. We were all ready to give up the ghost. The Janissaries had scarcely time to finish the repast with which we had supplied them, when the Russians attacked the place by means of flat-bottomed boats and not a single Janissary was spared. The Russians paid no regard to the condition we were in; but there are French surgeons in all parts of the world, and one of them took us under his care, and cured us. I shall never forget, while I live, that as soon as my wounds were perfectly healed he propositioned me. In general, he desired us all to be of a good cheer, assuring us that the like had happened in many sieges and that it was commonplace in the conduct of war.

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AAs soon as my companions were in a condition to walk, they were sent to Moscow. As for me, I fell to the lot of a Boyar, who put me to work in his garden and gave me twenty lashes a day. But this nobleman having about two years afterwards been broken alive upon the wheel with about thirty others, for some court intrigues, I took advantage of the event, and made my escape. I traveled over a great part of Russia. I was a long time an innkeeper’s servant at Riga, then at Rostock, Wismar, Leipzig, Cassel, Utrecht, Leyden, The Hague, and Rotterdam. I have grown old in misery and disgrace, living with only one buttock while remembering that I am the daughter of a Pope. I have been a hundred times upon the point of killing myself, but still I was fond of life. This ridiculous weakness is, perhaps, one of the dangerous principles implanted in our nature. For what can be more absurd than to persist in carrying a burden of which we wish to be eased? to detest and yet strive to preserve our existence? In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts?

AIn the different countries which it has been my fate to traverse, and at the many inns where I have been a servant, I have observed a prodigious number of people who held their existence in abhorrence, and yet I never knew more than twelve who voluntarily put an end to their miseryBthree blacks, four

Englishmen, four citizens of Geneva, and a German professor named Robeck[footnoteRef:16]. My last place was with the Jew, Don Issachar, who put me in your service, my fair lady; to your fortunes I have attached myself and have been more concerned with your adventures than with my own. I should never have so much as mentioned the latter to you had you not a little piqued me on the head of sufferings and if it were not customary to tell stories on board a ship in order to pass away the time. [16: Johann Robeck, author of a treatise advocating suicide, who acted on his principles in 1739. ]

AIn short, my dear miss, I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the world, therefore take my advice: divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story, and if there is one of them all that has not cursed his existence many times, and said to himself over and over again that he was the most wretched of mortals, I give you permission to throw me headfirst into the [email protected]

Chapter 13 – How Candide Was Obliged to Leave the Fair Cunégonde and the Old Woman

The fair Cunégonde, being thus made acquainted with the history of the old woman’s life and adventures, paid her all the respect and civility due to a person of her rank and merit. She very readily acceded to her proposal of engaging the passengers to relate their adventures in their turns, and she and Candide were compelled to acknowledge that the old woman was in the right.

AIt is a thousand pities,@ said Candide, Athat the wise Pangloss should have been hanged contrary to the custom of an auto-da-fé, for he would have given us a most admirable lecture on the moral and physical evil which overspreads the earth and sea; and I think I would have had courage enough to presume to offer (with all due respect) some few [email protected]

While everyone was reciting his adventures, the ship continued on her way, and at length arrived at Buenos Aires, where Cunégonde, Captain Candide, and the old woman landed and went to wait upon the governor, Don Fernando d=Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza. This nobleman carried himself with a haughtiness suitable to a person who bore so many names. He spoke with the most noble disdain to everyone, carried his nose so high, strained his voice to such a pitch, assumed so imperious an air, and stalked about with so much loftiness and pride, that everyone who had the honor of conversing with him was violently tempted to kick him. He was immoderately fond of women, and Cunégonde appeared in his eyes a paragon of beauty. The first thing he did was to ask her if she was not the Captain’s wife. The air with which he made this demand alarmed Candide, who did not dare to say he was married to her, because indeed he was not; neither did he venture to say she was his sister, because she was not; and though a lie of this nature proved of great service to one of the ancients, and might possibly be useful to some of the moderns, yet the purity of his heart would not permit him to violate the truth.

AMiss Cunégonde,@ replied he, Ais to do me the honor to marry me, and we humbly beseech Your

Excellency to condescend to grace the ceremony with your [email protected]

Don Fernando d=Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, twirling his mustache and putting on a sarcastic smile, ordered Captain Candide to go and review his company. The gentle Candide obeyed, and the Governor was left with Cunégonde. He made her a strong declaration of love, protesting that he was ready to give her his hand in the face of the Church, or otherwise, as should appear most agreeable to a young lady of her prodigious beauty. Cunégonde desired leave to retire a quarter of an hour to consult the old woman, and determine how she should proceed.

The old woman gave her the following counsel:

AMiss, you have seventy-two quarterings in your arms, it is true, but you have not a penny to bless yourself with. It is your own fault if you do not become the wife of one of the greatest noblemen in South America, the owner of an exceeding fine mustache. What business have you to pride yourself upon an unshaken constancy? You have been outraged by a Bulgarian soldier; a Jew and an Inquisitor have both tasted of your favors. People take advantage of misfortunes. I must confess, were I in your place, I should give my hand to the Governor without the least scruple and thereby make the fortune of the brave Captain [email protected]

While the old woman was thus haranguing, with all the prudence that old age and experience furnish, a small ship entered the harbor, in which was a royal official and some police officers. Matters had fallen out as follows.

The old woman rightly guessed that the Franciscan with the long sleeves was the person who had taken Cunégonde’s money and jewels while they and Candide were at Badajoz in their flight from Lisbon. This same friar attempted to sell some of the diamonds to a jeweler, who recognized that they belonged to the Grand Inquisitor, and confiscated them. The Franciscan, before he was hanged, acknowledged that he had stolen them and described his victims and the road they had taken. The flight of Cunégonde and Candide was already the talk of the town. A party was sent in pursuit of them to Cadiz; and the vessel had now reached the port of Buenos Aires. A report was spread that an official was going to land, and that he was seeking the murderers of My Lord, the Inquisitor. The wise old woman immediately saw what was to be done.

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