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Voltaire: How Candide and Cacambo were received by the Jesuits of Paraguay

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Paraguay

Candide had brought from Cadiz a valet such as is found on the coasts of Spain and in the colonies. It was a quarter of a Spaniard, born of a half-breed in the Tucuman; he had been a choir boy, a sexton, a sailor, a monk, a postman, a soldier, a lackey. His name was Cacambo, and he was very fond of his master, because his master was a very good man. He saddled the two Andalusian horses as soon as possible.

Come, my lord, let us follow the advice of the old lady, let us go, and run without looking behind us.

Candide shed tears:

Oh, my dear Cunegonde! I must abandon you in the time that the Governor is going to make our wedding! Cunegonde brought from so far, what will become of you?

She will become what she can, said Cacambo; “women are never embarrassed by them; God takes care for them; let’s go.

Where are you leading me? Where are we going? What shall we do without Cunegonde?” said Candide.

“By St. James of Compostela,” said Cacambo, “you were going to make war with the Jesuits; I know the roads well, I will lead you into their kingdom, they will be delighted to have a captain who does the exercise in Bulgarian; you will make a prodigious fortune; when one does not have his fortune in one world, he finds it in another. It is a great pleasure to see and do new things.

So you were already in Paraguay?” asked Candide.

Eh, really yes!” said Cacambo; I have been a cook in the College of the Assumption, and I know the government of the Padres as I know the streets of Cadiz. This government is admirable. The kingdom is already more than three hundred leagues in diameter; It is divided into thirty provinces. The padres have everything, and the people nothing; it is the masterpiece of reason and justice. As for me, I see nothing so divine as the Padres, who here make war against the King of Spain and the King of Portugal, and who in Europe confess these kings; who kill Spaniards here, and who in Madrid send them to heaven; this delights me; let‘s go: you will be the happiest of all men. What pleasure will the padres have, when they know that there is a captain who knows the Bulgarian exercise!

As soon as they reached the first barrier, Cacambo told the advanced guard that a captain was asking to speak to the commandant. They went to warn the great guard. A Paraguayan officer ran to the commandant’s feet to give him the news. Candide and Cacambo were at first disarmed; they grabbed their two Andalusian horses. The two foreigners are introduced in the midst of two lines of soldiers; the captain was at the end, with the hat with three horns at his head, the rolled-up robe, the sword at his side, the esponton in his hand. He made a sign; at once twenty-four soldiers surrounded the two newcomers. A sergeant tells them that it is necessary to wait, that the commander can not speak to them, that the reverend provincial father does not permit that no Spaniard opens his mouth in his presence, and remains more than three hours in the country.

And where is the Provincial Father Reverend? said Cacambo.

He is at the parade after having said his Mass,” replied the sergeant,” and you can kiss his spurs in three hours only.”

“But,” said Cacambo, “the Captain, who is dying of hunger like myself, is not a Spaniard, he is a German; Could we not lunch while awaiting his reverence?

The sergeant went immediately to tell about this speech to the commanding officer.

God be blessed!” said the lord, “since he is a German, I can speak to him; bring him into my foliage.

At once Candide was led into a verdant dressing-room, adorned with a very pretty colonnade of green and gold marble, and trellises, which contained parrots, humming birds, fly-birds, guinea fowl, and all the rarest birds. An excellent breakfast was prepared in golden vases; and while the Paraguaries ate maize in wooden bowls, in the open field, in the heat of the sun, the Reverend Father Commandant entered the foliage.

He was a very handsome young man, his face full, fairly white, high in color, his eyebrows raised, his eyes bright, his ears red, his lips proud, his air proud, but his pride was neither that of a Spaniard nor that of a Jesuit. They handed to Candide and Cacambo their arms, which had been seized, as well as the two Andalusian horses; Cacambo made them eat the oats by the leaves, always keeping an eye on them, fearing surprise.

Candide first kissed the bottom of the captain’s dress, and then they sat down to table.

So you’re German? said the Jesuit in this language.

Yes, Reverend Father,” said Candide.

Both of them, when uttering these words, looked at each other with extreme surprise, and an emotion of which they were not the masters.

And from which country of Germany are you? said the Jesuit.

From the dirty province of Vestphalia, said Candide, I was born in the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh.

O heaven! is it possible! cried the commander.

What a miracle!” cried Candide.

Would it be you?” said the commander.

This is not possible, said Candide.

They both fall backwards, they kiss, they pour streams of tears.

What! Would it be you, my Reverend Father? You, the brother of the beautiful Cunegonde! You, who were killed by the Bulgarians! You, son of the baron! You, Jesuit in Paraguay! It must be admitted that this world is a strange thing. O, Pangloss! Pangloss! How you would be comfortable if you had not been hanged!

The commander had retired the negro slaves and the Paraguayans, who were used to drink in tumblers of rock crystal. He thanked God and Saint Ignatius a thousand times; he clasped Candide in his arms, their faces were bathed in tears.

You would be much more astonished, more affected, more out of yourself,” said Candide, “if I told you that your sister, Miss Cunegonde, whom you thought was disembowelled, is full of health.”

“Where?”

“In your neighborhood, the governor of Buenos Ayres; and I came to convince you to start a war.

Every word they uttered in this long conversation accumulated prodigy on prodigy. Their whole soul flew over their tongues, was attentive in their ears, and sparkling in their eyes. As they were Germans, they held a long table, while awaiting the reverend provincial father; and the commandant thus spoke to his dear Candide.

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