14. Paraguay
From Candide by Voltaire (1759)

How Candide and Cacambo were received by the clerics of Paraguay.

Candide had brought such a valet with him from Cadiz, as one often meets with on the coasts of Spain, and in the colonies. He was a quarter-blooded Spaniard, born of a mongrel in Tucuman, and had been a singing-boy, a sexton, a sailor, a factor, a soldier, and a lacquey. His name was Cacambo, and he had a strong love for his master, because his master was a very good sort of man. Having saddled the two Andalusian horses with all expedition.

"Let us go, Master, let us follow the old woman's advice, let us set off, and run without looking behind us."

Candide dropped some tears.

"Oh, my dear Cunegonde," said he, "must I leave you just at the time when the governor was going to have us married! Cunegonde, what will become of you in this strange country?"
"She will do as well as she can," said Cacambo, "women are never at a loss; God will provide for her; let us run."
"Whither art thou carrying me?" said Candide, "where are we going? what shall I do without Cunegonde?"
"By St. James of Compostella," said Cacambo, "you were going to fight against the clerics; now let us go and fight for them. I know the road perfectly well; I will conduct you to their kingdom; they will be charmed to have a captain that knows the Bulgarian exercise; you will make a prodigious fortune; though one cannot find his account in one world, he may in another. It is a great pleasure to see new sights and perform new exploits."
"Have you been in Paraguay?" said Candide.
"Yes, in truth, I have," said Cacambo. "I was usher to the college and am acquainted with the government of the good clerics as well as I am with the streets of Cadiz. It is an admirable sort of government. The kingdom is upwards of three hundred leagues in diameter, and divided into thirty provinces. The rulers there are masters of everything, and the people have nothing. It is the masterpiece of reason and justice. For my part I see nothing so divine as the clerics who wage war here against the Kings of Spain and Portugal, and in Europe are their advisers, who in this country, kill Spaniards, and at Madrid, send them counsel. This transports me; let us therefore push forward; you are going to be the happiest of mortals. What pleasure will it be to those rulers when they know that a captain who understands the Bulgarian exercise comes to offer them his service!"

As soon as they reached the first barrier, Cacambo told the advanced guard, that a captain desired to speak with my lord the commandant. They went to inform the chief guard of it. A Paraguayan officer ran on foot to the commandant, to impart the news to him. Candide and Cacambo were at first disarmed, and their two Andalusian horses were seized. The two strangers were introduced between two files of musketeers; the commandant was at the further end, with a cap on his head, his gown tucked up, a sword by his side, and a staff in his hand. He made a signal, and straightway four and twenty soldiers surrounded the newcomers. A serjeant told them they must wait; that the commandant could not speak to them; that the lord ruler does not permit any Spaniard to open his mouth but in his presence, or to stay above three hours in the province.

"And where is the lord ruler?" said Cacambo.
"He is upon the parade," answered the serjeant, "and you cannot kiss his spurs in less than three hours."
"But," said Cacambo, "my master, the Captain, who is ready to die for hunger as well as myself, is not a Spaniard, but a German, cannot we have something for breakfast, while we wait for his lordship?"

The serjeant went to give an account of this discourse to the commandant.

"God be praised," said the commandant, "since he is a German, I may speak with him; bring him into my arbor."

Candide was immediately conducted into a green pavilion, decorated with a very handsome balustrade of green and gilt marble, with intertextures of vines, containing parrots, humming-birds, fly-birds, Guinea-hens, and all other sorts of rare birds. An excellent breakfast was provided in vessels of gold, and while the Paraguayans were eating Indian corn mush out of wooden dishes, in the open fields, exposed to the sultry heat of the sun, the commandant retired to his arbor.

He was a very handsome young man, with a full face, tolerably fair, fresh colored, his eyebrows were arched, his eyes full of fire, his ears red, his lips like vermillion; his hair was somewhat fierce, but of a fierceness which differed both from that of a Spaniard and Cleric. They now returned to Candide and Cacambo the arms, which had been taken from them, together with the two Andalusian horses, which Cacambo took the liberty to feed near the arbor, keeping his eye upon them, for fear of a surprise.

Candide immediately kissed the hem of the commandant's garment; after which, they both sat down to table.

"You are a German, then?" said the Cleric to him, in that language.
"Yes," said Candide.

In pronouncing these words, they looked at each other with extreme surprise, which they were not able to account for.

"And what part of Germany do you belong to?" said the Cleric.
"To the lower part of Westphalia," said Candide, "I was born in the Castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh."
"Heavens! is it possible!" cried the commandant.
"What a miracle is this!" cried Candide.
"Is it you?" said the commandant.
"'Tis impossible!" said Candide.

On this they both fell backwards; but getting up again, they embraced each other, and shed tears of joy.

"What! is it you, you! the brother of the fair Cunegonde! You that was slain by the Bulgarians! you, the Baron's son! Are you a ruler at Paraguay? I must confess, that this is a strange world indeed! Ah! Pangloss! Pangloss! how pleased you would now be, if you had not been hanged."

The commandant ordered the negro slaves, and the Paraguayans, that poured out the liquor in cups, of rock crystal, to retire. He thanked God, a thousand times; folded Candide in his arms: their faces being all the while bathed in tears.

"You will be more astonished, more affected, more out of your wits," said Candide, "when I tell you that Miss Cunegonde, your sister, who you thought was dead is as well as I am."
"In your neighborhood; at the house of the governor of Buenos-Ayres; and I came here to fight against you."

Every word they spoke in this long conversation heaped surprise upon surprise. Their souls dwelt upon their tongues, listened in their ears, and sparkled in their eyes. As they were Germans, they made a long meal (according to custom), waiting for the lord ruler, when the commandant thus addressed their dear Candide.

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