The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Introduction; Candide; Political Dissertations] - Vol. 1

By William F. Fleming; Voltaire | Go to book overview

philosopher. For instance, I engage that you, my lovely girl, have always had a bias towards optimism, because you have always been happy." "Alas! no," answered she. "I do not know what optimism is; but I swear to you that your slave has not known happiness till to-day. If my lord is pleased to give me leave, I will convince him of it by a succinct recital of my adventures." "I am very willing," said Candide. "I am in a position to hear an historical detail." Upon which the fair slave began as follows:


CHAPTER VII.

THE HISTORY OF ZIRZA.

"MY FATHER was a Christian, and so likewise am I, as far as I have been told. He had a little hermitage near Cotatis, where, by his fervent devotion and practising austerities shocking to human nature, he acquired the veneration of the faithful. Crowds of women came to pay him their homage and took a particular satisfaction in bathing his posteriors, which he lashed every day with several smart strokes of discipline; doubtless it was to one of the most devout of these visitants that I owe my being. I was brought up in a cave in the neighborhood of my father's little cell. I was twelve years of age and had not yet left this kind of grave, when the earth shook with a dreadful noise; the arch of the vault fell in, and I was drawn out from under the

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