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Candide, Or The Optimist

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His eye rests upon forms whiter than alabaster, whose palpitating motion repels the touch; admires their proportion; perceives lips like those rosebuds which only wait the genial rays of the sun to unfold them; he kisses them with rapture.  Our philosopher next admires, for a while, a majestic figure of a fine and delicate shape. His attention becomes fixed upon one, and he at length throws the handkerchief to a young person whose eyes he had observed to be always fixed upon him.  

"O master! my dear master!" cried Candide, almost beside himself, "everything here is as well as in El Dorado. I am as happy as it is possible to be. Leibnitz is in the right, and you are a great 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 today. 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 pretty calm situation for hearing an historical detail." Upon which the fair slave began as follows.   

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 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 neighbourhood 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 rubbish half- dead, when light struck my eyes for the first time.
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