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Candide, Or The Optimist

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How the Old Woman took care of Candide, and how he found the Object of his Love. 

CANDIDE followed the old woman, though without taking courage, to a decayed house, where she gave him a pot of pomatum to anoint his sores, showed him a very neat bed with a suit of clothes hanging up by it, and set victuals and drink before him. "There," said she, "eat, drink, and sleep; and may our Blessed Lady of Atocha, and the great St. Anthony of Padua, and the illustrious St. James of Compostella, take you under their protection. I shall be back to-morrow." Candide, struck with amazement at what he had seen, at what he had suffered, and still more with the charity of the old woman, would have shown his acknowledgment by kissing her hand. "It is not my hand you ought to kiss," said the old woman; "I shall be back tomorrow. Anoint your back, eat, and take your rest."  

Candide, notwithstanding so many disasters, ate and slept. The next morning the old woman brought him his breakfast, examined his back, and rubbed it herself with another ointment. She returned at the proper time and brought him his dinner, and at night she visited him again with his supper. The next day she observed the same ceremonies. "Who are you?" said Candide to her. "What God has inspired you with so much goodness? What return can I make you for this charitable assistance?" The good old beldame kept a profound silence. In the evening she returned, but without his supper. "Come along with me," said she, "but do not speak a word." She took him under her arm, and walked with him about a quarter of a mile into the country, till they came to a lonely house surrounded with moats and gardens. The old conductress knocked at  a little door, which was immediately opened, and she showed him up a pair of back-stairs into a small but richly-furnished apartment. There she made him sit down on a brocaded sofa, shut the door upon him, and left him. Candide thought himself in a trance; he looked upon his whole life hitherto as a frightful dream, and the present moment a very agreeable one.
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