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‘All Bathed in Tears’
The Old Conductress: Voltaire’s Candide, Chapter 10, pages, 38-40
In What Distress Candide, Cunegund, and the Old Woman Arrive at Cadiz, and their Embarkation
Bathed in tears, having discovered that they had been robbed of their worldly possessions by a “reverend Franciscan father” in the border town of Badojaz, Miss Cunegund, bemoans her plight, “How shall we live? What shall we do? Where shall I find Inquisitors and Jews who can give me more?”
The woman’s lot as by necessity a whore, in sin and marriage and servitude, crushes down on the young tart who is then rescued by the old woman, who sells her horse to a Dominican brother who cheats them, and is able to ride behind the younger woman despite having but one “buttock.”
The Plantation America reader should understand, that for the first 200 years in the European settlement of the Americas, a woman either arrived as the wife of a powerful man, and therefore his property, or as a commodity to be sold as a laborer, a whore or a wife, very often all three as her fate waxed or waned and she slid up and down the inequitable scales of society.
At Cadiz, a fleet was embarking for Argentina, to invade Paraguay and punish the Jesuits who had established an Indian nation on communist lines and prevented their flocks from being sold as slaves. Candide, demonstrating his knowledge of military drill and passing himself off as an officer, gains a commission in the regiment as a captain of a company of foot. [1]
Cunegund bemoans that she has been treated so terribly in the old world that she has scant hope for her future in the new one. The old woman then informed the girl that she knew yet little of the sorrows attendant womanhood in their evil world.
-1. A large portion of these men will have been “pressed” into the army against their will, as were the soldiers of most armies during this period.
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