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Chapter 2


One Day _Azora_, as she was just return'd home from taking a short
Country airing, threw herself into a violent Passion, and swell'd
with Invectives. What, in God's Name, my Dear, said _Zadig_, has
thus ruffled your Temper? What can be the Meaning of all these warm
Exclamations? Alas! said she, you would have been disgusted as much
as I am, had you been an Eye-witness of that Scene of Female
Falshood, as I was Yesterday. I went, you must know, to visit the
disconsolate Widow _Cosrou_, who has been these two Days erecting a
Monument to the Memory of her young deceased Husband, near the Brook
that runs on one side of her Meadow. She made the most solemn Vow,
in the Height of her Affliction, never to stir from that Tomb, as
long as ever that Rivulet took its usual Course.--Well! and wherein,
pray, said _Zadig_, is the good Woman so much to blame? Is it not an
incontestable Mark of her superior Merit and Conjugal-Affection?
But, _Zadig_, said _Azora_, was you to know how her Thoughts were
employ'd when I made my Visit, you'd never forget or forgive her.
Pray, my dearest _Azora_, what then was she about? Why, the
Creature, said _Azora_, was studying, to be sure, to find out Ways
and Means to turn the Current of the River.

_Azora_, in short, harangu'd so long, and, was so big with her
Invectives against the young Widow, that her too affected, vain Shew
of Virtue, gave _Zadig_ a secret Disgust.

_Zadig_ had an intimate Friend, one _Cador_ by Name, whose Spouse
was perfectly honest, and had in reality a greater Regard for him,
than all Mankind besides: This Friend _Zadig_ made his Confident,
and bound him to keep a Project of his entirely a Secret, by a
Promise of some valuable Token of his Respect. _Azora_ had been
visiting a Female Companion for two Days together in the Country,
and on the third was returning home: No sooner, however, was she in
Sight of the House, but the Servants ran to meet her with Tears in
their Eyes, and told her, that their Master dy'd suddenly the Night
before; that they durstn't carry her the doleful Tidings, but were
going to bury _Zadig_ in the Sepulchre of his Ancestors, at the
Bottom of the Garden. She burst into a Flood of Tears; tore her
Hair; and vow'd to die by his Side. As soon as it was dark, young
_Cador_ came, and begg'd the Favour of being introduc'd to the
Widow. He was so, and they wept together very cordially. Next Day
the Storm was somewhat abated, and they din'd together; _Cador_
inform'd her, that his Friend had left him the much greater Part of
his Effects, and gave her to understand, that he should think
himself the happiest Creature in the World, if she would condescend
to be his Partner in that Demise. The Widow wept, sobb'd, and began
to melt. More Time was spent in Supper than at Dinner. They
discoursed together with a little more Freedom. _Azora_ was lavish
of her Encomiums on _Zadig_; but then, 'twas true, she said, he had
some secret Infirmities to which _Cador_ was a Stranger. In the
Midst of their Midnight Entertainment, _Cador_ all on a sudden
complain'd that he was taken with a most violent pleuretic Fit, and
was ready to swoon away. Our Lady being extremely concern'd, and
over-officious, flew to her Closet of Cordials, and brought down
every Thing she could think of that might be of Service on this
emergent Occasion. She was extremely sorry that the famous _Hermes_
was gone from _Babylon_, and condescended to lay her warm Hand upon
the Part affected, in which he felt such an agonizing Pain. Pray
Sir, said she, in a soft, languishing Tone, are you subject to this
tormenting Malady? Sometimes, Madam, said _Cador_, so strong, that
they bring me almost to Death's Door; and there is but one Thing can
infallibly cure me; and that is, the Application of a dead Man's
Nose to the part affected. An odd Remedy truly, said _Azora_. Not
stranger, Madam, said he, than the Great *_Arnon's_ infallible
Apoplectic Necklaces.

* There was at this Time in _Babylon_, a famous Doctor,
nam'd _Arnon_, who both cur'd Apoplectic Fits, and
prevented them from affecting his Patients, as was
frequently advertiz'd in the Gazettes, by a little
never-failing Purse that he hung round their Necks.

This Assurance of Success, together with _Cador's_ personal Merit,
determin'd _Azora_ in his Favour. After all, said she, when my
Husband shall be about to cross the Bridge _Tchimavar_, from this
World of Yesterday, to the other, of To-morrow, will the Angel
_Asrael_, think you, make any Scruple about his Passage, should his
Nose prove something shorter in the next Life than 'twas in this?
She would venture, however, and taking up a sharp Razor, repair'd to
her Husband's Tomb; water'd it first with her Tears, and then
intended to perform the innocent Operation, as he lay extended
breathless, as she thought, in his Coffin. _Zadig_ mounted in a
Moment; secur'd his Nose with one Hand, and the Incision-Knife with
the other. Madam, said he, never more exclaim against the Widow
_Cosrou_. The Scheme for cutting my Nose off was much closer laid
than hers of throwing the River into a new Channel.

Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire

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