Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
After many adventures, Dr. Silvestre Paradox, a short, chubby man of about forty-five years, settles in a small Valencian town. Tiring at last of his quiet life, he announces one morning to his friend, Avelino Diz, his intention of taking a trip to Cananí, on the Gulf of Guinea. A British banker, Abraham Wolf, is setting out on his yacht Cornucopia with a party of scientists and explorers to establish a Jewish colony in Africa, and he has invited Paradox to go with him. Paradox suggests that Diz join the expedition.
In Tangier they meet several other members of the party, including General Pérez, his daughter Dora, and a disabled, scarred soldier named Hardibrás. They drink to the success of the venture with whiskey. When someone in the party feeds whiskey to a rooster, the fowl breaks into human speech and deplores what humans drink. Paradox declares that only nature is just and honorable. He is eager to go where people live naturally.
The group boards the yacht, Hardibrás swinging himself aboard by the hook he wears in place of his lost hand. There, Paradox and Diz meet others of the expedition: Mingote, a revolutionist who had tried to assassinate the king of Portugal; Pelayo, who had been Paradox’s secretary until his employer fired him for crooked dealings; Sipsom, an English manufacturer; Miss Pich, a feminist writer and former ballet dancer; and The Cheese Kid, a former French cancan dancer. Wolf himself is not on board....
(The entire section is 1229 words.)
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