Chapter 14 Summary

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“How Candide and Cacambo were received by the Jesuits of Paraguay”

When Candide left Cadiz, he brought a valet with him. His name is Cacambo and he is of mixed heritage. Cacambo loves his master because he knows Candide is a truly good man. He saddles the Andalusian horses as quickly as he can and says they should flee without looking back. Candide is weeping bitterly, heartbroken that he was about to marry Cunégonde and now he will have to leave her. When he wonders what will become of her, the practical valet says Cunégonde will become whatever she can, as women “always find a way.”

Cunégonde asks where his valet is taking him, and Cacambo says they should go fight with the Jesuits instead of against them, as they had planned. He assures Candide they will be delighted to have a captain who knows how to drill the troops in the Bulgar way and he will therefore make a fortune. If one cannot get what one wants in this world, says Cacambo, one must get it in another—and it is always good to see and do new things.

Cacambo used to work in Paraguay and knows the government of Los Padres (the Jesuits) well. It is a remarkable thing. The government owns everything and the people own nothing; “it is a masterpiece of reason and justice.” Nothing is as satisfying to Cacambo as the fact that Los Padres is waging war against the kings of Spain and Portugal here in the Americas while in Europe they are the kings’ confessors. Here the Jesuits kill the Spaniards, but in Madrid they send them to Heaven. Los Padres will be most pleased to have Candide join them.

As soon as they reach the first outpost, Cacambo tells the soldiers that a captain wishes to speak to the Commandant. Word of the visitor is sent to headquarters, and a Paraguayan officer kneels at the commandant’s feet to deliver the news. Candide and Cacambo are disarmed and their horses are taken away from them before they walk through two columns of soldiers toward the commandant. As soon as they reach him, the leader nods and the two men are immediately surrounded by twenty-four soldiers and told they must wait. The commandant is not allowed to speak to them, as the Reverend Father Provincial does not allow anyone to speak to a Spaniard unless he is present. He also does not allow foreigners to stay in the country for more than three hours.

The Reverend Father Provincial is just finishing mass and reviewing the troops, so Candide and Cacambo will not have the opportunity to kiss his spurs for another three hours. Cacambo says Candide is German, and that changes everything. The commandant is allowed to speak to a German and has the men brought to him. Candide is taken to a beautiful arbor with a sumptuous table set before him. The locals, in the meantime, are eating maize from wooden bowls in the hot sun.

The commandant is young and handsome, and he does not appear to be either a Spaniard or a Jesuit. Candide and Cacambo are given back their weapons and horses. Cacambo stays alert in case they need to make a quick exit. After kissing the hem of the commandant’s robe, Candide is seated and the Jesuit speaks to him in German. It does not take long for them to realize that they came from the same province and soon Candide realizes this Jesuit is the baron’s son, the one Pangloss told him was dead. They weep in amazement at the miracle of finding one another once again. The commandant sends all the servants away so they can talk privately.

Candide wishes Pangloss were here and tells the baron’s son that he will be most amazed and happy to learn that his sister, Cunégonde, is also alive and is even now with the governor of Buenos Aires. They have a long conversation full of wonder and amazement. While they wait for the Reverend Father Provincial, the commandant tells Candide his story. 

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