The Nose





One morning Azora returned from a walk in a terrible passion, and

uttering the most violent exclamations. "What aileth thee," said he,

"my dear spouse? What is it that can thus have discomposed thee?"



"Alas," said she, "thou wouldst be as much enraged as I am hadst thou

seen what I have just beheld. I have been to comfort the young widow

Cosrou, who, within these two days, hath raised a tomb to her young

husband, near the rivulet that washes the skirts of this meadow. She

vowed to heaven, in the bitterness of her grief, to remain at this tomb

while the water of the rivulet should continue to run near it."



"Well," said Zadig, "she is an excellent woman, and loved her husband

with the most sincere affection."



"Ah," replied Azora, "didst thou but know in what she was employed when

I went to wait upon her!"



"In what, pray, beautiful Azora? Was she turning the course of the

rivulet?"



Azora broke out into such long invectives and loaded the young widow

with such bitter reproaches, that Zadig was far from being pleased with

this ostentation of virtue.



Zadig had a friend named Cador, one of those young men in whom his wife

discovered more probity and merit than in others. He made him his

confidant, and secured his fidelity as much as possible by a

considerable present. Azora, having passed two days with a friend in

the country, returned home on the third. The servants told her, with

tears in their eyes, that her husband died suddenly the night before;

that they were afraid to send her an account of this mournful event;

and that they had just been depositing his corpse in the tomb of his

ancestors, at the end of the garden. She wept, she tore her hair, and

swore she would follow him to the grave.



In the evening Cador begged leave to wait upon her, and joined his

tears with hers. Next day they wept less, and dined together. Cador

told her that his friend had left him the greatest part of his estate;

and that he should think himself extremely happy in sharing his fortune

with her. The lady wept, fell into a passion, and at last became more

mild and gentle. They sat longer at supper than at dinner. They now

talked with greater confidence. Azora praised the deceased; but owned

that he had many failings from which Cador was free.



During supper Cador complained of a violent pain in his side. The lady,

greatly concerned, and eager to serve him, caused all kinds of essences

to be brought, with which she anointed him, to try if some of them

might not possibly ease him of his pain. She lamented that the great

Hermes was not still in Babylon. She even condescended to touch the

side in which Cador felt such exquisite pain.



"Art thou subject to this cruel disorder?" said she to him with a

compassionate air.



"It sometimes brings me," replied Cador, "to the brink of the grave;

and there is but one remedy that can give me relief, and that is to

apply to my side the nose of a man who is lately dead."



"A strange remedy, indeed!" said Azora.



"Not more strange," replied he, "than the sachels of Arnon against the

apoplexy." This reason, added to the great merit of the young man, at

last determined the lady.



"After all," says she, "when my husband shall cross the bridge

Tchinavar, in his journey to the other world, the angel Asrael will not

refuse him a passage because his nose is a little shorter in the second

life than it was in the first." She then took a razor, went to her

husband's tomb, bedewed it with her tears, and drew near to cut off the

nose of Zadig, whom she found extended at full length in the tomb.

Zadig arose, holding his nose with one hand, and, putting back the

razor with the other, "Madam," said he, "don't exclaim so violently

against young Cosrou; the project of cutting off my nose is equal to

that of turning the course of a rivulet."





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