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"Yes," said the Abbé, "but it means nothing, for they complain of everything withgreat fits of laughter; they even do the most detestable things while laughing.""Who," said Candide, "is that great pig who spoke so ill of the piece at which Iwept, and of the actors who gave me so much pleasure?""He is a bad character," answered the Abbé, "who gains his livelihood by sayingevil of all plays and of all books. He hates whatever succeeds, as the eunuchs hatethose who enjoy; he is one of the serpents of literature who nourish themselves ondirt and spite; he is a folliculaire.""What is a folliculaire?" said Candide."It is," said the Abbé, "a pamphleteer—a Fréron."Thus Candide, Martin, and the Perigordian conversed on the staircase, whilewatching every one go out after the performance.
"Although I am eager to see Cunegonde again," said Candide, "I should like to supwith Miss Clairon, for she appears to me admirable."The Abbé was not the man to approach Miss Clairon, who saw only good company."She is engaged for this evening," he said, "but I shall have the honour to take youto the house of a lady of quality, and there you will know Paris as if you had livedin it for years."Candide, who was naturally curious, let himself be taken to this lady's house, at theend of the Faubourg St. Honoré. The company was occupied in playing faro; adozen melancholy punters held each in his hand a little pack of cards; a bad recordof his misfortunes. Profound silence reigned; pallor was on the faces of the punters,anxiety on that of the banker, and the hostess, sitting near the unpitying banker,noticed with lynx-eyes all the doubled and other increased stakes, as each playerdog's-eared his cards; she made them turn down the edges again with severe, butpolite attention; she showed no vexation for fear of losing her customers. The ladyinsisted upon being called the Marchioness of Parolignac. Her daughter, agedfifteen, was among the punters, and notified with a covert glance the cheatings ofthe poor people who tried to repair the cruelties of fate. The Perigordian Abbé,Candide and Martin entered; no one rose, no one saluted them, no one looked atthem; all were profoundly occupied with their cards."The Baroness of Thunder-ten-Tronckh was more polite," said Candide.However, the Abbé whispered to the Marchioness, who half rose, honouredCandide with a gracious smile, and Martin with a condescending nod; she gave aseat and a pack of cards to Candide, who lost fifty thousand francs in two deals,after which they supped very gaily, and every one was astonished that Candide wasnot moved by his loss; the servants said among themselves, in the language ofservants:—"Some English lord is here this evening."The supper passed at first like most Parisian suppers, in silence, followed by a noiseof words which could not be distinguished, then with pleasantries of which mostwere insipid, with false news, with bad reasoning, a little politics, and much evilspeaking; they also discussed new books.