“The best way to come to truth being to examine things as really they are, and not to conclude they are, as we fancy of ourselves, or have been taught by others to imagine.”
Locke, Human Understanding (II,XII)
Hi! The watersbroken book club is made up of all those who would like to read a chosen text along with us and then discuss it. We thought of kicking off with Voltaire’s Candide, written in three days in 1759 to make fun, in particular, of the notion that this is the best of all possible worlds, and, more generally, of the pre-modern tendency to judge the world around us in terms of world-views that we adopt uncritically.
We live in Malta, a micro-country firmly in the grip of a network of greedy speculators and governed by a party led by a clique of incompetent, backward-looking, provincial and bigoted politikanti, where the latter are assisted by traditional intellectuals some of which fancy themselves as none other than post-modern! Post-modern apologists for a pre-modern ruling social bloc! What we need, in such an absurd place is, finally “to examine things as they really are”. We humbly suggest that we should conduct this examination (an examination that ought not to spare our own ‘side’ and ourselves individually) with a humour not less merciless than Voltaire’s.
We are using the Project Gutenberg EBook edition of the Philip Littell translation (New York: Boni & Liverwright, 1918). We will publish one chapter a week, on Sundays. We have published twenty-five chapters to date. You are all invited to contribute your comments. Scholarship will, of course, be appreciated. Intelligent fun, however, is what we are principally after.
I. HOW CANDIDE WAS BROUGHT UP IN A MAGNIFICENT CASTLE, AND HOW HE WAS EXPELLED THENCE.
In a castle of Westphalia, belonging to the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with the most gentle manners. His countenance was a true picture of his soul. He combined a true judgment with simplicity of spirit, which was the reason, I apprehend, of his being called Candide. The old servants of the family suspected him to have been the son of the Baron’s sister, by a good, honest gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young lady would never marry because he had been able to prove only seventy-one quarterings, the rest of his genealogical tree having been lost through the injuries of time.
The Baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had not only a gate, but windows. His great hall, even, was hung with tapestry. All the dogs of his farm-yards formed a pack of hounds at need; his grooms were his huntsmen; and the curate of the village was his grand almoner. They called him “My Lord,” and laughed at all his stories.
The Baron’s lady weighed about three hundred and fifty pounds, and was therefore a person of great consideration, and she did the honours of the house with a dignity that commanded still greater respect. Her daughter Cunegonde was seventeen years of age, fresh-coloured, comely, plump, and desirable. The Baron’s son seemed to be in every respect worthy of his father. The Preceptor Pangloss was the oracle of the family, and little Candide heard his lessons with all the good faith of his age and character.
Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron’s castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.
“It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles–thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings–and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles–therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Pigs were made to be eaten–therefore we eat pork all the year round. Consequently they who assert that all is well have said a foolish thing, they should have said all is for the best.”
Candide listened attentively and believed innocently; for he thought Miss Cunegonde extremely beautiful, though he never had the courage to tell her so. He concluded that after the happiness of being born of Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, the second degree of happiness was to be Miss Cunegonde, the third that of seeing her every day, and the fourth that of hearing Master Pangloss, the greatest philosopher of the whole province, and consequently of the whole world.
One day Cunegonde, while walking near the castle, in a little wood which they called a park, saw between the bushes, Dr. Pangloss giving a lesson in experimental natural philosophy to her mother’s chamber-maid, a little brown wench, very pretty and very docile. As Miss Cunegonde had a great disposition for the sciences, she breathlessly observed the repeated experiments of which she was a witness; she clearly perceived the force of the Doctor’s reasons, the effects, and the causes; she turned back greatly flurried, quite pensive, and filled with the desire to be learned; dreaming that she might well be a sufficient reason for young Candide, and he for her.
She met Candide on reaching the castle and blushed; Candide blushed also; she wished him good morrow in a faltering tone, and Candide spoke to her without knowing what he said. The next day after dinner, as they went from table, Cunegonde and Candide found themselves behind a screen; Cunegonde let fall her handkerchief, Candide picked it up, she took him innocently by the hand, the youth as innocently kissed the young lady’s hand with particular vivacity, sensibility, and grace; their lips met, their eyes sparkled, their knees trembled, their hands strayed. Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh passed near the screen and beholding this cause and effect chased Candide from the castle with great kicks on the backside; Cunegonde fainted away; she was boxed on the ears by the Baroness, as soon as she came to herself; and all was consternation in this most magnificent and most agreeable of all possible castles.
II. WHAT BECAME OF CANDIDE AMONG THE BULGARIANS.
Candide, driven from terrestrial paradise, walked a long while without knowing where, weeping, raising his eyes to heaven, turning them often towards the most magnificent of castles which imprisoned the purest of noble young ladies. He lay down to sleep without supper, in the middle of a field between two furrows. The snow fell in large flakes. Next day Candide, all benumbed, dragged himself towards the neighbouring town which was called Waldberghofftrarbk-dikdorff, having no money, dying of hunger and fatigue, he stopped sorrowfully at the door of an inn. Two men dressed in blue observed him.
“Comrade,” said one, “here is a well-built young fellow, and of proper height.”
They went up to Candide and very civilly invited him to dinner.
“Gentlemen,” replied Candide, with a most engaging modesty, “you do me great honour, but I have not wherewithal to pay my share.”
“Oh, sir,” said one of the blues to him, “people of your appearance and of your merit never pay anything: are you not five feet five inches high?”
“Yes, sir, that is my height,” answered he, making a low bow.
“Come, sir, seat yourself; not only will we pay your reckoning, but we will never suffer such a man as you to want money; men are only born to assist one another.”
“You are right,” said Candide; “this is what I was always taught by Mr. Pangloss, and I see plainly that all is for the best.”
They begged of him to accept a few crowns. He took them, and wished to give them his note; they refused; they seated themselves at table.
“Love you not deeply?”
“Oh yes,” answered he; “I deeply love Miss Cunegonde.”
“No,” said one of the gentlemen, “we ask you if you do not deeply love the King of the Bulgarians?”
“Not at all,” said he; “for I have never seen him.”
“What! he is the best of kings, and we must drink his health.”
“Oh! very willingly, gentlemen,” and he drank.
“That is enough,” they tell him. “Now you are the help, the support, the defender, the hero of the Bulgarians. Your fortune is made, and your glory is assured.”
Instantly they fettered him, and carried him away to the regiment. There he was made to wheel about to the right, and to the left, to draw his rammer, to return his rammer, to present, to fire, to march, and they gave him thirty blows with a cudgel. The next day he did his exercise a little less badly, and he received but twenty blows. The day following they gave him only ten, and he was regarded by his comrades as a prodigy.
Candide, all stupefied, could not yet very well realise how he was a hero. He resolved one fine day in spring to go for a walk, marching straight before him, believing that it was a privilege of the human as well as of the animal species to make use of their legs as they pleased. He had advanced two leagues when he was overtaken by four others, heroes of six feet, who bound him and carried him to a dungeon. He was asked which he would like the best, to be whipped six-and-thirty times through all the regiment, or to receive at once twelve balls of lead in his brain. He vainly said that human will is free, and that he chose neither the one nor the other. He was forced to make a choice; he determined, in virtue of that gift of God called liberty, to run the gauntlet six-and-thirty times. He bore this twice. The regiment was composed oftwo thousand men; that composed for him four thousand strokes, which laid bare all his muscles and nerves, from the nape of his neck quite down to his rump. As they were going to proceed to a third whipping, Candide, able to bear no more, begged as a favour that they would be so good as to shoot him. He obtained this favour; they bandaged his eyes, and bade him kneel down. The King of the Bulgarians passed at this moment and ascertained the nature of the crime. As he had great talent, he understood from all that he learnt of Candide that he was a young metaphysician, extremely ignorant of the things of this world, and he accorded him his pardon with a clemency which will bring him praise in all the journals, and throughout all ages. An able surgeon cured Candide in three weeks by means of emollients taught by Dioscorides. He had already a little skin, and was able to march when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abares.
III. HOW CANDIDE MADE HIS ESCAPE FROM THE BULGARIANS, AND WHAT AFTERWARDS BECAME OF HIM.
There was never anything so gallant, so spruce, so brilliant, and so well disposed as the two armies. Trumpets, fifes, hautboys, drums, and cannon made music such as Hell itself had never heard. The cannons first of all laid flat about six thousand men on each side; the muskets swept away from this best of worlds nine or ten thousand ruffians who infested its surface. The bayonet was also a ‘sufficient reason’ for the death of several thousands. The whole might amount to thirty thousand souls. Candide, who trembled like a philosopher, hid himself as well as he could during this heroic butchery.
At length, while the two kings were causing Te Deum to be sung each in his own camp, Candide resolved to go and reason elsewhere on effects and causes. He passed over heaps of dead and dying, and first reached a neighbouring village; it was in cinders, it was an Abare village which the Bulgarians had burnt according to the laws of war. Here, old men covered with wounds, beheld their wives, hugging their children to their bloody breasts, massacred before their faces; there, their daughters, disembowelled and breathing their last after having satisfied the natural wants of Bulgarian heroes; while others, half burnt in the flames, begged to be despatched. The earth was strewed with brains, arms, and legs.
Candide fled quickly to another village; it belonged to the Bulgarians; and the Abarian heroes had treated it in the same way. Candide, walking always over palpitating limbs or across ruins, arrived at last beyond the seat of war, with a few provisions in his knapsack, and Miss Cunegonde always in his heart. His provisions failed him when he arrived in Holland; but having heard that everybody was rich in that country, and that they were Christians, he did not doubt but he should meet with the same treatment from them as he had met with in the Baron’s castle, before Miss Cunegonde’s bright eyes were the cause of his expulsion thence.
He asked alms of several grave-looking people, who all answered him, that if he continued to follow this trade they would confine him to the house of correction, where he should be taught to get a living. The next he addressed was a man who had been haranguing a large assembly for a whole hour on the subject of charity. But the orator, looking askew, said:
“What are you doing here? Are you for the good cause?”
“There can be no effect without a cause,” modestly answered Candide; “the whole is necessarily concatenated and arranged for the best. It was necessary for me to have been banished from the presence of Miss Cunegonde, to have afterwards run the gauntlet, and now it is necessary I should beg my bread until I learn to earn it; all this cannot be otherwise.”
“My friend,” said the orator to him, “do you believe the Pope to be Anti-Christ?”
“I have not heard it,” answered Candide; “but whether he be, or whether he be not, I want bread.”
“Thou dost not deserve to eat,” said the other. “Begone, rogue; begone, wretch; do not come near me again.”
The orator’s wife, putting her head out of the window, and spying a man that doubted whether the Pope was Anti-Christ, poured over him a full…. Oh, heavens! to what excess does religious zeal carry the ladies. A man who had never been christened, a good Anabaptist, named James, beheld the cruel and ignominious treatment shown to one of his brethren, an unfeathered biped with a rational soul, he took him home, cleaned him, gave him bread and beer, presented him with two florins, and even wished to teach him the manufacture of Persian stuffs which they make in Holland. Candide, almost prostrating himself before him, cried: “Master Pangloss has well said that all is for the best in this world, for I am infinitely more touched by your extreme generosity than with the inhumanity of that gentleman in the black coat and his lady.”
The next day, as he took a walk, he met a beggar all covered with scabs,his eyes diseased, the end of his nose eaten away, his mouth distorted, his teeth black, choking in his throat, tormented with a violent cough, and spitting out a tooth at each effort.
IV. HOW CANDIDE FOUND HIS OLD MASTER PANGLOSS, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.
Candide, yet more moved with compassion than with horror, gave to this shocking beggar the two florins which he had received from the honest Anabaptist James. The spectre looked at him very earnestly, dropped a few tears, and fell upon his neck. Candide recoiled in disgust.
“Alas!” said one wretch to the other, “do you no longer know your dear Pangloss?”
“What do I hear? You, my dear master! you in this terrible plight! What misfortune has happened to you? Why are you no longer in the most magnificent of castles? What has become of Miss Cunegonde, the pearl of girls, and nature’s masterpiece?”
“I am so weak that I cannot stand,” said Pangloss.
Upon which Candide carried him to the Anabaptist’s stable, and gave him a crust of bread. As soon as Pangloss had refreshed himself a little:
“Well,” said Candide, “Cunegonde?”
“She is dead,” replied the other.
Candide fainted at this word; his friend recalled his senses with a little bad vinegar which he found by chance in the stable. Candid reopened his eyes.
“Cunegonde is dead! Ah, best of worlds, where art thou? But of what illness did she die? Was it not for grief, upon seeing her father kick me out of his magnificent castle?”
“No,” said Pangloss, “she was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after having been violated by many; they broke the Baron’s head for attempting to defend her; my lady, her mother, was cut in pieces; my poor pupil was served just in the same manner as his sister; and as for the castle, they have not left one stone upon another, not a barn, nor a sheep, nor a duck, nor a tree; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing to a neighbouring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.”
At this discourse Candide fainted again; but coming to himself, and having said all that it became him to say, inquired into the cause and effect, as well as into the ‘sufficient reason’ that had reduced Pangloss to so miserable a plight.
“Alas!” said the other, “it was love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sensible beings, love, tender love.”
“Alas!” said Candide, “I know this love, that sovereign of hearts, that soul of our souls; yet it never cost me more than a kiss and twenty kicks on the backside. How could this beautiful cause produce in you an effect so abominable?”
Pangloss made answer in these terms: “Oh, my dear Candide, you remember Paquette, that pretty wench who waited on our noble Baroness; in her arms I tasted the delights of paradise, which produced in me those hell torments with which you see me devoured; she was infected with them, she is perhaps dead of them. This present Paquette received of a learned Grey Friar, who had traced it to its source; he had had it of an old countess, who had received it from a cavalry captain, who owed it to a marchioness, who took it from a page, who had received it from a Jesuit, who when a novice had it in a direct line from one of the companions of Christopher Columbus. For my part I shall give it to nobody, I am dying.”
“Oh, Pangloss!” cried Candide, “what a strange genealogy! Is not the Devil the original stock of it?”
“Not at all,” replied this great man, “it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not in an island of America caught this disease, which contaminates the source of life, frequently even hinders generation, and which is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have neither chocolate nor cochineal. We are also to observe that upon our continent, this distemper is like religious controversy, confined to a particular spot. The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese, the Japanese, know nothing of it; but there is a sufficient reason for believing that they will know it in their turn in a few centuries. In the meantime, it has made marvelous progress among us, especially in those great armies composed of honest well-disciplined hirelings, who decide the destiny of states; for we may safely affirm that when an army of thirty thousand men fights another of an equal number, there are about twenty thousand of them poxed on each side.
“Well, this is wonderful!” said Candide, “but you must get cured.”
“Alas! how can I?” said Pangloss, “I have not a farthing, my friend, and all over the globe there is no letting of blood or taking a glister, without paying, or somebody paying for you.”
These last words determined Candide; he went and flung himself at the feet of the charitable Anabaptist James, and gave him so touching a picture of the state to which his friend was reduced, that the good man did not scruple to take Dr. Pangloss into his house, and had him cured at his expense. In the cure Pangloss lost only an eye and an ear. He wrote well, and knew arithmetic perfectly. The Anabaptist James made him his bookkeeper. At the end of two months, being obliged to go to Lisbon about some mercantile affairs, he took the two philosophers with him in his ship. Pangloss explained to him how everything was so constituted that it could not be better. James was not of this opinion.
“It is more likely,” said he, “mankind have a little corrupted nature, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves; God has given them neither cannon of four-and-twenty pounders, nor bayonets; and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another. Into this account I might throw not only bankrupts, but Justice which seizes on the effects of bankrupts to cheat the creditors.”
“All this was indispensable,” replied the one-eyed doctor, “for private misfortunes make the general good, so that the more private misfortunes there are the greater is the general good.”
While he reasoned, the sky darkened, the winds blew from the four quarters, and the ship was assailed by a most terrible tempest within sight of the port of Lisbon.
V. TEMPEST, SHIPWRECK, EARTHQUAKE, AND WHAT BECAME OF DOCTOR PANGLOSS, CANDIDE, AND JAMES THE ANABAPTIST.
Half dead of that inconceivable anguish which the rolling of a ship produces, one-half of the passengers were not even sensible of the danger. The other half shrieked and prayed. The sheets were rent, the masts broken, the vessel gaped. Work who would, no one heard, no one commanded. The Anabaptist being upon deck bore a hand; when a brutish sailor struck him roughly and laid him sprawling; but with the violence of the blow he himself tumbled head foremost overboard, and stuck upon a piece of the broken mast. Honest James ran to his assistance, hauled him up, and from the effort he made was precipitated into the sea in sight of the sailor, who left him to perish, without deigning to look at him.
Candide drew near and saw his benefactor, who rose above the water one moment and was then swallowed up for ever. He was just going to jump after him, but was prevented by the philosopher Pangloss, who demonstrated to him that the Bay of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the Anabaptist to be drowned. While he was proving this à priori, the ship foundered; all perished except Pangloss, Candide, and that brutal sailor who had drowned the good Anabaptist. The villain swam safely tothe shore, while Pangloss and Candide were borne thither upon a plank.
As soon as they recovered themselves a little they walked toward Lisbon. They had some money left, with which they hoped to save themselves from starving, after they had escaped drowning. Scarcely had they reached the city, lamenting the death of their benefactor, when they felt the earth tremble under their feet. The sea swelled and foamed in the harbour, and beat to pieces the vessels riding at anchor. Whirlwinds of fire and ashes covered the streets and public places; houses fell, roofs were flung upon the pavements, and the pavements were scattered. Thirty thousand inhabitants of all ages and sexes were crushed under the ruins. The sailor, whistling and swearing, said there was booty to be gained here.
“What can be the sufficient reason of this phenomenon?” said Pangloss.
“This is the Last Day!” cried Candide.
The sailor ran among the ruins, facing death to find money; finding it, he took it, got drunk, and having slept himself sober, purchased the favours of the first good-natured wench whom he met on the ruins of the destroyed houses, and in the midst of the dying and the dead. Pangloss pulled him by the sleeve.
“My friend,” said he, “this is not right. You sin against the universal reason; you choose your time badly.”
“S’blood and fury!” answered the other; “I am a sailor and born at Batavia. Four times have I trampled upon the crucifix in four voyages to Japan; a fig for thy universal reason.”
Some falling stones had wounded Candide. He lay stretched in the street covered with rubbish.
“Alas!” said he to Pangloss, “get me a little wine and oil; I am dying.”
“This concussion of the earth is no new thing,” answered Pangloss. “The city of Lima, in America, experienced the same convulsions last year; the same cause, the same effects; there is certainly a train of sulphur under ground from Lima to Lisbon.”
“Nothing more probable,” said Candide; “but for the love of God a little oil and wine.”
“How, probable?” replied the philosopher. “I maintain that the point is capable of being demonstrated.”
Candide fainted away, and Pangloss fetched him some water from a neighbouring fountain. The following day they rummaged among the ruins and found provisions, with which they repaired their exhausted strength. After this they joined with others in relieving those inhabitants who had escaped death. Some, whom they had succoured, gave them as good a dinner as they could in such disastrous circumstances; true, the repast was mournful, and the company moistened their bread with tears; but Pangloss consoled them, assuring them that things could not be otherwise.
“For,” said he, “all that is is for the best. If there is a volcano at Lisbon it cannot be elsewhere. It is impossible that things should be other than they are; for everything is right.”
A little man dressed in black, Familiar of the Inquisition, who sat by him, politely took up his word and said:
“Apparently, then, sir, you do not believe in original sin; for if all is for the best there has then been neither Fall nor punishment.”
“I humbly ask your Excellency’s pardon,” answered Pangloss, still more politely; “for the Fall and curse of man necessarily entered into the system of the best of worlds.”
“Sir,” said the Familiar, “you do not then believe in liberty?”
“Your Excellency will excuse me,” said Pangloss; “liberty is consistent with absolute necessity, for it was necessary we should be free; for, in short, the determinate will…”
Pangloss was in the middle of his sentence, when the Familiar beckoned to his footman, who gave him a glass of wine from Porto or Opporto.
VI. HOW THE PORTUGUESE MADE A BEAUTIFUL AUTO-DA-FÉ, TO PREVENT ANY FURTHER EARTHQUAKES; AND HOW CANDIDE WAS PUBLICLY WHIPPED.
After the earthquake had destroyed three-fourths of Lisbon, the sages of that country could think of no means more effectual to prevent utter ruin than to give the people a beautiful auto-da-fé [this actually took place, some months after the earthquake, on June 20, 1756]; for it had been decided by the University of Coimbra, that the burning of a few people alive by a slow fire, and with great ceremony, is an infallible secret to hinder the earth from quaking.
In consequence hereof, they had seized on a Biscayner, convicted of having married his godmother, and on two Portuguese, for rejecting the bacon which larded a chicken they were eating [the rejection of bacon convicting them, of course, of being Jews, and therefore fitting victims for an auto-da-fé]; after dinner, they came and secured Dr. Pangloss, and his disciple Candide, the one for speaking his mind, the other for having listened with an air of approbation. They were conducted to separate apartments, extremely cold, as they were never incommoded by the sun. Eight days after they were dressed in san-benitos [the San-benito was a kind of loose over-garment painted with flames, figures of devils, the victim’s own portrait, etc., worn by persons condemned to death by the Inquisition when going to the stake on the occasion of an auto-da-fé. Those who expressed repentance for their errors wore a garment of the same kind covered with flames directed downwards, while that worn by Jews, sorcerers, and renegades bore a St. Andrew’s cross before and behind] and their heads ornamented with paper mitres. The mitre and ‘san-benito’ belonging to Candide were painted with reversed flames and with devils that had neither tails nor claws; but Pangloss’s devils had claws and tails and the flames were upright. They marched in procession thus habited and heard a very pathetic sermon, followed by fine church music. Candide was whipped in cadence while they were singing; the Biscayner, and the two men who had refused to eat bacon, were burnt; and Pangloss was hanged, though that was not the custom. The same day the earth sustained a most violent concussion.
Candide, terrified, amazed, desperate, all bloody, all palpitating, said to himself:
“If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others? Well, if I had been only whipped I could put up with it, for I experienced that among the Bulgarians; but oh, my dear Pangloss! thou greatest of philosophers, that I should have seen you hanged, without knowing for what! Oh, my dear Anabaptist, thou best of men, that thou should’st have been drowned in the very harbour! Oh, Miss Cunegonde, thou pearl of girls! that thou should’st have had thy belly ripped open!”
Thus he was musing, scarce able to stand, preached at, whipped, absolved, and blessed, when an old woman accosted him saying:
“My son, take courage and follow me.”
VII. HOW THE OLD WOMAN TOOK CARE OF CANDIDE, AND HOW HE FOUND THE OBJECT HE LOVED.
Candide did not take courage, but followed the old woman to a decayed house, where she gave him a pot of pomatum to anoint his sores, showed him a very neat little bed, with a suit of clothes hanging up, and left him something to eat and drink.
“Eat, drink, sleep,” said she, “and may our lady of Atocha, [“This Notre-Dame is of wood; every year she weeps on the day of her ‘fête’, and the people weep also. One day the preacher, seeing a carpenter with dry eyes, asked him how it was that he did not dissolve in tears when the Holy Virgin wept. ‘Ah, my reverend father,’ replied he, ‘it is I who refastened her in her niche yesterday. I drove three great nails through her behind; it is then she would have wept if she had been able.'” Voltaire, Mélanges] the great St. Anthony of Padua, and the great St. James of Compostella, receive you under their protection. I shall be back to-morrow.”
Candide, amazed at all he had suffered and still more with the charity of the old woman, wished to kiss her hand.
“It is not my hand you must kiss,” said the old woman; “I shall be back to-morrow. Anoint yourself with the pomatum, eat and sleep.”
Candide, notwithstanding so many disasters, ate and slept. The next morning the old woman brought him his breakfast, looked at his back, and rubbed it herself with another ointment: in like manner she brought him his dinner; and at night she returned with his supper. The day following she went through the very same ceremonies.
“Who are you?” said Candide; “who has inspired you with so much goodness? What return can I make you?”
The good woman made no answer; she returned in the evening, but brought no supper.
“Come with me,” she said, “and say nothing.”
She took him by the arm, and walked with him about a quarter of a mile into the country; they arrived at a lonely house, surrounded with gardens and canals. The old woman knocked at a little door, it opened, she led Candide up a private staircase into a small apartment richly furnished. She left him on a brocaded sofa, shut the door and went away. Candide thought himself in a dream; indeed, that he had been dreaming unluckily all his life, and that the present moment was the only agreeable part of it all.
The old woman returned very soon, supporting with difficulty a trembling woman of a majestic figure, brilliant with jewels, and covered with a veil.
“Take off that veil,” said the old woman to Candide.
The young man approaches, he raises the veil with a timid hand. Oh! what a moment! what surprise! he believes he beholds Miss Cunegonde? He really sees her! it is herself! His strength fails him, he cannot utter a word, but drops at her feet. Cunegonde falls upon the sofa. The old woman supplies a smelling bottle; they come to themselves and recover their speech. As they began with broken accents, with questions and answers interchangeably interrupted with sighs, with tears, and cries. The old woman desired they would make less noise and then she left them to themselves.
“What, is it you?” said Candide, “you live? I find you again in Portugal? then you have not been ravished? then they did not rip open your belly as Doctor Pangloss informed me?”
“Yes, they did,” said the beautiful Cunegonde; “but those two accidents are not always mortal.”
“But were your father and mother killed?”
“It is but too true,” answered Cunegonde, in tears.
“And your brother?”
“My brother also was killed.”
“And why are you in Portugal? and how did you know of my being here? And by what strange adventure did you contrive to bring me to this house?”
“I will tell you all that,” replied the lady, “but first of all let me know your history, since the innocent kiss you gave me and the kicks which you received.”
Candide respectfully obeyed her, and though he was still in a surprise, though his voice was feeble and trembling, though his back still pained him, yet he gave her a most ingenuous account of everything that had befallen him since the moment of their separation. Cunegonde lifted up her eyes to heaven; shed tears upon hearing of the death of the good Anabaptist and of Pangloss; after which she spoke as follows to Candide, who did not lose a word and devoured her with his eyes.
VIII. THE HISTORY OF CUNEGONDE.
“I was in bed and fast asleep when it pleased God to send the Bulgarians to our delightful castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh; they slew my father and brother, and cut my mother in pieces. A tall Bulgarian, six feet high, perceiving that I had fainted away at this sight, began to ravish me; this made me recover; I regained my senses, I cried, I struggled, I bit, I scratched, I wanted to tear out the tall Bulgarian’s eyes–not knowing that what happened at my father’s house was the usual practice of war. The brute gave me a cut in the left side with his hanger, and the mark is still upon me.”
“Ah! I hope I shall see it,” said honest Candide.
“You shall,” said Cunegonde, “but let us continue.”
“Do so,” replied Candide.
Thus she resumed the thread of her story:
“A Bulgarian captain came in, saw me all bleeding, and the soldier not in the least disconcerted. The captain flew into a passion at the disrespectful behaviour of the brute, and slew him on my body. He ordered my wounds to be dressed, and took me to his quarters as a prisoner of war. I washed the few shirts that he had, I did his cooking; he thought me very pretty–he avowed it; on the other hand, I must own he had a good shape, and a soft and white skin; but he had little or no mind or philosophy, and you might see plainly that he had never been instructed by Doctor Pangloss. In three months time, having lost all his money, and being grown tired of my company, he sold me to a Jew, named Don Issachar, who traded to Holland and Portugal, and had a strong passion for women. This Jew was much attached to my person, but could not triumph over it; I resisted him better than the Bulgarian soldier. A modest woman may be ravished once, but her virtue is strengthened by it. In order to render me more tractable, he brought me to this country house. Hitherto I had imagined that nothing could equal the beauty of Thunder-ten-Tronckh Castle; but I found I was mistaken.
“The Grand Inquisitor, seeing me one day at Mass, stared long at me, and sent to tell me that he wished to speak on private matters. I was conducted to his palace, where I acquainted him with the history of my family, and he represented to me how much it was beneath my rank to belong to an Israelite. A proposal was then made to Don Issachar that he should resign me to my lord. Don Issachar, being the court banker, and a man of credit, would hear nothing of it. The Inquisitor threatened him with an auto-da-fé. At last my Jew, intimidated, concluded a bargain, by which the house and myself should belong to both in common; the Jew should have for himself Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and the Inquisitor should have the rest of the week. It is now six months since this agreement was made. Quarrels have not been wanting, for they could not decide whether the night from Saturday to Sunday belonged to the old law or to the new. For my part, I have so far held out against both, and
I verily believe that this is the reason why I am still beloved.
“At length, to avert the scourge of earthquakes, and to intimidate Don Issachar, my Lord Inquisitor was pleased to celebrate an auto-da-fé. He did me the honour to invite me to the ceremony. I had a very good seat, and the ladies were served with refreshments between Mass and the execution. I was in truth seized with horror at the burning of those two Jews, and of the honest Biscayner who had married his godmother; but what was my surprise, my fright, my trouble, when I saw in a san-benito and mitre a figure which resembled that of Pangloss! I rubbed my eyes, I looked at him attentively, I saw him hung; I fainted. Scarcely had I recovered my senses than I saw you stripped, stark naked, and this was the height of my horror, consternation, grief, and despair. I tell you, truthfully, that your skin is yet whiter and of a more perfect colour than that of my Bulgarian captain. This spectacle redoubled all the feelings which overwhelmed and devoured me. I screamed out, and would have said, ‘Stop, barbarians!’ but my voice failed me, and my cries would have been useless after you had been severely whipped. How is it possible, said I, that the beloved Candide and the wise Pangloss should both be at Lisbon, the one to receive a hundred lashes, and the other to be hanged by the Grand Inquisitor, of whom I am the well-beloved? Pangloss most cruelly deceived me when he said that everything in the world is for the best.
“Agitated, lost, sometimes beside myself, and sometimes ready to die of weakness, my mind was filled with the massacre of my father, mother, and brother, with the insolence of the ugly Bulgarian soldier, with the stab that he gave me, with my servitude under the Bulgarian captain, with my hideous Don Issachar, with my abominable Inquisitor, with the execution of Doctor Pangloss, with the grand Miserere to which they whipped you, and especially with the kiss I gave you behind the screen the day that I had last seen you. I praised God for bringing you back to me after so many trials, and I charged my old woman to take care of you, and to conduct you hither as soon as possible. She has executed her commission perfectly well; I have tasted the inexpressible pleasure of seeing you again, of hearing you, of speaking with you. But you must be hungry, for myself, I am famished; let us have supper.”
They both sat down to table, and, when supper was over, they placed themselves once more on the sofa; where they were when Signor Don Issachar arrived. It was the Jewish Sabbath, and Issachar had come to enjoy his rights, and to explain his tender love.
IX. WHAT BECAME OF CUNEGONDE, CANDIDE, THE GRAND INQUISITOR, AND THE JEW.
This Issachar was the most choleric Hebrew that had ever been seen in Israel since the Captivity in Babylon.
“What!” said he, “thou bitch of a Galilean, was not the Inquisitor enough for thee? Must this rascal also share with me?”
In saying this he drew a long poniard which he always carried about him; and not imagining that his adversary had any arms he threw himself upon Candide: but our honest Westphalian had received a handsome sword from the old woman along with the suit of clothes. He drew his rapier, despite his gentleness, and laid the Israelite stone dead upon the cushions at Cunegonde’s feet.
“Holy Virgin!” cried she, “what will become of us? A man killed in my apartment! If the officers of justice come, we are lost!”
“Had not Pangloss been hanged,” said Candide, “he would give us good counsel in this emergency, for he was a profound philosopher. Failing him let us consult the old woman.”
She was very prudent and commenced to give her opinion when suddenly another little door opened. It was an hour after midnight, it was the beginning of Sunday. This day belonged to my lord the Inquisitor. He entered, and saw the whipped Candide, sword in hand, a dead man upon the floor, Cunegonde aghast, and the old woman giving counsel.
At this moment, the following is what passed in the soul of Candide, and how he reasoned:
If this holy man call in assistance, he will surely have me burnt; and Cunegonde will perhaps be served in the same manner; he was the cause of my being cruelly whipped; he is my rival; and, as I have now begun to kill, I will kill away, for there is no time to hesitate. This reasoning was clear and instantaneous; so that without giving time to the Inquisitor to recover from his surprise, he pierced him through and through, and cast him beside the Jew.
“Yet again!” said Cunegonde, “now there is no mercy for us, we are excommunicated, our last hour has come. How could you do it? you, naturally so gentle, to slay a Jew and a prelate in two minutes!”
“My beautiful young lady,” responded Candide, “when one is a lover, jealous and whipped by the Inquisition, one stops at nothing.”
The old woman then put in her word, saying:
“There are three Andalusian horses in the stable with bridles and saddles, let the brave Candide get them ready; madame has money, jewels; let us therefore mount quickly on horseback, though I can sit only on one buttock; let us set out for Cadiz, it is the finest weather in the world, and there is great pleasure in travelling in the cool of the night.”
Immediately Candide saddled the three horses, and Cunegonde, the old woman and he, travelled thirty miles at a stretch. While they were journeying, the Holy Brotherhood entered the house; my lord the Inquisitor was interred in a handsome church, and Issachar’s body was thrown upon a dunghill.
Candide, Cunegonde, and the old woman, had now reached the little town of Avacena in the midst of the mountains of the Sierra Morena, and were speaking as follows in a public inn.
X. IN WHAT DISTRESS CANDIDE, CUNEGONDE, AND THE OLD WOMAN ARRIVED AT CADIZ; AND OF THEIR EMBARKATION.
“Who was it that robbed me of my money and jewels?” said Cunegonde, all bathed in tears. “How shall we live? What shall we do? Where find Inquisitors or Jews who will give me more?”
“Alas!” said the old woman, “I have a shrewd suspicion of a reverend Grey Friar, who stayed last night in the same inn with us at Badajos. God preserve me from judging rashly, but he came into our room twice, and he set out upon his journey long before us.”
“Alas!” said Candide, “dear Pangloss has often demonstrated to me that the goods of this world are common to all men, and that each has an equal right to them. But according to these principles the Grey Friar ought to have left us enough to carry us through our journey. Have you nothing at all left, my dear Cunegonde?”
“Not a farthing,” said she.
“What then must we do?” said Candide.
“Sell one of the horses,” replied the old woman. “I will ride behind Miss Cunegonde, though I can hold myself only on one buttock, and we shall reach Cadiz.”
In the same inn there was a Benedictine prior who bought the horse for a cheap price. Candide, Cunegonde, and the old woman, having passed through Lucena, Chillas, and Lebrixa, arrived at length at Cadiz. A fleet was there getting ready, and troops assembling to bring to reason the reverend Jesuit Fathers of Paraguay, accused of having made one of the native tribes in the neighborhood of San Sacrament revolt against the Kings of Spain and Portugal. Candide having been in the Bulgarian service, performed the military exercise before the general of this little army with so graceful an address, with so intrepid an air, and with such agility and expedition, that he was given the command of a company of foot. Now, he was a captain! He set sail with Miss Cunegonde, the old woman, two valets, and the two Andalusian horses, which had belonged to the grand Inquisitor of Portugal. During their voyage they reasoned a good deal on the philosophy of poor Pangloss.
“We are going into another world,” said Candide; “and surely it must be there that all is for the best. For I must confess there is reason to complain a little of what passeth in our world in regard to both natural and moral philosophy.”
“I love you with all my heart,” said Cunegonde; “but my soul is still full of fright at that which I have seen and experienced.” “All will be well,” replied Candide; “the sea of this new world is already better than our European sea; it is calmer, the winds more regular. It is certainly the New World which is the best of all possible worlds.”
“God grant it,” said Cunegonde; “but I have been so horribly unhappy there that my heart is almost closed to hope.” “You complain,” said the old woman; “alas! you have not known such misfortunes as mine.”
Cunegonde almost broke out laughing, finding the good woman very amusing, for pretending to have been as unfortunate as she.
“Alas!” said Cunegonde, “my good mother, unless you have been ravished by two Bulgarians, have received two deep wounds in your belly, have had two castles demolished, have had two mothers cut to pieces before your eyes, and two of your lovers whipped at an auto-da-fé, I do not conceive how you could be more unfortunate than I. Add that I was born a baroness of seventy-two quarterings–and have been a cook!”
“Miss,” replied the old woman, “you do not know my birth; and were I to show you my backside, you would not talk in that manner, but would suspend your judgment.”
This speech having raised extreme curiosity in the minds of Cunegonde and Candide, the old woman spoke to them as follows.
XI. HISTORY OF THE OLD WOMAN.
“I had not always bleared eyes and red eyelids; neither did my nose always touch my chin; nor was I always a servant. I am the daughter of Pope Urban X, [ P. 42. The following posthumous note of Voltaire’s was first added to M. Beuchot’s edition of his works issued in 1829; “See the extreme discretion of the author; there has not been up to the present any Pope named Urban X.; he feared to give a bastard to a known Pope. What circumspection! What delicacy of conscience!” The last Pope Urban was the eighth, and he died in 1644] and of the Princess of Palestrina. Until the age of fourteen I was brought up in a palace, to which all the castles of your German barons would scarcely have served for stables; and one of my robes was worth more than all the magnificence of Westphalia. As I grew up I improved in beauty, wit, and every graceful accomplishment, in the midst of pleasures, hopes, and respectful homage. Already I inspired love. My throat was formed, and such a throat! white, firm, and shaped like that of the Venus of Medici; and what eyes! what eyelids! What black eyebrows! such flames darted from my dark pupils that they eclipsed the scintillation of the stars–as I was told by the poets in our part of the world. My waiting women, when dressing and undressing me, used to fall into an ecstasy, whether they viewed me before or behind; how glad would the gentlemen have been to perform that office for them!
“I was affianced to the most excellent Prince of Massa Carara. Such a prince! as handsome as myself, sweet-tempered, agreeable, brilliantly witty, and sparkling with love. I loved him as one loves for the first time–with idolatry, with transport. The nuptials were prepared. There was surprising pomp and magnificence; there were fêtes, carousals, continual opera bouffe; and all Italy composed sonnets in my praise, though not one of them was passable. I was just upon the point of reaching the summit of bliss, when an old marchioness who had been mistress to the Prince, my husband, invited him to drink chocolate with her. He died in less than two hours of most terrible convulsions. But this is only a bagatelle. My mother, in despair, and scarcely less afflicted than myself, determined to absent herself for some time from so fatal a place. She had a very fine estate in the neighbourhood of Gaeta. We embarked on board a galley of the country which was gilded like the great altar of St. Peter’s at Rome. A Sallee corsair swooped down and boarded us. Our men defended themselves like the Pope’s soldiers; they flung themselves upon their knees, and threw down their arms, begging of the corsair an absolution in articulo mortis.
“Instantly they were stripped as bare as monkeys; my mother, our maids of honour, and myself were all served in the same manner. It is amazing with what expedition those gentry undress people. But what surprised me most was, that they thrust their fingers into the part of our bodies which the generality of women suffer no other instrument but–pipes to enter. It appeared to me a very strange kind of ceremony; but thus one judges of things when one has not seen the world. I afterwards learnt that it was to try whether we had concealed any diamonds. This is the practice established from time immemorial, among civilised nations that scour the seas. I was informed that the very religious Knights of Malta never fail to make this search when they take any Turkish prisoners of either sex. It is a law of nations from which they never deviate.
“I need not tell you how great a hardship it was for a young princess and her mother to be made slaves and carried to Morocco. You may easily imagine all we had to suffer on board the pirate vessel. My mother was still very handsome; our maids of honour, and even our waiting women, had more charms than are to be found in all Africa. As for myself, I was ravishing, was exquisite, grace itself, and I was a virgin! I did not remain so long; this flower, which had been reserved for the handsome Prince of Massa Carara, was plucked by the corsair captain. He was an abominable negro, and yet believed that he did me a great deal of honour. Certainly the Princess of Palestrina and myself must have been very strong to go through all that we experienced until our arrival at Morocco. But let us pass on; these are such common things as not to be worth mentioning.
“Morocco swam in blood when we arrived. Fifty sons of the Emperor Muley-Ismael [P. 45. Muley-Ismael was Emperor of Morocco from 1672 to 1727, and was a notoriously cruel tyrant.] had each their adherents; this produced fifty civil wars, of blacks against blacks, and blacks against tawnies, and tawnies against tawnies, and mulattoes against mulattoes. In short it was a continual carnage throughout the empire.
“No sooner were we landed, than the blacks of a contrary faction to that of my captain attempted to rob him of his booty. Next to jewels and gold we were the most valuable things he had. I was witness to such a battle as you have never seen in your European climates. The northern nations have not that heat in their blood, nor that raging lust for women, so common in Africa. It seems that you Europeans have only milk in your veins; but it is vitriol, it is fire which runs in those of the inhabitants of Mount Atlas and the neighbouring countries. They fought with the fury of the lions, tigers, and serpents of the country, to see who should have us. A Moor seized my mother by the right arm, while my captain’s lieutenant held her by the left; a Moorish soldier had hold of her by one leg, and one of our corsairs held her by the other. Thus almost all our women were drawn in quarters by four men. My captain concealed me behind him; and with his drawn scimitar cut and slashed every one that opposed his fury. At length I saw all our Italian women, and my mother herself, torn, mangled, massacred, by the monsters who disputed over them. The slaves, my companions, those who had taken them, soldiers, sailors, blacks, whites, mulattoes, and at last my captain, all were killed, and I remained dying on a heap of dead. Such scenes as this were transacted through an extent of three hundred leagues–and yet they never missed the five prayers a day ordained by Mahomet.
“With difficulty I disengaged myself from such a heap of slaughtered bodies, and crawled to a large orange tree on the bank of a neighbouring rivulet, where I fell, oppressed with fright, fatigue, horror, despair, and hunger. Immediately after, my senses, overpowered, gave themselves up to sleep, which was yet more swooning than repose. I was in this state of weakness and insensibility, between life and death, when I felt myself pressed by something that moved upon my body. I opened my eyes, and saw a white man, of good countenance, who sighed, and who said between his teeth: ‘O che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni!'”[ P. 47. “Oh, what a misfortune to be an eunuch!”]
XII. THE ADVENTURES OF THE OLD WOMAN CONTINUED.
“Astonished and delighted to hear my native language, and no less surprised at what this man said, I made answer that there were much greater misfortunes than that of which he complained. I told him in a few words of the horrors which I had endured, and fainted a second time. He carried me to a neighbouring house, put me to bed, gave me food, waited upon me, consoled me, flattered me; he told me that he had never seen any one so beautiful as I, and that he never so much regretted the loss of what it was impossible to recover.
“‘I was born at Naples,’ said he, ‘there they geld two or three thousand children every year; some die of the operation, others acquire a voice more beautiful than that of women, and others are raised to offices of state [P. 48. Carlo Broschi, called Farinelli, an Italian singer, born at Naples in 1705, without being exactly Minister, governed Spain under Ferdinand VI.; he died in 1782. He has been made one of the chief persons in one of the comic operas of MM. Auber and Scribe]. This operation was performed on me with great success and I was chapel musician to madam, the Princess of Palestrina.’
“‘To my mother!’ cried I.
“‘Your mother!’ cried he, weeping. ‘What! can you be that young princess whom I brought up until the age of six years, and who promised so early to be as beautiful as you?’
“‘It is I, indeed; but my mother lies four hundred yards hence, torn in quarters, under a heap of dead bodies.’
“I told him all my adventures, and he made me acquainted with his; telling me that he had been sent to the Emperor of Morocco by a Christian power, to conclude a treaty with that prince, in consequence of which he was to be furnished with military stores and ships to help to demolish the commerce of other Christian Governments.
“‘My mission is done,’ said this honest eunuch; ‘I go to embark for Ceuta, and will take you to Italy. Ma che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni!
“I thanked him with tears of commiseration; and instead of taking me to Italy he conducted me to Algiers, where he sold me to the Dey. Scarcely was I sold, than the plague which had made the tour of Africa, Asia, and Europe, broke out with great malignancy in Algiers. You have seen earthquakes; but pray, miss, have you ever had the plague?”
“Never,” answered Cunegonde.
“If you had,” said the old woman, “you would acknowledge that it is far more terrible than an earthquake. It is common in Africa, and I caught it. Imagine to yourself the distressed situation of the daughter of a Pope, only fifteen years old, who, in less than three months, had felt the miseries of poverty and slavery, had been ravished almost every day, had beheld her mother drawn in quarters, had experienced famine and war, and was dying of the plague in Algiers. I did not die, however, but my eunuch, and the Dey, and almost the whole seraglio of Algiers perished.
“As soon as the first fury of this terrible pestilence was over, a sale was made of the Dey’s slaves; I was purchased by a merchant, and carried to Tunis; this man sold me to another merchant, who sold me again to another at Tripoli; from Tripoli I was sold to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Smyrna, and from Smyrna to Constantinople. At length I became the property of an Aga of the Janissaries, who was soon ordered away to the defence of Azof, then besieged by the Russians.
“The Aga, who was a very gallant man, took his whole seraglio with him, and lodged us in a small fort on the Palus Méotides, guarded by two black eunuchs and twenty soldiers. The Turks killed prodigious numbers of the Russians, but the latter had their revenge. Azof was destroyed by fire, the inhabitants put to the sword, neither sex nor age was spared; until there remained only our little fort, and the enemy wanted to starve us out. The twenty Janissaries had sworn they would never surrender. The extremities of famine to which they were reduced, obliged them to eat our two eunuchs, for fear of violating their oath. And at the end of a few days they resolved also to devour the women.
“We had a very pious and humane Iman, who preached an excellent sermon, exhorting them not to kill us all at once.
“‘Only cut off a buttock of each of those ladies,’ said he, ‘and you’ll fare extremely well; if you must go to it again, there will be the same entertainment a few days hence; heaven will accept of so charitable an action, and send you relief.’
“He had great eloquence; he persuaded them; we underwent this terrible operation. The Iman applied the same balsam to us, as he does to children after circumcision; and we all nearly died.
“Scarcely had the Janissaries finished the repast with which we had furnished them, than the Russians came in flat-bottomed boats; not a Janissary escaped. The Russians paid no attention to the condition we were in. There are French surgeons in all parts of the world; one of them who was very clever took us under his care–he cured us; and as long as I live I shall remember that as soon as my wounds were healed he made proposals to me. He bid us all be of good cheer, telling us that the like had happened in many sieges, and that it was according to the laws of war.
“As soon as my companions could walk, they were obliged to set out for Moscow. I fell to the share of a Boyard who made me his gardener, and gave me twenty lashes a day. But this nobleman having in two years’ time been broke upon the wheel along with thirty more Boyards for some broils at court, I profited by that event; I fled. I traversed all Russia; I was a long time an inn-holder’s servant at Riga, the same at Rostock, at Vismar, at Leipzig, at Cassel, at Utrecht, at Leyden, at the Hague, at Rotterdam. I waxed old in misery and disgrace, having only one-half of my posteriors, and always remembering I was a Pope’s daughter. A hundred times I was upon the point of killing myself; but still I loved life. This ridiculous foible is perhaps one of our most fatal characteristics; for is there anything more absurd than to wish to carry continually a burden which one can always throw down? to detest existence and yet to cling to one’s existence? in brief, to caress the serpent which devours us, till he has eaten our very heart?
“In the different countries which it has been my lot to traverse, and the numerous inns where I have been servant, I have taken notice of a vast number of people who held their own existence in abhorrence, and yet I never knew of more than eight who voluntarily put an end to their misery; three negroes, four Englishmen, and a German professor named Robek [P. 53. Jean Robeck, a Swede, who was born in 1672, will be found mentioned in Rousseau’s Nouvelle Héloïse. He drowned himself in the Weser at Bremen in 1729, and was the author of a Latin treatise on voluntary death, first printed in 1735]. I ended by being servant to the Jew, Don Issachar, who placed me near your presence, my fair lady. I am determined to share your fate, and have been much more affected with your misfortunes than with my own. I would never even have spoken to you of my misfortunes, had you not piqued me a little, and if it were not customary to tell stories on board a ship in order to pass away the time. In short, Miss Cunegonde, I have had experience, I know the world; therefore I advise you to divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story; and if there be one of them all, that has not cursed his life many a time, that has not frequently looked upon himself as the unhappiest of mortals, I give you leave to throw me headforemost into the sea.”
XIII. HOW CANDIDE WAS FORCED AWAY FROM HIS FAIR CUNEGONDE AND THE OLD WOMAN.
The beautiful Cunegonde having heard the old woman’s history, paid her all the civilities due to a person of her rank and merit. She likewise accepted her proposal, and engaged all the passengers, one after the other, to relate their adventures; and then both she and Candide allowed that the old woman was in the right.
“It is a great pity,” said Candide, “that the sage Pangloss was hanged contrary to custom at an ‘auto-da-fé’; he would tell us most amazing things in regard to the physical and moral evils that overspread earth and sea, and I should be able, with due respect, to make a few objections.”
While each passenger was recounting his story, the ship made her way. They landed at Buenos Ayres. Cunegonde, Captain Candide, and the old woman, waited on the Governor, Don Fernando d’Ibaraa, y Figueora, y Mascarenes, y Lampourdos, y Souza. This nobleman had a stateliness becoming a person who bore so many names. He spoke to men with so noble a disdain, carried his nose so loftily, raised his voice so unmercifully, assumed so imperious an air, and stalked with such intolerable pride, that those who saluted him were strongly inclined to give him a good drubbing. Cunegonde appeared to him the most beautiful he had ever met. The first thing he did was to ask whether she was not the captain’s wife. The manner in which he asked the question alarmed Candide; he durst not say she was his wife, because indeed she was not; neither durst he say she was his sister, because it was not so; and although this obliging lie had been formerly much in favour among the ancients, and although it could be useful to the moderns, his soul was too pure to betray the truth.
“Miss Cunegonde,” said he, “is to do me the honour to marry me, and we beseech your excellency to deign to sanction our marriage.”
Don Fernando d’Ibaraa, y Figueora, y Mascarenes, y Lampourdos, y Souza, turning up his moustachios, smiled mockingly, and ordered Captain Candide to go and review his company. Candide obeyed, and the Governor remained alone with Miss Cunegonde. He declared his passion, protesting he would marry her the next day in the face of the church, or otherwise, just as should be agreeable to herself. Cunegonde asked a quarter of an hour to consider of it, to consult the old woman, and to take her resolution.
The old woman spoke thus to Cunegonde:
“Miss, you have seventy-two quarterings, and not a farthing; it is now in your power to be wife to the greatest lord in South America, who has very beautiful moustachios. Is it for you to pique yourself upon inviolable fidelity? You have been ravished by Bulgarians; a Jew and an Inquisitor have enjoyed your favours. Misfortune gives sufficient excuse. I own, that if I were in your place, I should have no scruple in marrying the Governor and in making the fortune of Captain Candide.”
While the old woman spoke with all the prudence which age and experience gave, a small ship entered the port on board of which were an Alcalde and his alguazils, and this was what had happened.
As the old woman had shrewdly guessed, it was a Grey Friar who stole Cunegonde’s money and jewels in the town of Badajos, when she and Candide were escaping. The Friar wanted to sell some of the diamonds to a jeweller; the jeweller knew them to be the Grand Inquisitor’s. The Friar before he was hanged confessed he had stolen them. He described the persons, and the route they had taken. The flight of Cunegonde and Candide was already known. They were traced to Cadiz. A vessel was immediately sent in pursuit of them. The vessel was already in the port of Buenos Ayres. The report spread that the Alcalde was going to land, and that he was in pursuit of the murderers of my lord the Grand Inquisitor. The prudent old woman saw at once what was to be done.
“You cannot run away,” said she to Cunegonde, “and you have nothing to fear, for it was not you that killed my lord; besides the Governor who loves you will not suffer you to be ill-treated; therefore stay.”
She then ran immediately to Candide.
“Fly,” said she, “or in an hour you will be burnt.”
There was not a moment to lose; but how could he part from Cunegonde, and where could he flee for shelter?
XIV. HOW CANDIDE AND CACAMBO WERE RECEIVED BY THE JESUITS OF PARAGUAY.
Candide had brought such a valet with him from Cadiz, as one often meets with on the coasts of Spain and in the American colonies. He was a quarter Spaniard, born of a mongrel in Tucuman; he had been singing-boy, sacristan, sailor, monk, pedlar, soldier, and lackey. His name was Cacambo, and he loved his master, because his master was a very good man. He quickly saddled the two Andalusian horses.
“Come, master, let us follow the old woman’s advice; let us start, and run without looking behind us.”
Candide shed tears.
“Oh! my dear Cunegonde! must I leave you just at a time when the Governor was going to sanction our nuptials? Cunegonde, brought to such a distance what will become of you?”
“She will do as well as she can,” said Cacambo; “the women are never at a loss, God provides for them, let us run.”
“Whither art thou carrying me? Where shall we go? What shall we do without Cunegonde?” said Candide.
“By St. James of Compostella,” said Cacambo, “you were going to fight against the Jesuits; let us go to fight for them; I know the road well, I’ll conduct you to their kingdom, where they will be charmed to have a captain that understands the Bulgarian exercise. You’ll make a prodigious fortune; if we cannot find our account in one world we shall in another. It is a great pleasure to see and do new things.”
“You have before been in Paraguay, then?” said Candide.
“Ay, sure,” answered Cacambo, “I was servant in the College of the Assumption, and am acquainted with the government of the good Fathers as well as I am with the streets of Cadiz. It is an admirable government. The kingdom is upwards of three hundred leagues in diameter, and divided into thirty provinces; there the Fathers possess all, and the people nothing; it is a masterpiece of reason and justice. For my part I see nothing so divine as the Fathers who here make war upon the kings of Spain and Portugal, and in Europe confess those kings; who here kill Spaniards, and in Madrid send them to heaven; this delights me, let us push forward. You are going to be the happiest of mortals. What pleasure will it be to those Fathers to hear that a captain who knows the Bulgarian exercise has come to them!”
As soon as they reached the first barrier, Cacambo told the advanced guard that a captain wanted to speak with my lord the Commandant. Notice was given to the main guard, and immediately a Paraguayan officer ran and laid himself at the feet of the Commandant, to impart this news to him. Candide and Cacambo were disarmed, and their two Andalusian horses seized. The strangers were introduced between two files of musketeers; the Commandant was at the further end, with the three-cornered cap on his head, his gown tucked up, a sword by his side, and a spontoon [P. 60. A spontoon was a kind of half-pike, a military weapon carried by officers of infantry and used as a medium for signalling orders to the regiment] in his hand. He beckoned, and straightway the new-comers were encompassed by four-and-twenty soldiers. A sergeant told them they must wait, that the Commandant could not speak to them, and that the reverend Father Provincial does not suffer any Spaniard to open his mouth but in his presence, or to stay above three hours in the province.
“And where is the reverend Father Provincial?” said Cacambo.
“He is upon the parade just after celebrating mass,” answered the sergeant, “and you cannot kiss his spurs till three hours hence.”
“However,” said Cacambo, “the captain is not a Spaniard, but a German, he is ready to perish with hunger as well as myself; cannot we have something for breakfast, while we wait for his reverence?”
The sergeant went immediately to acquaint the Commandant with what he had heard.
“God be praised!” said the reverend Commandant, “since he is a German, I may speak to him; take him to my arbour.”
Candide was at once conducted to a beautiful summer-house, ornamented with a very pretty colonnade of green and gold marble, and with trellises, enclosing parraquets, humming-birds, fly-birds, guinea-hens, and all other rare birds. An excellent breakfast was provided in vessels of gold; and while the Paraguayans were eating maize out of wooden dishes, in the open fields and exposed to the heat of the sun, the reverend Father Commandant retired to his arbour.
He was a very handsome young man, with a full face, white skin but high in colour; he had an arched eyebrow, a lively eye, red ears, vermilion lips, a bold air, but such a boldness as neither belonged to a Spaniard nor a Jesuit. They returned their arms to Candide and Cacambo, and also the two Andalusian horses; to whom Cacambo gave some oats to eat just by the arbour, having an eye upon them all the while for fear of a surprise.
Candide first kissed the hem of the Commandant’s robe, then they sat down to table.
“You are, then, a German?” said the Jesuit to him in that language.
“Yes, reverend Father,” answered Candide.
As they pronounced these words they looked at each other with great amazement, and with such an emotion as they could not conceal.
“And from what part of Germany do you come?” said the Jesuit.
“I am from the dirty province of Westphalia,” answered Candide; “I was born in the Castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh.”
“Oh! Heavens! is it possible?” cried the Commandant.
“What a miracle!” cried Candide.
“Is it really you?” said the Commandant.
“It is not possible!” said Candide.
They drew back; they embraced; they shed rivulets of tears.
“What, is it you, reverend Father? You, the brother of the fair Cunegonde! You, that was slain by the Bulgarians! You, the Baron’s son! You, a Jesuit in Paraguay! I must confess this is a strange world that we live in. Oh, Pangloss! Pangloss! how glad you would be if you had not been hanged!”
The Commandant sent away the negro slaves and the Paraguayans, who served them with liquors in goblets of rock-crystal. He thanked God and St. Ignatius a thousand times; he clasped Candide in his arms; and their faces were all bathed with tears.
“You will be more surprised, more affected, and transported,” said Candide, “when I tell you that Cunegonde, your sister, whom you believe to have been ripped open, is in perfect health.”
“In your neighbourhood, with the Governor of Buenos Ayres; and I was going to fight against you.”
Every word which they uttered in this long conversation but added wonder to wonder. Their souls fluttered on their tongues, listened in their ears, and sparkled in their eyes. As they were Germans, they sat a good while at table, waiting for the reverend Father Provincial, and the Commandant spoke to his dear Candide as follows.
XV. HOW CANDIDE KILLED THE BROTHER OF HIS DEAR CUNEGONDE.
“I shall have ever present to my memory the dreadful day, on which I saw my father and mother killed, and my sister ravished. When the Bulgarians retired, my dear sister could not be found; but my mother, my father, and myself, with two maid-servants and three little boys all of whom had been slain, were put in a hearse, to be conveyed for interment to a chapel belonging to the Jesuits, within two leagues of our family seat. A Jesuit sprinkled us with some holy water; it was horribly salt; a few drops of it fell into my eyes; the father perceived that my eyelids stirred a little; he put his hand upon my heart and felt it beat. I received assistance, and at the end of three weeks I recovered. You know, my dear Candide, I was very pretty; but I grew much prettier, and the reverend Father Didrie,[ P. 64. Later Voltaire substituted the name of the Father Croust for that of Didrie. Of Croust he said in the Dictionnaire Philosophique that he was “the most brutal of the Society.”] Superior of that House, conceived the tenderest friendship for me; he gave me the habit of the order, some years after I was sent to Rome. The Father-General needed new levies of young German-Jesuits. The sovereigns of Paraguay admit as few Spanish Jesuits as possible; they prefer those of other nations as being more subordinate to their commands. I was judged fit by the reverend Father-General to go and work in this vineyard. We set out–a Pole, a Tyrolese, and myself. Upon my arrival I was honoured with a sub-deaconship and a lieutenancy. I am to-day colonel and priest. We shall give a warm reception to the King of Spain’s troops; I will answer for it that they shall be excommunicated and well beaten. Providence sends you here to assist us. But is it, indeed, true that my dear sister Cunegonde is in the neighbourhood, with the Governor of Buenos Ayres?”
Candide assured him on oath that nothing was more true, and their tears began afresh.
The Baron could not refrain from embracing Candide; he called him his brother, his saviour.
“Ah! perhaps,” said he, “we shall together, my dear Candide, enter the town as conquerors, and recover my sister Cunegonde.”
“That is all I want,” said Candide, “for I intended to marry her, and I still hope to do so.”
“You insolent!” replied the Baron, “would you have the impudence to marry my sister who has seventy-two quarterings! I find thou hast the most consummate effrontery to dare to mention so presumptuous a design!”
Candide, petrified at this speech, made answer:
“Reverend Father, all the quarterings in the world signify nothing; I rescued your sister from the arms of a Jew and of an Inquisitor; she has great obligations to me, she wishes to marry me; Master Pangloss always told me that all men are equal, and certainly I will marry her.”
“We shall see that, thou scoundrel!” said the Jesuit Baron de Thunder-ten-Tronckh, and that instant struck him across the face with the flat of his sword. Candide in an instant drew his rapier, and plunged it up to the hilt in the Jesuit’s belly; but in pulling it out reeking hot, he burst into tears.
“Good God!” said he, “I have killed my old master, my friend, my brother-in-law! I am the best-natured creature in the world, and yet I have already killed three men, and of these three two were priests.”
Cacambo, who stood sentry by the door of the arbour, ran to him.
“We have nothing more for it than to sell our lives as dearly as we can,” said his master to him, “without doubt some one will soon enter the arbour, and we must die sword in hand.”
Cacambo, who had been in a great many scrapes in his lifetime, did not lose his head; he took the Baron’s Jesuit habit, put it on Candide, gave him the square cap, and made him mount on horseback. All this was done in the twinkling of an eye.
“Let us gallop fast, master, everybody will take you for a Jesuit, going to give directions to your men, and we shall have passed the frontiers before they will be able to overtake us.”
He flew as he spoke these words, crying out aloud in Spanish:
“Make way, make way, for the reverend Father Colonel.”
XVI. ADVENTURES OF THE TWO TRAVELLERS, WITH TWO GIRLS, TWO MONKEYS, AND THE SAVAGES CALLED OREILLONS.
Candide and his valet had got beyond the barrier, before it was known in the camp that the German Jesuit was dead. The wary Cacambo had taken care to fill his wallet with bread, chocolate, bacon, fruit, and a few bottles of wine. With their Andalusian horses they penetrated into an unknown country, where they perceived no beaten track. At length they came to a beautiful meadow intersected with purling rills. Here our two adventurers fed their horses. Cacambo proposed to his master to take some food, and he set him an example.
“How can you ask me to eat ham,” said Candide, “after killing the Baron’s son, and being doomed never more to see the beautiful Cunegonde? What will it avail me to spin out my wretched days and drag them far from her in remorse and despair? And what will the Journal of Trevoux [P. 68. By the Journal of Trevoux Voltaire meant a critical periodical printed by the Jesuits at Trevoux under the title of Mémoires pour servir à l’Historie des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts. It existed from 1701 until 1767, during which period its title underwent many changes] say?”
While he was thus lamenting his fate, he went on eating. The sun went down. The two wanderers heard some little cries which seemed to be uttered by women. They did not know whether they were cries of pain or joy; but they started up precipitately with that inquietude and alarm which every little thing inspires in an unknown country. The noise was made by two naked girls, who tripped along the mead, while two monkeys were pursuing them and biting their buttocks. Candide was moved with pity; he had learned to fire a gun in the Bulgarian service, and he was so clever at it, that he could hit a filbert in a hedge without touching a leaf of the tree. He took up his double-barrelled Spanish fusil, let it off, and killed the two monkeys.
“God be praised! My dear Cacambo, I have rescued those two poor creatures from a most perilous situation. If I have committed a sin in killing an Inquisitor and a Jesuit, I have made ample amends by saving the lives of these girls. Perhaps they are young ladies of family; and this adventure may procure us great advantages in this country.”
He was continuing, but stopped short when he saw the two girls tenderly embracing the monkeys, bathing their bodies in tears, and rending the air with the most dismal lamentations.
“Little did I expect to see such good-nature,” said he at length to Cacambo; who made answer:
“Master, you have done a fine thing now; you have slain the sweethearts of those two young ladies.”
“The sweethearts! Is it possible? You are jesting, Cacambo, I can never believe it!”
“Dear master,” replied Cacambo; “you are surprised at everything. Why should you think it so strange that in some countries there are monkeys which insinuate themselves into the good graces of the ladies; they are a fourth part human, as I am a fourth part Spaniard.”
“Alas!” replied Candide, “I remember to have heard Master Pangloss say, that formerly such accidents used to happen; that these mixtures were productive of Centaurs, Fauns, and Satyrs; and that many of the ancients had seen such monsters, but I looked upon the whole as fabulous.”
“You ought now to be convinced,” said Cacambo, “that it is the truth, and you see what use is made of those creatures, by persons that have not had a proper education; all I fear is that those ladies will play us some ugly trick.”
These sound reflections induced Candide to leave the meadow and to plunge into a wood. He supped there with Cacambo; and after cursing the Portuguese inquisitor, the Governor of Buenos Ayres, and the Baron, they fell asleep on moss. On awaking they felt that they could not move; for during the night the Oreillons, who inhabited that country, and to whom the ladies had denounced them, had bound them with cords made of the bark of trees. They were encompassed by fifty naked Oreillons, armed with bows and arrows, with clubs and flint hatchets. Some were making a large cauldron boil, others were preparing spits, and all cried:
“A Jesuit! a Jesuit! we shall be revenged, we shall have excellent cheer, let us eat the Jesuit, let us eat him up!”
“I told you, my dear master,” cried Cacambo sadly, “that those two girls would play us some ugly trick.”
Candide seeing the cauldron and the spits, cried:
“We are certainly going to be either roasted or boiled. Ah! what would Master Pangloss say, were he to see how pure nature is formed? Everything is right, may be, but I declare it is very hard to have lost Miss Cunegonde and to be put upon a spit by Oreillons.”
Cacambo never lost his head.
“Do not despair,” said he to the disconsolate Candide, “I understand a little of the jargon of these people, I will speak to them.”
“Be sure,” said Candide, “to represent to them how frightfully inhuman it is to cook men, and how very un-Christian.”
“Gentlemen,” said Cacambo, “you reckon you are to-day going to feast upon a Jesuit. It is all very well, nothing is more unjust than thus to treat your enemies. Indeed, the law of nature teaches us to kill our neighbour, and such is the practice all over the world. If we do not accustom ourselves to eating them, it is because we have better fare. But you have not the same resources as we; certainly it is much better to devour your enemies than to resign to the crows and rooks the fruits of your victory. But, gentlemen, surely you would not choose to eat your friends. You believe that you are going to spit a Jesuit, and he is your defender. It is the enemy of your enemies that you are going to roast. As for myself, I was born in your country; this gentleman is my master, and, far from being a Jesuit, he has just killed one, whose spoils he wears; and thence comes your mistake. To convince you of the truth of what I say, take his habit and carry it to the first barrier of the Jesuit kingdom, and inform yourselves whether my master did not kill a Jesuit officer. It will not take you long, and you can always eat us if you find that I have lied to you. But I have told you the truth. You are too well acquainted with the principles of public law, humanity, and justice not to pardon us.”
The Oreillons found this speech very reasonable. They deputed two of their principal people with all expedition to inquire into the truth of the matter; these executed their commission like men of sense, and soon returned with good news. The Oreillons untied their prisoners, showed them all sorts of civilities, offered them girls, gave them refreshment, and reconducted them to the confines of their territories, proclaiming with great joy:
“He is no Jesuit! He is no Jesuit!”
Candide could not help being surprised at the cause of his deliverance.
“What people!” said he; “what men! what manners! If I had not been so lucky as to run Miss Cunegonde’s brother through the body, I should have been devoured without redemption. But, after all, pure nature is good, since these people, instead of feasting upon my flesh, have shown me a thousand civilities, when then I was not a Jesuit.”
XVII. ARRIVAL OF CANDIDE AND HIS VALET AT EL DORADO, AND WHAT THEY SAW THERE.
“You see,” said Cacambo to Candide, as soon as they had reached the frontiers of the Oreillons, “that this hemisphere is not better than the others, take my word for it; let us go back to Europe by the shortest way.”
“How go back?” said Candide, “and where shall we go? to my own country? The Bulgarians and the Abares are slaying all; to Portugal? there I shall be burnt; and if we abide here we are every moment in danger of being spitted. But how can I resolve to quit a part of the world where my dear Cunegonde resides?”
“Let us turn towards Cayenne,” said Cacambo, “there we shall find Frenchmen, who wander all over the world; they may assist us; God will perhaps have pity on us.”
It was not easy to get to Cayenne; they knew vaguely in which direction to go, but rivers, precipices, robbers, savages, obstructed them all the way. Their horses died of fatigue. Their provisions were consumed; they fed a whole month upon wild fruits, and found themselves at last near a little river bordered with cocoa trees, which sustained their lives and their hopes.
Cacambo, who was as good a counsellor as the old woman, said to Candide:
“We are able to hold out no longer; we have walked enough. I see an empty canoe near the river-side; let us fill it with cocoanuts, throw ourselves into it, and go with the current; a river always leads to some inhabited spot. If we do not find pleasant things we shall at least find new things.”
“With all my heart,” said Candide, “let us recommend ourselves to Providence.”
They rowed a few leagues, between banks, in some places flowery, in others barren; in some parts smooth, in others rugged. The stream ever widened, and at length lost itself under an arch of frightful rocks which reached to the sky. The two travellers had the courage to commit themselves to the current. The river, suddenly contracting at this place, whirled them along with a dreadful noise and rapidity. At the end of four-and-twenty hours they saw daylight again, but their canoe was dashed to pieces against the rocks. For a league they had to creep from rock to rock, until at length they discovered an extensive plain, bounded by inaccessible mountains. The country was cultivated as much for pleasure as for necessity. On all sides the useful was also the beautiful. The roads were covered, or rather adorned, with carriages of a glittering form and substance, in which were men and women of surprising beauty, drawn by large red sheep which surpassed in fleetness the finest coursers of Andalusia, Tetuan, and Mequinez. [ P. 76. It has been suggested that Voltaire, in speaking of red sheep, referred to the llama, a South American ruminant allied to the camel. These animals are sometimes of a reddish colour, and were notable as pack-carriers and for their fleetness]
“Here, however, is a country,” said Candide, “which is better than Westphalia.”
He stepped out with Cacambo towards the first village which he saw. Some children dressed in tattered brocades played at quoits on the outskirts. Our travellers from the other world amused themselves by looking on. The quoits were large round pieces, yellow, red, and green, which cast a singular lustre! The travellers picked a few of them off the ground; this was of gold, that of emeralds, the other of rubies–the least of them would have been the greatest ornament on the Mogul’s throne.
“Without doubt,” said Cacambo, “these children must be the king’s sons that are playing at quoits!”
The village schoolmaster appeared at this moment and called them to school.
“There,” said Candide, “is the preceptor of the royal family.”
The little truants immediately quitted their game, leaving the quoits on the ground with all their other playthings. Candide gathered them up, ran to the master, and presented them to him in a most humble manner, giving him to understand by signs that their royal highnesses had forgotten their gold and jewels. The schoolmaster, smiling, flung them upon the ground; then, looking at Candide with a good deal of surprise, went about his business.
The travellers, however, took care to gather up the gold, the rubies, and the emeralds.
“Where are we?” cried Candide. “The king’s children in this country must be well brought up, since they are taught to despise gold and precious stones.”
Cacambo was as much surprised as Candide. At length they drew near the first house in the village. It was built like an European palace. A crowd of people pressed about the door, and there were still more in the house. They heard most agreeable music, and were aware of a delicious odour of cooking. Cacambo went up to the door and heard they were talking Peruvian; it was his mother tongue, for it is well known that Cacambo was born in Tucuman, in a village where no other language was spoken.
“I will be your interpreter here,” said he to Candide; “let us go in, it is a public-house.”
Immediately two waiters and two girls, dressed in cloth of gold, and their hair tied up with ribbons, invited them to sit down to table with the landlord. They served four dishes of soup, each garnished with two young parrots; a boiled condor [P. 78. The first English translator curiously gives “a tourene of bouilli that weighed two hundred pounds,” as the equivalent of “un contour bouilli qui pesait deux cent livres.” The French editor of the 1869 reprint points out that the South American vulture, or condor, is meant; the name of this bird, it may be added, is taken from “cuntur,” that given it by the aborigines] which weighed two hundred pounds; two roasted monkeys, of excellent flavour; three hundred humming-birds in one dish, and six hundred fly-birds in another; exquisite ragouts; delicious pastries; the whole served up in dishes of a kind of rock-crystal. The waiters and girls poured out several liqueurs drawn from the sugar-cane.
Most of the company were chapmen and waggoners, all extremely polite; they asked Cacambo a few questions with the greatest circumspection, and answered his in the most obliging manner.
As soon as dinner was over, Cacambo believed as well as Candide that they might well pay their reckoning by laying down two of those large gold pieces which they had picked up. The landlord and landlady shouted with laughter and held their sides. When the fit was over:
“Gentlemen,” said the landlord, “it is plain you are strangers, and such guests we are not accustomed to see; pardon us therefore for laughing when you offered us the pebbles from our highroads in payment of your reckoning. You doubtless have not the money of the country; but it is not necessary to have any money at all to dine in this house. All hostelries established for the convenience of commerce are paid by the government. You have fared but very indifferently because this is a poor village; but everywhere else, you will be received as you deserve.”
Cacambo explained this whole discourse with great astonishment to Candide, who was as greatly astonished to hear it.
“What sort of a country then is this,” said they to one another; “a country unknown to all the rest of the world, and where nature is of a kind so different from ours? It is probably the country where all is well; for there absolutely must be one such place. And, whatever Master Pangloss might say, I often found that things went very ill in Westphalia.”
XVIII. WHAT THEY SAW IN THE COUNTRY OF EL DORADO.
Cacambo expressed his curiosity to the landlord, who made answer:
“I am very ignorant, but not the worse on that account. However, we have in this neighbourhood an old man retired from Court who is the most learned and most communicative person in the kingdom.”
At once he took Cacambo to the old man. Candide acted now only a second character, and accompanied his valet. They entered a very plain house, for the door was only of silver, and the ceilings were only of gold, but wrought in so elegant a taste as to vie with the richest. The antechamber, indeed, was only encrusted with rubies and emeralds, but the order in which everything was arranged made amends for this great simplicity.
The old man received the strangers on his sofa, which was stuffed with humming-birds’ feathers, and ordered his servants to present them with liqueurs in diamond goblets; after which he satisfied their curiosity in the following terms:
“I am now one hundred and seventy-two years old, and I learnt of my late father, Master of the Horse to the King, the amazing revolutions of Peru, of which he had been an eyewitness. The kingdom we now inhabit is the ancient country of the Incas, who quitted it very imprudently to conquer another part of the world, and were at length destroyed by the Spaniards.
“More wise by far were the princes of their family, who remained in their native country; and they ordained, with the consent of the whole nation, that none of the inhabitants should ever be permitted to quit this little kingdom; and this has preserved our innocence and happiness. The Spaniards have had a confused notion of this country, and have called it El Dorado and an Englishman, whose name was Sir Walter Raleigh, came very near it about a hundred years ago; but being surrounded by inaccessible rocks and precipices, we have hitherto been sheltered from the rapaciousness of European nations, who have an inconceivable passion for the pebbles and dirt of our land, for the sake of which they would murder us to the last man.”
The conversation was long: it turned chiefly on their form of government, their manners, their women, their public entertainments, and the arts. At length Candide, having always had a taste for metaphysics, made Cacambo ask whether there was any religion in that country.
The old man reddened a little.
“How then,” said he, “can you doubt it? Do you take us for ungrateful wretches?”
Cacambo humbly asked, “What was the religion in El Dorado?”
The old man reddened again.
“Can there be two religions?” said he. “We have, I believe, the religion of all the world: we worship God night and morning.”
“Do you worship but one God?” said Cacambo, who still acted as interpreter in representing Candide’s doubts.
“Surely,” said the old man, “there are not two, nor three, nor four. I must confess the people from your side of the world ask very extraordinary questions.”
Candide was not yet tired of interrogating the good old man; he wanted to know in what manner they prayed to God in El Dorado.
“We do not pray to Him,” said the worthy sage; “we have nothing to ask of Him; He has given us all we need, and we return Him thanks without ceasing.”
Candide having a curiosity to see the priests asked where they were. The good old man smiled.
“My friend,” said he, “we are all priests. The King and all the heads of families sing solemn canticles of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musicians.”
“What! have you no monks who teach, who dispute, who govern, who cabal, and who burn people that are not of their opinion?”
“We must be mad, indeed, if that were the case,” said the old man; “here we are all of one opinion, and we know not what you mean by monks.”
During this whole discourse Candide was in raptures, and he said to himself:
“This is vastly different from Westphalia and the Baron’s castle. Had our friend Pangloss seen El Dorado he would no longer have said that the castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh was the finest upon earth. It is evident that one must travel.”
After this long conversation the old man ordered a coach and six sheep to be got ready, and twelve of his domestics to conduct the travellers to Court.
“Excuse me,” said he, “if my age deprives me of the honour of accompanying you. The King will receive you in a manner that cannot displease you; and no doubt you will make an allowance for the customs of the country, if some things should not be to your liking.”
Candide and Cacambo got into the coach, the six sheep flew, and in less than four hours they reached the King’s palace situated at the extremity of the capital. The portal was two hundred and twenty feet high, and one hundred wide; but words are wanting to express the materials of which it was built. It is plain such materials must have prodigious superiority over those pebbles and sand which we call gold and precious stones.
Twenty beautiful damsels of the King’s guard received Candide and Cacambo as they alighted from the coach, conducted them to the bath, and dressed them in robes woven of the down of humming-birds; after which the great crown officers, of both sexes, led them to the King’s apartment, between two files of musicians, a thousand on each side. When they drew near to the audience chamber Cacambo asked one of the great officers in what way he should pay his obeisance to his Majesty; whether they should throw themselves upon their knees or on their stomachs; whether they should put their hands upon their heads or behind their backs; whether they should lick the dust off the floor; in a word, what was the ceremony?
“The custom,” said the great officer, “is to embrace the King, and to kiss him on each cheek.”
Candide and Cacambo threw themselves round his Majesty’s neck. He received them with all the goodness imaginable, and politely invited them to supper.
While waiting they were shown the city, and saw the public edifices raised as high as the clouds, the market places ornamented with a thousand columns, the fountains of spring water, those of rose water, those of liqueurs drawn from sugar-cane, incessantly flowing into the great squares, which were paved with a kind of precious stone, which gave off a delicious fragrancy like that of cloves and cinnamon. Candide asked to see the court of justice, the parliament. They told him they had none, and that they were strangers to lawsuits. He asked if they had any prisons, and they answered no. But what surprised him most and gave him the greatest pleasure was the palace of sciences, where he saw a gallery two thousand feet long, and filled with instruments employed in mathematics and physics.
After rambling about the city the whole afternoon, and seeing but a thousandth part of it, they were reconducted to the royal palace, where Candide sat down to table with his Majesty, his valet Cacambo, and several ladies. Never was there a better entertainment, and never was more wit shown at a table than that which fell from his Majesty. Cacambo explained the King’s bon-mots to Candide, and notwithstanding they were translated they still appeared to be bon-mots. Of all the things that surprised Candide this was not the least.
They spent a month in this hospitable place. Candide frequently said to Cacambo:
“I own, my friend, once more that the castle where I was born is nothing in comparison with this; but, after all, Miss Cunegonde is not here, and you have, without doubt, some mistress in Europe. If we abide here we shall only be upon a footing with the rest, whereas, if we return to our old world, only with twelve sheep laden with the pebbles of El Dorado, we shall be richer than all the kings in Europe. We shall have no more Inquisitors to fear, and we may easily recover Miss Cunegonde.”
This speech was agreeable to Cacambo; mankind are so fond of roving, of making a figure in their own country, and of boasting of what they have seen in their travels, that the two happy ones resolved to be no longer so, but to ask his Majesty’s leave to quit the country.
“You are foolish,” said the King. “I am sensible that my kingdom is but a small place, but when a person is comfortably settled in any part he should abide there. I have not the right to detain strangers. It is a tyranny which neither our manners nor our laws permit. All men are free. Go when you wish, but the going will be very difficult. It is impossible to ascend that rapid river on which you came as by a miracle, and which runs under vaulted rocks. The mountains which surround my kingdom are ten thousand feet high, and as steep as walls; they are each over ten leagues in breadth, and there is no other way to descend them than by precipices. However, since you absolutely wish to depart, I shall give orders to my engineers to construct a machine that will convey you very safely. When we have conducted you over the mountains no one can accompany you further, for my subjects have made a vow never to quit the kingdom, and they are too wise to break it. Ask me besides anything that you please.”
“We desire nothing of your Majesty,” says Candide, “but a few sheep laden with provisions, pebbles, and the earth of this country.”
The King laughed.
“I cannot conceive,” said he, “what pleasure you Europeans find in our yellow clay, but take as much as you like, and great good may it do you.”
At once he gave directions that his engineers should construct a machine to hoist up these two extraordinary men out of the kingdom. Three thousand good mathematicians went to work; it was ready in fifteen days, and did not cost more than twenty million sterling in the specie of that country. They placed Candide and Cacambo on the machine. There were two great red sheep saddled and bridled to ride upon as soon as they were beyond the mountains, twenty pack-sheep laden with provisions, thirty with presents of the curiosities of the country, and fifty with gold, diamonds, and precious stones. The King embraced the two wanderers very tenderly.
Their departure, with the ingenious manner in which they and their sheep were hoisted over the mountains, was a splendid spectacle. The mathematicians took their leave after conveying them to a place of safety, and Candide had no other desire, no other aim, than to present his sheep to Miss Cunegonde.
“Now,” said he, “we are able to pay the Governor of Buenos Ayres if Miss Cunegonde can be ransomed. Let us journey towards Cayenne. Let us embark, and we will afterwards see what kingdom we shall be able to purchase.”
XIX. WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM AT SURINAM AND HOW CANDIDE GOT ACQUAINTED WITH MARTIN.
Our travellers spent the first day very agreeably. They were delighted with possessing more treasure than all Asia, Europe, and Africa could scrape together. Candide, in his raptures, cut Cunegonde’s name on the trees. The second day two of their sheep plunged into a morass, where they and their burdens were lost; two more died of fatigue a few days after; seven or eight perished with hunger in a desert; and others subsequently fell down precipices. At length, after travelling a hundred days, only two sheep remained. Said Candide to Cacambo:
“My friend, you see how perishable are the riches of this world; there is nothing solid but virtue, and the happiness of seeing Cunegonde once more.”
“I grant all you say,” said Cacambo, “but we have still two sheep remaining, with more treasure than the King of Spain will ever have; and I see a town which I take to be Surinam, belonging to the Dutch. We are at the end of all our troubles, and at the beginning of happiness.”
As they drew near the town, they saw a negro stretched upon the ground, with only one moiety of his clothes, that is, of his blue linen drawers; the poor man had lost his left leg and his right hand.
“Good God!” said Candide in Dutch, “what art thou doing there, friend, in that shocking condition?”
“I am waiting for my master, Mynheer Vanderdendur, the famous merchant,” answered the negro.
“Was it Mynheer Vanderdendur,” said Candide, “that treated thee thus?”
“Yes, sir,” said the negro, “it is the custom. They give us a pair of linen drawers for our whole garment twice a year. When we work at the sugar-canes, and the mill snatches hold of a finger, they cut off the hand; and when we attempt to run away, they cut off the leg; both cases have happened to me. This is the price at which you eat sugar in Europe. Yet when my mother sold me for ten patagons[P. 90. Spanish half-crowns] on the coast of Guinea, she said to me: ‘My dear child, bless our fetiches, adore them for ever; they will make thee live happily; thou hast the honour of being the slave of our lords, the whites, which is making the fortune of thy father and mother.’ Alas! I know not whether I have made their fortunes; this I know, that they have not made mine. Dogs, monkeys, and parrots are a thousand times less wretched than I. The Dutch fetiches, who have converted me, declare every Sunday that we are all of us children of Adam–blacks as well as whites. I am not a genealogist, but if these preachers tell truth, we are all second cousins. Now, you must agree, that it is impossible to treat one’s relations in a more barbarous manner.”
“Oh, Pangloss!” cried Candide, “thou hadst not guessed at this abomination; it is the end. I must at last renounce thy optimism.”
“What is this optimism?” said Cacambo.
“Alas!” said Candide, “it is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong.”
Looking at the negro, he shed tears, and weeping, he entered Surinam.
The first thing they inquired after was whether there was a vessel in the harbour which could be sent to Buenos Ayres. The person to whom they applied was a Spanish sea-captain, who offered to agree with them upon reasonable terms. He appointed to meet them at a public-house, whither Candide and the faithful Cacambo went with their two sheep, and awaited his coming.
Candide, who had his heart upon his lips, told the Spaniard all his adventures, and avowed that he intended to elope with Miss Cunegonde.
“Then I will take good care not to carry you to Buenos Ayres,” said the seaman. “I should be hanged, and so would you. The fair Cunegonde is my lord’s favourite mistress.”
This was a thunderclap for Candide: he wept for a long while. At last he drew Cacambo aside.
“Here, my dear friend,” said he to him, “this thou must do. We have, each of us in his pocket, five or six millions in diamonds; you are more clever than I; you must go and bring Miss Cunegonde from Buenos Ayres. If the Governor makes any difficulty, give him a million; if he will not relinquish her, give him two; as you have not killed an Inquisitor, they will have no suspicion of you; I’ll get another ship, and go and wait for you at Venice; that’s a free country, where there is no danger either from Bulgarians, Abares, Jews, or Inquisitors.”
Cacambo applauded this wise resolution. He despaired at parting from so good a master, who had become his intimate friend; but the pleasure of serving him prevailed over the pain of leaving him. They embraced with tears; Candide charged him not to forget the good old woman. Cacambo set out that very same day. This Cacambo was a very honest fellow. Candide stayed some time longer in Surinam, waiting for another captain to carry him and the two remaining sheep to Italy. After he had hired domestics, and purchased everything necessary for a long voyage, Mynheer Vanderdendur, captain of a large vessel, came and offered his services.
“How much will you charge,” said he to this man, “to carry me straight to Venice–me, my servants, my baggage, and these two sheep?”
The skipper asked ten thousand piastres. Candide did not hesitate.
“Oh! oh!” said the prudent Vanderdendur to himself, “this stranger gives ten thousand piastres unhesitatingly! He must be very rich.”
Returning a little while after, he let him know that upon second consideration, he could not undertake the voyage for less than twenty thousand piastres.
“Well, you shall have them,” said Candide.
“Ay!” said the skipper to himself, “this man agrees to pay twenty thousand piastres with as much ease as ten.”
He went back to him again, and declared that he could not carry him to Venice for less than thirty thousand piastres.
“Then you shall have thirty thousand,” replied Candide.
“Oh! oh!” said the Dutch skipper once more to himself, “thirty thousand piastres are a trifle to this man; surely these sheep must be laden with an immense treasure; let us say no more about it. First of all, let him pay down the thirty thousand piastres; then we shall see.”
Candide sold two small diamonds, the least of which was worth more than what the skipper asked for his freight. He paid him in advance. The two sheep were put on board. Candide followed in a little boat to join the vessel in the roads. The skipper seized his opportunity, set sail, and put out to sea, the wind favouring him. Candide, dismayed and stupefied, soon lost sight of the vessel.
“Alas!” said he, “this is a trick worthy of the old world!”
He put back, overwhelmed with sorrow, for indeed he had lost sufficient to make the fortune of twenty monarchs. He waited upon the Dutch magistrate, and in his distress he knocked over loudly at the door. He entered and told his adventure, raising his voice with unnecessary vehemence. The magistrate began by fining him ten thousand piastres for making a noise; then he listened patiently, promised to examine into his affair at the skipper’s return, and ordered him to pay ten thousand piastres for the expense of the hearing.
This drove Candide to despair; he had, indeed, endured misfortunes a thousand times worse; the coolness of the magistrate and of the skipper who had robbed him, roused his choler and flung him into a deep melancholy. The villainy of mankind presented itself before his imagination in all its deformity, and his mind was filled with gloomy ideas. At length hearing that a French vessel was ready to set sail for Bordeaux, as he had no sheep laden with diamonds to take along with him he hired a cabin at the usual price. He made it known in the town that he would pay the passage and board and give two thousand piastres to any honest man who would make the voyage with him, upon condition that this man was the most dissatisfied with his state, and the most unfortunate in the whole province.
Such a crowd of candidates presented themselves that a fleet of ships could hardly have held them. Candide being desirous of selecting from among the best, marked out about one-twentieth of them who seemed to be sociable men, and who all pretended to merit his preference. He assembled them at his inn, and gave them a supper on condition that each took an oath to relate his history faithfully, promising to choose him who appeared to be most justly discontented with his state, and to bestow some presents upon the rest.
They sat until four o’clock in the morning. Candide, in listening to all their adventures, was reminded of what the old woman had said to him in their voyage to Buenos Ayres, and of her wager that there was not a person on board the ship but had met with very great misfortunes. He dreamed of Pangloss at every adventure told to him.
“This Pangloss,” said he, “would be puzzled to demonstrate his system. I wish that he were here. Certainly, if all things are good, it is in El Dorado and not in the rest of the world.”
At length he made choice of a poor man of letters, who had worked ten years for the booksellers of Amsterdam. He judged that there was not in the whole world a trade which could disgust one more.
This philosopher was an honest man; but he had been robbed by his wife, beaten by his son, and abandoned by his daughter who got a Portuguese to run away with her. He had just been deprived of a small employment, on which he subsisted; and he was persecuted by the preachers of Surinam, who took him for a Socinian [P. 99. Socinians; followers of the teaching of Lalius and Faustus Socinus (16th century), which denied the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personality of the devil, the native and total depravity of man, the vicarious atonement and eternal punishment. The Socinians are now represented by the Unitarians. Manicheans; followers of Manes or Manichæus (3rd century), a Persian who maintained that there are two principles, the one good and the other evil, each equally powerful in the government of the world]. We must allow that the others were at least as wretched as he; but Candide hoped that the philosopher would entertain him during the voyage. All the other candidates complained that Candide had done them great injustice; but he appeased them by giving one hundred piastres to each.
XX. WHAT HAPPENED AT SEA TO CANDIDE AND MARTIN.
The old philosopher, whose name was Martin, embarked then with Candide for Bordeaux. They had both seen and suffered a great deal; and if the vessel had sailed from Surinam to Japan, by the Cape of Good Hope, the subject of moral and natural evil would have enabled them to entertain one another during the whole voyage.
Candide, however, had one great advantage over Martin, in that he always hoped to see Miss Cunegonde; whereas Martin had nothing at all to hope. Besides, Candide was possessed of money and jewels, and though he had lost one hundred large red sheep, laden with the greatest treasure upon earth; though the knavery of the Dutch skipper still sat heavy upon his mind; yet when he reflected upon what he had still left, and when he mentioned the name of Cunegonde, especially towards the latter end of a repast, he inclined to Pangloss’s doctrine.
“But you, Mr. Martin,” said he to the philosopher, “what do you think of all this? what are your ideas on moral and natural evil?”
“Sir,” answered Martin, “our priests accused me of being a Socinian, but the real fact is I am a Manichean.” [ P. 99. Socinians; followers of the teaching of Lalius and Faustus Socinus (16th century), which denied the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personality of the devil, the native and total depravity of man, the vicarious atonement and eternal punishment. The Socinians are now represented by the Unitarians. Manicheans;followers of Manes or Manichæus (3rd century), a Persian who maintained that there are two principles, the one good and the other evil, each equally powerful in the government of the world]
“You jest,” said Candide; “there are no longer Manicheans in the world.”
“I am one,” said Martin. “I cannot help it; I know not how to think otherwise.”
“Surely you must be possessed by the devil,” said Candide.
“He is so deeply concerned in the affairs of this world,” answered Martin, “that he may very well be in me, as well as in everybody else; but I own to you that when I cast an eye on this globe, or rather on this little ball, I cannot help thinking that God has abandoned it to some malignant being. I except, always, El Dorado. I scarcely ever knew a city that did not desire the destruction of a neighbouring city, nor a family that did not wish to exterminate some other family. Everywhere the weak execrate the powerful, before whom they cringe; and the powerful beat them like sheep whose wool and flesh they sell. A million regimented assassins, from one extremity of Europe to the other, get their bread by disciplined depredation and murder, for want of more honest employment. Even in those cities which seem to enjoy peace, and where the arts flourish, the inhabitants are devoured by more envy, care, and uneasiness than are experienced by a besieged town. Secret griefs are more cruel than public calamities. In a word I have seen so much, and experienced so much that I am a Manichean.”
“There are, however, some things good,” said Candide.
“That may be,” said Martin; “but I know them not.”
In the middle of this dispute they heard the report of cannon; it redoubled every instant. Each took out his glass. They saw two ships in close fight about three miles off. The wind brought both so near to the French vessel that our travellers had the pleasure of seeing the fight at their ease. At length one let off a broadside, so low and so truly aimed, that the other sank to the bottom. Candide and Martin could plainly perceive a hundred men on the deck of the sinking vessel; they raised their hands to heaven and uttered terrible outcries, and the next moment were swallowed up by the sea.
“Well,” said Martin, “this is how men treat one another.”
“It is true,” said Candide; “there is something diabolical in this affair.”
While speaking, he saw he knew not what, of a shining red, swimming close to the vessel. They put out the long-boat to see what it could be: it was one of his sheep! Candide was more rejoiced at the recovery of this one sheep than he had been grieved at the loss of the hundred laden with the large diamonds of El Dorado.
The French captain soon saw that the captain of the victorious vessel was a Spaniard, and that the other was a Dutch pirate, and the very same one who had robbed Candide. The immense plunder which this villain had amassed, was buried with him in the sea, and out of the whole only one sheep was saved.
“You see,” said Candide to Martin, “that crime is sometimes punished. This rogue of a Dutch skipper has met with the fate he deserved.”
“Yes,” said Martin; “but why should the passengers be doomed also to destruction? God has punished the knave, and the devil has drowned the rest.”
The French and Spanish ships continued their course, and Candide continued his conversation with Martin. They disputed fifteen successive days, and on the last of those fifteen days, they were as far advanced as on the first. But, however, they chatted, they communicated ideas, they consoled each other. Candide caressed his sheep.
“Since I have found thee again,” said he, “I may likewise chance to find my Cunegonde.”
XXI. CANDIDE AND MARTIN, REASONING, DRAW NEAR THE COAST OF FRANCE.
At length they descried the coast of France.
“Were you ever in France, Mr. Martin?” said Candide.
“Yes,” said Martin, “I have been in several provinces. In some one-half of the people are fools, in others they are too cunning; in some they are weak and simple, in others they affect to be witty; in all, the principal occupation is love, the next is slander, and the third is talking nonsense.”
“But, Mr. Martin, have you seen Paris?”
“Yes, I have. All these kinds are found there. It is a chaos–a confused multitude, where everybody seeks pleasure and scarcely any one finds it, at least as it appeared to me. I made a short stay there. On my arrival I was robbed of all I had by pickpockets at the fair of St. Germain. I myself was taken for a robber and was imprisoned for eight days, after which I served as corrector of the press to gain the money necessary for my return to Holland on foot. I knew the whole scribbling rabble, the party rabble, the fanatic rabble. It is said that there are very polite people in that city, and I wish to believe it.”
“For my part, I have no curiosity to see France,” said Candide. “You may easily imagine that after spending a month at El Dorado I can desire to behold nothing upon earth but Miss Cunegonde. I go to await her at Venice. We shall pass through France on our way to Italy. Will you bear me company?”
“With all my heart,” said Martin. “It is said that Venice is fit only for its own nobility, but that strangers meet with a very good reception if they have a good deal of money. I have none of it; you have, therefore I will follow you all over the world.”
“But do you believe,” said Candide, “that the earth was originally a sea, as we find it asserted in that large book belonging to the captain?”
“I do not believe a word of it,” said Martin, “any more than I do of the many ravings which have been published lately.”
“But for what end, then, has this world been formed?” said Candide.
“To plague us to death,” answered Martin.
“Are you not greatly surprised,” continued Candide, “at the love which these two girls of the Oreillons had for those monkeys, of which I have already told you?”
“Not at all,” said Martin. “I do not see that that passion was strange. I have seen so many extraordinary things that I have ceased to be surprised.”
“Do you believe,” said Candide, “that men have always massacred each other as they do to-day, that they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?”
“Do you believe,” said Martin, “that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they have found them?”
“Yes, without doubt,” said Candide.
“Well, then,” said Martin, “if hawks have always had the same character why should you imagine that men may have changed theirs?”
“Oh!” said Candide, “there is a vast deal of difference, for free will—-“
And reasoning thus they arrived at Bordeaux.
XXII. WHAT HAPPENED IN FRANCE TO CANDIDE AND MARTIN.
Candide stayed in Bordeaux no longer than was necessary for the selling of a few of the pebbles of El Dorado, and for hiring a good chaise to hold two passengers; for he could not travel without his Philosopher Martin. He was only vexed at parting with his sheep, which he left to the Bordeaux Academy of Sciences, who set as a subject for that year’s prize, “to find why this sheep’s wool was red;” and the prize was awarded to a learned man of the North, who demonstrated by A plus B minus C divided by Z, that the sheep must be red, and die of the rot.
Meanwhile, all the travellers whom Candide met in the inns along his route, said to him, “We go to Paris.” This general eagerness at length gave him, too, a desire to see this capital; and it was not so very great a détour from the road to Venice.
He entered Paris by the suburb of St. Marceau, and fancied that he was in the dirtiest village of Westphalia.
Scarcely was Candide arrived at his inn, than he found himself attacked by a slight illness, caused by fatigue. As he had a very large diamond on his finger, and the people of the inn had taken notice of a prodigiously heavy box among his baggage, there were two physicians to attend him, though he had never sent for them, and two devotees who warmed his broths.
“I remember,” Martin said, “also to have been sick at Paris in my first voyage; I was very poor, thus I had neither friends, devotees, nor doctors, and I recovered.”
However, what with physic and bleeding, Candide’s illness became serious. A parson of the neighborhood came with great meekness to ask for a bill for the other world payable to the bearer. Candide would do nothing for him; but the devotees assured him it was the new fashion. He answered that he was not a man of fashion. Martin wished to throw the priest out of the window. The priest swore that they would not bury Candide. Martin swore that he would bury the priest if he continued to be troublesome. The quarrel grew heated. Martin took him by the shoulders and roughly turned him out of doors; which occasioned great scandal and a law-suit.
Candide got well again, and during his convalescence he had very good company to sup with him. They played high. Candide wondered why it was that the ace never came to him; but Martin was not at all astonished.
Among those who did him the honours of the town was a little Abbé of Perigord, one of those busybodies who are ever alert, officious, forward, fawning, and complaisant; who watch for strangers in their passage through the capital, tell them the scandalous history of the town, and offer them pleasure at all prices. He first took Candide and Martin to La Comédie, where they played a new tragedy. Candide happened to be seated near some of the fashionable wits. This did not prevent his shedding tears at the well-acted scenes. One of these critics at his side said to him between the acts:
“Your tears are misplaced; that is a shocking actress; the actor who plays with her is yet worse; and the play is still worse than the actors. The author does not know a word of Arabic, yet the scene is in Arabia; moreover he is a man that does not believe in innate ideas; and I will bring you, to-morrow, twenty pamphlets written against him.” [ P. 107. In the 1759 editions, in place of the long passage in brackets from here to page 215, there was only the following: “‘Sir,’ said the Perigordian Abbé to him, ‘have you noticed that young person who has so roguish a face and so fine a figure? You may have her for ten thousand francs a month, and fifty thousand crowns in diamonds.’ ‘I have only a day or two to give her,’ answered Candide, ‘because I have a rendezvous at Venice.’ In the evening after supper the insinuating Perigordian redoubled his politeness and attentions.”]
“How many dramas have you in France, sir?” said Candide to the Abbé.
“Five or six thousand.”
“What a number!” said Candide. “How many good?”
“Fifteen or sixteen,” replied the other.
“What a number!” said Martin.
Candide was very pleased with an actress who played Queen Elizabeth in a somewhat insipid tragedy [P. 108. The play referred to is supposed to be “Le Comte d’Essex,” by Thomas Corneille.] sometimes acted.
“That actress,” said he to Martin, “pleases me much; she has a likeness to Miss Cunegonde; I should be very glad to wait upon her.”
The Perigordian Abbé offered to introduce him. Candide, brought up in Germany, asked what was the etiquette, and how they treated queens of England in France.
“It is necessary to make distinctions,” said the Abbé. “In the provinces one takes them to the inn; in Paris, one respects them when they are beautiful, and throws them on the highway when they are dead.”[ P. 108. In France actors were at one time looked upon as excommunicated persons, not worthy of burial in holy ground or with Christian rites. In 1730 the “honours of sepulture” were refused to Mademoiselle Lecouvreur (doubtless the Miss Monime of this passage). Voltaire’s miscellaneous works contain a paper on the matter.]
“Queens on the highway!” said Candide.
“Yes, truly,” said Martin, “the Abbé is right. I was in Paris when Miss Monime passed, as the saying is, from this life to the other. She was refused what people call the honours of sepulture — that is to say, of rotting with all the beggars of the neighbourhood in an ugly cemetery; she was interred all alone by her company at the corner of the Rue de Bourgogne, which ought to trouble her much, for she thought nobly.”
“That was very uncivil,” said Candide.
“What would you have?” said Martin; “these people are made thus. Imagine all contradictions, all possible incompatibilities — you will find them in the government, in the law-courts, in the churches, in the public shows of this droll nation.”
“Is it true that they always laugh in Paris?” said Candide.
“Yes,” said the Abbé, “but it means nothing, for they complain of everything with great 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 I wept, and of the actors who gave me so much pleasure?”
“He is a bad character,” answered the Abbé, “who gains his livelihood by saying evil of all plays and of all books. He hates whatever succeeds, as the eunuchs hate those who enjoy; he is one of the serpents of literature who nourish themselves on dirt and spite; he is a folliculaire.”
“What is a folliculaire?” said Candide.
“It is,” said the Abbé, “a pamphleteer — a Fréron.”[ P. 109. Élie-Catherine Fréron was a French critic (1719-1776) who incurred the enmity of Voltaire. In 1752 Fréron, in Lettres sur quelques écrits du temps, wrote pointedly of Voltaire as one who chose to be all things to all men, and Voltaire retaliated by references such as these in Candide.]
Thus Candide, Martin, and the Perigordian conversed on the staircase, while watching every one go out after the performance.
“Although I am eager to see Cunegonde again,” said Candide, “I should like to sup with 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 you to the house of a lady of quality, and there you will know Paris as if you had lived in it for years.”
Candide, who was naturally curious, let himself be taken to this lady’s house, at the end of the Faubourg St. Honoré. The company was occupied in playing faro; a dozen melancholy punters held each in his hand a little pack of cards; a bad record of 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 player dog’s-eared his cards; she made them turn down the edges again with severe, but polite attention; she showed no vexation for fear of losing her customers. The lady insisted upon being called the Marchioness of Parolignac. Her daughter, aged fifteen, was among the punters, and notified with a covert glance the cheatings of the 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 at them; 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, honoured Candide with a gracious smile, and Martin with a condescending nod; she gave a seat 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 was not moved by his loss; the servants said among themselves, in the language of servants:–
“Some English lord is here this evening.”
The supper passed at first like most Parisian suppers, in silence, followed by a noise of words which could not be distinguished, then with pleasantries of which most were insipid, with false news, with bad reasoning, a little politics, and much evil speaking; they also discussed new books.
“Have you seen,” said the Perigordian Abbé, “the romance of Sieur Gauchat, doctor of divinity?”[ P. 111. Gabriel Gauchat (1709-1779), French ecclesiastical writer, was author of a number of works on religious subjects.]
“Yes,” answered one of the guests, “but I have not been able to finish it. We have a crowd of silly writings, but all together do not approach the impertinence of ‘Gauchat, Doctor of Divinity.’ I am so satiated with the great number of detestable books with which we are inundated that I am reduced to punting at faro.”
“And the Mélanges of Archdeacon Trublet,[ P. 112. Nicholas Charles Joseph Trublet (1697-1770) was a French writer whose criticism of Voltaire was revenged in passages such as this one in Candide, and one in the Pauvre Diable beginning: L’abbé Trublet avait alors le rage, D’être à Paris un petit personage.] what do you say of that?” said the Abbé.
“Ah!” said the Marchioness of Parolignac, “the wearisome mortal! How curiously he repeats to you all that the world knows! How heavily he discusses that which is not worth the trouble of lightly remarking upon! How, without wit, he appropriates the wit of others! How he spoils what he steals! How he disgusts me! But he will disgust me no longer — it is enough to have read a few of the Archdeacon’s pages.”
There was at table a wise man of taste, who supported the Marchioness. They spoke afterwards of tragedies; the lady asked why there were tragedies which were sometimes played and which could not be read. The man of taste explained very well how a piece could have some interest, and have almost no merit; he proved in few words that it was not enough to introduce one or two of those situations which one finds in all romances, and which always seduce the spectator, but that it was necessary to be new without being odd, often sublime and always natural, to know the human heart and to make it speak; to be a great poet without allowing any person in the piece to appear to be a poet; to know language perfectly–to speak it with purity, with continuous harmony and without rhythm ever taking anything from sense.
“Whoever,” added he, “does not observe all these rules can produce one or two tragedies, applauded at a theatre, but he will never be counted in the ranks of good writers. There are very few good tragedies; some are idylls in dialogue, well written and well rhymed, others political reasonings which lull to sleep, or amplifications which repel; others demoniac dreams in barbarous style, interrupted in sequence, with long apostrophes to the gods, because they do not know how to speak to men, with false maxims, with bombastic commonplaces!”
Candide listened with attention to this discourse, and conceived a great idea of the speaker, and as the Marchioness had taken care to place him beside her, he leaned towards her and took the liberty of asking who was the man who had spoken so well.
“He is a scholar,” said the lady, “who does not play, whom the Abbé sometimes brings to supper; he is perfectly at home among tragedies and books, and he has written a tragedy which was hissed, and a book of which nothing has ever been seen outside his bookseller’s shop excepting the copy which he dedicated to me.”
“The great man!” said Candide. “He is another Pangloss!”
Then, turning towards him, he said:
“Sir, you think doubtless that all is for the best in the moral and physical world, and that nothing could be otherwise than it is?”
“I, sir!” answered the scholar, “I know nothing of all that; I find that all goes awry with me; that no one knows either what is his rank, nor what is his condition, what he does nor what he ought to do; and that except supper, which is always gay, and where there appears to be enough concord, all the rest of the time is passed in impertinent quarrels; Jansenist against Molinist, Parliament against the Church, men of letters against men of letters, courtesans against courtesans, financiers against the people, wives against husbands, relatives against relatives — it is eternal war.”
“I have seen the worst,” Candide replied. “But a wise man, who since has had the misfortune to be hanged, taught me that all is marvellously well; these are but the shadows on a beautiful picture.”
“Your hanged man mocked the world,” said Martin. “The shadows are horrible blots.”
“They are men who make the blots,” said Candide, “and they cannot be be dispensed with.”
“It is not their fault then,” said Martin.
Most of the punters, who understood nothing of this language, drank, and Martin reasoned with the scholar, and Candide related some of his adventures to his hostess.
After supper the Marchioness took Candide into her boudoir, and made him sit upon a sofa.
“Ah, well!” said she to him, “you love desperately Miss Cunegonde of Thunder-ten-Tronckh?”
“Yes, madame,” answered Candide.
The Marchioness replied to him with a tender smile:
“You answer me like a young man from Westphalia. A Frenchman would have said, ‘It is true that I have loved Miss Cunegonde, but seeing you, madame, I think I no longer love her.'”
“Alas! madame,” said Candide, “I will answer you as you wish.”
“Your passion for her,” said the Marchioness, “commenced by picking up her handkerchief. I wish that you would pick up my garter.”
“With all my heart,” said Candide. And he picked it up.
“But I wish that you would put it on,” said the lady.
And Candide put it on.
“You see,” said she, “you are a foreigner. I sometimes make my Parisian lovers languish for fifteen days, but I give myself to you the first night because one must do the honours of one’s country to a young man from Westphalia.”
The lady having perceived two enormous diamonds upon the hands of the young foreigner praised them with such good faith that from Candide’s fingers they passed to her own.
Candide, returning with the Perigordian Abbé, felt some remorse in having been unfaithful to Miss Cunegonde. The Abbé sympathised in his trouble; he had had but a light part of the fifty thousand francs lost at play and of the value of the two brilliants, half given, half extorted. His design was to profit as much as he could by the advantages which the acquaintance of Candide could procure for him. He spoke much of Cunegonde, and Candide told him that he should ask forgiveness of that beautiful one for his infidelity when he should see her in Venice.
The Abbé redoubled his politeness and attentions, and took a tender interest in all that Candide said, in all that he did, in all that he wished to do.
“And so, sir, you have a rendezvous at Venice?”
“Yes, monsieur Abbé,” answered Candide. “It is absolutely necessary that I go to meet Miss Cunegonde.”
And then the pleasure of talking of that which he loved induced him to relate, according to his custom, part of his adventures with the fair Westphalian.
“I believe,” said the Abbé, “that Miss Cunegonde has a great deal of wit, and that she writes charming letters?”
“I have never received any from her,” said Candide, “for being expelled from the castle on her account I had not an opportunity for writing to her. Soon after that I heard she was dead; then I found her alive; then I lost her again; and last of all, I sent an express to her two thousand five hundred leagues from here, and I wait for an answer.”
The Abbé listened attentively, and seemed to be in a brown study. He soon took his leave of the two foreigners after a most tender embrace. The following day Candide received, on awaking, a letter couched in these terms:
“My very dear love, for eight days I have been ill in this town. I learn that you are here. I would fly to your arms if I could but move. I was informed of your passage at Bordeaux, where I left faithful Cacambo and the old woman, who are to follow me very soon. The Governor of Buenos Ayres has taken all, but there remains to me your heart. Come! Your presence will either give me life or kill me with pleasure.”
This charming, this unhoped-for letter transported Candide with an inexpressible joy, and the illness of his dear Cunegonde overwhelmed him with grief. Divided between those two passions, he took his gold and his diamonds and hurried away, with Martin, to the hotel where Miss Cunegonde was lodged. He entered her room trembling, his heart palpitating, his voice sobbing; he wished to open the curtains of the bed, and asked for a light.
“Take care what you do,” said the servant-maid; “the light hurts her,” and immediately she drew the curtain again.
“My dear Cunegonde,” said Candide, weeping, “how are you? If you cannot see me, at least speak to me.”
“She cannot speak,” said the maid.
The lady then put a plump hand out from the bed, and Candide bathed it with his tears and afterwards filled it with diamonds, leaving a bag of gold upon the easy chair.
In the midst of these transports in came an officer, followed by the Abbé and a file of soldiers.
“There,” said he, “are the two suspected foreigners,” and at the same time he ordered them to be seized and carried to prison.
“Travellers are not treated thus in El Dorado,” said Candide.
“I am more a Manichean now than ever,” said Martin.
“But pray, sir, where are you going to carry us?” said Candide.
“To a dungeon,” answered the officer.
Martin, having recovered himself a little, judged that the lady who acted the part of Cunegonde was a cheat, that the Perigordian Abbé was a knave who had imposed upon the honest simplicity of Candide, and that the officer was another knave whom they might easily silence.
Candide, advised by Martin and impatient to see the real Cunegonde, rather than expose himself before a court of justice, proposed to the officer to give him three small diamonds, each worth about three thousand pistoles.
“Ah, sir,” said the man with the ivory baton, “had you committed all the imaginable crimes you would be to me the most honest man in the world.
Three diamonds! Each worth three thousand pistoles! Sir, instead of carrying you to jail I would lose my life to serve you. There are orders for arresting all foreigners, but leave it to me. I have a brother at Dieppe in Normandy! I’ll conduct you thither, and if you have a diamond to give him he’ll take as much care of you as I would.”
“And why,” said Candide, “should all foreigners be arrested?”
“It is,” the Perigordian Abbé then made answer, “because a poor beggar of the country of Atrébatie [P. 120. Damiens, who attempted the life of Louis XV. in 1757, was born at Arras, capital of Artois (Atrébatie).] heard some foolish things said. This induced him to commit a parricide, not such as that of 1610 in the month of May, [ P. 120. On May 14, 1610, Ravaillac assassinated Henry VI.] but such as that of 1594 in the month of December,[ P. 120. On December 27, 1594, Jean Châtel attempted to assassinate Henry IV.] and such as others which have been committed in other years and other months by other poor devils who had heard nonsense spoken.”
The officer then explained what the Abbé meant.
“Ah, the monsters!” cried Candide. “What horrors among a people who dance and sing! Is there no way of getting quickly out of this country where monkeys provoke tigers? I have seen no bears in my country, but men I have beheld nowhere except in El Dorado. In the name of God, sir, conduct me to Venice, where I am to await Miss Cunegonde.”
“I can conduct you no further than lower Normandy,” said the officer.
Immediately he ordered his irons to be struck off, acknowledged himself mistaken, sent away his men, set out with Candide and Martin for Dieppe, and left them in the care of his brother.
There was then a small Dutch ship in the harbour. The Norman, who by the virtue of three more diamonds had become the most subservient of men, put Candide and his attendants on board a vessel that was just ready to set sail for Portsmouth in England.
This was not the way to Venice, but Candide thought he had made his way out of hell, and reckoned that he would soon have an opportunity for resuming his journey.
XXIII. CANDIDE AND MARTIN TOUCHED UPON THE COAST OF ENGLAND, AND WHAT THEY SAW THERE.
“Ah, Pangloss! Pangloss! Ah, Martin! Martin! Ah, my dear Cunegonde, what sort of a world is this?” said Candide on board the Dutch ship.
“Something very foolish and abominable,” said Martin.
“You know England? Are they as foolish there as in France?”
“It is another kind of folly,” said Martin. “You know that these two nations are at war for a few acres of snow in Canada, [ P. 122. This same curiously inept criticism of the war which cost France her American provinces occurs in Voltaire’s Memoirs, wherein he says, “In 1756 England made a piratical war upon France for some acres of snow.” See also his Précis du Siècle de Louis XV.] and that they spend over this beautiful war much more than Canada is worth. To tell you exactly, whether there are more people fit to send to a madhouse in one country than the other, is what my imperfect intelligence will not permit. I only know in general that the people we are going to see are very atrabilious.”
Talking thus they arrived at Portsmouth. The coast was lined with crowds of people, whose eyes were fixed on a fine man kneeling, with his eyes bandaged, on board one of the men of war in the harbour. Four soldiers stood opposite to this man; each of them fired three balls at his head, with all the calmness in the world; and the whole assembly went away very well satisfied.
“What is all this?” said Candide; “and what demon is it that exercises his empire in this country?”
He then asked who was that fine man who had been killed with so much ceremony. They answered, he was an Admiral.[ P. 123. Admiral Byng was shot on March 14, 1757.]
“And why kill this Admiral?”
“It is because he did not kill a sufficient number of men himself. He gave battle to a French Admiral; and it has been proved that he was not near enough to him.”
“But,” replied Candide, “the French Admiral was as far from the English Admiral.”
“There is no doubt of it; but in this country it is found good, from time to time, to kill one Admiral to encourage the others.”
Candide was so shocked and bewildered by what he saw and heard, that he would not set foot on shore, and he made a bargain with the Dutch skipper (were he even to rob him like the Surinam captain) to conduct him without delay to Venice.
The skipper was ready in two days. They coasted France; they passed in sight of Lisbon, and Candide trembled. They passed through the Straits, and entered the Mediterranean. At last they landed at Venice.
“God be praised!” said Candide, embracing Martin. “It is here that I shall see again my beautiful Cunegonde. I trust Cacambo as myself. All is well, all will be well, all goes as well as possible.”
XXIV. OF PAQUETTE AND FRIAR GIROFLÉE.
Upon their arrival at Venice, Candide went to search for Cacambo at every inn and coffee-house, and among all the ladies of pleasure, but to no purpose. He sent every day to inquire on all the ships that came in. But there was no news of Cacambo.
“What!” said he to Martin, “I have had time to voyage from Surinam to Bordeaux, to go from Bordeaux to Paris, from Paris to Dieppe, from Dieppe to Portsmouth, to coast along Portugal and Spain, to cross the whole Mediterranean, to spend some months, and yet the beautiful Cunegonde has not arrived! Instead of her I have only met a Parisian wench and a Perigordian Abbé. Cunegonde is dead without doubt, and there is nothing for me but to die. Alas! how much better it would have been for me to have remained in the paradise of El Dorado than to come back to this cursed Europe! You are in the right, my dear Martin: all is misery and illusion.”
He fell into a deep melancholy, and neither went to see the opera, nor any of the other diversions of the Carnival; nay, he was proof against the temptations of all the ladies.
“You are in truth very simple,” said Martin to him, “if you imagine that a mongrel valet, who has five or six millions in his pocket, will go to the other end of the world to seek your mistress and bring her to you to Venice. If he find her, he will keep her to himself; if he do not find her he will get another. I advise you to forget your valet Cacambo and your mistress Cunegonde.”
Martin was not consoling. Candide’s melancholy increased; and Martin continued to prove to him that there was very little virtue or happiness upon earth, except perhaps in El Dorado, where nobody could gain admittance.
While they were disputing on this important subject and waiting for Cunegonde, Candide saw a young Theatin friar in St. Mark’s Piazza, holding a girl on his arm. The Theatin looked fresh coloured, plump, and vigorous; his eyes were sparkling, his air assured, his look lofty, and his step bold. The girl was very pretty, and sang; she looked amorously at her Theatin, and from time to time pinched his fat cheeks.
“At least you will allow me,” said Candide to Martin, “that these two are happy. Hitherto I have met with none but unfortunate people in the whole habitable globe, except in El Dorado; but as to this pair, I would venture to lay a wager that they are very happy.”
“I lay you they are not,” said Martin.
“We need only ask them to dine with us,” said Candide, “and you will see whether I am mistaken.”
Immediately he accosted them, presented his compliments, and invited them to his inn to eat some macaroni, with Lombard partridges, and caviare, and to drink some Montepulciano, Lachrymæ Christi, Cyprus and Samos wine. The girl blushed, the Theatin accepted the invitation and she followed him, casting her eyes on Candide with confusion and surprise, and dropping a few tears. No sooner had she set foot in Candide’s apartment than she cried out:
“Ah! Mr. Candide does not know Paquette again.”
Candide had not viewed her as yet with attention, his thoughts being entirely taken up with Cunegonde; but recollecting her as she spoke.
“Alas!” said he, “my poor child, it is you who reduced Doctor Pangloss to the beautiful condition in which I saw him?”
“Alas! it was I, sir, indeed,” answered Paquette. “I see that you have heard all. I have been informed of the frightful disasters that befell the family of my lady Baroness, and the fair Cunegonde. I swear to you that my fate has been scarcely less sad. I was very innocent when you knew me. A Grey Friar, who was my confessor, easily seduced me. The consequences were terrible. I was obliged to quit the castle some time after the Baron had sent you away with kicks on the backside. If a famous surgeon had not taken compassion on me, I should have died. For some time I was this surgeon’s mistress, merely out of gratitude. His wife, who was mad with jealousy, beat me every day unmercifully; she was a fury. The surgeon was one of the ugliest of men, and I the most wretched of women, to be continually beaten for a man I did not love. You know, sir, what a dangerous thing it is for an ill-natured woman to be married to a doctor. Incensed at the behaviour of his wife, he one day gave her so effectual a remedy to cure her of a slight cold, that she died two hours after, in most horrid convulsions. The wife’s relations prosecuted the husband; he took flight, and I was thrown into jail. My innocence would not have saved me if I had not been good-looking. The judge set me free, on condition that he succeeded the surgeon. I was soon supplanted by a rival, turned out of doors quite destitute, and obliged to continue this abominable trade, which appears so pleasant to you men, while to us women it is the utmost abyss of misery. I have come to exercise the profession at Venice. Ah! sir, if you could only imagine what it is to be obliged to caress indifferently an old merchant, a lawyer, a monk, a gondolier, an abbé, to be exposed to abuse and insults; to be often reduced to borrowing a petticoat, only to go and have it raised by a disagreeable man; to be robbed by one of what one has earned from another; to be subject to the extortions of the officers of justice; and to have in prospect only a frightful old age, a hospital, and a dung-hill; you would conclude that I am one of the most unhappy creatures in the world.”[ P. 129. Commenting upon this passage, M. Sarcey says admirably: “All is there! In those ten lines Voltaire has gathered all the griefs and all the terrors of these creatures; the picture is admirable for its truth and power! But do you not feel the pity and sympathy of the painter? Here irony becomes sad, and in a way an avenger. Voltaire cries out with horror against the society which throws some of its members into such an abyss. He has his ‘Bartholomew’ fever; we tremble with him through contagion.”]
Paquette thus opened her heart to honest Candide, in the presence of Martin, who said to his friend:
“You see that already I have won half the wager.”
Friar Giroflée stayed in the dining-room, and drank a glass or two of wine while he was waiting for dinner.
“But,” said Candide to Paquette, “you looked so gay and content when I met you; you sang and you behaved so lovingly to the Theatin, that you seemed to me as happy as you pretend to be now the reverse.”
“Ah! sir,” answered Paquette, “this is one of the miseries of the trade. Yesterday I was robbed and beaten by an officer; yet to-day I must put on good humour to please a friar.”
Candide wanted no more convincing; he owned that Martin was in the right. They sat down to table with Paquette and the Theatin; the repast was entertaining; and towards the end they conversed with all confidence.
“Father,” said Candide to the Friar, “you appear to me to enjoy a state that all the world might envy; the flower of health shines in your face, your expression makes plain your happiness; you have a very pretty girl for your recreation, and you seem well satisfied with your state as a Theatin.”
“My faith, sir,” said Friar Giroflée, “I wish that all the Theatins were at the bottom of the sea. I have been tempted a hundred times to set fire to the convent, and go and become a Turk. My parents forced me at the age of fifteen to put on this detestable habit, to increase the fortune of a cursed elder brother, whom God confound. Jealousy, discord, and fury, dwell in the convent. It is true I have preached a few bad sermons that have brought me in a little money, of which the prior stole half, while the rest serves to maintain my girls; but when I return at night to the monastery, I am ready to dash my head against the walls of the dormitory; and all my fellows are in the same case.”
Martin turned towards Candide with his usual coolness.
“Well,” said he, “have I not won the whole wager?”
Candide gave two thousand piastres to Paquette, and one thousand to Friar Giroflée.
“I’ll answer for it,” said he, “that with this they will be happy.”
“I do not believe it at all,” said Martin; “you will, perhaps, with these piastres only render them the more unhappy.”
“Let that be as it may,” said Candide, “but one thing consoles me. I see that we often meet with those whom we expected never to see more; so that, perhaps, as I have found my red sheep and Paquette, it may well be that I shall also find Cunegonde.”
“I wish,” said Martin, “she may one day make you very happy; but I doubt it very much.”
“You are very hard of belief,” said Candide.
“I have lived,” said Martin.
“You see those gondoliers,” said Candide, “are they not perpetually singing?”
“You do not see them,” said Martin, “at home with their wives and brats. The Doge has his troubles, the gondoliers have theirs. It is true that, all things considered, the life of a gondolier is preferable to that of a Doge; but I believe the difference to be so trifling that it is not worth the trouble of examining.”
“People talk,” said Candide, “of the Senator Pococurante, who lives in that fine palace on the Brenta, where he entertains foreigners in the politest manner. They pretend that this man has never felt any uneasiness.”
“I should be glad to see such a rarity,” said Martin.
Candide immediately sent to ask the Lord Pococurante permission to wait upon him the next day.
XXV. THE VISIT TO LORD POCOCURANTE, A NOBLE VENETIAN.
Candide and Martin went in a gondola on the Brenta, and arrived at the palace of the noble Signor Pococurante. The gardens, laid out with taste, were adorned with fine marble statues. The palace was beautifully built. The master of the house was a man of sixty, and very rich. He received the two travellers with polite indifference, which put Candide a little out of countenance, but was not at all disagreeable to Martin.
First, two pretty girls, very neatly dressed, served them with chocolate, which was frothed exceedingly well. Candide could not refrain from commending their beauty, grace, and address.
“They are good enough creatures,” said the Senator. “I make them lie with me sometimes, for I am very tired of the ladies of the town, of their coquetries, of their jealousies, of their quarrels, of their humours, of their pettinesses, of their prides, of their follies, and of the sonnets which one must make, or have made, for them. But after all, these two girls begin to weary me.”
After breakfast, Candide walking into a long gallery was surprised by the beautiful pictures. He asked, by what master were the two first.
“They are by Raphael,” said the Senator. “I bought them at a great price, out of vanity, some years ago. They are said to be the finest things in Italy, but they do not please me at all. The colours are too dark, the figures are not sufficiently rounded, nor in good relief; the draperies in no way resemble stuffs. In a word, whatever may be said, I do not find there a true imitation of nature. I only care for a picture when I think I see nature itself; and there are none of this sort. I have a great many pictures, but I prize them very little.”
While they were waiting for dinner Pococurante ordered a concert. Candide found the music delicious.
“This noise,” said the Senator, “may amuse one for half an hour; but if it were to last longer it would grow tiresome to everybody, though they durst not own it. Music, to-day, is only the art of executing difficult things, and that which is only difficult cannot please long. Perhaps I should be fonder of the opera if they had not found the secret of making of it a monster which shocks me. Let who will go to see bad tragedies set to music, where the scenes are contrived for no other end than to introduce two or three songs ridiculously out of place, to show off an actress’s voice. Let who will, or who can, die away with pleasure at the sight of an eunuch quavering the rôle of Cæsar, or of Cato, and strutting awkwardly upon the stage. For my part I have long since renounced those paltry entertainments which constitute the glory of modern Italy, and are purchased so dearly by sovereigns.”
Candide disputed the point a little, but with discretion. Martin was entirely of the Senator’s opinion.
They sat down to table, and after an excellent dinner they went into the library. Candide, seeing a Homer magnificently bound, commended the virtuoso on his good taste.
“There,” said he, “is a book that was once the delight of the great Pangloss, the best philosopher in Germany.”
“It is not mine,” answered Pococurante coolly. “They used at one time to make me believe that I took a pleasure in reading him. But that continual repetition of battles, so extremely like one another; those gods that are always active without doing anything decisive; that Helen who is the cause of the war, and who yet scarcely appears in the piece; that Troy, so long besieged without being taken; all these together caused me great weariness. I have sometimes asked learned men whether they were not as weary as I of that work. Those who were sincere have owned to me that the poem made them fall asleep; yet it was necessary to have it in their library as a monument of antiquity, or like those rusty medals which are no longer of use in commerce.”
“But your Excellency does not think thus of Virgil?” said Candide.
“I grant,” said the Senator, “that the second, fourth, and sixth books of his Æneid are excellent, but as for his pious Æneas, his strong Cloanthus, his friend Achates, his little Ascanius, his silly King Latinus, his bourgeois Amata, his insipid Lavinia, I think there can be nothing more flat and disagreeable. I prefer Tasso a good deal, or even the soporific tales of Ariosto.”
“May I presume to ask you, sir,” said Candide, “whether you do not receive a great deal of pleasure from reading Horace?”
“There are maxims in this writer,” answered Pococurante, “from which a man of the world may reap great benefit, and being written in energetic verse they are more easily impressed upon the memory. But I care little for his journey to Brundusium, and his account of a bad dinner, or of his low quarrel between one Rupilius whose words he says were full of poisonous filth, and another whose language was imbued with vinegar. I have read with much distaste his indelicate verses against old women and witches; nor do I see any merit in telling his friend Mæcenas that if he will but rank him in the choir of lyric poets, his lofty head shall touch the stars. Fools admire everything in an author of reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like only that which serves my purpose.”
Candide, having been educated never to judge for himself, was much surprised at what he heard. Martin found there was a good deal of reason in Pococurante’s remarks.
“Oh! here is Cicero,” said Candide. “Here is the great man whom I fancy you are never tired of reading.”
“I never read him,” replied the Venetian. “What is it to me whether he pleads for Rabirius or Cluentius? I try causes enough myself; his philosophical works seem to me better, but when I found that he doubted of everything, I concluded that I knew as much as he, and that I had no need of a guide to learn ignorance.”
“Ha! here are four-score volumes of the Academy of Sciences,” cried Martin. “Perhaps there is something valuable in this collection.”
“There might be,” said Pococurante, “if only one of those rakers of rubbish had shown how to make pins; but in all these volumes there is nothing but chimerical systems, and not a single useful thing.”
“And what dramatic works I see here,” said Candide, “in Italian, Spanish, and French.”
“Yes,” replied the Senator, “there are three thousand, and not three dozen of them good for anything. As to those collections of sermons, which altogether are not worth a single page of Seneca, and those huge volumes of theology, you may well imagine that neither I nor any one else ever opens them.”
Martin saw some shelves filled with English books.
“I have a notion,” said he, “that a Republican must be greatly pleased with most of these books, which are written with a spirit of freedom.”
“Yes,” answered Pococurante, “it is noble to write as one thinks; this is the privilege of humanity. In all our Italy we write only what we do not think; those who inhabit the country of the Cæsars and the Antoninuses dare not acquire a single idea without the permission of a Dominican friar. I should be pleased with the liberty which inspires the English genius if passion and party spirit did not corrupt all that is estimable in this precious liberty.”
Candide, observing a Milton, asked whether he did not look upon this author as a great man.
“Who?” said Pococurante, “that barbarian, who writes a long commentary in ten books of harsh verse on the first chapter of Genesis; that coarse imitator of the Greeks, who disfigures the Creation, and who, while Moses represents the Eternal producing the world by a word, makes the Messiah take a great pair of compasses from the armoury of heaven to circumscribe His work? How can I have any esteem for a writer who has spoiled Tasso’s hell and the devil, who transforms Lucifer sometimes into a toad and other times into a pigmy, who makes him repeat the same things a hundred times, who makes him dispute on theology, who, by a serious imitation of Ariosto’s comic invention of firearms, represents the devils cannonading in heaven? Neither I nor any man in Italy could take pleasure in those melancholy extravagances; and the marriage of Sin and Death, and the snakes brought forth by Sin, are enough to turn the stomach of any one with the least taste, [and his long description of a pest-house is good only for a grave-digger]. This obscure, whimsical, and disagreeable poem was despised upon its first publication, and I only treat it now as it was treated in its own country by contemporaries. For the matter of that I say what I think, and I care very little whether others think as I do.”
Candide was grieved at this speech, for he had a respect for Homer and was fond of Milton.
“Alas!” said he softly to Martin, “I am afraid that this man holds our German poets in very great contempt.”
“There would not be much harm in that,” said Martin.
“Oh! what a superior man,” said Candide below his breath. “What a great genius is this Pococurante! Nothing can please him.”
After their survey of the library they went down into the garden, where Candide praised its several beauties.
“I know of nothing in so bad a taste,” said the master. “All you see here is merely trifling. After to-morrow I will have it planted with a nobler design.”
“Well,” said Candide to Martin when they had taken their leave, “you will agree that this is the happiest of mortals, for he is above everything he possesses.”
“But do you not see,” answered Martin, “that he is disgusted with all he possesses? Plato observed a long while ago that those stomachs are not the best that reject all sorts of food.”
“But is there not a pleasure,” said Candide, “in criticising everything, in pointing out faults where others see nothing but beauties?”
“That is to say,” replied Martin, “that there is some pleasure in having no pleasure.”
“Well, well,” said Candide, “I find that I shall be the only happy man when I am blessed with the sight of my dear Cunegonde.”
“It is always well to hope,” said Martin.
However, the days and the weeks passed. Cacambo did not come, and Candide was so overwhelmed with grief that he did not even reflect that Paquette and Friar Giroflée did not return to thank him.