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|François-Marie Arouet (“Voltaire”) (1694-1778)|
This is part of a collection of works by Voltaire.
The Works of Voltaire. A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901). In 21 vols. Vol. I, Candide Part I, pp. 59-208; Part II, pp. 209-281.
See also the facs. PDF of this translation.
Note: This edition includs the spurious Part II which appeared in an edition of 1761/3. It is probably not be Voltairte but by the abbé Dulaurens. The Voltaire Foundation in Oxford has this comment on their website:
Following the hugely successful publication of Candide in early 1759, there appeared in 1760 a sequel, Candide, seconde partie – an amusing work that we now attribute to the abbé Dulaurens, but that at the time was widely attributed to Voltaire himself, so much so that it was not uncommon for the two parts of Candide to appear together as ‘one’ work by Voltaire. Gradually it became accepted that Voltaire was not the author of the second part, so this practice declined – except in the United States, where the two parts of Candide continued to be published together well into the twentieth century.
Students of Voltaire need not be told that nearly every important circumstance in connection with the history of this extraordinary man, from his birth to the final interment of his ashes in the Panthéon at Paris, is still matter of bitter controversy.
If, guided in our judgment by the detractors of Voltaire, we were to read only the vituperative productions of the sentimentalists, the orthodox critics of the schools, the Dr. Johnsons, the Abbé Maynards, Voltaire would still remain the most remarkable man of the eighteenth century. Even the most hostile critics admit that he gave his name to an epoch and that his genius changed the mental, the spiritual, and the political conformation, not only of France but of the civilized world. The anti-Voltairean literature concedes that Voltaire was the greatest literary genius of his age, a master of language, and that his historical writings effected a revolution. Lord Macaulay, an unfriendly critic, says: “Of all the intellectual weapons that have ever been wielded by man, the most terrible was the mockery of Voltaire. Bigots and tyrants who had never been moved by the wailings and cursings of millions, turned pale at his name.” That still more hostile authority, the evangelical Guizot, the eminent French historian, makes the admission that “innate love of justice and horror of fanaticism inspired Voltaire with his zeal in behalf of persecuted Protestants,” and that Voltaire contributed most powerfully to the triumphs of those conceptions of Humanity, Justice, and Freedom which did honor to the eighteenth century.
Were we to form an estimate of Voltaire’s character and transcendent ability through such a temperate non-sectarian writer as the Hon. John Morley, we would conclude with him that when the right sense of historical proportion is more fully developed in men’s minds, the name of Voltaire will stand out like the names of the great decisive movements in the European advance, like the Revival of Learning, or the Reformation, and that the existence, character, and career of Voltaire constitute in themselves a new and prodigious era. We would further agree with Morley, that “no sooner did the rays of Voltaire’s burning and far-shining spirit strike upon the genius of the time, seated dark and dead like the black stone of Memnon’s statue, than the clang of the breaking chord was heard through Europe and men awoke in a new day and more spacious air.” And we would probably say of Voltaire what he magnanimously said of his contemporary, Montesquieu, that “humanity had lost its title-deeds and he had recovered them.”
Were we acquainted only with that Voltaire described by Goethe, Hugo, Pompery, Bradlaugh, Paine, and Ingersoll, we might believe with Ingersoll that it was Voltaire who sowed the seeds of liberty in the heart and brain of Franklin, Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, and that he did more to free the human race than any other of the sons of men. Hugo says that “between two servants of humanity which appeared eighteen hundred years apart, there was indeed a mysterious relation,” and we might even agree that the estimate of the young philanthropist Édouard de Pompery was temperate when he said, “Voltaire was the best Christian of his times, the first and most glorious disciple of Jesus.”
So whatever our authority, no matter how limited our investigation, the fact must be recognized that Voltaire, who gave to France her long-sought national epic in the Henriade, was in the front rank of her poets. For nearly a century his tragedies and dramas held the boards to extravagant applause. Even from his enemies we learn that he kept himself abreast of his generation in all departments of literature, and won the world’s homage as a king of philosophers in an age of philosophers and encyclopædists.
He was the father of modern French, clear, unambiguous, witty without buffoonery, convincing without truculency, dignified without effort. He constituted himself the defender of humanity, tolerance, and justice, and his influence, like his popularity, increases with the diffusion of his ideas.
No matter what the reader’s opinion of Voltaire’s works may be, it will readily be conceded that without these translations of his comedies, tragedies, poems, romances, letters, and incomparable histories, the literature of the world would sustain an immeasurable loss, and that these forty-two exquisite volumes will endure as a stately monument, alike to the great master and the book-maker’s artcraft he did so much to inspire.
E. R. D.
Voltaire wrote of himself, “I, who doubt of everything.” If, in this laudable habit of taking second thoughts, some one should ask what were the considerations that prompted this exceptional reproduction of what is a literature rather than a one-man work, they are indicated in these Reasons Why:
1. Because the Voltaire star is in the ascendant. The most significant feature of the literary activity now at its height has been the vindication of famous historic characters from the misconceptions and calumnies of writers who catered to established prejudice or mistook biassed hearsay for facts. We have outgrown the weakling period in which we submissively accepted dogmatical portrayals of, for example, Napoleon as a demon incarnate, or Washington as a demi-god. We have learned that great characters are dwarfed or distorted when viewed in any light but that of midday in the open. Historians and biographers must hereafter be content to gather and exhibit impartially the whole facts concerning their hero, and thus assist their readers as a judge assists his competent jury.
2. Because, among the admittedly great figures who have suffered from this defective focussing, no modern has surpassed, if indeed any has equalled, Voltaire in range and brilliance of a unique intellect, or in long-sustained and triumphant battling with the foes of mental liberty. Every writer of eminence from his day to ours has borne testimony to Voltaire’s marvellous qualities; even his bitterest theological opponents pay homage to his sixty years’ ceaseless labors in the service of men and women of all creeds and of none. The time has come when the posterity for whose increased happiness he toiled and fought are demanding an opportunity to know this apostle of progress at firsthand. They wish to have access to the vast body of varied writings which hitherto have been a sealed book except to the few. For this broad reason, in recognition of the growing desire for a closer acquaintance with the great and subtle forces of human progress, it has been determined to place Voltaire, the monarch of literature, and the man, before the student of character and influence, in this carefully classified form.
3. Because the field of world-literature is being explored as never before, and in it Voltaire’s garden has the gayest display of flowers. The French genius has more sparkle and its speech a finer adaptability than ours. First among the illustrious, most versatile of the vivacious writers of his nation, Voltaire wielded his rapier quill with a dexterity unapproached by his contemporaries or successors. It still dazzles as it flashes in the sunshine of the wit that charmed even those it cut the deepest. Where his contemporary reformers, and their general clan to this day, deal blows whose effectiveness is blunted by their clumsiness, this champion showed how potent an ally wisely directed ridicule may become in the hands of a master. Every page of his books and brochures exemplifies Lady Wortley Montagu’s maxim:
Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
Wound with a touch that’s scarcely felt or seen.
But when blood-letting was needed the Voltaire pen became a double-edged lancet.
4. Because biography is coming into higher appreciation, as it should. A man’s face is the best introduction to his writings, and the facts of his life make the best commentary on them. Where is there the like of that extraordinary, fascinating, enigmatical, contradictory physiognomy of Voltaire? And where is there a life so packed with experiences to match? His writings mirror the mind and the life. Philosopher, historian, poet, theologian, statesman, political economist, radical reformer, diplomatist, philanthropist, polemic, satirist, founder of industries, friend of kings and outlaws, letter-writer, knight-errant, and Boccaccio-Chauceresque teller of tales, Voltaire was all these during his sixty-two years of inexhaustible literary activity. “None but himself could be his parallel.” No other author’s works combine such brilliant persiflage with such masculine sense, or exhibit equal fighting powers graced by equal perfection of literary style.
5. Because Voltaire stands as an entertainer in a class apart from others, such as Balzac, Hugo, and his country’s novelists and poets. They bring us draughts from the well in their richly chased cups; Voltaire gives us the spring, out of which flows an exhaustless stream of all that makes fiction alluring, poetry beautiful, epigram memorable, common sense uncommonly forceful, and courageous truth-speaking contagious. His delicious humor and mordant sarcasm amuse, but they also inspire. There is moral purpose in every play of his merry fancy. Every stroke tells. A mere story, however charming, has its climax, and then an end, but it is next to impossible to read any page in any book of Voltaire’s, be it dry history, grave philosophy, plain narrative, or what not, without some chance thought, suggestion, or happy turn of phrase darting out and fixing itself in one’s mind, where it breeds a progeny of bright notions which we fondly make believe are our own.
6. Because, lastly, no private library worthy the name is complete without Voltaire. French editions are found upon the most-used book-shelves of collectors who revel in the treasures of French literature, but the present edition has the advantage, besides the prime one of being in strong, nervous English, of a methodical arrangement which will prove helpful to every reader; also it gives closer and more acceptable readings of many passages, in original translation and in paraphrase.
The original notes by Dr. Smollett, author of “Humphrey Clinker,” and other racy novels of eighteenth-century life, are retained where helpful or in his characteristic vein. So are Ireland’s lively and edifying commentaries on La Pucelle, rich in historical and antiquarian interest.
Lovers of Goldsmith—who never had an enemy but himself—will welcome the charming pages here rescued from his least-read miscellanies, in which he draws the mental and personal portrait of Voltaire, whose genius he cordially admired, and whose character he champions. The critical study of Voltaire by the Right Honorable John Morley, some time a member of Gladstone’s cabinet and his biographer, needs no other commendation than its author’s name.
Victor Hugo’s lofty oration on the hundredth anniversary of Voltaire’s death, links the names and fame of the two great modern writers of France. The translations and textual emendations by W. F. Fleming are a feature of this edition.
The volumes are illuminated by as artistic and costly pictures as can be procured. The antique flavor of the contemporary illustrations is preserved in a number of original steel engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, besides choice photogravure and later process plates. The volumes, as a whole, will be recognized as an ideal example of typography and chaste binding.
Choose any of Voltaire’s writings, from an epigram to a book, and it impresses the mind with a unique sense of a quality which it would be absurd to liken to omniscience, though mere versatility falls short on the other side. So the tracing of his life-experiences leaves us puzzled for a conventional term that shall exactly fit the case. The truth is that ordinary terms fail when applied to this man and to his works. It is unprofitable to measure a giant by the standards of average men. The root-cause of all the vilification and harsh criticism hurled at Voltaire by ordinarily respectworthy people has been the hopeless inability of the church-schooled multitude to grasp the free play of a marvellous intellect, which could no more submit to be shackled by the ecclesiasticism of its day than the brave Reformer of Galilee could trim his conscience to fit the saddles of Jewish or Roman riders. To condense the events of this remarkably chequered career in a few pages is impossible without omitting minor items which, unimportant in themselves, yet reflect the flashings of the lesser facets which contribute to the varied lights of the diamond. Mr. Morley’s lucid and powerful study of Voltaire, in this series, leaves room for the following attempt at a reasonably brief outline of the events in this multiform life. The object is to aid in understanding the hidden conditions in which many of the strong, and sometimes apparently extravagant, utterances were produced.
The narrative is compiled from biographies written at various periods since 1778, and is enriched in being supplemented by the little-known tributes of the most charming English writer among Voltaire’s contemporaries, Oliver Goldsmith, who was personally acquainted with the great Frenchman, whose genius he admired as enthusiastically as he championed his character.
François Marie Arouet was born at Paris on November 21, 1694. He assumed the name de Voltaire when in his twenty-fifth year.
1711 —From the first, as a schoolboy, Voltaire outclassed his fellows. At the close of his sixth school year he was awarded prize after prize and crown after crown, until he was covered with crowns and staggered under the weight of his prize books. J. B. Rousseau, being present, predicted a glorious future for him. He was a good scholar, a favorite of his teachers, and admired and beloved by his companions.
Left school in August, aged nearly seventeen, tall, thin, with especially bright eyes as his only mark of uncommon good looks. He was welcomed to the Temple by such grand seigniors as the duke de Sully, the duke de Vendome, prince de Conti, marquis de Fare, and the other persons of rank forming their circle, who put him on a footing of perfect familiarity. He became a gay leader of fashion, flattered by the ladies, made much of by the men, supping with princes and satirizing the follies of the hour in sparkling verse.
1717 —Voltaire returned in the spring to Paris, where many uncomplimentary squibs were being circulated concerning the pleasure-loving regent, of which he was at once suspected, rightly or wrongly; he was arrested in his lodgings in the “Green Basket,” sent to the Bastille and assigned a room, which was ever after known as Voltaire’s room. Here he dwelt for eleven months, during which he wrote the “Henriade” and corrected “The Œdipe.”
1718 —Released April 11th, as a result of entertaining the regent with comedy, and changed his name, for luck, as he says himself, to Voltaire, a name found several generations back in the family of his mother.
1722 —M. Arouet, Voltaire’s father, died January 1st, leaving Armand, the orthodox son, his office, worth 13,000 francs a year, and to Voltaire property yielding about 4,000 francs a year. Voltaire was granted a pension of 2,000 francs by the regent. He loaned money at ten per cent. a year to dukes, princes and other grand seigniors with a determination to become independent. He always lived well within his income.
1726 —It was desirable to leave France for a time, hence Voltaire’s visit to England. His letters show how deeply he was impressed by the characteristics of the nation by whom he was so cordially welcomed. Voltaire having lost 20,000 francs through a Jewish financier, the king of England presented him with one hundred pounds.
1727 —He studied English so industriously that within six months he could write it well, and within a year was writing English poetry. He made many influential friends, and seems to have known almost every living Englishman of note. He studied Newton, Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Locke, Bacon, Swift, Young, Thomson, Congreve, Pope, Addison, and others. His two and a half years in England were as a post-graduate university course to him, and amidst his studies he still was a producer, completing unfinished works and preparing others for his London publisher. Newton and Locke—Locke in particular—inspired in Voltaire his strongest and best trait—the love of justice for its own sake.
1730–1731 —The first year after his return from England was comparatively peaceful, but in March of 1730 his friend, the brilliant actress, Adrienne Lecouvreur, died at the age of twenty-eight, and was refused Christian burial; Voltaire leaped forward with his accustomed magnanimity as her champion, unhesitatingly endangering his safety in so doing—always a true friend, always the helper of the weak and oppressed, always the advocate of justice, and always first to defend natural rights. In this year, too, he began the mock-heroic poem of ten thousand lines on Joan of Arc (“La Pucelle”), the keeping of which from his enemies caused him anxiety for years. Interferences in his publications by the authorities of Paris marked this year, and, restive and unsubdued, he looked elsewhere, with the result that in March of the next year, under pretence of going to England, he took up his abode in obscure lodgings in Rouen, where he passed as an exiled Englishman. Here he lived for six months—sometimes in a farmhouse—and did a prodigious amount of work, besides having his interdicted works published. Late in the summer of this year he returned to Paris, where, for the first time since returning from England, he took permanent quarters. These were luxurious ones in the hotel of the countess de Fontaine-Martel, at whose invitation he came and with whom he was friendly. Here were continuous gayeties, here his plays were performed, and here he had Cideville and Formont as near friends and helpful critics.
1732 —On August 13th, he had the satisfaction of having “Zaïre” successfully produced in Paris, then in Fontainebleau, then in London, and soon, amidst applause, in cities throughout all Europe. This October he spent in Fontainebleau, and in November he returned to his aged friend, the countess, in Paris.
1733 —During January he acted a leading part in the production of “Zaïre” with telling effect, and about this time this happy life was terminated by the death of the countess. Voltaire stayed for three months longer, and in May took lodgings with Démoulin, his man of business, in a dingy and obscure lane. Here two other poets, Lefèvre and Linant, were with him, and here he began to live more the life of a philosopher. He engaged in the importation of grain from Spain and was interested in the manufacture of straw-paper. In company with his friend Paris-Duverney, he took contracts for feeding the army, out of which he quickly realized over half a million francs. Business never interfered with his literary work, and while he fed the army he also produced verse for it.
1734 —Forty years of age. Voltaire had recently met the marquise du Châtelet. He was doubtless now the most conspicuous, almost the only, literary figure on the continent who wrote in the new, free spirit that began to dominate the few great minds of northern Europe. Booksellers in Europe found his writings profitable. Frederick, prince royal of Prussia, was his disciple. Two editions of his collected works had been published in Amsterdam, and he was in demand everywhere; but more trouble was brewing. J. B. Rousseau, piqued over a quarrel, wrote from his exile disparagingly of Voltaire, who, in his turn, wrote the “Temple of Taste,” which an enemy secured and published without the censor’s approval, and again Voltaire was in trouble. He dearly loved a fight, and he fought like a man—for truth, toleration, and justice—and he won. At this time he found time to bring about the marriage of the princess de Guise to the duke de Richelieu, and attended, with Madame du Châtelet, the nuptials in Monjeu, 150 miles southeast of Paris. Unlike many writers of our day, Voltaire could not keep the product of his pen out of print, and some surreptitious publications at this time caused an order for his arrest and the public burning of the book. The sacrifice of paper took place, but our ever wary author saved himself by flight, supposedly to Lorraine. At this time Voltaire and the philosophical Madame du Châtelet became greatly attached to each other, and their friendship lasted sixteen years. She lived in a thirteenth century castle at Cirey, in Champagne.
1736 —On his return to Cirey, he found awaiting him a long letter from Frederick of Prussia. A year or two before, Voltaire had received from the duke of Holstein, heir presumptive to the throne of Russia, husband of Catherine II., an invitation to reside in the Russian capital, on a revenue of 10,000 francs a year, which he declined. He was accustomed to the attention of princes and eulogiums from the gifted, but the letter of this Prussian prince had an especial importance and effect and opened a voluminous correspondence, ceasing only with the close of Voltaire’s life.
1740 —This was one of the most interesting years of his life. Frederick’s admiration for and devotion to him were at their height, while his fine sentences, so freely and so finely expressed, induced Voltaire to call him the modern Marcus Aurelius, and the Solomon of the North. Frederick made Voltaire his confidant; Voltaire was to him the most devoted teacher, philosopher and friend. The intercourse of these two men constitutes one of the most interesting episodes in history. Frederick William died May 31st, and Voltaire’s royal friend occupied the throne of Prussia. This fact promised to be of immense advantage to Voltaire.
For ten years a struggle existed between Frederick and Madame du Châtelet for a monopoly of Voltaire’s company. This rivalry was not conducive to his happiness.
1741–1742 —Voltaire and Frederick gradually became disenchanted with each other. There was no longer any intellectual sympathy between their strong individualities. Frederick, warlike and aggressive, shedding the blood and disturbing the peace of nations, was not the Frederick Voltaire admired, and he hesitated not to reprove the king frequently.
Among the Englishmen who visited him in Brussels was Lord Chesterfield, to whom he read his play, “Mahomet,” which was in May produced in Lille by a good French company, Voltaire and Madame du Châtelet being present. It was successful, but its production in Paris was delayed on account of a temporary disfavor in which Voltaire found himself with the Parisians, owing to his intimacy with the king of Prussia, now become the enemy of France. However, in August, 1742, it was produced in the Théâtre Français, to the most distinguished audience that Paris could furnish—the ministry, magistrates, clergy, d’Alembert, literary men, and the fashionable world, Voltaire being conspicuous in the middle of the pit. Its success was immense, but his old enemy, the Church, tireless as himself, found an excuse for censuring “Mahomet,” and within a week had it taken off the boards. Invited by Frederick, he went in September to Aix-la-Chapelle. There the king again tried to lure him to Prussia. Frederick offered him a handsome house in Berlin, a fine estate in the country, a princely income, and the free enjoyment of his time, all of which to have Voltaire near him; but Voltaire loved his native country, notwithstanding its persecutions, its Bastille, its suppression of his dramas, its Jansenists, Convulsionists, Desfontaines, and its frequent exiling of its most illustrious son; and he loved his friends and was faithful; and so, declining the king’s bounty, he went back to Paris. He devoted himself for a year to the production of plays, drilling the actors, subjecting every detail to the closest scrutiny, and creating successes that eclipsed even his own earlier efforts. It is said that the “Mérope” drowned the theatre in tears, and caused high excitement.
1745 —In January, Voltaire took up his abode in Versailles to superintend rehearsals, and in consideration of his labors at the fête, the king appointed him historiographer of France, on a yearly salary of 2,000 francs, and promised him the next vacant chair in the Academy. Voltaire considered this fair remuneration for a year of much toil in matters of the court. During these turbulent times, when a skilful pen was needed he was called upon. He was at this time in high favor with the king; Madame de Pompadour and many other influential persons also favored his aspirations. Voltaire dedicated “Mahomet” to the Pope, and sent a copy and a letter to him, out of which grew an interesting correspondence, the publication of which proclaimed his good standing with the head of the Church. He was elected to the Academy in 1746.
1747 —Private theatricals among the nobility were greatly in vogue at this time, and Madame de Pompadour selected Voltaire’s comedy, “The Prodigal,” to be played in the palace before the king. It was a striking success, and the author, in acknowledgment of the compliment, addressed a poem to Madame de Pompadour in which occurred an indiscreet allusion to her relations with the king. As a consequence, the king was induced to sign an order for his exile. This was followed by his hurried flight from court. At midnight, Voltaire, returning to his house in Fontainebleau, ordered the horses hitched to the carriage, and before daybreak left for Paris. He took refuge with the duchess du Maine in Sceaux.
1749 —Madame du Châtelet died under peculiar circumstances in August. Voltaire found solace in play-writing. He set up house in Paris, and invited his niece, Madame Denis, to manage for him, which she did for the remainder of his days, and thus at the age of fifty-six he had a suitable and becoming home in his native city, with an income of 74,000 francs a year, equal to about fifty thousand dollars to-day. Though it was considered fashionable in that age to have intrigues with women, there is no evidence to prove that it was not repugnant to Voltaire. He may at court have pretended to have been conventional in this respect, but his retired life with his niece, his years at Frederick’s court, and his more than fatherly treatment of his nieces. Corneille’s granddaughter, and other young women, show that he was a good man to women. He owned no land, his investments being almost wholly in bonds, mortgages, and annuities. His letters indicate that at this time he considered himself settled for life, his intention being, after spending the winter in Paris, to visit Frederick and Rome, making a tour of Italy, and then to return to Paris. But his reformatory writings were again bringing him into disfavor at court. He provided a theatre in his house, and invited a troupe of amateurs, amongst whom was the soon to be famous Lekain, to perform in it. This little theatre became famous. Voltaire worked like a Trojan, drilled the actors, supervised everything, and produced the most artistic effects. His work at this period included “Zadig,” “Babouc,” and “Memnon,” among his best burlesque romances.
1750 —The king of Prussia, on the death of his rival, renewed his solicitations that Voltaire should come to live with him. After his wars Frederick was again an industrious author, and Voltaire, submitting to his importunities, again went to him, leaving Madame Denis and Longchamp in charge of his house. He left Paris June 15th, and reached, July 10th, Sans-Souci, near Potsdam, the country place of the king, seventeen miles from Berlin. Here everybody courted him, and all that the king had was at his disposal. At a grand celebration in Berlin, Voltaire’s appearance caused more enthusiasm than did the king’s. Frederick was now thirty-eight years of age, had finished his first war and was devoting himself to making Berlin—a city of 90,000 people—attractive and famous. At his nightly concerts were Europe’s most famous artists. At his suppers were, besides Voltaire, many of the choice spirits of the literary world. Here, after thirty years of storms, Voltaire felt that he had found a port. Here was no Mirepoix to be despised and feared, no Bull Unigenitus, no offensive body of clergy and courtiers seeking fat preferment, no billets de confession, nor lettres de cachet, no Frérons to irritate authors, no cabals to damn a play, no more semblance of a king. Here for a time Voltaire was so happy that the long prospected trip to Italy was forgotten, but ere the year was out Paris, in the distance, to our Frenchman grew even more attractive and beautiful than before; several disagreeable things happened as a result of the decided attachment of Frederick for Voltaire,—jealousy and all forms of littleness ever present at court were repugnant to Voltaire. At this time he had an unhappy misunderstanding with Lessing, and in this and the following year he did much work on his “Age of Louis XIV.”
In November his propensity for speculation led him into the most deplorable lawsuit of his life. He supplied a Berlin jeweller named Abraham Hirsch with money and sent him to Dresden to buy depreciated banknotes at a large discount. Hirsch attended to his private business, it seems, and neglected Voltaire’s. He was recalled and the speculation abandoned; but the wily agent was not easily shaken off, as Voltaire found to his cost. Voltaire had a constitutional persistence that made it all but impossible for him to submit to imposition, and he fought in this case an antagonist as persistent as himself, and one utterly unscrupulous, so that after several months of litigation he indeed won his suit, but suffered much humiliation withal and greatly disgusted Frederick, who could not tolerate a lawsuit with a Jew.
1751 —During this year of trouble, he and the king for a time saw less of each other, and Voltaire found solace, as usual, in his literary labors. He studied German, published his “Age of Louis XIV.” in Berlin and in London. He co-operated with Diderot and d’Alembert on the great “Encyclopædia,” the first volume of which was prohibited in this year; and so, still toiling in a room adjoining the king’s in the château in Potsdam, this year glided into the next, in which the famous “Doctor Akakia” looms up.
1752 —In his brochure with this title Voltaire played with the great Maupertuis as a cat might with a mouse. The indulgence of his satirical tendencies endangered his friendship with the king, and in September a letter to Madame Denis revealed the fact that he was preparing to return to Paris. In November the king learned of the printed attack on his president of the Academy and was furious with Voltaire. An interesting correspondence followed, and partial reconciliation. The court and Voltaire went to Berlin for the Christmas festivities, but in this instance to separate houses. Here he had the honor of seeing several copies of his diatribe publicly burned on Sunday, December 24th, the result being that for some time ten German presses were printing the work day and night.
1753 —On New Year’s day Voltaire returned to the king as a New Year’s gift the cross of his order and his chamberlain’s key, together with a most respectful letter resigning his office and announcing his intended return to Paris. The king sent the insignia back and pressed Voltaire to stay, but in vain. After a sojourn in Leipsic, Voltaire paid a visit to the duchess of Saxe-Gotha, at Gotha. At her desire he undertook to write the “Annals of the Empire since Charlemagne.” In the evenings he delighted the brilliant company with reading his poems on “Natural Religion” and “La Pucelle.” Voltaire again irritated by his parting shots at Maupertius. An order was given, and carried out, by which Voltaire was arrested and detained at Frankfort while his boxes were searched for the cross and key, and the more important manuscript of verses by the king, entitled “Palladion,” in which his majesty had burlesqued the Christian faith. The king got his papers and chuckled over the humiliation of the man he had idolized, who took a poet’s revenge in this roughly paraphrased epigram on the great Frederick:
“Of incongruities a monstrous pile,
Calling men brothers, crushing them the while;
With air humane, a misanthropic brute;
Ofttimes impulsive, ofttimes too astute;
Weakest when angry, modest in his pride;
Yearning for virtue, lust personified;
Statesman and author, of the slippery crew;
My patron, pupil, persecutor too.”
In November of this year he visited his old friend, the duke de Richelieu, in Lyons, a city of great commercial importance about 200 miles from Colmar. Here he was enthusiastically welcomed by his few friends and the public, but the Church made it plain to him that he was not welcome to the governing class in France; so that, after a month in Lyons, he loaded his big carriage once more and sought an asylum in Geneva, ninety miles distant. He would have gone to America had he not feared the long sea journey, and in Switzerland he found the best possible European substitute for the new world of freedom so attractive to him.
1755 —In February Voltaire bought a life-lease of a commodious house, with beautiful gardens, on a splendid eminence overlooking Geneva, the lake and rivers; and giving an enchanting view of Jura and the Alps. This place he named “Les Délices,” the name it still bears. Here, he was in Geneva. Ten minutes’ walk placed him in Sardinia. He was only half an hour from France and one hour from the Swiss canton of Vaud. The situation pleased Voltaire, and he bought property and houses under four governments, and all within a circuit of a day’s ride. Voltaire describes his retreat thus: “I lean my left on Mount Jura, my right on the Alps, and I have the beautiful lake of Geneva in front of my camp, a beautiful castle on the borders of France, the hermitage of Délices in the territory of Geneva, a good house at Lausanne; crawling thus from one burrow to another, I escape from kings. Philosophers should always have two or three holes underground against the hounds that run them down.” From now until the end of his long life he lived like a feudal lord, a landed proprietor and an entertaining host. He kept horses, carriages, coachmen, postilions, lackeys, a valet, a French cook, a secretary and a boy, besides pet and domestic animals. Nearly every day he entertained at dinner from five to twenty friends.
1756 —On November 1st, All Saints’ Day, at 9:40 a. m., occurred the Lisbon earthquake, when half the people of that city were in church. In six minutes the city was in ruins and 30,000 people dead or dying. This was food for the thought of Europe and inspired one of Voltaire’s best poems. This was followed by “Candide,” the most celebrated of his prose burlesques, on Rousseau’s “best of all possible worlds,” and Dr. Johnson’s “Rasselas.” At this time the surreptitious publication of “La Pucelle” offended the French Calvinists of Geneva, and Voltaire thought it well in 1756 to go to Lausanne, where he inaugurated private theatricals in his own house. Here Gibbon had the pleasure of hearing a great poet declaim his own production on the stage. In this year his admirable Italian secretary, Collini, left him, and his place was filled by a Genevan named Wagnière, who continued to be his factotum for the remainder of his life. When scarcely three years in Geneva, Voltaire, finding the Genevans—who built their first theatre ten years later—averse to his theatrical performances, bought on French soil the estate of Ferney and built a theatre there.
1757–1758 —Voltaire never became indifferent to the disfavor in which he was held at the French court under the dominion of the Jesuits. Fortunately for him, he had for a friend the brilliant and powerful Pompadour, who at this time made him again safe on French soil, restored his pension and had his Ferney estate exempted from taxation. At this time, too, the “old Swiss,” as he was sometimes called, received an invitation from Elizabeth, empress of Russia, to come to St. Petersburg to write a history of her father, Peter the Great. Voltaire, now sixty-four, gladly undertook the work, but declining to go to St. Petersburg on account of his health, he had all necessary documents sent to Ferney. While Europe and America were ravaged by war, Voltaire worked industriously on his history, and yet amidst his labors his generous heart, consecrated to justice and humanity, moved him to splendid though unsuccessful efforts to save Admiral Byng from his persecutors. Again the king of Prussia seemed unable to forget Voltaire, and their correspondence was resumed. Voltaire hated carnage and cruelty, and begged Frederick, almost piteously, to end the war; but it continued, and the “Swiss Hermit” worked on in his retreat, never letting Europe forget his existence.
His outdoor occupations in Switzerland so improved his health that he resolved to become a farmer at his new place, the ancient estate of Ferney. He converted the old château into a substantial stone building of fourteen rooms. He improved the estate throughout, and made a life purchase of the adjacent seigniory of Tourney. He employed sixteen working oxen in his farming operations, established a breeding stable of ten mares at Les Délices, accepted a present of a fine stallion from the king’s stables, kept thirty men employed, and maintained on his estate more than sixty; and let it be remembered that not only did he make his estates beautiful, but he made them profitable. He had splendid barns, poultry-yards, and sheepfolds, winepresses, storerooms, and fruit-houses, about 500 beehives, and a colony of silkworms. He had a fine nursery and encouraged tree-planting. He formed a park, three miles in circuit, on the English model, around his house. Near the château he built a marble bath-house, supplied with hot and cold water. Everything that Voltaire wished for he had; from 1758 to 1764 he enjoyed good health and spirits and was never less involved in public affairs nor more prolific with his pen. Marmontel and Casanova wrote interestingly of their visits to Voltaire at this time. He finally wearied of the stream of people that visited him at Les Délices, and in 1765 sold it and spent all his time at the less easily reached Ferney.
1759 —In this year his “Natural Religion” was burned by the hangman in Paris. This infamy stirred Voltaire’s indignation greatly and impelled him to almost superhuman efforts against “L’Infâme,” the name with which he branded ecclesiasticism claiming supernatural authority and enforcing that claim with pains and penalties. His friends tried to dissuade him, but he had enlisted for the war and would not desert. Though as one against ten thousand, he knew no fear, and his watchword became Ecrasez l’Infâme.
1760 —In 1759 and 1760 appeared in Paris anonymous pamphlets by a well-known pen, in which the Jesuit Berthier and others were smothered in the most mirth-provoking ridicule. In this year he had also much dramatic success in Paris under the management of d’Argental. It was one of his most eventful years, and a rumor of his death having spread over Paris, in writing Madame du Deffand, he said: “I have never been less dead than I am at present. I have not a moment free; bullocks, cows, sheep, meadows, buildings, gardens, occupy me in the morning; all the afternoon is for study, and after supper we rehearse the pieces that are played in my little theatre.” This rumor occasioned the noble tribute of Goldsmith appended to this narrative.
1761 —The infamous outrage by the Church on the Calas family of Protestants in Toulouse is referred to by Voltaire in his work on “Toleration.” It stirred his indignation so powerfully that he devoted almost superhuman efforts to the duty of undoing the crime so far as possible.
1762–1763 —He undertook to have the Calas case reopened, and devoted himself to this task as if he had no other object or hope in life. He issued seven pamphlets on the case, had them translated and published in England and Germany. He stirred Europe up to help him. The queen of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, ten other English bishops, besides seventy-nine lords and forty-seven gentlemen, subscribed; also several German princes and nobles. The Swiss cantons, the empress of Russia, the king of Poland, and many other notables contributed money to assist Voltaire in this tremendous battle. It took him three years to win it, but on the 9th of March, 1765, he had the satisfaction of having the Calas family declared innocent and their property restored, amidst the applause of Europe. Voltaire went further, and had the king grant to each member of the family a considerable sum in cash, besides other benefits that he secured for them. Known as the savior of the Calas family, others in trouble went to him, till Ferney became a refuge for the distressed. Another celebrated case, that of the Sirven family, occurred in this year. Voltaire, learning of it in 1763, took up the cause of the oppressed as enthusiastically as in the Calas case. He wrote volumes in their behalf, and labored for nine years for the reversal of their sentence, giving and getting money as required. At length, in January, 1772, he was able to announce the complete success of his efforts on their behalf, and their complete vindication. These are but two of many such cases in which he interested himself. The horrors of French injustice at this time kept him constantly agitated and at work, and even induced him to attempt, in 1766, the forming of a colony of philosophers in a freer land. But failing to find philosophers inclined to self-expatriation, he dropped the idea.
1768 —On Easter Sunday he communed in his own church and addressed the congregation.
1769 —Again, on Easter of this year, the whim seized him to commune, as he lay in bed. At this time he was draining the swamp lands in the vicinity, lending money without interest to gentlemen, giving money to the poor, establishing schools, fertilizing lands, and maintaining over a hundred persons, defending the weak and persecuted, and playing jokes on the bishop, besides, after his sixtieth year, writing 160 publications. The difficulty of circulating his works can be imagined when it is remembered that he found it desirable to use 108 different pseudonyms. The Church watched all his manœuvres as a cat watches a mouse, yet he outwitted his enemies, and the eager public got the product of his great mind in spite of them.
1770 —By this time Ferney was becoming quite populous. Voltaire could not build houses quickly enough for those that flocked to his shelter. He fitted up his theatre as a watch-factory, and had watches for sale within six weeks. His friend, the duchess of Choiseul, wore the first silk stockings woven on the looms of Ferney. The grandest people bought his watches, and soon great material prosperity waited upon the industries of Ferney. Voltaire used all his prestige on behalf of his workmen, and so much was he liked that he could have had nearly all the skilled workmen of Geneva had he furnished houses for them. Catherine II. of Russia ordered a large quantity of his first product in watches. Voltaire, by his genius, literally forced Ferney’s products into the best markets of the world, so that within three years the watches, clocks, and jewelry from Ferney went regularly to Spain, Algiers, Italy, Russia, Holland, Turkey, Morocco, America, China, Portugal, and elsewhere. Voltaire was a city-builder and creator of trade. His charities were numerous and were bestowed without the odious flavor of pauperizing doles.
In this year, some of his friends proposed to erect a statue in his honor. Subscriptions came abundantly on the project being known, and the statue now is in the Institute of Paris. He was so overrun with visitors that he facetiously called himself the innkeeper of Europe. La Harpe, Cramer, Dr. Tronchin, Chabanon, Charles Pongens, Damilaville, d’Alembert, James Boswell, Charles James Fox, and Dr. Charles Burney were among his visitors.
1774 —On the death of Louis XV., he began to think again of Paris, to take a new interest in and lay plans for a visit to the city he loved so well; but the conditions seemed unfavorable, and the various labors and pleasures in Ferney continued.
1776 —In 1776 a large store-house was fitted up as a theatre and Lekain drew together in Ferney the nineteen cantons. In this year he adopted into his family a lovely girl of eighteen whom he called Belle-et-Bonne.
1777 —In this year he was still, at the age of eighty-three, an active, vigilant, and successful man of business, with ships on the Indian seas, with aristocratic debtors paying him interest, with the industrial “City of Ferney” earning immense revenues, with famous flocks, birds, bees, and silkworms, all receiving his daily attention. His yearly income at this time was more than 200,000 francs, and with nearly as much purchasing power then as the same number of dollars has with us to-day. In this year his pet, the sweet Belle-et-Bonne, was wooed and won by a gay marquis from Paris. Voltaire, though a bachelor, was fond of match-making, and was pleased in telling of the twenty-two marriages that had taken place on his estate of Ferney. The newly married pair remained in the château and they and Madame Denis conspired to induce him to go to Paris. They adduced a hundred reasons why he should go and these he as cleverly parried; but at length they prevailed and he consented to go for six weeks only.
1778 —On the 3d of February they started. The colonists and he were weeping. At the stopping-places on the way, in order to get away from the crowd of admirers that would press on him, he found it necessary to lock himself in his room. He made the 300 miles by February 10th, and put up at the hotel of Madame de Villette, after an exile of twenty-eight years! The city was electrified by the news and a tide of visitors set in, and crowds waited outside the hotel for a chance glimpse of the great man. He held a continuous reception and, amidst the tumult of homage, his gayety, tact, and humor never flagged. Among the first to do homage to Voltaire was Dr. Benjamin Franklin, with whom he conversed in English. With the American ambassador was his grandson, a youth of seventeen, upon whom Franklin asked the venerable philosopher’s benediction. Lifting his hands, Voltaire solemnly replied: “My child, God and Liberty, remember those two words.” He said to Franklin that he so admired the Constitution of the United States and the Articles of Confederation between them that, “if I were only forty years old, I would immediately go and settle in your happy country.” A medal was struck in honor of Washington, at Voltaire’s expense, bearing this couplet:
Washington réunit, par un rare assemblage,
Des talens du guerrier et des vertus du sage.
During the first two weeks several thousands of visitors called to welcome their great compatriot.
Voltaire busied himself with perfecting his new play, “Irène,” and rehearsing it prior to performance. On February 25th a fit of coughing caused a hæmorrhage. The doctors managed to save him for the grand event. The play was fixed for March 30th. The queen fitted up a box like her own, and adjoining it, for Voltaire. He attended a session of the Academy in the morning, where he was overwhelmed with honors, and elected president. His carriage with difficulty passed through the crowds that filled the streets, hoping to see him. On entering the theatre he thought to hide himself in his box, but the people insisted on his coming to the front. He had to submit, and then the actor Brizard entered the box, and in view of the people placed a laurel crown on his head. He modestly withdrew it, but all insisted on his wearing it, and he was compelled to let it be replaced. The scene was unparalleled for sustained enthusiasm. The excitement of these months proved fatal to the strong constitution which might easily have carried him through a century if he had remained at Ferney.
At 11:15 p. m., Saturday, May 30, 1778, aged 83 years, 6 months, and 9 days, he died peacefully and without pain. His body was embalmed and in the evening of June 1st was quietly buried in a near-by abbey, the place being indicated by a small stone, and the inscription: “Here lies Voltaire.”
The king of Prussia delivered before the Berlin Academy a splendid eulogium and compelled the Catholic clergy of Berlin to hold special services in honor of his friend. The empress Catherine wrote most kindly to Madame Denis and desired to buy his library of 6,210 volumes, and having done so, invited Wagnière to St. Petersburg to arrange the books as they were in Ferney. Crowned heads bowed to this great man, and the homage of his native Paris knew no bounds.
After thirteen years of rest, his body, by order of the king of France, was removed from the church of the Romilli to that of Sainte-Geneviève, in Paris, thenceforth known as the Panthéon of France. The magnificent cortège was the centre of the wildest enthusiasm. On July 10, 1791, the sarcophagus was borne as far as the site of the Bastille, not yet completely razed to the ground. Here it reposed for the night on an altar adorned with laurels and roses, and this inscription:
“Upon this spot, where despotism chained thee, Voltaire, receive the homage of a free people.”
A hundred thousand people were in the procession. At ten o’clock at night the remains were placed near the tombs of Descartes and Mirabeau. Here they reposed until 1814, when the bones of Voltaire and Rousseau were sacrilegiously stolen, with the connivance of the clerics, and burned with quicklime on a piece of waste ground. This miserable act of toothless spite was not publicly known until 1864.
[This appeared as Letter XLIII. in the Chinese letters afterwards published under the title of “The Citizen of the World.”]
We have just received accounts here that Voltaire, the poet and philosopher of Europe, is dead. He is now beyond the reach of the thousand enemies who, while living, degraded his writings and branded his character. Scarce a page of his later productions that does not betray the agonies of a heart bleeding under the scourge of unmerited reproach. Happy, therefore, at last in escaping from calumny! happy in leaving a world that was unworthy of him and his writings!
Let others bestrew the hearses of the great with panegyric; but such a loss as the world has now suffered affects me with stronger emotions. When a philosopher dies I consider myself as losing a patron, an instructor, and a friend. I consider the world as losing one who might serve to console her amidst the desolations of war and ambition. Nature every day produces in abundance men capable of filling all the requisite duties of authority; but she is niggard in the birth of an exalted mind, scarcely producing in a century a single genius to bless and enlighten a degenerate age. Prodigal in the production of kings, governors, mandarins, chams, and courtiers, she seems to have forgotten, for more than three thousand years, the manner in which she once formed the brain of a Confucius; and well it is she has forgotten, when a bad world gave him so very bad a reception.
Whence, my friend, this malevolence, which has ever pursued the great, even to the tomb? whence this more than fiendlike disposition of embittering the lives of those who would make us more wise and more happy?
When I cast my eye over the fates of several philosophers, who have at different periods enlightened mankind, I must confess it inspires me with the most degrading reflections on humanity. When I read of the stripes of Mencius, the tortures of Tchin, the bowl of Socrates, and the bath of Seneca; when I hear of the persecutions of Dante, the imprisonment of Galileo, the indignities suffered by Montaigne, the banishment of Descartes, the infamy of Bacon, and that even Locke himself escaped not without reproach; when I think on such subjects, I hesitate whether most of blame the ignorance or the villainy of my fellow-creatures.
Should you look for the character of Voltaire among the journalists and illiterate writers of the age, you will there find him characterized as a monster, with a head turned to wisdom and a heart inclining to vice; the powers of his mind and the baseness of his principles forming a detestable contrast. But seek for his character among writers like himself, and you find him very differently described. You perceive him, in their accounts, possessed of good nature, humanity, greatness of soul, fortitude, and almost every virtue; in this description those who might be supposed best acquainted with his character are unanimous. The royal Prussian, d’Argens, Diderot, d’Alembert, and Fontenelle, conspire in drawing the picture, in describing the friend of man, and the patron of every rising genius.
An inflexible perseverance in what he thought was right and a generous detestation of flattery formed the groundwork of this great man’s character. From these principles many strong virtues and few faults arose; as he was warm in his friendship and severe in his resentment, all that mention him seem possessed of the same qualities, and speak of him with rapture or detestation. A person of his eminence can have few indifferent as to his character; every reader must be an enemy or an admirer.
This poet began the course of glory so early as the age of eighteen, and even then was author of a tragedy which deserves applause. Possessed of a small patrimony, he preserved his independence in an age of venality; and supported the dignity of learning by teaching his contemporary writers to live like him, above the favors of the great. He was banished his native country for a satire upon the royal concubine. He had accepted the place of historian to the French king, but refused to keep it when he found it was presented only in order that he should be the first flatterer of the state.
The great Prussian received him as an ornament to his kingdom, and had sense enough to value his friendship and profit by his instructions. In this court he continued till an intrigue, with which the world seems hitherto unacquainted, obliged him to quit that country. His own happiness, the happiness of the monarch, of his sister, of a part of the court, rendered his departure necessary.
Tired at length of courts and all the follies of the great, he retired to Switzerland, a country of liberty, where he enjoyed tranquillity and the muse. Here, though without any taste for magnificence himself, he usually entertained at his table the learned and polite of Europe, who were attracted by a desire of seeing a person from whom they had received so much satisfaction. The entertainment was conducted with the utmost elegance, and the conversation was that of philosophers. Every country that at once united liberty and science were his peculiar favorites. The being an Englishman was to him a character that claimed admiration and respect.
Between Voltaire and the disciples of Confucius there are many differences; however, being of a different opinion does not in the least diminish my esteem; I am not displeased with my brother because he happens to ask our Father for favors in a different manner from me. Let his errors rest in peace; his excellencies deserve admiration; let me with the wise admire his wisdom; let the envious and the ignorant ridicule his foibles; the folly of others is ever most ridiculous to those who are themselves most foolish.—Adieu.
[Goldsmith began a memoir of Voltaire which he did not live to finish, from which we take this most interesting picture of Voltaire among his friends.]
Some disappointments of this kind served to turn our poet from a passion which only tended to obstruct his advancement in more exalted pursuits. His mind, which at that time was pretty well balanced between pleasure and philosophy, quickly began to incline to the latter. He now thirsted after a more comprehensive knowledge of mankind than either books or his own country could possibly bestow.
England about this time was coming into repute throughout Europe as the land of philosophers. Newton, Locke, and others began to attract the attention of the curious, and drew hither a concourse of learned men from every part of Europe. Not our learning alone, but our politics also began to be regarded with admiration; a government in which subordination and liberty were blended in such just proportions was now generally studied as the finest model of civil society. This was an inducement sufficient to make Voltaire pay a visit to this land of philosophers and of liberty.
Accordingly, in the year 1726, he came over to England. A previous acquaintance with Atterbury, bishop of Rochester, and the Lord Bolingbroke, was sufficient to introduce him among the polite, and his fame as a poet got him the acquaintance of the learned in a country where foreigners generally find but a cool reception. He only wanted introduction; his own merit was enough to procure the rest. As a companion, no man ever exceeded him when he pleased to lead the conversation; which, however, was not always the case. In company which he either disliked or despised, few could be more reserved than he; but when he was warmed in discourse and had got over a hesitating manner which sometimes he was subject to, it was rapture to hear him. His meagre visage seemed insensibly to gather beauty; every muscle in it had meaning, and his eye beamed with unusual brightness. The person who writes this memoir, who had the honor and the pleasure of being his acquaintance, remembers to have seen him in a select company of wits of both sexes at Paris, when the subject happened to turn upon English taste and learning. Fontenelle, who was of the party, and who, being unacquainted with the language or authors of the country he undertook to condemn, with a spirit truly vulgar began to revile both. Diderot, who liked the English and knew something of their literary pretensions, attempted to vindicate their poetry and learning, but with unequal abilities. The company quickly perceived that Fontenelle was superior in the dispute, and were surprised at the silence which Voltaire had preserved all the former part of the night, particularly as the conversation happened to turn upon one of his favorite topics. Fontenelle continued his triumph till about 12 o’clock, when Voltaire appeared at last roused from his reverie. His whole frame seemed animated. He began his defence with the utmost elegance mixed with spirit, and now and then let fall the finest strokes of raillery upon his antagonist; and his harangue lasted till three in the morning. I must confess, that, whether from national partiality, or from the elegant sensibility of his manner, I never was so much charmed, nor did I ever remember so absolute a victory as he gained in this dispute.
[Another biographer, writing early in the nineteenth century, offers a judicial summary of Voltaire’s character, from which we select a few passages.]
This simple recital of the incidents of the life of Voltaire has sufficiently developed his character and his mind; the principal features of which were benevolence, indulgence for human foibles, and a hatred of injustice and oppression. He may be numbered among the very few men in whom the love of humanity was a real passion; which, the noblest of all passions, was known only to modern times, and took rise from the progress of knowledge. Its very existence is sufficient to confound the blind partisans of antiquity, and those who calumniate philosophy.
But the happy qualities of Voltaire were often perverted by his natural restlessness, which the writing of tragedy had but increased. In an instant he would change from anger to affection, from indignation to a jest. Born with violent passions, they often hurried him too far; and his restlessness deprived him of the advantages that usually accompany such minds; particularly of that fortitude to which fear is no obstacle when action becomes a duty, and which is not shaken by the presence of danger foreseen. Often would Voltaire expose himself to the storm with rashness, but rarely did he brave it with constancy; and these intervals of temerity and weakness have frequently afflicted his friends and afforded unworthy cause of triumph to his cowardly foes. In weighing the peccadilloes of any man due consideration must be had for the period in which he lived, and of the nature of the society amidst which he was reared. Voltaire was in his twentieth year when Louis XIV. died, and consequently his very precocious adolescence was spent during the reign of that pompous and celebrated actor of majesty. How that season was characterized as to morals and the tone of Parisian good company, an epitome of the private life of Louis himself will tell. The decorum and air of state with which Louis sinned was rather edifying than scandalous, and his subjects faithfully copied the grand monarch. Gallantry became the order of the day throughout France, with a great abatement of the chivalrous sentiment that attended it under the regency of Anne of Austria, but still exempt from the more gross sensuality that succeeded Louis under the regency of the duke of Orleans.
It has been observed that Voltaire was altogether a Frenchman, and the remark will be found just, whether applied to the character of the man or the genius. By increasing to intensity the national characteristics, social, constitutional and mental, we create a Voltaire. These are gayety, facility, address, a tendency to wit, raillery, and equivoque; light, quick, and spontaneous feelings of humanity, which may be occasionally worked up into enthusiasm; vanity, irascibility, very slipshod morality in respect to points that grave people are apt to deem of the first consequence; social insincerity, and a predominant spirit of intrigue. Such were the generalities of the French character in the days of Voltaire; and multiply them by his capacity and acquirement, and we get at the solid contents of his own. It is, therefore, especially inconsistent to discover such excellence and virtue in the old French régime, and especially in the reign of Louis XIV., and to find so much fault with the tout ensemble of Voltaire; for both his good and his bad qualities were the natural outgrowth of the period.
The most detestable and odious of all political sins is, indisputably, religious persecution; in this is to be traced the source of the early predisposition of Voltaire, and of the honorable enthusiasm that colored nearly the whole of his long life. By accident, carelessness, or indifference, he was very early allowed to imbibe a large portion of philosophical skepticism, which no after education—and he was subsequently educated by Jesuits—could remove. What was more natural for a brilliant, ardent, and vivacious young man, thus ardently vaccinated—if the figure be allowable—against the smallpox of fanaticism and superstition so prevalent in this country, and born during a reign that revoked the Edict of Nantes, and expatriated half a million of peaceful subjects? In what way did his most Christian majesty, the magnificent Louis, signalize that part of his kingly career which immediately preceded the birth of Voltaire? In the famous dragonnades, in which a rude and licentious soldiery were encouraged in every excess of cruelty and outrage, because, to use the language of the minister Louvois, “His majesty was desirous that the heaviest penalties should be put in force against those who are not willing to embrace his religion; and those who have the false glory to remain longest firm in their opinions, must be driven to the last extremities.”
They were so driven. It will therefore suffice to repeat that at length the Edict of Nantes was formally repealed, Protestants refused liberty of conscience, their temples demolished, their children torn from them, and, to crown all, attempts were even made to impede their emigration. They were to be enclosed like wild beasts and hunted down at leisure.
Such were the facts and horrors that must, in the first instance, have encountered and confirmed the incipient skepticism of Voltaire. What calm man, of any or of no religion, can now hear of them without shuddering and execration? and what such feel now it is reasonable to suppose that a mind predisposed like that of Voltaire must have felt then.
Next to fanaticism and superstition, Voltaire appears to have endeavored with the utmost anxiety to rectify the injustice of the public tribunals, especially in the provinces, which were in the habit of committing legal murders with a facility that could only be equalled by the impunity. Against the execrable tyranny of lettres de cachet, by which he himself suffered more than once, he occasionally dated his powerful innuendoes. No matter what the religious opinions of Voltaire were, he uniformly inculcates political moderation, religious tolerance, and general good-will.
Looking, therefore, at the general labors of this premier genius of France for the benefit of his fellow-creatures, he must, at all events, be regarded as a bold, active, and able philanthropist, even by those who in many respects disagree with him.
As a philosopher, he was the first to afford an example of a private citizen who, by his wishes and his endeavors, embraced the general history of man in every country and in every age, opposing error and oppression of every kind, and defending and promulgating every useful truth. The history of whatever has been done in Europe in favor of reason and humanity is the history of his labor and beneficent acts. If the liberty of the press be increased; if the Catholic clergy have lost their dangerous power, and have been deprived of some of their most scandalous wealth; if the love of humanity be now the common language of all governments; if the continent of Europe has been taught that men possess a right to the use of reason; if religious prejudices have been eradicated from the higher classes of society, and in part effaced from the hearts of the common people; if we have beheld the masks stripped from the faces of those religious sectaries who were privileged to impose on the world; and if reason, for the first time, has begun to shed its clear and uniform light over all Europe—we shall everywhere discover, in the history of the changes that have been effected, the name of Voltaire.
[Oration delivered at Paris, May 30, 1878, the one hundredth anniversary of Voltaire’s death.]
A hundred years ago to-day a man died. He died immortal. He departed laden with years, laden with works, laden with the most illustrious and the most fearful of responsibilities, the responsibility of the human conscience informed and rectified. He went cursed and blessed, cursed by the past, blessed by the future; and these, gentlemen, are the two superb forms of glory. On his death-bed he had, on the one hand, the acclaim of contemporaries and of posterity; on the other, that triumph of hooting and of hate which the implacable past bestows upon those who have combated it. He was more than a man; he was an age. He had exercised a function and fulfilled a mission. He had been evidently chosen for the work which he had done, by the Supreme Will, which manifests itself as visibly in the laws of destiny as in the laws of nature.
The eighty-four years that this man lived occupy the interval that separates the monarchy at its apogee from the revolution in its dawn. When he was born, Louis XIV. still reigned; when he died, Louis XVI. reigned already; so that his cradle could see the last rays of the great throne, and his coffin the first gleams from the great abyss.
Before going further, let us come to an understanding, gentlemen, upon the word abyss. There are good abysses; such are the abysses in which evil is engulfed.
Gentlemen, since I have interrupted myself, allow me to complete my thought. No word imprudent or unsound will be pronounced here. We are here to perform an act of civilization. We are here to make affirmation of progress, to pay respect to philosophers for the benefits of philosophy, to bring to the eighteenth century the testimony of the nineteenth, to honor magnanimous combatants and good servants, to felicitate the noble effort of peoples, industry, science, the valiant march in advance, the toil to cement human concord; in one word, to glorify peace, that sublime, universal desire. Peace is the virtue of civilization; war is its crime. We are here, at this grand moment, in this solemn hour, to bow religiously before the moral law, and to say to the world, which hears France, this: There is only one power, conscience, in the service of justice; and there is only one glory, genius, in the service of truth. That said, I continue:
Before the Revolution, gentlemen, the social structure was this:
At the base, the people;
Above the people, religion represented by the clergy;
By the side of religion, justice represented by the magistracy.
And, at that period of human society, what was the people? It was ignorance. What was religion? It was intolerance. And what was justice? It was injustice. Am I going too far in my words? Judge.
I will confine myself to the citation of two facts, but decisive ones.
At Toulouse, October 13, 1761, there was found in a lower story of a house a young man hanged. The crowd gathered, the clergy fulminated, the magistracy investigated. It was a suicide; they made of it an assassination. In what interest? In the interest of religion. And who was accused? The father. He was a Huguenot, and he wished to hinder his son from becoming a Catholic. There was here a moral monstrosity and a material impossibility; no matter! This father had killed his son; this old man had hanged this young man. Justice travailed, and this was the result. In the month of March, 1762, a man with white hair, Jean Calas, was conducted to a public place, stripped naked, stretched on a wheel, the members bound on it, the head hanging. Three men are there upon a scaffold; a magistrate, named David, charged to superintend the punishment, a priest to hold the crucifix, and the executioner with a bar of iron in his hand. The patient, stupefied and terrible, regards not the priest, and looks at the executioner. The executioner lifts the bar of iron, and breaks one of his arms. The victim groans and swoons. The magistrate comes forward; they make the condemned inhale salts; he returns to life. Then another stroke of the bar; another groan. Calas loses consciousness; they revive him, and the executioner begins again; and, as each limb before being broken in two places receives two blows, that makes eight punishments. After the eighth swooning the priest offers him the crucifix to kiss; Calas turns away his head, and the executioner gives him the coup de grâce; that is to say, crushes in his chest with the thick end of the bar of iron. So died Jean Calas.
That lasted two hours. After his death the evidence of the suicide came to light. But an assassination had been committed. By whom? By the judges.
Another fact. After the old man, the young man. Three years later, in 1765, in Abbeville, the day after a night of storm and high wind, there was found upon the pavement of a bridge an old crucifix of worm-eaten wood, which for three centuries had been fastened to the parapet. Who had thrown down this crucifix? Who committed this sacrilege? It is not known. Perhaps a passer-by. Perhaps the wind. Who is the guilty one? The bishop of Amiens launches a monitoire. Note what a monitoire was: it was an order to all the faithful, on pain of hell, to declare what they knew or believed they knew of such or such a fact; a murderous injunction, when addressed by fanaticism to ignorance. The monitoire of the bishop of Amiens does its work; the town gossip assumes the character of the crime charged. Justice discovers, or believes it discovers, that on the night when the crucifix was thrown down, two men, two officers, one named La Barre, the other d’Étallonde, passed over the bridge of Abbeville, that they were drunk, and that they sang a guardroom song. The tribunal was the Seneschalcy of Abbeville. The Seneschalcy of Abbeville was equivalent to the court of the Capitouls of Toulouse. It was not less just. Two orders for arrest were issued. D’Étallonde escaped, La Barre was taken. Him they delivered to judicial examination. He denied having crossed the bridge; he confessed to having sung the song. The Seneschalcy of Abbeville condemned him; he appealed to the Parliament of Paris. He was conducted to Paris; the sentence was found good and confirmed. He was conducted back to Abbeville in chains. I abridge. The monstrous hour arrives. They begin by subjecting the Chevalier de La Barre to the torture, ordinary and extraordinary, to make him reveal his accomplices. Accomplices in what? In having crossed a bridge and sung a song. During the torture one of his knees was broken; his confessor, on hearing the bones crack, fainted away. The next day, June 5, 1766, La Barre was drawn to the great square of Abbeville, where flamed a penitential firer, the sentence was read to La Barre; then they cut off one of his hands; then they tore out his tongue with iron pincers; then, in mercy, his head was cut off and thrown into the fire. So died the Chevalier de la Barre. He was nineteen years of age.
Then, O Voltaire! thou didst utter a cry of horror, and it will be to thine eternal glory!
Then didst thou enter upon the appalling trial of the past; thou didst plead against tyrants and monsters, the cause of the human race, and thou didst gain it. Great man, blessed be thou forever.
The frightful things that I have recalled were accomplished in the midst of a polite society; its life was gay and light; people went and came; they looked neither above nor below themselves; their indifference had become carelessness; graceful poets, Saint-Aulaire, Boufflers, Gentil-Bernard, composed pretty verses; the court was all festival; Versailles was brilliant; Paris ignored what was passing; and then it was that, through religious ferocity, the judges made an old man die upon the wheel, and the priests tore out a child’s tongue for a song.
In the presence of this society, frivolous and dismal, Voltaire alone, having before his eyes those united forces, the court, the nobility, capital; that unconscious power, the blind multitude; that terrible magistracy, so severe to subjects, so docile to the master, crushing and flattering, kneeling on the people before the king; that clergy, vile mélange of hypocrisy and fanaticism; Voltaire alone, I repeat it, declared war against that coalition of all the social iniquities, against that enormous and terrible world, and he accepted battle with it. And what was his weapon? That which has the lightness of the wind and the power of the thunderbolt. A pen.
With that weapon he fought; with that weapon he conquered.
Gentlemen, let us salute that memory.
Voltaire conquered; Voltaire waged the splendid kind of warfare, the war of one alone against all; that is to say, the grand warfare. The war of thought against matter, the war of reason against prejudice, the war of the just against the unjust, the war for the oppressed against the oppressor; the war of goodness, the war of kindness. He had the tenderness of a woman and the wrath of a hero. He was a great mind, and an immense heart.
He conquered the old code and the old dogma. He conquered the feudal lord, the Gothic judge, the Roman priest. He raised the populace to the dignity of people. He taught, pacificated, and civilized. He fought for Sirven and Montbailly, as for Calas and La Barre; he accepted all the menaces, all the outrages, all the persecutions, calumny, and exile. He was indefatigable and immovable. He conquered violence by a smile, despotism by sarcasm, infallibility by irony, obstinacy by perseverance, ignorance by truth.
I have just pronounced the word, smile. I pause at it. Smile! It is Voltaire.
Let us say it, gentlemen, pacification is the great side of the philosopher; in Voltaire the equilibrium always re-establishes itself at last. Whatever may be his just wrath, it passes, and the irritated Voltaire always gives place to the Voltaire calmed. Then in that profound eye the smile appears.
That smile is wisdom. That smile, I repeat, is Voltaire. That smile sometimes becomes laughter, but the philosophic sadness tempers it. Toward the strong it is mockery; toward the weak it is a caress. It disquiets the oppressor, and reassures the oppressed. Against the great, it is raillery; for the little, it is pity. Ah, let us be moved by that smile! It had in it the rays of the dawn. It illuminated the true, the just, the good, and what there is of worthy in the useful. It lighted up the interior of superstitions. Those ugly things it is salutary to see; he has shown them. Luminous, that smile was fruitful also. The new society, the desire for equality and concession, and that beginning of fraternity which called itself tolerance, reciprocal good-will, the just accord of men and rights, reason recognized as the supreme law, the annihilation of prejudices and fixed opinions, the serenity of souls, the spirit of indulgence and of pardon, harmony, peace—behold, what has come from that great smile!
On the day—very near, without any doubt—when the identity of wisdom and clemency will be recognized, the day when the amnesty will be proclaimed, I affirm it, up there, in the stars, Voltaire will smile.
Gentlemen, between two servants of Humanity, who appeared eighteen hundred years apart, there is a mysterious relation.
To combat Pharisaism; to unmask imposture; to overthrow tyrannies, usurpations, prejudices, falsehoods, superstitions; to demolish the temple in order to rebuild it, that is to say, to replace the false by the true; to attack a ferocious magistracy; to attack a sanguinary priesthood; to take a whip and drive the money-changers from the sanctuary; to reclaim the heritage of the disinherited; to protect the weak, the poor, the suffering, the overwhelmed, to struggle for the persecuted and oppressed—that was the war of Jesus Christ! And who waged that war? It was Voltaire.
The completion of the evangelical work is the philosophical work; the spirit of meekness began, the spirit of tolerance continued. Let us say it with a sentiment of profound respect; Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. Of that divine tear and of that human smile is composed the sweetness of the present civilization.
Did Voltaire always smile? No. He was often indignant. You remarked it in my first words.
Certainly, gentlemen, measure, reserve, proportion are reason’s supreme law. We can say that moderation is the very breath of the philosopher. The effort of the wise man ought to be to condense into a sort of serene certainty all the approximations of which philosophy is composed. But at certain moments, the passion for the true rises powerful and violent, and it is within its right in so doing, like the stormy winds which purify. Never, I insist upon it, will any wise man shake those two august supports of social labor, justice and hope; and all will respect the judge if he is embodied justice, and all will venerate the priest if he represents hope. But if the magistracy calls itself torture, if the Church calls itself Inquisition, then Humanity looks them in the face and says to the judge: “I will none of thy law!” and says to the priest: “I will none of thy dogma! I will none of thy fire on the earth and thy hell in the future!” Then philosophy rises in wrath, and arraigns the judge before justice, and the priest before God!
This is what Voltaire did. It was grand.
What Voltaire was, I have said; what his age was, I am about to say.
Gentlemen, great men rarely come alone; large trees seem larger when they dominate a forest; there they are at home. There was a forest of minds around Voltaire; that forest was the eighteenth century. Among those minds there were summits: Montesquieu, Buffon, Beaumarchais, and among others, two, the highest after Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot. Those thinkers taught men to reason; reasoning well leads to acting well; justness in the mind becomes justice in the heart. Those toilers for progress labored usefully. Buffon founded naturalism; Beaumarchais discovered, outside of Molière, a kind of comedy until then unknown almost, the social comedy; Montesquieu made in law some excavations so profound that he succeeded in exhuming the right. As to Rousseau, as to Diderot, let us pronounce those two names apart; Diderot, a vast intelligence, inquisitive, a tender heart, a thirst for justice, wished to give certain notions as the foundation of true ideas, and created the Encyclopædia. Rousseau rendered to woman an admirable service, completing the mother by the nurse, placing near each other those two majesties of the cradle. Rousseau, a writer, eloquent and pathetic, a profound oratorical dreamer, often divined and proclaimed political truth; his ideal borders on the real; he had the glory of being the first man in France who called himself citizen. The civic fibre vibrates in Rousseau; that which vibrates in Voltaire is the universal fibre. One can say that in the fruitful eighteenth century, Rousseau represented the people; Voltaire, still more vast, represented Man. Those powerful writers disappeared, but they left us their soul, the Revolution.
Yes, the French Revolution was their soul. It was their radiant manifestation. It came from them; we find them everywhere in that blessed and superb catastrophe, which formed the conclusion of the past and the opening of the future. In that clear light, which is peculiar to revolutions, and which beyond causes permits us to perceive effects, and beyond the first plan the second, we see behind Danton Diderot, behind Robespierre Rousseau, and behind Mirabeau Voltaire. These formed those.
Gentlemen, to sum up epochs, by giving them the names of men, to name ages, to make of them in some sort human personages, has only been done by three peoples: Greece, Italy, France. We say, the Age of Pericles, the Age of Augustus, the Age of Leo X., the Age of Louis XIV., the Age of Voltaire. Those appellations have a great significance. This privilege of giving names to periods belonging exclusively to Greece, to Italy, and to France, is the highest mark of civilization. Until Voltaire, they were the names of the chiefs of states; Voltaire is more than the chief of a state; he is a chief of ideas; with Voltaire a new cycle begins. We feel that henceforth the supreme governmental power is to be thought. Civilization obeyed force; it will obey the ideal. It was the sceptre and the sword broken, to be replaced by the ray of light; that is to say, authority transfigured into liberty. Henceforth, no other sovereignty than the law for the people, and the conscience for the individual. For each of us, the two aspects of progress separate themselves clearly, and they are these: to exercise one’s right; that is to say, to be a man; to perform one’s duty; that is to say, to be a citizen.
Such is the signification of that word, the Age of Voltaire; such is the meaning of that august event, the French Revolution.
The two memorable centuries that preceded the eighteenth, prepared for it; Rabelais warned royalty in Gargantua, and Molière warned the Church in Tartuffe. Hatred of force and respect for right are visible in those two illustrious spirits.
Whoever says to-day, might makes right, performs an act of the Middle Ages, and speaks to men three hundred years behind their time.
Gentlemen, the nineteenth century glorifies the eighteenth century. The eighteenth proposed, the nineteenth concludes. And my last word will be the declaration, tranquil but inflexible, of progress.
The time has come. The right has found its formula: human federation.
To-day, force is called violence, and begins to be judged; war is arraigned. Civilization, upon the complaint of the human race, orders the trial, and draws up the great criminal indictment of conquerors and captains. This witness, History, is summoned. The reality appears. The factitious brilliancy is dissipated. In many cases the hero is a species of assassin. The peoples begin to comprehend that increasing the magnitude of a crime cannot be its diminution; that, if to kill is a crime, to kill many cannot be an extenuating circumstance; that, if to steal is a shame, to invade cannot be a glory; that Te Deums do not count for much in this matter; that homicide is homicide; that bloodshed is bloodshed; that it serves nothing to call one’s self Cæsar or Napoleon; and that, in the eyes of the eternal God, the figure of a murderer is not changed because, instead of a gallows cap, there is placed upon his head an emperor’s crown.
Ah! let us proclaim absolute truths. Let us dishonor war. No; glorious war does not exist. No; it is not good, and it is not useful, to make corpses. No; it cannot be that life travails for death. No; oh, mothers that surround me, it cannot be that war, the robber, should continue to take from you your children. No; it cannot be that women should bear children in pain, that men should be born, that people should plow and sow, that the farmer should fertilize the fields, and the workmen enrich the city, that industry should produce marvels, that genius should produce prodigies, that the vast human activity should in presence of the starry sky, multiply efforts and creations, all to result in that frightful international exposition which is called a field of battle!
The true field of battle, behold it here! It is this rendezvous of the masterpieces of human labor which Paris offers the world at this moment.*
The true victory is the victory of Paris.
Alas! we cannot hide it from ourselves, that the present hour, worthy as it is of admiration and respect, has still some mournful aspects; there are still shadows on the horizon; the tragedy of the peoples is not finished; war, wicked war, is still there, and it has the audacity to lift its head in the midst of this august festival of peace. Princes for two years past, obstinately adhere to a fatal misunderstanding; their discord forms an obstacle to our concord, and they are ill-inspired to condemn us to the statement of such a contrast.
Let this contrast lead us back to Voltaire. In the presence of menacing possibilities, let us be more pacific than ever. Let us turn toward that great death, toward that great life, toward that great spirit. Let us bend before the venerated tombs. Let us take counsel of him whose life, useful to men, was extinguished a hundred years ago, but whose work is immortal. Let us take counsel of the other powerful thinkers, the auxiliaries of this glorious Voltaire, of Jean Jacques, of Diderot, of Montesquieu. Let us give the word to those great voices. Let us stop the effusion of human blood. Enough! enough! despots! Ah! barbarism persists; very well, let civilization be indignant. Let the eighteenth century come to the help of the nineteenth. The philosophers, our predecessors, are the apostles of the true; let us invoke those illustrious shades; let them, before monarchies meditate wars, proclaim the right of man to life, the right of conscience to liberty, the sovereignty of reason, the holiness of labor, the beneficence of peace; and since night issues from the thrones, let the light come from the tombs.
[To fully appreciate “Candide,” the most exquisite piece of philosophical banter ever penned, it should be remembered that Rousseau and Pope had been preaching the creed that “whatever is, is right,” in this “best of all possible worlds.” The terrible earthquake at Lisbon thundered a scathing commentary on this comfortable gospel. Voltaire gave it noble expression in his poem on that calamity, which should be read before “Candide” is enjoyed. The dignified eloquence and force of the poem moved Rousseau to attempt a reply in an ingenious letter upholding the doctrine so shaken in its base. Disdaining a serious rejoinder Voltaire retorted in this, the drollest of profoundly philosophic queer stories, which throws a merciless search-light on the flimsier optimism of the period, and stands as a perfect example of literary style, razing a Babel tower by the wave of a feather.]
In the country of Westphalia, in the castle of the most noble baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, lived a youth whom nature had endowed with a most sweet disposition. His face was the true index of his mind. He had a solid judgment joined to the most unaffected simplicity; and hence, I presume, he had his name of Candide. The old servants of the house suspected him to have been the son of the baron’s sister, by a very good sort of a gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young lady refused to marry, because he could produce no more than threescore and eleven quarterings in his arms; the rest of the genealogical tree belonging to the family 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 even windows; and his great hall was hung with tapestry. He used to hunt with his mastiffs and spaniels instead of greyhounds; his groom served him for huntsman; and the parson of the parish officiated as his grand almoner. He was called My Lord by all his people, and he never told a story but every one laughed at it.
My lady baroness weighed three hundred and fifty pounds, consequently was a person of no small consideration; and then she did the honors of the house with a dignity that commanded universal respect. Her daughter was about seventeen years of age, fresh colored, comely, plump, and desirable. The baron’s son seemed to be a youth in every respect worthy of the father he sprung from. Pangloss, the preceptor, was the oracle of the family, and little Candide listened to his instructions with all the simplicity natural to his age and disposition.
Master Pangloss taught the metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology. He could prove to admiration 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 all castles, and my lady the best of all possible baronesses.
It is demonstrable, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly we wear 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. Swine were intended to be eaten, therefore we eat pork all the year round: and they, who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best.
Candide listened attentively, and believed implicitly; for he thought Miss Cunegund excessively handsome, though he never had the courage to tell her so. He concluded that next to the happiness of being baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, the next was that of being Miss Cunegund, the next that of seeing her every day, and the last that of hearing the doctrine of Master Pangloss, the greatest philosopher of the whole province, and consequently of the whole world.
One day when Miss Cunegund went to take a walk in a little neighboring wood which was called a park, she saw, through the bushes, the sage Doctor Pangloss giving a lecture in experimental philosophy to her mother’s chambermaid, a little brown wench, very pretty, and very tractable. As Miss Cunegund had a great disposition for the sciences, she observed with the utmost attention the experiments, which were repeated before her eyes; she perfectly well understood the force of the doctor’s reasoning upon causes and effects. She retired greatly flurried, quite pensive and filled with the desire of knowledge, imagining that she might be a sufficing reason for young Candide, and he for her.
On her way back she happened to meet the young man; she blushed, he blushed also; she wished him a good morning in a flattering tone, he returned the salute without knowing what he said. The next day, as they were rising from dinner, Cunegund and Candide slipped behind the screen. The miss dropped her handkerchief, the young man picked it up. She innocently took hold of his hand, and he as innocently kissed hers with a warmth, a sensibility, a grace—all very particular; their lips met; their eyes sparkled; their knees trembled; their hands strayed. The baron chanced to come by; he beheld the cause and effect, and, without hesitation, saluted Candide with some notable kicks on the breech, and drove him out of doors. The lovely Miss Cunegund fainted away, and, as soon as she came to herself, the baroness boxed her ears. Thus a general consternation was spread over this most magnificent and most agreeable of all possible castles.
Candide, thus driven out of this terrestrial paradise, rambled a long time without knowing where he went; sometimes he raised his eyes, all bedewed with tears, towards heaven, and sometimes he cast a melancholy look towards the magnificent castle, where dwelt the fairest of young baronesses. He laid himself down to sleep in a furrow, heartbroken, and supperless. The snow fell in great flakes, and, in the morning when he awoke, he was almost frozen to death; however, he made shift to crawl to the next town, which was called Wald-berghoff-trarbk-dikdorff, without a penny in his pocket, and half dead with hunger and fatigue. He took up his stand at the door of an inn. He had not been long there, before two men dressed in blue, fixed their eyes steadfastly upon him. “Faith, comrade,” said one of them to the other, “yonder is a well made young fellow, and of the right size.” Upon which they made up to Candide, and with the greatest civility and politeness invited him to dine with them. “Gentlemen,” replied Candide, with a most engaging modesty, “you do me much honor, but upon my word I have no money.” “Money, sir!” said one of the blues to him, “young persons of your appearance and merit never pay anything; why, are not you five feet five inches high?” “Yes, gentlemen, that is really my size,” replied he, with a low bow. “Come then, sir, sit down along with us; we will not only pay your reckoning, but will never suffer such a clever young fellow as you to want money. Men were born to assist one another.” “You are perfectly right, gentlemen,” said Candide, “this is precisely the doctrine of Master Pangloss; and I am convinced that everything is for the best.” His generous companions next entreated him to accept of a few crowns, which he readily complied with, at the same time offering them his note for the payment, which they refused, and sat down to table. “Have you not a great affection for—” “O yes! I have a great affection for the lovely Miss Cunegund.” “May be so,” replied one of the blues, “but that is not the question! We ask you whether you have not a great affection for the king of the Bulgarians?” “For the king of the Bulgarians?” said Candide, “oh Lord! not at all, why I never saw him in my life.” “Is it possible! oh, he is a most charming king! Come, we must drink his health.” “With all my heart, gentlemen,” says Candide, and off he tossed his glass. “Bravo!” cry the blues; “you are now the support, the defender, the hero of the Bulgarians; your fortune is made; you are in the high road to glory.” So saying, they handcuffed him, and carried him away to the regiment. There he was made to wheel about to the right, 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 cane; the next day he performed his exercise a little better, and they gave him but twenty; the day following he came off with ten, and was looked upon as a young fellow of surprising genius by all his comrades.
Candide was struck with amazement, and could not for the soul of him conceive how he came to be a hero. One fine spring morning, he took it into his head to take a walk, and he marched straight forward, conceiving it to be a privilege of the human species, as well as of the brute creation, to make use of their legs how and when they pleased. He had not gone above two leagues when he was overtaken by four other heroes, six feet high, who bound him neck and heels, and carried him to a dungeon. A court-martial sat upon him, and he was asked which he liked better, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times through the whole regiment, or to have his brains blown out with a dozen musket-balls? In vain did he remonstrate to them that the human will is free, and that he chose neither; they obliged him to make a choice, and he determined, in virtue of that divine gift called free will, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times. He had gone through his discipline twice, and the regiment being composed of 2,000 men, they composed for him exactly 4,000 strokes, which laid bare all his muscles and nerves from the nape of his neck to his stern. As they were preparing to make him set out the third time our young hero, unable to support it any longer, begged as a favor that they would be so obliging as to shoot him through the head; the favor being granted, a bandage was tied over his eyes, and he was made to kneel down. At that very instant, his Bulgarian majesty happening to pass by made a stop, and inquired into the delinquent’s crime, and being a prince of great penetration, he found, from what he heard of Candide, that he was a young metaphysician, entirely ignorant of the world; and therefore, out of his great clemency, he condescended to pardon him, for which his name will be celebrated in every journal, and in every age. A skilful surgeon made a cure of the flagellated Candide in three weeks by means of emollient unguents prescribed by Dioscorides. His sores were now skinned over and he was able to march, when the king of the Bulgarians gave battle to the king of the Abares.
Never was anything so gallant, so well accoutred, so brilliant, and so finely disposed as the two armies. The trumpets, fifes, hautboys, drums, and cannon made such harmony as never was heard in hell itself. The entertainment began by a discharge of cannon, which, in the twinkling of an eye, laid flat about 6,000 men on each side. The musket bullets swept away, out of the best of all possible worlds, nine or ten thousand scoundrels that infested its surface. The bayonet was next the sufficient reason of the deaths of several thousands. The whole might amount to thirty thousand souls. Candide trembled like a philosopher, and concealed himself as well as he could during this heroic butchery.
At length, while the two kings were causing Te Deums to be sung in their camps, Candide took a resolution to go and reason somewhere else upon causes and effects. After passing over heaps of dead or dying men, the first place he came to was a neighboring village, in the Abarian territories, which had been burned to the ground by the Bulgarians, agreeably to the laws of war. Here lay a number of old men covered with wounds, who beheld their wives dying with their throats cut, and hugging their children to their breasts, all stained with blood. There several young virgins, whose bodies had been ripped open, after they had satisfied the natural necessities of the Bulgarian heroes, breathed their last; while others, half burned in the flames, begged to be despatched out of the world. The ground about them was covered with the brains, arms, and legs of dead men.
Candide made all the haste he could to another village, which belonged to the Bulgarians, and there he found the heroic Abares had enacted the same tragedy. Thence continuing to walk over palpitating limbs, or through ruined buildings, at length he arrived beyond the theatre of war, with a little provision in his budget, and Miss Cunegund’s image in his heart. When he arrived in Holland his provision failed him; but having heard that the inhabitants of that country were all rich and Christians, he made himself sure of being treated by them in the same manner as at the baron’s castle, before he had been driven thence through the power of Miss Cunegund’s bright eyes.
He asked charity of several grave-looking people, who one and all answered him, that if he continued to follow this trade they would have him sent to the house of correction, where he should be taught to get his bread.
He next addressed himself to a person who had just come from haranguing a numerous assembly for a whole hour on the subject of charity. The orator, squinting at him under his broad-brimmed hat, asked him sternly, what brought him thither and whether he was for the good old cause? “Sir,” said Candide, in a submissive manner, “I conceive there can be no effect without a cause; everything is necessarily concatenated and arranged for the best. It was necessary that I should be banished from the presence of Miss Cunegund; that I should afterwards run the gauntlet; and it is necessary I should beg my bread, till I am able to get it: all this could not have been otherwise.” “Hark ye, friend,” said the orator, “do you hold the pope to be Antichrist?” “Truly, I never heard anything about it,” said Candide, “but whether he is or not, I am in want to something to eat.” “Thou deservest not to eat or to drink,” replied the orator, “wretch, monster, that thou art! hence! avoid my sight, nor ever come near me again while thou livest.” The orator’s wife happened to put her head out of the window at that instant, when, seeing a man who doubted whether the pope was Antichrist, she discharged upon his head a utensil full of water. Good heavens, to what excess does religious zeal transport womankind!
A man who had never been christened, an honest anabaptist named James, was witness to the cruel and ignominious treatment showed to one of his brethren, to a rational, two-footed, unfledged being. Moved with pity he carried him to his own house, caused him to be cleaned, gave him meat and drink, and made him a present of two florins, at the same time proposing to instruct him in his own trade of weaving Persian silks, which are fabricated in Holland. Candide, penetrated with so much goodness, threw himself at his feet, crying, “Now I am convinced that my Master Pangloss told me truth when he said that everything was for the best in this world; for I am infinitely more affected with your extraordinary generosity than with the inhumanity of that gentleman in the black cloak, and his wife.” The next day, as Candide was walking out, he met a beggar all covered with scabs, his eyes sunk in his head, the end of his nose eaten off, his mouth drawn on one side, his teeth as black as a cloak, snuffling and coughing most violently, and every time he attempted to spit out dropped a tooth.
Candide, divided between compassion and horror, but giving way to the former, bestowed on this shocking figure the two florins which the honest anabaptist, James, had just before given to him. The spectre looked at him very earnestly, shed tears and threw his arms about his neck. Candide started back aghast. “Alas!” said the one wretch to the other, “don’t you know your dear Pangloss?” “What do I hear? Is it you, my dear master! you I behold in this piteous plight? What dreadful misfortune has befallen you? What has made you leave the most magnificent and delightful of all castles? What has become of Miss Cunegund, the mirror of young ladies, and nature’s masterpiece?” “Oh Lord!” cried Pangloss, “I am so weak I cannot stand,” upon which Candide instantly led him to the anabaptist’s stable, and procured him something to eat. As soon as Pangloss had a little refreshed himself, Candide began to repeat his inquiries concerning Miss Cunegund. “She is dead,” replied the other. “Dead!” cried Candide, and immediately fainted away; his friend restored him by the help of a little bad vinegar, which he found by chance in the stable. Candide opened his eyes, and again repeated: “Dead! is Miss Cunegund dead? Ah, where is the best of worlds now? But of what illness did she die? Was it of grief on seeing her father kick me out of his magnificent castle?” “No,” replied Pangloss, “her body was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after they had subjected her to as much cruelty as a damsel could survive; they knocked the baron, her father, on the 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; they have destroyed all the ducks, and the sheep, the barns, and the trees; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing in a neighboring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.”
At hearing this, Candide fainted away a second time, but, having come to himself again, he said all that it became him to say; he inquired into the cause and effect, as well as into the sufficing reason that had reduced Pangloss to so miserable a condition. “Alas,” replied the preceptor, “it was love; love, the comfort of the human species; love, the preserver of the universe; the soul of all sensible beings; love! tender love!” “Alas,” cried Candide, “I have had some knowledge of love myself, this sovereign of hearts, this soul of souls; yet it never cost me more than a kiss and twenty kicks on the backside. But how could this beautiful cause produce in you so hideous an effect?”
Pangloss made answer in these terms: “O my dear Candide, you must remember Pacquette, that pretty wench, who waited on our noble baroness; in her arms I tasted the pleasures of paradise, which produced these hell-torments with which you see me devoured. She was infected with an ailment, and perhaps has since died of it; she received this present of a learned cordelier, who derived it from the fountain head; he was indebted for it to an old countess, who had it of a captain of horse, who had it of a marchioness, who had it of a page, the page had it of a Jesuit, who, during his novitiate, had it in a direct line from one of the fellow-adventurers of Christopher Columbus; for my part I shall give it to nobody, I am a dying man.”
“O sage Pangloss,” cried Candide, “what a strange genealogy is this! Is not the devil the root of it?” “Not at all,” replied the great man, “it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal. It is also to be observed, that, even to the present time, in this continent of ours, this malady, like our religious controversies, is peculiar to ourselves. The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese, and the Japanese are entirely unacquainted with it; but there is a sufficing reason for them to know it in a few centuries. In the meantime, it is making prodigious havoc among us, especially in those armies composed of well-disciplined hirelings, who determine the fate of nations; for we may safely affirm, that, when an army of thirty thousand men engages another equal in size, there are about twenty thousand infected with syphilis on each side.”
“Very surprising, indeed,” said Candide, “but you must get cured. “Lord help me, how can I?” said Pangloss; “my dear friend, I have not a penny in the world; and you know one cannot be bled or have a clyster without money.”
This last speech had its effect on Candide; he flew to the charitable anabaptist, James; he flung himself at his feet, and gave him so striking a picture of the miserable condition of his friend that the good man without any further hesitation agreed to take Doctor Pangloss into his house, and to pay for his cure. The cure was effected with only the loss of one eye and an ear. As he wrote a good hand, and understood accounts tolerably well, the anabaptist made him his bookkeeper. At the expiration of two months, being obliged by some mercantile affairs to go to Lisbon he took the two philosophers with him in the same ship; Pangloss, during the course of the voyage, explained to him how everything was so constituted that it could not be better. James did not quite agree with him on this point: “Men,” said he “must, in some things, have deviated from their original innocence; for they were not born wolves, and yet they worry one another like those beasts of prey. God never gave them twenty-four pounders nor bayonets, and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another. To this account I might add not only bankruptcies, but the law which seizes on the effects of bankrupts, only to cheat the creditors.” “All this was indispensably necessary,” replied the one-eyed doctor, “for private misfortunes are public benefits; so that the more private misfortunes there are, the greater is the general good.” While he was arguing in this manner, the sky was overcast, the winds blew from the four quarters of the compass, and the ship was assailed by a most terrible tempest, within sight of the port of Lisbon.
One-half of the passengers, weakened and half-dead with the inconceivable anxiety and sickness which the rolling of a vessel at sea occasions through the whole human frame, were lost to all sense of the danger that surrounded them. The others made loud outcries, or betook themselves to their prayers; the sails were blown into shreds, and the masts were brought by the board. The vessel was a total wreck. Every one was busily employed, but nobody could be either heard or obeyed. The anabaptist, being upon deck, lent a helping hand as well as the rest, when a brutish sailor gave him a blow and laid him speechless; but, with the violence of the blow the tar himself tumbled headforemost overboard, and fell upon a piece of the broken mast, which he immediately grasped. Honest James, forgetting the injury he had so lately received from him, flew to his assistance, and, with great difficulty, hauled him in again, but, in the attempt, was, by a sudden jerk of the ship, thrown overboard himself, in sight of the very fellow whom he had risked his life to save, and who took not the least notice of him in this distress. Candide, who beheld all that passed and saw his benefactor one moment rising above water, and the next swallowed up by the merciless waves, was preparing to jump after him, but was prevented by the philosopher Pangloss, who demonstrated to him that the roadstead of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the anabaptist to be drowned there. While he was proving his argument a priori, the ship foundered, and the whole crew perished, except Pangloss, Candide, and the sailor who had been the means of drowning the good anabaptist. The villain swam ashore; but Pangloss and Candide reached the land upon a plank.
As soon as they had recovered from their surprise and fatigue they walked towards Lisbon; with what little money they had left they thought to save themselves from starving after having escaped drowning.
Scarcely had they ceased to lament the loss of their benefactor and set foot in the city, when they perceived that the earth trembled under their feet, and the sea, swelling and foaming in the harbor, was dashing in pieces the vessels that were riding at anchor. Large sheets of flames and cinders covered the streets and public places; the houses tottered, and were tumbled topsy-turvy even to their foundations, which were themselves destroyed, and thirty thousand inhabitants of both sexes, young and old, were buried beneath the ruins. The sailor, whistling and swearing, cried, “Damn it, there’s something to be got here.” “What can be the sufficing reason of this phenomenon?” said Pangloss. “It is certainly the day of judgment,” said Candide. The sailor, defying death in the pursuit of plunder, rushed into the midst of the ruin, where he found some money, with which he got drunk, and, after he had slept himself sober he purchased the favors of the first good-natured wench that came in his way, amidst the ruins of demolished houses and the groans of half-buried and expiring persons. Pangloss pulled him by the sleeve; “Friend,” said he, “this is not right, you trespass against the universal reason, and have mistaken your time.” “Death and zounds!” answered the other, “I am a sailor and was born at Batavia, and have trampled* four times upon the crucifix in as many voyages to Japan; you have come to a good hand with your universal reason.”
In the meantime, Candide, who had been wounded by some pieces of stone that fell from the houses, lay stretched in the street, almost covered with rubbish. “For God’s sake,” said he to Pangloss, “get me a little wine and oil! I am dying.” “This concussion of the earth is no new thing,” said Pangloss, “the city of Lima in South America, experienced the same last year; the same cause, the same effects; there is certainly a train of sulphur all the way underground from Lima to Lisbon. “Nothing is more probable,” said Candide; “but for the love of God a little oil and wine.” “Probable!” replied the philosopher, “I maintain that the thing is demonstrable.” Candide fainted away, and Pangloss fetched him some water from a neighboring spring.
The next day, in searching among the ruins, they found some eatables with which they repaired their exhausted strength. After this they assisted the inhabitants in relieving the distressed and wounded. Some, whom they had humanely assisted, gave them as good a dinner as could be expected under such terrible circumstances. The repast, indeed, was mournful, and the company moistened their bread with their tears; but Pangloss endeavored to comfort them under this affliction by affirming that things could not be otherwise than they were: “For,” said he, “all this is for the very best end, for if there is a volcano at Lisbon it could be in no other spot; and it is impossible but things should be as they are, for everything is for the best.”
By the side of the preceptor sat a little man dressed in black, who was one of the familiars of the Inquisition. This person, taking him up with great complaisance, said, “Possibly, my good sir, you do not believe in original sin; for, if everything is best, there could have been no such thing as the fall or punishment of man.”
“I humbly ask your excellency’s pardon,” answered Pangloss, still more politely; “for the fall of man and the curse consequent thereupon necessarily entered into the system of the best of worlds.” “That is as much as to say, sir,” rejoined the familiar, “you do not believe in free will.” “Your excellency will be so good as to excuse me,” said Pangloss, “free will is consistent with absolute necessity; for it was necessary we should be free, for in that the will—”
Pangloss was in the midst of his proposition, when the inquisitor beckoned to his attendant to help him to a glass of port wine.
After the earthquake, which had destroyed three-fourths of the city of Lisbon, the sages of that country could think of no means more effectual to preserve the kingdom from utter ruin than to entertain the people with an auto-da-fé, *it having 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 preventive of earthquakes.
In consequence thereof they had seized on a Biscayan for marrying his godmother, and on two Portuguese for taking out the bacon of a larded pullet they were eating; after dinner they came and secured Doctor Pangloss, and his pupil Candide, the one for speaking his mind, and the other for seeming to approve what he had said. They were conducted to separate apartments, extremely cool, where they were never incommoded with the sun. Eight days afterwards they were each dressed in a sanbenito, and their heads were adorned with paper mitres. The mitre and sanbenito worn by Candide were painted with flames reversed and with devils that had neither tails nor claws; but Doctor Pangloss’s devils had both tails and claws, and his flames were upright. In these habits they marched in procession, and heard a very pathetic sermon, which was followed by an anthem, accompanied by bagpipes. Candide was flogged to some tune, while the anthem was being sung; the Biscayan and the two men who would not eat bacon were burned, and Pangloss was hanged, which is not a common custom at these solemnities. The same day there was another earthquake, which made most dreadful havoc.
Candide, amazed, terrified, confounded, astonished, all bloody, and trembling from head to foot, said to himself, “If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others? If I had only been whipped, I could have put up with it, as I did among the Bulgarians; but, oh my dear Pangloss! my beloved master! thou greatest of philosophers! that ever I should live to see thee hanged, without knowing for what! O my dear anabaptist, thou best of men, that it should be thy fate to be drowned in the very harbor! O Miss Cunegund, you mirror of young ladies! that it should be your fate to have your body ripped open!”
He was making the best of his way from the place where he had been preached to, whipped, absolved and blessed, when he was accosted by an old woman, who said to him: “Take courage, child, and follow me.”
Candide followed the old woman, though without taking courage, to a decayed house, where she gave him a pot of pomatum to anoint his sores, showed him a very neat bed, with a suit of clothes hanging by it; and set victuals and drink before him. “There,” said she, “eat, drink, and sleep, and may our blessed lady of Atocha, and the great St. Anthony of Padua, and the illustrious St. James of Compostella, take you under their protection. I shall be back to-morrow.” Candide struck with amazement at what he had seen, at what he had suffered, and still more with the charity of the old woman, would have shown his acknowledgment by kissing her hand. “It is not my hand you ought to kiss,” said the old woman; “I shall be back to-morrow. Anoint your back, eat, and take your rest.”
Candide, notwithstanding so many disasters, ate and slept. The next morning, the old woman brought him his breakfast; examined his back, and rubbed it herself with another ointment. She returned at the proper time, and brought him his dinner; and at night, she visited him again with his supper. The next day she observed the same ceremonies. “Who are you?” said Candide to her. “Who has inspired you with so much goodness? What return can I make you for this charitable assistance?” The good old beldame kept a profound silence. In the evening she returned, but without his supper; “Come along with me,” said she, “but do not speak a word.” She took him by the arm, and walked with him about a quarter of a mile into the country, till they came to a lonely house surrounded with moats and gardens. The old conductress knocked at a little door, which was immediately opened, and she showed him up a pair of back stairs, into a small, but richly furnished apartment. There she made him sit down on a brocaded sofa, shut the door upon him, and left him. Candide thought himself in a trance; he looked upon his whole life, hitherto, as a frightful dream, and the present moment as a very agreeable one.
The old woman soon returned, supporting, with great difficulty, a young lady, who appeared scarce able to stand. She was of a majestic mien and stature, her dress was rich, and glittering with diamonds, and her face was covered with a veil. “Take off that veil,” said the old woman to Candide. The young man approached, and, with a trembling hand, took off her veil. What a happy moment! What surprise! He thought he beheld Miss Cunegund; he did behold her—it was she herself. His strength failed him, he could not utter a word, he fell at her feet. Cunegund fainted upon the sofa. The old woman bedewed them with spirits; they recovered—they began to speak. At first they could express themselves only in broken accents; their questions and answers were alternately interrupted with sighs, tears, and exclamations. The old woman desired them to make less noise, and after this prudent admonition left them together. “Good heavens!” cried Candide, “is it you? Is it Miss Cunegund I behold, and alive? Do I find you again in Portugal? then you have not been ravished? they did not rip open your body, as the philosopher Pangloss informed me?” “Indeed but they did,” replied Miss Cunegund; “but these two accidents do not always prove mortal.” “But were your father and mother killed?” “Alas!” answered she, “it is but too true!” and she wept. “And your brother?” “And my brother also.” “And how came you into Portugal? And how did you know of my being here? And by what strange adventure did you contrive to have me brought into this house? And how—” “I will tell you all,” replied the lady, “but first you must acquaint me with all that has befallen you since the innocent kiss you gave me, and the rude kicking you received in consequence of it.”
Candide, with the greatest submission, prepared to obey the commands of his fair mistress; and though he was still filled with amazement, though his voice was low and tremulous, though his back pained him, yet he gave her a most ingenuous account of everything that had befallen him, since the moment of their separation. Cunegund, with her eyes uplifted to heaven, shed tears when he related the death of the good anabaptist James, and of Pangloss; after which she thus related her adventures to Candide, who lost not one syllable she uttered, and seemed to devour her with his eyes all the time she was speaking.
“I was in bed, and fast asleep, when it pleased heaven to send the Bulgarians to our delightful castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh, where they murdered my father and brother, and cut my mother in pieces. A tall Bulgarian soldier, six feet high, perceiving that I had fainted away at this sight, attempted to ravish me; the operation brought me to my senses. I cried, I struggled, I bit, I scratched, I would have torn the tall Bulgarian’s eyes out, not knowing that what had happened at my father’s castle was a customary thing. The brutal soldier, enraged at my resistance, gave me a wound in my left leg with his hanger, the mark of which I still carry.” “Methinks I long to see it,” said Candide, with all imaginable simplicity. “You shall,” said Cunegund, “but let me proceed.” “Pray do,” replied Candide.
She continued. “A Bulgarian captain came in, and saw me weltering in my blood, and the soldier still as busy as if no one had been present. The officer, enraged at the fellow’s want of respect to him, killed him with one stroke of his sabre as he lay upon me. This captain took care of me, had me cured, and carried me as a prisoner of war to his quarters. I washed what little linen he possessed, and cooked his victuals: he was very fond of me, that was certain; neither can I deny that he was well made, and had a soft, white skin, but he was very stupid, and knew nothing of philosophy: it might plainly be perceived that he had not been educated under Doctor Pangloss. In three months, having gambled away all his money, and having grown tired of me, he sold me to a Jew, named Don Issachar, who traded in Holland and Portugal, and was passionately fond of women. This Jew showed me great kindness, in hopes of gaining my favors; but he never could prevail on me to yield. A modest woman may be once ravished; but her virtue is greatly strengthened thereby. In order to make sure of me, he brought me to this country-house you now see. I had hitherto believed that nothing could equal the beauty of the castle of Thunder-tentronckh; but I found I was mistaken.
“The grand inquisitor saw me one day at mass, ogled me all the time of service, and when it was over, sent to let me know he wanted to speak with me about some private business. I was conducted to his palace, where I told him all my story; he represented to me how much it was beneath a person of my birth to belong to a circumcised Israelite. He caused a proposal to be made to Don Issachar, that he should resign me to his lordship. Don Issachar, being the court banker, and a man of credit, was not easy to be prevailed upon. His lordship threatened him with an auto-da-fé; in short, my Jew was frightened into a compromise, and it was agreed between them, that the house and myself should belong to both in common; that the Jew should have Monday, Wednesday, and the Sabbath to himself; and the inquisitor the other four days of the week. This agreement has subsisted almost six months; but not without several contests, whether the space from Saturday night to Sunday morning belonged to the old or the new law. For my part, I have hitherto withstood them both, and truly I believe this is the very reason why they are both so fond of me.
“At length to turn aside the scourge of earthquakes, and to intimidate Don Issachar, my lord inquisitor was pleased to celebrate an auto-da-fé. He did me the honor to invite me to the ceremony. I had a very good seat; and refreshments of all kinds were offered the ladies between mass and the execution. I was dreadfully shocked at the burning of the two Jews, and the honest Biscayan who married his godmother; but how great was my surprise, my consternation, and concern, when I beheld a figure so like Pangloss, dressed in a sanbenito and mitre! I rubbed my eyes, I looked at him attentively. I saw him hanged, and I fainted away: scarce had I recovered my senses, when I saw you stripped of clothing; this was the height of horror, grief, and despair. I must confess to you for a truth, that your skin is whiter and more blooming than that of the Bulgarian captain. This spectacle worked me up to a pitch of distraction. I screamed out, and would have said, ‘hold, barbarians!’ but my voice failed me; and indeed my cries would have signified nothing. After you had been severely whipped, how is it possible, I said to myself, that the lovely Candide and the sage Pangloss should be at Lisbon, the one to receive a hundred lashes, and the other to be hanged by order of my lord inquisitor, of whom I am so great a favorite? Pangloss deceived me most cruelly, in saying that everything is for the best.
“Thus agitated and perplexed, now distracted and lost, now half dead with grief, I revolved in my mind the murder of my father, mother, and brother, committed before my eyes; the insolence of the rascally Bulgarian soldier; the wound he gave me in the groin; my servitude; my being a cook-wench to my Bulgarian captain; my subjection to the hateful Jew, and my cruel inquisitor; the hanging of Doctor Pangloss; the Miserere sung while you were being whipped; and particularly the kiss I gave you behind the screen, the last day I ever beheld you. I returned thanks to God for having brought you to the place where I was, after so many trials. I charged the old woman who attends me to bring you hither as soon as was convenient. She has punctually executed my orders, and I now enjoy the inexpressible satisfaction of seeing you, hearing you, and speaking to you. But you must certainly be half-dead with hunger; I myself have a great inclination to eat, and so let us sit down to supper.”
Upon this the two lovers immediately placed themselves at table, and, after having supped, they returned to seat themselves again on the magnificent sofa already mentioned, where they were in amorous dalliance, when Señor Don Issachar, one of the masters of the house, entered unexpectedly; it was the Sabbath day, and he came to enjoy his privilege, and sigh forth his passion at the feet of the fair Cunegund.
This same Issachar was the most choleric little Hebrew that had ever been in Israel since the captivity of Babylon. “What,” said he, “thou Galilean slut? the inquisitor was not enough for thee, but this rascal must come in for a share with me?” In uttering these words, he drew out a long poniard, which he always carried about him, and never dreaming that his adversary had any arms, he attacked him most furiously; but our honest Westphalian had received from the old woman a handsome sword with the suit of clothes. Candide drew his rapier, and though he was very gentle and sweet-tempered, he laid the Israelite dead on the floor at the fair Cunegund’s feet.
“Holy Virgin!” cried she, “what will become of us? A man killed in my apartment! If the peace-officers come, we are undone.” “Had not Pangloss been hanged,” replied Candide, “he would have given us most excellent advice, in this emergency; for he was a profound philosopher. But, since he is not here, let us consult the old woman.” She was very sensible, and was beginning to give her advice, when another door opened on a sudden. It was now one o’clock in the morning, and of course the beginning of Sunday, which, by agreement, fell to the lot of my lord inquisitor. Entering he discovers the flagellated Candide with his drawn sword in his hand, a dead body stretched on the floor, Cunegund frightened out of her wits, and the old woman giving advice.
At that very moment, a sudden thought came into Candide’s head. If this holy man, thought he, should call assistance, I shall most undoubtedly be consigned to the flames, and Miss Cunegund may perhaps meet with no better treatment: besides, he was the cause of my being so cruelly whipped; he is my rival; and as I have now begun to dip my hands in blood, I will kill away, for there is no time to hesitate. This whole train of reasoning was clear and instantaneous; so that, without giving time to the inquisitor to recover from his surprise, he ran him through the body, and laid him by the side of the Jew. “Here’s another fine piece of work!” cried Cunegund. “Now there can be no mercy for us, we are excommunicated; our last hour is come. But how could you, who are of so mild a temper, despatch a Jew and an inquisitor in two minutes’ time?” “Beautiful maiden,” answered Candide, “when a man is in love, is jealous, and has been flogged by the Inquisition, he becomes lost to all reflection.”
The old woman then put in her word: “There are three Andalusian horses in the stable, with as many bridles and saddles; let the brave Candide get them ready: madam has a parcel of moidores and jewels, let us mount immediately, though I have lost one of nature’s cushions; 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.”
Candide, without any further hesitation, saddled the three horses; and Miss Cunegund, the old woman, and he, set out, and travelled thirty miles without once halting. While they were making the best of their way, the Holy Brotherhood entered the house. My lord, the inquisitor, was interred in a magnificent manner, and master Issachar’s body was thrown upon a dunghill.
Candide, Cunegund, and the old woman, had by this time reached the little town of Avacena, in the midst of the mountains of Sierra Morena, and were engaged in the following conversation in an inn, where they had taken up their quarters.
“Who could it be that has robbed me of my moidores and jewels?” exclaimed Miss Cunegund, all bathed in tears. “How shall we live? What shall we do? Where shall I find inquisitors and Jews who can give me more?” “Alas!” said the old woman, “I have a shrewd suspicion of a reverend father cordelier, who lay last night in the same inn with us at Badajoz; God forbid I should condemn any one wrongfully, but he came into our room twice, and he set off in the morning long before us.” “Alas!” said Candide, “Pangloss has often demonstrated to me that the goods of this world are common to all men, and that everyone has an equal right to the enjoyment of them; but, according to these principles, the cordelier ought to have left us enough to carry us to the end of our journey. Have you nothing at all left, my dear Miss Cunegund?” “Not a maravedi,” replied she. “What is to be done then?” said Candide. “Sell one of the horses,” replied the old woman, “I will get up behind Miss Cunegund, though I have only one cushion to ride on, and we shall reach Cadiz.”
In the same inn there was a Benedictine friar, who bought the horse very cheap. Candide, Cunegund, and the old woman, after passing through Lucina, Chellas, and Letrixa, arrived at length at Cadiz. A fleet was then getting ready, and troops were assembling in order to induce the reverend fathers, Jesuits of Paraguay, who were accused of having excited one of the Indian tribes in the neighborhood of the town of the Holy Sacrament, to revolt against the kings of Spain and Portugal. Candide, having been in the Bulgarian service, performed the military exercise of that nation before the general of this little army with so intrepid an air, and with such agility and expedition, that he received the command of a company of foot. Being now made a captain, he embarked with Miss Cunegund, the old woman, two valets, and the two Andalusian horses, which had belonged to the grand inquisitor of Portugal.
During their voyage they amused themselves with many profound reasonings on poor Pangloss’s philosophy. “We are now going into another world, and surely it must be there that everything is for the best; for I must confess that we have had some little reason to complain of what passes in ours, both as to the physical and moral part. Though I have a sincere love for you,” said Miss Cunegund, “yet I still shudder at the reflection of what I have seen and experienced.” “All will be well,” replied Candide, “the sea of this new world is already better than our European seas: it is smoother, and the winds blow more regularly.” “God grant it,” said Cunegund, “but I have met with such terrible treatment in this world that I have almost lost all hopes of a better one.” “What murmuring and complaining is here indeed!” cried the old woman: “If you had suffered half what I have, there might be some reason for it.” Miss Cunegund could scarce refrain from laughing at the good old woman, and thought it droll enough to pretend to a greater share of misfortunes than her own. “Alas! my good dame,” said she, “unless you had been ravished by two Bulgarians, had received two deep wounds in your belly, had seen two of your own castles demolished, had lost two fathers, and two mothers, and seen both of them barbarously murdered before your eyes, and to sum up all, had two lovers whipped at an auto-da-fé, I cannot see how you could be more unfortunate than I. Add to this, though born a baroness, and bearing seventy-two quarterings, I have been reduced to the station of a cook-wench.” “Miss,” replied the old woman, “you do not know my family as yet; but if I were to show you my posteriors, you would not talk in this manner, but suspend your judgment.” This speech raised a high curiosity in Candide and Cunegund; and the old woman continued as follows:
“I have not always been blear-eyed. My nose did not always touch my chin; nor was I always a servant. You must know that I am the daughter of Pope Urban X.*, and of the princess of Palestrina. To the age of fourteen I was brought up in a castle, compared with which all the castles of the German barons would not have been fit for stabling, and one of my robes would have bought half the province of Westphalia. I grew up, and improved in beauty, wit, and every graceful accomplishment; and in the midst of pleasures, homage, and the highest expectations. I already began to inspire the men with love. My breast began to take its right form, and such a breast! white, firm, and formed like that of Venus of Medici; my eyebrows were as black as jet, and as for my eyes, they darted flames and eclipsed the lustre of the stars, as I was told by the poets of our part of the world. My maids, when they dressed and undressed me, used to fall into an ecstasy in viewing me before and behind: and all the men longed to be in their places.
“I was contracted in marriage to a sovereign prince of Massa Carara. Such a prince! as handsome as myself, sweet-tempered, agreeable, witty, and in love with me over head and ears. I loved him, too, as our sex generally do for the first time, with rapture, transport, and idolatry. The nuptials were prepared with surprising pomp and magnificence; the ceremony was attended with feasts, carousals, and burlettas: all Italy composed sonnets in my praise, though not one of them was tolerable. I was on 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. In less than two hours after he returned from the visit, he died of most terrible convulsions. But this is a mere trifle. My mother, distracted to the highest degree, and yet less afflicted than I, determined to absent herself for some time from so fatal a place. As she had a very fine estate in the neighborhood of Gaeta, we embarked on board a galley, which was gilded like the high altar of St. Peter’s, at Rome. In our passage we were boarded by a Sallee rover. Our men defended themselves like true pope’s soldiers; they flung themselves upon their knees, laid down their arms, and begged the corsair to give them absolution in articulo mortis.
“The Moors presently stripped us as bare as ever we were born. My mother, my maids of honor, and myself, were served all in the same manner. It is amazing how quick these gentry are at undressing people. But what surprised me most was, that they made a rude sort of surgical examination of parts of the body which are sacred to the functions of nature. I thought it a very strange kind of ceremony; for thus we are generally apt to judge of things when we have not seen the world. I afterwards learned that it was to discover if we had any diamonds concealed. This practice has been established since time immemorial among those civilized nations that scour the seas. I was informed that the religious knights of Malta never fail to make this search whenever any Moors of either sex fall into their hands. It is a part of the 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 what we must have suffered on board a corsair. My mother was still extremely handsome, our maids of honor, and even our common waiting-women, had more charms than were to be found in all Africa. As to myself, I was enchanting; I was beauty itself, and then I had my virginity. But, alas! I did not retain it long; this precious flower, which had been reserved for the lovely prince of Massa Carara, was cropped by the captain of the Moorish vessel, who was a hideous negro, and thought he did me infinite honor. Indeed, both the princess of Palestrina and myself must have had very strong constitutions to undergo all the hardships and violences we suffered before our arrival at Morocco. But I will not detain you any longer with such common things; they are hardly worth mentioning.
“Upon our arrival at Morocco we found that kingdom deluged with blood. Fifty sons of the emperor Muley Ishmael were each at the head of a party. This produced fifty civil wars of blacks against blacks, of tawnies against tawnies, and of mulattoes against mulattoes. In short, the whole empire was one continued scene of carnage.
“No sooner were we landed than a party of blacks, of a contrary faction to that of my captain, came to rob him of his booty. Next to the money and jewels, we were the most valuable things he had. I witnessed on this occasion such a battle as you never beheld in your cold European climates. The northern nations have not that fermentation in their blood, nor that raging lust for women that is so common in Africa. The natives of Europe seem to have their veins filled with milk only; but fire and vitriol circulate in those of the inhabitants of Mount Atlas and the neighboring provinces. They fought with the fury of the lions, tigers, and serpents of their country, to decide who should have us. A Moor seized my mother by the right arm, while my captain’s lieutenant held her by the left; another Moor laid hold of her by the right leg, and one of our corsairs held her by the other. In this manner almost all of our women were dragged by four soldiers. My captain kept me concealed behind him, and with his drawn scimitar cut down everyone who opposed him; at length I saw all our Italian women and my mother mangled and torn in pieces by the monsters who contended for them. The captives, my companions, the Moors who took us, the soldiers, the sailors, the blacks, the whites, the mulattoes, and lastly, my captain himself, were all slain, and I remained alone expiring upon a heap of dead bodies. Similar barbarous scenes were transacted every day over the whole country, which is of three hundred leagues in extent, and yet they never missed the five stated times of prayer enjoined by their prophet Mahomet.
“I disengaged myself with great difficulty from such a heap of corpses, and made a shift to crawl to a large orange-tree that stood on the bank of a neighboring rivulet, where I fell down exhausted with fatigue, and overwhelmed with horror, despair, and hunger. My senses being overpowered, I fell asleep, or rather seemed to be in a trance. Thus I lay in a state of weakness and insensibility between life and death, when I felt myself pressed by something that moved up and down upon my body. This brought me to myself. I opened my eyes, and saw a pretty fair-faced man, who sighed and muttered these words between his teeth, O che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni!
“Astonished and delighted to hear my native language, and no less surprised at the young man’s words, I told him that there were far greater misfortunes in the world than what he complained of. And to convince him of it, I gave him a short history of the horrible disasters that had befallen me; and as soon as I had finished, fell into a swoon again. He carried me in his arms to a neighboring cottage, where he had me put to bed, procured me something to eat, waited on me with the greatest attention, comforted me, caressed me, told me that he had never seen anything so perfectly beautiful as myself, and that he had never so much regretted the loss of what no one could restore to him. ‘I was born at Naples,’ said he, ‘where they make eunuchs of thousands of children every year; some die of the operation; some acquire voices far beyond the most tuneful of your ladies; and others are sent to govern states and empires. I underwent this operation very successfully, and was one of the singers in the princess of Palestrina’s chapel.’ ‘How,’ cried I, ‘in my mother’s chapel!’ ‘The princess of Palestrina, your mother!’ cried he, bursting into a flood of tears. ‘Is it possible you should be the beautiful young princess whom I had the care of bringing up till she was six years old, and who at that tender age promised to be as fair as I now behold you?’ ‘I am the same,’ I replied. ‘My mother lies about a hundred yards from here cut in pieces and buried under a heap of dead bodies.’
“I then related to him all that had befallen me, and he in return acquainted me with all his adventures, and how he had been sent to the court of the king of Morocco by a Christian prince to conclude a treaty with that monarch; in consequence of which he was to be furnished with military stores, and ships to enable him to destroy the commerce of other Christian governments.* ‘I have executed my commission,’ said the eunuch; ‘I am going to take ship at Ceuta, and I’ll take you along with me to Italy. Ma che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni!’
“I thanked him with tears of joy, but, instead of taking me with him into Italy, he carried me to Algiers, and sold me to the dey of that province. I had not been long a slave when the plague, which had made the tour of Africa, Asia, and Europe, broke out at Algiers with redoubled fury. You have seen an earthquake; but tell me, Miss, have you ever had the plague?”
“Never,” answered the young baroness.
“If you had ever had it,” continued the old woman, “you would own an earthquake was a trifle to it. It is very common in Africa; I was seized with it. Figure to yourself the distressed condition of the daughter of a pope, only fifteen years old, and who in less than three months had felt the miseries of poverty and slavery; had been debauched almost every day; had beheld her mother cut into four quarters; had experienced the scourges of famine and war; and was now dying of the plague at Algiers. I did not, however, die of it; but my eunuch, and the dey, and almost the whole seraglio of Algiers, were swept off.
“As soon as the first fury of this dreadful pestilence was over, a sale was made of the dey’s slaves. I was purchased by a merchant who carried me 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. After many changes, I at length became the property of an aga of the janissaries, who, soon after I came into his possession, was ordered away to the defence of Azoff, then besieged by the Russians.
“The aga, being very fond of women, took his whole seraglio with him, and lodged us in a small fort, with two black eunuchs and twenty soldiers for our guard. Our army made a great slaughter among the Russians; but they soon returned us the compliment. Azoff was taken by storm, and the enemy spared neither age, sex, nor condition, but put all to the sword, and laid the city in ashes. Our little fort alone held out; they resolved to reduce us by famine. The twenty janissaries, who were left to defend it, had bound themselves by an oath never to surrender the place. Being reduced to the extremity of famine, they found themselves obliged to kill our two eunuchs, and eat them rather than violate their oath. But this horrible repast soon failing them, they next determined to devour the women.
“We had a very pious and humane man, who gave them a most excellent sermon on this occasion, exhorting them not to kill us all at once; ‘Cut off only one of the steaks of each of those ladies,’ said he, ‘and you will fare extremely well; if you are under the necessity of having recourse to the same expedient again, you will find the like supply a few days hence. Heaven will approve of so charitable an action, and work your deliverance.’
“By the force of this eloquence he easily persuaded them, and all of us underwent the operation. The man applied the same balsam as they do to children after circumcision. We were all ready to give up the ghost.
“The janissaries had scarcely time to finish the repast with which we had supplied them, when the Russians attacked the place by means of flat-bottomed boats, and not a single janissary escaped. The Russians paid no regard to the condition we were in; but there are French surgeons in all parts of the world, and one of them took us under his care, and cured us. I shall never forget, while I live, that as soon as my wounds were perfectly healed he made me certain proposals. In general, he desired us all to be of a good cheer, assuring us that the like had happened in many sieges; and that it was perfectly agreeable to the laws of war.
“As soon as my companions were in a condition to walk, they were sent to Moscow. As for me, I fell to the lot of a boyard, who put me to work in his garden, and gave me twenty lashes a day. But this nobleman having about two years afterwards been broken alive upon the wheel, with about thirty others, for some court intrigues, I took advantage of the event, and made my escape. I travelled over a great part of Russia. I was a long time an innkeeper’s servant at Riga, then at Rostock, Wismar, Leipsic, Cassel, Utrecht, Leyden, The Hague, and Rotterdam: I have grown old in misery and disgrace, living with only one buttock, and having in perpetual remembrance that I am a pope’s daughter. I have been a hundred times upon the point of killing myself, but still I was fond of life. This ridiculous weakness is, perhaps, one of the dangerous principles implanted in our nature. For what can be more absurd than to persist in carrying a burden of which we wish to be eased? to detest, and yet to strive to preserve our existence? In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us, and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts?
“In the different countries which it has been my fate to traverse, and at the many inns where I have been a servant, I have observed a prodigious number of people who held their existence in abhorrence, and yet I never knew more than twelve who voluntarily put an end to their misery; namely, three negroes, four Englishmen, as many Genevese, and a German professor, named Robek. My last place was with the Jew, Don Issachar, who placed me near your person, my fair lady; to whose fortunes I have attached myself, and have been more concerned with your adventures than with my own. I should never have even mentioned the latter to you, had you not a little piqued me on the head of sufferings; and if it were not customary to tell stories on board a ship in order to pass away the time. In short, my dear Miss, I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the world, therefore take my advice: divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story, and if there is one of them all that has not cursed his existence many times, and said to himself over and over again that he was the most wretched of mortals, I give you leave to throw me head-foremost into the sea.”
The fair Cunegund, being thus made acquainted with the history of the old woman’s life and adventures, paid her all the respect and civility due to a person of her rank and merit. She very readily acceded to her proposal of engaging the passengers to relate their adventures in their turns, and was at length, as well as Candide, compelled to acknowledge that the old woman was in the right. “It is a thousand pities,” said Candide, “that the sage Pangloss should have been hanged contrary to the custom of an auto-da-fé, for he would have given us a most admirable lecture on the moral and physical evil which overspreads the earth and sea; and I think I should have courage enough to presume to offer (with all due respect) some few objections.”
While everyone was reciting his adventures, the ship continued her way, and at length arrived at Buenos Ayres, where Cunegund, Captain Candide, and the old woman, landed and went to wait upon the governor Don Fernando d’Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza. This nobleman carried himself with a haughtiness suitable to a person who bore so many names. He spoke with the most noble disdain to everyone, carried his nose so high, strained his voice to such a pitch, assumed so imperious an air, and stalked with so much loftiness and pride, that everyone who had the honor of conversing with him was violently tempted to bastinade his excellency. He was immoderately fond of women, and Miss Cunegund appeared in his eyes a paragon of beauty. The first thing he did was to ask her if she was not the captain’s wife. The air with which he made this demand alarmed Candide, who did not dare to say he was married to her, because indeed he was not; neither did he venture to say she was his sister, because she was not: and though a lie of this nature proved of great service to one of the ancients, and might possibly be useful to some of the moderns, yet the purity of his heart would not permit him to violate the truth. “Miss Cunegund,” replied he, “is to do me the honor to marry me, and we humbly beseech your excellency to condescend to grace the ceremony with your presence.”
Don Fernando d’Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, twirling his mustachio, and putting on a sarcastic smile, ordered Captain Candide to go and review his company. The gentle Candide obeyed, and the governor was left with Miss Cunegund. He made her a strong declaration of love, protesting that he was ready to give her his hand in the face of the church, or otherwise, as should appear most agreeable to a young lady of her prodigious beauty. Cunegund desired leave to retire a quarter of an hour to consult the old woman, and determine how she should proceed.
The old woman gave her the following counsel: “Miss, you have seventy-two quarterings in your arms, it is true, but you have not a penny to bless yourself with: it is your own fault if you do not become the wife of one of the greatest noblemen in South America, with an exceeding fine mustachio. What business have you to pride yourself upon an unshaken constancy? You have been outraged by a Bulgarian soldier; a Jew and an inquisitor have both tasted of your favors. People take advantage of misfortunes. I must confess, were I in your place, I should, without the least scruple, give my hand to the governor, and thereby make the fortune of the brave Captain Candide.” While the old woman was thus haranguing, with all the prudence that old age and experience furnish, a small bark entered the harbor, in which was an alcayde and his alguazils. Matters had fallen out as follows:
The old woman rightly guessed that the cordelier with the long sleeves, was the person who had taken Miss Cunegund’s money and jewels, while they and Candide were at Badajoz, in their flight from Lisbon. This same friar attempted to sell some of the diamonds to a jeweller, who presently knew them to have belonged to the grand inquisitor, and stopped them. The cordelier, before he was hanged, acknowledged that he had stolen them, and described the persons, and the road they had taken. The flight of Cunegund and Candide was already the towntalk. They sent in pursuit of them to Cadiz; and the vessel which had been sent to make the greater despatch, had now reached the port of Buenos Ayres. A report was spread that an alcayde was going to land, and that he was in pursuit of the murderers of my lord, the inquisitor. The sage old woman immediately saw what was to be done. “You cannot run away,” said she to Cunegund, “but you have nothing to fear; it was not you who killed my lord inquisitor: besides, as the governor is in love with you, he will not suffer you to be ill-treated; therefore stand your ground.” Then hurrying away to Candide, she said: “Be gone hence this instant, or you will be burned alive.” Candide found there was no time to be lost; but how could he part from Cunegund, and whither must he fly for shelter?
Candide had brought with him from Cadiz such a footman as one often meets with on the coasts of Spain and in the colonies. He was the fourth part of a Spaniard, of a mongrel breed, and born in Tucuman. He had successively gone through the profession of a singing boy, sexton, sailor, monk, peddler, soldier, and lackey. His name was Cacambo; he had a great affection for his master, because his master was a very good man. He immediately saddled the two Andalusian horses. “Come, my good master, let us follow the old woman’s advice, and make all the haste we can from this place without staying to look behind us.” Candide burst into a flood of tears: “O, my dear Cunegund, must I then be compelled to quit you just as the governor was going to honor us with his presence at our wedding! Cunegund, so long lost and found again, what will now become of you?” “Lord!” said Cacambo, “she must do as well as she can; women are never at a loss. God takes care of them, and so let us make the best of our way.” “But whither wilt thou carry me? where can we go? what can we do without Cunegund?” cried the disconsolate Candide. “By St. James of Compostella,” said Cacambo, “you were going to fight against the Jesuits of Paraguay; now let us go and fight for them; I know the road perfectly well; I’ll conduct you to their kingdom; they will be delighted with a captain that understands the Bulgarian drill; you will certainly make a prodigious fortune. If we cannot succeed in this world we may in another. It is a great pleasure to see new objects and perform new exploits.”
“Then you have been in Paraguay?” asked Candide. “Ay, marry, I have,” replied Cacambo; “I was a scout in the college of the Assumption, and am as well acquainted with the new government of Los Padres as I am with the streets of Cadiz. Oh, it is an admirable government, that is most certain! The kingdom is at present upwards of three hundred leagues in diameter, and divided into thirty provinces; the fathers there are masters of everything, and the people have no money at all; this you must allow is the masterpiece of justice and reason. For my part, I see nothing so divine as the good fathers, who wage war in this part of the world against the troops of Spain and Portugal, at the same time that they hear the confessions of those very princes in Europe; who kill Spaniards in America and send them to heaven at Madrid. This pleases me exceedingly, but let us push forward; you are going to see the happiest and most fortunate of all mortals. How charmed will those fathers be to hear that a captain who understands the Bulgarian military drill is coming among them.”
As soon as they reached the first barrier, Cacambo called to the advance guard, and told them that a captain wanted to speak to my lord, the general. Notice was given to the main guard, and immediately a Paraguayan officer ran to throw himself at the feet of the commandant to impart this news to him. Candide and Cacambo were immediately disarmed, and their two Andalusian horses were seized. The two strangers were conducted between two files of musketeers, the commandant was at the further end with a three-cornered cap on his head, his gown tucked up, a sword by his side, and a half-pike in his hand; he made a sign, and instantly four-and-twenty soldiers drew up round the newcomers. A sergeant told them that they must wait, the commandant could not speak to them; and that the reverend father provincial did 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 has just come from mass and is at the parade,” replied the sergeant, “and in about three hours’ time you may possibly have the honor to kiss his spurs.” “But,” said Cacambo, “the captain, who, as well as myself, is perishing of hunger, is no Spaniard, but a German; therefore, pray, might we not be permitted to break our fast till we can be introduced to his reverence?”
The sergeant immediately went and acquainted the commandant with what he heard. “God be praised,” said the reverend commandant, “since he is a German I will hear what he has to say; let him be brought to my arbor.”
Immediately they conducted Candide to a beautiful pavilion adorned with a colonade of green marble, spotted with yellow, and with an intertexture of vines, which served as a kind of cage for parrots, humming-birds, guinea-hens, and all other curious kinds of birds. An excellent breakfast was provided in vessels of gold; and while the Paraguayans were eating coarse Indian corn out of wooden dishes in the open air, and exposed to the burning heat of the sun, the reverend father commandant retired to his cool arbor.
He was a very handsome young man, roundfaced, fair, and fresh-colored, his eyebrows were finely arched, he had a piercing eye, the tips of his ears were red, his lips vermilion, and he had a bold and commanding air; but such a boldness as neither resembled that of a Spaniard nor of a Jesuit. He ordered Candide and Cacambo to have their arms restored to them, together with their two Andalusian horses. Cacambo gave the poor beasts some oats to eat close by the arbor, keeping a strict eye upon them all the while for fear of surprise.
Candide having kissed the hem of the commandant’s robe, they sat down to table. “It seems you are 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 an emotion that neither could conceal.
“From what part of Germany do you come?” said the Jesuit.
“From the dirty province of Westphalia,” answered Candide. “I was born in the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh.”
“Oh heavens! is it possible?” said the commandant.
“What a miracle!” cried Candide.
“Can it be you?” said the commandant.
On this they both drew a few steps backwards, then running into each other’s arms, embraced, and wept profusely. “Is it you then, reverend father? You are the brother of the fair Miss Cunegund? 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 we live in. O Pangloss! Pangloss! what joy would this have given you if you had not been hanged.”
The commandant dismissed the negro slaves, and the Paraguayans who presented them with liquor in crystal goblets. He returned thanks to God and St. Ignatius a thousand times; he clasped Candide in his arms, and both their faces were bathed in tears. “You will be more surprised, more affected, more transported,” said Candide, “when I tell you that Miss Cunegund, your sister, whose belly was supposed to have been ripped open, is in perfect health.”
“In your neighborhood, with the governor of Buenos Ayres; and I myself was going to fight against you.” Every word they uttered during this long conversation was productive of some new matter of astonishment. Their souls fluttered on their tongues, listened in their ears, and sparkled in their eyes. Like true Germans, they continued a long while at table, waiting for the reverend father; and the commandant spoke to his dear Candide as follows:
“Never while I live shall I lose the remembrance of that horrible day on which I saw my father and mother barbarously butchered before my eyes, and my sister ravished. When the Bulgarians retired we searched in vain for my dear sister. She was nowhere to be found; but the bodies of my father, mother, and myself, with two servant maids and three little boys, all of whom had been murdered by the remorseless enemy, were thrown into a cart to be buried in a chapel belonging to the Jesuits, within two leagues of our family seat. A Jesuit sprinkled us with some holy water, which was confounded salty, and a few drops of it went into my eyes; the father perceived that my eyelids stirred a little; he put his hand upon my breast and felt my heart beat; upon which he gave me proper assistance, and at the end of three weeks I was perfectly recovered. You know, my dear Candide, I was very handsome; I became still more so, and the reverend father Croust, superior of that house, took a great fancy to me; he gave me the habit of the order, and some years afterwards I was sent to Rome. Our general stood in need of new recruits of young German Jesuits. The sovereigns of Paraguay admit of as few Spanish Jesuits as possible; they prefer those of other nations, as being more obedient to command. The reverend father-general looked upon me as a proper person to work in that vineyard. I set out in company with a Polander and a Tyrolese. Upon my arrival I was honored with a subdeaconship and a lieutenancy. Now I am colonel and priest. We shall give a warm reception to the king of Spain’s troops; I can assure you they will be well excommunicated and beaten. Providence has sent you hither to assist us. But is it true that my dear sister Cunegund is in the neighborhood with the governor of Buenos Ayres?”
Candide swore that nothing could be more true; and the tears began again to trickle down their cheeks. The baron knew no end of embracing Candide, he called him his brother, his deliverer.
“Perhaps,” said he, “my dear Candide, we shall be fortunate enough to enter the town, sword in hand, and recover my sister Cunegund.”
“Ah! that would crown my wishes,” replied Candide; “for I intended to marry her; and I hope I shall still be able to effect it.”
“Insolent fellow!” cried the baron. “You! you have the impudence to marry my sister, who bears seventy-two quarterings! really, I think you have an insufferable degree of assurance to dare so much as to mention such an audacious design to me.”
Candide, thunderstruck at the oddness of this speech, answered: “Reverend father, all the quarterings in the world are of no signification. I have delivered your sister from a Jew and an inquisitor; she is under many obligations to me, and she is resolved to give me her hand. My master, Pangloss, always told me that mankind are by nature equal. Therefore, you may depend upon it that I will marry your sister.”
“We shall see to that, villain!” said the Jesuit baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, and struck him across the face with the flat side of his sword. Candide in an instant drew his rapier and plunged it up to the hilt in the Jesuit’s body; but in pulling it out reeking hot, he burst into tears.
“Good God!” cried he, “I have killed my old master, my friend, my brother-in-law; I am the best man in the world, and yet I have already killed three men; and of these three two were priests.”
Cacambo, who was standing sentry near the door of the arbor, instantly ran up.
“Nothing remains,” said his master, “but to sell our lives as dearly as possible; they will undoubtedly look into the arbor; we must die sword in hand.”
Cacambo, who had seen many of this kind of adventures, was not discouraged. He stripped the baron of his Jesuit’s habit and put it upon Candide, then gave him the dead man’s three-cornered cap and made him mount on horseback. All this was done as quick as thought.
“Gallop, master,” cried Cacambo; “everybody will take you for a Jesuit going to give orders; 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.”
Candide and his valet had already passed the frontiers before it was known that the German Jesuit was dead. The wary Cacambo had taken care to fill his wallet with bread, chocolate, some ham, some fruit, and a few bottles of wine. They penetrated with their Andalusian horses into a strange country, where they could discover no beaten path. At length a beautiful meadow, intersected with purling rills, opened to their view. Cacambo proposed to his master to take some nourishment, and he set him an example.
“How can you desire me to feast upon ham, when I have killed the baron’s son and am doomed never more to see the beautiful Cunegund? What will it avail me to prolong a wretched life that must be spent far from her in remorse and despair? And then what will the journal of Trévoux say?” was Candide’s reply.
While he was making these reflections he still continued eating. The sun was now on the point of setting when the ears of our two wanderers were assailed with cries which seemed to be uttered by a female voice. They could not tell whether these were cries of grief or of joy; however, they instantly started up, full of that inquietude and apprehension which a strange place naturally inspires. The cries proceeded from two young women who were tripping disrobed along the mead, while two monkeys followed close at their heels biting at their limbs. Candide was touched with compassion; he had learned to shoot while he was among the Bulgarians, and he could hit a filbert in a hedge without touching a leaf. Accordingly he took up his double-barrelled Spanish gun, pulled the trigger, and laid the two monkeys lifeless on the ground.
“God be praised, my dear Cacambo, I have rescued two poor girls 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 two distressed damsels. Who knows but they may be young ladies of a good family, and that the assistance I have been so happy to give them may procure us great advantage in this country?”
He was about to continue when he felt himself struck speechless at seeing the two girls embracing the dead bodies of the monkeys in the tenderest manner, bathing their wounds with their tears, and rending the air with the most doleful lamentations.
“Really,” said he to Cacambo, “I should not have expected to see such a prodigious share of good nature.”
“Master,” replied the knowing valet, “you have made a precious piece of work of it; do you know that you have killed the lovers of these two ladies?”
“Their lovers! Cacambo, you are jesting! It cannot be! I can never believe it.”
“Dear sir,” replied Cacambo, “you are surprised at everything; why should you think it so strange that there should be a country where monkeys insinuate themselves into the good graces of the ladies? They are the fourth part of a man as I am the fourth part of a Spaniard.”
“Alas!” replied Candide, “I remember to have heard my master Pangloss say that such accidents as these frequently came to pass in former times, and that these commixtures are productive of centaurs, fauns, and satyrs; and that many of the ancients had seen such monsters; but I looked upon the whole as fabulous.”
“Now you are convinced,” said Cacambo, “that it is very true, and you see what use is made of those creatures by persons who have not had a proper education; all I am afraid of is that these same ladies may play us some ugly trick.”
These judicious reflections operated so far on Candide as to make him quit the meadow and strike into a thicket. There he and Cacambo supped, and after heartily cursing the grand inquisitor, the governor of Buenos Ayres, and the baron, they fell asleep on the ground. When they awoke they were surprised to find that they could not move; the reason was that the Oreillons who inhabit that country, and to whom the ladies had given information of these two strangers, had bound them with cords made of the bark of trees. They saw themselves surrounded by fifty naked Oreillons armed with bows and arrows, clubs, and hatchets of flint; some were making a fire under a large cauldron; and others were preparing spits, crying out one and all, “A Jesuit! a Jesuit! we shall be revenged; we shall have excellent cheer; let us eat this Jesuit; let us eat him up.”
“I told you, master,” cried Cacambo, mournfully, “that these two wenches would play us some scurvy trick.”
Candide, seeing the cauldron and the spits, cried out, “I suppose they are going either to boil or roast us. Ah! what would Pangloss say if he were to see how pure nature is formed? Everything is right; it may be so; but I must confess it is something hard to be bereft of dear Miss Cunegund, and to be spitted like a rabbit by these barbarous Oreillons.”
Cacambo, who never lost his presence of mind in distress, said to the disconsolate Candide: “Do not despair; I understand a little of the jargon of these people; I will speak to them.”
“Ay, pray do,” said Candide, “and be sure you make them sensible of the horrid barbarity of boiling and roasting human creatures, and how little of Christianity there is in such practices.”
“Gentlemen,” said Cacambo, “you think perhaps you are going to feast upon a Jesuit; if so, it is mighty well; nothing can be more agreeable to justice than thus to treat your enemies. Indeed the law of nature teaches us to kill our neighbor, and accordingly we find this practised all over the world; and if we do not indulge ourselves in eating human flesh, it is because we have much better fare; but for your parts, who have not such resources as we, it is certainly much better judged to feast upon your enemies than to throw their bodies to the fowls of the air; and thus lose all the fruits of your victory. But surely, gentlemen, you would not choose to eat your friends. You imagine you are going to roast a Jesuit, whereas my master is your friend, your defender, and you are going to spit the very man who has been destroying your enemies; as to myself, I am your countryman; this gentleman is my master, and so far from being a Jesuit, give me leave to tell you he has very lately killed one of that order, whose spoils he now wears, and which have probably occasioned your mistake. To convince you of the truth of what I say, take the habit he has on and carry it to the first barrier of the Jesuits’ kingdom, and inquire whether my master did not kill one of their officers. There will be little or no time lost by this, and you may still reserve our bodies in your power to feast on if you should find what we have told you to be false. But, on the contrary, if you find it to be true, I am persuaded you are too well acquainted with the principles of the laws of society, humanity, and justice, not to use us courteously, and suffer us to depart unhurt.”
This speech appeared very reasonable to the Oreillons; they deputed two of their people with all expedition to inquire into the truth of this affair, who acquitted themselves of their commission like men of sense, and soon returned with good tidings for our distressed adventurers. Upon this they were loosed, and those who were so lately going to roast and boil them now showed them all sorts of civilities; offered them girls, gave them refreshments, and reconducted them to the confines of their country, crying before them all the way, in token of joy: “He is no Jesuit, he is no Jesuit.”
Candide could not help admiring the cause of his deliverance. “What men! what manners!” cried he; “if I had not fortunately run my sword up to the hilt in the body of Miss Cunegund’s brother, I should have certainly been eaten alive. But, after all, pure nature is an excellent thing; since these people, instead of eating me, showed me a thousand civilities as soon as they knew I was not a Jesuit.”
When they got to the frontiers of the Oreillons, “You see,” said Cacambo to Candide, “this hemisphere is not better than the other; now take my advice and let us return to Europe by the shortest way possible.”
“But how can we get back?” said Candide; “and whither shall we go? To my own country? The Bulgarians and the Abares are laying that waste with fire and sword; or shall we go to Portugal? There I shall be burned; and if we abide here we are every moment in danger of being spitted. But how can I bring myself to quit that part of the world where my dear Miss Cunegund has her residence?”
“Let us return towards Cayenne,” said Cacambo; “there we shall meet with some Frenchmen; for you know those gentry ramble all over the world; perhaps they will assist us, and God will look with pity on our distress.”
It was not so easy to get to Cayenne. They knew pretty nearly whereabouts it lay; but the mountains, rivers, precipices, robbers, savages, were dreadful obstacles in the way. Their horses died with fatigue and their provisions were at an end. They subsisted a whole month on wild fruit, till at length they came to a little river bordered with cocoa trees; the sight of which at once revived their drooping spirits and furnished nourishment for their enfeebled bodies.
Cacambo, who was always giving as good advice as the old woman herself, said to Candide: “You see there is no holding out any longer; we have travelled enough on foot. I spy an empty canoe near the river side; let us fill it with cocoanuts, get into it, and go down with the stream; a river always leads to some inhabited place. If we do not meet with agreeable things, we shall at least meet with something new.”
“Agreed,” replied Candide; “let us recommend ourselves to Providence.”
They rowed a few leagues down the river, the banks of which were in some places covered with flowers; in others barren; in some parts smooth and level, and in others steep and rugged. The stream widened as they went further on, till at length it passed under one of the frightful rocks, whose summits seemed to reach the clouds. Here our two travellers had the courage to commit themselves to the stream, which, contracting in this part, hurried 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. They were obliged to creep along, from rock to rock, for the space of a league, till at length a spacious plain presented itself to their sight. This place was bounded by a chain of inaccessible mountains. The country appeared cultivated equally for pleasure and to produce the necessaries of life. The useful and agreeable were here equally blended. The roads were covered, or rather adorned, with carriages formed of glittering materials, in which were men and women of a surprising beauty, drawn with great rapidity by red sheep of a very large size; which far surpassed the finest coursers of Andalusia, Tetuan, or Mecquinez.
“Here is a country, however,” said Candide, “preferable to Westphalia.”
He and Cacambo landed near the first village they saw, at the entrance of which they perceived some children covered with tattered garments of the richest brocade, playing at quoits. Our two inhabitants of the other hemisphere amused themselves greatly with what they saw. The quoits were large, round pieces, yellow, red, and green, which cast a most glorious lustre. Our travellers picked some of them up, and they proved to be gold, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds; the least of which would have been the greatest ornament to the superb throne of the Great Mogul.
“Without doubt,” said Cacambo, “those children must be the king’s sons that are playing at quoits.” As he was uttering these words the schoolmaster of the village appeared, who came to call the children to school.
“There,” said Candide, “is the preceptor of the royal family.”
The little ragamuffins immediately quitted their diversion, leaving the quoits on the ground with all their other playthings. Candide gathered them up, ran to the schoolmaster, and, with a most respectful bow, presented them to him, giving him to understand by signs that their royal highnesses had forgot their gold and precious stones. The schoolmaster, with a smile, flung them upon the ground, then examining Candide from head to foot with an air of admiration, he turned his back and went on his way.
Our travellers took care, however, to gather up the gold, the rubies, and the emeralds.
“Where are we?” cried Candide. “The king’s children in this country must have an excellent education, since they are taught to show such a contempt for gold and precious stones.”
Cacambo was as much surprised as his master. They then drew near the first house in the village, which was built after the manner of a European palace. There was a crowd of people about the door, and a still greater number in the house. The sound of the most delightful instruments of music was heard, and the most agreeable smell came from the kitchen. Cacambo went up to the door and heard those within talking in the Peruvian language, which was his mother tongue; for every one knows that Cacambo was born in a village of Tucuman, where no other language is spoken.
“I will be your interpreter here,” said he to Candide. “Let us go in; this is an eating-house.”
Immediately two waiters and two servant-girls, dressed in cloth of gold, and their hair braided with ribbons of tissue, accosted the strangers and invited them to sit down to the ordinary. Their dinner consisted of four dishes of different soups, each garnished with two young paroquets, a large dish of bouillé that weighed two hundred weight, two roasted monkeys of a delicious flavor, three hundred humming-birds in one dish, and six hundred flybirds in another; some excellent ragouts, delicate tarts, and the whole served up in dishes of rockcrystal. Several sorts of liquors, extracted from the sugar-cane, were handed about by the servants who attended.
Most of the company were chapmen and wagoners, all extremely polite; they asked Cacambo a few questions with the utmost discretion and circumspection; and replied to his in a most obliging and satisfactory manner.
As soon as dinner was over, both Candide and Cacambo thought they should pay very handsomely for their entertainment by laying down two of those large gold pieces which they had picked off the ground; but the landlord and landlady burst into a fit of laughing and held their sides for some time. When the fit was over, “Gentlemen,” said the landlord, “I plainly perceive you are strangers, and such we are not accustomed to charge; pardon us, therefore, for laughing when you offered us the common pebbles of our highways for payment of your reckoning. To be sure, you have none of the coin of this kingdom; but there is no necessity of having any money at all to dine in this house. All the inns, which are established for the convenience of those who carry on the trade of this nation, are maintained by the government. You have found but very indifferent entertainment here, because this is only a poor village; but in almost every other of these public houses you will meet with a reception worthy of persons of your merit.” Cacambo explained the whole of this speech of the landlord to Candide, who listened to it with the same astonishment with which his friend communicated it.
“What sort of a country is this,” said the one to the other, “that is unknown to all the world; and in which Nature has everywhere so different an appearance to what she has in ours? Possibly this is that part of the globe where everything is right, for there must certainly be some such place. And, for all that Master Pangloss could say, I often perceived that things went very ill in Westphalia.”
Cacambo vented all his curiosity upon his landlord by a thousand different questions; the honest man answered him thus: “I am very ignorant, sir, but I am contented with my ignorance; however, we have in this neighborhood an old man retired from court, who is the most learned and communicative person in the whole kingdom.” He then conducted Cacambo to the old man; Candide acted now only a second character, and attended his valet. They entered a very plain house, for the door was nothing but silver, and the ceiling was only of beaten gold, but wrought in such elegant taste as to vie with the richest. The antechamber, indeed, was only incrusted with rubies and emeralds; but the order in which everything was disposed 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 liquors in golden goblets, after which he satisfied their curiosity in the following terms:
“I am now one hundred and seventy-two years old, and I learned of my late father, who was equerry to the king, the amazing revolutions of Peru, to which he had been an eye-witness. This kingdom is the ancient patrimony of the Incas, who very imprudently quitted it to conquer another part of the world, and were at length conquered and destroyed themselves by the Spaniards.
“Those princes of their family who remained in their native country acted more wisely. They ordained, with the consent of their whole nation, that none of the inhabitants of our little kingdom should ever quit it; and to this wise ordinance we owe the preservation of our innocence and happiness. The Spaniards had some confused notion of this country, to which they gave the name of El Dorado; and Sir Walter Raleigh, an Englishman, actually came very near it about three hundred years ago; but the inaccessible rocks and precipices with which our country is surrounded on all sides, has hitherto secured us from the rapacious fury of the people of Europe, who have an unaccountable fondness for the pebbles and dirt of our land, for the sake of which they would murder us all to the very last man.”
The conversation lasted some time and turned chiefly on the form of government, their manners, their women, their public diversions, and the arts. At length, Candide, who had always had a taste for metaphysics, asked whether the people of that country had any religion.
The old man reddened a little at this question.
“Can you doubt it?” said he; “do you take us for wretches lost to all sense of gratitude?”
Cacambo asked in a respectful manner what was the established religion of El Dorado. The old man blushed again, and said: “Can there be two religions, then? Ours, I apprehend, is the religion of the whole world; we worship God from morning till night.”
“Do you worship but one God?” said Cacambo, who still acted as the interpreter of Candide’s doubts.
“Certainly,” said the old man; “there are not two, nor three, nor four Gods. I must confess the people of your world ask very extraordinary questions.”
However, Candide could not refrain from making many more inquiries of the old man; he wanted to know in what manner they prayed to God in El Dorado.
“We do not pray to him at all,” said the reverend sage; “we have nothing to ask of Him, He has given us all we want, and we give Him thanks incessantly.” Candide had a curiosity to see some of their priests, and desired Cacambo to ask the old man where they were. At which he smiling said:
“My friends, we are all of us priests; the king and all the heads of families sing solemn hymns of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musicians.”
“What!” said Cacambo, “have you no monks among you to dispute, to govern, to intrigue, and to burn people who are not of the same opinion with themselves?”
“Do you take us for fools?” said the old man. “Here we are all of one opinion, and know not what you mean by your monks.”
During the whole of this discourse Candide was in raptures, and he said to himself, “What a prodigious difference is there between this place and Westphalia; and this house and the baron’s castle. Ah, Master Pangloss! had you ever seen El Dorado, you would no longer have maintained that the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh was the finest of all possible edifices; there is nothing like seeing the world, that’s certain.”
This long conversation being ended, the old man ordered six sheep to be harnessed and put to the coach,* and sent twelve of his servants to escort the travellers to court.
“Excuse me,” said he, “for not waiting on you in person, my age deprives me of that honor. The king will receive you in such a manner that you will have no reason to complain; and doubtless you will make a proper allowance for the customs of the country if they should not happen altogether to please you.”
Candide and Cacambo got into the coach, the six sheep flew, and, in less than a quarter of an hour, they arrived at the king’s palace, which was situated at the further end of the capital. At the entrance was a portal two hundred and twenty feet high and one hundred wide; but it is impossible for words to express the materials of which it was built. The reader, however, will readily conceive that they must have a prodigious superiority over the pebbles and sand, which we call gold and precious stones.
Twenty beautiful young virgins in waiting received Candide and Cacambo on their alighting from the coach, conducted them to the bath and clad them in robes woven of the down of humming-birds; after which they were introduced by the great officers of the crown of both sexes to the king’s apartment, between two files of musicians, each file consisting of a thousand, agreeable to the custom of the country. When they drew near to the presence-chamber, Cacambo asked one of the officers in what manner they were to pay their obeisance to his majesty; whether it was the custom to fall upon their knees, or to prostrate themselves upon the ground; whether they were to put their hands upon their heads, or behind their backs; whether they were to lick the dust off the floor; in short, what was the ceremony usual on such occasions.
“The custom,” said the great officer, “is to embrace the king and kiss him on each cheek.”
Candide and Cacambo accordingly threw their arms round his majesty’s neck, who received them in the most gracious manner imaginable, and very politely asked them to sup with him.
While supper was preparing orders were given to show them the city, where they saw public structures that reared their lofty heads to the clouds; the market-places decorated with a thousand columns; fountains of spring water, besides others of rose water, and of liquors drawn from the sugarcane, incessantly flowing in the great squares; which were paved with a kind of precious stones that emitted an odor like that of cloves and cinnamon. Candide asked to see the high court of justice, the parliament; but was answered that they had none in that country, being utter strangers to lawsuits. He then inquired if they had any prisons; they replied none. But what gave him at once the greatest surprise and pleasure was the palace of sciences, where he saw a gallery two thousand feet long, filled with the various apparatus in mathematics and natural philosophy.
After having spent the whole afternoon in seeing only about the thousandth part of the city, they were brought back to the king’s palace. Candide sat down at the table with his majesty, his valet Cacambo, and several ladies of the court. Never was entertainment more elegant, nor could any one possibly show more wit than his majesty displayed while they were at supper. Cacambo explained all the king’s bons mots to Candide, and, although they were translated, they still appeared to be bons mots. Of all the things that surprised Candide, this was not the least. They spent a whole month in this hospitable place, during which time Candide was continually saying to Cacambo:
“I own, my friend, once more, that the castle where I was born is a mere nothing in comparison to the place where we now are; but still Miss Cunegund is not here, and you yourself have doubtless some fair one in Europe for whom you sigh. If we remain here we shall only be as others are; whereas, if we return to our own world with only a dozen of El Dorado sheep, loaded with the pebbles of this country, we shall be richer than all the kings in Europe; we shall no longer need to stand in awe of the inquisitors; and we may easily recover Miss Cunegund.”
This speech was perfectly agreeable to Cacambo. A fondness for roving, for making a figure in their own country, and for boasting of what they had seen in their travels, was so powerful in our two wanderers that they resolved to be no longer happy; and demanded permission of the king to quit the country.
“You are about to do a rash and silly action,” said the king. “I am sensible my kingdom is an inconsiderable spot; but when people are tolerably at their ease in any place, I should think it would be to their interest to remain there. Most assuredly, I have no right to detain you, or any strangers, against your wills; this is an act of tyranny to which our manners and our laws are equally repugnant; all men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but you will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers. It is impossible to ascend that rapid river which runs under high and vaulted rocks, and by which you were conveyed hither by a kind of miracle. The mountains by which my kingdom are hemmed in on all sides, are ten thousand feet high, and perfectly perpendicular; they are above ten leagues across, and the descent from them is one continued precipice. However, since you are determined to leave us, I will immediately give orders to the superintendent of my carriages to cause one to be made that will convey you very safely. When they have conducted you to the back of the mountains, nobody can attend you farther; for my subjects have made a vow never to quit the kingdom, and they are too prudent to break it. Ask me whatever else you please.”
“All we shall ask of your majesty,” said Cacambo, “is only a few sheep laden with provisions, pebbles, and the clay of your country.”
The king smiled at the request, and said: “I cannot imagine what pleasure you Europeans find in our yellow clay; but take away as much of it as you will, and much good may it do you.”
He immediately gave orders to his engineers to make a machine to hoist these two extraordinary men out of the kingdom. Three thousand good machinists went to work and finished it in about fifteen days, and it did not cost more than twenty millions sterling of that country’s money. Candide and Cacambo were placed on this machine, and they took with them two large red sheep, bridled and saddled, to ride upon, when they got on the other side of the mountains; twenty others to serve as sumpters for carrying provisions; thirty laden with presents of whatever was most curious in the country, and fifty with gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. The king, at parting with our two adventurers, embraced them with the greatest cordiality.
It was a curious sight to behold the manner of their setting off, and the ingenious method by which they and their sheep were hoisted to the top of the mountains. The machinists and engineers took leave of them as soon as they had conveyed them to a place of safety, and Candide was wholly occupied with the thoughts of presenting his sheep to Miss Cunegund.
“Now,” cried he, “thanks to heaven, we have more than sufficient to pay the governor of Buenos Ayres for Miss Cunegund, if she is redeemable. Let us make the best of our way to Cayenne, where we will take shipping and then we may at leisure think of what kingdom we shall purchase with our riches.
Our travellers’ first day’s journey was very pleasant; they were elated with the prospect of possessing more riches than were to be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa together. Candide, in amorous transports, cut the name of Miss Cunegund on almost every tree he came to. The second day two of their sheep sunk in a morass, and were swallowed up with their lading; two more died of fatigue; some few days afterwards seven or eight perished with hunger in a desert, and others, at different times, tumbled down precipices, or were otherwise lost, so that, after travelling about a hundred days they had only two sheep left of the hundred and two they brought with them from El Dorado. Said Candide to Cacambo:
“You see, my dear friend, how perishable the riches of this world are; there is nothing solid but virtue.”
“Very true,” said Cacambo, “but we have still two sheep remaining, with more treasure than ever the king of Spain will be possessed of; and I espy a town at a distance, which I take to be Surinam, a town belonging to the Dutch. We are now at the end of our troubles, and at the beginning of happiness.”
As they drew near the town they saw a negro stretched on the ground with only one half of his habit, which was a kind of linen frock; for the poor man had lost his left leg and his right hand.
“Good God,” said Candide in Dutch, “what dost thou here, friend, in this deplorable condition?”
“I am waiting for my master, Mynheer Vanderdendur, the famous trader,” answered the negro.
“Was it Mynheer Vanderdendur that used you in this cruel manner?”
“Yes, sir,” said the negro; “it is the custom here. They give a linen garment twice a year, and that is all our covering. When we labor in the sugar works, and the mill happens to snatch hold of a finger, they instantly chop off our hand; and when we attempt to run away, they cut off a leg. Both these cases have happened to me, and it is at this expense that you eat sugar in Europe; and yet when my mother sold me for ten patacoons on the coast of Guinea, she said to me, ‘My dear child, bless our fetiches; adore them forever; they will make thee live happy; thou hast the honor to be a slave to our lords the whites, by which thou wilt make the fortune of us thy parents.’ Alas! I know not whether I have made their fortunes; but they have not made mine: dogs, monkeys, and parrots are a thousand times less wretched than I. The Dutch fetiches who converted me tell me every Sunday that the blacks and whites are all children of one father, whom they call Adam. As for me, I do not understand anything of genealogies; but if what these preachers say is true, we are all second cousins; and you must allow that it is impossible to be worse treated by our relations than we are.”
“O Pangloss!” cried out Candide, “such horrid doings never entered thy imagination. Here is an end of the matter; I find myself, after all, obliged to renounce thy Optimism.”
“Optimism,” said Cacambo, “what is that?”
“Alas!” replied Candide, “it is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.” And so saying he turned his eyes towards the poor negro, and shed a flood of tears; and in this weeping mood he entered the town of Surinam.
Immediately upon their arrival our travellers inquired if there was any vessel in the harbor which they might send to Buenos Ayres. The person they addressed themselves to happened to be the master of a Spanish bark, who offered to agree with them on moderate terms, and appointed them a meeting at a public house. Thither Candide and his faithful Cacambo went to wait for him, taking with them their two sheep.
Candide, who was all frankness and sincerity, made an ingenuous recital of his adventures to the Spaniard, declaring to him at the same time his resolution of carrying off Miss Cunegund from the governor of Buenos Ayres.
“O ho!” said the shipmaster, “if that is the case, get whom you please to carry you to Buenos Ayres; for my part, I wash my hands of the affair. It would prove a hanging matter to us all. The fair Cunegund is the governor’s favorite mistress.” These words were like a clap of thunder to Candide; he wept bitterly for a long time, and, taking Cacambo aside, he said to him, “I’ll tell you, my dear friend, what you must do. We have each of us in our pockets to the value of five or six millions in diamonds; you are cleverer at these matters than I; you must go to Buenos Ayres and bring off Miss Cunegund. If the governor makes any difficulty give him a million; if he holds out, give him two; as you have not killed an inquisitor, they will have no suspicion of you. I’ll fit out another ship and go to Venice, where I will wait for you. Venice is a free country, where we shall have nothing to fear from Bulgarians, Abares, Jews, or Inquisitors.”
Cacambo greatly applauded this wise resolution. He was inconsolable at the thoughts of parting with so good a master, who treated him more like an intimate friend than a servant; but the pleasure of being able to do him a service soon got the better of his sorrow. They embraced each other with a flood of tears. Candide charged him not to forget the old woman. Cacambo set out the same day. This Cacambo was a very honest fellow.
Candide continued some days longer at Surinam, waiting for any captain to carry him and his two remaining sheep to Italy. He hired domestics, and purchased many things necessary for a long voyage; at length Mynheer Vanderdendur, skipper of a large Dutch vessel, came and offered his service.
“What will you have,” said Candide, “to carry me, my servants, my baggage, and these two sheep you see here, directly to Venice?”
The skipper asked ten thousand piastres, and Candide agreed to his demand without hesitation.
“Ho, ho!” said the cunning Vanderdendur to himself, “this stranger must be very rich; he agrees to give me ten thousand piastres without hesitation.” Returning a little while after he tells Candide that upon second consideration he could not undertake the voyage for less than twenty thousand. “Very well; you shall have them,” said Candide.
“Zounds!” said the skipper to himself, “this man agrees to pay twenty thousand piastres with as much ease as ten.” Accordingly he goes back again, and tells him roundly that he will not carry him to Venice for less than thirty thousand piastres.
“Then you shall have thirty thousand,” said Candide.
“Odso!” said the Dutchman once more to himself, “thirty thousand piastres seem a trifle to this man. Those sheep must certainly be laden with an immense treasure. I’ll e’en stop here and ask no more; but make him pay down the thirty thousand piastres, and then we may see what is to be done farther.” Candide sold two small diamonds, the least of which was worth more than all the skipper asked. He paid him beforehand, the two sheep were put on board, and Candide followed in a small boat to join the vessel in the road. The skipper took advantage of his opportunity, hoisted sail, and put out to sea with a favorable wind. Candide, confounded and amazed, soon lost sight of the ship. “Alas!” said he, “this is a trick like those in our old world!”
He returned back to the shore overwhelmed with grief; and, indeed, he had lost what would have made the fortune of twenty monarchs.
Straightway upon his landing he applied to the Dutch magistrate; being transported with passion he thundered at the door, which being opened, he went in, told his case, and talked a little louder than was necessary. The magistrate began with fining him ten thousand piastres for his petulance, and then listened very patiently to what he had to say, promised to examine into the affair on the skipper’s return, and ordered him to pay ten thousand piastres more for the fees of the court.
This treatment put Candide out of all patience; it is true, he had suffered misfortunes a thousand times more grievous, but the cool insolence of the judge, and the villainy of the skipper raised his choler and threw him into a deep melancholy. The villainy of mankind presented itself to his mind in all its deformity, and his soul was a prey to the most gloomy ideas. After some time, hearing that the captain of a French ship was ready to set sail for Bordeaux, as he had no more sheep loaded with diamonds to put on board, he hired the cabin at the usual price; and made it known in the town that he would pay the passage and board of any honest man who would give him his company during the voyage; besides making him a present of ten thousand piastres, on condition that such person was the most dissatisfied with his condition, and the most unfortunate in the whole province.
Upon this there appeared such a crowd of candidates that a large fleet could not have contained them. Candide, willing to choose from among those who appeared most likely to answer his intention, selected twenty, who seemed to him the most sociable, and who all pretended to merit the preference. He invited them to his inn, and promised to treat them with a supper, on condition that every man should bind himself by an oath to relate his own history; declaring at the same time, that he would make choice of that person who should appear to him the most deserving of compassion, and the most justly dissatisfied with his condition in life; and that he would make a present to the rest.
This extraordinary assembly continued sitting till four in the morning. Candide, while he was listening to their adventures, called to mind what the old woman had said to him in their voyage to Buenos Ayres, and the wager she had laid that there was not a person on board the ship but had met with great misfortunes. Every story he heard put him in mind of Pangloss.
“My old master,” said he, “would be confoundedly put to it to demonstrate his favorite system. Would he were here! Certainly if everything is for the best, it is in El Dorado, and not in the other parts of the world.”
At length he determined in favor of a poor scholar, who had labored ten years for the booksellers at Amsterdam: being of opinion that no employment could be more detestable.
This scholar, who was in fact a very honest man, had been robbed by his wife, beaten by his son, and forsaken by his daughter, who had run away with a Portuguese. He had been likewise deprived of a small employment on which he subsisted, and he was persecuted by the clergy of Surinam, who took him for a Socinian. It must be acknowledged that the other competitors were, at least, as wretched as he; but Candide was in hopes that the company of a man of letters would relieve the tediousness of the voyage. All the other candidates complained that Candide had done them great injustice, but he stopped their mouths by a present of a hundred piastres to each.
The old philosopher, whose name was Martin, took shipping with Candide for Bordeaux. Both had seen and suffered a great deal, and had the ship been going from Surinam to Japan round the Cape of Good Hope, they could have found sufficient entertainment for each other during the whole voyage, in discoursing upon moral and natural evil.
Candide, however, had one advantage over Martin: he lived in the pleasing hopes of seeing Miss Cunegund once more; whereas, the poor philosopher had nothing to hope for; besides, Candide had money and jewels, and, notwithstanding he had lost a hundred red sheep laden with the greatest treasure outside of El Dorado, and though he still smarted from the reflection of the Dutch skipper’s knavery, yet when he considered what he had still left, and repeated the name of Cunegund, especially after meal times, he inclined to Pangloss’ doctrine.
“And pray,” said he to Martin, “what is your opinion of the whole of this system? what notion have you of moral and natural evil?”
“Sir,” replied Martin, “our priest accused me of being a Socinian; but the real truth is, I am a Manichæan.”
“Nay, now you are jesting,” said Candide; “there are no Manichæans existing at present in the world.”
“And yet I am one,” said Martin; “but I cannot help it. I cannot for the soul of me think otherwise.”
“Surely the devil must be in you,” said Candide.
“He concerns himself so much,” replied Martin, “in the affairs of this world that it is very probable he may be in me as well as everywhere else; but I must confess, when I cast my eye on this globe, or rather globule, I cannot help thinking that God has abandoned it to some malignant being. I always except El Dorado. I scarce ever knew a city that did not wish the destruction of its neighboring city; nor a family that did not desire to exterminate some other family. The poor in all parts of the world bear an inveterate hatred to the rich, even while they creep and cringe to them; and the rich treat the poor like sheep, whose wool and flesh they barter for money; a million of regimented assassins traverse Europe from one end to the other, to get their bread by regular depredation and murder, because it is the most gentlemanlike profession. Even in those cities which seem to enjoy the blessings of peace, and where the arts flourish, the inhabitants are devoured with envy, care, and inquietudes, which are greater plagues than any experienced in a town besieged. Private chagrins are still more dreadful than public calamities. In a word,” concluded the philosopher, “I have seen and suffered so much that I am a Manichæan.”
“And yet there is some good in the world,” replied Candide.
“May be so,” said Martin, “but it has escaped my knowledge.”
While they were deeply engaged in this dispute they heard the report of cannon, which redoubled every moment. Each took out his glass, and they spied two ships warmly engaged at the distance of about three miles. The wind brought them both so near the French ship that those on board her had the pleasure of seeing the fight with great ease. After several smart broadsides the one gave the other a shot between wind and water which sunk her outright. Then could Candide and Martin plainly perceive a hundred men on the deck of the vessel which was sinking, who, with hands uplifted to heaven, sent forth piercing cries, and were in a moment swallowed up by the waves.
“Well,” said Martin, “you now see in what manner mankind treat one another.”
“It is certain,” said Candide, “that there is something diabolical in this affair.” As he was speaking thus he spied something of a shining red hue, which swam close to the vessel. The boat was hoisted out to see what it might be, when it proved to be one of his sheep. Candide felt more joy at the recovery of this one animal than he did grief when he lost the other hundred, though laden with the large diamonds of El Dorado.
The French captain quickly perceived that the victorious ship belonged to the crown of Spain; that the other was a Dutch pirate, and the very same captain who had robbed Candide. The immense riches which this villain had amassed, were buried with him in the deep, and only this one sheep saved out of the whole.
“You see,” said Candide to Martin, “that vice is sometimes punished; this villain, the Dutch skipper, has met with the fate he deserved.”
“Very true,” 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 cruise, and Candide and Martin their conversation. They disputed fourteen days successively, at the end of which they were just as far advanced as the first moment they began. However, they had the satisfaction of disputing, of communicating their ideas, and of mutually comforting each other. Candide embraced his sheep with transport.
“Since I have found thee again,” said he, “I may possibly find my Cunegund once more.”
At length they descried the coast of France, when Candide said to Martin, “Pray Mr. Martin, were you ever in France?”
“Yes, sir,” said Martin, “I have been in several provinces of that kingdom. In some, one-half of the people are fools and madmen; in some, they are too artful; in others, again, they are, in general, either very good-natured or very brutal; while in others, they affect to be witty, and in all, their ruling passion is love, the next is slander, and the last is to talk nonsense.”
“But, pray, Mr. Martin, were you ever in Paris?”
“Yes, sir, I have been in that city, and it is a place that contains the several species just described; it is a chaos, a confused multitude, where everyone seeks for pleasure without being able to find it; at least, as far as I have observed during my short stay in that city. At my arrival I was robbed of all I had in the world by pickpockets and sharpers, at the fair of St. Germain. I was taken up myself for a robber, and confined in prison a whole week; after which I hired myself as corrector to a press, in order to get a little money towards defraying my expenses back to Holland on foot. I knew the whole tribe of scribblers, malcontents, and fanatics. It is said the people of that city are very polite; I believe they may be.”
“For my part, I have no curiosity to see France,” said Candide; “you may easily conceive, my friend, that after spending a month in El Dorado, I can desire to behold nothing upon earth but Miss Cunegund; I am going to wait for her at Venice. I intend to pass through France, on my way to Italy. Will you not bear me company?” “With all my heart,” said Martin; “they say Venice is agreeable to none but noble Venetians; but that, nevertheless, strangers are well received there when they have plenty of money; now I have none, but you have, therefore I will attend you wherever you please.” “Now we are upon this subject,” said Candide, “do you think that the earth was originally sea, as we read in that great book which belongs to the captain of the ship?” “I believe nothing of it,” replied Martin, “any more than I do of the many other chimeras which have been related to us for some time past.” “But then, to what end,” said Candide, “was the world formed?” “To make us mad,” said Martin. “Are you not surprised,” continued Candide, “at the love which the two girls in the country of the Oreillons had for those two monkeys?—You know I have told you the story.” “Surprised?” replied Martin, “not in the least; I see nothing strange in this passion. I have seen so many extraordinary things that there is nothing extraordinary to me now.” “Do you think,” said Candide, “that mankind always massacred one another as they do now? were they always guilty of lies, fraud, treachery, ingratitude, inconstancy, envy, ambition, and cruelty? were they always thieves, fools, cowards, gluttons, drunkards, misers, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, and hypocrites?” “Do you believe,” said Martin, “that hawks have always been accustomed to eat pigeons when they came in their way?” “Doubtless,” said Candide. “Well then,” replied Martin, “if hawks have always had the same nature, why should you pretend that mankind change theirs?” “Oh,” said Candide, “there is a great deal of difference; for free will—” and reasoning thus they arrived at Bordeaux.
Candide staid no longer at Bordeaux than was necessary to dispose of a few of the pebbles he had brought from El Dorado, and to provide himself with a post-chaise for two persons, for he could no longer stir a step without his philosopher Martin. The only thing that gave him concern was the being obliged to leave his sheep behind him, which he intrusted to the care of the academy of sciences at Bordeaux, who proposed, as a prize subject for the year, to prove why the wool of this sheep was red; and the prize was adjudged to a northern sage, who demonstrated by A plus B, minus C, divided by Z, that the sheep must necessarily be red, and die of the mange.
In the meantime, all the travellers whom Candide met with in the inns, or on the road, told him to a man, that they were going to Paris. This general eagerness gave him likewise a great desire to see this capital; and it was not much out of his way to Venice.
He entered the city by the suburbs of St. Marceau, and thought himself in one of the vilest hamlets in all Westphalia.
Candide had not been long at his inn, before he was seized with a slight disorder, owing to the fatigue he had undergone. As he wore a diamond of an enormous size on his finger and had among the rest of his equipage a strong box that seemed very weighty, he soon found himself between two physicians, whom he had not sent for, a number of intimate friends whom he had never seen, and who would not quit his bedside, and two women devotees, who were very careful in providing him hot broths.
“I remember,” said Martin to him, “that the first time I came to Paris I was likewise taken ill; I was very poor, and accordingly I had neither friends, nurses, nor physicians, and yet I did very well.”
However, by dint of purging and bleeding, Candide’s disorder became very serious. The priest of the parish came with all imaginable politeness to desire a note of him, payable to the bearer in the other world. Candide refused to comply with his request; but the two devotees assured him that it was a new fashion. Candide replied, that he was not one that followed the fashion. Martin was for throwing the priest out of the window. The clerk swore Candide should not have Christian burial. Martin swore in his turn that he would bury the clerk alive if he continued to plague them any longer. The dispute grew warm; Martin took him by the shoulders and turned him out of the room, which gave great scandal, and occasioned a procèsverbal.
Candide recovered, and till he was in a condition to go abroad had a great deal of good company to pass the evenings with him in his chamber. They played deep. Candide was surprised to find he could never turn a trick; and Martin was not at all surprised at the matter.
Among those who did him the honors of the place was a little spruce abbé of Périgord, one of those insinuating, busy, fawning, impudent, necessary fellows, that lay wait for strangers on their arrival, tell them all the scandal of the town, and offer to minister to their pleasures at various prices. This man conducted Candide and Martin to the playhouse; they were acting a new tragedy. Candide found himself placed near a cluster of wits: this, however, did not prevent him from shedding tears at some parts of the piece which were most affecting, and best acted. One of these talkers said to him between the acts. “You are greatly to blame to shed tears; that actress plays horribly, and the man that plays with her still worse, and the piece itself is still more execrable than the representation. The author does not understand a word of Arabic, and yet he has laid his scene in Arabia, and what is more, he is a fellow who does not believe in innate ideas. Tomorrow I will bring you a score of pamphlets that have been written against him.” “Pray, sir,” said Candide to the abbé, “how many theatrical pieces have you in France?” “Five or six thousand,” replied the abbé. “Indeed! that is a great number,” said Candide, “but how many good ones may there be?” “About fifteen or sixteen.” “Oh! that is a great number,” said Martin.
Candide was greatly taken with an actress, who performed the part of Queen Elizabeth in a dull kind of tragedy that is played sometimes. “That actress,” said he to Martin, “pleases me greatly; she has some sort of resemblance to Miss Cunegund. I should be very glad to pay my respects to her.” The abbé of Perigord offered his service to introduce him to her at her own house. Candide, who was brought up in Germany, desired to know what might be the ceremonial used on those occasions, and how a queen of England was treated in France. “There is a necessary distinction to be observed in these matters,” said the abbé. “In a country town we take them to a tavern; here in Paris, they are treated with great respect during their life time, provided they are handsome, and when they die we throw their bodies upon a dunghill.” “How?” said Candide, “throw a queen’s body upon a dunghill!” “The gentleman is quite right,” said Martin, “he tells you nothing but the truth. I happened to be at Paris when Miss Monimia made her exit, as one may say, out of this world into another. She was refused what they call here the rites of sepulture; that is to say, she was denied the privilege of rotting in a churchyard by the side of all the beggars in the parish. They buried her at the corner of Burgundy street, which must certainly have shocked her extremely, as she had very exalted notions of things.” “This is acting very impolitely,” said Candide. “Lord!” said Martin, “what can be said to it? it is the way of these people. Figure to yourself all the contradictions, all the inconsistencies possible, and you may meet with them in the government, the courts of justice, the churches, and the public spectacles of this odd nation.” “Is it true,” said Candide, “that the people of Paris are always laughing?” “Yes,” replied the abbé, “but it is with anger in their hearts; they express all their complaints by loud bursts of laughter, and commit the most detestable crimes with a smile on their faces.”
“Who was that great overgrown beast,” said Candide, “who spoke so ill to me of the piece with which I was so much affected, and of the players who gave me so much pleasure?” “A very good-for-nothing sort of a man I assure you,” answered the abbé, “one who gets his livelihood by abusing every new book and play that is written or performed; he dislikes much to see any one meet with success, like eunuchs, who detest every one that possesses those powers they are deprived of; he is one of those vipers in literature who nourish themselves with their own venom; a pamphlet-monger.” “A pamphlet-monger!” said Candide, “what is that?” “Why, a pamphlet-monger,” replied the abbé, “is a writer of pamphlets—a fool.”
Candide, Martin, and the abbé of Périgord argued thus on the staircase, while they stood to see the people go out of the playhouse. “Though I am very anxious to see Miss Cunegund again,” said Candide, “yet I have a great inclination to sup with Miss Clairon, for I am really much taken with her.”
The abbé was not a person to show his face at this lady’s house, which was frequented by none but the best company. “She is engaged this evening,” said he, “but I will do myself the honor to introduce you to a lady of quality of my acquaintance, at whose house you will see as much of the manners of Paris as if you had lived here for forty years.”
Candide, who was naturally curious, suffered himself to be conducted to this lady’s house, which was in the suburbs of St. Honoré. The company was engaged at basset; twelve melancholy punters held each in his hand a small pack of cards, the corners of which were doubled down, and were so many registers of their ill fortune. A profound silence reigned throughout the assembly, a pallid dread had taken possession of the countenances of the punters, and restless inquietude stretched every muscle of the face of him who kept the bank; and the lady of the house, who was seated next to him, observed with lynx’s eyes every play made, and noted those who tallied, and made them undouble their cards with a severe exactness, though mixed with a politeness, which she thought necessary not to frighten away her customers. This lady assumed the title of marchioness of Parolignac. Her daughter, a girl of about fifteen years of age, was one of the punters, and took care to give her mamma a hint, by signs, when any one of the players attempted to repair the rigor of their ill fortune by a little innocent deception. The company were thus occupied when Candide, Martin, and the abbé made their entrance; not a creature rose to salute them, or indeed took the least notice of them, being wholly intent upon the business in hand. “Ah!” said Candide, “my lady baroness of Thunder-ten-tronckh would have behaved more civilly.”
However, the abbé whispered in the ear of the marchioness, who half raising herself from her seat, honored Candide with a gracious smile, and gave Martin a nod of her head, with an air of inexpressible dignity. She then ordered a seat for Candide, and desired him to make one of their party at play; he did so, and in a few deals lost near a thousand pieces; after which they supped very elegantly, and every one was surprised at seeing Candide lose so much money without appearing to be the least disturbed at it. The servants in waiting said to each other, “This is certainly some English lord.”
The supper was like most others of its kind in Paris. At first every one was silent; then followed a few confused murmurs, and afterwards several insipid jokes passed and repassed, with false reports, false reasonings, a little politics, and a great deal of scandal. The conversation then turned upon the new productions in literature. “Pray,” said the abbé, “good folks, have you seen the romance written by the Sieur Gauchat, doctor of divinity?” “Yes,” answered one of the company, “but I had not patience to go through it. The town is pestered with a swarm of impertinent productions, but this of Dr. Gauchat’s outdoes them all. In short, I was so cursedly tired of reading this vile stuff that I even resolved to come here, and make a party at basset.” “But what say you to the archdeacon T—’s miscellaneous collection,” said the abbé. “Oh my God!” cried the marchioness of Parolignac, “never mention the tedious creature! only think what pains he is at to tell one things that all the world knows; and how he labors an argument that is hardly worth the slightest consideration! how absurdly he makes use of other people’s wit! how miserably he mangles what he has pilfered from them! The man makes me quite sick! A few pages of the good archdeacon are enough in conscience to satisfy any one.”
There was at the table a person of learning and taste, who supported what the marchioness had advanced. They next began to talk of tragedies. The lady desired to know how it came about that there were several tragedies, which still continued to be played, though they would not bear reading? The man of taste explained very clearly how a piece may be in some manner interesting without having a grain of merit. He showed, in a few words, that it is not sufficient to throw together a few incidents that are to be met with in every romance, and that to dazzle the spectator the thoughts should be new, without being far-fetched; frequently sublime, but always natural; the author should have a thorough knowledge of the human heart and make it speak properly; he should be a complete poet, without showing an affectation of it in any of the characters of his piece; he should be a perfect master of his language, speak it with all its purity, and with the utmost harmony, and yet so as not to make the sense a slave to the rhyme. “Whoever,” added he, “neglects any one of these rules, though he may write two or three tragedies with tolerable success, will never be reckoned in the number of good authors. There are very few good tragedies; some are idyls, in very well-written and harmonious dialogue; and others a chain of political reasonings that set one asleep, or else pompous and high-flown amplifications, that disgust rather than please. Others again are the ravings of a madman, in an uncouth style, unmeaning flights, or long apostrophes to the deities, for want of knowing how to address mankind; in a word a collection of false maxims and dull commonplace.”
Candide listened to this discourse with great attention, and conceived a high opinion of the person who delivered it; and as the marchioness had taken care to place him near her side, he took the liberty to whisper her softly in the ear and ask who this person was that spoke so well. “He is a man of letters,” replied her ladyship, “who never plays, and whom the abbé brings with him to my house sometimes to spend an evening. He is a great judge of writing, especially in tragedy; he has composed one himself, which was damned, and has written a book that was never seen out of his bookseller’s shop, excepting only one copy, which he sent me with a dedication, to which he had prefixed my name.” “Oh the great man,” cried Candide, “he is a second Pangloss.”
Then turning towards him, “Sir,” said he, “you are doubtless of opinion that everything is for the best in the physical and moral world, and that nothing could be otherwise than it is?” “I, sir!” replied the man of letters, “I think no such thing, I assure you; I find that all in this world is set the wrong end uppermost. No one knows what is his rank, his office, nor what he does, nor what he should do. With the exception of our evenings, which we generally pass tolerably merrily, the rest of our time is spent in idle disputes and quarrels, Jansenists against Molinists, the parliament against the Church, and one armed body of men against another; courtier against courtier, husband against wife, and relations against relations. In short, this world is nothing but one continued scene of civil war.”
“Yes,” said Candide, “and I have seen worse than all that; and yet a learned man, who had the misfortune to be hanged, taught me that everything was marvellously well, and that these evils you are speaking of were only so many shades in a beautiful picture.” “Your hempen sage,” said Martin, “laughed at you; these shades, as you call them, are most horrible blemishes.” “The men make these blemishes,” rejoined Candide, “and they cannot do otherwise.” “Then it is not their fault,” added Martin. The greatest part of the gamesters, who did not understand a syllable of this discourse, amused themselves with drinking, while Martin reasoned with the learned gentleman; and Candide entertained the lady of the house with a part of his adventures.
After supper the marchioness conducted Candide into her dressing-room, and made him sit down under a canopy. “Well,” said she, “are you still so violently fond of Miss Cunegund of Thunder-ten-tronckh?” “Yes, madam,” replied Candide. The marchioness said to him with a tender smile, “You answer me like a young man born in Westphalia; a Frenchman would have said, ‘It is true, madam, I had a great passion for Miss Cunegund; but since I have seen you, I fear I can no longer love her as I did.’ ” “Alas! madam,” replied Candide, “I will make you what answer you please.” “You fell in love with her, I find, in stooping to pick up her handkerchief which she had dropped; you shall pick up my garter.” “With all my heart, madam,” said Candide, and he picked it up. “But you must tie it on again,” said the lady. Candide tied it on again. “Look ye, young man,” said the marchioness, “you are a stranger; I make some of my lovers here in Paris languish for me a whole fortnight; but I surrender to you at first sight, because I am willing to do the honors of my country to a young Westphalian.” The fair one having cast her eye on two very large diamonds that were upon the young stranger’s finger, praised them in so earnest a manner that they were in an instant transferred from his finger to hers.
As Candide was going home with the abbé he felt some qualms of conscience for having been guilty of infidelity to Miss Cunegund. The abbé took part with him in his uneasiness; he had but an inconsiderable share in the thousand pieces Candide had lost at play, and the two diamonds which had been in a manner extorted from him; and therefore very prudently designed to make the most he could of his new acquaintance, which chance had thrown in his way. He talked much of Miss Cunegund, and Candide assured him that he would heartily ask pardon of that fair one for his infidelity to her, when he saw her at Venice.
The abbé redoubled his civilities and seemed to interest himself warmly in everything that Candide said, did, or seemed inclined to do.
“And so, sir, you have an engagement at Venice?” “Yes, Monsieur l’Abbé,” answered Candìde, “I must absolutely wait upon Miss Cunegund;” and then the pleasure he took in talking about the object he loved, led him insensibly to relate, according to custom, part of his adventures with that illustrious Westphalian beauty.
“I fancy,” said the abbé, “Miss Cunegund has a great deal of wit, and that her letters must be very entertaining.” “I never received any from her,” said Candide; “for you are to consider that, being expelled from the castle upon her account, I could not write to her, especially as soon after my departure I heard she was dead; but thank God I found afterwards she was living. I left again after this, and now I have sent a messenger to her near two thousand leagues from here, and wait here for his return with an answer from her.”
The artful abbé let not a word of all this escape him, though he seemed to be musing upon something else. He soon took his leave of the two adventurers, after having embraced them with the greatest cordiality. The next morning, almost as soon as his eyes were open, Candide received the following billet:
“My Dearest Lover—I have been ill in this city these eight days. I have heard of your arrival, and should fly to your arms were I able to stir. I was informed of your being on the way hither at Bordeaux, where I left the faithful Cacambo, and the old woman, who will soon follow me. The governor of Buenos Ayres has taken everything from me but your heart, which I still retain. Come to me immediately on the receipt of this. Your presence will either give me new life, or kill me with the pleasure.”
At the receipt of this charming, this unexpected letter, Candide felt the utmost transports of joy; though, on the other hand, the indisposition of his beloved Miss Cunegund overwhelmed him with grief. Distracted between these two passions he took his gold and his diamonds, and procured a person to conduct him and Martin to the house where Miss Cunegund lodged. Upon entering the room he felt his limbs tremble, his heart flutter, his tongue falter; he attempted to undraw the curtain, and called for a light to the bedside. “Lord, sir,” cried a maid servant, who was waiting in the room, “take care what you do, Miss cannot bear the least light,” and so saying she pulled the curtain close again. “Cunegund! my dear Cunegund!” cried Candide, bathed in tears, “how do you do? If you cannot bear the light, speak to me at least.” “Alas! she cannot speak,” said the maid. The sick lady then put a plump hand out of the bed and Candide first bathed it with tears, then filled it with diamonds, leaving a purse of gold upon the easy chair.
In the midst of his transports came an officer into the room, followed by the abbé, and a file of musketeers. “There,” said he, “are the two suspected foreigners;” at the same time he ordered them to be seized and carried to prison. “Travellers are not treated in this manner in the country of El Dorado,” said Candide. “I am more of a Manichæan now than ever,” said Martin. “But pray, good sir, where are you going to carry us?” said Candide. “To a dungeon, my dear sir,” replied the officer.
When Martin had a little recovered himself, so as to form a cool judgment of what had passed, he plainly perceived that the person who had acted the part of Miss Cunegund was a cheat; that the abbé of Périgord was a sharper who had imposed upon the honest simplicity of Candide, and that the officer was a knave, whom they might easily get rid of.
Candide following the advice of his friend Martin, and burning with impatience to see the real Miss Cunegund, rather than be obliged to appear at a court of justice, proposed to the officer to make him a present of three small diamonds, each of them worth three thousand pistoles. “Ah, sir,” said this understrapper of justice, “had you committed ever so much villainy, this would render you the honestest man living, in my eyes. Three diamonds worth three thousand pistoles! why, my dear sir, so far from carrying you to jail, I would lose my life to serve you. There are orders for stopping all strangers; but leave it to me, I have a brother at Dieppe, in Normandy; I myself will conduct you thither, and if you have a diamond left to give him he will take as much care of you as I myself should.”
“But why,” said Candide, “do they stop all strangers?” The abbé of Périgord made answer that it was because a poor devil of the country of Atrebata heard somebody tell foolish stories, and this induced him to commit a parricide; not such a one as that in the month of May, 1610, but such as that in the month of December, in the year 1594, and such as many that have been perpetrated in other months and years, by other poor devils who had heard foolish stories.
The officer then explained to them what the abbé meant. “Horrid monsters,” exclaimed Candide, “is it possible that such scenes should pass among a people who are perpetually singing and dancing? Is there no flying this abominable country immediately, this execrable kingdom where monkeys provoke tigers? I have seen bears in my country, but men I have beheld nowhere but in El Dorado. In the name of God, sir,” said he to the officer, “do me the kindness to conduct me to Venice, where I am to wait for Miss Cunegund.” “Really, sir,” replied the officer, “I cannot possibly wait on you farther than Lower Normandy.” So saying, he ordered Candide’s irons to be struck off, acknowledged himself mistaken, and sent his followers about their business, after which he conducted Candide and Martin to Dieppe, and left them to the care of his brother. There happened just then to be a small Dutch ship in the harbor. The Norman, whom the other three diamonds had converted into the most obliging, serviceable being that ever breathed, took care to see Candide and his attendants safe on board this vessel, that was just ready to sail for Portsmouth in England. This was not the nearest way to Venice, indeed, but Candide thought himself escaped out of hell, and did not, in the least, doubt but he should quickly find an opportunity of resuming his voyage to Venice.
“Ah Pangloss! Pangloss! ah Martin! Martin! ah my dear Miss Cunegund! what sort of a world is this?” Thus exclaimed Candide as soon as he got on board the Dutch ship. “Why something very foolish, and very abominable,” said Martin. “You are acquainted with England,” said Candide; “are they as great fools in that country as in France?” “Yes, but in a different manner,” answered Martin. “You know that these two nations are at war about a few acres of barren land in the neighborhood of Canada, and that they have expended much greater sums in the contest than all Canada is worth. To say exactly whether there are a greater number fit to be inhabitants of a madhouse in the one country than the other, exceeds the limits of my imperfect capacity; I know in general that the people we are going to visit are of a very dark and gloomy disposition.”
As they were chatting thus together they arrived at Portsmouth. The shore on each side the harbor was lined with a multitude of people, whose eyes were steadfastly fixed on a lusty man who was kneeling down on the deck of one of the men-of-war, with something tied before his eyes. Opposite to this personage stood four soldiers, each of whom shot three bullets into his skull, with all the composure imaginable; and when it was done, the whole company went away perfectly well satisfied. “What the devil is all this for?” said Candide, “and what demon, or foe of mankind, lords it thus tyrannically over the world?” He then asked who was that lusty man who had been sent out of the world with so much ceremony. When he received for answer, that it was an admiral. “And pray why do you put your admiral to death?” “Because he did not put a sufficient number of his fellow-creatures to death. You must know, he had an engagement with a French admiral, and it has been proved against him that he was not near enough to his antagonist.” “But,” replied Candide, “the French admiral must have been as far from him.” “There is no doubt of that; but in this country it is found requisite, now and then, to put an admiral to death, in order to encourage the others to fight.”
Candide was so shocked at what he saw and heard, that he would not set foot on shore, but made a bargain with the Dutch skipper (were he even to rob him like the captain of Surinam) to carry him directly to Venice.
The skipper was ready in two days. They sailed along the coast of France, and passed within sight of Lisbon, at which Candide trembled. From thence they proceeded to the Straits, entered the Mediterranean, and at length arrived at Venice. “God be praised,” said Candide, embracing Martin, “this is the place where I am to behold my beloved Cunegund once again. I can confide in Cacambo, like another self. All is well, all very well, all as well as possible.”
Upon their arrival at Venice Candide went in search of Cacambo at every inn and coffee-house, and among all the ladies of pleasure, but could hear nothing of him. He sent every day to inquire what ships were in, still no news of Cacambo. “It is strange,” said he to Martin, “very strange that I should have had time to sail from Surinam to Bordeaux; to travel thence to Paris, to Dieppe, to Portsmouth; to sail along the coast of Portugal and Spain, and up the Mediterranean to spend some months at Venice; and that my lovely Cunegund should not have arrived. Instead of her, I only met with a Parisian impostor, and a rascally abbé of Périgord. Cunegund is actually dead, and I have nothing to do but follow her. Alas! how much better would it have been for me to have remained in the paradise of El Dorado than to have returned to this cursed Europe! You are in the right, my dear Martin; you are certainly in the right; all is misery and deceit.”
He fell into a deep melancholy, and neither went to the opera then in vogue, nor partook of any of the diversions of the carnival; nay, he even slighted the fair sex. Martin said to him, “Upon my word, I think you are very simple to imagine that a rascally valet, with five or six millions in his pocket, would go in search of your mistress to the further end of the world, and bring her to Venice to meet you. If he finds her he will take her for himself; if he does not, he will take another. Let me advise you to forget your valet Cacambo, and your Mistress Cunegund.” Martin’s speech was not the most consolatory to the dejected Candide. His melancholy increased, and Martin never ceased trying to prove to him that there is very little virtue or happiness in this world; except, perhaps, in El Dorado, where hardly anybody can gain admittance.
While they were disputing on this important subject, and still expecting Miss Cunegund, Candide perceived a young Theatin friar in St. Mark’s Place, with a girl under his arm. The Theatin looked fresh-colored, plump, and vigorous; his eyes sparkled; his air and gait were bold and lofty. The girl was pretty, and was singing a song; and every now and then gave her Theatin an amorous ogle and wantonly pinched his ruddy cheeks. “You will at least allow,” 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 couple, I would venture to lay a wager they are happy.” “Done!” said Martin, “they are not what you imagine.” “Well, we have only to ask them to dine with us,” said Candide, “and you will see whether I am mistaken or not.”
Thereupon he accosted them, and with great politeness invited them to his inn to eat some macaroni, with Lombard partridges and caviare, and to drink a bottle of Montepulciano, Lacryma Christi, Cyprus, and Samos wine. The girl blushed; the Theatin accepted the invitation and she followed him, eyeing Candide every now and then with a mixture of surprise and confusion, while the tears stole down her cheeks. No sooner did she enter his apartment than she cried out. “How, Mr. Candide, have you quite forgot your Pacquette? do you not know her again?” Candide had not regarded her with any degree of attention before, being wholly occupied with the thoughts of his dear Cunegund. “Ah! is it you, child? was it you that reduced Doctor Pangloss to that fine condition I saw him in?”
“Alas! sir,” answered Pacquette, “it was I, indeed. I find you are acquainted with everything; and I have been informed of all the misfortunes that happened to the whole family of my lady baroness and the fair Cunegund. But I can safely swear to you that my lot was no less deplorable; I was innocence itself when you saw me last. A cordelier, who was my confessor, easily seduced me; the consequences proved terrible. I was obliged to leave the castle some time after the baron kicked you out from there; and if a famous surgeon had not taken compassion on me, I had been a dead woman. Gratitude obliged me to live with him some time as a mistress; his wife, who was a very devil for jealousy, beat me unmercifully every day. Oh! she was a perfect fury. The doctor himself was the most ugly of all mortals, and I the most wretched creature existing, to be continually beaten for a man whom I did not love. You are sensible, sir, how dangerous it was for an ill-natured woman to be married to a physician. Incensed at the behavior of his wife, he one day gave her so affectionate a remedy for a slight cold she had caught that she died in less than two hours in most dreadful convulsions. Her relations prosecuted the husband, who was obliged to fly, and I was sent to prison. My innocence would not have saved me, if I had not been tolerably handsome. The judge gave me my liberty on condition he should succeed the doctor. However, I was soon supplanted by a rival, turned off without a farthing, and obliged to continue the abominable trade which you men think so pleasing, but which to us unhappy creatures is the most dreadful of all sufferings. At length I came to follow the business at Venice. Ah! sir, did you but know what it is to be obliged to receive every visitor; old tradesmen, counsellors, monks, watermen, and abbés; to be exposed to all their insolence and abuse; to be often necessitated to borrow a petticoat, only that it may be taken up by some disagreeable wretch; to be robbed by one gallant of what we get from another; to be subject to the extortions of civil magistrates; and to have forever before one’s eyes the prospect of old age, a hospital, or a dunghill, you would conclude that I am one of the most unhappy wretches breathing.”
Thus did Pacquette unbosom herself to honest Candide in his closet, in the presence of Martin, who took occasion to say to him, “You see I have half won the wager already.”
Friar Giroflée was all this time in the parlor refreshing himself with a glass or two of wine till dinner was ready. “But,” said Candide to Pacquette, “you looked so gay and contented, when I met you, you sang and caressed the Theatin with so much fondness, that I absolutely thought you as happy as you say you are now miserable.” “Ah! dear sir,” said Pacquette, “this is one of the miseries of the trade; yesterday I was stripped and beaten by an officer; yet to-day I must appear good humored and gay to please a friar.”
Candide was convinced and acknowledged that Martin was in the right. They sat down to table with Pacquette and the Theatin; the entertainment was agreeable, and towards the end they began to converse together with some freedom. “Father,” said Candide to the friar, “you seem to me to enjoy a state of happiness that even kings might envy; joy and health are painted in your countenance. You have a pretty wench to divert you; and you seem to be perfectly well contented with your condition as a Theatin.”
“Faith, sir,” said Friar Giroflée, “I wish with all my soul the Theatins were every one of them at the bottom of the sea. I have been tempted a thousand times to set fire to the convent and go and turn Turk. My parents obliged me, at the age of fifteen, to put on this detestable habit only to increase the fortune of an elder brother of mine, whom God confound! Jealousy, discord, and fury, reside in our convent. It is true I have preached often paltry sermons, by which I have got a little money, part of which the prior robs me of, and the remainder helps to pay my girls; but, at night, when I go hence to my convent, I am ready to dash my brains against the walls of the dormitory; and this is the case with all the rest of our fraternity.”
Martin, turning towards Candide, with his usual indifference, said, “Well, what think you now? have I won the wager entirely?” Candide gave two thousand piastres to Pacquette, and a thousand to Friar Giroflée, saying, “I will answer that this will make them happy.” “I am not of your opinion,” said Martin, “perhaps this money will only make them wretched.” “Be that as it may,” said Candide, “one thing comforts me; I see that one often meets with those whom one never expected to see again; so that, perhaps, as I have found my red sheep and Pacquette, I may be lucky enough to find Miss Cunegund also.” “I wish,” said Martin, “she one day may make you happy; but I doubt it much.” “You lack faith,” said Candide. “It is because,” said Martin, “I have seen the world.”
“Observe those gondoliers,” said Candide, “are they not perpetually singing?” “You do not see them,” answered Martin, “at home with their wives and brats. The doge has his chagrin, gondoliers theirs. Nevertheless, in the main, I look upon the gondolier’s life as preferable to that of the doge; but the difference is so trifling that it is not worth the trouble of examining into.”
“I have heard great talk,” said Candide, “of the Senator Pococuranté, who lives in that fine house at the Brenta, where, they say, he entertains foreigners in the most polite manner.” “They pretend this man is a perfect stranger to uneasiness. I should be glad to see so extraordinary a being,” said Martin. Candide thereupon sent a messenger to Seignor Pococuranté, desiring permission to wait on him the next day.
Candide and his friend Martin went in a gondola on the Brenta, and arrived at the palace of the noble Pococuranté. The gardens were laid out in elegant taste, and adorned with fine marble statues; his palace was built after the most approved rules of architecture. The master of the house, who was a man of affairs, and very rich, received our two travellers with great politeness, but without much ceremony, which somewhat disconcerted Candide, but was not at all displeasing to Martin.
As soon as they were seated, two very pretty girls, neatly dressed, brought in chocolate, which was extremely well prepared. Candide could not help making encomiums upon their beauty and graceful carriage. “The creatures are well enough,” said the senator; “I amuse myself with them sometimes, for I am heartily tired of the women of the town, their coquetry, their jealousy, their quarrels, their humors, their meannesses, their pride, and their folly; I am weary of making sonnets, or of paying for sonnets to be made on them; but after all, these two girls begin to grow very indifferent to me.”
After having refreshed himself, Candide walked into a large gallery, where he was struck with the sight of a fine collection of paintings. “Pray,” said Candide, “by what master are the two first of these?” “They are by Raphael,” answered the senator. “I gave a great deal of money for them seven years ago, purely out of curiosity, as they were said to be the finest pieces in Italy; but I cannot say they please me: the coloring is dark and heavy; the figures do not swell nor come out enough; and the drapery is bad. In short, notwithstanding the encomiums lavished upon them, they are not, in my opinion, a true representation of nature. I approve of no paintings save those wherein I think I behold nature herself; and there are few, if any, of that kind to be met with. I have what is called a fine collection, but I take no manner of delight in it.”
While dinner was being prepared Pococuranté ordered a concert. Candide praised the music to the skies. “This noise,” said the noble Venetian, “may amuse one for a little time, but if it were to last above half an hour, it would grow tiresome to everybody, though perhaps no one would care to own it. Music has become the art of executing what is difficult; now, whatever is difficult cannot be long pleasing.
“I believe I might take more pleasure in an opera, if they had not made such a monster of that species of dramatic entertainment as perfectly shocks me; and I am amazed how people can bear to see wretched tragedies set to music; where the scenes are contrived for no other purpose than to lug in, as it were by the ears, three or four ridiculous songs, to give a favorite actress an opportunity of exhibiting her pipe. Let who will die away in raptures at the trills of a eunuch quavering the majestic part of Cæsar or Cato, and strutting in a foolish manner upon the stage, but for my part I have long ago renounced these paltry entertainments, which constitute the glory of modern Italy, and are so dearly purchased by crowned heads.” Candide opposed these sentiments; but he did it in a discreet manner; as for Martin, he was entirely of the old senator’s opinion.
Dinner being served they sat down to table, and, after a hearty repast, returned to the library. Candide, observing Homer richly bound, commended the noble Venetian’s taste. “This,” said he, “is a book that was once the delight of the great Pangloss, the best philosopher in Germany.” “Homer is no favorite of mine,” answered Pococuranté, coolly; “I was made to believe once that I took a pleasure in reading him; but his continual repetitions of battles have all such a resemblance with each other; his gods that are forever in haste and bustle, without ever doing anything; his Helen, who is the cause of the war, and yet hardly acts in the whole performance; his Troy, that holds out so long, without being taken: in short, all these things together make the poem very insipid to me. I have asked some learned men, whether they are not in reality as much tired as myself with reading this poet: those who spoke ingenuously, assured me that he had made them fall asleep, and yet that they could not well avoid giving him a place in their libraries; but that it was merely as they would do an antique, or those rusty medals which are kept only for curiosity, and are of no manner of use in commerce.”
“But your excellency does not surely form the same opinion of Virgil?” said Candide. “Why, I grant,” replied Pococuranté, “that the second, third, fourth, and sixth books of his “Æneid” are excellent; but as for his pious Æneas, his strong Cloanthus, his friendly Achates, his boy Ascanius, his silly king Latinus, his ill-bred Amata, his insipid Lavinia, and some other characters much in the same strain, I think there cannot in nature be anything more flat and disagreeable. I must confess I prefer Tasso far beyond him; nay, even that sleepy taleteller Ariosto.”
“May I take the liberty to ask if you do not experience great pleasure from reading Horace?” said Candide. “There are maxims in this writer,” replied Pococuranté, “whence a man of the world may reap some benefit; and the short measure of the verse makes them more easily to be retained in the memory. But I see nothing extraordinary in his journey to Brundusium, and his account of his bad dinner; nor in his dirty, low quarrel between one Rupillius, whose words, as he expresses it, were full of poisonous filth; and another, whose language was dipped in vinegar. His indelicate verses against old women and witches have frequently given me great offence: nor can I discover the great merit of his telling his friend Mæcenas, that if he will but rank him in the class of lyric poets, his lofty head shall touch the stars. Ignorant readers are apt to judge a writer by his reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like nothing but what makes for my purpose.” Candide, who had been brought up with a notion of never making use of his own judgment, was astonished at what he heard; but Martin found there was a good deal of reason in the senator’s remarks.
“O! here is a Tully,” said Candide; “this great man I fancy you are never tired of reading?” “Indeed I never read him at all,” replied Pococuranté. “What is it to me whether he pleads for Rabirius or Cluentius? I try causes enough myself. I had once some liking for his philosophical works; but when I found he doubted everything, I thought I knew as much as himself, and had no need of a guide to learn ignorance.”
“Ha!” cried Martin, “here are fourscore volumes of the memoirs of the Academy of Sciences; perhaps there may be something curious and valuable in this collection.” “Yes,” answered Pococuranté; “so there might if any one of these compilers of this rubbish had only invented the art of pin-making: but all these volumes are filled with mere chimerical systems, without one single article conducive to real utility.”
“I see a prodigious number of plays,” said Candide, “in Italian, Spanish, and French.” “Yes,” replied the Venetian; “there are I think three thousand, and not three dozen of them good for anything. As to those huge volumes of divinity, and those enormous collections of sermons, they are not all together worth one single page in Seneca; and I fancy you will readily believe that neither myself, nor anyone else, ever looks into them.”
Martin, perceiving some shelves filled with English books, said to the senator: “I fancy that a republican must be highly delighted with those books, which are most of them written with a noble spirit of freedom.” “It is noble to write as we think,” said Pococuranté; “it is the privilege of humanity. Throughout Italy we write only what we do not think; and the present inhabitants of the country of the Cæsars and Antonines dare not acquire a single idea without the permission of a Dominican father. I should be enamored of the spirit of the English nation, did it not utterly frustrate the good effects it would produce by passion and the spirit of party.”
Candide, seeing a Milton, asked the senator if he did not think that author a great man. “Who?” said Pococuranté sharply; “that barbarian who writes a tedious commentary in ten books of rumbling verse, on the first chapter of Genesis? that slovenly imitator of the Greeks, who disfigures the creation, by making the Messiah take a pair of compasses from heaven’s armory to plan the world; whereas Moses represented the Deity as producing the whole universe by his fiat? Can I think you have any esteem for a writer who has spoiled Tasso’s hell and the devil; who transforms Lucifer sometimes into a toad, and at others into a pygmy; who makes him say the same thing over again a hundred times; who metamorphoses him into a school-divine; and who, by an absurdly serious imitation of Ariosto’s comic invention of firearms, represents the devils and angels cannonading each other in heaven? Neither I nor any other Italian can possibly take pleasure in such melancholy reveries; but the marriage of Sin and Death, and snakes issuing from the womb of the former, are enough to make any person sick that is not lost to all sense of delicacy. This obscene, whimsical, and disagreeable poem met with the neglect it deserved at its first publication; and I only treat the author now as he was treated in his own country by his contemporaries.”
Candide was sensibly grieved at this speech, as he had a great respect for Homer, and was fond of Milton. “Alas!” said he softly to Martin, “I am afraid this man holds our German poets in great contempt.” “There would be no such great harm in that,” said Martin. “O what a surprising man!” said Candide, still to himself; “what a prodigious genius is this Pococuranté! nothing can please him.”
After finishing their survey of the library, they went down into the garden, when Candide commended the several beauties that offered themselves to his view. “I know nothing upon earth laid out in such bad taste,” said Pococuranté; “everything about it is childish and trifling; but I shall have another laid out to-morrow upon a nobler plan.”
As soon as our two travellers had taken leave of his excellency, “Well,” said Candide to Martin, “I hope you will own that this man is the happiest of all mortals, for he is above everything he possesses.” “But do not you see,” answered Martin, “that he likewise dislikes everything he possesses? It was an observation of Plato, long since, that those are not the best stomachs that reject, without distinction, all sorts of aliments.” “True,” said Candide, “but still there must certainly be a pleasure in criticising everything, and in perceiving faults where others think they see beauties.” “That is,” replied Martin, “there is a pleasure in having no pleasure.” “Well, well,” said Candide, “I find that I shall be the only happy man at last, when I am blessed with the sight of my dear Cunegund.” “It is good to hope,” said Martin.
In the meanwhile, days and weeks passed away, and no news of Cacambo. Candide was so overwhelmed with grief, that he did not reflect on the behavior of Pacquette and Friar Giroflée, who never stayed to return him thanks for the presents he had so generously made them.
One evening as Candide, with his attendant Martin, was going to sit down to supper with some foreigners who lodged in the same inn where they had taken up their quarters, a man with a face the color of soot came behind him, and taking him by the arm, said, “Hold yourself in readiness to go along with us; be sure you do not fail.” Upon this, turning about to see from whom these words came, he beheld Cacambo. Nothing but the sight of Miss Cunegund could have given him greater joy and surprise. He was almost beside himself. After embracing this dear friend, “Cunegund!” said he, “Cunegund is come with you doubtless! Where, where is she? Carry me to her this instant, that I may die with joy in her presence.” “Cunegund is not here,” answered Cacambo; “she is in Constantinople.” “Good heavens! in Constantinople! but no matter if she were in China, I would fly thither. Quick, quick, dear Cacambo, let us be gone.” “Soft and fair,” said Cacambo, “stay till you have supped. I cannot at present stay to say anything more to you; I am a slave, and my master waits for me; I must go and attend him at table: but mum! say not a word, only get your supper, and hold yourself in readiness.”
Candide, divided between joy and grief, charmed to have thus met with his faithful agent again, and surprised to hear he was a slave, his heart palpitating, his senses confused, but full of the hopes of recovering his dear Cunegund, sat down to table with Martin, who beheld all these scenes with great unconcern, and with six strangers, who had come to spend the carnival at Venice.
Cacambo waited at table upon one of those strangers. When supper was nearly over, he drew near to his master, and whispered in his ear, “Sire, your majesty may go when you please; the ship is ready”; and so saying he left the room. The guests, surprised at what they had heard, looked at each other without speaking a word; when another servant drawing near to his master, in like manner said, “Sire, your majesty’s post-chaise is at Padua, and the bark is ready.” The master made him a sign, and he instantly withdrew. The company all stared at each other again, and the general astonishment was increased. A third servant then approached another of the strangers, and said, “Sire, if your majesty will be advised by me, you will not make any longer stay in this place; I will go and get everything ready”; and instantly disappeared.
Candide and Martin then took it for granted that this was some of the diversions of the carnival, and that these were characters in masquerade. Then a fourth domestic said to the fourth stranger, “Your majesty may set off when you please;” saying which, he went away like the rest. A fifth valet said the same to a fifth master. But the sixth domestic spoke in a different style to the person on whom he waited, and who sat near to Candide. “Troth, sir,” said he, “they will trust your majesty no longer, nor myself neither; and we may both of us chance to be sent to jail this very night; and therefore I shall take care of myself, and so adieu.” The servants being all gone, the six strangers, with Candide and Martin, remained in a profound silence. At length Candide broke it by saying, “Gentlemen, this is a very singular joke upon my word; how came you all to be kings? For my part I own frankly, that neither my friend Martin here, nor myself, have any claim to royalty.”
Cacambo’s master then began, with great gravity, to deliver himself thus in Italian. “I am not joking in the least, my name is Achmet III. I was grand seignor for many years; I dethroned my brother, my nephew dethroned me, my viziers lost their heads, and I am condemned to end my days in the old seraglio. My nephew, the Grand Sultan Mahomet, gives me permission to travel sometimes for my health, and I am come to spend the carnival at Venice.”
A young man who sat by Achmet, spoke next, and said: “My name is Ivan. I was once emperor of all the Russias, but was dethroned in my cradle. My parents were confined, and I was brought up in a prison, yet I am sometimes allowed to travel, though always with persons to keep a guard over me, and I am come to spend the carnival at Venice.”
The third said: “I am Charles Edward, king of England; my father has renounced his right to the throne in my favor. I have fought in defence of my rights, and near a thousand of my friends have had their hearts taken out of their bodies alive and thrown in their faces. I have myself been confined in a prison. I am going to Rome to visit the king my father, who was dethroned as well as myself; and my grandfather and I have come to spend the carnival at Venice.”
The fourth spoke thus: “I am the king of Poland; the fortune of war has stripped me of my hereditary dominions. My father experienced the same vicissitudes of fate. I resign myself to the will of Providence, in the same manner as Sultan Achmet, the Emperor Ivan, and King Charles Edward, whom God long preserve; and I have come to spend the carnival at Venice.”
The fifth said: “I am king of Poland also. I have twice lost my kingdom; but Providence has given me other dominions, where I have done more good than all the Sarmatian kings put together were ever able to do on the banks of the Vistula; I resign myself likewise to Providence; and have come to spend the carnival at Venice.”
It now came to the sixth monarch’s turn to speak: “Gentlemen,” said he, “I am not so great a prince as the rest of you, it is true, but I am, however, a crowned head. I am Theodore,* elected king of Corsica. I have had the title of majesty, and am now hardly treated with common civility. I have coined money, and am not now worth a single ducat. I have had two secretaries, and am now without a valet. I was once seated on a throne, and since that have lain upon a truss of straw, in a common jail in London, and I very much fear I shall meet with the same fate here in Venice, where I came, like your majesties, to divert myself at the carnival.”
The other five kings listened to this speech with great attention; it excited their compassion; each of them made the unhappy Theodore a present of twenty sequins, and Candide gave him a diamond, worth just a hundred times that sum. “Who can this private person be,” said the five princes to one another, “who is able to give, and has actually given, a hundred times as much as any of us?”
Just as they rose from table, in came four serene highnesses, who had also been stripped of their territories by the fortune of war, and had come to spend the remainder of the carnival at Venice. Candide took no manner of notice of them; for his thoughts were wholly employed on his voyage to Constantinople, where he intended to go in search of his lovely Miss Cunegund.
The trusty Cacambo had already engaged the captain of the Turkish ship that was to carry Sultan Achmet back to Constantinople, to take Candide and Martin on board. Accordingly they both embarked, after paying their obeisance to his miserable highness. As they were going on board, Candide said to Martin, “You see we supped in company with six dethroned kings, and to one of them I gave charity. Perhaps there may be a great many other princes still more unfortunate. For my part I have lost only a hundred sheep, and am now going to fly to the arms of my charming Miss Cunegund. My dear Martin, I must insist on it, that Pangloss was in the right. All is for the best.” “I wish it may be,” said Martin. “But this was an odd adventure we met with at Venice. I do not think there ever was an instance before of six dethroned monarchs supping together at a public inn.” “This is not more extraordinary,” said Martin, “than most of what has happened to us. It is a very common thing for kings to be dethroned; and as for our having the honor to sup with six of them, it is a mere accident, not deserving our attention.”
As soon as Candide set his foot on board the vessel, he flew to his old friend and valet Cacambo; and throwing his arms about his neck, embraced him with transports of joy. “Well,” said he, “what news of Miss Cunegund? Does she still continue the paragon of beauty? Does she love me still? How does she do? You have, doubtless, purchased a superb palace for her at Constantinople.”
“My dear master,” replied Cacambo, “Miss Cunegund washes dishes on the banks of the Propontis, in the house of a prince who has very few to wash. She is at present a slave in the family of an ancient sovereign named Ragotsky, whom the grand Turk allows three crowns a day to maintain him in his exile; but the most melancholy circumstance of all is, that she is turned horribly ugly.” “Ugly or handsome,” said Candide, “I am a man of honor; and, as such, am obliged to love her still. But how could she possibly have been reduced to so abject a condition, when I sent five or six millions to her by you?” “Lord bless me,” said Cacambo, “was not I obliged to give two millions to Seignor Don Fernando d’Ibaraa y Fagueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, the governor of Buenos Ayres, for liberty to take Miss Cunegund away with me? and then did not a brave fellow of a pirate gallantly strip us of all the rest? And then did not this same pirate carry us with him to Cape Matapan, to Milo, to Nicaria, to Samos, to Petra, to the Dardanelles, to Marmora, to Scutari? Miss Cunegund and the old woman are now servants to the prince I have told you of; and I myself am slave to the dethroned sultan.” “What a chain of shocking accidents!” exclaimed Candide. “But after all, I have still some diamonds left, with which I can easily procure Miss Cunegund’s liberty. It is a pity though she is grown so ugly.”
Then turning to Martin, “What think you, friend,” said he, “whose condition is most to be pitied, the Emperor Achmet’s the Emperor Ivan’s, King Charles Edward’s, or mine?” “Faith, I cannot resolve your question,” said Martin, “unless I had been in the breasts of you all.” “Ah!” cried Candide, “was Pangloss here now, he would have known, and satisfied me at once.” “I know not,” said Martin, “in what balance your Pangloss could have weighed the misfortunes of mankind, and have set a just estimation on their sufferings. All that I pretend to know of the matter is that there are millions of men on the earth, whose conditions are a hundred times more pitiable than those of King Charles Edward, the Emperor Ivan, or Sultan Achmet.” “Why, that may be,” answered Candide.
In a few days they reached the Bosphorus; and the first thing Candide did was to pay a high ransom for Cacambo: then, without losing time, he and his companions went on board a galley, in order to search for his Cunegund on the banks of the Propontis, notwithstanding she was grown so ugly.
There were two slaves among the crew of the galley, who rowed very ill, and to whose bare backs the master of the vessel frequently applied a lash. Candide, from natural sympathy, looked at these two slaves more attentively than at any of the rest, and drew near them with an eye of pity. Their features, though greatly disfigured, appeared to him to bear a strong resemblance with those of Pangloss and the unhappy baron Jesuit, Miss Cunegund’s brother. This idea affected him with grief and compassion: he examined them more attentively than before. “In troth,” said he, turning to Martin, “if I had not seen my master Pangloss fairly hanged, and had not myself been unlucky enough to run the baron through the body, I should absolutely think those two rowers were the men.”
No sooner had Candide uttered the names of the baron and Pangloss, than the two slaves gave a great cry, ceased rowing, and let fall their oars out of their hands. The master of the vessel, seeing this, ran up to them, and redoubled the discipline of the lash. “Hold, hold,” cried Candide, “I will give you what money you shall ask for these two persons.” “Good heavens! it is Candide,” said one of the men. “Candide!” cried the other. “Do I dream,” said Candide, “or am I awake? Am I actually on board this galley? Is this my lord baron, whom I killed? and that my master Pangloss, whom I saw hanged before my face?”
“It is I! it is I!” cried they both together. “What! is this your great philosopher?” said Martin. “My dear sir,” said Candide to the master of the galley, “how much do you ask for the ransom of the baron of Thunder-ten tronckh, who is one of the first barons of the empire, and of Mr. Pangloss, the most profound metaphysician in Germany?” “Why, then, Christian cur,” replied the Turkish captain, “since these two dogs of Christian slaves are barons and metaphysicians, who no doubt are of high rank in their own country, thou shalt give me fifty thousand sequins.” “You shall have them, sir; carry me back as quick as thought to Constantinople, and you shall receive the money immediately—No! carry me first to Miss Cunegund.” The captain, upon Candide’s first proposal, had already tacked about, and he made the crew ply their oars so effectually, that the vessel flew through the water, quicker than a bird cleaves the air.
Candide bestowed a thousand embraces on the baron and Pangloss. “And so then, my dear baron, I did not kill you? and you, my dear Pangloss, are come to life again after your hanging? But how came you slaves on board a Turkish galley?” “And is it true that my dear sister is in this country?” said the baron. “Yes,” said Cacambo. “And do I once again behold my dear Candide?” said Pangloss. Candide presented Martin and Cacambo to them; they embraced each other, and all spoke together. The galley flew like lightning, and soon they were got back to port. Candide instantly sent for a Jew, to whom he sold for fifty thousand sequins a diamond richly worth one hundred thousand, though the fellow swore to him all the time by Father Abraham that he gave him the most he could possibly afford. He no sooner got the money into his hands, than he paid it down for the ransom of the baron and Pangloss. The latter flung himself at the feet of his deliverer, and bathed him with his tears: the former thanked him with a gracious nod, and promised to return him the money the first opportunity. “But is it possible,” said he, “that my sister should be in Turkey?” “Nothing is more possible,” answered Cacambo, “for she scours the dishes in the house of a Transylvanian prince.” Candide sent directly for two Jews, and sold more diamonds to them; and then he set out with his companions in another galley, to deliver Miss Cunegund from slavery.
“Pardon,” said Candide to the baron; “once more let me entreat your pardon, reverend father, for running you through the body.” “Say no more about it,” replied the baron; “I was a little too hasty I must own; but as you seem to be desirous to know by what accident I came to be a slave on board the galley where you saw me, I will inform you. After I had been cured of the would you gave me, by the college apothecary, I was attacked and carried off by a party of Spanish troops, who clapped me in prison in Buenos Ayres, at the very time my sister was setting out from there. I asked leave to return to Rome, to the general of my order, who appointed me chaplain to the French ambassador at Constantinople. I had not been a week in my new office, when I happened to meet one evening with a young Icoglan, extremely handsome and well made. The weather was very hot; the young man had an inclination to bathe. I took the opportunity to bathe likewise. I did not know it was a crime for a Christian to be found naked in company with a young Turk. A cadi ordered me to receive a hundred blows on the soles of my feet, and sent me to the galleys. I do not believe that there was ever an act of more flagrant injustice. But I would fain know how my sister came to be a scullion to a Transylvanian prince, who has taken refuge among the Turks?”
“But how happens it that I behold you again, my dear Pangloss?” said Candide. “It is true,” answered Pangloss, “you saw me hanged, though I ought properly to have been burned; but you may remember, that it rained extremely hard when they were going to roast me. The storm was so violent that they found it impossible to light the fire; so they hanged me because they could do no better. A surgeon purchased my body, carried it home, and prepared to dissect me. He began by making a crucial incision from my navel to the clavicle. It is impossible for anyone to have been more lamely hanged than I had been. The executioner was a subdeacon, and knew how to burn people very well, but as for hanging, he was a novice at it, being quite out of practice; the cord being wet, and not slipping properly, the noose did not join. In short, I still continued to breathe; the crucial incision made me scream to such a degree, that my surgeon fell flat upon his back; and imagining it was the devil he was dissecting, ran away, and in his fright tumbled down stairs. His wife hearing the noise, flew from the next room, and seeing me stretched upon the table with my crucial incision, was still more terrified than her husband, and fell upon him. When they had a little recovered themselves, I heard her say to her husband, ‘My dear, how could you think of dissecting a heretic? Don’t you know that the devil is always in them? I’ll run directly to a priest to come and drive the evil spirit out.’ I trembled from head to foot at hearing her talk in this manner, and exerted what little strength I had left to cry out, ‘Have mercy on me!’ At length the Portuguese barber took courage, sewed up my wound, and his wife nursed me; and I was upon my legs in a fortnight’s time. The barber got me a place to be lackey to a knight of Malta, who was going to Venice; but finding my master had no money to pay me my wages, I entered into the service of a Venetian merchant, and went with him to Constantinople.
“One day I happened to enter a mosque, where I saw no one but an old man and a very pretty young female devotee, who was telling her beads; her neck was quite bare, and in her bosom she had a beautiful nosegay of tulips, roses, anemones, ranunculuses, hyacinths, and auriculas; she let fall her nosegay. I ran immediately to take it up, and presented it to her with a most respectful bow. I was so long in delivering it that the imam began to be angry; and, perceiving I was a Christian, he cried out for help; they carried me before the cadi, who ordered me to receive one hundred bastinadoes, and sent me to the galleys. I was chained in the very galley and to the very same bench with the baron. On board this galley there were four young men belonging to Marseilles, five Neapolitan priests, and two monks of Corfu, who told us that the like adventures happened every day. The baron pretended that he had been worse used than myself; and I insisted that there was far less harm in taking up a nosegay, and putting it into a woman’s bosom, than to be found stark naked with a young Icoglan. We were continually whipped, and received twenty lashes a day with a heavy thong, when the concatenation of sublunary events brought you on board our galley to ransom us from slavery.”
“Well, my dear Pangloss,” said Candide to him, “when you were hanged, dissected, whipped, and tugging at the oar, did you continue to think that everything in this world happens for the best?” “I have always abided by my first opinion,” answered Pangloss; “for, after all, I am a philosopher, and it would not become me to retract my sentiments; especially as Leibnitz could not be in the wrong: and that pre-established harmony is the finest thing in the world, as well as a plenum and the materia subtilis.”
While Candide, the baron, Pangloss, Martin, and Cacambo, were relating their several adventures, and reasoning on the contingent or non-contingent events of this world; on causes and effects; on moral and physical evil; on free will and necessity; and on the consolation that may be felt by a person when a slave and chained to an oar in a Turkish galley, they arrived at the house of the Transylvanian prince on the coasts of the Propontis. The first objects they beheld there, were Miss Cunegund and the old woman, who were hanging some tablecloths on a line to dry.
The baron turned pale at the sight. Even the tender Candide, that affectionate lover, upon seeing his fair Cunegund all sunburnt, with blear eyes, a withered neck, wrinkled face and arms, all covered with a red scurf, started back with horror; but, recovering himself, he advanced towards her out of good manners. She embraced Candide and her brother; they embraced the old woman, and Candide ransomed them both.
There was a small farm in the neighborhood, which the old woman proposed to Candide to make shift with till the company should meet with a more favorable destiny. Cunegund, not knowing that she was grown ugly, as no one had informed her of it, reminded Candide of his promise in so peremptory a manner, that the simple lad did not dare to refuse her; he then acquainted the baron that he was going to marry his sister. “I will never suffer,” said the baron, “my sister to be guilty of an action so derogatory to her birth and family; nor will I bear this insolence on your part: no, I never will be reproached that my nephews are not qualified for the first ecclesiastical dignities in Germany; nor shall a sister of mine ever be the wife of any person below the rank of a baron of the empire.” Cunegund flung herself at her brother’s feet, and bedewed them with her tears; but he still continued inflexible. “Thou foolish fellow,” said Candide, “have I not delivered thee from the galleys, paid thy ransom, and thy sister’s, too, who was a scullion, and is very ugly, and yet condescend to marry her? and shalt thou pretend to oppose the match! If I were to listen only to the dictates of my anger, I should kill thee again.” “Thou mayest kill me again,” said the baron; “but thou shalt not marry my sister while I am living.”
Candide had, in truth, no great inclination to marry Miss Cunegund; but the extreme impertinence of the baron determined him to conclude the match; and Cunegund pressed him so warmly, that he could not recant. He consulted Pangloss, Martin, and the faithful Cacambo. Pangloss composed a fine memorial, by which he proved that the baron had no right over his sister; and that she might, according to all the laws of the empire, marry Candide with the left hand. Martin concluded to throw the baron into the sea; Cacambo decided that he must be delivered to the Turkish captain and sent to the galleys; after which he should be conveyed by the first ship to the father-general at Rome. This advice was found to be good; the old woman approved of it, and not a syllable was said to his sister; the business was executed for a little money; and they had the pleasure of tricking a Jesuit, and punishing the pride of a German baron.
It was altogether natural to imagine, that after undergoing so many disasters, Candide, married to his mistress and living with the philosopher Pangloss, the philosopher Martin, the prudent Cacambo, and the old woman, having besides brought home so many diamonds from the country of the ancient Incas, would lead the most agreeable life in the world. But he had been so robbed by the Jews, that he had nothing left but his little farm; his wife, every day growing more and more ugly, became headstrong and insupportable; the old woman was infirm, and more ill-natured yet than Cunegund. Cacambo, who worked in the garden, and carried the produce of it to sell at Constantinople, was above his labor, and cursed his fate. Pangloss despaired of making a figure in any of the German universities. And as to Martin, he was firmly persuaded that a person is equally ill-situated everywhere. He took things with patience. Candide, Martin, and Pangloss, disputed sometimes about metaphysics and morality. Boats were often seen passing under the windows of the farm laden with effendis, bashaws, and cadis, that were going into banishment to Lemnos, Mytilene and Erzerum. And other cadis, bashaws, and effendis, were seen coming back to succeed the place of the exiles, and were driven out in their turns. They saw several heads curiously stuck upon poles, and carried as presents to the sublime porte. Such sights gave occasion to frequent dissertations; and when no disputes were in progress, the irksomeness was so excessive that the old woman ventured one day to tell them, “I would be glad to know which is worst, to be ravished a hundred times by negro pirates, to have one buttock cut off, to run the gauntlet among the Bulgarians, to be whipped and hanged at an auto-da-fé, to be dissected, to be chained to an oar in a galley; and, in short, to experience all the miseries through which every one of us hath passed, or to remain here doing nothing?” “This,” said Candide, “is a grand question.”
This discourse gave birth to new reflections, and Martin especially concluded that man was born to live in the convulsions of disquiet, or in the lethargy of idleness. Though Candide did not absolutely agree to this, yet he did not determine anything on that head. Pangloss avowed that he had undergone dreadful sufferings; but having once maintained that everything went on as well as possible, he still maintained it, and at the same time believed nothing of it.
There was one thing which more than ever confirmed Martin in his detestable principles, made Candide hesitate, and embarrassed Pangloss, which was the arrival of Pacquette and Brother Giroflée one day at their farm. This couple had been in the utmost distress; they had very speedily made away with their three thousand piastres; they had parted, been reconciled; quarrelled again, been thrown into prison; had made their escape, and at last Brother Giroflée had turned Turk. Pacquette still continued to follow her trade; but she got little or nothing by it. “I foresaw very well,” said Martin to Candide, “that your presents would soon be squandered, and only make them more miserable. You and Cacambo have spent millions of piastres, and yet you are not more happy than Brother Giroflée and Pacquette.” “Ah!” said Pangloss to Pacquette, “it is heaven that has brought you here among us, my poor child! Do you know that you have cost me the tip of my nose, one eye, and one ear? What a handsome shape is here! and what is this world!” This new adventure engaged them more deeply than ever in philosophical disputations.
In the neighborhood lived a famous dervish who passed for the best philosopher in Turkey; they went to consult him: Pangloss, who was their spokesman, addressed him thus: “Master, we come to entreat you to tell us why so strange an animal as man has been formed?”
“Why do you trouble your head about it?” said the dervish; “is it any business of yours?” “But, my reverend father,” said Candide, “there is a horrible deal of evil on the earth.” “What signifies it,” said the dervish, “whether there is evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt does he trouble his head whether the rats in the vessel are at their ease or not?” “What must then be done?” said Pangloss. “Be silent,” answered the dervish. “I flattered myself,” replied Pangloss, “to have reasoned a little with you on the causes and effects, on the best of possible worlds, the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, and a pre-established harmony.” At these words the dervish shut the door in their faces.
During this conversation, news was spread abroad that two viziers of the bench and the mufti had just been strangled at Constantinople, and several of their friends empaled. This catastrophe made a great noise for some hours. Pangloss, Candide, and Martin, as they were returning to the little farm, met with a good-looking old man, who was taking the air at his door, under an alcove formed of the boughs of orange-trees. Pangloss, who was as inquisitive as he was disputative, asked him what was the name of the mufti who was lately strangled. “I cannot tell,” answered the good old man; “I never knew the name of any mufti, or vizier breathing. I am entirely ignorant of the event you speak of; I presume that in general such as are concerned in public affairs sometimes come to a miserable end; and that they deserve it: but I never inquire what is doing at Constantinople; I am contented with sending thither the produce of my garden, which I cultivate with my own hands.” After saying these words, he invited the strangers to come into his house. His two daughters and two sons presented them with divers sorts of sherbet of their own making; besides caymac, heightened with the peels of candied citrons, oranges, lemons, pineapples, pistachio nuts, and Mocha coffee unadulterated with the bad coffee of Batavia or the American islands. After which the two daughters of this good Mussulman perfumed the beards of Candide, Pangloss, and Martin.
“You must certainly have a vast estate,” said Candide to the Turk; who replied, “I have no more than twenty acres of ground, the whole of which I cultivate myself with the help of my children; and our labor keeps off from us three great evils—idleness, vice, and want.”
Candide, as he was returning home, made profound reflections on the Turk’s discourse. “This good old man,” said he to Pangloss and Martin, “appears to me to have chosen for himself a lot much preferable to that of the six kings with whom we had the honor to sup.” “Human grandeur,” said Pangloss, “is very dangerous, if we believe the testimonies of almost all philosophers; for we find Eglon, king of Moab, was assassinated by Aod; Absalom was hanged by the hair of his head, and run through with three darts; King Nadab, son of Jeroboam, was slain by Baaza; King Ela by Zimri; Okosias by Jehu; Athaliah by Jehoiada; the kings Jehooiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, were led into captivity: I need not tell you what was the fate of Crœsus, Astyages, Darius, Dionysius of Syracuse, Pyrrhus, Perseus, Hannibal, Jugurtha, Ariovistus, Cæsar, Pompey, Nero, Otho, Vitellius, Domitian, Richard II. of England, Edward II., Henry VI., Richard III., Mary Stuart, Charles I., the three Henrys of France, and the emperor Henry IV.” “Neither need you tell me,” said Candide, “that we must take care of our garden.” “You are in the right,” said Pangloss; “for when man was put into the garden of Eden, it was with an intent to dress it: and this proves that man was not born to be idle.” “Work then without disputing,” said Martin; “it is the only way to render life supportable.”
The little society, one and all, entered into this laudable design; and set themselves to exert their different talents. The little piece of ground yielded them a plentiful crop. Cunegund indeed was very ugly, but she became an excellent hand at pastrywork; Pacquette embroidered; the old woman had the care of the linen. There was none, down to Brother Giroflée, but did some service; he was a very good carpenter, and became an honest man. Pangloss used now and then to say to Candide, “There is a concatenation of all events in the best of possible worlds; for, in short, had you not been kicked out of a fine castle for the love of Miss Cunegund; had you not been put into the Inquisition; had you not travelled over America on foot; had you not run the baron through the body; and had you not lost all your sheep, which you brought from the good country of El Dorado, you would not have been here to eat preserved citrons and pistachio nuts.” “Excellently observed,” answered Candide; “but let us take care of our garden.”
[* ] The Dutch traders to Japan are actually obliged to trample upon a crucifix, in token of their aversion to the Christian religion, which the Japanese abhor.
[* ] An auto-da-fé was actually to have been celebrated the very day on which the earthquake destroyed Lisbon. Everybody knows than an auto-da-fé is a general jail delivery from the prisons of the Inquisition, when the wretches condemned by that tribunal are brought to the stake, or otherwise stigmatized in public.
[* ] There never was a tenth pope of that name; so that this number is mentioned to avoid scandal.
[* ] This is too just a reproach upon those Christian powers, who, for the thirst of lucre, shamefully patronize, and supply the barbarians of Africa with the means of gratifying their rapacity, and of exercising cruelties which are a disgrace to human nature.
[* ] Meaning Peruvian sheep, a kind of beast of burden, native of Peru, very different from the sheep of Europe.
] This remarkable personage, after having
lain in the common prison of the king’s
bench, for a paltry debt, was cleared by an act
of parliament, passed for the relief of insolvent
debtors; and the schedule of his effects, delivered
for the benefit of his creditors, contained his
right and pretensions to the crown of Corsica.
He died at London in extreme misery, to the reproach
of the English nation, which had at one time acknowledged
him as a sovereign prince, and their ally.
A gentleman caused a marble to be erected for him in St. Anne’s churchyard, with the following inscription:
Near this place is interred
Theodore, king of Corsica,
Who died in this parish, Dec. 11, 1756,
Immediately after leaving
The king’s bench prison,
By the benefit of the act of insolvency:
In consequence of which,
He resigned his kingdom of Corsica
For the use of his creditors.
The grave, great teacher, to a level brings
Heroes and beggars, galley-slaves and kings;
But Theodore this moral learned ere dead;
Fate poured its lessons on his living head,
Bestowed a kingdom, and denied him bread.
We soon become tired of everything in life; riches fatigue the possessor; ambition, when satisfied, leaves only remorse behind it; the joys of love are but transient joys; and Candide, made to experience all the vicissitudes of fortune, was soon disgusted with cultivating his garden. “Mr. Pangloss,” said he, “if we are in the best of possible worlds, you will own to me, at least, that this is not enjoying that portion of possible happiness; but living obscure in a little corner of the Propontis, having no other resource than that of my own manual labor, which may one day fail me; no other pleasures than what Mrs. Cunegund gives me, who is very ugly; and, which is worse, is my wife; no other company than yours, which is sometimes irksome to me; or that of Martin, which makes me melancholy; or that of Giroflée, who is but very lately become an honest man; or that of Pacquette, the danger of whose correspondence you have so fully experienced; or that of the hag who has but one buttock, and is constantly repeating old wives’ tales.
To this Pangloss made the following reply: “Philosophy teaches us that monads, divisible in infinitum, arrange themselves with wonderful sagacity in order to compose the different bodies which we observe in nature. The heavenly bodies are what they should be; they are placed where they should be; they describe the circles which they should describe; man follows the bent he should follow; he is what he should be; he does what he should do. You bemoan yourself, O Candide, because the monad of your soul is disgusted; but disgust is a modification of the soul; and this does not hinder, but everything is for the best, both for you and others. When you beheld me covered with sores, I did not maintain my opinion the less for that; for if Miss Pacquette had not made me taste the pleasures of love and its poison, I should not have met with you in Holland; I should not have given the anabaptist James an opportunity of performing a meritorious act; I should not have been hanged in Lisbon for the edification of my neighbor; I should not have been here to assist you with my advice, and make you live and die in Leibnitz’s opinion. Yes, my dear Candide, everything is linked in a chain, everything is necessary in the best of possible worlds. There is a necessity that the burgher of Montauban should instruct kings; that the worm of Quimper-Corentin should carp, carp, carp; that the declaimer against philosophers should occasion his own crucifixion in St. Denis street; that a rascally recollet and the archdeacon of St. Malo should diffuse their gall and calumny through their Christian journals; that philosophy should be accused at the tribunal of Melpomene; and that philosophers should continue to enlighten human nature, notwithstanding the croakings of ridiculous animals that flounder in the marshes of learning; and should you be once more driven by a hearty kicking from the finest of all castles, to learn again your exercise among the Bulgarians; should you again suffer the dirty effects of a Dutchwoman’s zeal; be half drowned again before Lisbon; to be unmercifully whipped again by order of the most holy Inquisition; should you run the same risks again among Los Padres, the Oreillons, and the French; should you, in short, suffer every possible calamity and never understand Leibnitz better than I myself do, you will still maintain that all is well; that all is for the best; that a plenum, the materia subtilis, a pre-established harmony, and monads, are the finest things in the world; and that Leibnitz is a great man, even to those who do not comprehend him.”
To this fine speech, Candide, the mildest being in nature, though he had killed three men, two of whom were priests, answered not a word; but weary of the doctor and his society, next morning at break of day, taking a white staff in his hand, marched off, without knowing whither he was going, but in quest of a place where one does not become disgusted, and where men are not men, as in the good country of El Dorado.
Candide, so much the less unhappy as he had no longer a love for Miss Cunegund, living upon the bounty of different people, who were not Christians, but yet give alms, arrived after a very long and very tiresome journey, at Tauris, upon the frontiers of Persia, a city noted for the cruelties which the Turks and Persians have by turns exercised therein.
Half dead with fatigue, having hardly more clothes than what were necessary to cover that part which constitutes the man, and which men call shameful, Candide could not well relish Pangloss’ opinion when a Persian accosted him in the most polite manner, beseeching him to ennoble his house with his presence. “You make a jest of me,” cried Candide to him; “I am a poor devil who has left a miserable dwelling I had in Propontis because I had married Miss Cunegund; because she is grown very ugly, and because I was disgusted; I am not, indeed, able to ennoble anybody’s house; I am not noble myself, thank God. If I had the honor of being so, Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh should have paid very dearly for the kicks on the backside with which he favored me, or I should have died of shame for it, which would have been pretty philosophical; besides, I have been whipped ignominiously by the executioners of the most holy Inquisition, and by two thousand heroes at three pence halfpenny a day. Give me what you please, but do not insult my distress with taunts which would deprive you of the whole value of your beneficence.” “My lord,” replied the Persian, “you may be a beggar, and this appears pretty plainly; but my religion obliges me to use hospitality; it is sufficient that you are a man and under misfortunes; that the apple of my eye should be the path for your feet; vouchsafe to ennoble my house with your radiant presence.” “I will, since you desire it,” answered Candide. “Come then, enter,” said the Persian. They went in accordingly, and Candide could not forbear admiring the respectful treatment shown him by his host. The slaves anticipated his desires; the whole house seemed to be busied in nothing but contributing to his satisfaction. “Should this last,” said Candide to himself, “all does not go so badly in this country.” Three days were passed, during which time the kindness of the Persian still continued; and Candide already cried out: “Master Pangloss, I always imagined you were in the right, for you are a great philosopher.”
Candide, being well fed, well clothed, and free from chagrin, soon became again as ruddy, as fresh, and as gay as he had been in Westphalia. His host, Ismael Raab, was pleased to see this change; he was a man six feet high, adorned with two small eyes extremely red, and a large nose full of pimples, which sufficiently declared his infraction of Mahomet’s law; his whiskers were the most famous in the country, and mothers wished their sons nothing so much as a like pair. Raab had wives, because he was rich; but he thought in a manner that is but too common in the East and in some of our colleges in Europe. “Your excellence is brighter than the stars,” said the cunning Persian to the brisk Candide one day, half smiling and half suppressing his words. “You must have captivated a great many hearts; you are formed to give and receive happiness.” “Alas!” answered our hero, “I was happy only by halves, behind a screen, where I was but half at my ease. Mademoiselle Cunegund was handsome then—Mademoiselle Cunegund; poor innocent thing!” “Follow me, my lord,” said the Persian. And Candide followed accordingly. They came to a very agreeable retreat, where silence and pleasure reigned. There Ismael Raab tenderly embraced Candide, and in a few words made a declaration of love like that which the beautiful Alexis expresses with so much pleasure in Virgil’s Eclogues. Candide could not recover from his astonishment. “No,” cried he, “I can never suffer such infamy! what cause and what horrible effect! I had rather die.” “So you shall,” replied Ismael, enraged. “How, thou Christian dog! because I would politely give you pleasure—resolve directly to satisfy me, or to suffer the most cruel death.” Candide did not long hesitate. The cogent reason of the Persian made him tremble; for he feared death like a philosopher.
We accustom ourselves to everything in time. Candide, well fed, well taken care of, but closely watched, was not absolutely disgusted with his condition. Good cheer and the different diversions performed by Ismael’s slaves gave some respite to his chagrin; he was unhappy only when he thought; and thus it is with the greatest part of mankind.
At that time one of the most stanch supporters of the monkish crew in Persia, the most learned of the Mahometan doctors, who understood Arabic perfectly, and even Greek, as spoken at that day in the country of Demosthenes and Sophocles, the Reverend Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk, returned from Constantinople, where he had conversed with the Reverend Mamoud-Abram on a very delicate point of doctrine; namely, whether the prophet had plucked from the angel Gabriel’s wing the pen which he used for the writing of the Koran; or if Gabriel had made him a present of it. They had disputed for three days and three nights with a warmth worthy of the noblest sages of controversy; and the doctor returned home persuaded, like all the disciples of Ali, that Mahomet had plucked the quill; while Mamoud-Abram remained convinced, like the rest of Omar’s followers, that the prophet was incapable of committing any such rudeness, and that the angel had very politely made him a present of this quill for his pen.
It is said that there was at Constantinople a certain free-thinker who insinuated that it was necessary to examine first whether the Koran was really written with a pen taken from the wing of the angel Gabriel; but he was stoned.
Candide’s arrival had made a noise in Tauris; many who had heard him speak of contingent and non-contingent effects imagined he was a philosopher. The Reverend Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk was told of him; he had the curiosity to come and see him; and Raab, who could hardly refuse a person of such consequence, sent for Candide to make his appearance. He seemed to be well pleased with the manner in which Candide spake of bad physics, bad morals, of agent and effect. “I understand that you are a philosopher, and that’s all. But it is enough, Candide,” said the venerable recluse. “It is not right that so great a man as you are should be treated with such indignity, as I am told, in the world. You are a stranger; Ismael Raab has no right over you. I propose to conduct you to court, there you shall meet with a favorable reception; the sophi loves the sciences. Ismael, you must put this young philosopher into my hands, or dread incurring the displeasure of the prince and drawing upon yourself the vengeance of heaven; but especially of the monks.” These last words frightened the otherwise undaunted Persian, and he consented to everything; Candide, blessing heaven and the monks, went the same day out of Tauris with the Mahometan doctor. They took the road to Ispahan, where they arrived loaded with the blessings and favors of the people.
The Reverend Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk made no delay in presenting Candide to the king. His majesty took a particular pleasure in hearing him; he made him dispute with several learned men of his court, who looked upon him as a fool, an ignoramus, and an idiot; which much contributed to persuade his majesty that he was a great man. “Because,” said he to them, “you do not comprehend Candide’s reasonings, you abuse him; but I, who also comprehend nothing at all of them, assure you that he is a great philosopher, and I swear to it by my whisker.” Upon these words the literati were struck dumb.
Candide had apartments assigned him in the palace; he had slaves to wait on him; he was dressed in magnificent clothes, and the sophi commanded that whatever he should say, no one should dare to assert that he was wrong. His majesty did not* stop here. The venerable monk was continually soliciting him in favor of his guest, and his majesty at length resolved to rank him among the number of his most intimate favorites.
“God be praised and our holy prophet,” said the imam, addressing himself to Candide. “I am come to tell you an agreeable piece of news; that you are happy, my dear Candide; that you are going to raise the envy of the world; you shall swim in opulence; you may aspire to the most splendid posts in the empire. But do not forget me, my friend; think that it is I who have procured you the favor you are just on the point of enjoying; let gayety reign over the horizon of your countenance. The king grants you a favor which has been sought by many, and you will soon exhibit a sight which the court has not enjoyed these two years past.” “And what are these favors?” demanded Candide, “with which the prince intends to honor me?” “This very day,” answered the monk, quite overjoyed, “this very day you are to receive fifty strokes with a leathern lash on the soles of your feet, in the presence of his majesty. The eunuchs named for perfuming you for the occasion are to be here directly; prepare yourself to go cheerfully through this little trial and thereby render yourself worthy of the king of kings.” “Let the king of kings,” cried Candide in a rage, “keep his favors to himself, if I must receive fifty blows with a lash in order to merit them.” “It is thus,” replied the doctor coldly, “that he deals with those on whom he means to pour down his benefits. I love you too much to regard the little temper which you show on this occasion, and I will make you happy in spite of yourself.”
He had not done speaking when the eunuchs arrived, preceded by the executor of his majesty’s private pleasures, who was one of the greatest and most robust lords of the court. Candide in vain remonstrated against their proceedings. They perfumed his legs and feet, according to custom. Four eunuchs carried him to the place appointed for the ceremony through the midst of a double file of soldiers, while the trumpets sounded, the cannon fired, and the bells of all the mosques* of Ispahan jingled; the sophi was already there, accompanied by his principal officers and most distinguished personages of his court. In an instant they stretched out Candide upon a little form finely gilded, and the executor of the private pleasures put himself in a posture for entering upon his office. “O! Master Pangloss, Master Pangloss, were you but here!” said Candide, weeping and roaring out with all his force; a circumstance which would have been thought very indecent if the monk had not given the people to understand that his guest had put himself into such violent agitations only the better to divert his majesty. This great king, it is true, laughed like a fool; he even took such delight in the affair that after the fifty blows had been given, he ordered fifty more to be added. But his first minister having represented to him, with a firmness not very common, that such an unheard of favor with regard to a stranger might alienate the hearts of his subjects, he revoked that order, and Candide was carried back to his apartments.
They put him to bed, after having bathed his feet with vinegar. The grandees came round him in order to congratulate him on his good fortune. The sophi then came to assist him in person, and not only gave him his hand to kiss, according to the custom, but likewise honored him with a great blow of his fist on his mouth. Whence the politicians conjectured that Candide would arrive at extraordinary preferment, and what is very uncommon, though politicians, they were not deceived.
As soon as our hero was cured, he was introduced to the king, to return him his thanks. The monarch received him very graciously. He gave him two or three hearty boxes on the ear during their conversation, and conducted him back as far as the guard-room, with several sound kicks on the posterior; at which the courtiers were ready to burst for envy. Since his majesty had been in a drubbing humor, no person had ever received such signal marks of his majesty’s favor in this way as did Candide.
Three days after this interview, our philosopher, who was enraged at the favors he had received, and thought that everything went very bad, was nominated governor of Chusistan, with an absolute power. He was decorated with a fur cap, which is a grand mark of distinction in Persia. He took his leave of the sophi and departed for Sus, the capital of his province. From the moment that Candide made his appearance at court the grandees had plotted his destruction. The excessive favors which the sophi had heaped on him served but to increase the storm ready to burst upon his head. He, however, applauded himself on his good fortune; and especially his removal from court; he enjoyed in prospect the pleasures of supreme rank, and he said from the bottom of his heart:
“How blest the subject from his lord removed!”
He had not gone quite twenty miles from Ispahan before five hundred horsemen, armed cap-a-pie, came up with him and his attendants and discharged a volley of firearms upon them. Candide imagined at first that this was intended to do him an honor; but the ball which broke his leg soon gave him to know what was going on. His people laid down their arms, and Candide, more dead than alive, was carried to a castle remote from any other dwelling. His baggage, camels, slaves, white and black eunuchs, with thirty-six women which the sophi had given him for his use, all became the prey of the conqueror. Our hero’s leg was cut off for fear of mortification, and care was taken of his life, that a more cruel death might be inflicted on him.
“O Pangloss! Pangloss! what would now become of your optimism if you saw me short of one leg in the hands of my cruelest enemies; just as I was entering upon the path of happiness, and was governor, or king, as one may say, of one of the most considerable provinces of the empire of ancient Media; when I had camels, slaves, black and white eunuchs, and thirty-six women for my own use, and of which I had not made any?” Thus Candide spoke as soon as he was able to speak.
But while he was thus bemoaning himself, everything was going for the best for him. The ministry, informed of the outrages committed against him, had detached a body of well-disciplined troops in pursuit of the mutineers, and the monk Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk took care to publish by means of others of his fraternity that Candide, being the work of the monks, was consequently the work of God. Such as had any knowledge of this atrocious attempt were so much the more ready to discover it, as the ministers of religion gave assurance on the part of Mahomet that every one who had eaten pork, drank wine, omitted bathing for any number of days together, or had conversed with women at the time of their impurity, against the express prohibitions of the Koran, should be, ipso facto, absolved, upon declaring what they knew concerning the conspiracy. They soon discovered the place of Candide’s confinement, which they broke open; and as it was a religious affair the party worsted were exterminated to a man, agreeably to custom in that case. Candide, marching over a heap of dead bodies, made his escape, triumphed over the greatest peril he had hitherto encountered, and with his attendants resumed the road to his government. He was received there as a favorite who had been honored with fifty blows of a lash on the soles of his feet in the presence of the king of kings.
The good of philosophy is its inspiring us with a love for our fellow-creatures. Paschal is almost the only philosopher who seems desirous to make us hate our neighbors. Luckily Candide had not read Paschal, and he loved the poor human race very cordially. This was soon perceived by the upright part of the people. They had always kept at a distance from the pretended legates of heaven, but made no scruple of visiting Candide and assisting him with their counsels. He made several wise regulations for the encouragement of agriculture, population, commerce, and the arts. He rewarded those who had made any useful experiments; and even encouraged such as had produced some essays on literature.
“When the people in my province are in general content,” said he with a charming candor, “possibly I shall be so myself.” Candide was a stranger to mankind; he saw himself torn to pieces in seditious libels and calumniated in a work entitled “The Friend to Mankind.” He found that while he was laboring to make people happy he had only made them ungrateful. “Ah,” cried Candide, “how hard it is to govern these beings without feathers, which vegetate on the earth! Why am I not still in Propontis, in the company of Master Pangloss, Miss Cunegund, the daughter of Pope Urban X., with only one cushion, Brother Giroflée, and the most luscious Pacquette!”
Candide, in the bitterness of his grief, wrote a very pathetic letter to the Reverend Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk. He painted to him in such lively colors the present state of his soul, that Ed-Ivan, greatly affected with it, obtained permission of the sophi that Candide should resign his employments. His majesty, in recompense of his services, granted him a very considerable pension. Eased from the weight of grandeur, our philosopher immediately sought after Pangloss’ optimism, in the pleasures of a private life. He till then had lived for the benefit of others, and seemed to have forgotten that he had a seraglio.
He now called it to remembrance with that emotion which the very name inspires. “Let everything be got ready,” said he to his first eunuch, “for my visiting my women.” “My lord,” answered the shrill-piped slave, “it is now that your excellency deserves the title of wise. The men for whom you have done so much were not worthy of employing your thoughts, but the women—” “That may be,” said Candide modestly.
At the bottom of a garden, where art had assisted nature to unfold her beauties, stood a small house of simple and elegant structure, very different from those which are to be seen in the suburbs of the finest city in Europe. Candide could not approach it without blushing; the air round this charming retreat diffused a delicious perfume; the flowers, amorously intermingled, seemed here to be guided by the instinct of pleasure, and preserved, for a long time, their various beauties. Here the rose never lost its lovely hue; the view of a rock, from which the waters precipitated themselves with a murmuring and confused noise, invited the soul of that soft melancholy which is ever the forerunner of pleasure. Candide entered trembling into a chamber, where taste and magnificence were united; his senses were drawn by a secret charm; he cast his eyes on young Telemachus, who breathed on the canvas in the midst of the nymphs of Calypso’s court. He next turned them to Diana, half-naked, flying into the arms of the tender Endymion; his agitation increased at the sight of a Venus, faithfully copied from that of Medici; his ears were struck with a divine harmony; a company of young Circassian females appeared, covered with their veils; they formed round him a sort of dance, agreeably designed, and more graceful than those trifling jigs that are performed on as trifling stages, after the representation of the death of Cæsar and Pompey.
At a signal given they threw off their veils and discovered faces full of expression, that lent new life to the diversion. These beauties studied the most seducing attitudes, without appearing to intend it; one expressed in her looks a passion without bounds; another a soft languor which waits for pleasures without seeking them; this fair one stooped and raised herself precipitately to disclose to view those enchanting charms which the fair sex display in such full scope at Paris; another threw aside a part of her cymar to show a form, which alone is capable of inflaming a mortal of any delicacy. The dance ceased and they remained in profound silence.
This pause recalled Candide to himself. The fire of love took possession of his breast; he darted the most ardent looks on all around him; imprinted warm kisses on lips as warm, and eyes that swam in liquid fire; he passed his hand over globes whiter than alabaster, whose palpitating motion repelled the touch; admired their proportion; perceived little vermilion protuberances like those rosebuds which only wait the genial rays of the sun to unfold them; he kissed them with rapture, and his lips for some time remained glued thereon.
Our philosopher next admired for a while a majestic figure of a fine and delicate shape. Burning with desires, he at length threw the handkerchief to a young person whose eyes he had observed to be always fixed upon him, and which seemed to say, “Teach me the meaning of a trouble I am ignorant of”; and who, blushing at the secret avowal, became a thousand times more charming. The eunuch then opened the door of a private chamber consecrated to the mysteries of love, into which the lovers entered; and the eunuch, addressing his master, said: “Here it is, my lord, you are going to be truly happy.” “Oh!” answered Candide, “I am in great hopes of it.”
The ceiling and walls of this little retreat were covered with mirrors; in the midst was placed a divan of black satin, on which Candide threw the young Circassian and caressed her in silent ecstasy. The fair one gave him no other interruption but to imprint kisses, full of fire, on his lips. “My lord,” said she to him in the Turkish language, which she spoke perfectly, “how fortunate is your slave, to be thus honored with your transports!” An energy of sentiment can be expressed in every language by those who truly feel it. These few words enchanted our philosopher; he was no longer himself; all he saw, all he heard, was new to him. What difference between Miss Cunegund, grown ugly, and violated by Bulgarian freebooters, and a Circassian girl of eighteen, till then a stranger to man. This was the first time the wise Candide enjoyed her. The objects which he devoured were repeated in the mirrors; wherever he cast his eyes he saw upon the black satin the most beautiful and fairest body possible, and the contrast of colors lent it new lustre, with round, firm, and plump thighs, an admirable fall of loins, a—but I am obliged to have a regard to the false delicacy of our language. It is sufficient for me to say that our philosopher tasted, by frequent repetitions, of that portion of happiness he was capable of receiving, and that the young Circassian in a little while proved his sufficing reason.
“O master, my dear master!” cried Candide, almost beside himself, “everything here is as well as in El Dorado; a fine woman can alone complete the wishes of man. I am as happy as it is possible to be. Leibnitz is in the right, and you are a great philosopher. For instance, I engage that you, my lovely girl, have always had a bias towards optimism, because you have always been happy.” “Alas! no,” answered she. “I do not know what optimism is; but I swear to you that your slave has not known happiness till to-day. If my lord is pleased to give me leave, I will convince him of it by a succinct recital of my adventures.” “I am very willing,” said Candide. “I am in a position to hear an historical detail.” Upon which the fair slave began as follows:
“My father was a Christian, and so likewise am I, as far as I have been told. He had a little hermitage near Cotatis, where, by his fervent devotion and practising austerities shocking to human nature, he acquired the veneration of the faithful. Crowds of women came to pay him their homage and took a particular satisfaction in bathing his posteriors, which he lashed every day with several smart strokes of discipline; doubtless it was to one of the most devout of these visitants that I owe my being. I was brought up in a cave in the neighborhood of my father’s little cell. I was twelve years of age and had not yet left this kind of grave, when the earth shook with a dreadful noise; the arch of the vault fell in, and I was drawn out from under the rubbish half dead when light struck my eyes for the first time. My father took me into his hermitage as a predestined child. The whole of this adventure appeared strange to the people; my father declared it a miracle, and so did they.
“I was called Zirza, which in Persian signifies ‘child of providence.’ Notice was soon taken of my poor charms; the women already came but seldom to the hermitage and the men much oftener. One of them told me that he loved me. ‘Villain,’ said my father to him, ‘hast thou substance sufficient to love her? This is a great gift which God has intrusted to me; He has made His appearance to me this night, under the shape of a venerable hermit, and He forbade me to give up the possession thereof for less than a thousand sequins. Get thee gone, poor devil, lest thine impure breath should blast her charms.’ ‘I have,’ answered he, ‘only a heart to offer her. But say, barbarian, dost thou not blush to make sport of the Deity, for the gratification of thine avarice? With what front, vile wretch, darest thou pretend that God has spoken to thee? This is throwing the greatest contempt upon the Author of beings, to represent Him conversing with such men as thou art.’ ‘O blasphemy!’ cried my father in a rage, ‘God Himself has commanded me to stone blasphemers.’ As he spoke these words, he fell upon my lover, and with repeated blows laid him dead on the ground, and his blood flew in my face. Though I had not yet known what love was, this man had interested me, and his death shocked me, and rendered the sight of my father insufferable to me. I took a resolution to leave him; he perceived it. ‘Ungrateful,’ said he to me, ‘it is to me thou owest thy being. Thou are my daughter—and thou hatest me; but I am going to deserve thy hatred, by the most rigorous treatment.’ He kept his word but too well with me, cruel man! During five years, which I spent in tears and groans, neither my youth nor my clouded beauty could in the least abate his wrath. Sometimes he stuck a thousand pins into all the parts of my body; at other times, with his discipline, he made the blood trickle down my body.” “This,” said Candide, “gave you less pain than the pins.” “True, my lord,” answered Zirza. “At last,” continued she, “I fled from my father’s habitation; and not daring to trust myself to anybody, I flung myself into the thickest part of the woods, where I was three days without food, and should have died were it not for a tiger which I had the happiness to please, and who was willing to share with me the prey he caught. But I had many horrors to encounter from this formidable beast; and the brute had moods as changeable and dangerous as those which render men, in certain conditions, the prey of brutal passions which degrade their humanity. Bad food gave me the scurvy. Scarcely was I cured, when I followed a merchant of slaves, who was going to Tiflis. The plague was there then, and I took it. These various misfortunes did not absolutely affect my features, nor hinder the sophi’s purveyor from buying me for your use. I have languished in tears these three months that I have been among the number of your women. My companions and I imagined ourselves to be the objects of your contempt; and if you knew, my lord, how disagreeable eunuchs are, and how little adapted for comforting young girls who are despised—in short, I am not yet eighteen years of age; and of these I have spent twelve in a frightful cavern; undergone an earthquake; been covered with the blood of the first good man I had hitherto seen; endured, for the space of four years, the most cruel tortures, and have had the scurvy, and the plague. Consumed with desires, amidst a crew of black and white monsters, still preserving that which I have saved from the fury of an awkward tiger; and, cursing my fate, I have passed three months in this seraglio; where I should have died of the jaundice, had not your excellency honored me at last with your embraces.” “O heavens!” cried Candide, “is it possible that you have experienced such great misfortunes at so tender an age? What would Pangloss say could he hear you? But your misfortunes are at an end, as well as mine. Everything does not go badly now; is not this true?” Upon that Candide resumed his caresses, and was more than ever confirmed in the belief of Pangloss’ system.
Our philosopher, in the midst of his seraglio, dispensed his favors equally. He tasted the pleasures of variety, and always returned to the “child of providence” with fresh ardor. But this did not last long; he soon felt violent pains in his loins, and an excruciating colic. He dried up, as he grew happy. Then Zirza’s breast appeared no longer so white, or so well placed; her thighs not so hard, nor so plump; her eyes lost all their vivacity in those of Candide; her complexion, its lustre; and her lips that pure vermilion which had enchanted him at first sight. He now perceived that she walked badly, and had an offensive smell: he saw, with the greatest disgust, a spot upon the “mount of Venus,” which he had never observed before to be tainted with any blemish: the vehement ardor of Zirza became burdensome to him: he could see, with great coolness, the faults of his other women, which had escaped him in his first transports of passion; he saw nothing in them but a bare-faced impudence; he was ashamed to have walked in the steps of the wisest of men; and he found women more bitter than death.
Candide, always cherishing Christian sentiments, spent his leisure time in walking over the streets of Sus; when one day a cavalier, in a superb dress, came up to him suddenly and called him by his name. “Is it possible!” cried Candide, “my lord, that you are — it is not possible; otherwise you are so very like the abbé of Périgord.” “I am the very man,” answered the abbé. Upon this Candide started back, and, with his usual ingenuousness, said, “Are you happy, Mr. Abbé?” “A fine question,” replied the abbé; “the little deceit which I have put upon you has contributed not a little to gain me credit. The police had employed me for some time; but, having fallen out with them, I quitted the ecclesiastical habit, which was no longer of any service to me. I went over into England, where persons of my profession are better paid. I said all I knew, and all I did not know, about the strength and weakness of the country I had lately left. I especially gave bold assurances that the French were the dregs of the world, and that good sense dwelt nowhere but in London. In short, I made a splendid fortune, and have just concluded a treaty at the court of Persia which will exterminate all the Europeans who come for cotton and silk into the sophi’s dominions, to the detriment of the English.” “The object of your mission is very commendable,” said our philosopher; “but, Mr. Abbé, you are a cheat; I like not cheats, and I have some credit at court. Tremble now, your happiness has arrived at its utmost limits; you are just upon the point of suffering the fate you deserve.” “My lord Candide,” cried the abbé, throwing himself on his knees, “have pity on me. I feel myself drawn to evil by an irresistible force, as you find yourself necessitated to the practice of virtue. This fatal propensity I have perceived from the moment I became acquainted with Mr. Wasp, and worked at the Feuilles.” “What do you call Feuilles?” said Candide. “Feuilles,” answered the abbé, “are sheets of seventy-two pages in print, in which the public are entertained in the strain of calumny, satire, and dulness. An honest man who can read and write, and who is not able to continue among the Jesuits, has set himself to compose this pretty little work, that he may have wherewithal to give his wife some lace, and bring up his children in the fear of God; and there are certain honest people, who for a few pence, and some bottles of bad wine, assist the man in carrying on his scheme. This Mr. Wasp is, besides, a member of a curious club, who divert themselves by making poor, ignorant people drunk, and causing them to blaspheme; or in bullying a poor simple devil, breaking his furniture, and afterwards challenging him. Such pretty little amusements these gentry call ‘mystifications,’ and richly deserve the attention of the police. In fine, this very honest man, Mr. Wasp, who boasts he never was in the galleys, is troubled with a disposition which renders him insensible to the clearest truths; and from which position he can be drawn only by certain violent means, which he sustains with a resignation and courage above conception. I have worked for some time under this celebrated genius; I have become an eminent writer in my turn, and I had but just quitted Mr. Wasp, to do a little for myself, when I had the honor of paying you a visit at Paris.” “Though you are a very great cheat, Mr. Abbé, yet your sincerity in this point makes some impression on me. Go to court; ask for the Rev. Ed-Ivan-Baal-Denk; I shall write to him in your behalf, but upon express condition that you promise me to become an honest man; and that you will not be the occasion of some thousands having their throats cut, for the sake of a little silk and cotton.” The abbé promised all that Candide requested, and they parted good friends.
No sooner had the abbé got access to court than he employed all his skill in order to ingratiate himself with the minister, and ruin his benefactor. He spread a report that Candide was a traitor, and that he had spoken disrespectfully of the hallowed whiskers of the king of kings. All the courtiers condemned him to be burned in a slow fire; but the sophi, more favorable, only sentenced him to perpetual banishment, after having previously kissed the sole of his accuser’s foot, according to the usage among the Persians. The abbé went in person to put the sentence in execution: he found our philosopher in pretty good health, and disposed to become happy again. “My friend,” said the English ambassador to him, “I come with regret to let you know that you must quit this kingdom with all expedition, and kiss my feet, with a true repentance for your horrid crimes.” “Kiss your feet, Mr. Abbé! certainly you are not in earnest, and I do not understand joking.” Upon which some mutes, who had attended the abbé, entered and took off his shoes, letting poor Candide know, by signs, that he must submit to this piece of humiliation, or else expect to be empaled. Candide, by virtue of his free will, kissed the abbé’s feet. They put on him a sorry linen robe, and the executioner drove him out of the town, crying all the time, “Behold a traitor! who has spoken irreverently of the sophi’s whiskers! irreverently of the imperial whiskers!”
What did the officious monk, while his friend, whom he protected, was treated thus? I know nothing of that. It is probable that he was tired of protecting Candide. Who can depend on the favor of kings, and especially that of monks?
In the meantime our hero went sadly on. “I never spoke,” said he to himself, “about the king of Persia’s whiskers. I am cast in an instant from the pinnacle of happiness into the abyss of misery; because a wretch, who has violated all laws, accuses me of a pretended crime which I have never committed; and this wretch, this monster, this persecuter of virtue—he is happy.”
Candide, after travelling for some days, found himself upon the frontiers of Turkey. He directed his course towards the Propontis, with a design to settle there again, and pass the rest of his days in the cultivation of his garden. He saw, as he entered a little village, a great multitude of people tumultuously assembled; he inquired into the cause of it. “This,” said an old man to him, “is a singular affair. It is some time ago since the wealthy Mahomet demanded in marriage the daughter of the janissary Zamoud; he found her not to be a virgin; and in pursuance of a principle quite natural and authorized by the laws, he sent her home to her father, after having branded her in the face. Zamoud, exasperated at the disgrace brought on his family, in the first transports of a fury that is very natural, with one stroke of his scimitar clove the disfigured visage of his daughter. His eldest son, who loved his sister passionately, which is very frequent in nature, flew upon his father and plunged a sharp poniard to his heart. Afterwards, like a lion who grows more enraged at seeing his own blood flow, the furious Zamoud ran to Mahomet’s house; and, after striking to the ground some slaves who opposed his passage, murdered Mahomet, his wives, and two children then in the cradle; all of which was very natural, considering the violent passion he then was in. At last, to crown all, he killed himself with the same poniard, reeking with the blood of his father and his enemies, which is also very natural.” “What a scene of horrors!” cried Candide. “What would you have said, Master Pangloss, had you found such barbarities in nature? Would not you acknowledge that nature is corrupted, that all is not—” “No,” said the old man, “for the pre-established harmony—” “O heavens! do ye not deceive me? Is this Pangloss?” cried Candide, “whom I again see?” “The very same,” answered the old man. “I knew you, but I was willing to find out your sentiments before I would discover myself. Come, let us discourse a little on contingent effects, and see if you have made any progress in the art of wisdom.” “Alas!” said Candide, “you choose your time ungenerously; rather let me know what has become of Miss Cunegund; tell me where are Brother Giroflée, Pacquette, and Pope Urban’s daughter.” “I know nothing of them,” replied Pangloss; “it is now two years since I left our habitation in order to find you out. I have travelled over almost all Turkey; I was upon the point of setting out for the court of Persia, where I heard you made a great figure, and I only tarried in this little village, among these good people, till I should gather strength to continue my journey.” “What is this I see?” answered Candide, quite surprised. “You want an arm, my dear doctor.” “That is nothing,” replied the one-handed and the one-eyed doctor; “nothing is more common in the best of worlds than to see persons who want one eye and one arm. This accident befell me in a journey from Mecca. Our caravan was attacked by a troop of Arabs; our guard attempted to make resistance, and, according to the rules of war, the Arabs, who found themselves to be the strongest side, massacred us all without mercy. There perished about five hundred persons in this attack, among whom were about a dozen pregnant women. For my part I had only my skull split and an arm cut off; I did not die, for all this, and I still found that everything went for the best. But as to yourself, my dear Candide, why is it that you have a wooden leg?” Upon this Candide began and gave an account of his adventures. Our philosophers turned together towards the Propontis and enlivened their journey by discoursing on physical and moral evil, free will and predestination, monads and pre-established harmony.
O Candide!” said Pangloss, “why were you tired of cultivating your garden? Why did we not still continue to eat citrons and pistachio nuts? Why were you weary of your happiness? Because everything is necessary in the best of worlds, there was a necessity that you should undergo the bastinado in the presence of the king of Persia; have your leg cut off, in order to make Chusistan happy, to experience the ingratitude of men, and draw down upon the heads of some atrocious villains the punishment which they had deserved.” With such talk as this they arrived at their old habitation. The first objects that presented themselves were Martin and Pacquette in the habit of slaves. “Whence,” said Candide to them, “is this metamorphosis?” after embracing them tenderly. “Alas!” answered they, sobbing, “you have no more a habitation; another has undertaken the labor of cultivating your garden; he eats your preserved citrons, and pistachios, and we are treated like negroes.” “Who,” said Candide, “is this other?” “The high admiral,” answered they, “a mortal the least humane of all mortals. The sultan, willing to recompense his services without putting himself to any expense, has confiscated all your goods under pretext that you had gone over to his enemies, and condemned us to slavery.” “Be advised by me, Candide,” added Martin, “and continue your journey. I always told you everything is for the worst; the sum of evil exceeds by much that of good. Begone, and I do not despair but you may become a Manichæan, if you are not so already.” Pangloss would have begun an argument in form, but Candide interrupted him to ask about Miss Cunegund, the old woman, Brother Giroflée, and Cacambo. “Cacambo,” answered Martin, “is here; he is at present employed in emptying slops. The old woman is dead from a kick given her by a eunuch in the breast. Brother Giroflée has entered among the janissaries. Miss Cunegund has recovered her plumpness and former beauty; she is in our master’s seraglio.” “What a chain of misfortunes,” said Candide. “Was there a necessity for Miss Cunegund to become handsome only to make me a cuckold?” “It matters little,” said Pangloss, “whether Miss Cunegund be beautiful or ugly, in your arms or those of another; that is nothing to the general system. For my part, I wish her a numerous progeny. Philosophers do not perplex themselves by whom women have children, provided they have them. Population—” “Alas!” exclaimed Martin, “philosophers might much better employ themselves in rendering a few individuals happy, than engaging them to multiply the number of sufferers.” While they were thus arguing, a great noise was heard on a sudden; it was the admiral diverting himself by causing a dozen slaves to be whipped. Pangloss and Candide, both frightened, with tears in their eyes, parted from their friends, and in all haste took the road to Constantinople.
There they found all the people in a great stir. A fire had broken out in the suburb of Pera; five or six hundred houses were already consumed, and two or three thousand persons perished in the flames. “What a horrible disaster,” cried Candide! “All is well,” said Pangloss, “these little accidents happen every year. It is entirely natural for the fire to catch houses built of wood, and for those who are in them to be burned. Besides, this procures some resources to honest people, who languish in misery.” “What is this I hear?” said an officer of the sublime porte. “How, wretch, darest thou say that all is well when half Constantinople is in flames. Dog, be cursed of our prophet, receive the punishment due to thy impudence!” And as he uttered these words he took Pangloss by the middle and flung him headlong into the flames. Candide, half dead with fright, crept on all fours as well as he could to a neighboring quarter, where all was more quiet; and we shall see what became of him in the next chapter.
“I have nothing left,” said our philosopher, “but to make myself either a slave or a Turk. Happiness has forsaken me forever. A turban would corrupt all my pleasures. I shall be incapable of tasting tranquillity of soul in a religion full of imposture, into which I enter merely from a motive of vile interest. No, I shall never be content if I cease to be an honest man; let me make myself then a slave.” Candide had no sooner taken this resolution than he set about putting it into execution. He chose an Armenian merchant for his master, who was a man of a very good character, and passed for virtuous, as much as an Armenian can be. He gave Candide two hundred sequins as the price of his liberty. The Armenian was upon the point of departing for Norway; he took Candide with him, in the hope that a philosopher would be of use to him in his traffic. They embarked, and the wind was so favorable for them that they were not above half the usual time in their passage. They even had no occasion for buying a wind from the Lapland witches, and contented themselves with giving them some stock-fish, that they might not disturb their good fortune with their enchantments; which sometimes happens, if we may believe Moréri’s dictionary on this head.
The Armenian no sooner landed than he provided a stock of whale-blubber and ordered our philosopher to go over all the country to buy him some dried salt fish; Candide acquitted himself of his commission in the best manner possible, returned with several reindeer loaded with this merchandise, and made profound reflections on the astonishing difference which is to be found between the Laplanders and other men. A very diminutive female Laplander, whose head was a little bigger than her body, her eyes red and full of fire, a flat nose and very wide mouth, wished him a good day with an infinite grace. “My little lord,” said this being (a foot and ten inches high) to him, “I think you very handsome; do me the favor to love me a little.” So saying, she flew to him and caught him round the neck. Candide pushed her away with horror. She cried out, when her husband came in with several other Laplanders. “What is the meaning of all this uproar?” said they. “It is,” answered the little thing, “that this stranger—Alas! I am choked with grief; he despises me.” “So, then,” said the Lapland husband, “thou impolite, dishonest, brutal, infamous, cowardly rascal, thou bringest disgrace upon my house; thou dost me the most sensible injury; thou refusest to embrace my wife.” “Lo! here’s a strange custom,” cried our hero; “what would you have said, then, if I had embraced her?” “I would have wished thee all sort of prosperity,” said the Laplander to him in wrath; “but thou only deservest my indignation.” At uttering this he discharged on Candide’s back a volley of blows with a cudgel. The reindeer were seized by the relatives of the offended husband, and Candide, for fear of worse, was forced to betake himself to flight and renounce forever his good master; for how dared he present himself before him without money, whaleblubber, or reindeer?
Candide travelled a long time without knowing whither he was going. At length he resolved to go to Denmark, where he had heard that everything went pretty well. He had a few pieces of money about him, which the Armenian had made him a present of; and this sum, though inconsiderable, he hoped would carry him to the end of his journey. Hope rendered his misery supportable to him, and he still passed some happy moments. He found himself one day in an inn with three travellers, who talked to him with great warmth about a plenum and the materia subtilis. “This is well,” said Candide to himself, “these are philosophers. Gentlemen,” said he to them, “a plenum is incontestable; there is no vacuum in nature, and the materia subtilis is a well-imagined hypothesis.” “You are then a Cartesian?” cried the three travellers. “Yes,” answered Candide, “and a Leibnitzian, which is more.” “So much the worse for you,” replied the philosophers. “Descartes and Leibnitz had not common sense. We are Newtonians, and we glory in it; if we dispute, it is only the better to confirm ourselves in our opinions, and we all think the same. We search for truth in Newton’s tract, because we are persuaded that Newton is a very great man.” “And Descartes, too, and Leibnitz and Pangloss likewise,” said Candide; “these great men are worth a thousand of yours.” “You are a fool, friend,” answered the philosophers; “do you know the laws of refraction, attraction, and motion? Have you read the truths which Dr. Clarke has published in answer to the vagaries of your Leibnitz? Do you know what centrifugal and centripetal force is? and that colors depend on their density? Have you any notion of the theory of light and gravitation? Do you know the period of twenty-five thousand nine hundred and twenty years, which unluckily do not agree with chronology? No, undoubtedly, you have but false ideas of all these things; peace then, thou contemptible monad, and beware how you insult giants by comparing them to pygmies.” “Gentlemen,” answered Candide, “were Pangloss here, he would tell you very fine things; for he is a great philosopher; he has a sovereign contempt for your Newton; and, as I am his disciple, I likewise make no great account of him.” The philosophers, enraged beyond measure, fell upon poor Candide and drubbed him most philosophically.
Their wrath subsiding, they asked our hero’s pardon for their too great warmth. Upon this one of them began a very fine harangue on mildness and moderation.
While they were talking they saw a grand funeral procession pass by; our philosophers thence took occasion to descent on the foolish vanity of man. “Would it not be more reasonable,” said one of them, “that the relatives and friends of the deceased should, without pomp and noise, carry the bier themselves? would not this funeral act, by presenting to them the idea of death, produce an effect the most salutary, the most philosophical? This reflection, which would offer itself, namely, ‘the body I carry is that of my friend, my relative; he is no more; and, like him, I must cease to be in this world;’ would not this, I say, be a means of lessening the number of crimes in this vile world, and of bringing back to virtue beings who believe in the immortality of the soul? Men are too much inclined to remove from them the thoughts of death, for fear of presenting too strong images of it. Whence is it that people keep at a distance from such a spectacle as a mother and a wife in tears? The plaintive accents of nature, the piercing cries of despair, would do much greater honor to the ashes of the dead, than all these individuals clad in black from head to foot, together with useless female mourners, and that crowd of ministers who sing funeral orations which the deceased cannot hear.”
“This is extremely well spoken,” said Candide; “and did you always speak thus well, without thinking proper to beat people, you would be a great philosopher.”
Our travellers parted with expressions of mutual confidence and friendship. Candide still continued travelling towards Denmark. He plunged into the woods; where, musing deeply on all the misfortunes which had happened to him in the best of worlds, he turned aside from the road and lost himself. The day began to draw towards the evening, when he perceived his mistake; he was seized with dismay, and raising his eyes to heaven, and leaning against the trunk of a tree, our hero spoke in the following terms: “I have gone over half the world; seen fraud and calumny triumphant; have only sought to do service to mankind, and I have been persecuted. A great king honors me with his favor and fifty blows. I arrive with a wooden leg in a very fine province; there I taste pleasures after having drunk deep of mortifications. An abbé comes; I protect him; he insinuates himself at court through my means, and I am obliged to kiss his feet. I meet with my poor Pangloss only to see him burned. I find myself in company with philosophers, the mildest and most sociable of all the species of animals that are spread over the face of the earth, and they give me an unmerciful drubbing. All must necessarily be for the best, since Pangloss has said it; but nevertheless I am the most wretched of all possible beings.” Here Candide stopped short to listen to the cries of distress which seemed to come from a place near him. He stepped forward out of curiosity, when he beheld a young woman who was tearing her hair as if in the greatest despair. “Whoever you are,” said she to him, “if you have a heart, follow me.” He went with her, but they had not gone many paces before Candide perceived a man and a woman stretched out on the grass. Their faces declared the nobleness of their souls and origin; their features, though distorted by pain, had something so interesting that Candide could not forbear informing himself with a lively eagerness about the cause which reduced them to so miserable a situation. “It is my father and mother whom you see,” explained the young woman; “yes, these are the authors of my wretched being,” continued she, throwing herself into their arms. “They fled to avoid the rigor of an unjust sentence; I accompanied them in their flight, happy to share in their misfortune, thinking that in the deserts where we were going to hide ourselves my feeble hands might procure them a necessary subsistence. We have stopped here to take some rest; I discovered that tree which you see, whose fruit has deceived me—alas! sir, I am a wretch to be detested by the world and myself. Arm your hand to avenge offended virtue, and to punish the parricide! Strike! This fruit I presented to my father and mother; they ate of it with pleasure; I rejoiced to have found the means of quenching the thirst with which they were tormented—unhappy wretch! it was death I presented to them; this fruit is poison.”
This tale made Candide shudder; his hair stood on end and a cold sweat ran over all his body. He was eager, as much as his present condition could permit, to give some relief to this unfortunate family; but the poison had already made too much progress; and the most efficacious remedies would not have been able to stop its fatal effect.
“Dear child, our only hope!” cried the two unhappy parents, “God pardon thee as we pardon thee; it was the excess of thy tenderness which has robbed us of our lives. Generous stranger, vouchsafe to take care of her; her heart is noble and formed to virtue; she is a trust which we leave in your hands that is infinitely more precious to us than our past fortune. Dear Zenoida, receive our last embraces; mingle thy tears with ours. Heavens! how happy are these moments to us! Thou hast opened to us the dreary cave in which we languished for forty years past. Tender Zenoida, we bless thee; mayest thou never forget the lessons which our prudence hath dictated to thee; and may they preserve thee from the abyss which we see ready to swallow thee.”
They expired as they pronounced these words. Candide had great difficulty to bring Zenoida to herself. The moon enlightened the affecting scene; the day appeared, and Zenoida, plunged in sorrow, had not as yet recovered the use of her senses. As soon as she opened her eyes she entreated Candide to dig a hole in the ground in order to inter the bodies; she assisted in the work with an astonishing courage. This duty fulfilled, she gave free scope to her tears. Our philosopher drew her from this fatal place; they travelled a long time without observing any certain route. At length they perceived a little cottage; two persons in the decline of life dwelt in this desert, who were always ready to give every assistance in their power to their fellow-creatures in distress. These old people were such as Philemon and Baucis are described to us. For fifty years they had tasted the soft endearments of marriage, without ever experiencing its bitterness; an unimpaired health, the fruit of temperance and tranquillity of mind, mild and simple manners; a fund of inexhaustible candor in their character; all the virtues which man owes to himself, formed the glorious and only fortune which heaven had granted them. They were held in veneration in the neighboring villages, the inhabitants of which, full of a happy rusticity, might have passed for honest people, had they been Catholics. They looked upon it as a duty not to suffer Agaton and Sunama (for so the old couple were called) to want for anything. Their charity extended to the newcomers. “Alas!” said Candide, “it is a great loss, my dear Pangloss, that you were burned; you were master of sound reason; but yet in all the parts of Europe and Asia which I have travelled over in your company, everything is not for the best. It is only in El Dorado, whither no one can go, and in a little cottage situated in the coldest, most barren, and frightful region in the world. What pleasure should I have to hear you harangue about the pre-established harmony and monads! I should be very willing to pass my days among these honest Lutherans; but I must renounce going to mass, and resolve to be torn to pieces in the Journal Chrétien.”
Candide was very inquisitive to learn the adventures of Zenoida, but compassion withheld him from speaking to her about it; she perceived the respectful constraint he put upon himself, and satisfied his impatience in the following terms:
“I am come of one of the most ancient families in Denmark; one of my ancestors perished at that horrid feast which the wicked Christiern prepared for the destruction of so many senators. The riches and dignities with which our family has been distinguished have hitherto served only to make them more eminently unfortunate. My father had the presumption to displease a great man in power by boldly telling him the truth; he was presently accused by suborned witnesses of a number of crimes which had no foundation. His judges were deceived. Alas! where is that judge who can always discover those snares which envy and treachery lay for unguarded innocence? My father was sentenced to be beheaded. He had no way left to avoid his fate but by flight; accordingly he withdrew to the house of an old friend, whom he thought deserving of that truly noble appellation; we remained some time concealed in a castle belonging to him on the seaside; and we might have continued there to this day, had not the base wretch with whom we had taken refuge attempted to repay himself for the services rendered us in a manner that gave us all reason to detest him. This infamous monster had conceived a most unnatural passion for my mother and myself at the same time; he attempted our virtue by methods the most unworthy of a man of honor; and we were obliged to expose ourselves to the most dreadful dangers to avoid the effects of his brutal passion. In a word, we took to flight a second time, and you know the rest.”
In finishing this short narrative, Zenoida burst into tears afresh. Candide wiped them from her eyes, and said to her, by way of consolation, “Madam, everything is for the best; if your father had not died by poison he would infallibly have been discovered, and then his head would have been cut off. The good lady, your mother, would in all probability have died of grief, and we should not have been in this poor hut, where everything is as comfortable as in the finest of possible castles.” “Alas! sir,” replied Zenoida, “my father never told me that everything was for the best; but he has often said, ‘We are all children of the same divine father, who loves us, but who has not exempted us from sorrows, the most grievous maladies, and an innumerable tribe of miseries that afflict the human race. Poison grows by the side of the efficacious quinquina in America. The happiest of all mortals has some time or other shed tears. What we call life is a compound of pleasure and pain; it is the passing away of a certain stated portion of time that always appears too long in the sight of the wise man, and which every one ought to employ in doing good to the community in which he is placed; in the enjoyment of the works of Providence, without idly seeking after hidden causes; in squaring his conduct by the rules of conscience; and, above all, in showing a due respect to religion. Happy is he who can follow this unerringly!’
“These things my ever-respected father has frequently inculcated in me. ‘Ill betide those wretched scribblers,’ he would often say, ‘who attempt to pry into the hidden ways of Providence. From the principle that God will be honored from thousands of atoms, mankind has blended the most absurd chimeras with respectable truths. The Turkish dervish, the Persian brahmin, the Chinese bonze, and the Indian talapoin, all worship the Deity in a different manner; but they enjoy a tranquillity of soul amidst the darkness in which they are plunged; and he who would endeavor to enlighten them, does them but ill service. It is not loving mankind to tear the bandage of prejudice from their eyes.’ ”
“Why, you talk like a philosopher,” said Candide; “may I ask you, my pretty young lady, of what religion you are?” “I was brought up in the Lutheran profession,” answered Zenoida. “Every word you have spoken,” said Candide, “has been like a ray of light that has penetrated to my heart, and I find a sort of esteem and admiration for you, that—but how, in the name of wonder, came so bright an understanding to be lodged in so beautiful a form? Upon my word, Miss, I esteem and admire you, as I said before, so much that—” Candide stammered out a few words more, when Zenoida, perceiving his confusion, quitted him, and from that moment carefully avoided all occasions of being alone with him; and Candide, on his part, sought every opportunity of being alone with her, or else remained alone. He was buried in a melancholy that to him had charms; he was deeply enamored of Zenoida; but endeavored to conceal his passion from himself. His looks, however, too plainly evinced the feelings of his heart. “Alas!” would he often say to himself, “if Master Pangloss was here, he would give me good advice; for he was a great philosopher.”
The only consolation that Candide felt was in conversing with Zenoida in the presence of their hosts. “How happens it,” said he to her one day, “that the monarch to whom you have access has suffered such injustice to be done to your family? Assuredly you have sufficient reason to hate him?” “How!” said Zenoida, “who can hate their king? who can do otherwise than love that person to whose hand is consigned the keen-edged sword of the laws? Kings are the living images of the Deity, and we ought never to arraign their conduct; obedience and respect is the duty of a subject.” “I admire you more and more,” said Candide; “indeed, madam, I do; pray, do you know the great Leibnitz, and the great Pangloss, who was burned, after having escaped a hanging? are you acquainted with the monads, the materia subtilis, and the vortices?” “No, sir,” replied Zenoida; “I never heard my father mention any of these; he only gave me a slight tincture of experimental philosophy, and taught me to hold in contempt all those kinds of philosophy that do not directly tend to make mankind happy; that give him false notions of his duty to himself and his neighbor; that do not teach him to regulate his conduct, and fill his mind only with uncouth terms, or ill-founded conjectures; that do not give him a clearer idea of the author of nature than what he may acquire from his works, and the wonders that are every day passing before our sight.” “Once again, Miss, you enchant me; you ravish me; you are an angel that heaven has sent to remove from before my eyes the mist of Master Pangloss’ sophistical arguments. Poor wretch that I was! After having been so heartily kicked, flogged, and bastinadoed; after having been in an earthquake; having seen Doctor Pangloss once hanged, and very lately burned; after having been outraged by a villainous Persian, who put me to the most excruciating torture; after having been robbed by a decree of the divan, and soundly drubbed by the philosophers; after all these things, I say, to think that everything was for the best! but now, thank heaven! I am disabused. But, truly speaking, nature never appeared half so charming to me as since I have been blessed with the sight of you. The melody of the rural choristers charms my ears with a harmony to which they were till now utter strangers; I breathe a new soul, and the glow of sentiment that enchants me seems imprinted on every object; I do not feel that effeminate languor which I did in the gardens of Sus; the sensation with which you inspire me is wholly different.” “Let us stop here,” said Zenoida; “you seem to be running to lengths that may, perhaps, offend my delicacy, which you ought to respect.” “I will be silent, then,” said Candide; “but my passion will only burn with the more force.” On saying these words, he looked steadfastly at Zenoida; he perceived that she blushed, and, as a man who was taught by experience, conceived the most flattering hopes from those appearances.
The beautiful Dane continued a long time to shun the presence of Candide. One day, as he was walking hastily to and fro in the garden, he cried out in an amorous ecstasy, “Ah! why have I not now my El Dorado sheep! why have I not the power to purchase a small kingdom! ah! were I but a king!” “What should I be to you?” said a voice which pierced the heart of our philosopher. “Is it you, lovely Zenoida?” cried he, falling on his knees. “I thought myself alone. The few words I heard you just now utter seem to promise me the felicity to which my soul aspires. I shall, in all probability, never be a king, nor ever possessed of a fortune; but, if you love me—do not turn from me those lovely eyes, but suffer me to read in them a declaration which is alone capable of confirming my happiness. Beauteous Zenoida, I adore you; let your heart be open to compassion—what do I see! you weep! Ah! my happiness is too great.” “Yes, you are happy,” said Zenoida; “nothing can oblige me to disguise my tenderness for a person I think deserving of it: hitherto you have been attached to my destiny only by the bands of humanity; it is now time to strengthen those by ties most sacred; I have consulted my heart, reflect maturely in your turn; but remember, that if you marry me, you become obliged to be my protector; to share with me those misfortunes that fate may yet have in store for me, and to soothe my sorrows.” “Marry you!” said Candide; “those words have shown me all the folly of my conduct. Alas! dear idol of my soul, I am not deserving of the goodness you show towards me. Cunegund is still living—” “Cunegund! who is that?” “She is my wife,” answered Candide, with his usual frankness.
Our two lovers remained some moments without uttering a word; they attempted to speak, but the accents died away on their lips; their eyes were bathed in tears. Candide held the fair Zenoida’s hands in his; he pressed them to his breast, and devoured them with kisses; he had even the boldness to carry his to the bosom of his mistress; he found her breath grew short; his soul flew to his lips, and fixing his mouth with ardor to that of Zenoida, he brought the fair one back to those senses which she had nearly lost. Candide thought he read his pardon in her eyes. “Dearest lover,” said she to him, “anger would but ill suit with the liberty which I myself have given. Yet hold, you will ruin me in the opinion of the world; and you yourself would soon cease to have an affection for me, when once I was become the object of contempt. Forbear, therefore, and spare my weakness.” “How!” cried Candide, “because the ill-judging vulgar say that a woman loses her honor by bestowing happiness on a being whom she loves, by following the tender bent of nature, that in the first happy ages of the world—” But I will forbear to relate the whole of the interesting conversation, and content myself with saying that the eloquence of Candide, heightened by the warmth of amorous expression, had all the effect that may be imagined on a young, sensible, female philosopher.
The lovers, who till then had passed their days in tedious melancholy, now counted every hour by a fresh succession of amorous joys. Pleasure flowed through their veins in an uninterrupted current. The gloomy woods, the barren mountains, surrounded by horrid precipices, the icy plains and dreary fields, covered with snow on all sides, were so many continual mementoes to them of the necessity of loving. They determined never to quit that dreadful solitude, but fate was not yet weary of persecuting them, as we shall see in the ensuing chapter.
Candide and Zenoida amused themselves with discoursing on the works of the Deity, the worship which mankind ought to pay Him, the mutual duties they owe to each other, especially that of charity, the most useful of all virtues. They did not confine themselves to frivolous declamations. Candide taught the young men the respect due to the sacred restraints of the laws; Zenoida instructed the young women in the duties they owed their parents; both joined their endeavors to sow the hopeful seeds of religion in their young hearts. One day, as they were busied in those pious offices, Sunama came to tell Zenoida that an old gentleman with several servants was just alighted at their house; and that, by the description he had given her of a person of whom he was in search, she was certain it could be no other than Zenoida herself. This stranger had followed Sunama close at her heels, and entered, before she had done speaking, into the room where were Candide and Zenoida.
At sight of him Zenoida instantly fainted away; but Wolhall, not in the least affected with the condition he saw her in, took hold of her hand, and, pulling her to him, with violence, brought her to her senses; which she had no sooner recovered than she burst into a flood of tears. “So, niece,” said he, with a sarcastic smile, “I find you in very good company. I do not wonder you prefer this habitation to the capital, to my house, and the company of your family.” “Yes, sir,” replied Zenoida, “I do prefer this place, where dwell simplicity and truth, to the mansions of treason and imposture. I can never behold but with horror that place where first began my misfortunes; where I have had so many proofs of your black actions, and where I have no other relative but yourself.” “Come, madam,” said Wolhall, “follow me, if you please; for you must accompany me, even if you should faint again.” Saying this, he dragged her to the door of the house, and made her get into a post-chaise, which was waiting for him. She had only time to tell Candide to follow, and to bestow her blessing on her hosts, with promises of rewarding them amply for their generous cares.
A domestic of Wolhall was moved with pity at the grief in which he saw Candide plunged; he imagined that he felt no other concern for the fair Dane than what unfortunate virtue inspires: he proposed to him taking a journey to Copenhagen, and he facilitated the means for his doing it. He did more; he insinuated to him that he might be admitted as one of Wolhall’s domestics, if he had no other resources than going to service. Candide liked his proposal; and had no sooner arrived than his future fellow-servant presented him as one of his relatives, for whom he would be answerable. “Rascal,” said Wolhall to him, “I consent to grant you the honor of approaching a person of such rank as I am: never forget the profound respect which you owe to my commands; execute them if you have sufficient sagacity for it: think that a man like me degrades himself in speaking to a wretch such as you.” Our philosopher answered with great humility to this impertinent discourse; and from that day he was clad in his master’s livery.
It is easy to imagine the joy and surprise that Zenoida felt when she recognized her lover among her uncle’s servants. She threw several opportunities in the way of Candide, who knew how to profit by them: they swore eternal constancy. Zenoida had some unhappy moments. She sometimes reproached herself on account of her love for Candide; she vexed him sometimes by a few caprices: but Candide idolized her; he knew that perfection is not the portion of man, and still less so of woman. Zenoida resumed her good humor. The kind of constraint under which they lay rendered their pleasures the more lively; they were still happy.
Our hero had only to bear with the haughty humors of his master, and that was purchasing his mistress’ favors at no dear rate. Happy love is not so easily concealed as many imagine. Our lovers betrayed themselves. Their connection was no longer a mystery, but to the short-sighted eyes of Wolhall; all the domestics knew it. Candide received congratulations on that head which made him tremble; he expected the storm ready to burst upon his head, and did not doubt but a person who had been dear to him was upon the point of accelerating his misfortune. He had for some days perceived a face resembling Miss Cunegund; he again saw the same face in Wolhall’s courtyard: the object which struck him was poorly clothed, and there was no likelihood that a favorite of a great Mahometan should be found in the courtyard of a house at Copenhagen. This disagreeable object, however, looked at Candide very attentively: when, coming up to him, and seizing him by the hair, she gave him the smartest blow on the face with her open hand that he had received for some time. “I am not deceived!” cried our philosopher. “O, heavens! who would have thought it? what do you do here, after having suffered yourself to be violated by a follower of Mahomet? Go, perfidious spouse, I know you not.” “Thou shalt know me,” replied Cunegund, “by my outrageous fury. I know the life thou leadest, thy love for thy master’s niece, and thy contempt for me. Alas! it is now three months since I quitted the seraglio, because I was there good for nothing further. A merchant has bought me to mend his linen, he takes me along with him when he makes a voyage to this country; Martin, Cacambo, and Pacquette, whom he has also bought, are with me; Doctor Pangloss, through the greatest chance in the world, was in the same vessel as a passenger; we were shipwrecked some miles from here; I escaped the danger with the faithful Cacambo, who, I swear to thee, has a skin as firm as thy own: I behold thee again, and find thee false. Tremble then, and fear everything from a provoked wife.”
Candide was quite stupefied at this affecting scene; he had suffered Cunegund to depart, without thinking of the proper measures which are always to be taken with those who know our secrets, when Cacambo presented himself to his sight. They embraced each other with tenderness. Candide informed him of the conversation he had just had; he was very much affected by the loss of the great Pangloss, who, after having been hanged and burned, was at last unhappily drowned. They spoke with that free effusion of heart which friendship inspires. A little billet thrown in at the window by Zenoida put an end to the conversation. Candide opened it, and found in it these words:
“Fly, my dear lover, all is discovered. An innocent propensity which nature authorizes, and which hurts no one, is a crime in the eyes of credulous and cruel men. Wolhall has just left my chamber, and has treated me with the utmost inhumanity: he is gone to obtain an order for thee to be clapped into a dungeon, there to perish. Fly, my ever dear lover; preserve a life which thou canst not pass any longer near me. Those happy moments are no more, in which we gave proofs of our reciprocal tenderness. Ah! my beloved, how hast thou offended heaven, to merit so harsh a fate? But I wander from the purpose: remember always thy precious, dear Zenoida, and thou, my dear lover, shalt live eternally within my heart—thou hast never thoroughly understood how much I loved thee—canst thou receive upon my inflamed lips my last adieu! I find myself ready to join my unhappy father in the grave; the light is hateful to me; it serves only to reveal crimes.”
Cacambo, always wise and prudent, drew Candide, who no longer was himself, along with him; they made the best of their way out of the city. Candide opened not his mouth, and they were already a good way from Copenhagen, before he was roused from that lethargy in which he was buried. At last he looked at his faithful Cacambo, and spoke in these terms:
“Dear Cacambo, formerly my valet, now my equal, and always my friend, thou hast borne a share in my misfortunes; thou hast given me salutary advice; and thou hast been witness to my love for Miss Cunegund—” “Alas! my old master,” said Cacambo, “it is she who has served you this scurvy trick; it is she who, after having learned from your fellow-servants, that your love for Zenoida was as great as hers for you, revealed the whole to the barbarous Wolhall.” “If this is so,” said Candide, “I have nothing further to do but die.” Our philosopher pulled out of his pocket a little knife, and began whetting it with a coolness worthy of an ancient Roman or an Englishman. “What do you mean to do?” cried Cacambo. “To cut my throat,” answered Candide. “A most noble thought!” replied Cacambo; “but the philosopher ought not to take any resolution but upon reflection: you will always have it in your power to kill yourself, if your mind does not alter. Be advised by me, my dear master; defer your resolution till to-morrow; the longer you delay it, the more courageous will the action be.” “I perceive the strength of thy reasoning,” said Candide; “besides, if I should cut my throat immediately, the Gazetteer of Trévoux would insult my memory: I am determined, therefore, that I will not kill myself till two or three days hence.” As they talked thus they arrived at Elsinore, a pretty considerable town, not far from Copenhagen; there they lay that night, and Cacambo hugged himself for the good effect which sleep had produced upon Candide. They left the town at daybreak. Candide, still the philosopher, (for the prejudices of childhood are never effaced) entertained his friend Cacambo on the subject of physical good and evil, the discourses of the sage Zenoida, and the striking truths which he had learned from her conversation. “Had not Pangloss been dead,” said he, “I should combat his system in a victorious manner. God keep me from becoming a Manichæan. My mistress taught me to respect the impenetrable veil with which the Deity envelopes His manner of operating upon us. It is perhaps man who precipitates himself into the abyss of misfortunes under which he groans. From a frugivorous animal he has made himself a carnivorous one. The savages whom we have seen, eat only Jesuits, and do not live upon bad terms among themselves. These savages, if there be one scattered here and there in the woods, only subsisting on acorns and herbs, are, without doubt, still more happy. Society has given birth to the greatest crimes. There are men in society, who are necessitated by their condition to wish the death of others. The shipwreck of a vessel, the burning of a house, and the loss of a battle, cause sadness in one part of society, and give joy to another. All is very bad! my dear Cacambo, and there is nothing left for a philosopher but to cut his own throat with all imaginable calmness.” “You are in the right,” answered Cacambo; “but I perceive an inn; you must be very dry. Come, my old master! let us drink one draught, and we will after that continue our philosophical disquisitions.”
When they entered the inn they saw a company of country lads and lassies dancing in the midst of the yard, to the sound of some wretched instruments. Gayety and mirth sat in every countenance; it was a scene worthy the pencil of Watteau. As soon as Candide appeared a young woman took him by the hand, and entreated him to dance. “My pretty maid,” answered Candide, “when a person has lost his mistress, found his wife again, and heard that the great Pangloss is dead, he can have little or no inclination to cut capers. Moreover, I am to kill myself to-morrow morning; and you know that a man who has but a few hours to live, ought not to lose them in dancing.” Cacambo, hearing Candide talk thus, addressed him in these terms: “A thirst for glory has always been the characteristic of great philosophers. Cato of Utica killed himself after having taken a sound nap. Socrates drank the hemlock potion, after discoursing familiarly with his friends. Many of the English have blown their brains out with a pistol, after coming from an entertainment. But I never yet heard of a great man who cut his own throat after a dancing bout. It is for you, my dear master, that this honor is reserved. Take my advice, let us dance our fill, and we will kill ourselves to-morrow.” “Have you not remarked,” answered Candide, “this young country girl? Is she not a very pretty brunette?” “She has something very taking in her countenance,” said Cacambo. “She has squeezed my hand,” replied the philosopher. “Did you notice,” said Cacambo, “how that in the hurry of the dance, her handkerchief falling aside, disclosed two admirable little rosebuds? I took particular notice of them.” “Look you,” said Candide, “had I not my heart filled with Miss Zenoida—.” The little brunette interrupted him, by begging him to take one dance with her. Our hero at length consented, and danced with the best grace in the world. The dance finished, he kissed his smart country girl, and retired to his seat, without calling out the queen of the ring. Upon this a murmuring arose; everyone, performers as well as spectators, appeared greatly incensed at so flagrant a piece of disrespect. Candide never dreamed he had been guilty of any fault, and consequently did not attempt to make any reparation. A rude clown came up to him, and gave him a blow with his fist upon the nose. Cacambo returned it to the peasant with a kick in the belly. In an instant the musical instruments were all broken, the girls lost their caps; Candide and Cacambo fought like heroes, but at length were obliged to take to their heels, after a very hearty drubbing.
“Everything is embittered to me,” said Candide, giving his arm to his friend Cacambo; “I have experienced a great many misfortunes, but I did not expect to be thus beaten to a mummy for dancing with a country girl at her own request.”
Cacambo and his old master were quite dispirited. They began to fall into that sort of malady of the mind which extinguishes all the faculties. They fell into a depression of spirits and despair, when they perceived a hospital which was built for strangers. Cacambo proposed going into it; Candide followed him. There they met with the most obliging reception, and charitable treatment. In a little time they were cured of their wounds, but they caught the itch. The cure of this malady did not appear to be the work of a day, the idea of which filled the eyes of our philosopher with tears; and he said, scratching himself, “Thou wouldst not let me cut my throat, my dear Cacambo; thy unwise counsels have brought me again into disgrace and misfortune; and yet, should I cut my throat now, it will be published in the journal of Trévoux, and it will be said this man was a poltroon, who killed himself only for having the itch. See what thou hast exposed me to, by the mistaken compassion thou hadst for my fate.” “Our disasters are not without remedy,” answered Cacambo. “If you will but please to listen to me. Let us settle here as friars; I understand a little surgery, and I promise you to alleviate and render supportable our wretched condition.” “Ah!” cried Candide, “may all asses perish, and especially asses of surgeons, who are so dangerous to mankind. I will never suffer that thou shouldst give out thyself to be what thou art not: this is a treachery, the consequences of which I dread. Besides, if thou didst but conceive how hard it is, after having been viceroy of a fine province, after having seen myself rich enough to purchase kingdoms, and after having been the favorite lover of Zenoida, to resolve to serve in quality of friar in a hospital.” “I concede all that you say,” replied Cacambo; “but I also realize that it is very hard to die of hunger. Think, moreover, that the expedient which I propose to you is perhaps the only one which you can take to elude the inquiries of the bloody-minded Wolhall, and avoid the punishment which he is preparing for you.”
One of the friars was passing along as they talked in this manner. They put some questions to him, to which he gave satisfactory answers: he assured them that the brothers wanted for nothing, and enjoyed a reasonable liberty. Candide thereupon determined to acquiesce in Cacambo’s counsels. They took the habit together, which was granted them upon the first application; and our two poor adventurers now became underlings to those whose duty it was to perform the most servile offices.
One day, as Candide was serving the patients with some wretched broth, an old man fixed his eye earnestly upon him. The visage of this poor wretch was livid, his lips were covered with froth, his eyes half turned in his head, and the image of death strongly imprinted on his lean and sunken cheeks. “Poor man,” said Candide to him, “I pity you; your sufferings must be horrible.” “They are very great indeed,” answered the old man, with a hollow voice like a ghost; “I am told that I am hectic, phthisicky, asthmatic, and poxed to the bone. If that be the case, I am indeed very ill; yet all does not go so badly, and this gives me comfort.” “Ah!” exclaimed Candide, “none but Dr. Pangloss, in a case so deplorable, can maintain the doctrine of optimism, when all others besides would preach up pessim—” “Do not pronounce that abominable word,” cried the poor man; “I am the Pangloss you speak of. Wretch that I am, let me die in peace. All is well, all is for the best.” The effort which he made in pronouncing these words cost him the last tooth, which he spit out with a great quantity of corrupted matter, and expired a few moments after.
Candide lamented him greatly, for he had a good heart. His obstinate perseverance was a source of reflection to our philosopher; he often called to mind all his adventures. Cunegund remained at Copenhagen; Candide learned that she exercised there the occupation of a mender of old clothes, with all possible distinction. The humor of travelling had quite left him. The faithful Cacambo supported him with his counsels and friendship. Candide did not murmur against Providence. “I know,” said he, at times, “that happiness is not the portion of man; happiness dwells only in the good country of El Dorado, where it is impossible for anyone to go.”
Candide was not so unhappy, as he had a true friend. He found in a mongrel valet what the world vainly looks for in our quarter of the globe. Perhaps nature, which gives origin to herbs in America that are proper for the maladies of bodies on our continent, has also placed remedies there for the maladies of our hearts and minds. Possibly there are men in the new world of a quite different conformation from us, who are not slaves to personal interests, and are worthy to burn with the noble fire of friendship. How desirable would it be, that instead of bales of indigo and cochineal, all covered with blood, some of these men were imported among us! This sort of traffic would be of vast advantage to mankind. Cacambo was of greater value to Candide than a dozen of red sheep loaded with the pebbles of El Dorado. Our philosopher began again to taste the pleasure of life. It was a comfort to him to watch for the conservation of the human species, and not to be a useless member of society. God blessed such pure intentions, by giving him, as well as Cacambo, the enjoyment of health. They had got rid of the itch, and fulfilled with cheerfulness the painful functions of their station; but fortune soon deprived them of the security which they enjoyed. Cunegund, who had set her heart upon tormenting her husband, left Copenhagen to follow his footsteps. Chance brought her to the hospital; she was accompanied by a man, whom Candide knew to be Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh. One may easily imagine what must have been his surprise. The baron, who saw him, addressed him thus: “I did not tug long at the oar in the Turkish galleys; the Jesuits heard of my misfortune, and redeemed me for the honor of their society. I have made a journey into Germany, where I received some favors from my father’s heirs. I omitted nothing to find my sister; and having learned at Constantinople, that she had sailed from there in a vessel which was shipwrecked on the coasts of Denmark, I disguised myself, took letters of recommendation to Danish merchants, who have correspondence with the society, and, in fine, I found my sister, who still loves you, base and unworthy as you are of her regard; and since you have had the impudence to lie with her, I consent to the ratification of the marriage, or rather a new celebration of it, with this express proviso, that my sister shall give you only her left hand; which is very reasonable, since she has seventy-one quarters, and you have never a one.” “Alas!” said Candide, “all the quarters of the world without beauty—Miss Cunegund was very ugly when I had the imprudence to marry her; she afterwards became handsome again, and another has enjoyed her charms. She is once more grown ugly, and you would have me give her my hand a second time. No, upon my word, my reverend father, send her back to her seraglio at Constantinople; she has done me too much injury in this country.” “Ungrateful man,” screamed Cunegund, with the most frightful contortions; “be persuaded, and relent in time; do not provoke the baron, who is a priest, to kill us both, to wipe out his disgrace with our blood. Dost thou believe me capable of having failed in intention to the fidelity which I owed thee? What wouldst thou have had me do against a man who found me handsome? Neither my tears nor my cries could have softened his brutal insensibility. Seeing there was nothing to be done, I disposed myself in such a manner as to be violated with the least brutality possible, and every other woman would have done the same. This is all the crime I have committed, and does not merit thy displeasure. But I know my greatest crime with thee is having deprived thee of thy mistress; and yet this action ought to convince thee of my love. Come, my dear spouse, if ever I should again become handsome; if ever my breasts, now lank and withered, should recover their roundness and elasticity; if—it will be only for thee, my dear Candide. We are no longer in Turkey, and I swear faithfully to thee never to suffer any violation for the future.”
This discourse did not make much impression upon Candide; he desired a few hours to make his resolution how to proceed. The baron granted him two hours; during which time he consulted his friend Cacambo. After having weighed the reasons, pro and contra, they determined to follow the Jesuit and his sister into Germany. They accordingly left the hospital and set out together on their travels, not on foot, but on good horses hired by the baron. They arrived on the frontiers of the kingdom. A huge man, of a very villainous aspect, surveyed our hero with close attention. “It is the very man,” said he, casting his eyes at the same time upon a little bit of paper he had in his hand. “Sir, if I am not too inquisitive, is not your name Candide?” “Yes, sir, so I have always been called.” “Sir, I flatter myself you are the very same; you have black eyebrows, eyes level with your head, ears not prominent, of a middling size, and a round, flesh-colored visage; to me you plainly appear to be five feet five inches high.” “Yes, sir, that is my stature; but what have you to do with my ears and stature?” “Sir, we cannot use too much circumspection in our office. Permit me further to put one single question more to you: Have you not formerly been a servant to Lord Wolhall?” “Sir, upon my word,” answered Candide, quite disconcerted, “I know nothing of what you mean.” “Maybe so, sir, but I know for certain that you are the person whose description has been sent me. Take the trouble then to walk into the guard-house, if you please. Here, soldiers, take care of this gentleman; get the black hole ready, and let the armorer be sent for, to make him a pretty little set of fetters of about thirty or forty pounds weight. Mr. Candide, you have a good horse there; I am in want of such a one, and I fancy he will answer my purpose. I shall make free with him.”
The baron was afraid to say the horse was his. They carried off poor Candide, and Miss Cunegund wept for a whole quarter of an hour. The Jesuit seemed perfectly unconcerned at this accident. “I should have been obliged to have killed him, or to have made him marry you over again,” said he to his sister; “and all things considered, what has just happened is much the best for the honor of our family.” Cunegund departed with her brother, and only the faithful Cacambo remained, who would not forsake his friend.
“O Pangloss,” said Candide, “what a pity it is you perished so miserably! You have been witness only to a part of my misfortunes; and I had hoped to prevail on you to forsake the ill-founded opinion which you maintained to your last breath. No man ever suffered greater calamities than I have done; but there is not a single individual who has not cursed his existence, as the daughter of Pope Urban warmly expressed herself. What will become of me, my dear Cacambo?” “Faith, I cannot tell,” said Cacambo; “all I know is, that I will not forsake you.” “But Miss Cunegund has forsaken me,” said Candide. “Alas! a wife is of far less value than a menial servant who is a true friend.”
Candide and Cacambo discoursed thus in the black hole. From there they were taken out to be carried back to Copenhagen. It was there that our philosopher was to know his doom: he expected it to be dreadful, and our readers, doubtless, expect so, too; but Candide was mistaken, as our readers will be, likewise. It was at Copenhagen that happiness waited to crown all his sufferings: he was hardly arrived, when he understood that Wolhall was dead. This barbarian had no one to regret him, while everybody interested themselves in Candide. His irons were knocked off, and his freedom gave him so much the more joy as it was immediately followed by the sight of his dear Zenoida. He flew to her with the utmost transport. They were a long time without speaking a word; but their silence was infinitely more expressive than words. They wept, they embraced each other, they attempted to speak, but tears stopped their utterance. Cacambo was a pleased spectator of this scene, so truly interesting to a sensible being; he shared in the happiness of his friend, and was almost as much affected as Candide himself. “Dear Cacambo! adorable Zenoida!” cried Candide; “you efface from my heart the deep traces of my misfortunes. Love and friendship prepare for me future days of serenity and uninterrupted delight. Through what a number of trials have I passed to arrive at this unexpected happiness! But they are all forgot, dear Zenoida; I behold you once more! you love me; everything is for the best in regard to me; all is good in nature.”
By Wolhall’s death, Zenoida was left at her own disposal. The court had given her a pension out of her father’s fortune which had been confiscated; she shared it with Candide and Cacambo; she appointed them apartments in her own house, and gave out that she had received several considerable services from these two strangers, which obliged her to procure them all the comforts and pleasures of life, and to repair the injustice which fortune had done them. There were some who saw through the motive of her beneficence; which was no very hard matter to do, considering the great talk her connection with Candide had formerly occasioned. The greater part blamed her, and her conduct was only approved by some few who knew how to reflect. Zenoida, who set a proper value on the good opinion even of fools, was nevertheless too happy to repent the loss of it. The news of the death of Miss Cunegund, which was brought by the correspondents of the Jesuit merchants in Copenhagen, procured Zenoida the means of conciliating the minds of people. She ordered a genealogy to be drawn up for Candide. The author, who was a man of ability in his way, derived his pedigree from one of the most ancient families in Europe; he even pretended his true name was Canute, which was that of one of the former kings of Denmark; which appeared very probable, as “dide” into “ute” is not such a great metamorphosis: and Candide by means of this little change, became a very great lord. He married Zenoida in public; they lived with as much tranquillity as it is possible to do. Cacambo was their common friend; and Candide said often, “All is not so well as in El Dorado; but all does not go so badly.”
[* ] If this would induce philosophers who lose their time in barking in Procopius’s cottage, to take a short trip into Persia, this frivolous work would be of great service to messieurs the Parisians.—Ralph.
[* ] There never was a bell in any mosque since the beginning of the world. This little impropriety puts us in mind of the puppet show in Don Quixote, in which the showman having introduced bells in the city of Saragossa, while it was in possession of the Moors, the knight very gravely assures master Peter he must be mistaken; porque entre Moros no se usan campanas (for bells are never used among the Moors).