Chapter 24

 Concerning Paquette and Brother Girofleo

As soon as he reached Venice, he had a search made for Cacambo in all the taverns, all the coffee houses, all the brorhels, but Cacambo was nowhere to be found. Each day he sent to inquire of every ship or trading vessel that came in: still no news of Cacamho. ‘How do you explain this?’ he said to Martin. ‘) have had time to cross from Surinam to Bordeaux, travel from Bordeaux to Paris, from Paris co Dieppe, from Dieppe to Portsmouth; then to coast the length of Portugal and Spain, cross the entire Mediterranean, and spend several months in Venice – and the lovely Cunégonde has still not arrived? All I have found in her place is that hussy of an imposter and an abbé from Périgord! Cunégonde is surely dead, and all that remains for me is to follow her. Alas! It would have been better to remain in the paradise of Eldorado than return to this accursed Europe. How right you are, my dear Martin! All is mere illusion and calamity.’

He fell into a black melancholy, and took no part in the fashionable operas or the other Carnival amusements; none of the Venetian ladies caused him the slightest temptation. Martin said to him: ‘You are indeed a simpleton, to imagine that a half-caste valet with five or six millions in his pocket is going to comb the other side of the world for your mistress, and then bring her to you in Venice. If he finds her, he is going to keep her for himself. If he does not find her, he is going to take up with someone else: my advice to you is to forget your valet Cacambo and your mistress Cunégonde.’ Martin was little consolation. Candide's melancholy deepened, while Martin continued with his relentless proofs that there is little virtue and no happiness on earth, except perhaps in Eldorado, where no one can ever go.

While debating this important question, and waiting for Cunégonde, Candide noticed a young Theatine [1] monk in Saint Mark's Square with a girl on his arm. The Theatine looked fresh, plump and vigorous; his eyes were bright, his air confident, his expression haughty, his gait proud. The girl was very pretty and was singing; she gazed lovingly at her Theatine, now and then pinching his fat cheeks. ‘At least you will admit,’ said Candide to Martin, ‘that those two over there are happy. Until now I have encountered only unfortunate wretches, throughout the inhabited world, except in Eldorado; but as for that girl and her Theatine, I'll wager that they are happy indeed.’ – ‘And I'll wager the contrary,’ said Martin. – ‘We have only to invite them to dinner,’ said Candide, ‘and you will see whether I am right.’

He immediately goes up to them, presents his compliments, and invites them back to his hostelry to eat macaroni, Lombardy partridge and caviar, and to drink some Montepulciano and Lachryma Christi, not to mention wines from Cyprus and Samos. The young lady blushes; the Theatine accepts the invitation, and the girl follows, glancing at Candide with an air of surprise and confusion, her eyes filling with tears. Scarcely has she entered Candide's rooms than she says to him: ‘So! Does Master Candide no longer recognize his Paquette?’ On hearing these words Candide, who had not looked at her closely until then, having thoughts only for Cunégonde, said to her: ‘My poor child! Is it you? And was it you who reduced Doctor Pangloss to that fine state in which I found him?’ – ‘Alas, sir,’ said Paquette, ‘I'm afraid so, and I see that you know all there is to know. I heard about the terrible misfortunes that befell the whole household of my lady the Baroness and the lovely Mademoiselle Cunégonde. I swear to you that my own fate has been just as wretched. I was utterly innocent when you knew me. A Franciscan who was my confessor [2] had no trouble in seducing me. The consequences were terrible; I was forced to leave the castle not long after Monsieur the Baron sent you packing with great kicks to the behind. If a famous doctor had not taken pity on me, I would have surely died. Out of gratitude I was for some time the mistress of this doctor. His wife, who was jealous to the point of insanity, used to beat me every day without mercy; she was a fury. This doctor was the ugliest man alive, and I was the unhappiest of creatures, to be continually beaten on account of a man I did not love. You must know, sir, how dangerous it is for a shrewish woman to have a doctor for a husband. One day, exasperated by her behaviour, he gave her some medicine for a slight cold, of so efficacious a kind that she died two hours later in horrible convulsions. Madame's relatives brought a criminal suit against Monsieur; he fled the country, and I was thrown in prison. My innocence would not have saved me had I not been tolerably pretty. The judge released me on condition that he himself took over from the doctor. But I was soon supplanted by a rival, thrown out without a penny, and obliged to continue in this abominable profession which you men find so amusing, and which to us is nothing but an abyss of misery. I came to Venice to practise my trade. Oh, Monsieur, if you could imagine what it is like to have to caress, with the same enthusiasm, an elderly merchant, a lawyer, a monk, a gondolier and an abbé to be exposed to every insult and affront; to be reduced often to borrowing a petticoat so as to go and have it lifted by some disgusting man or other; to be robbed by one of what you have earned with another, or have it extorted from you by officers of the law; to have nothing to look forward to but a hideous old age, the poor house and the refuse-heap; [3] then you would agree that I am one of the unhappiest creatures alive.’

Thus did Paquette open her heart to the worthy Candide as they sat in his side-room, in the presence of Martin, who remarked: ‘You see, I have won half of my wager already.’

Brother Girofleo had remained in the dining-room, enjoying a glass while he waited for dinner. ‘But you looked so gay, so happy, when I ran into you just now,’ said Candide to Paquette; ‘you were singing, you were caressing your monk so naturally and affectionately; you seemed to be as happy as you now claim to be miserable.’ – ‘Ah! Monsieur,’ replied Paquette, ‘that is another of the miseries of our profession. Yesterday I was beaten and robbed by an officer of the law; today I must seem in good humour to please a monk.'

Candide wanted to hear no more; he concluded that Martin was right. They sat down to eat with Paquette and the Theatine; the dinner was amusing enough, and by the end they were all talking quite freely. ‘Father,’ said Candide to the monk, ‘you seem to me to enjoy a life that any of us might envy; your face glows with health, your features radiate contentment; you have a very pretty girl to amuse you, and you seem altogether happy with your monastic condition.’

‘Content with it! On my faith, Monsieur,’ said Brother Girofleo, ‘I wish every last Theatine at the bottom of the sea. I have been tempted a hundred times to set fire to the monastery and go and turn Turk.[4] My parents forced me at the age of fifteen to wear this loathsome habit, so as to leave a larger fortune to my accursed elder brother, whom God confound! The monastery is rife with jealousies, faction and ill-feeling. It is true, I have preached a few wretched sermons which brought me a little money, half of which the prior has stolen from me: the rest I use to pay for the girls; but when I get back to the monastery in the evening I feel like dashing my brains against the dormitory walls; all my fellow friars are in the same situation.’

Martin turned to Candide with his customary coolness: ‘Well?’ he said, ‘have I not won the whole wager?’ Candide gave two thousand piastres to Paquette and a thousand to Brother Girofleo. ‘My reply to you,’ he said, ‘is that they will be happy enough with this.’ – ‘I do not believe it,’ said Martin, ‘not for one moment. You may even make them unhappier still, in the end, with all your piastres.’ – ‘Be that as it may,’ said Candide. ‘But one thing consoles me; I find that we often meet up with people whom we never thought to see again; it may turn out that, having run into my red sheep and then into Paquette, I may yet run into Cunégonde.’ – ‘I hope,’ said Martin, ‘that one day she may make you happy, but I doubt it very much.’ – ‘You are very hard,’ said Candide. – ‘Because I know what life is,’ said Martin.

‘But look at those gondoliers,’ said Candide; ‘do they not sing all day long?’ – ‘Yes, but you don't see them at home with their wives and their squalling children,’ said Martin. ‘The Doge [5] has his troubles, the gondoliers have theirs. It is true that, all things considered, the lot of a gondolier is preferable to that of a Doge, but I think the difference is so slight as not to be worth arguing over.’ ‘I have heard talk of a certain Senator Pococuranté,'[6] said Candide, ‘who lives in that handsome palazzo on the Brenta [7] and who is rather welcoming to foreign visitors. They say he is a man who has never known troubles.’ – ‘I should like to examine so rare a specimen,’ said Martin. Candide immediately sent a message to the noble Signor Pococuranté asking permission to call on him the following day.

Chapter 25

 A visit to Signor Pococuranté, a Venetian nobleman

Candide and Martin proceeded by gondola along the Brenta, and duly came to the palace of the noble Pococuranté. The gardens were well laid out and ornamented with fine marble statues, and the palace itself was a fine piece of architecture. The master of the house, a man of sixty, and very wealthy, received his two curious visitors correctly, but with little enthusiasm, which disconcerted Candide and suited Martin.

First, two pretty and elegantly dressed girls served hot chocolate, which they stirred into a creamy froth. Candide could not refrain from praising them for their beauty, their graciousness and their dexterity. ‘They are good creatures, it is true,’ said Senator Pococuranté. ‘I take them into my bed sometimes, for I am rather weary of the society ladies, with their coquetries, and their jealousies, and their quarrels, and their moods, and their spite, and their pride, and their triviality; and I'm tired of composing sonnets, or having sonnets composed, in their honour. But then, on the other hand, I also find myself getting fearfully bored of these two young girls.’

Candide, walking in a long gallery after lunch, was astonished by the beauty of the paintings. Pausing by the first two, he asked which master had painted them. ‘They are by Raphael,’ said the Senator. ‘I bought them out of vanity, and very expensively, some years ago; I am told they are the finest in Italy, but I don't in the least care for them: the colouring is too sombre, the figures are not sufficiently rounded and lack depth, the draperies bear no resemblance to real material; in short, whatever anybody says, I do not find in them a true imitation of nature.’[1] I shall only like a picture when I can believe I am looking at nature itself – and there are no such pictures. I have a great many paintings, but I no longer look at any of them.’

While they waited for dinner, Pococuranté gave orders for a concerto [2] to be performed. Candide thought the music delightful. ‘It's a sort of noise,’ said Pococuranté, ‘that whiles away the odd half-hour, but if played for any longer bores everyone, though no one dares to say so. Music nowadays is merely the art of executing what is difficult to play; and in the long run what is merely difficult ceases to amuse.’

‘Perhaps I might prefer opera,’ he continued, ‘had they not managed to turn it into a hybrid monstrosity which revolts me. Let them flock to their wretched tragedies set to music, where the story is merely the clumsy pretext for two or three ludicruous arias, designed to show off some actress's vocal chords; let them swoon with ecstasy, if they want to, at the spectacle of a castrato piping his way through the role of Caesar or Cato as he struts clumsily about the stage; for my part I have long given up on these paltry spectacles that are the glory of Italy today, and which cost its princes so much expense.’ Candide disagreed with some of this, albeit circumspectly. Martin was entirely of the Senator's opinion.[3]

They sat down to table and after an excellent dinner repaired to the library. Candide, seeing a magnificently bound copy of Homer, complimented the illustrious nobleman on his good taste. ‘This book,’ he said, ‘was once the delight of the great Pangloss, the finest philosopher in Germany.’ – ‘Well, it fails to delight me,’ said Pococuranté coolly. ‘At one time I was deluded into believing I took pleasure in reading it; but that endless recital of battles which are all the same, those gods who are always interfering but never do anything, that Helen of his who is the cause of the war but then plays scarcely any part in the action, and that Troy which they keep besieging without ever taking – it all used to make me weep with boredom. I used to ask scholars if reading Homer bored them as much as it bored me; the honest ones admitted that the book dropped from their hands every time, but said one had to have it in one's library, as a monument of antiquity, like those rusty coins which cannot be put into circulation.’

‘Your Excellency would not say the same of Virgil, surely?’ said Candide. – ‘I admit,’ said Pococuranté, ‘that the second, fourth and sixth books of the Aeneid are rather fine; but as for his pious Aeneas, and his solid Cloanthus, and faithful Achates, and little Ascanius, and that imbecile King Latinus, and bourgeois Amata, and insipid Lavinia ... I cannot imagine anything more frigid and disagreeable. I prefer Tasso and those cock-and-bull tales of Ariosto.'[4]

‘May I venture to ask, Monsieur,’ said Candide, ‘whether Horace [5] at least does not afford you real pleasure?’ – ‘There are one or two maxims there,’ said Pococuranté, ‘from which a man of the world can draw profit, and the compressed energy of the verse engraves them more easily on the memory. But I care very little for his voyage to Brindisi, or his description of a bad dinner, or his account of a vulgar squabble between – what is his name? – Pupilus, whose words he describes as "full of pus", and someone else whose words are "like vinegar". Only with extreme disgust can I bring myself to read his coarse verses against old women and witches; and I cannot see what there is to admire in his telling his friend Maecenas that if the latter will but place him among the ranks of lyric poets, his lofty forehead will strike the stars. Fools admire everything in an esteemed author. I read for myself alone; I only like what I have a use for.’ Candide, who had been brought up never to judge anything for himself, was much astonished by everything he heard; Martin found Pococuranté's way of thinking perfectly reasonable.

‘Ah! Here is a copy of Cicero’ [6] said Candide. ‘Now I cannot believe that you ever tire of reading this great man!’ – ‘I never read him,’ replied the Venetian. ‘What do I care whether he pleaded for Rabirius or for Cluentius? I have quite enough cases to judge as it is; I might have got along better with his philosophical works, but when I saw that he doubted everything I concluded that I must know as much as he, and that I needed no one's help in order to be ignorant.’

‘Ah!’ said Martin, ‘eighty volumes of the proceedings of one of our Academies of Science; there might be something worthwhile here.’ – ‘There might be,’ said Pococuranté, ‘if a single one of the perpetrators of all that rubbish had so much as invented the technique for making pins;[7] but wherever you look you find only empty systems, and not a single thing of use.’ – ‘What a lot of plays there are!’ said Candide. ‘In Italian, Spanish, French!’ – ‘Yes,’ said the Senator, ‘three thousand of them, and not three dozen decent ones. As for the collections of sermons, all of which together are not worth a page of Seneca, [8] and those fat tomes of theology likewise, you would be correct in thinking that I never open them – neither I nor anyone else.’

Martin noticed some shelves full of English books. ‘I imagine,’ he said, ‘that a republican like yourself [9] must take pleasure in reading most of these works, written in conditions of such freedom?’ – ‘Yes,’ replied Pococuranté, ‘it is a fine thing to write what one thinks; it is man's natural privilege, after all. In Italy, wherever you go, we write only what we do not think; the descendants of the Caesars and the Antonines dare not entertain an idea without the permission of a Dominican monk. [10] However, I would be happier with the freedom which inspires the English genius, were it not that doctrinaire passion and party spirit corrupt all that is estimable in their precious liberty.’

Candide, seeing an edition of Milton, asked him if he did not consider that author to be a great man. ‘Who?’ said Pococuranté, ‘that barbarian who wrote an interminable commentary on the first chapter of Genesis in ten books of crabbed verse?[1] That crude imitator of the Greeks, who distorts the Creation story and, where Moses shows the Eternal Being producing the world through the Word, has the Messiah pulling a large compass out of some celestial cupboard in order to take measurements for his work? You ask me to admire the man who ruined the hell and Satan of Tasso's invention; who has Lucifer appear variously disguised as a toad or a pygmy, and has him rehash the same arguments a hundred times, and shows him quibbling over points of theology; who takes literally Ariosto's bit of comedy about the invention of firearms, and has the devils firing off cannon in heaven? Neither I nor any other Italian has ever taken pleasure in this sad extravaganza. The marriage of Sin and Death, and the adders to which Sin gives birth, must nauseate any man of remotely delicate taste, and his long description of a hospital could only interest a grave-digger.[12] This obscure, bizarre and disgusting poem was spurned at birth; I am only judging it as it was judged in its own country by its contemporaries. Anyway, I say what I think, and I care little whether others think like me.’ Candide was distressed by this speech, for he admired Homer, and had some liking for Milton. ‘Alas!’ he said to Martin under his breath, ‘I rather fear this gentleman will have nothing but contempt for our German poets.’ – ‘No great harm in that,’ said Martin. – ‘But what a superior being, this Pococuranté,’ murmured Candide again, ‘what a genius! There is no pleasing him.’ [13]

Having thus inspected the library, they went down into the garden. Candide praised its many beauties. ‘It is all in the worst possible taste,’ said the owner. ‘Full of trifling conceits wherever you turn. As from tomorrow I am having another one laid out on a nobler plan.’

When our two curious visitors had taken leave of His Excellency, Candide turned to Martin: ‘Now then, you will agree that here is the happiest of men, for he is superior to all he possesses.’ – ‘Don't you see,’ said Martin, ‘that he is disgusted by all he possesses? Plato said long ago that the best stomachs are not those that refuse every dish." [14] – ‘But,’ said Candide, ‘isn't there a pleasure in being critical, in discovering faults where other men think they see excellences?’ – ‘Which is to say,’ countered Martin, ‘that there is pleasure to be had in not taking pleasure?’ – ‘Oh, whatever you like!’ said Candide. ‘In which case no one is happy but me, when I see Mademoiselle Cunégonde again.’ – ‘One always does well to hope,’ said Martin.

Meanwhile the days, the weeks, slipped by; Cacambo did not return, and Candide was so immersed in sorrow that it did not occur to him that Paquette and Brother Girofleo had not even stopped by to thank him.

Chapter 26

 Of a supper that Candide and Martin ate in the company of six strangers, and who they were

One evening, as Candide and Martin were about to sit down to dine with the other foreigners lodging in their hostelry, a man with a face the colour of soot came up behind him, took him by the arm and said: ‘Be ready to leave with us, and do not fail.’ He turned round and saw Cacambo. Only the sight of Cunégonde could have astonished and delighted him more. He was nearly mad with joy. He embraced his dear friend. ‘Then Cunégonde must be here. Where is she? Take me to her, that we may both die of joy.’ – ‘Cunégonde is not here,’ said Cacambo, ‘she is in Constantinople.’ – ‘Constantinople! Of all places! But even were she in China, I would fly to her; let us leave now!’ – ‘We leave after supper,’ replied Cacambo. ‘I cannot say more; I am a slave, and my master is waiting for me; I must go and serve him at table: don't say a word; eat your supper and be at the ready.’

Candide, torn between joy and sorrow, delighted to see his faithful agent again, astonished to see him a slave, full of thoughts of finding his mistress, his heart in turmoil and his faculties in confusion, now sat down to eat with Martin (who observed all these goings-on impassively), and in the company of six foreigners who had come to spend Carnival in Venice.

Cacambo, who was pouring the wine for one of these strangers, inclined towards his master's ear at the end of the meal, and said to him: ‘Sire, Your Majesty may depart when he pleases, the ship is waiting.’ [1] Having uttered these words, he went out. The other guests looked at each other in astonishment, without saying a word; at which point another servant came up to his master and said: ‘Sire, Your Majesty's carriage is at Padua, and the boat is waiting.'! The master nodded, and the servant left. All the guests stared at each other again, with even greater astonishment. A third servant then came up to a third master and said: ‘Believe me, Sire, Your Majesty cannot stay a moment longer; I will go and prepare everything.’ At which he too disappeared.

By now, Candide and Martin were in no doubt that this was all some Carnival masquerade. A fourth servant said to a fourth master: ‘Your Majesty may leave when he pleases,’ and left the room like the others. The fifth servant said the same to the fifth master. But the sixth servant spoke differently to the sixth stranger, who was sitting next to Candide: ‘Believe me, Sire, they won't let Your Majesty have any more credit, nor me either; if we're not careful we'll spend the night in prison, me and you; I must look out for myself, so goodbye and farewell to you.’

The servants having vanished, the six strangers, together with Candide and Martin, sat on in deep silence. It was broken at last by Candide. ‘Gentlemen,’ he said, ‘this is presumably some kind of joke. How can you all be kings?[2] I can assure you that neither Martin nor I are anything of the kind.’

Cacambo's master then spoke up and said gravely in Italian: ‘I am no joker, and my name is Achmed III; for several years I was Grand Sultan; I deposed my brother; my nephew deposed me; my viziers had their throats cut; I live out my days in the old seraglio; my nephew the Grand Sultan Mahmoud sometimes lets me travel for my health, and I have come to spend Carnival in Venice.’

A young man who was next to Achmed spoke next, and said: ‘My name is Ivan; I was Emperor of all the Russias; I was deposed in my cradle; my father and mother were locked away; I was brought up in prison; occasionally I have permission to travel, accompanied by my guards, and I have come to spend Carnival in Venice.’

The third said: ‘I am Charles Edward, King of England. My father renounced his claims to the throne in my favour; I have fought long and hard to uphold them; eight hundred of my followers had their hearts ripped out and their cheeks slapped with them; I have been put in prison; I am now on my way to Rome to visit the King my father, deposed like myself and my grandfather, and I have come to spend Carnival in Venice.’

The fourth then spoke up and said: ‘I am King of Poland; the fortunes of war have deprived me of my hereditary states; my father suffered the same reverses; I entrust myself to the will of Providence, just like Sultan Achmed, Emperor Ivan and King Charles Edward, whom God preserve; and I have come to spend Carnival in Venice.’

The fifth said: ‘I too am King of Poland; I have lost my kingdom twice, but Providence has given me another state, in which I have done more good than all the Sarmatian kings [3] combined have managed to do on the banks of the Vistula. I too entrust myself to Providence, and have come to spend Carnival in Venice.’

It remained for the sixth monarch to speak. ‘Gentleman,’ he said, ‘I am not as great a ruler as any of you; but for all that I have been a king just like everyone else; I am Theodore; I was elected King of Corsica; they called me "Your Majesty", who now barely call me "Sir"; I once minted my own coin, and now do not own a farthing; lance had two secretaries of state, and now have scarcely a valet; I once sat on a throne, but then for a long time slept on straw in a London prison; I am much afraid I shall be treated in the same fashion here, although I have come like Your Majesties to spend Carnival in Venice.

The other five kings listened to this speech with regal compassion. Each of them gave King Theodore [4] twenty sequins to buy clothes and shirts, and Candide made him a present of a diamond worth two thousand sequins. ‘Who can this be?’ said the five kings. ‘A mere commoner who is in a position to give a hundred times as much as each of us, and who moreover gives it?’ [5]

Just as they were getting up from the table, there arrived in the same hostelry four Serene Highnesses, who had likewise lost their states through the fortunes of war, and who had come to spend what remained of the Carnival in Venice. But Candide did not even notice these newcomers. All he could now think about was getting to Constantinople and finding his dear Cunégonde.

Chapter 27

 Candide's voyage to Constantinople

The faithful Cacambo had already obtained permission, from the Turkish captain who was to escort Sultan Achmed back to Constantinople, for Candide and Martin to join them on board. They made their way to the ship, after duly prostrating themselves before His doleful Highness. On the way, Candide said to Martin: ‘Six deposed kings, if you please! All of whom supped with us, and one of whom had to accept alms from me. Perhaps there are any number of other princes who are even more unfortunate. As for me, all I have lost is a hundred sheep, and here I am flying to the arms of Cunégonde. My dear Martin, once again I see that Pangloss was right: all is well.’ – ‘I hope so,’ said Martin. – ‘Nonetheless,’ said Candide, ‘was this not a fairly singular adventure we have just had in Venice? Who ever saw or heard of six deposed kings having supper together in a tavern.’ – ‘It is no more extraordinary,’ said Martin, ‘than most of the things that have happened to us. It is quite commonplace for kings to be deposed, and as for the honour of dining with them, that is a mere trifle, and unworthy of our attention.’[1]

Scarcely had Candide boarded the ship than he threw his arms around the neck of his former valet, his dear friend Cacambo. ‘So!’ he said. ‘And what is Cunégonde doing? Is she still a paragon of beauty? Does she still love me? Is she in good health? No doubt you have bought her a palace in Constantinople?’

‘My dear master,’ replied Cacambo, ‘Cunégonde is washing dishes on the shores of the Propontide [2] for a prince who owns very few dishes – she is a slave in the household of a deposed sovereign called Ragotski, [3] to whom in his exile the Grand Sultan[4] pays an allowance of three écus a day; but what is far worse is that she has lost her beauty and become fearfully ugly.’ – ‘Oh well, beautiful or ugly,’ said Candide. ‘I am a man of honour, and my duty is to love her always. But how can she have been reduced to such penury, with the five or six millions that you took to her?’ – ‘As to that,’ said Cacambo, ‘did I not have to payout two million to Senor don Fernando d'lbaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, Governor of Buenos Aires, for permission to release Mademoiselle Cunégonde? And didn't some pirate casually relieve us of the rest of the money? And what did this pirate do but take us to Cape Matapan, and then to Milo, to Nicaria, to Samos, to Petra, to the Dardanelles, to Marmora and to Scutari? [5] Cunégonde and the old woman are now servants to the prince I mentioned, and I am a slave of the Sultan, now deposed.’ – ‘What a dreadful chain of calamities, each linked to the next!’ said Candide. ‘However, I still have a few diamonds left, after all; I will easily secure Cunégonde's release. What a shame she has become so ugly.’

Then, turning to Martin, he said: ‘Well, who do you think is most to be pitied: Emperor Achmed, Emperor Ivan, King Charles Edward – or me?’ – ‘I have no idea,’ said Martin. ‘I would need to see into your hearts to know the answer to that.’ – ‘Ah!’ said Candide, ‘if Pangloss were here, he would know the answer and would tell us for certain.’ – ‘I am not sure what scales your Pangloss could have used to weigh the misfortunes of men and calibrate their sufferings,’ said Martin. ‘I can only presume that there are millions of people on this earth who are many times more to be pitied than King Charles Edward, or Emperor Ivan, or Sultan Achmed.’ – ‘That may well be so,’ said Candide.

In a few days they reached the straits leading into the Black Sea. Candide began by ransoming Cacambo, at a very inflated price; and without delay he and his companions leaped into a galley and headed for the shores of the Propontide, to find Cunégonde, however ugly she might be.

Down in the galley were two conscripts who rowed extremely badly, and to whose naked shoulders the Levantine captain [6] periodically applied a few strokes of his lash; from natural impulse Candide looked more attentively at these two than at the other slaves, and even drew nearer to them out of pity. Something in their ravaged features reminded him vaguely of Pangloss and of that wretched Jesuit – and brother moreover of Mademoiselle Cunégonde – the Baron. The thought of which stirred and saddened him. He watched them even more closely. ‘Do you know,’ he said to Cacambo, ‘if I had not seen Maitre Pangloss hanged, and had not had the misfortune to kill the Baron, I could swear it was the two of them rowing in this galley.’

On hearing the words ‘Baron’ and ‘Pangloss', the two galley-slaves gave a great shout, stopped rowing and let their oars drop. The Levantine captain rushed up, and his blows rained down on them with new vigour. ‘Stop! Stop, good sir!’ cried Candide, ‘I will give you all the money you want.’ – ‘What! It's Candide!’ said one of the convicts. – ‘What! It's Candide!’ said the second. – ‘Is this a dream?’ said Candide. ‘Am I awake! Am I really on this galley? Can this be Monsieur the Baron, whom I killed? Can that be Maitre Pangloss, whom I saw hanged?’

‘It is we ourselves! It is we ourselves!’ they repeated. – ‘Oh! So is that your great philosopher?’ murmured Martin. – ‘Come then, sir,’ said Candide to the Levantine captain, ‘how much do you want for the ransom of Monsieur von Thunder-tentronckh, one of the first barons of the Empire, and for Monsieur Pangloss, the deepest metaphysician in all of Germany?’ – ‘You dog of a Christian,’ replied the Levantine captain. ‘Since these two Christian convict dogs are barons and metaphysicians, which must mean great honour in their country, you can pay me fifty thousand sequins for them.’ – ‘You shall have it, Monsieur; now take us back to Constantinople with the speed of light, and you will be paid immediately. No! In fact, take us first to Mademoiselle Cunégonde: But on hearing Candide's offer the Levantine captain had already altered course for Constantinople, and was making his slaves row faster than a bird cleaves the air.

Candide embraced the Baron and Pangloss a hundred times. ‘So how did I fail to kill you, dear Baron, after all? And you, my dear Pangloss, how can you still be alive after being hanged? And what are you both doing in a Turkish galley?’ – ‘Tell me, is it really true that my dear sister is here in this country?’ said the Baron. – ‘Yes,’ said Cacambo, while Pangloss kept repeating: ‘So I see my dear Candide again!’ Candide introduced them to Martin and Cacambo. They all embraced; they all talked at once. The galley flew along, they were already in port. A Jew was sent for, and Candide promptly sold him a diamond worth a hundred thousand sequins for fifty thousand, while the former swore by Abraham that he could not pay a sequin more. Candide then ransomed the Baron and Pangloss. The latter threw himself at the feet of his liberator and bathed them with his tears; the other thanked him with a nod, and promised to repay the money at the first opportunity. ‘But is it possible that my sister is in Turkey?’ he said. – ‘More than possible,’ retorted Cacambo. ‘She is scouring dishes in the household of a Transylvanian prince even as we speak.’ Whereupon two more Jews were sent for: Candide sold more diamonds, and they all set off in another galley to the rescue of Cunégonde.


Chapter 24
[1] A regular order founded in 1524, dedicated to reforming standards of ecclesiastical behaviour, Brother Girofleo notwithstanding. Unfortunately for their reputation in Candide, one of their members was an enemy of Voltaire.
[2] Presumably the same syphilitic Franciscan already encountered in chapter 4. 'Confessor' implies that the religion practised in the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh would seem to be Catholicism (and the 'billets de confession' episode in chapter 22 makes sense only if Candide is understood to be a Catholic).
[3] Where the remains of prostitutes and actresses were thrown, rather than buried in consecrated ground.
[4] i.e. convert to Islam.
[5] The constitutional head of the Venetian state.
[6] The Venetian Senate was all-powerful, and was recruited from a handful of aristocratic families. 'Pococuranté' means 'one who cares for little' (d. A Note on Names). Voltaire acknowledged, in a letter to his friend Thieriot in 1759, that he had something in common with this figure: the same age, wealthy, independent, with luxurious tastes and a tendency to judge writers and artists with maximum severity.
[7] The river which runs from Padua into the Venetian lagoon.

Chapter 25
[1] The aesthetic judgements on painting, music and literature dispensed by Pococuranté in this chapter are for the most part versions of Voltaire's own opinions, filtered through the exaggerated sensibility of a disillusioned Venetian aristocrat.
[2] Possibly a composition for soloist and orchestra (the 'concerto' was evolving into its modern meaning at this time); more likely an instrumental ensemble for a group of players.
[3] The passage alludes to an eighteenth-century musical controversy between two schools of music, broadly French and the Italian: the former as exploring complex harmonies and polyphony (exemplified by Jean Philippe Rameau, 1683-1764), the latter as favouring melodic line and the refinements of bel canto. Pococuranté seems to reject both, the former for its academicism, the latter for its addiction to virtuosity and unnatural or 'hybrid' combinations of recitative and aria.
[4] Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) and Torquato Tasso (1544-95), two Italian epic poets who were widely read in France during the eighteenth century; Voltaire preferred Ariosto to Homer; the judgements of Pococuranté on Homer, Virgil, Tasso and Ariosto are reproduced almost verbatim from Voltaire's Essai sur la poesie epique (Essay on Epic Poetry, 1733).
[5] The passage below alludes to various poems by Horace (Satires 1.5. 1.7 and II.5 (the character is named Rupilius, not 'Pupilus'); Epodes V, VIII, XII; Odes I.I), who was widely admired throughout Europe in the eighteenth century.
[6] Cicero (146-43 BC) was in fact Voltaire's favourite classical author; he wrote a play about him, quoted him incessantly, and called his De Divinatione (On Divination) and De Officiis (On Duties) the best books of antiquity.
[7] Possibly the least ironic statement in the chapter: metallurgy was undergoing a rapid evolution during this period, and Voltaire greatly admired practical inventions.
[8] Seneca: (4? BC-AD 65), Roman stoic philosopher, dramatist and statesman. It was an Enlightenment commonplace to compare Christianity unfavourably with stoicism.
[9] Venice was a republic, but with an effective system of censorship; whereas for Voltaire the English enjoyed a freedom of thought and expression almost unique in Europe. 'Pascal is only amusing at the expense of the Jesuits; Swift entertains and educates us at the expense of the human race! How I love the English boldness! How I love people who say what they think! People who only half think are only half alive' (Letters D5704 – Correspondence, cf. Theodore Besterman, Paris, 1977-90).
[10] The Dominicans played a leading role in the Inquisition.
[11] The reference is to John Milton's (1608-74) Paradise Lost, first published in ten books in 1667 (thereafter in twelve books), towards which Voltaire was consistently severe, and towards which Pococuranté is severe to the point of caricature.
[12] An interpolation added in 1761.
[13] An interpolation appearing in certain editions of 1759, and in all editions of 1761.
[14] A résumé of Plato's Republic, 475 BC.

Chapter 26
[1] Travel between Venice and Padua was by water.
[2] The six deposed rulers are, respectively: Achmed III, who ruled Turkey from 1703 to 1730, and was deposed by a revolt; Ivan IV of Russia (1740-64), who was deposed while still an infant by Peter the Great's daughter Elizabeth, spent the rest of his days in prison and was later strangled on the orders of Catherine the Great (several years after the composition of Candide); Charles Edward, the Young Pretender (1720-88), grandson of the deposed Stuart king, James II; Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (1696-1763), who lost Saxony in 1756 to Frederick II; Stanislaus I (1677-1766), King of Poland from 1704 to 1709, whose daughter married Louis XV in 1726 (on the death of Augustus II in 1733 he briet1y regained the throne, but lost it to Augustus III the following year; he was granted the Duchy of Lorraine and was host to Voltaire at his court in Luneville on several occasions, the last being when Mme du Châtelct (Voltaire's companion and former mistress) died there in 1749); Theodore, Baron von Heuhoff (1670-1756), an adventurer who helped the Corsicans in their revolt against their Genoese masters, and was proclaimed King of Corsica on several occasions; he was subsequently imprisoned as a debtor in England, where he died. It is worth noting that, although it is impossible for these six kings to have met together, five of them might have been able to do so without any anachronism.
[3] Properly speaking, an inhabitant of ancient Sarmatia, a region north of the Black Sea; but the word was often used, as here, to designate Poland and its inhabitants.
[4] Venetian gold coinage.
[5] According to Wagnière, Voltaire intended to add the following sentences: 'Are you a king too, Monsieur?' – 'No, and I have no desire to be one: cf. Henry James: 'Ever since the table d’hôte scene in Candide, Venice has been the refuge of monarchs in want of thrones – she wouldn't know herself without her rois en exil [kings in exile]' (The Grand Canal', in Italian Hours, (London, 1909)). The wealthy Voltaire – also a mere 'commoner' – was at the time extending financial credit to three rulers: the due de Wurtenberg, the Elector Palatine and the duc de Saxe-Gotha.

Chapter 27
[1] According to Wagnière, Voltaire had intended to add the following sentence: 'What does it matter with whom one sups, as long as one sups well?' to sharpen the satire on royalty.
[2] The Sea of Marmora
[3] Rácózy (1676-1735), Prince of Transylvania; supported by Louis XIV and by the Turks, he mounted a Hungarian uprising against Emperor Joseph II; the uprising was quelled and he took refuge on the Sea of Marmora, near Constantinople
[4] The Ottoman emperor.
[5] An Eastern Mediterranean is the name of the principal island in the Sea of Marmora, between the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. Scutari is a suburb of Istanbul on the shores of the Bosphorus.
[6] Commander of the 'levantis' (galley soldiers); also: native of the countries of the Levant (levant – 'rising'), i.e. the Eastern Mediterranean.