Chapter 5

Storm, shipwreck, earthquake, and what became of Dr Pangloss, Candide and Jacques the Anabaptist

Half of the passengers, weakened and expiring from the inconceivable agonies that the rolling of a vessel induces in the nerves and humours of a body being tossed in contrary directions, were indifferent to the danger surrounding them. The other half shrieked and said their prayers; the sails were torn, the masts were broken, and the vessel was taking on water. Those who could work did what they could, everyone shouted at once, no one was in command. On the main deck the Anabaptist was lending a hand with the rigging, when a crazed sailor struck him a furious blow and laid him out flat on deck; but the force of the blow jolted the sailor himself so violently that he went overboard head first. He was caught in mid-air by a piece of broken mast and left dangling. The good Jacques runs to his assistance, hauls him back on board, and in doing so is himself pitched into the sea in full view of the sailor, who leaves him to drown without even a backward glance. Candide runs up, and sees his benefactor resurface for a moment before being engulfed for ever. He tries to jump in after him; Pangloss the philosopher prevents him, arguing that Lisbon harbour was built expressly so that this Anabaptist should one day drown in it.[1] While he was offering a priori proofs[2] of this, the vessel split and everyone perished, with the exception of Pangloss, Candide and the same brute of a sailor who had drowned their virtuous Anabaptist; the scoundrel managed to swim successfully to shore, while Pangloss and Candide were borne ashore on a plank.

When they had recovered a little, they set out in the direction of Lisbon; they had a little money in their pockets, with which they hoped to escape starvation having survived shipwreck.

Hardly do they set foot in the city, still weeping over the death of their benefactor, than they feel the earth tremble beneath them;[3] a boiling sea rises in the port and shatters the vessels lying at anchor. Great sheets of flame and ash cover the streets and public squares; houses collapse, roofs topple on to foundations, and foundations are levelled in turn; thirty thousand inhabitants without regard to age or sex are crushed beneath the ruins. ‘There'll be things for the taking here,’ said the sailor with an oath and a whistle. – ‘What can possibly be the sufficient reason for a thing like this?’ said Pangloss. – ‘The end of the world is here!’ shouted Candide. At which the sailor instantly dashes into the ruins, braving death in his search for silver; he finds some, takes it, gets drunk, and, after sleeping it off, purchases the favours of the first willing girl he finds in the ruins of the fallen houses, in amidst the dead and the dying. But Pangloss caught him by the sleeve: ‘My friend,’ he said, ‘this is no way to behave. You are flouting the laws of universal reason, and this is hardly the time or place.’ – ‘Hell and damnation!’ replied the other, ‘I am a sailor born in Batavia;[4] I've made four voyages to Japan, and four times I've trampled on the Cross;[5] you've picked the wrong man, with your drivel about universal reason!’

Candide had been injured by some falling masonry; he was stretched out in the street, covered with rubble. He was calling out to Pangloss: ‘Help! Get me some oil and wine;[6] I am dying.’ – ‘But these earthquakes are nothing new,’ replied Pangloss. ‘The city of Lima in America experienced the same tremors last year; same causes, same effects: there must certainly be a seam of sulphur running underground from Lima to Lisbon.'[7] ‘Nothing is more likely,’ said Candide, ‘but, for the love of God, some oil and wine!’ – ‘What do you mean, "likely"?’ retorted the philosopher, ‘I regard the thing as proven.’ At which point Candide fainted, and Pangloss brought him a little water from a nearby fountain.

The next day, having found some scraps of food while picking their way through the ruins, they recovered some of their strength. After which they worked alongside the others to bring relief to those inhabitants who had survived. Some of the citizens they had helped gave them as good a dinner as could be hoped for in such a catastrophe. The meal was a melancholy one, it is true, and the guests watered the bread with their tears; but Pangloss consoled them, assuring everyone that things could not be otherwise:[8] ‘This is all for the best,’ he said. ‘For if there is a volcano beneath Lisbon, then it cannot be anywhere else;[9] for it is impossible for things to be elsewhere than where they are. For all is well.’

A little man in black, an agent of the Inquisition, who was sitting next to him, spoke up politely and said: ‘It would seem that Monsieur does not believe in Original Sin; for if all is as well as you say, there has been neither Fall nor punishment.’[10]

‘I most humbly beg pardon of your Excellency,’ replied Pangloss still more politely, ‘but the Fall of Man and Adam's curse are of necessity events within the best of all possible worlds.’ – ‘Then Monsieur does not believe in free will?’ asked the agent. – ‘Your Excellency will forgive me,’ said Pangloss, ‘but free will can coexist with absolute necessity; for it was necessary that we be free, since ultimately a predetermined will ...’[11] Pangloss was in mid-sentence when the agent gave a nod to his armed flunkey, who was pouring him some wine from Porto, or rather Oporto.[12]

Chapter 6

How they had a magnificent auto-da-fé to prevent earthquakes, and how Candide was flogged

After the earthquake, which had destroyed three-quarters of Lisbon, the sages of that country could think of no more effective means of averting further destruction than to give the people a fine auto-da-fé;[1] it having been decided by the University of Coïmbra[2] that the spectacle of a few individuals being ceremonially roasted over a slow fire was the infallible secret recipe for preventing the earth from quaking.

Consequently they had rounded up a Biscayan[3] who stood convicted of marrying his fellow godparent, and two Portuguese who were seen throwing away the bacon garnish while eating a chicken.[4] After dinner some men arrived with ropes and tied up Doctor Pangloss and his disciple Candide – the one for what he had said, and the other for having listened with an air of approval: both were led away to separate apartments, of a remarkable coolness never troubled by the sun: eight days later each was dressed in a san-benito,[5] and crowned with a paper mitre: Candide's mitre and san-benito were decorated with inverted flames and with devils who had neither tails nor claws; whereas Pangloss's devils had both tails and claws, and his flames were upright.[6] Thus dressed, they walked in procession, and listened to a most affecting sermon, followed by a delightful piece of plainchant monotony.[7] Candide was flogged in cadence to the singing; the Biscayan and the two Portuguese who did not relish bacon were burned to death; and Pangloss was hanged, although hanging was not the custom at an auto-da-fé.[8] That same day the earth quaked once more with a terrifying din.[9]

Appalled, stupefied, distraught, covered in blood and shaking uncontrollably, Candide said to himself: ‘If this is the best of all possible worlds, what must the others be like? I wouldn't have minded the flogging; I was already flogged by the Bulgars. But, oh my dear Pangloss! Greatest of philosophers! Did I have to see you hanged, and for no reason I can understand? And my dear Anabaptist, the best of men! Did you have to be drowned in the port? And Mademoiselle Cunégonde, the pearl of daughters, was it necessary for you to be disembowelled?’

He was turning away from the scene, scarcely able to stand, having been successively preached at, flogged, absolved and blessed, when an old woman approached him and said: ‘Take heart, my son, and follow me.’

Chapter 7

How an old woman took care of Candide, and how he was reunited with his beloved

Candide did not take heart, but he did follow the old woman into her hovel; she gave him a jar of ointment to rub on himself, and set out food and drink for him; she then showed him a small, fairly clean bed; next to the bed lay an outfit of clothes. ‘Eat, drink, and sleep,’ she said, ‘and may Our Lady of Atocha, St Anthony of Padua and St James of Compostella watch over you.[1] I will return tomorrow.’ Candide, stupefied still by all he had seen, all he had suffered, and most of all by the kindness of the old woman, wanted to kiss her hand. ‘It's not my hand you should be kissing,’ said the old woman. ‘I will return tomorrow. Rub yourself with ointment, eat, sleep.’

Despite all he had suffered, Candide ate and slept. The next day the old woman brings him breakfast, examines his back, and rubs it herself with a different ointment; later she brings him dinner; and towards evening she returns with supper. The following day the same ritual was repeated. ‘Who are you?’ Candide kept asking her. ‘Who has inspired such kindness in you? How can I repay you?’ The good woman never answered; she returned the same evening, but this time without supper. ‘Come with me,’ she said, ‘and don't say a word.’ She takes his arm, and walks about a quarter of a mile with him into open country: they arrive at an isolated house, surrounded by gardens and ornamental canals. The old woman knocks at a little door. It opens; she leads Candide by a secret staircase into a small gilt room, sits him on a brocaded sofa, closes the door behind her, and goes off. Candide thought he was dreaming; he thought of his whole life thus far as a sinister dream, and of the present moment as a very agreeable one.

The old woman reappeared shortly; she was supporting, not without difficulty, a trembling woman, of noble stature, sparkling with jewels, hidden by a veil. ‘Remove the veil,’ said the old woman to Candide. He stepped forward, and with a timid hand lifted the veil. What a surprise! It was as if he was looking at Mademoiselle Cunégonde. But he was indeed looking at Mademoiselle Cunégonde, for it was she! His strength deserted him, he could not utter a word, he collapsed at her feet. Cunégonde collapsed on to the sofa. The old woman plied them with spirits; they came to their senses, they exchanged words: at first only broken phrases, questions and answers at cross purposes, sighs, tears, exclamations. The old woman suggested they make less noise, and left them alone. ‘Is it really you!’ said Candide. ‘And alive! And in Portugal, of all places! So were you not raped after all? And were you not disembowelled, as Pangloss the philosopher assured me was the case?’ – ‘I most certainly was, in both cases,’ said the lovely Cunégonde, ‘but these things are not always fatal.’ – ‘But your father and mother, were they killed?’ – ‘It is all too true,’ replied Cunégonde in tears. – ‘And your brother?’ – ‘My brother was killed, too.’ ‘And why are you in Portugal? And how did you know I was here? And by what strange means did you have me brought to this house?’ – ‘I will tell you everything,’ the lady replied. ‘But first you must tell me everything that has happened to you since the innocent kiss you gave me and those kicks you received for your pains.’

Candide obeyed her without question; and although he was bewildered, and his voice feeble and tremulous, and his spine still hurting a little, he described with the most artless simplicity what he had suffered since the moment of their separation. Cunégonde raised her eyes to heaven; she wept at the death of the good Anabaptist, and wept again over Pangloss; after which she spoke as follows to Candide, who did not miss a syllable, even as he devoured her with his eyes.

Chapter 8

Cunégonde's story

‘I was in my bed, and sound asleep, when it pleased heaven to send the Bulgars to our beautiful castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh; they cut the throats of my father and brother, and chopped my mother to pieces. A huge Bulgar, over six feet tall, seeing that I had fainted at the sight of all this, set about raping me; this brought me to my senses, and I recovered my wits: I screamed, I struggled, I bit, I scratched; I tried to tear out the eyes of that huge Bulgar, not realizing that what was taking place in my father's castle was the form on such occasions; the brute stabbed me in my left side, where I still carry the scar.’ – ‘Alas! I very much hope I shall see it,’ said Candide, innocently. – ‘You shall,’ said Cunégonde, ‘but let us continue.’ – ‘Pray continue,’ said Candide.

She took up the thread of her story. ‘A Bulgar captain came in, and saw me weltering in blood; the soldier carried on regardless, the captain fell into a rage at the lack of respect shown to him by this brute, and killed him while he was on top of me. Then he had my wounds dressed and took me to his quarters as a prisoner of war. I used to wash the few shirts he owned, and cook for him; he found me very attractive, I must say; and I will not deny that he was well built himself, or that his skin was white and soft; otherwise not much wit, and even less philosophy: you could soon tell that he had not been educated by Doctor Pangloss. After three months, having lost all his money and his taste for me, he sold me to a Jew named Don Issacar, who had trading connections in Holland and Portugal, and was passionately fond of women. This Jew took a great liking to my person, but could not prevail over me. I resisted him more successfully than I had the Bulgar soldier. A person of honour may be raped once, but her virtue emerges all the stronger for it. In order to tame me, the Jew brought me to this country house, where you see me now. Hitherto I had believed there was nothing in the world as beautiful as the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh; but my eyes have been opened.

‘The Grand Inquisitor noticed me one day at Mass; he ogled me throughout the service, and then sent word that he had to speak to me on private business. I was taken to his palace; I informed him of my birth; he pointed out how far beneath my rank it was to be the chattel of an Israelite. A proposition was made on his behalf to Don Issacar, that he should hand me over to His Eminence the Inquisitor. Don Issacar, who is the court banker and a man of parts, preferred to do no such thing. The Inquisitor threatened him with an auto-da-fé. At last my Jew, intimidated, agreed to a compromise, whereby the house and my person would belong to both of them in common; the Jew would have Mondays, Wednesdays and the Sabbath, the Inquisitor would have the other days of the week. This arrangement has lasted for six months. It has not been without its quarrels, namely as to whether the night between Saturday and Sunday belongs to the old law or to the new.[1] For my part, I have so far resisted them both, which I am sure is the reason they both love me still.

‘Finally, to avert the scourge of further earthquakes, and to intimidate Don Issacar, His Eminence the Inquisitor was pleased to hold an auto-da-fé. He did me the honour of inviting me. I had an excellent seat; refreshments were served to the ladies between the Mass and the executions. I was overcome with horror, I have to say, at seeing those two Jews being burned to death, and that honest Biscayan who had married his fellow-godparent; but imagine my astonishment, my dread and bewilderment when I saw a figure resembling Dr Pangloss dressed in a san-benito and a mitre! I rubbed my eyes, I watched, I saw him hang; then I collapsed. Scarcely had I come to my senses again, than I saw you standing there stripped naked: this was my worst moment of horror, of agony and despair. I can tell you now, by the way, that your skin is even fairer and rosier all over than my Bulgar captain's. The sight of it redoubled all the feelings that were overwhelming and devouring me. I cried out, and wanted to scream: “Stop! You barbarians!”, but my voice failed me, and my cries would have been useless. “How can it be,” I said to myself after you had been well and truly flogged, “that the loveable Candide and wise Pangloss are here in Lisbon, the one to receive a hundred strokes, and the other to be hanged by order of His Eminence the Inquisitor, whose beloved I am?” Pangloss deceived me cruelly, after all, when he told me that all is for the best in this world.

‘Distraught and desperate, beside myself with anger at one moment and the next moment ready to collapse, my mind was spinning with the massacres of my father and mother and brother; with the insolence of that vile Bulgar soldier and the knife wound he gave me; with my enslavement, my drudgery as a cook, my Bulgar captain, my disgusting Don Issacar and my abominable Inquisitor; with the hanging of Dr Pangloss, and that great plainchant Miserere[2] they intoned while you were being flogged; and above all with the kiss I had given you behind the screen, the day I saw you for the last time. I praised God for bringing you back to me after so many tribulations. I ordered my old woman to take care of you, and to bring you here as soon she possibly could. She has faithfully carried out her commission, and I have the inexpressible joy of seeing you again, of listening to you, of talking to you. You must be ravenous, and I have a large appetite; let us begin with supper.’

So they both sit down to eat; after supper they resume their places on the beautiful and aforementioned sofa; where they are still to be found when Senor Don Issacar, one of the two masters of the house, arrives. It was the Sabbath day. He had come to enjoy his rights, and to protest his love.


Chapter 5
[1] Lisbon harbour was built expressly ... should one day drown in it: A satire on providentialism: the wicked survive. But there is a further jest: ‘only death by involuntary and permanent immersion will do for a man who believes in the necessity of adult immersion’ (Roger Pearson. The Fables of Reason: A Study of Voltaire’s ‘Contes Philosophiques’ (Oxford, 1993)).
[2] a priori proofs: Arguments from logic rather than from experience are ironized as endemic to Leibnizian philosophy.
[3] feel the earth tremble beneath them: The earthquake that shook Lisbon at 9:40 a.m. on I November 1755 killed between 15,000 and 60,000 people (contemporaries estimated that 30,000 people died), setting off a tsumani that reached England by 1 p.m. and the West Indies by 6 p.m. most of the city was destroyed, and the subsequent conflagration was spread by cooking fires, alight for mealtime. The catastrophe convulsed European belief systems. Voltaire consulted various published and eyewitness accounts for his description in Candide. In a letter dated 24 Novemher, he wrote: ‘This is indeed a cruel piece of natural philosophy! We shall find it difficult to explain how the laws of motion can produce such fearful disasters in the best of all possible worlds – when a hundred thousand ants, our neighbours, are crushed to death in seconds in one of our ant-heaps, half of them undoubtedly dying in inexpressible agonies, beneath debris from which it was impossible to extricate them; families all over Europe reduced to beggary, and the fortunes of a hundred merchants – Swiss, like yourself – swallowed up in the ruins of Lisbon. What a game of chance is human life! What will the preachers say now – especially if the Palace of the Inquisition is left standing! I flatter myself that those reverend fathers, the Inquisitors, have been crushed just like everyone else; which ought to teach men not to persecute men: for, while a few sanctimonious hypocrites are burning a few fanatics, the earth opens up and swallows them all: In a later letter dated 16 December, Voltaire wrote: ‘Like you, I pity the Portuguese; bur men make even more evil for themselves on their little molehill than nature makes for them. More men have their throats cut in wars than are swallowed up in earthquakes. If there were nothing more to fear in this world than the Lisbon earthquake, We should all be a lot better off.’ Cf. Voltaire’s Poem on the Lisbon Disaster (see Appendix 1.).
[4] Batavia: The capital of Java, a Dutch colony; now called Jakarta, it is the capital of modern Indonesia.
[5] four times I’ve trampled on the cross: Originally receptive to foreigners, Japan began to suspect the Christian missions of being the advance guard of imperialism, and in 1638 closed its ports to foreigners. Only the Dutch were permitted to continue trading; Voltaire’s claim that they had to repudiate their religion symbolically by trampling on a crucifix is incorrect, although the Japanese working for the Dutch in Batavia were required to do so.
[6] some oil and wine: These were used to wash wounds.
[7] a seam of sulphur running underground from Lima to Lisbon: This was one of the theories current at the time to explain the origin of earthquakes, adopted by the naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon (1707-88). and popularized by the Swiss pastor Elie Bertrand (Mémoire sur les tremblements de terre (Dissertation on Earthquakes). 1756), with whom Voltaire corresponded on this subject. Lima, in Peru, had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1746.
[8] things could not be otherwise: The manuscript, together With one of the 1759 editions, offers a different ending to this paragraph: “‘For,’” he said, “it is necessary, if a universe is to exist, that it he the hest of universes. And. in the best of universes, all is good, all is well, all is for the best. Console yourselves, rejoice and let us drink.’”
[9] it cannot be anywhere else: Conversely, if the world were made for man by a benevolent God, volcanoes would only occur in uninhabited regions.
[10] neither Fall or punishment: Voltaire slyly insists on the difficulty of reconciling the providentialism of Leibnizian Optimism with Christianity proper and the orthodox dogma of original sin. Optimism is heretical in so far as it sidesteps the Fall: if all is well, 'it follows that human nature is nor fallen. If the order of things requires that everything should be as it is, then human nature has not been corrupted, and consequently has no need of a Redeemer' (Preface to the Poem on the Lisbon Disaster, see Appendix 2). The man in black's argument is that Optimism removes all grounds for belief in supernatural punishment or reward, and by making God directly responsible for the misery of the world, destroys the possibility of human freedom.
[11] predetermined: Pangloss's Leibnizian argument here is determinist, but also recognizably scholastic in attempting vainly to reconcile providence with free will. Orthodox Catholics were required to believe in the doctrine of free will.
[12] Porto, or rather Oporto: They are one and the same Portuguese city - a moment of pedantry (and a late addition, not present in the manuscript) which reminds us that this is a tale being told by the obscure German with the English name, Doctor Ralph.

Chapter 6
[1] a fine auto-da-fé: During this ceremony the charges of heresy brought by the Inquisition were read out to the accused and the crowd, and the accused were invited to make an ‘act of faith’ (auto-da-fé); executions were carried out by the secular authority. Voltaire relied for his details upon the Relation de l’Inquisition de Goa (Account of the Inquisition of Goa, 1688) by C. Dellon. In reality, no auto-da-fé took place in response to the Lisbon disaster. Three autos-da-fé were held in Lisbon – on 8 October 1756, 28 September 1757, 27 August 1758 – but these were unconnected with the earthquake, and there were no executions.
[2] Coïmbra: The seat of the university of Lisbon, which is by implication in thrall to the Inquisition, rather as in Voltaire’s eyes the university of the Sorbonne was in the pay of religion.
[3] Biscayan: A Spanish Basque – another foreigner, like Candide and Pangloss.
[4] marrying his fellow godparent ... eating a chicken: The relation between godmother and godfather was regarded as a spiritual kinship, and an ecclesiastical interdiction forbade them from marrying each other – an empty superstition. as far as Voltaire was concerned (and satirized in his later tale L’Ingenú (The Ingenu)). The two Portuguese converts are secretly Jews, marranos, who betray their allegiances by removing the rashers of bacon, as food proscribed by Mosaic dietary law: the Inquisition was on the lookout for cases of false conversion. Voltaire’s sympathy for Jewish victims of the Inquisition was unaffected by his congenital anti-Semitism.
[5] san-benito: A short smock or sackcloth over-garment painted with flames, figures of devils, the victim’s own portrait. etc., and worn by the condemned as they were led to the stake at an auto-da-fé. The san-benito came to symbolize the abominations of organized religious intolerance.
[6] his flames were upright: The crime of Pangloss, who has spoken heresy, is greater than that of Candide, who has merely listened: hence the flames painted on the former’s san-benito point upwards, while those on the latter’s point downwards. Generally. the penitent wore inverted flames, while those deemed to be impenitent wore upright flames.
[7] plainchant monotony: ‘Faux-bourdon’, a fourteenth-century version of polyphony (i.e. music in more than one part). consisting of an improvised part above or below a plainchant original for voices rather than instruments. It was long extinct by the eighteenth century; what is intended here is therefore uncertain, other than – to Voltaire’s ears – sinister and tedious Illu’iic ironically characterized as ‘delightful’. It is the Miserere that is being sung in this fashion (cf. chapter 8).
[8] hanging was not the custom at an auto-da-fé: Those condemned by the Inquisition were invariably burned to death; Pangloss is hanged (so that he can come back to life again when required to do so).
[9] That same day the earth quaked once more with a terrifying din: This second, minor, shock in fact took place two months after the earthquake, on 21 December 1755, as Voltaire noted in his correspondence.

Chapter 7
[1] may Our Lady of Atocha ... watch over you: A statue in Madrid, the site of a cult of the pregnant Virgin: ‘This Lady is made of wood; every year she weeps on her feast-day. and the people weep too. Once on this occasion the preacher, seeing a carpenter with dry eyes, asked him how it was that he did not dissolve in tears when the Holy Virgin wept. “Ah, reverend Father.” he replied. “it was I who refastened her in her niche yesterday: I drove three great nails into her behind: it is then she would have wept had she been able’” (Voltaire. annotation to the Journal of the Marquis de Dangeau. 1769). Saint Anthony is the patron saint of Portugal (notwithstanding the reference here to Padua in Italy), and was the saint to invoke when looking for things lost – in this case Cunégonde; Saint James is the patron saint of Spain.

Chapter 8
[1] to the old law or to the new: The Old Law is the law of Moses. the New Law is the law of Christ; the uncertainty is as to whether the night in question belongs to Saturday (Jewish) or to Sunday (Christian).
[2] miserere: Psalm 50, one of the penitential psalms.