Chapter 9

 What became of Cunégonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor and a Jew

This Issacar was the most choleric Hebrew to come out of Israel since the Babylonian Captivity.[1] ‘What!’ he said, ‘you Galilean whore! So the Grand Inquisitor is nor enough for you? Do I have to share you with this ruffian too?’ Saying which, he draws a long dagger that he always carried about with him, and, not believing his adversary to be armed, hurls himself at Candide; but our good Westphalian had been given a fine sword by the old woman along with his suit of clothes. Out it comes, his gentle disposition notwithstanding, and without more ado he lays the Israelite out, stone dead at the feet of the lovely Cunégonde.

‘Holy Mother!’ she cried. ‘What will become of us? A man killed in my house? If the watch arrives now, we are done for.’ – ‘If Pangloss had not been hanged,’ said Candide, ‘he would have given us some good advice in this extremity, for he was a great philosopher. Since he is not here, let’s consult the old woman.’ The latter was all prudence, and was beginning to offer her opinion when another little door opened. It was an hour after midnight: Sunday morning, therefore, and his Eminence the Inquisitor’s day. In he comes, to find the flogged Candide, now with sword in hand, and a corpse stretched out on the ground, and Cunégonde distracted, and the old woman handing out advice.

Various thoughts went through Candide’s head at this moment: ‘If this holy man calls for help, he will have me burned at the stake without fail; he will probably do the same for Cunégonde; he has already had me mercilessly whipped; he is now my rival; I am already embarked on killing; there is no choice.’ This line of reasoning was clear-cut and rapid, and without giving the Inquisitor time to recover from his surprise, he runs him through and throws him down beside the Jew. ‘There goes another one,’ said Cunégonde. ‘There will be no pardon now; we are excommunicate, our final hour is at hand. What on earth has got into you, who were born so gentle, to do away with a Jew and a prelate in the space of two minutes?’ – ‘My dear young lady,’ replied Candide, ‘when you are in love, and jealous, and have been flogged by the Inquisition, there’s no knowing what you may do.’

The old woman now intervened and said: ‘There are three Andalusian horses in the stable, with as many saddles and bridles: let our brave Candide harness them. Madame has some moidores[2] and some diamonds. Let us get mounted immediately – even though I have only one buttock for a seat – and ride for Cadiz. The weather is perfect, and it is always pleasant to travel in the cool of the night.’

At once Candide saddled the three horses. Cunégonde, the old woman and he covered thirty miles without stopping. While they were gaining distance, the Holy Hermandad[3] arrived at the house. His Eminence the Inquisitor was buried in a beautiful church, and Don Issacar was thrown on to the town refuse heap.

Candide, Cunégonde and the old woman were by now in the little town of Avacena,[4] in the middle of the Sierra Morena mountains, where they were having the following conversation in an inn.

Chapter 10

 In what distress Candide, Cunégonde and the old woman arrive in Cadiz, and of their embarkation

‘But who could possibly have stolen my pistoles and diamonds?’ said Cunégonde in tears. ‘What shall we live on? How will we manage? Where shall I find the Inquisitors and the Jews to give me more?’ – ‘Alas!’ said the old woman, ‘I strongly suspect it was that reverend Franciscan who slept in the same inn as us last night in Badajoz; God preserve me from making rash judgements, but he passed through our room twice, and he set off long before us.’ – ‘The good Pangloss often demonstrated to me,’ said Candide with a sigh, ‘that the things of this world are common to all men, and that everyone has an equal right to them.[1] In which case, this Franciscan ought at least to have left us enough to finish our journey. Do you really have nothing left, my fair Cunégonde?’ – ‘Not a single maravedi,’ [2] she said. – ‘What are we to do, then?’ said Candide. – ‘Let us sell one of the horses,’ said the old woman. ‘I can ride on the croup behind Mademoiselle, even though I have only one buttock for a seat, and we shall reach Cadiz.’

In the same hostelry there was a Benedictine prior;[3] he purchased one of the horses at a reduced price. Candide, Cune- gonde and the old woman passed through Lucena, through Chillas, through Lebrija, and finally reached Cadiz.[4] Here a fleet was being fitted out and troops mustered, to bring to their senses the reverend Jesuit fathers of Paraguay, who were accused of having incited one of their local hordes to revolt against the Kings of Spain and Portugal, raiding the town of San Sacramento.[5] Candide, having served with the Bulgars, performed the Bulgar drill before the general of this little force with such grace, such celerity, such bearing, such pride and dexterity that he was given a company of infantry to command. He was now a captain; he went on board with Mademoiselle Cunégonde, the old woman, two valets and the two remaining Andalusian horses that had belonged to the Grand Inquisitor of Portugal.

During the whole voyage they discussed endlessly the philosophy of poor Pangloss. ‘We are going to another world,’[6] said Candide. ‘No doubt it must be there that all is well. For you have to admit, there is reason to blench at some of what goes on in our world, whether physically or morally.’ – ‘I love you with all my heart,’ Cunégonde said, ‘but my mind is still reeling from what I have seen, from what I have suffered.’ – ‘All will be well,’ Candide replied. ‘The sea of this new world is already superior to our European seas; it is calmer, its trade winds more constant. No doubt about it, the New World is the best of all possible worlds.’ – ‘God willing!’ said Cunégonde. ‘But I have been so horribly unhappy in my world so far, that my heart is almost sealed against hope.’ – ‘You two do nothing but com- plain,’ said the old woman, ‘but you have suffered nothing like my misfortunes, I can assure you!’ Cunégonde was on the verge of laughter, finding it very droll of this good creature to claim to be twice as unfortunate than herself. ‘Alas, my good woman,’ she said to her, ‘unless you have been raped by two Bulgars, been stabbed twice in the stomach, had two castles demolished, had the throats of two mothers and two fathers slit before your very eyes, and watched two lovers being flogged in an auto-da-fé, I really cannot see that you have the advantage over me; to which I might add that I was born a baroness, with seventy-two quarterings[7] to my coat of arms, and have been put to work in a scullery.’ – ‘My dear young lady,’ replied the old woman, ‘you know nothing of my birth; and were I to show you my bottom you would not talk as you do, and would suspend your judgement.’ This speech aroused deep curiosity in the minds of Cunégonde and Candide; and the old woman continued as follows.

Chapter 11

 The old woman’s story

‘I did not always have red-rimmed and bloodshot eyes; my nose did not always touch my chin, nor was I always a servant. I am the daughter of Pope Urban X and the Princess of Palestrina.[1] Until the age of fourteen I was brought up in a palace, compared to which the castles of all your German barons would not have been fit to serve as stables; just one of my robes was worth more than all the assembled magnificence of Westphalia. I grew in beauty, grace and accomplishments, surrounded by privileges, amusements and hopes for the future. I had already begun to inspire love, and my breasts were forming. And what breasts! White and firm, sculpted like the Medici Venus. And what eyes! What eyelashes! What black brows! What fires flashed in my pupils, and outshone the glittering of the stars, as the local poets kept telling me! The women who dressed and undressed me fell back in ecstasies when they gazed upon me, from whichever angle, and all the men would have wished to be in their place.

‘I was betrothed to the sovereign prince of Massa-Carrara.[2] What a prince! Of a beauty to match mine, compounding gentleness and charm, he sparkled with wit and he burned with love. I loved him as one does for the first time – to the point of idolatry, with passionate abandon. The wedding preparations were made, of an unheard-of pomp and extravagance; it was one endless round of feasts, tilting matches, comic operas; all of Italy composed sonnets in my praise, not one of which was any good. Just as my moment of happiness was at hand, an aged marquise, who had been my prince’s mistress, invited him to take chocolate at her house. He died less than two hours later in appalling convulsions. But this was a mere trifle, compared to what followed. My mother, in despair – though far less afflicted than I, of course – wanted to escape for a while from so oppressive an atmosphere. She had a very fine estate near Gaeta[3]. We embarked on a local galley, which was gilded like the high altar of Saint Peter’s in Rome. The next moment a pirate ship from Salé[4] swept down and boarded us. Our men defended themselves as the Pope’s soldiers usually do: they all fell to their knees, threw down their weapons, and begged the pirates to absolve them of their sins in articulo mortis.[5]

‘They were promptly stripped naked as monkeys, as were my mother, and our maids of honour, and I myself. The application with which these gentlemen go around undressing everyone they meet is truly remarkable. But what surprised me more, they then took each of us and inserted their fingers into that orifice which we ladies usually reserve for an enema syringe. This procedure struck me as very strange, but that is how one judges everything when one has never been out of one’s own country. I soon learned that its purpose was to discover if we had hidden any diamonds there; it is a custom established from time immemorial among the civilized seafaring nations. I discovered that those religious gentlemen the Knights of Malta[6] never fail to perform the same ritual when they capture Turks, male or female; it is one article of international law that is never neglected.

‘I need not dwell on how painful it is for a young princess and her mother to be taken to Morocco as slaves. You may imagine what we suffered on board the pirate ship. My mother was still very beautiful, and our ladies in waiting, even our simple chambermaids, possessed more charms than are to be found in the whole of Africa. As for me, I was ravishing, I was beauty itself, grace incarnate – and a virgin to boot. Not for long, of course; this flower which had been reserved for the handsome Prince of Massa-Carrara, was plucked by the Corsair captain, an abominable negro, who of course believed he was doing me a great favour. Certainly, my mother the Princess of Palestrina and I must have been made of stern stuff to endure what we endured before arriving in Morocco. But let that pass; such things are so commonplace as not to be worth describing.

‘Morocco was knee-deep in blood when we arrived. The fifty sons of the Emperor Mulay Ismael[7] each had their followers, which was in effect the excuse for fifty civil wars: blacks against blacks, blacks against browns, browns against browns, mulattos against mulattos. It was uninterrupted carnage from one end of the empire to the other.

‘We had scarcely disembarked when some blacks, of a faction opposed to that of my pirate, presented themselves with a view to relieving him of his booty. Next to the diamonds and gold, we were the most precious part of his cargo. I was witness to a combat the like of which would never be seen in your European climes. Northerners do not have sufficiently hot blood. They do not have that raging lust for women so commonplace in Africa. You Europeans seem to have milk in your veins; whereas it is vitriol, it is fire that courses through the inhabitants of Mount Atlas and the neighbouring countries. They fought with the fury of the lions, tigers and serpents of that region to decide who should have us. A Moor seized my mother by the right arm, while my captain’s lieutenant held on to her left arm; another Moor grabbed her by one leg, while one of our pirates held her by the other. In an instant, almost all our ladies-in-waiting found themselves dragged likewise between four soldiers. My captain kept me hidden behind him. Scimitar in hand, he set to killing anyone who challenged his rage. At length, I saw all our Italian maids and my mother cut to pieces, torn apart, massacred by the monsters who contended over them. My fellow captives, and their captors – soldiers, sailors, blacks, browns, whites, mulattos and finally my captain – all were dead; and I remained alone, dying under a heap of dead bodies. Similar scenes were taking place, as everyone knows, over an area of more than three hundred leagues, without anyone ever omitting to say their five daily prayers as required by Mahomet.[8]

‘I somehow managed to untangle myself from that great pile of blood-soaked corpses, and dragged myself to the shade of a tall orange tree at the edge of a nearby stream; there 1collapsed from shock, from fatigue, from hunger, from horror and despair. Soon after, my exhausted senses surrendered to a sleep that was more like a trance than a rest. 1 was in this state of feebleness and insensibility, hovering between life and death, when 1 felt the pressure of something rubbing up and down on my body. 1 opened my eyes; 1 beheld a white man, rather attractive, who was moaning on top of me and muttering through clenched teeth: O che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni![9]

Chapter 12

 The misfortunes of the old woman, continued

‘Astonished and delighted at hearing my native tongue spoken, and no less surprised by what this man was uttering, I replied that there were greater misfortunes than that of which he complained. I informed him in a few words of the horrors I had endured, and promptly fainted again. He carried me to a nearby house, had me put to bed, had food brought to me, looked after me, comforted me, flattered me, told me that never had he seen anything so beautiful as I, and that never had he so much regretted the loss of what no one could now restore to him. “I was born in Naples,” he said, “where two or three thousand children are castrated each year; some die as a result, some develop voices more beautiful than any woman’s, and some are sent off to govern provinces.[1] My operation was a great success, and I became soloist to the chapel of the Princess of Palestrina.” – “The Princess my mother!” I exclaimed. – “The princess your mother!” he repeated, bursting into tears. “What! Are you that little princess whom I raised until she was six years old, and who already showed signs of becoming as beautiful as you are now?” – “The very same,” said I. “And my mother lies not four hundred paces from here, torn to pieces, under a pile of corpses ...”

‘I told him everything that had happened to me; he told me his adventures in turn, and how he had been sent to the King of Morocco by one of the Christian powers, to conclude a treaty whereby the latter would be supplied with gunpowder, cannon and ships to assist him in destroying the trade of the other Christian powers.[2] “My mission is concluded,” said this honest eunuch. “I am on my way to embark at Ceuta,[3] and I will take you back to Italy. Ma che sciagura d’essere senza coglioni...!”

‘I thanked him with tears of gratitude – but instead of taking me to Italy he took me to Algiers, and sold me to the Dey of that province.[4] Scarcely had I been sold than the plague which has been doing the rounds of Africa, Asia and Europe broke out with a vengeance in Algiers. You may have seen earthquakes, Mademoiselle; but tell me, have you ever had the plague?’ – ‘Never,’ replied the Baron’s daughter.

‘Otherwise,’ continued the old woman, ‘you would have to admit that it is far worse than any earthquake. It is very common in Africa;[5] and I was infected with it. Imagine my situation, the daughter of a pope, only fifteen years old, who in the space of three months had been exposed to poverty and slavery, had been raped almost daily, had seen her mother torn to pieces, had endured war and famine, and was now dying of the plague in Algiers. As it happens, I did not die. But my eunuch perished, and the Dey perished, along with almost the entire seraglio of Algiers.

‘When the first ravages of this dreadful pestilence were over, the slaves of the Dey were sold off. A merchant bought me and took me to Tunis, where he sold me to another merchant, who sold me again in Tripoli; after Tripoli I was resold in Alexandria, after Alexandria resold in Smyrna, after Smyrna resold in Constantinople. I ended up as the property of an aga of Turkish janissaries,[6] who shortly afterwards was ordered to the defence of Azov against the Russians who were besieging it.[7]

‘This aga, being very fond of women, brought his entire seraglio along with him, and housed us all in a small fort on the Maeotian Marshes,[8] guarded by two black eunuchs and twenty soldiers. A prodigious number of Russians were being killed, but they gave as good as they got. Azov was put to fire and sword, without regard for age or sex; all that remained was our little fort, from which the enemy determined to starve us out. The twenty janissaries had solemnly sworn never to surrender. But the extremes of hunger to which they were reduced forced them to eat our two eunuchs, rather than violate their oath. A few days later they resolved to eat the women-folk.

‘We had a very pious and compassionate imam[9] who delivered an excellent sermon persuading them not to kill us outright. “Cut off one buttock,” he said, “from each of these ladies, and you will be well provided for; if you have to come back for more in a few days’ time, you can take as much again; heaven will smile on so charitable an action, and you will be rescued.”[10]

‘He was all eloquence; they were convinced; and we were subjected to this dreadful operation. The imam applied to our wounds the ointment they use on boys who have just been circumcised. We were all at death’s door.

‘Scarcely had the janissaries finished the meal with which we had supplied them, than the Russians arrived on flat-bottomed boats: not a single janissary escaped alive. The Russians paid not the slightest attention to the condition we were in. But wherever you go in this world there are French physicians; one of whom, who happened to be very skilful, took us into his care; he cured us, and as long as I live I shall never forget how, once my wounds had properly healed, he propositioned me. For the rest, he told us all to cheer up, and assured us that this sort of thing happened all the time in sieges, and that it was the rule of war.

‘As soon as my companions could walk, they were made to travel to Moscow. As for me, in the division of spoils I fell to the lot of a boyar,[11] who made me his gardener and gave me twenty lashes a day. But two years later, after this gentleman was broken on the wheel along with thirty other boyars on account of some petty intrigue at Court, I took my chance and fled; I crossed the whole of Russia; for many years I served in taverns, first in Riga, then in Rostock, then Wismar, then Leipzig, then Kassel, then Utrecht, then Leiden, then The Hague and Rotterdam. I have grown old in poverty and shame, having only one buttock, but always mindful that I was the daughter of a pope. A hundred Times I have wanted en kill myself, but I was still in love with life. This absurd weakness is perhaps one of our deadliest attachments: can anything be more foolish than to keep carrying a fardel[12] and yet keep wanting to throw it to the ground? To hold one’s existence in horror, and yet cling to it? In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us, until it has eaten away our heart?

‘In those countries through which fate has led me, and in the taverns where I have served, I have seen a prodigious number of individuals who held their lives in contempt; but only a dozen who voluntarily put an end [Q their misery: three negroes, four Englishmen, four Genevans and a German professor named Robeck.[13] I ended up as servant to the Jew Don Issacar; he placed me in your service, dear young lady; I attached myself to your destiny, and have been more concerned with your adventures than with my own. Indeed I would never have spoken of my misfortunes, had you not provoked me some- what, and were it not customary on board ship to tell stories to pass the time. In short, Mademoiselle, I have lived, and I know the world; why not amuse yourself and invite each passenger to tell his story; if you find a single one of them who has not repeatedly cursed his existence, who has nor repeatedly told himself that he is the unhappiest man alive, then you may throw me into the sea head first.’


Chapter 9
[1] Jerusalem was captured in 596 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon; the Jewish king together with his court were taken in captivity to Babylon.
[2] Old Portuguese gold currency; moidores are replaced by pistoles (a French term for the Spanish esclldo) in chapters 10 and 22.
[3] The Holy Brotherhood of the Inquisition, a semi-religious order with police powers, active in eighteenrh-century Spain.
[4] An invented name.

Chapter 10
[1] Here and elsewhere (chapters 15 and 16) Pangloss’s utopian socialism parrots the arguments of Rousseau’s Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité (Discourse On the Origins of Inequality, 1755), whose proposal thilt all men are equal in a state of nature, and that social inequalities are artificial, had heen ironized by Voltaire: ‘I have received, Monsieur, your new work against the human species ... Never has so much wit been expended in an effort to make brutes of us all. Reading your book makes one feel like crawling on all fours’ (letter to Rousseau, 30 August 1755).
[2] A Spanish copper coin of little value.
[3] The Benedictines were thought to be very wealthy.
[4] The names are real. hut the itinerary is fantastical. Cadiz was the centre of trade with Spanish America. Voltaire invested heavily in this trade. In 1756 he had invested part of his capital in the fitting-out of a ship to transport Spanish troops from Cadiz, to quell a Paraguayan Indian uprising, supposedly backed by the Jesuits (the ship was named the Pascal, after their Jansenist enemy). Candide, Cunégonde and the old woman embark on a ship effectively owned by Voltaire.
[5] Eighteenth-century Paraguay covered a far greater area than today, much of it controlled by Jesuit missions. In 1750 the Spanish government ceded the town of San Sacramento - situated inside the mission settlements - to Portugal; the Indians rebelled against the prospect of passing under Portuguese rule, and the Jesuits were held responsible (in Voltaire’s manuscript, ‘who were accused of having incited’ reads: ‘who had incited’). In 1755 Spain and Portugal sent an expedition to repress the uprising, and guerilla activity continued for several years; Candide becomes - briefly - a commanding officer on such an expedition.
[6] ‘If all is well, how can the followers of Leibniz concede that one world could be better than another? This idea of a hetter world, is it not proof in itself that all is not well?’ (Voltaire, letter to Elie Bertrand, 18 February 1756).
[7] Voltaire had at first written ‘seventy- one’, but this number of heraldic quarterings on a coat of arms was considered insufficient in Westphalia (chapter I, note I).

Chapter 11
[1] A non-existent Pope. Voltaire had originally written ‘Clement XII’, an actual and recent Pope. According to his secretary Wagnière, he intended to add the following footnote, which appeared only in posthumous editions of Candide: ‘Note the extreme discretion of our author at this point! Until now there has never been a Pope Urban X. He is afraid to attribute a bastard daughter to an existent Pope. What circumspection! What delicacy of conscience!’ Palestrina was an Italian principality, near Rome, which produced a Pope named ... Urban VIII.
[2] A small ltalian duchy in Tuscany.
[3] An Italian port, north of Naples.
[4] A Moroccan port, near Rabat, and in the eighteenth century a notorious centre of piracy targeted at Christian vessels. It is likewise a corsair from Salé that swoops in Daniel Defoe’s (1660-1731) Robinson Crusoe (1719).
[5] ‘At the point of death’. Only priests are authorized to give absolution, but in their despair the soldiers have lost all sense of the proprieties and are demanding Christian absolutions of a Muslim pirate.
[6] An order of soldier-monks based in Malta, whose mission was to defend Christian pilgrims against the infidel.
[7] Emperor of Morocco, who reigned ruthlessly for over fifty years, and whose sons (two, not fifty) engaged in a protracted struggle for power after his death in 1727.
[8] Voltaire, like Bayle before him, denies any connection between religious protocol and ethical conduct.
[9] Italian. “ Oh, what a misfortune to be without testicles!” The man who utters these words is a castrato, a singer emasculated as a boy to preserve the soprano or contralto range of his voice.

Chapter 12
[1] An allusion to the Neapolitan castrato Farinelli (1705-82), celebrated for his voice and subsequently for his role as advisor to the Spanish kings Philip V and Ferdinand VI. Paul Valéry (1871-1945) remarked on the frequency with which Jesuits and eunuchs appear in eighteenth-century satire - Jesuits as a punishment for having educated most of the writers concerned, but why so many eunuchs? ‘I wonder is there a secret and profound reason for the almost obligatory presence of these figures, so cruelly separated from so many things, and in some sense cut off from themselves?’ (Preface to the Baron de Montesquieu’s (1689-1755) Lettres persanes (Persian Letters, Paris, 1926)).
[2] This refers to the negotiations by certain enemies of France, such as Portugal, to ally themselves with Muley Ismael at the outset of the War of Spanish Succession (1701-13). Voltaire’s target is Christians arming Moors against other Christians, and more generally, the economic basis of modern warfare. Cf. The Age of Louis XIV, chapter 18.
[3] An African port opposite Gibraltar.
[4] Algeria was a dependency of the Sultan of Constantinople, whose representative was the Dey, or governor.
[5] Epidemics of the ‘Black Death’ (bubonic plague) continued to ravage the Mediterranean during the eighteenth century, notably in Marseilles in 1720, and Messina in 1743.
[6] Slaves, prisoners, or captured Christians who serve as mercenary infantrymen under the command of the aga.
[7] Peter the Great had captured the port of Azov from the Turks after a protracted siege (1695-7). which gave Russia an outlet on the Black Sea.
[8] The Roman name for the sea of Azov. a swampy lake outside the city.
[9] A Muslim cleric.
[10] Voltaire came across references to buttock-eating in a history of the Celtic peoples published in 1741, which in turn cites St. Jerome, according to whom the Scots would feast on the buttocks of young boys, and the breasts of young girls, when they had no game to eat. (Cf. the entry ‘Anthropophages’. Philosophical Dictionary. pp. 38-40 ).
[11] Russian minor nobility, repressed and abolished by Peter the Great, in 169S, after a conspiracy was discovered {’the petty intrigue at Court’ mentioned beIow). The leaders were tortured by being broken on the wheel. (Cf. Voltaire’s Histoire de la Russie sous Pierre Ie Grand (History of the Russian Empire, 1759). chapters 8 and 10).
[12] The old woman appears to be recalling Hamlet’s soliloquy on suicide (’Who would these fardels bear?’ III. i, 75).
[13] Negroes: an allusion to the high suicide rate among negro slaves. Englishmen: the English were thought in the eighteenth century to be especially prone to melancholy and suicide. Genevans: added to the list in 1761. probably as a jibe at Rousseau, whose La Nouuelle Héloise (The New Eloise, 1761, with its two letters on suicide, nos. 21-2) Voltaire had read in the interim. Robeck: Johann Robeck. a Swede, wrote a treatise advocating suicide in 1736, before following his own example and drowning himself in the river Weser at Bremcn in 1739. The debate about suicide had an important place in eighteenth-century philosophy and letters, because it acutely focused issues of Christian morality and human contradiction; Voltaire had no doctrinal objections to suicide and he debated the question on several occasions. <