François Marie Arouet de Voltaire (16941778). Candide, or The Optimist. 1884.
How Candide found his old Master Pangloss again, and what happened to them
CANDIDE, divided between compassion and horror, but giving way to the former, bestowed on this shocking figure the two florins which the honest Anabaptist James had just before given to him. The spectre looked at him very earnestly, shed tears, and threw his arms about his neck. Candide started back aghast. Alas! said the one wretch to the other, dont you know your dear Pangloss? What do I hear? Is it you, my dear masteryou I behold in this piteous plight? What dreadful misfortune has befallen you? What has made you leave the most magnificent and delightful of all castles? What has become of Miss Cunegund, the mirror of young ladies, and Natures masterpiece? Oh Lord! cried Pangloss, I am so weak I cannot stand; upon which Candide instantly led him to the Anabaptists stable, and procured him something to eat. As soon as Pangloss had a little refreshed himself, Candide began to repeat his inquiries concerning Miss Cunegund. She is dead, replied the other. Dead! cried Candide, and immediately fainted away. His friend recovered him by the help of a little bad vinegar, which he found by chance in the stable. Candide opened his eyes, and again repeated, Dead! Is Miss Cunegund dead? Ah, where is the best of worlds now? But of what illness did she die? Was it for grief upon seeing her father kick me out of his magnificent castle? No, replied Pangloss. Her body was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers after they had ravished her as much as it was possible for damsel to be ravished. They knocked the baron her father on the head for attempting to defend her; my lady her mother was cut in pieces; my poor pupil was served just in the same manner as his sister; and as for the castle, they have not left one stone upon another. They have destroyed all the ducks and the sheep, the barns and the trees; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing in a neighbouring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.
At hearing this, Candide fainted away a second time, but having come to himself again, he said all that it became him to say. He inquired into the cause and effect, as well as into the sufficing reason, that had reduced Pangloss to so miserable a condition. Alas, replied the preceptor, it was love; love, the comfort of the human species; love, the preserver of the universe the soul of all sensible beings; love, tender love! Alas, replied Candide, I have had some knowledge of love myself, this sovereign of hearts, this soul of souls; yet it never cost me more than a kiss and twenty kicks in the rear. But how could this beautiful cause produce in you so hideous an effect?
Pangloss made answer in these terms: Oh, my dear Candide, you must remember Pacquette, that pretty wench who waited on our noble baroness; in her arms I tasted the pleasures of paradise, which produced these hell torments with which you see me devoured. She was infected with disease, and perhaps is since dead of it. She received this present of a learned cordelier, who derived it from the fountain-head. He was indebted for it to an old countess, who had it of a captain of horse, who had it of a marchioness, who had it of a page, the page had it of a Jesuit, who during his noviciate had it in a direct line from one of the fellow-adventurers of Christopher Columbus. For my part, I shall give it to nobody. I am a dying man.
O sage Pangloss, cried Candide, what a strange genealogy is this. Is not the devil the root of it? Not at all, replied the great man; it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which is evidently opposite to the great end of nature, we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal. It is also to be observed that, even to the present time, in this continent of ours, this malady, like our religious controversies, is peculiar to ourselves. The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese, and the Japanese are entirely unacquainted with it; but there is a sufficing reason for them to know it in a few centuries. In the meantime, it is making prodigious havoc among us, especially in those armies composed of well-disciplined hirelings, who determine the fate of nations; for we may safely affirm that, when an army of 30,000 men fights another equal in number, there are about 20,000 of them so diseased on each side.
Very surprising, indeed, said Candide, but you must get cured. Lord help me! how can I? said Pangloss. My dear friend, I have not a penny in the world; and you know one cannot be bled or have a glister without a fee. This last speech had its effect on Candide. He flew to the charitable Anabaptist James. He flung himself at his feet, and gave him so striking a picture of the miserable situation of his friend, that the good man, without any further hesitation, agreed to take Doctor Pangloss into his house and to pay for his cure. The cure was effected with only the loss of one eye and an ear. As he wrote a good hand and understood accounts tolerably well, the Anabaptist made him his bookkeeper. At the expiration of two months, being obliged to go to Lisbon about some mercantile affairs, he took the two philosophers with him in the same ship. Pangloss during the course of the voyage explained to him how everything was so constituted that it could not be better. James did not quite agree with him on this point. Mankind, said he, must in some things have deviated from their original innocence; for they were not born wolves, and yet they worry one another like those beasts of prey. God never gave them twenty-four pounders nor bayonets, and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another. To this account I might add not only bankruptcies, but the law which seizes on the effects of bankrupts, only to cheat the creditors. All this was indispensably necessary, replied the one-eyed doctor; for private misfortunes are public benefits; so that the more private misfortunes there are the greater is the general good. While he was arguing in this manner the sky was overcast, the winds blew from the four quarters of the compass, and the ship was assailed by a most terrible tempest, within sight of the port of Lisbon.