Chapter 2 – What Befell Candide among the Bulgarians

Voltaire2016年11月03日'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Candide, thus driven out of this terrestrial paradise, rambled a
long time without knowing where he went; sometimes he raised his eyes,
all bedewed with tears, towards heaven, and sometimes he cast a
melancholy look towards the magnificent castle, where dwelt the
fairest of young baronesses. He laid himself down to sleep in a
furrow, heartbroken, and supperless. The snow fell in great flakes,
and, in the morning when he awoke, he was almost frozen to death;
however, he made shift to crawl to the next town, which was called
Wald-berghoff-trarbkdikdorff, without a penny in his pocket, and
half dead with hunger and fatigue. He took up his stand at the door of
an inn. He had not been long there before two men dressed in blue
fixed their eyes steadfastly upon him.

“Faith, comrade,” said one of them to the other, “yonder is a well
made young fellow and of the right size.” Upon which they made up to
Candide and with the greatest civility and politeness invited him to
dine with them.

“Gentlemen,” replied Candide, with a most engaging modesty, you do
me much honor, but upon my word I have no money.”

“Money, sir!” said one of the blues to him, “young persons of your
appearance and merit never pay anything; why, are not you five feet
five inches high?”

“Yes, gentlemen, that is really my size,” replied he, with a low

“Come then, sir, sit down along with us; we will not only pay your
reckoning, but will never suffer such a clever young fellow as you
to want money. Men were born to assist one another.”

“You are perfectly right, gentlemen,” said Candide, “this is
precisely the doctrine of Master Pangloss; and I am convinced that
everything is for the best.”

His generous companions next entreated him to accept of a few
crowns, which he readily complied with, at the same time offering them
his note for the payment, which they refused, and sat down to table.

“Have you not a great affection for-”

“O yes! I have a great affection for the lovely Miss Cunegund.”

“Maybe so,” replied one of the blues, “but that is not the question!
We ask you whether you have not a great affection for the King of
the Bulgarians?”

“For the King of the Bulgarians?” said Candide. “Oh, Lord! not at
all, why I never saw him in my life.”

“Is it possible? Oh, he is a most charming king! Come, we must drink
his health.”

“With all my heart, gentlemen,” said Candide, and off he tossed
his glass.

“Bravo!” cried the blues; “you are now the support, the defender,
the hero of the Bulgarians; your fortune is made; you are in the
high road to glory.”

So saying, they handcuffed him, and carried him away to the
regiment. There he was made to wheel about to the right, to the
left, to draw his rammer, to return his rammer, to present, to fire,
to march, and they gave him thirty blows with a cane; the next day
he performed his exercise a little better, and they gave him but
twenty; the day following he came off with ten, and was looked upon as
a young fellow of surprising genius by all his comrades.

Candide was struck with amazement, and could not for the soul of him
conceive how he came to be a hero. One fine spring morning, he took it
into his head to take a walk, and he marched straight forward,
conceiving it to be a privilege of the human species, as well as of
the brute creation, to make use of their legs how and when they
pleased. He had not gone above two leagues when he was overtaken by
four other heroes, six feet high, who bound him neck and heels, and
carried him to a dungeon. A courtmartial sat upon him, and he was
asked which he liked better, to run the gauntlet six and thirty
times through the whole regiment, or to have his brains blown out with
a dozen musket-balls?

In vain did he remonstrate to them that the human will is free,
and that he chose neither; they obliged him to make a choice, and he
determined, in virtue of that divine gift called free will, to run the
gauntlet six and thirty times.

He had gone through his discipline twice, and the regiment being
composed of 2,000 men, they composed for him exactly 4,000 strokes,
which laid bare all his muscles and nerves from the nape of his neck
to his stern. As they were preparing to make him set out the third
time our young hero, unable to support it any longer, begged as a
favor that they would be so obliging as to shoot him through the head;
the favor being granted, a bandage was tied over his eyes, and he
was made to kneel down.

At that very instant, His Bulgarian Majesty happening to pass by
made a stop, and inquired into the delinquent’s crime, and being a
prince of great penetration, he found, from what he heard of
Candide, that he was a young metaphysician, entirely ignorant of the
world; and therefore, out of his great clemency, he condescended to
pardon him, for which his name will be celebrated in every journal,
and in every age. A skillful surgeon made a cure of the flagellated
Candide in three weeks by means of emollient unguents prescribed by
Dioscorides. His sores were now skimmed over and he was able to march,
when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abares.


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