Chapter 3 – How Candide Escaped from the Bulgarians and What Befell Him Afterward

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

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Never was anything so gallant, so well accoutred, so brilliant,
and so finely disposed as the two armies. The trumpets, fifes,
hautboys, drums, and cannon made such harmony as never was heard in
Hell itself. The entertainment began by a discharge of cannon,
which, in the twinkling of an eye, laid flat about 6,000 men on each
side. The musket bullets swept away, out of the best of all possible
worlds, nine or ten thousand scoundrels that infested its surface. The
bayonet was next the sufficient reason of the deaths of several
thousands. The whole might amount to thirty thousand souls. Candide
trembled like a philosopher, and concealed himself as well as he could
during this heroic butchery.

At length, while the two kings were causing Te Deums to be sung in
their camps, Candide took a resolution to go and reason somewhere else
upon causes and effects. After passing over heaps of dead or dying
men, the first place he came to was a neighboring village, in the
Abarian territories, which had been burned to the ground by the
Bulgarians, agreeably to the laws of war. Here lay a number of old men
covered with wounds, who beheld their wives dying with their throats
cut, and hugging their children to their breasts, all stained with
blood. There several young virgins, whose bodies had been ripped open,
after they had satisfied the natural necessities of the Bulgarian
heroes, breathed their last; while others, half-burned in the
flames, begged to be dispatched out of the world. The ground about
them was covered with the brains, arms, and legs of dead men.

Candide made all the haste he could to another village, which
belonged to the Bulgarians, and there he found the heroic Abares had
enacted the same tragedy. Thence continuing to walk over palpitating
limbs, or through ruined buildings, at length he arrived beyond the
theater of war, with a little provision in his budget, and Miss
Cunegund’s image in his heart. When he arrived in Holland his
provision failed him; but having heard that the inhabitants of that
country were all rich and Christians, he made himself sure of being
treated by them in the same manner as the Baron’s castle, before he
had been driven thence through the power of Miss Cunegund’s bright

He asked charity of several grave-looking people, who one and all
answered him, that if he continued to follow this trade they would
have him sent to the house of correction, where he should be taught to
get his bread.

He next addressed himself to a person who had just come from
haranguing a numerous assembly for a whole hour on the subject of
charity. The orator, squinting at him under his broadbrimmed hat,
asked him sternly, what brought him thither and whether he was for the
good old cause?

“Sir,” said Candide, in a submissive manner, “I conceive there can
be no effect without a cause; everything is necessarily concatenated
and arranged for the best. It was necessary that I should be
banished from the presence of Miss Cunegund; that I should
afterwards run the gauntlet; and it is necessary I should beg my
bread, till I am able to get it. All this could not have been

“Hark ye, friend,” said the orator, “do you hold the Pope to be

“Truly, I never heard anything about it,” said Candide, “but whether
he is or not, I am in want of something to eat.”

“Thou deservest not to eat or to drink,” replied the orator,
“wretch, monster, that thou art! hence! avoid my sight, nor ever
come near me again while thou livest.”

The orator’s wife happened to put her head out of the window at that
instant, when, seeing a man who doubted whether the Pope was
Antichrist, she discharged upon his head a utensil full of water. Good
heavens, to what excess does religious zeal transport womankind!

A man who had never been christened, an honest Anabaptist named
James, was witness to the cruel and ignominious treatment showed to
one of his brethren, to a rational, two-footed, unfledged being. Moved
with pity he carried him to his own house, caused him to be cleaned,
gave him meat and drink, and made him a present of two florins, at the
same time proposing to instruct him in his own trade of weaving
Persian silks, which are fabricated in Holland.

Candide, penetrated with so much goodness, threw himself at his
feet, crying, “Now I am convinced that my Master Pangloss told me
truth when he said that everything was for the best in this world; for
I am infinitely more affected with your extraordinary generosity
than with the inhumanity of that gentleman in the black cloak and
his wife.”


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