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Chapter 5 – A Tempest, a Shipwreck, an Earthquake, and What Else Befell Dr. Pangloss, Candide, and James, the Anabaptist

VoltaireNov 03, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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One half of the passengers, weakened and half-dead with the
inconceivable anxiety and sickness which the rolling of a vessel at
sea occasions through the whole human frame, were lost to all sense of
the danger that surrounded them. The others made loud outcries, or
betook themselves to their prayers; the sails were blown into
shreds, and the masts were brought by the board. The vessel was a
total wreck. Everyone was busily employed, but nobody could be
either heard or obeyed. The Anabaptist, being upon deck, lent a
helping hand as well as the rest, when a brutish sailor gave him a
blow and laid him speechless; but, not withstanding, with the violence
of the blow the tar himself tumbled headforemost overboard, and fell
upon a piece of the broken mast, which he immediately grasped.

Honest James, forgetting the injury he had so lately received from
him, flew to his assistance, and, with great difficulty, hauled him in
again, but, not withstanding, in the attempt, was, by a sudden jerk of
the ship, thrown overboard himself, in sight of the very fellow whom
he had risked his life to save and who took not the least notice of
him in this distress. Candide, who beheld all that passed and saw
his benefactor one moment rising above water, and the next swallowed
up by the merciless waves, was preparing to jump after him, but was
prevented by the philosopher Pangloss, who demonstrated to him that
the roadstead of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the Anabaptist to
be drowned there. While he was proving his argument a priori, the ship
foundered, and the whole crew perished, except Pangloss, Candide,
and the sailor who had been the means of drowning the good Anabaptist.
The villain swam ashore; but Pangloss and Candide reached the land
upon a plank.

As soon as they had recovered from their surprise and fatigue they
walked towards Lisbon; with what little money they had left they
thought to save themselves from starving after having escaped
drowning.

Scarcely had they ceased to lament the loss of their benefactor
and set foot in the city, when they perceived that the earth
trembled under their feet, and the sea, swelling and foaming in the
harbor, was dashing in pieces the vessels that were riding at
anchor. Large sheets of flames and cinders covered the streets and
public places; the houses tottered, and were tumbled topsy-turvy
even to their foundations, which were themselves destroyed, and thirty
thousand inhabitants of both sexes, young and old, were buried beneath
the ruins.

The sailor, whistling and swearing, cried, “Damn it, there’s
something to be got here.”

“What can be the sufficing reason of this phenomenon?” said
Pangloss.

“It is certainly the day of judgment,” said Candide.

The sailor, defying death in the pursuit of plunder, rushed into the
midst of the ruin, where he found some money, with which he got drunk,
and, after he had slept himself sober he purchased the favors of the
first good-natured wench that came in his way, amidst the ruins of
demolished houses and the groans of half-buried and expiring persons.

Pangloss pulled him by the sleeve. “Friend,” said he, “this is not
right, you trespass against the universal reason, and have mistaken
your time.”

“Death and zounds!” answered the other, “I am a sailor and was
born at Batavia, and have trampled four times upon the crucifix in
as many voyages to Japan; you have come to a good hand with your
universal reason.”

In the meantime, Candide, who had been wounded by some pieces of
stone that fell from the houses, lay stretched in the street, almost
covered with rubbish.

“For God’s sake,” said he to Pangloss, “get me a little wine and
oil! I am dying.”

“This concussion of the earth is no new thing,” said Pangloss,
“the city of Lima in South America experienced the same last year; the
same cause, the same effects; there is certainly a train of sulphur
all the way underground from Lima to Lisbon.”

“Nothing is more probable,” said Candide; “but for the love of God a
little oil and wine.”

“Probable!” replied the philosopher, “I maintain that the thing is
demonstrable.”

Candide fainted away, and Pangloss fetched him some water from a
neighboring spring. The next day, in searching among the ruins, they
found some eatables with which they repaired their exhausted strength.
After this they assisted the inhabitants in relieving the distressed
and wounded. Some, whom they had humanely assisted, gave them as
good a dinner as could be expected under such terrible
circumstances. The repast, indeed, was mournful, and the company
moistened their bread with their tears; but Pangloss endeavored to
comfort them under this affliction by affirming that things could
not be otherwise that they were.

“For,” said he, “all this is for the very best end, for if there
is a volcano at Lisbon it could be in no other spot; and it is
impossible but things should be as they are, for everything is for the
best.”

By the side of the preceptor sat a little man dressed in black,
who was one of the familiars of the Inquisition. This person, taking
him up with great complaisance, said, “Possibly, my good sir, you do
not believe in original sin; for, if everything is best, there could
have been no such thing as the fall or punishment of man.”

Your Excellency will pardon me,” answered Pangloss, still more
politely; “for the fall of man and the curse consequent thereupon
necessarily entered into the system of the best of worlds.”

“That is as much as to say, sir,” rejoined the familiar, “you do not
believe in free will.”

“Your Excellency will be so good as to excuse me,” said Pangloss,
“free will is consistent with absolute necessity; for it was necessary
we should be free, for in that the will-”

Pangloss was in the midst of his proposition, when the familiar
beckoned to his attendant to help him to a glass of port wine.

 

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