Chapter 24 – Of Pacquette and Friar Giroflee

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Upon their arrival at Venice Candide went in search of Cacambo at
every inn and coffee-house, and among all the ladies of pleasure,
but could hear nothing of him. He sent every day to inquire what ships
were in, still no news of Cacambo.

“It is strange,” said he to Martin, “very strange that I should have
time to sail from Surinam to Bordeaux; to travel thence to Paris, to
Dieppe, to Portsmouth; to sail along the coast of Portugal and
Spain, and up the Mediterranean to spend some months at Venice; and
that my lovely Cunegund should not have arrived. Instead of her, I
only met with a Parisian impostor, and a rascally abbe of Perigord.
Cunegund is actually dead, and I have nothing to do but follow her.
Alas! how much better would it have been for me to have remained in
the paradise of El Dorado than to have returned to this cursed Europe!
You are in the right, my dear Martin; you are certainly in the
right; all is misery and deceit.”

He fell into a deep melancholy, and neither went to the opera then
in vogue, nor partook of any of the diversions of the Carnival; nay,
he even slighted the fair sex.

Martin said to him, “Upon my word, I think you are very simple to
imagine that a rascally valet, with five or six millions in his
pocket, would go in search of your mistress to the further of the
world, and bring her to Venice to meet you. If he finds her he will
take her for himself; if he does not, he will take another. Let me
advise you to forget your valet Cacambo, and your mistress Cunegund.”

Martin’s speech was not the most consolatory to the dejected
Candide. His melancholy increased, and Martin never ceased trying to
prove to him that there is very little virtue or happiness in this
world; except, perhaps, in El Dorado, where hardly anybody can gain

While they were disputing on this important subject, and still
expecting Miss Cunegund, Candide perceived a young Theatin friar in
the Piazza San Marco, with a girl under his arm. The Theatin looked
fresh-colored, plump, and vigorous; his eyes sparkled; his air and
gait were bold and lofty. The girl was pretty, and was singing a song;
and every now and then gave her Theatin an amorous ogle and wantonly
pinched his ruddy cheeks.

“You will at least allow,” said Candide to Martin, “that these two
are happy. Hitherto I have met with none but unfortunate people in the
whole habitable globe, except in El Dorado; but as to this couple, I
would venture to lay a wager they are happy.”

“Done!” said Martin, “they are not what you imagine.”

“Well, we have only to ask them to dine with us,” said Candide, “and
you will see whether I am mistaken or not.”

Thereupon he accosted them, and with great politeness invited them
to his inn to eat some macaroni, with Lombard partridges and caviar,
and to drink a bottle of Montepulciano, Lacryma Christi, Cyprus, and
Samos wine. The girl blushed; the Theatin accepted the invitation
and she followed him, eyeing Candide every now and then with a mixture
of surprise and confusion, while the tears stole down her cheeks. No
sooner did she enter his apartment than she cried out, “How,
Monsieur Candide, have you quite forgot your Pacquette? do you not
know her again?”

Candide had not regarded her with any degree of attention before,
being wholly occupied with the thoughts of his dear Cunegund.

“Ah! is it you, child? was it you that reduced Dr. Pangloss to
that fine condition I saw him in?”

“Alas! sir,” answered Pacquette, “it was I, indeed. I find you are
acquainted with everything; and I have been informed of all the
misfortunes that happened to the whole family of My Lady Baroness
and the fair Cunegund. But I can safely swear to you that my lot was
no less deplorable; I was innocence itself when you saw me last. A
Franciscan, who was my confessor, easily seduced me; the
consequences proved terrible. I was obliged to leave the castle some
time after the Baron kicked you out by the backside from there; and if
a famous surgeon had not taken compassion on me, I had been a dead
woman. Gratitude obliged me to live with him some time as his
mistress; his wife, who was a very devil for jealousy, beat me
unmercifully every day. Oh! she was a perfect fury. The doctor himself
was the most ugly of all mortals, and I the most wretched creature
existing, to be continually beaten for a man whom I did not love.
You are sensible, sir, how dangerous it was for an ill-natured woman
to be married to a physician. Incensed at the behavior of his wife, he
one day gave her so affectionate a remedy for a slight cold she had
caught that she died in less than two hours in most dreadful
convulsions. Her relations prosecuted the husband, who was obliged
to fly, and I was sent to prison. My innocence would not have saved
me, if I had not been tolerably handsome. The judge gave me my liberty
on condition he should succeed the doctor. However, I was soon
supplanted by a rival, turned off without a farthing, and obliged to
continue the abominable trade which you men think so pleasing, but
which to us unhappy creatures is the most dreadful of all
sufferings. At length I came to follow the business at Venice. Ah!
sir, did you but know what it is to be obliged to receive every
visitor; old tradesmen, counselors, monks, watermen, and abbes; to
be exposed to all their insolence and abuse; to be often
necessitated to borrow a petticoat, only that it may be taken up by
some disagreeable wretch; to be robbed by one gallant of what we get
from another; to be subject to the extortions of civil magistrates;
and to have forever before one’s eyes the prospect of old age, a
hospital, or a dunghill, you would conclude that I am one of the
most unhappy wretches breathing.”

Thus did Pacquette unbosom herself to honest Candide in his
closet, in the presence of Martin, who took occasion to say to him,
“You see I have half won the wager already.”

Friar Giroflee was all this time in the parlor refreshing himself
with a glass or two of wine till dinner was ready.

“But,” said Candide to Pacquette, “you looked so gay and
contented, when I met you, you sang and caressed the Theatin with so
much fondness, that I absolutely thought you as happy as you say you
are now miserable.”

“Ah! dear sir,” said Pacquette, “this is one of the miseries of
the trade; yesterday I was stripped and beaten by an officer; yet
today I must appear good humored and gay to please a friar.”

Candide was convinced and acknowledged that Martin was in the right.
They sat down to table with Pacquette and the Theatin; the
entertainment was agreeable, and towards the end they began to
converse together with some freedom.

“Father,” said Candide to the friar, “you seem to me to enjoy a
state of happiness that even kings might envy; joy and health are
painted in your countenance. You have a pretty wench to divert you;
and you seem to be perfectly well contented with your condition as a

“Faith, sir,” said Friar Giroflee, “I wish with all my soul the
Theatins were every one of them at the bottom of the sea. I have
been tempted a thousand times to set fire to the monastery and go
and turn Turk. My parents obliged me, at the age of fifteen, to put on
this detestable habit only to increase the fortune of an elder brother
of mine, whom God confound! jealousy, discord, and fury, reside in our
monastery. It is true I have preached often paltry sermons, by which I
have got a little money, part of which the prior robs me of, and the
remainder helps to pay my girls; but, not withstanding, at night, when
I go hence to my monastery, I am ready to dash my brains against the
walls of the dormitory; and this is the case with all the rest of
our fraternity.”

Martin, turning towards Candide, with his usual indifference,
said, “Well, what think you now? have I won the wager entirely?”

Candide gave two thousand piastres to Pacquette, and a thousand to
Friar Giroflee, saying, “I will answer that this will make them

“I am not of your opinion,” said Martin, “perhaps this money will
only make them wretched.”

“Be that as it may,” said Candide, “one thing comforts me; I see
that one often meets with those whom one never expected to see
again; so that, perhaps, as I have found my red sheep and Pacquette, I
may be lucky enough to find Miss Cunegund also.”

“I wish,” said Martin, “she one day may make you happy; but I
doubt it much.”

“You lack faith,” said Candide.

“It is because,” said Martin, “I have seen the world.”

“Observe those gondoliers,” said Candide, “are they not
perpetually singing?”

“You do not see them,” answered Martin, “at home with their wives
and brats. The doge has his chagrin, gondoliers theirs.
Nevertheless, in the main, I look upon the gondolier’s life as
preferable to that of the doge; but the difference is so trifling that
it is not worth the trouble of examining into.”

“I have heard great talk,” said Candide, “of the Senator
Pococurante, who lives in that fine house at the Brenta, where, they
say, he entertains foreigners in the most polite manner.”

“They pretend this man is a perfect stranger to uneasiness. I should
be glad to see so extraordinary a being,” said Martin.

Candide thereupon sent a messenger to Seignor Pococurante,
desiring permission to wait on him the next day.


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