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Chapter 30 – Conclusion

VoltaireNov 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Candide had, in truth, no great inclination to marry Miss
Cunegund; but the extreme impertinence of the Baron determined him
to conclude the match; and Cunegund pressed him so warmly, that he
could not recant. He consulted Pangloss, Martin, and the faithful
Cacambo. Pangloss composed a fine memorial, by which he proved that
the Baron had no right over his sister; and that she might,
according to all the laws of the Empire, marry Candide with the left
hand. Martin concluded to throw the Baron into the sea; Cacambo
decided that he must be delivered to the Turkish captain and sent to
the galleys; after which he should be conveyed by the first ship to
the Father General at Rome. This advice was found to be good; the
old woman approved of it, and not a syllable was said to his sister;
the business was executed for a little money; and they had the
pleasure of tricking a Jesuit, and punishing the pride of a German
baron.

It was altogether natural to imagine, that after undergoing so
many disasters, Candide, married to his mistress and living with the
philosopher Pangloss, the philosopher Martin, the prudent Cacambo, and
the old woman, having besides brought home so many diamonds from the
country of the ancient Incas, would lead the most agreeable life in
the world. But he had been so robbed by the Jews, that he had
nothing left but his little farm; his wife, every day growing more and
more ugly, became headstrong and insupportable; the old woman was
infirm, and more ill-natured yet than Cunegund. Cacambo, who worked in
the garden, and carried the produce of it to sell in Constantinople,
was above his labor, and cursed his fate. Pangloss despaired of making
a figure in any of the German universities. And as to Martin, he was
firmly persuaded that a person is equally ill-situated everywhere.
He took things with patience.

Candide, Martin, and Pangloss disputed sometimes about metaphysics
and morality. Boats were often seen passing under the windows of the
farm laden with effendis, bashaws, and cadis, that were going into
banishment to Lemnos, Mytilene and Erzerum. And other cadis,
bashaws, and effendis were seen coming back to succeed the place of
the exiles, and were driven out in their turns. They saw several heads
curiously stuck upon poles, and carried as presents to the Sublime
Porte. Such sights gave occasion to frequent dissertations; and when
no disputes were in progress, the irksomeness was so excessive that
the old woman ventured one day to tell them:

“I would be glad to know which is worst, to be ravished a hundred
times by Negro pirates, to have one buttock cut off, to run the
gauntlet among the Bulgarians, to be whipped and hanged at an
auto-da-fe, to be dissected, to be chained to an oar in a galley; and,
in short, to experience all the miseries through which every one of us
hath passed, or to remain here doing nothing?”

“This,” said Candide, “is a grand question.”

This discourse gave birth to new reflections, and Martin
especially concluded that man was born to live in the convulsions of
disquiet, or in the lethargy of idleness. Though Candide did not
absolutely agree to this, yet he did not determine anything on that
head. Pangloss avowed that he had undergone dreadful sufferings; but
having once maintained that everything went on as well as possible, he
still maintained it, and at the same time believed nothing of it.

There was one thing which more than ever confirmed Martin in his
detestable principles, made Candide hesitate, and embarrassed
Pangloss, which was the arrival of Pacquette and Brother Giroflee
one day at their farm. This couple had been in the utmost distress;
they had very speedily made away with their three thousand piastres;
they had parted, been reconciled; quarreled again, been thrown into
prison; had made their escape, and at last Brother Giroflee had turned
Turk. Pacquette still continued to follow her trade; but she got
little or nothing by it.

“I foresaw very well,” said Martin to Candide “that your presents
would soon be squandered, and only make them more miserable. You and
Cacambo have spent millions of piastres, and yet you are not more
happy than Brother Giroflee and Pacquette.”

“Ah!” said Pangloss to Pacquette, “it is Heaven that has brought you
here among us, my poor child! Do you know that you have cost me the
tip of my nose, one eye, and one ear? What a handsome shape is here!
and what is this world!”

This new adventure engaged them more deeply than ever in
philosophical disputations.

In the neighborhood lived a famous dervish who passed for the best
philosopher in Turkey; they went to consult him: Pangloss, who was
their spokesman, addressed him thus:

“Master, we come to entreat you to tell us why so strange an
animal as man has been formed?”

“Why do you trouble your head about it?” said the dervish; “is it
any business of yours?”

“But, Reverend Father,” said Candide, “there is a horrible deal of
evil on the earth.”

“What signifies it,” said the dervish, “whether there is evil or
good? When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt does he trouble his head
whether the rats in the vessel are at their ease or not?”

“What must then be done?” said Pangloss.

“Be silent,” answered the dervish.

“I flattered myself,” replied Pangloss, “to have reasoned a little
with you on the causes and effects, on the best of possible worlds,
the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, and a pre-established
harmony.”

At these words the dervish shut the door in their faces.

During this conversation, news was spread abroad that two viziers of
the bench and the mufti had just been strangled at Constantinople, and
several of their friends impaled. This catastrophe made a great
noise for some hours. Pangloss, Candide, and Martin, as they were
returning to the little farm, met with a good-looking old man, who was
taking the air at his door, under an alcove formed of the boughs of
orange trees. Pangloss, who was as inquisitive as he was
disputative, asked him what was the name of the mufti who was lately
strangled.

“I cannot tell,” answered the good old man; “I never knew the name
of any mufti, or vizier breathing. I am entirely ignorant of the event
you speak of; I presume that in general such as are concerned in
public affairs sometimes come to a miserable end; and that they
deserve it: but I never inquire what is doing at Constantinople; I
am contented with sending thither the produce of my garden, which I
cultivate with my own hands.”

After saying these words, he invited the strangers to come into
his house. His two daughters and two sons presented them with divers
sorts of sherbet of their own making; besides caymac, heightened
with the peels of candied citrons, oranges, lemons, pineapples,
pistachio nuts, and Mocha coffee unadulterated with the bad coffee
of Batavia or the American islands. After which the two daughters of
this good Mussulman perfumed the beards of Candide, Pangloss, and
Martin.

“You must certainly have a vast estate,” said Candide to the Turk.

“I have no more than twenty acres of ground,” he replied, “the whole
of which I cultivate myself with the help of my children; and our
labor keeps off from us three great evils-idleness, vice, and want.”

Candide, as he was returning home, made profound reflections on
the Turk’s discourse.

“This good old man,” said he to Pangloss and Martin, “appears to
me to have chosen for himself a lot much preferable to that of the six
Kings with whom we had the honor to sup.”

“Human grandeur,” said Pangloss, “is very dangerous, if we believe
the testimonies of almost all philosophers; for we find Eglon, King of
Moab, was assassinated by Aod; Absalom was hanged by the hair of his
head, and run through with three darts; King Nadab, son of Jeroboam,
was slain by Baaza; King Ela by Zimri; Okosias by Jehu; Athaliah by
Jehoiada; the Kings Jehooiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, were led
into captivity: I need not tell you what was the fate of Croesus,
Astyages, Darius, Dionysius of Syracuse, Pyrrhus, Perseus, Hannibal,
Jugurtha, Ariovistus, Caesar, Pompey, Nero, Otho, Vitellius, Domitian,
Richard II of England, Edward II, Henry VI, Richard Ill, Mary
Stuart, Charles I, the three Henrys of France, and the Emperor Henry
IV.”

“Neither need you tell me,” said Candide, “that we must take care of
our garden.”

“You are in the right,” said Pangloss; “for when man was put into
the garden of Eden, it was with an intent to dress it; and this proves
that man was not born to be idle.”

“Work then without disputing,” said Martin; “it is the only way to
render life supportable.”

The little society, one and all, entered into this laudable design
and set themselves to exert their different talents. The little
piece of ground yielded them a plentiful crop. Cunegund indeed was
very ugly, but she became an excellent hand at pastrywork: Pacquette
embroidered; the old woman had the care of the linen. There was
none, down to Brother Giroflee, but did some service; he was a very
good carpenter, and became an honest man. Pangloss used now and then
to say to Candide:

“There is a concatenation of all events in the best of possible
worlds; for, in short, had you not been kicked out of a fine castle
for the love of Miss Cunegund; had you not been put into the
Inquisition; had you not traveled over America on foot; had you not
run the Baron through the body; and had you not lost all your sheep,
which you brought from the good country of El Dorado, you would not
have been here to eat preserved citrons and pistachio nuts.”

“Excellently observed,” answered Candide; “but let us cultivate
our garden.”

-THE END-
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