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Voltaire: Candide – Conclusion

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Candide, in the depths of his heart, had no desire to marry Cunegonde; but the extreme impertinence of the baron determined him to conclude the marriage; and Cunegonde pressed him so hard that he could not withdraw from it. He consulted Pangloss, Martin, and the faithful Cacambo. Pangloss made a fine memorial by which he proved that the baron had no right over his sister, and that she could, according to all the laws of the empire, marry Candide with her left hand. Martin concludes to throw the baron into the sea; Cacambo decided that he should be returned to the levantio patron, and returned to the galleys, after which he would be sent to Rome to the father general by the first vessel. The opinion was found very good; the old woman approved it; it was said nothing to his sister; the thing was executed for some money, and they had the pleasure of catching a Jesuit, and punishing the pride of a German baron.

It was quite natural to imagine that after so many disasters, Candide married with his mistress, and living with the philosopher Pangloss, the philosopher Martin, the cautious Cacambo, and the old woman, having brought back so many diamonds from the motherland of the ancient Incas, would lead the world’s most pleasant life; but he was so much cheated by the Jews, that nothing remained to him but his little farm; his wife, becoming more ugly every day, became ungovernable and intolerable; the old woman was crippled, and was still in a worse mood than Cunegonde. Cacambo, who worked in the garden and was going to sell vegetables in Constantinople, was exhausted from work, and cursed his destiny. Pangloss was desperate not to shine in some German university. For Martin, he firmly believed that it is also bad everywhere; he took things patiently. Candide, Martin, and Pangloss sometimes disputed metaphysics and morals. There were often seen under the windows of the farmhouse boats laden with effendis, bachas, cadis, which were sent into exile to Lemnos, Mytilene, Erzeroum: there were other cadis coming, other bachas, other effendis, which took the place of the expelled, and who were expelled in their turn: one saw clean stuffed heads that were going to present to the sublime Porte. These spectacles were redoubling the dissertations; and when they did not argue, the boredom was so excessive that the old woman once dared to say to them:

I would like to know which is the worst, or to be violated a hundred times by Negro pirates, to have a buttock cut, to go through the baguettes with the Bulgarians, to be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, to be dissected, to rush into a galley, to finally experience all the miseries by which we have all passed, or to stay here doing nothing?

That’s a big question, said Candide.

This discourse gave rise to new reflections, and Martin especially concluded that man was born to live in the convulsions of anxiety, or in the lethargy of boredom. Candide did not agree, but he assured nothing. Pangloss confessed that he had always suffered horribly; but having once maintained that everything was going well, he always supported it, and did not believe it.

One thing finally confirmed Martin in his detestable principles, making Candide hesitate more than ever and embarrassing Pangloss. It is because they saw one day approach in their farm Paquette and the brother Giroflée, who were in the most extreme misery; they had quickly eaten their three thousand piastres, had parted, had mended, had quarreled, had been put in prison; had fled, and finally Brother Giroflee had become a Turk. Paquette continued his business everywhere, and gained nothing.

I had foreseen it, said Martin to Candide, that your presents would soon be dissipated, and would only make them more miserable. You have overflowed with millions of piastres, you and Cacambo, and you are no happier than Brother Giroflée and Paquette.

Ah! Ah! said Pangloss to Paquette, the sky brings you back here among us. My poor child! Do you know that you cost me the tip of the nose, an eye, and an ear? As you are done! Eh! What is this world! This new adventure engaged them to philosophize more than ever.

There was in the neighborhood a very famous dervish who passed for the best philosopher of Turkey; they went to consult him; Pangloss spoke and said to him,

“Master, we come to you to tell us why such a strange animal as man has been formed.

What are you mingling with? said the dervish; Is this your business?

But, reverend father, says Candide, there is horribly wrong on earth.

What does it matter, says the dervish, that there is evil or good? When his highness sends a ship into Egypt, is it embarrassed if the mice in the ship are at ease or not?

What must be done? Pangloss said.

“To shut up, said the dervish.

I flattered myself, said Pangloss, to reason a little with you about effects and causes, of the best of possible worlds, of the origin of evil, of the nature of the soul, and of pre-established harmony.

The dervish, at these words, shut the door in their faces.

During this conversation the news spread that two viziers of the bench and the muphti had been strangled in Constantinople, and that many of their friends had been impaled. This catastrophe was everywhere a big noise for a few hours. Pangloss, Candide, and Martin, on their way back to the little farm, met a good old man who was taking the fresh air at his door under a cradle of orange trees. Pangloss, who was as curious as he was reasoners, asked him what was the name of the muphti just strangled.

I do not know, said the good man, and I never knew the name of any mufti or vizier. I am absolutely ignorant of the adventure of which you speak to me; I presume that, in general, those who meddle in public affairs sometimes perish miserably, and deserve it; but I never inquire what is done in Constantinople; I am content to send there to sell the fruits of the garden that I cultivate. Having said these words, he brought the strangers into his house; his two daughters and two sons presented to them several kinds of sorbets which they made themselves, kaimak stuck with candied citron peels, oranges, lemons, limes, pineapples, dates, pistachios, Moka’s coffee was not mixed with the bad coffee of Batavia and islands. After which the two daughters of this good Muslim perfumed the beards of Candide, Pangloss, and Martin.

You must have, said Candide to the Turk, a vast and magnificent land?

I have only twenty acres, replied the Turk; I cultivate them with my children; work removes from us three great evils, boredom, vice, and need.

Candide, on returning to his farm, made deep reflections on the Turk’s speech. He said to Pangloss and Martin:

“This good old man seems to me to have done a lot better than the six kings with whom we had the honor of supping.

The nobles, says Pangloss, are very dangerous, according to the report of all the philosophers; for Eglon, king of the Moabites, was assassinated by Aod; Absalon was hanged by the hair and pierced with three darts; King Nadab, son of Jeroboam, was slain by Baasa; King Ela, by Zambri; Ochosias, by Jehu; Athaliah by Joiah; the kings Joachim, Jechoniah, Zedekiah were slaves. You know how Croesus, Astyage, Darius, Dionysius of Syracuse, Pyrrhus, Perseus, Annibal, Jugurtha, Ariovistus, Caesar, Pompey, Nero, Otho, Vitellius, Domitian, Richard II of England, Edward II, Henry VI, Richard III, perished. , Mary Stuart, Charles I, the three Henri of France, the Emperor Henry IV? You know …

I also know, says Candide, that we must cultivate our garden.

You are right, says Pangloss; for when man was put into the garden of Eden, he was put to work there, so that he might work; which proves that man is not born for rest.

Let’s work without thinking, says Martin, it’s the only way to make life bearable.

All the little society entered into this laudable design; each one began to exercise his talents. Small land brought back a lot. Cunegonde was, indeed, very ugly; but she became an excellent baker; Paquette embroided; the old woman took care of the linen. There was not even Brother Giroflee who did not render service; he was a very good carpenter, and even became an honest man; and Pangloss sometimes said to Candide:

All events are chained in the best possible world; for, after all, if you had not been thrown out of a beautiful castle with great kicks in the back for the sake of Mademoiselle Cunegonde, if you had not been put in the inquisition, if you had not ran America on foot, if you had not given the baron a good sword, if you had not lost all your sheep in the good land of Eldorado, you would not eat here candied citrons and pistachios.

It is well said, replied Candide, but we must cultivate our garden.

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