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Voltaire: How Candide found Cunegonde and the old woman

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Istanbul

While Candide, the Baron, Pangloss, Martin, and Cacambo, recounted their adventures, they reasoned about the contingent or non-contingent events of this universe, which they disputed about the effects and the causes, about the moral evil and about the physical evil, on the liberty and the necessity, on the consolations which one can experience when is at the galleys in Turkey, they approached on the shore of the Propontis, at the house of the prince of Transylvania. The first objects that appeared were Cunegonde and the old woman, who were laying towels on strings to dry them.

The baron turned pale at this sight. The tender lover Candide, on seeing her beautiful Cunegonde growling, her eyes cracked, her throat dry, her cheeks wrinkled, her arms red and scaly, took three steps back, seized with horror, and then proceeded by a good process. She kissed Candide and her brother, the old woman was embraced; Candide bought them both.

There was a small farm in the neighborhood; the old woman proposed to Candide to accommodate to it, while waiting for the whole troop to have a better destiny. Cunegonde did not know that she was ugly, no one had warned her: she made Candide remember her promises with such an absolute tone that the good Candide did not dare to refuse her. He therefore meant to the baron that he was going to marry his sister.

I will never suffer, said the Baron, such baseness on his part, and such insolence of yours; this infamy will never be reproached to me: my sister’s children could not enter the German chapters. No, never. my sister will marry only a baron of the empire.

Cunegonde threw himself at his feet, and bathed them with tears; he was inflexible.

Mad master, said Candide, I escaped you from the galleys, I paid your ransom, I paid that of your sister; here she washed dishes, she is ugly, I have the kindness to make of her my wife; and you still pretend to oppose it! I will kill you again if I thought my anger.

You can kill me again, said the baron, but you will not marry my sister in my lifetime.

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