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Voltaire: How Candide met his former master of philosophy, Dr. Pangloss, and what happened

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Candide, more moved by compassion than by horror, gave to this frightful beggar the two florins he had received from his honest Anabaptist Jacques. The ghost stared at him, shed tears, and leapt to his neck. Candide scared back.

“Alas!” said the wretch to the other wretch, “Do you no longer recognize your dear Pangloss?”

“What do I hear? You, my dear master! You, in this horrible state! What misfortune has happened to you? Why are you no longer in the most beautiful of the castle? What has become of Miss Cunegonde, the pearl of the girls, the masterpiece of nature?”

“I can not go on,” said Pangloss.

Immediately Candide led him to the Anabaptist’s stable, where he made him eat a little bread; and when Pangloss regained its strength:

“Well!” he said, “Cunegonde?”

“She’s dead,” replied the other.

Candide fainted at this word: his friend recalled his senses with a little bad vinegar, which happened to be in the stable. Candide opens his eyes.

“Cunegonde is dead! Ah! Best of the worlds, where are you? But of what disease is she dead? Would it not have been to see me drive out of the handsome castle by his father with great kicks?”

“No,” said Pangloss, “she was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after having been raped her as much as possible; they have broken the head of the baron who wanted to defend it; Baroness was cut into pieces; my poor pupil treated exactly as his sister; and as for the castle, there was not a stone on a stone, not a barn, not a sheep, not a duck, not a tree; but we were well avenged, for the Abares did the same in a neighboring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.

At this speech Candide fainted; but having returned by himself, and having said all he ought to say, he inquired of the cause and effect, and the sufficient reason which had put Pangloss in such a pitiable condition.

“Alas!” said the other, “It is love: love, the consoler of the human race, the conservator of the universe, the soul of all sentient beings, tender love.”

“Alas!” said Candide, “I have known that love, that sovereign of hearts, that soul of our soul; it costs me just a kiss and twenty kicks in the ass. How could this beautiful cause produce such an abominable effect in you?”

Pangloss replied in these words:

“O my dear Candide! You have known Paquette, that pretty follower of our august Baroness; I have tasted in her arms the delights of paradise, which have produced the torments of hell with which you see me devoured; she was infected, she may be dead. Paquette kept this gift from a very learned knight who had gone back to the source, for he had had it from an old countess, who had received it from a captain of cavalry, who owed it from a marquise, who had it from a page, which had received it from a Jesuit, who, being a novice, had had it in the direct line of one of the companions of Christopher Columbus. As for me, I will not give it to anyone, for I am dying.”

“O Pangloss!” cried Candide, “Here is a strange genealogy! Is it not the devil who was its stock?”

“Not at all,” replied the great man, “it was an indispensable thing in the best of all worlds, a necessary ingredient; for if Columbus had not caught in an island of America that disease which poisons the source of generation, which often even prevents generation, and which is evidently the opposite of the great object of nature, we would have neither chocolate nor cochineal; it must also be observed that until today, in our continent, this disease is peculiar to us, as controversy. The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese, the Japanese, do not yet know it; but there is sufficient reason for them to know it in their turn in a few centuries. In the meantime, it has made a marvelous progress among us, and especially in those great armies, composed of well-trained mercenaries, who decide the fate of states; we may be sure that when thirty thousand men fight in battle arrayed against equal troops in number, there are about twenty thousand syphilitics on each side.”

“That is admirable,” said Candide, “but you must be cured.”

“And how can I?” said Pangloss; “I do not have a penny, my friend, and in the whole extent of this globe you can not get bleeding, or take an enema without paying, or without someone paying for us.”

This last discourse determined Candide; he went to throw himself at the feet of his charitable Anabaptist Jacques, and made him so touching a picture of the state in which his friend was reduced, that the good man did not hesitate to take care of Dr. Pangloss; he made him cure at his expense. Pangloss, in the cure, lost only one eye and one ear. He wrote well, and knew perfectly the arithmetic. The Anabaptist Jacques made him his book-keeper. At the end of two months, being obliged to go to Lisbon for his trade business, he led his two philosophers in his ship. Pangloss explained how everything could be done better. Jacques was not of this opinion.

“I think,” he said, “that men have somewhat corrupted the nature, for they are not born wolves, and they have become wolves. God has not given them twenty-four guns or bayonets, and they have made bayonets and cannon to destroy themselves. I could take into account the bankruptcy, and the justice that seizes the property of the bankrupts to frustrate the creditors.”

“All this was indispensable,” replied the one-eyed doctor, “and private misfortunes make the general good; so that the more particular misfortunes there are, the better.”
As he reasoned, the air was darkened, the winds blew from the four corners of the earth, and the ship was assailed by the most horrible storm at the sight of the port of Lisbon.

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