“Excuse me, once more,“ said Candide to the baron; “I beg your pardon, Reverend Father, for having given you a big blow of sword through the body.”
“Let’s not talk about it any more,” said the Baron; “I was a little too keen, I confess; but since you wish to know by what chance you have seen me in the galleys, I will tell you that after being cured of my wound by the apothecary brother of the college, I was attacked and carried off by a Spanish party; they put me in prison at Buenos Ayres, at the time that my sister had just left. I asked to return to Rome to my General. I was appointed to serve as chaplain at Constantinople to the French Ambassador. It was not eight days since I started to work, when I found on the evening a young icoglan very well made. It was very hot; the young man wanted to bathe; I took this opportunity to bathe too. I did not know that it was a capital crime for a Christian to be found naked with a young Muslim. A cadi gave me a hundred blows of a stick under the soles of my feet, and condemned me to the galleys. I do not think it was done a more horrible injustice. But I should like to know why my sister is in the kitchen of a sovereign of Transylvania refugee among the Turks.“
“But you, my dear Pangloss,” said Candide, “how can it be that I see you again?“
“It is true, said Pangloss, that you saw me hanged; I ought naturally to be burned, but you remember that it was pouring rain when people were going to cook me. The storm was so violent that they despaired of lighting the fire; I was hanged, because it was not possible to do better. A surgeon bought my body, took me home, and dissected me. He first made a crucial incision from the navel to the collarbone. One could not have been more hanged than I had been. The executioner of the high works of the holy inquisition, who was a subdeacon, burned people to perfection, but he was not accustomed to hang: the rope was wet and slipped badly, it was badly knotted; at last I breathed again. The crucial incision made me cry out so loudly that my surgeon fell backwards; and believing that he was dissecting the devil, he fled, dying of fear, and fell again on the staircase, fleeing. His wife ran to the sound of a neighboring room; she saw me on the table, stretched out with my crucial incision; she was even more afraid than her husband, fled, and fell upon him. As soon as they recovered themselves a little, I heard the surgeon wife saying to the surgeon, ‘My dear, how that you were thinking to dissect a heretic? Do not you know that the devil is always in the bodies of these people? I will quickly seek a priest to exorcise him.‘ I shuddered at this, and picked up the few forces that remained to me to cry out: ‘Have mercy on me!‘ Finally the Portuguese barber grew bolder: he sewed my skin; his wife took care of me; I was on foot at the end of a fortnight. The barber found me a condition, and made me a lackey of a knight of Malta, who was going to Venice. But my master having no means of paying me, I went to the service of a Venetian merchant, and followed him to Constantinople.
“One day it took me fancy to enter a mosque; there was only one old iman and a very pretty young devotee who said his paternostas; her throat was quite uncovered; she had between her two nipples a beautiful bouquet of tulips, roses, anemones, ranunculus, hyacinths, and bear ears; she dropped her bouquet; I picked it up, and I handed it to her with a very respectful eagerness. I was so long in delivering it to him, that the iman became angry, and seeing that I was a Christian, he called for help. They took me to the cadi, who gave me a hundred batts of batten under the soles of my feet, and sent me to the galleys. I was chained precisely in the same galley and bench as the baron. There were in this galley four young men from Marseilles, five Neapolitan priests, and two monks from Corfu, who told us that such adventures happened every day. Monsieur le Baron claimed that he had suffered greater injustice than I; I pretended that it was much more permissible to put a bouquet on the throat of a woman than to be naked with an icoglan. We disputed constantly, and received twenty blows of bullwhip a day, when the sequence of events of this universe has led you into our galley, and which you have redeemed us.“
“Well, my dear Pangloss,” said Candide, “when you were hanged, dissected, beaten, and rowed to the galleys, have you always thought that everything was the best in the world?“
“I am still of my first opinion,” replied Pangloss; “for, after all, I am a philosopher; Leibnitz can not be wrong, and the pre-established harmony being, moreover, the best thing in the world, as well as the full and the subtle matter.“