At the receipt of this charming, this unexpected letter, Candide felt the utmost transports of joy; though, on the other hand, the indisposition of his beloved Cunégonde overwhelmed him with grief. Distracted between these two passions he took his gold and his diamonds, and procured a person to conduct him and Martin to the house where Cunégonde lodged. Upon entering the room he felt his limbs tremble, his heart flutter, his tongue falter; he attempted to undraw the curtain, and called for a light to the bedside.
ALord sir,@ cried a maidservant, who was waiting in the room, Atake care what you do, Miss cannot bear the least light,@ and so saying she pulled the curtain close again.
ACunégonde! my dear cried Candide, bathed in tears, Ahow do you do? If you cannot bear the light, speak to me at [email protected]
AAlas! she cannot speak,@ said the maid.
The sick lady then put a plump hand out of the bed and Candide first bathed it with tears, then filled it with diamonds, leaving a purse of gold upon the easy chair.
In the midst of his transports an officer came into the room, followed by the abbé and a file of musketeers. AThere,@ said he, Aare the two suspected [email protected] At the same time he ordered them to be seized and carried to prison.
ATravelers are not treated in this manner in the country of El Dorado,@ said Candide.
AI am more of a Manichaean now than ever,@ said Martin.
ABut pray, good sir, where are you going to carry [email protected] said Candide. ATo a dungeon, my dear sir,@ replied the officer.
When Martin had recovered himself enough to form a cool judgment of what had passed, he plainly perceived that the person who had acted the part of Cunégonde was a cheat, that the abbé of Perigord was a sharper who had imposed upon the honest simplicity of Candide, and that the officer was a knave, whom they might easily get rid of. Candide following the advice of his friend Martin and burning with impatience to see the real Cunégonde rather than appear at a court of justice, offered the officer a present of three small diamonds, each of them worth three thousand pistoles.
AAh, sir,@ said the minion of justice, Aeven if you had you committed horrible crimes, this would render you the most honest man living, in my eyes. Three diamonds worth three thousand pistoles! Why, my dear sir, so far from carrying you to jail, I would lose my life to serve you. There are orders for stopping all strangers; but leave it to me, I have a brother at Dieppe, in Normandy. I myself will conduct you thither, and if you have a diamond left to give him he will take as much care of you as I myself [email protected][footnoteRef:25] [25: A brief, enigmatic passage is omitted at this point. ]
So saying, he declared the arrest a mistake, ordered Candide’s irons to be struck off, and sent his followers about their business, after which he conducted Candide and Martin to Dieppe, and left them to the care of his brother.
There happened just then to be a small Dutch ship in the harbor. The Norman, whom the other three diamonds had converted into the most obliging, serviceable being that ever breathed, took care to see Candide and his attendants safe on board this vessel, that was just ready to sail for Portsmouth in England. This was not the nearest way to Venice, indeed, but Candide thought himself escaped out of Hell, and did not, in the least, doubt but he should quickly find an opportunity of resuming his voyage to Venice.
Chapter 23 – Candide and Martin Touch upon the English Coast-What They See There
Ah Pangloss! Pangloss! ah Martin! ah my dear Cunégonde! What sort of a world is [email protected] Thus exclaimed Candide as soon as he got on board the Dutch ship.
AWhy, something very foolish, and very abominable,@ said Martin.
AYou are acquainted with England,@ said Candide; Aare they as great fools in that country as in
AYes, but in a different manner,@ answered Martin. AYou know that these two nations are at war about a few acres of barren land in the neighborhood of Canada and that they have expended much greater sums in the contest than all Canada is worth? To say exactly whether there are a greater number fit to be inhabitants of a madhouse in the one country than the other, exceeds the limits of my imperfect capacity; I know in general that the people we are going to visit are of a very dark and gloomy [email protected]
As they were chatting thus together they arrived at Portsmouth. The shore on each side the harbor was lined with a multitude of people, whose eyes were steadfastly fixed on a well-set man who was kneeling down on the deck of one of the men-of-war, with something tied before his eyes. Opposite to this personage stood four soldiers, each of whom shot three bullets into his skull with all the composure imaginable, and when it was done, the whole company went away perfectly well satisfied.
He then asked who was that lusty man who had been sent out of the world with so much ceremony. When he received for answer, that it was an admiral.
AAnd pray why do you put your admiral to [email protected]
ABecause he did not put a sufficient number of his fellow creatures to death. You must know, he had an engagement with a French admiral, and it has been proved against him that he was not near enough to his antagonist[email protected]
ABut,@ replied Candide, Athe French admiral must have been just as far from [email protected]
AThere is no doubt of that; but in this country his distance is the one that counts; they put an admiral to death, now and then, to encourage the others to [email protected][footnoteRef:26] [26: Admiral John Bying was executed by firing squad on March 14, 1757 after his defeat by the French at Minorca during the French-Canadian war. ]
Candide was so shocked at what he saw and heard, that he would not set foot on shore, but made a bargain with the Dutch skipper (were he even to rob him like the captain of Surinam) to carry him directly to Venice.
The skipper was ready in two days. They sailed along the coast of France, and passed within sight of Lisbon, at which Candide trembled. From thence they proceeded to the Straits, entered the Mediterranean, and at length arrived at Venice.
AGod be praised,@ said Candide, embracing Martin, Athis is the place where I am to behold my beloved Cunégonde once again. I can have confidence in Cacambo, like another self. All is well, all is very well, all is well as [email protected]
Chapter 24 – Of Daisy and Friar Gillyflower
Upon their arrival at Venice Candide went in search of Cacambo at every inn and coffee-house, and among all the ladies of pleasure, but could hear nothing of him. He sent every day to inquire what ships were in, still no news of Cacambo.
AIt is strange,@ said he to Martin, Avery strange that I should have time to sail from Surinam to Bordeaux; to travel thence to Paris, to Dieppe, to Portsmouth; to sail along the coast of Portugal and Spain, and up the Mediterranean to spend some months at Venice; and that my lovely Cunégonde should not have arrived. Instead of her, I met only with a Parisian impostor and a rascally abbé of Perigord. Cunégonde is actually dead, and I have nothing to do but follow her. Alas! how much better would it have been for me to have remained in the paradise of El Dorado than to have returned to this cursed Europe! You are in the right, my dear Martin; you are certainly in the right; all is misery and [email protected]
He fell into a deep melancholy, and neither went to the opera then in vogue nor partook of any of the diversions of the Carnival; nay, Candide even slighted the fair sex.
Martin said to him, AUpon my word, I think you are very simple to imagine that a rascally valet, with five or six millions in his pocket, would go in search of your mistress to the further of the world, and bring her to Venice to meet you. If he finds her he will take her for himself; if he does not, he will take another. Let me advise you to forget your valet Cacambo, and your mistress Cuné[email protected]