Study Guide

Candide

by Voltaire

Candide eText - Chapter V

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Chapter V

Tempest, Shipwreck, Earthquake, and what Became of Doctor Pangloss, Candide, and James the Anabaptist

HALF DEAD OF that inconceivable anguish which the rolling of a ship produces, one-half of the passengers were not even sensible of the danger. The other half shrieked and prayed. The sheets were rent, the masts broken, the vessel gaped. Work who would, no one heard, no one commanded. The Anabaptist being upon deck bore a hand, when a brutish sailor struck him roughly and laid him sprawling; but with the violence of the blow he himself tumbled head foremost overboard, and stuck upon a piece of the broken mast. Honest James ran to his assistance, hauled him up, and from the effort he made was precipitated into the sea in sight of the sailor, who left him to perish, without deigning to look at him. Candide drew near and saw his benefactor, who rose above the water one moment and was then swallowed up forever. He was just going to jump after him, but was prevented by the philosopher Pangloss, who demonstrated to him that the Bay of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the Anabaptist to be drowned. While he was proving this à priori, the ship foundered; all perished except Pangloss, Candide, and that brutal sailor who had drowned the good Anabaptist. The villain swam safely to the shore, while Pangloss and Candide were borne thither upon a plank.

As soon as they recovered themselves a little they walked toward Lisbon. They had some money left, with which they hoped to save themselves from starving, after they had escaped drowning. Scarcely had they reached the city, lamenting the death of their benefactor, when they felt the earth tremble under their feet. The sea swelled and foamed in the harbor, and beat to pieces the vessels riding at anchor. Whirlwinds of fire and ashes covered the streets and public places; houses fell, roofs were flung upon the pavements, and the pavements were scattered. Thirty thousand inhabitants of all ages and sexes were crushed under the ruins. The sailor, whistling and swearing, said there was booty to be gained here.

“What can be the sufficient reason of this phenomenon?” said Pangloss.

“This is the Last Day!” cried Candide.

The sailor ran among the ruins, facing death to find money; finding it, he took it, got drunk, and having slept himself sober, purchased the favors of the first good-natured wench whom he met on the ruins of the destroyed houses, and in the midst of the dying and the dead. Pangloss pulled him by the sleeve.

“My friend,” said he, “this is not right. You sin against the universal reason; you choose your time badly.”

“S'blood and fury!” answered the other; “I am a sailor and born at Batavia. Four times have I trampled upon the crucifix in four voyages to Japan; a fig for thy universal reason.”

Some falling stones had wounded Candide. He lay stretched in the street covered with rubbish.

“Alas!” said he to Pangloss, “get me a little wine and oil; I am dying.”

“This concussion of the earth is no new thing,” answered Pangloss. “The city of Lima, in America, experienced the same convulsions last year; the same cause, the same effects; there is certainly a train of sulphur under ground from Lima to Lisbon.”

“Nothing more probable,” said Candide; “but for the love of God a little oil and wine.”

“How, probable?” replied the philosopher. “I maintain that the point is capable of being demonstrated.”

Candide fainted away, and Pangloss fetched him some water from a neighboring fountain. The following day they rummaged among the ruins and found provisions, with which they repaired their exhausted strength. After this they joined with others in relieving those inhabitants who had escaped death. Some, whom they had succored, gave them as good a dinner as they could in such disastrous circumstances; true, the repast was mournful, and the company moistened their bread with tears; but Pangloss consoled them, assuring them that things could not be otherwise.

“For,” said he, “all that is is for the best. If there is a volcano at Lisbon it cannot be elsewhere. It is impossible that things should be other than they are; for everything is right.”

A little man dressed in black, Familiar of the Inquisition, who sat by him, politely took up his word and said: “Apparently, then, sir, you do not believe in original sin; for if all is for the best there has then been neither

Fall nor punishment.”

“I humbly ask your Excellency's pardon,” answered Pangloss, still more politely; “for the Fall and curse of man necessarily entered into the system of the best of worlds.”

“Sir,” said the Familiar, “you do not then believe in liberty?”

“Your Excellency will excuse me,” said Pangloss; “liberty is consistent with absolute necessity, for it was necessary we should be free; for, in short, the determinate will—”

Pangloss was in the middle of his sentence, when the Familiar beckoned to his footman, who gave him a glass of wine from Porto or Opporto.