Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 807
“What happened to Candide and Martin in France”
Candide sells a few of his El Dorado stones and buys a carriage for two. Though he is upset at having to leave his red sheep behind, Candide donates the animal to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, which offers a prize...
(The entire section contains 807 words.)
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“What happened to Candide and Martin in France”
Candide sells a few of his El Dorado stones and buys a carriage for two. Though he is upset at having to leave his red sheep behind, Candide donates the animal to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, which offers a prize to whomever can determine why the sheep is red. (The eventual winner devised a ridiculous formula by which all sheep should be red and should die of sheep pox.)
Everyone Candide and Martin meet is headed to Paris; their enthusiasm convinces Candide to stop and see the city, and they change course. They enter the city through a nasty little village and as soon as Candide is settled at the inn he begins to feel sick. Since he wears a huge diamond ring and has an exceptionally heavy box in his carriage, two doctors, two intimate friends who promise never to leave his side, and two women to heat his food immediately appear. When Martin got sick in Paris, not one person came to help him, yet he recovered.
Due to medicine and bloodlettings, Candide’s condition grows worse. A local priest comes to collect money to ensure that Candide can be buried in a church cemetery. Candide refuses and the cleric says he will not be allowed a consecrated burial. Martin and the priest have a heated quarrel; Martin finally grabs the man and throws him out the door.
Candide begins to recover and has plenty of company. They gamble for high stakes, and Candide is amazed that he never gets any aces but Martin is not at all surprised. Among this group of ruffians is a shamelessly fawning abbot named Périgord who gladly helps steer any visitors to the city through its pitfalls and pleasures. When he takes Candide and Martin to the theater, Candide is moved to tears though everyone else says it is a terrible play performed by a terrible actress. Candide asks Périgord if it is true that Parisians are always laughing; he says it is true, but it is angry laughter. “They complain with pearls of laughter” and commit awful acts while laughing.
Candide wants to meet the actress he saw because she reminds him of Cunégonde, but she is not free. Instead, Périgord takes him to visit another fine lady. The Marquise de Parolignac runs a gambling house and no one even looks up when Candide enters the room. After the abbot whispers in her ear, she welcomes Candide to the faro table where he promptly loses fifty thousand francs.
The dinner conversation begins with books and turns to theater. One man of learning says that a good playwright must reveal the human condition without being bizarre or outrageous if he wants his work to endure. Candide agrees and believes this man is another Pangloss. He asks the scholar if he believes that everything is for the best in the moral and physical worlds and that nothing could be other than it is. The scholar is adamant that things often go wrong in this world and life is an eternal war of one group against another.
Candide goes to the Marquise’s bedroom where she seduces him and charms him out of his two diamond rings. When he and his group finally leave, Candide feels some remorse—as does the abbot, who only received a small percentage of the money and diamonds Candide lost to the Marquise. Now he is determined to make as much profit as possible from the naïve Candide and becomes even more obsequious and attentive.
Périgord questions Candide about Cunégonde, saying surely such a woman as Candide has described writes him charming letters. Candide tells the abbot their entire story and says he has never had the privilege of receiving a letter from her. Miraculously, the next morning, Candide receives one. Cunégonde is here in Paris but has been sick and wishes more than anything he would come visit her. Of course he does, and he finds her in a curtained bed. Her maid says she is not allowed to speak, and he is not allowed to see her. Candide weeps over her hand and leaves her many diamonds and a bag of gold.
Suddenly an officer enters the room, followed by Périgord, and arrests Candide and Martin as “suspicious foreigners.” Martin suddenly realizes how they have been duped and believes the officer is an imposter and can be bought. Candide takes Martin’s advice and buys their freedom. The “officer” gladly (for sufficient gold) takes them to Lower Normandy where they take a ship to England. It is not on the way to Venice, of course, but Candide is glad to be out of France and will continue his journey to Venice as soon as possible.