Chapter 9 Summary

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“What became of Cunégonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and a Jew”

Don Issacar is irate when he sees that Cunégonde is not alone when he arrives. He begins yelling at her, telling her that she is a harlot. Sharing her with an inquisitor is demeaning enough, and now he must also share her with “this rogue.” As he speaks, Issacar draws the long sword he always carries with him and throws himself at Candide, believing the younger man is unarmed. The old woman, however, had given Candide a fine sword along with his new clothes. Though he has a sweet disposition, Candide draws his sword and, in an instant, Issacar is lying on the tiles at Cunégonde’s feet.

The lady is distraught, worried that a man has been murdered in her house; she is sure that if the authorities come, they will all “be finished.” Candide is sorry that Pangloss is not here to give them good advice in this extreme circumstance, for he was always a grand philosopher. Since Pangloss is not here, Candide says they must consult the old woman.

The old woman is very wise and had just begun to give the young couple her opinion when another little door opens. It is an hour past midnight, an hour into Sunday, the inquisitor’s day to visit. His Imminence enters the room and this is what he sees: Candide, whom he had ordered to be flogged, with a sword in his hand; a dead man stretched out on the floor; a terrified Cunégonde; and an old woman giving advice.

Candide thinks many things at once, including the fact that if the Grand Inquisitor is allowed to call for help, he will certainly order that both Candide and Cunégonde be burned. This man is the one who ordered Candide’s pitiless flogging, so he is Candide’s enemy. Since Candide has already killed one man, he might as well kill another; but he must not hesitate. This is his reasoning, and he decides not to let the intruder recover from his surprise at seeing Candide here with Cunégonde. He drives his sword through the Grand Inquisitor and throws him on the floor next to Issacar.

Cunégonde is doubly upset, knowing they will never be forgiven for killing the leader of the Inquisition. They will be excommunicated and it is likely they will be killed, as well. She asks how a man born with such a gentle disposition could kill a Jew and a prelate—all within two minutes. Candide tells her that when a man is jealous and has been flogged by the Inquisition, he is not responsible for his actions.

The old woman tells the couple that there are three Andalusian horses along with their saddles and bridles, in the stable. The brave Candide should go prepare them for a journey while Cunégonde gathers her jewels. They can all three ride away quickly (though the old woman says she can only sit on one buttock) and ride to Cádiz. It is a wonderful destination and traveling in the coolness of night is most pleasant.

Candide immediately prepares the horses and the three of them travel thirty miles without stopping. As they ride away, the Santa Hermandad (Catholic Brotherhood) arrive at the house. “They bury His Eminence in a fine church and throw Issacar onto a garbage dump.” Now, Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman have already arrived at a small town called Avacena and are having a serious conversation at the inn.

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