Chapter 27 – Candide’s Voyage to Constantinople
The trusty Cacambo had already engaged the captain of the Turkish ship that was to carry Sultan Achmet back to Constantinople to take Candide and Martin on board. Accordingly they both embarked, after paying their obeisance to his miserable Highness. As they were going on board, Candide said to Martin:
“You see we supped in company with six dethroned Kings, and to one of them I gave charity. Perhaps there may be a great many other princes still more unfortunate. For my part I have lost only a hundred sheep, and am now going to fly to the arms of my charming Miss Cunegund. My dear Martin, I must insist on it, that Pangloss was in the right. All is for the best.”
“I wish it may be,” said Martin.
“But this was an odd adventure we met with at Venice. I do not think there ever was an instance before of six dethroned monarchs supping together at a public inn.”
“This is not more extraordinary,” said Martin, “than most of what has happened to us. It is a very common thing for kings to be dethroned; and as for our having the honor to sup with six of them, it is a mere accident, not deserving our attention.”
As soon as Candide set his foot on board the vessel, he flew to his old friend and valet Cacambo and, throwing his arms about his neck, embraced him with transports of joy.
“Well,” said he, “what news of Miss Cunegund? Does she still continue the paragon of beauty? Does she love me still? How does she do? You have, doubtless, purchased a superb palace for her at Constantinople.”
“My dear master,” replied Cacambo, “Miss Cunegund washes dishes on the banks of the Propontis, in the house of a prince who has very few to wash. She is at present a slave in the family of an ancient sovereign named Ragotsky, whom the Grand Turk allows three crowns a day to maintain him in his exile; but the most melancholy circumstance of all is, that she is turned horribly ugly.”
“Ugly or handsome,” said Candide, “I am a man of honor and, as such, am obliged to love her still. But how could she possibly have been reduced to so abject a condition, when I sent five or six millions to her by you?”
“Lord bless me,” said Cacambo, “was not I obliged to give two millions to Seignor Don Fernando d’Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, the Governor of Buenos Ayres, for liberty to take Miss Cunegund away with me? And then did not a brave fellow of a pirate gallantly strip us of all the rest? And then did not this same pirate carry us with him to Cape Matapan, to Milo, to Nicaria, to Samos, to Petra, to the Dardanelles, to Marmora, to Scutari? Miss Cunegund and the old woman are now servants to the prince I have told you of; and I myself am slave to the dethroned Sultan.”
“What a chain of shocking accidents!” exclaimed Candide. “But after all, I have still some diamonds left, with which I can easily procure Miss Cunegund’s liberty. It is a pity though she is grown so ugly.”
Then turning to Martin, “What think you, friend,” said he, “whose condition is most to be pitied, the Emperor Achmet’s, the Emperor Ivan’s, King Charles Edward’s, or mine?”
“Faith, I cannot resolve your question,” said Martin, “unless I had been in the breasts of you all.”
“Ah!” cried Candide, “was Pangloss here now, he would have known, and satisfied me at once.”
“I know not,” said Martin, “in what balance your Pangloss could have weighed the misfortunes of mankind, and have set a just estimation on their sufferings. All that I pretend to know of the matter is that there are millions of men on the earth, whose conditions are a hundred times more pitiable than those of King Charles Edward, the Emperor Ivan, or Sultan Achmet.”
“Why, that may be,” answered Candide.
In a few days they reached the Bosphorus; and the first thing Candide did was to pay a high ransom for Cacambo; then, without losing time, he and his companions went on board a galley, in order to search for his Cunegund on the banks of the Propontis, notwithstanding she was grown so ugly.
There were two slaves among the crew of the galley, who rowed very ill, and to whose bare backs the master of the vessel frequently applied a lash. Candide, from natural sympathy, looked at these two slaves more attentively than at any of the rest, and drew near them with an eye of pity. Their features, though greatly disfigured, appeared to him to bear a strong resemblance with those of Pangloss and the unhappy Baron Jesuit, Miss Cunegund’s brother. This idea affected him with grief and compassion: he examined them more attentively than before.
“In troth,” said he, turning to Martin, “if I had not seen my master Pangloss fairly hanged, and had not myself been unlucky enough to run the Baron through the body, I should absolutely think those two rowers were the men.”
No sooner had Candide uttered the names of the Baron and Pangloss, than the two slaves gave a great cry, ceased rowing, and let fall their oars out of their hands. The master of the vessel, seeing this, ran up to them, and redoubled the discipline of the lash.
“Hold, hold,” cried Candide, “I will give you what money you shall ask for these two persons.”
“Good heavens! it is Candide,” said one of the men.
“Candide!” cried the other.
“Do I dream,” said Candide, “or am I awake? Am I actually on board this galley? Is this My Lord the Baron, whom I killed? and that my master Pangloss, whom I saw hanged before my face?”
“It is I! it is I!” cried they both together.
“What! is this your great philosopher?” said Martin.
“My dear sir,” said Candide to the master of the galley, “how much do you ask for the ransom of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, who is one of the first barons of the empire, and of Monsieur Pangloss, the most profound metaphysician in Germany?”
“Why, then, Christian cur,” replied the Turkish captain, “since these two dogs of Christian slaves are barons and metaphysicians, who no doubt are of high rank in their own country, thou shalt give me fifty thousand sequins.”
“You shall have them, sir; carry me back as quick as thought to Constantinople, and you shall receive the money immediately-No! carry me first to Miss Cunegund.”
The captain, upon Candide’s first proposal, had already tacked about, and he made the crew ply their oars so effectually, that the vessel flew through the water, quicker than a bird cleaves the air.
Candide bestowed a thousand embraces on the Baron and Pangloss. “And so then, my dear Baron, I did not kill you? and you, my dear Pangloss, are come to life again after your hanging? But how came you slaves on board a Turkish galley?”
“And is it true that my dear sister is in this country?” said the Baron.
“Yes,” said Cacambo.
“And do I once again behold my dear Candide?” said Pangloss.
Candide presented Martin and Cacambo to them; they embraced each other, and all spoke together. The galley flew like lightning, and soon they were got back to port. Candide instantly sent for a Jew, to whom he sold for fifty thousand sequins a diamond richly worth one hundred thousand, though the fellow swore to him all the time by Father Abraham that he gave him the most he could possibly afford. He no sooner got the money into his hands, than he paid it down for the ransom of the Baron and Pangloss. The latter flung himself at the feet of his deliverer, and bathed him with his tears; the former thanked him with a gracious nod, and promised to return him the money the first opportunity.
“But is it possible,” said he, “that my sister should be in Turkey?”
“Nothing is more possible,” answered Cacambo, “for she scours the dishes in the house of a Transylvanian prince.”
Candide sent directly for two Jews, and sold more diamonds to them; and then he set out with his companions in another galley, to deliver Miss Cunegund from slavery.