Fiction > Voltaire > Candide, or The Optimist

François Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694–1778).  Candide, or The Optimist.  1884.
Chapter IX
What happened to Cunegund, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and the Jew
THIS same Issachar was the most choleric little Hebrew that had ever been in Israel since the captivity of Babylon. “What, then,” said he, “thou Galilean wretch? The Inquisitor was not enough for thee, but this rascal must come in for a share with me?” In uttering these words he drew out a long poignard, which he always carried about with him, and never dreaming that his adversary had any arms, he attacked him most furiously; but our honest Westphalian had received a handsome sword of the old woman with the suit of clothes. Candide draws his rapier, and though he was the most gentle, sweet-tempered young man breathing, he whips it into the Israelite, and lays him sprawling on the floor at the fair Cunegund’s feet.  1
  “Holy Virgin!” cried she, “what will become of us? A man killed in my apartment! If the peace officers come we are undone.” “Had not Pangloss been hanged,” replied Candide, “he would have given us most excellent advice in this emergency, for he was a profound philosopher. But since he is not here, let us consult the old woman.” She was very understanding, and was beginning to give her advice, when another door opened on a sudden. It was now one o’clock in the morning, and of course the beginning of Sunday, which, by agreement, fell to the lot of my Lord Inquisitor. Entering, he discovers the flagellated Candide, with his drawn sword in his hand, a dead body stretched on the floor, Cunegund frightened out of her wits, and the old woman giving advice.  2
  At that very moment a sudden thought came into Candide’s head. “If this holy man,” thought he, “should call assistance, I shall most undoubtedly be consigned to the flames, and Miss Cunegund may perhaps meet with no better treatment. Besides, he was the cause of my being so cruelly whipped; he is my rival; and as I have now begun to dip my hands in blood, I will kill away, for there is no time to hesitate.” This whole train of reasoning was clear and instantaneous; so that, without giving time to the Inquisitor to recover from his surprise, he ran him through the body, and laid him by the side of the Jew. “Good God!” cries Cunegund, “here’s another fine piece of work! Now there can be no mercy for us; we are excommunicated to all the devils in hell; our last hour has come! But how in the name of wonder could you, who are of so mild a temper, despatch a Jew and Inquisitor in two minutes’ time?” “Beautiful miss,” answered Candide, “when a man is in love, is jealous, and has been flogged by the Inquisition, he becomes lost to all reflection.”  3
  The old woman then put in her word. “There are three Andalusian horses in the stable,” said she, “with as many bridles and saddles. Let the brave Candide get them ready; madame has a parcel of moidores and jewels. Let us mount immediately, though I have only one side to sit upon. Let us set out for Cadiz; it is the finest weather in the world, and there is great pleasure in travelling in the cool of the night.”  4
  Candide, without any further hesitation, saddles the three horses; and Miss Cunegund, the old woman, and he set out, and travelled thirty miles without once baiting. While they were making the best of their way, the Holy Brotherhood entered the house. My lord the Inquisitor was interred in a magnificent manner; and Master Issachar’s body was thrown upon a dunghill.  5
  Candide, Cunegund, and the old woman had by this time reached the little town of Avecina, in the midst of the mountains of Sierra Morena, and were engaged in the following conversation in an inn where they had taken up their quarters.  6

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