Candide, by Voltaire

Chapter XX.

Consequence of Candide’s misfortune — how he found his mistress again — the fortune that happened to him.

“O Pangloss,” said Candide, “what a pity it is you perished so miserably! You have been witness only to a part of my misfortunes; and I had hoped to prevail on you to forsake the ill-founded opinion which you maintained to your last breath. No man ever suffered greater calamities than I have done; but there is not a single individual who has not cursed his existence, as the daughter of Pope Urban warmly expressed herself. What will become of me, my dear Cacambo?” “Faith, I cannot tell,” said Cacambo; “all I know is, that I will not forsake you.” “But Miss Cunegund has forsaken me,” said Candide. “Alas! a wife is of far less value than a menial servant who is a true friend.”

Candide and Cacambo discoursed thus in the black hole. From there they were taken out to be carried back to Copenhagen. It was there that our philosopher was to know his doom: he expected it to be dreadful, and our readers, doubtless, expect so, too; but Candide was mistaken, as our readers will be, likewise. It was at Copenhagen that happiness waited to crown all his sufferings: he was hardly arrived, when he understood that Wolhall was dead. This barbarian had no one to regret him, while everybody interested themselves in Candide. His irons were knocked off, and his freedom gave him so much the more joy as it was immediately followed by the sight of his dear Zenoida. He flew to her with the utmost transport. They were a long time without speaking a word; but their silence was infinitely more expressive than words. They wept, they embraced each other, they attempted to speak, but tears stopped their utterance. Cacambo was a pleased spectator of this scene, so truly interesting to a sensible being; he shared in the happiness of his friend, and was almost as much affected as Candide himself. “Dear Cacambo! adorable Zenoida!” cried Candide; “you efface from my heart the deep traces of my misfortunes. Love and friendship prepare for me future days of serenity and uninterrupted delight. Through what a number of trials have I passed to arrive at this unexpected happiness! But they are all forgot, dear Zenoida; I behold you once more! you love me; everything is for the best in regard to me; all is good in nature.”

By Wolhall’s death, Zenoida was left at her own disposal. The court had given her a pension out of her father’s fortune which had been confiscated; she shared it with Candide and Cacambo; she appointed them apartments in her own house, and gave out that she had received several considerable services from these two strangers, which obliged her to procure them all the comforts and pleasures of life, and to repair the injustice which fortune had done them. There were some who saw through the motive of her beneficence; which was no very hard matter to do, considering the great talk her connection with Candide had formerly occasioned. The greater part blamed her, and her conduct was only approved by some few who knew how to reflect. Zenoida, who set a proper value on the good opinion even of fools, was nevertheless too happy to repent the loss of it. The news of the death of Miss Cunegund, which was brought by the correspondents of the Jesuit merchants in Copenhagen, procured Zenoida the means of conciliating the minds of people. She ordered a genealogy to be drawn up for Candide. The author, who was a man of ability in his way, derived his pedigree from one of the most ancient families in Europe; he even pretended his true name was Canute, which was that of one of the former kings of Denmark; which appeared very probable, as “dide” into “ute” is not such a great metamorphosis: and Candide by means of this little change, became a very great lord. He married Zenoida in public; they lived with as much tranquillity as it is possible to do. Cacambo was their common friend; and Candide said often, “All is not so well as in El Dorado; but all does not go so badly.”

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:24