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Voltaire: What happened on the sea to Candide and Martin

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Pirates

The old scholar, whose name was Martin, embarked for Bordeaux with Candide. Both had seen and suffered much; and when the ship should have sailed from Surinam to Japan by the Cape of Good Hope, they would have had enough to talk about moral evil and physical evil throughout the whole voyage.

However, Candide had a great advantage over Martin, because he hoped to see Miss Cunegonde again, and Martin had nothing to hope for; moreover, he had gold and diamonds; and though he had lost a hundred large red sheep loaded with the greatest treasures of the earth, though he always had the knave of the Dutch patron on his heart; however, when he thought of what remained in his pockets, and when he spoke of Cunegonde, especially at the end of the meal, he favored the Pangloss system.

“But you, Mr. Martin,” he said to the scientist, “what do you think of all this? What is your idea about moral evil and physical evil?”

“Sir,” replied Martin, “my priests accused me of being a Socinian. “[Socinians reject the mysteries and admit only the evidence]; but the truth of the fact is that I am Manichaean [Manicheans admit a good and a bad principle].”

“You kidding me,” said Candide; “there are no more Manichaeans in the world.”

“There is me,” said Martin, “I don’t know what to do; but I cannot think otherwise.”

“You must have the devil in your body,” said Candide.

“He is so involved in the affairs of this world,” said Martin, “that he might well be in my body, as everywhere else; but I confess that, when I look at this globe, or rather on this globule, I think that God has forsaken him to some evil being; I always exclude Eldorado. I have scarcely seen a city which did not desire the ruin of the neighboring town, no family which would not exterminate any other family. Everywhere the weak have execrated the powerful before whom they crawl, and the mighty treat them like flocks whose wool and flesh are sold. A million regimented assassins, running from one end of Europe to the other, practice murder and brigandage with discipline in order to earn his bread, because he has no more honest profession; and in the towns which seem to enjoy peace, and where the arts flourish, men are devoured with more envy, care, and anxiety, than a besieged city feels scourges. Secret sorrows are even more cruel than public miseries. In a word, I have seen and experienced so much that I am a Manichaean.”

“However, there is good,” replied Candide.

“That may be,” said Martin; “but I do not know it.”

In the midst of this quarrel a cannon-shot was heard. The noise is redoubled from moment to moment. Everyone takes his telescope. Two ships were seen fighting at a distance of about three miles. The wind brought them both so close to the French vessel that they had the pleasure of seeing the combat at their ease. At last one of the two ships gave the other a low and fair flank, which he sank to the bottom. Candide and Martin distinctly perceived a hundred men on the deck of the vessel which was sinking; they raised their hands to heaven, and uttered frightful cries: in a moment everything was swallowed up.

“Well!” said Martin, “this is how men treat one another.”

“It is true,” said Candide, “that there is something diabolical about this affair.” Speaking this way, he perceived something brilliantly red, which swam near his ship. The boat was detached to see what it was; it was one of his sheep. Candide had more joy in finding this sheep than he had been afflicted to lose a hundred of them loaded with large Eldorado diamonds.

The French captain soon perceived that the captain of the submerging vessel was Spanish, and that of the submerged vessel was a Dutch pirate; it was the very man who stole Candide. The immense riches of which this scoundrel had taken possession were buried with him in the sea, and there was but one sheep saved.

“You see,” says Candide to Martin, “that crime is punished sometimes; this rascal of Dutch patron had the fate he deserved.”

“Yes,” said Martin; “but did the passengers on his ship also have to perish?”

“God punished this rogue, the devil drowned others.”

Meanwhile the French and Spanish vessels continued their journey, and Candide continued his conversations with Martin. They disputed a fortnight in succession, and at the end of a fortnight they were as advanced as the first. But at last they spoke, they communicated ideas, they consoled themselves. Candide caressed her sheep.

“Since I’ve found you,” he said, “I’ll be able to find Cunegonde again.”

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