Chapter II

What Became of Candide Among the Bulgarians

CANDIDE, DRIVEN FROM terrestrial paradise, walked a long while without knowing where, weeping, raising his eyes to heaven, turning them often towards the most magnificent of castles which imprisoned the purest of noble young ladies. He lay down to sleep without supper, in the middle of a field between two furrows. The snow fell in large flakes. Next day Candide, all benumbed, dragged himself towards the neighboring town which was called Waldberghofftrarbk-dikdorff, having no money, dying of hunger and fatigue, he stopped sorrowfully at the door of an inn. Two men dressed in blue observed him.

“Comrade,” said one, “here is a well-built young fellow, and of proper height.”

They went up to Candide and very civilly invited him to dinner.

“Gentlemen,” replied Candide, with a most engaging modesty, “you do me great honor, but I have not wherewithal to pay my share.”

“Oh, sir,” said one of the blues to him, “people of your appearance and of your merit never pay anything: are you not five feet five inches high?”

“Yes, sir, that is my height,” answered he, making a low bow.

“Come, sir, seat yourself; not only will we pay your reckoning, but we will never suffer such a man as you to want money; men are only born to assist one another.”

“You are right,” said Candide; “this is what I was always taught by Mr. Pangloss, and I see plainly that all is for the best.”

They begged of him to accept a few crowns. He took them, and wished to give them his note; they refused; they seated themselves at table.

“Love you not deeply?”

“Oh yes,” answered he; “I deeply love Miss Cunegonde.”

“No,” said one of the gentlemen, “we ask you if you do not deeply love the King of the Bulgarians?”

“Not at all,” said he; “for I have never seen him.”

“What! he is the best of kings, and we must drink his health.”

“Oh! very willingly, gentlemen,” and he drank.

“That is enough,” they tell him. “Now you are the help, the support, the defender, the hero of the Bulgarians. Your fortune is made, and your glory is assured.”

Instantly they fettered him, and carried him away to the regiment. There he was made to wheel about to the right, and to the left, to draw his rammer, to return his rammer, to present, to fire, to march, and they gave him thirty blows with a cudgel. The next day he did his exercise a little less badly, and he received but twenty blows. The day following they gave him only ten, and he was regarded by his comrades as a prodigy.

Candide, all stupefied, could not yet very well realize how he was a hero. He resolved one fine day in spring to go for a walk, marching straight before him, believing that it was a privilege of the human as well as of the animal species to make use of their legs as they pleased. He had advanced two leagues when he was overtaken by four others, heroes of six feet, who bound him and carried him to a dungeon. He was asked which he would like the best, to be whipped six-and-thirty times through all the regiment, or to receive at once twelve balls of lead in his brain. He vainly said that human will is free, and that he chose neither the one nor the other. He was forced to make a choice; he determined, in virtue of that gift of God called liberty, to run the gauntlet six-and-thirty times. He bore this twice. The regiment was composed of two thousand men; that composed for him four thousand strokes, which laid bare all his muscles and nerves, from the nape of his neck quite down to his rump. As they were going to proceed to a third whipping, Candide, able to bear no more, begged as a favor that they would be so good as to shoot him. He obtained this favor; they bandaged his eyes, and bade him kneel down. The King of the Bulgarians passed at this moment and ascertained the nature of the crime. As he had great talent, he understood from all that he learned of Candide that he was a young metaphysician, extremely ignorant of the things of this world, and he accorded him his pardon with a clemency which will bring him praise in all the journals, and throughout all ages.

An able surgeon cured Candide in three weeks by means of emollients taught by Dioscorides. He had already a little skin, and was able to march when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abares.

Footnotes

  1. Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90), a Greek physician and traveling surgeon for the Roman army. That a surgeon in the 1700s would still be using methods dating from ancient Greece suggests that he isn't, in fact, a very good surgeon, and that medicine in the early modern period left something to be desired.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. In this case, the King of the Bulgarians pardons Candide not for his wisdom, as a student of metaphysics, but for his ignorance, as an innocent youth incapable of understanding the depths of the philosophy he claims to espouse. Thus, we see Voltaire's contempt for the philosophers of the Enlightenment, who were viewed somewhat critically at that time.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Metaphysics, or the philosophy of being, hails from Greece and early philosophers like Thales, who believed the life originated from water, and Aristotle, who wrote *Metaphysics*. As a philosophy, it's one of the oldest and most well-known and was very popular in the early modern period (the 17th and 18th Centuries), when Candide was written.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. In 18th Century Europe, guns were generally larger, bulkier, and less wieldy, taking fewer rounds of ammunition and requiring a great deal of time to load. The "bullets" of Prussian guns were in fact small balls of lead that were shot like pellets at a target. Their results were analogous to those of modern bullets.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. In Candide's philosophy, as taught to him by Pangloss, belief in free will doesn't necessarily mean that one doesn't believe in God. In fact, Liebnizian optimism, from which Pangloss' philosophy derives, states that God gave humans free will that they might choose to love Him (their punishment for not doing so being *physical evil*, or pain and suffering, which reflects their *metaphysical evil*, or imperfection).

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. These four soldiers, while taller than Candide (and thus possessive of larger strides), nevertheless are considered of lower station, because they're six feet tall instead of five feet five inches. Labeling them four "heroes" emphasizes their mindless obedience, as they perform like trained machines programmed to do as their king bids. Candide, as a free thinker, wouldn't fit in with them and would upset their sense of honor.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Characteristically, Candide doesn't understand his obligations as a soldier in the army (perhaps because he didn't enlist by choice) and still believes in his freedom, that is, his ability to go for a walk whenever and wherever he please. As he'll quickly learn, freedom is not an inherent right in this world, and he'll have to find it in other ways.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. Note the juxtaposition of "stupefied" and "hero" in this sentence. The military, Voltaire suggests, is full of soldiers just like Candide, "stupefied" youths who don't understand why they're there, let alone the full import of their actions on the national scale. Voltaire, rather than glorify the military, hilariously skewers it in this text.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. A cudgel or club was used in the military to beat enemies or trainees into submission. A "rammer" was similarly a weapon used to crush or batter by force and often referred to a battering ram wielded by two or more men. In this case, the rammer refers to the smaller blunt instrument and not the larger battering ram.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. To fetter, meaning, to chain or shackle. In effect, the Bulgarians have taken Candide prisoner, forcing him into military service. Judging by the speed with which they did so, it's safe to say that this was their plan all along, and that they incited Candide to drink (but not too much) to make him easier to capture.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. Having grown up in Westphalia, believing it to be "the best of all possible worlds" with the best of all possible people, Candide would have no reason to know of anything or anyone outside that world. Thus, he's ignorant of other peoples and, with the exception of God, doesn't know or love anyone he hasn't seen face to fave.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  12. Mark the exactness of this measurement. Only a few lines earlier, the gentlemen at the inn described Candide as being a fellow of "proper height," suggesting that a person's stature, like their weight, was a sign of great power and social station.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  13. In effect, to give them an IOU declaring his intent to pay them back for their generosity. Notes such as this were, by and large, a formality and didn't guarantee that the borrower would repay the lender. Candide's offer characterizes as a genteel (but not necessarily financially responsible) young man.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  14. In Prussia in the 18th Century, the unit of currency was the "Thaler," a variant of the German Reichsthaler, which used a different fraction of silver in its minting. The "crown" was a form of British currency in use at the time of this translation into English and was not likely to have been seen in a Prussian inn at that time.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  15. Modern readers will likely recognize the word "comrade" in its form as an identifier used by Soviets and members of the Eastern Bloc in years of Communist rule. However, *Candide* was written in 1759, a full century before the word began to pick up overt political connotations. Here, it's used to signify nationality, not political affiliation.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  16. Voltaire, a Frenchman, spent several years in the court of Frederick of Prussia, socializing with noble Germans, Prussians, and Russians. He would've been familiar with German names and cities like the fictional Waldberghofftrarbk-dikdorff, with which he pokes fun at the complex and consonant-heavy German language.

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  17. A furrow is a narrow trench dug into the soil, typically with a plough, often with the purpose of planting seeds in a field. For Candide to lie *between* two furrows would mean lying on the raised piece of land between trenches (a curious choice given that he's trespassing on a private estate and would likely want not to be seen).

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  18. Voltaire draws a parallel between Westphalia and the Garden of Eden, a veritable "heaven on Earth" from which Adam and Eve were expelled ("driven") after Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (traditionally portrayed as an apple).

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor
  19. Bulgarians, that is, Prussians, who were at war with the French during the time Voltaire wrote *Candide*. The King of the Bulgarians is said to represent Frederick the Great, leader of the Prussians during the Seven Years' War against the French (1756 – 1763).

    — Sinead, Owl Eyes Editor