Chapter 15 - How Candide Killed the Brother of His Dear Cunegund
Never while I live shall I lose the remembrance of that horrible day on which I saw my father and mother barbarously butchered before my eyes, and my sister ravished. When the Bulgarians retired we searched in vain for my dear sister. She was nowhere to be found; but the bodies of my father, mother, and myself, with two servant maids and three little boys, all of whom had been murdered by the remorseless enemy, were thrown into a cart to be buried in a chapel belonging to the Jesuits, within two leagues of our family seat. A Jesuit sprinkled us with some holy water, which was confounded salty, and a few drops of it went into my eyes; the father perceived that my eyelids stirred a little; he put his hand upon my breast and felt my heartbeat; upon which he gave me proper assistance, and at the end of three weeks I was perfectly recovered. You know, my dear Candide, I was very handsome; I became still more so, and the Reverend Father Croust, superior of that house, took a great fancy to me; he gave me the habit of the order, and some years afterwards I was sent to Rome. Our General stood in need of new recruits of young German Jesuits. The sovereigns of Paraguay admit of as few Spanish Jesuits as possible; they prefer those of other nations, as being more obedient to command. The Reverend Father General looked upon me as a proper person to work in that vineyard. I set out in company with a Polander and a Tyrolese. Upon my arrival I was honored with a subdeaconship and a lieutenancy. Now I am colonel and priest. We shall give a warm reception to the King of Spain's troops; I can assure you they will be well excommunicated and beaten. Providence has sent you hither to assist us. But is it true that my dear sister Cunegund is in the neighborhood with the Governor of Buenos Ayres?"
Candide swore that nothing could be more true; and the tears began again to trickle down their cheeks. The Baron knew no end of embracing Candide, be called him his brother, his deliverer.
"Perhaps," said he, "my dear Candide, we shall be fortunate enough to enter the town, sword in hand, and recover my sister Cunegund."
"Ah! that would crown my wishes," replied Candide; "for I intended to marry her; and I hope I shall still be able to effect it."
"Insolent fellow!" cried the Baron. "You! you have the impudence to marry my sister, who bears seventy-two quarterings! Really, I think you have an insufferable degree of assurance to dare so much as to mention such an audacious design to me."
Candide, thunderstruck at the oddness of this speech, answered:
"Reverend Father, all the quarterings in the world are of no signification. I have delivered your sister from a Jew and an Inquisitor; she is under many obligations to me, and she is resolved to give me her hand. My master, Pangloss, always told me that mankind are by nature equal. Therefore, you may depend upon it that I will marry your sister."
"We shall see to that, villain!" said the Jesuit, Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, and struck him across the face with the flat side of his sword. Candide in an instant drew his rapier and plunged it up to the hilt in the Jesuit's body; but in pulling it out reeking hot, he burst into tears.
"Good God!" cried he, "I have killed my old master, my friend, my brother-in-law. I am the best man in the world, and yet I have already killed three men, and of these three, two were priests."
Cacambo, who was standing sentry near the door of the arbor, instantly ran up.
"Nothing remains," said his master, "but to sell our lives as dearly as possible; they will undoubtedly look into the arbor; we must die sword in hand."
Cacambo, who had seen many of this kind of adventures, was not discouraged. He stripped the Baron of his Jesuit's habit and put it upon Candide, then gave him the dead man's three-cornered cap and made him mount on horseback. All this was done as quick as thought.
"Gallop, master," cried Cacambo; "everybody will take you for a Jesuit going to give orders; and we shall have passed the frontiers before they will be able to overtake us."
He flew as he spoke these words, crying out aloud in Spanish, "Make way; make way for the Reverend Father Colonel."