WHO WOULD NOT BE A SOLDIER?!!!
—YOU must drink the King of BULGARIA'S health, said the soldiers; he is the best of kings. Most willingly, replied Candide, and drank. Now you are a brave fellow, said they, you are become his support, his defender, one of the heroes of Bulgaria; your fortune is made, your fameeternal. They then put handcuffs on his wrists, conducted him to the regiment. There they made him turn to the right, wheel to the left, shoulder his musket, rest upon his arms, present, fire, march and counter-march; in return for which the drill serjeant gave him some thirty strokes with the cane, The next day he performed his exer∣cise better, and received only twenty. On the morrow they gave him but ten, and all his com∣rades regarded him as a prodigy of genius.
The astonished Candide could not conceive by what enchantment he had become a hero. One pleasant morning in spring, when the birds were singing, and the trees beginning to bloom, he thought proper to take a walk. Proceeding in a right line, and supposing it was the privilege of the human species, like other animals, to make use of their legs, he had not gone above two leagues, before six other heroes, each of six feet high, overtook him, bound him, and threw him into a dungeon. He was juridically asked, whe∣ther he preferred being thirty-six times flogged through the regiment, or to suffer twelve balls to pass through his brains? In vain did he assert the freedom of the will, and affirm, that he pre∣ferred neither the one nor the other: chuse he Page 133must, and, in virtue of that gift of God, which is called Liberty, he concluded in favour of flogging. He was twice brought to the halbards, where he each time received five hundred lashes, which slay∣ed him from the hips to the nape of the neck, and laid the muscles and nerves all bare. As they were proceeding to the third course, CANDIDE, unable to endure more, requested for God's sake, they would have the goodness to blow out his brains. His petition was favourably received; but, as he was kneeling blindfold, the King of the Bulgarians happened to come to the parade, and enquired concerning his crime. As this king was a man of great genius, he comprehended from the story they told him, that CANDIDE was a young metaphysi∣cian, ignorant of the world, and he granted his pardon; which clemency has been and will be re∣corded in every newspaper, every history, and eve∣ry age. A skilful surgeon iu three weeks cured CANDIDE by use of the emollients which DIO∣SCO•IDES prescribes. The skin again began to cover his back, and he was able to march, when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abarians.
Nothing could be so charming, so dazzling, so well disciplined, so well appointed as the two ar∣mies. The trumpets, drums, hautboys, fifes, and cannon formed a concert of such harmony as Hell itself never equalled. To begin, the artillery laid low about six thousand men on each side. The musquetry next dispatched between nine and ten thousand knaves, who infested the surface of this best of possible worlds; and the bavonet in its turn, was the adequate cause of the death of as many more. The whole amount was at least thirty thou∣sand souls. CANDIDE, who trembled like a philo∣sopher, hid himself as well as he could during this heroic butchery. At length, while the two kings ordered Te deum to be sung in their two camps, he Page 134thought proper to depart and reason elsewhere on causes and effects. He passed over mountains of the dying and the dead. The first village he came to belonged to the Aba•ians; it was reeking with smoke, having been burnt by the Bulgarians, ac∣cording to the laws of nations. Here stood old men maimed by the enemy. gazing on their mur∣dered •ives with their dead children extended on their bleeding bosoms. There lay virgins with their wombs ripped open, after having appeased the natural appetites of certain heroes, giving up the ghost. Others half ro••ed, called aloud for one to come and dispatch them entirely. Here the brains of men were scattered, here their arms, here their legs and here their mangled trunks. CANDIDE fled with all his might to another village, that be∣lo••ed to the Bulgarians, which the heroes of Aba∣ria had treated in much the same manner. At length. marching over limbs still trembling, hearts still p•lpitating, and fires yet unextinguished, he luckily escaped from the theatre of war and glory.