Candide Chapter 24
"Paquette and Friar Giroflée"
When he reaches Venice, Candide cannot find Cacambo and Cunégonde. He falls into a depression and Martin convinces him that the world is indeed a horrible place.
"It would have been better to stay in the Paradise of Eldorado instead of returning to this accursed Europe. How right you are, my dear Martin! Everything is illusion and calamity!" Chapter 24, pg. 112
Candide sees a friar and a young girl who look happy. He remarks that at least they are happy. Martin guesses that they are just as miserable as everyone else. Candide asks them to dinner to find out.
The young girl is Paquette, the Baroness's waiting-maid who gave Pangloss a venereal disease. Paquette confirms Martin's suspicions. Her life has been terrible ever since she was forced to leave the Baron's castle. She became the mistress to a doctor who cured her venereal disease. The doctor's wife got jealous and beat Paquette every day. The doctor poisoned his wife, and Paquette was thrown in prison. The judge released her so she could be his mistress. When a new mistress replaced her, the judge threw her out. She became a prostitute.
Paquette complains bitterly, and she tells Candide that she can only look forward to old age and a dunghill. Candide protests that she appeared to be happy. Paquette says looking happy is part of a prostitute's job.
Paquette's friend, Friar Giroflée is just as miserable. His parents forced him to become a friar so that his older brother would inherit more money. He hates the monastic life and his fellow churchmen. The prior takes most of his money. The friar spends the rest of his money on prostitutes. When he goes home he feels like smashing his head against the wall. Paquette and Friar Giroflée prove that Martin guessed correctly.
Candide gives Paquette and Friar Giroflée some money, thinking this will make them happy. Martin thinks the money will make them more unhappy.
Candide muses that his chances of meeting Cunégonde again are good because he was reunited with his sheep and Paquette. Whatever the outcome, Martin doubts that Cunégonde will make Candide happy. Martin says that experience proves that life is miserable.
Candide points out that the singing gondoliers must be happy. Martin replies that life is miserable whatever one's position, whether it be that of the Doge (a Venetian duke), or that of a gondolier. Candide tells Martin that Lord Pococurante, a Venetian noble, is rumored to be happy all the time. Martin says that he would like to meet this rare individual.