The Friar and the Filipino
(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)
Vox populi, vox Dei
We left Isagani haranguing his friends. In the midst of his enthusiasm an usher approached him to say that Padre Fernandez, one of the higher professors, wished to talk with him.
Isagani’s face fell. Padre Fernandez was a person greatly respected by him, being the one always excepted by him whenever the friars were attacked.
What does Padre Fernandez want? he inquired.
The usher shrugged his shoulders and Isagani reluctantly followed him.
Padre Fernandez, the friar whom we met in Los Baños, was waiting in his cell, grave and sad, with his brows knitted as if he were in deep thought. He arose as Isagani entered, shook hands with him, and closed the door. Then he began to pace from one end of the room to the other. Isagani stood waiting for him to speak.
Señor Isagani, he began at length with some emotion,
from the window I’ve heard you speaking, for though I am a consumptive I have good ears, and I want to talk with you. I have always liked the young men who express themselves clearly and have their own way of thinking and acting, no matter that their ideas may differ from mine. You young men, from what I have heard, had a supper last night. Don’t excuse yourself—
I don’t intend to excuse myself! interrupted Isagani.
So much the better—it shows that you accept the consequences of your actions. Besides, you would do ill in retracting, and I don’t blame you, I take no notice of what may have been said there last night, I don’t accuse you, because after all you’re free to say of the Dominicans what seems best to you, you are not a pupil of ours—only this year have we had the pleasure of having you, and we shall probably not have you longer. Don’t think that I’m going to invoke considerations of gratitude; no, I’m not going to waste my time in stupid vulgarisms. I’ve had you summoned here because I believe that you are one of the few students who act from conviction, and, as I like men of conviction, I’m going to explain myself to Señor Isagani.
Padre Fernandez paused, then continued his walk with bowed head, his gaze riveted on the floor.
You may sit down, if you wish, he remarked.
It’s a habit of mine to walk about while talking, because my ideas come better then.
Isagani remained standing, with his head erect, waiting for the professor to get to the point of the matter.