Chapter 35:


(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

News of the incident soon spread throughout the town. At first all were incredulous, but, having to yield to the fact, they broke out into exclamations of surprise. Each one, according to his moral lights, made his comments.

Padre Damaso is dead, said someWhen they picked him up his face was covered with blood and he wasn’t breathing.

May he rest in peace! But he hasn’t any more than settled his debts! exclaimed a young manLook what he did this morning in the convento—there isn’t any name for it.

What did he do? Did he beat up the coadjutor again?

What did he do? Tell us about it!

You saw that Spanish mestizo go out through the sacristy in the midst of the sermon?

Yes, we saw him. Padre Damaso took note of him.

Well, after the sermon he sent for the young man and asked him why he had gone out. ‘I don’t understand Tagalog, Padre,’ was the reply. ‘And why did you joke about it, saying that it was Greek?’ yelled Padre Damaso, slapping the young man in the face. The latter retorted and the two came to blows until they were separated.

If that had happened to me— hissed a student between his teeth.

I don’t approve of the action of the Franciscan, said another, since Religion ought not to be imposed on any one as a punishment or a penance. But I am almost glad of it, for I know that young man, I know that he’s from San Pedro Makati and that he talks Tagalog well. Now he wants to be taken for a recent arrival from Russia and prides himself on appearing not to know the language of his fathers.

Then God makes them and they rush together! [1]

Still we must protest against such actions, exclaimed another studentTo remain silent would be to assent to the abuse, and what has happened may be repeated with any one of us. We’re going back to the times of Nero!

You’re wrong, replied anotherNero was a great artist, while Padre Damaso is only a tiresome preacher.

[1] The Spanish proverb equivalent to the English Birds of a feather flock together.TR.


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