(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)
Ibarra was in such a state of mind that he found it impossible to sleep, so to distract his attention from the sad thoughts which are so exaggerated during the night-hours he set to work in his lonely cabinet. Day found him still making mixtures and combinations, to the action of which he subjected pieces of bamboo and other substances, placing them afterwards in numbered and sealed jars.
A servant entered to announce the arrival of a man who had the appearance of being from the country.
Show him in, said Ibarra without looking around.
Elias entered and remained standing in silence.
Ah, it’s you! exclaimed Ibarra in Tagalog when he recognized him.
Excuse me for making you wait, I didn’t notice that it was you. I’m making an important experiment.
I don’t want to disturb you, answered the youthful pilot.
I’ve come first to ask you if there is anything I can do for you in the province, of Batangas, for which I am leaving immediately, and also to bring you some bad news.
Ibarra questioned him with a look.
Capitan Tiago’s daughter is ill, continued Elias quietly,
but not seriously.
That’s what I feared, murmured Ibarra in a weak voice.
Do you know what is the matter with her?
A fever. Now, if you have nothing to command—
Thank you, my friend, no. I wish you a pleasant journey. But first let me ask you a question—if it is indiscreet, do not answer.
How were you able to quiet the disturbance last night? asked Ibarra, looking steadily at him.
Very easily, answered Elias in the most natural manner.
The leaders of the commotion were two brothers whose father died from a beating given him by the Civil Guard. One day I had the good fortune to save them from the same hands into which their father had fallen, and both are accordingly grateful to me. I appealed to them last night and they undertook to dissuade the rest.