Chapter 44:

An Examination of Conscience

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Long days and weary nights passed at the sick girl’s bed. After having confessed herself, Maria Clara had suffered a relapse, and in her delirium she uttered only the name of the mother whom she had never known. But her girl friends, her father, and her aunt kept watch at her side. Offerings and alms were sent to all the miraculous images, Capitan Tiago vowed a gold cane to the Virgin of Antipolo, and at length the fever began to subside slowly and regularly.

Doctor De Espadaña was astonished at the virtues of the syrup of marshmallow and the infusion of lichen, prescriptions that he had not varied. Doña Victorina was so pleased with her husband that one day when he stepped on the train of her gown she did not apply her penal code to the extent of taking his set of false teeth away from him, but contented herself with merely exclaiming, If you weren’t lame you’d even step on my corset!—an article of apparel she did not wear.

One afternoon while Sinang and Victoria were visiting their friend, the curate, Capitan Tiago, and Doña Victorina’s family were conversing over their lunch in the dining-room.

Well, I feel very sorry about it, said the doctor; Padre Damaso also will regret it very much.

Where do you say they’re transferring him to? Linares asked the curate.

To the province of Tayabas, replied the curate negligently.

One who will be greatly affected by it is Maria Clara, when she learns of it, said Capitan TiagoShe loves him like a father.

Fray Salvi looked at him askance.

I believe, Padre, continued Capitan Tiago, that all her illness is the result of the trouble on the last day of the fiesta.

I’m of the same opinion, and think that you’ve done well not to let Señor Ibarra see her. She would have got worse.

If it wasn’t for us, put in Doña Victorina, Clarita would already be in heaven singing praises to God.

Amen! Capitan Tiago thought it his duty to exclaim. It’s lucky for you that my husband didn’t have any patient of greater quality, for then you’d have had to call in another, and all those here are ignoramuses. My husband—


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