Chapter 10: - Page 5 of 8

Wealth and Want

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Fool! he chided her, after overcoming his first disappointment.  How do you know but that to this necklace is due the present condition of the world? With this Cleopatra may have captivated Caesar, Mark Antony! This has heard the burning declarations of love from the greatest warriors of their time, it has listened to speeches in the purest and most elegant Latin, and yet you would want to wear it!

I? I wouldn’t give three pesos for it.

You could give twenty, silly, said Capitana Tika in a judicial tone.  The gold is good and melted down would serve for other jewelry.

This is a ring that must have belonged to Sulla, continued Simoun, exhibiting a heavy ring of solid gold with a seal on it.

With that he must have signed the death-wrarrants during his dictatorship! exclaimed Capitan Basilio, pale with emotion.  He examined it and tried to decipher the seal, but though he turned it over and over he did not understand paleography, so he could not read it.

What a finger Sulla had! he observed finally.  This would fit two of ours—as I’ve said, we’re degenerating!

I still have many other jewels—

If they’re all that kind, never mind! interrupted Sinang. I think I prefer the modern.

Each one selected some piece of jewelry, one a ring, another a watch, another a locket.  Capitana Tika bought a reliquary that contained a fragment of the stone on which Our Saviour rested at his third fall; Sinang a pair of earrings; and Capitan Basilio the watch-chain for the alferez, the lady’s earrings for the curate, and other gifts.  The families from the town of Tiani, not to be outdone by those of San Diego, in like manner emptied their purses.

Simoun bought or exchanged old jewelry, brought there by economical mothers, to whom it was no longer of use.

You, haven’t you something to sell? he asked Cabesang Tales, noticing the latter watching the sales and exchanges with covetous eyes, but the reply was that all his daughter’s jewels had been sold, nothing of value remained.

What about Maria Clara’s locket? inquired Sinang.

True! the man exclaimed, and his eyes blazed for a moment.

It’s a locket set with diamonds and emeralds, Sinang told the jeweler.  My old friend wore it before she became a nun.

Learn this Filipino word:

pinilakang tabing