Chapter 11: - Page 3 of 12

Los Baños

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

He explained the situation angrily to all the occupants of the sala, addressing himself especially to the three walking about, as if he had selected them for judges.  The general played thus, he replied with such a card, Padre Irene had a certain card; he led, and then that fool of a Padre Irene didn’t play his card! Padre Irene was giving the game away! It was a devil of a way to play! His mother’s son had not come here to rack his brains for nothing and lose his money!

Then he added, turning very red, If the booby thinks my money grows on every bush!... On top of the fact that my Indians are beginning to haggle over payments! Fuming, and disregarding the excuses of Padre Irene, who tried to explain while he rubbed the tip of his beak in order to conceal his sly smile, he went into the billiardroom.

Padre Fernandez, would you like to take a hand? asked Fray Sibyla.

I’m a very poor player, replied the friar with a grimace.

Then get Simoun, said the General. Eh, Simoun! Eh, Mister, won’t you try a hand?

What is your disposition concerning the arms for sporting purposes? asked the secretary, taking advantage of the pause.

Simoun thrust his head through the doorway.

Don’t you want to take Padre Camorra’s place, Señor Sindbad? inquired Padre Irene.  You can bet diamonds instead of chips.  

I don’t care if I do, replied Simoun, advancing while he brushed the chalk from his hands.  What will you bet?

What should we bet? returned Padre Sibyla.  The General can bet what he likes, but we priests, clerics—

Bah! interrupted Simoun ironically.  You and Padre Irene can pay with deeds of charity, prayers, and virtues, eh?

You know that the virtues a person may possess, gravely argued Padre Sibyla, are not like the diamonds that may pass from hand to hand, to be sold and resold.  They are inherent in the being, they are essential attributes of the subject—

I’ll be satisfied then if you pay me with promises, replied Simoun jestingly.  You, Padre Sibyla, instead of paying me five something or other in money, will say, for example: for five days I renounce poverty, humility, and obedience.  You, Padre Irene: I renounce chastity, liberality, and so on.  Those are small matters, and I’m putting up my diamonds.

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