Chapter 11: - Page 8 of 12

Los Baños

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Man, man, man!

What a lovely idea!

What’s the matter with you, Don Custodio?

That’s a grand suggestion!

That beats them all!

But, gentlemen, cried Don Custodio, in answer to so many exclamations, let’s be practical—what places are more suitable than the cockpits? They’re large, well constructed, and under a curse for the use to which they are put during the week-days. From a moral standpoint my project would be acceptable, by serving as a kind of expiation and weekly purification of the temple of chance, as we might say.

But the fact remains that sometimes there are cockfights during the week, objected Padre Camorra, and it wouldn’t be right when the contractors of the cockpits pay the government— [2]

Well, on those days close the school!

Man, man! exclaimed the scandalized Captain-General.  Such an outrage shall never be perpetrated while I govern! To close the schools in order to gamble! Man, man, I’ll resign first! His Excellency was really horrified.

But, General, it’s better to close them for a few days than for months.

It would be immoral, observed Padre Irene, more indignant even than his Excellency.

It’s more immoral that vice has good buildings and learning none.  Let’s be practical, gentlemen, and not be carried away by sentiment.  In politics there’s nothing worse than sentiment.  While from humane considerations we forbid the cultivation of opium in our colonies, we tolerate the smoking of it, and the result is that we do not combat the vice but impoverish ourselves.

But remember that it yields to the government, without any effort, more than four hundred and fifty thousand pesos, objected Padre Irene, who was getting more and more on the governmental side.

Enough, enough, enough! exclaimed his Excellency, to end the discussion.  I have my own plans in this regard and will devote special attention to the matter of public instruction.  Is there anything else?

The secretary looked uneasily toward Padre Sibyla and Padre Irene.  The cat was about to come out of the bag. Both prepared themselves.

The petition of the students requesting authorization to open an academy of Castilian, answered the secretary.

[2] The cockpits are farmed out annually by the local governments, the terms contract, and contractor, having now been softened into license and licensee.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

magalíng na batà