Chapter 12: - Page 3 of 7

Placido Penitente

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Right! What an ass I am! Don’t you know, Placido, that I’m getting to be a regular ass? What about Wednesday?

Wednesday? Wait—Wednesday, it was a little wet.

Fine! What about Tuesday, old man?

Tuesday was the professor’s nameday and we went to entertain him with an orchestra, present him flowers and some gifts.

Ah, carambas! exclaimed Juanito, that I should have forgotten about it! What an ass I am! Listen, did he ask for me?

Penitente shrugged his shoulders.  I don’t know, but they gave him a list of his entertainers.

Carambas! Listen—Monday, what happened?

As it was the first school-day, he called the roll and assigned the lesson—about mirrors.  Look, from here to here, by memory, word for word.  We jump all this section, we take that.  He was pointing out with his finger in the Physics the portions that were to be learned, when suddenly the book flew through the air, as a result of the slap Juanito gave it from below.

Thunder, let the lessons go! Let’s have a dia pichido!

The students in Manila call dia pichido a school-day that falls between two holidays and is consequently suppressed, as though forced out by their wish.

Do you know that you really are an ass? exclaimed Placido, picking up his book and papers.

Let’s have a dia pichido! repeated Juanito.

Placido was unwilling, since for only two the authorities were hardly going to suspend a class of more than a hundred and fifty.  He recalled the struggles and privations his mother was suffering in order to keep him in Manila, while she went without even the necessities of life.

They were just passing through the breach of Santo Domingo, and Juanito, gazing across the little plaza [2] in front of the old Customs building, exclaimed, Now I think of it, I’m appointed to take up the collection.

[2] Now known as Plaza España.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

halagáng gintô