Chapter 12: - Page 5 of 7

Placido Penitente

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

In the entrance and along the walks on each side of it were gathered the students, awaiting the appearance of the professors.  Students of the preparatory year of law, of the fifth of the secondary course, of the preparatory in medicine, formed lively groups.  The latter were easily distinguished by their clothing and by a certain air that was lacking in the others, since the greater part of them came from the Ateneo Municipal.  Among them could be seen the poet Isagani, explaining to a companion the theory of the refraction of light.  In another group they were talking, disputing, citing the statements of the professor, the text-books, and scholastic principles; in yet another they were gesticulating and waving their books in the air or making demonstrations with their canes by drawing diagrams on the ground; farther on, they were entertaining themselves in watching the pious women go into the neighboring church, all the students making facetious remarks.  An old woman leaning on a young girl limped piously, while the girl moved along writh downcast eyes, timid and abashed to pass before so many curious eyes.  The old lady, catching up her coffee-colored skirt, of the Sisterhood of St. Rita, to reveal her big feet and white stockings, scolded her companion and shot furious glances at the staring bystanders.

The rascals! she grunted.  Don’t look at them, keep your eyes down.

Everything was noticed; everything called forth jokes and comments.  Now it was a magnificent victoria which stopped at the door to set down a family of votaries on their way to visit the Virgin of the Rosary [3] on her favorite day, while the inquisitive sharpened their eyes to get a glimpse of the shape and size of the young ladies’ feet as they got out of the carriages; now it was a student who came out of the door with devotion still shining in his eyes, for he had passed through the church to beg the Virgin’s help in understanding his lesson and to see if his sweetheart was there, to exchange a few glances with her and go on to his class with the recollection of her loving eyes.

Soon there was noticed some movement in the groups, a certain air of expectancy, while Isagani paused and turned pale.  A carriage drawn by a pair of well-known white horses had stopped at the door.  It was that of Paulita Gomez, and she had already jumped down, light as a bird, without giving the rascals time to see her foot.  With a bewitching whirl of her body and a sweep of her hand she arranged the folds of her skirt, shot a rapid and apparently careless glance toward Isagani, spoke to him and smiled.  Doña Victorina descended in her turn, gazed over her spectacles, saw Juanito Pelaez, smiled, and bowed to him affably.

Isagani, flushed with excitement, returned a timid salute, while Juanito bowed profoundly, took off his hat, and made the same gesture as the celebrated clown and caricaturist Panza when he received applause.

Heavens, what a girl! exclaimed one of the students, starting forward.  Tell the professor that I’m seriously ill.  So Tadeo, as this invalid youth was known, entered the church to follow the girl.

[3] Patroness of the Dominican Order. She was formally and sumptuously recrowned a queen of the skies in 1907.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

namámaná sa dilím