Chapter 12: - Page 7 of 7

Placido Penitente

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

It’s very long, don’t you see? It concerns the presentation of a counter-petition, or rather, a protest.  Don’t  you understand? Makaraig and some others have asked that an academy of Castilian be opened, which is a piece of genuine foolishness—

All right, all right, after awhile.  They’re already beginning, answered Placido, trying to get away.

But your professor may not call the roll—

Yes, yes; but he calls it sometimes.  Later on, later on! Besides, I don’t want to put myself in opposition to Makaraig.

But it’s not putting yourself in opposition, it’s only—

Placido heard no more, for he was already far away, hurrying to his class.  He heard the different voices—adsum, adsum—the roll was being called! Hastening his steps he got to the door just as the letter Q was reached.

Tinamáan ñg—! [5] he muttered, biting his lips.

He hesitated about entering, for the mark was already down against him and was not to be erased.  One did not go to the class to learn but in order not to get this absence mark, for the class was reduced to reciting the lesson from memory, reading the book, and at the most answering a few abstract, profound, captious, enigmatic questions.  True, the usual preachment was never lacking—the same as ever, about humility, submission, and respect to the clerics, and he, Placido, was humble, submissive, and respectful.  So he was about to turn away when he remembered that the examinations were approaching and his professor had not yet asked him a question nor appeared to notice him—this would be a good opportunity to attract his attention and become known! To be known was to gain a year, for if it cost nothing to suspend one who was not known, it required a hard heart not to be touched by the sight of a youth who by his daily presence was a reproach over a year of his life wasted.  

So Placido went in, not on tiptoe as was his custom, but noisily on his heels, and only too well did he succeed in his intent! The professor stared at him, knitted his brows, and shook his head, as though to say, Ah, little impudence, you’ll pay for that!

[5]Tinamáan ñg lintik!—a Tagalog exclamation of anger, disappointment, or dismay, regarded as a very strong expression, equivalent to profanity. Literally, May the lightning strike you!Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

binatak