Chapter 13: - Page 7 of 9

The Class in Physics

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

It means that you haven’t learned the lesson, you petty meddler, you don’t understand it yourself, and yet you prompt your neighbor!

The class took no offense, but on the contrary many thought the epithet funny and laughed.  Placido bit his lips.

What’s your name? the professor asked him.

Placido, was the curt reply.

Aha! Placido Penitente, although you look more like Placido the Prompter—or the Prompted. But, Penitent, I’m going to impose some penance on you for your promptings.  

Pleased with his play on words, he ordered the youth to recite the lesson, and the latter, in the state of mind to which he was reduced, made more than three mistakes.  Shaking his head up and down, the professor slowly opened the register and slowly scanned it while he called off the names in a low voice.

Palencia—Palomo—Panganiban—Pedraza—Pelado—Pelaez—Penitents, aha! Placido Penitente, fifteen unexcused absences—

Placido started up.  Fifteen absences, Padre?

Fifteen unexcused absences, continued the professor, so that you only lack one to be dropped from the roll.

Fifteen absences, fifteen absences, repeated Placido in amazement.  I’ve never been absent more than four times, and with today, perhaps five.

Jesso, jesso, monseer,[3] replied the professor, examining the youth over his gold eye-glasses.  You confess that you have missed five times, and God knows if you may have missed oftener.  Atqui, as I rarely call the roll, every time I catch any one I put five marks against him; ergo, how many are five times five? Have you forgotten the multiplication table? Five times five?


Correct, correct! Thus you’ve still got away with ten, because I have caught you only three times. Huh, if I had caught you every time—Now, how many are three times five?


Fifteen, right you are! concluded the professor, closing the register.  If you miss once more—out of doors with you, get out! Ah, now a mark for the failure in the daily lesson.

[3] The professor speaks these words in vulgar dialect.

Learn this Filipino word:

nanaog sa bintanà