Chapter 13: - Page 8 of 9

The Class in Physics

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

He again opened the register, sought out the name, and entered the mark.  Come, only one mark, he said, since you hadn’t any before.  

But, Padre, exclaimed Placido, restraining himself, if your Reverence puts a mark against me for failing in the lesson, your Reverence owes it to me to erase the one for absence that you have put against me for today.

His Reverence made no answer.  First he slowly entered the mark, then contemplated it with his head on one side,—the mark must be artistic,—closed the register, and asked with great sarcasm, Abá, and why so, sir?

Because I can’t conceive, Padre, how one can be absent from the class and at the same time recite the lesson in it.  Your Reverence is saying that to be is not to be.

Nakú, a metaphysician, but a rather premature one! So you can’t conceive of it, eh? Sed patet experientia and contra experientiam negantem, fusilibus est arguendum, do you understand? And can’t you conceive, with your philosophical head, that one can be absent from the class and not know the lesson at the same time? Is it a fact that absence necessarily implies knowledge? What do you say to that, philosophaster?

This last epithet was the drop of water that made the full cup overflow.  Placido enjoyed among his friends the reputation of being a philosopher, so he lost his patience, threw down his book, arose, and faced the professor.

Enough, Padre, enough! Your Reverence can put all the marks against me that you wish, but you haven’t the right to insult me.  Your Reverence may stay with the class, I can’t stand any more. Without further farewell, he stalked away.

The class was astounded; such an assumption of dignity had scarcely ever been seen, and who would have thought it of Placido Penitente? The surprised professor bit his lips and shook his head threateningly as he watched him depart.  Then in a trembling voice he began his preachment on the same old theme, delivered however with more energy and more eloquence.  It dealt with the growing arrogance, the innate ingratitude, the presumption, the lack of respect for superiors, the pride that the spirit of darkness infused in the young, the lack of manners, the absence of courtesy, and so on.  From this he passed to coarse jests and sarcasm over the presumption which some good-for-nothing prompters had of teaching their teachers by establishing an academy for instruction in Castilian.

Learn this Filipino word:

ibulóng nang malakás