Chapter 13: - Page 9 of 9

The Class in Physics

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Aha, aha! he moralized, those who the day before yesterday scarcely knew how to say, ‘Yes, Padre,’ ‘No, Padre,’ now want to know more than those who have grown gray teaching them.  He who wishes to learn, will learn, academies or no academies! Undoubtedly that fellow who has just gone out is one of those in the project.  Castilian is in good hands with such guardians! When are you going to get the time to attend the academy if you have scarcely enough to fulfill your duties in the regular classes? We wish that you may all know Spanish and that you pronounce it well, so that you won’t split our ear-drums with your twist of expression and your ‘p’s’; [4] but first business and then pleasure: finish your studies first, and afterwards learn Castilian, and all become clerks, if you so wish.

So he went on with his harangue until the bell rang and the class was over.  The two hundred and thirty-four students, after reciting their prayers, went out as ignorant as when they went in, but breathing more freely, as if a great weight had been lifted from them.  Each youth had lost another hour of his life and with it a portion of his dignity and self-respect, and in exchange there was an increase of discontent, of aversion to study, of resentment in their hearts.  After all this ask for knowledge, dignity, gratitude!

De nobis, post haec, tristis sententia fertur!

Just as the two hundred and thirty-four spent their class hours, so the thousands of students who preceded them have spent theirs, and, if matters do not mend, so will those yet to come spend theirs, and be brutalized, while wounded dignity and youthful enthusiasm will be converted into hatred and sloth, like the waves that become polluted along one part of the shore and roll on one after another, each in succession depositing a larger sediment of filth.  But yet He who from eternity watches the consequences of a deed develop like a thread through the loom of the centuries, He who weighs the value of a second and has ordained for His creatures as an elemental law progress and development, He, if He is just, will demand a strict accounting from those who must render it, of the millions of intelligences darkened and blinded, of human dignity trampled upon in millions of His creatures, and of the incalculable time lost and effort wasted! And if the teachings of the Gospel are based on truth, so also will these have to answer—the millions and millions who do not know how to preserve the light of their intelligences and their dignity of mind, as the master demanded an accounting from the cowardly servant for the talent that he let be taken from him.

[4] To confuse the letters p and f in speaking Spanish was a common error among uneducated Filipinos.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

waláng bibíg