Chapter 14: - Page 2 of 9

In the House of the Students

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Still another came in with exaggerated wonder, scandalized as he approached the table.  How wicked you are! So early in the morning and already gambling! Let’s see, let’s see! You fool, take it with the three of spades! Closing his book, he too joined in the game.

Cries and blows were heard.  Two boys were fighting in the adjoining room—a lame student who was very sensitive about his infirmity and an unhappy newcomer from the provinces who was just commencing his studies.  He was working over a treatise on philosophy and reading innocently in a loud voice, with a wrong accent, the Cartesian principle: Cogito, ergo sum!

The little lame boy (el cojito) took this as an insult and the others intervened to restore peace, but in reality only to sow discord and come to blows themselves.

In the dining-room a young man with a can of sardines, a bottle of wine, and the provisions that he had just brought from his town, was making heroic efforts to the end that his friends might participate in his lunch, while they were offering in their turn heroic resistance to his invitation.  Others were bathing on the azotea, playing firemen with the water from the well, and joining in combats with pails of water, to the great delight of the spectators.

But the noise and shouts gradually died away with the coming of leading students, summoned by Makaraig to report to them the progress of the academy of Castilian.  Isagani was cordially greeted, as was also the Peninsular, Sandoval, who had come to Manila as a government employee and was finishing his studies, and who had completely identified himself with the cause of the Filipino students.  The barriers that politics had established between the races had disappeared in the schoolroom as though dissolved by the zeal of science and youth.

From lack of lyceums and scientific, literary, or political centers, Sandoval took advantage of all the meetings to cultivate his great oratorical gifts, delivering speeches and arguing on any subject, to draw forth applause from his friends and listeners.  At that moment the subject of conversation was the instruction in Castilian, but as Makaraig had not yet arrived conjecture was still the order of the day.

What can have happened?

What has the General decided?

Has he refused the permit?

Has Padre Irene or Padre Sibyla won?

Such were the questions they asked one another, questions that could be answered only by Makaraig.

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