Chapter 14: - Page 3 of 9

In the House of the Students

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Among the young men gathered together there were optimists like Isagani and Sandoval, who saw the thing already accomplished and talked of congratulations and praise from the government for the patriotism of the students—outbursts of optimism that led Juanito Pelaez to claim for himself a large part of the glory of founding the society.

All this was answered by the pessimist Pecson, a chubby youth with a wide, clownish grin, who spoke of outside influences, whether the Bishop A., the Padre B., or the Provincial C., had been consulted or not, whether or not they had advised that the whole association should be put in jail—a suggestion that made Juanito Pelaez so uneasy that he stammered out, Carambas, don’t you drag me into—

Sandoval, as a Peninsular and a liberal, became furious at this.  But pshaw! he exclaimed, that is holding a bad opinion of his Excellency! I know that he’s quite a friar-lover, but in such a matter as this he won’t let the friars interfere.  Will you tell me, Pecson, on what you base your belief that the General has no judgment of his own?

I didn’t say that, Sandoval, replied Pecson, grinning until he exposed his wisdom-tooth.  For me the General has his own judgment, that is, the judgment of all those within his reach.  That’s plain!

You’re dodging—cite me a fact, cite me a fact! cried Sandoval.  Let’s get away from hollow arguments, from empty phrases, and get on the solid ground of facts,—this with an elegant gesture.  Facts, gentlemen, facts! The rest is prejudice—I won’t call it filibusterism.

Pecson smiled like one of the blessed as he retorted, There comes the filibusterism.  But can’t we enter into a discussion without resorting to accusations?

Sandoval protested in a little extemporaneous speech, again demanding facts.

Well, not long ago there was a dispute between some private persons and certain friars, and the acting Governor rendered a decision that it should be settled by the Provincial of the Order concerned, replied Pecson, again breaking out into a laugh, as though he were dealing with an insignificant matter, he cited names and dates, and promised documents that would prove how justice was dispensed.

But, on what ground, tell me this, on what ground can they refuse permission for what plainly appears to be extremely useful and necessary? asked Sandoval.

Pecson shrugged his shoulders.  It’s that it endangers the integrity of the fatherland, he replied in the tone of a notary reading an allegation.

That’s pretty good! What has the integrity of the fatherland to do with the rules of syntax?

The Holy Mother Church has learned doctors—what do I know? Perhaps it is feared that we may come to understand the laws so that we can obey them.  What will become of the Philippines on the day when we understand one another?

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