Chapter 14: - Page 7 of 9

In the House of the Students

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

The bearer of such good news was Makaraig, the young man at the head of the movement.  This student occupied in that house, by himself, two rooms, luxuriously furnished, and had his servant and a cochero to look after his carriage and horses.  He was of robust carriage, of refined manners, fastidiously dressed, and very rich.  Although studying law only that he might have an academic degree, he enjoyed a reputation for diligence, and as a logician in the scholastic way had no cause to envy the most frenzied quibblers of the University faculty.  Nevertheless he was not very far behind in regard to modern ideas and progress, for his fortune enabled him to have all the books and magazines that a watchful censor was unable to keep out.  With these qualifications and his reputation for courage, his fortunate associations in his earlier years, and his refined and delicate courtesy, it was not strange that he should exercise such great influence over his associates and that he should have been chosen to carry out such a difficult undertaking as that of the instruction in Castilian.

After the first outburst of enthusiasm, which in youth always takes hold in such exaggerated forms, since youth finds everything beautiful, they wanted to be informed how the affair had been managed.

I saw Padre Irene this morning, said Makaraig with a certain air of mystery.

Hurrah for Padre Irene! cried an enthusiastic student.

Padre Irene, continued Makaraig, has told me about everything that took place at Los Baños.  It seems that they disputed for at least a week, he supporting and defending our case against all of them, against Padre Sibyla, Padre Fernandez, Padre Salvi, the General, the jeweler Simoun—

The jeweler Simoun! interrupted one of his listeners.  What has that Jew to do with the affairs of our country? We enrich him by buying—

Keep quiet! admonished another impatiently, anxious to learn how Padre Irene had been able to overcome such formidable opponents.

There were even high officials who were opposed to our project, the Head Secretary, the Civil Governor, Quiroga the Chinaman—

Quiroga the Chinaman! The pimp of the—

Shut up!

At last, resumed Makaraig, they were going to pigeonhole the petition and let it sleep for months and months, when Padre Irene remembered the Superior Commission of Primary Instruction and proposed, since the matter concerned the teaching of the Castilian tongue, that the petition be referred to that body for a report upon it.

But that Commission hasn’t been in operation for a long time, observed Pecson.

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