Chapter 15: - Page 4 of 6

Señor Pasta

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

The old lawyer grimaced and shook his head from side to side, in sign of discontent, while he rubbed his hand over his bald pate and said in a tone of condescending pity: Ahem! those are bad doctrines, bad theories, ahem! How plain it is that you are young and inexperienced in life.  Look what is happening with the inexperienced young men who in Madrid are asking for so many reforms.  They are accused of filibusterism, many of them don’t dare return here, and yet, what are they asking for? Things holy, ancient, and recognized as quite harmless.  But there are matters that can’t be explained, they’re so delicate. Let’s see—I confess to you that there are other reasons besides those expressed that might lead a sensible government to deny systematically the wishes of the people—no—but it may happen that we find ourselves under rulers so fatuous and ridiculous—but there are always other reasons, even though what is asked be quite just—different governments encounter different conditions—

The old man hesitated, stared fixedly at Isagani, and then with a sudden resolution made a sign with his hand as though he would dispel some idea.

I can guess what you mean, said Isagani, smiling sadly.  You mean that a colonial government, for the very reason that it is imperfectly constituted and that it is based on premises—

No, no, not that, no! quickly interrupted the old lawyer, as he sought for something among his papers.  No, I meant—but where are my spectacles?

There they are, replied Isagani.

The old man put them on and pretended to look over some papers, but seeing that the youth was waiting, he mumbled, I wanted to tell you something, I wanted to say—but it has slipped from my mind.  You interrupted me in your eagerness—but it was an insignificant matter. If you only knew what a whirl my head is in, I have so much to do!

Isagani understood that he was being dismissed.  So, he said, rising, we—

Ah, you will do well to leave the matter in the hands of the government, which will settle it as it sees fit.  You say that the Vice-Rector is opposed to the teaching of Castilian.  Perhaps he may be, not as to the fact but as to the form.  It is said that the Rector who is on his way will bring a project for reform in education.  Wait a while, give time a chance, apply yourself to your studies as the examinations are near, and—carambas!—you who already speak Castilian and express yourself easily, what are you bothering yourself about? What interest have you in seeing it specially taught? Surely Padre Florentino thinks as I do! Give him my regards.

My uncle, replied Isagani, has always admonished me to think of others as much as of myself.  I didn’t come for myself, I came in the name of those who are in worse condition.

Learn this Filipino word:

balát-kalabáw