Chapter 2: - Page 2 of 7

On the Lower Deck

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

But to get back to this academy of Castilian, Capitan Basilio continued, I assure you, gentlemen, that you won’t materialize it.

Yes, sir, from day to day we’re expecting the permit, replied Isagani.  Padre Irene, whom you may have noticed above, and to whom we’ve presented a team of bays, has promised it to us.  He’s on his way now to confer with the General.   That doesn’t matter. Padre Sibyla is opposed to it.

Let him oppose it! That’s why he’s here on the steamer, in order to—at Los Baños before the General.

And the student Basilio filled out his meaning by going through the pantomime of striking his fists together.

That’s understood, observed Capitan Basilio, smiling.  But even though you get the permit, where’ll you get the funds?

We have them, sir.  Each student has contributed a real.

But what about the professors?

We have them: half Filipinos and half Peninsulars.[2]

And the house?

Makaraig, the wealthy Makaraig, has offered one of his.

Capitan Basilio had to give in; these young men had everything arranged.

For the rest, he said with a shrug of his shoulders, it’s not altogether bad, it’s not a bad idea, and now that you can’t know Latin at least you may know Castilian.  Here you have another instance, namesake, of how we are going backwards.  In our times we learned Latin because our books were in Latin; now you study Latin a little but have no Latin books.  On the other hand, your books are in Castilian and that language is not taught—aetas parentum pejor avis tulit nos nequiores! as Horace said.  With this quotation he moved away majestically, like a Roman emperor.

The youths smiled at each other.  These men of the past, remarked Isagani, find obstacles for everything.  Propose a thing to them and instead of seeing its advantages they only fix their attention on the difficulties.  They want everything to come smooth and round as a billiard ball.

[2] Natives of Spain; to distinguish them from the Filipinos, i.e., descendants of Spaniards born in the Philippines. See Glossary: Indian.Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

tubong nilugaw