Chapter 21: - Page 2 of 9

Manila Types

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

The little old man was a fitting contrast to him.  Small, very small, he wore on his head a high hat, which presented the appearance of a huge hairy worm, and lost himself in an enormous frock coat, too wide and too long for him, to reappear in trousers too short, not reaching below his calves.  His body seemed to be the grandfather and his legs the grandchildren, while as for his shoes he appeared to be floating on the land, for they were of an enormous sailor type, apparently protesting against the hairy worm worn on his head with all the energy of a convento beside a World’s Exposition.  If Camaroncocido was red, he was brown; while the former, although of Spanish extraction, had not a single hair on his face, yet he, an Indian, had a goatee and mustache, both long, white, and sparse.  His expression was lively.  He was known as Tio Quico,[2] and like his friend lived on publicity, advertising the shows and posting the theatrical announcements, being perhaps the only Filipino who could appear with impunity in a silk hat and frock coat, just as his friend was the first Spaniard who laughed at the prestige of his race.

The Frenchman has paid me well, he said smiling and showing his picturesque gums, which looked like a street after a conflagration.  I did a good job in posting the bills.

Camaroncocido shrugged his shoulders again.  Quico, he rejoined in a cavernous voice, if they’ve given you six pesos for your work, how much will they give the friars?

Tio Quico threw back his head in his usual lively manner.  To the friars?

Because you surely know, continued Camaroncocido, that all this crowd was secured for them by the conventos.

The fact was that the friars, headed by Padre Salvi, and some lay brethren captained by Don Custodio, had opposed such shows.  Padre Camorra, who could not attend, watered at the eyes and mouth, but argued with Ben-Zayb, who defended them feebly, thinking of the free tickets they would send his newspaper.  Don Custodio spoke of morality, religion, good manners, and the like.

But, stammered the writer, if our own farces with their plays on words and phrases of double meaning—

But at least they’re in Castilian! the virtuous councilor interrupted with a roar, inflamed to righteous wrath.  Obscenities in French, man, Ben-Zayb, for God’s sake, in French! Never!

He uttered this never with the energy of three Guzmans threatened with being killed like fleas if they did not surrender twenty Tarifas.  Padre Irene naturally agreed with Don Custodio and execrated French operetta.  Whew, he had been in Paris, but had never set foot in a theater, the Lord deliver him!

[2] Uncle Frank.Tr.

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