Chapter 21: - Page 4 of 9

Manila Types

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

But the place where the excitement reached its climax was the newspaper office.  Ben-Zayb, having been appointed critic and translator of the synopsis, trembled like a poor woman accused of witchcraft, as he saw his enemies picking out his blunders and throwing up to his face his deficient knowledge of French.  When the Italian opera was on, he had very nearly received a challenge for having mistranslated a tenor’s name, while an envious rival had immediately published an article referring to him as an ignoramus—him, the foremost thinking head in the Philippines! All the trouble he had had to defend himself! He had had to write at least seventeen articles and consult fifteen dictionaries, so with these salutary recollections, the wretched Ben-Zayb moved about with leaden hands, to say nothing of his feet, for that would be plagiarizing Padre Camorra, who had once intimated that the journalist wrote with them.

You see, Quico? said Camaroncocido.  One half of the people have come because the friars told them not to, making it a kind of public protest, and the other half because they say to themselves, ‘Do the friars object to it? Then it must be instructive!’ Believe me, Quico, your advertisements are a good thing but the pastoral was better, even taking into consideration the fact that it was read by no one.

Friend, do you believe, asked Tio Quico uneasily, that on account of the competition with Padre Salvi my business will in the future be prohibited?

Maybe so, Quico, maybe so, replied the other, gazing at the sky.  Money’s getting scarce.

Tio Quico muttered some incoherent words: if the friars were going to turn theatrical advertisers, he would become a friar.  After bidding his friend good-by, he moved away coughing and rattling his silver coins.

With his eternal indifference Camaroncocido continued to wander about here and there with his crippled leg and sleepy looks.  The arrival of unfamiliar faces caught his attention, coming as they did from different parts and signaling to one another with a wink or a cough. It was the first time that he had ever seen these individuals on such an occasion, he who knew all the faces and features in the city.  Men with dark faces, humped shoulders, uneasy and uncertain movements, poorly disguised, as though they had for the first time put on sack coats, slipped about among the shadows, shunning attention, instead of getting in the front rows where they could see well.

Detectives or thieves? Camaroncocido asked himself and immediately shrugged his shoulders.  But what is it to me?

The lamp of a carriage that drove up lighted in passing a group of four or five of these individuals talking with a man who appeared to be an army officer.

Learn this Filipino word:

kumita nang unang liwanag