Chapter 21: - Page 5 of 9

Manila Types

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Detectives! It must be a new corps, he muttered with his shrug of indifference.  Soon, however, he noticed that the officer, after speaking to two or three more groups, approached a carriage and seemed to be talking vigorously with some person inside.  Camaroncocido took a few steps forward and without surprise thought that he recognized the jeweler Simoun, while his sharp ears caught this short dialogue.

The signal will be a gunshot!

Yes, sir.

Don’t worry—it’s the General who is ordering it, but be careful about saying so.  If you follow my instructions, you’ll get a promotion.

Yes, sir.

So, be ready!

The voice ceased and a second later the carriage drove away.  In spite of his indifference Camaroncocido could not but mutter, Something’s afoot—hands on pockets!

But feeling his own to be empty, he again shrugged his shoulders.  What did it matter to him, even though the heavens should fall?

So he continued his pacing about.  On passing near two persons engaged in conversation, he caught what one of them, who had rosaries and scapularies around his neck, was saying in Tagalog: The friars are more powerful than the General, don’t be a fool! He’ll go away and they’ll stay here.  So, if we do well, we’ll get rich. The signal is a gunshot.

Hold hard, hold hard, murmured Camaroncocido, tightening his fingers.  On that side the General, on this Padre Salvi.  Poor country! But what is it to me?

Again shrugging his shoulders and expectorating at the same time, two actions that with him were indications of supreme indifference, he continued his observations.

Meanwhile, the carriages were arriving in dizzy streams, stopping directly before the door to set down the members of the select society.  Although the weather was scarcely even cool, the ladies sported magnificent shawls, silk neckerchiefs, and even light cloaks.  Among the escorts, some who were in frock coats with white ties wore overcoats, while others carried them on their arms to display the rich silk linings.

Learn this Filipino word:

matabá ang bulsá