Chapter 21: - Page 7 of 9

Manila Types

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Making invalids?

Yes, boy, in the examination of the conscripts.  Attention! That finely dressed gentleman is not a physician but a homeopathist sui generis—he professes completely the similis similibus.  The young cavalry captain with him is his chosen disciple.  That man in a light suit with his hat tilted back is the government clerk whose maxim is never to be polite and who rages like a demon when he sees a hat on any one else’s head—they say that he does it to ruin the German hatters.  The man just arriving with his family is the wealthy merchant C——, who has an income of over a hundred thousand pesos.  But what would you say if I should tell you that he still owes me four pesos, five reales, and twelve cuartos? But who would collect from a rich man like him?

That gentleman in debt to you?  

Sure! One day I got him out of a bad fix.  It was on a Friday at half-past six in the morning, I still remember, because I hadn’t breakfasted.   That lady who is followed by a duenna is the celebrated Pepay, the dancing girl, but she doesn’t dance any more now that a very Catholic gentleman and a great friend of mine has—forbidden it.  There’s the death’s-head Z——, who’s surely following her to get her to dance again.  He’s a good fellow, and a great friend of mine, but has one defect—he’s a Chinese mestizo and yet calls himself a Peninsular Spaniard.  Sssh! Look at Ben-Zayb, him with the face of a friar, who’s carrying a pencil and a roll of paper in his hand.  He’s the great writer, Ben-Zayb, a good friend of mine—he has talent!

You don’t say! And that little man with white whiskers?

He’s the official who has appointed his daughters, those three little girls, assistants in his department, so as to get their names on the pay-roll.  He’s a clever man, very clever! When he makes a mistake he blames it on somebody else, he buys things and pays for them out of the treasury.  He’s clever, very, very clever!

Tadeo was about to say more, but suddenly checked himself.

And that gentleman who has a fierce air and gazes at everybody over his shoulders? inquired the novice, pointing to a man who nodded haughtily.

But Tadeo did not answer.  He was craning his neck to see Paulita Gomez, who was approaching with a friend, Doña Victorina, and Juanito Pelaez.  The latter had presented her with a box and was more humped than ever.

Carriage after carriage drove up; the actors and actresses arrived and entered by a separate door, followed by their friends and admirers.

Learn this Filipino word:

mákaisáng-pusò