Chapter 21: - Page 9 of 9

Manila Types

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

No, boy, they’re called the Weary Waiters—old, censorious, and dull.  They pretend to hate everybody—men, women, and children. But look how the Lord always places beside the evil a remedy, only that sometimes it comes late.  There behind the Fates, the frights of the city, come those three girls, the pride of their friends, among whom I count myself.  That thin young man with goggle-eyes, somewhat stooped, who is wildly gesticulating because he can’t get tickets, is the chemist S——, author of many essays and scientific treatises, some of which are notable and have captured prizes.  The Spaniards say of him, ‘There’s some hope for him, some hope for him.’  The fellow who is soothing him with his Voltairian smile is the poet T——, a young man of talent, a great friend of mine, and, for the very reason that he has talent, he has thrown away his pen.  That fellow who is trying to get in with the actors by the other door is the young physician U——, who has effected some remarkable cures—it’s also said of him that he promises well.  He’s not such a scoundrel as Pelaez but he’s cleverer and slyer still.  I believe that he’d shake dice with death and win.

And that brown gentleman with a mustache like hog-bristles?

Ah, that’s the merchant F——, who forges everything, even his baptismal certificate.  He wants to be a Spanish mestizo at any cost, and is making heroic efforts to forget his native language.

But his daughters are very white.

Yes, that’s the reason rice has gone up in price, and yet they eat nothing but bread.

The novice did not understand the connection between the price of rice and the whiteness of those girls, but he held his peace.

There goes the fellow that’s engaged to one of them, that thin brown youth who is following them with a lingering movement and speaking with a protecting air to the three friends who are laughing at him.  He’s a martyr to his beliefs, to his consistency.

The novice was filled with admiration and respect for the young man.

He has the look of a fool, and he is one, continued Tadeo.  He was born in San Pedro Makati and has inflicted many privations upon himself.  He scarcely ever bathes or eats pork, because, according to him, the Spaniards don’t do those things, and for the same reason he doesn’t eat rice and dried fish, although he may be watering at the mouth and dying of hunger.  Anything that comes from Europe, rotten or preserved, he considers divine—a month ago Basilio cured him of a severe attack of gastritis, for he had eaten a jar of mustard to prove that he’s a European.

At that moment the orchestra struck up a waltz.

You see that gentleman—that hypochondriac who goes along turning his head from side to side, seeking salutes? That’s the celebrated governor of Pangasinan, a good man who loses his appetite whenever any Indian fails to salute him.  He would have died if he hadn’t issued the proclamation about salutes to which he owes his celebrity.  Poor fellow, it’s only been three days since he came from the province and look how thin he has become! Oh, here’s the great man, the illustrious—open your eyes!  

Who? That man with knitted brows?

Yes, that’s Don Custodio, the liberal, Don Custodio. His brows are knit because he’s meditating over some important project.  If the ideas he has in his head were carried out, this would be a different world! Ah, here comes Makaraig, your housemate.

It was in fact Makaraig, with Pecson, Sandoval, and Isagani.  Upon seeing them, Tadeo advanced and spoke to them.

Aren’t you coming in? Makaraig asked him.

We haven’t been able to get tickets.

Fortunately, we have a box, replied Makaraig.  Basilio couldn’t come. Both of you, come in with us.

Tadeo did not wait for the invitation to be repeated, but the novice, fearing that he would intrude, with the timidity natural to the provincial Indian, excused himself, nor could he be persuaded to enter.  

Learn this Filipino word:

nagtatampisáw sa putik