Chapter 22: - Page 4 of 11

The Performance

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Sandoval, pretending to know French, had converted himself into a kind of interpreter for his friends.  He knew as much about it as Tadeo, but the published synopsis helped him and his fancy supplied the rest.  Yes, he said, they’re going to dance the cancan—she’s going to lead it.

Makaraig and Pecson redoubled their attention, smiling in anticipation, while Isagani looked away, mortified to think that Paulita should be present at such a show and reflecting that it was his duty to challenge Juanito Pelaez the next day.

But the young men waited in vain.  Serpolette came on, a charming girl, in her cotton cap, provoking and challenging.  Hein, qui parle de Serpolette? she demanded of the gossips, with her arms akimbo in a combative attitude.  Some one applauded, and after him all those in the reserved seats.  Without changing her girlish attitude, Serpolette gazed at the person who had started the applause and paid him with a smile, displaying rows of little teeth that looked like a string of pearls in a case of red velvet.

Tadeo followed her gaze and saw a man in a false mustache with an extraordinarily large nose.  By the monk’s cowl! he exclaimed. It’s Irene!

Yes, corroborated Sandoval, I saw him behind the scenes talking with the actresses.

The truth was that Padre Irene, who was a melomaniac of the first degree and knew French well, had been sent to the theater by Padre Salvi as a sort of religious detective, or so at least he told the persons who recognized him.  As a faithful critic, who should not be satisfied with viewing the piece from a distance, he wished to examine the actresses at first hand, so he had mingled in the groups of admirers and gallants, had penetrated into the greenroom, where was whispered and talked a French required by the situation, a market French, a language that is readily comprehensible for the vender when the buyer seems disposed to pay well.  

Serpolette was surrounded by two gallant officers, a sailor, and a lawyer, when she caught sight of him moving about, sticking the tip of his long nose into all the nooks and corners, as though with it he were ferreting out all the mysteries of the stage.  She ceased her chatter, knitted her eyebrows, then raised them, opened her lips and with the vivacity of a Parisienne left her admirers to hurl herself like a torpedo upon our critic.

Tiens, tiens, Toutou! Mon lapin! she cried, catching Padre Irene’s arm and shaking it merrily, while the air rang with her silvery laugh.

Tut, tut! objected Padre Irene, endeavoring to conceal himself.

Mais, comment! Toi ici, grosse bête! Et moi qui t’croyais

Tais pas d’tapage, Lily! Il faut m’respecter! ’Suis ici l’Pape!

Learn this Filipino word: