Chapter 22: - Page 5 of 11

The Performance

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

With great difficulty Padre Irene made her listen to reason, for Lily was enchanteé to meet in Manila an old friend who reminded her of the coulisses of the Grand Opera House.  So it was that Padre Irene, fulfilling at the same time his duties as a friend and a critic, had initiated the applause to encourage her, for Serpolette deserved it.

Meanwhile, the young men were waiting for the cancan.  Pecson became all eyes, but there was everything except cancan.  There was presented the scene in which, but for the timely arrival of the representatives of the law, the women would have come to blows and torn one another’s hair out, incited thereto by the mischievous peasants, who, like our students, hoped to see something more than the cancan.

Scit, scit, scit, scit, scit, scit,

Disputez-vous, battez-vous,

Scit, scit, scit, scit, scit, scit,

Nous allons compter les coups.

The music ceased, the men went away, the women returned, a few at a time, and started a conversation among themselves, of which our friends understood nothing.  They were slandering some absent person.

They look like the Chinamen of the pansiteria! whispered Pecson.

But, the cancan? asked Makaraig.

They’re talking about the most suitable place to dance it, gravely responded Sandoval.

They look like the Chinamen of the pansiteria, repeated Pecson in disgust.

A lady accompanied by her husband entered at that moment and took her place in one of the two vacant boxes.  She had the air of a queen and gazed disdainfully at the whole house, as if to say, I’ve come later than all of you, you crowd of upstarts and provincials, I’ve come later than you! There are persons who go to the theater like the contestants in a mule-race: the last one in, wins, and we know very sensible men who would ascend the scaffold rather than enter a theater before the first act.  But the lady’s triumph was of short duration—she caught sight of the other box that was still empty, and began to scold her better half, thus starting such a disturbance that many were annoyed.

Ssh! Ssh!

The blockheads! As if they understood French! remarked the lady, gazing with supreme disdain in all directions, finally fixing her attention on Juanito’s box, whence she thought she had heard an impudent hiss.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagbábanat ng butó