Chapter 22: - Page 6 of 11

The Performance

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Juanito was in fact guilty, for he had been pretending to understand everything, holding himself up proudly and applauding at times as though nothing that was said escaped him, and this too without guiding himself by the actors’ pantomime, because he scarcely looked toward the stage.  The rogue had intentionally remarked to Paulita that, as there was so much more beautiful a woman close at hand, he did not care to strain his eyes looking beyond her.  Paulita had blushed, covered her face with her fan, and glanced stealthily toward where Isagani, silent and morose, was abstractedly watching the show.

Paulita felt nettled and jealous.  Would Isagani fall in love with any of those alluring actresses? The thought put her in a bad humor, so she scarcely heard the praises that Doña Victorina was heaping upon her own favorite.

Juanito was playing his part well: he shook his head at times in sign of disapproval, and then there could be heard coughs and murmurs in some parts, at other times he smiled in approbation, and a second later applause resounded.  Doña Victorina was charmed, even conceiving some vague ideas of marrying the young man the day Don Tiburcio should die—Juanito knew French and De Espadaña didn’t! Then she began to flatter him, nor did he perceive the change in the drift of her talk, so occupied was he in watching a Catalan merchant who was sitting next to the Swiss consul.  Having observed that they were conversing in French, Juanito was getting his inspiration from their countenances, and thus grandly giving the cue to those about him.

Scene followed scene, character succeeded character, comic and ridiculous like the bailiff and Grenicheux, imposing and winsome like the marquis and Germaine.  The audience laughed heartily at the slap delivered by Gaspard and intended for the coward Grenicheux, which was received by the grave bailiff, whose wig went flying through the air, producing disorder and confusion as the curtain dropped.

Where’s the cancan? inquired Tadeo.

But the curtain rose again immediately, revealing a scene in a servant market, with three posts on which were affixed signs bearing the announcements: servantes, cochers, and domestiques.  Juanito, to improve the opportunity, turned to Doña Victorina and said in a loud voice, so that Paulita might hear and he convinced of his learning:

Servantes means servants, domestiques domestics.

And in what way do the servantes differ from the domestiques? asked Paulita.

Juanito was not found wanting.  Domestiques are those that are domesticated—haven’t you noticed that some of them have the air of savages? Those are the servantes.

That’s right, added Doña Victorina, some have very bad manners—and yet I thought that in Europe everybody was cultivated.  But as it happens in France,—well, I see!

Ssh! Ssh!

Learn this Filipino word:

kápalin