Chapter 22: - Page 7 of 11

The Performance

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

But what was Juanito’s predicament when the time came for the opening of the market and the beginning of the sale, and the servants who were to be hired placed themselves beside the signs that indicated their class! The men, some ten or twelve rough characters in livery, carrying branches in their hands, took their place under the sign domestiques!

Those are the domestics, explained Juanito.

Really, they have the appearance of being only recently domesticated, observed Doña Victorina.  Now let’s have a look at the savages.

Then the dozen girls headed by the lively and merry Serpolette, decked out in their best clothes, each wearing a big bouquet of flowers at the waist, laughing, smiling, fresh and attractive, placed themselves, to Juanito’s great desperation, beside the post of the servantes.

How’s this? asked Paulita guilelessly.  Are those the savages that you spoke of?

No, replied the imperturbable Juanito, there’s a mistake—they’ve got their places mixed—those coming behind—

Those with the whips?

Juanito nodded assent, but he was rather perplexed and uneasy.

So those girls are the cochers?

Here Juanito was attacked by such a violent fit of coughing that some of the spectators became annoyed.

Put him out! Put the consumptive out! called a voice.

Consumptive! To be called a consumptive before Paulita! Juanito wanted to find the blackguard and make him swallow that consumptive.  Observing that the women were trying to hold him back, his bravado increased, and he became more conspicuously ferocious.  But fortunately it was Don Custodio who had made the diagnosis, and he, fearful of attracting attention to himself, pretended to hear nothing, apparently busy with his criticism of the play.

If it weren’t that I am with you, remarked Juanito, rolling his eyes like some dolls that are moved by clockwork, and to make the resemblance more real he stuck out his tongue occasionally.

Thus that night he acquired in Doña Victorina’s eyes the reputation of being brave and punctilious, so she decided in her heart that she would marry him just as soon as Don Tiburcio was out of the way.  Paulita became sadder and sadder in thinking about how the girls called cochers could occupy Isagani’s attention, for the name had certain disagreeable associations that came from the slang of her convent school-days.

Learn this Filipino word:

mabigát ang paá