Chapter 24: - Page 5 of 7


(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

In the presence of such enthusiasm for his native place, an enthusiasm that she did not comprehend, for she was accustomed to hear her country spoken ill of, and sometimes joined in the chorus herself, Paulita manifested some jealousy, as usual making herself the offended party.

But Isagani very quickly pacified her.  Yes, he said, I loved it above all things before I knew you! It was my delight to wander through the thickets, to sleep in the shade of the trees, to seat myself upon a cliff to take in with my gaze the Pacific which rolled its blue waves before me, bringing to me echoes of songs learned on the shores of free America.  Before knowing you, that sea was for me my world, my delight, my love, my dream! When it slept in calm with the sun shining overhead, it was my delight to gaze into the abyss hundreds of feet below me, seeking monsters in the forests of madrepores and coral that were revealed through the limpid blue, enormous serpents that the country folk say leave the forests to dwell in the sea, and there take on frightful forms.  Evening, they say, is the time when the sirens appear, and I saw them between the waves—so great was my eagerness that once I thought I could discern them amid the foam, busy in their divine sports, I distinctly heard their songs, songs of liberty, and I made out the sounds of their silvery harps.  Formerly I spent hours and hours watching the transformations in the clouds, or gazing at a solitary tree in the plain or a high rock, without knowing why, without being able to explain the vague feelings they awoke in me.  My uncle used to preach long sermons to me, and fearing that I would become a hypochondriac, talked of placing me under a doctor’s care.  But I met you, I loved you, and during the last vacation it seemed that something was lacking there, the forest was gloomy, sad the river that glides through the shadows, dreary the sea, deserted the sky.  Ah, if you should go there once, if your feet should press those paths, if you should stir the waters of the rivulet with your fingers, if you should gaze upon the sea, sit upon the cliff, or make the air ring with your melodious songs, my forest would be transformed into an Eden, the ripples of the brook would sing, light would burst from the dark leaves, into diamonds would be converted the dewdrops and into pearls the foam of the sea.

But Paulita had heard that to reach Isagani’s home it was necessary to cross mountains where little leeches abounded, and at the mere thought of them the little coward shivered convulsively.  Humored and petted, she declared that she would travel only in a carriage or a railway train.

Having now forgotten all his pessimism and seeing only thornless roses about him, Isagani answered, Within a short time all the islands are going to be crossed with networks of iron rails.

‘Por donde rápidas
Y voladoras
Corriendo irán,’[4]

as some one said.  Then the most beautiful spots of the islands will be accessible to all.

[4]Where rapid and winged engines will rush in flight.Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

matigás ang sikmurà