Chapter 25: - Page 2 of 7

Smiles and Tears

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Sandoval was curious and gazed about scrutinizing everything, tasting the food, examining the pictures, reading the bill of fare.  The others conversed on the topics of the day: about the French actresses, about the mysterious illness of Simoun, who, according to some, had been found wounded in the street, while others averred that he had attempted to commit suicide.  As was natural, all lost themselves in conjectures.  Tadeo gave his particular version, which according to him came from a reliable source: Simoun had been assaulted by some unknown person in the old Plaza Vivac, [2] the motive being revenge, in proof of which was the fact that Simoun himself refused to make the least explanation.  From this they proceeded to talk of mysterious revenges, and naturally of monkish pranks, each one relating the exploits of the curate of his town.

A notice in large black letters crowned the frieze of the room with this warning:

De esta fonda el cabecilla

Al publico advierte

Que nada dejen absolutamente

Sobre alguna mesa ó silla. [3]

What a notice! exclaimed Sandoval.  As if he might have confidence in the police, eh? And what verses! Don Tiburcio converted into a quatrain—two feet, one longer than the other, between two crutches! If Isagani sees them, he’ll present them to his future aunt.

Here’s Isagani! called a voice from the stairway.  The happy youth appeared radiant with joy, followed by two Chinese, without camisas, who carried on enormous waiters tureens that gave out an appetizing odor.  Merry exclamations greeted them.

Juanito Pelaez was missing, but the hour fixed had already passed, so they sat down happily to the tables.  Juanito was always unconventional.

If in his place we had invited Basilio, said Tadeo, we should have been better entertained.  We might have got him drunk and drawn some secrets from him.

[2] Originally, Plaza San Gabriel, from the Dominican mission for the Chinese established there; later, as it became a commercial center, Plaza Vivac; and now known as Plaza Cervantes, being the financial center of Manila.—Tr.

[3]The manager of this restaurant warns the public to leave absolutely nothing on any table or chair.Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

matigás ang mukhá