Chapter 27: - Page 8 of 8

The Friar and the Filipino

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

I fear the same, returned Isagani, shaking the Dominican’s hand.  I fear that my friends will not believe in your existence, as you have revealed yourself to me today. [1] 

Considering the interview at an end, the young man took his leave.

Padre Fernandez opened the door and followed him with his gaze until he disappeared around a corner in the corridor.  For some time he listened to the retreating footsteps, then went back into his cell and waited for the youth to appear in the street.

He saw him and actually heard him say to a friend who asked where he was going: To the Civil Government! I’m going to see the pasquinades and join the others!

His startled friend stared at him as one would look at a person who is about to commit suicide, then moved away from him hurriedly.

Poor boy! murmured Padre Fernandez, feeling his eyes moisten.  I grudge you to the Jesuits who educated you.

But Padre Fernandez was completely mistaken; the Jesuits repudiated Isagani [2] when that afternoon they learned that he had been arrested, saying that he would compromise them.  That young man has thrown himself away, he’s going to do us harm! Let it be understood that he didn’t get those ideas here.

Nor were the Jesuits wrong.  No! Those ideas come only from God through the medium of Nature.

[1]We do not believe in the verisimilitude of this dialogue, fabricated by the author in order to refute the arguments of the friars, whose pride was so great that it would not permit any Isagani to tell them these truths face to face. The invention of Padre Fernandez as a Dominican professor is a stroke of generosity on Rizal’s part, in conceding that there could have existed any friar capable of talking frankly with an Indian.W. E. Retana, in note to this chapter in the edition published by him at Barcelona in 1908. Retana ought to know of what he is writing, for he was in the employ of the friars for several years and later in Spain wrote extensively for the journal supported by them to defend their position in the Philippines. He has also been charged with having strongly urged Rizal’s execution in 1896. Since 1898, however, he has doubled about, or, perhaps more aptly, performed a journalistic somersault—having written a diffuse biography and other works dealing with Rizal. He is strong in unassorted facts, but his comments, when not inane and wearisome, approach a maudlin wail over spilt milk, so the above is given at its face value only.—Tr.

[2] Quite suggestive of, and perhaps inspired by, the author’s own experience.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

matigás ang pusò