Chapter 28: - Page 3 of 7

Tatakut

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

With the arrest of Basilio and the search made later among his books and papers, Capitan Tiago had become much worse.  Now Padre Irene had come to augment his terror with hair-raising tales.  Ineffable fear seized upon the wretch, manifesting itself first by a light shiver, which was rapidly accentuated, until he was unable to speak.  With his eyes bulging and his brow covered with sweat, he caught Padre Irene’s arm and tried to rise, but could not, and then, uttering two groans, fell heavily back upon the pillow.  His eyes were wide open and he was slavering—but he was dead.  The terrified Padre Irene fled, and, as the dying man had caught hold of him, in his flight he dragged the corpse from the bed, leaving it sprawling in the middle of the room.

By night the terror had reached a climax.  Several incidents had occurred to make the timorous believe in the presence of secret agitators.

During a baptism some cuartos were thrown to the boys and naturally there was a scramble at the door of the church.  It happened that at the time there was passing a bold soldier, who, somewhat preoccupied, mistook the uproar for a gathering of filibusters and hurled himself, sword in hand, upon the boys.  He went into the church, and had he not become entangled in the curtains suspended from the choir he would not have left a single head on shoulders.  It was but the matter of a moment for the timorous to witness this and take to flight, spreading the news that the revolution had begun. The few shops that had been kept open were now hastily closed, there being Chinese who even left bolts of cloth outside, and not a few women lost their slippers in their flight through the streets.  Fortunately, there was only one person wounded and a few bruised, among them the soldier himself, who suffered a fall fighting with the curtain, which smelt to him of filibusterism. Such prowess gained him great renown, and a renown so pure that it is to be wished all fame could be acquired in like manner—mothers would then weep less and earth would be more populous!

In a suburb the inhabitants caught two unknown individuals burying arms under a house, whereupon a tumult arose and the people pursued the strangers in order to kill them and turn their bodies over to the authorities, but some one pacified the excited crowd by telling them that it would be sufficient to hand over the corpora delictorum, which proved to be some old shotguns that would surely have killed the first person who tried to fire them.

All right, exclaimed one braggart, if they want us to rebel, let’s go ahead! But he was cuffed and kicked into silence, the women pinching him as though he had been the owner of the shotguns.

In Ermita the affair was more serious, even though there was less excitement, and that when there were shots fired.  A certain cautious government employee, armed to the teeth, saw at nightfall an object near his house, and taking it for nothing less than a student, fired at it twice with a revolver.  The object proved to be a policeman, and they buried him—pax Christi! Mutis!

In Dulumbayan various shots also resounded, from which there resulted the death of a poor old deaf man, who had not heard the sentinel’s quién vive, and of a hog that had heard it and had not answered España! The old man was buried with difficulty, since there was no money to pay for the obsequies, but the hog was eaten.

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magandáng pusò