Chapter 28: - Page 5 of 7


(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Ahem, ahem! coughed the silversmith, a very prudent man, who did not dare to stop the conversation from fear that he would be considered a coward.  The good man had to content himself with coughing, winking to his helper, and gazing toward the street, as if to say, They may be watching us!

On account of the operetta, added another workman.

Aha! exclaimed one who had a foolish face, I told you so!

Ahem! rejoined a clerk, in a tone of compassion, the affair of the pasquinades is true, Chichoy, and I can give you the explanation.

Then he added mysteriously, It’s a trick of the Chinaman Quiroga’s!

Ahem, ahem! again coughed the silversmith, shifting his quid of buyo from one cheek to the other.

Believe me, Chichoy, of Quiroga the Chinaman! I heard it in the office.

Nakú, it’s certain then, exclaimed the simpleton, believing it at once.

Quiroga, explained the clerk, has a hundred thousand pesos in Mexican silver out in the bay.  How is he to get it in? Very easily. Fix up the pasquinades, availing himself of the question of the students, and, while every-body is excited, grease the officials’ palms, and in the cases come!

Just it! Just it! cried the credulous fool, striking the table with his fist.  Just it! That’s why Quiroga did it! That’s why— But he had to relapse into silence as he really did not know what to say about Quiroga.

And we must pay the damages? asked the indignant Chichoy.

Ahem, ahem, a-h-hem! coughed the silversmith, hearing steps in the street.

The footsteps approached and all in the shop fell silent.

St. Pascual Bailon is a great saint, declared the silversmith hypocritically, in a loud voice, at the same time winking to the others. St. Pascual Bailon—

At that moment there appeared the face of Placido Penitente, who was accompanied by the pyrotechnician that we saw receiving orders from Simoun.  The newcomers were surrounded and importuned for news.

I haven’t been able to talk with the prisoners, explained Placido.  There are some thirty of them.

Be on your guard, cautioned the pyrotechnician, exchanging a knowing look with Placido.  They say that to-night there’s going to be a massacre.

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