Chapter 28: - Page 6 of 7

Tatakut

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Aha! Thunder! exclaimed Chichoy, looking about for a weapon.  Seeing none, he caught up his blowpipe.

The silversmith sat down, trembling in every limb.  The credulous simpleton already saw himself beheaded and wept in anticipation over the fate of his family.

No, contradicted the clerk, there’s not going to be any massacre.  The adviser of—he made a mysterious gesture—is fortunately sick.

Simoun!

Ahem, ahem, a-h-hem!

Placido and the pyrotechnician exchanged another look.

If he hadn’t got sick—

It would look like a revolution, added the pyrotechnician negligently, as he lighted a cigarette in the lamp chimney.  And what should we do then?

Then we’d start a real one, now that they’re going to massacre us anyhow—

The violent fit of coughing that seized the silversmith prevented the rest of this speech from being heard, but Chichoy must have been saying terrible things, to judge from his murderous gestures with the blowpipe and the face of a Japanese tragedian that he put on.

Rather say that he’s playing off sick because he’s afraid to go out.  As may be seen—

The silversmith was attacked by another fit of coughing so severe that he finally asked all to retire.

Nevertheless, get ready, warned the pyrotechnician.  If they want to force us to kill or be killed—

Another fit of coughing on the part of the poor silversmith prevented further conversation, so the workmen and apprentices retired to their homes, carrying with them hammers and saws, and other implements, more or less cutting, more or less bruising, disposed to sell their lives dearly. Placido and the pyrotechnician went out again.

Prudence, prudence! cautioned the silversmith in a tearful voice.

You’ll take care of my widow and orphans! begged the credulous simpleton in a still more tearful voice, for he already saw himself riddled with bullets and buried.

That night the guards at the city gates were replaced with Peninsular artillerymen, and on the following morning as the sun rose, Ben-Zayb, who had ventured to take a morning stroll to examine the condition of the fortifications, found on the glacis near the Luneta the corpse of a native girl, half-naked and abandoned.  Ben-Zayb was horrified, but after touching it with his cane and gazing toward the gates proceeded on his way, musing over a sentimental tale he might base upon the incident.

Learn this Filipino word:

masakít sa loób