Chapter 29: - Page 3 of 3

Exit Capitan Tiago

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Among the others, they talked more of the deceased; at least they discussed what kind of clothing to put on him.   Capitan Tinong proposed a Franciscan habit—and fortunately, he had one, old, threadbare, and patched, a precious object which, according to the friar who gave it to him as alms in exchange for thirty-six pesos, would preserve the corpse from the flames of hell and which reckoned in its support various pious anecdotes taken from the books distributed by the curates.  Although he held this relic in great esteem, Capitan Tinong was disposed to part with it for the sake of his intimate friend, whom he had not been able to visit during his illness. But a tailor objected, with good reason, that since the nuns had seen Capitan Tiago ascending to heaven in a frock coat, in a frock coat he should be dressed here on earth, nor was there any necessity for preservatives and fire-proof garments.  The deceased had attended balls and fiestas in a frock coat, and nothing else would be expected of him in the skies—and, wonderful to relate, the tailor accidentally happened to have one ready, which he would part with for thirty-two pesos, four cheaper than the Franciscan habit, because he didn’t want to make any profit on Capitan Tiago, who had been his customer in life and would now be his patron in heaven. But Padre Irene, trustee and executor, rejected both proposals and ordered that the Capitan be dressed in one of his old suits of clothes, remarking with holy unction that God paid no attention to clothing.

The obsequies were, therefore, of the very first class.  There were responsories in the house, and in the street three friars officiated, as though one were not sufficient for such a great soul.  All the rites and ceremonies possible were performed, and it is reported that there were even extras, as in the benefits for actors.  It was indeed a delight: loads of incense were burned, there were plenty of Latin chants, large quantities of holy water were expended, and Padre Irene, out of regard for his old friend, sang the Dies Irae in a falsetto voice from the choir, while the neighbors suffered real headaches from so much knell-ringing.

Doña Patrocinio, the ancient rival of Capitan Tiago in religiosity, actually wanted to die on the next day, so that she might order even more sumptuous obsequies.  The pious old lady could not bear the thought that he, whom she had long considered vanquished forever, should in dying come forward again with so much pomp.  Yes, she desired to die, and it seemed that she could hear the exclamations of the people at the funeral: This indeed is what you call a funeral! This indeed is to know how to die, Doña Patrocinio!

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