Chapter 3: - Page 4 of 4


(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

At that moment the steamer crossed the bar and the panorama spread out before their eyes were so truly magnificent that all were impressed.  In front extended the beautiful lake bordered by green shores and blue mountains, like a huge mirror, framed in emeralds and sapphires, reflecting the sky in its glass.  On the right were spread out the low shores, forming bays with graceful curves, and dim there in the distance the crags of Sungay, while in the background rose Makiling, imposing and majestic, crowned with fleecy clouds.  On the left lay Talim Island with its curious sweep of hills. A fresh breeze rippled over the wide plain of water.

By the way, captain, said Ben-Zayb, turning around, do you know in what part of the lake a certain Guevara, Navarra, or Ibarra, was killed?

The group looked toward the captain, with the exception of Simoun, who had turned away his head as though to look for something on the shore.

Ah, yes! exclaimed Doña Victorina. Where, captain? Did he leave any tracks in the water?

The good captain winked several times, an indication that he was annoyed, but reading the request in the eyes of all, took a few steps toward the bow and scanned the shore.

Look over there, he said in a scarcely audible voice, after making sure that no strangers were near.  According to the officer who conducted the pursuit, Ibarra, upon finding himself surrounded, jumped out of his banka there near the Kinabutasan[2] and, swimming under water, covered all that distance of more than two miles, saluted by bullets every time that he raised his head to breathe.  Over yonder is where they lost track of him, and a little farther on near the shore they discovered something like the color of blood.  And now I think of it, it’s just thirteen years, day for day, since this happened.

So that his corpse— began Ben-Zayb.

Went to join his father’s, replied Padre Sibyla.  Wasn’t he also another filibuster, Padre Salvi?

That’s what might be called cheap funerals, Padre Camorra, eh? remarked Ben-Zayb.  

I’ve always said that those who won’t pay for expensive funerals are filibusters, rejoined the person addressed, with a merry laugh.

But what’s the matter with you, Señor Simoun? inquired Ben-Zayb, seeing that the jeweler was motionless and thoughtful.  Are you seasick—an old traveler like you? On such a drop of water as this!

I want to tell you, broke in the captain, who had come to hold all those places in great affection, that you can’t call this a drop of water.  It’s larger than any lake in Switzerland and all those in Spain put together.  I’ve seen old sailors who got seasick here. 

[2] Between this island (Talim) and Halahala point extends a strait a mile wide and a league long, which the Indians call Kinabutasan, a name that in their language means ‘place that was cleft open’; from which it is inferred that in other times the island was joined to the mainland and was separated from it by some severe earthquake, thus leaving this strait: of this there is an old tradition among the Indians.—Fray Martinez de Zuñiga’s Estadismo (1803).

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