Chapter 30: - Page 4 of 7


(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

With great gravity the honorable Justice listened to Sister Bali, who did the talking, but not without staring from time to time at the girl, who hung her head with shame.  People would say that she was greatly interested in Basilio, people who did not remember her debt of gratitude, nor that his imprisonment, according to report, was on her account.

After belching three or four times, for his Honor had that ugly habit, he said that the only person who could save Basilio was Padre Camorra, in case he should care to do so.  Here he stared meaningly at the girl and advised her to deal with the curate in person.

You know what influence he has,—he got your grand-father out of jail.  A report from him is enough to deport a new-born babe or save from death a man with the noose about his neck.

Juli said nothing, but Sister Bali took this advice as though she had read it in a novena, and was ready to accompany the girl to the convento.  It so happened that she was just going there to get as alms a scapulary in exchange for four full reales.

But Juli shook her head and was unwilling to go to the convento.  Sister Bali thought she could guess the reason—Padre Camorra was reputed to be very fond of the women and was very frolicsome—so she tried to reassure her.  You’ve nothing to fear if I go with you.  Haven’t you read in the booklet Tandang Basio, given you by the curate, that the girls should go to the convento, even without the knowledge of their elders, to relate what is going on at home? Abá, that book is printed with the permission of the Archbishop!

Juli became impatient and wished to cut short such talk, so she begged the pious woman to go if she wished, but his Honor observed with a belch that the supplications of a youthful face were more moving than those of an old one, the sky poured its dew over the fresh flowers in greater abundance than over the withered ones.  The metaphor was fiendishly beautiful.

Juli did not reply and the two left the house. In the street the girl firmly refused to go to the convento and they returned to their village.  Sister Bali, who felt offended at this lack of confidence in herself, on the way home relieved her feelings by administering a long preachment to the girl.

The truth was that the girl could not take that step without damning herself in her own eyes, besides being cursed of men and cursed of God! It had been intimated to her several times, whether with reason or not, that if she would make that sacrifice her father would be pardoned, and yet she had refused, in spite of the cries of her conscience reminding her of her filial duty.  Now must she make it for Basilio, her sweetheart? That would be to fall to the sound of mockery and laughter from all creation.  Basilio himself would despise her! No, never! She would first hang herself or leap from some precipice.  At any rate, she was already damned for being a wicked daughter.

Learn this Filipino word:

ibong sawî