Chapter 32: - Page 3 of 3

Effect of the Pasquinades

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

It was really true that Paulita was going to marry Juanito Pelaez.  Her love for Isagani had gradually waned, like all first loves based on poetry and sentiment.  The events of the pasquinades and the imprisonment of the youth had shorn him of all his charms.  To whom would it have occurred to seek danger, to desire to share the fate of his comrades, to surrender himself, when every one was hiding and denying any complicity in the affair? It was quixotic, it was madness that no sensible person in Manila could pardon, and Juanito was quite right in ridiculing him, representing what a sorry figure he cut when he went to the Civil Government.  Naturally, the brilliant Paulita could no longer love a young man who so erroneously understood social matters and whom all condemned.  Then she began to reflect. Juanito was clever, capable, gay, shrewd, the son of a rich merchant of Manila, and a Spanish mestizo besides—if Don Timoteo was to be believed, a full-blooded Spaniard.  On the other hand, Isagani was a provincial native who dreamed of forests infested with leeches, he was of doubtful family, with a priest for an uncle, who would perhaps be an enemy to luxury and balls, of which she was very fond.  One beautiful morning therefore it occurred to her that she had been a downright fool to prefer him to his rival, and from that time on Pelaez’s hump steadily increased.  Unconsciously, yet rigorously, Paulita was obeying the law discovered by Darwin, that the female surrenders herself to the fittest male, to him who knows how to adapt himself to the medium in which he lives, and to live in Manila there was no other like Pelaez, who from his infancy had had chicanery at his finger-tips.  Lent passed with its Holy Week, its array of processions and pompous displays, without other novelty than a mysterious mutiny among the artillerymen, the cause of which was never disclosed.  The houses of light materials were torn down in the presence of a troop of cavalry, ready to fall upon the owners in case they should offer resistance.  There was a great deal of weeping and many lamentations, but the affair did not get beyond that.  The curious, among them Simoun, went to see those who were left homeless, walking about indifferently and assuring each other that thenceforward they could sleep in peace.

Towards the end of April, all the fears being now forgotten, Manila was engrossed with one topic: the fiesta that Don Timoteo Pelaez was going to celebrate at the wedding of his son, for which the General had graciously and condescendingly agreed to be the patron. Simoun was reported to have arranged the matter.  The ceremony would be solemnized two days before the departure of the General, who would honor the house and make a present to the bridegroom.  It was whispered that the jeweler would pour out cascades of diamonds and throw away handfuls of pearls in honor of his partner’s son, thus, since he could hold no fiesta of his own, as he was a bachelor and had no house, improving the opportunity to dazzle the Filipino people with a memorable farewell.  All Manila prepared to be invited, and never did uneasiness take stronger hold of the mind than in view of the thought of not being among those bidden.  Friendship with Simoun became a matter of dispute, and many husbands were forced by their wives to purchase bars of steel and sheets of galvanized iron in order to make friends with Don Timoteo Pelaez.

Learn this Filipino word:

may sunong nang abaká