Chapter 33: - Page 3 of 6

La Ultima Razón

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Simoun took it out with great care and, removing the burner, exposed to view the interior of the tank, which was lined with steel two centimeters in thickness and which had a capacity of over a liter.  Basilio questioned him with his eyes, for as yet he comprehended nothing.  Without entering upon explanations, Simoun carefully took from a cabinet a flask and showed the young man the formula written upon it.

Nitro-glycerin! murmured Basilio, stepping backward and instinctively thrusting his hands behind him.  Nitro-glycerin! Dynamite! Beginning now to understand, he felt his hair stand on end.

Yes, nitro-glycerin! repeated Simoun slowly, with his cold smile and a look of delight at the glass flask.  It’s also something more than nitro-glycerin—it’s concentrated tears, repressed hatred, wrongs, injustice, outrage.  It’s the last resort of the weak, force against force, violence against violence.  A moment ago I was hesitating, but you have come and decided me.  This night the most dangerous tyrants will be blown to pieces, the irresponsible rulers that hide themselves behind God and the State, whose abuses remain unpunished because no one can bring them to justice.  This night the Philippines will hear the explosion that will convert into rubbish the formless monument whose decay I have fostered.

Basilio was so terrified that his lips worked without producing any sound, his tongue was paralyzed, his throat parched.  For the first time he was looking at the powerful liquid which he had heard talked of as a thing distilled in gloom by gloomy men, in open war against society.  Now he had it before him, transparent and slightly yellowish, poured with great caution into the artistic pomegranate.  Simoun looked to him like the jinnee of the Arabian Nights that sprang from the sea, he took on gigantic proportions, his head touched the sky, he made the house tremble and shook the whole city with a shrug of his shoulders.  The pomegranate assumed the form of a colossal sphere, the fissures became hellish grins whence escaped names and glowing cinders.  For the first time in his life Basilio was overcome with fright and completely lost his composure.

Simoun, meanwhile, screwed on solidly a curious and complicated mechanism, put in place a glass chimney, then the bomb, and crowned the whole with an elegant shade.  Then he moved away some distance to contemplate the effect, inclining his head now to one side, now to the other, thus better to appreciate its magnificent appearance.

Noticing that Basilio was watching him with questioning and suspicious eyes, he said, Tonight there will be a fiesta and this lamp will be placed in a little dining-kiosk that I’ve had constructed for the purpose.  The lamp will give a brilliant light, bright enough to suffice for the illumination of the whole place by itself, but at the end of twenty minutes the light will fade, and then when some one tries to turn up the wick a cap of fulminate of mercury will explode, the pomegranate will blow up and with it the dining-room, in the roof and floor of which I have concealed sacks of powder, so that no one shall escape.

There wras a moment’s silence, while Simoun stared at his mechanism and Basilio scarcely breathed.

Learn this Filipino word:

nakákuha ng kalabasa