Chapter 34: - Page 2 of 3

The Wedding

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Then he thought that had there been no imprisonment, he would have been betrothed, or a husband, at this time, a licentiate in medicine, living and working in some corner of his province.  The ghost of Juli, crushed in her fall, crossed his mind, and dark flames of hatred lighted his eyes; again he caressed the butt of the revolver, regretting that the terrible hour had not yet come.  Just then he saw Simoun come out of the door of his house, carrying in his hands the case containing the lamp, carefully wrapped up, and enter a carriage, which then followed those bearing the bridal party.  In order not to lose track of Simoun, Basilio took a good look at the cochero and with astonishment recognized in him the wretch who had driven him to San Diego, Sinong, the fellow maltreated by the Civil Guard, the same who had come to the prison to tell him about the occurrences in Tiani.  

Conjecturing that Calle Anloague was to be the scene of action, thither the youth directed his steps, hurrying forward and getting ahead of the carriages, which were, in fact, all moving toward the former house of Capitan Tiago—there they were assembling in search of a ball, but actually to dance in the air! Basilio smiled when he noticed the pairs of civil-guards who formed the escort, and from their number he could guess the importance of the fiesta and the guests.  The house overflowed with people and poured floods of light from its windows, the entrance was carpeted and strewn with flowers.  Upstairs there, perhaps in his former solitary room, an orchestra was playing lively airs, which did not completely drown the confused tumult of talk and laughter.

Don Timoteo Pelaez was reaching the pinnacle of fortune, and the reality surpassed his dreams.  He was, at last, marrying his son to the rich Gomez heiress, and, thanks to the money Simoun had lent him, he had royally furnished that big house, purchased for half its value, and was giving in it a splendid fiesta, with the foremost divinities of the Manila Olympus for his guests, to gild him with the light of their prestige.  Since that morning there had been recurring to him, with the persistence of a popular song, some vague phrases that he had read in the communion service.  Now has the fortunate hour come! Now draws nigh the happy moment! Soon there will be fulfilled in you the admirable words of Simoun—‘I live, and yet not I alone, but the Captain-General liveth in me.’  The Captain-General the patron of his son! True, he had not attended the ceremony, where Don Custodio had represented him, but he would come to dine, he would bring a wedding-gift, a lamp which not even Aladdin’s—between you and me, Simoun was presenting the lamp.  Timoteo, what more could you desire?

The transformation that Capitan Tiago’s house had undergone was considerable—it had been richly repapered, while the smoke and the smell of opium had been completely eradicated.  The immense sala, widened still more by the colossal mirrors that infinitely multiplied the lights of the chandeliers, was carpeted throughout, for the salons of Europe had carpets, and even though the floor was of wide boards brilliantly polished, a carpet it must have too, since nothing should be lacking.  The rich furniture of Capitan Tiago had disappeared and in its place was to be seen another kind, in the style of Louis XV. Heavy curtains of red velvet, trimmed with gold, with the initials of the bridal couple worked on them, and upheld by garlands of artificial orange-blossoms, hung as portières and swept the floor with their wide fringes, likewise of gold.  In the corners appeared enormous Japanese vases, alternating with those of Sèvres of a clear dark-blue, placed upon square pedestals of carved wood.

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