Chapter 35: - Page 2 of 7

The Fiesta

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Pale with emotion, Don Timoteo, dissembling the pain of his corns and accompanied by his son and some of the greater gods, descended to receive the Mighty Jove.  The pain at his belt vanished before the doubts that now assailed him: should he frame a smile or affect gravity; should he extend his hand or wait for the General to offer his? Carambas! Why had nothing of this occurred to him before, so that he might have consulted his good friend Simoun?

To conceal his agitation, he whispered to his son in a low, shaky voice, Have you a speech prepared?  

Speeches are no longer in vogue, papa, especially on such an occasion as this.

Jupiter arrived in the company of Juno, who was converted into a tower of artificial lights—with diamonds in her hair, diamonds around her neck, on her arms, on her shoulders, she was literally covered with diamonds.  She was arrayed in a magnificent silk gown having a long train decorated with embossed flowers.

His Excellency literally took possession of the house, as Don Timoteo stammeringly begged him to do.[1]  The orchestra played the royal march while the divine couple majestically ascended the carpeted stairway.

Nor was his Excellency’s gravity altogether affected.  Perhaps for the first time since his arrival in the islands he felt sad, a strain of melancholy tinged his thoughts.  This was the last triumph of his three years of government, and within two days he would descend forever from such an exalted height.  What was he leaving behind? His Excellency did not care to turn his head backwards, but preferred to look ahead, to gaze into the future.  Although he was carrying away a fortune, large sums to his credit were awaiting him in European banks, and he had residences, yet he had injured many, he had made enemies at the Court, the high official was waiting for him there.  Other Generals had enriched themselves as rapidly as he, and now they were ruined.  Why not stay longer, as Simoun had advised him to do? No, good taste before everything else.  The bows, moreover, were not now so profound as before, he noticed insistent stares and even looks of dislike, but still he replied affably and even attempted to smile.

It’s plain that the sun is setting, observed Padre Irene in Ben-Zayb’s ear.  Many now stare him in the face.

The devil with the curate—that was just what he was going to remark!

My dear, murmured into the ear of a neighbor the lady who had referred to Don Timoteo as a jumping-jack, did you ever see such a skirt?

[1] Spanish etiquette requires a host to welcome his guest with the conventional phrase: The house belongs to you.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

langit at lupà