Chapter 35: - Page 3 of 7

The Fiesta

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Ugh, the curtains from the Palace!

You don’t say! But it’s true! They’re carrying everything away.  You’ll see how they make wraps out of the carpets.

That only goes to show that she has talent and taste, observed her husband, reproving her with a look. Women should be economical.  This poor god was still suffering from the dressmaker’s bill.

My dear, give me curtains at twelve pesos a yard, and you’ll see if I put on these rags! retorted the goddess in pique.  Heavens! You can talk when you have done something fine like that to give you the right!

Meanwhile, Basilio stood before the house, lost in the throng of curious spectators, counting those who alighted from their carriages.  When he looked upon so many persons, happy and confident, when he saw the bride and groom followed by their train of fresh and innocent little girls, and reflected that they were going to meet there a horrible death, he was sorry and felt his hatred waning within him.  He wanted to save so many innocents, he thought of notifying the police, but a carriage drove up to set down Padre Salvi and Padre Irene, both beaming with content, and like a passing cloud his good intentions vanished. What does it matter to me? he asked himself.  Let the righteous suffer with the sinners.

Then he added, to silence his scruples: I’m not an informer, I mustn’t abuse the confidence he has placed in me.  I owe him, him more than I do them: he dug my mother’s grave, they killed her! What have I to do with them? I did everything possible to be good and useful, I tried to forgive and forget, I suffered every imposition, and only asked that they leave me in peace.  I got in no one’s way. What have they done to me? Let their mangled limbs fly through the air! We’ve suffered enough.  

Then he saw Simoun alight with the terrible lamp in his hands, saw him cross the entrance with bowed head, as though deep in thought. Basilio felt his heart beat fainter, his feet and hands turn cold, while the black silhouette of the jeweler assumed fantastic shapes enveloped in flames.  There at the foot of the stairway Simoun checked his steps, as if in doubt, and Basilio held his breath.  But the hesitation was transient—Simoun raised his head, resolutely ascended the stairway, and disappeared.

It then seemed to the student that the house was going to blow up at any moment, and that walls, lamps, guests, roof, windows, orchestra, would be hurtling through the air like a handful of coals in the midst of an infernal explosion.  He gazed about him and fancied that he saw corpses in place of idle spectators, he saw them torn to shreds, it seemed to him that the air was filled with flames, but his calmer self triumphed over this transient hallucination, which was due somewhat to his hunger.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagbíbiláng ng bituin