Chapter 35: - Page 4 of 7

The Fiesta

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Until he comes out, there’s no danger, he said to himself.  The Captain-General hasn’t arrived yet.

He tried to appear calm and control the convulsive trembling in his limbs, endeavoring to divert his thoughts to other things.  Something within was ridiculing him, saying, If you tremble now, before the supreme moment, how will you conduct yourself when you see blood flowing, houses burning, and bullets whistling?

His Excellency arrived, but the young man paid no attention to him.  He was watching the face of Simoun, who was among those that descended to receive him, and he read in that implacable countenance the sentence of death for all those men, so that fresh terror seized upon him.  He felt cold, he leaned against the wall, and, with his eyes fixed on the windows and his ears cocked, tried to guess what might be happening.  In the sala he saw the crowd surround Simoun to look at the lamp, he heard congratulations and exclamations of admiration—the words dining-room, novelty, were repeated many times—he saw the General smile and conjectured that the novelty was to be exhibited that very night, by the jeweler’s arrangement, on the table whereat his Excellency was to dine. Simoun disappeared, followed by a crowd of admirers.

At that supreme moment his good angel triumphed, he forgot his hatreds, he forgot Juli, he wanted to save the innocent.  Come what might, he would cross the street and try to enter.  But Basilio had forgotten that he was miserably dressed.  The porter stopped him and accosted him roughly, and finally, upon his insisting, threatened to call the police.

Just then Simoun came down, slightly pale, and the porter turned from Basilio to salute the jeweler as though he had been a saint passing.  Basilio realized from the expression of Simoun’s face that he was leaving the fated house forever, that the lamp was lighted.  Alea jacta est! Seized by the instinct of self-preservation, he thought then of saving himself. It might occur to any of the guests through curiosity to tamper with the wick and then would come the explosion to overwhelm them all. Still he heard Simoun say to the cochero, The Escolta, hurry!

Terrified, dreading that he might at any moment hear the awful explosion, Basilio hurried as fast as his legs would carry him to get away from the accursed spot, but his legs seemed to lack the necessary agility, his feet slipped on the sidewalk as though they were moving but not advancing.  The people he met blocked the way, and before he had gone twenty steps he thought that at least five minutes had elapsed.

Some distance away he stumbled against a young man who was standing with his head thrown back, gazing fixedly at the house, and in him he recognized Isagani.  What are you doing here? he demanded.  Come away!

Isagani stared at him vaguely, smiled sadly, and again turned his gaze toward the open balconies, across which was revealed the ethereal silhouette of the bride clinging to the groom’s arm as they moved slowly out of sight.

Learn this Filipino word:

sukát ang bulsá