Chapter 35: - Page 6 of 7

The Fiesta

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

While these short scenes were occurring in the street, in the dining-kiosk of the greater gods there was passed from hand to hand a piece of parchment on which were written in red ink these fateful words:

Mene, Tekel, Phares [2]

Juan Crisostomo Ibarra

Juan Crisostomo Ibarra? Who is he? asked his Excellency, handing the paper to his neighbor.

A joke in very bad taste! exclaimed Don Custodio.  To sign the name of a filibuster dead more than ten years!

A filibuster!

It’s a seditious joke!

There being ladies present—

Padre Irene looked around for the joker and saw Padre Salvi, who was seated at the right of the Countess, turn as white as his napkin, while he stared at the mysterious words with bulging eyes.  The scene of the sphinx recurred to him.

What’s the matter, Padre Salvi? he asked.  Do you recognize your friend’s signature?

Padre Salvi did not reply.  He made an effort to speak and without being conscious of what he was doing wiped his forehead with his napkin.

What has happened to your Reverence?

It is his very handwriting! was the whispered reply in a scarcely perceptible voice.  It’s the very handwriting of Ibarra.  Leaning against the back of his chair, he let his arms fall as though all strength had deserted him.

[2] The handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, foretelling the destruction of Babylon. Daniel, v, 25–28.—Tr.

Learn this Filipino word:

tahî sa balát ang hiyâ