Chapter 36: - Page 4 of 5

Ben-Zayb’s Afflictions

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

But when he reached the scene, to his great astonishment he learned that the wounded friar was no other than Padre Camorra, sentenced by his Provincial to expiate in the pleasant country-house on the banks of the Pasig his pranks in Tiani.  He had a slight scratch on his hand and a bruise on his head received from flattening himself out on the floor.  The robbers numbered three or four, armed only with bolos, the sum stolen fifty pesos!

It won’t do! exclaimed Ben-Zayb.  Shut up! You don’t know what you’re talking about.

How don’t I know, puñales?  

Don’t be a fool—the robbers must have numbered more.

You ink-slinger—

So they had quite an altercation.  What chiefly concerned Ben-Zayb was not to throw away the article, to give importance to the affair, so that he could use the peroration.

But a fearful rumor cut short their dispute.  The robbers caught had made some important revelations. One of the outlaws under Matanglawin (Cabesang Tales) had made an appointment with them to join his band in Santa Mesa, thence to sack the conventos and houses of the wealthy.  They would be guided by a Spaniard, tall and sunburnt, with white hair, who said that he was acting under the orders of the General, whose great friend he was, and they had been further assured that the artillery and various regiments would join them, wherefore they were to entertain no fear at all.  The tulisanes would be pardoned and have a third part of the booty assigned to them.  The signal was to have been a cannon-shot, but having waited for it in vain the tulisanes, thinking themselves deceived, separated, some going back to their homes, some returning to the mountains vowing vengeance on the Spaniard, who had thus failed twice to keep his word.  Then they, the robbers caught, had decided to do something on their own account, attacking the country-house that they found closest at hand, resolving religiously to give two-thirds of the booty to the Spaniard with white hair, if perchance he should call upon them for it.

The description being recognized as that of Simoun, the declaration was received as an absurdity and the robber subjected to all kinds of tortures, including the electric machine, for his impious blasphemy.  But news of the disappearance of the jeweler having attracted the attention of the whole Escolta, and the sacks of powder and great quantities of cartridges having been discovered in his house, the story began to wear an appearance of truth.  Mystery began to enwrap the affair, enveloping it in clouds; there were whispered conversations, coughs, suspicious looks, suggestive comments, and trite second-hand remarks.  Those who were on the inside were unable to get over their astonishment, they put on long faces, turned pale, and but little was wanting for many persons to lose their minds in realizing certain things that had before passed unnoticed.

Learn this Filipino word:

mamúmulaklák ang hagdanan