Chapter 39:


(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

In his solitary retreat on the shore of the sea, whose mobile surface was visible through the open, windows, extending outward until it mingled with the horizon, Padre Florentino was relieving the monotony by playing on his harmonium sad and melancholy tunes, to which the sonorous roar of the surf and the sighing of the treetops of the neighboring wood served as accompaniments.  Notes long, full, mournful as a prayer, yet still vigorous, escaped from the old instrument.  Padre Florentino, who was an accomplished musician, was improvising, and, as he was alone, gave free rein to the sadness in his heart.

For the truth was that the old man was very sad.  His good friend, Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, had just left him, fleeing from the persecution of his wife.  That morning he had received a note from the lieutenant of the Civil Guard, which ran thus:

MY DEAR CHAPLAIN,—I have just received from the commandant a telegram that says, Spaniard hidden house Padre Florentino capture forward alive dead.  As the telegram is quite explicit, warn your friend not to be there when I come to arrest him at eight tonight.



Burn this note.

T-that V-victorina! Don Tiburcio had stammered. S-she’s c-capable of having me s-shot!

Padre Florentino was unable to reassure him.  Vainly he pointed out to him that the word cojera should have read cogerá, [1] and that the hidden Spaniard could not be Don Tiburcio, but the jeweler Simoun, who two days before had arrived, wounded and a fugitive, begging for shelter.  But Don Tiburcio would not be convinced—cojera was his own lameness, his personal description, and it was an intrigue of Victorina’s to get him back alive or dead, as Isagani had written from Manila.  So the poor Ulysses had left the priest’s house to conceal himself in the hut of a woodcutter.

[1] In the original the message reads: Español escondido casa Padre Florentino cojera remitirá vivo muerto. Don Tiburcio understands cojera as referring to himself; there is a play upon the Spanish words cojera, lameness, and cogerá, a form of the verb coger, to seize or capture—j and g in these two words having the same sound, that of the English h.—Tr.


Learn this Filipino word:

isáng baro't isáng saya ang dalá