Chapter 4: - Page 6 of 7

Cabesang Tales

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Another neighbor was going to ask Sister Bali why then did not she settle a little account with her, but the quick panguinguera suspected this and added at once: Do you know, Juli, what you can do? Borrow two hundred and fifty pesos on the house, payable when the lawsuit is won.

This seemed to be the best proposition, so they decided to act upon it that same day. Sister Bali offered to accompany her, and together they visited the houses of all the rich folks in Tiani, but no one would accept the proposal.  The case, they said, was already lost, and to show favors to an enemy of the friars was to expose themselves to their vengeance.  At last a pious woman took pity on the girl and lent the money on condition that Juli should remain with her as a servant until the debt was paid.  Juli would not have so very much to do: sew, pray, accompany her to mass, and fast for her now and then.  The girl accepted with tears in her eyes, received the money, and promised to enter her service on the following day, Christmas.

When the grandfather heard of that sale he fell to weeping like a child. What, that granddaughter whom he had not allowed to walk in the sun lest her skin should be burned, Juli, she of the delicate fingers and rosy feet! What, that girl, the prettiest in the village and perhaps in the whole town, before whose window many gallants had vainly passed the night playing and singing! What, his only granddaughter, the sole joy of his fading eyes, she whom he had dreamed of seeing dressed in a long skirt, talking Spanish, and holding herself erect waving a painted fan like the daughters of the wealthy—she to become a servant, to be scolded and reprimanded, to ruin her fingers, to sleep anywhere, to rise in any manner whatsoever!

So the old grandfather wept and talked of hanging or starving himself to death.  If you go, he declared, I’m going back to the forest and will never set foot in the town.

Juli soothed him by saying that it was necessary for her father to return, that the suit would be won, and they could then ransom her from her servitude.

The night was a sad one. Neither of the two could taste a bite and the old man refused to lie down, passing the whole night seated in a corner, silent and motionless. Juli on her part tried to sleep, but for a long time could not close her eyes.  Somewhat relieved about her father’s fate, she now thought of herself and fell to weeping, but stifled her sobs so that the old man might not hear them.  The next day she would be a servant, and it was the very day Basilio was accustomed to come from Manila with presents for her.  Henceforward she would have to give up that love; Basilio, who was going to be a doctor, couldn’t marry a pauper.  In fancy she saw him going to the church in company with the prettiest and richest girl in the town, both well-dressed, happy and smiling, while she, Juli, followed her mistress, carrying novenas, buyos, and the cuspidor.  Here the girl felt a lump rise in her throat, a sinking at her heart, and begged the Virgin to let her die first.

But—said her conscience—he will at least know that I preferred to pawn myself rather than the locket he gave me.

Learn this Filipino word:

labanán ng mga pusò