Chapter 7: - Page 2 of 8

Simoun

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

Simoun dug away for some time, but Basilio noticed that his old vigor had declined—he panted and had to rest every few moments.  Fearing that he might be discovered, the boy made a sudden resolution.  Rising from his seat and issuing from his hiding-place, he asked in the most matter-of-fact tone, Can I help you, sir?

Simoun straightened up with the spring of a tiger  attacked at his prey, thrust his hand in his coat pocket, and stared at the student with a pale and lowering gaze.

Thirteen years ago you rendered me a great service, sir, went on Basilio unmoved, in this very place, by burying my mother, and I should consider myself happy if I could serve you now.

Without taking his eyes off the youth Simoun drew a revolver from his pocket and the click of a hammer being cocked was heard.  For whom do you take me? he asked, retreating a few paces.

For a person who is sacred to me, replied Basilio with some emotion, for he thought his last moment had come.  For a person whom all, except me, believe to be dead, and whose misfortunes I have always lamented.

An impressive silence followed these words, a silence that to the youth seemed to suggest eternity.  But Simoun, after some hesitation, approached him and placing a hand on his shoulder said in a moving tone: Basilio, you possess a secret that can ruin me and now you have just surprised me in another, which puts me completely in your hands, the divulging of which would upset all my plans.  For my own security and for the good of the cause in which I labor, I ought to seal your lips forever, for what is the life of one man compared to the end I seek? The occasion is fitting; no one knows that I have come here; I am armed; you are defenceless; your death would be attributed to the outlaws, if not to more supernatural causes—yet I’ll let you live and trust that I shall not regret it.  You have toiled, you have struggled with energetic perseverance, and like myself, you have your scores to settle with society. Your brother was murdered, your mother driven to insanity, and society has prosecuted neither the assassin nor the executioner.  You and I are the dregs of justice and instead of destroying we ought to aid each other.

Simoun paused with a repressed sigh, and then slowly resumed, while his gaze wandered about: Yes, I am he who came here thirteen years ago, sick and wretched, to pay the last tribute to a great and noble soul that was willing to die for me.  The victim of a vicious system, I have wandered over the world, working night and day to amass a fortune and carry out my plan.  Now I have returned to destroy that system, to precipitate its downfall, to hurl it into the abyss toward which it is senselessly rushing, even though I may have to shed oceans of tears and blood. It has condemned itself, it stands condemned, and I don’t want to die before I have seen it in fragments at the foot of the precipice!

Simoun extended both his arms toward the earth, as if with that gesture he would like to hold there the broken remains.  His voice took on a sinister, even lugubrious tone, which made the student shudder.

Learn this Filipino word:

háharáp sa dambanà