Chapter 18: - Page 5 of 5

Souls in Torment

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

There, anywhere! growled the cook, hardly looking at her as he busied himself in picking the feathers from a capon.

With great care Sisa arranged the vegetables and the salad leaves on the table, placing the flowers above them.  Smiling, she then addressed one of the servants, who seemed to be more approachable than the cook: May I speak with the padre?

He’s sick, was the whispered answer.

And Crispin? Do you know if he is in the sacristy? The servant looked surprised and wrinkled his eyebrows.  Crispin? Isn’t he at your house? Do you mean to deny it?

Basilio is at home, but Crispin stayed here, answered Sisa, and I want to see him.

Yes, he stayed, but afterwards he ran away, after stealing a lot of things.  Early this morning the curate ordered me to go and report it to the Civil Guard.  They must have gone to your house already to hunt for the boys.

Sisa covered her ears and opened her mouth to speak, but her lips moved without giving out any sound.

A pretty pair of sons you have! exclaimed the cook.  It’s plain that you’re a faithful wife, the sons are so like the father.  Take care that the younger doesn’t surpass him.

Sisa broke out into bitter weeping and let herself fall upon a bench.

Don’t cry here! yelled the cook. Don’t you know that the padre’s sick? Get out in the street and cry!

The unfortunate mother was almost shoved down the stairway at the very time when the Sisters were coming down, complaining and making conjectures about the curate’s illness, so she hid her face in her pañuelo and suppressed the sounds of her grief.  Upon reaching the street she looked about uncertainly for a moment and then, as if having reached a decision, walked rapidly away.

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