Chapter 2: - Page 2 of 3

Crisostomo Ibarra

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Sir, replied Ibarra, deeply moved, the praise you bestow upon my father removes my doubts about the manner of his death, of which I, his son, am yet ignorant.

The eyes of the old soldier filled with tears and turning away hastily he withdrew.  The young man thus found himself alone in the center of the room.  His host having disappeared, he saw no one who might introduce him to the young ladies, many of whom were watching him with interest.  After a few moments of hesitation he started toward them in a simple and natural manner.

Allow me, he said, to overstep the rules of strict etiquette.  It has been seven years since I have been in my own country and upon returning to it I cannot suppress my admiration and refrain from paying my respects to its most precious ornaments, the ladies.

But as none of them ventured a reply, he found himself obliged to retire.  He then turned toward a group of men who, upon seeing him approach, arranged themselves in a semicircle.

Gentlemen, he addressed them, it is a custom in Germany, when a stranger finds himself at a function and there is no one to introduce him to those present, that he give his name and so introduce himself.  Allow me to adopt this usage here, not to introduce foreign customs when our own are so beautiful, but because I find myself driven to it by necessity.  I have already paid my respects to the skies and to the ladies of my native land; now I wish to greet its citizens, my fellow-countrymen.  Gentlemen, my name is Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin.

The others gave their names, more or less obscure, and unimportant here.

My name is A———, said one youth dryly, as he made a slight bow.

Then I have the honor of addressing the poet whose works have done so much to keep up my enthusiasm for my native land.  It is said that you do not write any more, but I could not learn the reason.

The reason? Because one does not seek inspiration in order to debase himself and lie.  One writer has been imprisoned for having put a very obvious truth into verse.  They may have called me a poet but they sha’n’t call me a fool.

And may I enquire what that truth was?

He said that the lion’s son is also a lion.  He came very near to being exiled for it, replied the strange youth, moving away from the group.

A man with a smiling face, dressed in the fashion of the natives of the country, with diamond studs in his shirt-bosom, came up at that moment almost running.  He went directly to Ibarra and grasped his hand, saying, Señor Ibarra, I’ve been eager to make your acquaintance.  Capitan Tiago is a friend of mine and I knew your respected father.  I am known as Capitan Tinong and live in Tondo, where you will always be welcome.  I hope that you will honor me with a visit.  Come and dine with us tomorrow.  He smiled and rubbed his hands.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagbuntót ng masamá