Chapter 20: - Page 9 of 9

The Meeting in the Town Hall

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Does the curate or do we ourselves pay for this fiesta? Has he given a cuarto for it? exclaimed a penetrating voice.  All looked toward the place whence these questions came and saw there the Sage Tasio.

Don Filipo remained motionless with his eyes fixed on the gobernadorcillo.

What does the curate want? asked Capitan Basilio.

Well, the padre wants six processions, three sermons, three high masses, and if there is any money left, a comedy from Tondo with songs in the intermissions.

But we don’t want that, said the youths and some of the old men.

The curate wants it, repeated the gobernadorcillo.  I’ve promised him that his wish shall be carried out.

Then why did you have us assemble here?

F-for the very purpose of telling you this!

Why didn’t you tell us so at the start?

I wanted to tell you, gentlemen, but Capitan Basilio spoke and I haven’t had a chance.  The curate must be obeyed.

He must be obeyed, echoed several old men.

He must be obeyed or else the alcalde will put us all in jail, added several other old men sadly.

Well then, obey him, and run the fiesta yourselves, exclaimed the youths, rising.  We withdraw our contributions.

Everything has already been collected, said the gobernadorcillo.

Don Filipo approached this official and said to him bitterly, I sacrificed my pride in favor of a good cause; you are sacrificing your dignity as a man in favor of a bad one, and you’ve spoiled everything.

Ibarra turned to the schoolmaster and asked him, Is there anything that I can do for you at the capital of the province? I leave for there immediately.

Have you some business there?

We have business there! answered Ibarra mysteriously.

On the way home, when Don Filipo was cursing his bad luck, old Tasio said to him: The blame is ours! You didn’t protest when they gave you a slave for a chief, and I, fool that I am, had forgotten it!

Learn this Filipino word:

sumásala sa oras