Chapter 25: - Page 8 of 8

In the House of the Sage

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

But could this sacrifice produce the fruit that I hope for? asked Ibarra.  Would the priest believe in me and forget the affront? Would they aid me frankly in behalf of the education that contests with the conventos the wealth of the country? Can they not pretend friendship, make a show of protection, and yet underneath in the shadows fight it, undermine it, wound it in the heel, in order to weaken it quicker than by attacking it in front? Granted the previous actions which you surmise, anything may be expected!

The old man remained silent from inability to answer these questions.  After meditating for some time, he said: If such should happen, if the enterprise should fail, you would be consoled by the thought that you had done what was expected of you and thus something would be gained.  You would have placed the first stone, you would have sown the seed, and after the storm had spent itself perhaps some grain would have survived the catastrophe to grow and save the species from destruction and to serve afterwards as the seed for the sons of the dead sower.  The example may encourage others who are only afraid to begin.

Weighing these reasons, Ibarra realized the situation and saw that with all the old man’s pessimism there was a great deal of truth in what he said.

I believe you! he exclaimed, pressing the old man’s hand.  Not in vain have I looked to you for advice.  This very day I’ll go and reach an understanding with the curate, who, after all is said, has done me no wrong and who must be good, since all of them are not like the persecutor of my father.  I have, besides, to interest him in behalf of that unfortunate madwoman and her sons. I put my trust in God and men!

After taking leave of the old man he mounted his horse and rode away.  As the pessimistic Sage followed him with his gaze, he muttered: Now let’s watch how Destiny will unfold the drama that began in the cemetery.  But for once he was greatly mistaken—the drama had begun long before!

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