Chapter 28: - Page 2 of 6

Correspondence

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Accordingly we joined them and proceeded to look for our companions, who were dining in the house, owned here by the pious and wealthy Don Santiago de los Santos.  The curate of the town, the Very Reverend Fray Bernardo Salvi, and the Very Reverend Fray Damaso Verdolagas, who is now by the special favor of Heaven recovered from the suffering caused him by an impious hand, in company with the Very Reverend Fray Hernando Sibyla and the virtuous curate of Tanawan, with other Spaniards, were guests in the house of the Filipino Croesus.  There we had the good fortune of admiring not only the luxury and good taste of the host, which are not usual among the natives, but also the beauty of the charming and wealthy heiress, who showed herself to be a polished disciple of St. Cecelia by playing on her elegant piano, with a mastery that recalled Galvez to me, the best German and Italian compositions.  It is a matter of regret that such a charming young lady should be so excessively modest as to hide her talents from a society which has only admiration for her.  Nor should I leave unwritten that in the house of our host there were set before us champagne and fine liqueurs with the profusion and splendor that characterize the well-known capitalist.

We attended the spectacle. You already know our artists, Ratia, Carvajal, and Fernandez, whose cleverness was comprehended by us alone, since the uncultured crowd did not understand a jot of it.  Chananay and Balbino were very good, though a little hoarse; the latter made one break, but together, and as regards earnest effort, they were admirable.  The Indians were greatly pleased with the Tagalog drama, especially the gobernadorcillo, who rubbed his hands and informed us that it was a pity that they had not made the princess join in combat with the giant who had stolen her away, which in his opinion would have been more marvelous, especially if the giant had been represented as vulnerable only in the navel, like a certain Ferragus of whom the stories of the Paladins tell.  The Very Reverend Fray Damaso, in his customary goodness of heart, concurred in this opinion, and added that in such case the princess should be made to discover the giant’s weak spot and give him the coup de grace.

Needless to tell you that during the show the affability of the Filipino Rothschild allowed nothing to be lacking: ice-cream, lemonade, wines, and refreshments of all kinds circulated profusely among us.  A matter of reasonable and special note was the absence of the well-known and cultured youth, Don Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, who, as you know, will tomorrow preside at the laying of the corner-stone for the great edifice which he is so philanthropically erecting.  This worthy descendant of the Pelayos and Elcanos (for I have learned that one of his paternal ancestors was from our heroic and noble northern provinces, perhaps one of the companions of Magellan or Legazpi) did not show himself during the entire day, owing to a slight indisposition.  His name runs from mouth to mouth, being uttered with praises that can only reflect glory upon Spain and true Spaniards like ourselves, who never deny our blood, however mixed it may be.

Learn this Filipino word:

litáw na tao