Chapter 28: - Page 4 of 6

Correspondence

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

At the conclusion of the services all of us went up into the convento with the leading citizens of the town and other persons of note.  There we were especially honored by the refinement, attention, and prodigality that characterize the Very Reverend Fray Salvi, there being set before us cigars and an abundant lunch which the hermano mayor had prepared under the convento for all who might feel the necessity for appeasing the cravings of their stomachs.

During the day nothing has been lacking to make the fiesta joyous and to preserve the animation so characteristic of Spaniards, and which it is impossible to restrain on such occasions as this, showing itself sometimes in singing and dancing, at other times in simple and merry diversions of so strong and noble a nature that all sorrow is driven away, and it is enough for three Spaniards to be gathered together in one place in order that sadness and ill-humor be banished thence.  Then homage was paid to Terpsichore in many homes, but especially in that of the cultured Filipino millionaire, where we were all invited to dine.  Needless to say, the banquet, which was sumptuous and elegantly served, was a second edition of the wedding-feast in Cana, or of Camacho,[3] corrected and enlarged.  While we were enjoying the meal, which was directed by a cook from ‘La Campana,’ an orchestra played harmonious melodies.  The beautiful young lady of the house, in a mestiza gown [4] and a cascade of diamonds, was as ever the queen of the feast..  All of us deplored from the bottom of our hearts a light sprain in her shapely foot that deprived her of the pleasures of the dance, for if we have to judge by her other conspicuous perfections, the young lady must dance like a sylph.

The alcalde of the province arrived this afternoon for the purpose of honoring with his presence the ceremony of tomorrow.  He has expressed regret over the poor health of the distinguished landlord, Señor Ibarra, who in God’s mercy is now, according to report, somewhat recovered.

[3]Camacho’s wedding is an episode in Don Quixote, wherein a wealthy man named Camacho is cheated out of his bride after he has prepared a magnificent wedding-feast.—TR.

[4] The full dress of the Filipino women, consisting of the camisa, pañuelo, and saya suelta, the latter a heavy skirt with a long train. The name mestiza is not inappropriate, as well from its composition as its use, since the first two are distinctly native, antedating the conquest, while the saya suelta was no doubt introduced by the Spaniards.

Learn this Filipino word:

kákalúg-kalóg