Chapter 30: - Page 3 of 3

In the Church

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The sudden transition from noise to silence awoke our aged Sister Puté, who was already snoring under cover of the music.  Like Segismundo,[1] or like the cook in the story of the Sleeping Beauty, the first thing that she did upon awaking was to whack her granddaughter on the neck, as the child had also fallen asleep.  The latter screamed, but soon consoled herself at the sight of a woman who was beating her breast with contrition and enthusiasm.  All tried to place themselves comfortably, those who had no benches squatting down on the floor or on their heels.

Padre Damaso passed through the congregation preceded by two sacristans and followed by another friar carrying a massive volume.  He disappeared as he went up the winding staircase, but his round head soon reappeared, then his fat neck, followed immediately by his body.  Coughing slightly, he looked about him with assurance.  He noticed Ibarra and with a special wink gave to understand that he would not overlook that youth in his prayers.  Then he turned a look of satisfaction upon Padre Sibyla and another of disdain upon Padre Martin, the preacher of the previous day.  This inspection concluded, he turned cautiously and said, Attention, brother! to his companion, who opened the massive volume.

But the sermon deserves a separate chapter.  A young man who was then learning stenography and who idolizes great orators, took it down; thanks to this fact, we can here present a selection from the sacred oratory of those regions.

[1] The principal character in Calderon de la Barca’s La Vida es Sueño. There is also a Tagalog corrido, or metrical romance, with this title.—TR.

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