Chapter 34: - Page 2 of 8

The Dinner

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The conversation again resumed its ordinary course.

I note the absence of our great preacher, timidly remarked an employee of inoffensive aspect who had not opened his mouth up to the time of eating, and who spoke now for the first time in the whole morning.

All who knew the history of Crisostomo’s father made a movement and winked, as if to say, Get out! Fools rush in— But some one more charitably disposed answered, He must be rather tired.

Rather? exclaimed the alferez.  He must be exhausted, and as they say here, all fagged out.  What a sermon it was!

A splendid sermon—wonderful! said the escribano.

Magnificent—profound! added the correspondent.

To be able to talk so much, it’s necessary to have the lungs that he has, observed Padre Manuel Martin.  The Augustinian did not concede him anything more than lungs.  And his fertility of expression! added Padre Salvi.

Do you know that Señor Ibarra has the best cook in the province? remarked the alcalde, to cut short such talk.

You may well say that, but his beautiful neighbor doesn’t wish to honor the table, for she is scarcely eating a bite, observed one of the employees.

Maria Clara blushed.  I thank the gentleman, he troubles himself too much on my account, she stammered timidly, but—

But you honor it enough merely by being present, concluded the gallant alcalde as he turned to Padre Salvi.

Padre, he said in a loud voice, I’ve observed that during the whole day your Reverence has been silent and thoughtful.

The alcalde is a great observer, remarked Fray Sibyla in a meaning tone.

It’s a habit of mine, stammered the Franciscan.  It pleases me more to listen than to talk.

Your Reverence always takes care to win and not to lose, said the alferez in a jesting tone.

Padre Salvi, however, did not take this as a joke, for his gaze brightened a moment as he replied, The alferez knows very well these days that I’m not the one who is winning or losing most.

The alferez turned the hit aside with a forced laugh, pretending not to take it to himself.

Learn this Filipino word:

inabot ng kaliwa't kanan