Chapter 34: - Page 7 of 8

The Dinner

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

But, Padre Damaso—

You know well enough what the Indian is—just as soon as he gets a little learning he sets himself up as a doctor! All these little fellows that go to Europe—

But, listen, your Reverence! interrupted the alcalde, who was becoming nervous over the aggressiveness of such talk.

Every one ends up as he deserves, the friar continued.  The hand of God is manifest in the midst of it all, and one must be blind not to see it.  Even in this life the fathers of such vipers receive their punishment, they die in jail ha, ha! As we might say, they have nowhere—

But he did not finish the sentence.  Ibarra, livid, had been following him with his gaze and upon hearing this allusion to his father jumped up and dropped a heavy hand on the priest’s head, so that he fell back stunned.  The company was so filled with surprise and fright that no one made any movement to interfere.

Keep off! cried the youth in a terrible voice, as he caught up a sharp knife and placed his foot on the neck of the friar, who was recovering from the shock of his fall.  Let him who values his life keep away!

The youth was beside himself.  His whole body trembled and his eyes rolled threateningly in their sockets.  Fray Damaso arose with an effort, but the youth caught him by the neck and shook him until he again fell doubled over on his knees.

Señor Ibarra! Señor Ibarra! stammered some.  But no one, not even the alferez himself, dared to approach the gleaming knife, when they considered the youth’s strength and the condition of his mind.  All seemed to be paralyzed.

You, here! You have been silent, now it is my turn! I have tried to avoid this, but God brings me to it—let God be the judge! The youth was breathing laboriously, but with a hand of iron he held down the Franciscan, who was struggling vainly to free himself.

My heart beats tranquilly, my hand is sure, he began, looking around him.  First, is there one among you, one who has not loved his father, who was born in such shame and humiliation that he hates his memory? You see? You understand this silence? Priest of a God of peace, with your mouth full of sanctity and religion and your heart full of evil, you cannot know what a father is, or you might have thought of your own! In all this crowd which you despise there is not one like you! You are condemned!

Learn this Filipino word:

halu-halong kalamay