Chapter 34: - Page 8 of 8

The Dinner

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The persons surrounding him, thinking that he was about to commit murder, made a movement.

Away! he cried again in a threatening voice.  What, do you fear that I shall stain my hands with impure blood? Have I not told you that my heart beats tranquilly? Away from us! Listen, priests and judges, you who think yourselves other men and attribute to yourselves other rights: my father was an honorable man,—ask these people here, who venerate his memory.  My father was a good citizen and he sacrificed himself for me and for the good of his country.  His house was open and his table was set for the stranger and the outcast who came to him in distress! He was a Christian who always did good and who never oppressed the unprotected or afflicted those in trouble.  To this man here he opened his doors, he made him sit at his table and called him his friend.  And how has this man repaid him? He calumniated him, persecuted him, raised up against him all the ignorant by availing himself of the sanctity of his position; he outraged his tomb, dishonored his memory, and persecuted him even in the sleep of death! Not satisfied with this, he persecutes the son now! I have fled from him, I have avoided his presence.  You this morning heard him profane the pulpit, pointing me out to popular fanaticism, and I held my peace! Now he comes here to seek a quarrel with me.  To your surprise, I have suffered in silence, but he again insults the most sacred memory that there is for a son.  You who are here, priests and judges, have you seen your aged father wear himself out working for you, separating himself from you for your welfare, have you seen him die of sorrow in a prison sighing for your embrace, seeking some one to comfort him, alone, sick, when you were in a foreign land? Have you afterwards heard his name dishonored, have you found his tomb empty when you went to pray beside it? No? You are silent, you condemn him!

He raised his hand, but with the swiftness of light a girlish form put itself between them and delicate fingers restrained the avenging arm.  It was Maria Clara.  Ibarra stared at her with a look that seemed to reflect madness.  Slowly his clenched fingers relaxed, letting fall the body of the Franciscan and the knife.  Covering his face, he fled through the crowd.

Learn this Filipino word:

di-kabagáng