Chapter 35: - Page 2 of 6

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(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The comments of the older persons were of a different kind. While they were waiting for the arrival of the Captain-General in a hut outside the town, the gobernadorcillo was saying, To tell who was right and who was wrong, is not an easy matter. Yet if Señor Ibarra had used more prudence—

If Padre Damaso had used half the prudence of Señor Ibarra, you mean to say, perhaps! interrupted Don FilipoThe bad thing about it is that they exchanged parts—the youth conducted himself like an old man and the old man like a youth.

Did you say that no one moved, no one went near to separate them, except Capitan Tiago’s daughter? asked Capitan MartinNone of the friars, nor the alcalde? Ahem! Worse and worse! I shouldn’t like to be in that young man’s skin. No one will forgive him for having been afraid of him. Worse and worse, ahem!

Do you think so? asked Capitan Basilio curiously.

I hope, said Don Filipo, exchanging a look with the latter, that the people won’t desert him. We must keep in mind what his family has done and what he is trying to do now. And if, as may happen, the people, being intimidated, are silent, his friends—

But, gentlemen, interrupted the gobernadorcillo, what can we do? What can the people do? Happen what will, the friars are always right!

They are always right because we always allow them to be, answered Don Filipo impatiently, putting double stress on the italicized word. Let us be right once and then we’ll talk.

The gobernadorcillo scratched his head and stared at the roof while he replied in a sour tone, Ay! the heat of the blood! You don’t seem to realize yet what country we’re in, you don’t know your countrymen. The friars are rich and united, while we are divided and poor. Yes, try to defend yourself and you’ll see how the people will leave you in the lurch.

Yes! exclaimed Don Filipo bitterly. That will happen as long as you think that way, as long as fear and prudence are synonyms. More attention is paid to a possible evil than to a necessary good. At once fear, and not confidence, presents itself; each one thinks only of himself, no one thinks of the rest, and therefore we are all weak!

Well then, think of others before yourself and you’ll see how they’ll leave you in the lurch. Don’t you know the proverb, ‘Charity begins at home’?

You had better say, replied the exasperated teniente-mayor, that cowardice begins in selfishness and ends in shame! This very day I’m going to hand in my resignation to the alcalde. I’m tired of passing for a joke without being useful to anybody. Good-bye!

Learn this Filipino word:

tulóg na lukán