Chapter 35: - Page 4 of 6

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(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Oh, what do you want me to say? You’re both right the curate is right, but God must also be right. I don’t know, I’m only a foolish woman. What I’m going to do is to tell my son not to study any more, for they say that persons who know anything die on the gallows. María Santísima, my son wants to go to Europe!

What are you thinking of doing?

Tell him to stay with me—why should he know more? Tomorrow or the next day we shall die, the learned and the ignorant alike must die, and the only question is to live in peace. The good old woman sighed and raised her eyes toward the sky.

For my part, said Capitana Maria gravely, if I were rich like you I would let my sons travel; they are young and will some day be men. I have only a little while to live, we should see one another in the other life, so sons should aspire to be more than their fathers, but at our sides we only teach them to be children.

Ay, what rare thoughts you have! exclaimed the astonished Capitana Tinay, clasping her hands. It must be that you didn’t suffer in bearing your twin boys.

For the very reason that I did bear them with suffering, that I have nurtured and reared them in spite of our poverty, I do not wish that, after the trouble they’re cost me, they be only half-men.

It seems to me that you don’t love your children as God commands, said Sister Rufa in a rather severe tone.

Pardon me, every mother loves her sons in her own way. One mother loves them for her own sake and another loves them for their sake. I am one of the latter, for my husband has so taught me.

All your ideas, Capitana Maria, said Sister Rufa, as if preaching, are but little religious. Become a sister of the Holy Rosary or of St. Francis or of St. Rita or of St. Clara.

Sister Rufa, when I am a worthy sister of men then I’ll try to be a sister of the saints, she answered with a smile.

To put an end to this chapter of comments and that the reader may learn in passing what the simple country folk thought of the incident, we will now go to the plaza, where under the large awning some rustics are conversing, one of them—he who dreamed about doctors of medicine—being an acquaintance of ours.

What I regret most, said he, is that the schoolhouse won’t be finished.

What’s that? asked the bystanders with interest.

Learn this Filipino word:

magbatak ng butó