Chapter 37: - Page 3 of 5

His Excellency

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Maria Clara shuddered.

Ah! exclaimed the Captain-General. Allow me, señorita, to express my desire to see you again before leaving the town, as I still have some very important things to say to you. Señor Alcalde, you will accompany me during the walk which I wish to take after the conference that I will hold alone with Señor Ibarra.

Your Excellency will permit us to inform you, began Padre Salvi humbly, that Señor Ibarra is excommunicated.

His Excellency cut short this speech, saying, I am happy that I have only to regret the condition of Padre Damaso, for whom I sincerely desire a complete recovery, since at his age a voyage to Spain on account of his health may not be very agreeable. But that depends on him! Meanwhile, may God preserve the health of your Reverences!

And so much depends on him, murmured Padre Salvi as they retired. We’ll see who makes that voyage soonest! remarked another Franciscan.

I shall leave at once, declared the indignant Padre Sibyla.

And we shall go back to our province, said the Augustinians. Neither the Dominican nor the Augustinians could endure the thought that they had been so coldly received on a Franciscan’s account.

In the hall they met Ibarra, their amphitryon of a few hours before, but no greetings were exchanged, only looks that said many things. But when the friars had withdrawn the alcalde greeted him familiarly, although the entrance of the aide looking for the young man left no time for conversation. In the doorway he met Maria Clara; their looks also said many things but quite different from what the friars’ eyes had expressed.

Ibarra was dressed in deep mourning, but presented himself serenely and made a profound bow, even though the visit of the friars had not appeared to him to be a good augury. The Captain-General advanced toward him several steps.

I take pleasure, Señor Ibarra, in shaking your hand. Permit me to receive you in all confidence. His Excellency examined the youth with marked satisfaction.

Sir, such kindness—

Your surprise offends me, signifying as it does that you had not expected to be well received. That is casting a doubt on my sense of justice!

A cordial reception, sir, for an insignificant subject of his Majesty like myself is not justice but a favor.

Learn this Filipino word:

mahigpít ang hawak sa bulsá