Chapter 40: - Page 3 of 6

Right and Might

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

I’m sorry that I can’t please your Reverence, said Don Filipo, but Señor Ibarra is one of the heaviest contributors and has a right to be here as long as he doesn’t disturb the peace.

But isn’t it disturbing the peace to scandalize good Christians? It’s letting a wolf enter the fold. You will answer for this to God and the authorities!

I always answer for the actions that spring from my own will, Padre, replied Don Filipo with a slight bow. But my little authority does not empower me to mix in religious affairs. Those who wish to avoid contact with him need not talk to him. Señor Ibarra forces himself on no one.

But it’s giving opportunity for danger, and he who loves danger perishes in it.

I don’t see any danger, Padre. The alcalde and the Captain-General, my superior officers, have been talking with him all the afternoon and it’s not for me to teach them a lesson.

If you don’t put him out of here, we’ll leave.

I’m very sorry, but I can’t put any one out of here. The curate repented of his threat, but it was too late to retract, so he made a sign to his companion, who arose with regret, and the two went out together. The persons attached to them followed their example, casting looks of hatred at Ibarra.

The murmurs and whispers increased. A number of people approached the young man and said to him, We’re with you, don’t take any notice of them.

Whom do you mean by them? Ibarra asked in surprise.

Those who’ve just left to avoid contact with you.

Left to avoid contact with me?

Yes, they say that you’re excommunicated.

Excommunicated? The astonished youth did not know what to say. He looked about him and saw that Maria Clara was hiding her face behind her fan. But is it possible? he exclaimed finally. Are we still in the Dark Ages? So—

He approached the young women and said with a change of tone, Excuse me, I’ve forgotten an engagement. I’ll be back to see you home.

Stay! Sinang said to him. Yeyeng is going to dance La Calandria. She dances divinely.

I can’t, little friend, but I’ll be back. The uproar increased.

Learn this Filipino word:

mabuti ang ulo