Chapter 40: - Page 6 of 6

Right and Might

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The tumult in the plaza awoke him from his reverie. With startled eyes he saw the confused movements of the people, while their voices came up to him faintly. A breathless servant informed him of what was happening. A thought shot across his mind: in the midst of confusion and tumult is the time when libertines take advantage of the consternation and weakness of woman. Every one seeks to save himself, no one thinks of any one else; a cry is not heard or heeded, women faint, are struck and fall, terror and fright heed not shame, under the cover of night—and when they are in love! He imagined that he saw Crisostomo snatch the fainting Maria Clara up in his arms and disappear into the darkness. So he went down the stairway by leaps and bounds, and without hat or cane made for the plaza like a madman. There he met some Spaniards who were reprimanding the soldiers, but on looking toward the seats that the girls had occupied he saw that they were vacant.

Padre! Padre! cried the Spaniards, but he paid no attention to them as he ran in the direction of Capitan Tiago’s. There he breathed more freely, for he saw in the open hallway the adorable silhouette, full of grace and soft in outline, of Maria Clara, and that of the aunt carrying cups and glasses.

Ah! he murmured, it seems that she has been taken sick only.

Aunt Isabel at that moment closed the windows and the graceful shadow was no longer to be seen. The curate moved away without heeding the crowd. He had before his eyes the beautiful form of a maiden sleeping and breathing sweetly. Her eyelids were shaded by long lashes which formed graceful curves like those of the Virgins of Raphael, the little mouth was smiling, all the features breathed forth virginity, purity, and innocence. That countenance formed a sweet vision in the midst of the white coverings of her bed like the head of a cherub among the clouds. His imagination went still further—but who can write what a burning brain can imagine?

Perhaps only the newspaper correspondent, who concluded his account of the fiesta and its accompanying incidents in the following manner:

A thousand thanks, infinite thanks, to the opportune and active intervention of the Very Reverend Padre Fray Bernardo Salvi, who, defying every danger in the midst of the unbridled mob, without hat or cane, calmed the wrath of the crowd, using only his persuasive word with the majesty and authority that are never lacking to a minister of a Religion of Peace. With unparalleled self-abnegation this virtuous priest tore himself from sweet repose, such as every good conscience like his enjoys, and rushed to protect his flock from the least harm. The people of San Diego will hardly forget this sublime deed of their heroic Pastor, remembering to hold themselves grateful to him for all eternity!

Learn this Filipino word:

malalim na ang gabí