Chapter 42: - Page 2 of 11

The Espadañas

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Silly! retorts SinangEvery one who charges high is not learned. Look at Dr. Guevara; after performing a bungling operation that cost the life of both mother and child, he charged the widower fifty pesos. The thing to know is how to charge!

What do you know about it? asks her cousin, nudging her.

Don’t I know? The husband, who is a poor sawyer, after losing his wife had to lose his home also, for the alcalde, being a friend of the doctor’s, made him pay. Don’t I know about it, when my father lent him the money to make the journey to Santa Cruz? [1]

The sound of a carriage stopping in front of the house put an end to these conversations. Capitan Tiago, followed by Aunt Isabel, ran down the steps to welcome the new arrivals: the Doctor Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, his señora the Doctora Doña Victorina de los Reyes de De Espadaña, and a young Spaniard of pleasant countenance and agreeable aspect.

Doña Victorina was attired in a loose silk gown embroidered with flowers and a hat with a huge parrot half-crushed between blue and red ribbons. The dust of the road mingled with the rice-powder on her cheeks seemed to accentuate her wrinkles. As at the time we saw her in Manila, she now supported her lame husband on her arm.

I have the pleasure of introducing to you our cousin, Don Alfonso Linares de Espadaña, said Doña Victorina, indicating their young companion. The gentleman is a godson of a relative of Padre Damaso’s and has been private secretary to all the ministers.

The young man bowed politely and Capitan Tiago came very near to kissing his hand.

While their numerous trunks and traveling-bags are being carried in and Capitan Tiago is conducting them to their rooms, let us talk a little of this couple whose acquaintance we made slightly in the first chapters.

[1] A similar incident occurred in Kalamba.—Author’s note.

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