Chapter 42: - Page 8 of 11

The Espadañas

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Her husband realized that these things were barbarisms, but held his peace to escape a scolding or reminders of his stuttering. To increase the illusion of approaching maternity she became whimsical, dressed herself in colors with a profusion of flowers and ribbons, and appeared on the Escolta in a wrapper. But oh, the disenchantment! Three months went by and the dream faded, and now, having no reason for fearing that her son would be a revolutionist, she gave up the trip. She consulted doctors, midwives, old women, but all in vain. Having to the great displeasure of Capitan Tiago jested about St. Pascual Bailon, she was unwilling to appeal to any saint. For this reason a friend of her husband’s remarked to her:

Believe me, señora, you are the only strong-spirited person in this tiresome country.

She had smiled, without knowing what strong-spirited meant, but that night she asked her husband. My dear, he answered, the s-strongest s-spirit that I know of is ammonia. My f-friend must have s-spoken f-figuratively.

After that she would say on every possible occasion, I’m the only ammonia in this tiresome country, speaking figuratively. So Señor N. de N., a Peninsular gentleman of quality, told me.

Whatever she said had to be done, for she had succeeded in dominating her husband completely. He on his part did not put up any great resistance and so was converted into a kind of lap-dog of hers. If she was displeased with him she would not let him go out, and when she was really angry she tore out his false teeth, thus leaving him a horrible sight for several days.

It soon occurred to her that her husband ought to be a doctor of medicine and surgery, and she so informed him.

My dear, do you w-want me to be arrested? he asked fearfully.

Don’t be a fool! Leave me to arrange it, she answered. You’re not going to treat any one, but I want people to call you Doctor and me Doctora, see?

Learn this Filipino word:

paa't kamay