Chapter 43: - Page 2 of 3

Plans

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Padre, I’m not in such a great hurry, interrupted Linares in confusion.

But Padre Damaso was already pacing from one end of the hallway to the other, muttering, A wife, a wife! His countenance was no longer sad or merry but now wore an expression of great seriousness, while he seemed to be thinking deeply. Padre Salvi gazed on the scene from a distance.

I didn’t think that the matter would trouble me so much, murmured Padre Damaso in a tearful voice. But of two evils, the lesser! Then raising his voice he approached Linares and said to him, Come, boy, let’s talk to Santiago.

Linares turned pale and allowed himself to be dragged along by the priest, who moved thoughtfully. Then it was Padre Salvi’s turn to pace back and forth, pensive as ever.

A voice wishing him good morning drew him from his monotonous walk. He raised his head and saw Lucas, who saluted him humbly.

What do you want? questioned the curate’s eyes.

Padre, I’m the brother of the man who was killed on the day of the fiesta, began Lucas in tearful accents.

The curate recoiled and murmured in a scarcely audible voice, Well?

Lucas made an effort to weep and wiped his eyes with a handkerchief. Padre, he went on tearfully, I’ve been to Don Crisostomo to ask for an indemnity. First he received me with kicks, saying that he wouldn’t pay anything since he himself had run the risk of getting killed through the fault of my dear, unfortunate brother. I went to talk to him yesterday, but he had gone to Manila. He left me five hundred pesos for charity’s sake and charged me not to come back again. Ah, Padre, five hundred pesos for my poor brother—five hundred pesos! Ah, Padre—

At first the curate had listened with surprise and attention while his lips curled slightly with a smile of such disdain and sarcasm at the sight of this farce that, had Lucas noticed it, he would have run away at top speed. Now what do you want? he asked, turning away.

Learn this Filipino word:

sambakol ang mukhâ