Chapter 44: - Page 2 of 6

An Examination of Conscience

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Just as I was saying, the curate in turn interrupted, I think that the confession that Maria Clara made brought on the favorable crisis which has saved her life. A clean conscience is worth more than a lot of medicine. Don’t think that I deny the power of science, above all, that of surgery, but a clean conscience! Read the pious books and you’ll see how many cures are effected merely by a clean confession.

Pardon me, objected the piqued Doña Victorina, this power of the confessional—cure the alferez’s woman with a confession!

A wound, madam, is not a form of illness which the conscience can affect, replied Padre Salvi severely. Nevertheless, a clean confession will preserve her from receiving in the future such blows as she got this morning.

She deserves them! went on Doña Victorina as if she had not heard what Padre Salvi said. That woman is so insolent! In the church she did nothing but stare at me. You can see that she’s a nobody. Sunday I was going to ask her if she saw anything funny about my face, but who would lower oneself to speak to people that are not of rank?

The curate, on his part, continued just as though he had not heard this tirade. Believe me, Don Santiago, to complete your daughter’s recovery it’s necessary that she take communion tomorrow. I’ll bring the viaticum over here. I don’t think she has anything to confess, but yet, if she wants to confess herself tonight—

I don’t know, Doña Victorina instantly took advantage of a slight hesitation on Padre Salvi’s part to add, I don’t understand how there can be men capable of marrying such a fright as that woman is. It’s easily seen where she comes from. She’s just dying of envy, you can see it! How much does an alferez get?

Accordingly, Don Santiago, tell your cousin to prepare the sick girl for the communion tomorrow. I’ll come over tonight to absolve her of her peccadillos.

Seeing Aunt Isabel come from the sick-room, he said to her in Tagalog, Prepare your niece for confession tonight. Tomorrow I’ll bring over the viaticum. With that she’ll improve faster.

But, Padre, Linares gathered up enough courage to ask faintly, you don’t think that she’s in any danger of dying?

Learn this Filipino word:

bombo