Chapter 44: - Page 5 of 6

An Examination of Conscience

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The sick girl, in the meantime, raised the handkerchief to her eyes several times and her breathing became more noticeable.

What a good soul! thought the old woman. She who is so obedient and submissive to every one! I’ve committed more sins and yet I’ve never been able really to cry.

She then began the fifth commandment with greater pauses and even more pronounced snuffling, if that were possible, and with such great enthusiasm that she did not hear the stifled sobs of her niece. Only in a pause which she made after the comments on homicide, by violence did she notice the groans of the sinner. Then her tone passed into the sublime as she read the rest of the commandment in accents that she tried to reader threatening, seeing that her niece was still weeping.

Weep, daughter, weep! she said, approaching the bed. The more you weep the sooner God will pardon you. Hold the sorrow of repentance as better than that of mere penitence. Weep, daughter, weep! You don’t know how much I enjoy seeing you weep. Beat yourself on the breast also, but not hard, for you’re still sick.

But, as if her sorrow needed mystery and solitude to make it increase, Maria Clara, on seeing herself observed, little by little stopped sighing and dried her eyes without saying anything or answering her aunt, who continued the reading. Since the wails of her audience had ceased, however, she lost her enthusiasm, and the last commandments made her so sleepy that she began to yawn, with great detriment to her snuffling, which was thus interrupted.

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it, thought the good old lady afterwards. This girl sins like a soldier against the first five and from the sixth to the tenth not a venial sin, just the opposite to us! How the world does move now!

So she lighted a large candle to the Virgin of Antipolo and two other smaller ones to Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of the Pillar, [2] taking care to put away in a corner a marble crucifix to make it understand that the candles were not lighted for it. Nor did the Virgin of Delaroche have any share; she was an unknown foreigner, and Aunt Isabel had never heard of any miracle of hers.

[2] The famous Virgin of Saragossa, Spain, and patroness of Santa Cruz, Manila.—TR.

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