Chapter 46: - Page 5 of 10

The Cockpit

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The younger timidly approached Lucas and touched him on the arm.

Oh, it’s you! exclaimed the latter, turning around with feigned surprise.  Does your brother accept my proposition or do you want to bet?

How can we bet when we’ve lost everything?

Then you accept?

He doesn’t want to! If you would lend us something, now that you say you know us—

Lucas scratched his head, pulled at his camisa, and replied, Yes, I know you.  You are Tarsilo and Bruno, both young and strong.  I know that your brave father died as a result of the hundred lashes a day those soldiers gave him.  I know that you don’t think of revenging him.

Don’t meddle in our affairs! broke in Tarsilo, the elder. That might lead to trouble. If it were not that we have a sister, we should have been hanged long ago.

Hanged? They only hang a coward, one who has no money or influence.  And at all events the mountains are near.

A hundred to twenty on the white! cried a passer-by.

Lend us four pesos, three, two, begged the younger.

We’ll soon pay them back double.  The fight is going to commence.

Lucas again scratched his head.  Tush! This money isn’t mine. Don Crisostomo has given it to me for those who are willing to serve him.  But I see that you’re not like your father—he was really brave—let him who is not so not seek amusement! So saying, he drew away from them a little.

Let’s take him up, what’s the difference? said Bruno.  It’s the same to be shot as to be hanged.  We poor folks are good for nothing else.

You’re right—but think of our sister!

Meanwhile, the ring has been cleared and the combat is about to begin.  The voices die away as the two starters, with the expert who fastens the gaffs, are left alone in the center.  At a signal from the referee, the expert unsheathes the gaffs and the fine blades glitter threateningly.

Learn this Filipino word:

mahinà ang ulo