Chapter 46: - Page 8 of 10

The Cockpit

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Wait! said Tarsilo, as he gazed at him fixedly, eye to eye, while both turned pale.  I’ll go with you, you’re right.  We’ll revenge our father.  Still, he hesitated, and again wiped away the perspiration.

What’s stopping you? asked Bruno impatiently.

Do you know what fight comes next? Is it worth while?

If you think that way, no! Haven’t you heard? The bulik of Capitan Basilio’s against Capitan Tiago’s lásak.  According to the law the lásak must win.

Ah, the lásak! I’d bet on it, too.  But let’s be sure first.

Bruno made a sign of impatience, but followed his brother, who examined the cock, studied it, meditated and reflected, asked some questions.  The poor fellow was in doubt.  Bruno gazed at him with nervous anger.

But don’t you see that wide scale he has by the side of his spur? Don’t you see those feet? What more do you want? Look at those legs, spread out his wings! And this split scale above this wide one, and this double one?

Tarsilo did not hear him, but went on examining the cock.  The clinking of gold and silver came to his ears. Now let’s look at the bulik, he said in a thick voice.

Bruno stamped on the ground and gnashed his teeth, but obeyed.  They approached another group where a cock was being prepared for the ring.  A gaff was selected, red silk thread for tying it on was waxed and rubbed thoroughly.  Tarsilo took in the creature with a gloomily impressive gaze, as if he were not looking at the bird so much as at something in the future.  He rubbed his hand across his forehead and said to his brother in a stifled voice, Are you ready?

I? Long ago! Without looking at them!

But, our poor sister—

Abá! Haven’t they told you that Don Crisostomo is the leader? Didn’t you see him walking with the Captain-General? What risk do we run?

And if we get killed?

What’s the difference? Our father was flogged to death!

Learn this Filipino word:

hulíng hantungan