Chapter 51: - Page 2 of 4

Exchanges

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Come, come! exclaimed the curate, entering the sala, followed by Linares and Capitan Tiago, I have good news for you all.  I’ve just received letters from Manila which confirm the one Señor Ibarra brought me yesterday.  So, Don Santiago, the objection is removed.

Maria Clara, who was seated at the piano between her two friends, partly rose, but her strength failed her, and she fell back again.  Linares turned pale and looked at Capitan Tiago, who dropped his eyes.

That young man seems to me to be very agreeable, continued the curate.  At first I misjudged him—he’s a little quick-tempered—but he knows so well how to atone for his faults afterwards that one can’t hold anything against him.  If it were not for Padre Damaso—

Here the curate shot a quick glance at Maria Clara, who was listening without taking her eyes off the sheet of music, in spite of the sly pinches of Sinang, who was thus expressing her joy—had she been alone she would have danced.

Padre Damaso? queried Linares.

Yes, Padre Damaso has said, the curate went on, without taking his gaze from Maria Clara, that as—being her sponsor in baptism, he can’t permit—but, after all, I believe that if Señor Ibarra begs his pardon, which I don’t doubt he’ll do, everything will be settled.

Maria Clara rose, made some excuse, and retired to her chamber, accompanied by Victoria.

But if Padre Damaso doesn’t pardon him? asked Capitan Tiago in a low voice.

Then Maria Clara will decide.  Padre Damaso is her father—spiritually. But I think they’ll reach an understanding.

At that moment footsteps were heard and Ibarra appeared, followed by Aunt Isabel.  His appearance produced varied impressions.  To his affable greeting Capitan Tiago did not know whether to laugh or to cry. He acknowledged the presence of Linares with a profound bow.  Fray Salvi arose and extended his hand so cordially that the youth could not restrain a look of astonishment.

Don’t be surprised, said Fray Salvi, for I was just now praising you.

Ibarra thanked him and went up to Sinang, who began with her childish garrulity, Where have you been all day? We were all asking, where can that soul redeemed from purgatory have gone? And we all said the same thing.

Learn this Filipino word:

nahíhigâ sa salapî