Chapter 54: - Page 2 of 7


(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

What, do you think that puny doll will kill me? I’ll bust him with a kick!

Padre Salvi stepped backward with an involuntary glance toward the alferez’s feet.  Whom are you talking about? he asked tremblingly.

About whom would I talk but that simpleton who has challenged me to a duel with revolvers at a hundred paces?

Ah! sighed the curate, then he added, I’ve come to talk to you about a very urgent matter.

Enough of urgent matters! It’ll be like that affair of the two boys.

Had the light been other than from coconut oil and the lamp globe not so dirty, the alferez would have noticed the curate’s pallor.

Now this is a serious matter, which concerns the lives of all of us, declared Padre Salvi in a low voice.

A serious matter? echoed the alferez, turning pale.  Can that boy shoot straight?

I’m not talking about him.

Then, what?

The friar made a sign toward the door, which the alferez closed in his own way—with a kick, for he had found his hands superfluous and had lost nothing by ceasing to be bimanous.

A curse and a roar sounded outside.  Brute, you’ve split my forehead open! yelled his wife.

Now, unburden yourself, he said calmly to the curate.

The latter stared at him for a space, then asked in the nasal, droning voice of the preacher, Didn’t you see me come—running?

Sure! I thought you’d lost something.

Well, now, continued the curate, without heeding the alferez’s rudeness, when I fail thus in my duty, it’s because there are grave reasons.

Well, what else? asked the other, tapping the floor with his foot.

Learn this Filipino word:

tumátandâ nang pauróng