Chapter 54: - Page 6 of 7


(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Ibarra, with his hands on his head and his eyes staring unnaturally, seemed not to hear him.

The blow cannot be averted, continued Elias.  I’ve come late, I don’t know who the leaders are.  Save yourself, sir, save yourself for your country’s sake!

Whither shall I flee? She expects me tonight! exclaimed Ibarra, thinking of Maria Clara.

To any town whatsoever, to Manila, to the house of some official, but anywhere so that they may not say that you are directing this movement.

Suppose that I myself report the plot?

You an informer! exclaimed Elias, stepping back and staring at him.  You would appear as a traitor and coward in the eyes of the plotters and faint-hearted in the eyes of others.  They would say that you planned the whole thing to curry favor.  They would say—

But what’s to be done?

I’ve already told you.  Destroy every document that relates to your affairs, flee, and await the outcome.

And Maria Clara? exclaimed the young man.  No, I’ll die first!

Elias wrung his hands, saying, Well then, at least parry the blow.  Prepare for the time when they accuse you.

Ibarra gazed about him in bewilderment.  Then help me.  There in that writing-desk are all the letters of my family.  Select those of my father, which are perhaps the ones that may compromise me.  Read the signatures.

So the bewildered and stupefied young man opened and shut boxes, collected papers, read letters hurriedly, tearing up some and laying others aside.  He took down some books and began to turn their leaves.

Elias did the same, if not so excitedly, yet with equal eagerness.  But suddenly he paused, his eyes bulged, he turned the paper in his hand over and over, then asked in a trembling voice:

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