Chapter 55:

The Catastrophe

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

There in the dining-room Capitan Tiago, Linares, and Aunt Isabel were at supper, so that even in the sala the rattling of plates and dishes was plainly heard.  Maria Clara had said that she was not hungry and had seated herself at the piano in company with the merry Sinang, who was murmuring mysterious words into her ear.  Meanwhile Padre Salvi paced nervously back and forth in the room.

It was not, indeed, that the convalescent was not hungry, no; but she was expecting the arrival of a certain person and was taking advantage of this moment when her Argus was not present, Linares’ supper-hour.

You’ll see how that specter will stay till eight, murmured Sinang, indicating the curate.  And at eight he will come. The curate’s in love with Linares.

Maria Clara gazed in consternation at her friend, who went on heedlessly with her terrible chatter: Oh, I know why he doesn’t go, in spite of my hints—he doesn’t want to burn up oil in the convento! Don’t you know that since you’ve been sick the two lamps that he used to keep lighted he has had put out? But look how he stares, and what a face!

At that moment a clock in the house struck eight.  The curate shuddered and sat down in a corner.

Here he comes! exclaimed Sinang, pinching Maria Clara.  Don’t you hear him?

The church bell boomed out the hour of eight and all rose to pray.  Padre Salvi offered up a prayer in a weak and trembling voice, but as each was busy with his own thoughts no one paid any attention to the priest’s agitation.

Scarcely had the prayer ceased when Ibarra appeared.  The youth was in mourning not only in his attire but also in his face, to such an extent that, on seeing him, Maria Clara arose and took a step toward him to ask what the matter was.  But at that instant the report of firearms was heard. Ibarra stopped, his eyes rolled, he lost the power of speech.  The curate had concealed himself behind a post. More shots, more reports were heard from the direction of the convento, followed by cries and the sound of persons running.  Capitan Tiago, Aunt Isabel, and Linares rushed in pell-mell, crying, Tulisan! Tulisan! Andeng followed, flourishing the gridiron as she ran toward her foster-sister.


Learn this Filipino word:

isáng kahig isáng tukâ