Chapter 55: - Page 2 of 5

The Catastrophe

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Aunt Isabel fell on her knees weeping and reciting the Kyrie eleyson; Capitan Tiago, pale and trembling, carried on his fork a chicken-liver which he offered tearfully to the Virgin of Antipolo; Linares with his mouth full of food was armed with a case-knife; Sinang and Maria Clara were in each other’s arms; while the only one that remained motionless, as if petrified, was Crisostomo, whose paleness was indescribable.

The cries and sound of blows continued, windows were closed noisily, the report of a gun was heard from time to time.

Christie eleyson! Santiago, let the prophecy be fulfilled! Shut the windows! groaned Aunt Isabel.

Fifty big bombs and two thanksgiving masses! responded Capitan Tiago.  Ora pro nobis!

Gradually there prevailed a heavy silence which was soon broken by the voice of the alferez, calling as he ran: Padre, Padre Salvi, come here!

Miserere! The alferez is calling for confession, cried Aunt Isabel.  The alferez is wounded? asked Linares hastily.  Ah!!! Only then did he notice that he had not yet swallowed what he had in his mouth.

Padre, come here! There’s nothing more to fear! the alferez continued to call out.

The pallid Fray Salvi at last concluded to venture out from his hiding-place, and went down the stairs.

The outlaws have killed the alferez! Maria, Sinang, go into your room and fasten the door! Kyrie eleyson!

Ibarra also turned toward the stairway, in spite of Aunt Isabel’s cries: Don’t go out, you haven’t been shriven, don’t go out! The good old lady had been a particular friend of his mother’s.

But Ibarra left the house.  Everything seemed to reel around him, the ground was unstable.  His ears buzzed, his legs moved heavily and irregularly.  Waves of blood, lights and shadows chased one another before his eyes, and in spite of the bright moonlight he stumbled over the stones and blocks of wood in the vacant and deserted street.

Near the barracks he saw soldiers, with bayonets fixed, who were talking among themselves so excitedly that he passed them unnoticed.  In the town hall were to be heard blows, cries, and curses, with the voice of the alferez dominating everything: To the stocks! Handcuff them! Shoot any one who moves! Sergeant, mount the guard! Today no one shall walk about, not even God! Captain, this is no time to go to sleep!

Learn this Filipino word:

mabigát ang katawán