Chapter 56: - Page 6 of 7

Rumors and Beliefs

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

He made captious inquiries, and took down the statement of the maidservant, whom he tried to confuse, now looking at her fiercely, now threatening her, now attributing to her things that she had not said, so much so that she, thinking that she would have to go to jail, began to cry and wound up by declaring that she wasn’t looking for peas but and she called Teo as a witness.

While this was taking place, a rustic in a wide salakot with a big bandage on his neck was examining the corpse and the rope.  The face was not more livid than the rest of the body, two scratches and two red spots were to be seen above the noose, the strands of the rope were white and had no blood on them.  The curious rustic carefully examined the camisa and pantaloons, and noticed that they were very dusty and freshly torn in some parts.  But what most caught his attention were the seeds of amores-secos that were sticking on the camisa even up to the collar.

What are you looking at? the directorcillo asked him.  I was looking, sir, to see if I could recognize him, stammered the rustic, partly uncovering, but in such a way that his salakot fell lower.

But haven’t you heard that it’s a certain Lucas? Were you asleep?

The crowd laughed, while the abashed rustic muttered a few words and moved away slowly with his head down.

Here, where you going? cried the old man after him.

That’s not the way out. That’s the way to the dead man’s house.

The fellow’s still asleep, remarked the directorcillo facetiously.  Better pour some water over him.

Amid the laughter of the bystanders the rustic left the place where he had played such a ridiculous part and went toward the church.  In the sacristy he asked for the senior sacristan.

He’s still asleep, was the rough answer.  Don’t you know that the convento was assaulted last night?

Then I’ll wait till he wakes up.  This with a stupid stare at the sacristans, such as is common to persons who are used to rough treatment.

In a corner which was still in shadow the one-eyed senior sacristan lay asleep in a big chair.  His spectacles were placed on his forehead amid long locks of hair, while his thin, squalid chest, which was bare, rose and fell regularly.

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