Chapter 57: - Page 7 of 8

Vae Victis!

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Pale and terrified, the silent bystanders gazed at one another.  The alferez made a sign that they should take the body down, and then moved away thoughtfully.  Doña Consolation applied the lighted end of her cigar to the bare legs, but the flesh did not twitch and the fire was extinguished.

He strangled himself, murmured a cuadrillero.  Look how he turned his tongue back as if trying to swallow it.

The other prisoner, who had watched this scene, sweating and trembling, now stared like a lunatic in all directions.  The alferez ordered the directorcillo to question him.

Sir, sir, he groaned, I’ll tell everything you want me to.

Good! Let’s see, what’s your name?

Andong, [1] sir!

Bernardo—Leonardo—Ricardo—Eduardo—Gerardo—or what?

Andong, sir! repeated the imbecile.

Put it down Bernardo, or whatever it may be, dictated the alferez.

Surname?

The man gazed at him in terror.

What name have you that is added to the name Andong?

Ah, sir! Andong the Witless, sir!

The bystander’s could not restrain a smile.  Even the alferez paused in his pacing about.

Occupation?

Pruner of coconut trees, sir, and servant of my mother-in-law.

Who ordered you to attack the barracks?

[1] A common nickname. See the Glossary, under Nicknames.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

sumagasà sa ulán