Chapter 58: - Page 2 of 3

The Accursed

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

At two o’clock in the afternoon an open cart drawn by two oxen stopped in front of the town hall.  This was at once set upon by the people, who attempted to unhitch the oxen and destroy it. Don’t do that! said Capitana Maria.  Do you want to make them walk? This consideration acted as a restraint on the prisoners’ relatives.

Twenty soldiers came out and surrounded the cart; then the prisoners appeared.  The first was Don Filipo, bound.  He greeted his wife smilingly, but Doray broke out into bitter weeping and two guards had difficulty in preventing her from embracing her husband.  Antonio, the son of Capitana Tinay, appeared crying like a baby, which only added to the lamentations of his family.  The witless Andong broke out into tears at sight of his mother-in-law, the cause of his misfortune.  Albino, the quondam theological student, was also bound, as were Capitana Maria’s twins.  All three were grave and serious.  The last to come out was Ibarra, unbound, but conducted between two guards.  The pallid youth looked about him for a friendly face.

He’s the one that’s to blame! cried many voices.  He’s to blame and he goes loose!

My son-in-law hasn’t done anything and he’s got handcuffs on! Ibarra turned to the guards.  Bind me, and bind me well, elbow to elbow, he said.

We haven’t any order.

Bind me! And the soldiers obeyed.

The alferez appeared on horseback, armed to the teeth, ten or fifteen more soldiers following him.

Each prisoner had his family there to pray for him, to weep for him, to bestow on him the most endearing names—all save Ibarra, who had no one, even Ñor Juan and the schoolmaster having disappeared.

Look what you’ve done to my husband and my son! Doray cried to him.  Look at my poor son! You’ve robbed him of his father!

So the sorrow of the families was converted into anger toward the young man, who was accused of having started the trouble.  The alferez gave the order to set out.

You’re a coward! the mother-in-law of Andong cried after Ibarra.  While others were fighting for you, you hid yourself, coward!

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