Chapter 59: - Page 11 of 11

Patriotism and Private Interests

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The one who has two daughters? What about her?

Well, that woman just this afternoon presented the Captain-General with a ring worth a thousand pesos!

The one-armed man turned around.  Is that so? Why? he asked with shining eyes.

She said that it was a Christmas gift—

But Christmas doesn’t come for a month yet!

Perhaps she’s afraid the storm is blowing her way, observed the fat lady.

And is getting under cover, added the thin señora.

When no return is asked, it’s a confession of guilt.

This must be carefully looked into, declared the one-armed man thoughtfully.  I fear that there’s a cat in the bag.

A cat in the bag, yes! That’s just what I was going to say, echoed the thin lady.

And so was I, said the other, taking the words out of her mouth, the wife of Capitan Tinong is so stingy—she hasn’t yet sent us any present and that after we’ve been in her house.  So, when such a grasping and covetous woman lets go of a little present worth a thousand pesos—

But, is it a fact? inquired the one-armed man.

Certainly! Most certainly! My cousin’s sweetheart, his Excellency’s adjutant, told her so.  And I’m of the opinion that it’s the very same ring that the older daughter wore on the day of the fiesta.  She’s always covered with diamonds.

A walking show-case!

A way of attracting attention, like any other! Instead of buying a fashion plate or paying a dressmaker--

Giving some pretext, the one-armed man left the gathering.  Two hours later, when the world slept, various residents of Tondo received an invitation through some soldiers.  The authorities could not consent to having certain persons of position and property sleep in such poorly guarded and badly ventilated houses—in Fort Santiago and other government buildings their sleep would be calmer and more refreshing. Among these favored persons was included the unfortunate Capitan Tinong.