Chapter 59: - Page 8 of 11

Patriotism and Private Interests

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Don’t die! sobbed the wife.  Don’t die, for they’ll come and arrest you! Ay, if you die and the soldiers come, ay, ay!

The learned cousin rubbed the victim’s face with water until he recovered consciousness.  Come, don’t cry. Inveni remedium: I’ve found a remedy.  Let’s carry him to bed.  Come, take courage! Here I am with you—and all the wisdom of the ancients.  Call a doctor, and you, cousin, go right away to the Captain-General and take him a present—a gold ring, a chain.  Dadivae quebrantant peñas. [17]  Say that it’s a Christmas gift.  Close the windows, the doors, and if any one asks for my cousin, say that he is seriously ill. Meanwhile, I’ll burn all his letters, papers, and books, so that they can’t find anything, just as Don Crisostomo did. Scripti testes sunt! Quod medicamenta non sanant, ferrum sanat, quod ferrum non sanat, ignis sanat. [18]

Yes, do so, cousin, burn everything! said Capitana Tinchang.  Here are the keys, here are the letters from Capitan Tiago.  Burn them! Don’t leave a single European newspaper, for they’re very dangerous.  Here are the copies of The Times that I’ve kept for wrapping up soap and old clothes.  Here are the books.

Go to the Captain-General, cousin, said Don Primitivo, and leave us alone. In extremis extrema. [19]  Give me the authority of a Roman dictator, and you’ll see how soon I’ll save the coun—I mean, my cousin.

He began to give orders and more orders, to upset bookcases, to tear up papers, books, and letters. Soon a big fire was burning in the kitchen.  Old shotguns were smashed with axes, rusty revolvers were thrown away.  The maidservant who wanted to keep the barrel of one for a blowpipe received a reprimand:

[17] The first part of a Spanish proverb: Gifts break rocks, and enter without gimlets.

[18] What is written is evidence! What medicines do not cure, iron cures; what iron does not cure, fire cures.

[19] In extreme cases, extreme measures.

Learn this Filipino word:

sumalunga sa agos