Chapter 59: - Page 9 of 11

Patriotism and Private Interests

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Conservare etiam sperasti, perfida? [20] Into the fire! So he continued his auto da fé.  Seeing an old volume in vellum, he read the title, Revolutions of the Celestial Globes, by Copernicus.  Whew! Ite, maledicti, in ignem kalanis! [21] he exclaimed, hurling it into the flames.  Revolutions and Copernicus! Crimes on crimes! If I hadn’t come in time! Liberty in the Philippines! Ta, ta, ta! What books! Into the fire!

Harmless books, written by simple authors, were burned; not even the most innocent work escaped.  Cousin Primitivo was right: the righteous suffer for the sinners.

Four or five hours later, at a pretentious reception in the Walled City, current events were being commented upon.  There were present a lot of old women and maidens of marriageable age, the wives and daughters of government employees, dressed in loose gowns, fanning themselves and yawning.  Among the men, who, like the women, showed in their faces their education and origin, was an elderly gentleman, small and one-armed, whom the others treated with great respect.  He himself maintained a disdainful silence.

To tell the truth, formerly I couldn’t endure the friars and the civil-guards, they’re so rude, said a corpulent dame, but now that I see their usefulness and their services, I would almost marry any one of them gladly.  I’m a patriot.

That’s what I say! added a thin lady.  What a pity that we haven’t our former governor. He would leave the country as clean as a platter.

And the whole race of filibusters would be exterminated!

Don’t they say that there are still a lot of islands to be populated? Why don’t they deport all these crazy Indians to them? If I were the Captain-General—

Señoras, interrupted the one-armed individual, the Captain-General knows his duty.  As I’ve heard, he’s very much irritated, for he had heaped favors on that Ibarra.

Heaped favors on him! echoed the thin lady, fanning herself furiously.  Look how ungrateful these Indians are! Is it possible to treat them as if they were human beings? Jesús!

[20] Do you wish to keep it also, traitress?

[21] Go, accursed, into the fire of the kalan.

Learn this Filipino word:

sukát ang bulsá