Chapter 6: - Page 7 of 9

Capitan Tiago

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

While he smiled in triumph, she would plan her revenge and pay the money of others to secure the best orators of the five Orders in Manila, the most famous preachers of the Cathedral, and even the Paulists,[8] to preach on the holy days upon profound theological subjects to the sinners who understood only the vernacular of the mariners.  The partizans of Capitan Tiago would observe that she slept during the sermon; but her adherents would answer that the sermon was paid for in advance, and by her, and that in any affair payment was the prime requisite.  At length, she had driven him from the field completely by presenting to the church three andas of gilded silver, each one of which cost her over three thousand pesos.  Capitan Tiago hoped that the old woman would breathe her last almost any day, or that she would lose five or six of her lawsuits, so that he might be alone in serving God; but unfortunately the best lawyers of the Real Audiencia looked after her interests, and as to her health, there was no part of her that could be attacked by sickness; she seemed to be a steel wire, no doubt for the edification of souls, and she hung on in this vale of tears with the tenacity of a boil on the skin.  Her adherents were secure in the belief that she would be canonized at her death and that Capitan Tiago himself would have to worship her at the altars—all of which he agreed to and cheerfully promised, provided only that she die soon.

Such was Capitan Tiago in the days of which we write.  As for the past, he was the only son of a sugar-planter of Malabon, wealthy enough, but so miserly that he would not spend a cent to educate his son, for which reason the little Santiago had been the servant of a good Dominican, a worthy man who had tried to train him in all of good that he knew and could teach.  When he had reached the happy stage of being known among his acquaintances as a logician, that is, when he began to study logic, the death of his protector, soon followed by that of his father, put an end to his studies and he had to turn his attention to business affairs.  He married a pretty young woman of Santa Cruz, who gave him social position and helped him to make his fortune.  Doña Pia Alba was not satisfied with buying and selling sugar, indigo, and coffee, but wished to plant and reap, so the newly-married couple bought land in San Diego.  From this time dated their friendship with Padre Damoso and with Don Rafael Ibarra, the richest capitalist of the town.

[8] Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose chief business is preaching and teaching. They entered the Philippines in 1862.—TR.

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