Chapter 60: - Page 2 of 11

Maria Clara Weds

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Capitan Tiago did not deny the miracle, but added: I think so, Isabel, but the Virgin of Antipolo couldn’t have done it alone.  My friends have helped, my future son-in-law, Señor Linares, who, as you know, joked with Señor Antonio Canovas himself, the premier whose portrait appears in the Ilustración, he who doesn’t condescend to show more than half his face to the people.

So the good man could not repress a smile of satisfaction every time that he heard any important news.  And there was plenty of news: it was whispered about in secret that Ibarra would be hanged; that, while many proofs of his guilt had been lacking, at last some one had appeared to sustain the accusation; that experts had declared that in fact the work on the schoolhouse could pass for a bulwark of fortification, although somewhat defective, as was only to be expected of ignorant Indians.  These rumors calmed him and made him smile.

In the same way that Capitan Tiago and his cousin diverged in their opinions, the friends of the family were also divided into two parties,—one miraculous, the other governmental, although this latter was insignificant.  The miraculous party was again subdivided: the senior sacristan of Binondo, the candle-woman, and the leader of the Brotherhood saw the hand of God directed by the Virgin of the Rosary; while the Chinese wax-chandler, his caterer on his visits to Antipolo, said, as he fanned himself and shook his leg:

Don’t fool yourself—it’s the Virgin of Antipolo! She can do more than all the rest—don’t fool yourself! [2]

Capitan Tiago had great respect for this Chinese, who passed himself off as a prophet and a physician.  Examining the palm of the deceased lady just before her daughter was born, he had prognosticated: If it’s not a boy and doesn’t die, it’ll be a fine girl! [3] and Maria Clara had come into the world to fulfill the infidel’s prophecy.

[2] The original is in the lingua franca of the Philippine Chinese, a medium of expression sui generis, being, like, Ulysses, a part of all that he has met, and defying characteristic translation: No siya ostí gongon; miligen li Antipolo esi! Esi pueli más con tolo; no siya ostí gongong!TR.

[3] Si esi no hómole y no pataylo, mujé juete-juete!

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