Chapter 60: - Page 6 of 11

Maria Clara Weds

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

He’s going to be deported, remarked the old lieutenant, dryly.

Deported! Nothing more than deported? But it will be a perpetual deportation! exclaimed several voices at the same time.

If that young man, continued the lieutenant, Guevara, in a loud and severe tone, had been more cautious, if he had confided less in certain persons with whom he corresponded, if our prosecutors did not know how to interpret so subtly what is written, that young man would surely have been acquitted.

This declaration on the part of the old lieutenant and the tone of his voice produced great surprise among his hearers, who were apparently at a loss to know what to say.  Padre Salvi stared in another direction, perhaps to avoid the gloomy look that the old soldier turned on him.  Maria Clara let her flowers fall and remained motionless. Padre Sibyla, who knew so well how to be silent, seemed also to be the only one who knew how to ask a question.

You’re speaking of letters, Señor Guevara?

I’m speaking of what was told me by his lawyer, who looked after the case with interest and zeal.  Outside of some ambiguous lines which this youth wrote to a woman before he left for Europe, lines in which the government’s attorney saw a plot and a threat against the government, and which he acknowledged to be his, there wasn’t anything found to accuse him of.

But the declaration of the outlaw before he died?

His lawyer had that thrown out because, according to the outlaw himself, they had never communicated with the young man, but with a certain Lucas, who was an enemy of his, as could be proved, and who committed suicide, perhaps from remorse.  It was proved that the papers found on the corpse were forged, since the handwriting was like that of Señor Ibarra’s seven years ago, but not like his now, which leads to the belief that the model for them may have been that incriminating letter.  Besides, the lawyer says that if Señor Ibarra had refused to acknowledge the letter, he might have been able to do a great deal for him—but at sight of the letter he turned pale, lost his courage, and confirmed everything written in it.

Did you say that the letter was directed to a woman? asked a Franciscan.  How did it get into the hands of the prosecutor?

Learn this Filipino word:

nasa loób ang kulô