Chapter 60: - Page 9 of 11

Maria Clara Weds

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

A sad silence followed these words.  Maria Clara bowed her head and let her arms fall.

Ibarra went on: Beside my mother’s corpse I swore that I would make you happy, whatever might be my destiny! You can have been faithless to your oath, for she was not your mother; but I, I who am her son, hold her memory so sacred that in spite of a thousand difficulties I have come here to carry mine out, and fate has willed that I should speak to you yourself.  Maria, we shall never see each other again—you are young and perhaps some day your conscience may reproach you—I have come to tell you, before I go away forever, that I forgive you.  Now, may you be happy and—farewell!

Ibarra started to move away, but the girl stopped him.

Crisostomo, she said, God has sent you to save me from desperation.  Hear me and then judge me!

Ibarra tried gently to draw away from her.  I didn’t come to call you to account! I came to give you peace!

I don’t want that peace which you bring me.  Peace I will give myself.  You despise me and your contempt will embitter all the rest of my life.

Ibarra read the despair and sorrow depicted in the suffering girl’s face and asked her what she wished.

That you believe that I have always loved you!

At this he smiled bitterly.

Ah, you doubt me! You doubt the friend of your childhood, who has never hidden a single thought from you! the maiden exclaimed sorrowfully.  I understand now! But when you hear my story, the sad story that was revealed to me during my illness, you will have mercy on me, you will not have that smile for my sorrow.  Why did you not let me die in the hands of my ignorant physician? You and I both would have been happier!

Resting a moment, she then went on: You have desired it, you have doubted me! But may my mother forgive me! On one of the sorrowfulest of my nights of suffering, a man revealed to me the name of my real father and forbade me to love you—except that my father himself should pardon the injury you had done him.

Ibarra recoiled a pace and gazed fearfully at her.

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