Chapter 60: - Page 10 of 11

Maria Clara Weds

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Yes, she continued, that man told me that he could not permit our union, since his conscience would forbid it, and that he would be obliged to reveal the name of my real father at the risk of causing a great scandal, for my father is— And she murmured into the youth’s ear a name in so low a tone that only he could have heard it.

What was I to do? Must I sacrifice to my love the memory of my mother, the honor of my supposed father, and the good name of the real one? Could I have done that without having even you despise me?

But the proof! Had you any proof? You needed proofs! exclaimed Ibarra, trembling with emotion.

The maiden snatched two papers from her bosom.

Two letters of my mother’s, two letters written in the midst of her remorse, while I was yet unborn! Take them, read them, and you will see how she cursed me and wished for my death, which my father vainly tried to bring about with drugs.  These letters he had forgotten in a building where he had lived; the other man found and preserved them and only gave them up to me in exchange for your letter, in order to assure himself, so he said, that I would not marry you without the consent of my father.  Since I have been carrying them about with me, in place of your letter, I have, felt the chill in my heart.  I sacrificed you, I sacrificed my love! What else could one do for a dead mother and two living fathers? Could I have suspected the use that was to be made of your letter?

Ibarra stood appalled, while she continued: What more was left for me to do? Could I perhaps tell you who my father was, could I tell you that you should beg forgiveness of him who made your father suffer so much? Could I ask my father that he forgive you, could I tell him that I knew that I was his daughter—him, who desired my death so eagerly? It was only left to me to suffer, to guard the secret, and to die suffering! Now, my friend, now that you know the sad history of your poor Maria, will you still have for her that disdainful smile?

Maria, you are an angel!

Then I am happy, since you believe me—

But yet, added the youth with a change of tone, I’ve heard that you are going to be married.

Learn this Filipino word:

ilakò ang puri