Chapter 61:

The Chase on the Lake

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Listen, sir, to the plan that I have worked out, said Elias thoughtfully, as they moved in the direction of San Gabriel.  I’ll hide you now in the house of a friend of mine in Mandaluyong.  I’ll bring you all your money, which I saved and buried at the foot of the balete in the mysterious tomb of your grandfather.  Then you will leave the country.

To go abroad? inquired Ibarra.

To live out in peace the days of life that remain to you.  You have friends in Spain, you are rich, you can get yourself pardoned. In every way a foreign country is for us a better fatherland than our own.

Crisostomo did not answer, but meditated in silence.  At that moment they reached the Pasig and the banka began to ascend the current.  Over the Bridge of Spain a horseman galloped rapidly, while a shrill, prolonged whistle was heard.

Elias, said Ibarra, you owe your misfortunes to my family, you have saved my life twice, and I owe you not only gratitude but also the restitution of your fortune.  You advise me to go abroad—then come with me and we will live like brothers. Here you also are wretched.

Elias shook his head sadly and answered: Impossible! It’s true that I cannot love or be happy in my country, but I can suffer and die in it, and perhaps for it—that is always something.  May the misfortunes of my native land be my own misfortunes and, although no noble sentiment unites us, although our hearts do not beat to a single name, at least may the common calamity bind me to my countrymen, at least may I weep over our sorrows with them, may the same hard fate oppress all our hearts alike!

Then why do you advise me to go away?

Because in some other country you could be happy while I could not, because you are not made to suffer, and because you would hate your country if some day you should see yourself ruined in its cause, and to hate one’s native land is the greatest of calamities.

You are unfair to me! exclaimed Ibarra with bitter reproach.  You forget that scarcely had I arrived here when I set myself to seek its welfare.


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