Chapter 61: - Page 2 of 7

The Chase on the Lake

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Don’t be offended, sir, I was not reproaching you at all.  Would that all of us could imitate you! But I do not ask impossibilities of you and I mean no offense when I say that your heart deceives you.  You loved your country because your father taught you to do so; you loved it because in it you had affection, fortune, youth, because everything smiled on you, your country had done you no injustice; you loved it as we love anything that makes us happy.  But the day in which you see yourself poor and hungry, persecuted, betrayed, and sold by your own countrymen, on that day you will disown yourself, your country, and all mankind.

Your words pain me, said Ibarra resentfully.

Elias bowed his head and meditated before replying.  I wish to disillusion you, sir, and save you from a sad future.  Recall that night when I talked to you in this same banka under the light of this same moon, not a month ago.  Then you were happy, the plea of the unfortunates did not touch you; you disdained their complaints because they were the complaints of criminals; you paid more attention to their enemies, and in spite of my arguments and petitions, you placed yourself on the side of their oppressors.  On you then depended whether I should turn criminal or allow myself to be killed in order to carry out a sacred pledge, but God has not permitted this because the old chief of the outlaws is dead.  A month has hardly passed and you think otherwise.

You’re right, Elias, but man is a creature of circumstances! Then I was blind, annoyed—what did I know? Now misfortune has torn the bandage from my eyes; the solitude and misery of my prison have taught me; now I see the horrible cancer which feeds upon this society, which clutches its flesh, and which demands a violent rooting out.  They have opened my eyes, they have made me see the sore, and they force me to be a criminal! Since they wish it, I will be a filibuster, a real filibuster, I mean.  I will call together all the unfortunates, all who feel a heart beat in their breasts, all those who were sending you to me.  No, I will not be a criminal, never is he such who fights for his native land, but quite the reverse! We, during three centuries, have extended them our hands, we have asked love of them, we have yearned to call them brothers, and how do they answer us? With insults and jests, denying us even the chance character of human beings.  There is no God, there is no hope, there is no humanity; there is nothing but the right of might! Ibarra was nervous, his whole body trembled.

As they passed in front of the Captain-General’s palace they thought that they could discern movement and excitement among the guards. 

Can they have discovered your flight? murmured Elias.  Lie down, sir, so that I can cover you with zacate. Since we shall pass near the powder-magazine it may seem suspicious to the sentinel that there are two of us.

Learn this Filipino word:

lamán ng lansangan