Chapter 62: - Page 3 of 4

Padre Damaso Explains

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Daughter in God, he exclaimed at length in a broken voice, forgive me for having made you unhappy without knowing it.  I was thinking of your future, I desired your happiness.  How could I permit you to marry a native of the country, to see you an unhappy wife and a wretched mother? I couldn’t get that love out of your head even though I opposed it with all my might.  I committed wrongs, for you, solely for you.  If you had become his wife you would have mourned afterwards over the condition of your husband, exposed to all kinds of vexations without means of defense.  As a mother you would have mourned the fate of your sons: if you had educated them, you would have prepared for them a sad future, for they would have become enemies of Religion and you would have seen them garroted or exiled; if you had kept them ignorant, you would have seen them tyrannized over and degraded.  I could not consent to it! For this reason I sought for you a husband that could make you the happy mother of sons who would command and not obey, who would punish and not suffer.  I knew that the friend of your childhood was good, I liked him as well as his father, but I have hated them both since I saw that they were going to bring about your unhappiness, because I love you, I adore you, I love you as one loves his own daughter! Yours is my only affection; I have seen you grow—not an hour has passed that I have not thought of you—I dreamed of you—you have been my only joy!

Here Padre Damaso himself broke out into tears like a child.

Then, as you love me, don’t make me eternally wretched.  He no longer lives, so I want to be a nun!

The old priest rested his forehead on his hand.  To be a nun, a nun! he repeated.  You don’t know, child, what the life is, the mystery that is hidden behind the walls of the nunnery, you don’t know! A thousand times would I prefer to see you unhappy in the world rather than in the cloister.  Here your complaints can be heard, there you will have only the walls.  You are beautiful, very beautiful, and you were not born for that—to be a bride of Christ! Believe me, little girl, time will wipe away everything.  Later on you will forget, you will love, you will love your husband—Linares.

The nunnery or—death!

The nunnery, the nunnery, or death! exclaimed Padre Damaso.  Maria, I am now an old man, I shall not be able much longer to watch over you and your welfare.  Choose something else, seek another love, some other man, whoever he may be—anything but the nunnery.

Learn this Filipino word:

haligi ng táhanan