Chapter 64: - Page 4 of 4


(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The private did not wait for him to repeat the invitation, and both disappeared.

Who was moaning in the middle of the night in spite of the wind and rain and storm? Who was the timid maiden, the bride of Christ, who defied the unchained elements and chose such a fearful night under the open sky to breathe forth from so perilous a height her complaints to God? Had the Lord abandoned his altar in the nunnery so that He no longer heard her supplications? Did its arches perhaps prevent the longings of the soul from rising up to the throne of the Most Merciful?

The tempest raged furiously nearly the whole night, nor did a single star shine through the darkness.  The despairing plaints continued to mingle with the soughing of the wind, but they found Nature and man alike deaf; God had hidden himself and heard not.

On the following day, after the dark clouds had cleared away and the sun shone again brightly in the limpid sky, there stopped at the door of the nunnery of St. Clara a carriage, from which alighted a man who made himself known as a representative of the authorities.  He asked to be allowed to speak immediately with the abbess and to see all the nuns.

It is said that one of these, who appeared in a gown all wet and torn, with tears and tales of horror begged the man’s protection against the outrages of hypocrisy.  It is also said that she was very beautiful and had the most lovely and expressive eyes that were ever seen.

The representative of the authorities did not accede to her request, but, after talking with the abbess, left her there in spite of her tears and pleadings.  The youthful nun saw the door close behind him as a condemned person might look upon the portals of Heaven closing against him, if ever Heaven should come to be as cruel and unfeeling as men are.  The abbess said that she was a madwoman.  The man may not have known that there is in Manila a home for the demented; or perhaps he looked upon the nunnery itself as an insane asylum, although it is claimed that he was quite ignorant, especially in a matter of deciding whether a person is of sound mind.

It is also reported that General J——— thought otherwise, when the matter reached his ears.  He wished to protect the madwoman and asked for her.  But this time no beautiful and unprotected maiden appeared, nor would the abbess permit a visit to the cloister, forbidding it in the name of Religion and the Holy Statutes.  Nothing more was said of the affair, nor of the ill-starred Maria Clara.

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