Chapter 9: - Page 2 of 4

Local Affairs

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

To die! Ah, what else can I do? I am suffering too much, but—I have made many suffer, I am paying my debt! And how are you? What has brought you here?

I’ve come to talk about the business which you committed to my care.

Ah! What about it?

Pish! answered the young man disgustedly, as he seated himself and turned away his face with a contemptuous expression, They’ve been telling us fairy tales.  Young Ibarra is a youth of discernment; he doesn’t seem to be a fool, but I believe that he is a good lad.

You believe so?

Hostilities began last night.

Already? How?

Fray Sibyla then recounted briefly what had taken place between Padre Damaso and Ibarra.  Besides, he said in conclusion, the young man is going to marry Capitan Tiago’s daughter, who was educated in the college of our Sisterhood.  He’s rich, and won’t care to make enemies and to run the risk of ruining his fortune and his happiness.

The sick man nodded in agreement.  Yes, I think as you do. With a wife like that and such a father-in-law, we’ll own him body and soul.  If not, so much the better for him to declare himself an enemy of ours.

Fray Sibyla looked at the old man in surprise.

For the good of our holy Order, I mean, of course, he added, breathing heavily.  I prefer open attacks to the silly praises and flatteries of friends, which are really paid for.

Does your Reverence think—

The old man regarded him sadly. Keep it clearly before you, he answered, gasping for breath.  Our power will last as long as it is believed in.  If they attack us, the government will say, ‘They attack them because they see in them an obstacle to their liberty, so then let us preserve them.’

But if it should listen to them? Sometimes the government—

It will not listen!

Nevertheless, if, led on by cupidity, it should come to wish for itself what we are taking in—if there should be some bold and daring one—

Then woe unto that one!

Learn this Filipino word:

masamâ ang loób