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The Reign of Greed

(Chapter Summaries and Analysis)

Chapter 1: On Deck

The novel opens with the steamship Tabo heading up the Pasig river on its way to La Laguna
one December morning. Take note of the possible parallelism between the ship and the
government ruling in the Philippines during Rizals time: full of hot air, tyrannical, pretentious.
We meet Doa Victorina, the only lady in the European group on the upper deck (guess who
have to stay below deck). She is depicted as a foul-mouthed, extravagant, heavily made-up,
disdainful, and insufferable Indio who tries to pass herself off as a European through her wigs
and clothes. She is accompanied by her niece, the beautiful and rich Paulita Gomez. Doa
Victorina is the wife of Don Tiburcio de Espadaa, who left her after many years of marriage
and who was now hiding (maybe) in Laguna.

Among the other characters introduced are: Don Custodio, an official counsellor; Ben Zayb, an
exceedingly intelligent (in his own mind) writer whose pseudonym is an anagram of the surname
Ybaez; Father Irene, the canon; and the jeweller Simoun who sports long, white hair and a
sparse black beard and who wears a pair of huge blue-tinted sunglasses (in the 1800s?
Hmmm.). Anyway, Simouns great influence over His Excellency, the Capitan-General was
known in Manila. Thus, people held him in high regard.

Discussing the issue of the lake and the slowness of ship travel were Ben Zayb, Padre
Camorra, and Padre Salvi, a Franciscan. Simoun cuts in and offers a rather radical solution: dig
a new river channel and close the Pasig even if it means destroying villages and committing
people to forced and unpaid labor.

What follows is a debate between Simoun and Don Custodio on whether the indios were going
to revolt or not. Padre Sibyla, a Dominican, was concerned that the people might rise up as
before, but Simoun dismissed the possibility with a "what are you friars for if the people can rise
in revolt?"

After Simoun left the fuming group, Don Custodio offers his own solution: Get people to raise
ducks. Since ducks feed on snails, the people will help deepen the river as they will remove or
dig up the sandbars which contain the snails. Doa Victorina wasnt exactly fond of the idea
since she considers balut (duck) eggs disgusting.

Chapter 2: Lower Deck

Below deck we find those belonging to the lower rungs of the social ladder. Unlike the airy upper
deck, the conditions below deck are far from comfortable because of the heat from the boilers
and the stifling stench of various nose crinkling scents. (The descriptions in the novel are much
more vivid, so please read it.)

The readers attention is focused on two characters: Basilio, a student of medicine and Isagani,
a poet from the Ateneo. Conversing with them is the rich Capitan Basilio.

The main point of discussion is the establishment of an academy for the teaching of Spanish.
While Capitan Basilio is convinced that such a school will never be set-up, Isagani expects to
get the permit, courtesy of Father Irene. Father Sibyla is also against this, which is why Father
Irene is on his way to Los Baos to see the Governor General.
To support the funding of the project, every student was asked to contribute fifteen centavos.
Even the professors offered to help (half were Filipinos and half were Spaniards from Spain).
The building itself will be one of the houses of the wealthy Makaraig.

(Note: Some people in Spain were in favor of teaching Spanish to the Filipinos. Compare them
with Spaniards based in the Philippines who did not want the Filipinos to learn their language.)

Isagani is in love with Paulita Gomez, but his uncle, Father Florentino is against it. Father
Florentino would rather not go on deck because he might bump into Doa Victorina who might
ask him about her husband, Don Tiburcio (who happens to be hiding in Father Florentinos

Coming from the upper deck, Simoun finds Basilio who then introduces Isagani to him. Isagani
takes offense when Simoun talks about the poverty in Basilios province. (Read their resulting
argument about water and beer.)

After Simoun leaves, Basilio chastises Isagani for treating the jeweller that way. Basilio
emphasizes Simouns position in society be calling him the Brown Cardinal, or Black Eminence
of the Governor-General. This is in reference to His Grey Eminence, a Capuchin adviser of
Cardinal Richelieu, a once all-powerful Prime Minister of France.

They are interrupted when Isagani is informed by a servant that his uncle, Father Florentino
needed him. Take note of the description of Fr. Florentino as well as the story of how he
lost the woman he loved because he became a priest.

Additional background info: Father Florentino retired from his parish soon after the Cavite
Mutiny of 1872 fearing that the revenues from his parish would attract attention. He was
possibly worried by the fact that he was a Filipino priest and that in the Cavite Mutiny, three
Filipino priests identified with the movement to turn the parishes over to the native clergy were
charged and executed.

The legend-loving skipper of the vessel sees Fr. Florentino and asks him to go on deck lest the
friars assume this Filipino priest did not want to mingle with them. Fr. Florentino then instructs
Isagani not to go near the lounge because that would be tantamount to abusing the hospitality
of the skipper who would surely invite Isagani.

Actually, Isagani felt it was his uncles way of preventing him from speaking with Doa Victorina.

Chapter 3: Legends

Padre Florentino sees the guests laughing above deck. The friars are complaining about the
increasing social awareness of the Filipinos and about the investigation on the finances of the
church. Simoun arrives and is told how unfortunate he is to have missed seeing the places the
ship had passed. Simoun replies that places are worthless, unless there are legends associated
with them. The Kapitan of the ship then relates the Legend of the Wide Rock, a place
considered sacred by the natives of long ago; the abode of some spirits. During the time of
bandits, the fear of spirits disappeared, and criminals inhabited the place.

The Kapitan also talks about the Legend of Doa Geronima. Padre Florentino is asked to give
the details: Doa Geronima had a lover in Spain, who later became an archbishop in Manila.
The woman goes to see him to ask that he fulfill his promise of marrying her. Instead, he sends
the woman to live in a cave near the Pasig river.

Ben Zayb liked the legend. Doa Victorina grew envious because she also wanted to live in a
cave. Simoun asks Padre Salvi if it wouldnt have been better if the woman were placed in a
monastery such as Sta. Clara. Padre Salvi explained that he cannot judge the actions of an
archbishop. To change the topic, he narrates the legend of St. Nicholas (San Nicolas) who
rescued a Chinese from a crocodile. Legend has it that the crocodile turned to stone when the
Chinese prayed to the saint.

When the group reached the lake, Ben Zayb asked the Kapitan where in the lake a certain
Guevarra, Navarra or Ibarra was killed. (Refer to the Noli Me Tangere)

The Kapitan shows the spot, while Doa Victorina peers into the water, searching for any trace
of the killing (thirteen years after the event occurred). Padre Sibyla adds that the father is now
with the corpse of the son (in the Noli Me Tangere, the corpse of Ibarras fatherDon Rafael
was thrown in the lake). Thats the cheapest burial, quips Ben Zayb. People laugh. Simoun
pales and does not say anything. The Kapitan thinks Simoun is just seasick.

Some Notes
Here you will see the disappearance of the ancestral belief in spirits and superstitions, only to
be replaced by modern (but even more bothersome) superstitions such as religion. Read the
legends of both Doa Geronima and St. Nicholas.

Questions and Answers
1. Why did talk center on legends on the deck of the ship? This was deliberate on the part of
Simoun. He was familiar with the legends about the Pasig river and he hoped that one of the
legendsthat pertaining to Doa Geronimawill be mentioned. Simoun wanted to use that
legend to ease his anger towards the holier-than-thou Padre Salvi, whom Simoun suspected of
taking advantage of Maria Clara in the Sta. Clara Convent.

2. How is the Legend of Wide Rock (Malapad na Bato) similar to the history of the Philippines?
Before, Wide Rock was considered a home for spirits (good and evil), as well as a nest of
superstitious beliefs. The Philippines was also like that before the Spaniards came. People
believed in supernatural beings (i.e., kapre, tiyanak, tikbalang, aswang).

When Wide Rock became the hideout of thieves, people realized that there was no such thing
as evil spirits because nothing bad happened to the criminals who lived at Wide Rock. Boatmen
traveling on the Pasig river feared instead the bandits who would block and kill those who
ventured near Wide Rock. The Philippines, through the introduction of Christianity, stopped
believing in spirits and superstitions (really?). The Spaniards represent the bandits whom the
people now fear, and in the story of Cabesang Tales youll understand why.

Chapter 4: Kabesang Tales

Selo, who adopted Basilio in the forest, is now quite old. His son, Cabesang Tales, is the father
of Lucia. Cabesang Tales, the head of the barangay, grew rich through hard work and
perseverance. He started by partnering with an investor. After saving some money, Cabesang
Tales inquired about a place in the forest and, after verifying that there were no owners, planted
sugarcane there. He wanted to send Juli to college in order to match the educational attainment
of Basilio, her sweetheart.

After Cabesang Tales plot of land was developed, the friars wanted to grab it. The friars taxed
Cabesang Tales and kept raising the tax rate until Cabesang Tales could not pay anymore. He
brought the friars to court and asked them for proof of land ownership. No proof was presented,
but the courts still ruled in favor of the friars.

When his son, Tano, was drafted into the army, Tales did not ransom his son. Instead, he
spent the money on lawyers in hopes that he would win the land case. Besides, if Tales did not
win the case, then he felt that he wont need his son anyway.

Tales built a fence around his property and patrolled it (he was armed with a rifle). No one could
get near because Tales was known for his skill in marksmanship a formidable sharpshooter.
When rifles were outlawed, Tales carried a bolo. When that was banned, he then carried an

Since he only carried an axe, the armed bandits kidnapped him and demanded ransom. Juli
sold all her jewelry to raise funds. All, that is, except for a locket given to her by Basilio.
Not enough funds were raised, though, so Juli borrowed money from Hermana Penchang. To
secure the debt, she agreed to work for the Hermana as a companion (aka: maid or slave).

Her first day of work was to commence on Christmas Day.

No wonder Juli had bad dreams on Christmas eve.

(Selo must have had worse nightmares. Imagine, here was his granddaughter, the prettiest in
the barrio, and now forced to become a maid. Basilio, on the other hand, is about to meet a
hapless cochero, or horse rig driver.)

Some Notes

* Maria Clara (in the Noli Me Tangere) became a nun after she was not allowed to marry Ibarra.
She gave a locket to a leper who later gave it to Basilio after he treated the leper. Basilio, in
turn, offered the locket to his sweetheart, Juli (Juliana).

Questions and Answers:

1. Why was it hard to be a cabeza de barangay in the past? He was in charge of collecting
taxes. If someone in the barangay could not pay, the cabeza had to advance the tax.

2. Why did Cabesang Tales say that we are like the land and that we were unclothed when we
were born? He meant that we should not fear death because death comes to everyone. We
should also not fear poverty because we were born poor: without clothes, without anything.

3. What law upheld the friars in their bid to own the land of Cabesang Tales? Nothing but the
Law of Self-Preservation (of the court scribes who feared the frailocracy). Although the Spanish
laws were good, it was the implementors who did the wrong things. Hence, some Filipinos did
not want to work hard lest the fruits of their labors be easily taken away by others.

4. Why did Old Man Selo refuse to speak to his son, Cabesang Tales, for quite some time? He
was mad at Tales for allowing Tano (son of Tales) to be drafted into the Spanish guardia civil,
instead of paying the fee which waived drafting.

5. Why did Cabesang Tales say that if he lost the court case, he will not have any need for his
children? He felt that losing the case would mean he had nothing left to leave to his children.
Thats why he had to do everything to win the case, in order to bequeath the land to his children.

6. To what did people liken the case of Cabesang Tales? They said it was like a pot of clay
banging against a pot of iron; or like an ant that bites the heel, knowing it will just be crushed.

7. Why was Cabesang Tales kidnapped by bandits just when he no longer had any more
money? It was only at that time when Cabesang Tales no longer carried a shotgun or a bolo,
but was only armed with an axe (definitely no match against the guns of the bandits).

8. What did Juli do which the author, Jose Rizal, criticized? Rizal criticized Julis reliance on
miracles. Juli placed the money she raised at the feet of the image of the Virgin Mary hoping it
would double the following day. The friars had conditioned the Filipinos to just rely on miracles
instead of on their own perseverance and effort.

Chapter 5: A Cochero's Christmas Eve

It was evening when the Christmas Eve (noche buena) procession commenced, when Basilio
arrived in San Diego. He got delayed along the way because the cochero or rig driver (the guy
who drives the karitela or horse-driven carriage) forgot his cedula (Residence Certificate). Why
the delay? The Guardia Civil had to beat up the cochero first.

The image of Methusalem (Methuselah, worlds oldest person) was paraded during the
procession, followed by the three magi (wise men). The cochero asked Basilio if Bernardo
Carpio was able to free his other leg from the mountains of San Mateo (nope, not in California).

Following the procession were sad-faced kids holding torches. They were followed by San Jose,
and then kids holding parol or Christmas lanterns. And the end of the procession was the
Blessed Virgin Mary.

The procession ended and the guardia civil noticed that there was no light in the cocheros
carriage. The guards again beat up poor old Sinong.

Basilio decided to just walk. (Can you blame him?)

Among the houses Basilio passed, it seemed that only the house of Capitan Basilio appeared
lively. Chickens were being slaughtered and Basilio espied the Capitan speaking with the parish
priest, the alferes and with Simoun. Capitan Basilio agreed with Simoun that they will go to Tiani
to examine Simouns jewelry. The alferez asked for a watch chain, while the parish priest asked
for a get this pair of earrings!

Basilio found Simoun unbearable because Simoun was able to do business in the Philippines
unlike other people.

Basilio is well-respected in the home of Capitan Tiago, especially by the elder household help
who saw Basilio perform surgery with extreme calmness. The old man tried to give Basilio some
fresh news an old man who took care of the forest died of old age and the parish priest didnt
want to give him burial as a poor man. Basilio was disheartened to learn that someone died
because of old age; he wanted to perform autopsies on those who died of sickness.
(Sicko doctor. Made me lose my appetite)

Then the old household help told Basilio about the kidnapping of Cabezang Tales. Basilio lost
his appetite.

Some Notes
* Basilio is one of Capitan Tiagos trusted men.
* The assets and properties of Ibarra were taken by the government and the church and were
sold to a few people. Capitan Tiago was the one who purchased the forest of Ibarra. It was that
forest which was cared for by the man who died of old age.

Questions and Answers
1. Why did Sinong, the rig driver, say that there probably were no guardia civiles during the time
of the saints? What a funny guy Methusalem wouldnt have lived to such a ripe old age if
guardia civiles were constantly beating him up. In addition, Melchor (the dark-skinned magus)
would not have been allowed to travel in between the two fair-skinned magi.

2. Why did the ignorant indios strongly believe in the legend of Bernardo Carpio? The Spaniards
allowed this tale to spread. Bernardo Carpio is a mythical figure adopted from Mexican folklore
(Bernardo Del Carpio?). He is chained between two mountains in San Mateo in Montalban,
Rizal but is slowly freeing himself. He is said to have already freed his arms and his left leg,
each struggle causing earthquakes. Indios believed that when Carpio finally frees his right leg,
he will lead the Filipinos in a revolution against the Spaniards.

We do not know if this myth was started by the natives or by the parish priests. All we know is
that the Spaniards allowed this tale to spread and even helped propagate it. They taught the
indios that bearing sufferings and hardships is good and will lead them to heavenly salvation.
Stories like this dampened the desire of Filipinos to find solutions to their oppressed situation.
They preferred, instead, to just wait for Bernardo Carpio.

Chapter 6: Basilio

It is almost time for Christmas Eve midnight mass when Basilio secretly makes his way to the
forest previously owned by the Ibarra family. He does not want anyone to see him.

Recall that thirteen years had passed since he buried his mother, Sisa, in that same forest.
Thirteen years ago, he was hunted as a fugitive along with his brother Crispin (now dead). In the
Noli Me Tangere, Padre Salvi was after these two sacristans. In the El Fili, Padre Salvi still
wields considerable power.

No wonder Basilio needs to keep his past a secret.

In the forest is a stream, near which is a small hill, beyond which was a space enclosed by
crumbling walls. In the center of this is a balete tree, and near it is a pile of stonesSisas
unmarked grave.

Basilio painfully remembers that night thirteen years ago when Sisa did not recognize him (she
was out of her mind at that time). She died in the forest and a stranger (Elias) came and ordered
Basilio to build a funeral pyre. When Basilio came back with the wood, he saw yet another
stranger (Ibarra); the first stranger had died.

This second stranger helped Basilio place the dead stranger on the pyre and also helped Basilio
bury his mother, Sisa. He also gave Basilio some money.

Basilio remembers leaving the forest for Manila, where he served in Capitan Tiagos home.
Instead of being paid a salary, his tuition was paid for instead. Capitan Tiago took him in
because the old man was depressed that was the day Maria Clara entered the nunnery.

(It was common at that time for those wishing to study to serve as household help if they didnt
have funds for tuition. Apolinario Mabini had to do this. What about you? Count yourself

Imagine Basilio, in his first year of Latin, wearing bakya (wooden clogs). Students avoided the
poorly-attired Basilio. Even his teachers didnt ask him to participate in classroom discussions.
Of course he felt terrible and alone, and often cried atop his mothers grave.

Yet somehow Basilio passed school, through sheer memory work. Its amazing how he
managed to motivate himself in a class size of about 400 students, only 40 of which were called
to recite. Those not called by the teacher felt relieved.

(Looks like things havent changed in 400 years, right? Anyway, Rizal makes a dig at education
here: all you needed to do was memorize stuff and you were sure to pass.)

In Basilios third year, a Dominican teacher decided to make fun of him. Basilio, however, was
able to answer sensibly and the embarrassed teacher never called on Basilio again. (Basilio
understood Spanish and therefore could not be turned into a class stooge.)

One of the professors got into a fight with some cadets. Basilio, in defense of the professor,
participated in the duel of canes and sabers.

He survived and went on to graduate with good grades and medals. Nope, it wasnt purely due
to his fencing skills; he was also a diligent student. Capitan Tiago convinced Basilio to transfer
to the Ateneo.

The different educational system amazed Basilio. (Whether Rizal, a product of Jesuit education,
is just being biased here is debatable.)

Anyway, Basilio took up medicine. While Capitan Tiago first wanted him to take up law (so that
Tiago can have legal services for free), he accepted Basilios choice. Tiago was interested in
getting the blood of some Chinese who died of venereal diseaseperhaps medical students like
Basilio could get hold of it so that Tiago can smear the metal gaffs of his fighting cocks with
poisoned blood.

(Strange. Why didnt he simply use rat poison?)

In Basilios third year at medical school, he started to cure people. This provided him with funds
for savings and for elegant clothes.
Basilio healed a leper who gave him a locket in payment. Recall that that locket was given by
Maria Clara when she saw the leper begging in the streets. That locket will be given by Basilio
to Juliana.

(During this time, people believed that leprosy is contagious and could not be cured. Perhaps
Rizal believed otherwise.)

Enough of the flashback So Basilio is in the forest. He is in his last year of studies and will be
a physician in a couple of months. He plans to retire in his hometown and to marry his
sweetheart Juliana.

We see here a reversal of fortunes: the boy who used to wander the streets, dirty, unkempt and
disdained by society, is now about to become a respected physician.

In fact, he had been selected to deliver the valedictory address a message, not about
himself, but about the needy students of the future.

What a way to make his first mark in the world, right?

Chapter 7: Simoun

(This is one of the more powerful chapters of Jose Rizals El Filibusterismo. Take note of
conversation between Basilio and Simoun. You simply have got to read the book, folks.)

Basilio is about to leave his mothers grave when he notices someone approaching the balete
tree. Remember, it is deep in the night and Filipinos attribute supernatural things to balete trees
which are believed to house evil spirits and other creatures of middle earth.

The newcomer turns out to be Simoun, the jeweler. He has a spade and begins digging for the
treasure buried thirteen years ago. Basilio tries to figure out whether Simoun is Elias or Ibarra.

Basilio never did go for the treasure all these years because the stranger (Elias) told him that he
could get the treasure only if no one else came looking for it. On the night Elias died,
Crisostomo Ibarra (refer to the Noli Me Tangere) went to the forest and helped Basilio bury Sisa
and cremate Elias.

Without waiting to be discovered, Basilio announces his presence and acknowledges Simoun
as the person who helped Basilio bury his mother, Sisa more than a decade ago. Simoun points
a revolver at Basilio.

(Kids, never startle anyone working in the wee hours of the morning, near a silent and
foreboding balete tree.)

Fortunately for Basilio, Simoun does not pull the trigger even if he realizes that Basilios
newfound knowledge jeopardizes the plans of Simoun. He figures that Basilio will not squeal on
him because Basilio is still a fugitive while Simoun, the rich jeweler, is still in favor with the
government and the frailocracy.

Besides, Simoun reasons that since they are both victims of injustice, they should help one

Simoun reminisces and waxes poetic about that great and noble soul who wished to die for
him. He was most likely referring to Elias. Simoun narrates how he worked hard to save money
so that he could come back to the Philippines to hasten the destruction of the religio-political
system by inciting greed and corruption, among others.

But before Simoun succeeds in corrupting the government and thus turn the Filipinos against
the powers that be, he points out how frustrated he is with Basilios call for Hispanization and
parity rights.

Im particularly pierced by Simouns:

What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty. You are
asking to be Hispanized and you do not blanch with shame when it is denied you!

(Hmmm do we Filipinos lack a culture that is uniquely ours? Or are we a confused blend of
Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, American and other cultures? Then again, I guess we still have
truly Filipino qualities. Take language, for example. Does anyone know what pitik is in
English? Or what other culture points to far away objects by pursing their lips? Sheesh.)

Basilio has good intentions, though. He believes that knowing Spanish can unite the people not
only with the Government, but with other peoples in other islands. Take note of Simouns

Spanish will never be the common language in the country; the people will never speak it
because for the ideas of its mind and the sentiments of its heart there are no words in that

(Take note that Rizals Spanish-speaking Filipino charactersDoa Victorina and Doa
Consolacioncannot speak Spanish well.)

Simoun allows Basilio to live hoping this message can be spread to other students pushing for
Hispanization. What follows is a discussion between Science (or medicine) and Politics (or the
aspiration to be an independent nation). Recall that Basilio studied to become a doctor and feels
that he is powerless to do anything about the political situation.

Simoun fails to convince Basilio to change his mind so he instead tries to provoke Basilio by
asking about Sisa and Crispin (the dead younger brother). Basilio explains there is no way he
can obtain justice. Besides, even if Simoun were to provide support, revenge cannot bring back
Basilios mom and brother.

Before dawn, Simoun sends Basilio away but invites him to go to Simouns house in Escolta in
case Basilio changes his mind and decides to seek help in avenging his moms and brothers

The chapter closes with Simoun asking the spirits of Don Rafael (his father) and Elias to have
patience. Simoun explains that while his means differ from that of Elias, the results will come
faster. There is some foreboding that Simoun will die in his attempt to help the Philippines gain
independence note that line about him personally bringing news of freedom to the
spirits of his dad and friend.

(Elias was also for independence of the nation, but he did not support violent methods. Simoun
is Machiavellian in the sense that he believes that the end justifies the means. Remember that
Simoun uses his wealth to corrupt those in government and to tempt them to harm the Filipinos.
Simoun hopes that this will anger the Filipinos enough to make them rise up in revolt against the
Government. It is a tactic Elias would never have approved of.)
Soon, it will be Christmas.

1. The dark forest symbolizes the many secrets kept by Simoun from the public.
2. Basilio symbolizes the Filipino youth, whom Rizal (through Simoun) advises to be more
nationalistic (i.e., love your own language, fight for your countrys freedom)

Lessons Learned:
1. People who are so different will cling to their own beliefs. Simoun wants a bloody revolution,
while Basilio prefers to search for knowledge because this will lead to the attainment of justice.

2. Knowledge is better than politics/nationalism. (Basilio)

3. The above point can be attained only in an environment where there is neither oppressor nor
oppressed. To achieve such an environment, only has to change the present system even if it
requires a bloody revolution. (Simoun)

4. Ones painful past (Basilios) can be set aside by some people. Others (Simoun), however,
will never rest until they have their revenge.

5. If you cannot stop a corrupt government, then support it and help it spread its corrupt ways
until the oppressed people rise up in revolt. (Simouns strategy)

Chapter 8: Merry Christmas

The miracle that Juli expected did not happen there was no money at the foot of the statue of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. All that remained there were Julis prayers.

As a result, Juli resigned herself to serving as Hermana Penchangs maid.

Apparently, Julis mindset shows how the friars controlled the Philippine population. The friars
convinced the people that being a good Catholic means:
religiously praying and putting complete and total faith on saints (or their icons)
learning to just accept and bear whatever hardships fate hands to them

Hmmm there are many things that make me feel like a modern-day Juli. Blame it on readings
about Zen (all life is suffering), those positive thinking gurus (everything that happens is really
for the best), and other non-Catholic sources. I wonder, should Juli have done something else?
Or do her actions pave the way for something better in the future?

Afterall, if Judas did not betray Christ, would He have been crucified?

What do you think?

Remember, this was Christmas Day. Old Man Selo (Tandang Selo) didnt have any gifts to give
to anyone. His granddaughter was going to become a maid and she didnt even greet him
Merry Christmas (probably out of respect since she knew Selo had nothing, not even a

It seems that during Rizals time, people greet and expect you to hand them a Christmas gift.
Today in the Philippines, there are still people who cheerfully greet you Merry Christmas,
Maam and then pause, and then give you the expectant look.

Some Philippine government offices forbid their employees from greeting anyone Merry
Christmas lest it be misconstrued (or rightly construed! hehehe) as a request for money.
But getting back to the story, either Juli completely forgot to greet her grandpa, or (more likely)
she was just being tactful, or she was preoccupied with the thought of becoming a maid. If you
recall, Juli is considered among the prettiest women in the barrio her delicate hands imply
that she is not used to hard, manual labor.

Selos woes dont end there. His son, Cabesang Tales, is still missing. With all these
misfortunes, its no wonder that Selo discovers he can no longer speak. Probably a mild stroke?
Women passing by the house notice that Selo is mute. Of course the bad news quickly spreads
through the chismis or gossip network.

What a Christmas, right? Rizal understands a key point of Philippine entertainment: Suffering
sells. (In the next chapter, youll meet a bunch of Pilates; no, not of the calibean type.)

Please read the actual chapter, ok? You might enjoy the fact the Rizals other observations
about Christmas in the Philippines still ring true today:
* Uncomfortable, jam-packed churches
* Children kissing a long train of relatives
* Instant kiddie performances (sing this, dance, declaim)
* Money meant for kids actually goes to the parents

and if you nod and recall a few unflattering moments in your childhood Christmas past,
remember that youll become a parent someday. Hehehe. Its payback time. (Just kidding)

Chapter 9: Pilates

The town is abuzz with talk about the misfortunes of Selo and his family, and already a number
of people are claiming they are not to blame.

(Just like Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the matter concerning Christs crucifixion.)
Now take note of the following key points

[To recap: Cabesang Tales' land was being unjustly taken away, so he decided to patrol his
property. Although he was armed, eventually his weapons were confiscated. Since he was no
longer armed, some bandits kidnapped him. To raise money for ransom, Juli decided to become
the maid of Hermana Penchang in exchange for a loan.]

Anyway, on to the Pilates of the chapter

The alferez or lieutenant of the guardia civil said he was merely following orders when he
confiscated the weapons of Cabesang Tales. It was not his fault if Tales was subsequently

The person grabbing Tales land said that if Tales remained at home (and not patrolled the
land), he would not have been kidnapped.

And what about Hermana Penchang, Julis new master/mistress? She does not feel responsible
either for Julis circumstances. Instead, she blames Old Man Selo because he does not know
how to pray (and neither did he teach Juli how to pray properly).

Hence, Hermana Penchang took it upon herself to teach Juli; she also asked Juli to read the
book Tandang Basiong Macunat, a late 1800s Tagalog narrative about how Indios should trust
only in the friars and shun learning (because it leads to sin).

Its funny to read how Hermana Penchang appears scandalized when Juli does not pause at the
proper words in the Hail Mary, or when Juli stresses the wrong syllable in some Latin prayers
(i.e., Juli says menTIbus instead of MENtibus).

Anyway, Cabesang Tales does show up in his house. He discovers that his dad no longer
speaks, that his land is being taken away, that he is being evicted from his home, and that Juli is
now a lowly maid.


Can you blame him for just sitting down beside his dad and not saying anything the entire day?
(The next chapter talks about wealth and misery.)

Chapter 10: Wealth and Misery

Simoun visits the house of Cabesang Tales (located between the towns of San Diego and
Tiani). Tales is impoverished, but Simoun brings food and other necessities, along with cases of
jewelry. (Simoun did this because he wanted to get to know Tales better.)

So, what did Simoun do next..?

Simoun shows off his revolver or pistol to Tales. Soon, the jewelry buyers arrive: Capitan Basilio
(father of Sinang), Capitana Tika (mom of Sinang), Sinang (and her husband and child), and
Hermana Penchang (who wants to buy a diamond ring for the Blessed Virgin at Antipolo). Its
some kind of status symbol for them ~ they can say that they bought jewelry from the adviser of
the Capitan Heneral. Ah, the travails of branded fashion

Simoun opens the two pieces of luggage filled with jewelries of different types, shapes and

Tales looks at the riches and feels that Simoun is using those to make Tales feel more
miserable about his situation. To think all this was happening on the eve of Tales eviction. All it
would take was but one tiny diamond to ransom Juli from her employer and to sustain Tales old
father, Selo, till the end of his days. Tales feels insulted, to say the least.

(Folks, please read the description of the jewelry. Note also the speech Simoun made
in not-so-good Tagalog. He mustve looked really weird with his blue-tinted glasses and
fiery speech about how a handful of his jewels can drown in tears all the inhabitants of
the Philippines! Geez. Weirdo.)

Some of the jewelry mentioned:
* Necklace of Cleopatra
* Rings found in the ruins of Carthage
* Some treasures brought back by Hannibal after the Battle of Cannae
* Ring of Sulla
* Earrings found in the villa of Annius Mucius Papilinus in Pompeii
* Sapphire from Ceylon, emeralds from Peru, ruby, turquoises from Persia, diamonds (black,
rosy, green)
* Ring of the Princess of Lamballe
* Pendants to a lady-in-waiting of Marie Antoinette
* Oriental mother-of-pearl
* Others from the Golconda mines

None of the buyers were interested in the old, historical jewels, so Simoun brought out the
modern ones. No appreciation for antiquity, it seems. How can you blame the buyers? There
werent even enough museums at that time.

(This is probably Rizals way of showing the lack of culture prevalent in Philippine society at
that time. Hmmm at that time? Heh.)

Simoun also wanted to buy something, so he asked Cabesang Tales if he had any jewelry for
sale. Sinang reminds Tales about the locket given to Juli (recall that this locket was given by
Maria Clara to a leper, who gave it to Basilio, who then gifted it to his sweetheart Juli Whew!).

Simoun immediately offered Five Hundred Pesos (afterall, that was the locket of his love, Maria
Clara, who had since become a nun). He alternatively offered any other jewel.

Hermana Penchang reminds Tales that Juli chose to become a maid/slave over selling that
locket, so Tales decides to consult first with Juli.

Tales goes out to meet his daughter, but along the way sees the friar and the new tenant of
Tales land. Those insensitive two laugh at Tales when they see him. Tales felt as if some guy
took his wife to a private room and laughed at him before entering the room.

Tales does not go to see his daughter. Instead, he follows those two men.

The following day, Tales is missing. And so is Simouns revolver!

In the holster, Simoun finds a note from Tales (aka Telesforo Juan de Dios). Tales apologized
for taking the revolver and explained he needed it because he was joining the bandits. Aside
from the note, Tales also leftas paymentthe locket Simoun wanted.

Simoun muses that he has finally found the man hes been looking for: a man of action, a man
of integrity, a man who can keep his end of the bargain.

(When Tales swore that his land will be taken away over his dead body, his act of gun-stealing
shows that Tales doesnt simply make threats; he keeps promises.)

Simoun orders his servants to proceed to Los Baos via the lake. He, on the other hand,
decides to travel on land (along with his precious gems) because he hopes to meet the bandits
so that he can invite them to his cause (revolution).

Simoun is delighted to discover that the guardia civil have arrested Old Man Selo. He realizes
that this will anger Tales even more.

It turns out that Tales murdered three people the previous evening: the friar, the new tenant,
and his wife. It was a gruesome murder: their mouths were filled with soil, the wifes neck was
slashed, and the other two had been shot in the head.Beside the wifes corpse was a note with
Tales name finger-traced in blood.

The chapter ends with a sarcastic assurance to the citizens of Calamba that they will not be
blamed for the crime committed by Tales. Rizal was hinting that these citizens were NOT the
equivalent of Tales for they had suffered more than Tales.

But these citizens are like Tales in the sense that they still have not obtained justice. There is
also some reference to Mariano Herbosa, husband of Rizals sister Lucia. Marianos eldest
daughter was Delfina Herbosa de Natividad (1879 to 1900) who, at the age of 7, helped sew the
first Philippine flag!

(Mariano died from cholera, but was not buried in the town cemetery because he did not receive
the Last Sacraments. Yeah, right. How convenient that Rizals brod-in-law, because of some
timing issue, had to be buried out of town [on the hillock Lichiria].)

Chapter 11: Los Baos

The Capitan Heneral tried to hunt in Bosoboso. The accompanying band probably scared off the
prey. The local government officials wanted to suck up to the Capitan Heneral considered
getting someone to dress up as a deer.

After the unsuccessful hunt, the Capitan Heneral returns to Los Baos.

It was the 31st of December.

Check out the following notes

The Dominicans dominated the schools. They were in fierce competition with the Jesuits.
Padre Sibyla is a rector at UST. The Dominicans are against the plans to build a school.
The youth are relying on Padre Irene to support their plan.

Why wasnt the Capitan Heneral able to shoot any deer or birds in the forest? He had a band
that played loud music wherever he went.

What social ill did Rizal describe using the Capitan Heneral? Officials wanted to ingratiate
themselves to those in power. Take note of the musical band plus the plan to dress someone up
as a deer for erhunting purposes.

Why was Padre Camorra angry with the card game of the two priests and the Capitan Heneral?
He was not aware that the two priests were deliberately losing the game to make the Capitan
Heneral happy, so that they may obtain the ruling they want regarding the school.

Why did Simoun order his servant to transport his gems/jewels via banca on the lake, while he
carried the even more expensive treasures with him as he traveled on land? He planned to
meet the rebels, and intended to give some of his treasures to the leader of the bandits or
tulisans, as proof that he trusts them. He was even willing to travel by himself.

What Philippine institution was Rizal making fun of, in hopes that he wounds or stirs the social
conscience of the Filipinos? Sabong or cockfighting. The size of the arena, money spent on bets
rather than on education or tuition, cages of cocks are sometimes nicer than the homes of the

What did Rizal refer to as contradicting desires in Chapter 11? Filipinos want to learn Spanish
(but this will enslave them even more) while the Spaniards dont want to grant the wish of the

Why was Padre Fernandez, a Dominican, in favor of the youths plan to put up a school? He
was unlike most Dominicans, and had met a number of bright students at the University.
Meanwhile, get ready to meet Placido Penitente

Chapter 12: Placido Penitente

The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) during the Spanish period was in Intramuros, near the
College of San Juan de Letran. During the American period, UST transferred to Espaa in
Manila. Practically all the schools then were in Intramuros Letran and Ateneo.

Christmas Break was over, and the students were returning to their schools and dreading their
Physics class.

So you might be wondering

Why did Placido wish to stop his schooling? After four years of school, he was not known nor
noticed by his teachers. He was disillusioned because he was bright and wished to learn. In his
town, he was admired for his intellect.

What does his name mean? Placid or Peaceful. Penitent, or one who suffers in silence.

Why did Pelaez hint that Padre Camorra has his way with women in Tiani? The friars
threatened the women, and told them that their brothers/parents would be jailed or banished if
they did not yield to the desires of the friars.

Why would Juli eventually fall into the hands of Padre Camorra? Pelaez was well-aware of what
Padre Camorra was capable of doing.
What did Rizal say about the youth of that time? Most of them learn nothing because (a) They
didnt bring books, (b) The classes were too big (too many students), (c) Teachers held the
students in low-esteem, and (d) There were too many No Class days.

Chapter 13: Physics Class

What can we say about Padre Millon? Take note of the following characteristics
Finished Philosophy and Theology, dabbles in metaphysics (theory), teaches Chemistry and
Haphazardly skims through books on Chemistry and Physics. He does not believe in the
things he reads about science, and handles the course as if it were about Philosophy.
He is contemptuous of both subject matter and students.
He asks questions but does not like to be asked. He takes pleasure in the failings of his
students, and gets peeved when they are able to answer correctly.
He forces students to blindly memorize lessons which he does not even explain well.
He curses at students.
He probably reminds us of one or more teachers weve encountered in the past. Looks like
there really is such a thing as reincarnation, eh?
Why does Padre Millon use broken Spanish in class? Thats his way of disrespecting his
students whom he considers ignorant.

How can one tell that the students wont learn much just by looking at the Physics classroom?
There are no pictures, equipment or lecture notes on the blackboard. The few equipment
available are locked up, never to be handled. The only thing written on the board is
VIVA(written on the first day of school and has not been erased nor written over since). Please
note that it is now January. And finally, the teaching method is purely lecture, which is suited to
a class in Philosophy, not Physics.

What can we say about the points Rizal raised regarding teaching? Rizals principles of
teaching still apply today:
Class sizes should be small.
Teachers should not humiliate students.
A teacher should be technically competent about the subject matter being taught, and
he/she should teach with love.
Too many vacation breaks can ruin the momentum of a student, and can make them seek
non-academic forms of recreation.
No one should watch Cartoon Network, Myx, MTV, Darna or Pinoy Big Brother. (Just

What can we say about Placido, based on his behavior in this chapter? He is like a typical
Filipino a pacifist who prefers to suffer in silence. Will sacrifice and keep quiet just to avoid
trouble, but when pushed too far, is capable of getting openly angry and taking action.

For now, lets move on over to the students lodging house

Chapter 14: A Student's Lodging House

The students want to learn Spanish in their first year of college so that they can easily learn their
lessons. Isagani is the epitome of the idealistic and honorable Filipino youth. He would rather
get the support of others (i.e., Seor Pasta) through legitimate means (i.e., face to face talk)
rather than by appealing to their baser nature (i.e., by using women).
What can we say, on the other hand, about Pelaez?

Pelaez is opportunistic, Machiavellian, and easily switches sides when the going gets rough. He
voices his support for his fellow students, but when threatened with the possibility of being
called a subversive, he wavers.

Macaraig is rich and nationalistic. He allows students to live in his lodging house for free.

Pecson is ever the skeptical pessimist. He always thinks things through.

Sandoval is a Spaniard who supports the Filipinos. This is Rizals way of showing that in an
academic setting, political and racial barriers can come crashing down.

In this chapter, Rizal gives us a glimpse of life in a school dormitory. Clearly, things have not
really changed in more than a hundred years. Afterall, students will be students. Oh, there are a
few differences

Rizal did not mention anything about dormers bringing their Significant Others into their rooms.
He also did not show professors and students living in the same lodging house. Then again, that
was probably the culture at that time.

One of the students is about to have a debate with Seor Pasta

Chapter 15: Seor Pasta

Seor Pasta is a lawyer who also works as a consultant for the friars. He thinks only of himself,
and is willing to be nationalistic only after everyone else becomes patriotic first.

Now lets tackle this lawyers views and opinion

He calls the Philippines a Land of Proposals because all you have are plans and no action.
Does that sound familiar to you? :-)

Since he earns money from the friars, he hesitates to accede to the students wish that he help
advise and convince Don Custodio to support the Spanish school.

He advises Isagani to just study well, earn a decent living, get married, and avoid getting into
trouble. You know, lead a safe life. Since Isagani is quite idealistic, he prefers to live a life
worth living. I wonder if Isagani will change if ever Rizal wrote a sequel to the El Fili.

Anyway, please read the debate between Seor Pasta and Isagani. Classic example of
idealism versus becoming practical.

I wonder when Isagani will come to grips with reality

Chaper 16: Travails of a Chinaman

The main theme of this chapter is use and be used.

(Reminds me what my barkada said when she saw this person who only approached her for
favors: Use your friend in a sentence.)

Now lets meet one of the key characters of the El Fili

In this chapter, we meet Quiroga, a Chinese businessman who wants to open a Chinese
consulate in the Philippines and head it as consul.

Although he knows a number of people despise him and talk behind his back, he still invites
them to a dinner party above his bazaar in Escolta. Unlike Kapitan Tiago (dinner, Noli Me
Tangere), Quiroga smiles at his guests while secretly despising them deep inside.

Hmmm I wonder why Rizal depicts the Chinese this way? He even mentions that Quiroga
keeps his indio of a wife locked in a room much like Chinese women. You can probably guess
whats the main point of keeping a wife, right?

Among those who hate Quirogas guts are the columnist G. Gonzales (alias PITILI) whos mad
at the incoming Chinese; a thin, brown-skinned guest who did not receive money from Quiroga;
and someone who was against Quirogas jueteng operations because he was losing in the
jueteng game.

So why do these adversaries get together for dinner? Like I said earlier: Use and be used.
Dinner ends, and Simoun arrives.

Businessmen complain about the poor economic environment and hint that Simoun should ask
the Kapitan Heneral to do something about it.

Don Timoteo Pelaez complains about corruption in customs (adwana).
Quiroga wanted to get into the good graces of a woman because she had a government official
wrapped around her finger. So he offers her three pieces of jewelry to choose from.
Unfortunately, she chooses ALL three. So now, Quiroga owes the jeweller Simoun P9,000
which was a princely sum back then.

(I wonder if Rizal rode some time machine and viewed the Philippines of today)

Why do you suppose Simoun lent those three pieces of jewelry to Quiroga? Yep, use and be
used. Now Quiroga owes Simoun.

Instead of asking for the entire sum, Simoun just asks for P7,000. He also asks Quiroga to send
money-borrowing soldiers and government officials to him. He further instructs Quiroga to send
those owing Quiroga money to Simoun instead.

And lastly, Simoun asks Quiroga to store some rifles in Quirogas warehouse.
All that for a 22.2% discount off the P9,000 price tag. Otherwise, Quiroga will have to pay
Simoun the entire amount right away. To sweeten the deal, Simoun promises that Quiroga will
be allowed to bring in contraband items through customs.

How can Quiroga refuse, right? Yep, use and be used.

Don Custodio talks about a commission sent to India to study the Shoe Program for soldiers. No
shoes for indio soldiers. Spanish soldiers may wear shoes.

(I wonder if Rizal, like Simoun, was trying to stoke the feelings of his countrymen with this.)
Ben Zayb and P. Camorra talk about magnetism and magic. Juanito Pelaez speaks about the
talking head in the fair/carnival of Mr. Leeds.

Simoun suggests that they all see the talking head of the famous Sphinx to settle once and for
all if it truly is the work of the devil, or just a trick with mirrors.

Twelve people leave the house of Quiroga to see the show of Mr. Leeds in the Quiapo fair.
(Simoun is such a master manipulator. He really knows how to set people up. Maybe he
shouldve been a Reality TV Host?)

Chapter 17: The Quiapo Fair

It is the month of January, and twelve people leave the house of Quiroga. They make their way
through the Quiapo fair, towards the tent of Mr. Leeds.

The chapter describes the lewd behavior of Padre Camorra, who ogles the young lasses. He
gets more excited when he sees the beautiful Paulita Gomez, escorted by the overly jealous
Isagani and Doa Victorina.

But theres more

The slightly tipsy group visits various stalls in the fair, and they make fun of each other by
saying that such-and-such sculpture looks like so-and-so.

Padre Camorra and Ben Zayb talk about a display called The Philippine Press, but they think
the word press refers to the flat iron held by a disheveled old woman.

They see a picture of someone who looks like Simoun, and thats when they notice that he is no
longer with the group.

What facet of the Philippines did Rizal feature in this chapter? Rizal focused on sculptors of
figurines or images.

What does La Prenza Filipina (The Philippine Press) represent? It represents the state of
journalism in the Philippines:
* Old / Old-fashioned
* Blind in one eye / lack of truth in reporting
* Dirty

Even the journalist Ben Zayb did not understand that it was actually an attack on Philippine

Please take note of the image called Abaca Country: The Filipinos in the Philippines, a land of
abaca, are tied by foreigners using abaca, a natural resource of the country.

Who do you think made that image? Was it an artist in the Quiapo fair, or was it something Rizal
created in his own mind, and expressed as a political statement hidden in the novel?

Anyway, Simoun is missing because hes preparing for the next chapter, when the group gets
drawn into the mysterious tent of Mr. Leeds.

Chapter 18: Deceptions

Mr. Leeds meets the group of twelve, and allows them to inspect the tent and equipment used
to display the Sphinx. He makes fun of the skeptical Ben Zayb, because Ben Zayb was unable
to find the hidden mirrors. Mr. Leeds brings the ashes to life by shouting Deremof!, which is
probably an anagram of the word

(Rizal is so Pinoy if he indeed made use of this form of wordplay.)
Imuthis, the Sphinx, comes to life and narrates his lifestory. His life is similar to that of Ibarra:

Both studied abroad.
Both got into trouble with the religious orders.
Both had a foe who was a priest, who was in love with their girlfriend.
Both had a girlfriend who was the daughter of a priest.
Both died in a lake.
Both their girlfriends were raped in a temple/convent by their enemy priest.
Both returned to their country to seek revenge/justice.
Both returned under a different identity: Imuthis became The Sphinx while Ibarra became

Padre Salvi quickly saw the parallelism. He felt alluded to when the sphinx called him a
murderer. Perhaps it was Simouns voice?

What does Cambyses in the story of the Sphinx symbolize? It represents their failed
government. To cover this fact up, both governments went after them.

How was the Sphinx set-up? Simoun is a good friend of Mr. Leeds. In the previous chapter,
youll note that Simoun was nowhere to be found in the Quiapo fair. He probably slipped away
early enough to set-up the tent, so that he can give Padre Salvi the scare of his life. Imagine, an
old enemy of 13 years ago has come to life.

How was the image of the Sphinx produced? The mirrors were hidden in the legs of the table
which supported the Sphinx. Perhaps Rizal was already thinking of holograms way back then?
Where did Mr. Leeds go after the show? He went straight to Hong Kong, just in case Padre
Salvi decided to do something to Mr. Leeds.

Something tells me things are going to heat up around here

Chapter 19: The Fuse

If the revolution is the bomb, then the fuse that will get things started is the rescue of Maria
Clara. Here you will see that Simouns primary objective is revenge and the rescue of Maria
Clara. The country and the revolution are only secondary interests of Simoun.

This chapter also features the student Placido Penitente. He is the son of Cabesang Andang, an
ignorant mother who sent her son to school just so that she can proudly tell others that she has
a schooled son.

Now on to the chapter questions

Why did Placido lose the chance to ever study again? There was only one university at that
time: the University of Santo Tomas. Since he got sent away from UST, where else will he go?

Why was the former professor exiled? He wanted to teach well, and thus became the target of
the church and government which wanted to keep the indios ignorant.

Why did the arthritic Spaniard join forces with Simoun? He wanted to seek revenge on the
frailes who sent him to jail so that they could have his beautiful wife.

Why was the revolution timetable advanced? Simoun found out that Maria Clara was dying. All
the preparation and planning went down the drain because Simoun became emotional. How
emotional? Heres a clue: Simoun likened Maria Clara to the phoenix.

The phoenix is one of a kind, just as Maria Clara is the only woman for Simoun. Told you he
was getting emotional. No wonder the revolution went to heck.

Why did Simoun imagine seeing the angry faces of Don Rafael and Elias? Those two were not
in favor of Simouns methods. Don Rafael always went for doing whats good for the country;
Simoun purposely helped corrupt the very government he was trying to overthrow.

Elias was for revolution, but only if the motivation behind it involved nationalism and justice;
Simouns motivation was revenge, dark and syrupy.

Also, Simoun was feverish. He was probably hallucinating.

What accounts for Placidos sudden change of heart, after his mom spoke with him the following
day? He was aware of the coming revolution, and he wanted to quickly send his mother back to
the province. Thats why he acted as if he readily agreed with what she said; otherwise, therell
just be a long discussion and that will keep his mom in the city longer.
Now lets go meet Don Custodio

Chapter 20: The Arbitrator

This chapter describes the enigma that is Don Custodio. Imagine, the highly intellectual Don
Custodio decided to get advice from G. Pasta (who just confused him with convoluted and
contradicting words) and from the Pepay (who just shook her booty and asked for money). I
mean, why did he even bother asking those two, right?

Now on to the other notes plus a handy mindmap of this chapter
Don Custodio was nicknamed Buena Tinta by Ben Zayb, because Don Custodio was believed
to be an expert when it comes to writing papers. Actually, that was just his reputation, because
in reality Don Custodio is not really that competent.

So, howd he get such a glowing reputation?

1. Hes a Spaniard whos close to the powers that be.
2. He was able to impress Ben Zayb, the weak-minded but highly influential journalist. (Not that
were implying that todays influential journalists are Ben Zayb-like)
3. He married a rich mestiza.
4. Hes very industrious, especially when it comes to engaging others in debate.

Why did Don Custodio have a difficult time deciding on the students proposal regarding the
school? He was torn between giving the students a chance, and pleasing the Dominicans of
UST. How can you serve two masters, right?

What are examples of Don Custodios mental innovation or quirkiness, depending on ones
point of view? (I mean, aside from his plan to raise ducks in order to deepen the Pasig River, if
you remember Chapter 1)

1. To avoid accidents, the horse-drawn carriages should have three wheels.
2. Fumigate everything with disinfectants; even the paper used by telegrams.
3. So that the government can save on prison costs, just reform the prisoners.

How does Don Custodio treat the indios? He acts like a father who unwittingly holds his children
(the indios) back; who, without quite realizing it, prevents his children from progressing.

Why is he against praising the indios? They might become overconfident, boastful, and
rebellious. And that will create problems for the government and the frailes.

What kind of a person is Don Custodio? He is a dangerously deceptive person, because what
he does is different from what he holds in his mind.

What is Don Custodios final decision regarding the school? This will be revealed in the next
chapter, although given your knowledge of his character, you can already guess what that
decision will be.

Chapter 21: Manila Characters

The Whos Who of Manila gathered that evening in the Teatro de Variedades to watch Les
Cloches de Corneville (translated as The Bells of Corneville, where the bells refer to the shape
of the female dancers loose skirts). Rizal introduces the Spanish character Camarroncocido, so
named because his complexion resembles that of steamed shrimp. He is an example of a
Spaniard who does not value his nationality.

Heres additional info about Camarroncocido

Although Camarroncocido (note the double R) is of royal lineage, he ended up working as a
contractual in the Philippines, putting up posters of the upcoming shows of the Teatro.
This is in contrast with another Spaniard, Don Custodio, an ordinary Spanish citizen who took
advantage of his nationality in gaining wealth and power in the Philippines.

What did Rizal criticize about Camarroncocidos behavior? Rizal criticized Camarroncocidos
apathetic nature. He does not care about current or upcoming events (which he himself
witnessed) that do not directly concern him, even if those events have an impact on the country
or may potentially harm other people.

How is Manila society divided? The religious group was against the showing of Les Cloches,
while those who wanted to watch the show were divided into:

- Those curious about why the show was being banned, and
- Those who wanted to watch so they can know why the show should be banned.

Similar to today, when people start censoring shows they only end up whetting the appetite of
the viewers.

Who did Camarroncocido notice milling about in the darkness near the theater? He noticed the
followers of Simoun. They told the soldiers that the Capitan Heneral was going to instigate some
kind of civil disturbance so that hell be able to prolong his hold on power and keep himself from
being shipped back to Spain.

They did this so that the soldiers will not repel the forces of Kabesang Tales, because the
soldiers will think Tales is just following the orders of the Capitan Heneral.

In addition, the soldiers will end up fighting the religious orders who attempt to counter the
attack of Kabesang Tales, because the soldiers will mistakenly believe that the frailes are trying
to ruin the plan of the Capitan Heneral.

How did Tadeo manage to enter the theater? Since Basilio wanted to study, he did not join
Macaraig. Thats one unused theater ticket which Isagani gave to Tadeo.

Chapter 22: The Performance

Rizal details what happens inside the theater (Teatro Variedades). The term Filipino Time has
been used to denigrate Filipinos who are late. Although it was attributed to our forebears,
tardiness (as featured in this chapter summary) was the fault of the Spanish Kapitan Heneral.
The performance could not begin unless this guest of honor was in the theater.

Now theres something that has be to clarified regarding Filipino time

Filipinos are not late. Filipinos are farmers who wake up at the crack of dawn. And if theres a
show at 7pm, you can expect Pinoys to line up and mill about the entrance at least an hour
before. Thats why the term Filipino time is a misnomer.

This chapter also brings up love and jealousy, and foreshadows the failure of Simouns plans.
We find Isagani, who is extremely distracted after seeing his love, Paulita, in the company of his
rival. Although he is a major supporter of the proposal for a school, he does not participate in
the discussion. It is his great love for Paulita which will foil the Simoun in the later chapters.
The characters of Tadeo and Juanito Pelaez are used to showcase certain personality traits:
that of someone who can only criticize things in a theater, and that of a know-it-all who uses a
tiny bit of knowledge (e.g., French) to impress Paulita and Dona Victorina.

Ben Zayb is also caricatured as a mindless critic. He knows nothing about the arts, yet he
pretends to be competent enough to comment on the performance.

One of the performers, Serpolette (aka Lily), is shown interacting with Padre Irene. Apparently
the fraile has a history with Lily, perhaps when he was still in Europe. He even had to explain to
Lily that he was a holy man now, which probably means he was not dressed up as a fraile?

Why was Pepay smiling even though she relayed the bad news to Macaraig? She did not
understand what Don Custodios message meant (denial of the proposal for the school).

Who owned the empty balcony seat? Simoun. A woman came in late, and was wondering about
that empty space in the high area at the back of the theater.

Why was Sandoval displeased with the performance? He couldnt understand French. He also
felt bad because he thought Juanita could understand it. If only he knew the truth

Why did Pecson throw a smelly sock to Sandoval? It was a challenge. Sandoval (a Spaniard)
earlier promised that if the proposal for the school was blocked, then he would still support and
even push through with the project. Apparently, Sandoval hasnt fulfilled his promise, hence the
kachichas attack.

Why were the students unhappy about the revised proposal? The school will be run by the
Dominicans at the University of Sto. Tomas, while all the costs will be shouldered by the
students. In other words, there will be NO change in the way things are taught in the university.
By the way, why wasnt Basilio in the theater?

Chapter 23: The Corpse

This chapter explains why Simoun did not watch the show at the theater, and also depicts a
crucial development that changes Simoun's life forever

He was out attending to business. At seven in the evening, Simoun had left and returned to his
home twice, accompanied by various people. Macaraig had seen Simoun a few minutes before
8:00pm near the Sta. Clara convent. Camarroncocido had seen Simoun speaking with students
near the theater just before 9:00pm.

Basilio did not watch the show either. He was at studying at home. Simoun visits Basilio and
they talk about Kapitan Tiyago. They continue discussing when Simoun realizes it's almost
10:00pm. He berates Basilio for not reading the materials Simoun gave him, and accuses
Basilio of not loving his country.

Simoun warns Basilio that within one hour's time (11pm?), the revolution will begin and there will
no longer be any classes the following day. There will be no university, only killing in the streets.
Simoun asks Basilio to choose: Death or a Future.
Basilio asks Simoun what he has to do, and when Simoun reveals the plan to rescue Maria
Clara, Basilio reveals the unfortunate news that Maria Clara had already died.

Simoun freaks out. When he found out that Maria Clara was dead, it was as if he were also

He runs out of the house. Simoun forgets to give the signal for the revolution to begin.
(What did the Green Goblin say when it comes to fighting Spiderman? First, attack his heart.)

Why did Basilio still take care of the terminally ill Kapitan Tiyago, a patient who was giving
Basilio such a hard time? Believe it or not, Basilio is an upright person who believes in doing
what is honorable.

Why did Simoun liken Kapitan Tiyago to the Philippine government? Just as the poisonous
opium has already spread throughout the body of the dying Kapitan Tiyago, so has the poison
of corruption spread through the dying Philippines.

Why does Simoun need Basilio? Aside from Simoun and Kapitan Tiyago, Basilio is the only one
who can recognize Maria Clara, whom they have to rescue from the nunnery at Saint Claire.
Simoun can't do it, because he has to command the groups during the revolution.

What can be said about Simoun's revolution? It's not really for the good of the Philippines;
rather, it is for the benefit of Simoun. He is doing it out of revenge, and also as a way of allowing
him to get Maria Clara out of the Sta. Clara convent.

Why did Kapitan Tiyago cry in front of and ask forgiveness from the portrait of Maria Clara after
he found out that she had died? He was sorry for allowing her to be put into the convent. He
was aware of the hardships that she would suffer, but he gave in to the orders of the frailes.

Why did the poison quickly spread through the body of Kapitan Tiyago? When Basilio was not
around, Padre Irene would give Kapitan Tiyago a lot of opium. This is similar to Simoun harming
the Philippines by engaging in evil deeds.

Padre Irene wanted Kapitan Tiyago to die quickly, so that he can inherit all of the old man's
property. Simoun wanted the Philippines to die so that he can mount a revolution, backed by
the Filipinos who have had enough of the government's corruption and oppression.

Who are the four groups of people involved in Simoun's revolution?
Group 1: The soldiers who were convinced by Simoun that the Kapitan Heneral ordered the
attack on the convents of the frailes. This is to help the Kapitan Heneral hang on to power even
if he was being sent back to Spain.
Group 2: The frailes' supporters whom Simoun convinced to defend themselves from the attack
of the soldiers. These people believe that the frailes are here to stay, and that the government
officials (e.g., Kapitan Heneral) just come and go.
Group 3: The bandits (under the leadership of Kabesang Tales). They wanted to attack both the
soldiers and the fraile supporters because of various social injustices done to the people.
Hmmm NPA?
Group 4: The regular people, such as Basilio. Simoun will try to convince them to fight either the
government or the revolutionaries.

As Camarroncocido had observed, the theater was surrounded by Simoun's men who were
ready to kill everyone inside. Since the Heneral was in the theater, his death would leave the
Spaniards leaderless, and Simoun would succeed.
Well, at least that's Simoun's dream

Chapter 24: Dreams

The jealous Isagani is fuming because of what he saw at the theater, and he plans to give
Paulita a piece of his mind when they meet in Luneta. But Paulita turns the tables on him

(Take note of the symbolisms used in this chapter.)

She acts as if she were jealous, and accuses him of staring at the French girls.

She explains that she agreed to go with Juanito, so that she will be able to meet Isagani. She
adds that it is Donya Victorina who is in love with Juanito. Paulita and Isagani both laugh.

Hows that for girl power, eh?

Anyway, they discuss their dreams and hopes for the future. Isagani talks about settling in the
provinces; Paulita prefers to travel by train.

Isagani describes a future of a network of train tracks spanning the country, of bays and rivers
filled with commercial ships, of a Philippines as progressive as England, thanks to the support of

Paulita scoffs at Isaganis dreams. She says that according to her Tia Torina, the country will
remain enslaved. Isagani counters that Paulitas aunt thinks that way, because she cannot live
without slaves.

Isagani holds on to his dreams. He is too in love with Paulita. That same love makes him spout
romantic notions of a wonderful future for the country.

Their dream-like conversation comes to an abrupt end with a shout from Donya Victorina.
Isagani gets to ride with Paulita in the carriage, and he starts daydreaming (or it is
nightdreaming because it is evening?) and hardly hears the questions of Donya Victorina.
He was probably still fantasizing about Paulita and staring at her, that he didnt realize they had
already reached Plaza Santa Cruz.


This chapter contrasts the two kinds of youth: those who care about their country, and those
who think only of themselves.

Rizal uses Isagani as a symbol of the Filipino youth who has dreams of progress and greatness
for their beloved country, the Philippines. Does this mean that Paulita symbolizes the

Youll also find here Rizals prediction that the forested areas of Quezon City and Mandaluyong
would someday be developed. He shouldve also gone into real estate, dont you think?
Chapter 25: Laughter and Tears

The 14 students decide to gather and celebrate at the Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto, a
restaurant whose name roughly translates to yummy Chinese foods from Macau. It must have
been a small resto because they were able to reserve all the tables.

There are written signs, and the you can tell from the way the students were talking that they
were let down and were feeling hurt by what Don Custodio did (or rather, did not do for them).

The students invited Basilio in hopes that they can get him drunk enough to share the inside
story about a missing child and a nun.

Dinner is served and they offer the pansit langlang in honor of Don Custodio. The other food
items are given descriptions, and are likened to certain key characters.

The students force Tadeo to give a speech even if Tadeo was unprepared. Pecson also gives a
speech where he lashes out at the frailes.

They see one of the servants of Padre Sibyla, the vice-rector of the university. The servant rides
the carriage of Simoun.

Questions and Answers
1. Why were the students celebrating?
They were being sarcastic. They were faking their agreement with Don Custodios proposal.

2. How many students were there? Who were they?
There were 13 Filipino students, plus 1 Spanish student (Sandoval). Isagani arrives later,
increasing their number to 15. Makaraig, Tadeo and Pecson were there. Basilio was a no-show.

3. What really happened to Simoun?
He forgot to give the signal (a shot), so his teams got confused. Perhaps one of the team
members hurt Simoun, because he was angry at Simouns indecision (which lead to the failure
of the revolution).

4. Why does Makaraig think that pancit is actually a Filipino creation?
Pancit is not known in Japan or China (even if those two countries have noodles). Rizal thinks
pancit was invented by the Chinese living in the Philippines.

5. Why did Pecson say that the life of a Filipino begins and ends with the fraile?
Well, when you were born the fraile was around. Then you were christened (fraile was around
again). Confirmation (kumpil), education, sex education and courtship, marriage, last rites when
near-death, at executions, and even at the burial the fraile was always around.

6. How does Pecson view the existence of frailes in the Philippines?
He was just being sarcastic when he said that the Philippines needs the frailes, and that their
disappearance will be a great loss for the country.
He was being sarcastic when he said that the frailes tirelessly improve our race and even add to
our population. Pecson added that Filipinos divided by envy are bound together by the cruelty of
the frailes.
It would be better to be under the frailes, than under the control of the Chinese (Instik).

7. What can you say about Tadeo, based on what he said in this chapter?
We can say that although Tadeo does not regularly attend classes, he has innate wisdom.

8. What did Pecson mean about heaven closing its doors to the rich?
He was referring to the frailes who often taught that the rich will be unable to enter heaven
unless the frailes help them. Here are some ways of getting help from the frailes: Sponsor
masses and novenas (yes, were talking about cash here), bequeath your assets to the fraile or
the church.

Makes you wonder why some religious organizations have so much land in the Philippines, eh?

9. Who are the four powerful people in the Philippines, according to Isagani?
Quiroga, the Chinaman
The Capitan Heneral
The Frailes (kura)

Chapter 26: Pasquinades

Basilio wakes up early and heads for the hospital. He wants to take care of his licensure at the
university after visiting his patient. At that time, no one was given the title Doctor; instead, one
simply got a license in order to help heal people as some kind of physician.

He plans to borrow some funds from Makaraig, because Basilio had already used his savings to
bail out Juli.

In front of San Juan de Letran, someone asks Basilio about the uprising. He remembers what
Simoun said before about the students and the revolution.

Questions and Answers
1. Why cant Basilio borrow money from Capitan Tiago?
He was too embarrassed and didnt want Capitan Tiago to think Basilio was trying to get his
inheritance in advance.

2. Did Simoun have anything to do with the signs (paskil)?
According to the katedratiko Basilio got to speak with, Simoun had nothing to do with these
things. In fact, Simoun had been bed-ridden for the past two days.

3. Who saw the paskils?
None of those talking actually saw anything. The Vice Rector Sibyla has these taken down and
sent to the civil government as proof against the students whom the Vice Rector was certain
were behind all these.

4. What did the katedratiko mean when he said that Capitan Tiago smells like a corpse?
He noted that Padre Irene and Simoun were visiting Capitan Tiago more often. And since they
will benefit from the demise of Capitan Tiago, those two regular visitors were like crows and
vultures (birds who linger near those who are about to die).

5. Why did Isagani look pale during his speech?
He was feeling extremely angry and hurt because his groupmates started panicking, fearful of
the recent events.

6. Who was behind those signs (paskil)?
Most likely it was the frailes. They wanted to frame the students. Most likely, it was Vice Rector
Sibyla who was behind all these.

7. Why did Makaraig call Basilio an honorable friend?
Makaraig thought that Basilio, who did not join their group during the past good times, was now
willing to be with them in the midst of the crackdown by the government on the students. Well,
thats what Makaraig thought.

Chapter 27: The Friar and the Filipino

Vox populi, vox Dei

Padre Fernandez asked a a capista (bright poor student leader who did not pay tuition, board
and lodging, but served the priests during mass and in the refectory) to summon Isagani.

Padre Fernandez was heard the speech that Isagani delivered, and asked Isagani if he was
present at the dinner. He was impressed that Isagani could speak face to face with those he
criticized, unlike most students who would just complain from afar.

He revealed that Isagani was his favorite student, and that Isagani may freely speak about
anything in his class.

(By the way, you really ought to read the exchange between Isagani and the friar Padre
Fernandez, to gain an appreciation of Isaganis independent way of thinking.)

Key Points
Katedratiko Friar-professor, or someone who teaches at the university.
Isagani is in his freshman year at UST. He came from the Ateneo.
Philippine population at that time: 8 million.
The Dominicans were the religious order that had the right to teach in the Philippines at that
time (UST and San Juan de Letran).

What did Isagani mean when he said that the friars did nothing except ration out old
He meant that the friars would give out so few ideas at a time, and that these ideas were
outdated. Apparently, Isagani got in touch with people who had traveled to Europe, and thats
how he got to know about more modern ideas.

What did Rizal observe about the Dominicans having the sole right to teach the
Rizal likened the situation to a government that auctions off to the highest bidder the right to
teach. This is similar to businesspeople who bid to get the right to feed those who are in jail. In
other words, its something highly commercialized, but not really that effective.

What does Vox populi, vox Dei mean?
It means that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Sounds like democracy, right?

Why, according to Isagani, did not a single student dare to speak out against the friars
Simple the students were scared that they will be persecuted by those in power.

What did Isagani say the students wanted from the friars?
The students wanted the friars to treat them well, and to give the students every opportunity to
learn. As in, reallylearn.

How did Isagani liken the religious orders to business people who fed prisoners?
The business folks would give very little food to the prisoners (it helps keep their costs down).
Likewise, the friars would give very little knowledge to the students. In both cases, those in
power simply wanted to increase their profits.

What did Isagani tell Padre Fernandez about the sculptor and the poor quality of his
materials (clay)?
They were debating about whether or not Filipinos should be taught by the friars (sculptors)
even if Filipinos (clay) were not really serious about studying. The debate turned into a series of
its the fault of the clay no, its the fault of the sculptor argument.
From the Lacson-Locsin translation:

Still more stupid is he then, because, knowing that it is bad, he does not reject the material and
continues wasting timeand he is not only stupid, he cheats and steals, because knowing the
uselessness of his work he cotinues it in order to receive compensationand he is not only
stupid and a thief, but also a villain because he prevents another sculptor from exercising his
skill to see if he might produce something worthwhile! The lamentable jealousy of

Whoa Isagani released quite a mouthful, dont you think? That shows how quick his mind is.
Padre Fernandez was not able to get a word in during that flurry of sentences.

What did Padre Fernandez mean by quien manda, manda, y cartachara al canon?
Quien manda, manda Orders are orders
Cartachara al canon Load the cannons with bullets/shells

Padre Fernandez was, in effect, saying: Hey, dont blame us for our teaching style. Were just
following the orders of the government.

What did Padre Fernandez say was the source of the bad habits of the Filipinos?
Its in the genes. Its natural for Filipinos to be lazy, according to P. Fernandez.
Obviously, that sweeping generalization about Filipinos being lazy is not true because here you
are, studying hard to get higher grades in your Filipino class.:-)

What did Padre Fernandez say was the equivalent of suicide (for friars)?
Allowing anyone to teach is the equivalent of friar-suicide, because the friars would then lose
their monopoly on education.

What did Isagani say?
He said that it is not suicide. It is merely a way of keeping the friars from getting run over by the
movement of students who are clamoring for freedom in how they get their education.

What did P. Fernandez say the Filipinos should study?
Farming. The friar hopes that withholding education from the Filipinos will give those who are
educated more power over those who just labor and toil in the fields.

Padre Fernandez thinks that Isagani gained his ideas from the Jesuits in Ateneo. The
Jesuits, however, deny that it came from them. So, where did Isagani get his thoughts?
According to Rizal, Isagani got those from his own genius, which is a gift from God.
(Rizal is inserting into this story his experience with the Jesuits who disowned him after Rizal
wrote the Noli. Padre Faura told Rizal to never set foot again in the college. Anyway, its good to
see that some modern Atenistas are proud that Rizal is from the Ateneo.)

Chapter 28: Tatakut

With prophetic inspiration Ben-Zayb had been for some days past maintaining in his newspaper
that education was disastrous, very disastrous for the Philippine Islands, and now in view of the
events of that Friday of pasquinades, the writer crowed and chanted his triumph, leaving
belittled and overwhelmed his adversary Horatius, who in the Pirotecnia had dared to ridicule
him in the following manner:

From our contemporary, El Grito:

Education is disastrous, very disastrous, for the Philippine Islands.

For some time El Grito has pretended to represent the Filipino peopleergo, as Fray Ibaez
would say, if he knew Latin.

But Fray Ibaez turns Mussulman when he writes, and we know how the Mussulmans dealt with
education. In witness whereof, as a royal preacher said, the Alexandrian library!

Now he was right, he, Ben-Zayb! He was the only one in the islands who thought, the only one
who foresaw events!

Truly, the news that seditious pasquinades had been found on the doors of the University not
only took away the appetite from many and disturbed the digestion of others, but it even
rendered the phlegmatic Chinese uneasy, so that they no longer dared to sit in their shops with
one leg drawn up as usual, from fear of losing time in extending it in order to put themselves into
flight. At eight oclock in the morning, although the sun continued on its course and his
Excellency, the Captain-General, did not appear at the head of his victorious cohorts, still the
excitement had increased. The friars who were accustomed to frequent Quirogas bazaar did
not put in their appearance, and this symptom presaged terrific cataclysms. If the sun had risen
a square and the saints appeared only in pantaloons, Quiroga would not have been so greatly
alarmed, for he would have taken the sun for a gaming-table and the sacred images for
gamblers who had lost their camisas, but for the friars not to come, precisely when some
novelties had just arrived for them!

By means of a provincial friend of his, Quiroga forbade entrance into his gaming-houses to
every Indian who was not an old acquaintance, as the future Chinese consul feared that they
might get possession of the sums that the wretches lost there. After arranging his bazaar in
such a way that he could close it quickly in case of need, he had a policeman accompany him
for the short distance that separated his house from Simouns. Quiroga thought this occasion
the most propitious for making use of the rifles and cartridges that he had in his warehouse, in
the way the jeweler had pointed out; so that on the following days there would be searches
made, and thenhow many prisoners, how many terrified people would give up their savings! It
was the game of the old carbineers, in slipping contraband cigars and tobacco-leaves under a
house, in order to pretend a search and force the unfortunate owner to bribery or fines, only now
the art had been perfected and, the tobacco monopoly abolished, resort was had to the
prohibited arms.

But Simoun refused to see any one and sent word to the Chinese that he should leave things as
they were, whereupon he went to see Don Custodio to inquire whether he should fortify his
bazaar, but neither would Don Custodio receive him, being at the time engaged in the study of a
project for defense in case of a siege. He thought of Ben-Zayb as a source of information, but
finding the writer armed to the teeth and using two loaded revolvers for paper-weights, took his
leave in the shortest possible time, to shut himself up in his house and take to his bed under
pretense of illness.

At four in the afternoon the talk was no longer of simple pasquinades. There were whispered
rumors of an understanding between the students and the outlaws of San Mateo, it was certain
that in the pansitera they had conspired to surprise the city, there was talk of German ships
outside the bay to support the movement, of a band of young men who under the pretext of
protesting and demonstrating their Hispanism had gone to the Palace to place themselves at
the Generals orders but had been arrested because it was discovered that they were armed.
Providence had saved his Excellency, preventing him from receiving those precocious criminals,
as he was at the time in conference with the Provincials, the Vice-Rector, and with Padre Irene,
Padre Salvis representative. There was considerable truth in these rumors, if we have to
believe Padre Irene, who in the afternoon went to visit Capitan Tiago. According to him, certain
persons had advised his Excellency to improve the opportunity in order to inspire terror and
administer a lasting lesson to the filibusters.

A number shot, one had advised, some two dozen reformers deported at once, in the silence
of the night, would extinguish forever the flames of discontent.

No, rejoined another, who had a kind heart, sufficient that the soldiers parade through the
streets, a troop of cavalry, for example, with drawn saberssufficient to drag along some
cannon, thats enough! The people are timid and will all retire into their houses.

No, no, insinuated another. This is the opportunity to get rid of the enemy. Its not sufficient
that they retire into their houses, they should be made to come out, like evil humors by means of
plasters. If they are inclined to start riots, they should be stirred up by secret agitators. I am of
the opinion that the troops should be resting on their arms and appearing careless and
indifferent, so the people may be emboldened, and then in case of any disturbanceout on
them, action! The end justifies the means, remarked another. Our end is our holy religion and
the integrity of the fatherland. Proclaim a state of siege, and in case of the least disturbance,
arrest all the rich and educated, andclean up the country!

If I hadnt got there in time to counsel moderation, added Padre Irene, speaking to Capitan
Tiago, its certain that blood would now be flowing through the streets. I thought of you,
CapitanThe partizans of force couldnt do much with the General, and they missed Simoun.
Ah, if Simoun had not been taken ill

With the arrest of Basilio and the search made later among his books and papers, Capitan
Tiago had become much worse. Now Padre Irene had come to augment his terror with hair-
raising tales. Ineffable fear seized upon the wretch, manifesting itself first by a light shiver, which
was rapidly accentuated, until he was unable to speak. With his eyes bulging and his brow
covered with sweat, he caught Padre Irenes arm and tried to rise, but could not, and then,
uttering two groans, fell heavily back upon the pillow. His eyes were wide open and he was
slaveringbut he was dead. The terrified Padre Irene fled, and, as the dying man had caught
hold of him, in his flight he dragged the corpse from the bed, leaving it sprawling in the middle of
the room.

By night the terror had reached a climax. Several incidents had occurred to make the timorous
believe in the presence of secret agitators.

During a baptism some cuartos were thrown to the boys and naturally there was a scramble at
the door of the church. It happened that at the time there was passing a bold soldier, who,
somewhat preoccupied, mistook the uproar for a gathering of filibusters and hurled himself,
sword in hand, upon the boys. He went into the church, and had he not become entangled in
the curtains suspended from the choir he would not have left a single head on shoulders. It was
but the matter of a moment for the timorous to witness this and take to flight, spreading the
news that the revolution had begun. The few shops that had been kept open were now hastily
closed, there being Chinese who even left bolts of cloth outside, and not a few women lost their
slippers in their flight through the streets. Fortunately, there was only one person wounded and
a few bruised, among them the soldier himself, who suffered a fall fighting with the curtain,
which smelt to him of filibusterism. Such prowess gained him great renown, and a renown so
pure that it is to be wished all fame could be acquired in like mannermothers would then weep
less and earth would be more populous!

In a suburb the inhabitants caught two unknown individuals burying arms under a house,
whereupon a tumult arose and the people pursued the strangers in order to kill them and turn
their bodies over to the authorities, but some one pacified the excited crowd by telling them that
it would be sufficient to hand over the corpora delictorum, which proved to be some old
shotguns that would surely have killed the first person who tried to fire them.

All right, exclaimed one braggart, if they want us to rebel, lets go ahead! But he was cuffed
and kicked into silence, the women pinching him as though he had been the owner of the

In Ermita the affair was more serious, even though there was less excitement, and that when
there were shots fired. A certain cautious government employee, armed to the teeth, saw at
nightfall an object near his house, and taking it for nothing less than a student, fired at it twice
with a revolver. The object proved to be a policeman, and they buried himpax Christi! Mutis!

In Dulumbayan various shots also resounded, from which there resulted the death of a poor old
deaf man, who had not heard the sentinels quin vive, and of a hog that had heard it and had
not answered Espaa! The old man was buried with difficulty, since there was no money to pay
for the obsequies, but the hog was eaten.

In Manila, in a confectionery near the University much frequented by the students, the arrests
were thus commented upon.

And have they arrested Tadeo? asked the proprietess.

Ab! answered a student who lived in Parian, hes already shot!

Shot! Nak! He hasnt paid what he owes me.

Ay, dont mention that or youll be taken for an accomplice. Ive already burnt the book you lent
me. There might be a search and it would be found. Be careful!

Did you say that Isagani is a prisoner?

Crazy fool, too, that Isagani, replied the indignant student. They didnt try to catch him, but he
went and surrendered. Let him bust himselfhell surely be shot.

The seora shrugged her shoulders. He doesnt owe me anything. And what about Paulita?

She wont lack a husband. Sure, shell cry a little, and then marry a Spaniard.

The night was one of the gloomiest. In the houses the rosary was recited and pious women
dedicated paternosters and requiems to each of the souls of their relatives and friends. By eight
oclock hardly a pedestrian could be seenonly from time to time was heard the galloping of a
horse against whose sides a saber clanked noisily, then the whistles of the watchmen, and
carriages that whirled along at full speed, as though pursued by mobs of filibusters.

Yet terror did not reign everywhere. In the house of the silversmith, where Placido Penitente
boarded, the events were commented upon and discussed with some freedom.

I dont believe in the pasquinades, declared a workman, lank and withered from operating the
blowpipe. To me it looks like Padre Salvis doings.

Ahem, ahem! coughed the silversmith, a very prudent man, who did not dare to stop the
conversation from fear that he would be considered a coward. The good man had to content
himself with coughing, winking to his helper, and gazing toward the street, as if to say, They
may be watching us!

On account of the operetta, added another workman.

Aha! exclaimed one who had a foolish face, I told you so!

Ahem! rejoined a clerk, in a tone of compassion, the affair of the pasquinades is true,
Chichoy, and I can give you the explanation.

Then he added mysteriously, Its a trick of the Chinaman Quirogas!

Ahem, ahem! again coughed the silversmith, shifting his quid of buyo from one cheek to the

Believe me, Chichoy, of Quiroga the Chinaman! I heard it in the office.

Nak, its certain then, exclaimed the simpleton, believing it at once.

Quiroga, explained the clerk, has a hundred thousand pesos in Mexican silver out in the bay.
How is he to get it in? Very easily. Fix up the pasquinades, availing himself of the question of
the students, and, while every-body is excited, grease the officials palms, and in the cases

Just it! Just it! cried the credulous fool, striking the table with his fist. Just it! Thats why
Quiroga did it! Thats why But he had to relapse into silence as he really did not know what to
say about Quiroga.

And we must pay the damages? asked the indignant Chichoy.

Ahem, ahem, a-h-hem! coughed the silversmith, hearing steps in the street.

The footsteps approached and all in the shop fell silent.

St. Pascual Bailon is a great saint, declared the silversmith hypocritically, in a loud voice, at
the same time winking to the others. St. Pascual Bailon

At that moment there appeared the face of Placido Penitente, who was accompanied by the
pyrotechnician that we saw receiving orders from Simoun. The newcomers were surrounded
and importuned for news.

I havent been able to talk with the prisoners, explained Placido. There are some thirty of

Be on your guard, cautioned the pyrotechnician, exchanging a knowing look with Placido.
They say that to-night theres going to be a massacre.

Aha! Thunder! exclaimed Chichoy, looking about for a weapon. Seeing none, he caught up his

The silversmith sat down, trembling in every limb. The credulous simpleton already saw himself
beheaded and wept in anticipation over the fate of his family.

No, contradicted the clerk, theres not going to be any massacre. The adviser ofhe made a
mysterious gestureis fortunately sick.


Ahem, ahem, a-h-hem!

Placido and the pyrotechnician exchanged another look.

If he hadnt got sick

It would look like a revolution, added the pyrotechnician negligently, as he lighted a cigarette in
the lamp chimney. And what should we do then?

Then wed start a real one, now that theyre going to massacre us anyhow

The violent fit of coughing that seized the silversmith prevented the rest of this speech from
being heard, but Chichoy must have been saying terrible things, to judge from his murderous
gestures with the blowpipe and the face of a Japanese tragedian that he put on.

Rather say that hes playing off sick because hes afraid to go out. As may be seen

The silversmith was attacked by another fit of coughing so severe that he finally asked all to

Nevertheless, get ready, warned the pyrotechnician. If they want to force us to kill or be

Another fit of coughing on the part of the poor silversmith prevented further conversation, so the
workmen and apprentices retired to their homes, carrying with them hammers and saws, and
other implements, more or less cutting, more or less bruising, disposed to sell their lives dearly.
Placido and the pyrotechnician went out again.

Prudence, prudence! cautioned the silversmith in a tearful voice.

Youll take care of my widow and orphans! begged the credulous simpleton in a still more
tearful voice, for he already saw himself riddled with bullets and buried.

That night the guards at the city gates were replaced with Peninsular artillerymen, and on the
following morning as the sun rose, Ben-Zayb, who had ventured to take a morning stroll to
examine the condition of the fortifications, found on the glacis near the Luneta the corpse of a
native girl, half-naked and abandoned. Ben-Zayb was horrified, but after touching it with his
cane and gazing toward the gates proceeded on his way, musing over a sentimental tale he
might base upon the incident.

However, no allusion to it appeared in the newspapers on the following days, engrossed as they
were with the falls and slippings caused by banana-peels. In the dearth of news Ben-Zayb had
to comment at length on a cyclone that had destroyed in America whole towns, causing the
death of more than two thousand persons. Among other beautiful things he said:

OTHERS, and the thought of Him who, influenced by that same feeling, sacrificed himself
for humanity, moves (sic) us to compassion over the misfortunes of our kind and to render
thanks that in this country, so scourged by cyclones, there are not enacted scenes so desolating
as that which the inhabitants of the United States mus have witnessed!

Horatius did not miss the opportunity, and, also without mentioning the dead, or the murdered
native girl, or the assaults, answered him in his Pirotecnia:

After such great charity and such great humanity, Fray IbaezI mean, Ben-Zaybbrings
himself to pray for the Philippines.

But he is understood.

Because he is not Catholic, and the sentiment of charity is most prevalent, etc.

Chapter 29: Exit Capitan Tiago

Talis vita, finis ita

Capitan Tiago had a good endthat is, a quite exceptional funeral. True it is that the curate of
the parish had ventured the observation to Padre Irene that Capitan Tiago had died without
confession, but the good priest, smiling sardonically, had rubbed the tip of his nose and

Why say that to me? If we had to deny the obsequies to all who die without confession, we
should forget the De profundis! These restrictions, as you well know, are enforced when the
impenitent is also insolvent. But Capitan Tiagoout on you! Youve buried infidel Chinamen,
and with a requiem mass!

Capitan Tiago had named Padre Irene as his executor and willed his property in part to St.
Clara, part to the Pope, to the Archbishop, the religious corporations, leaving twenty pesos for
the matriculation of poor students. This last clause had been dictated at the suggestion of Padre
Irene, in his capacity as protector of studious youths. Capitan Tiago had annulled a legacy of
twenty-five pesos that he had left to Basilio, in view of the ungrateful conduct of the boy during
the last few days, but Padre Irene had restored it and announced that he would take it upon his
own purse and conscience.

In the dead mans house, where were assembled on the following day many old friends and
acquaintances, considerable comment was indulged in over a miracle. It was reported that, at
the very moment when he was dying, the [284] soul of Capitan Tiago had appeared to the nuns
surrounded by a brilliant light. God had saved him, thanks to the pious legacies, and to the
numerous masses he had paid for. The story was commented upon, it was recounted vividly, it
took on particulars, and was doubted by no one. The appearance of Capitan Tiago was minutely
describedof course the frock coat, the cheek bulged out by the quid of buyo, without omitting
the game-cock and the opium-pipe. The senior sacristan, who was present, gravely affirmed
these facts with his head and reflected that, after death, he would appear with his cup of
white taj, for without that refreshing breakfast he could not comprehend happiness either on
earth or in heaven.

On this subject, because of their inability to discuss the events of the preceding day and
because there were gamblers present, many strange speculations were developed. They made
conjectures as to whether Capitan Tiago would invite St. Peter to a soltada, whether they would
place bets, whether the game-cocks were immortal, whether invulnerable, and in this case who
would be the referee, who would win, and so on: discussions quite to the taste of those who
found sciences, theories, and systems, based on a text which they esteem infallible, revealed or
dogmatic. Moreover, there were cited passages from novenas, books of miracles, sayings of the
curates, descriptions of heaven, and other embroidery. Don Primitivo, the philosopher, was in
his glory quoting opinions of the theologians.

Because no one can lose, he stated with great authority. To lose would cause hard feelings
and in heaven there cant be any hard feelings.

But some one has to win, rejoined the gambler Aristorenas. The fun lies in winning!

Well, both win, thats easy!

This idea of both winning could not be admitted by Aristorenas, for he had passed his life in the
cockpit and had always seen one cock lose and the other winat best, there was a tie. Vainly
Don Primitivo argued in Latin. Aristorenas shook his head, and that too when Don Primitivos
Latin was easy to understand, for he talked of an gallus talisainus, acuto tari armatus, an gallus
beati etri bulikus sasabung

us sit, and so on, until at length he decided to resort to the

argument which many use to convince and silence their opponents.

Youre going to be damned, friend Martin, youre falling into heresy! Cave ne cadas! Im not
going to play monte with you any more, and well not set up a bank together. You deny the
omnipotence of God, peccatum mortale! You deny the existence of the Holy Trinity three are
one and one is three! Take care! You indirectly deny that two natures, two understandings, and
two wills can have only one memory! Be careful!Quicumque non crederit anathema sit!

Martin Aristorenas shrank away pale and trembling, while Quiroga, who had listened with great
attention to the argument, with marked deference offered the philosopher a magnificent cigar, at
the same time asking in his caressing voice: Surely, one can make a contract for a cockpit with
Kilisto, ha? When I die, Ill be the contractor, ha?

Among the others, they talked more of the deceased; at least they discussed what kind of
clothing to put on him. Capitan Tinong proposed a Franciscan habitand fortunately, he had
one, old, threadbare, and patched, a precious object which, according to the friar who gave it to
him as alms in exchange for thirty-six pesos, would preserve the corpse from the flames of hell
and which reckoned in its support various pious anecdotes taken from the books distributed by
the curates. Although he held this relic in great esteem, Capitan Tinong was disposed to part
with it for the sake of his intimate friend, whom he had not been able to visit during his illness.
But a tailor objected, with good reason, that since the nuns had seen Capitan Tiago ascending
to heaven in a frock coat, in a frock coat he should be dressed here on earth, nor was there any
necessity for preservatives and fire-proof garments. The deceased had attended balls and
fiestas in a frock coat, and nothing else would be expected of him in the skiesand, wonderful
to relate, the tailor accidentally happened to have one ready, which he would part with for thirty-
two pesos, four cheaper than the Franciscan habit, because he didnt want to make any profit
on Capitan Tiago, who had been his customer in life and would now be his patron in heaven.
But Padre Irene, trustee and executor, rejected both proposals and ordered that the Capitan be
dressed in one of his old suits of clothes, remarking with holy unction that God paid no attention
to clothing.

The obsequies were, therefore, of the very first class. There were responsories in the house,
and in the street three friars officiated, as though one were not sufficient for such a great soul.
All the rites and ceremonies possible were performed, and it is reported that there were
even extras, as in the benefits for actors. It was indeed a delight: loads of incense were burned,
there were plenty of Latin chants, large quantities of holy water were expended, and Padre
Irene, out of regard for his old friend, sang theDies Irae in a falsetto voice from the choir, while
the neighbors suffered real headaches from so much knell-ringing.

Doa Patrocinio, the ancient rival of Capitan Tiago in religiosity, actually wanted to die on the
next day, so that she might order even more sumptuous obsequies. The pious old lady could
not bear the thought that he, whom she had long considered vanquished forever, should in
dying come forward again with so much pomp. Yes, she desired to die, and it seemed that she
could hear the exclamations of the people at the funeral: This indeed is what you call a funeral!
This indeed is to know how to die, Doa Patrocinio!

Chapter 30: Juli

The death of Capitan Tiago and Basilios imprisonment were soon reported in the province, and
to the honor of the simple inhabitants of San Diego, let it be recorded that the latter was the
incident more regretted and almost the only one discussed. As was to be expected, the report
took on different forms, sad and startling details were given, what could not be understood was
explained, the gaps being filled by conjectures, which soon passed for accomplished facts, and
the phantoms thus created terrified their own creators.

In the town of Tiani it was reported that at least, at the very least, the young man was going to
be deported and would very probably be murdered on the journey. The timorous and pessimistic
were not satisfied with this but even talked about executions and courts-martialJanuary was a
fatal month; in January the Cavite affair had occurred, and they even though curates, had been
garroted, so a poor Basilio without protectors or friends

I told him so! sighed the Justice of the Peace, as if he had at some time given advice to
Basilio. I told him so.

It was to be expected, commented Sister Penchang. He would go into the church and when
he saw that the holy water was somewhat dirty he wouldnt cross himself with it. He talked about
germs and disease, ab, its the chastisement of God! He deserved it, and he got it! As though
the holy water could transmit diseases! Quite the contrary, ab!

She then related how she had cured herself of indigestion by moistening her stomach with holy
water, at the same time reciting the Sanctus Deus, and she recommended the remedy to those
present when they should suffer from dysentery, or an epidemic occurred, only that then they
must pray in Spanish:

Santo Dis,

Santo fuerte,

Santo inmortal,

Libranos, Seor, de la peste

Y de todo mal!

Its an infallible remedy, but you must apply the holy water to the part affected, she concluded.

But there were many persons who did not believe in these things, nor did they attribute Basilios
imprisonment to the chastisement of God. Nor did they take any stock in insurrections and
pasquinades, knowing the prudent and ultra-pacific character of the boy, but preferred to
ascribe it to revenge on the part of the friars, because of his having rescued from servitude Juli,
the daughter of a tulisan who was the mortal enemy of a certain powerful corporation. As they
had quite a poor idea of the morality of that same corporation and could recall cases of petty
revenge, their conjecture was believed to have more probability and justification.

What a good thing I did when I drove her from my house! said Sister Penchang. I dont want
to have any trouble with the friars, so I urged her to find the money.

The truth was, however, that she regretted Julis liberty, for Juli prayed and fasted for her, and if
she had stayed a longer time, would also have done penance. Why, if the curates pray for us
and Christ died for our sins, couldnt Juli do the same for Sister Penchang?

When the news reached the hut where the poor Juli and her grandfather lived, the girl had to
have it repeated to her. She stared at Sister Bali, who was telling it, as though without
comprehension, without ability to collect her thoughts. Her ears buzzed, she felt a sinking at the
heart and had a vague presentiment that this event would have a disastrous influence on her
own future. Yet she tried to seize upon a ray of hope, she smiled, thinking that Sister Bali was
joking with her, a rather strong joke, to be sure, but she forgave her beforehand if she would
acknowledge that it was such. But Sister Bali made a cross with one of her thumbs and a
forefinger, and kissed it, to prove that she was telling the truth. Then the smile faded forever
from the girls lips, she turned pale, frightfully pale, she felt her strength leave her and for the
first time in her life she lost consciousness, falling into a swoon.

When by dint of blows, pinches, dashes of water, crosses, and the application of sacred palms,
the girl recovered and remembered the situation, silent tears sprang from her eyes, drop by
drop, without sobs, without laments, without complaints! She thought about Basilio, who had
had no other protector than Capitan Tiago, and who now, with the Capitan dead, was left
completely unprotected and in prison. In the Philippines it is a well-known fact that patrons are
needed for everything, from the time one is christened until one dies, in order to get justice, to
secure a passport, or to develop an industry. As it was said that his imprisonment was due to
revenge on account of herself and her father, the girls sorrow turned to desperation. Now it was
her duty to liberate him, as he had done in rescuing her from servitude, and the inner voice
which suggested the idea offered to her imagination a horrible means.

Padre Camorra, the curate, whispered the voice. Juli gnawed at her lips and became lost in
gloomy meditation.

As a result of her fathers crime, her grandfather had been arrested in the hope that by such
means the son could be made to appear. The only one who could get him his liberty was Padre
Camorra, and Padre Camorra had shown himself to be poorly satisfied with her words of
gratitude, having with his usual frankness asked for some sacrificessince which time Juli had
tried to avoid meeting him. But the curate made her kiss his hand, he twitched her nose and
patted her cheeks, he joked with her, winking and laughing, and laughing he pinched her. Juli
was also the cause of the beating the good curate had administered to some young men who
were going about the village serenading the girls. Malicious ones, seeing her pass sad and
dejected, would remark so that she might hear: If she only wished it, Cabesang Tales would be

Juli reached her home, gloomy and with wandering looks. She had changed greatly, having lost
her merriment, and no one ever saw her smile again. She scarcely spoke and seemed to be
afraid to look at her own face. One day she was seen in the town with a big spot of soot on her
forehead, she who used to go so trim and neat. Once she asked Sister Bali if the people who
committed suicide went to hell.

Surely! replied that woman, and proceeded to describe the place as though she had been

Upon Basilios imprisonment, the simple and grateful relatives had planned to make all kinds of
sacrifices to save the young man, but as they could collect among themselves no more than
thirty pesos, Sister Bali, as usual, thought of a better plan.

What we must do is to get some advice from the town clerk, she said. To these poor people,
the town clerk was what the Delphic oracle was to the ancient Greeks.

By giving him a real and a cigar, she continued, hell tell you all the laws so that your head
bursts listening to him. If you have a peso, hell save you, even though you may be at the foot of
the scaffold. When my friend Simon was put in jail and flogged for not being able to give
evidence about a robbery perpetrated near his house, ab, for two reales and a half and a string
of garlics, the town clerk got him out. And I saw Simon myself when he could scarcely walk and
he had to stay in bed at least a month. Ay, his flesh rotted as a result and he died!

Sister Balis advice was accepted and she herself volunteered to interview the town clerk. Juli
gave her four reales and added some strips of jerked venison her grand-father had got, for
Tandang Selo had again devoted himself to hunting.

But the town clerk could do nothingthe prisoner was in Manila, and his power did not extend
that far. If at least he were at the capital, then he ventured, to make a show of his authority,
which he knew very well did not extend beyond the boundaries of Tiani, but he had to maintain
his prestige and keep the jerked venison. But I can give you a good piece of advice, and it is
that you go with Juli to see the Justice of the Peace. But its very necessary that Juli go.

The Justice of the Peace was a very rough fellow, but if he should see Juli he might conduct
himself less rudelythis is wherein lay the wisdom of the advice.

With great gravity the honorable Justice listened to Sister Bali, who did the talking, but not
without staring from time to time at the girl, who hung her head with shame. People would say
that she was greatly interested in Basilio, people who did not remember her debt of gratitude,
nor that his imprisonment, according to report, was on her account.

After belching three or four times, for his Honor had that ugly habit, he said that the only person
who could save Basilio was Padre Camorra, in case he should care to do so. Here he stared
meaningly at the girl and advised her to deal with the curate in person.

You know what influence he has,he got your grand-father out of jail. A report from him is
enough to deport a new-born babe or save from death a man with the noose about his neck.

Juli said nothing, but Sister Bali took this advice as though she had read it in a novena, and was
ready to accompany the girl to the convento. It so happened that [293]she was just going there
to get as alms a scapulary in exchange for four full reales.

But Juli shook her head and was unwilling to go to the convento. Sister Bali thought she could
guess the reasonPadre Camorra was reputed to be very fond of the women and was very
frolicsomeso she tried to reassure her. Youve nothing to fear if I go with you. Havent you
read in the booklet Tandang Basio, given you by the curate, that the girls should go to the
convento, even without the knowledge of their elders, to relate what is going on at home? Ab,
that book is printed with the permission of the Archbishop!

Juli became impatient and wished to cut short such talk, so she begged the pious woman to go
if she wished, but his Honor observed with a belch that the supplications of a youthful face were
more moving than those of an old one, the sky poured its dew over the fresh flowers in greater
abundance than over the withered ones. The metaphor was fiendishly beautiful.

Juli did not reply and the two left the house. In the street the girl firmly refused to go to the
convento and they returned to their village. Sister Bali, who felt offended at this lack of
confidence in herself, on the way home relieved her feelings by administering a long
preachment to the girl.

The truth was that the girl could not take that step without damning herself in her own eyes,
besides being cursed of men and cursed of God! It had been intimated to her several times,
whether with reason or not, that if she would make that sacrifice her father would be pardoned,
and yet she had refused, in spite of the cries of her conscience reminding her of her filial duty.
Now must she make it for Basilio, her sweetheart? That would be to fall to the sound of mockery
and laughter from all creation. Basilio himself would despise her! No, never! She would first
hang herself or leap from some precipice. At any rate, she was already damned for being a
wicked daughter.

The poor girl had besides to endure all the reproaches of her relatives, who, knowing nothing of
what had passed between her and Padre Camovra, laughed at her fears. Would Padre Camorra
fix his attention upon a country girl when there were so many others in the town? Hero the good
women cited names of unmarried girls, rich and beautiful, who had been more or less
unfortunate. Meanwhile, if they should shoot Basilio?

Juli covered her ears and stared wildly about, as if seeking a voice that might plead for her, but
she saw only her grandfather, who was dumb and had his gaze fixed on his hunting-spear.

That night she scarcely slept at all. Dreams and nightmares, some funereal, some bloody,
danced before her sight and woke her often, bathed in cold perspiration. She fancied that she
heard shots, she imagined that she saw her father, that father who had done so much for her,
fighting in the forests, hunted like a wild beast because she had refused to save him. The figure
of her father was transformed and she recognized Basilio, dying, with looks of reproach at her.
The wretched girl arose, prayed, wept, called upon her mother, upon death, and there was even
a moment when, overcome with terror, if it had not been night-time, she would have run straight
to the convento, let happen what would.

With the coming of day the sad presentiments and the terrors of darkness were partly
dissipated. The light inspired hopes in her. But the news of the afternoon was terrible, for there
was talk of persons shot, so the next night was for the girl frightful. In her desperation she
decided to give herself up as soon as day dawned and then kill herself afterwardsanything,
rather than enditre such tortures! But the dawn brought new hope and she would not go to
church or even leave the house. She was afraid she would yield.

So passed several days in praying and cursing, in calling upon God and wishing for death. The
day gave her a slight respite and she trusted in some miracle. The reports that came from
Manila, although they reached there magnified, said that of the prisoners some had secured
their liberty, thanks to patrons and influence. Some one had to be sacrificedwho would it be?
Juli shuddered and returned home biting her finger-nails. Then came the night with its terrors,
which took on double proportions and seemed to be converted into realities. Juli feared to fall
asleep, for her slumbers were a continuous nightmare. Looks of reproach would flash across
her eyelids just as soon as they were closed, complaints and laments pierced her ears. She saw
her father wandering about hungry, without rest or repose; she saw Basilio dying in the road,
pierced by two bullets, just as she had seen the corpse of that neighbor who had been killed
while in the charge of the Civil Guard. She saw the bonds that cut into the flesh, she saw the
blood pouring from the mouth, she heard Basilio calling to her, Save me! Save me! You alone
can save me! Then a burst of laughter would resound and she would turn her eyes to see her
father gazing at her with eyes full of reproach. Juli would wake up, sit up on herpetate, and draw
her hands across her forehead to arrange her haircold sweat, like the sweat of death,
moistened it!

Mother, mother! she sobbed.

Meanwhile, they who were so carelessly disposing of peoples fates, he who commanded the
legal murders, he who violated justice and made use of the law to maintain himself by force,
slept in peace.

At last a traveler arrived from Manila and reported that all the prisoners had been set free, all
except Basilio, who had no protector. It was reported in Manila, added the traveler, that the
young man would be deported to the Carolines, having been forced to sign a petition
beforehand, in which he declared that he asked it voluntarily. The traveler had seen the very
steamer that was going to take him away.

This report put an end to all the girls hesitation. Besides, her mind was already quite weak from
so many nights of watching and horrible dreams. Pale and with unsteady eyes, she sought out
Sister Bali and, in a voice that was cause for alarm, told her that she was ready, asking her to
accompany her. Sister Bali thereupon rejoiced and tried to soothe her, but Juli paid no attention
to her, apparently intent only upon hurrying to the convento. She had decked herself out in her
finest clothes, and even pretended to be quite gay, talking a great deal, although in a rather
incoherent way.

So they set out. Juli went ahead, becoming impatient that her companion lagged behind. But as
they neared the town, her nervous energy began gradually to abate, she fell silent and wavered
in her resolution, lessened her pace and soon dropped behind, so that Sister Bali had to
encourage her.

Well get there late, she remonstrated.
Juli now followed, pale, with downcast eyes, which she was afraid to raise. She felt that the
whole world was staring at her and pointing its finger at her. A vile name whistled in her ears,
but still she disregarded it and continued on her way. Nevertheless, when they came in sight of
the convento, she stopped and began to tremble.

Lets go home, lets go home, she begged, holding her companion back.

Sister Bali had to take her by the arm and half drag her along, reassuring her and telling her
about the books of the friars. She would not desert her, so there was nothing to fear. Padre
Camorra had other things in mindJuli was only a poor country girl.

But upon arriving at the door of the convento, Juli firmly refused to go in, catching hold of the

No, no, she pleaded in terror. No, no, no! Have pity!

But what a fool

Sister Bali pushed her gently along, Juli, pallid and with wild features, offering resistance. The
expression of her face said that she saw death before her.

All right, lets go back, if you dont want to! at length the good woman exclaimed in irritation, as
she did not believe there was any real danger. Padre Camorra, in spite of all his reputation,
would dare do nothing before her.

Let them carry poor Basilio into exile, let them shoot him on the way, saying that he tried to
escape, she added. When hes dead, then remorse will come. But as for myself, I owe him no
favors, so he cant reproach me!

That was the decisive stroke. In the face of that reproach, with wrath and desperation mingled,
like one who rushes to suicide, Juli closed her eyes in order not to see the abyss into which she
was hurling herself and resolutely entered the convento. A sigh that sounded like the rattle of
death escaped from her lips. Sister Bali followed, telling her how to act.

That night comments were mysteriously whispered about certain events which had occurred
that afternoon. A girl had leaped from a window of the convento, falling upon some stones and
killing herself. Almost at the same time another woman had rushed out of the convento to run
through the streets shouting and screaming like a lunatic. The prudent townsfolk dared not utter
any names and many mothers pinched their daughters for letting slip expressions that might
compromise them.

Later, very much later, at twilight, an old man came from a village and stood calling at the door
of the convento, which was closed and guarded by sacristans. The old man beat the door with
his fists and with his head, while he littered cries stifled and inarticulate, like those of a dumb
person, until he was at length driven away by blows and shoves. Then he made his way to the
gobernadorcillos house, but was told that the gobernadorcillo was not there, [298] he was at the
convento; he went to the Justice of the Peace, but neither was the Justice of the Peace at
homehe had been summoned to the convento; he went to the teniente-mayor, but he too was
at the convento; he directed his steps to the barracks, but the lieutenant of the Civil Guard was
at the convento. The old man then returned to his village, weeping like a child. His wails were
heard in the middle of the night, causing men to bite their lips and women to clasp their hands,
while the dogs slunk fearfully back into the houses with their tails between their legs.

Ah, God, God! said a poor woman, lean from fasting, in Thy presence there is no rich, no
poor, no white, no blackThou wilt grant us justice!

Yes, rejoined her husband, just so that God they preach is not a pure invention, a fraud! They
themselves are the first not to believe in Him.
At eight oclock in the evening it was rumored that more than seven friars, proceeding from
neighboring towns, were assembled in the convento to hold a conference. On the following day,
Tandang Selo disappeared forever from the village, carrying with him his hunting-spear.

Chapter 31. The High Official

LEspagne et sa, vertu, lEspagne et sa grandeur
Tout sen va!Victor Hugo

The newspapers of Manila were so engrossed in accounts of a notorious murder committed
in Europe, in panegyrics and puffs for various preachers in the city, in the constantly increasing
success of the French operetta, that they could scarcely devote space to the crimes perpetrated
in the provinces by a band of tulisanes headed by a fierce and terrible leader who was
Only when the object of the attack was a convento or a Spaniard there then
appeared long articles giving frightful details and asking for martial law, energetic measures,
and so on. So it was that they could take no notice of what had occurred in the town of Tiani,
nor was there the slightest hint or allusion to it. In private circles something was whispered, but
so confused, so vague, and so little consistent, that not even the name of the victim was known,
while those who showed the greatest interest forgot it quickly, trusting that the affair had been
settled in some way with the wronged family. The only one who knew anything certain was
Padre Camorra, who had to leave the town, to be transferred to another or to remain for some
time in the convento in Manila.

Poor Padre Camorra! exclaimed Ben-Zayb in a fit of generosity. He was so jolly and had such
a good heart!

It was true that the students had recovered their liberty, [300]thanks to the exertions of their
relatives, who did not hesitate at expense, gifts, or any sacrifice whatsoever. The first to see
himself free, as was to be expected, was Makaraig, and the last Isagani, because Padre
Florentine did not reach Manila until a week after the events. So many acts of clemency secured
for the General the title of clement and merciful, which Ben-Zayb hastened to add to his long list
of adjectives.

The only one who did not obtain his liberty was Basilio, since he was also accused of having in
his possession prohibited books. We dont know whether this referred to his text-book on legal
medicine or to the pamphlets that were found, dealing with the Philippines, or both together
the fact is that it was said that prohibited literature was being secretly sold, and upon the
unfortunate boy fell all the weight of the rod of justice.

It was reported that his Excellency had been thus advised: Its necessary that there be some
one, so that the prestige of authority may be sustained and that it may not be said that we made
a great fuss over nothing. Authority before everything. Its necessary that some one be made an
example of. Let there be just one, one who, according to Padre Irene, was the servant of
Capitan Tiagotherell be no one to enter a complaint

Servant and student? asked his Excellency. That fellow, then! Let it be he!

Your Excellency will pardon me, observed the high official, who happened to be present, but
Ive been told that this boy is a medical student and his teachers speak well of him. If he
remains a prisoner hell lose a year, and as this year he finishes

The high officials interference in behalf of Basilio, instead of helping, harmed him. For some
time there had been between this official and his Excellency strained relations and bad feelings,
augmented by frequent clashes.

Yes? So much the greater reason that he should be kept prisoner; a year longer in his studies,
instead of injuring [301]him, will do good, not only to himself but to all who afterwards fall into his
hands. One doesnt become a bad physician by extensive practise. So much the more reason
that he should remain! Soon the filibustering reformers will say that we are not looking out for
the country! concluded his Excellency with a sarcastic laugh.

The high official realized that he had made a false move and took Basilios case to heart. But it
seems to me that this young man is the most innocent of all, he rejoined rather timidly.
Books have been seized in his possession, observed the secretary.

Yes, works on medicine and pamphlets written by Peninsulars, with the leaves uncut, and
besides, what does that signify? Moreover, this young man was not present at the banquet in
the pansitera, he hasnt mixed up in anything. As Ive said, hes the most innocent

So much the better! exclaimed his Excellency jocosely. In that way the punishment will prove
more salutary and exemplary, since it inspires greater terror. To govern is to act in this way, my
dear sir, as it is often expedient to sacrifice the welfare of one to the welfare of many. But Im
doing morefrom the welfare of one will result the welfare of all, the principle of endangered
authority is preserved, prestige is respected and maintained. By this act of mine Im correcting
my own and other peoples faults.

The high official restrained himself with an effort and, disregarding the allusion, decided to take
another tack. But doesnt your Excellency fear theresponsibility?

What have I to fear? rejoined the General impatiently. Havent I discretionary powers? Cant I
do what I please for the better government of these islands? What have I to fear? Can some
menial perhaps arraign me before the tribunals and exact from me responsibility? Even though
he had the means, he would have to consult the Ministry first, and the Minister[302]

He waved his hand and burst out into laughter.

The Minister who appointed me, the devil knows where he is, and he will feel honored in being
able to welcome me when I return. The present one, I dont even think of him, and the devil take
him too! The one that relieves him will find himself in so many difficulties with his new duties that
he wont be able to fool with trifles. I, my dear sir, have nothing over me but my conscience, I act
according to my conscience, and my conscience is satisfied, so I dont care a straw for the
opinions of this one and that. My conscience, my dear sir, my conscience!

Yes, General, but the country

Tut, tut, tut, tut! The countrywhat have I to do Avith the country? Have I perhaps contracted
any obligations to it? Do I owe my office to it? Was it the country that elected me?

A brief pause ensued, during which the high official stood with bowed head. Then, as if reaching
a decision, he raised it to stare fixedly at the General. Pale and trembling, he said with
repressed energy: That doesnt matter, General, that doesnt matter at all! Your Excellency has
not been chosen by the Filipino people, but by Spain, all the more reason why you should treat
the Filipinos well so that they may not be able to reproach Spain. The greater reason, General,
the greater reason! Your Excellency, by coming here, has contracted the obligation to govern
justly, to seek the welfare

Am I not doing it? interrupted his Excellency in exasperation, taking a step forward. Havent I
told you that I am getting from the good of one the good of all? Are you now going to give me
lessons? If you dont understand my actions, how am I to blame? Do I compel you to share my

Certainly not, replied the high official, drawing himself up proudly. Your Excellency does not
compel me, your Excellency cannot compel me, me, to share your responsibility. I understand
mine in quite another way, [303]and because I have it, Im going to speakIve held my peace a
long time. Oh, your Excellency neednt make those gestures, because the fact that Ive come
here in this or that capacity doesnt mean that I have given up my rights, that I have been
reduced to the part of a slave, without voice or dignity.

I dont want Spain to lose this beautiful empire, these eight millions of patient and submissive
subjects, who live on hopes and delusions, but neither do I wish to soil my hands in their
barbarous exploitation. I dont wish it ever to be said that, the slave-trade abolished, Spain has
continued to cloak it with her banner and perfect it under a wealth of specious institutions. No, to
be great Spain does not have to be a tyrant, Spain is sufficient unto herself, Spain was greater
when she had only her own territory, wrested from the clutches of the Moor. I too am a
Spaniard, but before being a Spaniard I am a man, and before Spain and above Spain is her
honor, the lofty principles of morality, the eternal principles of immutable justice! Ah, you are
surprised that I think thus, because you have no idea of the grandeur of the Spanish name, no,
you havent any idea of it, you identify it with persons and interests. To you the Spaniard may be
a pirate, he may be a murderer, a hypocrite, a cheat, anything, just so he keep what he has
but to me the Spaniard should lose everything, empire, power, wealth, everything, before his
honor! Ah, my dear sir, we protest when we read that might is placed before right, yet we
applaud when in practise we see might play the hypocrite in not only perverting right but even in
using it as a tool in order to gain control. For the very reason that I love Spain, Im speaking
now, and I defy your frown!

I dont wish that the coming ages accuse Spain of being the stepmother of the nations, the
vampire of races, the tyrant of small islands, since it would be a horrible mockery of the noble
principles of our ancient kings. How are we carrying out their sacred legacy? They promised to
these [304]islands protection and justice, and we are playing with the lives and liberties of the
inhabitants; they promised civilization, and^we are curtailing it, fearful that they may aspire to a
nobler existence; they promised them light, and we cover their eyes that they may not witness
our orgies; they promised to teach them virtue and we are encouraging their vice. Instead of
peace, wealth, and justice, confusion reigns, commerce languishes, and skepticism is fostered
among the masses.

Let us put ourselves in the place of the Filipinos and ask ourselves what we would do in their
place. Ah, in your silence I read their right to rebel, and if matters do not mend they will rebel
some day, and justice will be on their side, with them will go the sympathy of all honest men, of
every patriot in the world! When a people is denied light, home, liberty, and justicethings that
are essential to life, and therefore mans patrimonythat people has the right to treat him who
so despoils it as we would the robber who intercepts us on the highway. There are no
distinctions, there are no exceptions, nothing but a fact, a right, an aggression, and every
honest man who does not place himself on the side of the wronged makes himself an
accomplice and stains his conscience.

True, I am not a soldier, and the years are cooling the little fire in my blood, but just as I would
risk being torn to pieces to defend the integrity of Spain against any foreign invader or against
an unjustified disloyalty in her provinces, so I also assure you that I would place myself beside
the oppressed Filipinos, because I would prefer to fall in the cause of the outraged rights of
humanity to triumphing with the selfish interests of a nation, even when that nation be called as
it is calledSpain!

Do you know when the mail-boat leaves? inquired his Excellency coldly, when the high official
had finished speaking.

The latter stared at him fixedly, then dropped his head and silently left the palace.[305]
Outside he found his carriage awaiting him. Some day when you declare yourselves
independent, he said somewhat abstractedly to the native lackey who opened the carriage-
door for him, remember that there were not lacking in Spain hearts that beat for you and
struggled for your rights!

Where, sir? asked the lackey, who had understood nothing of this and was inquiring whither
they should go.

Two hours later the high official handed in his resignation and announced his intention of
returning to Spain by the next mail-steamer.[306]

Chapter 32. Effect of the Pasquinades

As a result of the events narrated, many mothers ordered their sons immediately to leave off
their studies and devote themselves to idleness or to agriculture. When the examinations came,
suspensions were plentiful, and he was a rare exception who finished the course, if he had
belonged to the famous association, to which no one paid any more attention. Pecson, Tadeo,
and Juanito Pelaez were all alike suspendedthe first receiving his dismissal with his foolish
grin and declaring his intention of becoming an officer in some court, while Tadeo, with his
eternal holiday realized at last, paid for an illumination and made a bonfire of his books. Nor did
the others get off much better, and at length they too had to abandon their studies, to the great
satisfaction of their mothers, who always fancy their sons hanged if they should come to
understand what the books teach. Juanito Pelaez alone took the blow ill, since it forced him to
leave school for his fathers store, with whom he was thenceforward to be associated in the
business: the rascal found the store much less entertaining, but after some time his friends
again noticed his hump appear, a symptom that his good humor was returning. The rich
Makaraig, in view of the catastrophe, took good care not to expose himself, and having secured
a passport by means of money set out in haste for Europe. It was said that his Excellency, the
Captain-General, in his desire to do good by good means, and careful of the interests of the
Filipinos, hindered the departure of every one who could not first prove substantially that he had
the money to spend and could live in idleness in European cities. Among our[307]acquaintances
those who got off best were Isagani and Sandoval: the former passed in the subject he studied
under Padre Fernandez and was suspended in the others, while the latter was able to confuse
the examining-board with his oratory.

Basilio was the only one who did not pass in any subject, who was not suspended, and who did
not go to Europe, for he remained in Bilibid prison, subjected every three days to examinations,
almost always the same in principle, without other variation than a change of inquisitors, since it
seemed that in the presence of such great guilt all gave up or fell away in horror. And while the
documents moldered or were shifted about, while the stamped papers increased like the
plasters of an ignorant physician on the body of a hypochondriac, Basilio became informed of all
the details of what had happened in Tiani, of the death of Juli and the disappearance of
Tandang Selo. Sinong, the abused cochero, who had driven him to San Diego, happened to be
in Manila at that time and called to give him all the news.

Meanwhile, Simoun had recovered his health, or so at least the newspapers said. Ben-Zayb
rendered thanks to the Omnipotent who watches over such a precious life, and manifested the
hope that the Highest would some day reveal the malefactor, whose crime remained
unpunished, thanks to the charity of the victim, who was too closely following the words of the
Great Martyr: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. These and other things Ben-
Zayb said in print, while by mouth he was inquiring whether there was any truth in the rumor that
the opulent jeweler was going to give a grand fiesta, a banquet such as had never before been
seen, in part to celebrate his recovery and in part as a farewell to the country in which he had
increased his fortune. It was whispered as certain that Simoun, who would have to leave with
the Captain-General, whose command expired in May, was making every effort to secure from
Madrid an extension, [308]and that he was advising his Excellency to start a campaign in order
to have an excuse for remaining, but it was further reported that for the first time his Excellency
had disregarded the advice of his favorite, making it a point of honor not to retain for a single
additional day the power that had been conferred upon him, a rumor which encouraged belief
that the fiesta announced would take place; very soon. For the rest, Simoun remained
unfathomable, since he had become very uncommunicative, showed himself seldom, and
smiled mysteriously when the rumored fiesta was mentioned.

Come, Seor Sindbad, Ben-Zayb had once rallied him, dazzle us with something Yankee!
You owe something to this country.

Doubtless! was Simouns response, with a dry smile.

Youll throw the house wide open, eh?

Maybe, but as I have no house

You ought to have secured Capitan Tiagos, which Seor Pelaez got for nothing.

Simoun became silent, and from that time on he was often seen in the store of Don Timoteo
Pelaez, with whom it was said he had entered into partnership. Some weeks afterward, in the
month of April, it was rumored that Juanito Pelaez, Don Timoteos son, was going to marry
Paulita Gomez, the girl coveted by Spaniards and foreigners.
Some men are lucky! exclaimed other envious merchants. To buy a house for nothing, sell his
consignment of galvanized iron well, get into partnership with a Simoun, and marry his son to a
rich heiressjust say if those arent strokes of luck that all honorable men dont have!

If you only knew whence came that luck of Seor Pelaezs! another responded, in a tone
which indicated that the speaker did know. Its also assured that therell be a fiesta and on a
grand scale, was added with mystery.

It was really true that Paulita was going to marry [309]Juanito Pelaez. Her love for Isagani had
gradually waned, like all first loves based on poetry and sentiment. The events of the
pasquinades and the imprisonment of the youth had shorn him of all his charms. To whom
would it have occurred to seek danger, to desire to share the fate of his comrades, to surrender
himself, when every one was hiding and denying any complicity in the affair? It was quixotic, it
was madness that no sensible person in Manila could pardon, and Juanito was quite right in
ridiculing him, representing what a sorry figure he cut when he went to the Civil Government.
Naturally, the brilliant Paulita could no longer love a young man who so erroneously understood
social matters and whom all condemned. Then she began to reflect. Juanito was clever,
capable, gay, shrewd, the son of a rich merchant of Manila, and a Spanish mestizo besidesif
Don Timoteo was to be believed, a full-blooded Spaniard. On the other hand, Isagani was a
provincial native who dreamed of forests infested with leeches, he was of doubtful family, with a
priest for an uncle, who would perhaps be an enemy to luxury and balls, of which she was very
fond. One beautiful morning therefore it occurred to her that she had been a downright fool to
prefer him to his rival, and from that time on Pelaezs hump steadily increased. Unconsciously,
yet rigorously, Paulita was obeying the law discovered by Darwin, that the female surrenders
herself to the fittest male, to him who knows how to adapt himself to the medium in which he
lives, and to live in Manila there was no other like Pelaez, who from his infancy had had
chicanery at his finger-tips. Lent passed with its Holy Week, its array of processions and
pompous displays, without other novelty than a mysterious mutiny among the artillerymen, the
cause of which was never disclosed. The houses of light materials were torn down in the
presence of a troop of cavalry, ready to fall upon the owners in case they should offer
resistance. There was a great deal of weeping and many lamentations, but the affair did not get
beyond that. The curious, among [310]them Simoun, went to see those who were left homeless,
walking about indifferently and assuring each other that thenceforward they could sleep in

Towards the end of April, all the fears being now forgotten, Manila was engrossed with one
topic: the fiesta that Don Timoteo Pelaez was going to celebrate at the wedding of his son, for
which the General had graciously and condescendingly agreed to be the patron. Simoun was
reported to have arranged the matter. The ceremony would be solemnized two days before the
departure of the General, who would honor the house and make a present to the bridegroom. It
was whispered that the jeweler would pour out cascades of diamonds and throw away handfuls
of pearls in honor of his partners son, thus, since he could hold no fiesta of his own, as he was
a bachelor and had no house, improving the opportunity to dazzle the Filipino people with a
memorable farewell. All Manila prepared to be invited, and never did uneasiness take stronger
hold of the mind than in view of the thought of not being among those bidden. Friendship with
Simoun became a matter of dispute, and many husbands were forced by their wives to
purchase bars of steel and sheets of galvanized iron in order to make friends with Don Timoteo

Chapter 33. La Ultima Razn

At last the great day arrived. During the morning Simoun had not left his house, busied as he
was in packing his arms and his jewels. His fabulous wealth was already locked up in the big
steel chest with its canvas cover, there remaining only a few cases containing bracelets and
pins, doubtless gifts that he meant to make. He was going to leave with the Captain-General,
who cared in no way to lengthen his stay, fearful of what people would say. Malicious ones
insinuated that Simoun did not dare remain alone, since without the Generals support he did
not care to expose himself to the vengeance of the many wretches he had exploited, all the
more reason for which was the fact that the General who was coming was reported to be a
model of rectitude and might make him disgorge his gains. The superstitious Indians, on the
other hand, believed that Simoun was the devil who did not wish to separate himself from his
prey. The pessimists winked maliciously and said, The field laid waste, the locust leaves for
other parts! Only a few, a very few, smiled and said nothing.

In the afternoon Simoun had given orders to his servant that if there appeared a young man
calling himself Basilio he should be admitted at once. Then he shut himself up in his room and
seemed to become lost in deep thought. Since his illness the jewelers countenance had
become harder and gloomier, while the wrinkles between his eyebrows had [312]deepened
greatly. He did not hold himself so erect as formerly, and his head was bowed.

So absorbed was he in his meditations that he did not hear a knock at the door, and it had to be
repeated. He shuddered and called out, Come in!

It was Basilio, but how altered! If the change that had taken place in Simoun during those two
months was great, in the young student it was frightful. His cheeks were hollow, his hair
unkempt, his clothing disordered. The tender melancholy had disappeared from his eyes, and in
its place glittered a dark light, so that it might be said that he had died and his corpse had
revived, horrified with what it had seen in eternity. If not crime, then the shadow of crime, had
fixed itself upon his whole appearance. Simoun himself was startled and felt pity for the wretch.
Without any greeting Basilio slowly advanced into the room, and in a voice that made the
jeweler shudder said to him, Seor Simoun, Ive been a wicked son and a bad brotherIve
overlooked the murder of one and the tortures of the other, and God has chastised me! Now
there remains to me only one desire, and it is to return evil for evil, crime for crime, violence for

Simoun listened in silence, while Basilio continued; Four months ago you talked to me about
your plans. I refused to take part in them, but I did wrong, you have been right. Three months
and a half ago the revolution was on the point of breaking out, but I did not then care to
participate in it, and the movement failed. In payment for my conduct Ive been arrested and
owe my liberty to your efforts only. You are right and now Ive come to say to you: put a weapon
in my hand and let the revolution come! I am ready to serve you, along with all the rest of the

The cloud that had darkened Simouns brow suddenly disappeared, a ray of triumph darted from
his eyes, and like one who has found what he sought he exclaimed: Im right, yes, Im right!
Right and Justice are on my side, because [313]my cause is that of the persecuted. Thanks,
young man, thanks! Youve come to clear away my doubts, to end my hesitation.

He had risen and his face was beaming. The zeal that had animated him when four months
before he had explained his plans to Basilio in the wood of his ancestors reappeared in his
countenance like a red sunset after a cloudy day.

Yes, he resumed, the movement failed and many have deserted me because they saw me
disheartened and wavering at the supreme moment. I still cherished something in my heart, I
was not the master of all my feelings, I still loved! Now everything is dead in me, no longer is
there even a corpse sacred enough for me to respect its sleep. No longer will there be any
vacillation, for you yourself, an idealistic youth, a gentle dove, understand the necessity and
come to spur me to action. Somewhat late you have opened your eyes, for between you and me
together we might have executed marvelous plans, I above in the higher circles spreading death
amid perfume and gold, brutalizing the vicious and corrupting or paralyzing the few good, and
you below among the people, among the young men, stirring them to life amid blood and tears.
Our task, instead of being bloody and barbarous, would have been holy, perfect, artistic, and
surely success would have crowned our efforts. But no intelligence would support me, I
encountered fear or effeminacy among the enlightened classes, selfishness among the rich,
simplicity among the youth, and only in the mountains, in the waste places, among the outcasts,
have I found my men. But no matter now! If we cant get a finished statue, rounded out in all its
details, of the rough block we work upon let those to come take charge!

Seizing the arm of Basilio, who was listening without comprehending all he said, he led him to
the laboratory where he kept his chemical mixtures. Upon the table was placed a large case
made of dark shagreen, similar to those [314]that hold the silver plate exchanged as gifts
among the rich and powerful. Opening this, Simoun revealed to sight, upon a bottom of red
satin, a lamp of very peculiar shape, Its body was in the form of a pomegranate as large as a
mans head, with fissures in it exposing to view the seeds inside, which were fashioned of
enormous carnelians. The covering was of oxidized gold in exact imitation of the wrinkles on the

Simoun took it out with great care and, removing the burner, exposed to view the interior of the
tank, which was lined with steel two centimeters in thickness and which had a capacity of over a
liter. Basilio questioned him with his eyes, for as yet he comprehended nothing. Without
entering upon explanations, Simoun carefully took from a cabinet a flask and showed the young
man the formula written upon it.

Nitro-glycerin! murmured Basilio, stepping backward and instinctively thrusting his hands
behind him. Nitro-glycerin! Dynamite! Beginning now to understand, he felt his hair stand on

Yes, nitro-glycerin! repeated Simoun slowly, with his cold smile and a look of delight at the
glass flask. Its also something more than nitro-glycerinits concentrated tears, repressed
hatred, wrongs, injustice, outrage. Its the last resort of the weak, force against force, violence
against violence. A moment ago I was hesitating, but you have come and decided me. This
night the most dangerous tyrants will be blown to pieces, the irresponsible rulers that hide
themselves behind God and the State, whose abuses remain unpunished because no one can
bring them to justice. This night the Philippines will hear the explosion that will convert into
rubbish the formless monument whose decay I have fostered.

Basilio was so terrified that his lips worked without producing any sound, his tongue was
paralyzed, his throat parched. For the first time he was looking at the powerful liquid which he
had heard talked of as a thing distilled [315]in gloom by gloomy men, in open war against
society. Now he had it before him, transparent and slightly yellowish, poured with great caution
into the artistic pomegranate. Simoun looked to him like the jinnee of the Arabian Nights that
sprang from the sea, he took on gigantic proportions, his head touched the sky, he made the
house tremble and shook the whole city with a shrug of his shoulders. The pomegranate
assumed the form of a colossal sphere, the fissures became hellish grins whence escaped
names and glowing cinders. For the first time in his life Basilio was overcome with fright and
completely lost his composure.

Simoun, meanwhile, screwed on solidly a curious and complicated mechanism, put in place a
glass chimney, then the bomb, and crowned the whole with an elegant shade. Then he moved
away some distance to contemplate the effect, inclining his head now to one side, now to the
other, thus better to appreciate its magnificent appearance.

Noticing that Basilio was watching him with questioning and suspicious eyes, he said, Tonight
there will be a fiesta and this lamp will be placed in a little dining-kiosk that Ive had constructed
for the purpose. The lamp will give a brilliant light, bright enough to suffice for the illumination of
the whole place by itself, but at the end of twenty minutes the light will fade, and then when
some one tries to turn up the wick a cap of fulminate of mercury will explode, the pomegranate
will blow up and with it the dining-room, in the roof and floor of which I have concealed sacks of
powder, so that no one shall escape.

There wras a moments silence, while Simoun stared at his mechanism and Basilio scarcely

So my assistance is not needed, observed the young man.

No, you have another mission to fulfill, replied Simoun thoughtfully. At nine the mechanism
will have exploded and the report will have been heard in the country round, in the mountains, in
the caves. The uprising that I had arranged with the artillerymen was a failure from lack [316]of
plan and timeliness, but this time it wont be so. Upon hearing the explosion, the wretched and
the oppressed, those who wander about pursued by force, will sally forth armed to join
Cabesang Tales in Santa Mesa, whence they will fall upon the city,
while the soldiers, whom I
have made to believe that the General is shamming an insurrection in order to remain, will issue
from their barracks ready to fire upon whomsoever I may designate. Meanwhile, the cowed
populace, thinking that the hour of massacre has come, will rush out prepared to kill or be killed,
and as they have neither arms nor organization, you with some others will put yourself at their
head and direct them to the warehouses of Quiroga, where I keep my rifles. Cabesang Tales
and I will join one another in the city and take possession of it, while you in the suburbs will
seize the bridges and throw up barricades, and then be ready to come to our aid to butcher not
only those opposing the revolution but also every man who refuses to take up arms and join us.

All? stammered Basilio in a choking voice.

All! repeated Simoun in a sinister tone. AllIndians, mestizos, Chinese, Spaniards, all who
are found to be without courage, without energy. The race must be renewed! Cowardly fathers
will only breed slavish sons, and it wouldnt be worth while to destroy and then try to rebuild with
rotten materials. What, do you shudder? Do you tremble, do you fear to scatter death? What is
death? What does a hecatomb of twenty thousand wretches signify? Twenty thousand miseries
less, and millions of wretches saved from birth! The most timid ruler does not [317]hesitate to
dictate a law that produces misery and lingering death for thousands and thousands of
prosperous and industrious subjects, happy perchance, merely to satisfy a caprice, a whim, his
pride, and yet you shudder because in one night are to be ended forever the mental tortures of
many helots, because a vitiated and paralytic people has to die to give place to another, young,
active, full of energy!

What is death? Nothingness, or a dream? Can its specters be compared to the reality of the
agonies of a whole miserable generation? The needful thing is to destroy the evil, to kill the
dragon and bathe the new people in the blood, in order to make it strong and invulnerable. What
else is the inexorable law of Nature, the law of strife in which the weak has to succumb so that
the vitiated species be not perpetuated and creation thus travel backwards? Away then with
effeminate scruples! Fulfill the eternal laws, foster them, and then the earth will be so much the
more fecund the more it is fertilized with blood, and the thrones the more solid the more they
rest upon crimes and corpses. Let there be no hesitation, no doubtings! What is the pain of
death? A momentary sensation, perhaps confused, perhaps agreeable, like the transition from
waking to sleep. What is it that is being destroyed? Evil, sufferingfeeble weeds, in order to set
in their place luxuriant plants. Do you call that destruction? I should call it creating, producing,
nourishing, vivifying!

Such bloody sophisms, uttered with conviction and coolness, overwhelmed the youth,
weakened as he was by more than three months in prison and blinded by his passion for
revenge, so he was not in a mood to analyze the moral basis of the matter. Instead of replying
that the worst and cowardliest of men is always something more than a plant, because he has a
soul and an intelligence, which, however vitiated and brutalized they may be, can be redeemed;
instead of replying that man has no right to dispose of one life for the benefit of another, that the
right to life is inherent in every individual like the right to liberty and to [318]light; instead of
replying that if it is an abuse on the part of governments to punish in a culprit the faults and
crimes to which they have driven him by their own negligence or stupidity, how much more so
would it be in a man, however great and however unfortunate he might be, to punish in a
wretched people the faults of its governments and its ancestors; instead of declaring that God
alone can use such methods, that God can destroy because He can create, God who holds in
His hands recompense, eternity, and the future, to justify His acts, and man never; instead of
these reflections, Basilio merely interposed a cant reflection.

What will the world say at the sight of such butchery?

The world will applaud, as usual, conceding the right of the strongest, the most violent! replied
Simoun with his cruel smile. Europe applauded when the western nations sacrificed millions of
Indians in America, and not by any means to found nations much more moral or more pacific:
there is the North with its egotistic liberty, its lynch-law, its political fraudsthe South with its
turbulent republics, its barbarous revolutions, civil wars, pronunciamientos, as in its mother
Spain! Europe applauded when the powerful Portugal despoiled the Moluccas, it applauds while
England is destroying the primitive races in the Pacific to make room for its emigrants. Europe
will applaud as the end of a drama, the close of a tragedy, is applauded, for the vulgar do not fix
their attention on principles, they look only at results. Commit the crime well, and you will be
admired and have more partizans than if you had carried out virtuous actions with modesty and

Exactly, rejoined the youth, what does it matter to me, after all, whether they praise or
censure, when this world takes no care of the oppressed, of the poor, and of weak womankind?
What obligations have I to recognize toward society when it has recognized none toward me?
Thats what I like to hear, declared the tempter triumphantly. [319]He took a revolver from a
case and gave it to Basilio, saying, At ten oclock wait for me in front of the church of St.
Sebastian to receive my final instructions. Ah, at nine you must be far, very far from Calle

Basilio examined the weapon, loaded it, and placed it in the inside pocket of his coat, then took
his leave with a curt, Ill see you later.[320]

Chapter 34: The Wedding

Once in the street, Basilio began to consider how he might spend the time until the fatal hour
arrived, for it was then not later than seven oclock. It was the vacation period and all the
students were back in their towns, Isagani being the only one who had not cared to leave, but
he had disappeared that morning and no one knew his whereaboutsso Basilio had been
informed when after leaving the prison he had gone to visit his friend and ask him for lodging.
The young man did not know where to go, for he had no money, nothing but the revolver. The
memory of the lamp filled his imagination, the great catastrophe that would occur within two
hours. Pondering over this, he seemed to see the men who passed before his eyes walking
without heads, and he felt a thrill of ferocious joy in telling himself that, hungry and destitute, he
that night was going to be dreaded, that from a poor student and servant, perhaps the sun
would see him transformed into some one terrible and sinister, standing upon pyramids of
corpses, dictating laws to all those who were passing before his gaze now in magnificent
carriages. He laughed like one condemned to death and patted the butt of the revolver. The
boxes of cartridges were also in his pockets.

A question suddenly occurred to himwhere would the drama begin? In his bewilderment he
had not thought of asking Simoun, but the latter had warned him to keep away from Calle
Anloague. Then came a suspicion: that afternoon, upon leaving the prison, he had proceeded to
the former house of Capitan Tiago to get his few personal effects and had found it transformed,
prepared for a fiesta the wedding of Juanito Pelaez! Simoun had spoken of a fiesta.

At this moment he noticed passing in front of him a long line of carriages filled with ladies and
gentlemen, conversing in a lively manner, and he even thought he could make out big bouquets
of flowers, but he gave the detail no thought. The carriages were going toward Calle Rosario
and in meeting those that came down off the Bridge of Spain had to move along slowly and stop
frequently. In one he saw Juanito Pelaez at the side of a woman dressed in white with a
transparent veil, in whom he recognized Paulita Gomez.

Paulita! he ejaculated in surprise, realizing that it was indeed she, in a bridal gown, along with
Juanito Pelaez, as though they were just coming from the church. Poor Isagani! he murmured,
what can have become of him?

He thought for a while about his friend, a great and generous soul, and mentally asked himself if
it would not be well to tell him about the plan, then answered himself that Isagani would never
take part in such a butchery. They had not treated Isagani as they had him.

Then he thought that had there been no imprisonment, he would have been betrothed, or a
husband, at this time, a licentiate in medicine, living and working in some corner of his province.
The ghost of Juli, crushed in her fall, crossed his mind, and dark flames of hatred lighted his
eyes; again he caressed the butt of the revolver, regretting that the terrible hour had not yet
come. Just then he saw Simoun come out of the door of his house, carrying in his hands the
case containing the lamp, carefully wrapped up, and enter a carriage, which then followed those
bearing the bridal party. In order not to lose track of Simoun, Basilio took a good look at the
cochero and with astonishment recognized in him the wretch who had driven him to San Diego,
Sinong, the fellow maltreated by the Civil Guard, the same who had come to the prison to tell
him about the occurrences in Tiani.

Conjecturing that Calle Anloague was to be the scene of action, thither the youth directed his
steps, hurrying forward and getting ahead of the carriages, which were, in fact, all moving
toward the former house of Capitan Tiagothere they were assembling in search of a ball, but
actually to dance in the air! Basilio smiled when he noticed the pairs of civil-guards who formed
the escort, and from their number he could guess the importance of the fiesta and the guests.
The house overflowed with people and poured floods of light from its windows, the entrance was
carpeted and strewn with flowers. Upstairs there, perhaps in his former solitary room, an
orchestra was playing lively airs, which did not completely drown the confused tumult of talk and

Don Timoteo Pelaez was reaching the pinnacle of fortune, and the reality surpassed his
dreams. He was, at last, marrying his son to the rich Gomez heiress, and, thanks to the money
Simoun had lent him, he had royally furnished that big house, purchased for half its value, and
was giving in it a splendid fiesta, with the foremost divinities of the Manila Olympus for his
guests, to gild him with the light of their prestige. Since that morning there had been recurring to
him, with the persistence of a popular song, some vague phrases that he had read in the
communion service. Now has the fortunate hour come! Now draws nigh the happy moment!
Soon there will be fulfilled in you the admirable words of SimounI live, and yet not I alone, but
the Captain-General liveth in me. The Captain-General the patron of his son! True, he had not
attended the ceremony, where Don Custodio had represented him, but he would come to dine,
he would bring a wedding-gift, a lamp which not even Aladdinsbetween you and me, Simoun
was presenting the lamp. Timoteo, what more could you desire?

The transformation that Capitan Tiagos house had undergone was considerableit had been
richly repapered, while the smoke and the smell of opium had been completely eradicated. The
immense sala, widened still more by the colossal mirrors that infinitely multiplied the lights of the
chandeliers, was carpeted throughout, for the salons of Europe had carpets, and even though
the floor was of wide boards brilliantly polished, a carpet it must have too, since nothing should
be lacking. The rich furniture of Capitan Tiago had disappeared and in its place was to be seen
another kind, in the style of Louis XV. Heavy curtains of red velvet, trimmed with gold, with the
initials of the bridal couple worked on them, and upheld by garlands of artificial orange-
blossoms, hung as portires and swept the floor with their wide fringes, likewise of gold. In the
corners appeared enormous Japanese vases, alternating with those of Svres of a clear dark-
blue, placed upon square pedestals of carved wood.

The only decorations not in good taste were the screaming chromos which Don Timoteo had
substituted for the old drawings and pictures of saints of Capitan Tiago. Simoun had been
unable to dissuade him, for the merchant did not want oil-paintingssome one might ascribe
them to Filipino artists! He, a patron of Filipino artists, never! On that point depended his peace
of mind and perhaps his life, and he knew how to get along in the Philippines! It is true that he
had heard foreign painters mentionedRaphael, Murillo, Velasquezbut he did not know their
addresses, and then they might prove to be somewhat seditious. With the chromos he ran no
risk, as the Filipinos did not make them, they came cheaper, the effect was the same, if not
better, the colors brighter and the execution very fine. Dont say that Don Timoteo did not know
how to comport himself in the Philippines!

The large hallway was decorated with flowers, having been converted into a dining-room, with a
long table for thirty persons in the center, and around the sides, pushed against the walls, other
smaller ones for two or three persons each. Bouquets of flowers, pyramids of fruits among
ribbons and lights, covered their centers. The grooms place was designated by a bunch of
roses and the brides by another of orange-blossoms and tuberoses. In the presence of so
much finery and flowers one could imagine that nymphs in gauzy garments and Cupids with
iridescent wings were going to serve nectar and ambrosia to aerial guests, to the sound of lyres
and Aeolian harps.

But the table for the greater gods was not there, being placed yonder in the middle of the wide
azotea within a magnificent kiosk constructed especially for the occasion. A lattice of gilded
wood over which clambered fragrant vines screened the interior from the eyes of the vulgar
without impeding the free circulation of air to preserve the coolness necessary at that season. A
raised platform lifted the table above the level of the others at which the ordinary mortals were
going to dine and an arch decorated by the best artists would protect the august heads from the
jealous gaze of the stars.

On this table were laid only seven plates. The dishes were of solid silver, the cloth and napkins
of the finest linen, the wines the most costly and exquisite. Don Timoteo had sought the most
rare and expensive in everything, nor would he have hesitated at crime had he been assured
that the Captain-General liked to eat human flesh.

Chapter 35: The Fiesta

Simoun discreetly yet nonchalantly places the lamp at the center of the house where the guests
are gathered. Basilio watches him from a distance. As the youth is about to leave the place, he
sees Isagani and tries to convince his friend to leave. Basilio tells him to get as far away from
the house as possible, and explains that there is about to be an explosion any minute that would
kill all the guests and everyone within a considerable distance. Isagani, in a rare act of love and
loyalty to his beloved Paulita, quickly rushes to the house and throws the lamp into the river
below, stopping the explosion.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What does Mane Thacel hares mean?
Answer: Just like the title, Noli Me Tangere, this is taken from the Bible (Daniel 5:25-28). In
these verses, King Belshazzar of Babylon holds a vulgar feast. While the guests indulge
themselves in indecent and salacious activities, a hand then writes majestically on the wall:
Mane, Mane, Thacel, Upharsin, a warning that means, The Almighty God has marked
Babylon, and the days of this city are numbered. Not long after, Babylon is overcome by
another kingdom and divided between Mane and Persia.

Question: Why is it that adre Salvi alone is able to recognize Ibarras signature?
Answer: He is the only one who has seen Ibarras signature in the letter written by the youth to
Maria Clara, which the lady had given to the friar in exchange for the three letters her mother
had written to Padre Damaso.

Question: Why doesnt the lamp explode?
Answer: The crank intended to set the fuse isnt set. This is supposed to set off the explosion.

Question: How does Isagani enter the house without question?
Answer: Isagani is decently and elegantly dressed. The guards think he is one of the guests
invited to the wedding feast.

Chapter 36: Ben Zayb's Afflictions

From Capitan Tiagos house, Ben Zayb runs to his abode to write about the shocking events
that have transpired. In his writing, he makes the governor-general, Padre Irene, Don Custodio,
and Padre Salvi look like heroes. He also wishes the governor-general a safe
journey. Meanwhile, the governor-general prohibits anyone from talking about the events that
have taken place at the wedding celebration of Paulita and Juanito Pelaez. According to rumors,
a band of thieves had attacked a friars house. The robbers who are caught describe to the
authorities the man who supposedly ordered them to attack the town after the signal is
given. Their description indisputably leads to Simoun.

Points of Note:
In this chapter Rizal gives light to the false and biased method of delivering news during those

This is the first time that Simouns disguise is compromised. This is the first time that he is
suspected. All the clues lead to him and all the fingers are pointing at him.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: According to Ben Zayb, why did Padre Irene rush to hide under the table when the
man who grabbed the lamp barged into the room?
Answer: According to him, the priest did it to get out of the way of the men who were chasing
the youth. The truth: The friar hid because of fear. That was when he saw the pack of
gunpowder hidden underneath the table.

Question: According to Ben Zayb, what had caused Padre Salvi to faint?
Answer: According to him, the friar fainted because his sermon to the Indiyos had been in
vain. After he had given a long, drawn-out speech about goodness and kindness to others,
there were still Indiyos who did nothing but evil.

Question: What had been adre Carmorras punishment for raping Juli in Tiyani?
Answer: He was sent away. He was made to stay in the rest house of the priests in Pasig.

Chapter 37: The Mystery

People are huddled indoors after the aborted revolution and the discovery of the gunpowder-
filled house along Anloague Street, and are wondering who are behind the plot.

You find yourself in the home of the affluent Orenda family somewhere in Santa Cruz, along the
road dotted by jewel shops. Among the characters are Chichoy (the thin silversmith), who
seems to be able to get chismis data from various people, and who feeds these one at a time to
an increasingly fearful crowd.

Isagani, Sensia, Capitana Loleng, Capitan Toringoy, and Chichoy discuss the events of the
previous night. Chichoy says that Simoun the jeweler is the mastermind behind all that had
transpired, and that he was responsible for plotting to kill all the guests at the wedding
feast. Chichoy also adds that the lamp was supposed to start the fire, ignite the gunpowder,
and set off the explosion.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why did Isaganis friends put him into hiding?
Answer: There were rumors going around that Isagani was responsible for putting the
gunpowder in Capitan Tiagos house to get back at Juanito for taking Paulita away. This,
however, was not true. Eventually it was proven that Simoun was the person behind it all.

Question: Why couldnt the trouble at the house of Don Timoteo and Simouns connection to it
be kept a secret from the people?
Answer: There were workers, government officials, and witnesses on the night of the
feast. News has wings; the ground has ears.

Question: Prove that Isagani was the one who took the lamp and threw it into the river.
a. He was the one who had last corresponded with Basilio, and the only other person who had
known the purpose of the lamp.
b. He said, If the thief had only known the true objective of that explosion, or if he had only
taken a moment to think it over he would not have done such a thing! His words, If I were to
be paid a price any price at all I would never consent to be in the shoes of that thief! clearly
separate his two conflicting sides: the Isagani who had loved Paulita to death, and the Isagani
who now regrets the failed plan of sweet revenge. From what he says, it is clear that he now
regrets throwing the lamp into the river.

Chapter 38: A Twist of Fate (Sawimpalad)

You'll learn about how the lives of certain characters are met with a string of bad luck. What
makes it even more painfully poignant is that their misfortune is brought about by their own
hand, or by their own doing.

We learn that the bandit Matanglawin (Kabesang Tales) has attacked several places in Luzon.
He murdered the justice of the peace in the town of Tiani, burned some places to the ground,
and hopped from province to province. He moves about freely: sometimes he's in Batangas,
next he's in Cavite, and is soon spotted in Tayabas, Pangasinan, or in far-away Bicol.

He always manages to evade the Spanish authorities. In their frustration, the guardia civil
apprehend about six or seven innocent farmers after a recent attack by Matanglawin.
Here's how they mistreat the farmers

They make the Filipino farmers walk (hatless and barefoot) under the glare of the noonday sun
during the blistering summer month of May. The farmers are bound to one another, their elbows
tied behind their backs. They cannot even wipe the sweat that stings their eyes.

When one of the farmers falls (due to hunger or fatigue, or both), the entire group is whipped.
Those who are still standing break into a run, and end up dragging their fallen comrades along
the rocky dry soil.

Mautang, one of the sadistic Filipino guardia civil, relishes the scene. He is countered by
another soldier, a more even-tempered Carolinian named Tano. Mautang explains that he
wants to goad the prisoners into escaping, so that the guardia civil would finally have a reason
to shoot the fugitives down.

One of the farmers says that these Filipino guards are more cruel than their Spanish
counterparts, when he is not allowed to relieve his full bladder. The guards explained that they
were not in a safe area, because they were surrounded by tall mountains. Typical ambush
scenario, so you know what's coming next

A shot is fired. Mautang is hit in the chest, blood spurts out of his mouth.

The cabo or superior of the soldiers points to the farmers and orders his men to shoot them.

Fuego! The farmers are gunned down.

The guardia civil rush up the mountain while being fired upon by the hidden ambushers.

A man appears in the talampas, or plateau of the mountain, and waves his gun.

Tano is ordered by the cabo, or head of the guardia civil, to shoot the man, after the three other
soldiers failed to kill the shouting man. No one could understand what the man was shouting.

Tano is surprised when he sees the man. He hesitates. The cabo points his gun to the
sharpshooter Tano, and once again orders him to shoot. Tano follows the order, the man falls
and rolls away from the plateau. He shouts something, which stuns Tano.

The bandits run away, and the guardia civil rush up the mountain. Another man appears in the
plateau, and raises his spear. The soldiers gun him down.

A guardia civil finally reaches the top of the mountain, sees a dying old man, and bayonets him.
The old man does not even wince. He just looks at Tano and points to an area behind the

Key Points
At that time, people were already aware of the prison in cold Siberia, Russia (the Soviet Union).
Rizal wanted to paint a harsher scene, where Filipino prisoners are subjected to intense heat
and cruelty.

Rizal also uses this chapter to point out the stupidity and cruelty of the Filipino guardia civil.
(Actually, this tends to happen when people are placed in situations where you have prisoners
and guards. No matter what your nationality is, if you play the role of a prison guard there's a
pretty high possibility that you will turn sadistic.)

Tano is called Carolino because he served in the Carolinas or Caroline Islands.

This poignant chapter can be compared with the Noli Me Tangere's Noche Buena. It talks
about families separating in times of adversity, and reuniting in tragedy. The twist of fate or irony
(parikala) is shown when Tano ends up killing his own father, Kabesang Tales.

Questions and Answers
1. Why did Matanglawin kill the judge in Tiani? That judge ruled that the Dominicans owned the
land of Kabesang Tales.

2. Why was Kabesang Tales successful as a bandit? Since the indios were not allowed to bear
arms or carry weapons, they simply left their village whenever they heard that Matanglawin was
attacking a nearby village.

3. What did the banditry of Kabesang Tales accomplish? Just as Simoun planned, the
Philippines suffered even more. People lived in fear, farmlands were left unproductive,
businesses failed, the destabilized government was shown to be inept, injustice was done to the
innocent farmers
In other words, all that made the country ripe for a revolution.

4. Why were the guardia civil treating the prisoners inhumanely? Mautang wanted to tempt the
prisoners into fighting or escaping, and that would give the soldiers a reason to shoot the

5. Why do you think Rizal named this character Mautang? That's the Tagalog word which
means deep in debt.

6. Who was Tandang Selo pointing out to Tano? Tandang Selo was the old man who was
bayoneted by one of the guardia civil. He was pointing to a spot behind the plateau where
Kabesang Tales was felled by the bullet of Tano. If you remember, the bandits scampered away
after Tano shot a man.

7. What was Kabesang Tales shouting before he got shot? We can only guess. Perhaps he was
shouting the name of his son, Tano.
(How's that for drama, eh? If Rizal were to write teleseryes today, would the Filipino viewing
public patronize stories with sad endings?)

Chapter 39 (Conclusion)

Simoun, wounded and exhausted, goes to the house of Padre Florentino to hide from the civil
guards who are sent to arrest him and take him into custody. Simoun drinks a poison, then
reveals his true identity to Padre Florentino that he, Simoun the jeweler, is in fact Juan
Crisostomo Ibarra, the fugitive believed to have died in the river years ago. He admits that
everything is his futile attempt to corrupt the government and the society so that he could start a
revolution to free the country from the bonds of Spain. Padre Florentino corrects Simoun, telling
him that freedom cannot be won by violence and the shedding of innocent blood but by proper
education, hard work, and long-suffering.

Points of Note:

Both the last chapter of the Noli and the last chapter of the El Fili are untitled.

The sun is about to set when Simoun reveals his true identity and life story to Padre Florentino.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why did Simoun go to Padre Florentino?
Answer: Simoun felt that the priest was the one who could understand him more than anyone

Question: What could have caused Simouns wounds?
Answer: He could have gotten it from the tulisanes who thought they were being played again
by Simoun in the jewelers plan to revolt. Read what Padre Florentino says: --- from the hands
of those you urged you have been given punishment for your wrongs.

Question: What was the mystery behind Simouns sad and cynical smile when he learned he
was to be arrested that night?
Answer: He has made up his mind to end his own life.

The three disappointments in the life of Simoun happened when: (1) Simoun failed to save
Maria Clara, (2) Simoun's lack of care in certain events, and (3) someone removed the lamp
from the house, and thus foiled the plans of Simoun.

On the question of whether God allows evil in the world, Padre Florentino (similar to Balagtas)
simply says that evil is "just there."