The Reign of Greed eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about The Reign of Greed.

But in that struggle Florentine received a wound from which he never recovered.  Weeks before his first mass the woman he loved, in desperation, married a nobody—­a blow the rudest he had ever experienced.  He lost his moral energy, life became dull and insupportable.  If not his virtue and the respect for his office, that unfortunate love affair saved him from the depths into which the regular orders and secular clergymen both fall in the Philippines.  He devoted himself to his parishioners as a duty, and by inclination to the natural sciences.

When the events of seventy-two occurred, [9] he feared that the large income his curacy yielded him would attract attention to him, so, desiring peace above everything, he sought and secured his release, living thereafter as a private individual on his patrimonial estate situated on the Pacific coast.  He there adopted his nephew, Isagani, who was reported by the malicious to be his own son by his old sweetheart when she became a widow, and by the more serious and better informed, the natural child of a cousin, a lady in Manila.

The captain of the steamer caught sight of the old priest and insisted that he go to the upper deck, saying, “If you don’t do so, the friars will think that you don’t want to associate with them.”

Padre Florentino had no recourse but to accept, so he summoned his nephew in order to let him know where he was going, and to charge him not to come near the upper deck while he was there.  “If the captain notices you, he’ll invite you also, and we should then be abusing his kindness.”

“My uncle’s way!” thought Isagani.  “All so that I won’t have any reason for talking with Dona Victorina.”

CHAPTER III

LEGENDS

    Ich weiss nicht was soil es bedeuten
    Dass ich so traurig bin!

When Padre Florentino joined the group above, the bad humor provoked by the previous discussion had entirely disappeared.  Perhaps their spirits had been raised by the attractive houses of the town of Pasig, or the glasses of sherry they had drunk in preparation for the coming meal, or the prospect of a good breakfast.  Whatever the cause, the fact was that they were all laughing and joking, even including the lean Franciscan, although he made little noise and his smiles looked like death-grins.

“Evil times, evil times!” said Padre Sibyla with a laugh.

“Get out, don’t say that, Vice-Rector!” responded the Canon Irene, giving the other’s chair a shove.  “In Hongkong you’re doing a fine business, putting up every building that—­ha, ha!”

“Tut, tut!” was the reply; “you don’t see our expenses, and the tenants on our estates are beginning to complain—­”

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The Reign of Greed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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