“How tender the man is!” exclaimed Tadeo with emotion.
“Well?” said Sandoval. “I don’t see anything wrong about this—quite the reverse!”
“Yes,” rejoined Makaraig with his bitter smile, “decided favorably! I’ve just seen Padre Irene.”
“What does Padre Irene say?” inquired Pecson.
“The same as Don Custodio, and the rascal still had the audacity to congratulate me. The Commission, which has taken as its own the decision of the arbiter, approves the idea and felicitates the students on their patriotism and their thirst for knowledge—”
“Only that, considering our duties—in short, it says that in order that the idea may not be lost, it concludes that the direction and execution of the plan should be placed in charge of one of the religious corporations, in case the Dominicans do not wish to incorporate the academy with the University.”
Exclamations of disappointment greeted the announcement. Isagani rose, but said nothing.
“And in order that we may participate in the management of the academy,” Makaraig went on, “we are intrusted with the collection of contributions and dues, with the obligation of turning them over to the treasurer whom the corporation may designate, which treasurer will issue us receipts.”
“Then we’re tax-collectors!” remarked Tadeo.
“Sandoval,” said Pecson, “there’s the gauntlet—take it up!”
“Huh! That’s not a gauntlet—from its odor it seems more like a sock.”
“The funniest, part of it,” Makaraig added, “is that Padre Irene has advised us to celebrate the event with a banquet or a torchlight procession—a public demonstration of the students en masse to render thanks to all the persons who have intervened in the affair.”
“Yes, after the blow, let’s sing and give thanks. Super flumina Babylonis sedimus!”
“Yes, a banquet like that of the convicts,” said Tadeo.
“A banquet at which we all wear mourning and deliver funeral orations,” added Sandoval.
“A serenade with the Marseillaise and funeral marches,” proposed Isagani.
“No, gentlemen,” observed Pecson with his clownish grin, “to celebrate the event there’s nothing like a banquet in a pansiteria, served by the Chinamen without camisas. I insist, without camisas!”
The sarcasm and grotesqueness of this idea won it ready acceptance, Sandoval being the first to applaud it, for he had long wished to see the interior of one of those establishments which at night appeared to be so merry and cheerful.
Just as the orchestra struck up for the second act, the young men arose and left the theater, to the scandal of the whole house.