The Reign of Greed eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 419 pages of information about The Reign of Greed.
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 Pelaez.



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 General’s 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 jeweler’s countenance had become harder and gloomier, while the wrinkles between his eyebrows had 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, “Senor Simoun, I’ve been a wicked son and a bad brother—­I’ve 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 violence!”

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The Reign of Greed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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