“That’s what I like to hear,” declared the tempter triumphantly. He took a revolver from a case and gave it to Basilio, saying, “At ten o’clock 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 Anloague.”
Basilio examined the weapon, loaded it, and placed it in the inside pocket of his coat, then took his leave with a curt, “I’ll see you later.”
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 o’clock. 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 whereabouts—so 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 him—where 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?”