“Yes, he made himself a partner in order to strike the blow and kill all the Spaniards.”
“Aha!” cried Sensia. “Now I understand!”
“You didn’t want to believe Aunt Tentay. Simoun is the devil and he has bought up the souls of all the Spaniards. Aunt Tentay said so!”
Capitana Loleng crossed herself and looked uneasily toward the jewels, fearing to see them turn into live coals, while Capitan Toringoy took off the ring which had come from Simoun.
“Simoun has disappeared without leaving any traces,” added Chichoy. “The Civil Guard is searching for him.”
“Yes,” observed Sensia, crossing herself, “searching for the devil.”
Now many things were explained: Simoun’s fabulous wealth and the peculiar smell in his house, the smell of sulphur. Binday, another of the daughters, a frank and lovely girl, remembered having seen blue flames in the jeweler’s house one afternoon when she and her mother had gone there to buy jewels. Isagani listened attentively, but said nothing.
“So, last night—” ventured Momoy.
“Last night?” echoed Sensia, between curiosity and fear.
Momoy hesitated, but the face Sensia put on banished his fear. “Last night, while we were eating, there was a disturbance, the light in the General’s dining-room went out. They say that some unknown person stole the lamp that was presented by Simoun.”
“A thief? One of the Black Hand?”
Isagani arose to walk back and forth.
“Didn’t they catch him?”
“He jumped into the river before anybody recognized him. Some say he was a Spaniard, some a Chinaman, and others an Indian.”
“It’s believed that with the lamp,” added Chichoy, “he was going to set fire to the house, then the powder—”
Momoy again shuddered but noticing that Sensia was watching him tried to control himself. “What a pity!” he exclaimed with an effort. “How wickedly the thief acted. Everybody would have been killed.”
Sensia stared at him in fright, the women crossed themselves, while Capitan Toringoy, who was afraid of politics, made a move to go away.
Momoy turned to Isagani, who observed with an enigmatic smile: “It’s always wicked to take what doesn’t belong to you. If that thief had known what it was all about and had been able to reflect, surely he wouldn’t have done as he did.”
Then, after a pause, he added, “For nothing in the world would I want to be in his place!”
So they continued their comments and conjectures until an hour later, when Isagani bade the family farewell, to return forever to his uncle’s side.