The Reign of Greed eBook

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

The guards climbed on nimbly, with bayonets fixed ready for a hand-to-hand fight.  Carolino alone moved forward reluctantly, with a wandering, gloomy look, the cry of the man struck by his bullet still ringing in his ears.  The first to reach the spot found an old man dying, stretched out on the rock.  He plunged his bayonet into the body, but the old man did not even wink, his eyes being fixed on Carolino with an indescribable gaze, while with his bony hand he pointed to something behind the rock.

The soldiers turned to see Caroline frightfully pale, his mouth hanging open, with a look in which glimmered the last spark of reason, for Carolino, who was no other than Tano, Cabesang Tales’ son, and who had just returned from the Carolines, recognized in the dying man his grandfather, Tandang Selo.  No longer able to speak, the old man’s dying eyes uttered a whole poem of grief—­and then a corpse, he still continued to point to something behind the rock.



In his solitary retreat on the shore of the sea, whose mobile surface was visible through the open, windows, extending outward until it mingled with the horizon, Padre Florentino was relieving the monotony by playing on his harmonium sad and melancholy tunes, to which the sonorous roar of the surf and the sighing of the treetops of the neighboring wood served as accompaniments.  Notes long, full, mournful as a prayer, yet still vigorous, escaped from the old instrument.  Padre Florentino, who was an accomplished musician, was improvising, and, as he was alone, gave free rein to the sadness in his heart.

For the truth was that the old man was very sad.  His good friend, Don Tiburcio de Espadana, had just left him, fleeing from the persecution of his wife.  That morning he had received a note from the lieutenant of the Civil Guard, which ran thus: 

MY DEAR CHAPLAIN,—­I have just received from the commandant a telegram that says, “Spaniard hidden house Padre Florentino capture forward alive dead.”  As the telegram is quite explicit, warn your friend not to be there when I come to arrest him at eight tonight.



    Burn this note.

“T-that V-victorina!” Don Tiburcio had stammered.  “S-she’s c-capable of having me s-shot!”

Padre Florentino was unable to reassure him.  Vainly he pointed out to him that the word cojera should have read cogera, [77] and that the hidden Spaniard could not be Don Tiburcio, but the jeweler Simoun, who two days before had arrived, wounded and a fugitive, begging for shelter.  But Don Tiburcio would not be convinced—­cojera was his own lameness, his personal description, and it was an intrigue of Victorina’s to get him back alive or dead, as Isagani had written from Manila.  So the poor Ulysses had left the priest’s house to conceal himself in the hut of a woodcutter.

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The Reign of Greed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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