<div id="d0e6637" class="div1"><span class="pagenum">
</span><h2 class="label">Chapter XXXVIII</h2>
<p>At nightfall, when all the lanterns in the windows had been lighted, for the fourth time the procession started amid the ringing
of bells and the usual explosions of bombs. The Captain-General, who had gone out on foot in company with his two aides, Capitan
Tiago, the alcalde, the alferez, and Ibarra, preceded by civil-guards and officials who opened the way and cleared the street,
was invited to review the procession from the house of the gobernadorcillo, in front of which a platform had been erected
where a <i>loa</i><SPAN id="d0e6646src" href="#d0e6646" class="noteref">1</SPAN> would be recited in honor of the Blessed Patron.
<p><SPAN id="d0e6667"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6667">295</SPAN>]</span>Ibarra would gladly have renounced the pleasure of hearing this poetical composition, preferring to watch the procession from
Capitan Tiago’s house, where Maria Clara had remained with some of her friends, but his Excellency wished to hear the <i>loa</i>, so he had no recourse but to console himself with the prospect of seeing her at the theater.
<p>The procession was headed by the silver candelabra borne by three begloved sacristans, behind whom came the school children
in charge of their teacher, then boys with paper lanterns of varied shapes and colors placed on the ends of bamboo poles of
greater or less length and decorated according to the caprice of each boy, since this illumination was furnished by the children
of the barrios, who gladly performed this service, imposed by the <i>matanda sa nayon</i>,<SPAN id="d0e6677src" href="#d0e6677" class="noteref">2</SPAN> each one designing and fashioning his own lantern, adorning it as his fancy prompted and his finances permitted with a greater
or less number of frills and little streamers, and lighting it with a piece of candle if he had a friend or relative who was
a sacristan, or if he could buy one of the small red tapers such as the Chinese burn before their altars.
<p>In the midst of the crowd came and went alguazils, guardians of justice to take care that the lines were not broken and the
people did not crowd together. For this purpose they availed themselves of their rods, with blows from which, administered
opportunely and with sufficient force, they endeavored to add to the glory and brilliance of the procession—all for the edification
of souls and the <SPAN id="d0e6682"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6682">296</SPAN>]</span>splendor of religious show. At the same time that the alguazils were thus distributing free their sanctifying blows, other
persons, to console the recipients, distributed candles and tapers of different sizes, also free.
<p>“Señor Alcalde,” said Ibarra in a low voice, “do they administer those blows as a punishment for sin or simply because they
like to do so?”
<p>“You’re right, Señor Ibarra,” answered the Captain-General, overhearing the question. “This barbarous sight is a wonder to
all who come here from other countries. It ought to be forbidden.”
<p>Without any apparent reason, the first saint that appeared was <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> John the Baptist. On looking at him it might have been said that the fame of Our Savior’s cousin did not amount to much among
the people, for while it is true that he had the feet and legs of a maiden and the face of an anchorite, yet he was placed
on an old wooden <i>andas</i>, and was hidden by a crowd of children who, armed with candles and unlighted lanterns, were engaging in mock fights.
<p>“Unfortunate saint!” muttered the Sage Tasio, who was watching the procession from the street, “it avails you nothing to have
been the forerunner of the Good Tidings or that Jesus bowed before you! Your great faith and your austerity avail you nothing,
nor the fact that you died for the truth and your convictions, all of which men forget when they consider nothing more than
their own merits. It avails more to preach badly in the churches than to be the eloquent voice crying in the desert, this
is what the Philippines teaches you! If you had eaten turkey instead of locusts and had worn garments of silk rather than
hides, if you had joined a Corporation—”
<p>But the old man suspended his apostrophe at the approach of <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> Francis. “Didn’t I say so?” he then went on, smiling sarcastically. “This one rides on a ear, and, good Heavens, what a car!
How many lights and how many glass lanterns! Never did I see you surrounded by so <SPAN id="d0e6703"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6703">297</SPAN>]</span>many luminaries, Giovanni Bernardone!<SPAN id="d0e6705src" href="#d0e6705" class="noteref">3</SPAN> And what music! Other tunes were heard by your followers after your death! But, venerable and humble founder, if you were
to come back to life now you would see only degenerate Eliases of Cortona, and if your followers should recognize you, they
would put you in jail, and perhaps you would share the fate of Cesareus of Spyre.”
<p>After the music came a banner on which was pictured the same saint, but with seven wings, carried by the Tertiary Brethren
dressed in <i>guingón</i> habits and praying in high, plaintive voices. Rather inexplicably, next came <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> Mary Magdalene, a beautiful image with abundant hair, wearing a pañuelo of embroidered piña held by fingers covered with
rings, and a silk gown decorated with gilt spangles. Lights and incense surrounded her while her glass tears reflected the
colors of the Bengal lights, which, while giving a fantastic appearance to the procession, also made the saintly sinner weep
now green, now red, now blue tears. The houses did not begin to light up until <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> Francis was passing; <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> John the Baptist did not enjoy this honor and passed hastily by as if ashamed to be the only one dressed in hides in such
a crowd of folk covered with gold and jewels.
<p>“There goes our saint!” exclaimed the daughter of the gobernadorcillo to her visitors. “I’ve lent him all my rings, but that’s
in order to get to heaven.”
<p>The candle-bearers stopped around the platform to listen to the <i>loa</i> and the blessed saints did the same; either they or their bearers wished to hear the verses. Those who were carrying <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> John, tired of waiting, squatted down on their heels and agreed to set him on the ground.
<p>“The alguazil may scold!” objected one of them.
<p>“Huh, in the sacristy they leave him in a corner among the cobwebs!”
<p><SPAN id="d0e6740"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6740">298</SPAN>]</span>So <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> John, once on the ground, became one of the townsfolk.
<p>As the Magdalene set out the women joined the procession, only that instead of beginning with the children, as among the men,
the old women came first and the girls filled up the lines to the car of the Virgin, behind which came the curate under his
canopy. This practise they had from Padre Damaso, who said: “To the Virgin the maidens and not the old women are pleasing!”
This statement had caused wry faces on the part of many saintly old ladies, but the Virgin did not change her tastes.
<p>San Diego followed the Magdalene but did not seem to be rejoicing over this fact, since he moved along as repentantly as he
had in the morning when he followed <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> Francis. His float was drawn by six Tertiary Sisters—whether because of some vow or on account of some sickness, the fact
is that they dragged him along, and with zeal. San Diego stopped in front of the platform and waited to be saluted.
<p>But it was necessary to wait for the float of the Virgin, which was preceded by persons dressed like phantoms, who frightened
the little children so that there were heard the cries and screams of terrified babies. Yet in the midst of that dark mass
of gowns, hoods, girdles, and nuns’ veils, from which arose a monotonous and snuffling prayer, there were to be seen, like
white jasmines or fresh sampaguitas among old rags, twelve girls dressed in white, crowned with flowers, their hair curled,
and flashing from their eyes glances as bright as their necklaces. Like little genii of light who were prisoners of specters
they moved along holding to the wide blue ribbons tied to the Virgin’s car and suggesting the doves that draw the car of Spring.
<p>Now all the images were in attitudes of attention, crowded one against the other to listen to the verses. Everybody kept his
eyes fixed on the half-drawn curtain until at length a sigh of admiration escaped from the lips of all. Deservedly <SPAN id="d0e6756"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6756">299</SPAN>]</span>so, too, for it was a boy with wings, riding-boots, sash, belt, and plumed hat.
<p>“It’s the alcalde!” cried some one, but this prodigy of creation began to recite a poem like himself and took no offense at
<p>But why record here what he said in Latin, Tagalog, and Spanish, all in verse—this poor victim of the gobernadorcillo? Our
readers have enjoyed Padre Damaso’s sermon of the morning and we do not wish to spoil them by too many wonders. Besides, the
Franciscan might feel hard toward us if we were to put forward a competitor, and this is far from being the desire of such
peaceful folk as we have the good fortune to be.
<p>Afterwards, the procession moved on, <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> John proceeding along his vale of tears. When the Virgin passed the house of Capitan Tiago a heavenly song greeted her with
the words of the archangel. It was a voice tender, melodious, pleading, sighing out the <i>Ave Maria</i> of Gounod to the accompaniment of a piano that prayed with it. The music of the procession became hushed, the praying ceased,
and even Padre Salvi himself paused. The voice trembled and became plaintive, expressing more than a salutation—rather a prayer
and a protest.
<p>Terror and melancholy settled down upon Ibarra’s heart as he listened to the voice from the window where he stood. He comprehended
what that suffering soul was expressing in a song and yet feared to ask himself the cause of such sorrow. Gloomy and thoughtful,
he turned to the Captain-General.
<p>“You will join me at the table,” the latter said to him. “There we’ll talk about those boys who disappeared.”
<p>“Could I be the cause?” murmured the young man, staring without seeing the Captain-General, whom he was following mechanically.
<SPAN id="d0e6776"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6776">300</SPAN>]</span></p>
<p class="footnote"><span class="label"><SPAN id="d0e6646" href="#d0e6646src" class="noteref">1</SPAN></span> A metrical discourse for a special occasion or in honor of some distinguished personage. Padre Zuñiga (<i>Estadismo</i>, Chap. III) thus describes one heard by him in Lipa, Batangas, in 1800, on the occasion of General Alava’s visit to that
place: “He who is to recite the <i>loa</i> is seen in the center of the stage dressed as a Spanish cavalier, reclining in a chair as if asleep, while behind the scenes
musicians sing a lugubrious chant in the vernacular. The sleeper awakes and shows by signs that he thinks he has heard, or
dreamed of hearing, some voice. He again disposes himself to sleep, and the chant is repeated in the same lugubrious tone.
Again he awakes, rises, and shows that he has heard a voice. This scene is repeated several times, until at length he is persuaded
that the voice is announcing the arrival of the hero who is to be eulogized. He then commences to recite his <i>loa</i>, carrying himself like a clown in a circus, while he sings the praises of the person in whose honor the fiesta has been arranged.
This <i>loa</i>, which was in rhetorical verse in a diffuse style suited to the Asiatic taste, set forth the general’s naval expeditions
and the honors he had received from the King, concluding with thanks and acknowledgment of the favor that he had conferred
in passing through their town and visiting such poor wretches as they. There were not lacking in it the wanderings of Ulysses,
the journeys of Aristotle, the unfortunate death of Pliny, and other passages from ancient history, which they delight in
introducing into their stories. All these passages are usually filled with fables touching upon the marvelous, such as the
following, which merit special <SPAN id="d0e6660"></SPAN><span class="pagenum">[<SPAN href="#d0e6660">295n</SPAN>]</span>notice: of Aristotle it was said that being unable to learn the depth of the sea he threw himself into its waves and was drowned,
and of Pliny that he leaped into Vesuvius to investigate the fire within the volcano. In the same way other historical accounts
are confused. I believe that these <i>loas</i> were introduced by the priests in former times, although the fables with which they abound would seem to offer an objection
to this opinion, as nothing is ever told in them that can be found in the writings of any European author; still they appear
to me to have been suited to the less critical taste of past centuries. The verses are written by the natives, among whom
there are many poets, this art being less difficult in Tagalog than in any other language.”—TR.
<p class="footnote"><span class="label"><SPAN id="d0e6677" href="#d0e6677src" class="noteref">2</SPAN></span> “The old man of the village,” patriarch.—TR.
<p class="footnote"><span class="label"><SPAN id="d0e6705" href="#d0e6705src" class="noteref">3</SPAN></span> The secular name of <span class="abbr" title="Saint"><abbr title="Saint">St.</abbr></span> Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order.—TR.