Posted by cool_ambo on October 22nd, 2013 | 0 comments
(As the Rayadillo General continues his story, it would be fair to warn the readers that while history suggests that this story is factual, it still remains as a product of my imagination. In other words, this narrative is not to be taken as the gospel truth in history. There is no need to break in the National Archives to verify that what I write is true. There is no existing proof to be found in writing, anyway. And since this story has been handed down several times over, something has to be amiss as regards the truth in this. Should you be bothered by what you read, just consider the events portrayed in this as mere possibilities.
A second warning though, since this is a product of my mental faculties, anybody or any group using these events and possibilities for commercial purposes may be found guilty of copyright infringement. This story was published so many years earlier than today. This idea is mine.
And again I say, consider the possibilities.)
The Rayadillo General approached the garetta and lit from the horse with a bound, leaving my grandfather to lead the horse away. He went straight to where his aquiline nose was pointed, which he knew beforehand that it was his appointed place for the afternoon. Without losing a stride, he unbuckled his shoulder strap and threw on a bamboo-slatted ledge his sword, scabbard, holster, and hat in one swoop. He then took out one of the last American cigarettes he had, struck a match to it and sang, “Ho-ose can you see, by the Don’s early light, what so proudly we hey….”, only to be stopped by the loud eherms, and coughs and ehems of the 43-odd people stocking the garetta. Pleasantly surprised, the General was amazed to discover that this symphony of coughs could actually come together in one note and in one beat if given the chance, like this instance.
The General’s Story
“Rizal was a Chinese mestizo,” he blurted out, “and that was his undoing”. That stopped everybody in their tracks, and pretty soon, their disbelief turned to arguments and discussions among themselves. After all, these were inopportune times for anybody to be Chinese or to have a Chinese lineage, much less be adored as a hero like Rizal. The General took these moments to muse about his becoming a general by Aguinaldo’s choice for the reason that he had known the good Doctor Pepe Rizal, and that he was able to translate Rizal’s two books impromptu to groups of listeners at any given instant.
“Another thing that was his undoing was his manner of nodding to people, European style.” This last statement did not sink in to the people, but it made them stop to listen.
“The good doctor was an eye doctor, but he practised general medicine to the poor, most specially to the poor. That was my cue to go to him for medical consultation, not because destitution applied to me, but because he was starting to be famous as a doctor of all sorts. He conducted me to his room, a makeshift treatment room, and called me Panyero, so I called him Panyero, too. This started us to converse in Spanish and lo, he speaks the language like a Spanish Don. He looked at my complaint, the wart-like lump over my left wrist, for which, without a moment’s hesitation, he reached for soap and proceeded to wash it with warm water. After drying it, he took out a bottle wherein some very fine needles on wooden handles and soaked in brownish liquid. He proceeded to stick these needles around the lump. Everytime he does, that portion of my wrist became numb. After a while, he took out a razor and cauterized the lump. There was excessive bleeding but he had bandages ready.
All the time he was talking incessantly about his two books. I had to listen because I was still too woozy to go. And then he talked about a change in the government. He was not in favor of it. He stressed that we are not ready for a change in government. There are not enough learned people to take over the government, especially with this kind of corruption all over. The religious orders are much too influential with the throne of Spain and the Pope. It will be very bloody for our people who has not handled nor even seen weapons of war. We do not have the right leaders. Most of all, our people are still unawares of what they will be fighting for. They are still ignorant of what is happening. Our people must first understand what they will fight for, and then get the funds to sustain a fight. Till that time, let us hope the Spanish Cortes will realize that reforms are very much needed. Or else the country would just be jumping from the frying pan into the fire if there be an armed uprising.
He gave me two books wrapped in red paper. He said that the second book tells of the futility of an insurrection when undertaken before that time when the message from the first book is understood. But the people must learn fast. And I must explain to them thru these books, he cautioned as he slipped a small phial of the brown liquid in my coat pocket to kill the pain. He said that by his training as an eye doctor he is able to make people see things clearer. But he prayed that he could make people see more than these things.
On my way out I met a heavy-set woman with sensuous, tear-bound eyes. Unmistakably European, and her wide hat flicked as we nodded a greeting to each other. She was with an old man, presumably her father and patient of Doctor Pepe.
When I returned to him the next week, he dressed my wound and we talked at length about the books. It seemed that the first book caused much stir in Europe. The second book is now considered a call to arms. This will get him into trouble. He said he came back so that he will intentionally get into trouble so as to put more drama to wake the people. The nostalgia is killing him, anyway.
The first book, he admitted, was easier to write because he merely recounts what transpired in his life and some other people’s lives. This gave rise to the topic of Elias. He told me he found such a man around town, but he regretted killing Elias in the first book because now it would have been a better story if Elias saw the dawn break even for a little bit before he died. He said he tried to create another Elias in his second book but he was engrossed in the student population so he dropped the idea. All the while he insisted that his purpose was to stir up the people to ask for reforms, but he would not mind if the people broke some Frayle’s legs or so. Besides, an insurrection would have given him positive proof that the people have understood his message. Maybe a little protest will do. Still, he dreaded most the uprising of the people with some guillotine in mind. He did not want to be remembered for starting a reign of terror in the country.
The exact character, which he stereotyped as Elias, was found sitting on a pew in church one Sunday. It was at this point of his story that the Doctor got up to warm a pot for the two of us to partake. It appeared that he knew I was coming in the morning so he personally roasted and ground some cacao beans and peanuts to make tsokolate espanol. And when he started telling me about this man whom I later came to know as the firebrand of the revolution named Andres, the prospect of listening to the tale of Andres and sipping tsokolate espanol was very hard to resist. So I did not resist, and stayed for another while.
next : Andres At Bagumbayan…