When the news of this misfortune became known in the town, some lamented it and others shrugged their shoulders. No one was to blame, and no one need lay it on his conscience.
The lieutenant of the Civil Guard gave no sign: he had received an order to take up all the arms and he had performed his duty. He had chased the tulisanes whenever he could, and when they captured Cabesang Tales he had organized an expedition and brought into the town, with their arms bound behind them, five or six rustics who looked suspicious, so if Cabesang Tales did not show up it was because he was not in the pockets or under the skins of the prisoners, who were thoroughly shaken out.
The friar-administrator shrugged his shoulders: he had nothing to do with it, it was a matter of tulisanes and he had merely done his duty. True it was that if he had not entered the complaint, perhaps the arms would not have been taken up, and poor Tales would not have been captured; but he, Fray Clemente, had to look after his own safety, and that Tales had a way of staring at him as if picking out a good target in some part of his body. Self-defense is natural. If there are tulisanes, the fault is not his, it is not his duty to run them down—that belongs to the Civil Guard. If Cabesang Tales, instead of wandering about his fields, had stayed at home, he would not have been captured. In short, that was a punishment from heaven upon those who resisted the demands of his corporation.
When Sister Penchang, the pious old woman in whose service Juli had entered, learned of it, she ejaculated several ’Susmarioseps, crossed herself, and remarked, “Often God sends these trials because we are sinners or have sinning relatives, to whom we should have taught piety and we haven’t done so.”
Those sinning relatives referred to Juliana, for to this pious woman Juli was a great sinner. “Think of a girl of marriageable age who doesn’t yet know how to pray! Jesús, how scandalous! If the wretch doesn’t say the Diós te salve María without stopping at es contigo, and the Santa María without a pause after pecadores, as every good Christian who fears God ought to do! She doesn’t know the oremus gratiam, and says mentíbus for méntibus. Anybody hearing her would think she was talking about something else. ’Susmariosep!”
Greatly scandalized, she made the sign of the cross and thanked God, who had permitted the capture of the father in order that the daughter might be snatched from sin and learn the virtues which, according to the curates, should adorn every Christian woman. She therefore kept the girl constantly at work, not allowing her to return to the village to look after her grandfather. Juli had to learn how to pray, to read the books distributed by the friars, and to work until the two hundred and fifty pesos should be paid.
When she learned that Basilio had gone to Manila to get his savings and ransom Juli from her servitude, the good woman believed that the girl was forever lost and that the devil had presented himself in the guise of the student. Dreadful as it all was, how true was that little book the curate had given her! Youths who go to Manila to study are ruined and then ruin the others. Thinking to rescue Juli, she made her read and re-read the book called Tandang Basio Macunat, charging her always to go and see the curate in the convento, as did the heroine, who is so praised by the author, a friar.
Meanwhile, the friars had gained their point. They had certainly won the suit, so they took advantage of Cabesang Tales’ captivity to turn the fields over to the one who had asked for them, without the least thought of honor or the faintest twinge of shame. When the former owner returned and learned what had happened, when he saw his fields in another’s possession,—those fields that had cost the lives of his wife and daughter,—when he saw his father dumb and his daughter working as a servant, and when he himself received an order from the town council, transmitted through the headman of the village, to move out of the house within three days, he said nothing; he sat down at his father’s side and spoke scarcely once during the whole day.