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The Diary of Consuelo Ortiga y Perez * 16 September 1882 We have met two more Filipinos; one is called Rizal and the other, Perio. 30 September 1882 Rizal brought me a cane this morning which is full of sugar and one cannot tell how it was put inside. [01] 9 October 1882 Rizal says that he goes out only to go to the medical school and to come here at night. 18 January 1883 Rizal talked with me for a long time, almost the whole night. He told me that I was very talented, that I was very diplomatic, and that he was going to see if he could extract some truth from me within two weeks; that I was mysterious and that I had a veil over my ideas.

He asked me who my favorite author was; I don’t know what I answered him because I was no longer feeling well. Lete told him that neither had he understood me and I said that it was easy and I was sure that Rizal would understand me forthwith. Now I’m sorry for having said this. Have I not given him hope with it? Rizal told me that he detested amiable women because when they smiled, men imagined that they did so for something else. As he had told me the night before that I was very amiable, I understood that he meant it and I left him so that he would not make a mistake.

A man should first study the ground and if he sees that the smile is fore everybody he ought not to pay attention to her smiles because in distributing them so freely they lose all their meaning. 26 February 1883 . . . Rizal is also in love; he has not declared this but almost, almost. He told me last night that he had a sickness that would not leave him except when traveling and that was only perchanc4. He also told me and I understood why, that two brothers had killed each other because both played the same card, that is, because both loved the same woman.

He said that he had taken notice of one who was very tall for him but in spite of the fact that he had done it to amuse himself, it was useless. I listened to him with pleasure because he talks well and I fear that because of that he may think that I’m giving him hope, as it is in reality, but as it happens that I like his conversation, I abandon myself to it and then when he goes away, I’m sorry; he comes and again I do the same thing. Lola [02] was telling me that we ought to go away this summer and I would be glad to see if by not seeing Filipinos; I would avert a tempest that I see is near.

I find myself in a position of not knowing which side to take: Lete on one side, Rizal on the other, on another the two brothers; [03] all attack and I have nothing with which to defend myself except my head, for I don’t see, as I go nowhere, my former admirers, though it would be the same should I see them. Those who do not suit me for some reasons, and these neither for others; in short, sometimes I fear I may lose my mind. 2 March 1883 Rizal asked me if I didn’t miss another love. I said to him “no,” but that is false. For sometime now I’m different.

Before I didn’t think of things I’m thinking of now. Then I had more suitors than now and I don’t know if for that very reason I didn’t give them altogether even ten minutes. Now, on the other hand, I think of them and my opinion is divided between Rizal and Lete. The first one tempts me by his manner of speaking and because he seems to me a serious lad, though formal ones frighten me. 20 March 1883 Rizal was much preoccupied and I asked him what the trouble was. He said that he was thinking of certain changes. “You’re sad and here sadness is forbidden to enter. “It’s true; I’ve been importunate. ” “No; I’ve been the importunate one in saying that to you. ” “I know,” he said to me in reply, “that some are winning. ” At that moment another spoke to me preventing me fortunately from answering. Later he told me that I was giving it for his saint’s day. “How? What do you mean? ” “Nothing, nothing; I’ll explain it to you another day. ” I didn’t wish to insist. In the afternoon he said to father that he might trouble him to see if he could finish his course this year.

It seems that he wants to go away. It is thus like a wound. Poor Rizal! And poor me who inspires love in those whom I can’t love! 2 April 1883 Rizal began to tell me: “I congratulate you,” but I got only ambiguous phrases from him. At this point Lete was able to sit beside me and said to me: “Now we are going to adjust our accounts. I’m very much irritated by the philosopher. ” (That is what he calls Rizal. ) “Why? ” “Because he is very attentive to you tonight. Haven’t you noticed a certain change in him? ” “I? No. ” Well, he has suffered it greatly; the other day he told me, ‘Don’t you know that I’m getting to like Consuelo? ’” “‘Yes? Then I’m glad,’ I replied, and yesterday I went to his house and he was writing some verses. ” “For whom are those verses? ” I asked him. “For a newspaper in the Philippines. ” “Are they, perchance, inspired by the ardent rays of Consuelo’s eyes? ” “Chap,” he replied, “I don’t need to be inspired. ” “What do you think? ” “That you exaggerate; I don’t believe I’ve such intentions. ” “He’s very clever; you don’t know him. ”

I laughed to myself, because I know all that by heart. (Here follows a long dialogue with Lete. ) At this point Esteban Villanueva [04] comes and says to Lete: “Come and close the door for I’m leaving. ” He went but on leaving he took the chair with him. Rizal came full of jest and said to me: “Tell me, Consuelo, why does Lete take away the chair? ” “Ask him. ” “Later,” Lete said to him. “I’ll explain. ” Afterwards, Rizal said to me: “Tonight many will suffer from the lung and the heart. ” Then Lete said to me: “Understand ‘from the lung’ for gambling; from the heart, for you. “And why give it that interpretation? ” “Because it is his. ”

I went later to get some copper coins that Antonio (Paterno) had in his vest pocket and when he surprised me, I said: “What a poor thief I am! ” “You can be sure of that,” said Rizal to me, “but of another thing no. ” This vexed Lete and he and Rizal were peeved all night long. We – Antonio, Rizal, and I – arranged ourselves to play tute [05] and Rizal began to tell me things always circuitously until I told him that he had something that I didn’t like and that is he was not frank enough. You speak in such a way that it’s necessary to think a great deal to be able to understand you and I hope that in time I’ll understand you. ” He became serious; he put his hand to his forehead and said to me: “You know very well what I want to tell you, but there’s no better system of avoiding answering then to ask questions; but since you want me to tell you plainly, tell me if it’s true that one who comes afterwards arrives late. ” “What! Have they said that I said it? ” “No; nobody would say it. ” “Then, you ask me if he who comes behind arrives late. ”

“Yes, that’s it. ” If I were to tell you that, I would have to relate to you many things in my intimate life that I’ve told nobody. ” “You’re right, I ask you to excuse me, but as you’re so amiable, I’ve dared” 3 April 1883 My account having been interrupted yesterday, I continue it today. After awhile, Rizal said to me: “I’m going to tell you a story. ” “Let’s see. ” “She was a girl courted by two men. She was engaged to one and the other would tell her: “So and So wants to court you” and when he would go away, she would laugh with the other at him. ” “If I could get mad, I would. ” “Why? ” Because you’ve called me a coquette. ” “No; because she wasn’t to blame. ” “It was to find out if she listened to both. ” “I didn’t want to say that, nor did the other tell her that he loved her; but at any rate I ask you a thousand pardons and I withdraw whatever was offensive. ” I stood up for a moment and when I came back, Rizal, truly pressed, said to me: “Do you forgive me? ” “I’ve nothing to forgive because it was due to my excessive susceptibility. ” “Why? Do you forgive me? ” “I forgive and see how good I am for I impose no penance. ”

“Impose a penance on me,” he said. April 1883 Last night some were absent, among them Rizal, a thing that surprised me. Lete said to me: “I’ve come more than anything else to ask you a question. ” “What? ” “Rizal told me the other day that last Sunday, speaking with you, you told him that this summer many will be disappointed, and I want to know if I’ll be one of them. ” “Why do you want me to tell you a thing that I don’t know? I spoke without knowing what I was saying. That indeed slipped from my tongue, as I was following my own thought more than the conversation in which I was engaged. “I don’t understand what you want to say. ” “Well nothing; I said that just to say something and now I’m sorry for I see that my phrases are commented on. ” “When Lete told me this I was displeased that Rizal had told him, but Lete told me later that Rizal told him in order that he would be warned. I’ve already thought that since Rizal is so astute, he’ll make Lete averse to me to have one rival less. 16 April 1883 Rizal told me he has some plants that he has bought today and that the first flower will be for me.

He told Lete and me a story that he said belonged to my mythological times. He calls Papa “Periandro” and Lete “Letidolis” and himself “Planchivis”. He said that Periandro had a daughter to whom Diana had granted the gift of loving all men and afterwards he added women. In short, the story was long and I don’t remember all of it, but in it he spoke of everything and explained our respective situations. 7 May 1883 Last night I was in the corridor when Rizal passed on his way out, but instead of leaving, we talked for more than an hour.

He again repeated that he couldn’t understand me, that I had a very black veil that hid my ideas from him, that many times he believed that a thing was done that in reality was not done, and it happened to him when studying that instead of letters he always saw a figure. . . . He brought me a flower, the first that his plant bore. 14 may 1883 (Dialogue between Consuelo and Lete about their engagement) At this point I opened my handbag and I saw the flower Rizal had given me last Sunday and without caring a whit, showed it to him.

Everybody knew it and Rizal, however much he tried to dissimulate, was very happy. Afterwards I was sorry but there was no remedy. Lete then said to me: “You’ve kept the flower. ” “Yes; I was removing things; my handbag was open and I dropped the flower into it just as I would have done with any other thing. ” “You’re a terrible woman,” Rizal said. “It seems unbelievable! It’s atrocious, with that sweet face you take delight in mortifying; since this night you have made me suffer so much and you do nothing but laugh. ” “I want to laugh now if by chance I may have to cry later. “I would be glad. ” “Thanks,” I said to Rizal. He didn’t know that I was at the point of crying. I don’t remember what Rizal said that Lete said to me: ‘You’ll not make me quarrel with my friend. ’” “I? Why? ” “Because it’s so. ” “It will not be serious. ” “Who knows, perhaps you will be the first cause. ” “For God’s sake, don’t frighten me for I’m afraid! ” “Lete is so good,” added Rizal, interrupting the conversation. “One night I gave him such great fright when he was alone at one house that he left so angry that I saw him cry.

Nevertheless, the other day, we made up. ” “You have seen me cry? Where? Here in the house? ” Lete objected, grateful for that affectionate praise. The other didn’t reply and I became very curious. Have they had some displeasure between them? 9 June 1883 For two Sundays all the Filipinos haven’t come. Rizal was here the other afternoon and he said he had not come on account of the examinations and that he came out well in every one of them. The poor one is very enthusiastic and I’m sorry. Enthusiasm, they say, is contagious, but I can’t be infected.

I’m quite mortified that they have so soon forgotten me for some nobodies [06] who, according to my information, are not even pretty, but I’ll be very careful so that they’ll not be vain thinking of another thing and in case it’s calculation as I imagine. 11 June 1883 Rizal and Antonio (Paterno) who were at the Retiro yesterday brought me flowers and they told me to go there, but I haven’t gone because those girls go and I don’t want to be obliged to speak with them. Rizal told me he was going to Paris to distract himself, to cure himself of an illness contacted a year ago.

Then he has seen others deceived by the amiability with which they have been treated and he was afraid the same thing might happen to him; that he fell in love again and it seemed to him that he was going to be accepted and soon he was disappointed. Now it’s different because she belongs to a much higher class. “I have,” he said to me, “too many aspirations. ” “Man must always have them. ” “Yes; but when they’re too high they’re ridiculous. ” “An aspiration is never ridiculous when its end is good and neither do I believe that you have aspired for the moon. “No; but it’s so difficult that I know it will accept only one with a great name or high position. ” I didn’t answer him. What could I say to him? If I gave him hope, then later to tell him “no” would be a crime; and I haven’t enough willpower to take all hope from him, because, despite everything, I like him. “Tell me what you want from Paris. ” “Nothing, may you enjoy much. ” “You already know that I’m going to study French, and what I’ll try is to get curried if I don’t succeed. I’ll follow the currant. Lete and I have concluded a truce for the summer. “We’re in it,” I said to him. “When does it end? ” “In September. ”

“Then on the day following, the end. ” “In October? ” I asked, knowing what he wanted to say. “Yes. ” “And what’s it, in what does it consist? ” “Pardon me, for as it’s Lete’s also, I can’t tell you. ” “Don’t say it then. ” 18 June 1883 Rizal has gone to Paris; he says he’ll come back in September. Last night Antonio (Paterno) told me that as the train moved, he sent us many regards through him. Will he get cured? 23 August 1883 The other night Lete told me that on Monday he talked with Rizal for more than four hours. As a good friend,” he said, “I related to him everything, and now he saw that I had not been sincere towards him. ” Before, Rizal said to him, he didn’t think of me, now the told him the opposite. Rizal asked him about the status of his relationship with me. He told him and he advised Lete not to go to Barcelona because “If you go,” he said, “it’s possible she may not answer you on the 24th but on the 25th, or never, which is the same; then, as soon as you’re away she’ll get cold, in case she’s becoming convinced, and as for me I can’t be responsible to you.

“You know,” Rizal continued, “that I liked Ines and nevertheless I left her to Antonio (Paterno); with her I could have passed away the time, but with Consuelo no; for this reason I have told you as a friend I advised you to marry her, but as Rizal, no. ” “As he’s noble,” Lete continued, “we have made a pact that he’ll say nothing until 24 October. He told me he had to answer a question you put to him. I asked him wit it was but he replied that he couldn’t tell me because it was a secret. The following day Rizal came and brought two music sheets as a souvenir from Paris and some verses that I had asked him at the concert and others dedicated to me [07] which confirmed everything Lete had told me.

They go with this diary to save me the trouble of writing them down and because I believe they reveal passion, not for an indifferent one but for me who had inspired them, and for knowing their author. My question was if he already got cured, a rather bold question which I’m sorry I asked. 3 September 1883 I showed Rizal’s letter to Matilde. [08] She didn’t like it and said there was a very bad intention in the polite piece. 0 October 1883 All the Filipinos came last night. Lete told me that he had asked Rizal what we were going to talk about, and replied that it was nothing. And he added: “Is it you who have to talk with him? ” Yes,” I answered, “what I regret is that you have told him; I’ll not say anything to him again. ” “I, too, am sorry, but now nothing can be done. ” As Rizal was warned by Lete, several times he spoke to me and asked me as formerly if I would win in the game but I didn’t want to have a conference with him to show Lete I was not interested and, besides, it was already becoming difficult.

I went with Papa yesterday to see the king returning from his excursion. The enthusiasm was great. . . . We were also carried away in that surge and when it cleared a little I heard a voice telling me: “Over here, Consuelo. ” It was Maximino (Paterno) who was with his brother, Ventura (Valentin), and Rizal. The last asked me if I knew why all were so studios. “Because they have realized the evil they were doing and they abjured their errors. ” “No; because they have learned that it’s a prerequisite to certain things to have a career and for that reason they study in order to aspire for them. We talked a great deal and I don’t remember everything. “If I believed in certain things,” I continued, “I would say that you’re immortal. ” “Immortal? ” “For many things. ” “For none I believe; it seems to me that I’ll die soon and if one thing that I’ve thought of and I haven’t told anybody occurs, I’ll notify you wherever you may be to show you I’m right. ”

“I’ll note down what you have told me as soon as I get home. ” What interpretation had he given to my words? Later he told me that he believed in nothing, that he had no faith. “And how can you live? ” “Without it. “On the contrary I think we ought to believe in something that may encourage us in our undertakings and may comfort us in our misfortune. ” “When a curate says it, I don’t believe it; if you should say it, I would believe it. ” “God grant that I may have power to make you believe! ” He kept silent and after awhile he said to me: “Neither do I believe in the love of parents; mine love me, but they would not remember me if I would not return or I’m delayed ten years in returning. ” “Don’t say that; I believe little and if you speak to me thus, I’ll believe in nothing.

The love of parents doesn’t die. ” “I’ve not been a father, undoubtedly for that reason. . . .” “I neither, but I judge filial love by the paternal. I’ve separated from Papa for some twenty days and when the train left I was very happy. . . . It seemed to me I was going back home at night, but upon arrival at the town where I was going, despite my efforts and I’m not given to tears, I couldn’t control myself and I cried . . . and everyday I remembered him. ” “You must have been alone. ” “No; my brother was with me. ” “We don’t speak of those loves. And the others? “Oh, we are agreed on those. ” When I was small I heard it said that friendship couldn’t exist between two boys, and I said: What has distinct sex got to do with it? I wished to try the experiment and I see it’s true. I believed in a friend, nothing more than a friend, and we broke up quarreling. ”

“I would be yours if that wee not too much for me, I can’t aspire. . . .” “And if it’s granted to you? ” They interrupted us in order to cross the street, and then Sanmarti, [09] whom we met, stood beside me. Rizal also asked me what I would say if Lete would ask me how I spent the day. The truth,” I replied. “Then, I’ll tell him that I spent it very well, and then I saw the Queen and the King. ” “You’ve been more fortunate than I,” I said to him as if I didn’t understand him. ” “The Queen was beside a gentleman [sic.! ]. . . .” It seems to me Lete would not be very much satisfied for God knows what Rizal would tell him. When all had left, Rizal told Papa for me to hear: “Spain ought to ally herself with another nation. ” Papa: “No sir; Spain is all right as she is. ”

Rizal: “It’s time she ceases to be a second class power. Papa: “You know Spain’s history, therefore you know that whenever she allied herself with other powers she lost rather than gained. ” Rizal: “However, an alliance with a young, rich, and strong nation, I believe, in the present circumstances and even in the future must be beneficial to her, though it may be only a support that a weakened monarchy needs. . . .” “Weakened? How? Never has it rested on a more solid foundation; never was it more loved by the people that see in it the symbol of regeneration, of peace, of new life. Rizal: “Right, Don Pablo, but only in form, not at the bottom, as it represents the symbol. The people, as part of it, loves the monarchy per accidens, [Contingently, indirectly, by virtue of some chance, circumstance, or happening. Latin for, by happenstance. Opposite of per se. – rly] because it represents the peace of Spain which it loves per se, because it still believes in that longed-for regeneration of its past grandeur; but the primates of the people adore above all someone who is determined to take possession of her with the same purpose of governing her.



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