16 Barcelona to Manila

1896

 

 

 16. Barcelona to Manila

ON BOARD THE COLON

1896

Tuesday - 6 -- At 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon again the same officer named Tudela came to notify me that I should again gather my luggage as I was going aboard.  I had to do it hurriedly amid the shouts and threats of the officer.  We left Monjuich immediately.  Luckily, I met a street worker who was willing to carry my luggage.  I did not understand the reason.  We descended the slope, I in the middle of the two pairs of the civil guard, and thus we reached Barcelona passing through the Paseo de Colón.  They took me to the office of the Captain General.  On the road, we stopped three times.  At the first stop, they searched me and found General Blanco's letters.  The officer read them.  After waiting about one hour, General Despujol arrived from witnessing the embarkation of the troops.  He came dressed in the uniform of a lieutenant general with a sash.  I found him slightly thinner than before.  A few minutes later, he received me standing and he explained my situation.  He had received a telegram from Madrid, ordering him to put me on board as a prisoner.  He had procured me in a cabin of the second class and I could take a walk during the voyage but I could not go down at the ports.  We talked about many important things at the end of about a quarter of an hour; I left him to board the ship.  We embarked in a boat with carabineers at the pier of Medinacelli.  Again, we passed through the Paseo de Colón where there were many people.

The ship was full of soldiers, officers, and their families.  I heard my name mentioned several times and the people looked t me with curiosity.  I was at the roundhouse on the bridge under the care of soldiers and guards.  The boat departed at 8:00 o'clock at night, I was still there, and they told me that I would stay there throughout the voyage.  I protested and the Captain of the ship, who seemed to be an amiable person, told me that they were preparing my cabin.  So it was.  I went down, always guarded, and they gave me a fairly good cabin in the second class.  I went to bed without eating, for I felt chilly, and I slept.  I awoke because a military officer lifted up my cover and touched my ankles saying, "Don't cover yourself!"  I did not understand him and I covered myself again.  Shortly after, I slept again.

The watchword that I heard from the sentinels is that they should not let me go out and not let anyone enter my cabin or speak to me.  I have observed that there are officers who are refined and courteous while there are others who are rough.

Wednesday 7 -- I awoke with a slight fever, the effect of last night's chill.  I spent the day in my cabin.  They gave me food.  The officer on duty seems amiable, refined, and polite, consistent with the seriousness of his duty.  I heard him giving advice to the sentinels as to how best to spend their time.  He said to another afterward, "We are the only parents the soldiers here have."  At night, two came to talk with me for a while.

Thursday 8 -- I awoke weak and hungry.  My guard today is very young and beardless.  Yesterday's guard had a heavy, thick beard.  An infantry officer has told me that the various Madrid newspapers assumed that I am responsible for the disorders in the Philippines and everybody believed it to be so.  Holy God!  So public opinion is against me!  However, I hope to prove my innocence, God willing.  I do not despair provided the court that will try me is just.

Friday 9 -- I awoke stronger.  The ship is rocking slightly and I hear some persons are seasick. I continue confined to my cabin.  The officer on duty seems to be more mature; he is very dry but he seems reasonable, as they say in Gallicism. I feel more encouraged.  I believe that what God is doing to me is a blessing, allowing me to go back to the Philippines in order to be able to destroy such accusations.  This is because, either they do me justice and recognize my innocence and then I will be rehabilitated or they sentence me to death and thereby, before the eyes of society, I atone for my supposed crime.  Society will forgive me and later, without any doubt, justice will be done me and I will be one more martyr.  At any rate, instead of dying abroad or in the manigua (Jungle in Cuba); I will die in my own country.  I believe that what is happening is the best that can happen to me.  Always let God's will be done!  I feel calmer as I regard my future.  This afternoon I have meditated because I had nothing else to do nor could I read.  I feel that peace has descended upon me, think God!  Oh God!  Thou art my hope and my consolation!  Let your Will be done; I am ready to obey it.  I will be either condemned or absolved.  I am happy and ready.

The lieutenant on duty, unlike the others, wants the light to be on throughout the night and the curtain on the door not to be drawn.  Everyone has his own way of watching.  If they only knew that the one who least wants to escape is I and the one who wants to reach his destination is I!  At night, a steward offered me books.  I asked him for the catalogue and I chose Feijóo. [01] I spent the greater part of the night reading.

Saturday 10 -- Today we arrive at Port Said.

Monday, 2 November -- Today they returned to me the notebook that they took away on the 11th of last month before reaching Port Said.  For this reason, my diary was interrupted.  They searched me and inspected my luggage thoroughly.  They took away all my papers and afterward they put me behind bars and they did not take me out until we reached the Red Sea.  That was what they did to me whenever we were nearing a port.  They put me in four or six hours before and they take me out when we are already in the high seas.  However, at Singapore they put me in 16 hours before our arrival.  They also have put handcuffs twice on me.

All the officers behaved politely towards me; some were even courteous and amiable, especially one of the class of sergeants and another from the Academy.  I am eternally grateful to them.  There was only one young man who, although he came from the Academy, did not seem so; this one was rude and cruel to me; he abused his authority and took advantage of my situation.  However, what is one bad man among so many good ones?  Among the courteous officers but loyal to h is trust were Mr. Francisco Díaz and the son of the architect Mr. Mélina.  I do not know the names of the others.  There was one who has been in Batangas with the Civil Guard.  I remember the name of the rude chap, but I will not write it down.  I prefer to forget it.

______________

[01] Fray Benito Jerónimo Feijóo (1676 -1764), learned Benedictine monk, critic, and writer.

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