1 January 1883 - 1 November 1884
1st January 1883
Night. I don't know what vague melancholy, an indefinable loneliness,
smothers my soul. It is similar to the profound sadness that cities manifest
after a tumultuous rejoicing, to a city after the happiest celebration. Two
nights ago, that is, 30 December, I had a frightful nightmare when I almost
died. I dreamed that, imitating an actor dying on the stage, I felt vividly
that my breath was failing and I was rapidly losing my strength. Then my
vision became dim and dense darkness enveloped me - they were the pangs of
death. I wanted to shout and ask for help from Antonio Paterno, feeling that I
was about to die. I awoke weak and breathless.
The last day of the year I spent at the home of Mr. Pablo Ortiga [member of the Council of the Philippines, a government advisory body]. I was gay; I don't know why I joked a lot and lost [at a card game]. We went home at five o'clock and Paterno, Calero, Perio and Lete slept at home. We spent the day together and went to Elvira's house ... lottery and I lost. I went home at night and wrote.
2 May 1883 - Visitacion 8 - 3rd floor, No. 4
Yesterday, one year ago I left my home to come to this country. How many
illusions one entertained and how many deceptions! Yesterday, all day and
night, I kept recalling all that had happened to me since then, I took my
diary and read it, which reminded me of faded impressions. though sick, I'll
continue my diary because I see that it is most useful and above all it
consoles the soul when nothing more remains of its former treasures.
This morning I went to see the celebration of Dos de Mayo ( 2nd May). There were many people around the obelisk where I saw a tiny altar with some candles. Everywhere could be heard the cries of newspaper vendors which recalled the 2nd of May.
In the afternoon we - Zamora, Villanueva, and I - went to see the civic procession. Many soldiers and members of the different corporations. The king does not attend this national celebration.
I received from the Philippines a letter of L.R. [Leonor Rivera, Rizal's fiancee] of 26 March.
It is exactly one year ago that I left my country! Should I curse or celebrate this day?
1 January 1884
I have a nominal value of 617.15 pesetas.
Last night we gathered at the restaurant de Madrid: The three Paternos, the two Esquivels, Figueroa, Villanueva, Jugo, Graciano (Lopez Jaena), J. Llorente, Ev. Aguirre, Laserna, Lete, Ventura, Yriarte, Vidal and I. All toasted except Villanueva, who left ahead.
The most outstanding toast were those of Laserna, A. Paterno, Graciano Lopez, P. Paterno, and Valentin. I had the honor of bidding goodbye to '83 and greeting '84. I didn't toast, but after them, I made a resume of such brilliant speeches. Laserna read a precious sonnet. We dined at 12:15 and we finished at 3:00. The day passed without almost any incident. At night Lete went to the house of E.P. where Villanueva and Figueroa spent the day. I'm reading at present Bug-Jargal. On Lobo street there was a discussion about the police; I decided not to argue.
Today there was a meeting at the house of the Paternos. The same ones who were at the Cafe de Madrid, except Iriarte, Villanueva, and Vidal, met there. They took up the revival of the Circulo. They named a committee to speak with the old members and Mr. Atayde. The committee was composed of Messrs, Paterno, Lopez, Laserna, J. Esquivel, and Aguirre. My proposal concerning the book was unanimously accepted; but afterwards they raised difficulties and obstacles that seemed to me somewhat singular, following which several men rose up without wishing to talk any more about it. In view of this, I decided not to propose it again, considering it impossible to count on the support of the majority, and only later, together with Messrs. Lete and Figueroa did we decide to go ahead. For this purpose, we shall write Messrs. Luna, Resurreccion, and Regidor.
This morning I went to the College of San Carlos [The college of medicine of the Universidad Central, Madrid] and they told me that we would have no class until the 7th. In Greek there was since yesterday. I went to the Academy of San Fernando [Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the school of fine arts] and they gave me new lessons. This morning we gathered at the Cafe de Madrid, announced on a card that Graciano passed on to me. They spoke about the Circulo, the pretensions of some, etc. As to the book, Graciano would write on the Filipino woman; Aguirre also; Maximino on Letamendi. It seems that the Circulo will not fare well.
I received two letters-one from uncle Antonio, 2 December and another
from P., 30 November. Te vesle da Taimis ar vesonire y vim um gomet da tir ner
efsedebtar.[In these ciphered phrases Rizal substituted the letters in the
first line for those below:
13 January (Sunday)
This afternoon we met at the house of Paterno. The question of the Circulo was impossible for a thousand reasons. Te neyis pesla hebtem nuvhi pasi am lselemdira da des domasi ye ra moafem. [The majority talk a great deal, but when it comes to giving money, they refuse.]
Tonight I had a very sad dream. I imagined I returned to the
Philippines, but what a sad reception!
Taimisheboerodiomgoatpasidaumeomgodatodedlemfsemdaquamilamoesandoi. [Leonor had been unfaithful; but her infidelity was so great that it had no remedy.] Today I finished reading the Judio Errante (Wandering Jew). It seemed to me to be the best contrived novel, the fruit alone of talent and meditation. The sweet language of Lamartine does not speak to the heart. It imposes, dominates, confuses, subjugates, but it does not make one cry. I don't know if it's because I'm hardened. It reminds me a great deal of the Mohicans of Paris (Dumas).
Today I saw the family of V... I don't know if it is for being my compatriots or something else, this family is very congenial to me. The Boys and girls are very amiable. One of the lads, Jose, engaged me in conversation that made me laugh a good while. The eldest had been at La Concordia [A well known boarding school for girls, La Concordia college was administered by the Sisters of Charity. It was founded in 1868 by Margarita Roxas de Ayala, a wealthy Filipino woman, who gave her country home called La Concordia in Sta. Ana, Manila, to the school and hence its popular designation. It's official name is Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion.] and knew many of the girls there.
Les femmes de mon pays me plaisent beaucoup; je ne m'en sais la cause, mais je trouve chez elles un je ne sais quoi qui me charme et me fait rever. (The women of my country please me very much. I don't know why, but I find in them I know not what that enchants me and makes me dream). When they talk to me about my country, dormant remembrances are awakened in my heart. Now and then a vague melancholy takes possession of me and displays before my eyes the whole past. This happened to me often when I was a child, I experience it also now, though rarely, but with much intensity. So many young women who could have illuminated my life even for one day and nevertheless absolutely nothing of the kind. I'm going to become like those travelers who go through a path strewn with flowers: They pass by without touching them with the hope of finding something uncertain, and the road becomes more arid and they find themselves at last in a bare region, regretting the past. My days run swiftly and I find that I'm very old (many call me so) for my age. I lack the gaiety of young hearts, the smiling countenance of tranquil and satisfied hearts, the animation of those who trust in their future and nonetheless I believe I haven't done anything that is not well thought of and liked. I believe I'm honest. I have no regret except perhaps having deprived myself of many pleasures. I feel that my heart has not lost its capacity to love, only I don't find any one to love. I have used this sentiment but little.
Text provided by Cielita Briones (LaLa Land).
Source: "Reminiscences and Travels of Jose Rizal". Printed by National Historical Institute.