Back in town, Linares frets about Doña Victorina’s demand that he duel with the ensign. After reading a letter from Victorina—very poorly spelled and full of absurd claims—he wonders who will support him in the fight, asking himself, “Who will be my second? The priest? Captain Tiago? Damn the day I listen to advice from that jerk! Who made me put on airs, bluster, make up fairy stories?”
Linares’s short monologue is worthy of attention because it suggests that Captain Tiago is aware of the young man’s fraudulent identity. Indeed, when Linares asks himself the rhetorical question, “Who made me put on airs, bluster, make up fairy stories?” he implies that Tiago actually encouraged that he lie to Dámaso about his background. In turn, this suggests that Tiago has actively been manipulating the people around him in order to ensure that his daughter marries whomever is considered the most well-respected suitor.
As Linares worries, Father Salví arrives at the same time as Captain Tiago. The friar tells Tiago that Ibarra’s excommunication has been officially lifted, adding that the young man “grows” on him, though he didn’t like him at first. He says that he thinks Ibarra will even be able to convince Father Dámaso to allow his marriage to María Clara—if, that is, he asks for Dámaso’s forgiveness. When Captain Tiago asks what will happen if Dámaso doesn’t grant Ibarra his forgiveness, Father Salví says, “Well…María Clara will see…Father Dámaso is her father…spiritually, that is. But I think they will come to an understanding.”
Considering Salví’s jealousy over Ibarra’s relationship to María Clara—combined with the fact that he was suspiciously nervous just before the “yellow” man tried to kill Ibarra—it’s strange that he now happily endorses the prospect of the young lovers’ marriage. As such, it seems likely that something is at play behind the scenes, though Rizal allows this odd discrepancy in Salví’s behavior to pass without further comment.
Ibarra arrives at Captain Tiago’s house and speaks in private with Sinang, who tells him that María Clara—who has just overheard Father Salví talking with Tiago—says it would be best if he forgot about her. She also tells him that Captain Tiago and Father Dámaso want María Clara to marry Linares, but she hasn’t yet decided. At Ibarra’s request, Sinang agrees to arrange a meeting between him and María Clara.
In keeping with Salví’s mysterious change of heart, María Clara’s insistence that Ibarra forget about her suggests that something ominous is in the works. Although she loves Ibarra, María Clara seems to think she must protect him by distancing herself.