Father Dámaso pulls up to Captain Tiago’s home in his victoria, passing Aunt Isabel and María Clara on his way up the steps. They tell him that they are going to the convent to collect María Clara’s belongings, and he says, “Aha! Aha! We’ll see who wins out, we’ll see…,” a statement they dismiss before taking their leave. He then goes into the house and tells Captain Tiago that they must speak right away—the two men retreat to talk in private.
In this scene, Rizal once more shows his affinity for only partially revealing certain plotlines. Often, when a character in Noli Me Tangere says something nonsensical that trails off with an ellipsis, it indicates some secret plan is afoot. In this case, it seems Father Dámaso has pitted himself against somebody and is confident that he himself will “win out.”
Meanwhile, Father Sibyla goes to visit a very old priest who remains unnamed. The priest tells Sibyla that he’s dying and that he’s decided to let it happen rather than undergoing surgery. Sibyla then informs the old man of the incident the previous night between Father Dámaso and Ibarra, and the two priests agree that having Ibarra in the church would greatly benefit their religious order, since he is such a wealthy and influential individual. As such, they hope that he does indeed marry María Clara, for then they could be sure he would support the church, given Captain Tiago’s undying devotion.
It seems in this moment that Father Dámaso isn’t the only person who has plans surrounding Ibarra’s return to the Philippines, though Father Sibyla’s intentions appear markedly less sinister. Indeed, Sibyla wants to use Ibarra’s strong social standing to further empower the church, a fact that suggests that the friars not only gain authority by securing the government’s endorsement, but also by ensnaring people like Ibarra and Captain Tiago—respected individuals that can help endear them to the community.
Rizal turns his attention to the Captain General, who hears from somebody present at the dinner party that Father Dámaso spoke unfavorably about him. He laughs this off, saying, “Women and friars can do no harm. I mean to live in peace during the time left to me in this country, and I want no more problems with men who wear skirts.” In private, though, he laments the fact that the Philippines gives the friars so much power.
Once again, Rizal illustrates the divide between the church and the state, though in doing so he also shows that only high-ranking government officials are comfortable disputing the friars’ power. The Captain General is the most influential member of the government, and even he will only admit his disapproval of the church’s unchecked power in private, when nobody’s listening.
Back at Captain Tiago’s house, Father Dámaso finishes speaking with his host. “You have been warned!” he tells Tiago. “All this could have been avoided if you had only consulted me beforehand and if you had not lied to me when I asked you. Try not to make any more stupid mistakes. And trust her godfather!” When Dámaso leaves, Captain Tiago rushes to his household shrine and extinguishes the candles he lit for Ibarra’s safe passage to San Diego. “There’s still time, and the road is very long,” he says to himself.
Yet again, Rizal hints at various behind-the-scenes plans but doesn’t reveal what’s at play. Suffice it to say, Dámaso’s animosity toward Ibarra becomes even more evident when, after their conversation, Captain Tiago rushes to blow out candles for Ibarra’s safe travels. That Dámaso can convince Tiago to wish for harm to befall Ibarra speaks to the mighty influence friars have over townspeople.