The Widow Velarde's Husband





Enchanted Lake, near Los Banos, on the Pasig, fills an ancient crater

and is an object of natural interest. Its enchantment, so far as is

generally known, consists in the visits of Widow Velarde's husband to

its shores, and his occasional moonlight excursions over its waters

in a boat that has the same pale green shine as himself. This Velarde

was a fisherman and being somewhat of a gallant he had roused the

mortal jealousy of his wife. In revenge for his supposed slights she

engaged two of his friends to confer on her the joys of widowhood,

which they agreed to do for a consideration. The amount promised was

six dollars, but the preliminary negotiations appear to have been

hasty, for when these worthies had earned the money, having held the

unfortunate Velarde under the water until he ceased to bubble, the

thrifty woman wanted them to accept three dollars apiece. They held

stoutly for six dollars apiece. The widow would not pay it. There

was a long and undignified wrangle,--disputes over funeral bills

are often warranted, but are seldom seemly,--and it ended in the

angry departure of the fishermen, without even their three dollars,

to lodge a complaint against the Widow Velarde for cheating.



Now, would you suppose that two men, having just murdered a

fellow-creature, would go to a magistrate to complain about the

payment? These Filipinos did it. They went to a judge at Los Banos and

tried to get an order for the woman's arrest. The judge, fancying this

must be a kind of joke peculiar to Luzon, said he would think over the

matter, and he resumed his slumbers. In a day or two he learned that

the men had really killed their companion, and had fallen out with the

widow on the matter of terms. They meanwhile had learned that their

act was contrary to white man's law and had escaped, though it is said

they were afterward caught and put to death. Perhaps it is the disquiet

caused by the reflection that he was worth no more than six dollars

that leads the extinguished husband to vex the scene of his demise.





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