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CHAPTER XVIII Biarritz Vacation and Romance with Nelly Boustead (1891)

History II

Submitted to: Mr. Dennis V. Dizon

Submitted by: Kristel Anne M. Pasion Luningning Tungol

BS Tourism Management 3B September 21, 2012

Biarrritz Vacation and Romance with Nelly Boustead (1891)

To seek solace for his disappointments in Madrid, Rizal took a vacation in the resort city of Biarritz on the fabulous French Riviera. He was a guest of the rich Boustead family at its winter residence- Villa Eliada. He had befriended Mr. Boustead and his wife and the two charming daughters Adelina and Nellie. He was used to fence with the Boustead sisters at the studio of Juan Luna. It was in Biarritz where he had a serious romance with Nellie and finished the last chapter of his novel, El Filibusterismo.

With the Bousteads in Biarritz. February 1891- Rizal arrived in Biarritz. He was warmly welcomed by the Bousteads, particularly Mr. Boustead who had taken a great liking for him because of his remarkable talents. As a family guest, he was treated with friendliness and hospitality by Mrs. Boustead, Adelina, Nellie, and Aunt Isabel. The one-month vacation in Biarritz worked wonders for Rizal. His sorrowing heat began to sing once more with joy and his health improved with remarkable swiftness. Writing from Biarritz to Mariano Ponce on February 11, 1891 he said: I have put on much weight since I arrived here; my cheeks are no longer shrunken as before for the reason that I go to bed early and I have no cares

Romance with Nellie Boustead. Biarritz, with its romantic gardens, delightful villas, and panoramic beauties, is an ideal setting for romance. Rizal having lost his beloved Leonor came to entertain considerable affection for Nellie, the prettier and younger daughter of his host. He found her a real Filipina, highly intelligent, vivacious in temperament and morally upright. He wrote to his intimate friends, except Prof. Blumentritt, of his love for Nellie, also called Nelly, and his intention to propose marriage to her. As early as on February 4, 1891, M.H. del Pilar teased him about changing the o in Noli to an e, which means Noli to Nelly.

Antonio Luna, who had previously loved and lost Nelly, encouraged Rizal to woo and marry her. From Madrid, he wrote to Rizal, saying: With respect to Nelly, frankly, I think there is nothing between us more than one of those friendships enlivened by being fellow countrymen. It seems to me that that there is nothing more. My word of honor. I had been her fianc, we wrote to each other. I like her because I knew how worthy she was, but circumstances beyond our control made all that happiness one cherished evaporated. She is good; she is naturally endowed with qualities admirable in a young women and I believed that she will bring happiness not only to you but to any other man who is worthy of her. . .I congratulate you as one congratulates a friend. Congratulations!

With the encouragement of his close friends, Rizal courted Nelly who, in turn, reciprocated his affection. Unfortunately, their romance beneath the lovely Biarritz moon did not have a happy fairy tale finale.

Rizal marriage proposal failed for two reasons: 1. He refused to give up his Catholic faith and be converted into Protestantism, as Nelly demanded. 2. Nellys mother did not like Rizal as a son-in-law.

Nelly Boustead, being a good Protestant, wanted Rizal to espouse Protestantism before their marriage. Rizal, being a man of firm conviction, refused. Although he became a Mason, he remained loyal to the Catholic religion, the faith of his clan. Years later, when he was living in exile in Dapitan, he refuted Father Pablo Pastells accusation that he was Protestant as follows: As to being a Protestant. . . If Your Reverence only knew what I had lost for not accepting Protestantism, you would not say such thing. Had I not always respected the religious idea, had I held religion as a matter of convenience or an art getting along in this life, instead of being a poor exile, I would now be a rich man, free, and covered with honors.

Nellys mother, like the mother of Leonor Rivera, had no wish to entrust her daughters happiness to a man who was poor in material things, a physician without a paying clientele, a writer who earned nothing from his pen, and a reformer who was persecuted by the friars and the government officials in his own country.

Although they could not get married, Rizal and Nellie parted as good friends. When he learned that Rizal was leaving Europe, she sent him a farewell letter, saying: Now that you are leaving I wish you a happy trip and may you triumph in your undertakings, and above all, may the Lord look down on you with favour and guide your way giving you much blessings, and may you learn to enjoy! My remembrance will accompany you as also my prayers.

El Filibusterismo Finished in Biarritz. Frustrated in romance, Rizal found consolation in writing. While wooing Nellie and enjoying so many magnificent moonlight nights with her, he kept working on his second novel which he began to write in Calamba in 1887. On March 29, 1891, the eve of his departure from Biarritz to Paris, he finished the manuscript El Filibusterismo, writing to Blumentritt on that date, he said: I have finished my book! Oh, no, I have not written in it my idea of revenge against my enemies but only what is for the good of those who are suffering, for the rights of the Tagalog race, though brown and may not have good features! Surely, I will leave tomorrow for Paris, and from there I dont know where I am going.

To Paris and Back to Brussels. March 30, 1891- Rizal bade farewell to the hospitable and friendly Bousteads and proceeded to Paris by train. He stayed at home of his friend, Valentin Ventura, on 4 Reu de Chateaudum. From Paris, he wrote to his friend, Jose Ma. Basa, in Hong Kong, on April 4, expressing his desire to go to that British colony and practise ophthalmology in order to earn his living. In this letter, he requested Basa to advance him amount for a first class steamer ticket from Europe to Hong Kong. By the middle of April, 1891, Rizal was back in Brussels. Where he was happily received by Marie and Suzzane Jacoby (his landladies) and, above all, by Petite Suzzane (the Belgian girl who loved him).

Retirement from the Propaganda Movement.

Since abdicating his leadership in Madrid in January, 1891, owing to the intrigues of his jealous compatriots, Rizal retired from the Propaganda Movement, or reform crusade. He desired to publish his second novel, to practise his medical profession, and later, when he became finally independent, he expected to make a more vigorous campaign for his countrys redemption.

From Brussels, on May 1,1891, he notified the Propaganda authorities in Manila to cancel his monthly allowance and devote the money to some better cause, such as the education of young Filipino student in Europe. His notification was contained in a letter addressed to Mr. A.L. Lorena (pseudonym of Deodato Arellano), as follows; Through the kindness of J.A.; I received your letter of 13 February with a draft of P100 that the Propaganda is sending me for the months of January and February and I thank you for such attention. In order to avoid its increasing attentions I believe my retirement is necessary. I will establish myself and earn my living. Mt chosen place is either in the Philippine, Hong Kong, or Japan, because Europe seems to me a place of exile and I am hereby notifying the Propaganda of my intention so that it may make my decision. With the P50 that it send me monthly it could do something better, which is to defray the cost of the education of another young man who is not the same situation as I am. Though such an amount is sufficient to live on in any place in Europe, it is not enough for one who wishes to accomplish something and to carry out the plans that he may cherish. Consequently, I have asked friend Basa to furnish me with the funds for my return, so that I can start earning a small fortune. If at last, the end of a few years, I become financially independent, I shall be able to undertake a more vigorous and effective campaign than that I have been doing until now.

Rizal Stopped Writing for La Solidaridad. Simultaneous with his retirement from the Propaganda Movement, Rizal ceased writing articles for La Solidaridad. Many of his friends in Spain urged him to continue writing for the patriotic periodical, because his articles always attracted considerable attention in European countries. M.H del Pilar himself realized the need for Rizals collaboration in both the Propaganda Movement and in the La Solidaridad newspaper because the enthusiasm for the reform crusade in Spain was declining. August 7, 1891, he wrote to Rizal begging forgiveness for any resentment and requesting him to resume writing for the La Solidaridad. In short, he said in his letter, if you have any resentment, I beg you to put it aside; if you consider me at fault, and this fault is pardonable, forgive me. . . We would much like that you resume writing for it; not only would we strengthen La Solidaridad but we would defeat the friar intrigue in the Philippines. In his reply to Del Pilars letter, Rizal wrote denying any resentment and explaining why he stopped writing for La Solidaridad as follows: I am extremely surprised at your letter, telling me about resentments, disagreements, and reconciliations, etc. I believe it is useless to talk about what does not exist, and if it has existed, it ought to have evaporated in the past. I think like you do, that there being nothing, one ought not to waste time talking about it. If I stopped writing for La Solidaridad, it was because for several reasons: 1st, I need time to work on my book; 2nd, I wanted other Filipinos to work also; 3rd, I considered it very importantto the party that there be unity in the work; and you are already at the top and I also have my own ideas; it is better to leave you alone to direct the policy such as you understand it and I do not middle in it. This has two advantages: it leaves both us free, and it increases your prestige, which is very necessary, inasmuch as men of prestige are needed in the country. This does not mean to say that I need to work and follow the course of your work. I am like an army crops who, at a needed

moment, you will see arrive to descend upon the flanks of the enemy before you. Only I ask God to give me the means to do it. . . I fight for the nation, the Philippines.

Revising the Fili for Publication. In Brussels Rizal worked day after day revising the finished manuscript of El Filibusterismo and readied it for printing. Apparently, the revision was mostly completed on May 30, 1891. On this date he wrote Jose Ma. Bsa: My book is now ready to go to press; the first twenty chapters are already corrected and can be printed and I am recopying the rest. If I receive any money you will surely have it in July. I am writing it with more ardour than the Noli and although it is not so cheerful, at least it is more profound and more perfect. . . In case I do not receive money, will you ask them to send me money for the printing of my book? If not, I will be leaving this place and be with you. Two weeks later, on June 13, Rizal informed Basa: I am now negotiating with a printing firm and as I do not know if it will be printed here (Belgium) or in Spain, I cannot send it to you as yet. In case it is not publish here, I will send it to you by the next mail. Only three chapters are left to be corrected. It is longer than the Noli, first part. It will be finished before the 16th of this month. If by chance anything happens to me, I leave its publication to Antonio Luna, including its correction. . . If my Noli (sic. Fili-Z.) is not publish, I shall board a train on the following day when I receive your letter with the passage-money; but if my book is published I shall have to wait until it comes off the press.

References Jose Rizal second edition by: Gregorio F. Zaide & Sonia M. Zaide