January 28, 1890 – Rizal left Paris for Brussels, capital of Belgium. Two reasons: 1.The cost of living in Paris was very high because of the international exposition, and 2. The gay social life of the city hampered his literary works especially the writing of his second novel El Filibusterismo.
LIFE IN BRUSSELS In Brussels, Rizal was busy writing his second novel which was a continuation of Noli. He was never idle even for an hour. Aside from writing its chapter he wrote articles for La Solidaridadand letters to his family and friends. Being a physician, he spent part of his time in the medical clinic. For recreation, he had gymnastics at the gymnasium at target practice and fencing at the armory.
RIZAL’S ARTICLES IN LA SOLADARIDAD We have stated before that Rizal favored Lopez Jaena’s founding of La Solidaridad in order to have an organ of the propaganda. He used two pen names Dimasalangand Laonglaan.
RIZAL’S ARTICLES IN LA SOLIDARIDAD La Verdad Para Todos (The Truth for All) VerdadesNuevas (New Truths) UnaProfanacion (A Profanation) Diferencias (Differences) Filipinas dentro de ClenAños (The Philippines A Century Hence) Ingratitudes Sin Nombre (Without Name) Sobre la Nueva Ortografia de la LenguaTagala (On the New Ortography of the tagalog Language) Cosas de Filipinas (Things about the Philippines) Sobre la Indolencia de los Filipinos (On the Indolence of the Filipinos)
RIZAL CRITICIZES MADRID FILIPINOS FOR GAMBLING In Brussels, Rizal received news from Juan Luna, and Valentin Ventura that the Filipino in Spain were destroying the good name of their nation by gambling too much. These two compatriots in Paris urged him to do something about it. Accordingly, Rizal wrote too M.H Del Pilar on May 28, 1890 to remind the Filipinos in Madrid that they did not come to Europe to gamble, but to work for their father land’s freedom. The gambling Filipinos in Madrid were angry when the learned of Rizal’s moralizing. Thereafter, they called Rizal “Papa” (Pope) instead of “Pepe”.
BAD NEWS FROM HOME Letters from home which Rizal receive in Brussels, worried him. The Calamba agrarian trouble was getting worse. The management of the Dominican hacienda continually raised the land rents until such time that Rizal’s father refused to pay his rent. Other tenants, inspired by Don Francisco’s courage, also refused to pay their rents. Meanwhile, the tenants, including the Rizal family, were persecuted and ejected from their lands. The sad news from home depressed Rizal. His heart bled to know the sorrowful plight of his parents, brother and brothers-in-law.
PRESENTATION OF DEATH In his moment of despair, Rizal had bad dreams during the nights in Brussels when he was restless because he was always thinking of his unhappy family in Calamba. Although he was not superstitious, he feared that he would not live long. He was not afraid to die, but he wanted to finish his second novel before he went to his grave.
PREPARATION TO GO HOME In the phase of suffering which afflicted his family, Rizal decided to go home. He could not stay in Brussels writing a book while his parents, relatives, and friends in distant Philippines were in despair. Hearing that Graciano Lopez Jaena was planning to go to Cuba, he wrote to Ponce on July 8, 1890, opposing Graciano’s plan of action. He said that Graciano should not go to Cuba to die of yellow fever, instead he ought to go the Philippines to allow himself to be killed in defence of his ideals.
ON TO MADRID, INSTEAD OF HOME Rizal did not heed the dire warnings of his friends. No threat of danger could change his plan. Something, however, happen that suddenly made him change his mind. It was a letter from Paciano which related that the loss the case against the Dominicans in Manila, but they appealed it to the Supreme Court in Spain. Rizal wrote to M.H. Del Pilar on June 20, 1890, retaining the latter’s services as lawyer. He was going to Madrid in order to supervise the handling of the case.
“TO MY MUSE” (1890) It was against a background of mental anguish in Brussels, during those sad days when he was worried by family disasters, that he wrote his pathetic poem, A Mi. . . This poem lacks the exquisitry of To The Flowers of Heidelberg and is less polished than to To the Filipino Youth, but it is passionate in feeling.
ROMANCE WITH SUZANNE JACOBY Two things brought some measure of cheer to the despondent Rizal as he was preparing for his trip to Madrid. - The summertime festival of Belgium - His romance with Suzanne Jacoby Like other woman, SegundaKatigbak, Orang Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, O-Sei-San, Gettie Becket, Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, and the Bousted sisters – Suzanne fell in love with Rizal. She cried when he left toward the end of July, 1890 for Madrid, stopping for a few days in Paris.