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There were at least nine women linked with Rizal; namely Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortiga, O-Sei San, Gertrude Beckette, Nelly Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and Josephine Bracken. These women might have been beguiled by his intelligence, charm and wit.
Segunda Katigbak washer puppy love.Unfortunately, his firstlove was engaged to bemarried to a town mate-Manuel Luz. After hisadmiration for a shortgirl in the person ofSegunda.
Leonor Valenzuela, a tall girlfrom Pagsanjan. Rizal senther love notes written ininvisible ink, that could onlybe deciphered over thewarmth of the lamp orcandle. He visited her on theeve of his departure toSpain and bade her a lastgoodbye.
Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, the prettier ofDon Pablo Ortiga’s daughters, fell inlove with him. He dedicated to her A laSenorita C.O. y R., which became oneof his best poems. The Ortigasresidence in Madrid was frequented byRizal and his compatriots. He probablyfell in love with her and Consueloapparently asked him for romanticverses. He suddenly backed out beforethe relationship turned into a seriousromance, because he wanted to remainloyal to Leonor Rivera and he did notwant to destroy hid friendship withEduardo de Lete who was madly in lovewith Consuelo.
O Sei San, a Japanese samurai’sdaughter taught Rizal theJapanese art of painting known assu-mie. She also helped Rizalimprove his knowledge ofJapanese language. If Rizal was aman without a patriotic mission,he would have married this lovelyand intelligent woman and lived astable and happy life with her inJapan because Spanish legationthere offered him a lucrative job.
While Rizal was in London annotatingthe Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, heboarded in the house of the Beckettfamily, within walking distance of theBritish Museum. Gertrude, a blue-eyedand buxom girl was the oldest of thethree Beckett daughters. She fell inlove with Rizal. Tottie helped him in hispainting and sculpture. But Rizalsuddenly left London for Paris to avoidGertrude, who was seriously in lovewith him. Before leaving London, hewas able to finish the group carving ofthe Beckett sisters. He gave the groupcarving to Gertrude as a sign of theirbrief relationship.
Rizal having lost Leonor Rivera,entertained the thought of courtingother ladies. While a guest of theBoustead family at their residence in theresort city of Biarritz, he had befriendedthe two pretty daughters of his host,Eduardo Boustead. Rizal used to fencewith the sisters at the studio of JuanLuna. Antonio Luna, Juan’s brother andalso a frequent visitor of the Bousteads,courted Nellie but she was deeplyinfatuated with Rizal. In a party held byFilipinos in Madrid, a drunken AntonioLuna uttered unsavory remarks againstNellie Boustead. This prompted Rizal tochallenge Luna into a duel. Fortunately,Luna apologized to Rizal, thus avertingtragedy for the compatriots.
Their love affair unfortunately did not end in marriage. It failed because Rizal refused to be converted to the Protestant faith, as Nellie demanded and Nellie’s mother did not like a physician without enough paying clientele to be a son-in-law. The lovers, however, parted as good friends when Rizal left Europe.
In 1890, Rizal moved toBrussels because of the highcost of living in Paris. InBrussels, he lived in theboarding house of the twoJacoby sisters. In time, theyfell deeply in love with eachother. Suzanne cried whenRizal left Brussels and wrotehim when he was in Madrid.
In the last days of February 1895, whilestill in Dapitan, Rizal met an 18-yearold petite Irish girl, with bold blue eyes,brown hair and a happy disposition.She was Josephine Bracken, theadopted daughter of George Tauferfrom Hong Kong, who came to Dapitanto seek Rizal for eye treatment. Rizalwas physically attracted to her. Hisloneliness and boredom must havetaken the measure of him and whatcould be a better diversion that to fallin love again. But the Rizal sisterssuspected Josephine as an agent of thefriars and they considered her as athreat to Rizal’s security.
Rizal asked Josephine to marry him, but she was not yet ready to make a decision due to her responsibility to the blind Taufer. Since Taufer’s blindness was untreatable, he left for Hon Kong on March 1895. Josephine stayed with Rizal’s family in Manila. Upon her return to Dapitan, Rizal tried to arrange with Father Antonio Obach for their marriage. However, the priest wanted a retraction as a precondition before marrying them. Rizal upon the advice of his family and friends and with Josephine’s consent took her as his wife even without the Church blessings. Josephine later give birth prematurely to a stillborn baby, a result of some incidence, which might have shocked or frightened her.