My soul was covered in a veil of perpetual sadness in the moment in which I read my mother’s letter. Yet I will not, as Job did, date the hour of the commencement of my misfortunes since the time of my birth.
“This extensive and opulent city is now nothing but a vast heap of ruins … Earth’s womb was heard to groan with hollow roar, The dwellings tumbled, but men trembled more.”
A man of frightful figure looked at us with a choleric eye. The priest looked directly at him for a moment without moving so much as a muscle, simulating the best feigned indifference I ever saw. He did not forbid me to look at that man—perhaps he thought we would be less suspicious.
And yet my position was already different in the little society I knew. A new lease of life was given to me—a new freedom—more attention was shown to me—I was even placed in a new room! What was all this for? Why wouldn’t D. Antonia, whom I asked with childish idiocy, tell me wherefore? The priest didn’t tell me, but then I wouldn’t have the audacity to ask him.
“For the first time in my life the desire for vengeance erupted inside me. The closest thing to me was a small vase. It had a cactus in it—thorny like a cedar tree. I took the vase. I hit him in the face with it. “
“It has always seemed impossible to me to write the mysteries of a land that has none, and, invented, nobody believes them. I was wrong. It is because I did not know Lisbon, or not able to calculate the power of a man’s imagination.”
Mysterymania gripped the world in the 1840s and 1850s. From London and France it spread to USA, Germany, Italy, Brazil, and Portugal. Camilo Branco’s Misterios de Lisboa was part of this thrilling genre.