By Adolfo Caminha
First English translation of the arguable novel of 1895. It relates in naturalistic variety the overt sexual courting among a mature black guy (Amaro, or Bom-Crioulo) and a boy of 15 (Aleixo) which develops in the course of their carrier jointly within the Brazilian military. Translated into English via E. A. Lacey in 1982.
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Additional info for Bom-Crioulo: The Black Man and the Cabin Boy
There was a distant humming, a light, timid murmuring in the ranks of the sailors, like the vague, uneasy sensation which takes hold of spectators at a theatre when the sets are being changed. Now things were really different. Herculano and Sant'Ana were only pipsqueaks, ·poor wretches of sailors who could barely take twenty-five strokes of the cane; they were just big children! What everyone was waiting to see was Amaro, the famous and terrible Bom-Crioulo. " Bom-Crioulo pronounced these words in a resolute tone of voice, without a trace of uneasiness, his gaze boldly fixed on the 33 gold stripes of the captain's uniform.
Handkerchiefs waved at the corvette, which quickly fell behind, all sails billowing, slow and proud. And the liner disappeared like a shadow, and the corvette continued on in her defeat, alone in the emptiness of the sea, mournful and desolate. The sailors had scattered about on the 1 Pao de Ac;:ucar, Sugar Loaf Mountain, is a large granite rock, some 375 metres high, now provided with a cable-car for ascent, situated at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. 2 This street, which still exists in part, begins behind 15th of November Square (prac;:a 15 de novembro) and takes its name from the old Mercy or Charity Hospital (Santa Casa de Miseric6rdia) on Mercy Square (largo da Miseric6rdia).
Above, in the dome of the great half-sphere of the sky, ablaze with noonday light, the blue, always the clear blue, the pure blue, the sweet, transparent, infinite, mysterious blue. The corvette must have been quite near land, because on the horizon there passed the triangular sail of a jangada, 1 tiny and rapid. Behind, on the starboard side, the dark bulk of a huge, doublechimneyed steamship was gaining on them also. Bom-Crioulo and Aleixo went on with their conversation, sitting side by side in the shadow of the jib sail, indifferent to the laughter and merriment of the other sailors, whose attention was being drawn now to the steamship.