quarta-feira, 9 de março de 2011

Return to Balasar

“I remained ignorant,” Alexandrina confesses here, but what she did learn allowed her later to apply herself and to write reasonably well.

After eighteen months my sister sat her examination and we came home. My mother wanted me to continue studying but I didn’t want to do that by myself. So I stayed ignorant. We came back to the place where we were born and lived there four months; later we went to live close to the Church, in little house which belonged to my mother.

“The stars shone brightly and served as my companions”                                   

The texts that are now presented belong to a somewhat later date than the preceding ones; they are from the time where its authoress served in the house of a neighbour, Lino Ferreira; in it is disclosed her enchantment when contemplating creation, which she refers to in many of her pages:

Once, from 10 pm to 4 am, I was in Póvoa taking care of four pairs of cattle; the master and one his friend had absented themselves from me, and I, full of fear, passed there those bleak of the night. While I was looking after the cattle, I was contemplating the stars, which shone brightly and served as companions.

The time in Póvoa that now is being related is subsequent to the fateful jump that was to bring on her paraplegia. We believe that this time she was lodged in house of the teacher, Angelina Ferreira, in Junqueira Street. This will become one of her loyal friends and they correspondended with each other.
It is during this period, too, that she got to know Dr Abílio Garcia de Carvalho.
Gabriele Amorth describes her appearance during this sojourn in Póvoa: “She was an attractive girl, with her long black hair, black, lively eyes, and a luminous smile”.
The paragraph with which she finishes the text must be understood, I think, as a decisive way to dismiss an unwanted suitor.

When I was 16, more or less, I went to Póvoa de Varzim to continue my treatment. One morning, when I went to the church, I noticed that somebody was advancing quickly towards me. It was a soldier coming to make advances towards me. I refused immediately. He was insistent and would not take no for an answer. I told him to leave me alone because I was on my way to church.
He asked to be allowed to join me on my way back from church. I said yes, to free myself of him, and with the idea of changing my route on the way home. Returning from church, I looked to see if he was waiting, and as the coast seemed clear, I went by the same street. At moment later, he appeared, I couldn’t tell from where, and said me: “O mistress, what did you promise to me?” He wanted to accompany me home. I stopped and spoke to him saying that I was sick and that my mother did not allow me to date with young men. He took a lot of convincing. Suddenly my mother appeared and scolded me, thinking that I was courting. I did not walk that way again, fearing that I might meet him. And so the matter was concluded. Several times I was pestered by boys paying court to me, but I never accepted them. Once I told one who spoke to me of marriage I arrived to say to one that spoke to me on marriage: “I will never leave my family because of a man”.

Old Póvoa on a day of the fair (beginnings of 20th century).
Panorama of Gresufes, in Balasar, where Alexandrina was born.

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