Recife in the 20s – Part 1

As a replacement for Revista da Cidade – the side-blog, I’m starting this series featuring some of the more interesting pieces from each edition of the magazine. I imagine I won’t always be able to translate every single thing since it’s written in Portuguese from almost 100 years ago but I’ll do my best.

1st edition – May 29th, 1926

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(Scenes of the City – Lunchtime)

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(A charming five)

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If you loved, why did you stop loving? To our readers, we direct this question. Answers should not exceed 10 lines…

“I loved due to political ambition. I stopped loving for fear of landing in Tamarineira.” – Gaspar Uchôa

(The Hospital da Tamarineira, known today as Hospital Ulysses Pernambucano, is a place to receive psychiatric treatment.)

“I loved when I thought about one person only; I stopped loving when I got to know the “flirt” and traded him for a dozen.” – Nenêm

“I loved; I stopped loving in order to age a little slower.” – Ciceiro Leite

“I stopped loving so I’d go to heaven.” – Eduardo Dubeux

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Smooth Death

On that night, at 11pm, more or less, was Dr. Samuel Klespink in his residence when he received an urgent call to go offer assistance to one of the condemned men from the State’s large prison.

Upon arriving at his cell where he found the sickly man, Dr. Klespink knew that it was the young man Roberto Horlich condemned to die, and that he would be executed on the following day, at 10am.

Why do you want me to save this young man if they’re going to hang him tomorrow? – asked the illustrious doctor, to the prison warden who had accompanied him.

The governor – explained the warden – is required to follow the law. The law condemned this man to hang, and it’s to be at the gallows, not in bed, that he should die. And, after the promised execution of the criminal, it is useful and serves as an example, it causes fear, and it avoids future crimes. It’s needed, therefore, to benefit the society and the order, that this man is saved today in order to die tomorrow.

Dr. Klespink wasn’t thinking, however, the same way. He thought it’d be a crime on his part to prolong and renew the agony of that hapless man. If the unlucky bastard should die, then why subject him to the execution, to the torment and to the disgrace of the gallows?

And Dr. Klespink, adding, on purpose, a few extra grams, the injection dose, he offered a smooth death to the young condemned man, making him go from the morphine slumber to the eternal rest of death.

A few hours later, when he was leaving the prison, he already could sense the soft light of daybreak. At the door of the prison, authorities and employees spoke in low voices. Dr. Klespink got closer. The warden showed him the order that he just received from the judge:

“Stay the execution. Roberto Horlich is innocent. The real criminal just confessed.”

Two days after, Dr. Samuel Klespink was found dead in his office.

– Malba Tahan (author of The Man Who Counted)

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3 responses to “Recife in the 20s – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Recife in the 20s – Part 2 | Eyes On Recife·

  2. Pingback: Recife traffic problems | Eyes On Recife·

  3. Pingback: April Round Up | Eyes On Recife·

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