domingo, 11 de março de 2018

The Last Year in China (1843)

Em 1843 foi publicado em Londres em formato livro (199 pp) um conjunto de cartas que um oficial britânico (não identificado) enviou para amigos sobre a sua estadia na China por alturas da assinatura do tratado de Nanquim.
Título original:
"The Last Year in China, to the Peace of Nanking: as Sketched in Letters to his Friends, by a Field Officer, actively employed in that Country with a Few Concluding Remarks on Our Past and future Policy in China".
O interesse pela obra foi de tal ordem que no mesmo ano foi publicada nos EUA. Neste post publico alguns excertos dessas cartas relativas a Macau.
Letter IX Macao 25th October 1841
I have worn out my feet in walking on the stony worse than Paris pavings of Macao so I am resting this morning and will write you a long letter Having obtained leave till the end of the month from my floating prison at Hongkong for the purpose of going with Captain C to Macao we started on the night of the 21st instant in a little brig The Thistle placed at C s disposal by a Chinese merchant the first Chinese owner I believe of an English vessel. (...) Macao is politically speaking a very curious place The Portuguese have a great many privileges they have their own governor and a garrison of some 400 men and rule themselves I saw yesterday the Portuguese army the numerous guards deducted returning from mass at the great church The men have by no means a despicable appearance They are in general as dark as Mussulmans in the Carnatic and indeed I was told that some of the recruits were actually Mussulmans The Portuguese fair ones or rather brown ones seem never to stir abroad though they may be seen in the balconies of their houses in the cool of the evening If you look up they get behind the venetians to pretend to hide themselves and to take a peep at you I have not yet seen a pretty face among them Indeed pretty ladies seldom hide themselves to be seen is with them even a greater pleasure than to see The venerable fathers of the convent with their cocked or as C calls them cockedup hats and long black gowns and a lot of hooded nuns may be seen abroad occasionally the latter doubtless on their way to and from mass Among these last I have seen one or perhaps two pretty pale faces not more The English merchants here though hospitable and friendly cannot enjoy much society. (...)

Carta datada de 5 de Novembro de 1841:
Letter XI On board the Sulimany Hongkong Harbour 5th Nov 1841
I left Macao on the 30th at noon in a small bark called the Cowasjee Family and in spite of strong contrary winds the next morning at 10 o clock found me once more in my floating prison in this harbour We are anxiously expecting news from Chusan by HM brig "larne". (...) The mall in Macao is the Praya Grande - the great paved walk along the beach Near this and at the foot of a grand flight of steps leading to the church of San Francisco there is a green spot where till of late years the Portuguese used to dance on summer evenings and moonlight nights What a pretty sight it must have been the town the hills the sea and the islands bounding their spacious ball room instead of the four small walls and suffocating heat of a London party Imagine too the Chinese looking on in wonder and who in that pale light might pass for monkeys but for the different locality of their tails origin 
Tradução do excerto acima transcrito:
"A bordo do «Sulimany», Baía de Hong Kong 5 de Novembro de 1841
O «passeio» em Macau é a Praia Grande – o grande caminho pavimentado ao longo da praia. Próximo, e na base da grande escadaria que leva à igreja de S. Francisco há uma zona verde onde, até há poucos anos, os portugueses costumavam dançar nas noites de luar, no Verão. Que belo deverá ter sido! A cidade, as colinas, o mar e as ilhas delimitando o seu espaçoso salão de baile em vez das quatro pequenas paredes e do calor sufocante de uma festa londrina. Imagine-se, também, o olhar admirado dos chineses que naquela pálida luz poderiam ter passado por macacos, não fora a distinta origem da sua cauda. Tudo isto já acabou. Quando os comerciantes ingleses, expulsos de Cantão, foram obrigados a estabelecer-se em Macau, os hábitos alteraram-se. Seguramente transportamos connosco a desconfiança, o tédio e a repugnância, seja para onde for que vamos. Os portugueses já não dançam ao ar livre mas os cavalheiros e as senhoras passeiam ao luar e, segundo me disseram, passam noites inteiras nas colinas a tocar guitarra e a cantar (…)"
Vista de Macau (Praia Grande) no final do século XIX; quadro de autor desconhecido

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário