By Adolfo Caminha
First English translation of the debatable novel of 1895. It relates in naturalistic sort 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 provider jointly within the Brazilian army. Translated into English through E. A. Lacey in 1982.
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Additional resources for Bom-Crioulo: The Black Man and the Cabin Boy
Of God, cap ... cap ... " And the other blows followed, implacable, brutal as burning acids, falling one by one, painfully, on the cabin-boy's frail body. All he could do was try to bear them all, one after another, because his cries, his pleas, his tears availed him nothing. "I'll discipline you," roared the captain, in a sudden flash of fury and ill-humour, under the blazing light of the tropical noon. " Not a tremor of agitation could be observed among the sailors, who had witnessed such scenes so often already that they no longer ·succeeded in producing any emotional effect in them, as though they were mere banal reproductions of some wellknown picture.
And what about the shirt? Oh, well, the shirt should be unbuttoned a little at the neck, to show the one underneath, the knit shirt. Clothes make the man. The cabin-boy took all this advice like a son, without even asking about the reason for so much care and attention. He saw dirty, badly-dressed, sweaty-smelling sailors, but there weren't too many of them. Some of them even used perfume on their kerchiefs and lotion on their hair. In a few days, Aleixo was like a different person. Bom-Crioulo looked at him with the pride of a teacher watching a pupil's development.
Nothing in this world is impossible. "And you don't need to go around telling anybody about this", the black man said, finally. " At this precise moment the great steamship was face-to-face with the corvette, showing the colours of the British flag astern, like one of those big red kerchiefs for snuff users; and three fearful blasts on her whistle saluted the little warship, whose flag also fluttered astern, green and gold. A crowd of people milled around in the prow of the English steamer, no doubt Italian immigrants on their way to Brazil.