|Catarina de Jesus
Friendship letter Maria Inês, servant to Catarina de Jesus
The author says she is in a convent and asks news from her ex-husband, towards whom she expresses her anger and hate. She also sends some love powder and explains how to use it.
This process belongs to the defendant José Caetano, a runaway soldier from the Artillary Regiment of Faro. He is accused of bigamy in 1796. Apart from the crimes of bigamy and desertion, the defendant had also been in prison for homicide, after killing his first wife in August 1794. Maria Inês didn’t testify because she was in a convent in Lisbon and asked the marriage to be considered null in 1799.
My beloved Madam Catarina,
I’ll be glad to know that my letter finds you enjoying the good health I wish you, in the company of sir Vicente and everyone in the house; I’m in good health to serve you as you wish. Madam, the reason why I didn’t write before was due to the absence of news from that land’s boats, but now that I know you wrote my aunt and your Francisco was there, I was very pleased to write you because I know the holder of the letter. I am here, in this land, in a Carmel convent, because I believe I couldn’t be in a better place, since my courtship allows me to. Send me news from my devil, whether he has gone to hell already, because I came to Lisbon to know his schemes. You are well aware that, despite all the news, I was reluctant to believe he could do such actions, I wanted to save him the way others have been saved from similar crimes, but now I tell you that, if there were to be no hangman to hang him, I would be the hangman myself, because he deserves so, not only for grabbing me, but also for killing that poor one. In similar matters, the best is not to talk about them. Please send my greetings to José de Almada and his wife, to Mister Francisco and his daughter, as well as to Mister Jerónimo and Felícia. And through your son I send your husband some powders for the Teresa’s head, which are a sign of love; and that flour is to make with a fish soup for dinner. You serve that dinner to José de Almada’s wife. I am Maria Inês forever. My daughter, the wish of seeing you and to sir Vicente and Teresa is endless. And the same to Joaquina, who is with me, and to everyone else who asks for me. I bother you no longer. From this friend who loves you dearly until death, Maria Inês