|Gertrudes Rosa da Conceição
|António José Ferreira
Love letter from Gertrudes Rosa da Conceição, prisoner, to António José Ferreira, salesman, also in jail.
The author, who is in jail, informs her lover about the conditions she is in and about how her process is going.
Gertrudes Rosa da Conceição was accused of commiting adultery with António José Ferreira, a salesman that worked for her husband, Francisco Ferreira, a grocer. She used to receive her lover in her room while her husband was away on business and this was witnessed by her servants. Even after the lovers were both in prison, they continued to exchange letters, in which there were signs of an arrangement to kill the husband. In fact, Gertrudes' brother, known as the «sailor», did hurt his brother-in-law with a dagger, but, in spite of the serious wounds, Francisco Ferreira survived. Gertrudes ended up acquitted from this accusation, for there was not enough evidence against her.
«It was with great delight that I've received your letter and I'm very glad that you're so comforted and enjoying perfect health, because that's what is lacking in me. I'm better now, it's been 3 days since I'm able to get up, with cough, but I'm very weak, I feel my head is exhausted and I have no appetite, I cannot eat, nothing is appetizing. It seems my life will end here, but that is the same. As long as you are healthy, even if I die, it doesn't matter, you'll remain here. You have to explain me those things you've told me. I was very surprised when my José told me that you were further behind than I am, since your appeal had been sent to the Court of Appeal on Saturday and mine had already been sent and wasn't accepted. And the lawyer appealed again and it was rejected and now the papers are in the hands of my lawyer to rebut the libel. It's all I know. A requirement has been made to the Police Superintendent, so that I could justify his [my husband's] bad behaviour. I pointed 8 witnesses against him, but the Superintendent said that, had it been in another time, he was certainly going to jail, but not now, because a man can frame his wife, but a woman cannot frame her husband. This way, I don't know what my fate will be. I always consider myself unlucky because he can harm me with mine and he will do what he can, because he has a way of doing so. He says that you and I will both be exiled. If we both went to the same place, it wouldn't make me so unhappy that I suffer for you and you for me. I would be glad that we could see each other. However, to my misfortune, it won't be like that. I'm surprised that you are alreay presenting witnesses. I haven't presented mine yet, the papers are still going to his lawyer first. He will now justify the crime and, afterwards, I will present my witnesses. I was willing to attempt the "Misericórdia" because I was told that, through the "Misericórdia", they will force him to give forgiveness, but my son says it is not so. Therefore, I know nothing about it, I don't know what to do. I'm relying on everything I'm told. I've requested the permit twice, always denied. They have now told me they were going to request a permit from the Court of Appeal with which we give 4 sureties for each crime. We shall see: since we haven't comitted any crime, there will certainly be sureties. I'm not afraid of giving as many justifications as necessary because I'm very thankfull to all of them, because they all say they would stick their necks out for me and that he is a rascal who needed a thousand lives out and they are all against him. However, because he has got money, he buys everything. I'm now thinking about changing the law official to one that people claim to be very good, and whose name is Anselmo.
He sent my father to see the minister under great pressure, so that he would sign an acceptance of liability. He refused. Therefore, what I want you to tell me is whether you're also coming to the yard for a walk, because, as I'm in the infirmary, I would like to see you, and, if that's not possible, try to convince that man who is in the prisoners' room to get you a private room, as his wife is here in the infirmary. She's a very close friend of mine, and so she asks her husband to deliver my letters and hand me in yours. Try to come with him upstairs one day. His name is João José Nogueira, from Setúbal, and he's very skilful. He keeps the letters in his power. Because my Jacinto... I'm afraid of him because you know he is crazy. Let me know what you've handed him in yesterday and if you wrote me through him.
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