A Augustine Ormond

November 27th 1909.


My dear Ormond,

Having fortunately attained the conclusion of your petulant composition, the main intention of wich is to disprove that which has been proved disproved, I have thence drawn the felicitous inference that the sooner a termination is put to this asinine discussion, the better it will be for the stability of our intellects. Most controversies are agreeable and even refreshing to the concerned minds, the exertion of striving for the superiority calling forth all the unexercised powers of the brain, but when they fall into inanity or rise to the most crass obscurity, they are more apt to nebulate the mind and procure ridicule on the reasoning powers of the various antagonists. In our inapposite strife after a supreme style, to which the subject-matter has been entirely sacrified, we have at last reached a point when all sight is lost of our original object, as well as of the motives wich prompted us to enter the lists of argument in this idiotic garb. In other words, our adverse reasons and beliefs, formulated in the most abstruse and unpleasant language, glare but do not burn, astonish but do not convince. Henceforth, my dear Ormond, be it our laudable aim to exercise our brains in the manner you have suggested, rather than dry them by the passing of unauthorized remarks and sarcasms upon each other's interests and abilities.

Falling in with your valuable suggestion, I yesterday bettok myself to the verandah of the London Chambers, and thence sprinkled my gaze on the surrounding beauties. Being of a decided aesthetic temperament, I was rather hurt by the unbecoming symmetry of the circum ambient structures - a symmetry so contrary to the ordinary rules of Nature that I felt myself compelled to turn elsewhere for a satisfactory object on which to settle my wandering glance. There was none. The only objects made by nature that my eye could encounter were a black sky, 2 blacker kaffirs and a drop of rain blinded me for a good five minutes. After I had rejoined my normal sight, wich I did not succeed in doing without considerable trouble, since my first apparent treatment for a sore eye was to bump my head on the iron pillars that support the verandah ( D [evi] I take the architect who put it here), I brought my mind slowly back to the fact that I was there for some purpose and no less to the more distressing realization that I was drenched to the skin. I beg, therefore, that you would again not require me such a difficult undertaking, for, believe me, a sore eye, a swelled head and a darned cold are not the exact rewards I expected from Nature for my kindest attentions.

In your ensuing epistle, I would solicit your opinions on the above subject, in the carrying out of which I have unfortunately experienced the most ungratifying checks.

I remain, my dear Ormond, Yours truly ( but very sore )

F. Pessôa

Notas explicativas carta nº 6
O destinatário, Augustine Ormond, fora antigo condiscípulo de Pessoa em Durban. Ao seu testemunho muito se deve do (escasso) conhecimento da infância e adolescência do poeta na África do Sul. Os dois ter-se-ão correspondido durante cerca de vinte anos, até a Grande Guerra, e, segundo depoimento da filha de Ormond, a perda do contato deveu-se certamente à ida do pai para a Austrália (Jennings, op. cit.) No rascunho da carta, o autor considerou a hipótese de alterar a palavra "adverse" (linha 15 ) para conflicting (conflituosas) e "sarcasms" (linha 20 ) para "ironies" (ironias).