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A Love of Salvation

Camilo Castelo Branco
In the early hours of the day, at first shy and fragile, the sun was revealing itself behind the Valongo Mountains. But, barely dawning, he began his journey through the decisively and imperially firmament, approaching the city and allowing, very early, the light to shine inside of the writer’s chamber, enlightening his spirit and warming his body. 
From the window, high up in the imposing building that was, for now, his home, Camilo glimpsed a dazzling landscape. The city stretched at his feet. And of course to those in the cathedral who seemed to control it in the distance and who had been crowing the Penaventosa hill for centuries. The city was agitated by the noise of the people, the cars pulled by the animals that demanded the city and the improprieties that, from an early age, exhaled loudly from the mouths of those who passed in the vicinity.
 And the writer, at the desk, absorbed in his creativity, had forgot his personal drama for moments. But to remind him, all kinds of bugs were emerging between the planks of the floor.
As if the disgusting conditions of the enxovias, on the ground and underground floors, kept away the insects that love moisture and garbage! Yes. They seemed to be fleeing that rot! The huddled inmates, who inhumanly occupied those dark spaces, were not so lucky. He felt the sun on his face, filled his lungs with fresh air and opened his eyes on the city scenery that dominated his window. He put the pen down and decided that the fate of those human rags would have to be different. And if as had been announced to him, King D. Pedro V would come to visit him today, then he would bring the sensitive monarch up to date with that uncivilized condition. He would certainly know how to reverse this state of affairs.
In the pages under a table, next to the large window one of the jewels of the ultrarromantic literature in portuguese was born: Love of Perdition. But Camilo's imprisonment and permanence, for a year, in the Cadeia da Relação do Porto, would also be marked by his decisive action with the young king, who imposed a set of health rules that radically changed the terrible living conditions of prisoners who, unlike Camilo, did not enjoy the status of being “gente de condição”. 
It was an act of extreme compassion and solidarity with others. It was also a… Love of Salvation.
Joel Cleto