This passage takes place at the very end of the novel. In Paris, Lucio has met a successful impresario with whom he as agreed to show his play ” A Chama” in Lisbon. It is shortly after this encounter that Lucio comes up with a new idea for the last act of the play. However, when Lucio arrives in Lisbon, the impresario rejects the new ending and consequently the play is withdrawn from rehearsals. Once back in Lisbon, Lucio does not make contact with his old friends – it appears that he is going through a period of indecision and solitude. One sees Lucio aimlessly wandering the streets until one day he meets Ricardo by chance.
Lucio confesses his affair with Marta to Ricardo. The reply is a bizarre one: Ricardo admits that he can only find friendship with Lucio if he can physically feel him, thus he uses Marta is the intermediary between them. It is now that Ricardo grabs Lucio’s arm and leads him back to his house. The letter that Lucio remembers in the passage is reminiscent of the invitation that he receives from the wealthy American woman in Paris. The reader never gets to know what the letter is about, nor do we know who it is from. Sa-Carneiro however, gives the letter an importance.
In the midst of such a climax, it is bizarre that Ricardo should stop and read the letter. The coat of arms is equally confusing: it could well be from Serge Warginsky on account of his aristocratic background but on the other hand one is reminded of the imagery from the American woman’s party. The coat of arms appears to dance in front of Lucio’s eyes. One could relate this vision to the wild spectacle of the party as well as the gold paint that the woman wore as she danced. The italics usually suggest a feeling of significant importance in the plot. Lucio could be remembering the invitation that he and Ricardo both received in Paris.
He could also be associating the letter with Marta since his affair with her has almost brought the souls of the two men together. It is more evidence that identities are often shared and confused in this novel. Ricardo’s fever in this passage is paralleled by Lucio’s feelings in which his body and soul are in a whirlwind. It appears that the wind has taken charge of Lucio. His soul once again appears detached, the three dots indicate him diverting from the narrative to his errant thoughts. The shaking surroundings show Lucio to be out of control and indeed he fears that he has fallen into the hands of a madman.
One could argue that he is referring to himself, that his soul is giving in to insanity Ricardo’s voice becomes less recognisable; it is bizarre that his voice should become lower since one would expect it to echo Marta’s, especially since Lucio has mentioned that it appeared to come from someone else’s throat. Ricardo’s speech is reminiscent of what he has said in the paragraphs preceding the passage. He says: “Chegou a hora de dissipar os fantasmas… ” This is the only time that Ricardo mentions Marta as a ghost figure.
Ricardo says that his soul had become flesh in order to possess Lucio. Lucio mentions this word “possuir” on many occasions about Marta and in the context of the novel it has a sexual link. This passage is a final development of the relationship between Lucio and Ricardo before the bizarre murder. Even Lucio, who can usually understand Ricardo, describes his words as incoherent and impossible. The punctuation, characterised in the final lines by intermittent dots, gives the impression that this is another one of Lucio’s dreams. In short, the reader is left thinking whether Marta really exists, if she is Ricardo’s creation or whether Lucio is simply insane and is imagining the entire plot…