1919The wind that blew from the Seine made frost cling to his bones. It swept over theriver’s banks and through the gaps in the wrought-iron fence—a low-grade tornado thatgripped the men now exiting the Quai d’Orsay. As Pandiá Calógeras passed the widewooden doors, he felt cold, and he felt frustrated.
Not that he minded staying with family. The Brazilian delegation had beenassembled in a hurry and proper lodging hadn’t been arranged, so Calógeras had rented acheap apartment next door to his brother’s, but this he didn’t mind—it let him see hisnieces, whom he adored.
Nor did he mind that he had not been paid since crossing theAtlantic. Prices had skyrocketed after the war, and Calógeras had footed the bill for thewinter clothes he bought upon arrival, but this he didn’t mind. What had drawn him toParis was not money but “the mission, the high charge
for which the Government hassummoned me.”
Nor did he mind that Olyntho Magalhães, his co-delegate, had provedto be abysmally incompetent. Olyntho’s many fumbles included reservations at theclearly third-rate Plaza-Hotel, but he was still a “lovable man of good,” if “deplorablefrom the diplomatic point of view.”
Rather, what weighed on Calógeras’ mind were the discriminatory conference
Like the remainder of the essay, this paragraph is based on documentary evidence: the Brazilians in Paris repeatedlycomplained about the weather in their diaries and telegrams. In this particular instance, the dramatic details—the “low-grade tornado,” the particular path of the wind—are based on my personal experience at the Seine in December of 2011. While they are imaginative leaps, I felt they were reasonable and honest. Such leaps are made throughout theessay, but elsewhere they are indicated by modifiers such as “probably,” “surely,” and “no doubt.” Where such hedginglanguage is absent, the dramatized account adheres strictly to the footnoted documentary evidence.
João Pandiá Calógeras, January 4, 1919, and January 5, 1919, “Diário,” in
Pandiá Calógeras na opinião de seuscontemporaneos
(São Paulo: Salles Oliveira & Cia., 1934), 64.
Calógeras, December 17, 1918, “Diário,”
, 61. Calógeras to Gama, January 27, 1919, Arquivos Históricos doItamaraty (AHI), 273/2/9.
Calógeras, January 7, 1919, and January 8/9, 1919, “Diário,”