“But all of this should have been said in its proper time, except that it was difficult to know what the proper time for things was, and even now, with my elbows on the railing of the bridge, as I watched a small, must-colored peniche…”

“A must-colored peniche, Maga, and I wonder why we didn’t sail off on it while there was still time.”

Peniche could refer to any number of things, none of which completely make sense in both contexts. This post will focus on six possibilities, leading with the most likely.

A peniche is a French barge. It fits the quotes in both senses, as a barge can be must-colored, and one can sail off on it. However, it begs the question: why would one want to use a barge to sail off on, in lieu of much more passenger-friendly waterbound craft? Barges are known for carrying cargo, not people. Still, this option makes the most sense.

The next three options are people, artist Mihaly Flandorffer Peniche, soccer player Peniche Everton Romualdo, and actress Kari Ann Peniche. It is obviously not possible to float away on a person, so all three are out from that regard, nor is it likely one would refer to a person as must-colored. We must still consider the scenario in which Cortazar might be referring to a painting by Peniche the artist as a peniche, as artists often have their name used in reference to their work. It is quite possible for a painting to be must-colored. In this regard, it works. Yet, one still cannot sail off on a painting.

Peniche, finally, is both a city and municipality in Portugal. It is possible, in theory, for a city to be must-colored, if there is too much dust or what have you in the air. Now obviously not everything in the city is that color, but one might refer to it in the figurative sense. Still, one cannot sail off on a city, or even a municipality. One can sail off to either, but unless it is a typo, that is not what was asked for. It seems unlikely that a typo of that proportion, one that potentially changes the meaning of the text, would make it through revision, so it seems safe to assume it is meant to be on, not to. Therefore, these two options are out.

This leaves us only really the barge option. Still seems illogical, but it is possible given the parameters, so it must be the case.,


~ by diamondace on January 25, 2010.

%d bloggers like this: